2014 Is Bringing Big Changes To Our Happy Home

Yesterday, the first day of a shiny new year, I sat down on the red couch you’ve all heard so much about and continued reading a book I had picked up earlier in the day.

The Peeshwank walked in and exclaimed, “What are you doing?”

“I’m reading.”

“But you read in the yellow chair.  You’re like Sheldon.  That’s your spot!”

“New year, new spot.  Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf.”

“But… that’s your spot.”  He points over at the empty yellow chair.  “This is where I nap.  Where am I supposed to nap if you’re reading in my spot?”

“Now who’s acting like Sheldon?”

Bazinga! Mug

I know I’ve been absent for a bit on ye olde website, but I promise to get back to making daily writing a priority.  The Peeshwank’s career and my volunteering at the theater started to take over our lives, so I’m working to take back some time to work on MY passion.  Yes, I’m learning to say “No, I don’t have time for that” in order to continue following my own dreams.  It hit me on New Year’s Eve that for the first year since 2009 I hadn’t released a new book.  I vow to never let that happen again.  As long as I am mentally and physically able to write, I will write.  No excuses.

And so, loyal readers, “The Last Girl” WILL be released this year come hell or high water.  If not, grab your torches and pitchforks and meet me in the front yard.

I’ve also got some other fun works that I started during NaNoWriMo that I can’t wait to finish and share with you.  Plus the YA series that Joe and I are writing together.  So many manuscripts!!!  I love looking through my computer and seeing all the work that I’ve been able to do thus far.  I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m up for the challenge.

Best wishes to you all!  Cheers!

[Insert obligatory New Year post here]

Wow, there are some Negative Nancys out in the world today – going on and on about how awful 2011 was.

[begin preachy cliches here]

The way I see it, if you ended 2011 alive and in a position to go online…on a computer… which is presumably connected to some form of electricity… bitching about how terrible the year was, then you’re better off than a lot of people.  Come on, folks, let your experiences make you a better person.  Learn to love the lows as much as the highs, for it’s when we’re at our very lowest that we learn the most about ourselves, about how much we can handle, how strong we are.  Every one of us has had hard times, but we’re all still here.  We’re that much better for it.  2011 may have been the lowest 300+ days of your life, but you made it through.  You survived.  You may have scars, but remember, chicks dig scars.

[end preachy cliches]

And now, what you can expect from yours truly this year…

  • The release of “Love and Chekhov” hopefully in time for Summer beach reading season.  (I should probably get busy.)
  • The completion of “The Last Girl” final draft.  (The rough draft should be done this week, but it probably won’t be released until later in 2013, if we survive the dreaded apocalypse.)
  • The completion of the rough draft of the tentatively titled “Confessions of a 20-Something Tramp” and no, it’s not autobiographical.  What kinda girl do you think I am?
  • The completion of the rough draft of “George and Ruthie” for 2012 NaNoWriMo.  (This one’s been outlined and waiting to be written for over 2 years now.  I think it’s time.)
  • Continued postings of random thoughts, funnies, complaints, and such here in the journal.
  • The ground shaking in the 479 as I continue my running program I’ve been steadily working on since last January.  (Hey, I lost about 20 pounds since last January.  If I could lose 20 more this year… and the year after… and so on, I’ll reach my goal weight by… [works out some quick math]… 2016.)
  • Postings about class reunions.  Some good, some bad, some nervous chatter.  (My high school class is celebrating a milestone this year and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.)
  • You can also expect me to continue loving life.  All of it.  Not just the good.
  • Oh, and wine.  There will be lots of wine consumed this year.

Happy New Years, y’all!

My adorable flutes the better half got me for Christmas a few years ago. They're about to be filled with lunchtime mimosas. Cheers!

PS. And hone my banjo skills.  I forgot to add that.  Definitely another resolution I need to keep!

NaNoWriMo update: Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Yeah!  Four-time winner here, ladies and gents!  Woohoo!

And here’s where the party ends.  When I hit 50,000 words I realized that I was only at the end of part two of what is a 3-part novel.  I’ve still got quite a road ahead of me until the rough draft is actually complete.  So, I’m pressing on in the hopes of getting to the end, so I can finish revising and editing another novel that’s been sitting in limbo for almost a year… and then there’s that one that I started writing in October… and the one that’s been outlined for a year… and the series that Joe wants to work with me on… oh, and that awesome idea he had for a horror-ish type fantasy novel… and on and on…

I’m really excited and nervous about this one as it’s so different from my other works.  Even though “By Grace Alone” was much more dramatic than my Dunham tales, it was still contemporary chick lit.  I don’t even know what to classify this new one under.  Oh, fiddle-dee-dee, I’ll think about that tomorrow.  Getting it finished is my priority for now.

I hope those of you that joined me in this year’s NaNo adventure are doing well and moving those word counts along.  If you need help, get on twitter and follow @nanowordsprints.  They helped me through several slow days.  They offer random word prompts, plot twists, even weather suggestions that will help pull you out of the doldrums.  One of my favorites had to be “Use the word ‘gristly’.  And go!”  One word brought out a whole scene I hadn’t thought of before.

Back to writing…

NaNoWriMo Update #4

So, I’m well over halfway done with my 50,000 word masterpiece. In fact, I’m at 34,286 words this morning which is quite an accomplishment all things considered.

This year’s piece has been especially challenging, not only because of the subject matter, but also because The Peeshwank’s busy schedule has been keeping me on my toes.  My little actor has play rehearsal just about every night, an orchestra concert sometime this week (is it tonight?  oh lord, it’s not tonight is it?), Odyssey of the Mind practice, and oh yeah, all his Pre-AP homework and projects.  It may not sound like a whole lot but get this, we’ve been so busy there is still Halloween candy left.  The good stuff too.  Chocolate.  Lots of it.  Yeah.

Yesterday when I settled in to enjoy my morning cup o’ Joe (not a euphemism for my better-half, Joe.  Actual coffee.) I looked at the clock and realized that I had a mere two hours to get my word goal in for the day.  After that I would be at the school, the theater, quick dinner of sandwiches, etc.  I cracked the knuckles and did it.  And thus reminding me that I should be doing the same thing every day when I wake up.  Write as hard as I can as quickly as I can.  Even if I have nothing to do the rest of the day, I need to write like my life depends on it.  Sometimes I feel like it does.

I glanced at the calendar this morning and it reminded me that we only had a couple of days until Thanksgiving break.  Then I remembered the school district cut our break short, so we still have over a week.  Dammit.

You know what I’m doing on Thanksgiving Day?  Napping.  I may even nap before any tryptophan hits my system.  Because I’m a trailblazer.

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

"Sorry I didn't make something more intricate, I had to get my word-count up on my NaNo novel."

NaNoWriMo Update #3

So, yeah, I haven’t been updating here as often as anticipated, but you know why?  20,000

words.  That’s why.  Booyah!

Okay, so technically, I’m sitting at 19,457 words, BUT I’m in the middle of this really crazy scene and I’m going to cross 20,000 and I wanted to share the moment with you, my loyal readers.  Because I’m a giver like that.

So, without further ado, I’m just gonna run right over there —>  and finish that scene up real quick, bear with me…

…and… we’re at 20,102.

I think a glass of wine is in order.

I hope everyone else’s NaNo has been a fruitful one.  I can’t wait to get this finished and start checking out some excerpts of what everyone else has been writing!

nanowrimoChris Baty’s guide to NaNo-ing.

NaNoWriMo Update #2

When I went to bed last night I was just under 14,000 words completed on this year’s “masterpiece”.

This morning is going a little slower unfortunately.  I decided to jump on the treadmill and jog a quick-for-me mile to get the blood pumping and the brain working.  Now I just feel tired.  So we’re moving on to Plan B.  Coffee.  Coffee by the gallon.  Full octane.

If that doesn’t work, then things will have reached Defcon 2 for sure, and we’ll start dipping into the wine.  (Hey, it’s noon somewhere, right?)

If that doesn’t work, then just know that I’m passed out on the floor in our home library, twitching from the caffeine and shouting, “WORDS!  CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!  PLOT BUNNIES!” between snores.

Let’s do this.

coffee

NaNoWriMo Update #1

So, NaNoWriMo once again took over my life yesterday.  I’m doing “literary fiction” this year, which given my propensity to typically write much more light-hearted fare, is pretty scary.

But, I’m off to a good start.  2515 words yesterday, 2836 today.  If I keep up my current rate, I will finish on November 18th.  Go me! (Of course, “keeping up the current rate” is the issue.  Ask me about my projected finish date on the 15th or so.  I suspect it will be much closer to the 30th by then.)

You can follow my progress here.  I may even put up a blurb about the book… or possibly an excerpt… one of these days…

NaNoWriMo Hoodies Are Heaven

NaNoWriMo is here again. And I still haven’t even touched last year’s winning novel…

For those of you who are new to Jenmac World, I’m a WriMo.  More specifically, I’m a 3-time winning WriMo.  I’ll hold while you applaud.  Or google “wrimo”.

If this sounds like Greek to you, then let me help you out.  NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.  Yeah, it’s exactly what the name implies.  (Except “national”.  It’s actually gone worldwide.)  Basically, you write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.  Do it and you win!  (But don’t worry, there is no failure.  Even if you only write a 1000 words, that’s a 1000 more words than you had before.)

I love doing NaNo as it gives me a deadline and I’m definitely one of those people who work better under pressure.  A LOT better.  Give me a deadline (even an insane one) and I’ll meet it.  Leave it up to me and I’ll wander around the house, occasionally stopping to watch the cats sleep under the trees out back, sipping on diet Coke, pondering whether or not to vacuum, deciding a nap would be more productive and finally deciding it’s too late in the day to start a project.

There is a downside to doing NaNo if you’re a serious writer.  There are a LOT of people out there who do it for the hell of it, then send off their NaNo drafts to agents and publishers on December 1st.  Yeah.  I know.  A rough draft that’s had no editing, no revisions, no rewrites, no proofreading done.  It’s like scribbling your job history on a cocktail napkin and turning it in to a prospective employer as a resume.  So, if you do NaNo, that’s awesome, feel free to find me on there (my user name is “jmcclory”) and we can help push each other to the finish line.  Just don’t even THINK of sending out queries on it for another year at the very least.  Trust me.  I’ve heard more than a few agents say that if you mention “this is my novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo last month” in your query that they will throw it out instantly.

That being said, it’s a wonderful way to break through that writer’s block we all suffer from occasionally and get some crazy, wacky thoughts on paper that have been milling about in your head for awhile.

So, here’s to a month of writing with reckless abandon.  Cheers!

I hope you’ve stocked up on coffee.  And wine.  Wine helps.  A lot.

For my fellow WriMos, are you a pantser or a plotter?  What are your favorite snacks that help get you through that chapter… you know, the one where there’s kind of a lull and you just can’t wait to get back to the exciting part?  Do you do NaNo events or do you take the Lone Ranger approach?

Myself, I’m a pantser.  Last year I went in with an outline and by 25,000 words my heroine said, “Um, yeah, I think not.  THIS is where we’re going with this story.”  My favorite reinvigorating snack is peanut butter and grape jelly on ritz crackers.  Hey, it’s got protein.  Don’t judge.  I haven’t had a chance to go to events because The Peeshwank’s busy extracurricular activities have always kept me away, but I hope to this year.  My region is starting to do mid-day events for those of us who work in the evenings.  “Work” meaning “chauffeur our little people to all their activities.”