One day, five hours and counting!

It’s almost that time!  Plot? CHECK. Outline? Check. Characters? Check. Now what….

Order coffee. from the Coffee Maven in Chicago–she’s got a special NaNoWriMo blend : Here’s what she says…The coffee will be the Coffee of the Month from  Starting Tuesday, November first, the Coffee of the Month is Harvest Blend, a surprisingly bold and flavorful coffee, perfect for firing up brain cells for early morning typing sprees.  It’s also excellent with cream and sugar for late night word wars.
If you’d rather skip the books, go straight to  Go to the “Buy Coffee” page and you’ll see “Nanowrimo High Test,” a high caffeine coffee sure to boost your writing to the next level.  Any one ordering a roast (about 18 ounces) of “Nanowrimo High Test” will also receive and extra ½ roast bag for no extra charge. That’s right, 9 ounces of coffee for FREE!  Better yet, if you’d rather try a different coffee, order any coffee on the website and after working your way through the shopping cart to the last page, type “Nano” under “Instructions to Merchant” before hitting the “Pay Now” button (or drop me an email through the website’s contact page).  I’ll add a half roast of Nanowrimo High Test to your order for no extra cost.   That’s it.  Order coffee, let me know you’re a fellow Nanowrimo participant, and get an extra ½ roast of coffee for FREE.
Please stop by and pick-up your FREE COFFEE.  It’s a great way to keep those words flowing.
Good luck and keep writing!

And this is incredible coffee.

Got the laptop powered full, got Jethro Tull picked out as preliminary soundtrack, got my court schedule whittled down for the week…

I think it’s a go!!

Oh THAT kind of Friday the 13th…

Yesterday was a wild day.

I had no clients, no court scheduled, and planned to spend the time working on my crazy November goals. 2,000 words at least. Maybe 3,000. Move the girl right through the funeral home scene where she discovers the truth behind–

Then I got the call about 9 a.m. that the Captain was suspended for three days. Come pick him up. Now.

My jaw fell far enough that it was a good thing it took me awhile to get to the school, trying to figure out why on Earth the Captain would believe it proper to email his (female) AS teacher a whole page of sexual limericks. I mean, really? What?

But I guess that was the final straw for the junior high. He’d been getting confrontational in classes all week, had made several pretty aggressive statements to said AS teacher as well, and to start the whole week’s events off, he’d thought his health teacher didn’t have enough materials for their talk about the differences between men and women, and had taken his study guide from his Our Whole Lives class along to share.

The Unitarians teach this wonderful class, at age appropriate levels, but there is an acceptance of healthy sex among adults of various genders and a graphic openness in the cause of providing true and correct information that in all likelihood doesn’t comport with a small-town white-bread mental set in junior high. In any case, he’s now known as “the Boy with the Sex Book.” *sigh*

Setting aside the fact that the team’s policy is that the Captain is not allowed to take any books to school because he won’t do his work if he has other materials available, or the fact that we’ve had long talks every day for two weeks that the arguing with the teachers has to stop, or the fact that when he gets in trouble it is not his AS teacher’s fault for telling us, it’s his own behavior that he should blame…well no, we can’t really set those facts aside.

On top of that, between the time they called and the time I got there, the Captain also commented to the principal that he thought he’d like to hurt someone.  This is the second time he’s made such a comment in two weeks. Of course they shared this with me, and when pressed, he identified who he’d hurt. (Funny how all his acting out is at school, but the people he wants to hurt are at home…)

So I left the school and went straight to the counselor’s office, who of course didn’t have time to see him, but they did send the mobile crisis team to the house. They spoke with him, at which time he was sweet and charming and they determined that he was not a candidate for inpatient evaluation. They did get him to sign a contract saying he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else, and said it would be a good idea for us to lock away all the firearms and pointy objects.

Really? Ya think?

The saddest part about all this, is that early in the week his dad and I were talking about how he had been making steady progress and he should get some of his privileges back (lost in September) and perhaps move into a more normal teen status with electronics access, etc. But here’s proof why he needs to be restricted from the Internet (and he’s lost his school computer privileges now too) and just can’t be trusted.

So an unlucky day for us all. But hopefully, hitting bottom starts another upswing. I’m always open to suggestions–got any?

They told me so

When I announced I was doing NaNoWriMo this year, one of my dear writer friends asked me whether I’d still keep up with the blog. Blithely I replied, “Of course!”

More the fool I.

In addition to my 15,000-plus words, however, I have kept up with life, which involved:

  • several court hearings, most of which went well, including one divorce master’s result that surprised me how well it went
  • a meeting with the Captain’s school support team, when we agreed(!) that the current main issue was his inability to retrieve homework he’d actually done, but was getting zeroes on because he couldn’t find it. We decided to permit him an aide for the fifteen minutes before school to help him get his locker and homework organized so he could turn it in and get credit.
  • sponsoring Dr. Do-Bee-Do to intramural volleyball, where he can have a chance to excel that’s not inhibited by his autistic siblings. We’ll all go next weekend to the tournament and cheer him on.
  • Deciding not to attend the yearly “Bar Prom,” an event that surely one day long ago was designed for the purposes of showing off all the attorneys’ trophy wives with black tie fancitude, but now is just an excuse for the Bar to get together and talk about things that don’t matter and play music from an era we don’t enjoy, in a room that’s too small and too loud. As much as the Cabana Boy remains a delightful trophy accompaniment, even he made the wise decision to stay home and take that time to relax. Go us!
  • Watching the premiere of the new/old series “V”, a story of alien invasion we watched when it came out in the 1980s. B has been called a lizard baby ever since then by her sisters–watching it in reruns, I watched to see if there was a resemblance, but I just couldn’t find it.
  • Finally, we enjoyed a number of Little Miss’s triumphs, mischievous and naughty sister sibling behavior (at last!), and interesting observations and phrasings, as when we were listening to some Moody Blues tunes, and she asked her father to change the music to “something with snappy fingers.”  Right on.

And now, back to the novel. As they say at NaNo headquarters, when you stop writing, a fairy dies.  🙂

Off and running!

Of all the corpses I’d seen in six years as a news reporter, Lily Kimball’s hit me the hardest.

This is the opening line of my 2009 NaNovel–like it?

Yes, National Novel Writing Month is ON! Sign-ups are still being taken on site, so if you’ve got a novel in you that you’ve always wanted to get down on paper, take the challenge. Now.

I’ve been holding off on this real hard all the last week until yesterday, when the writing could legally begin, so I seriously spewed forth copy yesterday, over 2000 words!

The story is written in first person, something I don’t normally do, so that’s switching me up a bit. You get a lot closer to your character that way; I expect she won’t be able to hide much from me, either. So far, so good. Look out vampires, here I come.

I missed the local write-in yesterday, but I’ve got another set for Wednesday afternoon. A writer friend and I are getting together for an hour or two of mad typing on our current projects. I need to get ahead, as I may have family coming in Thanksgiving week, and I want to get as much of that 50,000 words done in advance.

That being said, I’m off to write some more! AVANTI!

Moving ahead, pen/keyboard in hand

Halfway through October, and I’ve finished a first draft of my newest novel manuscript, a women’s fiction story about a downsized lawyer who meets a younger man dying of cancer and how they change each other’s lives. It’s about the longest first draft I’ve ever had at more than 75,000 words. I’m very pleased with it, and also pleased that it’s finished before–

NANOWRIMO!!!   nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_1.png

Yes, the crazy month of writing dangerously begins in only 15 days. I’ve got a story in mind about psychic vampires, since vampires are the flavour du jour, and we’ll see how it goes. I completed the task in 2007, lost my way last year, but this year looks good for a win.  🙂 The Erie group is meeting up at Borders November 1 at Millcreek for a Write-In–what a blast!

I’ve also recently won a writing course from nationallyknown teacher Margie Lawson, and I’m very excited about it! I got hold of several of her lecture packets and they are fantastic. I’m taking the two weeks between now and NaNo to bone up on her course on Empowering Character’s Emotions. Very exciting indeed!

I’m also reading, which is supposed to be good for writers as well– C.J. Lyons’ second book, Warning Signs, a medical thriller that has all the best stuff from ER and other medical shows I’ve watched, as well as sampling some Harlequin Blaze titles to see how others write sex. (Yes, Uncle Ed, this means that these manuscripts might actually be worth reading…)

All in all, it looks like a productive holiday season, which is good for me–traditionally a slow time for family law attorneys, since most parents try to hold things together for the benefit of the children for a few weeks.  Nice to have something to look forward to.

So ladies and gentlemen, warm up your word processors and get ready to NaNo!

Writers aren’t old dogs

Learning is about more than simply acquiring new knowledge and insights; it is also crucial to unlearn old knowledge that has outlived its relevance. Thus, forgetting is probably at least as important as learning.

–Gary Ryan Blair ( Mind Munchies: A Delicious Assortment of Brain Snacks!)

I spent the weekend at Context 22, a science fiction/horror/fantasy conference in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, but not to watch the old animated cartoons of Star Trek, discuss the future of filk, or to dress up like my favorite serial killer. I went to forget–and then learn again– how to write.

Since I’ve learned about the Master’s Program in Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University, I’ve been dying to go. At my level of ability, after publishing for 35 years, I really get the most from a professional level course. The faculty in the program are highly respected, and you can even commute for mini-sessions on campus and work independently the rest of the time. Heaven.

But in the meantime, a Pennwriters member of the Seton Hill faculty, Timon Esaias, sent a memo to the group, pointing out that many of the faculty would be giving significant two- and three-hour writing workshops at this Context conference, similar educational information without the university price tag.

Believe me, I’m there.

So this weekend I learned about maintaining narrative tension from Lawrence Connolly, who one reviewer has compared to Tarantino;  joined a discussion about the new Young Adult market, what’s in (sex and violence), what’s out (Pollyanna stories) and what’s controversial (everything!) from Ellen Klages, who talked about writing historical fiction and read from her book The Green Glass Sea (which I can’t wait to read); got about the best 15 minutes of hard advice about writing and rewriting fiction I’ve ever heard from Tim Waggoner; and soaked in three hours on point of view from “Norbert and the System” author Tim Esaias.

We left with sheets of references, recommendations and notebooks full of hope. For less than $200. Wow.

Of course, the icing for me was a one-on-one session with Juno Books editor Paula Guran, who critiqued a manuscript I started in NaNoWriMo–her suggestions were fabulous and resonated in my heart of hearts. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to hear what she had to say, but then for her to take the time to inquire about what else I had written that might be appropriate for her line, as well as what I was currently writing (which isn’t a Juno-type book, but she had great insight there too!)–I was floored. In a good way.

She has yet to look at my paranormal manuscript which I’ve submitted to Juno under their regular guidelines; she said she wanted to get through the conference first, and she vets her full manuscripts a little differently.  So, I’ll firmly believe that no news on this may be good news. Stand by for updates.

So I forgot some, and I learned some, and I’m considering some. And Little Miss got an hour in the hot tub, so she’s happy. What else can you ask?