Weekly Writing Update: Firebound

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It’s Camp NaNoWriMo! For those who don’t know, that means July is all about writing something NEW and shiny!

I’ve decided to work on my second novel in the paranormal romance series. This one is titled Firebound. I sat down to work on plotting yesterday and realized . . . I have absolutely no idea where this novel is going. That’s both exciting AND scary.

Right now, what I have is a young woman named Jennifer who is a lapsed Catholic. She died briefly in a car wreck but was resuscitated. While dead, she spoke to an angel. (I figure that’s gotta turn your world upside down.)

She also doesn’t know yet that her best friend is an angel who was born as a human for a lifetime, AND that her friend has been using her talent for healing to speed up and ensure Jen’s burns heal well.

It’s also paranormal romance so there’s the whole love interest thing.

Oh, we got complications, don’t worry. She has burns and is considering becoming a nun now.

See, she is realized she really wasn’t doing much with her life, just minimally working an office job so she could drink too much and chase cute boys. Now she’s waking up to life and wondering what she can do to make a difference in the world?

Her eyes have been opened, literally and figuratively, by the accident and her angel encounter. She can now see the demons lurking in our midst

This should be a fun novel! Battling demons takes time, whether they’re internal or external.

 

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Weekly Writing Update: One Good Thing

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Have I mentioned that I never thought I’d be writing horror? And yet, here I am.

One good thing happened – a fellow writer just asked if I’d be interested in contributing to an anthology he’s putting together. My mind took off and ran with a story about a Navajo code talker and a Skinwalker during WWII.

And then the coincidences begin to drop. I was texting with a friend and my device changed McFlurry to McClure. Hmm, Mr. McClure isn’t what he seems, my brain said. Definitely a character for the story. The next day I was sitting at the Reference Desk at work and someone called with the last name of McClure. Strange, indeed.

In other good news, I’ve submitted my humorous horror story, Sinkholes, which features creepy doll heads, to The Literary Hatchet this weekend – keeping my fingers crossed.

I’m also working on cutting 1,500 words from my horror ghost story, Long Distance Call, to submit by the end of the month to Coffin Bell Journal.

And I’ve got another horror story in my head that plays with two men in a family line living 100 years apart in the same house, going through the same motions, making similar bad choices.

It seems horror is definitely running in my veins.

Weekly Writing Update: Aliens and Autism

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Weekly Writing Update
 
Well, I drafted my creepy doll head flash fiction story in short order so now my brain is percolating a story I started a year ago and mean to finish SOON. It is a science fiction with a main character who is a formerly non-verbal autistic teenage girl.
 
I had the good fortune to be contacted last year, just after I started the story, by a woman who is formerly non-verbal and autistic. I am going to think about her speech patterns and some things she had to say and let that inform the story.
 
I think I was coming at it from the wrong angle and I’ve gone back to the drawing board. I feel like I got off base by trying to write the story the way I write other stories. It’s definitely going to be third person and use the two very strange dreams I had about alien contact. We’ll see what else I find over the next few days for inspiration.
 
I’m very excited to feel like I’m back on track with this one. It’s definitely not horror. I’m going to be working on investing it with a feeling of wonder and awe. Wish me luck!

Writing Update: Pulling Weeds

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I had an anthology all picked out to submit my horror story, Long Distance Call, to but I found the button on Submittable was for submitting to one of their OTHER publications. Sent them an email and now I wait. I figure I’ll give them two weeks before I move on.

It’s the perfect time of year for writing – you can go out and weed while you work out some plot points. Any repetitive work is GREAT for the imagination but I love weeding. There’s the sun and the breeze and the satisfaction of seeing the detritus cleared away so the plants you want to thrive can use the nutrients.

I also started writing another short story in the horror vein.

I never would have thought it . . . me? Horror? Apparently, yes.

Why write horror? Maybe because it’s a retreat from the horrors we read in the news. Or maybe it’s just the joy of the twists and turns. The prompt for this one was creepy dolls and then I came across another note I had made for myself that I wanted to write something having to do with sinkholes. It all falls together. 🙂 

Ghosts on the line.

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I’ve been working on a story the past week that was inspired by this very old phone from my attic.

My main character cleans up the phone and hangs it on the wall where it used to hang, according to a picture she found. Then she starts receiving calls on it from someone who is no longer among the living.

I’ve been trying to look for old pictures online of phones like this but none of them are quite the same configuration. Has anyone ever seen one like this?

The Artist’s Way and Coincidences

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The year has not begun well for writing, (though I did manage a couple short poems while I was up with my daughter during the night last night,) so I thought I’d talk about something tangentially related – The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I picked up my old copy of the book this weekend to teach a little intro on it at my library. I pulled three sticky notes out of it. One was about a novel I’m working on editing, one was about the book itself and one was a bit of a shock. It was about the diagnosis of a friend who passed away just before Christmas. The note was roughly four years old. I had spoken at his memorial service exactly one week before.

I’ve always taken such coincidences as sign posts in the road, saying that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. As my friend says in his memoir, Cancer Just Is, not everything happens for a reason. But do “some” things happen for a reason? Sometimes I think yes and sometimes I think no.

I first bought a copy of The Artist’s Way in my early twenties and read through it but it didn’t really speak to me. Nearly a decade ago, when I was starting to seriously write, I took the book off my shelf and opened it again.  I didn’t remember it but as I browsed through it, it occurred to me that I could do this as a course, since I couldn’t afford to take any writing courses at the time.

I started reading one chapter every Sunday night. I would now say that this is one of the three books that changed my life the most. It opened me up to writing in a way that nothing ever had. It taught me a lot about myself. It also got me writing every single day.

One of the great things about this book is that it is not just for “artists” but rather for anyone who wants to be more creative in their thinking. Every aspect of your life can benefit from a more creative approach – work, parenting, partnering. I highly recommend it.

Writing is my present to me

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Christmas is coming and I’m in full present production mode! However, the writing must go on.
 
Now that the post-Thanksgiving cold has finally begun to abate, I’m back to adding to my NaNoWriMo novel, Unprepared. It’s a lot slower going than during NaNoWriMo, I only added 400 words at lunch today, but I’ll keep chipping away at it until it is done.
 
What is Unprepared about? When an agricultural engineering professor loses his wife and daughter to a bioengineered virus, he also loses his will to live but he may be one of the few people who can put his town back together again when it’s all over.
 
The book picks up when a quarantine goes into effect. The powers that be at first believed they were dealing with a particularly virulent flu pandemic, possibly bioengineered. However it is clear that it is even worse than that. They are losing people quickly and towns are soon isolated, dealing with their own disasters.
 
It’s amazing sometimes the ideas that come to light when I’m writing fast. This novel includes: chicken broth, a backhoe, biogas accelerating enzymes, Albuterol inhalers, and an inverter.
 
I’m looking forward to saying this draft is done.

Bit by Bit

You know, I feel like I’m not getting much done . . . all . . . the . . . time. But that’s just a feeling.
 
The truth is that in the last ten years, I’ve self-published a book of poetry, written a good number of short stories, drafted three novels, with a soon to be fourth, and edited several of them to a point I feel is nearly ready for publication.
 
And, it seems to be getting a bit easier to envision and complete a novel length story arc.
 
I said to a friend the other day that when I started out, I struggled to write a short story that went longer than 2,000 words. They were complete, but very bare bones.
 
Now everything wants to turn into a novel!
 
So, I finished NaNoWriMo on my novel Unprepared with 50,000 words. Then I added in the 25,000 I wrote on it previously. 75,000 words . . . and it’s not even done!
 
I still have a bit more to write to finish the story arc and some fleshing out to do, but I will soon have a complete trilogy. It’s an exciting prospect.
 
And there’s so much more in my head to write. It’s a little frustrating and also invigorating. I love the writing life.
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NaNoWriMo: The Second Half

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So, we are over halfway through National Novel Writing Month and I am, well, behind but not behind.
 
My personal goal was 2,000 words a day but the NaNo stated goal works out to 1,667 words per day. I’m at 35,102, which is a bit behind the 38,000 I wanted at this point but ahead of the 31,673 the regular NaNo would put me at.
 
I started strong with my novel, Unprepared, about a professor of agricultural engineering who loses his wife and daughter during a pandemic, but I’ve lost a bit of momentum.
 
I think that is natural, to some degree, and life happens, but I suspect part of it was that I was reading a book in the beginning which helped inspire me – “Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America.” I’ve finished the book and need some new inspiration.
 
So, last night I got a book I’ve started before but never finished, which also works with our book club theme this month of finishing something. It’s called “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman and describes what would happen to all the man made things in the world, and the natural world, if humans suddenly disappeared.
 
Once more into the fray!

Of Time and Memory

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“What was and is, always will be,
but what about what will be?
Is it happening concurrently?
Have I slipped this time stream unaware?”
 
From the poem, “Time, Free Will, and our Monomyth,”
in my book, “A Sanctuary Built of Words.”
 
I’ve been fascinated by the interplay of time and memory for as long as I can recall. It started, perhaps, with the Science Fiction and Fantasy reading I did in middle school. From the book “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle to the more recent, brilliant movie, “Arrival,” based on a Nebula awarding winning story by Ted Chiang, I have been inspired by the stories people have written related to these concepts.
 
I know smells and musical rhythms can be powerful aids in recalling memories but can a simple change in elevation or even the rhythm of driving around mountains work the same way? Perhaps. It seemed to me that as we drove into the Catskills this past weekend, it began to “feel” more like home.
 
It felt a little like I was experiencing a tesseract, Madeleine L’Engle’s concept for a wrinkle in the space-time continuum. Like I was peering through a door in the hills, back toward my childhood. It turned into a poem, of course, which I plan to post on Friday.

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