Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Interview Hosted by K.S. Trenten and Quartz

*Knock knock knock*

Does this thing still work at all?

*Blows dust off keyboard and pages, tentatively pokes around all of Darkling Dreams’ nooks and crannies until it thrums to life*

Aha! There we go! What do you know? It still works! *Sneezes, fans away lingering dust* It’s sure been awhile though, hasn’t it? *Looks back at date of last post, cringes* April 22nd to be exact it seems. Time and life has really gotten away from me I’m afraid, and not all of it for the best sadly.

But I’m here now so I might as well make the most of it while I’m here! For however long that may be this time…

hello there

So hello dear darklings! How have you all been? Still kicking I hope. It has been a roller coaster of a few months for me but I’m not here to make excuses for myself anymore, or for my lack of consistency here. Shit happens. Hopefully I will find some semblance of balance and routine in my life but now is not that time so for now I will make the most of what I can here on this blog through my journey. One day I may be here for a bit and the next I will have fallen down the rabbit hole again for weeks, months perhaps. But on this day I am here so let’s get to the point of me being here!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside an author’s head? Listening to their characters babble on all day, bickering with them over plot issues and plot points, giving each other the silent treatment, wanting to throttle them for making your storyline difficult (or is that one just me?), and also loving them because they are yours and they belong only to you.

To you readers this may sound like I’ve gone off the deep end into the loony bin, but I assure you this is a normal day for us socially acceptable insane breed of people — I mean, us writers and authors.

So would you like to see a little further into the characters we breathe life into?

Well, now you have a chance at seeing one of mine break down the fourth wall with me, a fellow author, and one of her own characters as well! Myself and Matt — okay, mostly Matt because this is his show, not mine — are featured right now over on the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration! It’s run by the lovely K.S. Trenten and her segment of monthly interviews called Secondary Characters Speak Out, hosted by none other than her dwarven sidekick Quartz.

(Is Quartz going to despise the fact I called him your sidekick, K.S.?)

For those of you that have followed along with my blog you might recognize the name Matt. It’s been a long time so even I don’t honestly remember if he ever made an appearance in my Snippet Sunday posts for Fated to Darkness, but that is the story he belongs to. And for the first time ever he’s getting a chance to speak out about his character and the series he belongs to, The Dark Heir. If you’re curious hop on over to the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration and join the conversation with myself, Matt, K.S., and Quartz. It’s bound to give you some hints to The Dark Heir series. *Wink, wink*

A big shout out thank you to K.S. and Quartz for having us! It was loads of fun and I hope to return with another secondary character some day.

To sign off for the night I want to leave with a question. Talking and arguing with the characters in my head is something I do on a daily basis as an author — as weird as that may seem to you non-authors out there — and with fellow authors I’m comfortable with my characters tend to speak out on their own in my real conversations as well. As I write now there’s at least one of them nagging to put their two cents into this post. With posts in the future these characters might start making their voices heard through this platform and my other social media. Talking with myself, like Jeff Dunham and his crew of misfits, only it’s not with just myself in some form. As an author if I began letting their voices mingle in with my own, or if say they even decided upon their own segment of posts for news updating or something, would that be a turn off for you readers? Or would it be something you guys would enjoy seeing and would make you want to keep coming back? It is an issue I’m sure numerous authors out there want to express because to us the characters are more than just characters, but not all of the rest of the world sees them as we do. Readers and writers, I want to know what you think.

Reflecting On A Chaotic Win

Camp NaNoWriMo has come to a close for the year 2017, sadly. They always go by so quickly, each time making me realize I am way too close to the cold months, holiday madness, and the big November NaNoWriMo. (Which, as of right now, I have absolutely no idea what I’m working on during that month.)

Camp NaNo 2017 Winner

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017 WINNER!!!

I can officially say I made goal for Camp NaNo in July. It was not a pretty win, but I did make it.

If anyone recalls from my post last Tuesday, I had lowered my goal — on what I thought was the last possible day before validating began — down to a mere 55 pages compared to my hope of 146 at the beginning of July. If you also recall from that post, I had started working daily on the editing for Fated to Darkness with a writing buddy and had made it half way to my original goal with six days left to Camp yet. So yes, I had technically already passed goal and could have stopped but I did wish to see if I could hit my original before the month ended.

I found out a couple days later through my email that Camp NaNo no longer has a cut off date for goal changing. That meant I could officially bump my goal back up so that I would have to keep working every day. (I was going to keep working anyways, but this just gave it a little more motivation. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this change though.)

Truthfully I didn’t bump by goal back up until the 30th, once I determined how much I could manage to get through on the last day of Camp. I didn’t jump to my original 146 pages, but I did jump pretty close to it.

At first I thought I could manage the whole 146, but then I told myself I better be a little bit more safe than sorry. (I’m glad I was.) I was on Chapter 9, and I wanted to get through at least Chapter 10 by the end. Well, turns out Chapter 10 was twenty-some pages long. I told myself I would cut that chapter in half for my final page goal of the month. It ended up evening out to 135 pages, which isn’t bad considering where I sat a week and a half ago at a mere 23 pages.

And yes, I made goal. I validated around nine o’clock Monday night. 31 days, 135 pages, 10.5 pages (including the prologue), and many, many concordance pages. It was probably more like roughly two weeks instead of 31 days after my complete fallout in the middle of the month, but I still did it.

I say I was glad I didn’t tell myself to do the whole 146 pages because my plans for Monday were tweaked after I woke up in excruciating pain that morning. It took me longer than I planned for to get myself up and moving to be able to edit yesterday. I’m still in pain and my movement is limited.

So despite all the hardships and roller coaster rides of July, I can say I put another winner’s certificate in my belt. It didn’t go at ALL how I had planned for the month to go, but I learned one important lesson. Or maybe two…

Perseverance is everything.

If you can push through and keep showing up every single day no matter what, then anything is possible to accomplish. You just have to have enough dare and nerve to do it, and keep doing it.

Secondly, never give up.

No matter how bleak, daunting, far off, or foolish a goal or dream looks, never give up on it when it means something to you. It can be attained with enough effort and perseverance.

Two weeks ago I wanted to give up, and two weeks ago now I learned to simply show up and persevere.

Now I’m one-fifth of the way through the first part of this phase of editing for Fated to Darkness. One milestone down, many more to come to add to my accomplishments list as I watch it grow. Camp NaNo may be over for the year, but I will find a way to keep making myself show up everyday to work.

This month may have been a chaotic mess, but it was in no way a fail even with all the faltering I did. Now’s the time to put what I learned to use outside of the madness that is NaNo:

To stop dreaming so much in the big picture and look at the stepping stones along the way. To stop making the ginormous goals and simply just show up day after day to do some work, even if it isn’t as much as I wanted it to be.

Progress is progress, no matter how small or big it may be.

Bring on August, and bring on the simple daily editing goal.

Now What?

On Sunday I finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness and since then…I have felt like a lost puppy. I’ve sat on my desk chair spinning in a circle because I haven’t known what to work on. I’m so used to working on FtD for so long now that it feels weird to not be working on it, to not be pushing for that end scene yet.

I feel so lost.

There’s still a very palpable sense of grappling for straws on the reality of completing this novel right now. The “now what?” feeling as I try to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s been five days since I finished the novel, but I’m still staring somewhat dumbfounded at the binder that holds my concordance for FtD and at my other WiPs with an “aaaaahhhh….” kind of expression. I could almost just flip a coin to try to figure out what I’m doing.

Granted, there are many, many things I could be doing now.

For starters I could get back to working on Clockwork Heart like I wanted to use part of Camp for. I could use the rest of the year, or however long it takes, to work on that novella/novel. Or I could go back to the very first novel I ever started writing, Breaking Point, and continue that. (The more I look at that novel though the more I need to do some outlining and brainstorming and probably a title change too. To what though I have no idea…sort of.) I could even start outlining Shapeshifter Wings and start work on that. Then there’s the option of starting one of the plentiful, new novel ideas kicking around in my head — like Alice in Court, or Book 2 to The Dark Heir series, or the horse ranch storyline that’s been kicking around up there since I was little that actually has a title and subtitle already.

Or, I could forgo novel work for the time being and start on some short stories. I could write the sequel to The Black Lake, or redo that story altogether to make it better then do the sequel. Or expand and fix up The Beast. I could also poke around at Seductress and see if it leads me anywhere beyond the vague storyline and grand ball scene it has.

On the other hand, I could refocus my efforts to editing instead of writing. I don’t mean editing Fated to Darkness. No no. That is going to sit and wait until I can come back with fresher eyes. I mean that I could take this time now and focus on re-editing, polishing, and maybe expanding Rivers of Black more. The thought has crossed my mind to try to publish the story, but I’m not going to explore that spurt of consciousness any further yet. I don’t want to think about publishing right now…

The fact I have finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness doesn’t mean it’s not going to be touched at all until I’m ready to edit though. I won’t let it collect dust for a couple months. I still have a binder concordance I need to flesh out and finish, and there are multiple notes within my book that I need to find a way to organize and put together in a notebook or something so that as I go along and edit and answer the questions I left myself I’ll be able to avoid plot holes or errors.

There’s still quite a lot of work to do on FtD before I get to the true editing phase. So while I spend the rest of the year — I’m hoping to be done before December, because…holiday — finishing the concordance and finding a way to organize those notes and questions to myself, I am going to be working on something else as well. I would like an entire month of letting FtD sit completely ready for edits before I do dive into full on scrutiny paper edits, but until then there’s lots left to do.

My tentative plan right now as I start to get the ball rolling again is to get working on the concordance and an organization technique for the notes/questions I left. In doing that, I will be reading through my entire novel, which also means that while I’m reading I can minimally fix light edits. Say a missed word, or the wrong version of a word, missing quotation marks, and so forth. The things that won’t require me stopping for an hour on one paragraph to make it sound the best it can possibly be. Doing this will make the paper edits a little less daunting in red marks.

That’s the plan for Fated to Darkness from here till December. *Prays I can be ready by then*

Because I don’t want to lose the next six or seven months with no writing to show for it — well, that wouldn’t have happened anyways because of July’s Camp NaNo and November’s NaNo — I am going to work on something alongside the next stage of FtD. I believe that “now what?” feeling is going to be geared toward writing Clockwork Heart and trying to finish that story this year, as well as re-editing Rivers of Black.

Actually, my original goal of May was to re-edit Rivers of Black finally since I kind of failed on that one last year. Perhaps that will actually happen now that FtD is done. Then again, I had expected Clockwork Heart to only be a short story and already be done by this time too, but…

Yeah, the universe hasn’t been kind to me this year in more ways than one.

But that’s the plan for now. I guess I’ll see how it works out, though I don’t have many expectations for it. I’ve learned better at this point. The hardest part I think is going to be finding a balance between these three projects now when my life is already so screwy and unpredictable.

Or, maybe, the hardest part is going to be finding the heart that says it’s worth it again…

Declaring A Win And A Completion

Camp NaNo 2017 Winner

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2017 WINNER!!!

That’s right. I managed to pull off the win on the very last day of Camp. As predicted, after the long work week I had, I totally blew getting anything done on Saturday. So come Sunday I was up and writing from the moment I woke up to get that final 5,669 words I needed. Come to think of it, I didn’t even stop to eat until I had validated, which by that point was definitely dinner time. Whoops…

But I pulled off the win! Hooray! *Throws confetti*

30 days, 30,058 words (30,053 after validating), 65 pages, and 4.5 chapters plus a blurb.

It may not have been a pretty win this month, but it’s a win. And guess what else?

That’s right, baby.

Fated to Darkness is FINISHED!!!


Excuse me while I scream, cry, laugh, and essentially freak out internally for a little bit again.

I can’t believe I’m finally typing those words. I’m in shock. It’s a dream come true. (Or, well, the beginning of a dream come true.) I actually did it. I actually finished my first full length novel after almost three years of working on it with NaNoWriMo’s and spare time.

And this isn’t just any novel to me. This is the first book of the series that is my heart and soul. The storyline that has been kicking around in my head since I was a little girl. The characters that have literally grown up with me in my head. They’ve been waiting for this to happen for as long as I’ve been waiting for it to happen.

I finally did it.

Book 1 of The Dark Heir chronicles is complete.

I’m still in shock, and I’m definitely still freaking out internally. *Happy dances*

This whole month, this whole book, has been a roller coaster. I started out this Camp with the intentions of having Fated to Darkness finished within the first week so I could spend the rest of the month working on Clockwork Heart. (Obviously I didn’t get to work on Clockwork Heart at all.) But I was both excited and scared out of my mind to finish this novel.

I struggled to get through the end of this book for many reasons ranging from frustration to hesitance, but I made it and I managed to type these words for the first time in my life:

end book 1

When I got to those words — which I’m not going to leave them in come edits, I just wanted to be able to write them, lol — I had to stop and just stare at my Word doc while I tried to process the fact that I actually did it.

It was quite an interesting day of writing on Sunday to get to that point. Because I was so frustrated with Chapter 41, I left it off with my lengthy ranting note to redo the chapter. I didn’t try to pick up from where I had stopped, but I did jump ahead just a little to the end of the chapter where I knew how it was going to go down to the smallest detail.

Once I got to that part the words just started flowing again full force. The end of Chapter 41 went down without a hitch — though it could use a bit more bang — and I went onto writing the Epilogue. (That was another word I had to stare at whenever I typed it because I couldn’t believe I was seeing it.) I thought the Epilogue was going to be a bit difficult to write because I have to be very careful in what I reveal in it. (No I’m not going to tell you why. Mwahaha!) Surprisingly it didn’t give me the issues I thought it was going to, and it even ended up setting up the Prologue for Book 2!

Of course once I got to writing the words “End Book 1” I realized I was about 150 words short of hitting goal for Camp.

Go. Figure.

I was not going to write a 150 words of something new or another WiP, and I realized the blurb I made years ago for Fated to Darkness needed some tweaking and kind of sucked. So you know what I did? Yep, I took that final little spurt of words and wrote another blurb!

Gods I hate blurbs…

This one wasn’t that bad to write though, shockingly.

It got me to the NaNo win so that’s all I cared about. I just can’t believe I’m going to be setting this novel aside now for awhile so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. I miss my characters already. I miss Kailyn, and Matt, and Gods…I even miss Ciara, the evil bitch. It feels really weird to not be working on their novel. I feel lost.

Granted, I’m not putting it away completely yet, there’s still a few things I need to do with it before I’m ready to begin editing — which I plan to be the start of next year — but I still miss them already.

But alas, the explanation of that headache stuff I need to do, as well as my next plans, can wait a couple days. After all, I’m still celebrating my win and the completion of my first full length novel.

Camp may not have gone the way I had planned for it to go last month, but it will definitely be one that goes down in my history books. I did it, baby! Now excuse me while I go celebrate some more and squeal in happiness.

Final Days and Final Chapters

This is it.

In more ways than one.

The final days of Camp NaNo are here. Only three days left to write to get the win. Now is the time to push hard and commit yourself to losing sleep if you still have a long way to go. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) Now is definitely the time to panic and make a mad dash for the finish line as you curse to yourself for procrastinating so much earlier in the month.

My brain to me: If you hadn’t procrastinated so much and stuck to your self-imposed day off work goals, do you realize how many words you could have had by this time? Do you realize how far you’d be in Clockwork Heart too?

*Dead stare* Unfortunately my brain has a point. I really did slack this month on Camp. If I had stuck to my self-imposed 5k word goal days on the days I have off work, I would have had 60k alone just from those days already, 70k by the 30th. And that wouldn’t be including my word sprint days or any words I wrote on work days.

Sixty thousand words! If I had just held myself more accountable throughout the month, and stopped hesitating and being so unsure about finishing the novel. But no, I essentially screwed myself this month.

The funny thing is… Okay, maybe it’s not funny, but more like a distant sobbing moment of yelling at myself. Anywho, I’ve said throughout this month I had hoped for a repeat of last year’s Camp NaNo in April where I did 61k in a month. My Facebook “On this day blah-blah years ago…” throwback post ended up showing me my win status from last year’s Camp NaNo in April today, when I did that 61k.

I looked at it and just started sobbing internally, wishing I could have done that again. I validated two days early last year, with that 61k, and somehow managed 128 pages and completed six and a half chapters, plus starting a new one.

I’m nowhere close to that this year.

I wonder if part of my reluctance this month to write was not just because I was going to finish the novel and that both scared and excited me, but also because I hate splitting my NaNo project into two separate novels. It’s weird to me to do that. I don’t know why, I’m just strange like that, and a bit of an OCD nit picker.

Even though I didn’t get to up my goal at all this month, I’m more than likely still going to run into the issue of needing a thousand to two thousand words of…something to hit goal.


I don’t know for sure. Right now the only thing I know for sure is I want to rip my hair out on this final chapter. It’s…ugh. I don’t even have words anymore except a fluent, colorful string of curses and some screaming.

The chapter is worse than sucking now.

It still feels fake and forced, and there’s still no bang to it or tension like I envisioned. The scene in my head is not flowing out through the fingertips in the slightest. It’s maddening, it’s infuriating. I’m so damn frustrated over this chapter that I was inches away from deleting it to start over Wednesday night.

And I don’t do that. I don’t delete to start over. That’s what editing is for.

Believe it or not on top of the this total hell week of work — no it has not gotten any better at all, let’s just say that by Wednesday I had more hours on the clock than my boss, and I’ve still got one more shift tonight — I did manage to do some writing Wednesday night with a friend, about a thousand words I think. And…

Well, the writing went something like this:

-*Is writing*
-*On the final chapter of Book 1*
-*Nothing is going according to plan or how I can see it in my head*
-*Mentally starts to throttle both my main characters*
-*Whole chapter feels forced, fake, and non-directional; hate every bit of what I’m writing*
-*Keeps writing anyways because that’s what you do*
-*Starts to think I’m finding the groove finally and getting on track*

Five minutes later….

-*One main character says something they shouldn’t, and AREN’T, supposed to make known*
-*Starts swearing like a sailor*
-*Bashes head off wall*
-*Throttles characters even more*
-*Stops writing and leaves lengthy ranting note to rewrite the whole damn thing because I give up on this chapter because it royally sucks monkey balls*


I’m that frustrated with Chapter 41.

Never before have I been this fed up and frustrated with a chapter. Never before have I wanted to delete something so badly and start over with it. Never before have I said I’m skipping the chapter and moving on to the next one because I don’t do that.

But guess what?

That’s exactly what I’m doing for the first time.

I don’t know why this chapter is so hard to write, but it is driving me insane. Is it because it’s the final chapter of the book? The big cliffhanger ending and the final show down? Is it because I know if the ending is no good then no one will want to read Book 2? Is it because I need it to be perfect because it’s the end of the first book?

Whatever the reason is for this chapter being so damn hard I am still ripping my hair out and screaming over it. It’s a miracle I didn’t throw something (like my laptop) Wednesday night when I got to the point of giving up on it. I was ranting up a storm.

One friend offered to take a look at the chapter and give me any pointers or opinions, and surprisingly — after a lot of hesitating — I finally agreed. I mean, I’ve never showed a whole chapter of Fated to Darkness to anyone before. This story is my heart and soul, this series is my heart and soul of writing. I was terrified out of my mind to show it to someone, especially completely unedited, and especially because it sucks monkey balls in my eyes.

But perhaps that was part of my problem. I’m so close to it and in knowing what it should be, that I can’t see what it really is. So eventually I agreed and sent the chapter to her for a fresh set of eyes. To my complete and utter dumbfounded shock, they actually liked it. That for a first draft they found it pretty good, and with coherent thought.

I was…speechless.

Hell, I’m still speechless over that.

Granted, they didn’t know the full context of the rest of the book since this was the very end, so it’s hard to give more specific pointers or opinions, but just the fact that they said they liked it and it was pretty good for a very first draft with no editing yet blew me away. I will admit it lessened my frustration and doubt a little. It lifted my confidence just enough that I debated on continuing to write the chapter as it was with my character’s blunder to see where it went, but I haven’t. I’m reluctant to let that train continue because I know she was not supposed to let known what she did.

It can’t happen. Just can’t.

So that leaves me back at square one on wondering what to do about the chapter.

Another friend suggested two things: Either keep writing and see where it leads me, or stop and write another version of it where the screw up moment doesn’t happen.

Writing a second version of a chapter is something I’ve never done before. I’ve always been reluctant too because I think that makes for a double headache in the editing phase, and I also believe that if your second version happens in the middle of the book, it can royally mess with details all throughout the rest of the book. That was a maze of confusion and editing nightmares that I did not want.

If I end up rewriting and changing some things in edits later, fine, I’ll deal with the out of place or missing details then, but I’ve never wanted the hair pulling of multiple options to edit with.

However, for the fact this is the final chapter of the novel and a second version wouldn’t affect anything more than the Epilogue perhaps, I’m toying with the idea of writing a second version just to see what happens. There’s a chance the second version and first version could both have the parts I need combined to be what I’m looking for. I think I’m starting to lean toward writing a second version just to see where it takes me.

Even if it’s complete and utter shit too at least it’s words written for Camp and provides me with more options or ideas for when I come back to it in edits. I mean, once I finish the chapter it will sit for a long time before I reach it again, and by then I might have fresh eyes on the crap I wrote and not find it as big a pile of crap as I think it is now.

Who knows, and I won’t know until I get to that point.

She also gave me another piece of advice that I think I need to print and frame and hang where I can see it every day:


Butt on Chair, Fingers on Keyboard.

(Read the link, it’s like a mini pep talk. Which is exactly why I need to print and frame it. Thank you, P.T.)

Right now though I still need 5,669 words to hit goal for Camp, with only three days left and one more work shift to go. So I better put my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard as soon as I can. I’m hoping that final 5.7k of words will entail only Fated to Darkness, but I’m not sure the characters will manage that, and I don’t want to be dragging things out just to make that happen. On the other hand, I still don’t know what I can finish with if I need more words because I’m reluctant to do a thousand or so of Clockwork Heart this late in the month.

I think what I’m going to do is skip forward and write the Epilogue to see how that goes, and to put some distance between myself and Chapter 41. Depending how many words are left at that point I’ll go back and try to write a second version of that last chapter. At the very least I’ll skip the hard part of the chapter right now and write the very end of it, because I know exactly how that part goes down. I’ve known how those final pages end since the very beginning of this novel. I can at least write that part without issue I know, and then find a way to tie it all together in edits.

But as soon as I finish the Epilogue and that little bit, I have officially finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness, Book 1 of The Dark Heir chronicles.

I’m oh so close…

Now I’m just praying the Epilogue doesn’t give me as much trouble as Chapter 41 has, because I know it’s going to be a bit tricky to write as well. Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck for smooth sailing on the Epilogue because this is it.

This is the final days of NaNo, and this is the final chapters of Fated to Darkness. If my next post isn’t a declaration of a win and the completion of this novel, then my dear followers, do smack me.

Five More Days

Five more days.

There’s just five more days left to the first Camp NaNoWriMo of 2017.

Remember on Friday I had said I had a huge writing sprint of 8.2k words and had caught up to par and even surpassed it again, even finishing the chapter I was on? Remember that I was excited and confident that I’m oh so close to the end now?

Heh, yeah, I’m not excited anymore. And I’m no longer at par. Once again I’m 2k below, and my odds of getting any word count added until possibly Saturday or Friday night is slim to nothing.


It’s been a rough weekend, and yesterday started five days of work hell. (Our assistant manager is on vacation which leaves three of us to run the store, and more hours than I want because of NaNo.) What makes it even worse is all the shifts I got are the long ass early afternoon till close. The shifts I don’t ever get a damn thing done at home with. Why I get all the closing shifts and the other keyholder gets all the openings is beyond me. I don’t see how that’s fair but whatever.

I am ending up with one opening shift instead of five straight days of closing, only because they needed to switch shifts with me due to previous commitments that were overlooked. But switching the shift also leaves me with even more hours, as well as two long ass back to back close and open shifts that always kill me.

So, yeah, I’m not expecting to get any words written until Friday or Saturday, which then leaves me three days — not even — to write 6,811 words.

I know it’s doable for me if I can do 8k in a day, but I also know from experience by Friday I am going to be so worn out that my motivation and energy to write is probably going to be non-existent. Which means Saturday will pretty much be a bust day more than likely, and I’ll have to write all that on Sunday.

And did I mention there might have to be some other things I do that weekend to help get ready because there are only three free weekends before the camping season starts for me.

In other words, I’m starting to worry, and stress — more than I already am over too much shit, and panic.

Five more days, and 6,811 more words.

And four more work days of hell. If they’re anything like how yesterday’s shift went, I am done.

It’s not just the stress and frustration dragging me down on writing again either. I started the final chapter to Fated to Darkness on Sunday — not the Epilogue, but the final number chapter — and I could see it in my head as this tension-filled, edge of the seat, drama and action extravaganza. I could see it perfectly right after I had finished Chapter 40 last week, when I was on a roll.

I should have said fuck sleep and kept going when I was on the roll last week.

This chapter is…sucking now.

It feels like I’m pulling teeth and everything feels almost…fake. There’s no real tension to it, I can’t even tell where the damn dialogue is going. I’m essentially drowning in this chapter and not getting where I wanted it to be. It doesn’t have an ounce of the bang I wanted, and I want to rip my hair out and throw it across the room.

Quite honestly, I want to just skip it and go write the Epilogue, but I don’t do that.

Maybe it’s the last few horrible days getting to me that has stunted how the chapter was supposed to go. Maybe I’m writing crap because my emotions are crap right now.

I don’t know, but the frustration and lack of excitement to it now is certainly not helping the fact I’m running out of time to get the NaNo win.

I’ll be glad when this week is over. I think I’ll be glad when NaNo is over, too, and I don’t normally say that. And I’m about ten seconds away from just hitting delete on his post instead of publish. Am I just ranting instead of talking about NaNo and writing because I’m fed up and have no one to talk to?

Gaining Momentum

We are officially in the home stretch of April’s Camp NaNo madness. Only nine days left. Yesterday the site officially announced that validating had begun, and to those who don’t follow NaNoWriMo that means that there’s no more changing your goal. It is set in stone now so if you’re slacking, you better light a fire under your butt and work like mad to come out with that win.

Validating is essentially the proof that you did the work throughout the month. If you’re using Camp to write it means you have to copy and paste every single word you wrote that month into the little box they provide and click validate so it can compute the number of words to prove you haven’t lied on your word count.

(Which is exactly why I write everything for NaNo in a separate Word doc. It makes it that much easier to copy and paste at the end, and that much easier to update your word count during the month.)

Then if validating accepts your progress as a win… Voila! You get a nice big winner badge, banner, gold star, and goodies! Not to mention the satisfaction that you made it! That might be the best part about the win.

(I’m not quite sure how validating works for anyone who’s used Camp to edit by page numbers, or an X-number of hours put into working on writing-related projects that month. That part is still really knew to me and I’ve never used it.)

So with only nine days left to the madness, where am I sitting at now?

On Tuesday’s post I was sorely failing in all accounts for NaNo. I was below par by 5k and I had blown every single day off I had in a four day stretch for writing.

Before I went to bed Tuesday I forced myself to write. I had a little help from a friend who wrote with me, and I also had a little bit of motivation in the form of a snail-mail letter bribe if I hit 2k before I went to bed, and that eventually got me going. Needless to say, I ended up making the 2k before I crashed around 4am.

Wednesday was my final day off, and my last chance to get some serious words written. Of course, it’s also my Shard day, and I had a couple errands and menial chores I needed to run as well. Unfortunately. That meant my writing didn’t start till late afternoon again, but once I got started…

There was literally no stopping me. The apocalypse could have started and I would not have stopped writing. I was on fire, the words were just rolling right off my fingers, bleeding over the keyboard. You would have had to pry me away with a crowbar, kicking and screaming bloody murder, to get me to stop writing.

At the start of Wednesday I didn’t think I was going to catch up to par, I was still 4k below once midnight hit that evening, even with the 2k I did the night before. I expected at the most to get maybe another 2k or so and then that would be it.

So boy was I blown away when my final numbers showed I had managed to write 8.2k in twenty-four hours by the time I crashed for bed Wednesday night — which was again somewhere around 4am.

Not only did I catch up to par, I passed it by 1.2k again. I’m still caught up to par right now, and I haven’t done any writing since late Wednesday night thanks to work and exhaustion. (Granted once midnight hits I will drop 800 words below par again, but I have a nice, free, undisturbed night tomorrow after work, and I am going to use it.)

You know the best part about my 8.2k frenzy?

Chapter 40 is finished.

I am one chapter closer to the end of Fated to Darkness.

I’m on the final chapter, and after that is completed all that is left to write is a short Epilogue. The first draft of Fated to Darkness will finally be completed after almost three years.

I have no words. None.

The range of emotions coursing through me over that fact are unreal.

I will finish this novel this month. I won’t get to bump my goal up any now because I struggled so much in the beginning of the month, and I won’t be getting to write anything in Clockwork Heart for the month more than likely — at the very most it might be one or two thousand words, if that. I’m not going to have a 60k month like I did last year in April, but I will be finishing this novel, and right now that is all I can ask for.

Nine days left. Only 8,750 more words to validate.

April’s win, here I come. My momentum and motivation are back, baby, and I can see the end of the novel that much closer within my reach.

Camp Creatures And Eureka! Moments

Happy Camp NaNoWriMo!

Camp NaNo 2017

The first plunge into madness for 2017 has finally begun! Hooray! I’ll be honest, I’m quite a fan of the banners and icons they have for Camp this year. They even named some creatures to pertain to writing and novels. Like the infamous, abundant Plot Bunny pictured above on the banner. I’m not quite sure why the bunny has antlers, unless they’re supposed to represent the branches of scenes and story that make up a plot.

I totally pulled that from thin air but it actually makes sense.

I think my other favorite creature they came up with is the Block Ness Monster. It’s just so perfect in so many ways. They also had the Darewolf, Chore Grizzly, Guilt Monkey, and Storysquatch.

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I think I might end up using these creatures when I talk about writing now, just to reference them. Like when I’m stuck and I’m screaming at my story, I’m going to yell, “Get out of my way Block Ness Monster!” Or something along those lines. I love it.

So onto the stories of NaNo so far!

I did start writing the eve of NaNo before I went to bed. I was a little bit late starting because I was distracted by things and amused with other stuff, but I did write before crashing. I ended up not going to be till about 5am, but I got a little over 2k written and finished Chapter 38 that night.

I will admit I’ve been slacking the first few days already. I mean, I had four days off in a row — today is my last day off, which, heh, work tried to call me in, I didn’t pick up or ever respond — but I should have had oodles of words written by the end of tonight!

As I did in past NaNo’s, I should have had 5k written for each day off. My own little personal goal I set for myself in past years because normally on work days I’m lucky if I do any writing depending on the shift, and rarely do I have more than one day off in a row to gain any momentum. Welcome to the wonderful life of retail. *Heavy sarcasm*

With that math, by tonight I should have a word count of roughly 20k already written. And, ah, yeah. I don’t.

At the end of the first day I was just under 5k. I was tired that day because I was woken up early with less than five hours of sleep from my late night by a whole lot of banging and voices coming through the vents. Gotta love when you have to fix a vehicle. I also had a spontaneous road trip so that didn’t help productivity too much. Lack of sleep helped even less after the week of work I had before Saturday.

Day 2, which was Sunday, of NaNo I severely slacked and I don’t think I wrote anything. I was kind of bleh that day and I also had to get through my taxes so the day was kind of shot when I add on my shows for Sunday night. Or, well, show now. No more plural. ABC cancelled Time After Time with no warning right in the middle of the first season. I was so pissed. Still pissed.

Yesterday was sorta, kinda better. I didn’t start writing until later at night, but I also had a major eureka moment. And I mean like…


…kind of major.

Jumping up and down, grinning from ear to ear, squealing uncontrollably kind of eureka moment. The kind where I run through my house crazily to get a drink and make my parents wonder if I won the lottery or something in my excitement. (Winning the lottery would be nice though, because then I could quit my job and just write.)

Surprisingly, my eureka moment didn’t come from a shower this time. I was meaninglessly scrolling through Facebook, trying to find my motivation to write, and I think I was looking at the cover of Paranormal Pleasures, staring at my name in print when suddenly motivation reared its head hard and nearly knocked me off my feet like this:

“You know what, dammit, I want to publish my first standalone novel this year and that is not going to happen with me sitting here mindlessly on social media. I’m going to write. I’m going dark for several hours until words bleed from my fingertips onto the page. And I have absolutely no idea where this is coming from so strongly all of a sudden but I am running with it dammit. Onwards! To Word, and to fantasy lands! *Holds out sword and pen, charges away from the internet*
(Yep. I’ve definitely lost my mind.)”

So at that point I did go dark. However, I managed about 200 words before I started to hit a brick wall. That’s when I realized my lack of excitement for NaNo the first two nights while working on Chapter 38 was because I was unsure exactly how the final chapters were supposed to go, and I was still trying to figure out my Epilogue issue. If anyone remembers my post from Friday I had a slight break through on the Epilogue, but it still wasn’t fitting perfectly.

My problem wasn’t a lack of excitement and motivation this time around, after all, it was that I was unsure how to work out the end of the novel without knowing how to fix my Epilogue. I mean, I was only 2.5 chapters away from the Epilogue, I had to figure it out soon.

Instead of writing then, I grabbed my fidget cube and started pacing my room, talking to myself and in the mirror as I tried to work out what was going to happen. I ran through multiple scenarios of, “Okay, what if she does this instead of this, how would that affect the end?”. That eventually made me realize I needed to change the timeline between Chapter 38 — which I just finished — and Chapter 39, the chapter I was stuck and dragging on at the moment.

By realizing I need to change the timeline just a bit to allow more time in between the chapters so it would fit my original outline and plotline, I stumbled across where the chapter needed to go, and how the next chapter needed to work. That then lead me to working out kinks to better fit my original ending of the novel and then suddenly…


The solution to my Epilogue was slapping me in the face, all with a simple town scene, all with a single character showing their face in my head. It was perfect. Instead of using the character I thought of in my shower inspiration, I could use a different character I had never introduced yet, but someone who would become important in the next book. My Mystery Man character would hold the similarity I needed to match to leave my readers on cliffhangers and questions as the hook of the end of my book, and it still allowed me to the use the Epilogue how I originally planned for.

It was absolutely perfect!

I spent probably a good ten to fifteen minutes squealing and jumping around because I was so happy over the fix. (It’s an author thing, don’t judge me.) After that I grabbed paper and pen and feverishly began to record everything step by step I had just figured out in my head. I even went to a couple friends to run a scenario past them to see if they, as the reader, would assume and react in the way I was thinking the reader would.

(It’s not easy being author, reader, and character all at once. At one point I even threw my pen across the room and grabbed another because it stopped working and I didn’t have time for that.)

To my excitement, they pretty much assumed what I had hoped for, and after that I was all set. I’m still going to have to be careful with the Epilogue so I don’t give away anything I don’t want to, but I have my fix and that was all I had hoped for at the moment.

An hour and a half later of pacing my room talking to myself, reciting character lines out loud to see how they would react, much squealing and yelling, feverish writing of two and half pages of scribbled notes, and somehow a pulled muscle in my neck — don’t ask, I still don’t know how, and I finally had the FINAL two and a half chapters and the Epilogue all planned out.

No more uncertainty. No more plot holes. No more hesitance.

I can write like the wind from here on out in this novel, and that’s exactly what I did afterwards. I sat back down around 1am and just wrote. No distractions. Just music, my notes, my Word doc, my characters, and my fingers bleeding away on the page. A little over two hours later and I had written about 5k words and had finished Chapter 39.

There’s only two chapters plus my Epilogue left to write in this novel and I will officially be done with the first draft. I seriously can’t believe I’m saying that. I will be done with the first draft of the first novel that is my heart and soul series. Ho-ly. Shit.

I think my estimate of 20k to finish this novel might be a little bit off, but I don’t think it’s going to surpass 25k. I only have three full chapters to write altogether, and I’m pretty sure the Epilogue is going to be short. Chapter 40 will be the longest one, and Chapter 41 won’t be too long I don’t think, depending how much drama this final scene ends up bringing.

But I’m almost there! *SQUEALS!*

I’m half terrified and half excited to finish this first draft. Like, AHHHH!

Two more and the Epilogue and then I can move onto Clockwork Heart for the month, because I do want to finish and release that novella/novel this year. As of last night I’m just over 9k words for Camp this month already, I think by tomorrow I might be near 15k. Right after I hit the post button on this bad boy I’m jumping into starting Chapter 40. Once I grab a snack to munch on too.

End of the novel, here I come!

Plot Bunnies! Plot Bunnies Everywhere!

Every author out there knows showers and baths can be our greatest source of inspiration for new ideas or plot fixes. However, they don’t always comply with the stories we want the idea or fix for. Why you ask? Simple. Because that would be too easy.

The other day as I was trying to figure out why I was staring through a keyhole at the White Rabbit for my Shard I was completely out of inspiration other than associating it with Alice in Wonderland. Naturally – while I was trying to determine the opposite of wonder – I told my friends I was going to go chase the rabbit down the drainpipe and see where it lead me.

A half hour later of shower pondering and EUREKA!

I had inspiration!

For the Wrong. Damn. Story.

I eventually figured out where the rabbit was leading me by the end of the shower, but the White Rabbit was not the plotline my brain original solved. No. Not even close. Instead, my mind decided to wander down a different path and throw me a possible solution to my epilogue issue for Fated to Darkness. I mean, I’m not totally sold that it will work yet, and it definitely needs some playing around with to make it work, but…it might work, and still allow me to use the epilogue how I wished to without hinting a major spoiler. Either way, I’m going to be playing carefully with words and description when I write this epilogue.

More than likely it’s still going to give me a headache no matter what.

But this eureka moment is a good start!

You know what else every author out there knows? That you can never have too many plot bunnies. Never ever. And that we need to invent immortality to write them all, but even then we’d never write them all because they would. Just. Keep. Coming.

Unfortunately, a cure to mortality has not yet been found.

But when I say they just keep coming, I mean that they literally never stop. In the midst of chasing the White Rabbit down my drainpipe and then writing the Shard, the whole thing suddenly took off with a full storyline and complete conflict and even a half spurted scene in my head and then, and then…!

Then guess who had another full on novel idea?

Yep. Me.

Just another novel screaming for attention now. A darkened, twisted, slightly altered version of Alice in Wonderland. All from a single picture. All from a Wednesday Word prompt. All from a simple, seemingly harmless Shard.

It’s not harmless anymore.

Alice in Wonderland has now become Alice in Court, and Alice is demanding her twisted version of the story be written before she decides to checkmate me instead of the Black Queen. (It makes sense in my head, I swear.) What makes this storyline even better is that a friend told me the copyrights to Disney for that story and characters are long past, which means I could still use the same names and all. Granted, I might change the name of Wonderland for the realm. I’m thinking something like Dreadland, but I need to play with it because the whole storyline evolves around a game of human chess, in a twisted way.

It’s amazing in my head right now. I was grinning from ear to ear for a good long while after writing the Shard.

If I’m keeping score too, this is probably about the sixth or seventh Shard screaming at me to become way more than flash fiction piece. (I’m blaming you, P.T.) Let’s count them all, shall we?

Starting from the beginning of my Shards, first there was Accident Twin that’s been vying for a plotline for awhile now. Originally it was sparked from a conversation with a friend. Then there’s One Little Secret that was originally sparked years ago by a simple phrase. After that came Embermyst, which most of my followers should know I did finish as a short story and got it published with Victory Tales Press last October. Mercy Me started to really nag at me too for it’s own storyline in at least a short story of some sort, so did Dead Souls Walking. After that Clockwork Heart reared its head, and that one is becoming either a short story or a novella, probably a novella. It’s also partly what I’ll be working on next month for Camp. Traitor is trying for its own novel, and one day probably will be its own because it involves a huge secondary – partly another main – character of Fated to Darkness. It would be a prequel kind of novel. Then there’s Betrayal in Duty, which is still trying rather hard to spark something more then the general idea I have already, but hasn’t gotten any further than the Shard yet. Dragonstone was rearing its head pretty damn hard, and really making me want to write a dragon/elf/leprechaun cross fantasy story. Last of all is Alice in Court now with a full on novel idea.

Ten. That’s ten Shards trying very hard to become something more than a Shard.

I’m going to need a lot more NaNo’s to write all of these, along with all the other novel ideas and half finished or partly started novels I already have, plus all the other ones planned in my head involving series or standalones or… UGH. I need to become immortal.

When is too many plot bunnies too many again?

Oh, right, never they say.

Well, at least two of them will be worked on in April. One of which will finally be finished!

Maybe I need to stop writing flash fiction so I stop sparking so many ideas.


Nah! Why would I do that when they’re fun and a good exercise for writing? Besides, I’m on my fourth week in a row with a place in the #ThursThreads challenge hosted by a fellow Snippeteer author! I got an honorable mention again this week! The best part about this week’s mention is it’s the 5th anniversary of the challenge which means there were prizes! Woooohooooo!

(I will share my honorable mention tale at the end of this post.)

Now, moving on a bit since it IS the eve of first Camp NaNoWriMo of 2017…

There’s a half hour left until the plunge into madness of Camp NaNo begins for me and my normal excitement for the challenge is revving its engine full strength! (I mean, that could also be attributed to the fact I’ve had a Monster coffee, but…) I can’t wait for it to start, because my first order of business is finishing Fated to Darkness! And I’ve got the first four days of April off to write like crazy! (Thank the Gods too because everything has gone to hell the past two days. I need a vacation, badly. I need a campfire and alcohol is more like it.)

Who else is participating in Camp this month? What do you plan to work on? What’s your crazy goal?

I’ll be starting my writing at midnight, per normal tradition for me now. Expect all the stories of Camp NaNo for next month of blog posts, it’s sure to be a fun ride!

And now I’ll leave you with my honorable mention tale to sign off for the week again:

The blast knocked me off my feet. Debris pelted me with an alarming force, tearing at my skin and clothes. Plumes of smoke and dust swallowed my vision and sucked away the air from the world around me.

My ears were ringing loudly, normal sound was muffled and far off. Cries. Screaming. Weeping. Shouting. Car alarms blaring in the background.

Anguish. I could hear anguish, and pain. Panic.


I coughed and shakily pushed myself up to sit. My gaze traveled upwards. Smoke and flames licked the sky from the center of the 911 call center I had been walking past. Ash and dirt rained from the explosions like a spring shower. My eyes drifted around the block, ears still buzzing with a thousand bees.

Someone was scream-crying to my right, mere feet away, yelling someone’s name. A little boy was sprawled unnaturally at the woman’s side. Crushed under a too large chunk of cement blocks. Blood was pooling rapidly around his head.

Dead. He was already dead.

People were running frantically, passing by in a blur. A man tripped over my legs, then kept limping along. I pushed up more.

“Ma’am? Are you alright, ma’am? Can you hear me? Don’t move now.”

The bees in my ears quieted slightly and I registered the pedestrian kneeling at my side, checking me over. First responder training? Maybe. Another explosion rumbled the ground and I looked to the burning building. Someone else screamed shrilly.


I heard someone yell terror attack.

thursthreads honorable mention badge year 5

And here is what thy judge said about my tale: No, the narrator is not alright. Are any of us, knowing that scenes like that take place all over the world day after day? Sometimes we need to crawl into the darkness to understand the problem.

Ready Or Not, Here Comes Camp NaNo

Does anyone remember me mentioning several times throughout the last three months that my plan was to finish Fated to Darkness before the start of Camp NaNo so I could use Camp to write Clockwork Heart?

Well, regarding those plans, Camp NaNo is only three days away from starting now and…

Holy shit there’s only three days left till Camp NaNo starts.

*Panics slightly for a moment*

Okay. Okay. I’m calm. I’m very calm. I also have nothing ready for Camp NaNo and only three — and a half technically — days left to plan, all of which are swallowed up with horrendous work shifts and…

Crap. Crap crap crap crap. Or, as a friend would say, slertha!

(Yes, I just swore in a made up language from another book. I’m allowed to, I’m good friends with the author. An author who also created another made up curse word on behalf of a monster plot of mine, which Facebook so kindly reminded me of from two years ago today. LOL.)

Right. Plans. Camp NaNo. Getting back on track here.

Anyways, my original plan was to finish Fated to Darkness before Camp rolled around, because, dammit, I’ve been working on this novel for far too long now. Like, four Camp NaNo’s and one NaNoWriMo. That’s two and a half years! ARG!

When I set that as my plan I knew it was doable because I only had roughly five chapters left to write. And I’ve made progress! I’m down to three and a half chapters, pending a possible epilogue too. I don’t know. I want to do the epilogue, but I’m worried how spoilerish it might be unless I can leave a huge question to it so readers don’t guess something major that comes down the line. I want an epilogue either way, somehow, because I’m using them to show what is going on in other important character’s lives, or what’s going on in the realm period. I need them for added information and buildup.

I just… Ugh. Right now this epilogue is giving me a headache thinking about. And don’t even get me started on the prologue I wrote for this book. It’s suddenly been bothering me that I wrote it in first person instead of third and I’m now wondering if that was a good idea or not.

I’m having difficulties here!

And I’m getting off track, again. I do that a lot…


Unless I can write three and a half chapters, and figure out the epilogue, within three and a half days on top of horrendous work shifts and a large lack of sleep coming up thanks to work shifts, I am not going to finish Fated to Darkness before Camp starts like I had hoped.

I am writing though. I went dark last night in hopes of finishing the chapter I’m on, but it’s not moving as quickly as I had expected it to end. I did add 2.2k words to it though. So it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing but walks and yard work. I’m banking part of my boosted motivation and productivity on the fact it’s finally Spring and warm out with sunshine and birdsong and color and… Oh Spring; how I missed you. It’s amazing how much Spring uplifts me and kicks me into gear again. No wonder I hate Winter so much, other than the snow and cold.

Since the odds of me finishing this novel in three and a half days is about the same odds of perfecting time travel right now, I’m going to have to start Camp with the project of finishing this novel. I’m hoping it’s maybe about 20k from the end. I’m horrible at estimating length though soooo… Fingers crossed it’s about 20k, because this novel is going to make me cry in editing. (Do not ask me how long it is, I will lie.)

My tentative goal for Camp NaNo right now is 30k because there’s thirty days in April. I will see how the first couple weeks go of Camp and if I’ll make that goal and blow it away as I did last year in April, or if I’ll struggle and need to lower it. Once I see how close I am after the first two weeks, I adjust to something else.

One month I did 61k, the next Camp I only managed 35k. (This was last year April and July.) So it all depends on what’s going on that month for me, and how much I feel like killing myself. Considering Easter falls in April this year, and work is now shorthanded for this season because we lost a manager, I’m betting I will not have a lot of time to write for the first couple weeks. Even after that things might be fucktastic because one less manager means more hours that I really did not want right now.

I want the time off this year to be able to really focus on writing and reach further for my dreams, not extra hours. Sure, the paycheck is nice, but when I look back at the end of this year to see if I accomplished what I wanted and I might not have thanks to work, I’m going to resent the paycheck instead. I’ll also probably end up tossing around the idea in my head that I need to quit my day job to focus solely on writing and trying to make a name for myself. Believe me, that idea has been kicking around in my head this year already.

Although, for the sake of my writing, I have started putting in requests for days off in which I can focus on just writing. I don’t feel guilty about doing that anymore. I took the first three days of April off to get started on writing, and now since the manager thing and horrible shifts today through Friday, I’m really wishing I had asked for four days off instead of three. I’m gonna need the first of April just to find some energy again at this rate.

I’m doing it again, aren’t I? Getting off track that is.

Okay, so the start of NaNo is going to be finishing Fated to Darkness, which hopefully will be about 20k and no more. In comparison to my goal, that still leaves me with 10k to write. I hate to do more than one project during NaNo, but once I finish Book 1 here I’m going to use the rest of NaNo to work on Clockwork Heart. Maybe between the end of this NaNo and July’s NaNo I can finish that novella/novel — whichever it turns out to be — and then spend most of the rest of 2017 editing it and submitting it to be published. By the end of the year.

That is my goal. To hopefully get Clockwork Heart published by the end of 2017.

If I do finish that novel before November rolls around I honestly have no idea what I’m working on for the big NaNoWriMo. Maybe Breaking Point, or Shapeshifter Wings, or… Okay, now I’m really getting ahead of myself.

I think Breaking Point needs a new title too but I have no idea what to call it and…

OKAY! Enough random tangent thoughts!

Sheesh! There’s way too many tabs open in my head right about now.

What was I talking about? Right. Camp NaNo plans.

Thankfully I have the rest of Fated to Darkness planned out already so I won’t get stuck on “what’s next?” with that novel. Hopefully I can get as much as possible finished on it in the next three and a half days before I use Camp to wrap it up. (Seriously can’t believe I’m saying that yet.) Then with whatever word count I have left to accomplish, and whatever goal I end up settling on after Easter craziness, I will spend the rest of April’s Camp NaNo writing Clockwork Heart. I do have parts of Clockwork Heart planned out with a general direction so hopefully I don’t get stuck there either.

30k words next month is the goal, along with finishing this blasted novel finally. I would love to do more than 30k again but we’ll see what happens.

Just three and a half more days before the next plunge into madness is upon me…