NaNoWriMo Day 28

The Words: 2023 words total for the day.

I had to spend some time today doing last-minute changes and formatting work on Outcast, because it’s release date is Tuesday. So my daughter went on writing without me and reached her YWP goal of 20,000 words! But she still did a couple of sprints with me later, which gave me my words for the day.

The Story: Today was a meeting between this book’s villain and a future book’s villain, which was interesting. Though I think the conversation was a bit too calm and civil. Not that it can’t be calm, it just didn’t seem in-character for the current book’s villain, so I’ll have to work on that in editing.

I stopped writing when I moved onto a new scene, because I only have 2 scenes left in the draft. Neither of them do I anticipate to be any longer than 2500 words, so it seems that the best way to reach the end of the draft right at the end of the month is to write one of those scenes tomorrow and one on Monday.

Total word count: 72,617

Enjoy today’s NaNoToon from this day in 2010!

New Mailing List

In advance of my new book releasing in a few days, I’m doing something I’ve been putting off for long time: starting a newsletter. Most news I do share here on this blog as well, but I know how bad I am at checking blogs that I follow regularly, so I’d imagine others are too. There will also be some extra tidbits now and then that are only in the newsletter. At most, these emails will be monthly. At the least…is there a term for every 6 months? As I think of it? Really, though, if you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any big news or announcements I have to share, enter your email address below and join my mailing list:

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NaNoWriMo Day 27

The Words: 2433 words total for the day.

My whole family (that currently reside in the house) was ready for a day of laziness today, and I almost didn’t want to write. But that was all the more reason to insist that I get some words in. I shared with my 10-year-old daughter, who’s done much of this year’s NaNo alongside me, that days like this I like to do a stretch of writing, then take a break for something more lazy like reading or watching a show, then do another stretch of writing. So we did that, and a couple of sessions of writing produced a daily count I was happy with.

The Story: I’m quite pleased with how I powered through the section that I was concerned about slowing me down. Not that I love what I wrote, but that I got through it quickly and moved on to something a little less difficult to write. A major villain of the series is setting herself up in the position that allows her to wreak major havoc on the rest of the country. The scene coming next should be a lot easier to write, and then there are only 2 more planned scenes until the end of the draft!

Total word count: 70,594

Enjoy today’s NaNoToon from this day in 2010!

Book Review: The Cat Who Turned On and Off

The Cat Who Turned On and Off
Book #3
by Lilian Jackson Braun

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Cozy mystery

TCW 1-3

Former crime reporter Jim Qwilleran takes on a new challenge–writing something worthy of a cash reward about the much-disdained part of town known as Junktown. When he begins to sniff around the haven for antique dealers, a mystery is already afoot. A beloved dealer has recently fallen and died, but Qwilleran quickly begins to suspect foul play.

This is my favorite so far, finding the trio of Qwill, Koko, and Yum Yum really beginning to feel like a family. The characters are a lot more engaging, the mystery is interesting and a little easier to follow and potentially solve by the reader, and the interactions between man and cats are cute and whimsical.

I felt like Braun really hit her stride with this story (and then stopped writing for 20 years), as Qwill seemed less grumpy and more open to new things. I loved his misunderstanding about Junktown near the beginning of the book. I really appreciated what Yum Yum added to the investigation, considering that she always seems to take a backseat to Koko when it comes to laurels. And there was a character introduced in this book that I’m pretty sure is going to be around later, because her name is very familiar. Other than some of Qwill’s fellow newsmen, no characters have recurred yet, so that’ll be interesting to see in the future.

Overall, this was a nice, quick read, and the best of the first 3 in the series. I would recommend this book for fans of the classic whodunit & cozy mystery genres.

Find out more about The Cat Who Turned On and Off

See what I’m reading next.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

NaNoWriMo Day 26

The Words: 971 words total for the day.

I had less success than I normally do trying to get some writing in during the Thanksgiving festivities, even with my Neo. But I got home earlier in the evening than I normally do after family holidays too, so I was able to get a little bit of writing in before midnight.

The Story: I’m heading into a very rough section, with a lot of darkness and violence. But it’s also a scene I wrote a very long time ago, before this story world and series of stories took the shape they have now. A lot of what happens in this scene can still happen the same way, but while I’ve learned from experience that it’s still better to rewrite something that I already did as writing practice or something, just in case it comes out better in the draft or in case something is different and needs to incorporated as different, it’s still incredibly hard for me to write it quickly. I am slowed down by trying to remember what happened before so I can do it the same way again, even though I tell myself not to do that. So basically, I’m glad I got as many words as I did.

Hopefully I’ll be able to power through it tomorrow so I can pick up the pace again and finish the draft in the next 4 days.

Total word count: 68,161

Enjoy today’s NaNoToon from this day in 2010!

NaNoWriMo Day 25

The Words: 2575 words total for the day.

I managed to hit my personal daily word count goal of 2500 today, despite not having all of the extra time to write in the afternoon like I thought I’d have. I had only managed to get 800 words by the time evening came on and thought I might just have to stop there.

Fortunately, I did end up with some more time to write and caught a 30-minute sprint on the @NaNoWordSprints Twitter feed (also known as a #1k30). That got me only a couple hundred words away from my goal, so I wrote for a couple more minutes before calling it a day.

I don’t expect to get many words tomorrow, but hopefully the amount of days left this month and the amount of story in my outline will line up okay.

The Story: I probably shouldn’t have put this storyline off for last, considering that the MC in it is so far out of my comfort zone. But I’m doing what I can, looking in at key parts of her life leading up to the events surrounding the big battle around which all 4 storylines are focused. I got all the way up to a key turning point in her life, and next will have to write about the consequences of that event.

Total word count: 67,190

Enjoy today’s NaNoToon from this day in 2009!

Book Review: Unclaimed Legacy

Unclaimed Legacy
History Mystery #2
by Deborah Heal

My rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: YA Christian sci-fi

Spoiler notice: The following review may contain some spoilers for the first book in the series, Time and Again.

Abby’s summer tutoring job continues, but the computer program that allowed them to “time surf” the history of her pupil’s house has stopped working. When they house sit for a relative of a friend, though, the program invites them to view the history of a whole new area, this time alongside the handsome John Roberts. They get much more than they bargained for.

This second installment in the series is, to me, a step down from the first. While the story that they dig up in the lives of the past occupants of the house is more in-depth than what is shown in the first book, it’s also a lot darker. What bothers me more, though, is the story in the present time.

I’ll start with some good things before I get to what might seem like a rant. I really liked the little name game that John and Merri, Abby’s pupil, played throughout some of the story. I liked that the little boy with the deaf mother has people who care enough about him to help with his speech issues. And I did like the “Old Dears” as characters–maybe just a little over the top, but generally cute (the big secret between them notwithstanding). I also really liked Merri’s connection with the Old Dears. It was nice to see her come out of her shell more, even as her mom ignored her more than before and her dad acted like a typical fictional deadbeat dad (not quite so typical in the end, though).

However…if I wasn’t a fan of Abby (the main character, mind you) in the previous book, I just plain disliked her in this book. Her best friend, with whom she talks on the phone a few times throughout the book, refers to Merri as “chubster,” as well as several other unflattering, harsh terms, which she uses because Abby had previously used them in referring to Merri. Abby chides her friend, but only because Merri is trying to do better now, not because Abby recognizes that those were just horrible things to say about the 11-year-old girl she’s tutoring, who already has huge issues! If Merri had heard any of those terms, would she have just accepted that they were okay to use in the past, before she was “trying”? No, she’d probably be devastated.

Then there’s the developing relationship between Abby and John. The problem is that he tends to take off when things get a little intimate. This leads Merri’s mom to speculate that maybe he’s gay, because goodness knows he couldn’t possibly have any other reason to not paw a girl he likes. But thank goodness he checked out her butt so that we can lay that question to rest. Seriously? And there’s a friend of John’s who’s basically a 90s tech geek, right down to the 90s lingo. It was really strange.

This book, like the previous, has absolutely nothing in the way of mid-chapter scene transitions, which can be really jarring when you’re reading and suddenly it’s another day, location, etc. Overall, though, it’s the characters and present-day plot that make me not so sure I want to read the final book in this series. Especially since the synopsis involves Abby’s best friend who almost seemed offended when Abby told her not to call Merri a chubster, and who otherwise is a bit pushy and annoying to me. If you’re really into history, you may still find this series to your liking if the things I mentioned above don’t bother you. Definitely start with the first book, though.

Find out more about Unclaimed Legacy

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NaNoWriMo Day 24

The Words: 1801 words total for the day.

I didn’t have as much time to write this afternoon as I’d hoped, with some pre-cooking to do for Thanksgiving and other housework to catch up on. But I made sure to at least get normal par for the day, and hope (for real, this time) to have a lot of extra time to write tomorrow afternoon.

The Story: I finally finished the 3rd storyline in the series and started on storyline #4 today, the final one (none of this denotes the actual order these storylines will be in the book, by the way, just the order in which I’m writing them).

Total word count: 64,615

With 6 days left of NaNoWriMo, be sure to check out episode 5 of the NaNoMusical, where the stresses of the month catch up to the characters in my favorite song of the whole thing!

NaNoWriMo Day 23

The Words: 2172 words total for the day.

The newest expansion of World of Warcraft launched today. My son bought me the pre-order for my birthday back in May, and my husband was pushing for me to play as soon as it launched. So even though I’m terrible at balancing my time when I have an active WoW account, I did play with them this evening.

So while waiting for the launch time, I did a few sprints with my daughter, and at least got close to my personal daily goal of 2500 words. Fortunately, my writing time has been in the afternoons most often this month, while we generally play at night. Hopefully this won’t ruin the rest of NaNo for me.

The Story: I’m on the last scene of storyline 3, which involves a visit to prison and a reunion of old enemies. I’ll definitely finish the scene, and thus the entire storyline, tomorrow, and will only have one thread of story left to write to finish the draft.

Total word count: 62,814

Enjoy today’s NaNoToon from this day in 2009!

NaNoWriMo Day 22

The Words: 2766 words total for the day.

My husband had online course work to complete today (he got a bit behind), so in order to give him some quiet in the computer area, my daughter and I took to the living room to write. For me, this meant using my Neo, which I haven’t used much this month.

We did a 10-minute sprint and a 15-minute sprint, and then took a break for a while. While supper cooked, we did a 20-minute sprint, and that put me past 2500 words (my daily word goal).

I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not, but in all three of those sprints, I hit the upper limit of my average when doing a sprint, meaning how many words per minute I type. Most of the time, I am somewhere in a range with a difference from min to max of only 10 words per minute, though I’ve had some outliers in both directions. But with all three of those sprints, I was at the max. I don’t know if it has anything to do with writing on the Neo or not, though to be honest, it did feel faster. Maybe I should keep doing that and see what happens.

The Story: I was not real thrilled with what I wrote today, but I think that’s just because I had to look at a side of something that I’ve avoided in the past. And I think I got a little out of character with the main character in this storyline, so I’ll have to scrutinize that in the revision and either change it here, or make it part of his character that is seen earlier in the story too.

I think I should be done with this storyline either tomorrow or Tuesday. That will give me a full week, or close to it, to write storyline #4. That may be just enough time, or it may turn out to be too much or too little. If I’m running out of time, I’ll raise my daily word goal. If I end with some days left in the month, I’ll write some new scenes for storyline #1 that I have planned to slim down the length there.

Total word count: 60,642

Enjoy today’s NaNoToon from this day in 2009!