Monday, November 27, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - November Wrap-Up

I think it's safe to say that the goals I set at the beginning of November and my NaNoWriMo plans are a complete wash. I was so swamped at work, I'm still catching up with my normal job in addition to the mound of stuff that I was slammed with, that I didn't do much of anything outside of work, eat dinner, and sleep. That is a really crappy way to spend a month. I miss writing. I miss all of my friends that I've met through writing. I focused on self-care during this month, because of the stress and the high number of hours that I've been working that I don't normally work. It served to remind me that I would, actually, rather be writing. That is my goal. My dream.

We are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season, with the busiest part ahead of us. With the New Year, there are new Goals and resolutions that will be made - to lose weight, be healthier, be kinder, be richer, to travel more, to travel less, to buy a new house or car - or both. I am in the process of setting my goals for 2018, they aren't definitive yet. I will share those later. But, those goals revolve around my goal - my dream - of being a full time writer. Whatever your dream is, that is what you should be following - unless it's illegal/unethical/immoral - then there could be some issues.

As we enter the last week of November, my goals this week are fairly simple. I'm making them with the knowledge that finding the motivation to write every day is easy if you write every day, but it's extremely difficult and somewhat overwhelming if you stop - whatever the reason.  I found a podcast that I've been listening to on the way to and from work and when I walk - Writing Excuses - hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal  - in Season 11, Episode 4 - here - Mary mentioned that starting writing again was like going to the gym for the first time in a while - you have to start small.

Currently, my daily goal is to write for an hour every day, which doesn't seem overwhelming - it doesn't feel overwhelming to me - mentally or physically, yet I don't do it. So, with that in mind, and that I still have a fairly busy schedule at my day job for the next 2 weeks or so, I'm resetting my goals:

- Write 15 minutes every day
- Read 30 minutes a day
- Spend 15 minutes a day on the series bibles.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season.


Monday, November 20, 2017

From the Writer's Desk -- Thank You1

Every day I'm grateful for not only for my abilities to write, but the chance to meet and interact with all of the readers, authors, publishers, and editors that I have met since I began seriously writing.  I am incredibly blessed, Thank You.

Monday, November 13, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - It's November!!

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month Started almost two weeks ago.  It's something I've participated in for years. I've yet to win -- completing 50,000 words in one month, but I always try. This year, I started. I have 63 words on new project. Not only am I stuck on it, I have been working a lot of over time this month at the day job. It's our busy season. So, my NaNo participation became - well, if I write - I write, if I don't - I don't. I'm sure there are those people out there who can work 10 to 12 hours a day plus a commute and deal with kids  - and probably a spouse - and come home and cook dinner and still have time to write - I'm not that person anymore. It's draining and I end up half-assing everything, which isn't good for anybody. So, self care comes first. If I can write, I do. If I can't, I don't. I still set a goal to write one hour every day or 7 hours a week.

This weekend, I did absolutely no writing, however, I did spend almost 6 hours working on my Series Bibles for several of the series I have in the works in addition to the 3 hours of research I did over the course of the week. So, that goal has been met, even if I didn't write a word towards NaNo.

My goal this week is to write 7 hours on the same writing project - either the NaNo project, Behind the Masque, or Marked.  I'm still working on my New Year Purge, I'm finding it very freeing to get rid of stuff, condense, and organize things.

Monday, October 16, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - Mid-October Check-In

A walnut Davenport desk with burl veneer. 19th century.

Hard to believe that it's mid-October already. Two weeks until Halloween and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - you can learn more about that here). This week is also GRL - GayRomLit, and while I wish I could be there, I know I'll get back there eventually and I have met some of the most amazing people there.

I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo, I hope to go to some of the write-ins, but I don't always make those, because there are days when it's hard to be around people or in confined/tight places. But, I enjoy writing with others. I miss the writers retreats I went on before I got super busy in the fall - R was in marching band in high school.

This past week, my goals were to spend 7 hours writing or on writing related tasks.

I spent 8 hours on writing related things - some writing, organizing, work on my website, and research. I spent 3 hours and 45 minutes writing. I spent another 10 hours on research and organization not related to writing. So, goal met, although, not nearly as much writing as I'd like to get done.

The second goal, was to tackle one declutter task a day. Sort of. I missed one day, but then I started a larger task and still haven't finished it. So, maybe not.

I finished "The Write Type" by Karen Peterson. It was pretty good. I learned some new things. Others were confirmed, and some of it didn't apply to me.

Goals this week are a lot like last week:

Spend 7 hours writing or on writing related tasks. - Aim for more writing than writing related tasks.

Tackle one declutter/purge task every day.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Midsummer's Dreaming

Midsummer's Dreaming

Hayle St. James’ refusal to continue living a lie when he is confronted by his family about being gay finds him on the back of a motorcycle riding through a forest in the middle of the night. What he finds will either make everything worthwhile or break his heart.

Leife O’Neill has finally found the perfect man. A man who loves him for him. Hayle is everything he could want in a partner. Too many things stand in their way. On the night that Leife wants to declare Hayle is his, reality and responsibility collide with anger and jealousy and more than one heart is on the line.

Stopping in the middle of the forest to make love under a full moon seemed romantic, however, Hayle and Leife quickly learn that they are not alone and not everything is as it seems. One man watches and waits for the opportunity to confront the man he loves, while another is forced to face the consequences of his actions and fear. In the span of one night everything changes, no one is certain of anything anymore and everyone’s lives are changed.


“Is it true?”

Hayle St. James blinked and looked across the dinner table at his father. Anger and hatred washed across his father’s normally stoic face. Hayle’s stomach bottomed out, dread weighing him down. Dread rushed through his veins as he processed his father’s question and hoped he was wrong. “Is what true?” Hayle asked, swallowing around the lump in his throat.

“Don’t play dumb with me boy!” Elliot St. James shouted, pounding his fist on the table. “You know what I’m talking about. You’re the same as the Royce’s oldest boy. An abomination!”

Fear settled in Hayle’s chest and made breathing difficult. “I’m not an abomination,” he replied, trying to keep the apprehension and pain from his voice.

“Are you one of those sex-craving deviants? An affront to God?” Elliot demanded. “Get down on your knees and swear you are not a homosexual—that the rumors I’ve heard are false.”

“Being gay isn’t wrong or evil,” Hayle answered, hedging his answer. He didn’t want to admit to his father what he’d known since practically the beginning of puberty, but hadn’t accepted himself until a couple of years ago. His father’s reaction was most of the reason
he’d never came out to his family. Why he’d never planned on coming out to his family. Why only a handful of people knew the truth about his sexuality.

“It is a sin against God and nature,” Elliot said. “Confess it and repent, or deny it, and we will forget about it.”

Hayle stared at his father then turned his attention to his mother and his younger brother and sister. How easy would it be to deny the truth? To remain hidden, to keep the love and affection he had from his family. What would it cost him? Hayle squeezed his eyes shut. His lover’s words came back to him. Never be ashamed of who you are, of who you love. Being gay isn’t evil or wrong. If anything it’s different, but not wrong. Leife O’Neill had captured his heart and had won his trust. Taking a deep breath, praying he was making the right choice, Hayle shook his head. “No.”

“No, you aren’t gay. Good then you can stay away from¾

“No, I’m not evil. I won’t confess to something that isn’t wrong.”

“You’re making no sense boy,” Elliot ground out, hatred and disgust evident.

Hayle took a deep breath and prayed for strength. “I’m gay, not evil.”

His mother gasped, his siblings broke down crying and his father’s face turned red with rage. “You¾how¾what¾” he sputtered.

“I’m gay. I’ve always been gay,” Hayle said quietly. “I’m not evil or sex-craving. I simply prefer men over women.”

“He can be fixed, can’t he?” Hayle’s ten-year-old sister Anya asked. “Can’t he, dad? You can fix him.”

“I’m not broken, Anya, I’m different,” Hayle replied.

“Don’t you speak to her! You’ll corrupt her. Turn her from the church and the family,” his father said before turning to his siblings.  “Anya, Kyle, go to your rooms. Now!” he ordered.

“God will fix you,” Kyle said with all of the belief and confidence of a twelve-year-old as the pair left the kitchen.

“You will renounce it this instance!” Elliot demanded.

“Renounce it?” Hayle asked incredulously. “This isn’t citizenship or religion. It’s biology. My beliefs haven’t changed. Nothing about me has changed. I’m still the same person I have always been.”

“You will renounce this abomination or you will get out of my house! I will not have a sin against God in my house!”

“I am not a sin. I’m a person. I’m not evil or an abomination,” Hayle exclaimed, standing. Why couldn’t his family accept him? It wasn’t like he was serial killer or child molester or did drugs or alcohol.

“Get out of my house!” Elliot St. James yelled, leaping up from his seat, the chair clattering to the floor behind him. “If you don’t straighten out and ask for forgiveness you’re no son of mine.”

“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Hayle protested.

Pain shattered his face, taking his vision out of focus. The force of the blow sent him stumbling back into the corner of the kitchen counter. Wood pierced his skin through his t-shirt. His dad stepped closer, trapping him. Blood trickled down his back as the countertop dug farther into his flesh.

“Elliot, stop!” his mother Laura screamed.

Hayle’s hand automatically covered his eye and cheekbone where his father had hit him. Hayle squeezed his eyes shut and slowly opened them. His world was crumbling around him. Hatred showed in his father’s eyes before he retreated to the living room.

“Give him a couple of hours to cool down. Pray about it, pray for God to rid you of this,” his mother said. “How could you do this to him? To me?” She looked from him to the direction his father had gone.

“To you? Do you honestly think this is a choice?” Hayle asked. “Do you think I wanted this? That I haven’t prayed to be straight? But I’m not. Nothing is going to change that. And I haven’t done anything to you. I didn’t renounce you, dad, the church, or anything else.”

“You have to leave. I can’t have him angry and hurt. And this,” she waved a hand over him “needs to remain clear of Anya and Kyle. Go see the pastor. He will know what to do,” Laura said, looking back to the living room.

“I’m not broken mom,” Hayle said quietly.

“You need to leave. This is his house.”

Monday, October 9, 2017

From the Writer's Desk - October Already!

I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that not only is October already - an
d the 2nd week at that - but my kid, R, turns 19 today. S/he was born two days late during Typhoon Zeb and has become an amazing young adult. Compassionate, kind, spirited, resilient, strong, considerate, courageous, and beautiful.

S/he also shares, which means s/he gave me  her/his two-day cold.  That combined with some sort of office ick, tried very very hard to turn into bronchitis. I'm over the coughing for the most part - love antibiotics - but my lungs haven't completely recovered. So, I'll head back to the doctor this week to see what's going on.

My friends Brynn and Dakota ran the Pumpkin run this year, and while talking to Brynn later I committed to walking the Color Run next summer. The surgeon who replaced my torn ACL, said no running. But walking is good. So is the elliptical. And maybe as I lose weight, I can start running. If not, that's okay. I'll walk. So, I'm walking the Color Run in the summer, and next fall, R and I plan on walking the VA's Suicide Awareness 5K.

In addition to my weekly goals, which don't really seem to vary a whole lot right now, I decided to set some monthly goals. I really really want to finish Behind the Masque this month - I've been wanting to finish it for most of the year.  In an ideal world, I could get it done in a week if I write 8 hours a day, or 2 weeks if I write  4 hours a day - which is probably more realistic of the two options. However, I do have a day job, so, hopefully by the end of the month.

As long as I make some progress on Marked, I'll be happy. I write that long hand at lunch and on my breaks at work. The notebook stays in my bag and goes everywhere with me, so I can either write or read depending on where I am and what I'm doing/waiting for.

Last year, a friend of mine did what she called a "New Year Purge" as Samhain marks the beginning of the Pagan New Year. This year my goal is to tackle every room in my house and declutter and purge everything that I don't need or doesn't have a valid reason for remaining. It does a couple of different things for me - cuts ties with my past, frees me from stuff, and will make moving easier when that happens. Which, could be sooner rather than later as the park has started to tear down the trailers on my street.  Rumor has it's either to bring new trailers in or because the airport wants the property - but there is a freight rail line between us and the  airport without any sort of natural hill or valley, so probably not. Either way, eventually I want to move. Into a real house.

I'm reading The Write Type by Karen Peterson and Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. The first is the second writing craft book Ms. Peterson has written, and I have found it insightful. The second is dark fantasy, and very interesting.  I'm hoping to finish both of these this month.

So, my weekly goals this week are to spend  7 hours writing or on writing related tasks and tackle one decluttering task everyday.

Accountability --

The week of September 18th -- I wrote 5 1/2 hours and spent 4 hours on research and 1 on character development.

The week of September 25th -- I wrote 1 1/2 hours and spent 7 hours researching.

The week of October 3rd -- I wrote for 1 hour. -- I got sick on the 29th.

I have today - Federal Holiday. My city renamed it Indigenous American day - I'm good with that.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Some Passing Thoughts on Life

Some days if I stare at a blank page and a flashing courser long enough, words come and the make sense. Today is not one of those days. So, I leave you with the words of other people.

I bookend my days in gratitude, things I keep to myself.  I am grateful for all of the wonderful people I've met over the years. Many who have shown that no matter how hard things get, it will get better.