Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

The End of Summer #amwriting


Summer is officially over as far as I’m concerned, because I have no more conventions until after Labor Day. My schedule through the end of the year:

Readerfest–Seattle, WA
Renton City Comic Con–Renton, WA
GeekGirlCon–Seattle, WA
Galaxaar–Issaquah, WA
Jet City Comic Show–Tacoma, WA
Orycon–Portland, OR

That’s it. No heavy travel, and all relatively small shows. I remain a Municipal Liaison for my NaNoWriMo region, and I already have a plan for my NaNo this year. It’s a book that I know in advance will require multiple revision passes for detail and layered meaning.

Other projects on the horizon:

Spirit Knights 5 should be out next March, hopefully with a concurrent audiobook. This will complete the series, but not end the adventures in that version of Earth, or with Claire and the gang. I’ll take a hiatus from urban fantasy to focus on other things next year, then come back to it with at least two books set in that world. More info about it as the book’s checklist earns checkmarks.

Darkside Seattle should have another installment by the end of the year. I’m not firm on that deadline. It may be January instead. Regardless, work continues on the novella collection. Looking forward to 1-3 more releases next year. The first novel should be out in late 2019 or early 2020.

The Greatest Sin earned a positive Kirkus review (“luminous”, “daring”!), and there will be another announcement regarding it in a few days. Book 6 is in the works, and we’re hoping to return to May for our release month after some annoying setbacks this year.

The supers from Maze Beset are getting some fresh love in a project with no deadline at this time. This will be another case of me leaving the series title behind in favor of something else. I expect to have at least one book sometime next year for this world.

In Ilauris news, I’ve settled on the Elf book as my next project on that front, which I’m hoping to release in Fall 2018. Also, a story from the pirate faction will appear in an anthology titled Undercurrents: What Lies Beneath. The pirates feel like a short story subject instead of a novel subject, so there may be more to come from that.

My first turn as an anthology editor, Bridges, releases in November. I don’t have a story in it, but I’m exited about the project anyway. All the stories came from members of the Northwest Independent Writers Association, a group to which I belong. Without NIWA, I never would have met Jeffrey Cook, and we all know how that’s turned out (hint: well).

As part of Clockwork Dragon, I’ve got an anthology project in the works for Spring 2019, Spring 2020, and Spring 2021 releases. Yep, I’m that far ahead of this thing. It’s going to be awesome, and I look forward to sharing all the super-secret details with everyone after Norwescon 2018! If you’re looking for Dwago’s book, circumstances have delayed it again, and I have no new hopeful release date at this time.

For future planning, I can confirm I’ll definitely be at Emerald City Comic Con, Miscon, GEARCon, and GenCon again in 2018. I’ll be at other shows too, but they’re unconfirmed at this point.

#NaNoWinner2016 Finally

On the 23rd, I finally finished my ninth NaNo this year. That’s the longest it’s ever taken me, and more than twice as long as my previous longest (10 days). But I still finished.

And here’s why it took so long. I’ve already discussed the beginning of the month. Now, the end.

On November 17th, at about 2am, my father passed away in our home from complications of prostate cancer. He spent about four weeks in hospice care. As you might imagine, this impacted my ability to write. I needed two days to recover from just the loss of sleep that night.

2016 NaNoWriMo Wordcount Stats. Conveniently with a minimal number of numbers.

Thank goodness I don’t make productivity bar graphs all the time.

To finish NaNo, I had to set aside Spirit Knights 4 in favor of some short stories I plan to submit to various places. For some reason, a series of books about death are hard to work on right now. Go figure. My wordcount also sputtered after I crossed the magical 50k line, as it often does.

If you’re still reaching for the finish line, keep on truckin’. You have two more days. If you’re nowhere near finishing, keep on truckin’. You have the rest of your life. If you’re already finished, keep on truckin’. When one story ends, another begins.

For my Spirit Knights fans, I still anticipate releasing book 4 in time for Norwescon (mid-April). As far as I’m concerned, four months is plenty of time to write and release a book, and it’s half done already. And while you’re waiting, audiobooks for this series are a thing! Girls Can’t Be Knights released earlier this month, Backyard Dragons releases in early December, and Ethereal Entanglements is on schedule for an early January release. With luck, book 4 will release simultaneously with its audiobook.

For my The Greatest Sin fans, we’re expecting to get book 5 out by June. We’re also working on audiobooks for the first four, and hope to begin releasing those in 2017. We’ll probably catch up to release both print and audio at the same time with book 6. If you’ve read and loved them, please take a minute to leave a review.

For my Maze Beset fans, stay tuned for short story news! And if you want a fresh short story from me, regardless of the ‘verse it resides in, I’ve been published in a few anthologies this year: Into the Woods, Merely This and Nothing MoreUnnatural Dragons, and Artifact.

The Home Stretch #NaNoWriMo

I’ve been busy. While I wasn’t paying much attention, November slid past in a whirlwind of words. As I write this, I’ve blown past my 100k goal and am heading at full steam ahead for 150k. Interestingly, as the weeks have passed, my publishing priorities have changed drastically.

Backyard Dragons will be ready in March. Chowndie…will not. It may have to wait a while. I’ve come up with the basic scenario for the as-yet unnamed book to follow Backyard Dragons and think I might be able to get it done in time for the summer. There’s a nonfiction book in the near future. An anthology was delayed until the New Year. I’ve simmering four different anthology submissions. I’ve outlined a new five book series, unrelated to anything else. Some of my backlist will be getting new covers. Snap up those early editions while you can.

And then there’s the book my son wants me to write so he can do a book report for it. He’s ten years old and would like a book that features lightsabers, dragons, pirates, and airships. We had a long chat about intellectual property, trademarks, and similar subjects, which means there won’t be lightsabers after all. They’ll be magic laser swords instead. I’m not sure I can write a serious draft of this before he needs to start reading it, but I’m going to try. Because I’m crazy like that.

My NaNo region is full of people surprising me by managing to win for the first time this year after several previous failed attempts. Go team! We’re losing the West Coast Capital Challenge by a wide margin, but with these individual successes, I hardly care.

To those folks with very small word counts and only these last few days to stew in the impossibility of your task, keep trying. Write a little as often as you can. As soon as it becomes a habit, it becomes easier to squeeze in. Beyond that, if your region is involved in any word wars, you’re part of a team and every word matters.

To those folks with the finish line in sight but too far to seem reasonable, you’ve got this. You’ve so totally got this. Don’t falter and don’t despair because you’ve hit a wall. Grab a sledgehammer smash that thing down. Go off on a tangent. Slap in unnecessary backstory. Above all, keep going.

If you, like me, have already crossed the finish line, congrats! Now comes the fun part. Step 1: Finish the story. Step 2: Set it aside. Step 3: Pick it back up in a month or two and re-read it. Fix it.

Whatever else you do, keep meeting with the people you’ve found through write-ins. Those folks are writers, just like you, and no one understands a writer like another writer.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year #NaNoWriMo

Ah, November. So full of stuff. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (I’m American). This is when it truly gets cold and wet and the days are so short you really notice it. I love snuggling down under a fuzzy blanket with a cup of hot tea or cocoa. There’s also this crazy charity beard thing a lot of men do, called Movember. Even without that, lots of men grow one anyway for warmth (or out of laziness, I’m sure). Veteran’s Day, or as I think of it, A Random Day My Kids Have No School. The start of the Xmas shopping frenzy. In many places, hunting season begins. I guess it’ll mark the end of the baseball season this year. Daylight Savings Time ends.

There was something else. Hm. What was it? Oh yes, of course.

If you’ve never heard of it, National Novel Writing Month (for the record, there are participants all over the world, but it started as a US thing) is an event managed by a nonprofit charitable organization called the Office of Letters and Light. Their mission is to provide tools for combating illiteracy. Their other mission is to provide tools for people to get off their butts and write that novel you always said you’d write. Even if it’s just for yourself.

This year will be my 6th time doing (and winning) NaNo. I credit NaNo with my becoming an Author instead of just a writer, because I never would have developed the confidence to do it without discovering I actually could. (That makes sense, I swear.) The entire point is to push yourself to write at least 50,000 words for a single story in one month. 30 days. You do it by writing at least 1667 words per day. Sounds easy, turns out to be difficult because of the ‘single story’ part.

The point has nothing to do with the quality of those 50k+ words. There’s this mistaken belief in the minds of many would-be Authors that books must be born from your mind in a near-perfect state. Absolute nonsense. Hogwash. Horse puckey. Pifflesticks. The first draft of a novel always, always needs some kind of significant changes. Sometimes, it’s a few important tweaks here and there. Other times, oh my gosh, that whole chapter needs to go. Worse, that whole plotline is crap. Let’s not get into how many rewrites Dragons In Chains needed. yet, Dragons In Pieces only needed the ending redone (Ten times, but who was counting? Not me. Naw.) and a few scenes added. And so on.

What is the point? Barfing words. Sure, quality matters more than quantity, but only in the finished product. In the initial stages, you gotta get something down on the page and keep getting stuff down on the page until your brain dribbles out your ears and nose, and you have to wipe the goo off your keyboard. Either you succeed and have a first draft, or you fail and gain some insight into what Authors do.

There’s something about knowing hundreds of thousands of other people are doing this at the same time that makes NaNo special and magical. For me, this time is about meeting new people working on the same journey I am, making friends and finding new authors to explore when I’m done, screwing down in discipline, and focusing on a story. I can write a book any time of the year, but doing it during NaNo is different. It’s a shared experience, even though every book is different.

Of my books, Dragons In Pieces and Damsel In Distress were both written originally for NaNo. I have thoughts about mining the other winners, sometimes. One of them is so horrible, I’m not sure there’s anything to salvage beyond the basic concept. The others are okay, and maybe I will get to them at some point. One in particular would fit well into my plans for the Ilauris setting novels.

This year, the plan is to get The Greatest Sin #3 written next month. We’re still working on the plot, though, so my backup plan is an urban fantasy with a theme of city spirits vs nature spirits, otherwise known as man vs nature. I’m also looking at the possibility of something really wild and out there for me: a book with no fantasy or sci fi elements. And I still have Chowndie to get back to.

Bring on winter. I’m ready to buckle down and pump out the words. Rawr!