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November is over, and as the dust settles (quite literally) December has come upon us to take hold of our lives.

Ugh.

 

With NaNoWriMo 2017 finished, the first thing that had to be done was rallying the troops, my unwilling participants (aka the family), into a day of binge cleaning.

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Custom hat made at Lids

We did my birthday.  Happy birthday to me.  The best present being the custom made hat from Lids and Tuxedo cake from Costco.

Then the dreaded mall crawl.  That ovicerous mental and physical torment that involves traipsing through crowds to buy presents for the people in your life, who you have absolutely no idea what to get for them because a) they can’t think of anything they want, b) they don’t do anything, no hobbies, no interests, and c) your gift picking skills leave something to be desired, namely actually having gift picking skills.

 

P.s.  I just completely made up that word.  Ovicerous.  There is no word in the English language that describes my dislike of crowds over-filling the too small aisle spaces in the aimless pursuit of shopped for products.

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The #BigDumbBunny aka Roxy the shelter dog no. 2

I came home to find the furniture rearranged.  I now have a desk view of the back yard and the rascal, the wild rabbit that lives under the deck and continuously teases and torments the #BigDumbBunny, aka Roxy the shelter dog no. 2.  It’s better than looking at the wall, although It’s only dark Monday to Friday and all but between the hours of too late in the morning to way too early in the afternoon.

 

Now, nine days into December, and the dust that settled over November only to be disturbed at the start of December is finally starting to settle.  We had to do another mini purge, this time getting rid of furniture to make room for a Christmas tree in our new to us house with less space than the old one.

Yeah, after fourteen years living in a small town not far from the city, we moved inside the world of city living.  Sort of.  More on the outskirts, but still within the bubble of city life.

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Mouse pad at Cafe Press

 

I made a mouse pad.  It’s not bad.  Great for home, a little thick for on the go.  I refuse to learn how to use the mouse pad built into the laptop because it makes me swear too much.  A pair of runners gave up their life for me to get the photo used for the mouse pad.

P.S. you can buy this mouse pad here

 

So what now that it’s December?

Today, we will find the tree and decorative remnants among the boxes of still unpacked debris of moving and put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house.

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I am making pancakes.  Oops, in thawing them out, the package of breakfast sausages sucked into itself like a bowl of half soggy wieners intent on avoiding being eaten.

 

 

 

And it is time to prioritize and sort out what projects to concentrate on.

The Gypsy Queen is in final edits.  A read through, an upload and download on Kindle for another read through.  Then I can decide if it is good enough (is it ever in the eyes of the questioning uncertainty of the author?) for anyone else to read it and brave the opinions of the beta readers.

I need to finish my NaNo from this year.  The next installment and hopefully the last (except for White Van which is a standalone) of the McAllister series.

I also promised a book two of the Latchkey Kids.  That is a work in progress.

And I made a promise to myself to focus on editing and finishing the myriad of completed, mostly complete, and semi-completed drafts that have been left to sit over the years.

And there are my more beloved projects that I just don’t want to leave sitting on the back burner.

There is also that one immitigable truth.  Editing is not fun.  I would much rather be immersed in the spell of some dark scene flowing through me spontaneously onto the page than endlessly editing and re-reading the same words more than a hundred times over.

Unfortunately, like every author I know, I don’t have the luxury of saying, “Wow, I am making so much money off this writing gig I can just quit work and do it full time!”

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I don’t expect to have a lot of time this weekend to get done what I need to do for me, for my writing.  Laundry, groceries, house cleaning, and all the other drudgeries of real life.

 

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We also have only a few short weeks to consider finishing the Christmas shopping, baking (it’s not Christmas without some damned Christmas baking!), the endless list of various donations to everywhere you live, work, school, play, etc joining the cause of bettering Christmas for the less privileged, and the family get togethers.

 

 

Next month is January, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the nonstop Christmas merry-go-round has stilled, and greet the NaNo start of the “What Now” months with the making of an official promise to revise your NaNo novel.  Are you game?

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Photo by Al x on Unsplash

Photo by Al x on Unsplash

National Novel Writing Month has come quivering to a close.  We lay down our exhausted pens, pencils, laptops, and other writing tools, take a long sigh, and rub our weary foreheads.

It is done.  As of midnight tonight, wherever you are, this chapter is closed.

We laughed, cried, and groaned at our writing ineptitude.  We spent hours feverishly pushing our writing abilities to the limit, staring in mute despair at the page before us with bleakly blank minds for even more hours.

Our stories soured and then soured.  Words turned cryptic and characters spouted overlong speeches, the words pouring from their mouths as if vomited in a panic to get words on the page.

We revelled in the thrilling flow of action pouring from us, uncertain where in our imagination it is coming from.  We bowed our heads in deference to the darkness oozing from our fingers onto the page, the love, the laughs, and the diabolical diatribes.

Now that it is done we move on.

Validated to confirm your wretched loss or your voracious victory, you pour yourself a stout glass of wine, brandy, vodka, hot cocoa, or whatever it is that soothes your now shredded soul.

Take a hot bath with soothing mineral oils, bubbles, a warmed brandy, chocolate, soothing music, and a good book.

Tomorrow you can resume the normality of daily life glowing in the aftermath that whether or not you reached that 50,000 word score, you did it.  You faced NaNoWriMo and stared it straight in its insidious eye.  You stared down the gullet of a veritably impenetrable goal.  You did what your friends, family, co-workers, and loved ones feel is incomprehensible, dedicating your soul for thirty days to something that will always  make you a little mysterious to them.  Something they likely will never truly understand.

What comes next?

Now that normality settles on your life and you perhaps feel a little empty for leaving that part of you behind, you ask yourself a simple question.

Now what?

Keep writing.  You don’t have to push. The drive of the impossible no longer hangs over you.  Take what you learned about yourself over the past thirty days, the newfound ability to find the writing spark on demand, or keep working to discover that ability if you are still struggling with it, and just enjoy the writing.  Let yourself gently guide your story to completion on your timetable.

Come January and February, the ‘Now What?’ months, it is time to follow the pledge you will now make to yourself and the NaNoNite community.  The pledge to not abandon what you just wrote with wanton abandon.  Come January and February embrace your work and dig in with both feet and your hands as you rip and shred it into a new masterpiece through editing both savage and refined.  It is revision time!

 

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I am re-posting this book review on a book that deserved more recognition than it got.

Light Bringer by Pat Bertram, an author who has done so much over the years to help developing authors.

 

When strange things happen people go to Chalcedony.  But what is so special about the little town?

Helen Jenks’ life changed with a drive home on a snowy night.  That change came in the form of an infant girl, who she calls Rena, which she finds abandoned on her doorstep.

It becomes immediately apparent that Rena is not your usual kind of abandoned-on-the-doorstep baby.  There is something special about the child.  Helen soon finds herself living on the run with the child, but on the run from who or what?

And that is where her story ends and the real story begins.

Philip Hansen opens his door to unexpected guests, Agent’s Derrick and Hugh from the National Security Agency.  Philip immediately suspects they are there to discuss the books he’s been checking out at the library.  He sounds borderline crazy-guy conspiracy theorist, but Philip quickly shows himself to be no crazier than anyone else who thinks aliens are visiting Earth.

With a little help from an unlikely source, Philip escapes the two agents, who aren’t who they claim to be, and finds himself drawn involuntarily on a path not of his choosing.

Becka Johnson, baby Rena grown up and with a new name, returns to Chalcedony thirty-seven years after her adoptive mother found her.

Becka has decided it’s time to find the answers to her lifelong questions that center around “who am I?” And she believes those answers can be found in Chalcedony, Colorado where her life started on a snowy night on a stranger’s doorstep.

In a financial bind, Jane Keeler finds herself in Chalcedony searching for her sister George Keeler.  Instead of finding her sister, she discovers an empty house, ransacked office, and abandoned car.

Georgy’s apparent wild ways make things difficult for Jane as she finds herself drawn by the need to investigate this mystery and learn her sister’s whereabouts.  Only no one seems to believe her or to even care.

When the trio converges on Chalcedony with no knowledge of each other, things immediately take a turn for the strange.

Philip Hansen arrives to find himself thrust into the arms of Becka Johnson, literally, when he’s dropped off at her doorstep.

Things soon heat up for Philip and Becka when the strange things happening to each of them grow in intensity with their proximity, leading them forward on an adventure of discovery.

Jane is pulled into the strange events surrounding Philip and Becka, finding herself drawn into the midst of a bigger mystery than she’d anticipated.

In Light Bringer, Pat Bertram weaves a fascinating tale of a group of people connected by events in the past, beginning before they were even born, who are inexorably drawn together for the culmination of what was started so many decades before.

In drawing out the strange events linking these three, I also had the impression that the small town of Chalcedony, Colorado hides other secrets that could very well find themselves revealed in another tale entirely unrelated to this story.

Light Bringer is published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Something apart from the story that you might find interesting is this excerpt from Light Bringer (Page 217).

There are three details in particular that will have a sense of familiarity if you have read Pat Bertram’s More Deaths than One.

Hugh & Keith in are in a conference room in the underground bunker going through files taken from George Keeler’s house

Excerpt:

Hugh lifted one transcript out of the file.  “Here’s an interview she did with Bob Noone.”

                “Who’s he?”

                “You know.  The weird guy.”

                Keith laughed.  “That narrows it down.”

                “He’s the artist, the one you thought seemed like a chameleon.”

                “Oh, him.  His work sure mesmerized you.  I could hardly drag you away.”

                Hugh shuddered, remembering that a monstrous thing had seemed to lurk in the depths of the painting, pulling him in, captivating him in the archaic sense of the word: taking captive.  He realized he’d been captivated in the same way by this place, the source of that dreadful hum.  All at once he felt glad not to have found the source.  Perhaps some secrets should remain unknown.

                “What did he have to say?”

                Hugh started at the sound of Keith’s voice.  “He spouts the same rubbish as everyone else in that ridiculous town.  Listen to this.  ‘I didn’t move to Chalcedony until the late eighties, so I don’t know anything about the UFO flap, but if you want my opinion, it would have been a mind control experiment.  Government is a beast without conscience, and when it teams with conglomerates, it can and will do anything.  Even control us as if we were robots.’”

It is Saturday morning, and the house is sleeping except for me and my dogs as I sit and ponder #NaNoWriMo2017.

 

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Which coffee?

First, the most important question.

Which coffee cup will I use?

 

 

 

Next, what plots do we brew today?

 

A seemingly sweet innocent little girl, who reveals a hint of evil.

A softly whispered voice in David’s head which only he can hear.

Thickening tensions between the elderly William McAllister and his son Jason, who William on more than one occasion swore he should have “put down” that day in the woods.

The delightfully wicked elderly Mrs. Bheals, who is new to the series and William and Anderson broke out of the care home along with William’s wife Marjory.

 

What plots are thickening and brewing up a storm of coming suspense in your #NANO world?

Where To Get Author Swag

Who loves swag? Authors promoting their books love swag. I will have to check these out and more and see what kind of a list I come up with. What would be nice? Finding the swag version of Createspace. Something the author can put a link to on their site where fans can directly purchase your POD swag items shipped directly to them.

Bookcoverscre8tive Book Cover Design

AUTHOR SWAGI often receive questions about where to get author swag (promotional author and book items), so decided to list the resources that I know are popular with authors below.  Please note I do not endorse any of these sites, I just know that authors have used these.  I cannot vouch for their quality. How does it work? Most of these sites avertise products and to get the design on the product there are the options of the author (1) uploading a print-ready design, (2) using an online template they provide to upload an image and then create the design online or (3) contacting the company’s own designers for help.  Many ebook cover designers like myself are ready to help create the first option – a print-ready design for upload. You then have to select the quantity, delivery method and other details and place the order with them. Ordering the product is…

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Hello NaNonites

Hello NaNonites.

 

I met a few of you at the kick off.

I’m Lori.  I write dark fiction and Halloween is my favourite flavour of holiday decoration.  I don’t get online every day, busy life and all.

You can find me on NaNoWriMo under my published name: LV Gaudet

https://nanowrimo.org

 

Are you ready for thirty days of obsessive writing?  One of the tools I like to use is mocking up a book cover for inspiration.  A visual of the literary feel of the story.

 

For those who don’t know what it is, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  For the month of November you pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  Yeah, we’re nuts.  We are writers.  There is a wine that goes nicely with that.

 

I had to look back on my Nano books to figure out this is my 8th year.  Oops, I was a year off tonight.  I won three of those years.

Here are my NaNo creations in chronological order:

Garden Grove Cover - Amazon ebook - front cover

 

Garden Grove – Self published.

 

NaNoWriMo 2011 Cover

 

Untitled – I will come back to it.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

 

The McAllister Farm (winner!) – Published by Indigo Sea Press, a small indie press in the US.

Blood cover

 

Blood (winner!) –  Based on the short story.  I will finish it, but it’s getting weird.

 

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Butterflies in the Garden (winner!) – Needs a do over and I vote this worst ever mock cover.  This will eventually be published under my alter ego to frighten the middle years/teens.

 

Old Mill Road cover idea

 

Old Mill Road – Still a work in progress. On the back burner.  I’m still looking for the old Mill Road monster.

Nathan copy-NaNoNathan – Yeah, and then there is Nathan.  Nathan was born in Hunting Michael Underwood.  But, he wouldn’t stay there.  I only made 9000+ words and gave up.  But, the voices in Nathan’s head are still there.  They will get out.  Run.

Killing David McAllister

And this year’s Nano is Killing David McAllister.  Fourth book in the McAllister Series and it will be the final.  Hunting Michael Underwood was supposed to be the last, but the story was not done.  Well, except for the spin off.  White Van.  That was not a NaNo book.  I will get back to it.

 

If you find me on Twitter (@lvgaudet), you will probably see random posts about the #BigDumbBunny.  The name is self-explanatory.  She’s big.  She’s dumb.  And she looks like a big dumb bunny with those ears and the bunny hop.

 

Feel free to check out one of my blogs.

The Intangible World of the Literary Mind (lvgwriting.wordpress.com) is my first blog.  It’s a blog about writing and being a writer for writers.  I haven’t been as active as I would like to be.  Life and stuff.  Writing.  You get it.  I’ve posted stories, tips on writing, editing, creating platform, and promoting yourself and your writing.  I post my own tips as well as hitting the reblog button to share the advice of others.  I share (reblog) the odd book review and write my own book reviews when I have time to finish and review a book.  I have a lot of reviews I am behind on writing.  I post some random stuff too.

LV Gaudet, author (lvgaudet.wordpress.com) is a fan blog.  It’s all about the reader.  I share weird and creepy news stuff.  Sometimes podcasts by some other people who like dark stories.  And I post my own stories here.  I am working on being more sharing.

Vivian Munnoch, author (vivianmunnoch.wordpress.com) is a nom de plume.  An alias.  My sometimes alter ego.  I use this name for the child friendly stories.  This is where I would post anything to do with the younger realm of darkness.

 

 

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Inspiration is one of the great tools of the author.  Without it, we would be, well, a reader.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a reader.  It’s an important part of being an author and books are magic.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” –Stephen King

 

Inspiration is as varied as the writers being inspired.  It can take on any form.  Music, taste, scents, the things you surrounding yourself with.

 

As a kid, I imagined having a Ray Bradbury Theater inspired writing office, filled with an eclectic collection of inspirational prompts.

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The adult reality: I’m lucky I now have a small desk crammed in the corner of the living room, where I am working in the midst of family life going on around me and dogs trying to wrestle under my feet.

 

We also can’t rely entirely on waiting for that inspiration to come.  We have to make it.  And when we can’t, we have to just plug away and work through it.

 

When you just can’t feel it, when the writing just won’t come, and you are sitting there telling yourself you suck, your writing stinks, why are you even doing this…

 

There is only one cure.  Just write.  Shut up. Stop imagining the criticism you think others would heap on you and just write.

 

Your writing won’t be perfect.  It won’t be spectacular.  Nobody would expect it to be.  That’s what the editing monster is for.  You can’t take that rough gem and make it shine if you don’t first dig it out of your imagination.

 

Here is why it is important to write even if you aren’t feeling it, even if the story won’t come and your mind is blank: by making yourself write, you are teaching yourself to write.  You are teaching yourself to be able to write whether or not you have that special pencil (ie George Stark’s (Stephen King’s the Dark Half) Berol Black Beauty pencil), the right location, the right mood, etc.  You are teaching yourself to take the inspiration from the act of writing and from the story itself.

 

What inspires?

I found my best, most inspiring moments of feeling inspired in one particular place and time:  At the camper, in the fall, waking up before everyone else including the dogs.  It’s quiet.  I sit at the kitchen table, the blinds open, and my view the array of fall leaves outside the window.  A cup of coffee.  Peaceful.

Unfortunately, that amounts to a handful of mornings each year that I can count on two hands or less and all in the span of those few short weeks.

 

When I can’t get the mood, I just write.

 

And if that fails, I edit.  I’d rather be writing, but just going back and editing can bring new ideas.  Edit your current work or something else that you put on the back burner.

 

If you are stuck and don’t know what to write, skip it.  Yes, just pass that scene over.  Leave a marker, whatever notes you need to remember what you were thinking and move on.  You can always come back to it and if it never comes then maybe the scene does not move the story forward and should killed.

 

Give them purpose and depth.

If a character is not inspiring, then make them be inspiring.  If they can’t drive your interest, they won’t drive the readers’ either.  Give them more depth.  More purpose.  Write a back story separate to the story if you must.

The same applies to the plot.  If the story itself is not enough to drive your inspiration, then something is probably missing.

 

If all else fails, add a Nathan.

Yes, Nathan.  You don’t want to meet Nathan.  Nathan is special.

Hunting_Michael_Unde_Cover_for_KindleIn writing Hunting Michael Underwood, I was in that very un-special place where I just did not know where to go next.  I knew what needed to happen to drive the story on, and I knew what I was leading up to.

I needed a catalyst.  Something to make the story implode.  Something that sucks the story into itself like a sinister entity in a B horror flick; that adds a new level of drama.  A sucker punch that neither the readers nor characters see coming.

 

I assumed I would edit it out on editing.

And thus Nathan came to be.  Nathan is unpredictable by nature. That makes the story unpredictable.

Nathan took a life of his own, added a whole new dynamic of drama I did not see coming, and pushed the story over the brink.  It was supposed to end there.  But Nathan spurred so many ideas that the story did not end.  Now I have to write another book in the series to reach that new conclusion, and it is not even about Nathan.

Nathan copy-NaNo

But Nathan does live on.  The voices are still whispering to him.  The monsters are still trying to get out of Nathan’s head.  And now I have to write Nathan’s story too.

Don’t be surprised if Nathan shows up randomly in other stories too.  After

 

all, Nathan is Nathan.  Nathan is unpredictable.

 

What inspires you?  What drives the writing urge, making the words fly through you to the page or screen?

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