NaNoWriMo: Day 13 (81,953)

NaNoWriMo2016I finally got my mojo back (or rested up enough) to get some serious wordage in yesterday. It didn’t start off the best, though.

First, I went to an in-person write-in because I’m trying to be social for this event and I no longer belong to a certain group that has provided all my social interaction without leaving the house. Also, the in-person event had pastries. But mostly social, really.

When I got there and set up all the way, I discovered I was missing all 1k words from Friday. Now it was only 1k, but it was a hard 1k. I fought for that 1k. I bled (just a little) for that 1k.

I searched all three backup locations. No 1k.

Then I had a thought: what if it was still on the home computer under autosave? So I left the write-in, took a Pokémon Go detour, and then checked the home computer. Huzzah! All the words were there! And I had pastry, which was bonus.

Then, finally, I got to writing, mixing it up with some offline stuff and quick bursts of exercise to combat the fluffy writer syndrome. I’m still not at epic levels, but I’m back to making progress. That’s what matters. I’m not just treading water.

I’ve set myself a big goal today: hit 100k and a double-NaNo. If I manage it, that would be almost 18k in a single day, which I haven’t managed yet. It would also be very close to finishing a second book.

There are social obligations today. There’s a halfway event. I may or may not make it. But at least I have something to shoot for.

What’s inspiring me today? A little lemon-ginseng tea, this Doctor Who word crawl, and this Doctor Who epic soundtrack on endless repeat. Also, maybe regular yoga, because the body is weak and the letter orange, because life is short and should be laughed at.

What’s inspiring you?

NaNoWriMo: Day 9 (63,782 words)- BackUp Your Work!

NaNoWriMo2016A Cautionary Poem

We backup to our hard drive;
We backup to our mail.
We backup without thinking;
We backup without fail.

We backup to a DropBox
Or similar device;
We backup to a flash drive;
We even backup twice.

We send it to our family;
We send it to our friends.
They send restraining orders
And then the fun begins.

Unless you like retyping
A thousand words or more
Backup your words this instant
I beg, beseech, implore.

Backup when you’re done writing;
Backup the in-between.
Backup before web browsing;
Backup your words, your dreams.

If you forget to backup
(And everybody does)
Then post this short reminder
Wherever you have cause.

And now I’m off to backup
My own words places three,
And life will be less stressful
If you backup like me.

My computer had major issues yesterday. Major, won’t boot, issues. Fortunately, I had saved all my work for the day on a flash drive, so I wasn’t worried about losing my progress. Unfortunately, it limited how much I wrote for the day.

Off to make up for the loss. Go back up your work, then get writing.

NaNoWriMo: Day 6 (52,132) ONE BOOK DOWN

NaNoWriMo2016I did it. Yesterday I crossed into the hallowed halls of “I’ve written an entire book and the rest of you can suck it” land (only with more joy and less “suck it”). I hit 50k (FINALLY) and I finished the first of the six books I’m attempting in November.

Yes, yes. I hear the naysayers now: 50k isn’t really a book. Maybe a novella. Maybe a very short novella, for people who don’t like to read. Have you considered taking a writing class from JK Rowling, GRR Martin, or any other person who puts out really SOLID books?

First of all, suck it. (I’m sorry. My inner editor fled yesterday and I’ve reverted to a twelve-year-old boy, even though I was never a twelve-year-old boy in the first place.)

Second, this is a first draft. While I realize for many people it’s customary to write too many words and have to cut them out in the rewrite, I tend to under-write and then add things in (like, oh, descriptions) in the rewrite. Also, prophetic songs, which I was just not feeling right around 46 thousand words.

So I assure you, this will be a full-blown novel. In fact, based on what all I left out, it may hit 90k, which would make it one of the longer works in my repertoire.

No, I do not ever plan to challenge Robert Jordan’s ghost to a writing contest.

Also, I admit that I totally flubbed the ending. I mean, it ended where I planned it to end, but with all the excitement of stepping in a steaming pile of dog poo in bare feet. Maybe less than that.

So, today I move on to book two anyway, because I have my inner editor gagged and tied up in the closet and I’m not going back to fix anything in November.

Probably.

After a very informal poll, I have decided to work on The Word Runner next. The title could change, but Christopher and DJ are a bit upset that I’m writing anything other than Figments books, so I’m trying to appease them long enough to get around to my Great Literary Novel.

You may laugh. It’s definitely a joke.

I just realized I don’t have a soundtrack (or single song) for this book. I’m also not in a coffee shop, which is where I wrote the last two Figments books. My triggers! How will I manage?

At least I have this word crawl to get things moving.

Now that I’ve adjusted to the time being entirely different from what it should be because some politician decided to prove that politicians mess with things that shouldn’t be messed with, I’m off to write. I hope.

Wish me luck!

How is your writing (or reading) progressing?

Summer Indie Book Awards Nominations

http://goo.gl/forms/T1L8sQJGVx,

http://goo.gl/forms/T1L8sQJGVx

 

I have been nominated for an indie book award for The Annals of Bobian.  I’m super-excited and hope you’ll all vote, whether you vote for me or any of the other nominees. However, not to rest on my laurels, you should go vote to nominate your favorite indie books here as well.

If you’re interested in reading The Annals of Bobian and haven’t, leave a comment here. I’ll choose one person from the comments to win a free book. I’m still waffling between e-book and paperback– which is better than pancaking.

Finally, here is the official post from Metamorph Publishing concerning the awards and nominations.

2016 Summer Indie Book Awards!
The cold of winter is setting in, at least for those of us in the northern Hemisphere of the world. But we at Metamorph Publishing aren’t letting that get us down! We’re already looking forward to a sizzling summer, and we’re here to announce our first annual Indie Book Awards! You heard that right, a summer book awards! The event officially begins on January 1st of each year, and nominations will be accepted through midnight CST on August 31st each year. Voting will begin on September 1st and end on September 10th each year.
“What’s the big deal,” you ask? “There are all kinds of contests out there.” And you’re right, there are hundreds, probably thousands of book awards. But many of them are only for unpublished authors, or authors who only write in certain narrow genres, or for authors who have never published before in a particular genre. Plus, there are plenty of them that charge an entry fee, some of which are prohibitive to authors who publish independently, without the backing of a large and powerful publishing house.
So, we’re hoping to do something different with the Summer Indie Book Awards! Entry is free, and nominations will be accepted from any indie or small-press author, regardless of their current published or non-published state, or what genre they write in. We are accepting donations of print or e-books, author swag or novelty items (bookmarks, pens, keychains, etc.), but donation is not required for nomination. We’re taking nominations from authors as well as from readers, and authors can nominate their own books; we only ask that authors who do so also nominate a fellow indie author. Nominations can be made using this form, while donations can be made here.
Feel free to join up with the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1099924726693772
and like the official Facebook page of the Summer Indie Book Awards at https://www.facebook.com/summerindiebookawards.
You can also sign up for the newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bL43cf so you can stay up to date with all the latest news!
In the pinned post of the Facebook event, you’ll find these links, along with links to a Google Drive folder where you can look and see who’s already been nominated! And any author who is nominated will have access to an official contest nominee badge, that they can use on their book covers or any promotional media, if they so desire.
Winners in each genre will receive a prize (hopefully we’ll get enough donations for this), beginning with the 1st place winners. If we get enough prizes donated, we’ll go next to 2nd place winners, and then to 3rd place. Regardless of the prizes, winners will get a high-quality winner badge, stating their place and the genre of the book. These will be of high enough resolution for authors to use on their print books, if they want to!
But it’s not only the winners that will benefit from the Summer Indie Book Awards! All nominated authors will have the potential to reach hundreds, if not more, of new readers (readers often have a preferred genre, and while they’re voting for their favorite author, will come across others they may not have tried yet), and reach a huge new audience through the social media forums! And best of all, it’s meant to have fun, to reach out and network with other authors, potentially forming long-lasting relationships. And readers will benefit from having a wealth of new books in front of them, as well as a vast amount of new stories to immerse themselves in.
Though we’re using Facebook and other social media as a platform to reach more authors and readers, none of these social media outlets are affiliated with the awards. They are hosted strictly by Metamorph Publishing.
For more information, please visit Metamorph Publishing .

 

Wednesday. Is It Wednesday? (Reminder #BeTheLight)

Chess Board - TwitterFirst, a reminder. Don’t forget to #BeTheLight tomorrow and spread humor on social media. Funny cat videos (because who doesn’t like laughing at cats when they use up one of their nine lives?), personal anecdotes, or just silly jokes. Share them everywhere. FLOOD media and social media with the funniest things you can find.  Tag them with #BeTheLight

Will this solve anything? No. It won’t. But when we can laugh, we can break out of the cycle of anger, hurt, and hate that we get dialed into. We can find a smile, which raises endorphins, which makes us feel good… so we want to be nice to others.

That’s actual science there. Don’t get used to it on this blog.

Spread this. Spread it thick, like peanut butter on a PB and porcupine sandwich (de-quill first). I don’t care if you track it to me. Just get it out there and get someone laughing.

As the second part to this, don’t share anything sad, mad, bad (or ads?) on 14July either. No matter how tempting it may be to share the latest news (and, of course, your opinion about said news), let it go for one day.

#BeTheLight and change the world, just for one day.

As a second thing, apparently I now have a Bill Collector (why would anyone collect bills?) chasing me as well as The Conductor, so I have acquired a Day Job (even though I may sometimes work hours I consider very close to evening, if not night). Because of this, I may be a little irregular. Don’t worry. I’ve been told if I eat prunes, it will fix itself, so I should be back to normal soon.

#BeTheLight for me tomorrow.

I need to find a bathroom.

 

Monday Motivation: #BeTheLight

Chess Board - TwitterI’m a humor writer. This means I’m funny, all the time, upbeat, and smiling.

Wrong.

I’m a humor writer. This means I use humor to deal with the tougher things in life, whether it’s the pain of watching someone decline from Alzheimer’s or tough topics like divorce, abuse, and bullying. It means humor is my triage for life.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of real life stuff lately and I seem to have lost my ride back to the Figments world (who closed that plot hole?). That makes writing humor harder– and more necessary– than ever.

You would think a humor writer would always have jokes on the tip of his tongue, but I’m a terrible joke teller. Two Figments walk into a bar. One ends up with an en-dash; the other an em-dash.

Not very funny.

My humor tends to be from life. But we need more humor out there, so I’m going to ask for your help.

On 7/14 (that’s Thursday, for those who do dates flipped around as 14July), spread humor on social media. Funny cat videos (because who doesn’t like laughing at cats when they use up one of their nine lives?), personal anecdotes, or just silly jokes. Share them everywhere. FLOOD media and social media with the funniest things you can find.  Tag them with #BeTheLight

Will this solve anything? No. It won’t. But when we can laugh, we can break out of the cycle of anger, hurt, and hate that we get dialed into. We can find a smile, which raises endorphins, which makes us feel good… so we want to be nice to others.

That’s actual science there. Don’t get used to it on this blog.

Spread this. Spread it thick, like peanut butter on a PB and porcupine sandwich (de-quill first). I don’t care if you track it to me. Just get it out there and get someone laughing.

As the second part to this, don’t share anything sad, mad, bad (or ads?) on 14July either. No matter how tempting it may be to share the latest news (and, of course, your opinion about said news), let it go for one day.

#BeTheLight and change the world, just for one day.

Here. I’ll start things out:

“Knock, knock.”

Who’s there?

“Banana.”

Banana who?

“Knock, knock.”

Who’s there?

“Banana.”

Banana who?

“Knock, knock.”

Who’s there?

“Orange.”

Orange who?

“Orange you glad I didn’t say ‘banana’?”

I told you I wasn’t good at jokes. Hey, I tried. It was better than that limerick…

Go out. Be a light. Make someone smile on 14 July. Better yet, make ’em laugh.

#BeTheLight

Top Ten Tuesday: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way From The Library

Chess Board - TwitterI like funny, in case you haven’t noticed. Sometimes the funny is sarcastic. Sometimes it’s wry. Sometimes it tends a little toward the Three Stooges. Funny is different to different people, but it needs to be a few things:

  • relatable
  • timed right
  • over the top, but not too over the top

Some of my favorite writers have humor down cold. Here’s my top ten list, in no particular order:

  1. Jonathan Swift: while most know him for Gulliver’s Travels, his A Modest Proposal was my first introduction into satire– and I was hooked.
  2. William Shakespeare: not only has the man inspired me to want to be remembered for the words I bring to the world, but he has enough comedy to keep me entertained for days. My favorite varies, but I’m currently in love with As You Like It (subject to frequent change).
  3. Robert Aspirin’s Myth Adventures series taught me the power of puns. Piers Anthony later taught me that a pun could be overdone, which just barely keeps him off this list.
  4. Douglas Adams: Towels, 42, and  Vogon poetry. Enough said right there. He is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
  5. Sir Terry Pratchett: we lost a great man last year and the world laughed a little softer for a while, but Discworld will always be around to remind us that there are things to laugh at… and about.
  6. Jasper Fforde: Thursday Next is the reason I decided to write humor. I wanted to take great classical literature and turn it on its ears… or noses.
  7. Mark Twain is always borderline for me, but he deserves a mention here.
  8. Jeff Kinney and his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series makes me laugh. Don’t ask me why. I’m an adolescent male at my humor center.
  9. Lewis Carroll: You had to realize Carroll would make it on my list. I find his wry sense of humor understated and underappreciated.
  10. Me: I mean, duh. Why write humor if you don’t enjoy what you write?

I couldn’t think of a single female humor writer who truly makes me laugh. I know Erma Bombeck is popular, but she never really gets me going. So I might need some help filling in this tenth spot.

So, how about it, readers? Who are your favorite humor writers? Who did I leave out? Who should I have left out?

A to Z Blogging Challenge: K

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Kidding Around is Pretty Serious

A to Z Blogging Challenge: K

I’m known for my comedy. Humor is my wheelhouse. Most of what I write is pretty lighthearted. But I think humor writers, in some ways, have the harder task: we have to tackle reality with laughter instead of with pitchforks. It can be trying.

In my soon-to-be-released book, Beta Beware, DJ has to deal with religion in terms of how the Figments see it:

“So you never have to do something in real life you don’t want?” Shiv asked.

DJ slapped at his hand before he could pat her head. She wasn’t sure if he was trying to console her, but she didn’t like it. “Well, of course. That’s called being responsible. My kids call it ‘adulting’. But no one is making me.”

Eric put a finger to his nose. “Not as far as you remember. But what if all those times you adult someone is moving the pieces to make a move? What if you really have no choice in the matter?”

DJ was starting to really miss the snarky game text. At least she knew how to deal with it. “Then I don’t see what the purpose would be in trying. I believe in free will. If my life was like that, I might as well be a…”

“Character?” Eric suggested.

Shiv said, “Or a Figment, even?”

“I was going to say ‘slave’,” DJ said. “Stop putting words in my mouth.” She frowned. “But I see your point.” She didn’t like the feeling she was getting in the pit of her stomach. “Do you not get any say at all in what happens to you?”

Eric just shrugged, but Shiv said, “Sometimes we get to feel like we do. There are Writers who like to think their Characters write the story. They leave things more open to chance.”

“It’s not really chance, but they think it is.” Eric gave another shrug. “It is what it is.”

“Doesn’t it bother you?”

“This is our theology, our religion,” Shiv said. “Your world has gods. Our world has Writers. Do you resent your gods when they cause something to happen that you don’t agree with?”

“Sometimes,” DJ admitted. “But my religion believes in free will. God has the ability to make things happen, but He lets us make our own choices.”

Eric wove a daisy chain from flowers that popped up one at a time, the next one growing only when he picked the one before it. “Then your god is a pantser, really. He lets things develop without a plan.”

“No, there’s a plan. At least, that’s what our religion teaches.”

Shiv took a daisy before Eric could, which earned him a frown. “Then a plantser or plotser. A little of both.”

Eric waited patiently for the next daisy. “Plotters don’t like to give up control.”

“Hey, I’m a plotter!” DJ muttered.

Shiv nodded. “I already pegged you as a bit of a control freak. That’s why the helplessness bugs you so much. A pantser like Christopher just goes with it.”

DJ glared at him, but couldn’t put a lot of fire into it. “I don’t like this comparison. It’s like you’re saying my whole life is nothing more than someone else’s story.”

“Doesn’t your religion have its own book? Most of them do.” Eric finished his daisy chain and made it into a full circle.

DJ sighed. “I get more and more confused here. I thought you said this was a game, not a book?”

“Game, book… just two sides to the same coin, really. The difference is only in how it’s presented.” Shiv looked around. “Discussing theology makes me hungry. You don’t have any food, do you?”

Do you use humor to tackle tough concepts? Do you like reading tough concepts tipped on their side in a parody?

A to Z Blogging Challenge: B

A to Z Blogging Challenge: (The) Bobian

A to Z Blogging Challenge: B

When I first created the Figments universe, I was sure this was where I was going to spend the majority of my time. I mean, other writers had done it: Xanth. Stephanie Plum. Honor Harrington. Create a world big enough and you can play in it for decades.
Then I discovered The Bobian.
The Bobian is (currently) a twelve-year-old boy with no other desire than to eat ice cream. He’s got a good imagination and, really, a far better sense of focus than I do. He knows what he wants and he’s going to get it, come broken bones, broken friendships, or angry Queen Mothers. Okay, maybe not angry Queen Mothers. Some things are just insurmountable.
Nevertheless, when I discovered The Bobian, I realized I had found something just as special as my Figments. In fact, The Bobian may be better, overall, because I like the kid better than I like Christopher (no offense, Christopher, just in case you’re reading).
The Annals of BobianThe Bobian is really what I want my books to be: easy to read, easy to laugh at, and hard to put down.
What are your goals as a Writer? Are you out to change (or at least educate) the world? Do you want to create an unforgettable world of your own? Do you want the romance, glitz and glamour?
What do you want as a Reader? Are you looking for happily ever after? A good whodunit? Deep intellectual books that make you think?
What’s on your list?

Setting Big Goals (or Big Goalposts)

The Annals of Bobian

Lately I’ve been hearing about this event Reeyal Peeple go to called The Super Bowl. To my disappointment, most don’t attend in person and it has nothing to do with large bowls of ice cream. However, it does have something to do with today’s post: Big Goalposts.

I have been told that this is a game in the Reeyal World and that it sometimes hangs in the balance on kicking a ball through these rather large goalposts. I’ve also been told by my Social Reality Person that if I mention “Wide Right”, I will be looking for a new Social Reality Person. Those goalposts are important.

I don’t have goalposts, but I do have big goals: I’m planning on putting out five books this year.  Book one is out. The Annals of Bobian is a YA humor book about the importance of ice cream in life. There are probably some life lessons, too, but read it for the time-changing aliens.

I digress. I have four more books planned for this year and my Social Reality Person insists she is putting out a book as well and I may have to deal with Reality on my own for a bit. So we’ll say I have five books coming out, one of them vicariously. Really, it’s the same thing.

Will I actually get all five books out and will they all be quality? Honestly, don’t know. This is always the goal, but sometimes Reality and I have a nebulous relationship. What I do know is that last year I had the goal to put out one book and see if I could get in a second. How many books did I publish? One.

If I don’t put up big goals, I won’t reach for big goals. If I do put up big goals, I might fall a little short, but I’ll do more than I would have if I hadn’t had those goals at all.  As long as I don’t fall “Wide Right”, I should have a good year.  So what are your big goals this year?

By the way, I’m apparently hiring a new Social Reality Person. Some people just can’t take a joke.