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Celebrate The Small Things

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Celebrate The Small Things, is a weekly blog hop, wherein we post our celebrations, big and small, every Friday. Thanks to our host VikLit and my fellow co-hosts Diana Wilder, LG Keltner@Writing Off the Edge, and Katie@TheCyborg Mom for all their hard work!

With only a week left in October, I have to ask myself, where has time gone? I can’t believe NaNoWriMo is in one week! And I had planned to participate this year, except now I don’t know if I have the energy for it. Hopefully, the weekend start will be enough to get me into gear.

So what am I celebrating?

  1. Got my plane ticket booked for the Christmas holidays, and only at a minor inconvenience of switching airlines, as everything else was sold out. My fault for waiting this long to get my travel plans in order.

  2. Have been really enjoying Japanese restaurant near work. Highly recommend trying tsukumen if you have never before!

  3. Democracy. It’s something I take for granted, I suppose. It’s not a perfect system and being able to choose your own leader does not always mean you get a good one. But seeing how hard the students are fighting for it in Hong Kong, and continue to fight, makes me think that I’m lucky enough to not have to fight for it.

Some photos from one of the protest sites …

Admiralty

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What are you celebrating this week? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What preparations have you made leading up to it? I’m maggie_hk over at the NaNo site if you want to be buddies!

 


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Calling All Authors – An IWSG Post

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2When I started this blog, it was as much to inspire me as well as others.  I had the idea for Behind The Scenes a while back, as a way to feature writers and give other people a glimpse into their journeys. But I lost sight of things and never went ahead with the series. I suppose I was also afraid people would think my questions were silly and that I’m not very good at interviewing people, which brings me to the topic of my IWSG post for this month.

I’m looking for more authors to interview, for what I hope will be a long-running series, Behind The Scenes. Anyone interested?

C. Lee McKenzie has been wonderful enough to kick this series off, giving me the chance and the renewed confidence to attempt this. You can find her interview here to see what you’re getting yourself into (or just to learn more about Lee and her writing journey!)

As writers, we are always riddled with insecurities, some moments of elation, followed by more doubts, and then those hurrah moments–a crazy rollercoaster ride on its own. Still, they say it’s the journey that matters and not the destination. And so I’m curious to hear about your journey and I think others will be, too.

If you’re interested, please contact me using the contact form or leave me with your contact information in the comments section. I hope to hear from you!

You can also find me on Twitter:

 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts for August are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom! Thank you all for your hard work!
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You Win Some, You Lose Some – An IWSG Post

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Thanks to our host, the Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his awesome co-hosts for July: Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson for all their hard work!

As we reach the halfway mark of the year, I thought it’d be interesting to talk about goals and check in with everyone on their progress: Are you on track, falling behind, happy with your progress despite everything?

For myself, I hit a setback in June as I didn’t meet any of my writing goals. Life happens, things come up, other things have to be prioritized, and those few pages of edits and research…Do they really count as accomplishing something? I tell myself that yes, they do; that somehow they are all the bits and pieces that have to happen in order for me to achieve my goal. But am I deluding myself? I don’t know. All I know is that goals aren’t achieved overnight. We have to keep on working and moving towards them, even if it’s at a slow pace. As the ever-wise Gandalf said: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

What’s your process in trying to meet your goals? How do you deal with the adversities and missed deadlines?

And to everyone who’s participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this July, good luck!


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Short Story for Fiction Writing Class

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This week, I’m celebrating the end of Start Writing Fiction in Futurelearn, one of the MOOC’s I’m taking. For our last assignment, we were asked to write a 750-1000 word story. As a slow writer who tends to mull things over for a long time before getting anything down, this is tough, especially with the word count constraint. I considered using one of my stories as a base for the assignment but without much editing, it’s probably going to come off as an excerpt instead of a story on its own, so I decided to start from scratch.

 

Here’s what I ended up with:

Aidan looked up as Colleen walked in the door. She looked tanned and beautiful in her white sundress. It had been a long time since he saw her laugh—a genuine laugh and not the kind that barely reached her eyes. It pained him to realize being away from him was the change she needed.

“How was Florence?” he asked but she didn’t pay him any attention as she headed straight to the bar, pouring herself a drink. Aidan watched as she gulped the liquid down in one go.

“You shouldn’t be drinking. It’s not good for the baby.” He tried to snatch the glass from her hand but she was too swift for him. “God damn it, Colleen!” Over the last few weeks, it had been increasingly difficult for him to get through to her. Colleen refused to tell him anything, preferring instead to keep up with the pretense of being the perfect married couple. And that was exactly what they were—perfect on the outside but flawed on the inside.

He remembered the first time he saw her, that was nearly thirteen years ago now. She was the new girl in school and he thought she was the prettiest girl he’d ever seen, with her sun gold hair and clear blue eyes. He was a good head shorter than she was then, with wire-rimmed glasses and the self confidence that came with being the school’s biggest geek. He sat next to her in two of his classes and the days she’d flashed her smile at him when she copied off him were the happiest of his school days.

Of course, he didn’t learn until years later, during their ten-year high school reunion that she did not remember him at all. Two years he’d sat next to her, two years she’d copied off his tests and assignments, flashing him the best and brightest smile she only reserved for jocks, to learn that she had no recollection of him at all. He supposed he had changed much by then. Gone were the thick glasses, replaced with contacts and while he was only a few inches taller than she, he had that wizened look about him and the air of confidence that only money could buy.

Barely two years out of college and he was a millionaire, having developed a security system that blew all the competition to the dust. That, coupled, with some wise investments, had shoot him up to become what he’d never imagined he’d be during his teenage years—an eligible bachelor. When women started seeing him as attractive, he guessed it was artificial, probably more to do with his money than anything else. He might have grown up but there still was nothing arresting about him. He had the same boyish, ruddy face and thin lips. His light brown hair had a tendency to curl and it only added all the more to the impression of a boy who was barely out of high school.

Colleen changed all that. She made him feel like he was the same high school boy and that grown up man, all at once. She’d listened attentively as he talked and had rebuffed every other man’s attention, allowing him to monopolize her time for the better part of the night. He’d confessed he had the biggest crush on her in high school and her musical laugh was all the response he got. Still, it made him feel wonderful to finally have her next to him, laughing with him, seeing him for the man that he truly was.

“You’re back early.” Aidan turned to find Spencer, his securities specialist, coming into the room. “Bored of Italy already?”

Colleen brightened at the sight of Spencer. “No. It was lovely. But it’s not the same without you. I missed you.”

Aidan watched as Colleen wrapped her arms around Spencer, kissing him—if he was honest with himself—like she’d never kissed him before. Spencer’s hands were all over his wife and rage like nothing Aidan had known before surged inside him. He lunged at Spencer, uncaring that Spencer was bigger than him, but only managed to grab empty air as he flew through the couple. His repeated attempts were all futile and Aidan couldn’t understand what was happening. How could they be carrying on right in front of him as if he wasn’t even there? Colleen was going to pay for this. He would file for divorce, cut her off, and take the baby when it was born. She would never see their child again or a single cent of his money.

“Poor Aidan,” Spencer said with a shake of his head. “He didn’t even know what hit him.”

Colleen laughed, that same musical laugh from the night of the reunion. “He’s always been gullible. It was a rather brilliant plan, from start to finish, if I do say so myself. He never could resist me, you know. Why, the poor sucker even left everything to me, just as I knew he would.”

~ END ~

 

It’s a bit rough but for the purposes of the assignment, I think I achieved what I set out to do. Most of the comments I received was that the ending seemed rush. I agree. Someone said they could see this becoming a longer piece of work. I don’t know about that though. The story was strictly for the assignment and I don’t really like Colleen enough to work on her for a longer piece. What do you think? Did the ending come as a surprise to you?

Writing a novel is a huge undertaking. It could take years and the demands of writing one is great. That is not to say that short stories are any easier. You really have to make those words count.

Do you prefer shorts or novels? What are the most difficult parts for you?

What are you celebrating this week? Join us each Friday as we Celebrate The Small Things, with our host VikLit and my fellow co-hosts Diana Wilder, LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge, and Katie @ TheCyborg Mom. Visit them to see what they are celebrating this week.


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Full Moon Friday the 13th Celebrations

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My day started when a large butterfly flew past me on my way to work. So what, you might say? Well, let me continue by saying that it was all black and nearly as big as a bird! Now most of you know that a black butterfly is supposed to be a bad omen, and that coupled with Friday the 13th? Well, I’m sure you can imagine where I’m going with this…

An idea for a story! It’s not all there yet but it’s a start, at least.

I’m also celebrating freeze-dried strawberries in white chocolate (yum!) and friends who remember to get them when they go on holiday.

Some of you might recall I’m taking some online courses. It’s been crazy trying to keep up with the readings and assignments on top of everything else in my life but I’m really enjoying the classes and learning a lot from them. I’m currently on track for four out of my eight MOOC’s so yes I’m behind but I’m still celebrating my progress!

How has your week been so far? Would you say you are superstitious? Check out this story about Friday the 13th coinciding with a full moon, which won’t happen again until 2049!

Join us each Friday as we Celebrate The Small Things, with our host VikLit and my fellow co-hosts Diana Wilder, LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge, and Katie @ TheCyborg Mom. Go say hi to them!


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My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks to the awesome Hayley Knighten for tagging me for this Blog Hop! Check out her blog Books are Delicious! for more amazing content.

 

What Am I Working On?

I am working on a paranormal fiction called Haunted. It’s about a vampire (is that a collective groan I hear? LOL) who has become disillusioned with what he is and the things he’s done because of it.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

While there’s a strong romantic element that drives the story, that is not the main focus. It’s a bit darker, a vampire having a sort of existential crisis, if you will.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

This is hard to answer because I have all sorts of stories across different genres.  I suppose the simple answer is that I really just like making up stories. They play such a huge part in our lives and we read different kinds of books based on the different moods we may be in at the time. I like to have that diversity and it reflects in my writing–stories that make you laugh, cry, fall in love, or just simply forget about the world around you for a moment.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I try to jot down ideas as I have them. The ones that I feel strongly about tend to start developing in my head and I build on that. I get on my computer to write the synopsis, or whatever scenes that have formed, work on a general outline. Depending how long it’s been in my head and how developed the story has become, the outline could be more detailed by then. Once I start writing, I tend to go linear although I’d write a few scenes in advance sometimes.

 

And now for my tags!

Elsie Elmore – Author of The Undead: Playing for Keeps (due fall 2014)

Cathrina Constantine – Author of Wickedly They Come and Tallas

Elizabeth Hein – Author of Overlook and How To Climb The Eiffel Tower (due fall 2014)

Nana Prah – Author of Love Through Time and Midwife to Destiny

 


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Do It Without Fear – An IWSG Post

This month’s group posting for Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a bit tricky for me. First I was too busy to be insecure about anything in particular and then the more I thought of what I could post about, the more all sorts of insecurities started popping up that I scarcely know which one to talk about.

Since I can’t post about all of them unless I want my head (and yours) to explode, I’ve decided to leave my insecurities be for now and get back to work. I think one of the greatest actors of our time, Sir Anthony Hopkins, really summed it up very well with this quote:

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Yeah, no mention of writing there. But it works just as well, wouldn’t you say? 😉

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Thanks to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh and his June co-hosts C. Lee McKenzie, Tracy Jo, Melanie Schulz, and LG Keltner!


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Celebrate The (Not So) Small Things

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It’s Friday, which means, Celebrate The Small Things, wherein we post our celebrations, big and small. Thanks to our awesome host VikLit and all the co-hosts for this wonderful hop.

It’s been a very busy week but I’m not complaining as I have lots to celebrate about this week:

  1. Got a bit of good news at work so that’s one less stressor.

  2. Had dinner with some visiting relatives. It was great to catch up and I love all the ancestral history I learned!

  3. I received word from the mentor I applied for through the awesome Womentoring Project. I’m so thrilled and honored to be mentored by Janette Currie. Yay!!

  4. If you missed Melissa Maygrove’s celebrations, it is not too late to sign up for her giveaway. The contest runs until May 19 and winners will be announced May 21. Congratulations on the release Melissa!

Is that a GREAT week or what? What are you celebrating for the week? How’s your writing going? Ever had a mentor before? What was it like for you?

 


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On Writing and Editing – An IWSG Post

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2Need support for your writing journey? Join Insecure Writer’s Support Group as we do our group posting first Wednesday of each month. Thanks to our host Alex J. Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for May: Mark Koopmans, Joylene Nowell Butler, Elsie, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Now on to my insecurity for the month: bad writing.

Yes, we’ve all heard it before. No manuscript is supposed to be good during the first draft. That’s what revisions are for. But how long does it take to fix what’s wrong with it?

I’m currently in the middle of another round of edits. The first round, I fixed plot holes, continuity issues, and some glaring grammatical errors. In this round, I’m trying to “clean up” the writing by getting rid of clunky sentences, over-used words, etc. I’m also realizing how boring my writing, and by extension, my characters are. This is something I need to fix in the next round, although I’m not exactly sure how successful I’d be.

What’s your editing process? Do you split issues into different rounds of edits or do you fix them as you see them? How long does it take before you are satisfied with your novel?

 


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I Am Done!

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That’s it, I’m done with Camp NaNoWriMo! I clocked in at 51,376 words; 51,358 by Camp NaNoWriMo’s count. But more importantly, I reached my goal of actually finishing the first draft. *happy dance

I haven’t begun to re-read yet so I’m not sure what I will find. I expect the word count to go up in revisions as I flesh out the scenes I’d left bare and pretty much skipped. Revising this draft would be some kind of hell, I’m sure. Joy! I just need to remind myself things could be worse when that time comes.

With two days one day left in April, I’ll be trying to finish a short piece I’ve put off and hopefully get some time to recharge before I start things again in May.

To everyone who has encouraged me and cheered me on, thank you! And a big shout out to all the wonderful peeps I shared this journey with. You guys rock!

As the month comes to a close, how is everyone doing with your own goals and writing?

 

My Camp NaNoWriMo Novel, Lost:

When two friends go to England for a holiday and one of them goes missing, chaos ensues and life as they know it will never be the same again.