#Writing #Reading What Is Your Preference?

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#IWSG #Writing Life: Here We Are, December Already

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Our tree-mostly decorated by my son.

 

Question of the month is: what are your writing goals for December? 

 

November is over, and the tree is up! Now, it’s time to think about Christmas shopping. Yeah, I know, I’m late in starting, but that’s how I roll…every single year!

 

Well, NaNoWriMo has ended and I finished just shy of 14k. I am a bit disappointed that it wasn’t way higher, but progress is progress, right? I set another goal for the story I started with this and that is to reach 75k (or if the story feels complete before that) by Feb. 1st, 2019.  This I believe is a reasonable goal.

 

From there I plan to set it aside for a few weeks to work on other projects. I hope to go back to it around March/April and begin the editing/revision phase. After this I’d like to see about gathering a few Beta readers to help me make the story even better.  My goal is to have as polished a manuscript as possible by the end of 2019. Around this time, I may even attempt to take part in the Pitch Wars.

 

What about you?  What are your writing goals for December? I love to hear them!

 

***IWSG stands for Insecured Writer’s Support Group.  Want to know more? Click here.

#Thanksgiving: 5 Things I Am #ThankfulFor

 

 

I don’t know about you but I can hardly believe it is THAT time of the year! It feels like it was just  yesterday when I was in shorts and puttering in our garden.  Now, I’m prepping for a Thanksgiving Day meal.

Is it me, or has time sped up?

As in the past, I like to make a list of things I am grateful for.  Here are five:

  1. My family.  I am so grateful for my husband (of nineteen years) and fifteen year-old son. Those two have kept me grounded when I think I might have (permanently) left this reality for an imaginary one.
  2. Writing. I am thankful that I discovered the magic of writing so many years ago. It enabled me to work through the many dark times in life as well as opened up doors to the many opportunities and wonderful people I never would have encountered.  All have been such blessings of hope that kept me going!
  3. This country. I am so so thankful to live in this great country!  It is so full of beauty and variety.  As of today, I’ve visited perhaps thirty states.  I hope to visit the rest in the near future (have yet to see the Pacific coast).
  4. Health. I am thankful to be alive and healthy. I’ve known so many who are no longer with me and they will be in my thoughts tomorrow.
  5. My animals.  Okay, I’m going a little mushy now.  I am thankful for the many pets I have in and around my house.  They keep me thoroughly entertained all day long.  And not to mention, great company when both my guys are gone during the days.

 

What about you?  What are you thankful for?

 

 

#NaNoWriMo: Midpoint

 

 

November is already half over–can you believe it?

And what’s even crazier is that one week from today is Thanksgiving!

Heck, I haven’t gotten a turkey yet much less planned a menu for it.  I’ll work on it over the coming weekend…maybe.

I’ve been writing away on a story for NaNoWriMo currently sitting at about 7,200 words for the month. Yeah, the word count is quite low provided that I didn’t start until the 5th day. I’ve set up a goal tracker for this novel that by February 1st 2019 to have written a total of 75,000 words. This will be more realistic, but that won’t stop me from trying to get as many words done for November as I can. At that point (after November 30th), I plan to go back to writing my other projects.

So, what is this story I’m currently writing?

Click on image to read

 

Brief synopsis:

Nyssa Mann found herself in a zombie apocalypse that claimed everyone she cared for.  In search for a safe haven, she met a stranger who promised just that only to be tricked into a fantastical world where she will face a new kind of terror.

There are currently eight chapters up on Wattpad if you’d like to follow along Nyssa’s adventures. I’ve been trying to write about one new chapter per day. At the moment, a total of 30 chapters are slated for the completion of this book (possibly there will be additional chapters).  This may also be Book One in a series or saga for the overall story but for now I’m taking this one day at a time.

What about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If not, are you currently working on a writing project? I’d like to hear about it!  🙂

 

#IWSG: Should You Use #NaNoWriMo To Write Your Novel?

 

The question for this month’s #IWSG: should you use National Novel Writing Month to write your book? 

Click on the image

 

 

My answer?

Why not?

I think NaNoWriMo is a great way to get that first draft written.  As part of this community, you know you’re NOT alone in pursuing a common goal: 50,000 words in 30 days.

50,000 words may not finish the book, but it’d make a darn good start.

This year, I’ve decided to write my NaNoWriMo book on Wattpad as an added incentive to complete the first draft especially since I’m terrible at finishing anything I start.

What about you?  Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?  Do you think it’s a good way to write a book?

#HappyHalloween Fun Tidbits

 

Here are some fun tidbits you may not have known about Halloween:

 

  1. Did you know that the first Jack O’ Lanterns were actually made from turnips?
  2. If you completely freak out whenever someone mention the word “Halloween” then you might have Samhainophobia.
  3. If you see a spider on Halloween, it means that a deceased loved one is watching you (which sounds a little creepy).
  4. But, if you hear an owl’s call on Halloween it means someone is going to die.  Yikes!
  5. Masks can deter evil spirits!  Of course back in the day, pagans wore animal skins and heads, aren’t you glad that still isn’t the case today?

 

Happy Halloween!

September (Therapy-In-Progress)

 

Fall is at its peak here in North Dakota.  In fact, I think it may have actually skipped the autumnal season with temps only in the mid 40s with a snowflake here and there.  Harvest’s been in full swing since end of August. Farmers are currently working on potatoes and corn; next will be sugar beet. By the end of October, harvest season will close, and then we’ll settle in for the winter months.

Living in a farming community, there’s always activity going on all around you.  I love the open, rural countryside here as well with the seemingly endless dirt roads to walk and explore.  My house (a small farmstead of 14 acres) is literally surrounded by farming fields. This year, the east, south and west fields grew wheat; while the northeast/northwest fields had potatoes.  Farmers just completed harvesting the potatoes earlier this week which meant we could go hunting!

Not for animals, but for potatoes (left behind).

My son and I each grabbed a bucket and headed out to the northeast field and walked the many rows mining for undamaged potatoes.  We ended up filling those buckets. Potatoes will be our meal staple for the next several months.

September.  One of my favorite months of the year.

A local town have put up a huge corn maze at its recreational park which we plan to check out over the weekend.  While there, I might even pick up a few pumpkins to carve.

Football. I love football whether it’s high school, college or professional. Another reason to love September. My son plays the six-man style football at his school (he’s a sophomore), and has a game tomorrow afternoon.  And it’s Homecoming to boot.

All of these are therapy for the soul. Especially for mine.

The #Writing Life: Struggling To Stay Grounded

Pixabay

 

“Maybe, life is a kind of waking dream.
Maybe, it’s a double-dream with a false awakening.” -― David B. Lentz

 

For most of my life, I feel I’ve lived in a dream-like state; not truly experiencing things with all of my senses.  No, rather I’ve lived in imaginary worlds where I can be who or what I desire, or change circumstances more to my liking.

Or, needs.

These imaginary worlds have been my safe havens from the reality of life which had been fairly harsh and painful.  As a defensive mechanism to protect myself (emotional well-being), I would withdraw into them frequently.

Until one day, I had a scare.

I opened my eyes and couldn’t recognize which reality was truly my own.

For mere moments, I couldn’t recall my name or where I lived or remember that I was a wife and a mother.

When the correct reality finally set in, I had to sit down and calm my shaking legs.

I’ve never really known fear…not like this.

What drew me back to earth, my earth, was my family.

My husband. My son.

Being a writer, a creative, it is so easy to lose oneself in other realms of existence that you literally can forget to return to your own.

For the scientific and medical communities, these could resemble a number of mental and psychological disorders, and I can also see why some have even been committed to asylums.

I really don’t want to be one of them.

So, what keeps me grounded in this reality?

My family.

Thank god for them.

 

 

 

Author’s Note:  Life has taken me down a bumpy road lately and I’ve had to deal with some of it instead of being on this blog so forgive my absence.   The Friday Story Prompt Challenge’s schedule has changed because of this (again my apologies).  Look for one on Friday, October 5th though (this one will be different from the others).

#NeverForget September 11th (The Bench)

September 11, 2001 changed America.  Even after seventeen years, I can’t shake this dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Every time I hear a plane fly overhead.  Or, enter a high-rise building.  Or, see a fireman walking past me on the street.  Certain images and sounds would transport me back to that fateful day.

In fact, I went nearly seventeen years of not stepping foot on an airplane.  Until July of this year.

I was born in New York State, and spent the first 30 years of my life there just five hours north of where the World Trade Center once sat. I had just moved to Raleigh, NC (May 2001) when this horrific day took place.

As the events of 9/11 continued to haunt me, I decided to write a micro-story and then turn it into a microfilm, The Bench.   In a way, I did this to try and purge some of these feelings of intense sadness and of the anger over what we all had lost that day.  I wrote this from a fireman’s perspective drawing upon a specific story I saw on one of the many 9/11 documentaries.

 

I then realized I could not remember the name of this fireman.

For the next two days, I hunted online for his name as it’d been several years since I last saw his story.

Finally, I found it in this article:  Husband and Wife Survive World Trade Center On 9/11

Someone also took the iconic picture of him sitting on the bench when he couldn’t find his wife anywhere—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although his story had a happier ending, I wrote my story with the thought of so many others who’d lost their loved ones.  And even worst, never to have their remains found.

So, let us never forget the sacrifices of all those who died on that day, and continue their legacies into our future generations.

 

The #Writing Life: Pen Names

 

Recently I’ve decided to adopt a pen name (C.J. Austin) and this got me thinking.  Why do writers use pen names?

Another way of putting it…

Should writers use pen names?

Here are some reasons to use a pen name:

 

What about you?  What are your thoughts in regards to pen names?

Have you ever used one?

What would be the pros/cons of using them?

If you’re willing, share with me pen names you have used or are currently using.