Schedule? What’s that? (Camp NaNo Updates and a Mini Rant About a Certain Neighbor)

So, as those of you following along know my sleeping schedule has shifted over the last month or two between some personal happenings and EVIL Daylight Savings Time. I have something in my mid-late morning that is just about an every day engagement. On my old schedule I was done writing way before that time of day hit. Now, waking up between 5-6 not so much. It’s just an hour or an hour and a half later I’m waking up, but apparently I can write a lot in that time.

So, yesterday, feeling a bit defeated that I slept through the alarm again – I decided I’d try an experiment. I did a bunch of the side work stuff and got some chores around the house done – my usual afternoon stuff. Then I sat down to write in the afternoon. It felt weird. There were interruptions – I live on the corner of my apartment building – next to the steps. I have a neighbor who lives at the other end – who doesn’t own a car that is parked at that end of the building or anything – but insists on going up and down my side of the building for EVERYTHING. I swear I think the asshole uses it for cardio some days the way he goes up and down repetitively. I have my reasons for being annoyed with him for many other reasons – but I don’t feel like getting political on this blog.

So, the real problem is my usual writing area is against that outside wall. Usually that’s not a problem – I write in the morning. I do my side work in the kitchen in the afternoon. So, short of going out to ask if he had a personal vendetta against me having peace and quiet (I have mysphonia. So sound gets to me in weird ways) I moved into the kitchen. Except I wasn’t comfortable enough to zone out and write. I was about to give up and call the day wasted and the experiment a flop. Then I rearranged the living room a bit to make it work with the laptop. I swore it felt like I had spent the whole afternoon trying to work around other people – which always annoys me. It’s why I live alone. It’s me and the cat and everyone else can buzz off while I’m trying to work. It had only been about half an hour in which I wrote about 300 words from the two places I tried. I felt like a bit like Rory Gilmore on her the campus of her university trying to find a place to study.

See the source image

The living room worked out. I had a good writing session on the sofa with the cat sleeping on my feet and came in at 5,896 words for Monday. Which I’m quite proud of because I had to work so hard to find a place to write away from noisy morons. So, this is day 2 of the experiment. I think today will go fine, but Wednesday I have errands that can only be ran in the afternoon. So I’m not sure how to deal with that one just yet.

My current WIP is at 43,295

I hope everyone else participating in Camp NaNo is having better luck finding quiet to write in than I am.

What I’m Writing: Book 7 of Love by Glitter Bomb

What’s in Editing: Nothing :O

Current Pre-Orders: Love By Glitter Bomb Box Set 2 & Dead Mates Society.

What I’m Reading: Insomnia by Stephen King & The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


Camp NaNo Updates: Day 2 and 3

I had every intention of blogging yesterday – I really did. Then I got caught up in the side job and then I wanted to do a bit of reading and a friend called me. Those are the reasons I write in the morning and like getting up before the rest of the world (or at least the people I know) are awake. That quiet time really makes a difference and the fact the time change STILL has me waking up an hour or so later than my normal time is affecting my word count. I’m slowly working on getting this back to normal without giving up too much sleep. The best tool in a writer’s toolbox is a healthy sleep schedule – well, it is if you ask me.

Brown Tabby Cat Lying on Cat Tree

My current WIP is at 37,399 words. I hoped to reach 40k words this week, but I didn’t and that’s okay. I got pretty close.

April 2nd: 4,190 Words

April 3rd: 4,029 Words

So, that makes 1/3 writing days where I hit my goal so far. Though, I did have 2/6 days overall of hitting it this week. I think I’m within a few days of hitting the plotting point and that usually kicks up my word count once I have the ending plotted out. I’m close, but no cookie yet.

If you’re participating how are you doing so far this month?

What I’m Writing: Book 7 of Love by Glitter Bomb

What’s in Editing: Nothing :O

Current Pre-Orders: Love By Glitter Bomb Box Set 2 & Dead Mates Society (Pre-order is in Amazon’s review process and the link will come soon.)

What I’m Reading: Insomnia by Stephen King & If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo


Camp Nano Day 1: What’s in a Title, Word Count, and a mostly lazy post writing day.

Good evening! I want to say it’s been a long day, but I haven’t really gotten much accomplished outside of work stuff – AKA writing. It snowed today which thrilled me until I remembered it was April and when we warmed back up that likely means a thunderstorm. Still, I love the cold and the snow. So, I’m counting it as a win for today.

I didn’t wake up quite on time today. So, I figured I wouldn’t get as much done. I’m not to the point I’ve plotted the rest of this book out or anything like that. So, I set out to write and surprisingly hit my daily word count goal of 5k+ words. Knowing I had to fess up to whatever my word count was in a blog this evening got me in the zone.

Start of Day Word Count: 24,138 words

End of Day Word Count: 29,180 words

Words Written Today: 5040 words

So, I’m happy with today’s progress. I’m about to hit a major plot point tomorrow or the next day and I’m looking forward to seeing how that one plays out.

After I finished writing and made my usual check-in phone call with a friend (they’re doing well) I mostly played hearthstone, worked a bit on a side job, and listened to an audio book. I’ve made it through today without seeing any distasteful pregnancy ‘fools day’ crap on social media. And for that I’m a grateful.

While finally getting around to putting together my new end tables I thought about titles more. Well, about one title in particular. The title of my current WIP. For a bit, I thought for sure I was going to call it Beta in the Cards or something similar. I almost always think I know what I’m going to call a book – then I change my mind 10 times with very few exceptions. Now, I’m playing around with other titles like ‘The Dead Give Their Blessing’ and ‘Matched from Beyond.’ I’m not too fond of any of them, but it’s a process that I’m not sure enough writers talk about.

With all that said – I have brownies and a Stephen King Novel waiting for me to take another peek at it. So, I’m off for the night to recharge my batteries. (Shh…. It’s really called reading but I always say I have to read to stay in the zone.)

If you’re participating in camp how was your first day?

What I’m Writing: Book 7 of Love by Glitter Bomb

What’s in Editing: Nothing :O

Current Pre-Orders: Love By Glitter Bomb Box Set 2

What I’m Reading: Insomnia by Stephen King & If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo


I’m Ready for Camp Nano!

Oy! I can’t believe it’s already April tomorrow! Where the heck has 2021 gone? Seriously! How are we going into the 4th month of the year???

I dunno, but we are and I’m ready for it this time.

For those of you who don’t know Camp Nano is NaNoWriMo’s little sibling. Taking place in April it’s a chance to put the pedal back to the metal and get to work on whatever project you’re in the middle of or that you’ve been putting off.

As those of you who follow me in other places know – I don’t usually do Nano or camp anymore. Usually, I’m on top of everything and kicking butt, but the last year or so has sucked some life energy out of me. So, I need a kick in the keyboard to get back to my normal schedule.

What’s a normal schedule for me? Umm… 5kish words 6 days a week until it’s time for the second draft and to work with my editor on the book. Sometimes, I start the next one while she has chunks of the one I just finished to work on.

No, I’m not burnt out on writing. I’m just juggling more on my emotional plate and have lost a bit of my motivation.

So, what am I writing for Camp Nano? Well, I’ll be using Nano to finish up book 7 of my Love by Glitter Bomb Series. I won’t talk a lot about what’s going on in the book here, right now. If I talk about a book’s plot too early it jinxes me and I’m avoided that like I’m avoiding the literal plague right now!

So, what’s my plan? I don’t plan to write every day. I never do that anymore. My plan is hit the end of the first draft this month which on my old writing routine would’ve been a piece of cake. But since right after the winter holidays things have been wonky for my writing. So, we’ll see. I’ll work my normal days (Usually Monday-Saturday, taking Sunday off.)

Right now I’m damn close to hitting the 25k mark of this book. 24,138 words written to be exact.

The writing progress I’ve made so far on Book 7 of Love by Glitter Bomb. Not horrible, but I need more days close to 5k words to get back on schedule.

Good luck to everyone participating in camp! My the words ever be in your favor!

What I’m Writing: Book 7 of Love by Glitter Bomb

What’s in Editing: Nothing :O

Current Pre-Orders: Love By Glitter Bomb Box Set 2

What I’m Reading: Know My Name by Chanel Miller & Insomnia by Stephen King


Camp NaNoWriMo Prep (Mine and Tips for Yours)

I’m up early enough today that I beat the cat up. She’s not ready for breakfast yet. Which gives me a few minutes to ramble here about Nano prep when I should be starting my novel. I have a vampyric MC this time around and I’m excited. Teenage Maggie would be head over heels to know I’m writing vampire romance at all now. I guess somethings never change.

Except they do. I’d sworn off Camp Nano after the last time. I really did. It was a good experience and I wrote a great novel that went on to do well, but it was sooo stressful. Why was it stressful? Because talking about writing and writing a novel at the same time is stressful. I haven’t forgotten this, but my life is different now. (How could it not be with the pandemic, right?) Also, that was like 3 years ago I think. Maybe 2 years ago. I’m not even sure anymore. What I’m getting at is I think I learned some better time/word management since then. At least, I hope so. We’ll find out in the middle of April if I’m banging my head on the wall or not.

So… What am I doing to prep for Camp NaNo?

Honestly, I’m lucky with this one. I already know what I need/want/am going to write. It’s the next book in my Love by Glitter Bomb Series. It’ll be book 7 in the series. I know who my MCs are. I know one of them quite well. He’s a dragon shifter. The other is the newcomer to the series. So, to help myself get set up I think I’m going to blog through the steps.

1. What’s Standing in My Way of Writing?

I ask this question every time I set down to start a novel. What’s going to get in my way. Your list will probably be different than mine, but here’s a look at what a list might look like. Be sure to be honest with yourself. You can plan around obstacles if you don’t admit to them.

  • April is storm weather in Appalachia sometimes. (If you’re a longtime reader you know my storm anxiety isn’t going anywhere.) Tonight we’re in for another bad storm after having one at the end of last week too.
  • Part time work. (Covid economy sucks, but you gotta do what ya gotta do.)
  • I’ll need to get the publishing stuff ready for Dead Mates Society (The short story that is Love by Glitter Bomb 6.5)
  • I’ll need to get the next box set up for pre-order/publishing.
  • There is one question that is important to the plot that I don’t know the answer to right now.
  • I plan to put out a lot more blogs than usual.
  • As the weather warms up I’ll have to tell people to buzz off. People will want to hang out and I probably won’t want to hang out. For me, since I’m not eligible to be vaccination in my state the pandemic is the best excuse I have.
  • Normal CPTSD crap.
  • I’m participating in 2 book club reads and a buddy read next month.
  • I’m eating healthy again and I swear sometimes meal prepping feels like it takes up more time than it saves.
  • Existential dread has been my middle name for the last month or two. This isn’t healthy for writing.

Now, your list will probably include things mine doesn’t touch on and that’s okay. Just be honest with yourself and plan around these things. This week leading up to camp I plan to share some tips on how to manage that.

2. Gather Supplies

Since writing is for the most part my full time job. I don’t have many supplies I need to go out and get. At this point outside of my planners I mostly do everything virtually. But figuring out what you need before April gets here will save you so much time that you can in turn use for writing.

3. Are You a Pantser or Plotter or Some Combination of?

I’m a combo. I usually know my ending, my beginning, and have a vague idea (not written down) of what will happen. Then I usually write until my characters and the plot are a bit fleshed out and then I’ll plot the rest of the way. If you’re a hardcore plotter you might want to do this part before April.

4. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Trying to Write the Same Amount Every Day

Okay, so, yeah, I know that camp is for finishing projects or doing your own thing, but even if you’re writing the tale end of a novel, I think this will help you out. Don’t plan on writing the same amount every day. Don’t plan on writing every day. I know – some of you are making the scream face right now and that’s okay. Just hear me out, alright? Thanks!

Some days are busier than others and unless you’re writing full time it’s not always possible to squeeze in a full length writing session. Plot your hopeful word counts ahead of time, but leave wiggle room. Maybe only aim for 500 on busy days or less if 500 words seem like a lot to you. I use Pace Maker (Thanks Karsyn for telling me about it forever ago if you’re reading this!) It’s free and it has a lot of features that you can adjust to help you plot out how many words you need to write on any given day.

Be nice to yourself. You’ll get there, but not all in one day.

5. READ!

I know this is some of the most common advice given to aspiring writers – but it’s so important. By reading you learn so many little things and how they work together. You get a feel for what makes a book a book. I know a lot of people who write are avid readers, but I have a friend working on the second draft of a novel who isn’t really a reader. It happens, but believe me your writing life will be easier if you read.

What are you doing to get ready for Camp NaNo?

Writing/Reading Info:

WIP: Love by Glitter Bomb Book 7.

What’s with the editor: Dead Mates Society (Love by Glitter Bomb Book 6.5)

What am I reading: Nothing by Annie Barrows and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels.


A Little Announcement (CAMP NaNo)

It’s a little after six in the morning here and it’s just me and the cat and the one crow I’ve heard call before sunrise alive in the apartment building. I love the early quiet of the morning and how it allows me time to reflect and get grounded for the day before the rest of the world starts running in circles. It’s also the best time for me to write. I’m not writing this morning, though. Well, unless you count this blog. I haven’t written for a week. Even when I have a book in editing that’s unusual for me.

I’d like to say 2020 left me raw, but I was raw going into 2020. I was raw from 2019 and now sitting here in 2021 I alternate between my skin feeling like stone and parchment paper. It took a little longer for me to feel the effects of not going out (I’m still not going anywhere if I can avoid it. I live in a big anti-masker area and my anxiety doesn’t deal well with it in general.) and the effects of what my friends and I have started to call COVID economy. I go to bed thinking about the future and wake up thinking about the future -usually full of dread. I know it’s not sexy or whatever, but it’s where I am. I’ve always been honest about mental health, because too many times it gets swept under the rug. I always figure, if I let one person know that they’re not alone in their struggles that’s enough for me.

My friends have been incredibly awesome during all of this. Some days I feel like we take turns between freaking out and being the voice of reason. I love them to death and would be lost without them.

I’ve received a lot of advice about writing and words of encouragement that go every which way. For me, not writing isn’t a choice. When everyone says to take a break or try something else, I’ve done that before. Writing suits me – it’s solo for the most part. It enables me to put ideas into words that I couldn’t otherwise. So, all their well meaning advice about doing anything else goes out the window, because I can’t give up. Burnout is part of the process sometimes and anxiety/CPTSD makes it worse when it does happen.

And throughout my lifetime, I know the one thing that combats anxiety – keeping busy and sometimes switching things up. We’re going into storm season here which means maybe I am crazy for what I’m going to do. Though, all the best people are bit crazy, if you ask me.

As many of you know Camp NaNo is next month. It’s the baby sibling of November’s NaNoWriMo. I usually avoid writing camps, because I write so much normally. I always feel like maybe they weren’t meant for me. With my current lack of motivation (not inspiration. I know what the next book in my series is about – I know who and what and why. Hell, I have a short from a dead character with something to say that needs to go into editing soon.) I just lack motivation – or the ability to turn off dread of the great WHAT-IF? So, I’m going to participate in Camp NaNo. I’ll probably (hopefully) start writing on the book I’m planning to use it for ahead of time, but since I’m aiming for somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-90k words, I think that’s fair. Camp Nano is all about finishing up projects anyway.

I think going into Nano will give me my motivation back and give me a reason to blog more. Switching things up just enough to get me moving again and I need that. I need something to focus on and I think it’s time for me to do Camp again.

If you haven’t heard my latest novel launched yesterday: Book 6 of Love by Glitter Bomb: To Save a Sidhe

To Save a Sidhe by [Maggie Hemlock]

Writing, Creativity, and Anxiety


Okay, time for some real talk, guys. It’s no secret that I have anxiety and CPTSD. I talk about it everywhere. On purpose. I always think if one person reads something I say and doesn’t feel alone I’ve found a little purpose in my discomfort. That’s important to me.

Since the beginning of 2019 I’ve felt like I’ve been ‘living between the anxieties.’ Basically, meaning I shove as much as I can of the good stuff in between all the crap. Yes, 2020 was crap for everyone. Extroverts everywhere have told me so. Introverts too – but not always because of the lockdown. But it’s been a little over two years since the last time I had a period of time where life was on the level and it’s starting to wear on me in ways I can’t hide. People notice – long droughts from posting on Facebook. Blogs that are sporadically scheduled at best. Some days, I think it’s never going to change. Some days I know it’ll never change. The world will keep revolving, but I’ll always have anxiety and big triggers. I’ll always have to live in between them. That doesn’t mean I don’t have good days – because I do. But I also have nights like tonight:

-Sales are down. Covid economy. Other writers are experiencing similar things. I know a few indies who have thrown up their hands at it all in the last few months. I’ve considered it too. I’m not to that point yet. I am doing side jobs again, though. More work for the same amount of money leaves less time for self care. It can’t be helped. It is what it is.

-I’m behind on work because of lost sleep last month before I could find a vet willing to fix my cat. More lost sleep as cat had difficult recovery.

-Storms – with a possibility of isolated tornadoes in my area Wednesday – Friday morning. So, yeah I’m already feeling the sinking feeling in my stomach.

-My editor and I are in the middle of editing a book. We live in 2 different states. We’re both in areas possibly effected. If the net or power goes I’m more behind.

-People telling me not to worry about being behind in a ‘creative career’ art takes time. Yeah, those same people have never finished a massive artistic project and made a living off of it for the most part. See my point up there about sales being lower and me on the brink of saying ‘Oh, enough’s enough. I give up.”

-I miss people who I’ve lost to covid. I miss so many people and don’t believe the world will ever be the same.

So, the next few days belong to anxiety. Mostly, storm anxiety. It’s not going anywhere. I’ve done therapy. I’ve done everything. Living in Missouri ruined me for any thunderstorm. Alongside anxiety, needs to live someone able to answer e-mails and put in edits and stay positive on social media and not ride the doom spiral. We’ll see what happens.

What does this have to do with writing and creativity? Everything! Every writer friend I have – has anxiety. Mostly, major anxiety filled with triggers and panic attacks and everything that comes with it. It’s as if imagining the worst is good fuel for novels. Sometimes, fixing ‘the worst’ in fiction soothes the soul. As a writing I believe I write to fix all the things I can’t fix in the world. Bad guys eventually die – the good guys mostly win. People fall in love and have a chance to live their lives without hell raining on every side.

Some days, it’s all I can do to wait until after my coffee kicks in to get to the keyboard and hammer out the details of the lives of fictional people. I’m thrilled to do my job. It’s the one part of my life I know for sure I enjoy – the writing part that is.

So, what is anyone to take from this? Live between the storms. Live between the bad times. They’ll always be around the corner, but the time in between belongs to us.


What Every Writer Needs (And reading talk!)

It’s about 6 PM here in Appalachia when I start writing this. I’ve just laid down Watership Down at about halfish way through it. I’m done reading for the day and have a lot on my mind. First, let’s get it out of the way. Yes, I live under a rock. I’ve never read this book or watched an adaptation of it. I was supposed to read it in 7th grade, but life had other plans. So, I didn’t. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s move on.

I’m reading this book as a buddy read with my friend E from Reddit. She’s incredible. In January, I read Robert Jones Jr’s debut The Prophets with her and I’m glad I had someone to discuss that book with. It was really deep and that man needs to write another book ASAP!


Fiver was right about something bad happening to the warren. Everyone knows this. It’s the main premise of the book. When I was reading the part where Holly is telling and reliving what happened at the warren after the escapees left – I had to put the book down for a moment. It was a bit much for me to imagine being a rabbit gassed to death or shot by a human. Yep, I’m that sort of person. Now all the credit for me ‘feeling’ this goes to Richard Adams the writer of Watership Down.

This reminded me of lots of other times when I just paused to imagine how horrible or delightful or scary something must’ve been – from tv, movies, and of course books – but also just pondering it. It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid. That moment where my brain freezes and all I can think about is what something might or must feel like. What would I feel if X or Y or gods forbid Z happened to me?

Over the years I’ve been asked by a lot of aspiring writers what it really takes and I always say just put your ass in the chair and write. That’s what I do! Okay!! Okay! You caught me! Sometimes my ass is in the bed or on the floor when I write, but you get the idea.

And speaking of ideas! Folks – readers, friends, and fellow writers love to ask me where I get my ideas from. Well, for a while I wasn’t sure. I mean my emotions? For me, it’s usually one of three of avenues.

  1. They come to me. Not ideas. Characters and their emotions and situations come to me.
  2. I really need to put something I feel into words and give the emotions to my characters. That way I’m not carrying them around all by myself.
  3. Something happens and I stop and say ‘What would I feel like if X, Y, or Z happened to me?’

I think that’s it. I mean, sometimes it starts with a dream of a character, but that falls under one.

So, you all came here to find out what this writer thinks every writer needs and the answer is empathy. If you struggle to make your characters feel real – step back and empathize. What are they feeling? What would they do with those emotions or urges?

Happy reading and writing!


Hemlock Universe Book Swag Master List

I always said if I ever did book swag it would be something I’d use if I were a fan of a series. I didn’t want to just do bookmarks since most of my writing is digital. So, I went the route of journals, because you can never have too many of them!

I’ll do my best to keep this list updated as new journals are released!

Journal One

Journal Two

Journal Three


The Importance of Downtime in Creative Work

Everyone I know who isn’t a writer thinks the busiest time during writing a book is the actual writing of a book. The fast paced indie publishing industry aside, I still disagree with that. I think the busiest time for me is after the draft is complete. That’s when you have to look at your baby and sometimes tear it asunder before your editor even sees it. Then it’s the editor and tweaking things and covers to made and marketing to do and don’t forget you’re probably already working on your next book – because you write to live and without writing you feel like a shell of a person unable to process the world around you. Oh – wait! That’s how I feel when I go more than a few days without writing. Sorry. Well, you’re here. So maybe you do too.

My next novel comes out this Sunday. Yes, on a Sunday, because I like weekend releases. I like putting a book out on a day where most folks can grab and read it straight away if they want to. That’s how I read. I like reading huge chunks at one time if I’m really into a book.

So, it goes without saying that the last few weeks have been very busy for me. (Did I mention I’m about 25k into the next book of the series too?) I’ve also had a kitten in heat. Had one hell of a time finding a vet willing to take new patients during the plague. Finally found one. On Tuesday my furball gets fixed and we’re both ready for better sleep and our quiet (crooning and cat screeching free) lives back.

With all that said I feel as if I haven’t had time to slow down and breathe. I’ve been working on two projects at once – which is my usual during this time of the process. I’ve been dealing with the cat and processing the world for what it is and let’s face it the last year has just sucked everywhere.

So today, I said screw it. I’ve done jack all today besides cook for myself and make sure the cat didn’t starve. I’ve read and I’ve listened to an audiobook. I’ve played Hearthstone and talked on the phone. I’ve thought about the book I’m writing and I think tomorrow when it’s time to resume adulting I’m ready to sit down and read what I have written thus far and grind out the finer details of the plot.

I’m almost finished with a book that has me gushing – I’ll talk about it in a future blog. I’m sure it’ll hit my favorites for this month. I’ve taken the time to enjoy some little things that I don’t get to enjoy often enough. And I just wanted to drop a quick blog to remind everyone – especially writers – to give yourself permission to breathe and do jack all sometimes, because boredom breeds creativity and a brain focused on creating all the time will get stuck.

I”m off to finish my adorable found family romance and enjoy what’s left of my fuck it all day. Stay safe and healthy out there!