Monday, November 30, 2020

Pandemic NaNo

It's often tempting to attribute great meaning to how the drafting process of a project went.  But - much like "Project Runway" there are projects that I was sure was the best thing while drafting that I liked less on reflection.  There are projects that were so hard to draft, that I loved when I put aside and then re-reread later.  There are projects that were great but didn't fit what they were meant for which meant changing projects or changing tactics, or abandoning an agreed upon plan.  
NaNo is sort of random.  It's a month and a deadline and a community.  But every year some is like why November (there's Camp in April and July), why 50k, why?  And the answer is essentially because. That's what they decided.  You can write more or less.  You can be a rebel.  You can do it in whatever way works for you.  If twitter sprints or discord or zoom sprints stress you out, then don't.  If virtual chats with folks you haven't met stress you out, don't.  Do the things that work and discard those that don't. 
So, all of that is to say I wrote this year.  I wrote fast.  I wrote so fast I was constantly saying to folks it's going well so far, but I'm probably gonna crash soon. I said that not because I'm a pessimist but because I know that as a panster there's a tricky balance to writing fast enough to capture all the ideas swirling and yet not so fast that I bonk against the wall because I haven't given the idea well time to refill.  And yet, I did not bonk.  I rolled past 50k and the story kept going.  
As a pantser I often don't know when the story will end, and a lot of people find that silly because of course there is story structure and the story ends after the goal is achieved.  And I know that. But well, I often think I'm about two scenes from that and discover I am not.  Some of this of course gets fixed and tightened up in editing.  But well, I kept writing.  And writing.  
And I reached a finish.  And it was - for me - a very long first draft.  I hardly ever remember things like description and feelings. All of those are things I layer in, so my drafts almost always get longer in editing even as some scenes get cut.  I have been going through doing some minor touchups so that when I get to really dive into edits I at least won't have to fix gibberish sentences.  (When things are flowing I get very typolicious.) 
So,as I said, pandemic brain means who knows what kind of editing effort this story will really need, but I wrote a thing that I really love.  I wrote a thing I am somewhat excited to edit.  (I hate editing a lot.  I know it's a necessary step.  I agree that it needs to happen.  But you can't make me like it.  Some people hate drafting.  I love drafting.  I hate editing.)  
And while the NaNo community felt a little different this year, it was still great.  The folks who were able to make time for more screen time this year were much appreciated.  And those who weren't but still plugged away on their stories are fab too.  

Final wordcount: 73469

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Aloha to You - Now Available in Print

Exciting news, my paper peeps. Aloha to You, the starting novella in my City Complications series is now available in print.  Novellas can get a little pricey in print format, but I know there are folks who for a variety of reasons prefer paper, so that is now available.  I am going to get the others available in print, but it takes time, and it's getting juggled with other publishing priorities, so be patient with me.  
The blurb and link to the original post which includes content info is here; 
Aloha to You - A City Complications Novella Seth is an aspiring journalist stuck in a day job he hates. When he interviews a DC-based lei maker he finds himself drawn to Adriana's non-traditional approach to following her dreams. But will his doubts about her approach ultimately be their undoing? Adriana's already learned the dangers of living a life partially on line. She has set up boundaries and routines to keep herself safe. But it turns out routine can get a little, well, routine. Will Seth be the perfect addition to her life, or further proof that trusting others always ends in tears? Some people have to find their dreams, Some people make them. 
Content notes here
Available at multiple etailers - universal Link:  
Also available in print: universal ling:

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thankful Numbers

1. For all the challenges living in small spaces close to others create, especially in pandemic times, the ability to walk to so many of the things I need be they essentials, or just sunny spots with flowers, has been one I am particularly grateful for this year.  
2. My cat has always been great at figuring out when to nap, when to demand attention, and when to eat, and when to tell the human that she has misunderstood the schedule.  This example of clear boundaries has been a useful reminder.  
3. Friends who pivoted quickly to online gatherings so that my social life, while obviously changed, is full in ways that matter.  And friends who said, nope, we'll move to other forms of communication in the interim.  
4. Yarn dyers and pattern designers who rose to the challenge of people who had greater couch time this year.  
5. Those who have continued to show up to jobs in apartment buildings, in transit, in delivery, on farms, in small businesses, and in restaurants.  My ability to socially distance is entirely reliant on this, and I am eternally grateful.  
6.  Health care workers, up to and including the often unsung medical coders, medical researchers, janitorial staff, and others who have continued showing up in a situation that grew both dangerous and tiring. 
7. Authors.  I am grateful to count myself among your number, but the kidlit and the romance community continue to show that folks who believe in hopeful futures can provide worlds to escape in, can pivot to virtual book events, and can organize together raising funds for typhoons, voting, and other such things. 
8. Everyone who took time to engage more fully with anti-racism and other social justice movements this year.  
9.  Parents and child care workers.  I am not a parent, but am well aware that this has been a tough year for everyone raising up tiny humans.  Not a year that makes a lot of sense for many tiny humans either.  
10. Gardeners and landscapers. I have been relying on pictures of the gardens I normally would have visited many more times this year.  And this reduced access to the fancier botanicals meant I have hunted a little harder through my own neighborhood this year.  I have a brown thumb, but greatly appreciate those who take the time to put color onto their lawn or in other shared spaces where I can enjoy it too.   

Monday, November 23, 2020

"The Burdens" through Play-PerView

Content note: discussions of abusive language, discussions of elder murder, offstage death of an elder.  
"The Burdens" is a two person play.  The two siblings communicate primarily by text, email, voicemail, and the occasional talking directly to the audience.  The siblings are Jewish, on opposite coasts, and clearly are close but also disconnected in the way that adult siblings often are, especially when one is still on the same coast as the relatives, and one isn't.  
Also because they are texting there are timing things, autocorrects, and also emotional disconnects.  
Their grandfather is one hundred, requires a lot of special care, and is draining their mother's finances, and also the grandfather is not super nice.  The brother is an aspiring musician who works in a pharmacy.  The sister is a lawyer, and is married with kids, to a husband who is not sure that she should be so involved in all the day to day of her family's life and certainly not be providing the level of financial assistance she is.  And well, it starts to seem like things would be better if their grandfather was dead. 
The play is set in a specific time, with autocorrect and old AOL accounts.  The sibs seem like they are gen X, having experienced a specific moment in time in technology.  
It seems like it would be odd to watch a couple play siblings,  But - well they are very good actors, so I hesitate to attribute this to something other than skill, but it seems like folks who are close would make similar expressions and do things that actually look like people who grew up together.  It could also be that they are very skilled. 
This play was very well suited to both Zoom format and to a week when folks generally gather with family.  
I did miss a live audience a bit, because there is nothing like the collective gasp of an audience when characters fight and we all know they crossed a line, even if they might also be a little bit right.   
The recording of the reading remains available for the next few days.  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Three Interesting Things

1. Nicole CHung wrote beautifully about how grieving in pandemic times doesn't lack closure, since grief is not a thing that neatly ends, but can feel without some of the markers we are used to having and we begin or progress through the grief process. 
2. It continues to be a year for restaurants.  I enjoyed this list from Esquire not just because it featured some local food, but also this peek into how restaurants are trying to navigate this situation. 
3. Amber Riley and Angelica Ross had a wonderful conversation about Riley's post-Glee life and her new album.  
Also you may have heard that there is a Romancing the Runoff auction occurring through next week.  The monies are being split between Fair Fight, Black Voters Matter, and the New Georgia Project.  You can also donate directly if auctions stress you out, or search for some of the buy now items.