Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 48

Let's dispense with the big news first: I won NaNo:

I verified on the site with over 52K yesterday (because I figured I'd forget today.)

I rolled over 50K on Tuesday night, and then promptly took three days off.  Which was silly because my actual personal 'for me' goal was 60K in November, and I'm gonna fall short if I don't write like 7500 words today.  Yeah, ain't happening.  I've never done that many words in one day, and I'm pretty sure I'd be crippled for days after doing that many in one day.  I still have the goal of finishing this draft of this book by 12/15, and I think I can do that, but we'll see.  Especially since...

I got my edit notes for Dying Embers this past week.  I have NOT looked at them.  I really wanted to be focused on getting Fertile Ground done.  And then I dropped the ball and didn't do either.  Pardon me with I flagellate myself with some wet spaghetti.

In other news, I had a lovely holiday and I probably did need to take some time off because I wrote for 24 days straight without a day off.  Yes, I would like some cheese with that wine. 

In other other news, the weather has been cool enough for enough days in a row that I went into the woods on Saturday and began the job of cleaning my trails off.  With all the fallen leaves, I can't hardly tell where they are, but I'm making my way.  Unfortunately, I rather large dead tree broke in half and fell across one of my trails.  The limb saw ain't gonna cut it this time - literally.  I managed to remove quite a few limbs, but the main trunk is gonna need a chain saw.  Hello, Santa! 

Other than that, it's been quiet.  Not writing can do that.  Not going out amongst other humans can do that, too, but I loathe crowded stores, so letting loose my inner hermit was totally necessary.  I might go out tomorrow.  Cyber Monday can't affect store crowds, right?

How are things in your lives?  How was your holiday?  If you didn't have one, how're things in general?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

This year I'd like to take a moment to thank some people...

My Husband and best friend - who 'gets me' even when he doesn't always want to.  Who understands even when I don't.  Who loves me for everything I am.

My Mom - who's always there for me, even though we're hundreds of miles apart.

My Kid - who's always supportive and who lets me vent.

My Friends - who listen and advise and cajole and empathize and poke me in the ass when I need it.

My Acquaintances - who help keep me sane.

My Readers - I know you're out there and I'll find you all someday.

And myself.  Because while I might not have been able to do any of this without any of them, I definitely wouldn't have done any of this without me.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving everyone! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NaNo Brain vs Pregnancy Brain

This time of year certain writers are stricken with a malady known as NaNo Brain.  It comes from trying to write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days.

It's kinda like Pregnancy Brain.  If you've ever been pregnant or been around someone who's pregnant, then you're familiar with the signs: shoddy memory, craptastic attention span, fluctuating tempers. 

If it any wonder writers liken their books to babies?  You spend a set amount of time producing something you hope will turn out wonderful, and an unknown amount of time trying to make sure said product actually does turn out wonderful.  (Yeah, yeah, babies are products... work with me here.)  And sooner or later, you send it out into the world hoping it will be good and awesome and make a difference one way or another.

Of course, there are differences. 

At the end of nine months, Pregnancy Brain goes away and the afflicted have a bouncy bundle of joy to show for their efforts.

With NaNo Brain, you compress all that into 30 days and at the end you have... part of a book. 

During Pregnancy Brain, you're supposed to eat right, get lots of rest, exercise, and cut out your nasty habits.

During NaNo Brain, eating right is hit or miss, rest is laughable, exercise amounts to getting up to use the bathroom, caffeine flows, and - probably more my habit than yours - many ashtrays are filled to overflowing. 

And of course, shoving 50K words out your fingertips is way less physically painful than... Well, you know.  

With both, the end of your affliction isn't really the end.   (Even when you send the former off to college and the latter off to be published.)

But what do I know?  I have NaNo Brain.  And I will well into December*.

*My fault for committing to finishing this by 12/15.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 47

47 weeks into 2014.  Wow.

Three weeks into NaNo.  Ugh.

And here's the lowdown on the past week:

I rewrote 14574 words last week.  Mainly due to the fact that I wrote almost 5K last Sunday.  The rest of the week was kinda hit or miss.  But as of yesterday, I wrote for 22 days straight.  (I'm counting the day I wrote 364 words - because hey, I did write.)  This puts me at 43455 for the month and 6545 words from 'winning' NaNo.  Or 16545 away from reaching my own goal of 2K a day on average for 30 days.  I can do this.  It won't be pretty, but it'll be accomplished.  I can have this book done by mid-December.  I might be a puddle of stupid afterwards, but I can recover from that. 

In all honesty, I think I might already be a puddle of stupid.  I can't remember what I did this past week - other than writing - without looking back at previous posts here and on FB. 

We went shopping for some much needed clothing items.  Hubs and I moved a mountain of leaves down the hill.  I read a book.  (Reborn in Fire by Kasey Mackenzie - wicked awesome.)  I medicated Max and got some new battle scars from him. 

I don't think I mentioned that the Kid got a job this past week - which is an accomplishment in Michigan these days. 

Yesterday, I made no-bake cookies.  (The brownies lasted exactly 4 days - one pan cut into 8 pieces divided by two people, doncha know.)  I used evaporated milk instead of regular milk because I had an open can I needed to use before it went bad.  They taste pretty good, but man was I afraid they wouldn't set and I'd end up with a pan worth of ice cream topping.  But they set.  Whew.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of a puddle of stupid.  LOL

How'd your week go?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hodge Podge

I'm trying out a new system where I post here on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and over at B.E.'s Writerly Space on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  With Saturdays off.  Sure enough, I almost forgot today here.  (Which isn't surprising since I totally have no idea what day it is most days anyway.)

For some reason, despite the freakin' cold, I have a bunch of itty-bitty baby crickets in my house.  On the upside, they're keeping Kira amused.  She's under my legs as I type this trying to figure out where her latest toy went.  (If they don't move, she loses them in the carpet pattern.)

Hubs and I were talking yesterday about what either of us might want for Christmas, and he started listing all the clothing items he needs.  I was all like 'that's stuff we can get any time we want - we don't need to wait for Christmas'.  So yesterday we hopped in the car and did an impromptu shopping trip.  We still don't know what to get each other for the holiday, but hey, we have new socks and junk.

BTW, every day is special.  Don't wait for the BIG days to do nice stuff for the people you love.  K?

Another thing we did yesterday was buy all the stuff for Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, the fixin's for pumpkin cheesecake.  (Crap, I forgot the whipped cream.)  It's just the two of us, so we don't really need all that much, but hey, leftovers are awesome, so we go for it.  As always, Hubs is the TGD cook.  I stay the hell out of the kitchen and he presents me with awesome eats.

I don't know if y'all know this, but I'm a big fan of Jeopardy!  Have been for years.  This week is the Tournament of Champions - and they're down to the last three.  I'm rooting for the tall guy.  I used to root for Arthur Chu - when he was on the first time - but then I followed him on Facebook and found out he's a twerp in real life.  I hate when I find out someone I like on TV is a twerp or a jerk or an ass.  Totally ruins them for me.  (Don't get me started on Brett Favre.)

Any hodge podge things going on with you right now? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Legend of Suicide Squirrel

Once upon a time, when I was in outside sales in Michigan, I had an appointment in a little town out in the middle of nowhere.  I'd never been there before so I looked at a map and took what I thought would be the most direct route.  And it really did take me through some pretty country.  Pretty, but lonely - which I am totally cool with.

Anyway, there I am, driving down this straight highway with no one else around when I see ahead in the distance at the top of a small rise, a squirrel sitting on his hind legs staring across the road.  I remember thinking that at some point as I got closer, he would run across the highway or run back into the ditch.  He didn't.  He just kept sitting there, looking east in the perfect squirrel pose. 

When I approached the point where he couldn't run across the highway without getting flat, I still figured he'd save himself. 

As my front tires passed him, and I could no longer see him, I assumed he'd skittered off.  I mean, squirrels have a healthy sense of self-preservation... Or so I thought.

Until then my back passenger tire made a soft thud.

In the rearview, I saw him laying on the side of the road - not moving.  Mr. Squirrel had indeed committed suicide by car.

I can only assume he decided enough was enough.  He'd had it with a life of gathering nuts and hiding them only to discover he could never find them again.  He'd reached a point where he couldn't stand one more day of endless running around, eating acorns, and chasing other squirrels.  As he stood there beside the road, I wonder if he was thinking 'the very next car that comes by, I'm ending it', and I just happened to be the next car. 

I felt really really bad about hitting that squirrel that day.  Since then, I've come to terms with it.  In the end, there really wasn't anything I could do.  I couldn't swerve because he wasn't in the road until the middle of my car.  There was no way to anticipate he would do that.  One cannot discern the mindset of a normal squirrel on any given day, let alone a suicidal squirrel on a gray Monday morning. 

Fear not, Suicide Squirrel.  You will live on in my memory.  Enjoy your eternity in the big oak tree in the sky.

I just wish you hadn't been such a little asshole and picked my car to run under.  Seriously, I felt really bad about it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 46

It was a busy week here at Sandersonville.  And I still don't feel like I got anything done.

Only rewrote 11303 words this week.  Call it the mid-NaNo slump.  Call it the blahs.  I'm still ahead of the curve for reaching 50K this month, but I'm a little behind the curve of my personal goal of 60K this month - or a 2K a day average.  But I have written at least some words every day for 15 days straight, so I'm not complaining.  (Not too much.)

I finished reading 4 more books this past week and as of last night, I'm caught up with the goal of 100 this year. 

In other writerly news, the kick off of my revamped business blog - B.E.'s Writerly Space - went kinda okay.  I'd still like to see some new followers enjoy the fun, though, so the contest is still open and ready for you to follow along (and get entries).  Tell ya what, bring a friend and I'll give you an extra entry - just have them email me after they follow and tell me that you sent them, and I'll give you both an extra entry.  Just cuz.

In life news, we raked leaves.  Oh, they're still out there in a big long pile stretching thru the middle third of my yard, but they're on their way into the woods.  If it hadn't been sleeting, we probably could've gotten more done yesterday.  But it was, and sleet stings, so we stopped for the day.  We'll resume Monday or something after the snow they're predicting for today melts.

Also this week, we had a minor veterinary thing.  Max started developing an abscess under his chin, so off he went to the vet for a day, where they fixed his booboo, gave him steroids, and gave me a bottle of oral antibiotics to administer to Mr. Max for 7 days.  Max is cool with it - except when he tries to push me away with his claws.  Only one small scratch so far, so I'm chalking this in the win column so far.

Other than that, it's freakin' cold in SW MO, but probably less so than a lot of you have to deal with, so I'll save my whining for my southern friends.  (You know who you are.)  ;o)

How are things in your world lately?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

About Me

I've been playing around with the layout of B.E.'s Writerly Space this morning, and trying something new - PAGES!  They're all static, but they'll have information some day that will point you in the direction you want to go.  Right now, the only one that's not 'under construction' is the About Me page. 

Go take a look and let me know what you think.

And don't forget to follow the blog over there for a chance to win a scrumptious kringle. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 45

The last week was a total blur, but I managed to piece it back together a little.

I've been writing my brains out.  I typed 14538 words over each of the days. 

I hired an editor and a cover artist.

Somewhere in there, I did some more research work on the world of self-publishing.

I read three books.  (Because hey, if I can't work and still find time to read, what the heck am I doing? Ya know?)

I went grocery shopping.

Took Max for a walk nearly every day - except when it was raining.  He hates that.  He also hates walking on leaves, so the walks have been short. 

I spent some time talking to my financial backer (aka Hubs) about cover artists and editing. 

Hubs and I took a drive up a couple roads we'd never been down before.  One of them was supposed to - according to Google - connect with the other which would bring us to the water.  That first road ended up being a one lane that sort of ended at what might have been a trail through the woods.  When we backtracked and went down the second road from the other direction, we found where the two roads shoulda oughta joined up if Google had been right.  :shrug:  It was fun and the car didn't die, so it's all good.

Oh, and if you didn't read Friday's post, I'm resurrecting the old 'Pound of BS' blog into something more professional where I can share publishing news, stories about murder and mayhem, and anything related to the book I'll be putting out in 2015.  If you don't follow it already, you get extra brownie points in the contest I designed to go live on Monday if you're a follower before the contest actually goes live.  (Same for here.) 

I'm really excited and I hope you are, too.

Anyway, what's up in your world?

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Winds of Change Are Blowing

Hey all,

I just posted to my long-ignored other blog... which I have renamed in order to make it more professional.  (Okay, so B.E. Sanderson ain't sexy, but it works for now.)

Go over there for a sec and check out the post.  You'll be glad you did.

The Winds of Change are Blowing

Tell me what ya think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I was in a mood yesterday.  Not a bad mood.  More of a piss and vinegar mood.  Joking around on FB, making up funny songs, whistling as I walked through the house.  Something was going on and I wasn't quite sure what, but I wasn't going to question it.  I mean, I was feeling pretty happy but I'm generally a happy person these days, so I didn't think it was just that.

Then last night it occurred to me.  I felt like a rock I didn't know I had on my back had slipped off somewhere along the way.  Ker-thunk.  And I felt light.  Like I could fly.  All because I finally said 'enough'.

Enough of finely honing queries until my heart and my brain bleed.

Enough of sending submission materials out into a world of people I don't understand.

Enough of waiting for someone else to decide my fate.

Ten years.  I was carrying that weight for ten years.  It's like on Biggest Loser when it's far enough along in the season that the contestants have lost a lot of weight, and then they make them carry the equivalent amount up a big hill.  You don't know how much that shit weighs you down until it's gone.

I told this revelation to Hubs, and he came over to hug me.  He actually apologized because he never knew how much this was weighing on me.  I hugged him back and told him it was okay because I didn't know the weight was there either.  Only now that it's gone do I recognize exactly how heavy it was.

Oh, I realize there's a whole other set of obstacles out there.  But now they're in my control.  "Is this ready to publish, Ms. Sanderson?" "Well, yes, it is, Ms. Sanderson."  "Do you like this cover art?" "Yes.  Yes, I do."  "And the editing?" "It's coming along nicely, thank you very much."

:twirls a little:

Even reader reviews are somewhat in my hands - because the reviews are reflective of my skills.  If I get bad reviews, I can work harder to write better and affect a change.  Sure, there will always be those people who give a bad review based on nothing, but I can ignore them (and hopefully my readers will ignore those, too.)

I can understand readers. I've been a reader since as early as I can remember. Real readers who are in it for the story and aren't worried whether they can cover a print run or how many books they'll have to pulp if this doesn't sell or if they'll make enough commission to feed their kids.  Readers are my tribe, man.  And since I know I don't like everything I've ever read, I can roll with that.  Takes all kinds to make a tribe.  I just want my books to be available so the people who might like what I write have a real chance to read it.

OMG, it feels so good to think I never have to crawl to some industry person again and beg them to please please please read my 10 pages.

Hubs keeps saying - when I least expect it, like when we were dropping off to sleep last night - "You're going to publish a book."  And every time, I smile.

It's really a very freeing experience.  And for now, anyway, I feel weightless.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Talking about NaNo

Since it's NaNo, I thought about resurrecting my pitfall posts, but I'm kinda past that.  If you're interested, go over to my frozen-in-place blog The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival - they're all there in links on the left hand side. 

This will be my unofficial 6th or so year doing NaNo.  It's unofficial because I spent time over here doing it on my own before I actually joined the site, and I've also done the 50K in 30 days thing during other months when my November has been busy.

What I've learned is that NaNo isn't for everyone.  I get that.  Sustained sprint writing takes a certain kind of masochistic mindset.  I put down just over 3K on the first night, and my hands were cramping so bad at the end there I wanted an Aspercreme bath afterwards.  But the book is worth it. 

Additionally, if you haven't been following The Writing Spectacle in the past years, I've got a severe case of NaNo brain.  (It's like pregnant brain without the cravings.)  All my creative juices are being diverted to this book, so I'm kinda lame elsewhere.  This too shall pass.

I've also learned that you can participate even if you don't have new words to put down.  This year, I'm rewriting the beginning of a novel so I can finish writing it.  Which means right now, I'm throwing down the words like I'm feeding chickens.  (You know, if words were chicken feed.)  When I reach the end of the words I already have, I expect I'll slow down a bit. Especially if I haven't figured out the last half of this book before I get there.  That'll totally suck.

Anyway, if you're in this, you have my empathy.  If not, I need your understanding for the next month or so.  I might not be here.  I might be here but not HERE, if you catch my drift.  And some of the things that come out of my fingers might be totally off the wall.  (Okay, maybe that last part isn't so unusual.)

Thanks for your support.  Have an awesome day.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 44

Hi All!

Here's what I did last week:

I finished reading through my NaNo project and making notes of things that need to be addressed on the re-write...

Wait, back the train up a bit...  I decided not to write the shiny new book during NaNo, and instead work on re-writing a suspense novel I never finished.  So, to that end, I sent what I already had to my Kindle, read through it, made notes of what needs to be addressed, and got ready to write by opening a new file.

The reasoning for this change... and I've been hesitating to mention any this, but for the life of me can't figure out why... is that I'm planning on leaping into self-publishing early next year.  And the book I'm working on for NaNo would dovetail nicely as the second or third book to launch (depending on time and finances).

To that end, another thing I did last week was read Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran.  It all about how to self publish and why you should.  And it made me want to kick myself for being such a sissy-pants and not doing this sooner.

Also to that end, I'm in the process of contacting editors and pricing stuff out and junk.

I've also been playing with covers to see if I can do it myself or if I need to pay someone else.  But I won't share any of that until I know what I'm going to launch first and how it'll all play out.

Lord knows I have enough books written to launch one every month of 2015 and still have a couple left over for 2016 without ever putting down new words.  (Not counting the one I'll be working on this month.)  They just all need to be edited and polished and made pretty so people will actually want to read them, and then after they read them, they'll want to buy the next, etc.  That's what happens when you write for 10 years without being published - especially if you adhere to the philosophy of 'write the next book' while submitting.  You end up with a LOT of material.  But I've heard one of the keys to being successful at self-publishing is to give your readers plenty to buy, so I guess I'm golden with that.

In non-writerly news, I cleaned out the iris bed to make it ready for winter, and then forgot to cover the bed with fresh leaves for the coming freeze.  It got down to 22 last night, so keep your fingers crossed my plants survived.

I broke my bird feeder a couple days ago.  Not bad enough that it won't hold seed anymore, but it's life is just about over, so I ordered a new one.  It's not exactly what I wanted, but it'll do.  At least the bird will be happy with it.  And that's all that really matters.

In readerly news, I'm only 3 books behind on my goals now.  That's because I read three books last week.  I'll probably slip further behind as November progresses, but I can't worry about that now.  I have work to do.

So, how are things in your world?