Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Celebration Time!


Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo! We’ve all raced, sweated and slogged water, food and chocolate on the run - and now, now we are at the finish line with words in tow! Yeah! Don’t forget to validate your word count on the website so you can collect your special prizes. By the way, you can still add to your word count after validation in case you’re waiting to eek out that last little phrase.

Congratulations, NaNo’ers!

This is no small feat!

If you have won by passing 50,000 words, you must be elated! If you have not passed 50K don’t fret – as every writer knows, having some word count is far better than no word count. It’s just that those over 50K now have more work ahead of us in editing, lol!

MuseItUp Publishing Launch!

And at this turning point, MuseItUp Publishing is having our launch party all day tomorrow! Please join the readers group (this is mainstream) to be eligible for spectacular door prizes! It gets even better… we’re having a sale in the bookstore.

Holiday Special: Get 25% off any purchase from today until December 10th.
Use code: HC2010D at checkout in the discount code box before going to Paypal.

Celebration Giveaway!

To celebrate my household skating over the finish line for NaNoWriMo (me and my teens have won!) and to celebrate MuseItUp Publishing’s December Launch, I’m offering a giveaway through the good folks at CNS stores!

One lucky winner will receive a $35.00 gift certificate. All you have to do is join my blog and leave a comment on this blog post. Also, optionally, if you’d like to be on my email list for my writing newsletter, please leave your email with your comment like so: avidreader-at-gmail-dot-com. That way spammers can’t grab your email off the internet and I can send you the newsletter when it comes out. You can join my blog through Facebook on Networked Blogs or through Blogger. Through Blogger you’ll need a gmail account which is fast, easy and free.  If you have already joined this blog, just leave a comment on this post.

This will run from today through Thursday night at midnight and then Molly will pick a name out of a hat which I’ll announce on Friday in this blog post.

As some of you know, I carry my backpack with me everywhere, yes, even to fancy social events. I always have my notebook and pen handy and more often than not, my netbook as well. My teen authors-in-training are carrying notepads and pens with them everywhere in their own backpacks now – it’s becoming a family tradition...or quirk, lol! It’s never too early to encourage a budding writer and CNS has an amazing selection of children’s backpacks if you have a child who would like their very own writing kit - it would make a lovely Christmas and/or Chanukkah gift.

Hope to see you at the party tomorrow for MuseItUp Publishing and for Boston Wrimo’s, I’ll see you at the TGIO party in the Hub!

Write on!

photo credits: morguefile.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

December First Launch!


December 1st is MuseItUp Publishing's official launch!  We have opened two reader's groups.  One is for MuseItUp Publishing, our mainstream house, and the other is for MuseItHOT! Publishing, our erotica house.

The mainstream reader's group includes all mainstream, young adult and tween publications.  The rules are the same, come join us and chat with the authors and staff and be eligible to win a free ebook each month.  For our launch, we'll have door prizes and lots of fun things to do as well as excerpts and chat time with authors in both reader groups.  I suggest registering ahead of time so you'll be all set for the party!

And....ta da... every Monday night from 7:00 to 8:00 EST the Muse Conference chat room is open for Writer's Chat.  Throughout the year we're hosting various workshops as well. 

So plan on joining us in the mainstream reader's group for our December 1st launch!!!  And on Monday evenings for different fun and exciting workshops.

I am hosting a contest here on this blog on November 30th to celebrate the end of NaNoWriMo and Muse's launch, so keep your eye's open for that announcement soon! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Incidentally, we almost had a turkey couple for dinner...Driving near Blue Hills the other day, I had to stop short for Ma and Pa Turkey crossing the highway.  They looked pretty tasty.  Massachusetts is loaded with wild turkeys.

photo credits: morguefile.com, MuseItUp Publishing

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaNoWriMo Trench Tips

For those of you who are safe at home outside of the literary madness known as NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, we are in the swing of it here, blasting into the second week.  I am doing NaNo updates daily on my Facebook author page for those who want to follow the frenzy.  

Today is day number nine. By midnight, each NaNo’er will have 15,003 words written in our new novels. I'm over 20,000 because I'm doing a higher word count so that come January, I will have an entire manuscript to rework.  December I will ignore the whole thing, of course. 

NaNo is such a unique experience.  It's sort of like mountain climbing.  You get all your gear ready, you've taken your safety classes and you're in that chimney climb and suddenly you think, "What the hell am I doing here?!?  Who talked me into this?!"  Or maybe, "If I hear On Belay one more time..."  Ha ha!

You find your weaknesses real fast.  Do you hate Pollyanna?  You will slam the delete button when the pep talk emails come in from the Offices of Letter and Light.  Do you despise those who are happy when you're miserable?  You will seethe at every NaNo'er who is above the necessary word count for the day.  Do you have perfectionism issues?  You may have to sit on your hands in order not to edit what you've written.  I've actually modified this by rereading what I've written and adding words in, not deleting any.  This is still editing, folks.  I obviously have a way to go...

You will also find your strengths fast.  You will be inspired by things you've never dreamed of before.  Every walk in the park and/or grocery store will speak to you about your novel.  Every conversation will contain clues for your next dialogue.  Or perhaps, if you're working on a suspense novel, every drive by the seedy part of town will have you glued to the sidewalks looking for material to incorporate.  I learned a few organizational tricks last year that have me sailing through my chapters this year.  And I learned that although I tend to tell a story "backwards" - don't ask me to explain this, you don't want to know - I found a remedy so I can still write freely but fix the order later.

Writing used to be a mandatory course in every high school curriculum because it helps you organize your thoughts so you can articulate well enough to communicate to someone else.  Sadly, it's missing in most these days.

Here's a few tips from the trenches:

1. Try to stay ahead of your word count even if only by 50 words a session.  This will give you a buffer on those days you'd rather do anything else than write.

2.  Don't be afraid to write in a new genre, or from a location and time period you know nothing about.  Do your best from memory and do your research later. 

3.  Keep a NaNo tip sheet for things that help you get through sticky places because next year you will do this all over again.  NaNo is very addicting!

4.  If you hit the doldrums, hit the forums.  You'll find lots of tips and encouragement there.  But I warn you, they can help you procrastinate!

5.  Date your novel.  I like to think our stories choose us.  It's like sitting down with my sweetheart and catching up with him at the end of the day, maybe watching a movie together.  Love it!

If you have a NaNo Trench Tip you’d like to share, please post in the comments. NaNo'ers need all the encouragement we can get as we continue on this amazing novel adventure.

For info about Sophie, my annoying little internal editor, please visit my grog, Teen Word Factory.

Happy NaNo’ing, everyone!

photo credits: morguefile.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And.... We're Off!

Ladies and Gentlemen, NaNoWriMo has officially begun!

Midnight, October 31st, Molly, Elizabeth and I hunkered down at our various writing places in the house and waited for the minute hand to cross over... 00.00.01  on November 1st we hit the keyboard running!

If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, (National Novel Writing Month) please go here and find out what literary madness we've committed ourselves to!  Then pray for us, ok?!  ;)

Molly's first word count yesterday clocked in at 1700, mine at 2208 and Elizabeth went way over the required daily word count of 1667 to beyond 13,000...she stayed up all night writing, she was so excited!  Needless to say she went to bed quite early last night. 

My NaNo novel this year is a YA Fantasy.  One afternoon several weeks ago, I swung the mini-van out of a parking lot after an appointment in town right into mega traffic at 3:00 p.m.

That's when I had a vision of a teen whose face had been scarred terribly in battle so that she had to wear a robe to cover herself.  She began to tell me her story and I pulled out my notebook from my backpack to take dictation at the red lights.  I have a lead foot anyway, but I made it home in record time that day, itching to get to my computer. 

I played around with some literary devices and came up with a bland title.  I don't plan anything but I do usually start out with plot points even if I never use them.  Last year I had a list of 25 and went astray by the third one, never to return to the original idea.  C'est la vie!  This year, I started some word count pages early to get some extras in if I have to miss a day - I still haven't gotten to my first plot point.  See what planning does for me?!  I write my tagline first and do character sheets after writing the story - I'd never make it in a traditional writing class.  

For now, for your reading enjoyment, here is the tagline and an excerpt with the new improved title for my NaNo 2010 novel.  NaNo is such a rush!

The Bleeding Doves of Killeen

by Karen McGrath
NaNoWriMo 2010
YA Fantasy

Roseline accepts her father's calling after his early demise; the mantle of leadership for her poor town and with it the weight of the Revolution. The secrets of an ancient order rise to the surface in the whirlpool of war as she trembles in the boots of her ancestors and raises her sword to the wind. The future is sketchy but one thing is certain, the doves are in flight signifying change. Destiny calls to us all but only one will bring a nation to it's knees and raise a world long forgotten in Killeen.

* * * *

She leaned behind the large oak tree, hidden in the background amongst the forest shrub. The King had called for this clandestine meeting and she'd obliged. Reardon moved past her quickly, touching his hand to her shoulder.

"I will handle this now. Don't let them see you."

"Aye. I have your back, my friend."

"I want for more than that."

"I cannot leave them, you know I love you..."

"Shh, if I don't survive, kill them all for me, promise? Every last one, like you did for your father?"

She smiled then allowing her hood to reveal the ragged line across her lips. "Aye, of that you can rest assured. The pleasure twould be all mine. Remember, if they make a threat, glint the sword. The doves are flying high. It is a time for victory."

He walked with purpose toward the men in the glade, with seven others. All swords were drawn on both sides.

"We were told your army is led by a woman, why is she not here? Do you mock us?"

"Nay she is among us but I speak for her now. What will you to say? We will not hear you at arms."

The men immediately sheathed and the leader and Reardon laid their swords on the ground between them as was the custom.

"The King wishes a meeting in the castle. There will be finery. He is for peace, he calls a truce."

Roseline kneeled by the tree and peered through the throng of legs beyond to the tethered horses. The dove sat on one of them; it was covered in blood. There was no time. She glinted her sword to blaze across Reardon's face in the scant sunlight through the trees. He turned discreetly and she gave the signal.

"Tell the King we will not come. Our leader has spoken." He took up his sword. The meeting was over.

"What shall we say her name is?" The man drew his sword as Reardon smiled. Good work, she thought, show no fear. The dove never lied.

"Tell him she is Roseline, the Bleeding Dove of Killeen."

Gasps and murmurs rode through the crowd and Reardon thrust his sword in the air.

"Tell your King he will not defy us or he will suffer at the hand of the Doves. I trust you have work to do, lad," he shouted.

The man flashed angry eyes on Reardon and searched the edges of the clearing. Roseline arose with her sword in the air and her men returned to the forest. She watched from the covering of her hood as the King's men rode off, rage trailing behind them. The dove painted blood in their path.

"Aye, tis trouble they bring and trouble they'll see," she said.

* * * *

Here is my NaNo author page, please friend me there!  Meanwhile you can track my progress either on my author page or here in the upper right hand corner with the little NaNo widget.

Happy NaNo'ing everyone!

photo credit: morguefile.com