Posted in books, fantasy, NaNoWriMo, Publishing, Vampires, writing

Say When

water overflowing

So, I quietly did Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I thought maybe without the fanfare of announcing I was doing it and worrying about write-ins and taking part in the community (although all those things are great, and a wonderful part of the experience of NaNoWriMo) I would be more focused on the writing and less on talking about it. It seems to a have worked.

What did I work on? The sequel to Revenants Abroad, tentatively titled The Age of Revenants. Is it finished? Hardly. Let’s call it a good start. It’s about as rough as you’d expect 50,000 words cranked out in haste over 30 days to be. But that’s all right, I needed to get some ideas down, and why not put them towards the goal? A couple of things are kind of going off on tangents so may get revised out later, or possibly saved for something else. But I’m pleased that I was able to get this much done. And let me tell you, it was not easy. It’s one reason I’ve been very quiet on Twitter over the last month. And I really had to make a push during the last weekend. So apologies for any crankiness. It’s an insane way to get some writing done, but I feel like I have no choice these days. Would that I could quit the dayjob and just write. I’m so close to handing in my notice I can’t even tell you.

It felt good to get some of this stuff down, but it seems like the more I write, the more ideas I get. I’ve become better about grabbing a pen and paper when I get those lines just as I’m drifting off to sleep, which seems to happen more and more. I suspect I’m not unique in this.

Now to finish RA, get a cover, and get it up at Amazon. I’ve decided to self-pub via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) as agents seem unanimous in their distaste for vampire stories these days. I think there’s still a market, so am taking it upon myself to publish it and see what happens. As I told my dear friend Bunny this morning, I’m taking steel wool to the last few pages, finishing up edits (caught a couple of doozy typos), then I’ll need to get a cover created, and maybe a couple more beta readers, and hopefully have it up for sale before the end of the summer. I have to be done with this so I can move on to the next one. I just haven’t figured out when to say “when.”

Posted in art, NaNoWriMo, Vampires, writing

Hi Diddle-dee-dee, the NaNo Life for Me

Call me crazy, but I’m going to sign up for NaNoWriMo again this year. Why, you ask? Because I need to get back in the groove of writing every day. Yes, I know, I can hear you saying “What about all that whining about no time to write?” Nothing has changed on that front, I haven’t magically been able to extend my days, but somehow or other I have to do it anyway. Either that or I might as well just throw in the towel and give up writing altogether. Eh, who am I kidding? I could no more give up writing than I could swim from Cuba to Miami. I don’t have to force ideas to come; they fly at me from every angle all day long. Then they ooze out into journals and notebooks and electronic documents. I should probably burn some of those old journals, now that I think about it. Anybody got a match?

The reason I’m willing go once more unto the breach, dear friends, is I’m just about done with the first of the vampire novels which I’m hoping to stretch it into a trilogy, if not a series, and I’m ready to start the second one. Outlining and plotting have already begun. I’ve even got the backstory done for one of the new characters and I love her. I need to flesh out a couple of the others, and I’m sure more will walk on stage as I go.

If only I could afford to work part-time, that would solve everything. Well, all my time-related writing issues anyway. I wonder if I could write hanging partly upside down.… Seems somehow fitting for a vampire novel. I expect to be largely absent from Twitter for the duration, and may have to let the blog slide as well, even foregoing the weekly card pulls. I remember the early days of this blog when there’d be days I’d put up three posts (albeit short ones) in a single day. Those days are gone.

So if I’m not around much for the next couple of months it’s because I’ll be plotting and outlining in October, and come November I’m off to NaNo Land, that magical kingdom where dreams roam free and reality takes a sabbatical.

Romance Comes Down Out of Hilly Woodlands, by Sidney Sime

Posted in writing

Going Down in Flames

Better than half-way through November, and I am now trailing in NaNoWriMo by oh, a little over 11,000 words. I think it’s a pretty safe bet I’m not going to hit 50K by the 30th, but I’m ok with that.

I started out with the usual enthusiasm, thinking I’d be able to steal some time at work to write, and that worked out pretty well for the first couple of days, but then it quickly became impossible to maintain. This is no great tragedy, apart from not accomplishing much writing. Since I never intended this project to become a novel, just filling in the background blanks on another character that I want to introduce into the vampire novel (which I’m still referring to as ‘Revenants Abroad’ for lack of a more inspired title). I figure it’s not lost time or effort, however much I get done.

And then a funny thing happened.

I decided I really like this character, and she’s ending up in some pretty interesting situations and developing quite a history. I’m taking her in directions I haven’t gone before, some of which are frankly a challenge for me. But that’s good. I decided weeks ago that no one was ever going to see any of it, basically freeing myself to write anything I wanted without the fear of being judged or people looking at me askance and wondering what was wrong with me. Even still, I’m having a hard time with some of it.

Somewhere along the way I started thinking in terms of maybe using some of this in the novel, or even a separate novel about this character, and maybe that’s what put the brakes on my free-wheeling attitude. When I write with the idea of someone other than me reading it I self-censor far too much. I don’t know how to get past that. It’s not even anything particularly edgy or weird, but it’s new territory for me. I think what I most fear is that I’m not doing it well, that it’s all cliched and trite and not evoking what it’s supposed to. I don’t know.

I guess I’ll keep going and see what happens, even if I crash and burn.

Posted in fantasy, horror, NaNoWriMo, Vampires, writing

I’m Making Myself Crazy(er)

Ever since someone tweeted out a link to a doll house furnished as a haunted/witch’s house, I have been obsessed with the idea of doing a similar one, but even moreso with the idea of putting together one furnished like the home of Andrej and Anne-Marie. Fueling my addiction has been EBay where I found a seller who seems to have EVERYTHING I NEED to accomplish this. Now, all I need to do is win the lottery or knock over a bank. Let’s have a fun little poll, shall we? Assuming I actually do this thing (like I need another hobby), what do you think I should do?

So here are some shots of some of my findings for Andrej and Anne-Marie’s apartment in Prague:












Do you believe the stuff they have for dollhouses now? This stuff is actually upholstered in leather, if the sellers’ descriptions are accurate. Holy crap, I’m moving in with Andrej. He collects oriental rugs, and the seller who has most of this stuff has bunches of tiny little Persian carpets. I love the little bar set up, these guys do their fair share of drinking.



And just for fun, this is the apartment/hotel suite of the vamps in my NaNo novel in 1930s New York:






Very different look. I haven’t gotten as far with that one, but they’re not there very long. I haven’t totalled up how much all this would cost, but off the top of my head, I’d estimate around $500. The little kitchen setup alone is about $100.

Maybe I shouldn’t illustrate my vision of what their world looks like, and should let everyone dream up their own. The furniture is of course close approximations, not exact, except for the brown club chair. I almost fell over when I found that.

Posted in books, fantasy, horror, NaNoWriMo, Vampires, writing

Meet Rowena

I was trolling on EBay this morning, and BAZINGA! This is the spitting image of one of the new vampire characters in my NaNo novel, right down to the shade of lipstick. Even the hairstyle is almost exactly as I envisioned her.  Ok, it’s a little creepy, being wrapped in plastic like this, but what the hell? She’s a vampire, she doesn’t have to breathe.

She’s not the focus of the story, but holy cow, I couldn’t resist stealing the photo when I saw it. I haven’t really been able to think of any public personalities, celebs, movie stars, who would work. I might have to get this doll and dress her like the character. (I’m allowed to be neurotic, no?) Now if only I could find one for the character whose backstory IS my NaNoWriMo novel. Hmmm…

UPDATE: 11-16-2011

Here’s a less creepy photo, sans plastic head wrap.

Better hope I don’t find them for all my characters, these things are expensive!

Posted in books, fantasy, horror, Vampires, writing

Falling (hopefully not Failing) Behind

I have seriously run off the rails in my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m down by two days now, and my only hope is to be able to carve some huge blocks of quality writing time of the weekend. This is so not good.

I briefly toyed with the idea of posting some of it here just for something to post, but as I started reading over the incredibly rough first draft I quickly nixed that idea. WOW IS IT BAD!

I guess I could clean up some of it and then post it, but at this point I’m trying very hard not to do any editing because that usually involves a whole lot of deleting, and we don’t want to delete anything, thereby dragging down the word count, until next month. November is all about word count, just get it written, because all first drafts suck. The whole point is to learn to turn off the inner editor and not spend three hours searching for the perfect word. It’s amazing how you can find a better one when you read back over your work later. I often find when I start reading something I’ve written, but haven’t looked at in awhile that it’s almost as if I’m reading someone else’s writing. I get those “Did I write THAT?” moments fairly frequently. When I do that, new words seem to suggest themselves, like “Oh that’s not what it’s supposed to say. THIS is it.” Did you ever misread something, and when you read it again you see what it really says? Yeah, like that.  I just hear the right words, the flow and cadence.

So this year, since I’m still working on the vampire novel (and by working on it I mean changing huge chunks and introducing new characters in mid-stream) I’m working up the backstory for a new character. I haven’t wanted to talk too much about them, but this one is a new female vampire. I had an idea for her in a scene towards the end of the book, but she couldn’t just suddenly appear there, it wouldn’t have worked. So now she has to get inserted into the story fairly early on, which means HUGE re-writes. Oh goody. Where did she come from? you ask. Glad you asked. I saw a picture online one day.  That was it. It was like Athena springing forth fully formed from Zeus’s head. Ok, I’m not Zeus, but you get my point. Naturally, as I’m writing this one’s background oodles of new characters also have to come over for a play-date. Some are walk-ons, bit players, others are more substantial. This snowball effect is insidious.

Most of my characters have a counterpart in real life who inspired them. Sometimes I go so far as to print out a photo and tack it up on the wall while I’m working. I prefer not to name the person who inspired the character, but here’s a photo from one of the locations in the new character’s background (and yes, I’ve been there):

So, who wants to be a vampire?

Posted in fantasy, horror, music, NaNoWriMo, Punk/Alternative/Indie, writing

NaNoWriMo – Day 3

So here we are, well underway with NaNoWriMo 2011. I’m ahead on word count and pathologically hell-bent on staying that way. We know one day at least is a complete loss (Thanksgiving Day), so I have to make up one full day (1667 words) squeezed in elsewhere. I got off to a screaming start, clocking in 2750 words the first day, but I can’t imagine I’ll be able to duplicate that word count too often.

The story itself is of course taking on a life of its own. I had intended to use this month and this NaNo to work up the backstory of a new character in the vampire novel. Well, it’s turning out to be pretty interesting. I wasn’t really expecting to get much out of it but this may claim a book all its own eventually. I’ve already decided to make this darker than the core story, so accordingly I am in search of new music to fit the mood. I just got turned onto a Goth/alternative band out of Johannesburg, South Africa, The Awakening (thanks to Submerina). YUM. This ought to help set the mood.

Excuse me while I go put on more black eyeliner and my boots.

Posted in books, horror, NaNoWriMo, Vampires, writing

NaNoWriMo Mock Book Cover

Thanks to a couple of Twitter pals, I decided to play around and make a mock cover for my vampire novel, which is still using the working title, Revenants Abroad. I hope Mr. Clemens doesn’t mind. Here are a couple of things, very different in feel.

Maybe this can serve as some inspiration for your own. I found the backgrounds at a free wallpaper site, I hope they didn’t pirate it from somewhere else. Just having some fun here!

Posted in fantasy, horror, NaNoWriMo, Quotes, Vampires, writing

To Plot, or To Pants?

Here we are, a scant two weeks away from NaNoWriMo 2011! As I announced on Twitter last night, I have arrived at a decision about the topic for my NaNo novel, with a nice margin of time to ruminate on it.

I read this post today on Tony Noland’s blog, and basically he’s got the finer points of getting through NaNoWriMo down. However, I am a dyed-in-the-wool pantser, meaning I never plot. Maybe I should, but I’ve achieved a 50-50 success rate with NaNo not plotting. However, that said, neither the year I didn’t finish, or the year I did, turned into anything salvageable. At least I don’t think so. Maybe plotting would help. If I start getting a lot of ideas about this character (and now that it’s fixed in my mind as my NaNo topic, I probably will) I may start some outlining. Or at least jot down some thoughts. I keep most of it in my head all the time anyway. (So that’s what those voices are!)

I’m introducing a new character into my vampire novel, and essentially what I’m writing for NaNo is the character’s backstory. I don’t intend to turn the character into a MC in a book, it’s a supporting part, but a good one. Mostly I’m using this as an opportunity to flesh out the character ahead of time. Then again who knows what bits might come up that would prove useful to the vampire novel? Speaking of which, I really need to come up with a title for it. I feel like Holly Golightly and her cat: No name until it gets a permanent home. I’ve been playfully calling it “Revenants Abroad” but I don’t know if that would fly when I get around to submitting it, although I’ve seen lots of punny titles recently.

But what if this character does work into something more? Could be. I expect in the course of the month I will find out if it’s got that much potential. I guess it’s really up to me if it goes that way or not, though, eh? A whole month to work on one character… yeah, it might earn a whole book to itself. And yes, I’m being purposely vague about the character. I have an image in my mind that I want to bring to life on the page, but I am superstitious about talking too much about a WIP. Suffice to say, I think I will end up liking this character very much.

Don’t write it right, just write it—and then make it right later. —  TARA MOSS


Posted in horror, NaNoWriMo, writing

I Shouldn’t Oughta Do This…

But, well, turns out I have no willpower to resist the pleas of a dear friend to wade once again into the fray of NaNoWriMo. Plus I stupidly logged into the site yesterday and started getting caught up in the excitement and preparatory events. My old author photo is gone so I’ll have to dredge up something. The raccoon again? Hmm. Perhaps for the time being I will use my Twitter avatar so people can be sure it’s me if they want to add me as a friend there. When they launch the “Buddies” feature, you can add me as buddy if you like.

So all that remains now is to come up with an idea for a NaNo novel. Umm… oh hell, I’ve got 18 days. Lots of time.