January, the month of two faces, one looking to the future, one looking back to the past. To the ancient Romans, this month is of beginnings and endings, a duality of promise and what has gone before. For me, it’s a continuation of my writing life, a double strand of the past and the future.

My projects for the first quarter:

Project #1: I’ve returned to writing the fantasy novel that’s been knocking about in my head for a long time, A Lamentation of Swans, poor thing has spent several years in the dark of a bin under my desk while I dithered between fear of pulling it out and starting over and guilt for not having written it yet. I’m 9,900 words in and both of us are smiling.

Project #2: Errors of Choice, my 2017 NaNo novel, is finally feeling the heat of the editing lamp. It was Project #1 for the first quarter, but I moved it down a slot. I’ve edited 41 pages so far, or roughly 10,000 words of the 50,000.

Project #3: Can’t say anything about that right now, but it’s exciting news!

Meanwhile, this month, I watched three good horror films, Hereditary (occult horror, the ending appalled me, but I thought it top-notch horror the way horror used to be), The Kovak Box, (psychic terror horror) and Annihilation (science fiction horror; liked it very much).

Happy writing!

home stretch


41,951, Errors of Choice. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and hope y’all did too! Friday was catch-up day and I made it to 40,185, writing 3,373 words during my morning session. What a relief! I wasn’t sure if I’d get it done in one session or have to stretch it out over these final days. My 40,000-word reward was Shopping! I went and splurged at the local Dollar Store, bought holiday decorations and pretty poinsettia kitchen stuff.

Less than 10,000 words to go! Yippity!




33361, Errors of Choice. Having surpassed the Day 18 target on Saturday, my reward day was yesterday. Didn’t Nano, but I edited and revised a short  humorous horror story, The Apartment. It’s ready for submission and I was supposed to send it off today, but I didn’t. I want to read through it one more time. Yes I’m procrastinating over letting it go. I’m always afraid I’ve missed a mistake so I’ll read a story one more time before zipping it on its way to a chosen publisher. It’ll go out tomorrow.

Today, Monday, I made up for my day off and wrote 4,084 words. I’m terrified of falling behind because I know how my brain works–it’s a lazy ass–and will start capering about like a monkey in a tree if I don’t keep it in hand. I’m now 66% down the Nanowrimo road and what amazes me the most is how little fretting I’ve done in the past two weeks, and I’m looking forward to rewriting Errors of Choice during one of the Camp Wrimo’s next year. Probably April.


a rush into unselfconsciousness


Update:  30,190, Errors of Choice. Good productive session this morning! Can’t believe I wrote a difficult scene in one session. I was really worried that I wouldn’t get far today. By the way, yesterday I reached 28,482.

26,773, Errors of Choice. This novel absorbs my days and you’d think that would be enough to carry me through, but it isn’t. I’ve a number of stories pressing on my mind–two of the most pressing are Possessed and Loose Daddy.

Loose Daddy is a finished first draft. It took me a long time to reach the end, and the novel has set for years in my file, untouched. I wasn’t ready to revise and rewrite it; now I am.

Possessed also has been with me for a long time, another first draft, 75% percent written. I’m at Act III and I’ve drafted a list of scenes and sort of know what to do, but I haven’t got a handle on the final part yet. I have figured out that it works best divided into parts by the characters, Part 1- Randall; Part 2 – Deidre; Part 3 – Kenny; and the final Part 4 – Deidre. Once I saw that, the story aligned itself better, and now I need to write the final part, but have not carved out time for it because of EOC.

I plan to take December off from writing, and catch up on my reading. I like the idea of spending an entire month doing nothing but reading, recharging and entertaining myself through the visions of other writers. But Possessed presses on my mind so we shall see.

I’ve got my Thanksgiving menu planned. My sister and her family are coming over. It’s going to be a grand day and Errors of Choice will sit quietly in its binder on the desk in my office.

I’m heading toward the 30,000-word mark and the reward of a day off. Not sure if I posted my NaNo rewards. Here they are:

  • 10,000 words – New planner stickers (ordered from Amazon)
  • 20,000 words – Movie (I streamed The Dark Tower)
  • 30,000 words – Day off (not including Thanksgiving)
  • 40,000 words – Shopping (Antique store browsing)
  • 50,000 words – Open the bottle of cabernet sauvignon and have a glass or two

A friend suggested I give myself a bonus reward–have the book cover done. The one I mocked up is this one:

Slide1It’ll do for the my eyes only draft, and I’ll have it done by my favorite cover artist,  Angie at Fiverr.  It’ll be fun to have the manuscript in book form. I think it’ll make editing it fun too. I’ll see the mistakes more clearly.

It’s Saturday! I’m up early and I’ve got a long day of work planned.

Happy writing!





no worries


15,916, Errors of Choice. I’m having a stress-free Nanowrimo for the first time in my decade of doing NaNo. Perhaps it’s because I’m better prepared than in previous years. In his essential Nanowrimo book, No Plot, No Problem, Chris Baty advises to only take a week in October, seven days, to prepare for writing your novel and I can see the sense in this. You don’t want to get hog-tied by your idea and stressed out before November 1. On the big day, you don’t want to sit in front of your computer, gazing into the white wastes of the screen or sit staring blankly at the yellow desert of a legal pad with the lines resembling the fine wind imprints of the Sahara. You want to write, right?

I took most of the month of October, three weeks exactly, to get ready and I think it’s because I had much material for the story in my head. So much so that I was able to create in Scrivener a good set of scene idea cards. I put them in rough order, not caring if they stayed in order once I started writing. I’m not a linear writer, but I had enough connecting ideas and enough potential connections to give myself a decent map into the story with enough plot bunny material to back it up. In short, I had something to say.

Now I’ve had something to say before with other stories, and I’ve spent past Novembers wrestling with the words, wrestling with the angels of inspiration, and beating at my brain to get those 50,000 words by November 30, all the while promising myself that I wasn’t going to do it again next year. I lie to myself all the time.

It’s Day 9 and I’m at 15,916 words, a little ahead instead of a lot behind. I love not having to play catch-up. In the past it’s been different. My brain is the Titanic and I’m always up against that damn iceberg.

I might be doing my happy dance in terms of progress too soon, but it sure feels nice to know what the hell I’m writing (even if all I have is a vague idea of the scene), and I don’t care if it makes sense right now. Are the words coming out in a silky flow in perfectly constructed sentences? Hell no—but they’re showing up on the page, my characters are talking, and that’s all I ask.

So y’all out there facing the 1,667 every day—turn off the Internal Editor and shut down that other nasty voice attacking your talent, take a deep breath, gather your zen, and accept the words that come. Go ahead, write badly, write wildly, babble all over the page, write! Writers write, and then writers rewrite because Hemingway wasn’t wrong.

all’s good


Errors of Choice, broke 10,000 words today. Updated the word counter.  Yippety!

It’s early days yet, but NANO is going better for me this year than in previous years. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to stay out of my own way. Kicking out the Internal Editor helped. I’m still uncertain what I’m going to write when I start each morning, but I promised myself not to fret about finding the words. I have an idea for each scene. It’s only a matter of accepting the words that come whether they’re perfect or not.

Writing is rewriting.



Day 1 Nanowrimo 2272 words. Off to a good start. The writing went well and I didn’t allow the Inner Critic to get a word in edgewise. I pushed the little “Take My Inner Editor” button in Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem! :)))

Completed all of the items on my Preptober Checklist last week. The last thing was deciding the playlist. It’ll be songs chosen from the following, depending on the scene:

  • Sade Lovers Rock
  • The Best of Sade
  • Sade Stronger Than Pride
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Vanessa Williams Greatest Hits

I’ll post the playlist at the end of November.

Decided I’d work on whatever I wanted to if I made my word count before lunch.  This morning was a success so I did a read-through of A Useful Blind, a steampunk mystery novella that I plan to rewrite.

Happy Nano!