NaNoWriMo for the Win: Enemies Vanquished, 35K Words Written

A person in a crazy super hero costume pointing to the words "Write every single day!"

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): Sneaking in the Word Count

I had a lot going on this November. While all my activities did reduce my noveling time, that is okay. Sometimes, living life is just more important than writing!

I originally set my goal at 20K words, because I had so much going on last month! I’m happy to say, even though I was a Busy Lizzie, I managed to sneak in an extra 15K words over my expectations. Booyah!

Here are all the crazy things I did this November on top of writing 35,000 words for NaNoWriMo:

Finished My Copyediting Certificate from UC San Diego

I completed Copyediting 3, arguably the most grueling advanced editing class. I spent every Saturday night in October and November doing 5–6 hours of homework. Sometimes Sunday morning was sacrificed too.

You can learn more about the copyediting program at the UC San Diego website. I will write an in-depth blog about it in the future!

Not only did I receive an A in my final class, but my certificate is now complete. I’m a real editor!

Submitted One Poem or Story a Week for Publication

I joined a new writer’s group on Scribophile called Literary Liaisons. The rule is simple: submit one creative writing piece a week or get kicked out of the group. So far, I haven’t missed a deadline!

Volunteered as an ML for NaNoWriMo in the California: Elsewhere Region

Municipal Liaison badge for NaNoWriMo 2017

On top of writing my own novel, I spent months prepping for the event with other volunteers in the California: Elsewhere region. Sure, that ate into my noveling time, but I was helping other people write their novels! So that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I also organized some fabulous write-ins and parties in Nevada City during November.  You can check out our local group on our NaNoWriMo Nevada City Facebook page. Big shout out to Alicia Frost for covering our last two write-ins, because…

I Visited My Amazing Family in Philadelphia

By the end of October, I got hit with some serious homesick blues. I decided to visit my family back East, and I’m so glad I did. I made it home in time for my little sister’s 15th birthday and got to spend Thanksgiving with the people I love.

…I also got dragged to the King of Prussia Mall—one of the biggest uber malls in the country—on Thanksgiving night by my little sisters. But I’ll forgive them.

As a bonus, I managed to write 2,000ish words on an Amtrack to New York and 8,000 words on my looooong plane ride home. How’s that for sneaky?

What Went Down During NaNoWriMo: Final Stats

My stats for NaNoWriMo 2017

I crushed my word count in 2017!

Here’s what I set out to accomplish:

  • My mission: to type up my handwritten manuscript and to write an ending to my novel
  • My goal: hit 20,000 words while staving off insanity

I exceeded my expectations:

  • Amount of handwritten material typed: about 23,000 words
  • New material for ending: 12,000 words
  • Wrote 35K words total

Is the ending finished? No. I still have a bit more to go—maybe another 10 or 15 thousand words. But I’m a lot closer than when I started!

Am I finished typing my handwritten manuscript? Nope. I have a ton more to type! But I did get through one of my notebooks!

What’s Next: More Writing!

Me and a friend gesticulating at the end of a competitive word sprint for NaNoWriMo

Picture from our local write-in (I’m on the right, my friend Amy is on the left). I think this is the end of a word sprint. T-rex hands everyone! Photo credit: Alicia Frost

NaNoWriMo lit a fire under my desk chair. This December, I plan to write the end to my novel and finish typing the rough draft.

Our Thank Gosh It’s Over Party is this weekend, so I may post a clip of me reading an excerpt from my novel. So stay tuned!

How Did Your NaNoWriMo Go?

Did you manage to write 50,000 words in one month? If so, my hat is off to you! Tell me about your novel adventures in the comment section below.


“Blood Red” Flash Fiction Up on Manawaker Podcast: Listen for Free!

A single rose on a dark background. Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash.

My flash fiction story “Blood Red” is live on Manawaker Podcast, and it sounds fantastic! CB Droege did an incredible job with the voice acting. I couldn’t be happier.

Listen to “Blood Red” for Free on Manawaker!

It really is a trip to hear your work read by a professional voice actor. I am grateful to be a part of the Manawaker podcast magic.

About “Blood Red” Flash Fiction

In May 2016, “Blood Red” won the Sierra College Flash Fiction Contest and was published in the college’s literary journal, which I wrote about in a previous blog.

For the contest, we were given photo prompts. I chose a picture of a girl sleeping with a book—only the book had a flower growing out of it. I liked the surreal image and let it percolate in my mind.

Writing and Critiquing

I wrote the story over the course of one weekend, though it took me two or three drafts to get it right. Since it’s original publishing, I’ve workshopped it in a few critique groups. Though the story ended up being less than 500 words, it took many hours of editing!

Special thanks to my friends on Scribophile for all their helpful suggestions!

Story Inspired by Death of a Classmate

During the 2016 Spring Semester, I was a student at Sierra College. One of my classmates died suddenly during that time from a drug overdose.

It was a shock to the whole class, but especially to me. I had sat next to the student for a few weeks. We had traded jokes back and forth. Suddenly, he was gone.

In a lot of ways, this story helped me to work through the sudden loss I felt.

Biblical References

I grew up steeped in Jewish culture, so biblical references crop up in my work a lot.

In this story, the narrator throws a book into the fire, but it does not burn. To me, this is a metaphor for speaking directly to the collective unconscious, just as in the story of the burning bush.

Fire burning at night. Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash.

Listen to “Blood Red” Now Manawaker!

You can also listen to it on Patreon.

The story is also available on Youtube.

Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy the recording!

“Blood Red” to be Published by Manawaker Studio as a Podcast

A little girl with funny glasses shouting

I’m totally stoked! My flash fiction “Blood Red” will be published by Manawaker Studio as a podcast! This is my first time having one of my stories broadcasted, and I’m excited.

In May 2016, “Blood Red” won the Sierra College Flash Fiction Contest and was published in the college’s literary journal, which I wrote about in a previous blog.

I’ll let you all know when the podcast goes live. Until then, I hope your NaNoWriMo is going well!

“Geas” Published by Occulum and NaNoWriMo BEGINS!

Dark Fantasy Flash Fiction Published Today!

Great news! My dark fantasy flash fiction “Geas” was just published by Occulum Journal. I’ve been looking for a good home for this weird little story for a long time, and I’m thrilled that it lives on the strange and wonderful Occulum site. Read “Geas” at Occulum for free!

NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month) Begins

In other news, NaNoWriMo begins TODAY! I am happy to say I met my word count today (and yes, this blog so counts!).

Municipal Liaison badge for NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m an ML (Municipal Liaison, or volunteer) for the California: Elsewhere region. Come find my profile and add me to your buddy list if you are a Wrimo!

This year, I’ll be typing up the third book in my YA LGBTQ series (you can read more about it in my last blog). So far, it spans three notebooks, all handwritten! I also need to write the ending :X I don’t know if I’ll hit the 50K word goal, but I’m happy just to participate in the fun.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Let me know!

Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Winner!


I’m Crazy and Writing Even Though I Have No Time

Completely insane: during one of my busiest months, I decided—foolishly, joyously, fanatically—to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this past July.

The Inner Critic Speaks

But you have more work than usual, my inner killjoy whispered.

You are taking an editing class, and NaNoWriMo will be smack in the middle of midterms (in which, I am happy to say, I got an A+. Take that, inner critic!).

You will be going out of town multiple times and, as my mother would say, running around like a chicken without a head.

The Novel Looks at Me with Sad Puppy Eyes

But I also had a burgeoning (and on-going) manuscript, all hand-written and spanning three notebooks that begged me to type it.

Yes, I prefer to handwrite my novels. While I find it to be a more relaxing noveling experience, it also means that eventually, I need to type the dang thing.

Winning Writing Stats

So I took the plunge and joined the NaNoWriMo festivities. Originally, my goal was 50,000 words. By the penultimate week of July, I made the sound decision to halve my goal to 25K.  In the end, I made it to 27K.

As you can see, I had a strong start, followed by two weeks of treading water and then ending with a bang.

Third Novel in a Series: Romantic Comedy with LGBTQ Themes

A little about what I’ve been frantically typing.

I’ve been working on a romantic comedy series—last NaNoWriMo in November helped me finish the second book called “The Marijuana Mafia.”

For Camp NaNoWriMo this past July, I’ve been hammering away at the prequel, which details the misadventures of our protagonists in high school and his journey in coming out of the closet.

In preparation for writing this book, I read a lot of Young Adult LGBTQ classics, like “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” “The Upside of Unrequited,” “Luna,” and many others.  Check out my Young Adult LGBTQ reading list on Goodreads.

What’s Next for the Novels

I’m about two-thirds of the way through writing the prequel. In the meantime, I plan to use NaNoWriMo’s new year-round goal tracker to help me stay on course for typing up all my notebooks. So far, I’m almost through the first notebook.

Editing, Editing, and more Editing

Once I finish the rough draft of the prequel, I plan to go back to the first book and edit. I’m a pantser (as opposed to someone who outlines, aka a plotter), so by now—after writing the entire three-book series—I have a solid idea of who my characters are and what plot holes need to be sewn shut.

In the meantime, I’m three-fourths of the way done my copyediting certificate program at UC San Diego, and at work, I’m starting a new blog for my local community college (more on that soon!).

So stay tuned for more news.

Let me know how your NaNoWriMo went. What are you writing?

“Graves of My Ancestors” Published by Page & Spine


I’m proud to announce that my poem, “Graves of My Ancestors,” has just been published by Page & Spine and is now up for your reading pleasure. 

This poem is very near and dear to my heart. I wrote it in response to the desecration of about 100 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in my hometown, Philadelphia. The poem came out of me in a rush of emotion; I hardly had to edit it. It emerged whole and trembling and helped me to integrate my rage and frustration over what had happened.

I don’t usually write about political events, but this one struck close to home. I hope you’ll enjoy the read.

Read “Graves of My Ancestors” now!