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It’s November…which means NaNoWriMo is here again! This year’s theme is superheroes. Apropos, considering all of the superhero movies that have been/are being released this year. (I loved Wonder Woman, enjoyed Spiderman: Homecoming more than I thought I would, and thought Thor: Ragnarok was a blast. I’m really excited about Justice League! I still can’t believe DC finally filmed it!)

Once again, life is crazy and I’ve had to scale my NaNoWriMo goal down to something more realistic.

Aside from the fact that Baby #2 is due December 4th (and there is no way he’ll actually make it to his due date; I’ll be very lucky if I don’t have him before Thanksgiving), our family is moving.

Yep. Moving.

It surprised me too. I would not personally have chosen a few weeks before I’m due to have a baby to move. But, when God says, “Go,” you say, “Yes, Lord,” and pack everything up. Particularly when He literally sells the house out from underneath you. 😛

The ministry my husband and I both work for owns the house, and we were completely on board with them selling it. God’s taking the ministry in new directions and it’s pretty exciting. But, I will say for a couple of days we weren’t quite sure where we were going. 🙂 Then the Lord opened up the door for us to rent from some friends, and voila!

It’s a process, and we’re not done yet. Hoping to have everything major moved before Thanksgiving…and I have the baby. 😛

For months now, I’ve been working hard amidst the crazy to have Freedom’s Children written by the end of November. The plan has been to finish writing it, send it off to my beta readers, and hopefully have it published and available for y’all to read by Christmas.

And despite the chaos of the past couple of weeks, I’m almost there. I’ve reached the book’s grand climax; I only have a few chapters left to write. (So excited!!!) And so far I’ve actually exceeded my modest November writing goal.

That said, if Baby #2 does indeed come much before his due date, it’ll definitely delay things a little. Still hoping to have FC out by Christmas, but I’ve been known to have delusions of grandeur before. 😛

I’m nearly there, though. The end is in sight—and I can’t wait for y’all to read Freedom’s Children. I’ve had a blast writing it. 🙂

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

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Life settled down a little this past summer…at least as much as it ever settles down for us. 😉 Between my husband’s ministry, children, and pregnancy fatigue, there just wasn’t enough time to do everything I wanted to, but I’m learning to give myself a little more grace. I am not Wonder Woman, unfortunately. 😛

Going into July, I found myself running into brick walls with Freedom’s Children’s storyline. Things had been flowing really well and all of a sudden they just stopped dead. I’ve learned over the years, however, that this is the creative side of my brain’s way of telling me I need to back up because there’s a problem somewhere.

So, I went back to the beginning of Freedom’s Children and started cycling through it as a second draft. I cut a few things, added a few things, and fixed the problematic areas I’d been putting off thinking about. It took me until the beginning of September, but I got the storyline and everything else smoothed out. Turned out I’d dropped a couple of plot threads, and I ended up cutting another because I realized it belongs to Book 5.

The result was a book that is 85% finished. I just needed to write the end.

My husband and I took the children to California for a week in the middle of September to visit some friends of his. They live in the San Bernadino area, and, boy, was that an experience! We’d never been to California before, and if I had to describe what I saw of the state in a color, I’d say shades of brown. The mountains were amazing.

I read a LOT of westerns when I was growing up and looking at those mountains made me think about what it must have been like for cowboys, ranchers, and everybody involved in the Gold Rush era. Pretty amazing.

Needless to say, didn’t plan for any writing that week. We just had fun and enjoyed our adventure, which included getting to see the Pacific Ocean. Our son, who just turned one and started walking, did remarkably well with both the plane trips and the time difference. (The hard part was getting him back on a normal schedule after we got home!)

Since then, I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m estimating I need another 5-10 chapters and Freedom’s Children will be finished. 😀 I’ve reached the grand finale; it’s just a function of writing everything and wrapping the story up.

The crazy part is that FC has blown past Treason’s Edge in terms of length. I wasn’t expecting that at all…but there’s been a lot of story to tell! Depending on how everything goes, it may finish out around the 200,000 word mark, which knocks TE down to second place for longest novel I’ve ever written. 🙂

My plan since July has been to finish FC by the end of November, get it to my beta readers, make any necessary changes, and have it published by Christmas.

My baby is due Dec. 4th (another little boy!)…but if he takes after his big brother, he could come anytime after Thanksgiving. My husband and I have also had something else crop up that might serve to delay things. There’s a possibility I won’t make it, but I’m going to do my best. I want this book finished. It’s time, and I’m really excited.  (Also ambitious, but that’s nothing new. 😛 )

Besides, NaNoWriMo 2017 is about to start, and that’s always fun, even on the years I’m not able to finish the challenge.

By the grace of God, things will work out and I’ll get the end of FC written and edited before I go into labor. LOL!

 

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orthogamous2017 has been a rollercoaster year so far. (And I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this.)

Starting out, I had so many hopes and expectations for what I planned to accomplish. Reality crushed some of those expectations, which has been frustrating and a royal pain at times, but I’ve still managed to write around the chaos.

I just haven’t been good about updating my blog. 😛 Need to do a better job of prioritizing.

January wasn’t too bad; managed to get a good chunk of writing in around my son’s sleep schedule. (Actually, now that I think about it, January was the least eventful month we’ve had so far this year, and the month in which I wrote the most.)

The first half of February also went pretty well. My son finally started taking naps (praise God) and I started to be able to get some things done. (I’m now taking care of the day-to-day bookwork for the addiction ministry my husband works for.)

Then the disc in my husband’s back re-herniated. After days of going around and around with insurance, we finally got everything straightened out and he was able to go the ER and be admitted to the hospital. He ended up having surgery a couple of days later and then I brought him home.

Not the way I thought February would go at all, but we’re very grateful he was finally able to get the surgery he needed. Plus, since we had our son with us, it meant we got a lot of visits from lovely nurses who’d heard there was a baby on the floor. 🙂

The fun didn’t stop there. March 1, three days after my husband’s surgery, a series of severe storms came through our area and produced several tornadoes. My husband slept through the first round of storms in the middle of the night—though I woke him up long enough at one point for him to kiss me and tell me everything would be fine before he went right back to sleep. LOL. He was right though—everything was fine through that storm.

The second round of storms wasn’t supposed to arrive until around mid-morning, so I figured it was safe to go to bed.

At 6:15 am, I sat bolt upright in bed. It took me a second to realize the power was off and that the reason I could see anything was because of all the lightning outside. That was when I heard a terrible, rushing, roaring sound that seemed on the verge of coming right through our bedroom window.

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard a tornado in real life. I’ve seen movies and watched youtube videos and weather channel footage, but I’d never actually experienced it myself. I can see why people liken the sound to an oncoming train. That was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever lived through.

At any rate, I woke my husband up and he jumped out of bed on my side because he thought the tornado was coming through the house too. I grabbed my glasses and ran to get our son and the three of us hurried downstairs to the bathroom. (Our house is built into the side of a hill, so that was the safest place to go.) The house was shaking and we could hear debris being whipped against it.

After a few minutes that felt like a small eternity, the tornado passed and my husband ventured upstairs to peek out the front door, even though we were still under a tornado warning. It was still dark and pouring rain, with lots of thunder and lightning, so he couldn’t see much, but he came back down to tell me it looked like part of a tree was on top of my car.

It ended up being more than that. 😛

The tornado passed along a ridge about a hundred feet from our house, uprooting some trees and snapping others in half. One of those trees was a giant hickory that leaned a little toward the house…and it fell on top of both our cars, crushing them. The tornado then curved around and dropped more trees and power lines on our driveway, so in order to get out afterwards, we had to climb up a wooded hill to get to the road.

This is what our cars looked like:

I’m grateful though, because if the tree had been ten feet taller, it would have smashed through our living room. Other than some gutter damage, and a tree the tornado knocked down on top of a new peacock pen my husband was nearly finished building, the cars were our only major material loss. Nobody was hurt.

Cue a bunch of storm cleanup, local electric company crews working tirelessly to repair the damage and restore power, and dealing with insurance companies. We were able to pay for most of a replacement for my car thanks to insurance, but not my husband’s. A couple of days later, we got a call from a pastor friend of ours, who wanted to give us a vehicle he and his wife could no longer use because it had more issues than they wanted to deal with and she was getting ready to have a baby. We’re still driving that vehicle. 🙂 God is good.

The rest of March was a breeze compared to that. Even our son cutting teeth. 😛

April kicked off another rollercoaster. The beginning of the month, I found out I’m expecting again. That was a bit of a surprise…we’d planned to wait a while longer. Three days after that, we ended up with emergency custody of my stepdaughter, which, after six weeks of court hearings, CPS meetings, and attorney meetings, ended up becoming full custody. That was a transition on all our parts, but it’s worked out really well.

In the midst of all that, my family was getting ready for my youngest sister’s wedding in June. Post-wedding, things calmed down a bit. Aside from my son cutting more teeth off and on, which resulted in a grouchy little guy who didn’t want to sleep and needed a lot of attention. 😛 I didn’t get a lot done those days, but I did get to spend a lot of time with a little boy who won’t be little forever.

Needless to say, in terms of project priority, The Stone General and everything else floating around in my head have taken a backseat to Freedom’s Children. That’s the story that needs to be published next.

I’m doing better at rolling with the punches and putting things in perspective. (My husband is good at helping me do that.) I may not have made as much progress on FC as I would have liked the first half of 2017, but I still got a significant chunk of the story written. That’s still progress—and I’ll take it. 🙂

More on Freedom’s Children in the next post.

 

 

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Duncan

The past few months have been pretty insane, to say the least. November and December were so crazy that even though I wrote the bulk of the following post in December, I never had time to post it. (I know, I know, it sounds crazy. Lack of sleep will do that.)

Anyway, here we go.

(903) 873-7654Well, November’s come and gone, and now we’re ten days from Christmas Eve. It’s hard to believe time has flown by that fast.

November was every bit as crazy as I thought it would be and then some. Unfortunately I did not quite make my personal November NaNoWriMo goal. The last Sunday in October, my husband’s back went out at church. We found out later that he’d had a disk rupture. Cue a plethora of doctors’ appointments and other general craziness that goes along with an incident like that while we tried to get him a relief. As it turns out, he needs surgery, but his insurance company refused to approve it, so we’re dealing with that.

I did manage to squeeze some writing in here and there, between doctor’s appointments and such. Not as much as I would have liked, but more than I might have gotten under the circumstances. Forward progress is still forward progress. (I think that’s becoming my new anthem.)

Add into that the fact that our son is still refusing to take naps, and, well, you get the picture. Actually, I think he has a little radar that tells him whenever I’m sitting down to write, take a nap, or do anything else important.. He has an uncanny ability to wake up then. Maybe it is super power. 🙂

The crazy thing is that I still got more done this November that I did after my husband had surgery last November (also for his back). Go figure.

I do have one major announcement, though. One very exciting thing to come out of all the chaos this November is that I finally came up with a title for Book 4 of The Guardians series!

I’m calling it Freedom’s Children. I think, given the circumstances, that it will be quite fitting. That and nothing else has quite captured the essence of this book.

Now to start looking for covers. 🙂

The writing itself is coming along fine—when I have time for it. That’s what drives me a little crazy some days. Both Freedom’s Children and The Stone General are banging on the inside of my head shouting that their stories need to be finished and there’s only so much time in a day.

But…we’ll get there. Eventually. 🙂

In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-150I’m gaining a new appreciation for text-to-speech. My husband uses it all the time, but I only really started using it after our son was born. It comes in really handy sometimes when I only have one hand available. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work for me in terms of writing, because I use too many strange sci-fi terms. 😛 Go figure.

Blog posts on the other hand, may very well be within the realm of possibility. (Some proofing is required; I’ve ended up with odd word inserts. :P) Not to mention there’s some retraining of my brain involved…when it comes to writing, I’m used to words flowing from my brain through my fingertips to a page. With text-to-speech, I have to consciously think about things like punctuation. 😛

I’m adapting to our new normal, but balancing being a wife and a mom and a writer has been interesting the past few weeks. The first two have taken precedence over the latter. Which is normal, and completely expected, but I miss writing as much as I usually do, particularly since Book 4 really needs to get done. It’s pounding away inside my head, waiting for me to get the time to type it all out. (Didn’t help that I had a couple of health issues to deal with.)

November 1st is a week away… (Crazy! I can’t believe it’s November already!) …which means NaNoWriMo starts in a week. 😀 Sure, it’s a challenge that can be done any month of the year, but there’s something about an entire community of people across the globe getting together and writing in November that is special. Not to mention the excitement leading up to it is contagious. 😀

I’m excited, although I’m keeping my expectations at modest levels. I have a newborn, after all, and he’s had quite the impact on our lives. 😉 Especially since lately he hasn’t wanted to sleep much.

The past two years, I’ve not done too well with NaNo. I took 2014 off completely; I was helping my parents redo our house, I’d just gotten together with my future husband, and between that and everything else going on, I didn’t need that kind of pressure on my writing. NaNo is supposed to be a fun challenge, not something grueling and stressful.

I started NaNo in 2015, but I’d just gotten married and was still settling in and my husband had back surgery the beginning of the month. Didn’t get as far as I would have hoped. That’s okay, though. Life happens. You adapt. I still wrote, even though I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

This year, I’m going to attempt it, because I can. 🙂 It will definitely be interesting, because of how young my son is (and did I mention that right now he doesn’t want to sleep?!), but we’ll see how it plays out. And let’s face it—forward progress is still forward progress, no matter how small.

Plus, NaNo has a space theme this year. How cool is that??

On the subject of writing, I never cease to be amazed how you can write one direction and then hit a wall and realize that you need backtrack and take a different tack. I’ve written some good scenes for Book 4 over the past two weeks, but I hit a wall and couldn’t figure out why the story wasn’t progressing toward the climax. Over the weekend, the answer hit me: I had completely forgotten that a couple of characters need to react to a huge revelation in a previous scene.

That was the holdup. Now I know where I need to go…

…I just need my son to cooperate and take a nap so I can write it all down. LOL.

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(416) 856-5854September has always been one of my favorite months of the year. Something about the golden sunshine in the afternoons and the way the temperatures generally settle into a comfortable zone that’s neither too hot nor too cold has always given me the itch to start new projects. Several of my books began life in the month of September of various years.

In addition to that, some of the best things in my life have happened in September. I published my first book in September five years ago. My husband and I started seeing each other two years ago. We got married a year ago—in fact, we celebrated our first anniversary on Monday. But I suppose the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken came into existence over Labor Day weekend, when I gave birth to our son. (I’m terribly biased, but I think he’s an adorable baby.)

The past couple of weeks have been a blur—literally, I blame sleep deprivation—of nursing and diapers and taking care of this tiny new addition to our family without forgetting to feed myself or my husband or letting the house fall apart around us. The latter part has been challenging, particularly when I’ve been up all night and I feel like a zombie. 😛

Needless to say, writing has taken a backseat for the moment. And not for lack of interest; my characters are waiting frozen in their various scenes for me to get back to them. (Lon, in the fourth The Guardians book, is in a particularly interesting situation.) Not writing since my son was born is making me twitchy; we will find a routine. 😛

On that note, I’m happy to report that July and August were productive months. (Not in terms of blog posts, as you can see, but otherwise, despite being very pregnant, I managed to get a lot written.) Book 4 is over 100,000 words now, and I think it’s at least 2/3 finished. Getting ready to sail into the final third of the story, which should be quite the adventure. Still no title, though. I’d hoped to have it done by now, but I knew that goal was probably too ambitious given my circumstances.

The Stone General hasn’t progressed as much because Book 4 took off like somebody attached a jetpack to it, but it’s coming along. It should prove more cooperative once Book 4 is done, or nearly done.

Everything else is temporarily on hold, although the superhero series has produced a few new scenes, and I’ve been fleshing out the futuristic city in which it takes place. The city is important, because the setting has a major impact on everything that happens in and around it. (More on that at a later date. I’m excited about it; can’t say I’ve ever seen a major series set in this particular spot.)

At any rate, I have one last day to enjoy in September before it’s gone. The only downside to this month is that it means cold weather will follow eventually. I’m not ready for cold weather; I’ll have to trade my flip-flops for shoes and socks, and where’s the fun in that? 😉

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