Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tis MY Season...

to chill and read. I love the holidays. I'm taking a break from writing, but I'm still revising. I'll be reading cozy Christmas stories, baking cookies, and practicing bells for Christmas Eve. The house is decorated and the tree up. I'm ready for family and friends and all the celebrating that comes. I can't guarantee that I'll be timely posting on my blog over the remaining 3 weekends of the holiday season, but if I have good news (manuscripts are out on sub) I'll pop in. So, I hope you're all enjoying some down time and getting revitalized for the new year.


I'll see you when I see you....

Char

Monday, December 3, 2018

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels 
Wahoo! I FINISHED #NANOWRIMO ON TIME!

I got behind (by a LOT) with visiting my sister, Thanksgiving, and other interruptions. BUT I DID IT. I buckled down and gave up reading, TV (except for my Patriots games) and even yoga and swimming. Sacrifices had to be made. (I'm paying for it now- going back to yoga was brutal.)

So as a treat to myself, I'm wimping out on my blog and am going to celebrate with a nice Christmas read (I'm a sucker for that stuff). I'm kind of burnt from writing, although I've made a list of plot and character problems with my NaNo book. In January I will start revisions (unless I get a mega book or movie deal from my other manuscripts. Hey, a girl can dream!).

Don't expect serious blogs for the rest of the year. I have lots going on with bell practice, cookie making, wrapping presents, and enjoying the holiday. 

Now excuse me while I dance and skip around a bit; I deserve it! 

Char

Monday, November 26, 2018

Running Ahead From Behind

If you're following/doing #NaNoWriMo, you know that on November 26, (today), a writer should be at 43,342 words. Because of holiday prep, Thanksgiving, visiting family, and then a day of exhaustion (where I still had to cook and put up Christmas decorations and watch my beloved New England Patriots kill the NY Jets), I am officially

6,767 words behind schedule. 

Am I going to panic? Nope. Am I going to throw in the towel? Never! Am I going to beat myself up because I'm behind? Just not happening!

My plan of action is simple. I can either hit the keys now and try to pound out 6,767 words, but that might be a little hard since it's 6:37 pm and I did yoga, cleaned house, made dinner, fought off a migraine, and finished the Christmas decorating (I tend to go overboard, I'm sure you've seen pictures). Or, I can divide the remaining words I have left and do 2,687 words a day till November 30th to finish on time, or I can try to do as much as humanly possible on whatever day I can. 

I'm not sure which approach I'll do; maybe it'll be a combo. But whichever one I choose, I will give it my best shot. And technically, don't we get off work for holidays? That would mean I have until midnight December 1st to really finish on time. (I wish whoever created #NaNoWriMo would have taken that into consideration. What's wrong with March? It has 31 days so we'd only have to do 1,613 words a day, no major holidays, and it's in the gloomy days of winter where we're stuck inside. Poor planning, NaNo person....)

Anyway, if you're behind, don't despair. I'm not. Even if I don't get done by the 30th, I'm almost finished and that's a great start to a finished novel (we'll talk about revisions later....).

So hang in there with me. We can do this!

Photo courtesy of Pexels, Inc.

Char

Monday, November 19, 2018

Checking In- and Checking Out...

It's crazy week- got #NaNoWriMo goals to meet, practices for bell choir performance on Wednesday Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve service, Thanksgiving dishes to prep, and going to retrieve my son at the airport Wednesday night. So.... I can't spend time on other things. But-

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Hoping your day is blessed, and that you pass blessings onto others...

Char

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Just a Quickie....

I'm in the midst of #NaNoWriMo2018 and happy to say I'm not only on track, but 4 days ahead. This allows me a stress-free Thanksgiving and a weekend visit with my sister. Here are 5 things I've learned this year during the craziness of NaNoWriMo:


  1. I work faster and better if I shut myself in my office, working at a proper desk. There are too many distractions if I'm sitting on the couch (too near to the TV and people coming in & out, the fridge, etc. For me, isolation is key to productivity!
  2. When I work on a comfy couch, being so tall, I have to dip my head to see the laptop. This has given me neck and back problems. Who needs that? So, another reason to use my beautiful office.
  3. Stretch! I work about an hour, then get up and get a cup of tea, throw in a load of wash, etc. Sitting too long leads to stiff joints. 
  4. Getting up is good for the circulation, but I don't want to lose my train of thought. make a few notes at the bottom of the page saying where I was going. As I do a chore, make that tea, I keep thinking about the next chapter/block of writing. By the time I get back to my seat, I'm fairly burning to get the words on paper. Bonus: if you can, incorporate your notes into the chapter/block rather than erase and you've added a bunch of words!
  5. I had to break from writing because I needed a fact. Going onto the internet to find out what I need for this particular section of the manuscript can lead to getting lost down that rabbit hole. Key: set a timer so that you spend no more than 5-10 minutes searching. You just need that one fact, not pages of notes. If you need more detailed info, try to write around it, like a scene that comes later in the book, and research after you've hit your word count. I like to surf at night, on commercials while I relax in front of the TV. 
Now it's time to get in another 1,677 words so I stay ahead of the daily goals. 

Don't forget to update your word count!

Char

Monday, November 5, 2018

Psssst, Want A Peek?

If you know me, you know I'm a fan and follower of #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I've written most of my novels during November, adhering to the sometimes arduous practice of at least 1,667 words a day. I give presentations and hand out worksheets to help people in the quest to write their novel.

This November is no different. Although I have drafts I should be revising & polishing to send out on submission, I'm dedicating this November to keeping a promise; Sirenz 3, A New Trend. Fans of Meg and Sharisse, or maybe more of luscious Hades, asked for a third novel.

This one will be different; as I am writing this solo, the character of Meg is lost in backstory and only Hades, Sharisse, and those nosy, interfering Greek gods will entertain you. To whet your appetite, here's a snippet: (I posted a short story about Hades and Sharisse last year, which unfortunately, Blogger doesn't keep open access to. Luckily, I have copies....) This novel is based on that story. Remember, this is only the first draft...


            Two good looking guys, heavy gold chains around their necks, caps on sideways, and wearing sneakers more expensive than mine, slowly approached, palms up like they didn’t want to frighten me.
            “Hola, senorita!. What a fine-looking dog!” They kept a respectful distance which was very smart of them. They must be dog savvy- never approach a strange dog too fast. I didn’t feel afraid because I had Cerberus. Even in his diminished form, he was still intimidating.
            “Hello.” I stopped and Cerb sat next to me, his eyes watchful. He leaned against my leg.
            “Cerberus, stop leaning on me, you’re too heavy!” I didn’t even have to nudge him, he sat up, all the while keeping his focused attention on the two men.
            “It’s like he understands you,” said one with several gold teeth.
            I nodded. “Oh, he does. I can give him any command and he’ll do it,” I boasted.
            They both raised their eyebrows, like they doubted me.
            Oh ye of little faith....
            “Cerberus, go up to the man with the gold teeth and let him shake your paw.”
            Cerberus trotted over exactly as I commanded and held up his paw. The guy leaned down, gently shook it, and whispered, “Oh, Dios, I would love a dog like this!” The two looked at each other and grinned.
            The other one asked, “How much do you want for him?” He pulled out a wad of bills- all hundreds as far as I could see, and unfolded them. “Name your price.”
            I shook my head. “I’m sorry, but he’s not mine, and he wouldn’t go with you anyway. He’s very particular about people.”
            Gold teeth said, “But look, he likes me!”
            Cerb returned to my side.
            “That’s only because I told him to be a good boy and not eat anyone.” It was time to move on. Cerb still hadn’t peed.

Just a taste. After #NaNoWriMo is over, I will let one devoted fan read the story before it gets published and they can offer suggestions and criticisms. 

So, back to writing I go. You know Greek gods are not known for their patience with humans and Hades is demanding I hurry it up, the next chapter is his.

Wish me luck, stay tuned, and here's a pic of Hades to make you feel warm all over....  ;)

Hades, Lord of the Underworld...

Now back to the story!

Char

Monday, October 29, 2018

Did it Scare You? My Halloween Favorites

Most of us looooove Halloween. Costume parties, candy, spooky decorations and just fun. And,  think a lot of people like a little scare. We watch creepy movies and read frightening books.  Here are 13 of my favorite Halloween things:

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

1. Candy: While I love most candy (but NOT candy corn! yech), my abso fave is Butterfingers. A close second is Snickers. (And yet, I don't like peanut butter ice cream...)

2. Favorite scary movie (as in it scares me. every. single. time) Paranormal (And the sequels, too!). I don't do gore- and most of them look fake.

3.  Favorite tag line from a movie: "In space, no one can hear you scream...."

4.  Best scary book: anything by Dean Koontz. Those books are so scary, I can't even finish them.

5.  Scariest villain/monster: Alien. Geez, I had nightmares for years with that creature, even before the sequel where they came to Earth.

6.  My best Halloween costume: Darth Vader. I took cereal and other food boxes, painted them black, glued on pics of dials and electronics and attached them to my father's quilted insulated pants/jacket. I borrowed a mask created by an art teacher friend, and made a light saber from a flashlight with a golf club tube attached with black electrical tape. The costume was so good I won first place in a contest, and no one knew I was a girl until I took off the mask. (Had to to claim the prize- they all thought they knew who I was. They didn't.)

7.  Favorite decoration: my ceramic, lighted haunted house. It's just so cute! (There's a witch who circles overhead, cackling!)



8.  Best Halloween memory: Trick or Treating with my brother. We lived on Long Island and we would go out as soon as we could, come home to eat dinner, then go back out for more. We collected a LOT of candy.

9.  What I HATE MOST about Halloween: people who do stupid sh*t like hurt/kill black cats, destroy property, or start preaching about how this holiday is the devil's handiwork. Just STOP.

10. Best song/music: Some would argue Michael Jackson's Thriller, but for me it's either the theme song from Halloween, which has me checking in dark rooms for Michael Meyers, or the song Tubular Bells from The Exorcist. Makes me say my prayers!

11. Movie I HAVE TO WATCH every year: Hocus Pocus AND Dracula  with Frank Langella.

12. Cartoon I love the most: While a lot of you will say The Nightmare Before Christmas, I prefer It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

13. Best place to see before Halloween: Blaze in NY's Sleepy Hollow. Thousands of carved pumpkins in the best display you will ever see. Check it out here.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Happy Halloween!

Wishing you fun tricks and tasty treats!

Char