The Ides of NaNoWriMo

It’s early on November 15th, 2016 and my NaNo word count is at 30,000 and change. 5000 words ahead, 20,000 more to go to win at 50,000.

500-words

I’me being a NaNo rebel this year, meaning I’m not writing a new novel, I’m doing whatever the heck I want. I don’t really need a new story in my head at this point.

Here’s what I’m doing instead:

Continuing to revise Killing Julie. This started out as What Deosn’t Kill You for 2010’s NaNo. I had started to revise it a few years ago, but it got lost on my broken hard drive, but that’s okay. I’m liking this better. For NaNo I’m adding 2 new points of view, one  first person POV (as is Julie’s) for the love interest Dan and one 3rd person that will cover Julie’s experiences with her psycho ex-lover. I changed the title becaseu there are literally thousands of book and series title that use What Doesn’t Kill You somehow.

Here’s the premise: Three things converge on Julie to change her happily productive although lonely life in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s diagnosed with a rare leukemia in an advanced stage. Dan walks into her shop and her life. Through Dan, accidentally, she encounters Craig, her ex-lover from who she escaped and gave up her promising career in L.A. as a costume designer. Craig is not a nice man.

Continuing with Lilyland book 3, Places Like Home. That’s the working title. I have lots of it written but kept getting stuck with the beginning part, but I’m getting that worked out. I don’t work on it as often as Julie at this point.

Premise: Lily marries David and adopts his special needs daughter. She’s tapped to direct the first film of the reboot of a major fantasy/sci-fi franchise and encounters sexism in many forms, more than ever. A devasting loss sinks Lily almost to the bottom, but with a young child she can’t afford to stay there.

I’ve set up and gone to two write-ins, where WriMos meet somewhere with their writing instruments and write, chat, write, chat, etc. Because of write-ins, November is my most social month. Because I’m a dork.

Oh yeah, and because I’m a NaNo Rebel this year, these 372 blog words count toward my 50,000.

skittles

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Play Ball With Your Enemies or Baseball Rivalries I Have Known

A Facebook writer friend who lives in Israel posted that someone gave her an MLB something for her birthday and now she can watch the Dodgers. She used to live in Los Angeles.

That reminded me of the baseball rivalries of my life. I touch upon this topic in Another Place on the Planet.

   “I wonder,” I (Lily) said absently as we walked past Chase Field on Jefferson Street, “if the Diamondbacks open the season at home this year.”

     “You like baseball?” he (Charlie) asked with the first smile I’d seen in a while.

     “I do. I’ve been hoping to meet someone to go to games with.”

     “If I go to some games here with you, you’ll have to go to Dodgers games with me in L.A.,” he said.

    “Yikes!” I cried with mock—mostly—fear. “Going to L.A. to see the Dodgers? That might be a little more trauma than you’re worth.”

    “What do you have against the Dodgers?” he asked, his step lightening a little.

     “Everything. It’s a Phoenix thing. Like hating the Yankees is a Boston thing.”

     “A beautiful woman who loves baseball and understands its rivalries. I’m in heaven.” He kissed my cheek as we waited for the light to change. His mood seemed to lift a bit. Mine did.

Dbacks General Manager Kevin Towers. He probably never said this, but probably wanted too.

Dbacks General Manager Kevin Towers. He probably never said this, but probably wanted too. I know I’ve wanted to hit Puig in the face. At least.

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania watching baseball with my Dad. The Phillies. Occasionally the Mets. I tried football but didn’t understand it very well. Baseball I could keep track of. A few season, I sent away for theyear book. Once when the star pitcher at the time, Steve Carlton, was having a bad season, I sent him a letter of encouragement and was awarded an autographed photo for my effort. I think I still have it. I also drew a poster of various players copied from photos in the yearbook. Guys in white and red uniforms on a blue background. Guess I was a baseball geek at the time.

This is the photo I received that was autographed by Carlton. It would take all day to find the actual photo. longer if I don't have it any more

This is the photo I received that was autographed by Carlton. It would take all day to find the actual photo. longer if I don’t have it any more

2506_philadelphia_phillies-jersey-1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we moved to Maine in 1975 for my dad’s midlife crisis (there really is something to be said about getting a sports car your family won’t fit in as opposed to forcing them all to move to another state and subculture, dads) we became Red Sox fans and I learned about rivalries in baseball. That the Red Sox Nation (although it wasn’t called that at the time because TV was harder back then) detested anything to do with the New York Yankees. That’s just how it is. If you’re a Yankees fan in New England you had better be tough. We all know how much fun it is to hate a rival, even though we know if our location was New York, we’d hate the Boston Red Sox.

i love to hate the yankees

don't be a dick

 

 

 

 

 

In Maine and I met and fell in love with my native New England husband and appreciated the Red Sox even more. (He was actually scouted by several major league teams in high school, but a book-adapted-into-a-movie worthy car accident ended his baseball career when he was a senior.) We even got to a few games at venerated Fenway in Boston.(I saw the Yaz hit one of his last homeruns.)

fenway-park

He quickly adopted the Phillies when we move to Pennsylvania. The Phillies rivalry with the Braves was in full swing, made worse by the fact the Braves almost always tromped the Phightin’ Phils.

After 20 years, we ended up in the Phoenix area with the Diamondbacks and marveled at how easy it is to get to games in downtown Phoenix at Chase Field as opposed to the nightmare of Philadelphia.

The Dbacks have only been around since the late 1990s and the state of Arizona still has Dodger holdover fans from when there wasn’t a major league team here. Plus the thug element sides with the Dodgers because they’re a bunch of thugs anyway. This was perfectly illustrated when, after winning pennant in a postseason game, the LA thugs desecrated the pool at Chase Field by jumping the outfield fence and rollicking in it, cleats and all. Every Dback fan there ever was was supremely insulted by that deliberate action of disrespect, as was the intention.

Lord, help me forgive.

Lord, help me forgive.

But sometimes, you have to put the rivalries aside. Our lovely daughter fell in love with a Yankees fan (and a New York Giants fan which is hard to ignore when you grew up in Eagles territory.) This was something we had to work through. She was with us (albeit in my belly) when we witnessed Yaz and his homerun at Fenway. But we decided to love him anyway, for the sake of our daughter. As far as we can tell, being a New York fan is his only fault. But he grew up there, so you can’t blame him too much. If he grew up in New England and was a Yankees fan, that would be a completely different story. We might have had to disown our daughter.

Not really. We’re not hardcore. It’s just fun. When you finally realize it’s only a game and your life won’t change one iota if your team wins or loses, even the World Series. (I’m talking about you, 1986 Red Sox) you can let go of the red-hot-gut-churning-soul-consuming anger of being defeated by the entity you hate more than ever hated anything in the history of your existence (and oh, how we know that agony, given the histories of these teams) and move on and live a normal life.

Fairy Tale Fun Blog Hop

SpritesArtwork

Mine might be a little different from the other books on this hop. (The story of my life.) My writing tends to be a bit on the serious side, more like the classic definition of Women’s Fiction.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in myself when I realized that Lily the protagonist of my Lilyland Trilogy* is a Cinderella spin-off. I thought I was being more clever than that. But, I became okay with it. After all, the rags-to-riches Cinderella theme has been popular in many cultures for centuries. In other words, it works.

Do me a favor. As you read this, don’t think of Disney’s Cinderella. Think The Brother’s Grimm.

Cinderella planted a tree at her mother's grave. When she needed dresses (she went to the ball on three different days) she went to the tree and asked the birds who lived for a dress. Each time the dress was more magnificent than the last.

Cinderella planted a tree at her mother’s grave. When she needed dresses (she went to the ball on three different days) she went to the tree and asked the birds who lived for a dress. Each time the dress was more magnificent than the last.

Like Cinderella, my Lily starts off as underappreciated. Knocked down by life, she’s having a hard time getting back up. Her step-mother is Insecurity. Her stepsisters Shame and Guilt. During that time, she meets a Prince Charming Charlie (a bad boy and accomplished film director)at a fund-raising gala—like a ball. They light each other up during the evening of dancing and conversation, even exchanging phone numbers, but neither initiates contact.

Maybe her golden slipper is her smile and the way she touches Charlie’s heart. A twist of fate reunites them a year later, and the magic is still there. He even calls her princess…

“Thank you, Lily.” His solemn expression turned into something goofy, something I hadn’t seen yet. “I keep wanting to call you Princess.”

“Princess? Like on your phone?”

“The night we met you said you felt like a princess.”

“So I did.”

…and invites her to an elite party in Los Angeles where he lives and works. Lily is unaccustomed to the lifestyle of the rich and famous and she’s helped by several of Charlie’s women friends to dress for the occasion. She even compares herself to Cinderella.

“I have something for you,” Charlie said and opened a black case he had been holding. “These are only leased, mind you.”

“You think of everything, don’t you?” I whispered in awe.       “Thank you so much! They’re beautiful.”

In front of the hall mirror he placed a simple but elegant diamond necklace on me and clasped it. Sophie and Rachel each inserted an earring.

“Thank you, everyone,” I said. “I feel like Cinderella with all the birds and bunnies dressing her for the ball.”

(Yes, from the Disney version. Face palm.) Birds help our heroine in the Grimm’s version.

Of course, there are several differences. In Lily’s story is we get to see her life after she lands the prince and gains the castle. In fairy tales, we never see the prince’s flaws. Lily’s Prince Charlie has a few of them. The biggie is his sex addiction, putting happily-ever-after in serious jeopardy. We also never see the day-to-day life. Does Cinderella spend the day inspecting the palace’s cleaning staff and offering handy household hints she learned during her years of oppression sweeping hearths and picking peas and lentils from ashes? Does she train birds and design slippers? Lily eagerly jumps in as Charlie’s production company and film directing partner. No Real Housewife life for her!

Cinderella's slipper was actually "golden" and not glass as in the versions we're used to. One stepsister cut off a toe and the other her heel to get their feet in the magic shoe.

Cinderella’s slipper was actually “golden” and not glass as in the versions we’re used to. One stepsister cut off a toe and the other her heel to get their feet in the magic shoe.

Another difference is age. Lily is a middle-aged Cinderella with a grown daughter and a painfully failed marriage. And her prince may display charming behavior, but he’s no kid in search of his first wife.

In Grimm version of fairy tales, the baddies are always brought to justice. The good girls and guys always win, unlike real life sometimes. Lily’s princess life throughout the trilogy has its share of challenges that take the composure, wisdom and grace of a queen to handle. Does she get her happily-ever-after? Read Lilyland and find out.

To enter the blog hop contest for a chance to win the prize described below. Simply answer my question below in the comment section here on this blog. You must include your email address so the winner can be notified. Entries without email address won’t be qualified for the contest.  (You won’t be subscribed to anything. Promise!) Open to US addresses only. But, I’d love your comment if your not in the US. Winner will be drawn by Rafflecopter on Feb. 16, 2015 and notified by email.

Sprite 24

Congratulations Sprite 24 Gift Box from Fairytale Brownies  which includes a snack-size assortment (Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate, Original, Peanut Butter, Pecan, Raspberry Swirl, Toffee Crunch, Walnut, White Chocolate, Espresso Nib, Cream Cheese) of 24 delicious gourmet brownies

Question– Even though Lily’s prince has a huge character defect, she gives him a shot. Well, plenty of shots. What would be a deal breaker for your prince? Loud beer burps? Leaving his underwear where you step on it or leaving the toilet seat up? Picking on your mom? Enter your deal breaker in the comments.

Visit with each of these #chicklitlove authors and leave a comment (and email address!) for another entry in the Brownie contest.

April Aasheim                          Sheryl Babin                            Kathryn Biel
Brea Brown                             Geralyn Corcillo                       Patricia Eddy
Erin Emerson                          Jamie Farrell                            Hilary Grossman
Rachel Lynn Hamm                Gina Henning                          Celia Kennedy
Tracy Krimmer                         Becky Monson                        Theresa Munroe                                   Diane Rinella                              S.K. Wills
* At the point, Lilyland is not quite a trilogy, as book 3 is still in progress.

Coming Here: Fairy Tale Blog Hop

SpritesArtwork

Starting Tuesday Feb. 10, I’ll be participating in The Fairy Tale Blog Hop with other authors of women’s fiction and chick lit from the ChickLitHQ FaceBook group. A bunch of us will be comparing one of our characters to a princess–fairy tale or otherwise.

At each stop, you can post a comment for a chance to win a brownie assortment from Fairy Tale Brownies.

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Curious to see what fairy tale princess Lily reminds me of? Watch my social media for a link or just hop back here!

Is It Pre-pub Jitters or Just My Brain on Overload?

Too much to do! I can’t think! Oh no! Oh My God! What to do next? covers? Final read-through? Look for promo sites? Write long and short blurbs and back cover copy? How do I get a email newsletter sign-up on my blog?

I don’t know!

BOOM!

Ugh. That was my brain exploding. If a piece landed on you, please send it back. I need it.

I’m getting ready to publish Places Bright and Dark, book 2 of Lilyland. It seems like it’s taken forever to get this far, but not as forever as the first book. Like the week before opening night of a play, it’s crazy-town. So much to do! Will it ever get done?

Of course it will. And unlike opening night, there’s no set time. I have time to stitch on that last bit of lace that will make that Shakespearean costume complete, time to sweep the stage, clean the house toilets and vacuum the green room. Unlike a curtain that doesn’t rise on time, no one will notice my book didn’t come out.

Because I didn’t set an exact date. Bwahahahaha!

And even then…

But I do have a few fans waiting. They politely remind they are. And that is so nice!

Give my cover ideas a look. Here’s the blurb:

Lilyland book 2, Places Bright and Dark: Lily’s fairy tale continues when she and Charlie marry. He flourishes in recovery from sex addiction and their business, film and personal projects thrive. Even though the 12 Steps and service to the program and other addicts are a huge part of everyday life, Lily is grateful for the stability and friendships she’s gained from attending co-addict meetings at the same time as Charlie’s Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. They’re surrounded by supportive friends and healed family relationships.

But the fairy tale gets real, and challenges have a domino effect on Charlie’s sobriety. Each episode of his acting out sexually—or is he simply making his same old choices?—wears on Lily’s heart, soul and determination to love him, no matter what. Remembering the dark end of her first marriage, Lily has to make her own choices in order to preserve the bright places she regained during her good years with the wounded Charlie.

Here are cover ideas…so far. The final one will be tweaked with more info and a few finishing touches. Comment here or on Facebook with your vote! Thanks!

bk2 blue

1.

bk2 gray with black computer

2.

bk2 gray with striped shirt

3.

bk2 maroon

4.

blue not gray

5.

sheets blue

6.

Get Ready!

Drum Roll, please! (Keep it going until my book is live on Kindle.) Thanks!

Good grief. The trials of a truly indie author. By truly indie, I mean too poor to be able to afford editors, formatters, etc. Not that I’m complaining. Being able to do all this is a joy and privilege I never expected to have.APP sunset cover

Last year, I decided to republish my fist book, Another Place on the Planet. I hadn’t sold one in a while and was never really satisfied with the cover and knew of some issues that needed to be fixed. In the meantime, my mother passed away and my husband was diagnosed and then successfully treated for cancer. My brain just wasn’t in the place to do the technical side of things.

I worked on other projects, finishing up book 2 of LIlyland, then doing the rough draft of book 3. Then I spent weeks and months on Word and Scrivener perfecting formatting to the best of my ability only to have it look less than wonderful when Kindle got a hold of it. I designed a new cover.

There are people who do these kinds of things for indie writers and I hope in the future to be able to afford them so I can spend more time writing. I also hope that next time I make a cover or format a manuscript I can remember what I learned during the previous bouts of learning. I like learning and don’t mind the kind of work that needs to be done, but…

So, as I write this, Kindle is in the process of publishing my book. I hope the margins and paragraph indentations are as pretty as I made them in the writing program. They weren’t last time…sigh.

In the meantime, I can update Pinterest, post some tweets, figure out how to use Google+ and network with other writers. Oh. And write the other books.

I’ll post a link in the sidebar to Kindle when I have it all prettified. While you wait, you can read the first chapter here under the My Books tab.

Writing and publishing independent of traditional publishing is perfect for me. Lilyland probably wouldn’t have a home otherwise. It’s the story of Lily, and secondly Charlie who are believers in God and Jesus, aka Christians, but struggle a lot with their faith and their behavior. It’s probably too Christian for regular publishers and not Christian enough for Christian publishers, what with the sex and swearing that even they themselves do. But it’s the story that came out. I like it. I hope you do, too.