NaNo Day 28

November 28, 2009


Well, I’m most definitely not going to “win” NaNo this year. I’m only at 19,502 words. I had hoped to get 30,000 words done by 11/30 but I’ll be lucky to get 25,000.

But, again, I’m cool with it. I’m really excited about this story and I will be continuing on with it into December.

This weekend, however, I’m finishing up final touches on another novella that I need to get back to my editor. I’ve been tinkering with this one for a bit and it really needs to finally leave the workshop.

I’m also starting a brand spanking new novella in December (which is next week!), so I’m chugging along with that. I had downloaded a writing software called Liquid Story Binder, which was suggested to me by Lori Devoti, whom I’ve known for the past six years and is a prolific writer of romantic comedies, dark paranormals and urban fantasies.

I’ve been using LSB to prep my new novella. LSB has got a pretty steep learning curve but I think I’ve got a handle on the software now. I like the program because it doesn’t tell you how to write. It just gives you the tools to organize your writing. They’re having a sale, by the way. 50% off, so you can get it for $22.95 but the sale ends on Monday.

Oh, I’ve discovered a new guilty pleasure. Well, guilty in the sense that I’m ashamed of how much I love this show. πŸ™‚

I was channel surfing one day and came across a rather interesting scene between a handsome man, dressed like Oscar Wilde, chatting up another man at what looked like some sort of country club. The men were dressed in Victorian fashion and I surmised the setting was also Victorian.

Then the handsome, dandified man, after agreeing to go “somewhere private” with the other man, pulls out a badge and announces he’s a detective who’s investigating the murder of a man who was murdered on his wedding day. The man, however, was living a secret life in that he was gay.

Thus was I introduced to Detective William Murdoch, star of The Murdoch Mysteries, which are set in the 1890’s in Toronto.

Murdoch is described on the show’s website as a “dedicated autodidact”. I love that word. Autodidact. A self-taught person.

Murdoch is, as I said, easy on the eyes, a staunch Roman Catholic, very cool emotionally (maybe a bit too cool emotionally in the eyes of Dr. Julia Ogden, the pathologist, who clearly has a thing for the handsome detective), very analytical and who is quite eager to use in his investigations such new-fangled forensic methods and devices as a lie detector, fingermarks, bloodsplatter, etc.

It’s kinda like Sherlock Holmes meets Gus Grissom from CSI. I love it. First, because I’m nuts over anything set in the Victorian era, I love mysteries and the show is very well-done with engaging characters and fast-paced scripts. Plus, I gotta love a detective who gets around on a bicycle. πŸ™‚

It’s on my local PBS station here but I’m sure it can be found somewhere. The first season is also on DVD.

This show comes at just the right time, also, because in December I’m going to be world-building for my steampunk novella. I started it earlier this year but set it aside. However, I’m going to tackle it again in January.

Here’s an interesting blog post about the The Steampunk Romantic Hero

And look. Kate MacAlister has a steampunk romance coming out in February. Steamed: A Steampunk Romance

Not sure if airships, corsets and nefarious villains intent on ruling the world are going to take the place of vampires, werewolves and nefarious demons intent on destroying the world, but we’ll see.

I know that I sure wouldn’t mind adding my two bits.

Full steam ahead! πŸ˜‰


NaNo Day 23

November 23, 2009

I spent this past weekend working on my vampire novella. The one I’ve been expanding and revising the last couple of months. I finally finished it today and sent it to my editor.

So, with that, I now have five other writing projects, in various stages of development, to tackle, including my NaNo Novel. Last time I reported in about NaNo I said I was going to shoot for 35,000 words by 11/30.

However, since I focused primarily on my vampire novella this weekend and pretty much did nothing for NaNo, I’m going to revise that to 30,000 words. I’m currently at 17,913 words so even though there’s only a week remaining for NaNo, I might still be able to make it.

Vampires! Seriously, once they get their fangs into your neck they just won’t let go! πŸ™‚ But I had fun with the novella and I’m not through with vampires yet as there are vampires in my NaNo novel!

But once I’m done with my Nano novel I’ll be leaving the vamps alone for a bit. I’ve got a werewolf novella, a steampunk, and some other genres I want to explore.

This is the last full week of NaNo, which, of course, includes Thanksgiving and that unofficial American holiday, Black Friday. Hope everyone who’s still chugging along with NaNo can keep going with their word counts this final week.

Write on!


NaNo Day 20

November 20, 2009

Well, I can see that I’m not going to make it to 50,000 words by 11/30.

But that’s okay.

At least I tried and, most importantly, I have a good start on a novel. Not a novella. A novel. Yay for me. πŸ™‚

So my goal is to get at least 35,000 words done by 11/30 and then keep writing in December. So NaNo is going to roll over into December for me.

That’s fine, It’s going to get cold and snowy around these parts anyway so won’t be doing much of anything but trying to stay warm. Great writing weather.

So, yep, I’m still doing NaNo but I’m not going to get 50,000 words written by the end of November but I will eventually make it to the 85,000 – 90,000 words I’m shooting for.

Write on!


NaNo Day 17

November 17, 2009

Currently at 17,913 words. Still behind but making progress. The story is coming along nicely and I’m also still being surprised by my characters.

As I’ve probably mentioned ad nauseum in my posts, I can still catch up but I probably won’t make an attempt at that until sometime next week, which is the week of Thanksgiving.

Wow, how did Thanksgiving get here so fast! Well, I don’t have any travel plans for Thanksgiving. Christmas is usually the time I travel to see family so, with hope, I can still catch up.

Just wanted to share a couple of reviews about the vampire erotica anthology published by Cleis Press The Sweetest Kiss, which features my short story under my Anna Black nom de plume, “The Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Doucette”.

Our amazing editor D.L King forwarded them to us.

The first one is from Smart Shoppers Secrets.

Hands down the best anthology of vampire erotica I’ve read in nearly 20 years, The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica is an absolutely stellar collection of fantastic stories that deliver everything one wants from this type of book: complex vampire societies, the passion of the hunt, the angst over immortal life, and tons and tons of hot sex.

And here is what was said about my story: Fans of historical erotica will want to clutch Anna Black’s The Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Doucette right to their hearts, for this tale set during the height of the French Revolution is amazingly beautiful, includes a very hot threesome scene, and illustrates that some passions are even stronger than mere lust.

You can read the entire review here

This review is from Colleen Anderson’s blog “Writing from Both Sides of the Brain”. The tales in The Sweetest Kiss span time and countries, just as vampires would through their long lives. There are twists on the relationship of the dominating vampire. There is masochism, sadism, domination and submission. There is addiction, fear, hunger, as well as love and salvation. What one person finds erotic is not the same for another. I would say this anthology deftly gives a taste of something for everyone. The writing in most cases is of a very good caliber and tales range from those little pieces to get off on to those tales that have meat to sink your teeth into. The Sweetest Kiss successfully delivers eroticism and bite.

Here’s what she said about my story: β€œThe Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Doucette” by Anna Black is the first period piece set during the French Revolution. The thing about the longevity of vampires is that a certain timelessness can enter stories. The young Marielle must choose between her beliefs, execution and revenge through a repulsive (to her) yet strangely alluring temptation. This tale has the first truly descriptive sex scene though it is strangely lacking in other details.

You can read the entire review here

It’s interesting that the reviewer noted that my story was “strangely lacking in other details” as that is something I’m working on improving. Description. I’ve been having trouble writing description since I started writing. You know how some people say they can “see” their stories, like a movie? I hear my stories, like a radio play. πŸ™‚

But I’m working on it. I’m reading craft books and articles on description, analyzing how other writers write description, practicing being more observant. So, yep, I’m quite determined to get better at it. Yes, I am! πŸ™‚

That’s one of the things I do love about writing. You never stop learning the craft.


NaNo Day 14

November 14, 2009

Currently at 13,706 words, which puts me 9,618 words behind. I’m writing today so I should be able to shave that down a bit but I’m still behind.

However, I feel really, really good about my NaNo novel and by the end of the month, even if I haven’t gotten 50,000 words done, I think I’ll have a pretty good draft.

The thing is, it would be wiser if I were to just work on my NaNo novel but I’ve never been able to work on just one thing at a time. As a matter of fact there are two anthologies I want to submit to and both have deadlines of 2/1/10, which means I’ve gotta at least start doing some prepping right now if I hope to make those deadlines.

The important thing, however, whether doing NaNo or just writing, is to have fun.

No, seriously, I truly believe that. I mean, think about it. Writing is one of those things that, unless you’re a professional writer, like a technical writer or a reporter or a copy writer, you really don’t have to do it in the sense of you know, you have to do it or else. Especially writing fiction! Goodness knows the world’s not going to stop revolving if I decide to stop writing my stories.

Therefore, my feeling is if I’m writing I’d better be having fun doing it or what’s the point. Really.

So, yeah, writing is beaucoup hard work and sometimes I want to howl at the moon like a wolf when I get stuck on a plot point (out comes my trusty tarot deck) but I do enjoy it.

Or, trust me, I wouldn’t be putting myself through all this insanity. πŸ™‚

Write on!


NaNo – Day 10

November 10, 2009

Finally! Finished the draft of novella I started in October. Okay, so I can knock that off my plate for the time being until it’s time to start revising it.

Today, will–with hope–finish revisions of vampire novella so that I can send it back to editor on Wednesday. I can then knock that off my plate.

Goal today—in addition to above revisions—is to add some wordage to my NaNo word count. Tomorrow, will attend a write-in with NaNo Writing Buddies and even more words!

Is it possible I can catch up? I don’t know. But I can sure try. πŸ™‚

Okay, who changed the release date for Star Trek? The local library had a copy because my son brought it home for me to watch over the weekend. I was pretty certain the release date was today, November 10th! Looks like it’s now Tuesday, November 17th. That’s a whole ‘nother week! 😦

I also watched Up, the latest Pixar movie, this weekend. What a delight. A bit strange but in a good way. Very much enjoyed it.


NaNo Day 7

November 7, 2009


Over at the NaNoWriMo Website Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, has issued a challenge for this weekend.

15,000 words by the end of the day on Monday, November 9th!

Okaaaaay. Well, currently I’m at 7,161 words (I should be at 11,662 if I were writing the requisite 1,666 words a day–which, of course, I’m currently not) which means I’d have to write 7,839 words between today and the end of the day Monday.

Now, that’s not impossible. During one NaNo I managed to get in about 8,000 words in one day but I doubt I’m going to accept Mr. Baty’s challenge.

I’m working to get my wordage in but I’m also striving to wind up with something I can work with in December. I’ve “won” two NaNos and wound up with 50,000 words (and, trust me, it was fun writing those 50,000 words or 100,000 words if you count the two times I won) but those 100,000 words are still somewhere on my hard drive.

So, yeah, I’m working to get the words done but if I fall short, no biggie.

However, I did do a NaNo write-in this morning with two of the women from my local RWA chapter and it was fun.

That’s what I love about NaNo. Not so much watching my word count increase on my trusty little word counter (although that’s cool to see) but hanging out with people who are trying to do the same thing. Write. And especially with people who are doing NaNo for the first time.

I see that some of you are pretty close to that 15,000 word challenge Chris Baty put out or have already surpassed it.

Great job! Keep up the good work!

Write on!