2018 Camp Nano Wrap-Up

Hurray! We’ve reached the end of the month! For those who participated in Camp Nano, I hope you had fun. Even if you didn’t reach your goals, writing is one of those perpetually rewarding efforts and, I daresay, an adventure all on its own.

Whether you fought ogres or flew through space (or fought space ogres), you explored the limits of your imagination, if not sleep deprivation. The great secret of any Nano project isn’t that you reach 50,000 words, but that you wrote at all. If you’ve got one paragraph or three hundred pages, you already crossed the finish line.

For me, I managed to reach the end of my editing project – The Soul Between Us – and got 3/4’s of my fantasy novel completed. It was great fun posting snippets up here, even if I did taper off toward the end of the month.

I should be finished with Castle of Three Kings in the next week or so, and then I’ll be taking a few days off to research/market/all the things other writers somehow find the time to do while still drafting their novels. You know… query letters. And synopsis writing.

Ugh, synopsis writing.

If you’re still working on your Camp Nano stuff (it’s the 31st, after all) then I am cheering you on! Have imaginary confetti! Better yet, write an inexplicable explosion of fireworks in the middle of your scene. You can edit it out later and it’ll give you a few dozen words to add to that word count.

And don’t forget to have fun!

Week 3 Camp Nano – July 2018

As I mentioned earlier, I’m doing two projects this year for Camp Nano. The editing project – The Soul Between Us – is nearly finished. I will likely have the completed third draft by Sunday afternoon.

The first draft of Castle of Three Kings has taken a turn I did not expect. The outline has to be completely reworked (or tossed out the window) and while I believe this is a good thing, it also means I will likely not get the draft done by the end of the month.

I’m still going to try.

I mean, after Sunday I will only have the one project to work on. If I bust my butt, I should be able to do it.

As always, if you’re participating this year, then I wish you the best of luck. Keep writing! Keep drowning in caffeine. Keep snacking on unhealthy things because you don’t have time to cook.

Your family will forgive you next month.

** Snippet – The Soul Between Us **

He swept the back of the room twice with his light, finding nothing but old chairs and a cabinet. Tessa went still beside him, her light trained on the corner by the door. Cordon directed his light there too, stiffening as he took in the familiar shape of the soldier standing there.

Unease roiled in his gut. The man looked more solid this time, the shades of his uniform clearer. Desert shades, if Cordon wasn’t mistaken. He’d seen enough news reports to recognize it. There was blood on his chest that looked fresh and Cordon took a protective step in front of Tessa.

Reaching for the first words he could think of Cordon said; “We don’t want any trouble.”

“You mean you see him too?” Tessa whispered.

“Yeah, I see him,” Cordon said. “Last time he ran before I could ask him anything.”

That wasn’t quite right. The soldier hadn’t run anywhere, he’d just disappeared.

“But Cordon…”

Not liking the way the soldier continued to stare at them, unmoving in his bloody uniform, Cordon ignored Tessa and spoke again. “Are you hurt or something?”

Tessa tugged on his jacket sleeve but he wouldn’t turn away from the threat.

“Cordon, that’s Cabby.”

The name struck him in the chest and Cordon gripped his flashlight harder. “That’s not possible, Tessa. Cabby has nothing to do with this place. There’s no reason he would be here, ghost or not.”

Good God, they needed to get out of this place.

The soldier took a step forward, his movements just as unsteady as before, only now Cordon could see why. It was a limp; a staggering, uneven limp as the soldier was forced to drag his left foot forward. He reached out a burnt and gnarled hand and the wind began to pick up.

Only it was a wind coming from the doorway, from the soldier and not from the window. It howled at them, creating little dervishes in the corners and whipping up dirt to fling into their faces. Cursing, Cordon ducked his head, trying to shield his eyes from the worst of it. He could feel Tessa gripping his arm but through the haze of watery eyes and dust he couldn’t see her face. She seemed to be ducking her head as well because he thought he could make out her ear.

An ache settled in his chest and for a second he feared he was having a heart attack.

But he was only thirty. Thirty-year-old men did not have heart attacks.

There were no such things as ghosts either but when he lifted his head, intent on checking the soldier’s position, he found the man a foot away and looking far more apparition-like than before. His skin was translucent gray, like all the color had been leached out of him, and as Cordon continued to stare he could see the wall behind him. It was as if he’d been transposed in a photograph – there but not quite there – and Cordon’s chest ached all the more.

The eyes were the worst; two horrible shadowed holes with no color to speak of.

“Oh, Cabby,” Tessa’s voice managed to reach him over the wind and Cordon tensed.

There’s no such thing as ghosts. And then, because he needed to say it out loud; “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

In response, the soldier took a jerky step forward, crowding into Cordon, arms wrapping around him as though in a grab or a hug. But instead of a solid grip, Cordon felt icy tendrils sink into his skin, burrowing down and coiling around his bones. The ache in his chest intensified and a sensation like having his veins frost over began slithering its way up his arms and over his shoulders. He heard Tessa’s voice but couldn’t make out what she was saying.

 

Camp Nano Week 2 Progress Report – July 2018

My combined word count is sitting at 38,299 words, which is awesome. I’m nearing the end of the editing project and should have it completed by the end of next week. Which is exactly where I wanted to be.

For the YA fantasy novel, I’m a chapter behind. Sort of.

Which means that I deviated from the outline and am making up for it.

The second week of Nano is “make or break” time for me. The energy from the first week tapers off and it’s pure work instead of inspiration. If I don’t kick myself in the pants and get moving, the projects get left behind and I don’t get my cookie at the end of the month.

I hope anyone else participating this year managed to push forward. You got this!

As promised, below is a snippet of one of the projects. This one is from The Soul Between Us. A romance ghost story thing.

**

Cordon stiffened beside her, bending down to peer at the camcorder image. “What was that?”

“What?” She asked, blinking at the image too. “What was what?”

“Can you rewind it?” He asked, but his attention had switched to the doorway.

Tessa flipped through functions until she could play back the last two minutes. They both watched the screen, which had a view of the open doorway and several cots. At one minute and ten seconds, a form crossed in front of the doorway and every little hair Tessa had stood on end. Roughly 5’8” and with the general form of a person, it stepped from left to right, barely illuminated by the camcorder’s light.

She lowered the camera and glanced at Cordon, who released her waist and straightened.

“Who’s there?” He asked, shining his light at the door. “Marisol?”

“That was too tall to be Marisol, don’t you think?”

“Tyler?” Cordon tried again.

When there was no answer Tessa eyed the doorway, willing whoever it was to come back and present themselves. “It’s probably one of the others trying to freak us out,” she said.

“Yeah, or a transient.”

“You think a homeless person would want to come here?”

“Homeless is homeless, Tess. And there’s a storm coming on.”

“Awesome,” Tessa said. “Remind me to punch Marisol in the face.”

“Whoever it was seems to have moved off,” he said. “And I’m tired of being here already. Let’s head back.”

“God, yes,” she said, more relieved than she wanted to let on. She didn’t have to believe in ghosts to admit that seeing the video had been creepy, and now it felt like they were being watched or something. The spot between her shoulder blades tingled and gooseflesh kept racing up her arms and neck.

Shoving the camcorder into her jacket pocket, she walked behind Cordon, who led the way out of the room. He checked both ends of the hallway with his light, but as far as they could see no one was there. Which was good because Tessa might have hit whoever it was on sight, transient or not. Trying to relax, she fell into step with Cordon as they made their way out of the critical wing and back to the stairs.

Camp NaNo – July 2018

Camp NaNo started yesterday and I’m already ahead of the game. To those of you who may be participating this year, I wish you luck!

Put your headphones on, drown out the world, and create as only you can create.

For those of you who may not know what Camp Nano is, let me go ahead and tell you. This is an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month, but the concept is the same, you try to write 50,000 words in the month of July.

Or, if you’re like me, you take the month to challenge yourself into finishing multiple projects.

This year I am finishing up my young adult fantasy novel, Castle of Three Kings, and I intend to wrap up the 3rd edit of my romance thriller/ghost story, The Soul Between Us.

I’ll be posting end of the day snippets on Facebook, just for fun and to keep the energy/momentum going. Because it’s fun, I’ll be posting weekly progress reports every Saturday/Sunday that may or may not include longer snippets.

In any case, I’m off to work again. Happy writing, everyone!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo – July 2017

Camp-2017-Winner-Profile-PhotoThis year for Camp NaNoWriMo I chose to focus on revising/rewriting the ending of Dead Weight, the sequel to Tapped. I gave myself a modest goal of 30,000 words, which I surpassed.

However, sitting 3 days away from the end of the July I can say that the first week of August will have to deal with the last chapter or so of the book. Even if I could ignore the fact that I’m a parent and let my child live off Ramen noodles and chocolate donuts, I’m not sure I can write 4 chapters in three days.

Well … maybe I could, but they would be 4 really awful chapters and that would defeat the purpose of revision/rewriting.

So while the word count goal was met, the overall goal of revising the entire novel was not. I still verified my word count and earned my little banner and whatnot from Camp NaNoWriMo because I did participate and … rewards are important.

To anyone else who may have participated this month … Congratulations! Whether you met your goal or not, you got words on paper and that’s what’s important.

To anyone who is flirting with the idea of participating in one of these … I hope you do. I can encourage you to check out NaNoWriMo in November because that’s the big one everyone participates in. And yes, I’ll be there again in November, tackling a completely different project.

For now, however, I have 4 chapters to complete on Dead Weight, new words to write on Song of Swans, and Trenna fans will be pleased to know that the editor got back to me on Usurper so I am knee deep in revisions there as well.

Usurper is scheduled for release in February 2018 and will be available in all digital forms as well as paperback. It is the third installment of the Sedition series featuring Trenna and her husband Nelek as they battle through politics, magic, war, and perhaps the most frightening of all; family.

Since Usurper is put out by Wings ePress, it’s all on the publisher’s schedule and more information will be relayed as it comes to me.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

 

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Nuisance will likely keep me from working too much this April.

April 1st signals the start of another Camp NaNoWriMo, which is one of those events I look forward to. If you’ve never heard of it, you can visit their page here. In short, they’re kind of an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month, they just take certain months throughout the year to have another little get-together for writers.

 

You can work on a brand new novel or you can do what I’m going to be doing this year … Editing/rewriting a novel. I hope to have all of the original work edited by April 30th so that all of May can be spent on new chapters.

Currently, I am wrapping up the last 3 chapters of Usurper and will have that manuscript completed on March 28th.

Why March 28th?

Well, because I’m going on vacation that day. I could get some work done on the plane if I

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Pest will likely crawl in my lap and force me to work. 

wanted, and likely will, but I’d rather have the bulk finished before the first boarding call. That way I can enjoy said vacation and return home relaxed and ready to tackle Camp NaNoWriMo.

 

If you’ve never tried any of the writing months and you’ve been toying around with the idea, I highly recommend one of the camps. They are a bit more relaxed than the big event in November and, at least for me, I tend to celebrate any work that gets on paper that month.

 

 

About Dead Magic

That’s right … I have TWO books coming out next month. I’m not even sure what order they’ll be in. I do know I wrote Deviation first, which probably means Dead Magic will come out first … just cause that’s how things go most of the time.

Dead Magic is the sequel to Witch-Born. That’s my steampunky fantasy thing about … you guessed it … witches.

Well, not the sorts of witches you and I might be accustomed to. When I set out to write the book I was tired of the stereotypes witches tend to be sequestered to. You know; old, warty, pointed hats, eating children. I was even tired of the beautiful and misunderstood witch constantly having to hide who they were to avoid burning at the stake.

So! I made my witches nobility. Not only were they revered as the upper echelon of society, their magic had a purpose — sustaining the wards that kept the people safe.

Witch-Born was a joy to write. I wrote it for the 2008 National Novel Writing Contest and, funnily enough, it was the first year I won. (Brief shout-out, if you don’t know about NaNoWriMo then please, please click through. Go see what they’re about. Because they’re awesome.)

I had no intentions of making a sequel to Witch-Born, really I didn’t. Until one day I was fiddling with an old pocket watch and it broken in my hands. I know that seems like an odd reason to start a sequel but … hey, I’m a writer. I can’t explain why inspiration hits when it does. All I know is that I was staring at the little cog-work bits in my hands and Lord Winslow Agoston’s plight against the Wild began telling itself in my head.

As far as sequels go, Dead Magic was supremely difficult to write. I knew that I wanted it to conclude the story I began in Witch-Born, I didn’t want it to be a massive series like Sedition and Tapped are turning out to be. I wanted a pair of books that fit neatly together, but I also wanted to tell a fresh story.

So, while Dorian and Elsie have a major part to play in Dead Magic, this is mostly Winslow and Valeda’s story. Fans of Witch-Born will recognize Winslow’s name, but Valeda is a new creature entirely. She’s a newspaper woman hunting down the story of Magic’s disappearance. I fell in love with her from the first scene I wrote and I hope readers will feel the same way. She’s spunky and strong without being one of those overt-fighter-women that … ahem … I tend to write a lot of.

I learned a lot of things while writing Dead Magic but perhaps the most important aspect was the issue of time. Magnellum (the world in which Dead Magic and Witch-Born takes place) has changed in years between each book. There are new buildings and new people and new conflicts brewing throughout. Focusing on how Magnellum had changed helped me immensely as I was writing, but focusing on how those changes affected each character helped the world come to life.