NaNoWriMo 2018 – Prep


I “won” National Novel Writing Month for the very first time last year thanks to The Charlatan and the Coinshot, my forthcoming fanart collaboration project. I went in with no plan, no outlines or ambitions other than to write as much as I could.

But this year, I’m taking steps to prepare myself for a hectic month of working full time (sometimes more) and writing a whole new, original novel. What does that preparation look like?

  • Research. Lots and lots of research. My Scrivener project for this novel is the most informed and resource heavy of any I’ve made so far.

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    My research files in Scrivener…
  • Outlining. Now, I’m not usually one to outline with any sort of detail, I’ll be the first to tell you that. And it’s still true. My outlines are purposefully vague, because I don’t really know what’s going to happen in any given scene, chapter, or story until it’s written. But, I made an effort to at least have a general idea of the first few chapters so that I’m not going in completely blind come November 1st.
  • Music. Each story I write has its own playlist in Spotify, and that’s what I listen to while I write. I made sure to spend some quality time building a diverse but thematically close playlist for this novel.
  • Pre-Writing. This goes along with research, but I sat down and sketched characters and settings. I gathered resources and images to refer to while writing so that I won’t have to leave the Scrivener project if I get stuck on something. And, I let myself write if the urge hit. I wrote about 1100 words of the prologue/opening scene, and I refuse to feel bad about it. And yes, I will count it toward my nano total word count, so there 😛

Typically, the goal for Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year I wrote just over 52k, which was no easy feat and I was working part time! Now I’m working full time, and sometimes more. I need to be realistic about my goals and my time this year. Otherwise I’ll only set myself up for failure.

NaNo 2018 Goal:

  • 800 words/day – 24k words for the month

I actually think I’ll be able to hit 25,000 words, maybe even more, but thought 800 words a day sounded doable. 1,000 seemed a little daunting, but 500 is basically nothing, so 800 it is. I also intend to go to a majority of my Nano Chapter’s events and write-ins, and I’m always game for a good Facebook sprint. With all the activity, 24k shouldn’t be a problem.

But, I really don’t believe I have the time to write 50,000 words this year. With two jobs, the Thanksgiving holiday and the various social obligations it comes with it, I just don’t see 50k happening. And I don’t want to set an unrealistic goal only to guilt trip myself into freezing up.

So that’s it. I still have a bit of research to do, and my outlines can always be more detailed, so I’ll be prepping right through to the start of National Novel Writing Month. If you want to be my Buddy on the Nanowrimo site, my username is HIMluv and I’ll be happy to add you!

I’ll talk to you all soon when I come back to talk about the month of October in the Monthly Recap.

Until then, Blogland!



Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 43


The weekend was too short, with social engagements and a migraine. But now it’s Monday, which means it’s time to talk about goals!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Edit The Charlatan and the Coinshot16f84a70-8aac-4b1c-8a3d-58061c8b2146 (1)
  • Research and outline NaNo project
  • Read A.V. submissions
  • Finish reading Rosemary and Rue

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
    • Yep. I think it’s very close, I just need to perfect the last few sentences and really drive home the ending.
  • Edit The Charlatan and the Coinshot
    • Yes? I edited 7 chapters, out of 17. That’s a couple week’s worth of posts so it feels like success, but I’ll need to get considerably more done tonight and tomorrow before Nanowrimo starts.
  • Research and outline NaNo project
    • Yes! Got a big chunk of research done this week, and have some books waiting at the library to help me over the next two days.
  • Read A.V. submissions
    • Yep! Submissions are impressive this round and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for this issue.
  • Finish reading Rosemary and Rue
    • Yes! I didn’t expect this to be the case, but the last half of the book was pretty compelling.

Weekly Word Count: 0

Another week of no writing, which again was the plan. I hate it. It feels wrong. Luckily, this is the last week where that will be the case. I start writing again on Thursday! Really this week was all about reading and editing. I read eight short story submissions for The Audient Void, I finished reading Rosemary and Rue, I read/edited That Which Illuminates Heaven, and I read the the first third of The Charlatan and the Coinshot.

This week will be much of the same.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Continue editing The Charlatan and the Coinshot
  • Barker line edits
  • Continue Research/Outlining
  • WRITE!!!!

There will be no shortage of blog posts this week, with this post, a NaNoWriMo prep post, and the monthly recap all scheduled. I have a couple sentences to tweak and perfect in That Which Illuminates Heaven, and then I think it’ll be ready to submit. I’ve already made a list of potential markets and can’t wait to share this story with the world! I’ve got 10 chapters left to edit for The Charlatan and the Coinshot, which will go quickly. I’m really just proofreading and making sure that there aren’t any glaring errors or inconsistencies. It’s a pretty clean draft, so I’m mostly just enjoying the story as I read through it one last time.

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Now through November 15th

Obadiah gave me an extra project on top of reading submissions for The Audient Void, so I’m doing line edits for him this week. I need to keep researching as much as I can before I dig into writing my new novel, and with only a few days left I am feeling the pressure.

And of course, the big goal is writing in the last half of this week! I’ll have a post up soon about what my NaNo goals are and what to expect from me over the course of November.

I have a few writing related events later this week as well, so hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to talk about them soon.

Talk to you soon, Bloggos!



Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 41


Mondays are loooong for me now. Morning shifts at Starbucks followed immediately by a shift at the library. Then home for a quick dinner and off to my movie night with my library friends. I’m squeezing this post in between.

Last Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Read War for the Oaks

How’d I do?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
    • Yes! So much research. I have more to go, but I did share a little blog post with my progress so far.
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
    • Yes! 858 words and finished chapter 7!
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
    • Nope. Thought about it last night, but we played Gloomhaven later than usual, and I was too tired to go through with it.
  • Read War for the Oaks
    • Yes! I’ll have the review up sometime this week.

Weekly Word Count: 1,980

You might notice that the word count for this week is considerably more than the 858 words I wrote for Sanctuary. That’s because I was researching for my Urban Fantasy and stumbled into the opening sequence. It was right there, demanding attention. I couldn’t tell it no.

I’m reading quite a bit already this month. Both Legion and War for the Oaks, and now I’m about 50 pages into Rosemary and Rue. I don’t think I’ll have it done this week, but maybe early next week.

Fanfic is a slow but steady sort of thing, right now, and I’m realizing that I don’t think i’ll be able to cross that goal off the yearly list. There’s just too much story to be told there and not enough motivation on my part to only work on it. I’ve got other projects I want to spend time on, and sadly that means Santa Sarita is a back burner task. I’ll work on it when the inspiration strikes or I have extra time.

I spent the majority of this week reading and researching. I finally finished listening to The Adventure Zone and that’s freed up a lot of my time, thank goodness. Granted there isn’t a whole lot of time at my disposal anymore. I’ve got to make the best of what I have.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Research, round 2
  • Read Rosemary and Rue

That’s it. Straightforward and to the point this week. I need to get some quality work done on this Nano project, and I want to get That Which Illuminates Heaven ready to submit by the end of this month.

So, work work work. Read, edit, outline, lather rinse repeat. I have a few things to talk about this week on the blog, so expect to see me around a bit.

And, we have the Hozier concert on Saturday night, so that will cut into my time a bit. Oh! And I work Sunday…


Ok. That’s it for this Monday Blogland. I’ll be back soon!



On Research


Fun fact: researching angels is harder than you’d think.


There are so many different versions of the same doctrine, books upon books upon books of religious texts that run counter to one another. One text might name four archangels, only to be deemed apocryphal by another sect that has their own angels!

As a non-religious person delving into the worlds of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam… woof. There is a lot to wade through here.

What I’m realizing is that I may have to blend some sources and make gut decisions, because these descriptions of the angels are just the foundation. They will grow into characters in their own right and become more than just names in a book. So, while I’ll continue to gather resources and learn as much as I can, I’m probably going to have to lean on my own creativity more than research when it comes to the angels themselves.

I’ve also started gathering images of landmarks from the Phoenix metro, along with maps, street names, and businesses. I grew up in the Valley of the Sun, but I haven’t lived there in over six years. It’s going to take some time for me to get into the setting and really bring it to life.

Things left to research include:

  • Catholic rituals, prayers, and saints
  • Churches in the Phoenix Metro
  • Demons and Devils
  • Spanish

My main character is bilingual, so I need to up my understanding of Spanish, and practice writing bilingual dialogue. Thanks to fanfiction, I have some experience with this, but I will have a lot more by the time this book is done. I also have an awesome online writing community that will no doubt help me with the Spanglish. Also, this is nanowrimo. If I’m uncertain about what Spanish to use, I’ll just put a note in red and figure it out during a revision when I’ll have more time to get it right.

I just got a couple more books from the library, and they both look promising. I should be on track to have a solid research foundation by the end of the month, and maybe even a thin outline! I’m not usually big on outlines, but I think having one will really help streamline things in November, especially since I’ll be working more than I originally anticipated.

So, despite some frustrations, research is actually going well. It’s getting the creative gears turning, and will help guide me when things get… iffy.

I plan on doing a Nano-eve post where I talk about my goals for the month and my strategies to achieve them. Granted, Nano-eve is Halloween, so we’ll see if I stick to that.

I’ll be back on Monday for the usual Goals Summary post. Until then, Bloggos!



Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 39


It’s Monday, and man does it feel like it. Between 13 hours of travel on Saturday and working two jobs again as of today, I am exhausted, so let’s get this show on the road!

Last Week

    • Neuschwanstein Castle
      • Pics or it didn’t happen!

How’d I Do?

    • Neuschwanstein Castle
      • Pics or it didn’t happen!

Yeah. This vacation was insane! And exhausting. There was so much to see, and there’s still so much left that we hope to return to Bavaria in a few years, hopefully at Christmastime.

I could go on and on and on about how delicious every meal was, or how picturesque and idyllic the alps are, but I’ll let the photos do the work for once.

What’s next? 

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven rough draft
  • Begin NaNo project research: read one book from the library
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Read two short stories from More Human Than Human

I think this is a good start to the month. I do want to keep writing, but nothing taxing and without any strict goals. This will be a good month to sprint for fun with my longfic or work on that tumblr prompt. Gotta get that sprinting muscle ready for November!

As always, reading is still a priority, with science fiction short stories and urban fantasy novels being the focus this month. I’ve also been listening to The Adventure Zone podcast, which has really eaten into my audiobook time, but it’s amazeballs so I have no regrets.

I actually have two full days off this week, and have a bit more free time than I really expected to, so I’m looking forward to getting some quality work done. Right at this moment I am so tired that this list looks awful ambitious, but hopefully I can manage some sleep tonight and wake up ready to take on my goals with renewed vigor.

I’m not one hundred percent what else I’ll have to share this week, but I’m sure something will come up.

Until then, Bloggos.



An Introduction to the New Novel

Trevor’s putting in some overtime today, so I find myself sitting at work on my day off, trying to make up for lost time.

I just typed up the intro to chapter 2. I knew it wasn’t much but it ended at 320 words, bringing the new manuscript up to 3,091 words. It’s crazy to think that I really am doing this all over again. All the time and emotion.

Writing the last novel was a completely new experience, and looking back it’s a complete blur. A haze of days and nights, some lost in the fervor of creation, and others spent staring at blank screens wondering what in the hell I think I’m doing. Playing at little miss author, faking it until I make it.

But, I did it. That manuscript is done. Just over 47,000 words. Short, I know, but for a YA that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And I do intend to add to the story in order to smooth some things out. It’ll probably just break 50k when it’s finally done.

But, enough about ‘Vessels’.

‘Cards’, the working title for the new novel is a different animal. Instead of a teenage girl  I’m writing about a middle-aged Widower, and now single father. Powerless in a world of hidden magic, Whit discovers a string of murders that no one wants to pursue, and while hunting down the killer his three year old daughter is taken for ransom. The climax will push Whit to find out just how much he’s willing to give up to save his daughter.

There. A little synopsis for you.

The major difference with this book so far is that I actually know where it’s going. I have a rough outline with key points, acting as a sort of map. With ‘Vessels’ it was like writing in the dark. I’d turn on the computer and get sucked into a world with so many opportunities for adventure that I was never really sure what would happen on any particular day. But, that was sort of Val’s personality, so it made sense.

‘Cards’ is very direct. At least so far. There’s a main storyline that is determined to be told. And I’m so excited to see how it grows.

As the outline sits right now this novel is the first in a potential series. Not sure how I feel about that. We’ll see when we get there. The book is still entirely stand alone, and who knows, by the end of this journey I might just decide to go big or go home.

When I read the outline I get excited. This book has so many subplots built in to it. Whit’s relationship with his daughter, with his Brother-in-Law, with his live-in nanny/potential love interest.

But, with my current schedule, it’s going to be much slower going. Although I did get to work almost an hour early the other day in order to write the outline. I was supposed to work at 8:30am, and rolled in at 7:30am. If that’s not writing commitment, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I’m going to stop blathering here, wasting time. I’ve got another novel to write!


A Reminder, Once Again


Once again I am reminded of how many awesome people I am surrounded by! Old friends, new friends, family, and loved ones. All of you are here, creating an intricate weaving of support and encouragement, with healthy doses of reality. I truly appreciate you all. Without your constant reminders of my own ability, I would have given up years ago.

As it is, I don’t see myself giving up any time soon. I’ve got the initial novel, which is just too ridiculously close to finishing to be allowed to fade away now. I have the poorly titled ‘Ghost Story’ which has taken on a life of its own, and may end up being my longest ‘short’ work yet. I now have ‘Vessels’ (also poorly named), which has ignited within me something I haven’t felt in a long time; drive.

To add to these works in progress are four ‘completed’ works. ‘Goodbye Marla’, ‘Wild Turkeys’, ‘You’ve Always Been Good at Crazy’, and ‘Fallen Star’, three of which have been published.

To add to these are the ideas. The mere outlines and inklings. An outer space comedy told in three parts, the epic fantasy trilogy, the young adult novel ‘Seashells’, as well as the young adult series currently referred to as ‘Realm Wars’… Trust me, I know it’s an awful title.

I feel like there might be more than what I’ve listed, but my brain honestly can’t remember. That’s what my binder is for. In it all my stories, in their various forms, are stored. Some are ‘completed’ copies, fresh and clean. Others are revised copies, waiting to be edited in the computer and replaced in the binder. Still others are in handwriting, scribbled on college rule over a multitude of hardly organized sheets. And then there are the very few that are just vague ideas written on the back of Starbucks receipt paper.

It’s all far too much for one brain to keep track of, at least without previous study.

Anyway, I’ve rambled too much. This post started out with the intent of thanking those who have been involved in keeping me afloat all these years. So let me end it thusly:

Thank you. All of you. Teachers turned mentors. Classmates turned friends. Coworkers turned editors. Family members turned cheerleaders. And readers turned fan club.

Without all of you, all of this would be over.