NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 3

NaNoWriMoParticipant2014_zpsdddc8654

 

Graphic courtesy of Lynn Viehl.

I had big plans for this week.  I was going to get up Dark & Early at 4:45 a.m. so I could write a good solid hour+ each morning this week.

Then someone monkeyed with the alarm on That Man’s side of the bed (no one has taken credit.  I mean blame).  The first time it went off was around midnight.  It went off again shortly after that.  Then he got a work call at 1 AM.  And another at 4 AM.

Needless to say, I didn’t get up on time today.

However, I didn’t have to drive all over everywhere after school today, and we’re having pizza for dinner, so I had this niiiiiccce long stretch of time to write today, plus my lunch.  I was able to get my total word count up to just under 4800 words!  Woot!

Even better, things are getting really dicey in Charlie’s story.

I always like to share a little when I’m deep in the flow of story, but there’s over 40K story from what I’ve shared here before and what I’m writing now.  Lots and lots of story to choose from that’s not anywhere close to what I wrote today.  Plus there’s a huge reveal that I don’t want to spoil.  So I’ll try to keep the deep dark secrets to a minimum.

He pulled down two wine glasses from the overhead rack and led the way into the living room.  Great, now I had to figure out where to sit on the sectional without being too obvious.  If I sat on the far side of the L, I’d be able to see him from anywhere but it might look like I was afraid of him.  I didn’t want him to think that.  Nor did I want to plop down beside him and give him the impression that I was easy pickings.  I am, but I don’t need him to know it.

I’d rather sit on the floor any day, especially if I could curl against his legs.  But that certainly wasn’t an appropriate first sit-down-and-talk position.  Did other people have such incredibly ridiculous difficulty deciding on something as easy as where to sit?  He sat in the middle of the sectional and set the bottle and glasses on the table in front of him, yet I stood frozen, unable to make a simple decision about where and how to sit.  I tore my gaze away from him and stared at the floor, willing the tears in my eyes to go away.

“I won’t bite,” he said amicably.

I risked a quick glance up at his face, horrified that he might actually think I was afraid.  He winked at me, flashing that disarming dimple, and patted the couch beside him.  And I went to him, relieved and yet even more upset at my own inability to act like a normal human being.  I didn’t say anything while he poured the clear wine into the glasses, barely more than a splash in each.

“I have to drive to the airport so I can’t indulge.  But I can’t resist sharing your first glass of good wine, either.  If you don’t like it, I won’t be offended.”

I took the glass but didn’t sip it yet.  I tried to sit calmly, like I sat and chatted with people all the time.  Not like I was a wreck, waiting for him to tell me what to do.  My stomach was in knots, afraid I’d been wrong about him and yet dreadfully sure I wasn’t.  I wanted his commands more than anything, but I’d tried so hard to pretend that everything was okay, too.

He leaned back and propped his feet on the table, careful not to knock the bottle over.  He wore heavy black motorcycle boots that I found just as intriguing and unexpected as his backyard of cows.  He drove a boring beige Buick.  Thousands of them drove around Springfield every day.  Yet I was pretty sure none of the men inside probably wore heavy black boots with buckles and studs.  It made me wonder what kind of surprises he hid under that black turtleneck.  Tattoos?  Piercings?

Yum.

 

NaNoWriMo 2014

I haven’t visited the site yet to make it official, but I do plan to participate in NaNo this year.  However, I’m already behind, and I don’t have the surplus of vacation from the Evil Day Job as in other years.  The only days I’m currently scheduled to take in Nov. are the week of Thanksgiving.

I like to stay up until midnight after Halloween and get the first day’s words, but it just didn’t work out this year.  Having the first days on the weekend are difficult for me.  That’s when we do all the errands and stuff that we don’t have time to do in the week because of work.  Plus, yesterday we drove to Papa’s for a bonfire.  I did manage to get 519 words in the car on the way, but that’s it.  Today’s laundry and Princess had a party and football, which can make it hard to concentrate.

If I finish the night with a total of 2K for the first 2 days, I’ll be happy.

Then I plan to get up D&E starting tomorrow and keep pushing forward.

Oh, and the story I’m working on?  I guess I’m technically a rebel because this project was already started.  I intend to finish the first draft of Charlie’s story this month.  I already have 40k+ on it, and I think I’ll need another 40K at least.  It’s a long, detailed story with lots of snaky twists and turns.  I already have it thoroughly plotted out, so hopefully it won’t be too bad.

That’s my plan for NaNoWriMo.  Are you participating this year?

Charlie’s Puzzle

It’s been a long time since I talked about Charlie.  I originally started his story for a Christmas anthology call.  And while I did finish a “novella” at 34K in time for that deadline, I sat on it.  Because I wasn’t happy with it.  The story wasn’t right.  Something was missing.

Something wasn’t right with Charlie.

I should have known when the story started off so strongly in first person.  Why?  First person let’s the OTHER characters keep their secrets.  It becomes a gigantic mystery trying to ferret out those details, because I only hear what the main character hears.  Ranay’s voice I heard loud and clear.  I was in her head, living her thoughts and feelings on the page.  But Charlie was an enigma.

For awhile, I let him remain a mystery.  In fact, that’s what he wanted.  He played with Ranay–and me–by dropping bits and hints but never really telling me what I needed to know.  I wrote some powerful sex scenes and STILL didn’t really know what was up with him.  Every time I looked at him on the page, there was a flutter of something just out of sight, out of the corner of my eyes.  A bit of magic and shadow that taunted me.  Something told me not to look.  It was going to be ugly and probably bloody.

Did I dare investigate further?  Or would I keep it safe and gentle on the page?

Ha.  Well.  You guys know that I can’t resist a challenge.  Of course I had to go and investigate that shadow he was tempting me with.  I found more of Gregar in those shadows than I ever expected.

Charlie can be safe and gentle.  But he can also be as lethal as the Shadowed Blood.

Yes, Charlie’s a killer.  My sweet tousled curly hero with the gigantic well-trained dog.  Who’s patient enough to lure Ranay out of her shell over the course of a year.  He’s an unapologetic cold-blooded killer.

I got you now, Charlie.  Your puzzle is laid out in my head in perfect majesty.  I know what you fear.  I know what you want.  And I’m going to make it all happen in gory detail.  *rubs hands together with wicked glee*

Oh, and his name?  It really is Charlie, because he never lies, and he told Ranay that’s what his mom called him (although that’s not his real name, for reasons).  He wishes he could always be Charlie.  But he can’t be Charlie all the time.  Even for Ranay.

Sometimes he’s…

Ha.  You thought I’d tell all his secrets?  The truth will all be revealed in his story.

On a Roll

I had a super productive weekend.  Felt good to get caught up!

I finished Mama C’s edits and sent them back in.  A few of them were a little tricky.  It seems like such a minor thing to make a character two years older, but there has to be a REASON.  I had to think about the whys and wherefores for a few days before I was actually ready to dig in and make the changes real.

Then I filled out the cover art and blurb forms for Billionaire #2.

And… then I started thinking about what’s next.  I have three books in progress that are vying for attention.  Plus three proposals I need to work up for Samhain.

Yeah, just a few things to do.

My goal right now is to work on plotting and planning for the rest of this month and think about NaNoWriMo.  I haven’t won the last few years but I’d really like to get another book done before the end of the year.  So my best bet will be one that’s already in progress.

No promises about which one that will be yet, but I did have a nice breakthrough on Charlie’s story.  *wicked grin*

Dreaming Story

In the beginning, before I called myself a writer, I would set a story in my head before I fell asleep at night.  I’d lie awake, watching it play out as long as I could, until I fell asleep.  Sometimes, I’d continue to dream the story, and if I was especially lucky, I’d even remember it the next morning.  So then when I went to bed that night, I’d start the reel there and see where else the story would go.

Some stories I dreamed for a long time (The Shanhasson series).  Some I’ve started to write down, but never really saw through to the end.  Sometimes I had a powerful dream that I remembered…but never chose to re-watch in my head or write down.  Some of them are maybe closer to nightmare than dream.  Or I just couldn’t accept or understand what needed to be done.

Last night, the kids and I stayed up late watching Gravity.  I went to bed and an old story dream popped into my head.  No, it had nothing to do with space or SF in any way.  I really don’t know why this dream came back, but it did.  It came back with a vengeance.  And I couldn’t ignore it.

5,700 words later….

Yeah.  I wish every story was like this, especially the two I’ve been working on all month, but it is what it is.  I don’t know if I’ll finish this story.  It might be something just for me.

At least until I dream some more.

The Evolution of a Short Story

Well over a month ago, I saw a call for submissions.  Yes, yes, I know, I have terrible luck with anthology calls.  I get so wrapped up in creating something different and unique that I twist it beyond my original vision to something that’s just not suitable for that particular call.

Not to say I haven’t ended up with cool stories as a result — they just weren’t appropriate for that particular antho.  (Survive My Fire was first written ages ago for a dragon anthology call and I’m still pretty darned happy with it even though it wasn’t accepted for the anthology.)

Anyway, I haven’t written a short story in a long time, and I found the challenge (snort, you know me and challenges) appealing.  Plus I’d just really really love to get a publishing credit at Cleis.  I’ve tried a couple of times in the past to no avail, but maybe, just maybe, I could write the right story this time.

So I started my story.  A Viking stood on the frozen shore and a boat arrived, bearing a seemingly dead lady inside.  He was dragging the boat ashore and I ended up putting the story away.  It wasn’t doing anything for me.  It didn’t hold my interest any longer, and I had too many things to do (we were moving).

I thought maybe I’d missed the deadline, but I checked last week and saw I still had some time.  I still really wanted to do a story for the call, so I opened up my original incomplete story.  Well of course I’d put it aside.  It was all wrong.  It wasn’t the Viking on the shore — but the lady — and the person in the boat was the mysterious Viking.

I swapped it around and lo and behold, there was the story I’d been trying to get.

Again, I’d forgotten the original point of the anthology call.  The story needs to focus on women’s forbidden desires.  No woman would fantasize about lying frozen in a boat until the Viking pulled her ashore.  But I could sure see a woman dragging her dream man ashore and claiming him as her very own.

Yet as I wrote paragraph after paragraph, I kept going back to the beginning and fine tuning it.  Little layers came to me as I went.  Things that weren’t hugely significant to the plot, but just made the story all the more special.  Hopefully.  I didn’t even have the title until the very last lines of the story.  Then I had to go back and add a few details so that it all made sense and tied together.

I’m pretty darned happy with it.  If Cleis doesn’t take it, I’ll offer it as a free read.  I haven’t had a new one in a long time!

I Don’t Write XYZ

There’s a post or two going around via Twitter where some female authors are saying they write MM because they don’t like to write bitchy heroines.  Or they wrote a “difficult” heroine and it didn’t go over well so they changed genres to write only men.  It’s okay to have a man curse, but not a woman.

Uhhhh…..  (Nobody tell Lilly in The Billionaire Submissive that she’s not allowed to curse!)

That leaves me scratching my head going “HUH?”

Ignore the fact that I’ve read many “bitchy” or “difficult” heroines that I enjoyed a great deal.  Or heroines who are “sluts” – I love Lex in the Beyond series, and I hear the authors get a ton of hate mail about her.  I don’t LIKE doormat heroines, passive aggressive heroines, or whiny TSTL heroines.  Yeah, there are some out there.  But there are also tough, kickass heroines that are fabulous.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it!  But don’t tell me that ALL heroines have to be one kind of thing or people won’t read it!

I don’t write just one thing.  I don’t write just contemporary.  Or just BDSM.  Or just SFF.  Why?  Because I write PEOPLE.  They tell me what kind of story it’s going to be.  Oh, I have to set some boundaries as much as possible.  If I’m writing contemporary, then I know I won’t have any magic going on…other than in the bedroom.  *winks*  But in general, I’ve learned NEVER to say that I won’t write XYZ.

Because as soon as I say that…I’ll have a character show up who breaks that rule.

I can’t/won’t say I won’t write MM.  (see Cole and Arthur in Her Grace’s Stable.)

I can’t/won’t say I won’t write something without BDSM.  (see The Bloodgate Guardian.)

I can’t/won’t say I won’t write POC/non-white characters (unavailable Storms as She Walks or Golden or another project I’m working on).  Or FF.  Not that I have a story with FF right now… but I won’t say never.  One of my dearest friends came out as a lesbian in the past year.  Someday I’d love to write a story with her in mind.

Because I write PEOPLE.  Whatever that means.  The good and the bad, the black and the white and the 50 shades of gray in between.  Ugh, okay, maybe not 50 shades.  *snort*  I guess that means I may not always be able to define my brand, but I have to write the best Story I can the way it unfolds in my mind and heart.

That’s all I can do.

Back to the Beginning

I’ve gotten lazy… or lucky… with the last few books.  When they were ready, they just dumped out of my head without me having to do a lot of plotting.  It was all in my head and I just took dictation.  At times I couldn’t type fast enough (and I’ve been clocked at over 120 wpm in my heyday).  Remember how fast The Billionaire Submissive roared out of me?  70K in like 40 days and I didn’t have to revise a ton (unlike my original Fast Draft ms which I still haven’t ever done anything with).

However, the downside to this is that sometimes the book had to marinate in my head a long time. Either I was working on it subconsciously (Mama C) for years or I managed to just miraculously tap into the Great Ether of Story (Billionaire).  I can’t count on that happening every time and I don’t want to let Billionaire #2 marinate.  I want it done, signed sealed and delivered as quickly as possible.

I know how to plot.  I just haven’t done it in a while.

So I opened up Scrivener tonight and went through all my various plotting templates I’d started and never really used.  I have a Snyder’s Beats template, a Hero’s Journey template, the old original “Block” the Witch first taught me.  Some of each technique is here or there or not really useful. And the MOST useful thing that I used to use all the time but haven’t in awhile:  The Emotional Toolbox.  It’s nowhere in my templates.

Today, I started a Master Plotting template.  I’m going to have a folder for each bit of plotting technique I’ve learned that makes sense for me.  That way I can copy, paste, delete, move whatever makes sense for each story.  Then I also went through the Character Map questions today to refresh my memory and created a cool little graphic/worksheet that will jog my memory.

Before I lumber off to bed tonight, I’m going to take a first stab at running Jackson Montgomery Warring through the Character Map to figure out what’s going on in his head.  (If you’re wondering who I’ve cast in this role, take a peek.)

At least I already know the first song in the playlist:  Willie Nelson’s Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.

And yeah, Jackson is the Angel who crashed and burned.

RT Reflections

I had a blast in NOLA, but not without a few hiccups.

I made the mistake of not taking an exercise bra (sorry if TMI) and we walked all day Tuesday in New Orleans heat.  Yuck.  I also sunburned my shoulders that day, but not too horribly.

I never actually had Café DuMonde coffee.  We walked by…and just never went in (they were busy).  However, I did buy some coffee to bring home and try.

I misunderstood how the Samhain party was going to work and had the wrong kind of promo.  I went with quantity and so have a TON of beaded bookmarks left over that I had to find a way to bring home.  The hotel charged me $15 to retrieve my package — I wasn’t going to give them the opportunity to charge me again to ship it back home.  Many were lost in a tangled mess of my misunderstanding, but I crammed them into a baggie to bring home and cut apart so I can at least save the beads.  Ann helped me save the bulk of them, so not all is lost.  I just have way more bookmarks (for an ebook – the print won’t be released for 10 months) than I need but oh well.

The Giant Book Fair was named appropriately.  So Giant that few readers actually made it over to our side of the building.  I chose to sit on the ebook/indie side since my last print release was over a year old, and my next release isn’t out until June, so I really didn’t have anything to “sell.”  I hoped to give away lots of promo, but the way the event was set up, we had few browsers.  Readers were hurrying to find exactly who they wanted in two separate huge ballrooms, generally standing in long lines (Ann stood in line well over an hour just to check out and pay for her books), so I didn’t have many people stop by. Some, but not many.  That’s okay – I still had fun dressing up and chatting with Monica Burns.  She was hilarious.  “Get your BDSM here, Joey Hill approved!’  (Re: His Mistress) Trying to get the hurried people to stop by our table.

I honestly don’t know that I’d do the book fair again unless I just really hit it big and could sell a lot of print books.  Or if they split the event out or come up with some better way to run things to encourage browsing and general chatting with readers.  I sat there for four hours in a corset, crammed in like sardines, and didn’t get to connect with many readers.  Meanwhile I missed the opportunity to roam around and see MY favorite authors.  I didn’t even get one of the Sylvia Day wheeled bags.

The highlights:

I won a copy of Meljean Brook’s book at the Steampunk Carnivale and she signed it for me.  Even more, she said she recognized my name!  I was too stunned and shy to ask if that was a GOOD thing.  I hope it was.

I finally got to meet Stephanie Tyler and she hugged me twice!  I also got to see Larissa Ione again.  Shiloh Walker invited me to eat with her one night when I was alone.  Angela Knight and her husband also took Ann and I to lunch one day.  I was awed to meet and be in the company of so many of my favorite authors!

Near the end of the book fair, an agent went by.  I recognized her name and said hello.  She saw The Billionaire Submissive and recognized it.  She said she thought it was going to do well.  From her lips to God’s ears!  Then she asked if I was agented.  No, I’m not.  Nothing will probably come of it, but it was nice to be asked and recognized in some way.

Then Sat. night I had a really nice chat with my Samhain editor, Tera, and another editor, Christa.  We discussed timing for the next two billionaire books.  I’m going to write a proposal and we’ll go from there.

I also had an epiphany about what’s wrong with my PNR.  The heroine isn’t quite right.  Close, but not right.  I need more.  More experience, more darkness.  It’s tabled a bit while I switch gears to get the next billionaire book turned around as quickly as possible.

I used the travel time to read.  I finished two books and then read my entire Shanhasson series.  I needed a comfort read midweek and then I couldn’t stop.  I’m glad – reading that na’lanna series helped reaffirm what I want to write in my mind.  It reminded me of what I love, and that I need to just stop worrying and Shine with love as Our Blessed Lady desires.

I’m off work today and I’m going to plan out as far as I can with Billionaire #2.  I’m not going to tell you the title of book 2 and 3 – I want them to be a surprise.  They’re too hilarious and cool to risk sharing until I’m ready!

P.S. If you’re still reading, I have lots of goodies to give away from RT including print books, bookmarks, pens, buttons, etc.  I’m going to start by offering goodies to my newsletter followers.  So if you want the first shot at goodies, sign up!

Camp NaNo

I’ve never joined a cabin before, but this year I’m going to Camp along with Raelyn, Nicole and Diana.  My #1 goal:  finish the PNR.  I don’t care how many words that is, whether 20K or 50K.  I just want this done so I can get it submitted.

So I can work on the next billionaire book (which I finally got a hilarious title for – I hope they let me keep it!) and the plantation story and Mal’s book…

Sigh.  I have so many things I want to do this year!

So it’s time to get busy.

Anyone else ready to make some s’mores and tell some ghost stories around the fire?