Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Nano banner

Technically, I CAN type fast enough to type over 35,000 words in the remaining 5 hours to meet the goal. IF I don't do anything but type, starting now. And that is with no time to debate about plot lines, dialogue or take a bathroom break.

It ain't gonna happen.

And I am OK with that! I got my "winner's" banner, last year. And last year, I used an idea that I had already tossed around quite a bit. This year, I started with a brand new idea on Day 1 and I really like the new story and where it is headed. Having said that, I am tired; the youngest is sick and tired; I took time off for Thanksgiving and have really cooked dinner here a few nights in a row (not shocking but not conducive to high word counts, either).

I will keep working on this novel and I will keep you updated.

Congrats to all of you who made it to the finish line, this year! Thanks to all who have listened to my ramblings about Nano and enouraged my progress, such as it was!

Rainy days and...Tuesdays

Do not, on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you that what he feels like doing, you won't feel like watching.
~Fran Lebowitz

A gloomy, rainy Tuesday should be a good day to hole up and get lots of writing done.
Unless you happen to be in the house with a three-year-old and a puppy who are also holed up, staying in from the rain.

The rambunctious puppy has a new bowl of breakfast. (The little guy dumped her first bowl into her water dish. I guess he thought she'd like it more like cereal, this morning.)

She (the dog) is staring down the boy who is pretending to watch Max & Ruby but is really trying to figure out which Christmas decoration to dismantle next.
**Correction: in the time it took to type that, I realized the boy is actually surrounding himself with toys--the DOG's toys. No wonder she is staring, biding her time, waiting to pounce.

The dog really needs a run. And now, I have one of these. Which makes it easier and fun to run when the wind is at my back, pushing us along. The return trip though--pushing a wind SHIELD AGAINST the wind--seems like a little too much effort, at the moment.

Will I write today? Absolutely.
Will I reach my Nano goal today? Not unless this weather not only lulls little children and big dogs into nice naps but into nice, long, coma-like naps. Now I'm feeling sleepy, too...

To perk myself up, I'm also over here, reading Joshilyn Jackson's blog. Go on over. While I recommend her books, I insist that you read her blog. Even if it is about a Monday. Go!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

There are goals and then there are Goals

I want to reach the goal of 50,000 words by the end of Nano. It is wonderful to see the color slowly inch farther right on the status bar and it is fulfilling to get to post that "winner" banner after the contest is over.

The larger goal is to come up with a draft of a new story that I can then mold into a real novel.

I might achieve the second goal but doubt I will make the first one.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with family. It was great to see siblings and cousins but I did not make my children take dictation along the way! That meant no writing for three days. Yesterday, our family went out to lunch, put up the Christmas tree and watched a movie. Lovely family day but I still never got around to writing.

Today, after Mass and lunch, I sat down and found out about a whole new chunk that belongs in my novel. I'm excited, this one is fitting together so much faster and neater than the book I've been working on for years! I began Nano with almost no idea of what I would write and this thing is writing itself--WHEN I sit down and give it a chance! I am working on it now (except for this break to tell you about it) and hope to get this chunk finished before dinner. (I just have to hide a little longer or convince my daughter that the outdoor lights can wait until tomorrow!)

How is your post-Thanksgiving weekend going?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Three Rs: Reading, 'Riting and Recording your mom's NaNo novel

A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all. ~Rita Mae Brown

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. ~Douglas Adams

I optimistically signed on to do Nano again this year. I am not even close to the half-way mark, yet.

I agreed to take the kids to my sister's house tomorrow. She lives four hours away. Clearly, the only solution is for them to learn to take dictation. It's a useful skill.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Childhood wisdom

The voices rise from the backseat, Sunday night, after a long drive and a longer day.
"Mom! She keeps hitting me!"
"I am not hitting. I am just violently touching him."

Today, after I told the three-year-old not to touch anything. (He had just finished a few Cheetos and had very orange fingers). I found an open drawer and reminded him that I'd asked him not to touch anything.
"I made a fist," he tells me, "like this." He shows me the fist.
"Then I used the side of my fist to pull the handle. Like this. I didn't touch it."
I try not to laugh but smile. "Actually, that was pretty smart," I say. "But I still don't want you opening that drawer." I shake my head. "You are a smart kid."

He nods. "Sometimes."

In which I make excuses for my pitiful word count

My husband was out-of-town this past weekend, so it was a scramble to get my daughter to her gymnastics gym for team photos, back across town for my son's Taekwondo testing and then back to get my daughter. (Just when you think you can pull of the illusion of being in two places at once, you have to be in two places at complete opposite ends of town, at the same time!) I dropped her off early and raced to Taekwondo to wait (they were running behind. So I kept the toddler occupied as best I could during the wait and then stuck him in a corner wtih an assortment of trucks, construction vehicles and cars when the testing began. My son earned his blue belt! Yay! But he was done much later than we'd planned so we raced back to get my daughter before everyone left the gym. (At least, she was able to watch another team practice, after photos were done, so it was kind of extra preparation for her meet on Sunday).

Saturday my son's basketball practice was canceled so I only had to get my daughter to gymnastics practice and then get them all to Mass that night, as we would not make it on Sunday. I think I actually got a few hundred words written on Saturday.

Sunday, we got everyone settled in the car for the drive to Chesterton. The drive is less than two hours but seemed long to the kids. My daughter worries that she will be late, my middle child just doesn't want to be there and the youngest is 3. (Everything takes a long time, when you're 3!)

She was to be there 15 minutes early and we arrived with 5 or 10 minutes to spare, on top of that! We checked her in, only to find that the meet was running approximately one hour behind, at that point. After that first hour or so, her team was ready to begin warming up and my boys were ready to go! We made it through, though and six hours later, we were back in the car for the ride home. They ate lunch and dinner in the car (and the boys made many visits to the concession stand, during the meet).

We were home a little after 9pm, got the kids in bed, poured a large glass of wine and got some of the details of my husband's weekend trip to New York to see the Notre Dame game with his father. Poured a little more wine while I finished up a few dishes (he'd done them but I make sure that coffee pot is in there!) and checked email.

For some reason, I felt too tired to write at that point.

Today! Today is Monday! Mondays are good for me! Yes, Monday mornings are crazy and we did have to make the extra trip to one school after my son left his sitting on the kitchen counter but then I was already out, so stopped at the store and ran a few other errands, too. Made it back home to give the little guy his lunch and a NAP! (We actually do still work in a few, from time to time, and after this weekend, he was READY!) So now I'm set. On Mondays, I can eat lunch and write! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catchin' up

OK, y'all...not that I like cheating but it might be time to start putting some recipes, songs and a prayer or two into this NaNo novel!

Or at least take a closer look into what's there and see what their new dog just dug up, behind the house. Hmmm....

How's your week going?

***Status update***12:24pm***

Progress! (Sadly, not in the writing but it still counts as catching up!)
It has been exactly two weeks since my youngest got sick in the car. I removed the car seat, scrubbed the car, sprayed the car, rinsed and repeated countless times.
I disassembled the car seat as much as I could without tools, threw everything that I could into the washing machine and then put the rest in the laundry room sink and scrubbed it with bleach and water. I let it dry and put it in the upstairs hallway so I'd remember to take the time to reassemble it and put it back in the car. TODAY, it only took me a little under an hour to remember how to put it back together and get it secured back in the car. *Only* two weeks, exactly, from start to finish!
(Looks like he ought to outgrow it ANY.DAY.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social consciousness

You just never know what your kids are gonna say!

The boys are watching Lilo and Stitch. (I only gave them the choice of that or Finding Nemo. The little one is tired, cranky...no way he was sitting through iCarly!)

Even the dog is cranky. It's cold and wet outside. We needed some tropical fish!

My son has a religion quiz, this week. So I prefaced my preference with, "We are Catholic and of course, Catholics believe that when you die, your soul doesn't come back again. But IF the Hindus end up being right, I hope I come back as a fish."

My son's response? "MOM! How can you say that?! You could be reborn in the GULF!"

(He still curses BP every time we pass one of their gas stations.)

I love this kid!

Monday, November 15, 2010


It's all downhill from here, right? (Or as my 3-year-old would say, "abajo!")
(That kid watches a lot of Dora the Explorer!) ;)

The mid-point of the NaNoWriMo challenge was today, and I am far behind. Time to pick up the speed and race downhill! Who's with me?

50,000 words in 30 days just isn't enough pressure for me. I like to see if I can catch up, from way behind, near the end. *sigh*

How's your Monday looking?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The voices are getting louder

I mentioned characters and, perhaps, an actual person from the past speaking to me.

Yesterday, I was upstairs and heard my son calling me from the backyard. He was out there with the dog, so I came running down to see what was wrong. When I made it to the backyard, I found them running in the grass. Both were FINE. So I asked why he'd yelled.
He shrugged. "I didn't."

Last night, I was in my bedroom when I heard my daughter call me. (I thought it was her. I am always getting in trouble for going to the wrong room when the other has actually called me.) But this time, they both frowned at me for coming into the wrong room. Neither of them called me. I was sure my youngest was asleep so I gave up.

At 4am, I nearly jumped out of bed when I heard a door slam. I looked at my husband--he'd heard it, too. We looked at each other, then heard the gate at the bottom of the stairs slam shut. We both got out of bed but after I second, I told my husband I was sure it was our older son. (He offered to sneak down and scare the snot out of him but wisely refrained.) When I did not hear any refrigerators opening or water running, I went to check. He was in bed. I checked my daughter's room, and she was in bed. Our youngest never gets out of bed in the middle of the night. Ever. (If he wakes--he cries, calls or just sits there but he does not even get out of his bed in the morning until someone comes to open his door).

But it had to be him. His door was still shut but that would explain the slammed door we'd heard. Sure enough, I went in and found his bed empty.

I went downstairs and found him standing in the dark living room. "I heard Daddy calling me so I came down here," he said, "but now I can't find him."

(I got him back upstairs and we assured him it was a dream. He wasn't completely convinced. He asked his Dad twice more why he'd called him.)

While I was putting him back in bed, I remembered the Bible story where the son woke his father three times, asking why he'd been called. The father finally realized it was God calling his son. My son was, apparently, only called once. And he is three. I don't think God has a message for a three-year-old that can't wait until morning.

Clearly then, there are only two possibilities:
I've invited spirits into the house that want to mess with us (now I know I'm not the only one hearing them) or, the dog has taken up ventriloquism.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Back from the dead

I started to have second thoughts about how "cool" my visit from my ghostly friend was. This weekend, we were hit by a nasty stomach bug. I started to think this might be the end and maybe she was coming to help me to the other side! ;)

My youngest had it Thursday and was fine by this weekend but the rest of the family was hit hard. We seem to be on the mend now so at least it was fairly short-lived but I am far, far behind on my word count!

I hope you all had a great weekend! Here's to a healthy, productive week!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Haunting dreams or delirium--I'll take it, either way!

I closed the new document this morning at about 12:15am. I finished writing about a woman who has not yet given birth but her daughter will be an important character, later in the book. As I slid into bed, I was thinking of who she will be when she grows up and I thought she might be the first African-American nun. She has someone else to deal with by then though, so I knew she would at least be familiar with some Native American traditions. I got up and wrote it down, quickly before falling back into bed.

After being woken repeatedly in the early morning, I was delirious enough to even think I was still in a dream. Someone snuggled up on the side of me (the side with no real, physical child attached to me) and tapped me on the shoulder. She whispered a little of her story.

Too tired to wake up (still), I hit Google as soon as I had coffee. The first black nun in Georgia was born in New Orleans, daughter of a slave and a native American.

As a writer, it is a little like magic when your characters become your imaginary friends and talk to you. If you are writing a historical novel and real people (or people who used to be real, live people) show up and do it, that's just COOL.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Frantic Friday

Yesterday was busy but not with much writing. So I'm far behind on the word count goal.

Fridays are normally "my" days. (My youngest goes to a "Mom's Time Out" on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays, I volunteer at my older son's school during that time. Friday mornings are mine. But Thursday afternoon, the little guy got sick. So he's staying home, this morning. It is a Toy Story marathon morning here, with many interruptions to occupy the dog who is ready to PLAY. Somewhere in there, I've got a lot of work to do to make up for being very, very behind on my word count on the new novel.

At the moment, though the toddler is asking to make lemonade. And hiding in the pantry. I wonder if it's dark in there...
I bet somebody had a pantry 150 years ago. And a kid who liked to hide in it...

I wonder if I can count blog posts as part of my word count? ;)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wednesday's whine

I saw it coming, last week but was really hoping I was wrong.

The three-year-old has been three years old for three days. Hasn't napped in two. He is growing up, ready to give up naptime--but I'm not! (Especially not during the month of November/Nano!)

Stay tuned for Thursday's post:
Hair out
Red, bald
Distracts people from
All the

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday to-do list

Another load of laundry done, this morning? Check.

Get kids off to school? Check. (In reverse order, unfortunately, so one was a few seconds late. Not a lot--but late enough to need a tardy slip. Back to the "regular" order, tomorrow!)

Vote? Check. The three-year-old even tried to help.

Get dog groomed? We'll be there in an hour.

Catch up on my Nano goal? Oh....right. 400 words in, this morning. Here's hoping we still get a nap in for J, during or after the dog grooming!!!

(If not, we'll hope for Plan B: where J takes a late nap, after I pick up the older two and drop oldest at gymnastics. He can nap while C does homework and then, maybe, I can get a few hundred more in...)

How's your Tuesday going?

Monday, November 01, 2010


It is November 1st, my youngest son's birthday, All Saints' Day and the first day of Nanowrimo! If you have not signed up yet, there is still time! Go! Register! Write! (And then come back and finish reading my post.)

Speaking of reminders, I wanted to tell you how Souvenir turned out! I picked up the book at the writing conference, after meeting the author. The story Ms. Fowler has crafted is gripping.

I love it when, the day after I have finished a novel, I am still thinking about the characters. Meg is a little younger than I am but has a daughter a little older than mine. I kept turning the pages to see what Savannah, her 15-year-old daughter, would choose. I was afraid to see but more afraid not to! The books is about choices and consequences, for Meg, Savannah and Carson McKay.

(OK. So I also love it when a book I am reading can teach me about the book I am rewriting!) Which reminds me, it is time to get to work on the new one!