Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Grand Rapids Comic Con and a TV interview

November is always a busy month for me. I'm in the midst of my 14th year of participating in National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I am working on two projects, one new, one continuing, so rebelling a bit, but even with taking three days mostly off of writing for the comic con, I'm still on track, if not a smidge ahead.

Last month, I traveled over toward Detroit to do an interview on Indie Reads TV with Pages and Promotions that aired on CMNTV. If you're interested in checking it out - I always find it interesting to see how people talk and act in person compared to what I'd imagined online - its now available on YouTube.

Grand Rapids Comic Con was a lot of fun and a success for meeting readers and selling books. I shared a booth with a few other authors, because while we're all swimming in cash from the huge successes of our writing careers (that's sarcasm, in case that wasn't clear), we like to pool resources.  My booth included Judith Wade, G.S. Scott and Remearis Brown. It was a long three days of peopling, but we all survived. And because I'd built up a good word count buffer, I didn't fall behind on my NaNo endeavor.

Wearing my festive hat. That was all fun and good but I kept reaching up thinking they were my reading glasses,
which I often wear on my head. Surprise, the hat didn't help me see better.

While I do have four, maybe five more events coming up this year, I'm sticking close to home. Why? Well, for those of you not familiar with the fickle Michigan weather, to give you an example: Fall lasted five days. That was early last week. It was nice. So pretty with changing leaves gently falling from the trees. Then Winter arrived with freezing temperatures and snow flurries. Yesterday we got a foot of snow. Schools were closed. Roads didn't get plowed until late afternoon. Everything was a mess. 85% of us didn't get out during those five lovely days to rake the leaves. Most of the leaves were still on the trees! Now, they're in giant clumps on top of the snow and that will make a fine wet mess if we get a melt before we get hit again.

So yes, if you're looking for me, I'll mostly be in Holland with a trip to Kalamazoo and possibly Muskegon.

Hope your November is going well, and if you're participating in NaNoWriMo, get off the internet and go write your novel!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November. Already? Nano and IWSG

OMG, where has this year gone? I blink and another month has passed. As much as I intend to post more often, that just hasn't happened. So to sum up October, since I last posted...

I finally finished rewriting a short sci-fi story (short as in 12K) that I've been dragging my feet through for a couple years. It's been part of my 'getting stuff done before NaNo endeavor'. I'm feeling pretty good about it and after one more read through to finish cleaning it up, I'll send it off to a couple beta readers. If you're interested in joining in the beta reading fun, drop a comment below with your email address.

Beyond that, I got another short story tweaked and sent back into submissions. According to The Submission Grinder, I fell off the submission train in May. Oops.

In the not writing but writing related category, I did a major cleaning of my writing room, clearing away a lot of notes, sewing projects, and putting up my last NaNo poster (my walls are full, not that I'm done doing NaNo). With all those distractions gone, I may be more inclined to be productive with writing.

I had a great time meeting readers at various events during October and my November schedule is even more full. If you're looking for something to read, I'll be at the pile of events listed on the right between now and Christmas.

And onward into November! I'll be doing year 14 of NaNoWriMo. My intention is to try a middle- grade fantasy novel. We'll see how it goes. I have a raft of backup projects if my motivation veers elsewhere. I've managed 50,000 words or more for 12 of those years so we'll see how this one goes.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
As to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question: What's the strangest thing you've ever Googled when researching a story,
I have to give that some thought.

I guess I've googled so many odd things that no particular one of them stands out to me. Lots of medical stuff, along with how long can a person live in various states of injury or circumstance, science stuff about planets and space travel, goodness, the list goes on. All hail Google.

In the spirit of NaNo upon us, I'm going to switch gears to researching in general. Don't let it bog you down in a first draft. Leave notes in your draft as you go so you can easily find the spots that need your research later. If it's a quick question, do a quick search, but don't let tricky internet suck you down the rabbit hole. Keep writing! Names, places, details, dates, it can all be cleaned up later. The important thing is to get the story down from beginning to end (or in whatever order works for you). Once that major accomplishment is done, then spend the time to research those pesky details and polish up the bits around them.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNo participants. If you're looking for buddies, friend me: Gypsywitch.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG: October or should I say...Preptober

It's Preptober. At least that's what the NaNoWriMo people are calling it. Sure why not. So what do us pantsers do for NaNo prep? Typically I'd do nothing. Because: Pantser. The past couple years I've tried a variety of loose prep just to...try.

I've made lists of prompts with the intention of writing a host of short stories. So prepared with ideas, but I ended up writing a novel entirely unrelated to any of the prompts.

I've written a very, very quick and dirty one page outline. That novel fell quickly fell apart. Not for fault of the novel or outline, but my thoughts were elsewhere and I ended up writing something entirely different.

One year I wrote a one page synopsis. That actually worked nicely, by the way.

So this year? I had a dream a couple weeks ago, one of those dreams where you go, OMG this would be a great story if I could flesh it out. I've been mulling it over in my 'free' time. Those that know me, know what a joke that is. But yes, I've been mulling. Last night I wrote five plot points on a tiny piece of paper while waiting to do an author interview. I'm calling that my Preptober effort. Will I end up writing this story? No idea. November is a long way off as far as wandering ideas and fickle inspiration go. But I'm going to try.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to this month's question: It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading?

I've never heard this before and my general stance is that it's a load of horse hockey. (That may be the allergy meds talking.) Our ideas are influenced by everything around us, not just want we read. The only thing new or original about storytelling is the spin you put on it. There are books on this that outline all the major plots. The thing that makes them interesting is how you put your personal touches on the variables. You, your life experiences and all the media you ingest, are the flavor that colors the words.

Do you need to read? Yes. Though, not necessarily for the ideas. But, reading shows you how to write, how to form story structure, pleasing sentences, interesting characters, robust plots and settings. By reading and finding authors you enjoy, you may end up adopting some of their storytelling style. That's not a bad thing. If they can successfully tell an engaging story and that's your goal, learn from them.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Chain Of Grey Update

With all the events I've had going on this summer, you may have surmised that my editing time has been a bit on the low end of the schedule spectrum. I'd hoped to have Book Two of The Narvan in hand by November, but that just isn't going to happen. It's also like the publisher has three other books they're trying to get out before mine. The new goal is the end of January.

I'll be taking six weeks off of book signings to relax. Will I actually relax? Probably not. I'm not good at that. But, as of this moment, I don't plan on scheduling anything so I can maybe spend some time working on one of the countless projects lingering on my computer. Because...yeah...a new book came to me the other night. I may have finally hit upon a YA fantasy idea I can follow through with. Maybe. We're treading lightly with the idea right now, considering, pondering. It may be my NaNo novel this year instead of Narvan's possible book five - which is halfway done so yes, that is also happening. Or may just happen for me to read, but it's in the works.

So much in the works.

After having January off, I'll be heading over to Lansing for the Women's Expo for three days: February 7-9. It's sure to be a good time, meeting readers and hanging out with some of my author friends. There are always good times with that bunch.

But for now, this is my view. Lots of scrawled notes highlighted in orange so I don't miss them.

My computer has read the book to me. I've made notes. This book's biggest editing problem is missing "a" in sentences. That's a new one for me. I'm usually missing "the". You kick one problem and pick up another, I swear.

But as soon as I wrap up making these corrections, it's off to the publisher to get into the formatting and proofreading queue. And cover creation. You'll see what they come up with as soon as I have it in hand.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

IWSG: September and Fun Times With Authors

This summer was (Is it was already? Where did summer go?) full of various events where I joined other authors to meet readers and sign books. My fall and winter schedule look much the same, so if we haven't connected yet and you're around Michigan, there's still plenty of opportunity.

In between all this being out of my writing cave and talking to real live people, I've been happy sitting in the dark in my comfy chair at all hours (because sleep and I aren't on good terms), wrapping up edits on Chain Of Grey: Book Two of The Narvan. My plan is to have it in your hands before Christmas, but that depends on the publisher's plan, which as you may understand, is out of my hands.

Before we get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question, how about some pics of where I've been recently?
It was the afternoon of day three of the Newaygo Logging Festival and the crowd was beginning to thin.
When Authors are left to amuse themselves... 

Bitsy joined me on day two of the Logging Festival. All the attention wore her out.
She claimed my lap as her bed and my hand as her pillow. 

I shared a tent with author Ingar Rudholm for the weekend.
The local police force unwisely made us junior officers on day one.
Apparently, this did not mean we could arrest people for grammar infractions. Oops.

For two weekends, I shared a tent with author Lon Hieftje.
For once (or twice?), the weather was beautiful.

Fourth of July weekend is annually spent with a wonderful bunch of authors in Muskegon
at the Lakeshore Art Festival. We have two giant tents full of twenty-some authors of many genres.
It was super hot this year, but we stayed hydrated and met lots of new readers. 

If you're ever up in Traverse City, stop by Bookbrokers in the Grand Traverse Mall for a good selection
of books by Michigan Authors. The staff there is awesome too, by the way.

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.
And now on to this month's question: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

I'm sure some of you have wonderful faraway places you'd rather be. Inspiring places, full of interesting people and beautiful scenery. Me? My one place is right where I'm sitting at this moment. In the chair that knows just how to ease my back, with the stool that keeps my legs and feet at a comfortable height. In a room filled with things that inspire me. Where electricity and wifi aren't an issue and food and drink are only a flight of stairs away. This is a place where I can go any time of the day or night and not be in anyone's way. Where weather is never an issue and the temperature is always the same.

I'm good right here, thanks, but you go on and write wherever works best for you and your story. I'll be sitting here, talking to people that only exist in my head and on my pages, probably in the dark, with my fuzzy blanket on my lap and likely in my robe. Because this is my favorite place to be.