Black Sheep of the Family Friday

For a limited time (that being until I remember to revert it) the paperback version of my latest book (and my winning WIP for last year’s NaNoWriMo), Lay Her Ghosts to Rest, is “on sale” on Amazon.

Consider it a holiday special if you will but really, I want to buy a few copies for family members for Christmas and if I get to control the price, I choose to pay less.

That’s why it’s “on sale” rather than on sale. There’s no real promotion so much as I lowered the price for my own benefit.

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Lay Her Ghosts to Rest is my most recent book, inspired by my dread and hatred of wakes and funerals and my desire to legitimize my fear and justify my absence from them. See, everyone? It’s bad for your spirit to attend these things! It’s bad for your soul to have one held for you! Devastation, organization, commercialization! These are all the consequences of your morbid fascination with grief theater and cadaver puppets!

It’s also about recognizing negative patterns and realizing how difficult it is to break them. Workplace drama, relationship drama, ghost stuff, a kickass apartment complex in a renovated industrial mill. That’s what’s what.

 

I imagine that’s why many small business owners open up shop: just to spend less on the stuff they love.

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Nuts Need Energy to Ball

Chapter 20 of my NaNo WIP reads:

Chapter 20

Subtitle

[MC goes nutballs. To be written later]

I got up early. I’m just tasting my first few sips of coffee. I need to leave for a doctor’s appointment in less than an hour and I have to take the baby with me. Nutballs isn’t something I can write right now but it’s what needs to happen at this point in the story.

Nutballs is just not achievable at this level of momming.

Conversely, this level of momming is not achievable while nutballs. Which may be the point of the story.

Also, it may be a weeeeeee bit autobiographical.

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Hazelnutballs is about the best I can do.

The Book No One Will Read

I’m about a day and a half behind schedule and that ain’t bad for starting over on the second day.

I feel like the words will come easier for this WIP since it’s based on real life but I also think maybe the story will be lacking in commercial appeal. It’s a labor of love, challenge, and self-reflection that won’t sell for shit unless I find the magic editing potion that makes it more interesting.

But that’s next month. Right now it’s just getting the story out in as many words as I can think to use*.

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*I don’t consider it cheating to refrain from any kind of editing that takes away words until after the 50,000 are reached. It’s efficiency, if anything. Right?

Get It Done… Tomorrow

Instead of writing today, I:

Played hashtag games on Twitter

Reposted something stupid on Facebook

Took two small children to Target and bought a $6 Halloween costume on 70% off clearance!

Played LEGOs

Joined Instagram

Binged on Trader Joe’s Garlic Parmesan Pita Chips

Cut a cucumber into toddler-sized pieces

Braided my hair Wonder Woman-style (sorta. I tried)

Watched Sweet Water Secrets on Youtube

Looked up the kid who plays Adam Goldberg on the Goldbergs on IMDB to see what else he’s up to

Entered a book giveaway on Goodreads and a Set Visit Sweepstakes for Riverdale

Watched The Good Place on my DVR

Listened to my husband tell me about his uneventful doctor’s appointment

Listened to my son list all the Halloween monsters he knows about

Sat in my parked car at the park with two sleeping children in the back seat, just chillin’ and taking in the Fall foliage

Checked out the NaNo merch

Made this list

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You Cry When You Can’t Make It Happen

Ugh, gross, no, yuck!

And that’s where WIPs normally go to die.

I reread all 1700 words I wrote yesterday and hate about 70% of them. Because I’m pantsing, I have no idea what I’m writing about, no plot, no direction, no real sense of character outside of the scene I’ve written and I’m just… all… BLECH about it all.

Today’s the day I have to decide to keep chugging along, knowing that I can edit later or even just scrap the whole thing once it’s done and chalk it up to a writing exercise that ultimately helps me understand the importance of planning as long as I complete the word count challenge.

OR I can start something new. Right now*.

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*And by “right now”, of course I mean once both of my children are otherwise occupied and not… crying that Halloween is over and/or they need to poop and can’t. My life is so glamorous.

 

UPDATE: I’ve started something new. I look forward to the dip in my Nano graph. It should add some visual interest to an otherwise boring trajectory.

Hot and Hopeless Strangers

Reading fan fiction is dangerous. It gets me in a certain mindset that’s not great for my own writing. As much as I love it, it tends to be lazy: it relies on its audience’s existing understanding of characters and settings and therefore puts little effort into descriptions; it tends to be repetitive, exploring the same themes as the source material and/or of other fics; it tends to be focused on minutiae (which is part of its appeal, really) instead of narrative purpose; and it’s rarely well edited or… really, proofread at all. There are exceptions, of course, but when you’ve been ravenously consuming, you encounter a lot of crap.

But in newborn hell, I NEED TO CONSUME TO STAY ALIVE because what the hell else is there for me to do? I can’t go to work, I can’t go to places with lots of people, I can’t spend ALL day doing household chores nor playing freaking Paw Patrol with my toddler. There are only so many shows on OnDemand and fewer on TV. And my desk chair isn’t comfortable enough for endless Netflix binges.

Reading fanfic on my phone while I nurse my newborn on the couch? OK! It’s free, it’s never ending, it’s portable, and it lets me stay in a world that interests me. I win.

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Except… when I try to write my own thoughts and start seeing some of the bad fanfic habits popping up on the page. With NaNoWriMo now just about a week away, I need to get out of the habit.

In a lame attempt to change this habit, I proposed (to myself) that I would only read fanfic at night and try to read real books by day.

So yesterday, I read The Stranger.

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.”

Then last night, I started a new fanfic. Then this morning, I … kept reading the same fanfic. Because, let’s be honest, I’d rather spend my mind time in a land of poor grammar while beautiful people I sometimes see on my TV make out with each other than in a land of hot hopeless existentialism.

Clearly, I chose the wrong real book.

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Not the feel good book of the year I probably could have used yesterday.

My Prep is in List Form

With 11 days left until NaNoWriMo begins, I have narrowed my project possibilities down to TWO! It was SEVEN as of this morning, so trust me when I say this is major big time progress.

The easiest way I could think to do it was to make a list because lists are the sometimes the glue that holds sanity together. Once the list o’ seven was made, it was as simple as reading through the one-line descriptions and deciding whether or not it would take more effort than I was willing to give. Most of them required either too much research or too much thinking or too much acknowledgement of world suck to pursue.

What I was left with was a fictionalized version of that time I went to Memphis and discovered what Southern racism looked like (and this was one of the lesser world suck topics) or an absurdist time-travel story based on a dream I had once about Walter O’Brien (the handsome TV version) running through a cave.

As far as plot goes, the Memphis one would be the easiest.

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But if I wanna get weird, I should go time-travel.

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For now, I’ll let it go and let future me decide what I’m feeling. Eleven days is  forever when you mark the passage of time by baby feeding schedule. It’s also one big long day that never seems to end. Who knows what sleep-deprived hallucinations could spark an amazing idea by then.

Jumping Right In with like, a couple of toes if that

I really shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. The commitment is beyond my ability to contemplate.

But I think… I might do NaNoWriMo again… with the understanding that I probably will not “win”.

If I had to pick the one worst thing about newborn care, it’s the utter loss of self that comes with it. I let myself get lost with my first baby. I’m not letting it happen again.

If I’m gonna lose something, I’d prefer it was a game.

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It’s Heeeee-errrrrre (GHOSTS!)

Coworker drama! Institusluts! Moms who can’t let go even after they die! 

Lay Her Ghosts to Rest is available TODAY on Amazon!

 

What started as a totally pantsed (that being “by the seat of my”) NaNoWriMo and CampNaNo project has become… A Real Book that you can buy and read and then also review if you’re a responsible reader.

Go get it and read the crap out of it!

Lay_Her_Ghosts_to_Rest large cover“Ohhh, not a player slayer at all, are ya? Just a covert convert.”

“Not quite. I think. I’m not sure what that means. But no, I did not fall for his game. We dated. We… lived together, actually. For quite a while. But it didn’t work out and we broke up and he’s not pleased with how things ended.”

“You dumped him.”

“I ended the relationship, yes.”

“Why? And are you the reason he’s become the Instituslut?”

“The what? Institu–? That’s not even clever.”

“I didn’t come up with it.”

Everything’s Coming Up Self-Promotion

Hold on to your hats, my honeys, because this month and next are all about self-promotion.

I’ve got some freebies comin’ atcha! I’ve got some discounts! And then… well, I got a brandy new book available for preorder (soonish) launching on August 11.

Oh yes, that story I’ve been working on since November’s NaNoWriMo? It’s just about done and I’m ready to release that little monkey into the world and see if she climbs.

Apologies to the people on Twitter who liked my tweet:

It’s still true. I don’t follow people and then DM them to buy my book when they follow back. I don’t tweet so much self-promotion that it’s hard to tell if I’m a person or not. And while I don’t always follow back, I do like and RT hashtag tweets I think are swell.

Despite the appearance of hypocrisy, however, I do tweet about my free and discounted and new books when the time comes because… that’s what Twitter is for. That’s what all those free book hashtags are for. I’m not harassing the #amwriting crowd, kids. I’m trying to reach a larger audience.

Still… sorry for saying I don’t appreciate spammers immediately before going into full-on BUY MY BOOKS mode. Sentiment is the same. I guarantee you’ll never ever get a direct message from me.

Coming up:

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A Flash of Effect free on Amazon.com 7/20 – 7/24

Short stories that happen between scenes of The Homecoming Effect and expand on the character of Bunny and the world she inhabits. If it was possible to write fanfic about your own work, that’s what this would be.

 

 

 

 

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The Homecoming Effect free on Amazon.com 7/27 – 7/31

What does one do when the world changes dramatically right in the middle of a steamy summer fling? Travel across state lines with your younger paramour and his school-aged brothers, lie about your marital status and claim the children as your own, and settle down in a religious community where only your deception keeps your found family safe?

Sure, why not?

 

 

ltot-book-coverLike Two Opposite Things $.99 on Amazon.com 8/1 – 8/8

Eda’s got a thing for summer flings, my friends, but this one goes waaaaay back to a campground in the mid-90s where our 15-year-old protagonist gets it all wrong in her head before facing the choice between a fantasy relationship full of big gestures and dramatic declarations or the safer alternative of friendship with feelings.

It’s teen 4-EVA love without the sparkly vampires or terminal cancer.

 

And my new book launches on 8/11. More on that to come …