Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I decided to join the NaNoWriMo Madness this year!  Nerd Power!

Some selected blurb bits from their website...

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.
Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality.

In 2010, we had over 200,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever.

My plan is to jumpstart book two in the Children of Utrøst series.  I was tempted to start an unrelated book that has been knocking around in my brain, but I've determined that getting a rough draft of the second book out in the air is the best plan.

Here's what (I think) it's about...

Chase Johnson lost her twin brother in the battle to save Utrøst from the last rat of Hamelin.  The good guys may have won, but Chase is finding it impossible to embrace life without Charlie.  Even Henning, the bear whose voice once made her heart do weird fluttery things, can't reach her.  When Henning needs to return to his mysterious clan, Chase joins him against the wishes of her sister the queen. A road trip across a magical island is certain to be distracting and the secrets that Henning has been keeping may prove to be deadly.

We'll see if it turns out to be anything like this. It's the first time I've had any sort of plan so - who knows!

Any of my Write Campaign Buddies also doing NaNoWriMo? (How do the cool kids say it?  NaNo?  WriMo? Mo? Mary?) I would love to hear your plans and progress!

PS: For those of you who are thinking, "Seems like you may be distracting yourself from original unmet goals related to your first book. Hmmmmm? Haven't you been honking about that for the last 2 million years and now nothing? Hmmmmm? What's up with that? What about your pink sparklie self-prize?"

What's up: My query letter is written and being picked over by some helpful birdies.  My book has been fully reviewed and revised to my satisfaction.  I plan to have the query in the mail on Nov 1 one month after the goal and on the very day that NaNo starts! Hope I can still type with my new sparklie on my wrist!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Skeery Stuff

It's Halloween, I am working in a Haunted Forest, and the villains of my novel are the guilty parties holding up Operation Settle4NovemberFirst. I have evil on the brain. Imagine what my (already notoriously crazy) dreams are like!

Upon the advice of my beloved Crit Group, I have been trying to scary up my bad guys. But there is a distracting inner whisper and I am starting to question how far I really want to push in this direction. 

It is a fantasy novel, but there is a fine line between evil scary and EEEEV-ILL funny. 

Which got me thinking...

What are the necessary elements in a villain cocktail? 

Classic Evil-Tini Recipe
1 Part Bitters to the Core
1 Part Anger Management Issues
Muddle Reality with Twisted Past
Squeeze of Lemon (Directly Into Wound)
 Shake Violently

And just how much can you tinker with the basic recipe before you go from refreshing variation to cough medicine?

Utrøst's Evil-Tini Recipe
1 Part Bitters to the Core
1 Part Positive Thinking
Muddle Fear with Splash of Guilt
Squeeze of Lemon (Directly Into Wound)
Stir Slowly

Something is not working. But what if it's like getting a gin (shudder) martini when you prefer vodka? I will need to do more sampling.

As I poked around for outside inspiration,I found some good lists of classic literary villains. A few of them made me shudder with remembered horror, but mostly I didn't react with fear or disgust. I giggled away, nodding in approval and occasionally applauding as I recognized each name. Mrs. Coulter!  The White Witch! Bill Sykes! Iago! What fun!

And then it dawned on me. The problem is not that I cannot write a scary villain--the problem is that I may be a villain! 

As an actor I always covet the bad guy role. I can't say Voldemort without smiling. The Grinch is my favorite holiday cartoon. If there was a white hat and a black hat and I had to pick one.....well you get the idea.

These are my people. I like them. But maybe I like them too much.
What are the essential ingredients for your Evil-Tini? What will ruin the whole batch?
I'm All Ears!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm Gonna Distract You With Some Pictures

Having readers with mad crafting skills is a definite bonus. It's a strange and wonderful experience to be gifted with a tangible interpretation of something that once existed only in your own mind.

 I consider them (and their creators) to be amongst my greatest treasures.

My friends The Henrys made this beauty, inspired by a cup and saucer in this excerpt.

From Our Barney Google Line....
Charlie held up a hand, asking Pavel to wait. Scrambling onto the kitchen counter to reach the highest cupboard, Charlie gingerly retrieved a tiny tea cup and saucer. They were both black and covered with googlie eyes, and the pupils jiggled a bit when Charlie tapped the cup against the saucer in three sets of three before rinsing it in the sink.

“How did you even remember where that was?” Virgil hadn’t seen the tiny dishes for years. It had been a part of Viv’s collection of Odd Little Kitchen Things. When the twins were younger, she had often brought them out to be admired. Chase and Charlie loved to examine the smaller than life items with reverence.


Hamelin first appears in Chapter One .

My sister made this gorgeous version of the villain, Hamelin.  Those jewels clutched in her tiny claws are very powerful--so no sudden moves!

Don't be deceived by how adorable she looks in this picture. Hamelin is three feet tall, commands an army of werewolves, and eats the hearts of her living victims.

This softer, gentler version is my lucky charm and (like my sister) she always makes me feel like I will succeed.

You're smart.  You know I didn't quite meet my personal deadline.
Close, but no cigar.  And I remain implausibly optimistic!
Stay tuned. It will be soon.

BONUS: Sassy Pink Frog!
Hello, Sailor!