Holiday Spirit

Last weekend I participated in the Harvest Craft Fair in my hometown. I look forward to it months in advance and am usually a bit bummed when it’s over. Anticipation hangover. The craft fair signals the start of the holiday season with lights, music, and community. My favorite parts of the holidays.

IMG_0498

Each year I have one or two new books to add to my table. If I stay the course I’ll need to add another table. ūüôā The turnout, both vendors and shoppers/browsers, was the largest yet.

The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.
~ Terri Marshall

The rest of my week, and the weeks to come, are more centered around these books:

IMG_0492

For most people, it would be frightening to see these books on someone’s shelves. For mystery writers they couldn’t be more normal. And helpful!

And with that, short and sweet as it was, I’m headed back over to Birch Haven, Minnesota, the home of Melanie Hogan, to finish up NaNoWriMo strong.

Until next week…

Carpe Diem

Vacation in Birch Haven

Birch Haven, MN

I’ve been spending November in Birch Haven, MN. And it’s in the dead of winter there. Never heard of Birch Haven? There’s a very good reason for that.

It’s fictional.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where literally millions of people commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. I’m happy to say I’m on track with writing book five in the Melanie Hogan Mysteries, Shear Fear. In fact, I’m a wee bit ahead so I’ve got some breathing room. Whew!

One of the best parts of writing a novel? You get to create any setting you want and spend all the time you want there. It’s truly magical. You get to create characters you like, people you don’t mind spending all of your free time with, protagonist, antagonist, and supporting cast, and they become your friends. That probably sounds a bit crazy to non-writers, but to all of you writers out there, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And with that, short and sweet as it was, I have to hurry back to Birch Haven before the portal closes to see what Melanie and her friends will get into next.

See you next week, with thousands more words under my belt.

Write On

Bye Week

No post this Wednesday due to keeping an eye on the election results and keeping extremely busy with NaNoWriMo. Back next week. Until then…Happy writing to all of the NaNo participants out there. Write on!

NaNoWriMo

untitled

 

 

Writer’s Joy

Happy November!

November is shaping up to be a busy month in my writing life. And I couldn’t be more thrilled. There’s something about fall (and November is still fall, although late stages) and the¬† holidays that follow, that brings renewed energy and enthusiasm. And when anything having to do with writing gets thrown in the mix…well, it’s the perfect recipe.

For me the moral of the story is this: A rough draft is best written in the steam-cooker of an already busy life.  Chris Baty, Founder of National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve decided in the 11th hour to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Since I discovered Camp NaNoWriMo a few years ago and fell in love with it, I let NaNoWriMo fall to the wayside. Until this year. The differences between the two?

Camp NaNoWriMo: Takes place in April and July; campers are in virtual cabins with people who cheer each other on; we have virtual bonfires, s’mores, and all things camping; campers set their own goals, whether it’s word count, page count, hours/minutes; and there’s the opportunity to choose what to write–a new project, short stories, poetry, revisions on an already-written piece, etc. It’s flexible, a bit more relaxed, and so much fun!

NaNoWriMo: Takes place in November when the weather usually isn’t quite as nice so it allows for more writing time, not to mention the holiday weekends giving those of us with day jobs a couple of extra days off; the goal is 50,000 words in 30 days so one’s social life is pretty much put on hold for the month; the project? A new novel. Not one that’s already started, but a fresh, new novel waiting to be written, and will be written (at least the first 50,000 words of it) by November 30th at midnight. NaNoWriMo is much more intense than Camp, but the level of enthusiasm from the thousands and thousands of participants around the world, is infectious. The extra time spent in my home office–one of my favorite places to be, the sense of community, and the feeling of success, whether you’ve reached the 50,000 word goal or not, is an experience you’ll never regret. So this year, it’s on! I’ll be creating the first draft of book five, Shear Fear, in my Melanie Hogan Mystery Series.

The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It’s the lack of a deadline.¬† Chris Baty, Founder of National Novel Writing Month

In addition to NaNoWriMo, the audio book of Shear Madness, book one in the Melanie Hogan Mysteries will be released. I’ve finally gotten on the audio book train. Better late than never. And I really enjoy my narrator with ACX, Shelby Forbes. Shear Deception and Shear Malice will be soon to follow. Book four, Shear Murder, is due back from my copy editor any day with a release soon to follow.

Happy

And last, but not least, is the Harvest Fellowship Church Craft Fair on Saturday, November 17th. I participate in it each year, usually do pretty well, but more importantly have fantastic time with all of the vendors and the buyers. It’s a time to get in the holiday spirit, begin my Christmas shopping by supporting local businesses (in between people shopping at my booth), and to just have fun.

What does your November bring?

Annnndddd…Have a happy and SAFE Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

 

Summing up Publication

1000789_602599603108372_472059398_n

I was walking with a co-worker the other day (one I don’t know well) and at one point the conversation went like this:

Her:¬† “Didn’t I read somewhere that you’re a published author?”

Me:¬†¬†¬†¬†“Yes, I am.”

Her:¬†¬† “How did you go about getting published? My sister-in-law wants to publish a YA book but she heard getting published is really hard.”

Me:¬†¬†¬†¬† …Nothing. As in crickets.

This co-worker is absolutely the¬†sweetest thing ever! So I tried, I really did, to come up with an answer to satisfy her curiosity, but I had nothin’.¬† My tongue was tied, but the¬†thought that exploded in my brain was how different writers are from the non-writers of the world. We’re wired differently. Like really different from¬†the non-writers in the world.

I wanted to say that if one is writing just to get published, she’s missing the best part of the journey. Getting to the destination of publication¬†wouldn’t be¬†nearly worth the trip if not for everything that comes before it. Even the rejections and bad reviews.

I wanted to say that wanting to be published and wanting to write are not synonymous with one another. Without the writing, the publication cannot happen. Start with writing, keep on writing, and never stop writing. Then, and only then, will publication even be a possibility.

I wanted to say that there isn’t only one way to get to publication, but for every writer on the planet there is yet another route to get there. If there were one tried and true method, everyone who set out to write a¬†book would¬† be published.

I wanted to say that publication is where the real insecurities and headaches begin. It’s at that place where a writer is at their most vulnerable and raw state. It’s there where the sleepless nights and gnashing of teeth occur, our brains churning round and round¬†like a squirrel in a cage¬†because our¬†baby is out there for all the world to criticize. And I for one am of the mind that people can say what they want about me, I’ll get over it, but please, oh please, don’t criticize my babies. That slices right through my mama’s heart.

I wanted to say that publication isn’t the be-all end-all. It’s a small part of the joy of writing. It’s a small piece of the whole. And a very small piece at that. But if one writes simply to be published, it’s pretty much a sure thing that the satisfaction will be less than,and shorter lived, than¬†what was expected.

I wanted to simply¬† say, “Write. And never, ever, ever, no matter what, stop.”

Never give up

I wanted to say that there are so many steps that need to come before the publication that wondering how to get published before doing everything else is like planning for high school graduation day before you have your children. The goal of making sure your kids graduate from high school is a worthy one, but think of all you would miss out on if that were your sole focus.

What I did say, finally, when I was able to untangle the knots from my tongue, was:

“Our mile walk isn’t nearly long enough to give you an answer, but the first thing I would tell her is to join a writer’s group, in person or online. And take it from there.”

Paulo CoelhoLet’s talk. Have you had a non-writer ask you a writing question that reinforced how different writers are from non-writers? What was the question and how did you respond? What would have told the person in my case?

Oh! And don’t forget, NaNoWriMo starts in less than two days. Are you ready? Let me know if you want to be writing buddies during November.¬† ūüôā

 

Off to NaNo Land

For the month of November I’ll be off to the land of NaNoWriMo. What’s that you say? Click on the link to find out. Maybe you’ll decide to join me there next year.

Nano-summer

Okay, so where I live it looks more like this in November…

NaNo Land

NaNo Land

Sometimes even like this…

NaNo Land

NaNo Land

But regardless of what lies outside, I’ll be in my den creating my own the-sky’s-the-limit¬†reality with 50,000 words of screaming fun for NaNoWriMo.

Have a beautiful, bountiful November, a blessed Thanksgiving, and a month filled with grateful hearts.

See you in December! ūüôā

Carpe Diem

Timeout Tuesday

As I prepare to take on the whirlwind joy ride of NaNoWriMo Friday at midnight, I’m finding joy in taking deep breaths of relaxation this week.

Zoey - Pumpkin patch 2014-3

Fall-MN-5

Fall-MN-2

‚ÄúKeep your faith in all beautiful things. In the sun when it is hidden. In the spring when it is gone.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĒ Roy Rolfe Gilson
Carpe Diem