Best of luck to all of you who will be attempting NaNoWriMo this November.
As some of you will be slaying your 50K words, I’ll be taking time to finally finish those anemic outlines I drafted and learning some ins and out of the Scrivener software I bought way way way too long ago.
When I eventually do this challenge again, it will be with a prepared and pre-planned outline otherwise it is way too stressful for a pantser like me who is trying her best to become a planner.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this November? If not, are you doing any other challenges?
Yup, I killed the anonymous option a very long time ago.
When I started this blog years ago, it was ONLY to participate in the WordPress Writing 101 course.
I didn’t know anything about the world of blogging but I FELL IN LOVEwith the exchanges with fellow writers and the creative writing itself reignited my love for what I had buried six feet under for almost 2 decades due to OPOs (Other People’s Opinions).
But I’m still here, still writing and still wanting to publish the stories rolling around in my head if I can get over my procrastination due to..fear?
Yeah, I said it but I digress…
In looking around at other indie authors, I realize that lots of them use pen names or initials as part of their published names.
Maybe it’s because these internet streets can get crazy weird and keeping your true identity anonymous is the smart thing to do.
Maybe it’s because an author can reinvent themselves and pick a name that’s crazy sexy and cool (I like that idea).
Or maybe it’s because lots of female authors use initials to have more street credibility, like JK Rowling and many others.
I’m thinking that even though YOU already know who I am, maybe I’ll still follow suit with a different name or initials when I actually do publish something.
But it will likely be difficult to choose something that rolls off my tongue or that I really, really like.
Do you have a pen name? And if so, how did you choose it?
Repost – *Trigger warning – fiction alludes to sexual abuse/child abuse*
My younger brother, Jeff and I sat next to each other on the couch in our parent’s living room. It was their 55th wedding anniversary and the entire extended family had turned out for the casual BBQ party they had decided to throw themselves. People milled around, some catching up on the latest family news while others boasted about their fabulous accomplishments to make each other jealous.
I had been all around the world but whenever I visited my childhood house, the only place I wanted to be was away from here. That’s when I longed for the safe confines of my own peaceful and comforting home.
The entire gathering was ridiculously hypocritical seeing that our parent’s entire marriage had only been full of hateful tolerance instead of wedded bliss. Jeff and I had endured that charade our entire lives behind their closed doors and we knew their dirty secret.
“I blame you David.”
My plate of homemade macaroni and cheese and barbecue ribs sitting precariously on my lap almost fell between my knees at Jeff’s angry voice.
“Blame me? For what? What did I ever do to you?!”
Over the years, we had rarely seen each other but it wasn’t for my lack of trying to make an effort. Jeff had been the one to distance himself and his family away from me. Our disconnect had slowly started after I had eloped at eighteen to marry my first wife, a calculated move far out of state that had more to do with escaping the smothering environment than being head over heels in love. Unfortunately, leaving town had also meant leaving Jeff behind to fend for himself.
“I blame you for her.”
Jeff pointed to the bay window to where Uncle Alonso and Aunt Beatrice stood in the front garden area chatting up a storm with our parents. My blood ran cold with nausea.
“What are they doing here?” I found myself saying much too loud.
How dare they have the audacity to even show their faces here?
The urge to run to the bathroom and throw up quickly turned into an overwhelming desire to jump into my car and run them both over.
No, maybe run all four of them over.
Deader than dead.
“If you had spoken up back then, she never would have come after me after you left. My life would have been so different if you had just fought back. But you were always the selfish one, weren’t you?”
Jeff pushed himself up from the couch and walked away, leaving me to deal with the fallout of the bomb he had dropped.
She had done things to him too?
Cold sweat racked my body as my soul emptied itself onto the carpet alongside the contents of my plate. My soul hadn’t felt so empty since the first time Uncle Alonso had begged me not to tell on Aunt Bea, almost as empty as when my parents had refused to believe me when I had finally spoken my truth.
I could still almost feel the pain of the beating I had received for it.
Bloody little liar! That’s my sister you’re talking about! Bea would never do such a thing! Don’t you ever say anything like that again!
Oblivious to the frenzied scene of aunts and girl cousins trying to clean up the ribs and macaroni decorating my mother’s precious Siberian white rug, I was on my feet in an instant.
As I barreled my way out of the front door to where they stood jabbering away, my hand searched frantically in the depths of my pockets for my car keys.
I always need to know that there is some kind of net below me.
Going SPLAT is not my thing.
But I decided a while back that even if the net involves feeling uncomfortable or may result in a possible level of embarrassment, I’ll take that jump more (of course, keeping the rules of Covid in mind).
It’s not like I’ve never felt uncomfortable or embarrassed before and I’m still here to talk about it, right?
With each passing day, it feels like life is just slipping away for me and for those around me. Circles that were once tightly knit are sadly becoming smaller and I find myself shaking my head and thinking…
“Is this what life is supposed to be all about?”
“When is life going to cut me some slack so that I can prioritize the things I want?”
I’m thinking back to the last time I really jumped. I found myself on an away-from-home seminar 9 hour long luxury bus trip to Philadelphia with 50 legal professionals, none of whom I knew. It brought me back to the first days at school, worrying about not knowing anyone, being the odd (Black) girl out and not part of any pre-formed cliques.
I had to remind myself that I had traveled solo plenty of times before and introverted little old me not only made a few new acquaintances, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the city and getting fresh ideas for future writing.
As a complement to that Philly jump, I purposely didn’t research much about the Philadelphia sights and things to do before leaving. The lack of “research” was refreshing because I was able to just let my feet take me to whatever seemed interesting on my Google maps in my non-seminar/free time…
Liberty Bell, Franklin Square, Love Park and my favorite, the hustle and bustle of Reading Terminal Market.
And that same weekend just outside the hotel was the Midtown Village Fall Festival . It was a gorgeously warm day so you know I loved sipping on coffee while watching the consequences of what cheap food, too many alcoholic beverages and music will do to people when the day turned into night. 🙂
Writing ideas filled my brain and it gave me another city experience to use as the backdrop in a future story.
I was glad that I jumped and I’m thinking about other ways I can jump some more in these times of Covid…
I wonder how cold the water would be if I accidentally push her overboard…
Her gold scarf whips around her face in the wind as I watch her lean against the rail and peer down into the blackness of the water. She is completely hypnotized by the cresting white foam that trails alongside the ship as it barrels its way to the next port.
How much would it hurt when she hits the water? Would death be instant? Would her screams go unheard?
These aren’t supposed to be the thoughts of a formerly happy husband on a Christmas anniversary cruise vacation.
But they are.
I’m tired of her hollow commitments and the talk of “The Baby” to mask the lies she’s been spinning. I’m tired of working to exist and existing to work because she’s taken away everything worthwhile in my life and bled my bank accounts dry. Most of all, I’m tired of pretending that I can make things work with a baby she doesn’t realize that I know is not mine.
A man can only take so much of an evil woman but I still hate myself for having gruesome thoughts of her drowning in the middle of nowhere.
There are only four days before this cruise ends and we go home. Four more days before I tell her that this charade is over.
She turns to me with a blank expression as if she’s been reading my thoughts. Suddenly, four days feels like an eternity and I can’t hold myself back.
“I can’t do this anymore. We’re done,” I blurt out. “I can’t stand the sight of you.”
She says nothing for a minute and then says,“God knows I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to take it that far…”
But then a smile spreads across her thin red lips.
“Then again, maybe I haven’t taken it far enough,” she whispers.
She turns her back to me, takes a deep breath, throws a leg over the rail and vanishes into the dark.
I don’t move.
I can’t move.
What is happening?
All I remember is the ocean air taking hold of my wife’s gold scarf and gently placing it at my feet.
Just enough intensity …anticipating what will happen next …before diving deeper…visualizing just how …
I think that the definition of “romance” may have changed when I wasn’t looking.
A while back, I started (and stopped) reading a number of books on Kindle Unlimited after just a few chapters, either because lots of Easter Eggs and back story were given away within the first few pages OR because the book was simply a string of sex scenes strung together by an anemic story line.
Call me old-fashioned but great sex scenes in a novel require more than sexually explicit words tossed carelessly onto a page.
Or a bed.
In my opinion, writing a great sex scene requires effort, patience and some kind of love thrown into the mix in order to give the characters a happy ending.
That pun was totally intended! 🙂
But there was one e-book that had me shaking my head at just how quickly things unfolded and then deflated.
The breakdown of the book?
4% : Female character (FC) tells her boyfriend that she’s pregnant and the boyfriend dumps her.
6%: FC gets upset, storms out, has a minor accident and is helped by a sexy rugged stranger who takes her home because he lives nearby.
11%: FC tells sexy man her entire story and that she is pregnant. There’s a storm brewing so sexy man insists that she stay in his guest room.
13%: FC and sexy man fall into bed. He declares his love for her and tells her that he is ready and willing to love her and her baby.
All of that at the 13% of the book? Isn’t that a little quick? Where could the rest of the story possibly go?
I was curious enough to speed read through the rest of the 87% so I really can tell you where the rest of the story went:
Spiraling fast downhill until it crashed and burned.
No tense sensual build up between the characters.
No slow burn towards that first kiss.
No flirty moments between the two characters.
Nothing. Nada. Nein.
I’m not looking for the chaste vanilla of the Harlequin romance books my Granny devoured or the BDSM of Fifty Shades of Grey. There’s nothing wrong with them – they just aren’t my preference.
I can do without the 20 different words to describe the same body part and the blow-by-blow accounts of which body part went where and at what frequency…
I like my “romance” with just enough intensity between main characters that leaves me anticipating what will happen next between them. Romantic scenes that make me want to read and reread certain scenes before diving deeper into the book. Visualizing just how a scene would unfold in my mind.