I Won Camp NaNoWriMo | Final Update

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Check out my writing vlog where I read Cycle Eight to my mom, finish my final story for the month, and prep a new cover!

Week five, our final week, went so well! Granted, my numbers are down a bit again, which makes me so thankful I had gotten so ahead during the first half of the month. 

Stats aside, I was able to read Cycle Eight to my mom in one day. We powered through it since he was an asshole and neither of us liked him. Too bad he plays such an important part of her development. The great outcome was getting feedback on if he was too triggering or not. So far, the consensus is that he straddles that abusive line well.

I also finished my second Lishky short for the month. This one feels a bit all over the place, but that might just be my current mental state. I’ll know more when I read through and edit it. I also have my new cover for it…almost. I’m getting mixed feedback on my choices, below. Got any advice?

I’m also not such a fan of the blurb I have for it, too. At least I have something to work with though.

Finally, I was able to create the first part of the physical compendium for two of my betas who prefer physical copies. My husband should get his tomorrow, so I’ll post a pic of it on social media. I expect it to be a chonker.

Anyway, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week Five | July 25-31

Minutes Logged: 550/630

Minutes Ahead: 160 (Whoo!)

Words Written: 2,101

Since it’s the end, let me give you some overall totals:

July 2021

Minutes Logged: 2,950 / 2,790

Minutes Ahead: 160 (Whoo!)

Words Written: 11,020 / 7,750

This makes me so happy. I love when I can complete all of my goals for a month, especially for a nanowrimo month. 

Let me know how your writing went this July in the comments below, and I’ll see y’all soon with more writing challenges and fun prompts.

We Published A Book! | Camp NaNoWriMo Week Four Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog where I edit Cycle Eight, draw on our sales board at work, and publish a new ebook.

It’s week four, and I’ve finally done it. I wrote those damn blurbs. You heard me! I wrote four of those little fuckers. Next week, I’ll workshop them with my betas.

That’s one massive weight off my shoulders and a big old checkmark on a goal for the month.

I’ve also managed to finish my edits of Cycle Eight, which means I will be reading it to my mom next week. Maybe this time I can capture some of that audio for the vlog, but that means I will also get that goal checked off my list before the end of the month. Woot!

All I have left is to finish the other short that I’m halfway through writing and keep at my habit of 250 words a day. Because let’s be honest, although my numbers meet the requirement, I haven’t been consistent, and that’s not okay.

Or maybe it is because I edited and published one of my Lishky shorts during one hell of a week.

Oh, yeah. I had to sit on the phone with the IRS for three hours one morning. The bonus being that I talked to a very helpful human being who fixed what she could for the moment. And I had SO MANY errands last week. It was nuts.

I’ll take the whole week as a win.

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week Four | July 18-24

Minutes Logged: 595/630

Minutes Ahead: 340 (Whoo!)

Words Written: 1,418

These numbers aren’t the best, but the goals are getting checked off. Funny how that works. Must be the buffer I gave myself last week.

Onward and upward! Time to kill the last week of camp nano.

Let me know how your writing is going this July in the comments below, and I’ll see y’all next week for another update.

Reading Smut to My Mom | Camp NaNoWriMo Week Three Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog where I reward myself for finishing Wooing the Alpha, get my first vaccine shot, read to my mom, and write a shit ton of smut.

Week three has been productive in different ways. I’m almost finished with the first draft of one of my Lishky shorts, I made a new cover, prepped my website for a new release, wrote a blurb (but not for Wooing the Alpha), and am nearly finished reading Cycle Seven to my mom.

Plus, I’ve logged a hell of a lot of minutes! Now, let’s see if I can wrap up all of my goals, like editing cycle eight, finishing another short, and getting those damn blurbs done.

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week Three | July 11-17

Minutes Logged: 955/630

Minutes Ahead: 375 (Whoo!)

Words Written: 3,284

I finally feel like I’m getting my butt back in gear. Writing’s coming easier because I’m keeping to my daily habit, which is exactly what I wanted. However, I have noticed that I’m more willing to give myself a break when I get ahead…like the day I wrote 1,499 words, so all I did was edit the next day. Yeah, I need to cut that out and keep to my daily goal no matter what.

Let me know how your writing is going this July in the comments below, and I’ll see y’all next week for another update.

The Reincarnation Wheel: My June Writing Prompt

“Sorry, but you don’t meet our requirements for a heavenly afterlife. Here’s a paper of other heavens you can try and hells if none of those work–sorted by least painful. You can try the reincarnation wheel, but tries are limited, so be careful,” said a tiny, elderly man with Mr. Magoo glasses amplifying his dark eyes.

The paper he dropped in my hands was lengthy and the variety of heavens and hells boggled the mind: food heavens, art heavens, sexual heavens, adventurous heavens, magical heavens, and library heavens, or suspension hells, burning hells, cold hells, sharp hells, annoying neighbor hells, and children-filled hells. They were all odd and too focused.

If I couldn’t stay in the large, ever-changing heaven, I might take my chance at the reincarnation wheel. It meant another try at that ultimate afterlife. I wouldn’t live forever.

But there were no indications of the reincarnation options. That fluttered low in my stomach.

I nodded to the Mr. Magoo gatekeeper. “I’ll take a chance at the reincarnation wheel.”

His hands clapped together, and the list in my hands vanished.

“We offer you one spin, and you get what you get.”

My muscles shook with fear and anticipation. “Okay.”

A wheel materialized from nothing, each option slivered so small that I could hardly make them out: human, ape, elephant, lion, rat, snake, guinea pig, worm, snail, spider, octopus, carp, eagle, pigeon…every animal on Earth was there. The range sucked a few hard breaths into my lungs.

“Whenever you’re ready.”

I stepped forward and spun the wheel with a good amount of force and watching it twirl for ten full seconds before it slowed. It ticked by with caterpillar, salmon, flamingo, frog, koala, ameba…tick, tick, tick.

Platypus.

Tick.

Dolphin.

Tick.

Sparklemuffin.

Tick.

Ant.

I sucked in a breath and let it out just as quickly.

Clap.

Darkness enveloped me, vision pixelated, but the scent of dirt swallowed me whole. I crawled up a path, following a familiar scent up to the surface. Grass and dew greeted me, and I marched on.

I chased my brethren toward candies and breads and cheeses…a tantalizing scent of buttered meat turned me off course, under a leaf. I trudged through shrooms and fungi to get to the giant morsel.

My exoskeleton itched, burned, and I chewed on the meat before returning to my hill, my family, and circled until I found myself out in the grass and underbrush again.

The moist air soothed the ache, but compulsion sent him to a place I couldn’t put my antennae on.

This became my days, home, food, and circling out to the damp and warm climate. My jaw ached as I bit and chewed. Then, my jaws clamped down, my body shook, and pain ripped through the top of my skull before everything erupted.

I blinked back at the gate.

“Sorry, but you still don’t meet our requirements for a heavenly afterlife. Did you want to try another spin of the reincarnation wheel?” asked the tiny, elderly man with Mr. Magoo glasses amplifying his dark eyes.

“Yes.”

The wheel reappeared, and I gave it another good shove, dazed by the pain of my short life.

Giraffe.

Tick.

Anglerfish.

Tick.

Wolf.

Tick.

Cow.

Fuck.

My legs wobbled, a warm tongue lapping across my head and shoulders. Fresh milk found my tongue as I suckled a teet.

Rough hands pulled me away, spread my legs, and handed me off.

Stuffed, I stood in a tight pen, chain around my neck, head through bars to keep from moving, and time slowed. My muscles ached.

Days and nights and meals ran together. I sat and ate and stood and slept, crying from the pain. Crying for my momma. Crying for it to end.

But it didn’t for a long, long time.

Fat and weak, I wobbled as they let me free of my chains and pain hit me in the back of my head. Dazed, I half-felt them dragging my limp body, tie up my hind legs, and hoist me into the air.

Burning and sharp, my throat split open, and I gurgled against the blood gushing down my mouth and eyes, into my lungs. My heart cried as hard as my soul

“Sorry, but you still don’t meet our requirements for a heavenly afterlife. Did you want to try another spin of the reincarnation wheel?” asked the tiny, elderly man with Mr. Magoo glasses amplifying his dark eyes.

Gulping back the possibilities, the last life made me gun shy. 

“This will be your last chance.”

One more time wouldn’t break me, and it could be the life I needed to find my way into heaven.

“Okay.”

The wheel popped up before me, and I spin it with all of the gusto I could manage, but I still felt weak.

Options clicked by. Human long past. I should have known the chances of getting a second life as a human were astronomical.

Lobster.

Tick.

Coyote.

Tick.

Iguana.

Tick.

Cockroach.

I skittered across the dark, flat plane, a light flicked on, and I dashed away, finding nooks and crannies, and a means of escape. Light meant death.

Dipping and dodging, I found my way to the street only to hide under a bin as screams and the thundering of people moving too fast had me hunker down and wait.

Something didn’t feel right, and it wasn’t simply my new life.

I crept back out when the noise settled. 

A whistling sounded, and the sky was a mix of darkness and light.

Something slammed the earth, and I hunkered down as air rushed over my shell.

The mushroom cloud blooming into the sky sank what I had of a heart.

Cockroaches are the only thing that would survive a nuclear blast. 

How true was that, actually?

Check out the companion video!

I Wrote 264k Words in 15 Months | Camp NaNoWriMo Week Two Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog where I work my way through the end of my first draft thanks to some magic margaritas.

Week two went great! Not only did I log more minutes than I needed to, but I finished Wooing the Alpha. I’m still in shock. 

Beyond that, I’ve logged some words in my other stories, done some story planning in my other series, and nearly finished editing Cycle Seven. Next week, I’ll read it to my mom.

As far as I am, I feel like I have a long way to go still. But next week, I plan to celebrate, at least a little bit, for the giant milestone that finishing a draft is, especially one that’s currently 1,011 pages and 264,000 words.

I took me fifteen and a half months.

Again, shock!

Don’t worry, though, those damn blurbs are still driving me bonkers.

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week Two | July 4-10

Minutes Logged: 665/630

Minutes Ahead: 50 (Whoo!)

Words Written: 2,964

I’m ahead of the game, and it feels wonderful.

Let me know how your writing is going this July in the comments below, and I’ll see y’all next week for another update.

Chilling Chat: Episode #197 – ON TIME – Alisha Costanzo

I love talking horror, reading, and editing. What a blast! ❤

HorrorAddicts.net

chillingchat

Alisha Costanzo holds an MFA in Creative Writing as well as a BA in Communication Studies and a BA in English (writing). She spent three years as a line editor for Sapphire Blue Publishing and is a college professor and publishedAlisha Costanzo author.

She and Anthony S. Buoni founded Transmundane Press in 2014. They are co-editors of the anthology, On Time.

NTK: What got you into horror and how old were you?

AC: My first Goosebumps book when I was eight. After that, I claimed a corner of the living room with a small bookshelf and a purple bean bag chair where I read my ever-expanding collection of horror books.

NTK: What’s your favorite horror movie?

AC: Don’t laugh, but it’s Scream. The satire did me in, and the music, and Matthew Lillard. I’ve seen that movie more than three hundred times now…

NTK: What’s your favorite horror TV show?

AC: Tales…

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My Camp Goals & A Good Start | Camp NaNoWriMo Week One Update

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Hello, lovelies.

Check out my writing vlog where I talk about my goals more in depth, sign up on the website, and some of those tears I shed for my sweet, slain characters.

The first three days of camp went well! I hit my goals, and I have plenty enough flexibility between my goals for me to keep working.

Here are my for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo:

  • Spend ninety minutes a day on my writing.
  • Edit Cycle Seven and Eight.
  • Finish Wooing the Alpha (aka Winter).
  • Finish two Lishky shorts.
  • Write four new blurbs.
  • Write 250 or more words a day.*

*Not specifically a Camp goal, but I am working to reestablish this habit.

That’s it. It’s insane, and I will get there this month.

Not a bad list. Now, I know I’ve been hooting and hollering about how close I am to the end of Wooing the Alpha, but seriously, it is within my grasp. I’ve gotten over the hump and have killed all of the characters I needed to, snotty face included, and I have three more scenes to write.

I’m also halfway through two of my Lishky shorts, both aiming for 5,000 words. I’ve written in both of them this week, and I’m excited about my progress.

Now, those damn blurbs… I don’t know why they’re so hard to write, but they are!

So, let’s look at my final numbers:

Week One | July 1-3

Minutes Logged: 285/270

Minutes Ahead: 15 (Whoo!)

Words Written: 1,253

So, yay! I’m on the right track, and it feels good.

Let me know how your writing is going this July in the comments below, and I’ll see y’all next week for another update.

#SoCS Edible Drive

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Today’s prompt is “drive.” Use it as a noun, an adjective, or a verb–use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

My drive for productivity fluctuates. Early mornings are based on necessity. I focus better with a deadline, and I find myself lagging when they are not hanging over my head.

I procrastinate when I shouldn’t, and I can’t explain why sometimes.

I could be getting ahead. I could be having fun doing the bits I like or getting the rough stuff over with. Maybe, it’s that I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything even when I do the work. Being a creative is half business, and although I understand it well, I’ve never been good at it.

Not really.

And so, my drive dwindles. Such a bitter downward spiral.

It only worsens when the work piles up.

I wish I had a way to inject myself with more drive. Although, honestly, I’d prefer smoking or eating it.

Edible drive. Can you imagine?

Someone patent that and send me some. For real.

Prompt Source: https://lindaghill.com/2021/06/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-12-2021/

My Hopes, My Dreams, My Fears, & My Failures | Camp NaNoWriMo Final Update

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If not obvious by my lack of updates for the last two…three?…weeks of camp, the second half of the month did not go as planned. Check out my video explaining way more than I will below, plus kitties.

I failed Camp NaNo. Yup. But you know what? I tried. I made progress. Life keeps moving.

All of my excuses relate around the high number of hours I’ve been working, the two new jobs I landed, and how tired I am when I get home. Blah. Blah. Blah. I didn’t put the work in. Bottom line.

Still, I’m all right with that. Goals are fluid, but let’s look at them anyway.

Goal One: Write Every Day.

I was doing so well at this to start off with. I wrote 19 of 30 days. 

Once I realized that writing every day might not be possible, I shifted to include editing as hours spent on Wooing the Alpha. This helped me out a bit. I hit 28 of 30 days.

Goal Two: Edit Cycle Four

Bam. Totally completed this goal.

I finished my word lists and read cycle four to my mom. Yes, I read my smut out loud to my mother. We’ve gotten past the awkwardness of it. Mostly.

Goal Three: Betas

Another accomplished goal. I sent my betas cycle four and finalized all of their notes from cycle one: I had one major revision to do, but it reads solidly now, so Woot!

Goal Four: Track

Well, I once again did well for the first three weeks. I tracked my progress until April 18th. Then, nothing. I’d lost track of vlogging before then, and I was struggling to keep count of my minutes. Instead, I focused on working with the book to keep myself going.

Goal Five: Sprints!

Those first two weeks were sprint strong. Then, it became an annoyance to plan them with the way life got crazy. Like I said, it was hard to track.

Goal Six: Social Posts

Yeah, I don’t even think I started this. Unless you count YouTube and blog updates. I didn’t touch instagram, facebook, twitter, linked in, or reddit, et. al. Bad on me. Oh well. It’s not the end of the world.

Goal Seven: 125 Minutes a Day

Nope. Although I stopped tracking, I do think that I made it to 60 minutes a day on average. You know, a three hour phone call to my mom one day, and twenty minutes of writing on another. That’s still a nice accomplishment in my eyes.

Overall, I wrote 6,463 words in Wooing the Alpha. 

I’m hovering at the end of this beast: one more major section with five scenes, and two more for the falling action. And that’s it! I can’t believe it’s so close.

And for transparency sake, I’m pretty sure I’m sabotaging myself. You know, prolonging the end because I’m scared of messing up the end. If you work on big, creative projects, you might know this feeling.

My only way through it is to keep picking at it, coming back to it, and pushing myself to move forward.

That’s my goal for May. Hit this project until I make it to the end.

It’s going to happen, especially with the new job I landed. Apparently, it’ll be pretty boring there, so they encouraged me to bring my writing with me. Talk about a win!

Let me know how y’all are doing in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Writing Five Haikus | Poetry Series Episode Two

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The haiku originated in Japanese during the Heian period (700-1100) since society required one to be able to recognize, appreciate, and recite Japanese poetry. Short forms (tanka) became popular over long forms (choka), yet rigid lifestyles required every poem to have a specific form, so they approved the 5-7-5 triplet followed by a seven-syllable couplet—this was the Japanese equivalent to Shakespeare’s iambic petameter in England.

Linked verse poems (regna) and chains of linked verse (kusari-no-renga) were popular amongst the elite; however, the mid-sixteenth century brought the rise of “peasant” poetry and a rebirth of a lighter and airier tone, called haikai but later renamed renku. The haikai began with a triplet called a hokku, which was considered the most important part of the poem, and it had two primary requirements: a seasonal word (kierji) and a “cutting word” or exclamation.

In the late seventeenth century, poet Basho transformed the hokku into the independent poem that became known as a haiku. He was a fan of spontaneous prose that became so popular throughout Japan that Tenro, a contemporary school of haiku, included two thousand members from all over the country that met in designated temples to write a hundred haiku a day out of dedication. Since Basho, these poems have mirrored the Zen ideal and gone through many transformations, but a good haiku today is similar to when Basho developed the form.

Haiku should be an observation of a natural, commonplace event in the simplest of words without verbal trickery—or is best known to be effective because of its sparseness. It’s a simple snatch of memory and non-fiction observations as a shorthand used to help remember events.

Most are written in present tense, in ordinary language, and work best when two images spark off each other. They should include one or more of the senses beyond sight since they don’t tell, or simply describe, instead, they allow the reader to enter the poem in their own way.

Here are some notable examples:

Hokushi was another famous Edo Period (1603-1868) Japanese haiku poet.

I write, erase, rewrite,

Erase again, and then

A poppy blooms.

Zen monks traditionally write one last haiku before they die. Gozan wrote this in 1789 when he was 71.

The snow of yesterday

That fell like cherry blossoms

Is water once again.

“A World of Dew” by Kobayashi Issa

A world of dew,

And within every dewdrop

A world of struggle.

“Over the Wintry” by Natsume Sōseki

Over the wintry

Forest, winds howl in rage

With no leaves to blow.

Since I was challenged to write five this month, let’s practice with some of our own.

 

Long shoots of green

Sway under the violet sky

Mushroom clouds bloom.

 

Sprattle. Tonk. Bonk.

Foam gathers against metal.

Sweetened paper drinks.

 

Metal swooshes through

Sweet air and strong knotted wood

Burning off anger.

 

Wind gusts hard threats

Against warped plastic siding with

Nightmarish rattling.

 

Gold foiling reflects

Calling for the scratching pen

On fresh white paper.

Are they great, like the notable ones? No, but that was fun.

Do you write haiku? Share some with me in the comments below!

Sources:

https://www.litkicks.com/HistoryOfHaiku

https://www.readpoetry.com/10-vivid-haikus-to-leave-you-breathless/