NaNoWriMo 2016 (sort of)

timey-wimey-quoteIt’s that time of year again, kids! When the writers in your life disappear for hours upon end, consume copious quantities of caffeine (and sometimes alcohol), and come out the other end of 30 days with some semblance of a book completed. Though I’m not officially signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which consists of 50,000 words in 30 days, my goal is 30,000 words in 30 days. This will hopefully get me close to the end of Steel Empires Book 4.

If you follow me on social media, you already know that I’ve been particularly obsessed with all things time travel lately. This isn’t new, really. I’ve maintained a fascination with the TARDIS for almost ten years, and so I figured it was time to put my own spin on it.

Today, I’d like to officially introduce you all to my current project: Steel Time.

Question 1: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I already talked a bit about this above, but I’ve known since soon after I started drafting book 2, and decided that this would be a 7-book series, that I wanted to explore time travel at the midpoint of the major story arc. Don’t worry: I won’t be resetting my world and wiping out things that have gone before. Instead, I wanted something epic to bring Victory and Toria back together as POV characters in a novel.  Continue reading


October Wrap-Up & November Goals

This month I traveled to Delaware, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. I also attended three weddings in three weekends. Frankly, the fact that I managed to do anything during my “free time” besides curl up in a little ball and watch Netflix is pretty impressive.

October Wrap-up:

  • I wrote 15k words instead of 20k words, but I’m wrapping up the month at a solid 40k for book 4. I’m almost halfway through the book, lengthwise. I’m not quite that far through my outline, story-wise. Geep! I foresee lots of cutting in my future, especially the passages where Toria gets especially rambly about multiverse theory.
  • This month’s book reviews:
  • This month’s convention reports:
  • And finally: husband acquired! He is officially home from school, where he graduated with honors. It’s so nice that life is getting back to normal around here.

November Goals:

  1. I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year because it didn’t seem fair to disappear on said husband for a month just as he’s getting home. The compromise is 30k words on book 4, which is much more manageable. I’ll still be attending the write-ins with my awesome local NaNoWriMo crew.
  2. I got lots of reading done on my travels last month, so I’m now 13 books behind on writing book reviews. I have this crazy idea that I’m going to prewrite a lot of them today and tomorrow. We’ll see how that works out.
  3. Only one convention on the slate this month, but I’m looking forward to my first appearance at ChessieCon in Baltimore the weekend after Thanksgiving.
  4. My cousin is getting married in the Caribbean, so I’ll be disappearing for a few days to celebrate with her. It’s a nice excuse for a vacation with my husband now that he’s home.

I’m kind of happy that this destination wedding is the last trip I have planned for quite a while. Winter is the time to hang out at home with my cats. I’m not even going anywhere for the holidays this year!

How’s the fall shaping up for the rest of you? Who’s participating in NaNoWriMo, and what are you working on? Keep me posted!



Guest Post: Why (Camp) NaNo? by Cara McKinnon

Today I’m hosting author Cara McKinnon as she goes walkabout on the Internet in honor of her new release, Essential Magic. As a veteran of both NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m eager to hear her thoughts on the subject!


NaNoWriMo has become quite a monolithic movement in online writing circles. Not everyone loves it, and that’s OK. The first rule of writing is that you need to do what works for you – find your own process, your own pace. And NaNo is a heck of a pace.
But I love it. I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2001. I haven’t always “won” (made it to 50,000 words in a month), but I’ve completed several projects or first drafts in the month of November over the years. My current release started as my NaNo book in 2015. I actually thought I was going to write the sequel to an earlier novel, but when I sat down to write on November 1st, Etta Mae Cook walked into my head and onto the page. And now she’s headed out into the world in Essential Magic. Continue reading



The lovely tea set my amazing editor made during our mad tea party last weekend. This picture has nothing to do with the post. I just wanted to show off the tea cup.

Now that I’ve finally completed the first draft of book 3, tentatively titled STEEL BLOOD, I wanted to do a bit of a wrap-up on it. These questions were gleefully stolen from fellow writer Breeanna Pierce, and you can check out her final thoughts on her most recent novel here.

Previous posts I’ve made about book 3, which was also my NaNoWriMo novel for 2015, can be found here and here. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Follow-up: Part 1

Sorry for the silence for the past 2 weeks. I picked up a cold on the last day of November and it took me down hard. But I’m feeling much better now! Unfortunately, my days have been wrapped up with working on STEEL MAGIC edits, and my NaNoWriMo novel is still languishing at 70k words. But I’m happy to chat about it in the meantime!


I know, I know…

(Find the original post about book 3, STEEL BLOOD, here.)

Continue reading

November Wrap-Up & December Goals

November Wrap-Up:

  • Participate in NaNoWriMo (successfully): Done! I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days over the month of November, bringing my word count for book 3 to 70,014 words.

December Goals:

  1. Incorporate my editor’s notes and complete the full line edit of STEEL MAGIC before deadline on 12/31/2015.
  2. Start working on a series bible for the Steel Empires world, because I’m starting to forget pesky things like place names and minor character hair colors.
  3. Beta-read my critique partner’s full short-story collection (novel-length). She writes awesomely dramatic female-centric contemporary literature, and working with her is a nice change of pace from my crazy fantasy world.
  4. Finish reading Chuck Wendig’s STAR WARS: AFTERMATH and get the review of that book posted, along with the review of Claudia Gray’s STAR WARS: LOST STARS, before the new movie comes out!
  5. Keep working on STEEL BLOOD, even if it’s only a few words here and there. I need to prioritize the book that I’m already under contract for, but I don’t want to lose total momentum!

Lots to do this month. But I’m still excited about this:


NaNoWriMo Update: WINNER!



NaNoWriMo for 2015 is finally done, with a few hours to spare. This is my second year “winning” in a row, and just like last year, I definitely still have a lot of work to do. This time, it’s writing about 8 more scenes (including the epic dragon battle while a city burns) and going back and adding in all the minor character names I couldn’t be bothered to make up the first time around.

STEEL BLOOD is currently sitting at 70,014 words (50k for NaNoWriMo + 20k written before November).

I’ll post a bigger recap of everything I experienced this past month later this week, but for now, I shall rest on my writer-y laurels.

And by that, I mean pass out.