Since we don’t travel for Thanksgiving, and I do my best not to participate in Black Friday, yesterday was a long, quiet day. I spent it baking cookies and writing, and once I crossed into that final thousand, I knew I was going to finish a day early. It is an absolutely terrible draft of a rather silly story, and it’s done, and I am pleased.

Today there are errands to be run, and catching up on various non-writing tasks–I think I can take a day off before I settle back into working on Fairy Hills. Tomorrow we are due to get the first real weather of the winter season. This will probably result in more cookies, although I am also taking the kids to see Frozen 2 for some indulgent reason.

life, writing

NaNoWriMo Week 3

Not only was the last post late, I skipped a week after that and didn’t even realize it. This NaNoWriMo has gone relatively smoothly — 12,000 words to go with a week left for writing, so barring catastrophe there’s no reason to think I won’t finish. I took one day off, which burned up my early lead, but have been staying on target since then.


This past week was relatively quiet, which helped a lot, and while we do have Thanksgiving ahead, we’re not traveling, and I’m keeping the menu under control this year (recipes will be posted next week). I’m really looking forward to a few days at home!

What else is going on? I’m doing some knitting. Started making Christmas cookies to stash in the freezer, since the holidays are so close together this year. I’ve done a little bit of shopping. Still doing my morning pages and meditation. I’m 13 books behind schedule on Goodreads, so I don’t think that goal is going to happen unless I cheat; on the other hand, 33 books is pretty good for me in recent years, and I might finish a few more that I’m stuck partway through. One of the books I’m reading right now is about how to write an effective newsletter, so look for experiments in that area next year.

2019 has been weird and scary in a lot of ways, but on a personal level, it has been kind of amazing, and I want to make sure I take the things I’ve learned into 2020. I think that one reason I’m looking forward so much to time off at the end of the year; I very much want some time to reflect on all of this.

I hope the holidays treat you all well.


NaNo Dix

Yes, it has been ten years since I did my first NaNoWriMo. My son was a toddler (nowadays he is disconcertingly tall). That first effort was intended to break me out of a rut of endlessly writing and rewriting the same high fantasy trilogy I had been working on since my college days; that November’s efforts were eventually self-published as Tisiphone’s Quest.

I haven’t looked at those trunked books in years. I do have a further stack of half-finished novels and a couple of finished ones that have yet to find any homes. Most of them are standalone stories, and none of them have much in common with one another, so I’ve certainly gotten out of any ruts in terms of material. I’m a little surprised to find that I’m still cheerful about the whole thing. Sales or not, results or not, it’s fun just to do it, to throw yourself headlong into a story for a month and see what happens.

Day 2; so far, so good.



After weeks and weeks of getting nowhere with this book, I think I have finally figured out what I need to do. I’m very excited about this, since I was about to throw in the towel and start learning how to write again from Square 1. It’s going to require some replumbing of the current draft, but I don’t think I have to start it over from scratch. The week ahead should be a relatively quiet one, so I look forward to figuring out a plan finally.

(The problem is with the antagonist. I have a terrible time with those, which is a vexing situation for a genre writer. And, I am mildly chagrined and equally amused to say, the solution involves me following advice I have sagely dispensed to others in the past. There’s nothing like art to keep one humble.)

This past week I have been experimenting with the popular “morning pages” practice. I am not sure whether or not I can credit that with this morning’s breakthrough, or if it’s just that I am finally over the Cold from Hell, or that things needed to simmer and sort themselves out in my subconscious for exactly this long before the issue surfaced. I am going to keep up with the pages for a bit longer, and see what happens. They do eat up a fair amount of time, but the experience of writing longhand is meditative.

Long-range goals remain elusive, but I continue to put out feelers while I try to determine what it is that I am looking for. In the meantime, I’m going to finish this book!

garden, life, reading, writing

Happy Readercon!

After a bit of dithering (surprise), I decided to go this year. And we got an extra day off at work, so I’m even going to the Friday daytime programming, which is a first. I’m a little nervous about going solo, but it’s all part of the “leave room for things in happen in” practice, and there is a lot of interesting stuff on the schedule.

The summer is passing quickly and without much drama. We did a lot of traveling last week, hence no update–I was tired! with three days in NH at a family Fourth of July, and two in CT visiting friends. I take a picture just like this every summer at the lake, because I am a creature of habit and like to get up early while everything is still.

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Fairy Hills just hit 40k words after a few weeks of steady progress. I am making deep changes to this part of the story, so this really is like a first draft all over again. Which is annoying, I confess, because that means that there will be yet another draft in the near future, and I would like to put this project to bed someday. I bought an app called Word Keeper, which is delightful if you enjoy looking at progress charts–sort of like the NaNoWriMo wordcount tracker made perpetual and a bit shinier.

Writing has been going well enough that I have tried off and on of late to turn off the laptop and read in the evening. I’ve read 24 books so far this year, which is frankly amazing (for me). I’ve been reading a lot of new-to-me nonfiction stuff: Thinking in Systems, Liminal Thinking, How to Change the World–you may be sensing a theme. In fiction I have been visiting old favorites. Tea with the Black Dragon is just as charming as I remember it being, as was Who’s Afraid of Beowulf?

In other news, the driveway garden is flourishing. Already considering ways to expand next year, since I haven’t managed to entirely kill anything so far this summer (the basil bolted while we were gone, and a few of the sunflowers aren’t going to make it, but everything else is hanging in there pretty well). I had no idea potato plants grew so big!

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And this was a longer update than I expected to write. Have a great weekend!

monthly updates

Work in Progress – June

The end of another month; time for another progress report. This book is, as is its wont, taking far longer to move along than I consider ideal, but there has been motion, and the past week has actually been pretty good. Total wordcount is just shy of 26k.


Other areas of life continue to poke along in more or less unsatisfying ways. I’ve lost a little bit of weight. I’ve done a little bit of knitting (another hat–I’ve got this bulky yarn to use up). I’ve had another job interview, and it was very promising, which has spurred me to sit down and really think about what it is I’m looking for, which is… probably not this job, so back to square 1 there. The weather has been a little better, and at least we haven’t had to resort to the A/C very often this season.

I think I mentioned in an earlier update that I bought a bike, which is definitely a bright spot. It’s been a good many years since I rode one, and I’m still getting used to it, but I’ve found a nice half hour route I can ride in the mornings, when there isn’t much traffic yet.

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