The End of the Month

Tomorrow marks the last day of National Novel Writing Month—November. This month has been a whirlwind of insanity for me. Including a surprise, last-minute trip to San Francisco. It has been filled with wonderful writings, terrible writings, and a lot of fun. Writing and life, I’ve found can work together, though they must be related—as they like to fight.

It’s hard to talk about this month without mentioning NaNoWriMo, or Thanksgiving, and even my birthday. So even without a goal of 50k, I’ve got my hands full this month. Heck, even in regular life, I have my hands full. I have applied to 21 schools with only eight left. I will finally finish graduate school application January 5th (give or take a day or two). That’s a lot of schools. This weekend I have two more. Running out of money for applications means that I have to wait. I think I’ll need the three week break just to recover some brain cells.

In regards to writing, I wrote a YA novel, that went very smoothly in the writing. Then I started the novella. This one is being a pain. What I really need to do is sit down an listen to the characters. What is important about this story? I have 1/2 a novella, then I decided to go back in time—bad move, it works less. I need to shove these characters together and see what happens. Saints don’t make good fiction. I think I may take much of December easy on the writing/editing. My brain will thank me, I think.

Then, of course, I have several other projects going on. Thanks to Firetask, I’ve got a good handle on many of the different aspects of my life: writing, editing, school application, work, online teaching, crocheting…. Yes, there is a lot. Speaking of online teaching, I will be offering a live, online class, probably in the spring (March most likely, as of right now) titled Fiction Workshop. It should be a great course. Live short lectures and discussions about writing, and of course workshopping writing. I’m excited to do a live class. The self-paced course will still be up and available. Sign up now, as on January 1st, I’m raising the fees to reflect their actual values: and This applies to editing and creative mentoring fees as well.

How was your month of November? I’m hoping to return to a more normal life now that December is in sight.


Giving Thanks

Putting aside my distaste for the celebration of the landing of the Mayflower (and thus the genocide and destruction of myriad cultures and viewpoints), the idea of speaking what we are thankful for is an excellent idea. Even the smallest things can be what we are most thankful for.

In no particular order, this is what I am most thankful for this year:

  • Surviving a car accident at the beginning of the year
  • Attending two weddings—one of which was family (will be going to another in a few weeks)
  • My friends being with me on my birthday (while one is family, the other two might as well be)
  • The people of the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival
  • My grandmother—for supporting me
  • My mother for her love
  • My father for sharing his passion and energy
  • My step-mother for her patience with us all
  • My step-father for his perseverance in face of pain
  • My brother for his courage and support
  • All my friends whether or not I have spoken to them—you are all in my thoughts on occasion
  • All the poets that have inspired me and teach me—including Tamara Madison, Donna Hilbert, John F. Buckley, John Brantingham (too many to name you all, I’m sorry in advance)
  • My letter of recommendations writer; I appreciate everything you all have done
  • The internet for connecting me to wonderful people on Facebook and Twitter
  • The air that I breathe
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • All the wonderful people that make NaNoWriMo a wonderful experience—all the Los Angeles Region Municipal Liaisons, Office of Letters and Light staff, and the people I have connected with
  • The gym—seriously, I’d be depressed and feeling terrible with out it
  • Experiencing letting go of all those I’ve held dear in my heart that I could no longer hold on to
  • Deborah Gould of the Village Book Shop for all her support, love, commitment and compassion
  • All those in both my critique groups
  • Branli Caidryn for everything he has done for me, including being there for me with family falling apart last December
  • And more; I could list forever

I am thankful for so much, and every day I realize and recognize the simple things in my life, like being able to eat good food for breakfast, for heat and cooling, for sheets, for waking up in a bed, for having indoor plumbing, for electricity  We all live in such a beautiful world, and I am thankful for that. In the face of such awe-inspiring moments, I do not know how I could be thankful.

And to you readers, I am thankful. Please tell me or post links to your own lists of thanks.

An Exciting Weekend Ahead

Normally, I work Saturdays at the office job I have. Normally, I write Sundays with my year-round group that is part of NaNoWriMo. Normally.

Tomorrow, I’m leaving on the Great Train Escape from Los Angeles Union Station to Oakland (and then to San Francisco). The train ride is approximately 11 hours long. The entire trip will be filled with writing, writing, more writing, beautiful views of the ocean, wonderful company, and maybe a little bit of napping, who knows.

Saturday will be spent writing and possibly touring San Francisco and some parts thereof. I don’t have the definitive plan yet, but I know it will be awesome. Awesome is good. And it means that I’m breaking from the normal pattern of my week and taking a mini-vacation (though it is more like a conference than anything).

Sunday morning will be feasting (I’m sure) and preparing for the Night of Writing Dangerously, and event held by the Office of Letters and Light (which runs NaNoWriMo). Basically this night is food, fun, candy, and yes, writing. I am looking forward to spending this time with a lot of the wonderful people of the LA region and from all over the writing world.

I am fortunate to have been gifted this experience by Sara McBride a truly generous spirit and wonderful friend. Thank you.


Due to the craziness of National Novel Writing Month, I may not be posting many blogs. If I do, they will probably be short.

As I missed last week, I thought I’d post something a bit small this week. After the crazy weather we’ve had here in SoCal, it’s finally become autumn, and we had rain today. It’s been so long I forgot what rain was!

Anyway, I’m very happy to be writing again. There are a lot of naysayers about the difficulty of NaNoWriMo, and it is difficult, but it brings writers into a local community they may not have met before. That, in itself, is a good thing.

Happy writing!