Justine: WHEN Do the Kids Go Back To School?

overwhelmed momI’m not sure what sort of writer you are, but I’m definitely a big chunk writer. I need time to GET into my writing world and time to STAY in my writing world (preferably without interruptions).

With the kids home this summer (they’re 11 and 10), that just isn’t happening. So I’ve pretty much written off getting any substantive work done on my MS. Fortunately, their return-to-school date is August 1st (believe me, I’m counting down the days).

Instead of writing, I have been focusing on other things that are still career-centered, but make it a bit easier for me to handle interruptions switch gears.

Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula (SPF) Course

For those of you unfamiliar, Mark Dawson is a British writer who has put together some very thorough and detailed web courses on the ins and outs of self-publishing. It’s pricey and there are limited times during the year when you can sign up, but I think it’s well worth it. In addition to the typical nuts-and-bolts of self-publishing, he gives you some good tactical and strategic advice, such as about maximizing newsletter sign-up (both from your ebooks and your website), pros and cons of going narrow or wide, and launch strategies. All of his courses are one-cost-for-life, so you’re eligible for all course updates in the future. Continue reading

Justine: Travel…Are You a Plotter or Pantser?

planeThe Eight Ladies have been talking bucket lists lately. My bucket list has only one thing in it right now – my trip to England in exactly a month (I arrive on May 7th for 10 days!). You’d think with such a big event, I’d have meticulously plotted out where I will go and what I will do each and every moment of my trip.

Surprisingly, I haven’t. In fact, Jilly, my awesome partner-in-historical-crime/tour guide/(and I hate to say it, but) chauffer have only (mostly) nailed down our accommodations today. Continue reading

Michaeline: Are NaNo writers naturally insane?

Impressionist drawing of a gay young woman in a green dress, leered at by men in costumes.

Oh, the dizzy marvelousness of NaNo’s first week! Nothing is clear, but all is gay and bright! (Via Wikimedia Commons. Jules Cheret)

Are all writers naturally insane?

Or is it more that writing causes insanity? I have a feeling it’s mutually enabling.

At any rate, if you want sane and standard advice about National Novel Writing Month, I recommend my blog post from the first week of November, 2014.

If you want commiseration or a good cynical laugh, read on.

Continue reading

Michaeline: NaNo on my mind, too

Woman in a cape, looking through an oval in cardboard

Now here’s a lady with a story — noblewoman, adventuress, photographer . . . Virginia Oldoini, via Wikimedia Commons

National Novel Writing Month is coming up in just 20 more days! That crazy month-long dash to write 50,000 words is supposed to be a spontaneous exercise of joy, but the more I do it, the more I want to prepare for it. And I’m afraid that it’s a very fine line I walk between preparation and over-preparation.

NaNo welcomes rebels, but in order to rebel, there have to be rules to rebel against. You can see the rules here, but the one I’m worried about is this one:

Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works). While this is no longer a hard-and-fast rule, it is still very strongly recommended, ESPECIALLY for first timers.

To tell the truth, I’ve never done any of this before my three NaNos. I started with a protagonist and a starting incident on November 1, and that was it. This year is a little different. Continue reading

Michaeline: A Cabin Retreat

Ah, no cooking, no cleaning, just writing, writing, writing! (A summer fantasy by Michaeline Duskova.)

Ah, no cooking, no cleaning, just writing, writing, writing! (A summer fantasy by Michaeline Duskova.)

I’m visiting relatives in the US this week, and spent Monday and Tuesday nights in a darling little cottage at Worlds of Fun Village. I can’t stop thinking about what a great writing retreat it would have made!

I’m sure you’ve read anecdotes about how this writer checked into a hotel or that writer escaped to a friend’s cabin to start or finish a book. It makes good sense. Being someplace that’s Not Home makes it easier to ignore the thousands of things at home that need to be done. A writer can sit down and really concentrate on his or her writing.

What I liked about my cottage Continue reading

Michaeline: Help a Lady Out: Trip Checklist

Ueno may have changed a little bit since then . . . .

Ueno may have changed a little bit since then . . . .

In just two weeks, I’ll be on a plane heading for the great metropolis of Tokyo to meet my daughter. I’m very excited to see her after her 11-month sojourn in the wilds of America, but almost as exciting, I’ve taken a couple of extra days in Tokyo to do some research for my 2013 NaNo, A Little Affair in Greater Tokyo.

Justine and Kat have talked about their research trips on this blog – I think all of us Ladies enjoy travel, and appreciate what a shot of reality does for grounding a story. So, I’d like to offer my checklist for the trip. Take a look, and tell me how I can do it better. Continue reading