NaNoWriMo 2016

Ah! November! It’s almost here! Turkey! Dressing! Pie! Family Gatherings! And NaNoWriMo!

I’m excited about National Novel Writing Month. I’ve chosen which novel I will write. (I wrote out three ideas from which I could choose). I’m scrambling to finish the outline in time for the start of writing on November 01. At the same time, I’m doubtful I’ll be able to punch out 50,000 words on my keyboard. But there’s a reason why I’m contemplating a NaNoWriMo loss before it even begins: I’m doing NaNoWriMo differently this year.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day at Mount Vernon Jr. High School, pitching NaNoWriMo to every student in the school alongside Marissa Priddis, Director of the local Alexandrian Library. (She’s fabulous, by the way). It was awesome to see the enthusiasm of the students during and after our introduction of the program. Students came up to me after each pitch to tell me what they planned to write about. I even had a few approach me after school while I waited on the sidewalk to pick my daughter up. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a large group of young writers participating.

Now, the teachers are busy planning after-school write-ins, write-ins at the Alexandrian Library, write-ins at the riverfront, and maybe a few other places.


Riverside Park, Mount Vernon, Indiana


I’ll be at as many write-ins for the students as I can attend but my purpose there will be to mentor and assist, not write. I’m in it for a win but, honestly, I’m more excited about what these young authors are going to write than my word count on November 30. I won NaNoWriMo last year with my Sci-Fi novel Rifted. This year, my focus will be on helping others win.

My personal writing project is book 4 of my fantasy series. My daughter read the first three and has demanded the next one.

NaNoWriMo, bring it on!


The Business Side

I love to write. There are, in fact, few things I would rather do than write.  At the same time, my goal for writing is to get published. Yes, I could probably write stories for the rest of my life and be happy, but I’ve discovered the joy of sharing my stories with others. That’s important to me, too.

A few weeks ago, my eleven-year-old daughter grabbed the editing copy of my latest novel, The Sign of Psyche, when I wasn’t looking. She started reading and wouldn’t give it back. Within three days, she had devoured all 86,800 words. I think she was a little surprised she liked it.


The next week, she read three books of my YA fantasy series. She blasted through 320,000 words in seven days. As the author of those books, it felt like the best kind of validation. This kid is a reader who set the school record for Accelerated Reading points (641.6!) in 5th grade.

I had planned to participate in NaNoWriMo this November. Now, however, I think I’ll focus on the other side of writing: the business side. I have five complete novels sitting on my computer. They’re revised and ready to query. Writing a sixth while the others sit won’t help me get published.

As much as I love to write, I also want to share my stories. That means I need to get down to business. It means researching literary agents and writing query letters. It feels a little less exciting than crafting new stories, but it could lead to the most exciting thing of all: representation and eventual publication.

I have six queries out at the moment. So I’ll cross my fingers and hope some of those agents shows interest in my query. In the meantime, I’ll research a few more and get ready for another round.