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It has been so long since I have written any posts, that I am sure you all thought you were free of my ramblings. I cannot even believe it is January 2017 – I feel like it was just a couple months ago that I was writing the January 2016 post. I am too scared to even look at what my goals were over the last year, since I am certain I failed at all of them.

I did, however, finish Picture of the Past and got to a book length of Ethrill, even if I didn’t finish it, per se. I am now working on editing PoP, which I have this feeling is going to be a very long process. I can’t believe how much work has to be done on it, just reading back through it! I mean, part of me knew it, but I am struggling to not become overwhelmed now that I am actually reading through and taking notes on what has to be rewritten, what scenes are missing, huge parts that need to be taken out, and most of all, the research I need to do that I strategically skipped while I was writing it so it didn’t bog me down. I can’t decide whether that was a good strategy or not, but I guess I will figure it out as I continue writing. I didn’t get anything published last year, which is rather depressing to think about, so I am not going to dwell on that. Instead I am going to dwell on the thought that I write because I enjoy it, not to become famous or published.

I just got back from a work trip to Cocoa Beach, which was amazing. I loved being next to the ocean in January! And Daniel and I are taking a trip to Florida again next weekend, using the free tickets we got from JetBlue last year after our cancelled flights. So I am pretty delighted. I currently am assigned to exercises in Florida, Colorado, and, as of today, Washington. Oh, and an internal one that I don’t really count. So I am pretty delighted with the load so far, even if it will be busy.

Anyway, that is it for now, since I am back in the office for the first time in a week and there is actual work to be done.

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One more day to NaNoWriMo!!! Am I scared, you ask? Why yes, yes I am. Terrified that I am going to sit in front of my keyboard and have absolutely  nothing to say. But I’ve won NaNo twice in a row now, and I am determined to make it a third! And if there is anyone more determined than me – it is my husband. Yup. He insists (as you will also see if you visit Once Upon a Story) that I am going to do it, and that I am going to actually keep up on my wordcount this year so I am not trying to cram 5,000 words a day in the last week of the month. He has grand plans for how to accomplish this too – apparently, he is going to play video games every evening after dinner until I finish my word count so that I can’t be distracted by him. And he knows how much I hate to feel ignored when he plays video games for an extended amount of time. So it will probably work. Oooh, and I came up with a great way to get ideas for short stories, since I’m kind of drawing a blank right now, but you’ll have to visit Once Upon a Story to see it, because I don’t feel like typing it all out again. 😛

Daniel and I did a photo shoot yesterday! A mutual friend (someone from college) has decided to go into photography (is there anyone left who hasn’t?) and asked us to model for her to help build her portfolio. In exchange we will get a few free pictures and have the option to purchase the rest at a flat fee. Even if we just stick with the few free pictures, I think it will be nice. We had fun shooting pictures, too – at least until a sudden storm sent us scurrying into the underground mall, cutting it short.

Oh, and you should be proud of me – I already ordered our Christmas cards for the year! I know. So ahead of schedule. Let’s hope I get them out on time now that I worked so hard to order them in time.

And in case anyone is still reading this and curious about my progress on Ethrill. . .I am unfortunately not going to make it to 100,000 words before tomorrow. I gave it a good go, though, and am at 88,000. My hope is to make it to at least 90,000 and then I will feel like I actually wrote a decent amount and will probably have to split it into two books anyway – so it counts as finishing, right? As nervous as I am to start the short story series for NaNo, I am that excited to start editing Picture of the Past- I know – who would have imagined excitement to EDIT your book? But I am so eager to have a finished book – and I know it will be way more work than I think it will be right now – but I think it will be worth it. Plus, I do like having an excuse to research historical fashion and events – and this not only gives me the opportunity, but further ingrains it into my memory because I’ll have to implement it into the book. The main thing I need to do, I know, is to integrate one or two other story lines into it so the book isn’t so completely focused on Elizabeth. I need more depth. I’m kind of nervous to figure out how to do that, but I’ll give it a good try.

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I just shared a post from one of my favorite bloggers: BlondeWriteMore – if you are a fellow writer, you should check it out! I was just thinking yesterday about how to connect more with my main character in my book Picture of the Past, and I think this will be very helpful as I get ready to edit it.

Speaking of which, I just printed it out for the first time! You know, now that I have my printer and everything. 😛 It is so rough, with so many mistakes, and not even divided into paragraphs or chapters – but it is 127 lovely pages that are all mine.

I am still concentrating on my book Ethrill, as I would really like to finish it this year. But unless my character decides to hurry up and return home, I have a sneaking suspicion that my husband’s prediction is right – and it will either end up being a very long book or two books. . .

Well, I guess we’ll see. You can only rush your characters so much, and he seems determined to take this long journey with the elf (can you tell I was reading Lord of the Rings when I started writing this? Hey  – at least I am willing to admit it.)

But if you want to see my planned writing schedule for the fall, as well as my plan for NaNoWriMo, check Once Upon a Story, because I don’t feel like rewriting it all. 😛

So, remember my “Training a Husband” rant? And how immediately before the rant, I mentioned I was thinking about asking my friends to do the writing exercises with me? Well, one of my friends read that, and immediately went out and ordered the book! How awesome is that? My Gibson Girls are the best! It in the words of Mr. Bennet, “I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable [friend(s)].”

Oh, more good news! We won our contract, so I’m not out of a job! Always a good feeling.

And now back to my work (wherein-I-may-ahem-be-interspersing-some-writing-ahem-please-don’t-tell).

 

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NaNoWriMo WINNER 2015

It is official! Against all odds, I have won NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row! Oh, the book is by no means done. No, apparently I don’t write 50,000 word novels. I just start with that. Because based on how the story is going, I am pretty sure I am only halfway done. I am not sure on that though. I will have to check in with my characters and let you know for sure. They keep taking unexpected turns on me. Ah, the frustrations of a writer! However, I figure in celebration, I will share a small excerpt of my ill and hastily written first draft with you. Quick, before I change my mind!

Excerpt from Ethrill

I entered the dining room, the young woman immediately leaving me and saw that the table was set as generously as the evening before, but was lit only by candlelight this time, and there were two places set. One at each end of the very long table. I began to head to the darker side that was set, which had no candles at the end, partially because I suspected I was supposed to go to the one that was fairly well lit with candles. I had not gotten further than two steps however before Bandah was at my side.

“This way please Master Jack.” I reluctantly turned and followed Bandah to the well-lit end of the table where he seated me, and Deke and the young woman again appeared out of nowhere and silently served me, this time focusing on the foods that I appeared to have favored the previous evening.

I perceived at the other end the table – probably a good several yards down the room – a large shadow that was even darker than the blackness of that side of the room.

“Damanius, I presume?” My heart quavered a little at my audacity in speaking first, but I steeled myself with the thought that he had imprisoned me against my will all day.

“Master Jack.” The voice was loud, though he appeared to be speaking in a whisper. It was low, gravelly, and almost came out as a hiss. It was altogether frightening to listen to, and I quickly lost my appetite. What type of man had a voice like that? I forced myself to slowly chew and swallow the bite of meat I had on my fork.

“So you deign to know the names of your prisoners.” My voice trembled despite my attempt at bravery.

“Of course. I do apologize for the necessity of delaying you. I do so enjoy company and I was detained last night and unable to join you for dinner. Please forgive a lonely creature for wanting to visit a little.”

Slightly mollified by his pleasant and apologetic, if a bit slimy voice, I found myself backing down a little. “It was not necessary to lock me in. A simple invitation to stay for the day would have been sufficient. In any case, were you unable to get away from your business in time for breakfast or lunch as well? Was it really necessary to keep me all day?”

“Again, I must offer my apologies. I only go out during the day when necessary. I have not the most attractive features, and I find that I am very sleepy during the day as well. Evening is a much better time for me.” He shifted in his seat a little, and I was startled at how large he appeared to be.

“And I have not always found that passersby are as accommodating as you when it comes to – waiting for me to meet them. I appreciate your understanding. Please feel free to keep eating as we have our conversation.”

Despite my lack of appetite, I forced another bite down my mouth and washed it down with a sip of wine.

“What brings you to my area, Master Jack, if I may be so bold as to ask?” I repeated the rehearsed story that I had given Bandah, as I was becoming more and more certain it was not necessarily safe in Ethrill to advertise I was from the dimension of Earth.

“Come now, Master Jack.” The voice turned sickly sweet and developed even more of a hissing sound, with a hidden edge that shook my nerves even more than they had been previously. He really sounded just as I would have imagined a snake sounding had snakes been able to talk. “We both know that is an altered version of your true story.”

Had he been next to me instead of across the room, I could easily envision him running a hand along my shoulders in a deceivingly gentle touch that was meant to threaten.

“You have a different accent than any I have ever heard, and I can assure you, I have heard – I have closely experienced – virtually every accent in all of Ethrill. Your story makes little sense. You come from the Wilderness, and yet are here to experience the Wilderness. You are taken aback by magic, admire castles, though they are fairly common, and, accordingly to my sources, come to see this part of the world with no coin in your pocket and no change of clothes. There are several elements of your story that are missing. Would you care to fill them in for me? I am really quite curious.”

I hesitated, but could see no way around the discrepancies he had pointed out. It was obvious he had done his research, and I was quite unnerved. I tried a defensive tactic. “I – I really do not see how where I come from or what I do is any of your business. I did not even ask to come to your castle – I was invited in.”

“Very well, then. Shall I fill in the pieces for you?”  I apparently had angered him by refusing, because the sweet, low tone to his voice disappeared and in its place was a voice that, though not shouting, was nonetheless reminiscent of thunder in its ferocity.

He moved again, and I saw, to my incredible alarm, that he was not sitting in a chair at all, but had simply been sitting – or standing – on his own. He came around the edge of the table and headed toward me and as his size grew, so did my alarm.

As he began to emerge into the soft light, I could not stop the squeak of fear that escaped me.

His huge, oval shaped, yellow eyes, scaly skin, snout as long as a normal table, and head with horns showed all too clearly that the master of the castle was not a man at all, but a dragon.

As he continued emerging into the light, I stood, dropping my wine glass, and backed up, as though it would make any difference.

He was on all fours, and there were raised spikes along his back. His body, completely covered in scales, glinted maroon and green, depending on how the candlelight struck them. His legs were as round as the tree trunks in the redwood forest and I could not see the end of his tail, even when he was completely on my side of the table. I had the random thought that I now understood why the rooms in the castle were so large.

His yellow eyes flashed as much fire as I imagined his stomach held as he continued to speak.

“What is it, Master Jack? Do you dislike my appearance? Where is the brave man who sat here a moment ago?” His forked tongue flicked in and out as he spoke, creating the hissing sound I had heard from his speech before I had seen him. “You do not like my face? You are, after all, like all the others. Only, after all the generosity I have shown you, you see fit to break my things.”

My eye fell to the wine glass that had shattered as I had stood.

“Well, well – do not worry about it. You shall make amends, I assure you. Now. Allow me to fill in the story that you so unkindly chose to withhold from me. I, who ask so little in return for a tour of my home, a good meal, and a comfortable place to sleep.”

I gulped and continued to back away, mesmerized by his size and his eyes, and quite aware of the fact that he could likely wrap his tongue around me and swallow me  in one place, if he so chose.

“Please, stay where you are. Your constant movement is irritating to me. It makes me feel as though you are not enjoying yourself.”

I stood as still as I was humanly capable of.

“To continue. Dragons – I am sure, as perceptive as you seem to be, you know by now that I am a dragon, since you appear to not have known so previously – but as I was saying, dragons are excellent at deductive reasoning. Consider your accent, and the direction from which you travel, and the fact that you are going toward the Mountain of Shadows, I deduct that you are a mortal, from Earth. Is it not so? Have the Beings allowed yet another mortal into Ethrill, to defile it with their strange ways, to marvel at us as though WE are the oddities, to ask and probe about Ethrill’s secrets, only so that they can go back to earth and reveal them to all who dwell therein? It is not fair, I tell you!” His voice rose in anger, and with it, I saw flames licking the insides of his mouth, as though if he lost his temper any more they would come out of their own volition. He must have sensed my increasing fear or felt the flames himself, for when he spoke again, his voice was quieter, if not less infuriated.

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Fear of Dreams

I know that my posts on my blog are off and on. Usually how much I post or don’t post is a reflection of busyness, yes, but also of guilt and fear. If I am feeling guilty that I haven’t written in a story in awhile, whether a short story, book, or even pursued writing in some fashion, then I tend to stay away from my blog, just as I stay away from writing more and more. Fear begins to overtake me that once I start writing again it won’t be anything worth reading. And then guilt assails me for not doing what I love – for being too fearful to do so. And it is a dreadful circle that goes round and round.

Would you like to know what makes it ten times worse? I went to a college with a bunch of smart people – people so smart, that I looked dumb next to them despite my all ‘A’s in my previous college and high school. On top of that, I went to college with a bunch of people who, like me, love to read and write. LOVE it. And now, suddenly, a multitude of them are posting on Facebook talking about the books that they just finished writing. One is publishing it himself, one is publishing chapters online, one has an agent, one just finished and is looking for an agent, and I see all these posts and I feel anger. I feel defensive. My heart swells up and my mind cries out “NO! That isn’t fair! You can’t be bragging about finishing a book – you don’t have that right! I have wanted to be an author since I was 7 – so don’t tell me you have the right to be claiming to be a writer before I have finished a book!!” And I turn away and pout and stay away from my own book, beset by my fear and guilt, making no more progress than before, and instead coming home from a long day at work, making dinner, and then sitting in front of the TV, too scared to actually pursue my dreams – because what if they fail?

But if I am being honest with myself, and I have been recently, as I look at those posts and cry out “That’s not fair! You don’t have that right!” I realize, yes, it is fair, and yes, whether they have wanted to write for 20 years like me, or only 1 year, they have that right because, UNLIKE me, they got up off the couch, turned off the TV, and wrote their book.

I am tired of being ruled by fear. I am tired of not pursuing my dreams. I am tired of being too afraid to call myself a writer.

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So, what happens when you don’t like your main character? I mean I like her eventually, but she has to change first. Yes, I am writing one of those sorrows-and-trials-change-a-person’s-personality stories. What can I say? Those are my favorite stories! But, I had/have this idea of how I want Elizabeth’s character to be in the beginning of the book so that there can be a stark contrast by the end of the book, and thus I have been conforming her to my idea of who she needs to be. Unfortunately, I don’t think she agrees with me, because so many pieces of writing feel forced. I have been struggling with this for awhile, to the extent that it is stinting my writing. So, I have decided. I am going to just keep writing and let Elizabeth be whoever she wants to be from now on and see what she thinks her character should be like. I mean, worst case scenario, I have to change the plot to suit her stubbornness, right?

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