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NaNoWriMo Last Minute Prep

I’m not participating in Nano this year, but I’ve participated many times in the past. My life and career also revolves around writing (don’t judge me.)

I know a lot of blogs and videos talk about NaNoWriMo prep in the months and weeks right before the start of November, but what if you’re a chronic procrastinator or decided to participate at the last minute? This doesn’t mean you’re doomed. It just means you have to be creative in the way you plan out your month of writing. If you’re already prepared maybe this can act as your checklist and jog your brain of something you’ve forgotten to do.

Plotting isn’t the end of the world

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Yes, I’m mostly a plotter. I swear by it and none of my books would be alive today without it. Plotting doesn’t mean you have to write a novel length outline of your story. Here are some quick plotting methods to help you get started. Remember, you can always tweak and change of the details.

  • The 3 Act Method: Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. These are the components a book cannot exist without. Grab a notebook or open up your favorite word processor and jot down these parts of your book. You can fill in the other details later as you get to it. Having some direction is better than no direction.
  • Follow the hero’s journey format. There’s a lot of information out there about this so I won’t bore you with it here. If you’ve never heard of it before checkout one of this book.
  • Write down all your main scenes on note cards and put them in order. I love this method because you can easily change the order of events.

Keep a writer’s journal

This is one of my best kept secrets. Before I started dedicating a notebook to this I had notes and scraps of paper all over the place and even pinned to the wall. Now I keep it all in my notebook. Ideas, character info, whether John Doe is blonde or a redhead. What Kelly ate for breakfast. Whatever you need to remember for later jot down. This is the journal I’m using right now. You can even put your plot in the journal if you wanted to.

Ask a friend to read your work periodically

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I know long time writers will cringe at this advice. Stephen King even says to write with the door closed and I do, but in my early days of writing I needed that audience. Also, having someone who is ready to read your work at the end of every week will give you extra motivation to get your words on the blank page.

 

Decide how to track your word count, progress, and work still needed

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I use the free version of PaceMaker.

It doesn’t yell at you for being behind like some do and it allows you to customize your writing plan.

Schedule 5 days in November where you will aim to write 5k.

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I know that sounds like a lot of words and for some people it is. I aim for this number almost every writing day. I know it’s not sustainable for everyone, but hear me out on this one.

Five days of 5k words each is 25k words. That’s half your words for the month. Even if you don’t hit those 5k words – you might get a day or two ahead on each scheduled day. Things will pop up that keep you from writing. As someone who writes full time some days I view the world as a series of obstacles between me and the keyboard.

 

Let me know your favorite way to prep for Nano in the comments.

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Reader Q&A

It’s that time again! I love getting questions and comments from readers. Interacting with all of you really makes my day. Writing is by nature a solo profession. You have to sit at the keyboard and ‘see’ and then translate what you ‘see’ into words and sentences that make sense to other people. It’s not always easy. Some days getting words on the page is like getting blood from a turnip. Other days it’s like I get to play with my imaginary friends all day and they’re nice to me. At the end of the day , though, it’s  about the stories I tell and how they can touch my readers. Without you guys, I’d be a kook with a wild imagination. Okay, maybe that’s exactly what I am, but you guys help me make a living from it. lol

I have three questions I’m going to answer today,. They’re simple questions, but the answers may be long and winding. I’ve touched on some of these in other Q&As, but I think I can expand those answers and really give you guys a look into how I started writing my Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga.

Question: How did you come up with the names for your shifter families?

Answer:

This one depends on which family/pack/flight you’re talking about.

Hemlock Academy came to me before the pack did. It started in a dream I had, but was nothing like you’ve read in the books. In the original dream it was an all girls boarding school where I taught that had been invaded by zombies. I’m a huge Walking Dead Fan and my dreams often get zombies if I watch the show too much. The school in the dream was not Hemlock Academy. It has a name that sounds sort of close, but I’m not disclosing here. I always knew I was going to turn that dream into a book. I still might. Not in Mpreg, because I don’t think babies and zombies mix. Maybe I’m wrong. Let me know in the comments if you think Mpreg and the zombie takeover go hand-in-hand and would make for a good read. The pack ended up named after the school once I got to know Darian in Omega Studies.

I’m not saying what the school was called in the dream, because who knows. If I ever switch genres in the future I still might write the book in the original way I saw it.

The West Appalachian Wolf Pack were just named after the area they come from. I was born in West Virginia and just sorta tacked on West because of that. I love the nature and mountains of the region. Yes, Monta’s pack in part is based on some people I knew growing up. No one was killed from their crimes against their families. So, it’s really loosely based, but it’s there.

The Moonscales are the tricky ones. The name just came to me while I was writing a standalone which is yet to be released or finished. I’m hoping to finish it one day, but it won’t be until after the Hemlock vs. Raven Hallow War. It’s given us the characters of Clarence and Medwin and all of the Moonscales, though. They first showed up in that book that’s half finished. One of the MCs of that standalone novel is still a hatchling at the moment. So, for the sake of the timeline I won’t be worrying about that book just yet.

The Raven Hallow Wolf Pack is a bit more complicated. I could say it just came to me, because a lot of them do and it did. It came from their lore of being connected to ravens and crows. Though, they have heavy elven influence too despite it not being represented in the name.

I think I’ve covered all the main ones I’ve actually introduced this far. There are others on the map, because I needed to mark them because I knew they were there. If I’ve left anyone out drop me a message on FaceBook and I’ll include it in the next Q&A.

Question: What got you into writing MM?

Answer:

Do you want the short answer or the long one?

The short answer: Harry Potter.

That doesn’t make sense unless you were part of the 2000s HP fanfiction communities. The first story I ever wrote to completion on a computer was when I was 14 and it was a  Draco/Harry slash fanfic. Yep. The real reason I turned into a writer was because my young teenage self thought Harry and Draco should get together. I guess I liked tension even back then before I could explain it.

It probably has something to do with my gender identity too, but I’ll touch on that in the next question.

Question: What made you decide to write MPREG?

Answer:

This one’s complicated too. I’ve touched on a lot of these things in my previous Q&A, but I’ll expand here since the question is what made me decide to write MPREG. I’m nervous about this one, because though a lot of my friends know and are super supportive I’ve never really talked about it in a professional setting. This is very personal to me and it’s taken me a long time to be comfortable talking about any of it in a public forum.

Since I was little gender has confused the hell out of me. Not just gender stereotypes, but gender itself. It’s like umm…. so there are two boxes and I have to stand inside of one?  It’s not that I don’t like the boxes. It’s that neither box is for me. I identify as gender non-binary despite being born AFAB (assigned female at birth.)

What I love about Mpreg is being able to explore different ideas about gender roles and gender expression. Being able to not have to write inside those boxes. Yes, some of my omegas are what my dad and uncles would call ‘pretty boys’ (Hence, why the Appalachian Wolf Pack got it’s name and attitude.) but I’ve always admired men who are softer and gentler and love things that aren’t inside that box we’ve labeled “Masculinity.” And of course, vice versa. One of my favorite characters from the series is one who has only been mentioned. I hope to get her on screen soon.

I’ve been accused of having inadequate female representation in my books. I don’t think that’s quite true. Sure, male characters out number female characters, but I write gay romance. I need a pool of side characters to pull from and play matchmaker with.

I’m also very aware of how strong women can be perceived. I didn’t have my first female Alpha on screen until The Sleeping Omega Prince. Mostly, because I wanted to avoid the question of ‘How do female Alphas get their mates pregnant?” Many people have given their thoughts on this and if you don’t understand it, want to know, and are old enough to read my books – send me a message. I’ll tell you in the cleanest way possible. lol I write sex scenes, but I’m not that comfortable discussing anatomy publicly.

What actually lead to me writing Mpreg was a number of things. First, as I mentioned in my previous Q&A my early roleplay years had a lot of mpreg in them. Then mpreg fanfiction. I never knew it was a thing until two things happened very close together. A good friend introduced me to the genre on Amazon. Then an old ghostwriting client (yep that’s what I did before I went indie) e-mailed me and asked if I’d be interested in ghostwriting some Mpreg for her. I don’t do ghost work anymore and didn’t at the time. But I was mind blown that this was a thing in actual books now.

So, my little fanfiction heart had some original characters of its own to share with the world and on December 9th, 2017 I penned the first few chapters of what would become Omega Studies.

Thank you so much for submitting your questions. If you have more feel free to send them my way on Facebook to be included in the next Reader Q&A blog.

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Writing, Book Covers, and the death of my last nerve

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Because I should be working on the book cover for Omega Rebellion ((AKA Cody and Micah’s story), but my last nerve has just died.

If you haven’t caught up with the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga they are all free on Kindle Unlimited. If you haven’t checked out the program they’re always running some first month free or some sort of promotion. If you read a lot and haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a great source to save you some money on your reading habit. I swear by it which is why my books will remain in it for as long as it works.

Like a lot of people, my adult life has been one big ball of anxiety. Not always the normal sort either. Today is the two month mark since I was attacked by my intoxicated brother. That’s not what killed my last nerve, though. It wasn’t moving across the country while recovering from injuries or the mental aspects of recovery that are still ongoing.

It was tornado sirens last night. Here I was getting ready for bed thinking about what sort of cover Omega Rebellion called for and the next thing I know I’m in a closet pretty sure I’m going to die. Sure, the city I live in is rarely affected, but it only takes one. I see another move in my future, because I have no nerves left. Just none. Zilch. Zero. I know life is never 100% peaceful. I lived here before and knew it was a possibility, but I didn’t know how bad my nerves had gotten.

So, today I’m running way behind schedule and feel like crap. As a writer, I’m pretty good at filling in the blanks in life of what could happen. It’s great for storytelling, but sucks when my brain tries to apply it to real life. I haven’t asked other writes, but I can’t be the only one who thinks like this. lol

Either way, the coffee is ready and I need to go stare of screens full of sexy stock photos to make the cover for Omega Rebellion.

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*HeadDesk* A Rant on the Universe and Writing

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Yes. Yes, I should be writing. I’m on chapter 20 of Omega Rebellion (AKA Micah and Cody’s book). It’s the 7th in my Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga. I should totally be writing. Well, I am writing, but a blog post and not another chapter of the book.\

It’s time to write the big fight scene of this book. I’m half way through it. This book has about 5 chapters left to write give or take depending on how Micah and Cody behave. It’s almost ready to go to my editor

So why am I not writing?

Today is just blah. Each and everything seems stacked against my productivity. I know. Stop whining and get back to work. I will, but first I’m gonna rant about it. Because this colored line going down the center of my screen is driving me crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s a cord problem, because it happened once before when the cord was loose. This time doing everything imaginable with the cord isn’t making it go away. So, I ordered a new one. With the magic of the internet and Amazon Prime it will be here tomorrow.

In the mean time I have to deal with it. If it’s the monitor and not the cord I’ll have to deal with it until next month. Which is really gonna slow things down. I view the blank page as my canvas. I’m a visual writer meaning I sorta see the words I write, but I see the scene more. The black line of doom (Which is sometimes yellow or green or even blue!) is very fucking distracting. My screen capture won’t pick it up either. So I’m starting to think it’s probably a monitor problem.

*head desks*

 

Okay. Enough ranting. I have to get back to work or at least try to get some writing done today. Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m gonna need it.

 

 

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The Real Tea Behind Saving Cinder & Omega Rebellion (AKA Micah and Cody’s Story)

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I absolutely should be writing on Chapter 13 of Omega Rebellion right now. Everyone keeps asking what comes after Claiming the Shaman and I do plan to tell you all – eventually.

Omega Rebellion uncovers the secrets of both main characters: The playboy drummer from the boy band Grim Howlers and Cody, an omega who’s constantly found himself in tight spots.

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To be honest, before writing this book I knew next to nothing about these guys. Yes, really. Only I didn’t know it until I started writing. That’s how it usually goes with me and characters.

I knew from the moment Lee Knight walked onto the page he belonged with Bane Hemlock. I just didn’t know how the hell to bring them together. Then I did. Some readers loved it others not so much. Eh… That’s the way of life and I’m okay with that. I’m happy with how Healer’s Oath turned out.

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Micah Gilmore and Cody Denton are my distraction and my obsession right now. I’m in love with both of them for different reasons that reads will discover soon. With war looming on the horizon for our beloved Hemlock Wolf Pack they’re going to need all their skills and the aces they’ve hidden up their sleeves.

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But what are they distracting me from?

Nothing important. Maybe I shouldn’t call it distracting me as much as I should call it healing me. A lot of you know I unexpected moved across the country at the end of August. Some days I’m still sad about that. I miss my pup more than anything or anyone. Without him I feel like part of me is missing and I don’t know that the feeling will ever go away.

I miss the members of my extended family sometimes, but I’m completely off from them by choice. It was a tough call to make, but it had to be done. In August, a family member who struggled with addiction for years violently attacked me. I’m okay now – physically. Mentally it’s just more baggage to lug around. You know how that goes. I cut ties with the family who continued to support him knowing he has no intentions of getting clean and staying sober. I won’t get into the debate of addiction choice vs. disease, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. When someone is a danger to themselves and others, to your personal safety, you have to cut ties. Just because they’ve strapped a ticking time bomb to their chest doesn’t mean you have to die trying to disarm it while they’re batting your hands away from the control panel.

If you or someone you know need help with domestic violence please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

Writing Saving Cinder was really hard for me. I knew the moment I chose Seth as the next main character (or he stepped forward for the job I should say) it would be difficult and that was before the night everything exploded. I almost scrapped the book after what happened but I decided I needed to tell the story more than ever. I’m not the only one affected by an addiction of those they love. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but I felt I owed Rhett that ending with his brother. It wasn’t Rhett’s story to tell, but he was part of it. Seth’s story affected his in ways that changed him forever. Saving Cinder is the ending I wanted in my life and writing it for my characters helped me more than I could ever say.

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Yeah, some days I’m still sad, but I’m moving forward a bit more everyday.

If you see me posting silliness on Facebook when I should be writing or writing without posting just know I’m healing and finding a way forward.

Now that’s off my chest for a bit it’s time to write. Thank you all for you support and love of my book characters. It means more than I can ever say.

P.S. I haven’t forgotten that I still owe you guys a readers Q&A post. It’ll likely be out closer to Halloween.