Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Been Awhile…

…with no real excuse, but I have been busy.

Since SoonerCon, I have attended three shows,  released two books, and signed several contracts.

Book Two of The Conn-Mann Chronicles is now available. The Nearly Notorious Nun is on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

I also have a new poetry chapbook, Overheard in Hell, which is also available on Amazon.

October will be a busy month too. I have two major releases the week of the 23rd. Killing It Softly, available now for pre-order, and my second Steampunk anthology for Mocha Memoirs, Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires will also debut that week. This was fun to put together. It is horror with a Steampunk twist.

Coming up, more Conn-Mann is with the beta-readers, and I will be writing Book Four for NaNoWriMo, as the first three have been. What it will be, is still in question…I thought I knew…but I have been rethinking what I was planning.

I am also working on several other projects, but who knows when they will be finished. 😉

Procrastination Station!

Okay, so we are down to the wire on NaNoWriMo. There are only 5,697 words to go. Jo has behaved herself admirably through most of the draft, and the book has done some things that I really am loving, but…

You knew there was a but coming, right?

BUT, we have gotten to the final exciting climax–and I have no idea what it is going to be. There is no more overt character development to be done in those few pages. The plot has come to a screeching halt before the edge of the cliff, so it can’t be a cliffhanger…

And here I am, procrastinating. I’ve done all my daily chores for the day. I’ve done all my weekly chores for the week (once this is done.) I’ve even done some housecleaning today–and long time readers of this and my occasional blog over at Here’s the Clean know that that means I am really desperate to avoid something.

I have to get going though. It is too close to quit–the end in sight, the word counter filling up, the story compelling me along…

I just need to figure out that last bit. 😉


Here’s a snippet from the Dime Novel for The Incredibly Irritating Irishman, “Practical Polly and the Village of Doom” — to see more, head on over to The Conn-Mann Chronicles page on Facebook, and don’t forget to Like us. 😉 Website on the way…

Day 25’s excerpt:

Polly held her breath as long as she could, swimming with the current downriver. She was a much stronger swimmer than Jack, so hopefully, she would be far away from where he expected her to be when she finally had to come up for air.

She angled her way toward the far bank as well as possible in the dark. Swimming until her lungs were threatening to burst, she finally broke the surface, gasping for air.

Dawn was breaking, the sky tinged with gold as the mist rose from the warming river. It provided a bit more screen. She would take any cover she could get.

Slogging out of the river on the opposite bank from the village, she put her back to a tree and slid down it to huddle in a miserable heap at its base. What was she to do? Jack had been the center of her world from the moment she met him.

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she realized that most of what she knew of him was probably a lie. Had he even been to the places he claimed? Were the artifacts he had donated to the museums stolen treasures he had no right to? She had given him everything—and he had thrown it all away.

Sobbing, she laid her head on her crossed arms and let all her dreams leave her.

But Polly was practical above all else, and she didn’t let her emotions hold sway for long. Jack would be coming. Probably with his new best friend the chieftain and his warriors in tow. She needed to stop feeling sorry for herself and take stock of the situation.

Swiping the tears from her cheeks, she got to her feet. She could see the smoke of the village cook fires in the distance, so she was still too close for comfort.

Checking her pockets, she found the penknife—she had forgotten that Paolo returned it to her…he probably had too. It was a welcome find. She also had her sling, three rocks—but she could gather more—a ten pound note, and a piece of jerky. She’d save that until she got too hungry to bear it.

She wracked her brains for every bit of survival lore that she could remember. Moss grew on the north side of trees…didn’t it?

Damn Jack! He had her compass in his pack last time she had seen it. And that had been before their capture the first time, so she doubted it was anywhere to be found now.

There hadn’t been anything else of use at the camp, had there? A few bits of canvas and maybe a few feet of rope. Not worth the risk of returning there. He’d probably look there first, sure that she would go back to the familiar.

No, she would strike downriver, staying on the bank opposite the village. He’d never give her credit for that much sense.

Writing is Exciting — 3 D’s for Daily Success!

It’s another week down on NaNoWriMo. So far, things are going along swimmingly. Jo is proving to be her usual feisty self, and things are heating up for Practical Polly in the dime novel too.

There is nothing more exciting than work that is going well.

Several things help make writing go well.

1) Discipline — writing at least a little every day instills a pattern, and having a pattern is one of the ways that it becomes ritual. Once something is ritual, it is much easier to keep it going on a schedule. 🙂

2) Determination — one of the things that helps make sure that the discipline leads to ritual is determination. Determination to keep going even when the days are hard and the Muse is taking an extended coffee break.

3) Divergence — now, some may disagree with this last one, but I have found it to be truly helpful. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If things aren’t going smoothly in one area, switch to another genre–or format. Switch from fantasy to historical. Switch from poetry to short story. Perhaps just take an hour or two and research rather write (as long as you go back to the writing part before the day is out.)

So, there you have it. Three tips to potential success. Go and write!

It’s Friday Already?!

Conn Mann Alt Poster for WEB VIEWThis will probably be a short, sweet post, because I have to be about my 1667 words for today–

Yes, it’s that time of year again. November is upon us, and NaNoWriMo is here.

This year, I am writing the first draft of the third book in The Conn-Mann Chronicles, The Incredibly Irritating Irishman.

I don’t want to spoil it too much, but suffice to say that Josephine Mann may have met her match in her mysterious cousin Seamus O’Leary.

I am really enjoying the dime novel that goes with it this time–Practical Polly and the Village of Doom. Garrett Goldthwaite is back on top of the game. To follow along with Polly’s perilous predicaments, visit the Conn-Mann Facebook page for daily snippets.

Here’s the first sample to give you a taste of it:


Polly Peterson peered out of the thick underbrush,scanning the clearing before her. The village looked quiet in the throes of after-dinner torpor. None of the brown-skinned natives was to be seen. Even the ever-present children were absent. No dogs roamed the fringes, no women sung about their chores. Where was everyone? Was it seriously just time for a siesta, as she had seen with other tribal groups?

She bit her lip. Somewhere in that deceptively quiet landscape was the man she loved-and she wasn’t leaving without him. Despite his orders.

The thatched huts huddled in a rough circle around the central fire-pit were little more than lean-tos. She could probably knock them down with a gentle push…but that wouldn’t free Jack Stanton from the clutches of the cannibals.

She didn’t want to think too hard about that last part. What if Jack had been lunch? She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if he was dead. Especially if he had been eaten because she wanted to make a name for herself as an explorer the world took seriously.

She ducked back into the underbrush, heart pounding, as a lone warrior stumbled out of his hut and relieved himself against a tree. She shuddered. Primitive man…why did she want to research these people again?

She swiped her forearm across her face. It was so damn hot here in the Amazon basin. Her clothes clung to her, soaked with sweat.

Jack had tried to dissuade her from the expedition. She should have listened. He was the more experienced explorer, after all.

She might even admit to him that he was right.

If she ever saw him alive again.

Damn it all. They should have gone to the South Pole!



Feel free to leave comments on what you would like to see next. I’ll talk to Garrett and see what we can do! 😉


Once More — Let’s Go, WriMo!

[The above is the Toastmasters Speech I gave on the subject Tuesday. Sorry for the position of the camera…but the vocal is good]

One last call to action here. 🙂

NaNoWriMo is less than 48 hours away now.  Join me for an amazing ride!

I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve been participating in it since 2002 or 2003 (I no longer remember exactly, it’s been so long.)

Now, I don’t always get 50,000 words every year. And that’s okay. The important thing is to try. There are so many good things that come out of just trying. For example, the discipline of making a daily goal and sticking to it. (Something I’ve learned a lot about this year!)

Writer Wes Plouff (also a multi-year participant, and occasional blogger on the topic) offers the following advice:

  • Don’t think, just write.
  • If it’s scrolled off the screen, fix it in December.
  • If you’re lucky, at some point your characters will start doing things on their own, and you just have to take dictation.
  • Writing 1,667 words each day takes one to two undistracted hours.
  • It’s easier than you think because the whole point of the exercise is quantity, not quality.
  • Go to at least one event and meet your fellow authors.
  • Expect to be surprised by how awful some of your writing is, and how good other parts are.
  • Most of all, have fun!

It’s really exciting to be able to post the winner banner on your website at the end of the month. Don’t you want that feeling too? 😉

Let’s take the challenge together.

Feel free to post handles below so we can encourage each other. I’m riesheridan (that’s how long ago I started–I hadn’t added the Rose yet.)

Don’t worry if you start and don’t get to 50k words. It happens to the best of us. The important thing it to try.

So, let’s go WriMo!

Overcoming Writer’s Block: 5 Quick Tips

2015-06-21 07.41.57

We all have those days…

Sitting in front of a glowing screen, or empty notebook and NOTHING wants to be written on it.

This has been particularly frustrating in light of the challenge this year. I can’t afford NOT to submit something on any given day, or I fail for the entire year. Yes, it was a masochistic challenge, but it is almost the end of October, and after 10 months of success, I can’t fail now.

So, what do you do if you are having one of those days when your brain refuses to boot up?

There are several quick tips that might help. Here are a handful.

  • Write something small and simple. Just to get words down on paper. Often, priming the pump like this can start the words flowing again. One of my favorite go-to’s when my brain refuses to play for me is to submit to Haikuniverse. Even on my worst days, I can usually come up with 17 syllables–and their daily offerings are really awesome to read.


  • Check the market listings. Often a particular call will spark interest in my head, and I will find myself writing something new and exciting for it. Speculative writers should have Ralan.com on their toolbar, as there is no better place to start. Non-speculative writers might find Writer’s Market worth the cost of on-line access–though you can just check out the hard copy in the library if you need to.


  • Network with other authors on Facebook groups like this one. Yes, you have to ask for admission to the group, but it isn’t difficult to get. And the calls change daily. Talking with other authors about their successes and failures often inspires me to submit to a specific market.


  • Try something you’ve never done before. If you are strictly a prose writer, try writing a poem. If you are only a text artist, take some photographs. Draw a picture. Experiment with a musical instrument. Getting out of your comfort zone can restart your thinking. Enter a challenge, like the upcoming NaNoWriMo.


  • Read a book in a genre/subject matter that you would like to explore. For instance, I read a lot of mysteries. Some day, I would like to write one. Seeing how other people do it successfully is a good basis for learning how to do it myself. Similarly, take an online class, like those offered at Writer’s Village University. This was the place that really jump-started my career.


There you have 5 Tips on places to start breaking up that Writer’s Block. Good luck!

Care to Join Me?


Yesterday, I told you about one of the challenges I was working on.  Well, today’s to-do item is to post a Call to Action.

As many of you may know, it’s almost that time again…one of my favorite and most frustrating months of the year. It’s nearly November, and that means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve been a competitor in this challenge for twelve years now. It’s gotten me three published novels, one contracted novel, and one work-in-polishing novel which I worked on two years in a row. I can’t promise you will have similar results, but I can promise that you will have better chances of writing a finished novel if you start one, and that the discipline involved in writing the necessary 1667 words a day to finish on time is a great way to start.

So, my call to action is this — sign up for NaNoWriMo — then come back and tell me what your handle is so that we can form a support group and encourage each other throughout the month!


In case you are interested, Sidhe Moved Through the Faire, The Marvelous Mechanical Man, and The Nearly Notorious Nun all had their genesis in NaNoWriMo, and this year, I will be working on Book Three of the Conn-Mann Chronicles — The Incredibly Irritating Irishman (which has been started on NaNo before and not finished…nobody wins all the time–and that is okay!)


I had a marvelous time at the San Gabriel Writers League meeting, and they were so wonderfully welcoming.

I was terribly nervous when I got there, because I wasn’t sure what I had to offer. But when the first thing that happened was that I received a surprise Speaker’s Fee, I felt much…more intimidated…lol.

But I had friends in the audience, and as I started telling my publishing stories, it got easier and easier. After all, the main point of my being there was to show that you COULD finish a NaNoWriMo book and get it published. (Sidhe Moved Through the Faire) Or finish one and submit it for publication. (The Conn-Mann Chronicles I: The Marvelous Mechanical Man) Or even not finish one one year and finish the next. (Skellyman)

I also talked about websites that I had found useful for networking, like Writer’s Cafe and Writer’s Village University. After all, one of my poetry books was filled with poems from the first one, and my first novel was contracted after a comment on the second.

I also mentioned Zumaya and what I did there.

When my time was up, I sold several books, which made a perfect ending to a lovely evening.

Of course, this morning, my bank refused to take a check I’d been written because it had “1/3/12” as the date — don’t forget it is 2013 people!

Here is the complete list of websites I handed out for those who might be interested:


Websites for practice and networking:




Paid Classes:


(both of these sites have free articles worth perusing if nothing else.)

Market Listings:




Informational/Inspirational Writing Articles:





(this one contains strong language, so bear that in mind before reading.)



Making NaNo Fun

I always enjoy National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve looked forward to November since 2003. I’ve finished my 50k words 3 out of 7 years, and gotten one published novel and one that is in solid second draft stage (though I did continue one I had started in an earlier year and only gotten about 30k into in that case…) — plus a third first draft that deserves fleshing out. But this year…I’m having more fun than ever. Why? Personal challenges.

First of all, I’m writing in a genre I’ve never tried before — due to a challenge from my writing cohort, I’m doing a period Steampunky-type romantic mystery… Second, I am writing a POV I’ve never sustained for more than a short story and writing it from my heroine’s first person viewpoint. And finally, instead of just pushing for the 1667 words necessary to squeak by with 50k, I have set myself a daily goal of 2000 words — and so far, I am averaging 2008. This means I have to write less than 1600 words a day already to finish. I’m over 12k into the story, and it feels wonderful.

So, for those of my compadres struggling to finish this daunting month with that “Winner” badge at the end, set yourself a couple of personal challenges. It just might give your writing engines that additional “spark” you need to triumph!