NaNoWriMo Zone

WHAT’S PLAYING: Lady GagaSo Happy I Could Die

NaNoWriMo is here. Can’t blog now. Too busy writing.

in the zone

Talk soon.

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The Times, They Are A ‘Changing

WHAT’S PLAYING: Placebo “Running up that Hill”

Last month, I learned that my nuclear power plant would not be taking on new fuel next year, so by late 2014, the doors will shut for good and I’ll be out of a job.

monkey surprise

As you can imagine, my gut reaction was pure panic. “But I just bought a new car! I have a five-year plan! I’M NOT READY!”

And then I went to my crazy place.

I started coming up with scenarios that would allow me to survive in a nuclear power free world. You name it, I thought of it. Everything from selling my teeth to going off the grid and wearing nothing but blue gingham and ass-less chaps. By the end the day, I was mentally fashioning the spear I would use to hunt rats for food.

A couple of days later, I decided to go on vacation. I needed time and space to calm down and gain some perspective. I attended Donal Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel Intensive and spent a fantastic week in Virginia Beach surrounded by some very talented writer and taking long, peaceful walks through the garden below:

Garden

It took some time, and a lot of soul-searching, but I finally realized that I’m in a pretty good place. Thanks to living well below my means the last 10 years, I’m financially secure with no debt, mortgage, kids or spouse to worry about. For the first time in my life, I don’t need to work. I can go anywhere and do anything I want. With this realization came a heady sense of freedom, followed immediately by overwhelming fear.

What the hell am I going to do? Take a year off and write full-time? Cast my net into the nuclear power river and see who bites? Raise ocelots? Start a business selling toupees for bald chimps?

Or maybe, just maybe, stop obsessing about the future and just live my life? 

I don’t know. But one thing I have decided is that as soon as my job has officially ended, I’m going to Ireland for a month. There, I’ll spend my time with just a laptop, my thoughts, and a view like this one. 

irish cottage

Who knew unemployment could be so beautiful?

Writing Isn’t Always Champagne and Violets

WHAT’S PLAYING: Alicia Keys “Tell You Something (Nana’s Reprise)”

So, I’ve put my first novel aside for a bit and started work on a new book. It’s not going well.

The words are coming, but the little tingle I get when a story finally clicks into place is missing. With my first book, most mornings I’d sit down in front of the computer and the words would just tumble out of my head, one after the other, like some sort of shimmering fountain of awesomeness.  

Awash with inspiration, I’d write for hours, stopping only to answer the demands of my coffee-filled bladder. I’d get up, only to discover that my legs had fallen asleep, and lie there, trying not to piss myself or scream as the pins and needles worked their torturous way through my lower extremities.

*Sigh*

Those were the days.

bad_day

When it comes to this new book, instead of a shimmering fountain of awesomeness, I get a viscous deluge of shit. It’s depressing. Like I need a nap after every 2-3 thousand words type of depressing.

Dead moms, madness, ghosts, monsters, trauma, prejudice, all my personal demons are in there. Add to that the knowledge that I’ll have to go back and tease some kind of hope out of all this despair, and you have yourself one tired, morose writer.   

Don’t get me wrong. The book is good, probably the best thing I’ve ever written. (Which, at this point, is not saying much. But I’m saying it anyway. So, shut up.) More importantly, it’s the story I need to tell now.

Still, in the words of the immortal B.B. King, the thrill is gone.

Frustrated_Writer

I love writing, but days like this remind me that it’s a job, which requires work. That’s why I spend six hours a day slogging through this first draft, pushing through resistance, and forcing the words out when they refuse to emerge on their own.                                            

Because I’m a writer. And that’s what writers do.

In the meantime, if I want thrills and tingles, I’ll call my boyfriend.

Author Tag: The Next Big Thing

WHAT’S PLAYING: Alicia Keys feat. Nicki Minaj “Girl on Fire”

Talk about an embarrassment of riches. The lovely and talented Kelly Johnson and Joy Johnson have both tagged me in the Next Big Thing Game. Make sure you check out their blogs!

tag-youre-it

1. What is the working title of your book?

Wildling

2. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A couple of years ago, I learned that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) lists my native languageChoctaw—as vulnerable to extinction, joining the list of the estimated 300 languages spoken in North America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus that are endangered or extinct.

This knowledge left me feeling sad, lonely, and more than a little angry. But it also left me with a curious question: What would I do, sacrifice, to save my race from extinction?

And Wildling was born. The story itself has changed a lot since I started playing around with the idea, but I like to think that part of the original inspiration is still present.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Adult Fantasy

4. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A member of a nearly extinct magical race strives to protect a human child from various factions, including one led by another of her kind who is determined to kill the boy before he can be used to destroy the world.

5. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Jessica SzohrMia Twinblades

When Mia stumbles upon a murder and kidnapping in progress, she finds herself caught up in a conspiracy of slavery and political intrigue. She must choose between the man she could come dangerously close to loving and the child that has captured her heart before her indecision destroys them all.

jessica szohr

Noah Gray-Cabey Connor

Intelligent and curious, Connor’s talent for boosting magic makes him a prize worth killing for.  

noah gray-cabey

Sir Michael Gambon Lachlan Dilwyn

An ex-priest born with the gift of healing, Lachlan lost his magical abilities when he chose wine over his religion.  

Sir_Michael_Gambon

Henry SimmonsLuc Excer

A telepathic prince banished from his kingdom, Luc is determined to rescue his younger brother from Vadim and Irina at all costs, even if it means betraying his friends.

henry-simmons

Gilles MariniVadim Aranka

Old and immensely powerful, Vadim is torn between his feelings for Mia and doing what he knows to be right. Connor’s very existence puts the kingdom in jeopardy. But will Mia forgive him for doing what needs to be done?

"The Grey" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Blake Lively Irina Aranka

As Vadim’s ward, Irina has been in love with him since she was a child. Now, with the ultimate tool within her grasp, she’s bent on having him for her own. And nothing, not even his growing feelings for Mia Twinblades, is going to stop her.

blake lively

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I intend to seek representation and traditional publishing.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Two to three months. The revision process is taking much, much longer.

8. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

An excerpt, maybe?

Cheval lunged forward and drove his sword into the old woman’s back. Blood splattered the boy’s horrified face. The grey haired woman crumpled to the ground.

Taking advantage of the distraction, Mia dove between Grimm’s legs, barely avoiding his claws. She rolled to her feet, spun around, and vaulted onto his shoulders. Putting one hand on top of his head and the other beneath his jaw, she twisted with all of her strength. The sound of Grimm’s neck snapping reverberated through the alley. He collapsed beneath her, already reverting to his human form.  

Strangely disappointed now that the fight was over, she climbed to her feet and looked up just in time to see Cheval fire a crossbow. The arrow struck her in the chest, the force of it knocking her into the wall. She felt a brief sensation of rotten planks crumbling under her weight, and then she fell backward into the building. She lay there—unable to breathe, let alone scream—and stared up at the sky through the holes in the ceiling. The moon hadn’t even risen yet, but it was already shaping up to be a shitty night.  

Then the roof came down on top of her.

9. Now comes the part where I’m supposed to tag other authors.

I’m not going to do that this time because I’m lazy. So, any of you out there working on new projects and would like to share, consider yourselves tagged!  🙂

Holiday Break

WHAT’S PLAYING: Whitesnake “Here I Go Again

It’s been a long time since my last post. I want to blame my absence on work or school or poor health. And, while all of the above have been factors, the truth is that I’ve been struggling with an ennui I can’t seem to shake.

 depression_lost

So, I’ll be taking the next two weeks off to read my favorite books (LOTR, anyone?), watch my favorite movies (I have all twelve seasons of Murder, She Wrote on DVD. I sense a marathon coming.), and spend time with my favorite people.

If that doesn’t jump-start my creative batteries, nothing will.

See you in two weeks!

This is Why I Shouldn’t Take Breaks

WHAT’S PLAYING: Christina Aguilera feat. Nicki MinajWoohoo

Recently, I decided to take a break from writing and recharge my batteries. While that might work for some, when it comes to someone as lazy as I am, inactivity inevitably leads to stagnation. The result being that I’ve written precious little in the last four or five weeks. And I’m not just talking about my novel. Blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, hell even my grocery list, all have fallen by the wayside while I languished in the doldrums feeling sorry for myself.

This morning, I decided enough was enough. No more self-pity parties. I got out of bed, sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish today.

This is what I came up with:

Yes, I know it needs work, but it’s a process, right?

*Sigh* Don’t judge me.

Repeat after Me: Your Book is NOT Your Baby

WHAT’S PLAYING: Duffy “Warwick Avenue

A while ago, I resolved to put off having children until I was financially and emotionally stable. I’m well on my way to accomplishing the first task. As for the second…well, let’s just say that I’m not going to be on the cover of Sanity Fair anytime soon. In fact, I’m pretty sure that by the time I’ve worked through all the kinks and snarls in my mind, I’ll be so far past menopause that any eggs I have left will be hardboiled.

But while I’m more than happy to defer childbearing, lately when it comes to my writing, I’ve suddenly turned into some sort of crazy stage mom. Every word is precious, and any hint of criticism is a personal attack. This is a problem, especially now that I’m about to put my book into the hands of my beta readers.

The scenario will probably play out something like this:

WHAT THEY SAY: “I like the book, but I think this scene could use some tightening.”

WHAT I HEAR: “You’re ugly and stupid, and your mother dresses you funny. Oh, and your writing sucks.”

I guess this sort of reaction is natural. I’ve poured so much time and energy into this project that in some ways, it’s more “mine” than any child could be.

But, by investing so much of myself in this book, I’m not doing it, or my self-esteem, any favors. As a writer, I can’t afford to get so wrapped up in writing the book of my heart, that I lose sight of my true purpose: to tell a good story.

The truth is that this book is just a book. Yes, I’ve cried, sweated, and cursed over it into the wee hours of the night, but it’s still a creation, not an extension of my self-worth.

Still, if you happen to walk by and see me weeping hysterically while clutching papers to my chest and howling at an uncaring sky, just… look away.