Nano Prep: Oct. 22-31

For the next few days, I’ll post some ideas for Nano, clearly marked and separated from the rest of my blog posts, where I meander through the relationship between my writing and my life.

You’re welcome to visit both sets of posts — but the ones that are specific to Nano will be marked either “Nano Prep” or “Nano Tip”, once Nano itself starts.

The tips are based on tips I sent those writers I mentored the years I mentored writers — they’d get a fresh tip every day in their email.

Beyond that, the tips were gathered together as the booklet “30 Tips for 30 Days”.

I hope you will enjoy the Nano Journey!

Published in: on October 22, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 22-31  

Wed. Oct. 21, 2015: Tightrope

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

I was sick for a good part of the weekend — not the way I wanted to spend my days off, but that’s the way it goes. It couldn’t seem to decide if it was a stomach bug or chills/fever or respiratory–although it was a steady migraine all the way through.

In spite of it all, I managed to do a lot of running around for Spectacle of the Trees for the Marine Life Center, and designed another tree display for the house.

On top of it, I found out that the big glowing eyeball in the front yard not only glows — it changes color! Of course, you have to turn it on first!

In spite of the illness, I managed to get some really good writing in. I need to let go of the ego aspect of Nano, of getting in all those 50K in 30 days, and just keep steadily working on this book I believe in. “Writing with”, not “doing.”

My 91-year-old mother got her driver’s license renewed — she’s pretty excited. As I said, she breezed through her eye test and has all her marbles, so why not?

Yesterday, I was well enough to have a great lunch at Sam Diego’s with a writer friend. We haven’t had the chance for a good natter in a long time, so it was a great catch-up.

Long day today at work, and then I’m going to swing by the Keller Williams Training Center to drop off schedules for the first Cape Cod NanoWriMo Brainstorming session.

Starting tomorrow, I will have a daily prep tip until the end of the month, and then a writing tip for every day of November. They’ll be here on the blog, but set apart from the regular posts.

Stop by! Or stop by the Marstons Mills Public Library on Tuesday from 11-1 and Thursdays from 2-4 for informal “Come Write In!” sessions.

Because we’re hitting November, so it’s all about the writing!


Published in: on October 21, 2015 at 12:15 pm  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 21, 2015: Tightrope  
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Fri. Oct. 16, 2015: Too Many Ideas

Friday, October 16, 2015
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and cold, thunder, rain, hail

Busy day yesterday at work, but got a lot done, which is always a good thing.

Spinning a couple of ideas, and wondering whether or not I should “do” Nano with one of them, or just continue with TIE-CUTTER, because the momentum’s good with that, and I think I can have a submission package on it ready before the end of the year. I have a couple of weeks in which to make the decision.

Last night, author Joyce Prince did a program on Day of the Dead. A Daisy troupe was here for it, and it was a lot of fun – -and gave me yet another story idea! Probably a short story, not a novel, which is, at least, more manageable.

Home, exhausted. Dinner, some reading, bed.

Woke up this morning feeling like I’m coming down with something, which I definitely do not need. Negatively affected the writing.

This is my Saturday “off”, so I’m taking my mom to get her driver’s license renewed, working on some more ornament prototypes, writing, and resting.

Oh! Before I forget, I’m on Pinterest now. Be very, very, very scared, because there’s all kinds of stuff I plan on using it for!

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on October 16, 2015 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 16, 2015: Too Many Ideas  

Thurs. Oct. 15, 2015: Day Started Too Early

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy day yesterday. Was limited in what I could do at my desk because some of my software wasn’t working. But I managed to get a few things done, and then, in the afternoon, the woman who’s presenting a program today came so we could set up our Day of the Dead artifacts. I have some; she has some. The case looks pretty.

Came home exhausted. I’m watching the final season of SIX FEET UNDER. Had some work to do at home.

To bed far too late, and then woke up at 4 AM. Couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and put in the final changes into the screenplay that’s going out today, and also did some work on TIE-CUTTER.

I was ready to go back to bed by the time I left for work!

Today will be a long, busy day – lots to do, plus a program tonight, plus setting up for the tango milonga (although I can’t go).

I hope tomorrow will be a quiet day at work. Saturday, I have to take my mom to get her driver’s license renewed.

And I need to get a lot of writing done.

I had another idea, this morning as I frosted cupcakes. Part of that pre-Nano energy – ideas start to spark!

Not that I’m complaining!


Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 8:21 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 15, 2015: Day Started Too Early  
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Wed. Oct. 14, 2015: Decorating and Cleaning and Writing

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend! I was exhausted by the time I got off work on Saturday, and chilled out. I scored a terrific chair on a curb alert that is almost a Captain’s Chair – it needs some TLC, but will be gorgeous when it’s done.

Sunday was about running around and doing errands. Picked up some stuff at K-mart, went to Home Goods and found new covers for the daybeds in the back bedroom. They look gorgeous! Got some stuff at Christmas Tree shops – my mom found some adorable bowls she fell in love with, so we got them!

More decorating done. I did a couple of coats of stain on the new chair Sunday and Monday. From being a rather non-descript brown, I’ve stained it with “ebony” — it’s not black, but it’s a lovely, very dark brown. It’ll be gorgeous when it’s done.

I worked on prototypes of ornaments for the Marine Life Center Tree. I liked what I came up with – hopefully my colleagues will, too!

I also had one of those lightning bolts of an idea and took some notes. A contemporary piece, and could be a lot of fun, if I can pull it off. Tempting to use that as my Nano piece and DO Nano instead of writing along WITH Nano. But I’m seriously worried about overextending myself, especially when TIE-CUTTER is chugging along so well, and I still have to f inish the historical play.

The landlord came over on Monday and we did some heavy-duty pruning. The Tree Frogs will come by soon and take down the big broken limb of the maple that’s too high for us to reach.

My mom and I did a quick once-over all the photos and documents from my late uncle. Fascinating stuff, and there will be a lot to research.

Got in some good writing on Saturday and Sunday. I chose to take Monday off from writing, although I percolated plenty. Tuesday, it was all about vacuuming and washing floors and cleaning the carpets in preparation for the inspection.

It was pouring down with rain, and he got caught in the weather, so he was late, but once he got here, it was quick and smooth. I even made it to the Spectacle of Trees meeting on time. It was a good, busy meeting.

Home, got a chicken into the oven, relaxed on the deck for a bit. There aren’t that many days we can still sit out!

Watching the final season of SIX FEET UNDER. It’s so interesting to see how the series grew.

Up early to bake spice cupcakes for tomorrow’s program. Had a good writing morning. It will be a long day at work today, but that’s okay.



Published in: on October 14, 2015 at 9:31 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 14, 2015: Decorating and Cleaning and Writing  
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Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Day Before Dark Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

We had thunderstorms and rain last night. We took in some of the decorations, worried they’d get ruined.

I was up at 5 this morning, feeding the cats, doing yoga and meditation, and then writing. I had to research a bunch of details for the current scenes – which is fine, but it slowed me down. I couldn’t put in placeholders and come back after research, because the rhythm of the scene was dictated by said details.

On top of that, I’d left my Kindle bag at work last night – which had the phone charger in it!

But it all worked out.

Managed to get the recycling to the dump and start painting the pumpkins with the mirror paint. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. I also got the decoration back out and up.

I know I’m going to keep having the internal debate about Nano up until Nano’s first day. Between now and then, I’m going to work steadily on my deadlined work and see where I am by the end of the month.

One of the weird things about writing a contemporary piece is that I’m sometimes so deep into the world of the piece that I forget which details belong in my character’s life and which belong in mine. My character bought something a few scenes back – and I was looking for it this morning, as though I’D bought it! 😉 Not that I’m anywhere near as cool as my character – she’s got her challenges, but she’s also achieved some things I wish I had! However, those successes are part of what’s causing the dramatic conflict that drives this particular story.

Part of me is glad that tomorrow’s event is cancelled – mostly because I’d have an awful lot of work to do on it after work today and tomorrow would be a long day, and I’ve caught my colleague’s cold. I have plenty to do tomorrow, plenty of running around and stuff, but at least I’ll also be able to spend extra time in bed, have soup, and take care of myself.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!


Published in: on October 10, 2015 at 9:26 am  Comments Off on Sat. Oct. 10, 2015: The Early Bird Gets the WorD  
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Fri. Oct. 9, 2015: Nano Dilemma

Friday, October 9, 2015
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury goes DIRECT today
Rainy and cool

Busy day yesterday. Promotion for next week’s event, cataloging, putting together a book order, getting the schedule organized for the Nano Come Write in! sessions. I was the only staff person in the library for the last part of the day – and, of course, after a quiet day, patron-wise, it got nutty. But it was handled.

It’s awfully tempting to do the full Nano next month – it would be a good time to get the bulk of SONGBOUND SISTERS done or the aviation mystery. But I’m worried about juggling too many projects. TIE-CUTTER is going very well, at its steady pace. The historical play needs another big push, so that I can finish it and send it out (it also needs a title). I have proposal packets to get out. I’m worried that starting a new project will sabotage what’s going well.

I’m still in the Hollywood section of TIE-CUTTER. I might well have to cut some of this, but, for the moment, I’m writing all of it. I only expected to spend a couple of pages in LA before heading to Iceland and then to Scotland, where the bulk of the story will take place.

Today is a work colleague’s birthday, so we’re going to make it a special day for her. Tomorrow is my Saturday “on”, and then I have a lot of writing and garden stuff to do over the weekend. The landlord’s insurance company is coming to inspect the house on Tuesday, and then I have a Spectacle of the Trees meeting in the afternoon. Next week will be busy, too, with a state-wide meeting about working with local authors and a program on Day of the Dead customs.

Samhain is quickly approaching, and then we’re into the holiday season. We already had to put the heat on as of October 2. Even if it’s a cold winter, I hope we won’t have as much snow.

On the radio, they talked about this being one of the biggest travel weekends of the year. Glad I’m staying home!


Published in: on October 9, 2015 at 8:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 9, 2015: Nano Dilemma  
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Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I am looking forward to Mercury going direct tomorrow!

So, the library is an official Come Write In! Center for Nano, which I think will be great fun. We will have drop-in writing hours on Tuesdays from 11-1 and Thursdays from 2-4 for the month. There are other Cape Cod Write-ins and events throughout the month – if you’ve signed up for Nano, go to the Cape Cod Region Forum, and you’ll find the information.

Also, I’m going to revive my “30 Tips for 30 Days” for Nano, and schedule one writing tip per day for the duration. It will be set apart from the daily blog post and clearly marked as a 30 Tips for 30 Days post. Basically, they’re cheerleading posts to help you get through the month.

I won’t be “doing” Nano per say, as in starting a new book on November 1 and writing it through November 30, because of my current deadlines and where I am with current projects. I don’t want to lose the current momentum on any of them.

However, I will be likely “writing along with” Nano, on my projects in process, to ride the enormous current of creative energy that Nano generates.

I’m not mentoring individuals this year, either – the 30 Tips posts will be used for that, but too often, the Mentees flake, and I don’t have time to waste on people who can’t commit to writing for one whole month every day. Harsh, blunt, true. My own work must come first.

Yesterday was a good, busy day. I was pretty tired when I came home. Watched KILL THE MESSENGER, which is a good film, although I would have restructured the opening a bit. Also started watching the first season of SCORPION, which I liked better than I expected.

Woke up extra early this morning, got in some decent writing on the contemporary piece. Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a couple of comic scenes that revolve around Hollywood pitch meetings, so revisiting those experiences and dramatizing them has been fun.

I have some proposal packages to work on this weekend, a house inspection to prepare for on Tuesday, and, of course, going through my uncle’s photos and documents.



Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.  
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Wed. Oct. 7, 2015: A Mystery Arrives From Germany

Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Busy, busy few days.

On the downside, the wine event that was supposed to be this weekend was cancelled.

I was lucky to have several days away from the regular workday. I did yard work and stuff around the house. And I wrote. The project that has my main focus (separate from what’s on deadline) is a new direction for me, and I’m looking forward for to it. A few steady, solid work days of writing – not huge word counts, but steady progress. I like it. I’m exploring characters and themes that interest me in a contemporary, realistic setting – rather than mystery or fantasy. It’s different, it feels a little odd, but it’s also very, very interesting.

Got a lot of errands done, started the decorating for Samhain. Still have to put in some autumnal plants, but most of the decorations, both inside and outside, are up.

Last night, I had to go in to work (although it was, technically, my day off) to run a program. Fortunately, it was a really interesting one, terrific presenter, although the turnout wasn’t as big as we hoped.

Came home, ate, read a bit.

The steady writing’s felt very good. I’m working on integrating the deadlined projects back in with this one, without any of them losing momentum. If I can get this nice, steady, solid rhythm going on all of them, and make progress with each project every day – soon, they’ll be done.

The library is an official Come Write In! center for Nano, so we’re doing the preparation for that. We’ll have sessions on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, for anyone who wants to write in company.

This morning, a big box arrived from Germany. It has photos and documents from my late uncle’s estate – my father’s younger brother. I don’t know much about that side of the family. Many of the photos have no notations – it will be quite a project to figure them out. It was also interesting to see the photos of our side of the family that they kept. And to see that they, too, take photos of the food tables when they travel! That’s something I’ve always done. I assumed it was from my mother’s side of the family – they’ve always been superb cooks, run restaurants and the like – but I never saw food photos in those albums. Yet, my uncle and aunt loved to do that – funny how some characteristics repeat in generations!

Looking forward to unravelling the mysteries.


Published in: on October 7, 2015 at 10:29 am  Comments Off on Wed. Oct. 7, 2015: A Mystery Arrives From Germany  

Fri. Oct. 2, 2015: This, That, T’Other

Friday, October 2, 2015
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

So, yesterday was 4 AM to Midnight for me, but it was worth it. It was Ray Bartlett’s book launch, for SUNSETS OF TULUM. I was up at 4 (thinking it was 6), chopping and preparing the last of the fresh food. Went in to the library on time, loaded stuff up, set up the event room, printed the programs, went back home, stuffed eggs, tomatoes, and celery, wrapped figs.

Loaded everything into the car, drove it over, unloaded, finished setting up – with Ray’s help, and the help of one of his friends, a fellow writer.

It was a lovely evening — not only did I enjoy the work I did on the event, I enjoyed the event itself. It was a pleasure to have a part in making it a special night for Ray.

We loaded everything up after, I went home, sorted out what stayed home, what went back to the library, did all the dishes, etc.

Got to bed around midnight, slept like the dead. Overslept this morning, in fact, but definitely needed this morning’s yoga session to get out the kinks.

Repacked the car, didn’t write this morning, but got to work on time.

The weather is nasty, although we needed the rain. If we don’t cancel the wine event (and we might, due to low ticket sales), I have a LOT of running around to do this weekend. I also have a LOT of running around to do for myself, and a lot of writing to get done. There’s work to be done on the next Gwen Finnegan mystery and work to be done on several other projects, including the historical play. I also have to put edits into another script, so I can register it with the Guild and get it out the door.

I have an event Tuesday evening, so I don’t get four days away from the library (I usually have Tuesdays off completely, but no such luck this coming week). So, next week, I’m working five days here instead of three — because that will be my Saturday “on.”

But, somehow it all works out.

Hoping to do a lot of yoga in the next few days, to work out the knots that developed since I returned from Kripalu. I’m working hard to not just maintain what I achieved there, but to build on it.

The quality of my writing definitely improved when I applied some of what I worked on in the yoga and meditation practices to the writing practices.

I put a pork roast in the crockpot this morning before I left, so dinner will be waiting when I get home. I can put up my feet, enjoy a glass of wine, and listen to the rain for a few hours.

When you can’t get big chunks of time off, you have to make the most of the small ones!

Have a great weekend!


Published in: on October 2, 2015 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Fri. Oct. 2, 2015: This, That, T’Other