Camp NaNoWriMo is tomorrow and I’m freaking out, but in a good way lol!
This is the first Camp where I’m going to be in an active cabin and I’m so excited I could bust! The last two Camps/cabins I was in were a dead zone of activity, so to be in a cabin that is actually communicating and supporting each other before Camp has even started? Priceless!
It’s a cabin full of AuthorTubers, so not only will we be writing our hearts out this month, but we’ll be seeing a ton of great videos as well!
I plan on filming daily vlogs, which will be quite a challenge. I did this in November for NaNoWriMo and it was exhausting, but very rewarding as well. Doing daily vlogs, keeps me focused, or more accurately, keeps me in line. I find I tend to wander and let the days pass by if I don’t have rigid structure. Filming daily vlogs gives me that structure. It can be stressful at times, but ultimately, it’s another form of creating for me, so it makes me feel accomplished. And when you’re participating in a NaNoWriMo motivation is the key to everything. Without motivation and discipline, you can give up in the first couple of days!
So, I’ve got my projects ready, I’ve got my cameras ready and (hopefully) I’ve got my brain ready!
Let’s do this!
What is it about second drafts that can feel so much harder than first drafts?
For me, first drafts are “easier” because they are the puke or vomit draft of a book so you have a lot more freedom to write utter crap. I always feel like I can get away with a really bad sentence because I know I’m going to edit it later.
But the second draft, I actually have to re-write those crappy sentences into something I want to publish. And that’s not even the third, fourth or fifth draft where editing becomes even more precise.
My current work in progress is my Riser/Atlas mash-up book called Atlas Rising (I know, on the nose, but I swear the title matches up with the theme, it wasn’t me just trying to be clever lol!) I finished the first draft in September and I was thrilled.
Until I read it.
Then I was depressed.
Something was just… wrong. And I had no idea what. It felt like half the book was missing, yet the plot and character arcs were all there in perfect working order. So what was missing?
I brainstormed. I pulled out a few hairs. I had a lot of sleepless nights. What? What was wrong with this darn book?
I managed to hone it down to one of the two main characters. I felt like all the Chelsan chapters were solid, but Kala… she’s a character we haven’t seen in three hundred years, so shouldn’t it feel like it had been three hundred years?
Yes, yes it should. And yet… it didn’t.
So I wrote a bunch of short stories about some of the pivotal moments that had happened to her in the last three hundred years. And the strangest thing happened:
I liked the short stories more than I liked the book!
I wanted to put the short stories in the novel, but I was afraid it would feel out of place, especially if the other character, Chelsan, didn’t have any stories to pull on.
And that’s when it clicked.
Each chapter would have a flashback that would give a history to the upcoming chapter. I kept remembering my college screenwriting classes: show don’t tell. And so far since Kala was in the present, the only way I could let the reader know what had happened to her was to tell them about it. But if I could write a flashback before the chapter even started, the reader would be able to experience those events first hand. And the same went for Chelsan. Some of the things that had happened to her growing up are important to the story, so instead of her talking about it, I could actually show it.
So that’s what I’m doing now in my second draft: writing all the chapter openers. The book is twenty chapters long, so I still have a ways to go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited by the new direction the book is going, it’s just that…
I was finished!!
I had written THE END and now I have to write 30K to 50K more words. It’s like going on a road trip and the sign says 10 miles to Vegas and you’re all excited because you’re almost there, but the next time you look up and see a sign it says 110 miles to Vegas!
But I’m back on track now. I wrote another chapter opening today and I plan on writing one every day until I’m finished. Then draft number two will be all done!
And then comes draft three!
My first passion is writing, hands down! I've been writing since I was a kid and have never stopped. I've had thirteen books published and four more to be published this year and I never see myself stopping.
When I'm writing, I feel like everything is right with the world. I write because it's what makes me happiest in life. It's pure joy wrapped in a journal or laptop!
That being said, coming in second for my life passions is sewing. I've also been doing this since I was a kid. I love it almost as much as I love writing! Almost :-)
Like my writing, my sewing has evolved over the years. I used to sew only clothes: for myself, for my friends, for my dolls lol!
But I started making bags a little over twenty years ago. I transformed my artwork into the bags themselves. I used to only paint North West Indian artwork. So, I took some of my artwork, printed it on fabric, then sewed it on a simple tote I made.
From there, I moved on to actually cutting out each piece of the artwork in vinyl then sewing that on more sophisticated bags (sophisticated meaning it had lots of compartments and pockets lol!)
Once I got the hang of making solid bags, I let my imagination go wild and that began my years long journey of making bags for friends, family and myself that captured every movie, TV show or book that I ever loved! Here are just a handful of examples:
I kept going, coming up with more and more elaborate ideas. I wasn't sure if I could make them, but I kept trying and surprised myself when most of my patterns actually worked! I knew all that math would finally come into play in my life!
And that's what brought me to today. I still make clothes (I even make some really fun cosplay!), and I still make bags, but the bags have taken on lives of their own.
It all started with an idea of making the Serenity (the spaceship from the TV show Firefly) into a bag. My friend Faith and I were going to cosplay Captain Mal for Comic Con and I thought we needed some cute bags to carry all our stuff in. So what better item to put all our things in, but the Serenity herself!
A lot of trial and error (and a few cuss words) later, I had created two Serenity bags.
Then seeing the shape of the Serenity I realized that they almost resembled dragons. I couldn't get the thought out of my head. What if I just altered the pattern, just a little... And voila! The first dragon bag was born and I've been obsessively making them ever since.
After that, making magical creature bags has been a wonderful way for me to create and get my imagination going. Sometimes, I need to work out what's happening in my stories and sewing gives my mind the space and ability to think things through.
I already have plans for a new bag that I'm really excited about. For those of you that have read or watched the new show based on the comic books, The Runaways, you can probably figure it out :-) I'm working on the pattern now and I'm crossing my fingers it works!
Bottom line is: I'll always write and I'll always sew. The act of creating something new is just about the most amazing thing there is and I'm just grateful I'm able to do it!
They’re not the ones pulling paintings off walls of a museum, they’re screen grabbing artist’s creations off the Internet and selling them to the public in the form of t-shirts and hoodies.
I wasn’t even aware of this massive scam until it happened to one of my artist friends. She came up with this amazing mash-up idea, combining the Stranger Things demogorgon with the Adidas logo. You may have seen it popping up on the Internet in your FaceBook or Instagram feeds…
This is Sarah Cave’s design. It came from her imagination. It came from her illustration skills. It’s hers. Her property.
But the modern day thief doesn’t care about where it came from, they just see a great idea that they can make money off of. So, they pull her artwork off her site, upload it to theirs and sell thousands of t-shirts.
I’ve seen several of these ads and they have up to 200,000 likes, which equates to god knows how many sales.
And the artist that created it receives nothing.
Even this morning, as I woke up to write this blog, I went on FB and saw yet another FB ad trying to sell Sarah’s design. I scrolled down to the next post and it’s Sarah, posting about how she has to spend more of her time dealing with these thieves than she does designing. Right next to each other! Unbelievable!
It feels like we live in a day and age where people don’t seem to care if it’s stolen, they just like something and want it, and they’ll take it anyway they can get it, even if it’s wrong. Even if the person that created what they loved gets absolutely no credit and no profit.
I just want to spread the word for my friend, who deserves the credit, who deserves the reward for coming up with such a brilliant design!
This is a list of some of the illegal sites: teechip, strangerthingsuk, geekworld, gearlauch, kamuistore. (and by the way: it's actually cheaper to buy the shirt on Sarah's approved sites than these rip-off sites! So, not only are they ripping off Sarah, but they're ripping off their customer!)
And here are the sites where Sarah Cave’s art is sold legally and she actually receives what she’s owed:
So all I ask of you is simple: if you truly love someone's artwork and you want to purchase it, just make sure the site you're buying from is legit and not created from one of these con artists.
Support the artist, not the thieves!
I have to say, this has been the best NaNoWriMo so far. I technically ‘won,’ but I didn’t finish the book. I plan on doing that later maybe for Camp NaNoWriMo (keep it in the family :-))
The reason this was the best NaNoWriMo, wasn’t because of word count (I’ve actually written more words in previous NaNos), it was because of the amazing people that I met this year through YouTube.
I started a YouTube channel a week or so before NaNoWriMo that focused completely on all things writing. I was nervous, definitely out of my comfort zone, especially talking about writing. I didn’t want to be judged or trolled or any other nightmare we’ve all read about on the Internet.
But I’ve been trying to push myself in the last year to do things that scare me because what else is life about if you don’t do the things you want because you’re afraid to do them?
So I did it and it was one of the best decisions I ever made! I met so many amazing writers. They were all so encouraging and supportive. I never dreamed it would be such a wonderful experience!
The writing itself was difficult this year. I have to admit there were times where I wanted to quit. I even switched projects for a day, but luckily, by just switching projects, it gave me a revelation of what I needed to do for the original novel I had been working on. I ended up re-writing my outline five days before NaNo was over! I knew I wasn’t going to finish the book, but at least I have a clear map to finish now.
Hitting that 50K felt really good! And I love that I have the entire journey documented on YouTube, with all the ups and downs!
I plan on continuing my writing journey both here and on YouTube. I love that I have a whole new community of writers that I can bounce ideas off of, turn to on my off days, and can mutually encourage each other to move forward and get our work out there!
NaNoWriMo may be over for this year, but the journey has just begun!
Okay, I’m in serious panic mode! Not really, but kind of lol! I’ve done my outline and as detailed as it is, I’m still not sure if it’s enough. We’ll see, I guess!
One of my best friends is coming over tomorrow and we’re going to write all day! I’m so excited! I’m really hoping I can get a good chunk done for the first day and start it off right!
I’m trying not to add any extra pressure on myself. I’m going to go with the flow and just have a blast!
So here’s to a crazy-insane month of writing!
Ready… set… GO!
I can’t believe I finished the rough draft of my Riser/Atlas mash-up book! I’m really excited, but also know I have a ton of editing to do. Even though I had outlined this novel within an inch of its life, I inevitably made a few unexpected turns along the way, which forced me to re-outline the outline, and create a few holes I need to patch up now.
I’m going to wait to do any hard core editing until December though. I decided that this year I’m going to tackle NaNoWriMo full force! I’m writing the sequel to Dream Diaries and I’m going to take the entire month of October to outline the crap out of it! That way, come November, I can sit down and crank through. I feel like it’s good luck since the only NaNoWriMo I ever won was with the first Dream Diaries.
I’m in a good head space lately, which is a nice change. I’m usually one of those ‘self-punisher’ or ‘self-guilter’ types. Like if I don’t meet a deadline (self-imposed deadline, mind you!) I feel like a total failure. But now that I finished my mash-up ahead of schedule, I’m feeling really good. (I know, it probably won’t last, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can!)
So, NaNoWriMo, I’m ready for you! Can’t wait to start my page, buy some swag and knock out another novel in November! The juices are flowing and I’m taking full advantage!
Now to go outline lol!
Even though it’s 107 degrees here in California, I can still feel Autumn around the corner. I hope the weather changes to a much cooler temperature, but you never know in Los Angeles. Sometimes it’s hot in the fall and sometimes it’s cold. I’m rooting for cold this year!
My husband and I are moving again. I never thought we’d move this soon after our last move, but we came to the conclusion that we’re just not ‘house people.’ Maybe someday when we can afford multiple acres of land and not have any neighbors within eyesight, but for now, close quarters house living is not for us. There’s just too much maintenance. We’re going back to condo/apartment living!
Of course, that means we have to sell the house first lol! We’re crossing our fingers it goes quickly, but you never know in today’s market. The nice thing is our house is a wonderful little house, so if we didn’t sell we still love where we’re living. We just would prefer to free our lives of clutter and downsize. That sounds so good right now, I can’t even express it properly!
I hope we sell fast so we can be settled into our new place by winter, or even better Autumn! I can’t wait for pumpkin spice lattes and cozying up on the couch to read the new Brandon Sanderson book in November! Of course, the book will have to be my reward for when I finish NaNoWriMo! So much to look forward to!
But for now, I have to prepare my house for sale! So. Much. Work. But hopefully, it’ll all be worth it!!
Sometimes writing blogs, or writing anything really, feels like writing into the ether. Does anyone ever really read any of this? Everything nowadays is about content, content, content, but what does that really mean?
For me, writing is about creating new worlds and characters that I hope will bring some enjoyment to this world, or even to one person. I’m always amazed when I get great reviews on Amazon for one of my books. It blows my mind that a complete stranger could actually find my book (I’m terrible at marketing), buy my book, read my book, then care enough to review my book. It makes it all worth it. Sure I get bad reviews, like all authors do, but I can’t fault anyone for not liking something I wrote. There are plenty of books I can’t stand. It doesn’t mean I hate the author or anything, I just didn’t like the book. Good reviews, bad reviews; it just makes a novel more rounded.
But sometimes I find myself asking: Is anyone going to care about what I’m writing next? Is this even important? Shouldn’t I be writing for the simple love of writing?
The answer is no.
Yes, I write because I love it. Yes, I write because it is the singular profession that brings me pure joy.
But I love writing because I love sharing stories with other people. It wouldn’t be the same if I wrote only for myself. The process would still be fun, but the pay-off for me is telling a story that entertains. I’m not too terribly deep in my books. Yes, my characters are complex three-dimensional beings, or at least they are to me, but I mainly try and write novels that you could eat a bag of popcorn to while reading. Fun, exciting, adventurous, horror, sci-fi, super powers, mysteries. I get to live the adventures of my characters through my laptop keyboard.
Some days are harder than others though. When I’m on a roll, it’s the easiest thing in the world, but when I’m stuck in a particular moment, it can be paralyzing. This is when I usually back away, percolate, then hit the ground running a day or two later. I try to write every day because it’s the ultimate mood stabilizer for me. Writing = good mood. My friends and family are always happy campers when I’ve had a good writing day because I’m full of smiles and laughter. Writing truly makes me a better person.
And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it? I found something in my life that, just by performing the simple act of writing, makes me truly happy. Not many people can say they found that one thing in life. I’ve been writing since I was seven and have never stopped. It’s so much of who I am, I don’t know who I’d be without it.
I’m proud to be a writer.
It’s who I am.
And I’m pretty happy about that!
I’m one of the millions of people who absolutely loved Wonder Woman. It inspired me, it motivated me, it made me want to be an Amazon! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was so much more than that. Wonder Woman was a great big healing potion for everything that has happened in the last eight months.
Let me explain:
It wasn’t just that Hilary Clinton lost. Love her or hate her, having a woman elected into the White House would have been monumental. Every girl in America would have grown up knowing that women could be President too. I felt that hope and excitement like a real and living thing leading up to the election. It was intoxicating, it was inspiring, I was so proud to live in a country where we were stepping into the future, where we were evolving into greatness, where it didn’t matter if you were a man or a woman or black or white, you could be anything you wanted to be. I lived and breathed that feeling as I cast my vote and waited to hear the news that the first female president won by a landslide.
But that didn’t happen. Yes, she won the popular vote, but that was little consolation. My next hope was that the electors would change their votes. Pipe dream, I know, but I was desperate for this wrong to be righted. When that didn’t happen and 45 became our president I was numb. Numbness soon turned to outrage, shock, anger and many more emotions as his administration tried (and keeps trying) to take down everything good about this country. Our country is moving so far backward, sometimes I don’t even recognize it anymore. We had such an opportunity to show the planet that we could be the innovators and leaders that we once were. But with every step 45 takes, it’s fifteen steps back into the past of archaic thinking and is making our country irrelevant.
So why is Wonder Woman a giant Band-Aid for everything we’ve gone through since the election?
Simple. It captured that same feeling people like me felt the day of the election and the months leading up to it, and this time we got the outcome we wanted. Watching strong Amazonian women crushing the bad guys, watching Wonder Woman take control and leading, not because she was a woman, but because she was the best person for the job. She was respected and followed by men who initially laughed that a woman was even coming along on the journey let alone taking charge and becoming their leader. It was everything I wanted to see in real life. The good guys won. They defeated their oppressors and saved the world. And all because of Wonder Woman.
All because of a woman.
Let that sink in.
More than just a bass a$$ super hero, Wonder Woman represents so much more than that. She represents the hopes and dreams every little girl feels when they’re figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. And movies like this tell them they can be anything.
Sometimes movies are just movies, and sometimes they can start a new way of thinking. They can change people’s minds. They can open people up to new possibilities. It doesn’t happen over night, but I have faith that it could happen one day.
And this movie helped move that forward. I walked out of the movie feeling the way I had imagined I’d feel after the election. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that satisfaction November 8th, but on June 2nd I got a little taste of it, and for that I will always be grateful!
I'm a writer of YA fiction, fiction, comics, television and movies. I try to make all my stories full of jumbly goodness :-)