NaNoWriMo Day 2

Feeling really sluggish tonight, almost forgot I hadn’t written a blog post yet. Ooops.

Still doing better than expected, and yet I feel as though I’m not doing nearly enough. This is the danger of comparing yourself to others. Competition has it’s benefits but, Scorpio that I am, tend to obsess and then end up giving myself a panic attack (…which, not so Scorpio like. I blame my Moon being in Gemini).

So I will take deep breaths and remember that I am doing very well for someone who hasn’t been in the habit of writing for months. So all things considered, my progress should be good enough for me.

Target Word Count: 3334

Daily Word Count: 1698

Total Word Count:  4089

Scenes Completed: 1 2/4

I’d share a snippet but honest to God, I’m just not that brave right now. I would hate to subject any of you to my NaNoWriMo quality writing…or lack thereof.

To skip Midnight Write or not to skip Midnight Write…remains to be decided.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

So I may not be paying strict adherence to my Battle Plan in terms of exact timing, but so far? It’s actually working.

Not only is it working, but I’m ahead of the game.

I’m as shocked as you are.
Target Word Count: 1667

Daily Word Count: 2391

Total Word Count:  2391

Scenes Completed: 1


I’m taking a short break before my Midnight Write. And by break, I mean I’m going through my WIP playlist (which I intend to post) to get me in the best frame of mind for the next scene. It’s one I’ve been wanting to write for awhile.

NaNo Is Coming: The Battle Plan

Less than 4 hours ’til NaNoWriMo.

*cue internal screaming*

I am both excited and terrified. For the past 24 hours, my Inner Critic has been on full blast questioning every decision I’ve made to this point. That doesn’t make any sense! You want that subplot to go where? I don’t think so Private, move it next to that sad excuse you have for a plot twist. Is that how you’re planning to resolve that?! Drop and give me 20 better ideas! Your MC is being an idiot. Ok, now YOU’RE being an idiot. Who told you it was a good idea to kill that character off?  On second thought, maybe you should kill them all off, this is obviously not going to work. Are you listening to me?!

Did I mention my Inner Critic sounds like a Marine Drill Sergeant?

The answer is no. I’m not listening. Well, ok, I was listening for a little while…. when he was making some valid points. Now I’m convinced he’s just bitching for bitching’s sake. So I paid the Muse to strap him into a straight jacket and muzzle him, while she’s at it. What do you pay a Muse? I don’t know about yours, but mine accepts chocolate. The point is, it’s way too late in the game for me to be second-guessing a story that I’ve nearly second-guessed to death in the first place.

NaNo isn’t the Inner Critic’s fight. That comes later, Second Draft and beyond is his territory. When I need him, he will be the first person I call but that time isn’t now. Because NaNo is the Muse’s war, and she’s the only weapon/sibling in arms that you need. Chocolate may be enough to get her to do something she may have been inclined to do anyway, but I’m going to have to bring out the big guns to keep her invested for the entirety of November. (Especially since she knows it’s my birthday month and is therefore prone to distraction by celebrations. Doesn’t hurt that Muse likes ‘Big Guns’, either.)

So I’ve signed up for Yarny, pulled out my scene notecards, put together a list of questions to ask myself as I write each scene, assembled a playlist, put up NaNo banners on all my go-to websites for procrastination, and stocked up on inspiration-loaded images for those moments when nothing else will do.

But I’ve also got a plan…

I know, I know. This is NaNo…and “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” That’s ok, because I still think having a plan will ensure that *I* survive first contact with the enemy.

NaNoWriMo Battle Plan 2012

1. While I am striving for 50,000 words, this is not the “true” goal. The true goal is to get as much of Dirge’s first draft done as humanly possible during the month of November and using NaNo as a springboard to start writing every day. With the possible exception of weekends. I hereby vow not to berate myself if the daily 1668 word goal proves unattainable.

2. Having said that, I do want to challenge myself. So, my strategy for the 1668 daily word count goal are as follows: 500-1,000 words during the hours of 12 am – 3 am (I’m usually up anyway…) + another 500-1000 word sprint after my morning Rosetta Stone Russian lesson + another 200 words in the afternoon 4pm-7pm if possible.

3. I am not allowed to check e-mail, the NaNo forums, facebook, or tumblr for any reason whatsoever until I’ve finished a writing session. Twitter is a possible exception as my region is doing word wars and I’m hoping to participate. However, if this proves to be more of a hindrance than a help, I will forgo that as well.

4. I am not allowed to update my word count widget until I’ve finished a writing session. I usually am tempted to update it every 5 minutes, which in the short run, takes me out of the flow, and in the long run, ruins the impact and satisfaction of the seeing the progress bar increase by a large chunk because instead, I’ve been updating it inch by inch.

5. Have all my notes together BEFORE I sit down to write. Most importantly, the scene questions to help keep the plot moving.

6. When all else fails, music, and pictures, and music, and chocolate, and music.

7. It’s a good idea to have rewards. My rewards for finishing a session include reading (in this case, it’ll be A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin), and or watching an episode or two of whatever (in this case, it’ll mostly be The West Wing).
NaNo is Coming… Do you have a battle plan?

I’m on the Webfiction World Podcast …Stuttering about NaNoWriMo

Remember that podcast I mentioned a post ago?

Here’s the verdict…yes, there’s quite a few stumbling phrases and um’s and uh’s (32 in all if S. Winchester is to be believed…) but I didn’t do as terribly as I feared. I’m still kicking myself about a particular topic. I was asked a very good question: how my country influences my writing.

I botched it. It was an opportunity to say something really important and I botched it. Literally, I spewed a bunch of words together that was supposed to be this: Being from a country in which I am white and yet a minority is humbling and I’m thankful because it has given me a multicultural mindset. I am far more open than most writers to think consciously about this when it comes to character and world building. I think it’s a shame that POC (People Of Color) are not represented more in fiction and I make every attempt to include different cultures and ethnicities in my stories. Our culture caters to this ideal. People come from all over the world to vacation here and so we get a lot of opportunity to interact with all sorts of people with different viewpoints.

But alas…”I’m a writer, not a speaker!” 😛

I also have to say…despite not many considering themselves “readers”, Bahamians are some of the most creative people in the world. For instance, an old schoolmate of mine is making huge strives in visual entertainment through a group called Collage Entertainment. (They have a facebook page too) They’re making a movie called Get Charlie. A Bahamian movie! Using Bahamian culture!

You don’t understand, this is…a huge deal. I was lucky enough to have seen a small portion of the script because I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I loved what I saw. These guys, these guys are so funny and talented and I have every confidence they’re going to make a great movie.  During the elections, they did a spoof of what Bahamian Campaigning is like. I don’t remember laughing that hard in a long time.

I think even more than visual entertainment, there are few countries in the world that can rival our passion for music. From Papa Smurf +Who Dat, to Willis and the Illest, to TaDa, to Avante Garden. I never thought the day would come when we’d have a Bahamian Rock Band, but my countrymen are full of surprises.


You can listen to the podcast here. There’s a brief interview followed by a reading and a song and then a discussion on NaNoWriMo, which I’m officially donning my armor for.

But more on that later. How does your culture influence your writing, if at all?

Getting to know me…

Is really hard and I don’t envy any of you the task.

What the hell are you talking about, SJ?

I was recently invited as a guest on a podcast. Which podcast will remain a mystery until it’s been uploaded and I’ve had the chance to listen and discern whether or not I sounded like a complete moron. I get really formal when I’m nervous, and I’m never more nervous then when I have to talk about myself.

Which is beyond ridiculous, right? In theory, I should be the reigning expert on me!

In practice…”expert” sounds like a lot of stumbling phrases and broken off sentences that don’t so much end as just fall precariously to their not so sweet demise.

Not to mention I’m a Scorpio, so I’ve got that whole “mysterious” thing going on that doesn’t always lend itself to sharing.

And it wouldn’t even be so bad if I could just you know, chalk it up to being a terrible speaker. I could take some pride in that, retain some dignity while also unburdening myself from the responsibility and shame of not being up to par in areas outside my field.

“I’m a writer, not a public speaker!”

“I’m a writer, not a mathmagician!”

“I’m a writer, not your house keeper!”

No, seriously, I couldn’t be a house keeper. I don’t have it in me to be neat and orderly. Everything I touch turns to chaos.

It would be fine…except my last few “About” pages have been awkwardly stiff and formal as well. So, turns out I suck at writing about myself too. But with writing, like any thing, practice makes…if not perfect, then at least decent! Feel free to check out the newly renovated About page at the top. What do you think? I think it’s more “me”. Well, a less awkward “me” anyway.

What sort of things do you want to know about an author you’ve just stumbled upon? Do you like broad strokes or a more detailed, intimate look at what basically serves as a snapshot of their lives? Do tell.

The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch by Joely Sue Burkhart

A Zombie Category Romance

Because even zombies deserve a happily ever after

Self Published October 1, 2012.  NOTE:  In 4th quarter 2012, all proceeds will be donated to Rebuild Joplin to help with the tornado recovery.

Rich, gorgeous and powerful, renowned world-wide restaurateur Yiorgos Michelopoulos has it all. Except for the Midwestern ma-and-pa diner that somehow keeps winning the coveted fifth star over his own top-notch restaurants. The stubborn owner refuses to sell and beats him year after year. Infuriated, Yiorgos accepts the man’s risky bet, never knowing the secret to Remy’s success. Until it’s too late.

When he slips on the ring he won along with the diner, Yiorgos activates a curse that spreads decay through his body like a cancer.  Only someone of Remy’s blood can stop his zombie transformation, but the man died soon after losing his restaurant. Luckily, he did have one lone daughter. The plump, frumpy kitchen witch ought to be easy pickings for a playboy like Yiorgos Michelopoulos. But one taste of her Death By Chocolate cake might just be the death of him.

Devastated by the loss of her father, the family signet ring and their restaurant, Claire Remy’s only hope for supporting her mother is to earn a teaching spot at the Wizard Council’s Academy. Without the family signet ring, she must retain her virginity or lose her power entirely.

Which makes the gorgeous Greek a very dangerous man.

Disclaimer: I did not pay for this book, it was given to me as a review copy upon my request. Thank you Joely!

WARNING: DO NOT READ WHILE HUNGRY…or do the smart thing and have snacks at the ready. This is a dangerous book for foodies!

The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch is my kind of fairy tale: fun, heart-wrenching, and sexy all at the same time! If there’s anyone  I know who can pull of a Zombie Romance, I had absolute faith Joely was that author. Joely Sue Burkhart’s books are passionate and rooted in the sacrificial nature of love, which makes for engaging and emotionally stimulated reading. Added with her unique ability to sprinkle light-heated humor, a healthy dallop of tantalizing sex scenes, fascinating characters and world building dynamics, it’s all apart of why she’s my go-to author for romance.

Yiorgos is not your typical zombie, and he definitely doesn’t go around eating braaains, so for the HEA crowd, there’s less of an ick-factor. I say “less of” because there’s still the curse to contend with, but our “Alphahole” hero more than makes up for that with his wicked sexy and domineering charm. Clare Remy, our just-because-I’m-a-virgin-doesn’t-mean-I-have-to-take-your-bullshit heroine, is his perfect match, giving him tit for tat and more often than not a taste of his own medicine. There’s a scene in this book that will live on as one of my favorite scenes ever and it happens very early on, where Clare gets one over on Yiorgos with nothing more than…well, I wouldn’t spoil it for you. *g*

I honestly couldn’t tell which were yummier…the sex scenes or the cooking scenes.

While this book is definitely worth your time on it’s own merits, you should also know that all proceeds for the 4th quarter of 2012 will go towards restoring Joplin, which was devastated by a Tornado one year ago.

So please do treat yourself to this delicious fairytale. You can purchase The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch at either Smashwords, Amazon, or B&N.

Moving Right Along…

Wow. You know, I’m really a horrible blogger. It’s like I completely forget I even have a blog.

Except I don’t. I just obsess about what to post, and feel like I have nothing to say, and then weeks go by, and I post nothing, and then I feel guilty, and then I have a panic attack. It’s all great fun really.

I’m working on it. I’m even writing. It feels nice. I’m starting to feel like me again after months and months of feeling decidedly less me.

I even have some ideas for posts! Posts that don’t include me just rambling about how frustrated I am with Dirge! (Don’t fret Raining ink faithful, there will be plenty of that too.)

Also…just a heads up…

While I’m not formally accepting review requests anymore, I always make exceptions for friends and good causes. So expect to see a review of Joely Sue Burkhart’s The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch gracing my blog in the next couple of days. All proceeds will go towards rebuilding Joplin that suffered damages from a tornado last year. Not that I think you should need an incentive, Joely is my go-to romance author for a great read.

I’m also offering up posting space for A.M. Harte during November for her blog tour, to help kick off the release of Above Ground. That’s all I will have mental space for because I’m seriously contemplating doing NaNoWriMo this year because I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m not all quite here myself.

Sometimes I wonder who even allowed me on the internet with a fully functioning keyboard. Well I say fully-functioning, the ‘I’ key has been missing for a year…no I don’t like what that says about me either.

Time to get back to my notebook. I have a plot that needs unscrambling.

Farewells and Jump-starts

Today I put Black Sun Reviews out of its misery.

Don’t look at me like that with those judging eyes. If anything, it was a mercy killing.

In truth, I feel a weight’s been lifted.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to every author who trusted me to read their work and pour out my feelings on said work to the world at large. Er, well, at least to my humble corner of the blogosphere. It was an incredible learning experience and I found so many wonderful authors, mentors, and friends through the process.

Unfortunately, keeping BSR running burned me out and took time away from my writing that I can no longer afford to spend. So I said goodbye.

As a writer, you’ll spend most of your life making choices between commitments. There is always a choice, but know that there are consequences to every choice you make. More often than I care to admit, I’ve put something else above the writing and while I’ve never once regretted helping others, my work has suffered for my choice. And when the work suffers? I suffer.

It’s what all those authors mean when they preach about “protecting the work”.

I’m cutting back as many commitments as I can so that I can focus on the writing (and the drawing). I want to do more with this blog, I think there’s a lot of potential that I haven’t tapped into. I’d also really like to participate in Coyote Con this year, even if only as a viewer. I’m tentatively thinking about NaNoWriMo, but not looking to set myself up for failure. I’ve stalled too often to know that too much pressure too soon can put my muse in a muzzle and straitjacket.

For now, I’m taking it slow: assembling playlists, brainstorming blog topics, practice sketches on the art blog, and putting together story notes on Evernote.

So don’t let me sleep ’till September ends, ’cause I’ve got work to do.

Goodbye Springnote…

I’m one of those people that can’t keep a journal. I’ve tried. I just don’t do well with them.

One of the major reasons being that my hand writing is not exactly legibile. I’m being kind here. Also, my brain seems to prefer the process of typing than writing long hand. Which is odd, because I’m also a sketch artist who takes to drawing by hand better than digitally with a tablet. I’m not sure what that says about me.

Rather than try to force the issue, I thought I’d flow with the current and try my luck with journaling software. For the past six months or so, I’ve been happily using Springnote.

Unfortunately, Springnote recently announced they would be closing their services as of September 27th. You can register for a backup of your documents as of today, apparantly, but since the instructions are vague and the process is lenghty, I just said screw it, downloaded Evernote and manually copied and pasted all of my files over.

I’m sad to see the service go but am pretty content with Evernote. There’s some cool features I haven’t played around with yet but I’ll get to that. For now, I’m just focusing on organizing my series notes and getting back on track before September 1st.

How do you keep organized? Do you work better long hand or by keyboard? On a scale of controlled chaos to anal retentive, how specific is your process during the planning stages?


How the hell are y’nna?


Well, let’s stick to the positive. The good news is this: I’m no longer stuck at a job that was deteremined to suck the life out of me, I have lots of free time to work on things that actually matter to me, and  I may have found a way of fixing my issues with Paypal so I can accept commissions, which will go a long way towards helping my financial situation.

So, I’m back to the grindstone and sticking it out for the long haul. Because if the last few months have taught me anything it’s that I need to write, for my sanity.

Got a lot of cool things planned for the next few weeks, but more on that tomorrow.

For those of you who have stuck with me, thank you. It’s good to be back.