Camp NaNoWriMo Winner: 50K Words, One Novel Finished and a Second Novel Started!

OH MY GOSH! You guys!!!! I can’t believe it, but here’s the proof that I won Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this July:

NaNoWriMo Winner Badge

Breakdown of How I Won NaNoWriMo

My Camp NaNoWriMo stats

Week One: Writing Like a Boss

The first week, I stayed on my word count no problem. Every day, I dutifully wrote.

Weeks Two and Three: Disaster!

And then some crazy stuff in my personal life blew up, and I had to stop writing for close to 10 days!

Weeks Three and Four: Underdog for the Win

As you can see from my stats, I tried and tried to get back on track, but I was dealing with a 15 K gap.

The Final Day: Hitting 50K at the Stroke of Midnight!

On July 31, I had a REALLY hard day. I cried a lot (because of that stupid personal issue I mentioned before that blew up my second and third week). By six o’clock that night, I was in a BAD mood, with my frenemy Depression knocking on my door. I did NOT want to let her in; I wanted to tell Depression that I was busy, but she knew I was really laying on the couch surfing Facebook. I knew I had to do something.

Then, an idea struck me: You know what always cheers me up? Writing!

So what if I only had six hours between now and midnight to type 15K words? By God, I was going to do it because it was going to make me happy.

At about ten o’clock, my husband kicked me out of the bedroom, so I took my laptop into the living room and started typing like a crazy person. By 11:30 at night, I was down by only 1,000 words. I ignored every typo and let my fingers tap spastically against the keyboard. And then, just as midnight struck, a miracle happened!

I had typed 15K words in 6 hours. I had won Camp NaNoWriMo!

Rough Draft of My YA Romantic Comedy: DONE

It has taken me since January, but this NaNoWriMo, I finally finished typing up the rough draft of the third novel in my YA series. The third book ended up being 122,000 words!

I finished the novel at the 35K word count; still 15K to go until the Camp NaNoWriMo goal of 50K. I was on a roll, and I didn’t want to stop!

Halfway Finished Typing Rough Draft of YA Fantasy Novel

I have another project I’ve been working on, yet another novel that I’d hand-written about two years ago. The Demon Maker (working title) is a high fantasy YA book about two sisters who get lost in an enchanted forest who have to overcome a seriously scary demon.

I had gotten the idea for the book during a meditation retreat. Luckily for me, when I told my meditation teacher I was thinking about a novel instead of a zen koan, he shrugged and told me to roll with it. And so, the novel was born! (Thank you, Buddha:)

With my other series, this novel had taken the backseat for a while. I decided that NOW was the time to type it up!

It was The Demon Maker that got me to the NaNoWriMo finish line.

What’s Next: Finishing The Demon Maker Rough Draft!

As I worked on The Demon Maker, I realized that this rough draft was pretty solid. When I originally wrote the book a few years ago, I was struck by panic that it was awful and terrible. With a few years worth of distance, I realized that it actually kind of rocks. In fact, it may be the best rough draft I’ve ever written!

So, I’ve decided that the first book I’m going to finish, edit, and publish is The Demon Maker. Cue the confetti! I’m so excited and happy, and to think, I would have never gotten to this point if I hadn’t kicked my butt into making my 50K NaNoWriMo goal!

So thank you, kind friends, and thank you NaNoWriMo!


Did you do NaNoWriMo? Let us know down in the comments!



Poem Up at New Reader Magazine, and Camp NaNoWriMo for the 50K Words!

A woman tosses her pink hair. Photo by George Bohunicky on Unsplash

In my poem, Psyche is a bit punk rock, with pink hair and a lot of tattoos!

Read the Poem “Psyche Gets a Haircut” for Free!

I’m proud to announce that my quirky free verse poem is now up for reads at New Reader Magazine in their second issue (I’m on page 105). Download the magazine for free here!

I’m a huge fan of the New Reader Magazine and am proud to be in their second issue. First of all, their artwork and layout are stunning! Second, I am really digging all the great poetry and stories in the issue. It is truly an honor to be a part of this publication.

I wrote this poem after watching my friend Alicia Vandevorst’s play Psyche, which was kind of a serious play, so not sure where my tattooed Psyche with a pink mohawk came from:)

Camp NaNoWriMo: a Rough Draft Over 100,000 Words

Camp NaNoWriMo badge for 2018

In other news, this is it: this is the summer when I finally finish typing up the rough draft of the third book in my romantic comedy series (fingers crossed). So far, I’ve typed over 16,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m right on track for meeting the 50,000 deadline at the end of the month. In total, the rough draft is 100,000 words and counting. It’s a bit scary, actually!

Typing up this handwritten manuscript has been an absolute beast. I’ve been at it for about a year (you can read more about it on my blog article from last year).  I can’t wait to finish!!!

For those of you who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month that happens in July (the main event is in November). The goal: to write 50,000 words in one month.

Do You NaNoWriMo?

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Or are you saving up your creative juices for the big NaNoWriMo in November? Let us know in the comments below!


My Poem is a Music Video—Watch it at Subprimal Poetry Art!

A woman's figure is shadowed in a black-and-white picture

This is pretty much the coolest thing that ever happened to me. The editor of Subprimal Poetry Art, Victor David Sandiego, turned my poem into a music video. The audio is me reading the poem, and the music and video art are Victor’s. What an amazing collaboration.

Watch the Epic Poetry Music Video Now!

About the Poem, “In Voices Like Mine”

Sometimes, I have to edit the heck out of a poem, but other times, a poem just emerges fully born like Athena from Zeus’s head. Okay, that’s a weird metaphor and maybe overly dramatic, but that is how it happened: this poem wrote itself.

This kind of poetry-writing alchemy happens sometimes when I go on poetry binges and write every single day.  Mmm. So delicious when I can really sink into that magic.

(Note to self: go on more poetry binges.)

Shopping My Poem Around for Publication

I knew “In Voices Like Mine” was one of my best poems, so I decided to push myself and submit it to some really tough markets. It was rejected three times before finding its home at Subprimal.

When I submitted, the acceptance rate for poetry at Subprimal, according to Duotrope, was 3.5%. Just to spell that out for you, the rejection rate was 96.5%. So to say I was intimidated to submit to this market is an understatement.

However, I really resonated with the magazine. When I read their about page, I just about flipped out. Here’s a snippet:

The name Subprimal represents that which lies beneath the primal, that is: ambiences and sensations lower, or even further removed from the aboriginal. We like to explore the origins and manifestations of human consciousness and are always looking for fellow travelers.

–Subprimal About Page

I am so all about that—my work deals a lot with the subconscious and the surreal. So I couldn’t resist submitting, especially given that the magazine makes exquisite poetry music videos.

I went for it, and I am so glad I did. What a juicy collaboration! Special thanks, of course, to Victor David Sandiego for his beautiful music and video work. It is truly an honor to be a part of this magical issue.

Watch the Video and Read the Poem at Subprimal!

My poem was published as part of Issue 11 – “All The Breath Of A Thousand Men In Your Gut.”

I am honored to be included with so many talented poets, wordsmiths, and artists.

My favorite pieces are

Check out issue 11! You will be happy you did.

Special thanks to all the readers, friends, critique buddies, and fans who have helped me on this journey. I am sending you gratitude and love!

I Edited for 30 Hours for NaNoEdMo in March; Onwards to 50K Words in April for NaNoWriMo

Okay, so the goal for National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) is to edit for 50 hours in March. I did 31 hours of editing. Not too shabby!

A blank journal and pencil

Projects I Edited for NaNoEdMo

Poetry Chapbook

I’ve always wanted to submit work to the Frontier Poetry Chapbook Contest, so I finally did it! My friend and amazing poet Alicia Vandevorst kicked my poetry butt into some serious editing. Huge thanks, Alicia. You are my poetry rock and ninja master 😀

There is something about going through oodles of your poems at once and delving that deeply into your subconscious that is both thrilling and surreal. A bit like having too many fever dreams I think.

Anyway, the process was rich, and a book was born. It would be rad to win the chapbook contest, but (and I’m not afraid to be a cheese ball about it)  putting together the work was truly a reward in and of itself.

The Queen of Demons Short Story

I spent the bulk of my remaining time editing a short story that I have been working on for three years.

It’s ironic because the story is about a woman who stitches her dismembered lover back to life (imagine Frankenstein meets Romeo and Juliet). Likewise, I’ve hacked apart and restitched this story together so many times, it’s kinda like a little zombie itself.

I’ve been workshopping the heck out of the eighth and ninth drafts on Scribophile. After NaNoEdMo, I’m just about ready to work on the (hopefully) final draft.

My Friend’s Awesome Graphic Novel!

I also spent time helping my friend Jennifer Rain edit her freaking fantastic graphic novel. It was such a treat to enter into someone else’s world and help them edit. Seriously, it was like an editing dessert it was so yummy. I will freak out with awesome when she gets it published 🙂

A person holding up a flame as fireworks explode in the sky

Victory fireworks!

Onwards to 50,000 Words with NaNoWriMo!

No time to rest on my laurels—Camp National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) calls. The project: to type out my handwritten rough draft of my YA LGBTQ romance I worked on during NaNoWriMo last November. I still have two whole notebooks to type!

…Oh, and you can bet that I’ll be including my word count from this blog:)

A Publishing Sneak Peek!

In other news, I have some poems that have been accepted for publication!

  • Subprimal Poetry Art Magazine will be publishing my poem “In Voices Like Mine” very soon. As a bonus, there will be a poetry music video of my work! #mindblown
  • New Reader Magazine just accepted my poem “Psyche Gets a Haircut,” which will go up on the web in a little while.
  • Canary Literary Magazine recently accepted three of my ecologically focused poems, which will be published within the next year.

I’ll let you know when those poems come out.


Thanks for reading, and please let me know: will you be doing NaNoWriMo?

Three Poems at Page and Spine, Art at Black Rabbit!

A relief of Inanna, the Sumerian Goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. She takes a trip to the underworld as part of her initiation.

Surreal Poetry Published Today at Page & Spine

Hello friends! I just had three poems published by the incredible Page & Spine, which you can read now for free!

  • The first poem, “Even Inanna,” is about a little trip to the underworld, and is one of my favorite poems I’ve written, so I’m super honored that it’s up at one of my favorite magazines!
  • “Strange Dreams and the Forest” is about a surreal dream and disassociation.
  • “I Will Turn Green” is about how to deal with jealousy, shadow-sister style.

Read the three poems!

Water and Air Painting Published by Black Rabbit

So this publication happened during the holidays, and I could have sworn I blogged about it, but then when I checked my blog…nope.

So here it is, world! My surreal and abstract painting Water and Air is on page 5 of Black Rabbit’s November issue. 

A lot of people ask if it is an oil painting, but it’s actually acrylic with mixed media. I used the palette knife a lot to create a thick impasto.

This painting was also up from November to December for the “Howl” exhibit at the Cult of Gemini in Nevada City, CA.

Thank You!

I have to give a big shout out and thank you to YOU, my fabulous readers.

Before every publication, there are many, many rejections. I can see you writer types out there nodding your heads and sighing. Yep.

The rejection process can be pretty discouraging, but thanks to the support I get from you all, I am able to keep going until I get that sweet, sweet acceptance letter.

Many thanks dear ones. Here’s a cute hummingbird of appreciation  (so pretty!).

hummingbird with flowers

OMG, the Sierra Writers Conference Rocked!

A fountain pen on an open journal

I just got home from the Sierra Writers Conference, and I’m so pumped! It was an all-day event with so many fabulous speakers, including

  • Gary Noy
  • Dimitri Keriotis
  • Patricia Dove Miller
  • Sands Hall
  • Rachel Howard
  • Kim Culberson
  • And so many more!

I love writers conferences because they get you so excited about writing. Creative writing can be such a solitary affair, so it’s nice to have community and support.

Writing Conference Highlights

I wish I could have cloned myself for the day and made it to all of the breakout workshops. Alas, I am only mortal.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the day:

Dimitri Keriotis: Building Interiority in Characters

Dimitri got me thinking about character building in a new way.

His workshop was all about how to integrate the physical description of a character into their psychological portrait while adding to the tension of the story.

We broke out into groups and did some free writing about characters we are currently working with. I was pleasantly surprised to discover and share some details about my character that emerged.

I happened to be in a group with Sands Hall, which was awesome. I’m really thankful for the feedback she gave me!

Sands Hall: Strategies for Strengthening Point of View (POV)

"Tools of the Writer's Craft" by Sands Hall

This is a great book on all things creative writing.

Sands was a pure powerhouse and had the packed room riveted for the full hour. She was all about how an author selects essential details that reveal the character to the reader.

We went in deep about how to capture a narrator’s, or character’s, voice through setting, the activity, and objects. Plus, how to use the vocab, sentence structure, and grammar that your character would use.

As an added bonus, she signed my book:) Yay!

Kim Culbertson: Publishing Fiction

My copy of Kim Culbertson's book "The Possibility of Now"

I’m obsessed with “The Possibility of Now” by Kim Culbertson. I actually keep it next to my self-help books instead of with fiction. Truth:) And yes, this is an autographed copy 🙂

And of course, I had to go to my annual pep talk with Kim. What I love about this workshop is I’ve gone to the same one with Kim three years in a row, and every time, I learn something new. It just goes deeper and deeper.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of agent finding and publishing, Kim gets you to ask the crucial questions. Why do you write? Why do you want to publish? Getting clear about your goals is the first step forward in the process.

Plus, she grounds out the whole publishing discussion. She reminds us that writing and publishing are two very different things that only sometimes overlap. 

Kim says that what’s important is to “keep a sacred space for your work” and remembering that you are a writer because you write—not necessarily because you publish.

Getting the Inspiration to Keep On Writing

The best part of these conferences, especially in my small town, is seeing all my writer friends and having some profound discussions. Sharing experiences is so meaningful and motivating. It’s so sweet to know that there is a whole community of writers in my town and beyond.

Big thanks to Sierra Writers for producing the event.

What about you? Are you a writers conference person? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below.