#IWSG – We’ll Get Out of This Okay

I have no idea what day it is. I’m pretty sure it’s Monday because I’m writing this for Wednesday since last Wednesday I totally spaced because I thought it was Tuesday because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DAY IT IS. Oh yeah, pandemics are *super* fun.

I’ve been working from home for a week now…and it’s definitely…something. I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to balance the daycare/workload, but my 5-year-old GSP makes it interesting with whining and requested games of fetch twice an hour. Half the time I ignore him, half the time I give in because there are natural breaks in the day at the office, and if I were to bring Appa with me, it’s probably what I would be doing in lieu of using the restroom or chatting with a coworker. Appa is very demanding.

Since I’ve been (we’ve all been) ordered to remain inside, I’m surprisingly getting a LOT of writing done. It’s surprising because many authors and artists have mentioned their distraction with COVID-19, along with having kids home and unusual schedules which have clogged their creativity. I’m definitely keeping up with the end of times, and yeah, it’s looking pretty doom and gloom out there, but I’m really enjoying this 2-3 hour block I have to write in the morning curtesy of my job cutting my hours. It sucks, but what can you do? You find the silver lining and make the most out of it. Am I excited to be getting this smaller paycheck (and possibly more) during the year of my wedding? Bitch, please. Am I excited that this draft that I started in NOVEMBER 2018 is finally almost over? Heck yeah! I’ve got another 2-3 chapters to write but if we keep going at this pace, I’ll finish by the end of April 😊

Things are changing every day, so it’s hard to look ahead to what the landscape of this year will look like. I’m still remaining positive. Everyone I love is healthy and accounted for, and although there is a rotten stench of depression and loneliness wafting, I think we’ll get out of this okay. More time spent with families reestablishing friendships and relationships and creating art. Sure, we’ll all be broke ass poor at the end of it, but when has that stopped us before?

IWSG April Question:

The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. In this time, when our world is in crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, how are things in your world?

Please see above. Also, I found toilet paper! And not just the one-ply-crap Walmart was rationing. It was the good stuff: Cottonelle. See, there is a silver lining 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

IWSG – Ultimate Victory for a Pantser

I actually had an entire other post all ready to go. Then I looked at the calendar and thought, well shit.

Somehow, March snuck up. How—I honestly ask you—HOW is it the first Wednesday of the month? Isn’t that like, in two more weeks? Wow, this whole life thing is zooming by. Okay, so, I will leave my post of woes and longings or whatever I wrote about for Friday or at some point in the future, and focus on the good stuff you’re probably here to read about: the writing stuff. And there is some good stuff there 😊

GUYS. I (sort of) have the rough outline of how the rest of RTD will end. This is HUGE because it’s not all jumbled separate events in my head bumping in to each other without fitting. It took a lot of sitting and staring at my keyboard and sometimes out the window, which I always think is a waste, but if you’re a pantser, I guess it’s just part of the process. I know the basic idea of how one event will lead to the next and the next, which means I’ve dusted off the map. I have some visibility with where I’m going and how I’m getting to the end. Ultimate victory for a pantser!

Since that is my only writing news—and what awesome news it is—onto the IWSG optional question:

Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

I really want the answer to this to be yes. It would make me so much cooler, but I can’t think of any weird or unique traditions that I or my family have, let alone put into my books. There are traits that I pull from, definitely, but no customs or traditions that I can think of. Huh. Interesting question, IWSG. This one’s got me thinking.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Epic First Draft # IWSG

Before we even start this thing, I have to give a shout-out to one of my bestest buddies, Robert:

Happy 21st (+13) birthday!!! 😊 😊 😊 May this special day bring you a year of blessings ahead. And may it also bring you back to the states so that I can look at your face and not a photo. (You’re sexier in person and we both know it.)

All seven days of 2020 have been great so far. I’m still engaged. I’m still writing, and I just started watching Jack Ryan! I honestly have no idea what’s taken me so long. As a lover/stalker of Jim Halpert, and especially since John Krasinski is on my top five celebrity-to-do list, I should’ve been watching Jack Ryan since the beginning. But I’m glad we’re watching it now because it’s pretty friggin awesome.

Wedding planning is going great. I think the panic and anxiety will settle in around summertime, which gives me a few months of rational, level-headed thinking left before I start second-guessing everything. Can’t wait.

Writing-wise? I’m still plugging away at RTD (Return to Dellapalania). You’ve probably forgotten since I started writing the dang thing at the tail end of 2018. I know. I know. What the hell am I doing, right? It’s long. Like, long. And I know I’ll cut out a lot of this stuff —remember, we’re still first draft here—so it’ll be shorter, but it already feels epic.

I’m a few pages into the third and final section, so at least I’m on the final leg of the trip. But it’s the last portion, which makes it the largest one, and there are *several* things that need to happen. All the stuff that leads up to the main climax (not to mention the subplot with a minor antagonist and that climax) and all the stuff after. And since it’s a series finale and not a book finale, I’ll have to really end it, and I’m not even sure what that means. It’s my first last-book I’ve written. I’m sure this will come with a lovely bunch of its own, unique obstacles, and I’m still only on the first draft. Meh.

Since I don’t have a whole lot going on, I’m going to jump into this month’s—and the first official of the year—Insecure Writers Support Group question:

What started you on your writing journey?

Whoa, buddy. Talk about a conversation starter. The long answer is long, and filled with details and emotions and ugly sobbing. Nobody wants that. The short answer is this: a teacher waaaaaay back in the day asked me to write the best story I could, and it was like a door was opened.

What about you? Long story? Short story? Cliff notes? And how’s your 2020 been so far?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. Happy birthday again, Robert! I love and miss you!! Bring your friggin face back to Florida already. It’s been too long.

Haven’t Lost Steam Yet #IWSG

For the past few weeks, Batman and I have been weighing ourselves for, you know, health and fat-shaming reasons. We are both a little on the plumpy side because when you find your person, you fatten each other up so no one will want the other person (it’s a rule somewhere). Also, after years (or months in our case…) we stopped give a crap, and ate what we wanted, and our bodies agreed and expanded due to it. Anyway, we’ve been carrying around a little extra weight these past eleven years and we DO NOT want to be the fatties at our own wedding (*there’s nothing wrong with being large. I have been large my entire life. I just want to feel slim and beautiful when I get married, if only for the pictures.)

So, to keep ourselves honest and to keep from making assumptions/generous guesses to whether the scale is pointing to this line or that line, we opted for a digital device. No lying to ourselves anymore because we’ll have cold, hard numbered facts; I’m only telling you because 1) it’s an adult purchase, and adult purchases should always get a shout-out and 2) if I tell you we’re trying to lose weight, you can hold us accountable to our healthy—fat-losing—lifestyle, so when I walk down the aisle to Batman next year, I’ll feel absolutely beautiful and not like the hypo from Fantasia I envision in the mirror.

Also: I’m still a parent!

Let me clarify. First, yes, Appa is still alive. Thanks for asking. 😊 That dog lives better than most people, so—God forbid—if anything were to happen to him, the post would definitely start with that and not overdue weight loss. But yes, I’m still a plant parent, which means Artemis survived the move!

This may not be a big deal to you, but I cannot keep plants alive. At all. They’re like cars—they come to me to wither away and die. But after a little shopping at Ace Hardware, and too much money spent on her new home, Batman and I *cough* mostly Batman *cough* took Artemis from her mason jar and planted her in her fabulous new pot. I’m a little nervous with winter coming, but it is Florida and that’s not really a thing here. Plus, I can always pull her into the garage. The goal is to keep this avocado tree alive and growing, and if I can do that, then in six years I’ll finally get an avocado. She’ll start shaving a dollar or two off the grocery bill every week. At least I’ve got this huge payout coming 😊

WRITING:

Writing has been good. I’m still going ham on RTD because the saga is never-ending and battle-packed and as much as I love writing adventure, the battles take FOREVER because they’re more difficult to write. But it’s still going in the right direction, and I know after this next scene, the second part will be done. That leaves the third and final section which addresses the main antagonist, as well as solving all the other things that need to be solved, aka: the wrapping everything up level.

It’s been a year, but I’m still writing it. I haven’t lost steam yet, which is good since I’ve been writing this series since 2011. 2011, GUYS!

Anyway, onto the IWSG optional question:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

I don’t really have an answer here, mostly because I don’t research my stories. Er—that sounded bad. Let’s try again…

*ahem*

A lot of what I write is made up (think high-fantasy) or contemporary, which needs very little researching. Because of that, I’m very rarely online, unless it’s to check clothing styles or double-check company names. But, I will say, I did spend a very long afternoon watching videos on how to speak with an Australian accent for a character. Not really research, but voice-research. (kinda fits the question?) The accent always sounded cool when I read it in books and I thought it would be fun to have a foreign character. Turns out, it’s way more fun reading it, than writing it.  Ended up changing the character back to American.  Sorry, Walker 😊

What about you? Published or not, what have you googled for researching a story? And how are you as a plant parent? Any weight issues?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

BATMAN ALMOST DIED & Amsterdam, IWSG

Pretty cool title, right? And accurate. Because Batman did almost die while white water rafting. But we’ll get to that in a bit (same with the ‘dam) 😊

Colorado Springs was awesome!! Seriously, props to Batman for his domestic pick. When he suggested Colorado, I thought the city would be Boulder or Denver, so I was surprised when he selected Springs/Manitou. There was more to do than I realized, and I actually enjoyed every part of my time there (except for when I thought I’d lose my fiancé on the river gorge and when I was halfway up the sky-ride at the Cheyenne zoo because HOLY SHIT AM I AFRAID OF HEIGHTS.)

But I’m here! Writing this! I did NOT fall out of the sky-ride like my gruesome imagination had me believing, and the plane ride home—although a little bumpy—did not interfere with any incoming hurricanes, so, second crisis avoided.

Because this is also an IWSG posting day (woop!) and I don’t want to take up too much time, I’ll post some pics of our adventures out in the mid-west, so you can get an idea of the awesome time that was had:

Because it’s in the title (and how could I not tell you?!?), yes, there was a moment when I thought Batman might die ☹

The heroic man that he is attempted to grab one of the other girls who’d fallen out of the raft, and in doing so, he fell out himself. People fall out of rafts all the time, right? It shouldn’t be a big deal. And it wasn’t. Except that we were going through one of the crrrrraaaaazzzzyyyy dangerous rapids and we were told over and over again: if you fall out, either swim to the shore or get your ass back on the boat. ASAP. The girl had already reached the shore, but when Batman went overboard, the boys in the front dove to get him. They’re a little thinner and Batman is a big guy, so they weren’t able to pull him in right away (and you’re supposed to get the swimmer in immediately). So, when it took more than a minute to pull him in with the guide barking to “Get him in! Get him in now!” and Batman struggling to get into the raft while the rapids are crashing around large, rocks, I thought, okay, I might be newly single.

THANK GOD they pulled him in in time, and besides a bloody lip, he was fine.

Other the near-death thing, rafting was so much fun! I would highly recommend it and definitely do it again!

Writing Life:

Like I said last week (or is it two weeks ago?) I’ve been going HAM on RTD. Which. Is. Awesome. The map for the rest of the story is starting to become less fuzzy, and I’m excited every time I sit down to write it. I could go on and on about how thrilled I am, but that could take forever and today is IWSG  day😊

Insecure Writer Support Group Option Question:

If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

So, there are a *bunch* of places I’d love to travel to because the pictures of them look fucking fabulous. Parts of England and Ireland, New Zealand, and across Europe look amazing, but there’s no one spot I’ve been dying to go write. However…

I’ve traveled to Amsterdam twice, and there’s a magic there. Yes, the coffeehouses do help with the mystical effect, but Amsterdam in the Netherlands is a storybook place. Beautiful. Enchanting. Old-world and definitely the desired backdrop for all my future writing projects. Batman and I have discussed it, and if we were ever able to swing it legally/financially, we’d move to the dam in a heartbeat.

A heartbeat.

If you’ve never gone, I suggest you go! Who knows? Maybe you’ll see me writing the next great something while drinking coffee on a cafe sidewalk one day. Like I said, it’s magical. Anything can happen 🙂

What about you? What’s the backdrop for your next creative project? Or, where have you really wanted to travel to?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

Have a great day and survive Dorian!

(Off to write more RTD…)

IWSG and the Forefront of Inconvenience

Remember last week when everything was breaking? Everything wasn’t done.

My car door-handle broke off.

I was leaving work, and using my obvious She-Hulk strength, I opened the door and the thing came off in my hand. Literally snapped right off. For a second I stood there, holding it. Staring at it in disbelief. Yes, I know I drive a piece of crap circa 2005, and yes, I’m surprised she hasn’t joined the other flying cars in the sky. But really? The door-handle? The driver’s seat door-handle? You know what this means. This means that every time I have to get into my car, I either have to climb in through the back seat or from the passenger side. Every time until it’s fixed, and it usually takes me a hot minute to fix things that aren’t at the forefront of importance.

This is at the forefront of inconvenience, which is different, and which I usually slack on. If I’m inconvenienced for a few seconds, I’ll glower and whine and as soon as it’s right as rain (aka I’m back in the driver’s seat and ready for take-off) I’ll forget about it until the next time I’m glowering and whining. Plus, I have about a *thousand* other essential things I enjoy more that I should be doing, like writing this post about not fixing my broken car door-handle. I’m sure I’ll get around to it soonish—or until it slips from inconvenience to importance, because of, you know, like, safety issues. Have to make a quick get away if the zombies are on me, and they won’t stop so I can let myself in through the passenger seat. Zombies (rapists, murders, aliens) aren’t polite like that.

Also, I think the air-conditioning is going. Maybe I should just get a new car and be done with it. Or find a unicorn and commute the old way. That would work too.

Okay, that’s enough of real-life nonsense. Onto the IWSG option question:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you’d forgotten about, or an ending you never saw coming?

HA. I’d love that positive and belated response to a submission. When’s that coming? I should probably enter more things though…might up my odds a bit.

Let’s see…I think I’m really only surprised in my writing by my characters. I’m a panster, so I have no idea what’s coming most of the time, and when one of my characters is like, “aha! You thought it was this way, but it’s not! MUAHAHAHA!” My jaw drops and I’m like, “touché, character!”

Honestly, that’s what I love about being a panster. I tried the whole outlining thing and it DID. NOT. WORK. But giving my characters the reins and following their lead, I’m constantly surprised by where their stories take me, because, it’s never what I plan nor expect. So you (the reader) and me (the writer) are both surprised. (Ultimate Win-Win.) 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. In case you don’t believe me about the door-handle:

Taste Testing and Character Traits IWSG

Batman and I went to our first wedding taste-testing 😊

I must say, if I’m ushered into a room with an open bar and a three-course meal (with passed appetizers and a display station) on a Tuesday night and NOT have to pay for any of it, I plan on getting married more often.

This freaking rocked.

I’m not sure what I expected. That’s a lie. Yes, I do: I expected to walk into a plain conference room where there would be a long table filled with couples sitting in front of a plate, waiting to try a sample of each entrée. This is not what happened. Batman and I attended a “fake reception” complete with a cocktail hour and dinner so we could access not only the food, but the wait staff, service, and overall appearance as well. So far, we liked what we saw:

Since the selfie option on my phone isn’t working (and because I can’t figure out how to fix it) I asked Batman to take a picture of us. This is what he sent me:

So, yes 😊 Wedding things are happening. And I’m super into company’s offering me free food and booze to secure potential business.

Now, onto writing things! July’s question for Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

What personal traits have you written into your characters?

Hmm. Probably more than I like to admit. I think—whether subconsciously or not—we tend to write our own traits into our characters, but for me, personally, I think I include a lot of my humor. What can I say—I like writing characters I could be friends with. I’m not sure if this counts, but I definitely write in my fears. I’m not terribly fond of spiders (if you haven’t noticed) and since I’m not keen on drowning either, I had Fallon battle this giant underwater creature—the Gorgen—which is very similar to a giant sea-spider. (Plague of Mybyncia – Book 2). Again, not sure if that counts as a trait, but I use my characters to battle my own fears. You know, writing is cathartic and stuff 😊

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.