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Venessa

Convention Life: The Other “Con” — Consent

Conferences

I’ve decided to republish the series of posts about conventions and convention life that were originally published over at Speculative Chic. This particular post, about consent — a super important topic in con life — was published on August 10, 2017. You can find the original here!


Maybe you’ve heard the term “Cosplay is not Consent.” It’s a movement within the fan convention community to educate people on how to act — or rather, how not to act. And it all revolves around Consent.

Why talk about consent?

Conventions can be a lot like parties, and at parties people want to have fun. But generally, folks are thinking of their own fun and not necessarily the fun of others. So talking about consent is important both within and outside of conventions so that we can also be aware of other people’s comfort and wellbeing at the con.

It’s also important to talk about consent because having ownership over one’s body is a fundamental right of being human. Setting boundaries on how other people treat us is a healthy way of living life. And consent is a big part of boundary setting.

 

What is Consent?

Photo: CARE – Campus Assault ResponsE – http://campusassaultresponse.org/

Consent is simply agreement. It can be nuanced in different ways, but when you drill right down to its basic definition, it is agreement.

Consent means that all involved parties agree to what is happening, whether it’s something physical, like touching or taking a photo, or verbal, such as being catcalled, being talked about, or objectified.

What does consent mean at a convention?

It means that no matter how someone is dressed, no matter how much (or how little) skin is showing, there is no touching without asking. It is not an invitation for other people. It does not mean that the person — usually a woman — is a party favor for your use.

This isn’t just about touching, though. It’s about everything from touching to speaking. It’s about being aware of how the words we say affect the person we’re speaking to or about. It’s about treating people with dignity.

Cosplay is Not Consent is the movement that has come out of the flood of complaints of harassment and, in some cases, assault, that has happened at conventions across the country, from the biggest to the smallest. Check out Geeks for Consent for some great links to news stories about this topic.

Is it all in the gender?

Fan conventions are often male-dominated, so it makes sense that the higher number of consent violations are done by men. It can be difficult to explain to men why being touched without permission or being objectified by verbal comments is unwelcome.

Often, when we, as women, say, “How would you feel if…?” the response tends to be, “Oh, I would love it if a woman just walked up to me and grabbed my ass!”

What these men often don’t have perspective of is that women receive this sort of treatment all the time. Catcalls, inappropriate comments about their bodies, and even unwelcome touches from men. And it is all with no choice in who is doing these things. It can be any man, at any place, at any time.

If men think this is something they might enjoy, I believe they’re envisioning a woman they’re attracted to doing it at a time and place they would like it to be done. And that is not the experience of women who receive this sort of attention from men, both at conventions and outside conventions. These behaviors are done by men, regardless of whether the woman is attracted to them, is in the mood for such attention, or wants any attention at all. In other words, without her consent.

So men who think they would like this often don’t understand that they probably wouldn’t, if their reality matched the reality of women’s experiences.

But men are not the only people violating consent at conventions. Women do it too. Not nearly to the numbers as men, but they can be just as offensive as men. I once watched a woman literally grab a guy’s codpiece for a photo, to the man’s absolute surprise. I couldn’t tell whether he was offended or not, but it was still non-consensual and a sexual assault by its very nature.

Anyone has the ability to violate consent. It happens much more to women by men than vice versa, but it can happen both ways. The only hope in combating this is to make us all more aware.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to police our own actions.

How To Avoid Being ‘That Dude’ (or ‘That Chick’)

Do

  • give compliments or ask questions focusing more on the costume than the body in it — “Did you paint your leggings yourself? Those are really cool!”
  • give generalized compliments –“Your costume is amazing!” or “You look just like Gal Godot! That’s incredible.” etc.Keep Calm and Get Consent
  • pay attention to body language and environment — If they’re waiting in line for the bathroom, be very brief in your interaction, if it’s necessary at all; if they look like they’re on a mission to get somewhere, let them go; pay attention to whether your attention is welcome.
  • be respectful of someone’s time and space — don’t monopolize.
  • ASK — Everyone appreciates someone who takes a moment to ask their consent to take a photo or touch a part of their costume or body; this can’t be stressed enough.
  • Be respectful of the answer to your question — Always remember that they’re allowed to say no. Don’t already be doing the thing as you ask for their consent. Wait for their answer.
  • Say thank you when they’ve agreed to something you’ve requested, because they’re doing something nice for you.

Don’t

  • catcall, unless it’s appropriate — It might be appropriate at a costume contest, or some other situation where an audience is expected to make noise.
  • comment specifically about someone’s body — Consider “You’ve got great boobs!” vs “You look great!” The first is a big no; the second is a big yes.
  • assume anything — And this means anything.

Accidents Happen

So what do you do when you’ve offended someone by accident, or realize you’ve done something inappropriate?

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

It doesn’t have to be about you having made a mistake. It is absolutely about how you handle the mistake you made.

Always, the first thing to do is apologize. And be sincere. Sometimes, this is the only thing you can do. Sometimes the person you offended doesn’t want to hear it and will walk away. Let them go. They’ve made their decision, and you trying to force your apology on them is just another version of the mistake you made in the first place.

But if they do listen, you can then ask what you can do to fix the situation, what will make the other person okay? There may be nothing you can do other than go away. And that’s okay. But maybe you took a photo without asking, and they tell you that you can make it better by deleting the photo. Then delete the photo. Act with integrity.

The final thing you can do has nothing to do with the person you offended. The final thing you can do is remember your mistake. Remember it and do your best not to do it again in the future. Err on the side of caution if you’re unsure. And, again, you can never go wrong by asking.

Conventions can be a great time! They’re big and fun and exciting. We’re among our nerdy tribe and our fellow fangirls and -boys. Convention producers create them for folks to have a great time. But we have to make sure our good time doesn’t make someone else’s experience a bad time. We’re all in this together!

Do you have questions or comments about any of this stuff or conventions in general? Drop them down below! 🙂

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are mine or CC0 licensed.

Quick Edits: Name Magic

Craft of Writing, Quick Edits, Writing

Quick Edits is a short feature where I give quick editing advice on how to handle common problems in fiction writing.

I haven’t done a QE in a long time! I’m excited to bring it back 🙂

Name Magic

To know and use someone’s True Name is power.

You might wonder what this has to do with writing fiction. As authors, we have power and control over our readers while they read our books. We use this power to create stories in their imaginations that, hopefully, elicit the emotions we’re looking to pull from them.

The names you choose for your characters play an important role in this. Is your yuppie lawyer named Tyler? Or Brittney? Or Ahmed? Each of these names will bring up a different vision for your reader, before you’ve even begun to describe them physically.

Stereotypes

William Edward Charles Weddingham III

Who do you envision when you see that name? A stuffy, suit-garbed, man, perhaps in his 50s, perhaps British? What if I told you that yes, he’s wearing a suit and tie, but he’s Jamaican with rasta braids tied back into a long ponytail down his back and when he’s not working in his investment firm, his friends call him Chuck?

Play with stereotypes to your advantage. You can play directly to them. Or you can break them. (I encourage you to break them 😉 )

Avoid Naming Echoes

One thing I see with relative frequency, particularly with newer writers, has to do with what I call “naming echoes.” This is the tendency to name characters with the same first letter: John, Jessica, Jerry. Sometimes, it’s deliberate (sometimes authors think it’s clever), but usually I think it’s unconscious.

Regardless of the “why,” it’s generally not a good idea to name characters in a similar way, whether that’s first letters or names that sound like each other. This is because readers will often read quickly, especially if they really want to know what happens next (yay!). If you have both John and Johanna as character names, it would not be difficult for a reader to mistake which character did what thing.

As a reader, I’ve done this. Nothing pulls me out of a story faster than a reference to something one character did when I think a different character did it. Then I have to go back, find the scene, and re-read it. And that messes up my entire experience of the book. To be clear, it’s my fault that I misread. But it is an easy fix for an author that will avoid the problem altogether.

Have a look at your WIP. Do you have a “naming echo” issue? I tend to lean toward female names that end in ‘a’ for some reason. So when I’m naming my characters now, I pay attention to that specifically. I also seem to like “J” names a lot (as evidenced by this post 😉 ). So I keep an eye out for those also.

Figure out your own “naming echo” issues so that when you name characters, you do it intentionally.

Are there any editing issues you run into that you’d like covered in the Quick Edits series? Drop a comment below!

Keep writing,

State of the Book (and Arm) – February Edition

Blog news, Book news, Life Stuff

Time for another State of the Book!

The first draft of Soul Cavern 2 is almost done (I know, I’ve been saying that for weeks!). It’s so close to being done, I’ve already started revising the first part and sending it out to beta readers. I’m still hoping to get it out in April.

I’m also getting ready to commission the cover art for SC2 and SC3 before the end of the month, so should have something to show for that in the coming weeks, as well!

Obviously, I’ve done this surgery thing before…

My overall production schedule is going to slow down, though, as I am having rotator cuff surgery on 2/13. I’ve been dealing with pain since June, but more aggravated pain since November. The MRI I had last month showed a 5mm tear in one of the muscles (or tendons? Dunno) in my rotator cuff. So… surgery.

My arm will basically be immobilized for 3-4 weeks, then 4 weeks of movement therapy, and then 4 weeks of strength therapy. So, yeah, 3 months. Whee. I am not entirely sure how the immobilization is going to affect writing. I’ll be doing some work with Google Docs and their free voice to text function, but I don’t really know how well I’ll do with dictation. We’ll see.

The last couple weeks I’ve been working on a website redesign (mostly randomly) and that only takes my mouse hand, for the most part, so perhaps I’ll do more work on that! I’m really excited about it, because it’s going to be gorgeous! 🙂

And I’m set to start outlining Soul Cavern 3 this month also. ALL THE THINGS!

So there’s the State of the Book for February! Thanks for hanging with me 🙂

Convention Life: Con Prep, Con Crud, Con Drop

Conferences

I’ve decided to republish the series of posts about conventions and convention life that were originally published over at Speculative Chic. This particular post was published on May 11, 2017. You can find the original here!


Convention Life

I’ve talked a lot about Conventions this past year and I’ve got one more set of important topics to touch on. You might hear some of these terms from seasoned con-goers:

  • Con Prep
  • Con Crud
  • Con Drop

The last two, especially, are things you’ll hear regular con-goers talk about. Prep is just really what happens before a convention and can vary, depending on the type of con you’re going to and the level of immersion (ie — cosplay) you’re looking for.

Con Prep

My staging area is significantly larger than this 🙂

When people think about prepping for an event, they often just think about packing. Maybe travel logistics. Certainly those are important things (we’ll touch on packing in a bit), but if you’re going to be doing fan, comic, or book/writing conventions regularly, there are some other things you’ll want to think about, as well.

When going to a new convention, you’re going to want to hop on Google Maps and check out the area around the con for restaurants. If you have the budget to eat out during the convention and there are suitable restaurants around the hotel, this will affect what you pack.

If there are no restaurants, you’ll want to try to bring a cooler with food to the convention, if possible, and/or a lot of good snacks that can live in bags for several hours. You may still want to bring these things, to some degree, even if there are restaurants. The ratio of eating in to eating out, just like at home, will depend a lot on your personal budget for the convention.

Speaking of money, note that most conventions have vendor rooms. These are magical places which will be hawking your favorite books, games, DVDs, comics, and even autographs from authors or stars that turn you into a huge fangirl/boy. Unless money sprouts from your ears, think about how much you’re willing to spend in the vendor room. Set a convention budget for yourself so that you will have money for your rent next month. 🙂

When you’re packing, you’ll want to make sure to remember some key items for the convention that you might not consider when you’re packing to go visit your folks, say. Things to think about bringing:

  • day bag: could be a fanny pack, a wrist bag, a messenger bag, a purse, whatever — I tend to
  • prefer something small and light
  • hand sanitizer (more on this later)
  • pain meds: for headaches, body aches, etc.
  • personal meds
  • water bottle: most cons will have water stations with cups; it’s often more efficient and environmentally friendly to have your own bottle
  • snacks: particularly the sort that you can carry around in a bag
  • ear plugs: especially if you’re sharing a room with others, but it’s a good idea in general too, since hotel room walls can be thin and people in hotels tend to play their tv on max volume (why do people do this?)
  • immune system stuff (we’ll talk about this in a minute too)
  • books or other memorabilia you might want to have signed by convention guests
  • if you’re cosplaying, a small sewing kit (or whatever would be most effective if you have a wardrobe issue — hot glue gun, duct tape…)
Convention Life - Dragon Con

Forgot my pants. Luckily, hubby wasn’t far away!

If this is a convention that encourages cosplay and you’re going to be dressing up as your favorite Marvel character (or Game of Thrones or Doctor Who or whatever 🙂 ), make sure you’ve made a list of all your costume pieces and checked them off as you put them in your convention suitcase. You don’t want to be in the middle of getting dressed, then realize you left your pants at home (I say this from experience!). It’s a real disappointment if you’ve put all this time and energy into creating an amazing costume, but then can’t wear it at the actual convention because you don’t have all the pieces.

I mentioned immunity system stuff above. About two weeks before the convention, start taking something for your immune system. Some folks swear by Airborne; others love Vitamin C and Zinc. I use standardized Elderberry, myself. You want to bolster your immune system because conventions can be a lot like school in regards to germs. You’ve got a lot of people from all over in a somewhat confined place. Someone in that giant group will be sick, getting sick, or just getting over being sick. And those germs are gonna get passed around.

Another thing that will help your immune system pre-convention is to make sure you get enough sleep, enough food, and enough water in the weeks prior. This will set your body up for the crazy stressors of being at a convention for 3-4 days — an event that can feature bad eating, half your usual sleep, and a ton of fun.

Con Crud

So what happens if your immune system doesn’t prevail over all the germs at the convention? Well, then you’ll likely end up with a case of Con Crud. It’s a mystery illness that usually shows up a week to two weeks after attending a convention.

Con crud – It’s not *usually* this bad 🙂

Keep taking your immune-boosting stuff throughout the con itself and for a week or two after. Even if you end up getting Con Crud, symptoms will likely be lessened if your immune system is stronger.

Con Crud can be anything, really. It might be the flu, the common cold, an infection of some other sort. Seriously, just about anything.

During the convention, you can use hand sanitizer and other things to help with the germs. A lot of people swear by them. Personally, I don’t use hand sanitizer, but it’s mostly because I’m terrible at remembering to use it! I pack it, then forget to put it in my convention bag. Or I put it in my bag and forget to take it out of my bag to use it. It’s just a lost cause for me. But I also believe that being exposed to some germs is good for the immune system because they cause it to work, rather than not work. So instead of hand sanitizer, I just wash my hands whenever I’m near a sink and let my body do the rest.

Whether you use hand sanitizer or not is entirely a personal call, just like what you decide to take to bolster the immune system itself (if you take anything at all!). It’s all down to personal risk management. No one else can make that decision for you. Try different things and see what works for you.

Con Drop

Okay, so you’ve come home from an amazing convention. You’ve unpacked and you’re back to work or school. Things are going along great! You’re telling fun stories about stuff you did  at the convention to all your friends and talking them into going with you next year! And then, three days after you’ve come home, you’re super emotional, you’ve got all the feels, and you just cried during a Kleenex commercial. Wtf?

Convention Life - Con DropThis is Con Drop. First, understand that it’s completely normal. Most people have some form of Con Drop, even if it’s mild, such as just being unmotivated to do anything productive.

Con Drop is a physiological reaction that often has emotional or psychological symptoms. Essentially, it’s the endorphins and other happy chemicals your body has been spewing out at the convention for the last 3-5 days drying up. It’s the crash after the high.

Con Drop generally happens two to four days after the end of the convention. Some folks get it as early as 24 hours later, but I think most people get it right around the 3 day mark.

So how do you get rid of Con Drop? The bad thing is that you don’t. The good thing is that it usually only lasts 24-36 hours. So you won’t feel this crappy forever. Know that there’s an end.

The best way I’ve found to mitigate Con Drop is to simply be kind to myself. If you find yourself dropping, do things that you like, that bring you comfort. Read a book. Take a bubble bath. Go biking. Whatever brings you joy and comfort in the world, do those things for a while. And, again, know that this isn’t going to last forever. It’ll be over soon.


Hopefully you’ve gotten some good stuff out of this convention series! And hopefully you won’t let the idea of Con Crud or Con Drop keep you from heading out to a convention and enjoying the hell out of it!

Do you have questions or comments about any of this stuff or conventions in general? Drop them down below! 🙂

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

New Release: Blue-Edged Soul! Be sure to grab your copy!

Book news

It’s here! It’s here!

Blue-Edged Soul is here!

Look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? My cover artist is Sylvia Frost at The Book Brander. And she is amazing! If you’re in the market for a fantastic cover, definitely give her a look!

I was just going to make this a cover reveal, but Amazon published Blue-Edged Soul faster than I expected, so I decided just to go ahead and announce it a day early!

Blue-Edged Soul is a short-story follow up to Jivaja. There are a couple cool reveals in it. One has a big effect on Soul Cavern Book 2 and the other one opens the series up for more books after this initial trilogy. You’ll definitely want to read it if you liked Jivaja. And you definitely don’t want to read it until you’ve read Jivaja. It won’t make very much sense on its own 😉

Blue-Edged Soul tells the story of Ken, David’s brother. In Jivaja, David asks Ken to go to London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This is the story of what he finds there. In the timeline, it runs concurrently with the climax scene of Jivaja.

Now, there are two ways to get Blue-Edged Soul:

1. If you want to support me on Amazon, you can purchase it for .99

Or

2. You can get a FREE copy in exchange for signing up to my Reader Group (then you become a Reader Groupie 😀 lol )

Either way is fine with me. And please, whether you purchase or get it for free, don’t forget to leave a review! Reviews help authors more than you know.

I hope you enjoy Blue-Edged Soul!

Look for Book 2 of the Soul Cavern Series in April!

Happy New Year! And stuff!

Blog news, Book news, Publishing

 

Yes, yes, I know we’re already a week in, but that’s okay! It’s still pretty new and sparkly!

If you read my last post, you already know what’s going on and what my goals are for this year, as far as publishing. I wanted to drop a quick line and let you know about my goals for content for 2019, as well.

Early last year, in February, actually, I made the announcement that I was going to be making a change to my posting schedule for this blog. Instead of weekly posting, I would be posting every other week. This was to free up time for my fiction writing.

That was a good plan, but what ended up happening was that I no longer felt accountable to post anything here. So every two weeks became every three weeks, which became…eh…whenever.

I am recommitting to posting every two weeks. Now, the posts may be updates, they may be reposts, they may be Tool Time Tuesdays, they may be Quick Edits, or they may be the more in-depth posts that I used to write regularly. I’m not committing to any particular type of post. But I am committing to at least 26 posts over the course of the year. I promise. As we say in my family, “Fingers up to heaven.” (I’ll tell you about that sometime, if you’d like.)

Are you a writer?

 

Most of my posts here have been about writing, rather than books or random things about my life. Maybe you miss that content?

Since last spring, I’ve been on a new journey of indie publishing. I’ll be posting some about that here, but I’ve also created a new avenue for that content! I started my own YouTube channel!

My channel is going to be really focused on my journey as an indie publisher. I’ll share the ups and the downs. I’ll likely be sharing more detail about the whole process there, because it’s quicker to talk about a thing than to write about it 😉

Don’t expect anything super fancypants. But I may also occasionally do the YouTube live from somewhere that is not my desk, surrounded by bookshelves 🙂

Here’s my intro video! Check it out and, if you’re interested, head over to YouTube and subscribe to my channel!

 

 

ALL THE BOOKS!

And don’t forget, Blue-Edged Soul will be released NEXT WEEK!

I should have the cover this week and will be doing a reveal very soon!

The 12,000 word short story occurs concurrently with the climax in Jivaja and features Ken, David’s brother. He has just arrived in London to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron, at the request of his brother. But what he finds will change all of their lives forever!

Read Jivaja and then read Blue-Edged Soul. You won’t be sorry 🙂

And remember: If you’re a member of my Reader Group, you will be able to get Blue-Edged Soul for free! Make sure you sign up to get your copy!

 

 

I’m also going to be playing with a new website design, because this one is really old and tired at this point. So, yknow, in all my free time, I’ll be working on that too. LOL

Okay, that’s it! I’ll talk atcha later this week with the cover reveal for Blue-Edged Soul 🙂

Ciao!

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

Venessa’s State of the Book! December 2018

Free Fiction Friday, State of the Book, Writing

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you had a lovely holiday yesterday, if you celebrate. If you don’t, then Happy Random Day Off Work Day! 😀

I’ve decided it would be fun to give periodic updates as to what’s going on in my writing life, so you know when you can expect goodies! So here’s my very first State of the Book Address!

Jivaja begins 2019 with a sale!

I’ve got a week-long promo from January 1 through January 7 where you can snag Jivaja on Amazon for .99! Make sure you bookmark the Amazon page! (Don’t worry; I’ll post a reminder next week!)

In the meantime, if you’re not familiar with Jivaja, you can check it out here!

Blue-Edged Soul to be released in mid-January!

Blue-Edged Soul, or BES as I like to affectionately call it, is almost done — ie, it’s being formatted right now! — and is slated for release around January 15!

BES features Ken, David’s brother, in London where he’s been sent to protect Carolyn and Jenny Barron. This short story runs concurrently with the climactic scene in Jivaja.

And there are BIG REVEALS!

If you’ve already read Jivaja and would like BES for free, make sure you’ve signed up to get your copy (and updates).

Get your free book!

Soul Cavern 2

Yep. It still doesn’t have a proper title. I’m almost done with the first draft. Hoping to finish it this week so that I can jump into revisions in the new year! Publication time frame is mid-April. Really excited to get this one out there!

Sad news for Free Fiction Friday

Jivaja is currently enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (yes, that means you can read for free with your subscription!). The unfortunate thing is that it also means I must suspend Free Fiction Friday until my KU term is over (in April). KU requires an exclusive distribution license, so I cannot offer Jivaja anywhere else, including my own site.

This Friday will be the last FFF for Jivaja. *sadface*

Around January 15th, I will be taking down all the sections of Jivaja after Chapter 5. The first five chapters will remain up so people can still read a free sample. (That’s allowed.)

I’m kicking around the idea of putting up a few shorts stories I’ve had done for awhile that are just sitting around, gathering electronic dust. They’re about the MSA — Magical Security Agency. ooOOoo 😉  But that wouldn’t be a weekly thing. Likely monthly. I’ll decide after the first of the year. Let me know if you’re interested!

So that’s the December 2018 State of the Book! 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely remainder to the holiday season and I will see you in the new year!

JordanCon! Free Stories! Tribes! (ALL THE THINGS)

Book news, Conferences, Craft of Writing
JordanCon

Happy December!

Just a quick update about a couple things.

First, it’s official! I’m a Featured Guest at JordanCon! I’m really excited. You can find me at the very bottom of the list right here! (They’re alphabetizing by first name. If they’d sorted by last name, I’d be just before Faith Hunter! lol)

JordanCon runs from 26 April 2019 to 28 April 2019 right here in lovely Atlanta! That’s a great time of year too, because it’s not too hot and not too cold (usually… you can never really be sure here 😉 ).

I’ll be selling print copies of Jivaja at my author table and my plan is to release the sequel around 15 April, so I should (hopefully) have copies of that as well! Super exciting!

I’ll have some other awesome convention news for you in a couple weeks too, so stay tuned.

Free short story!

I’m in the second-to-last round of edits for the new Soul Cavern short story (tentatively titled Blue-Edged Soul) that is a companion to Jivaja. I plan to have it ready for release mid-January. It will be up on Amazon as a .99 read, but folks who’ve read Jivaja already can sign up right here to get their free copy when it’s released!

Sign up so you know when it’s ready 🙂

Are you a writer?

Ready for 2019?

Right now, over in The Writing Tribe, I’m doing a series of videos about planning for 2019. The Writing Tribe is a small group of authors who are dedicated to improving (or creating) their professional writing career. We have a lot of newer writers and quite a few successful veterans.

If you’re a writer who’s serious about doing this for real, drop in and join us! (Please make sure you answer the questions when you request to join. Otherwise, your application will be rejected.)

Stay tuned for more Quick Edits and Tool Time Tuesdays in 2019! I’m planning to do more updates so you really know what I’m working on.

Okay, that’s it for now!

Wishing you a lovely holiday season,

 

 

JordanCon image courtesy of JordanCon.org

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Also, links in this blog post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something, I will get a small percentage of it, though it does not increase your cost in any way. I appreciate you using my links 🙂

 

NaNoWriMo Winner!

Writing

Wooo! I did it! I won NaNoWriMo! Yeah, it took me the weekend to recouperate enough to write this post, but there it is! Lol (Okay, in truth, my mom in law is also in town, so that’s my excuse!)

What is NaNoWriMo?

For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month happens every November and it is a personal challenge to write 50,000 words (usually on a novel, not always) in 30 days. Kinda crazy, yeah. But a lot of fun and incredibly productive.

It’s not always easy. It means writing an average of 1667 words each day. That may sound daunting, but it isn’t. Not really. Sit down with a 15 minute timer and write. Don’t allow yourself to stop for more than 5 seconds at a time. Don’t sit, staring at the screen, thinking about what you’re going to write. Actually write. For fifteen full minutes. Then count your words.

I’ve discovered that if I’m really in the zone, I can kick out 700 words in 15 minutes. But that’s not a usual 15 minute sprint. The absolute minimum I get is 400 words. But that’s not a usual 15 minute sprint either. A usual 15 minute sprint is about 550 words.

With 550 words every 15 minutes, I can write 2200 words in an hour. (You can probably get somewhere in the ballpark too. I’ve noticed that most writers can get at least 1500 words in an hour.)

So it’s not the number of words that’s the challenge. It’s the consistency of doing it every day.

And then there are the non NaNoWriMo events

In addition to NaNoWriMo and the usual Thanksgiving holiday, I also had an out of state wedding in the first part of November. And when I got home, my mother in law came over from Europe for a visit. We picked her up at the airport 4 days after we got back into town and she was here… Well, she’s still here. 😉

Since I knew I was going to have a lot of distractions this year, I front-loaded my writing. I wrote at least 2500 words almost every day for the first week. Don’t get me wrong. I was still behind by day 20, but I wasn’t nearly as behind as I would have been.

And I pulled it out in the end, so go me! 😀

What I used

Scrivener for Windows (of course!)

Write or Die 2 (Gaaaah! There’s a version 3!!!)

Jamie Raintree’s Writing & Revision Tracker (new one’s coming out soon! Squee!)

Writing sprints with my Tribe (if you haven’t joined The Writing Tribe, why not?)

What I worked on

I was a bit of a rebel this year and did two different projects. First, I did a short story (about 11k words) that will be a bridge between Jivaja and Book 2 (which is, as yet, title-less). And then, I wrote the remaining words on Book 2. So that is more than halfway done!

The short story is already with my beta readers and once I figure out the title of that, I’ll have a cover. I’m looking to release it in January. But if you’ve read Jivaja (or plan to read Jivaja) and want a free copy, drop your email address in this form and I’ll let you know when it’s available! It’s my little way of saying

As a note, it isn’t a stand-alone story. You will definitely want to have read Jivaja first.

All very exciting! Stay tuned for more cool news coming up!

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Quick Review of Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

Reading

From my Goodreads review:

 

Black City SaintBlack City Saint by Richard A. Knaak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading these books because I’m going to be doing a review on Book 3 for a website I contribute to. So I’m plowing through books 1 and 2 🙂

I love the 1920s Chicago time/location! This is what actually drew me to the series. I’ve always been fascinated by the 20s and the entire role of the mob in social and cultural fabrics of the time. It’s really clear that the author put a lot of research into this time period. Sometimes it was a little too clear (ie – the author was dropping details that weren’t necessarily important — particularly about cars 😉 ). But those were not problematic at all, for me. Just noticeable.

The other thing I really liked about this book is the portrayal of Feyrie. Original folklore about the fey show them as … well, narcissistic sociopaths at best. Psychopathic at worst. And I really feel that these books kept to those traditional ideas about the fey.

I also found the “retelling” of the St. George tale, the twist on it, really engaging. Not gonna spoil it, but it’s revealed within the first 75 or so pages.

The only thing I found occasionally problematic was the relationship between Nick and Claryce. It felt very angsty on his side and it felt like she latched on to him WAY before there was anything to warrant it. There is some previous connection to him (again, no spoilers), but that as the reason for the fast connection isn’t on the page until much much later. Too late, to me. So that bit didn’t ring particularly true for me. It wasn’t enough to make me put the book down, not anywhere near that. Just a niggling.

So, overall, I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to Book 2! 🙂

View all my reviews