Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coming soon to a computer near you...

NaNoWriMo begins in 1 day, 6 hours, and 37 minutes (give or take). NaNoWri Mo-ers everywhere are putting the finishing touches on their characters and plots (or not) and will have their fingers poised above their keyboards tomorrow, waiting for the clock to roll around to 12:01 AM on November 1 (or not) so they can begin creating their 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

For me, it's the thrill of the chase and knowing that no one is going to berate or beat me if I don't make the magic number by midnight on November 30. It's also an excuse to put other things aside, pull out one of my story ideas, and tell real life to take a hike while I wax creatively novelistic.

It's a fun time, and "winning" is satisfying. If you're interested in my progress, you can check my daily stats at www.judynickles.com by clicking the NaNoWriMo tab (or not).

If today is Halloween Eve, is tomorrow NaNoWriMo Eve? Whatever, we get to howl. I'm listening for you...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

It's that time of year again, folks!

I've just created my novel at the official National Novel Writing Month site.This will be my 6th year to participate and, hopefully, my fifth year to 'win' by writing 50,000 words in 30 days. That translates to about 1,667 words/day.

The idea for the new novel came from Ghost Towns of Texas (T. Lindsay Baker, University of Oklahoma Press, 1986), a fascinating travelogue detailing the history of the now-defunct towns in Texas. You can read about Belle Plain College in The Handbook of Texas Online.

Though it's doors closed in 1892, they'll creak open again in In the Books: A Tale of Love, Learning, and Lies.

Short Synopsis
In 1881, motherless Ruth Quillan is thrilled to receive a scholarship to study music at the new Belle Plain College two hundred miles from her father's farm. What she doesn't know is who funded the scholarship and the strings attached. By Christmas she is in love with college life and also with Alec Marshall who is taking a commercial course so he'll be prepared to enter his uncle's business and provide for his widowed mother. Then someone goes to the president of the college with a stunning revelation about Alec, who finds himself dismissed and on his way home where another revelation is waiting. Alec's chum Royal Donnelly vows to look after Ruth and prove Alec's dismissal unjust. As the young people uncover the dark and dangerous threads already woven into their lives, they realize what they must learn to save themselves is not to be found in their schoolbooks.

I'm excited! 

Anyone else out there doing NaNoWriMo this year? Leave a comment about your novel and/or a link to more information about it! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Last Hurrah

I'm on my way home from my 50th high school reunion. It was a bittersweet weekend. For the first time, we looked old--maybe because we finally are. At the memorial service on Sunday, as 97 names were read aloud, 97 candles sprang to light as we remembered those no longer with us. It was, indeed, our last hurrah. 

Did I bring any story ideas home with me?  If I read the book of our individual historys, I could come up with a million ideas. Of course, I'd never do it. Our stories are too personal. We've shared those stories, but they're a testimony to survival, not to be spun into fiction, however good.

 I promised the small person I'd bring some bluebonnet seeds. Her new favorite book seems to be Tomie de Paola's The Legend of the Bluebonnet. I read it to her, expecting it to be too advanced for her, but now she takes it from the bookshelf and brings it to me each time she's with me. She is most distressed that it is against the law to stop and pick bluebonnets along with highway (not that there are any in Arkansas!), so we will attempt to grow a pot of them. She says she will pick "just one".

This morning I'm headed to the town where I went to college. On Wednesday I'll go home to retrieve a disgruntled beast from the Doggie Dungeon and take up my daily routine again. Daily routine is good for the soul. And it was good for my soul to greet and hug so many of my former classmates. In some ways, it was a reconciliation experience, and we all needed that. When one carries around the garbage from the past too long, it becomes not only heavy but odorous.

So--will I eventually spin a story based on this past weekend? Maybe someday. November 1 and NaNoWriMo loom on the horizon. Meanwhile, I'll process everything that happened at the reunion--and things that didn't happen--and someday...yes, someday...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

More Links!

MORE LINKS! Can a writer ever have too many sources?

First, even if you're not a genealogist, check into Legacy Stories and take advantage of their free shoebox account to post (privately or publically) stories you'd like to pass on to your children and grandchildren. You can also upload pictures and record your own voice for posterity as you describe them. If you're not sure what to write, go with their weekly story prompts emailed to you.

Would you like your short stories available in coffee shops around the country? Check into the possibilities of Sips Cards. You pay $5 to submit two stories of up to 3000 words each. If a story is accepted, you earn $50 and publication in the magazine which can be accessed with a QR code found on a 'sips card' at various coffee shops. The name comes from the idea that the story should last about as long as a cup of coffee. The stories can also be accessed online.

Looking for just the right setting for a story? Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine is one of the best subscription deals around--$12 for 8 issues and worth every cent! Lots of great pictures to inspire your next writing venture. See their website to subscribe.

Women writers check out the publication Room which is a paying market for fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by women. Learn the particulars at their website.

Finally, for 125 years' worth of writing advice, take a look at Best of the Writer: Timeless Tips from Top Authors , which can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

Five more great links, and you found them here at The Word Place!

Recommended Reading from the October 2012 issue of The Writer Magazine:
  •  Advice from the Crypt (What would Edgar Allan Poe tell us?)
  • On Finding Stories That Need to Be Told (Author John Dufresne's advice)
  • Set Your Writing Free (Don't let "demons" squelch you as a writer!)
  • A Successful Journey into E-Books (They're no long the coming thing--they're here to stay!) 

The Penelope Pembroke cozy mystery series is coming, and the website will be available SOON!
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Bogus Biker
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Stubborn Schoolhouse Spirit
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Feed Store Floozy
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Possum Hollow Hullabaloo
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Larcenous Legacy
  • Penelope Pembroke and Sam's Last Stand 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Savvy Links

The Wild Rose Press, a terrific author-friendly small publisher, has launched its first subsidiary, Wildflowers Books. WFB is a self-publishing venture with for-pay packages depending on what you want. The difference is (and I consider this a biggie) is in the distribution feature which other self-publishers don't offer. In addition, the site has lists of graphic designers and editors from which you can choose to include with your package. You should take a look at this site even if you're not in the market for such a venture. Knowing TWRP, I predict success here. (Be sure to look at the FAQ section!)

I know I've recommended Writer Beware before, but a free email subscription is worth your while. Lots of scams out there --- so forewarned is forearmed!

If you haven't heard of Duotrope before, now's the time to check into this site with seemingly limitless information on limitless markets. It even offers a way to track your submissions, acceptances, and rejections and offers insights into the average length of time a particular market takes to respond (not what they say but what they do). You have to register, but it's free, and you can get updated information by email every week.

Looking for some "ready-writing" practice? Check out Easy Street Prompts for a daily visual starter.

The countdown clock is ticking at the official NaNoWriMo site. Come on--you know you're ready for "thirty days of literary abandon". What could be easier than 1,667 words a day...well, I can think of a few things, I suppose. But hey--no pressure! If you don't finish, no one's coming after you, and there's always next year...

So there you have this week's "blog" consisting of five links. If only one of them works for you, you're ahead of the game. So start clicking...

But hang on a sec. Can I resist throwing in a bonus link? Of course not, not when it's to my own website, which is chock full of good reads and interesting video trailers, not to mention MORE links...especially those to add my books to your collection... The site just got a major facelift and is ready for your visit and viewing.