Camp NaNo Ishness/Hiatus

Hello, reader peeps!

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to during the last few weeks of relative silence around here, you’re in luck!

It’s time for an Ishness post — hurrah!

In which I recap my Camp NaNo and other Ishnesses of April. It’s been a busy and exciting month! And also to say that I’m taking a bit of a blogging break for May.

There may also be snippets. And photography.

So let’s get to it!

Camp NaNo Writing Adventures

I participated in and completed Camp NaNo!

And it was amazing, guys. So, so amazing. I’ve missed writing.

Thanks to some awesome wordsprints courtesy of Jenelle and Sarah and some other writing friends, I discovered that I can write 1K in 40 minutes’ worth of wordsprints, which led to a whirlwind of Camp writing for me. I’m. so. excited. I had written hardly anything this year and it was so delightful to finally get back into it!

I made my goal of 10 hours of writing/writing-related-stuff-like-plotting-and-editing, hitting 11 hours for the month.

My April writing accomplishments included:

  • 11,439 words of writing.
  • Naming an important character (the hero of book 3 of my Sky Voyages retelling trilogy) — he’s a pirate and his name is Keller. 😀
  • Outlining the next several parts of The Siren and the Skyship.
  • Realizing I need to redo basically all that I’d written of the book during last November, but OH WELL, at least I know. XD I think I’ll try to power through to the end before rewrites… hopefully…
  • I wrote 10K words of The Siren and the Skyship, a mix of rough first draft and draft-zero, some in order, some later on. But it’s the first writing on this I’ve done since last year’s NaNo, so I’m excited to be back to it!
  • My characters seemed to spend a lot of their time meeting at night on rooftops. Okay, then! Also, I’m having the best time writing about my character Rook.
  • I also wrote 1300 words of The Other Half of Everything, finishing and editing the first chapter, which has been in a half-written-out-of-order state for years.
  • GUYS. I’M DONE A WHOLE CHAPTER OF THE OTHER HALF OF EVERYTHING.
  • I have several thousand words of OHE written, but it’s all in snippets out of order. So having a completed first chapter all finished is SO EXCITING to me!
  • Anyway, between plotting, writing 10K of S&S, and finishing OHE’s first chapter, I’m very pleased with what I got done this month for Camp NaNo. 🙂 I’m hoping to keep up the writing momentum, but we’ll see what happens.

Snippets!

… exchanging the usual niceties one exchanged over tea.

“What did you want to see me about?” Rook asked finally, politely but warily.

He was not used to being called on by dignitaries, and was more than usually aware that his new little brother, sitting right at the table with them, was a street thief. Although Xasper had been silent and as well-mannered as could be, he could well be a ticking steam-bomb counting down to something disastrous.

It was all rather alarming, really, and the sooner it was all over with, the better Rook would like it.

The Siren and the Skyship

***

Percival chose this extremely inopportune time to wake up and hear what they were discussing. “Don’t even think about it, Mania,” he said blearily from his half-asleep and bandaged state. “You’re the princess, and as a princess, you can’t go there without causing an international incident.”

Tasmania shooed a hand at her brother. “I know, I know. As a princess, I won’t.”

“Not as a Royal Skynavy captain either,” he warned.

Blast. He shouldn’t even be alert enough to notice. “As you command, my king,” Tasmania said, saluting. But Auren and Noya were giving her Looks which meant they knew exactly what she was thinking.

Fortunately, Percival’s eyes had drifted shut again and he didn’t see.

Well then. Not a princess, and not a captain, either. She would go as herself—even if she had to smuggle herself in a pirate ship to do so.

Which, incidentally, was exactly what she planned to do.

The Siren and the Skyship

***

“Do try not to jump; it disturbs the books,” the young man remarked.

— The Other Half of Everything

***

He held out his hand and gave a rather absentminded smile. “The name’s Teague. Teague Aurelius. A pleasure to meet you.”

“Same,” I said, shaking his hand. What? A girl can’t lie occasionally in the interests of being polite? Somebody certainly needed to be that around here.

The Other Half of Everything

Reading

I… did not read very much this month. Between Camp NaNo and editing and life, not to mention starting about half a dozen books and then not finishing them (I’m in 5 right now; it’s embarrassing) I don’t have much to show in the reading department.

I managed to hit my 50-book goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, though! (I’ve been including short stories this year, okay. Don’t be too amazed. :P)

But I did read a handful of things. A picture book, ONE novel (The Lost Castle, which I reviewed), two short stories, and two non-fiction short ebooks about writing. Aaand that’s it. They were all pretty good, and I highly recommend Jamie Foley and Angela Castillo’s Busy Moms’ Guide to Writing even for those who are not busy moms but are still writers. XD

Not pictured but hopefully releasing in the next month or two is Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz, which I edited and therefore read a couple times this month. It’s hilarious, and is a fantastic magical wild west tale, so watch for that!

Watching

  • I re-watched the first couple episodes of the original season of Sherlock… which was neat to re-visit. XD (They’re so YOUNG, though! :O)
  • I saw a bit more White Collar, which I’m still enjoying aside from the usual bits I don’t care for that all TV has. But it’s still fun. XD Love these characters!
  • I started watching Trollhunters, just a few episodes, which is a lot of fun so far.
  • And a little NCIS and original Star Trek. To keep me on my toes.
  • I also re-watched The Last Jedi and… eh. I’m still mixed on it, but that seems to happen to me with ALL movies these days, so. 😛 (I need a crystal fox.)

Listening

  • I’m still listening to Wander with Me, Smoke and Mirrors, and Rise and Fall periodically from Brittany Jean’s latest album. ❤

  • Jen Ledger, the drummer girl for the band Skillet, started her own band: Ledger! I’m kind of excited because she’s so sweet and I love her voice, so this is great. I’ve been listening to the tracks she just released and having fun with those. 🙂

  • Speaking of Skillet, you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head and listen to it all the time because it’s so catchy and the latest thing you love? Well I have that with Stay ‘Til the Daylight (by Skillet), which my character Rook informed me is his theme song for the sequel to The Siren and the Skyship.
  • It’s also been Camp NaNo so I’ve been listening to fast word-warring music and the Ren: The Girl with the Mark soundtrack because it’s perfect for the “feel” of The Siren and the Skyship — gorgeous and epic.
  • And Cara Dillon, because her voice is amazing. ❤

  • (Yes, I’m aware this is a strange mix of music. I have unique taste. *cough*)

Life

  • It’s been quite the busy month, juggling life and various projects/work and Camp NaNo.

  • I won my first writing contest with my otter flash fiction (my goodness, was that this month?)!
  • Camp NaNo kept me on my toes. XD But it was glorious focusing on writing again.

  • I randomly realized “OH, I HAVE A WATTPAD ACCOUNT; I SHOULD USE IT,” and posted Wintertale over there. I may put up another couple of short stories when I have time.
  • Arielle Bailey more or less convinced me that my personality type is probably ISFP even though I’ve tested as a couple other types (INFP/INFJ). I’m going to look into it more but from what she said, it seems legit. XD (Arielle, do that MBTI blog series!)
  • I got to attend a lovely writer retreat; it was fun getting to hang out with a bunch of fellow writer gals for a weekend! ❤ Not to mention appropriate, because it was like a real-live Camp NaNo! 😉 It was amazing. ^_^

sunset

cozy cottage

sunrise from the balcony

May Plans / Hiatus

I’m taking a bit of a blogging/internet break during May.

Before anybody panics (no panicking, okay?), this is not to say that I won’t be around at all. There are, after all, a few exciting things going on this month (like the ones I mentioned in my In Bookish News post on my book blog) which I may (haha, pun!) drop in on. Plus, my hiatuses (hiatusi?) don’t always turn out as hiatus-y (shh, it’s a word) as I plan; but it should help anyway. XD

(Goodness, that was a lot of parentheses. Please excuse.)

I just need to give myself permission to step away a little and breathe. Sometimes everything gets to be a little much, you know?

I’m a little worn out with all the busyness that’s been non-stop for the past four months, and I also need to catch up on things and do some more prep for Realm Makers (which is creeping up on us at an alarming rate!).

So for my own sanity (what’s that? O_O), I’m reining back a little, and if you need to get a hold of me I’m sure I’ll still be checking email. 😉

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a Merry Month of May, friends! ❤ And let me know what’s up with you, in the comments! ^_^

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NaNo Ishness 2017! (My Insane 8th NaNoWriMo, Skillet, and Other Epicness)

IT’S DECEMBER. *cue shocked gasps*

This means that a) we survived NaNo (whaaat?), b) I’m no longer trying to write large amounts of words daily, and c) it’s time for an Ishness wrapup of my 2017 NaNoWriMo!

And, y’know, other things that happened in October and November. 🙂

This is mostly about November, but I’ll touch briefly on October (SO long ago; my goodness, was that even a thing?), to say that I was mostly busy prepping for NaNo, that I caught a cold at the last minute so that I was useless in my NaNo-prep the week before November hit (yay. XD) and that I got to see the band Skillet in concert AND IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING.

(image courtesy of my brother’s phone…)

Colton Dixon (who’s also a great singer whose music I love!) and a couple others were there, which was fun as well! But but SKILLET. They’re one of my favorites, and I especially usually listen to them a lot around this time of year — their fast and inspiring music is so helpful when I’m typing fast on wordwars during NaNo… 😉 Anyway, I love their music and they also seem like such FUN people, so seeing them live on a stage with their amazing music and amusingness and just — IT WAS INCREDIBLE. They’re so epic and NICE and faith-filled and funny and I just love them. 🙂 I had an absolute blast, and the whole concert (them and the other artists) was amazing, and I came away so inspired and filled up and happy. 🙂 (I did wear earplugs in my ears the whole time because rock concerts are LOUD; I was still able to hear everything despite that just fiiiine, and consequently still have my hearing. XD) Christian Rock may not be everyone’s favorite, but I absolutely love Skillet and this was definitely the highlight of my October. 🙂 🙂

Bookish

I read a handful of books in the last two months…

(in reverse chronological order, from a screenshot of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, because I’m lazy)

For my thoughts on them, see the Bookish Post I posted on my book blog a few days ago! 🙂

In Other Book News: New Genre!

Also, the previously un-named genre which we all needed a name for (the kind that’s basically in another world but isn’t TECHNICALLY fantasy because there’s nothing fantastical, and is more like historical fiction but without needing to be historically accurate) was finally named: Kingdom Adventure! So if you read/write this, be aware! This is an exciting development. XD

Watched

Who has time to watch things this time of year?? Ahem. I sneaked in a few in the last couple months, though.

  • Zorro — I watched a few episodes of Disney’s Zorro with Guy Williams because it’s fun. Gracious, I love Zorro things. ❤ ❤ ❤
  • Once Upon a Time — I saw a couple more episodes of this (I’m still not very far at all. XD) and it continues to be intriguing. 🙂
  • Treasure Planet — This was a re-watch, for… er… research. *cough* (Skyships, dontcha know. ;)) Much fun!
  • The Three Musketeers (2011) — Eheheh, re-watching this for research too. XD (Airships yesss.) Also fun, if messy. 😛
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) — Very… erm… strange. XD But I enjoyed a lot of it… Also, the only reason they had the insane asylum bit was so they could have evil Moriarty. 😛
  • Thor: Ragnarok — I SAW THIS AT THE THEATER. And have complicated feelings. XD Epic and HILARIOUS (seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the theater laugh that hard, that many times), with lots of fun and coolness, and also a couple things that were Not Okay and which I have still not recovered from. *glowers at film-makers and mouths “how dare you”* But of course, spoilers, so I can’t say. *cough* Anyways, it was generally a ton of fun. XD (Other than, you know, those things. *cough*)

(I just realized I over-use the word “fun” in my discussion of movies I watched. But why would anyone watch ones that weren’t??)

Highlights of My November

  • Went to an epic booksale
  • Saw Thor 3 *shrieking*
  • Met up with some awesome authors! Shout-out to Kendra Ardnek, Claire Banschbach, Kelsey Bryant, Sarah Holman, J. Grace Pennington — I love these talented gals! It was such a lovely time getting to get together for a few hours. 🙂
  • (Those three events were all in the first five days of NaNo! :O So much busy. Awesome, but busy.)
  • Had several fun writing events for my NaNo region and met such fun fellow-writers!
  • This was my fifth year as an ML, and it was a blast. Tiring, but so fun.
  • Thanksgiving happened (one of the best things about which is living on leftover dressing and pies after…)
  • My bullet journal told me what I needed to do each day and kept me sane (well… insane, but at least an organized kind so that I knew what I had to do?)
  • Scrivener is life
  • And so are wordsprints
  • Won NaNoWriMo for the 8th time!

Since this is a writing blog, I feel like I should mention that in addition to writing 50K words and learning a lot through that, I also absorbed some writing advice from a knowledgeable author at a write-in, and from a brief creative writing class I attended one day, and read a writing book (No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, who founded NaNo), so I feel all steeped in writerliness. ^_^

Oh, Right, the Actual Writing Part of NaNo

I was a bit of a rebel…

I wrote a 6000 word short story called The Dragon of Kedran’s Wood (or) Tare and the Puppies — which I will share on the blog once I edit it!

And I started my YA Steampunk-Fantasy novel The Siren and the Skyship and wrote 44,000 words of that.

I unfortunately had only done a small amount of plotting in October, so I was not as prepared for writing as I would have liked, which necessitated some hasty plotting partway into November. I feel like I did a lot closer to pantsing than usual. (This year and last year both…) So with that on top of how BUSY I was most days, I sometimes struggled to reach the daily goal. I have no clue how people with full time jobs/school manage to do this — I salute you all. O_O

It was a bit of a challenge to make it to the minimum each day, but I stayed on track except for two days early on. I was DETERMINED to stay on track and I did! 😀 (I fell behind when I was visiting awesome author friends, but I don’t even mind because it was so fabulous. ;)) Sometimes I got ahead and used that to take a break and relax and this was SUCH a good idea. I don’t do really well writing every day for long stretches. It worked out this year that I usually wrote four days and then took one off? Like, multiple times? I didn’t even plan that, it just… happened. O_O Because I love analyzing stats and noticed and I love it. XD

Also, I’ve now written 400K words in 8 years of NaNos and EXCUSE ME WHILE I FLAIL OVER THIS FACT. :O

The novel itself is horribly messy and only half done (if that) and I ran out of plot EXACTLY at the end of the month, so I need to plan the rest of it and finish it sometime, but other than that I’m fairly pleased with how it went. 🙂 I really like the world and characters, and while the Little Mermaid part doesn’t seem to be showing itself as much as it could, the story itself is coming along. SKYSHIPS. ❤ Because I love nautical-ish things, and this is the perfect mix of 18th century ships, modern navy ships, and spaceships… just… better. 😀 And even though they’re frustrating at times, I do love my characters. 😉 *hugs Rook and Tasmania and Auren*

ANYWAY. It’s a mess but I survived and made it this far, and I don’t know how I feel about the whole story, but I was particularly enjoying it later in the month.

And of course I wrote a whole short story first, about my precious Tare-and-the-Chess-Club, which was SO fun. I can’t wait to share it with y’all! ❤

And I stayed on track nearly all month and finished early on the 28th.

I’m calling this 8th NaNo a success!

Quick Version

NaNo was exhausting and confusing and busy, and it’s honestly a miracle I managed it with all the insane running around and lack of plotting, but ultimately I had a mostly really good one and I’m so happy to have made it through to the end with another 50K under my belt! 🙂

December Plans

So, what am I going to be doing this month?

all the blogging and reading and reviewing and basically wearing myself out with my to-do list guilt because I’m two months behind on everything and NaNo’s over so I have no more excuses

RESTING.

…Okay, so you probably know me well enough to know that I probably won’t do neeearly enough of that. But I have SO MANY plans about reading/reviewing/blogging/etc. since I feel like I’ve hardly done any of that for a couple of months due to WRITING STUFF (which was lovely but it will be nice to have a break). So hopefully some of that will happen on top of Christmas busyness and said other plans. I’m ready to chill a little… Doesn’t mean it will happen, but I’m ready for it. XD

I think that’s it?

Maybe I’ll share Siren and the Skyship snippets if y’all want them badly enough. 😉

***

WHEW. *collapses* There you are. I hope you enjoyed this little peek at my NaNo and life! Thank you so much for reading! And let me know in the comments how your NaNo (or November. ;)) went! ^_^

Beautiful Books: NaNo Update (The Library in the Stars)

NaNo update time!

I’ve been writing The Library in the Stars for NaNoWriMo and I thought  it was about time to do a sort of update on it — so fortunately there’s another edition of Beautiful Books this month (cutting it close on the timing) to help my tired brain out with that. XD

bb-redone

Beautiful Books is a linkup for writers hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further in. Join in the linkup if you like!

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

winls1

Well, I hit 50,000 words on The Library in the Stars on Sunday night and therefore finished NaNoWriMo a few days early, so… I’d say my mental state and my novel are both doing pretty good. XD I do seem to have a cold (UGH), and I still have at least five (probably very long) chapters left to finish the novel, and the book itself so far is a confusing plot-hole riddled nonsensical mess, but in spite of all of that I’m pretty enormously ecstatic to have completed my 7th NaNo!

lswin4

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

lscoverThe first time the doorbell rang, the sixteen-year-old Coltridge twins simultaneously looked up from where they were sprawled comfortably with their very different books on opposite sides of their shared rooms at the university.

Veronica, surfacing from her Galaxy Timeline History 0000-5300 textbook, dropped her book onto her desk on top of a volume of Science and made for the door, nimbly dodging stacks of her brother’s novels on the floor in her way. “I’ve got it!”

Brendan, from his low over-stuffed couch in the corner, eyed the doorway curiously over the top of the book he was reading as she pulled the door open.

–from The Library in the Stars

3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Drayke Essengale (space elf) and Damian (shadowy hero) are currently fighting for that position. I love them both a lot. ❤

4. What do you love about your novel so far?

lswinThe characters. The fantasy in space. Getting to write scenes from several different ideas that I’ve had for a long time, all in one story.

All of the things?

(Except the plot holes and monstrous first-draft-ness of it, but shush, we’re not thinking of those things right now.)

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerProbably.

Mostly missing a word or forgetting where a sentence was going and not really completing it because it got so long…

I also one time wrote Drayke when I meant Damian… Whoops.

#ThePerilsOfCharactersWithTheSameStartingLetters

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

They all have their pros and cons. I honestly don’t know.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

lswin2

I don’t really have “writing habits”… which is part of my problem. XD

I don’t eat while I write. I write best in the evening when I have no distractions… which sometimes translates to VERY LATE. I wish I was a morning writer but that didn’t really happen this NaNo.

I have been listening to music and it’s been helpful. Mostly a few songs from Skillet’s latest album, “Unleashed” (Feel Invincible, Stars, and I Want To Live), some songs from the Newsboys’ album “Restart” because it’s fast with a good beat (That’s How You Change the World, Restart, Go Glow), and “The Lord of the Dance” soundtrack because it’s epic and perfect. ❤

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I do pretty much write alone in general, but my family will usually hear about how it’s going (and cheer me on accordingly; they’re amazing) and I’ll have a sibling or two read the chapters as I write them, and I do chat about how it’s going with a couple of online friends throughout the month. Mostly, though, the loner thing.

(Pretty much: I’m Batman. Or Tare. Tare works alone too… *cough* But even Batman needs his Alfred and co., and even Tare needs his Chess Club.)

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

lswin3

This NaNo, it’s been my wordcount goals and the helpful Scrivener progress bars each day… so mostly the determination to stay more or less on track and get my words done each day.

I’m verrrry pleased to announce that I actually stayed on track and never fell behind par on my wordcount ONCE this month! This is big news. In 7 years of NaNos, this is my first time to stay on track the entire month. 😀

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Not sure if they’re my top three, but off the top of my head:

  1. Keep writing: don’t give up.
  2. Wordsprints! (And fast music for them.) I wrote SO much my last NaNo day this year by using the awesome wordsprint feature on the NaNo site. SO MANY WORDS. Never underestimate the power of setting a timer and writing the whole time with fast music.
  3. Don’t be afraid — if you’re afraid of the next scene, just cheat. XD

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner

There you are. My NaNo update. Now excuse me while I ignore the fact that I still have probably a quarter of The Library in the Stars to write to finish it, and go burrow somewhere comfy and read away my cold to avoid feeling miserable and possibly nap for a week BECAUSE I FINISHED NANO! I’m very happy and looking forward to reading other books now that I don’t have to write my own at the moment. The books are caaaalling me…