July, July, July! It Never Seemed so Strange

And now it is August. Which means I have one month left before my day job kicks me in the pants and tells me to get going. This is the lull at the university where we have no allocated budget yet, no labs running, but I have to do some inventory, requisitions and preparations for the incoming storm.

Something that came out of this crazy July experiment of #50in5 was that I’ve convinced at least three people to do this insanity with me and they want to do it during other months. We had already planned November (because of NaNoWriMo) but now we will add January and March along for the ride. With new postcards specifically for those challenges.

(At least officially.)

As promised, here is the completed #50in5 card (sans stickers at the moment):

The front
The Back

But enough of that. Let’s talk about…

July Wrap Up

Words Written: 143,524
Days Written: 31/31
Drafts Finished: 2
Shift: 79,019
Shard of Sea: 113,183
Short Stories Written: 1
-“Wedding Gifts” – 1,524
Challenges Complete: 2
-#50in5
-Camp NaNoWriMo (July)

Highest Word Count Day: 7/21 (13,202)
Lowest Word Count Day: 7/31 (855)

Favorite Accomplishment: Finishing the thriller, Shift. That trilogy is complete. It also spawned a potential duology surrounding two of the other agents so it looks like I’m not done with the DPMS yet.

Least Favorite Moment: The blackout ruining my original plans to finish Shard of Sea. I still did it, by the grace of my laptop battery, but it really threw me off kilter.

[Camp NaNoWriMo] Week Four Wrap Up

In which I finish things.

Just three days left in Camp NaNoWriMo but I don’t want to break my Sunday tradition. I’ll have a short wrap up on Wednesday also including my overall Yays and Nays.

I finished #50in5 on Friday. On those five days only, I wrote 55,167 words between two novels. I finished my first draft of Shard of Sea and am maybe 10,000 words away from finishing the first draft of The Lies of Jade and Ivory. If I can finish that up by Wednesday, I will consider myself all set writing-wise until the beginning of the semester in September.

Draft one of my thriller is also finished! I finished it around 3:30 pm, after a series of sprints. There’s a lot to do to make it a little more coherent (I had gone off tangent once or twice) but overall, I am pleased.

It’s a strange feeling, finishing up a trilogy. I know there are subplots I carried through all three that are now concluded. There’s a twist that I liked at the end, that I think I foreshadowed in the first novel. And the story of Mae reaches a satisfying conclusion to readers, I hope. She never succumbed to the monster inside.

Things I’ve Noticed During Week Four

July is my writing month.

The Wrap Up

Words Written: 30,587
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: 10,076
Thriller: 19,013
Shard of Sea: 1,498 (last minute clean up)

Total So Far: 134,185

Favorite Scenes:
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: The confrontation in the throne room
Thriller: Bay finally seeing Mae’s true eye color.

Biggest Concern:
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: Figuring out how to tie the ending together. I wrote something too soon, I think, and it will take a bit to catch the rest of the plot up.
Thriller: Editing. The whole trilogy.

Biggest Celebration:
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: Hitting the climax and now moving to the big battle.
Thriller: It’s Done!

Goals for the Last Few Days:
Words: 6,000 words
Challenges: Finish up Camp!
The Lies of Jade and Ivory: Try to get to the battle scene.

[WriYe Blogging Circle] I Heard That Zombies Ate Her Brain

So, continuing my quest to catch up on the WriYe Blog Circle, I’m going to do this month’s prompt during this month!

Main:
ZOMBIES are a July tradition here at WriYe. Do you have a writing tradition of your own? How did it come about?

As one of the founders of WriYe’s annual Zombie July, this is definitely a writing tradition of mine. Every July, one of my novels has something to do with zombies, or things that could be considered undead/zombie-like. The first year was the first installment in my thriller series that I’m finishing this year, and other novels have included a desert-themed fantasy story with undead monsters, a Victorian romance with a zombie twist, and various short stories involving the brain eaters.

That all started because more than one of us had a zombie novel planned so why not make it a challenge? If you are over on WriYe, you’ll notice that I make a lot of challenges. They’re all selfish. I want to do something or achieve something, so I drag all willing participants with me with the promise of a shiny winner’s badge/banner.

When I finish #50in5 you’ll see the postcard with which I tempted people. And when I reveal that, I’ll reveal the further plans for #50in5, so stay tuned!

Now, non-zombie related, July is really my traditional month to try and finish two novels in one go. Usually one is partially done (in this case, Shard of Sea) and one is new. Because I teach at a university, but I am still administration there, summer is the calmest of my work seasons with July being the month I take most of my vacation during.

However, this year I taught all of July. So I wasn’t sure if I could manage to keep my tradition strong. #50in5 definitely kept me motivated, helping me finish Shard of Sea, and I think with the 6 days left in Camp NaNoWriMo I can finish the thriller series. It was sheer dedication to not letting that tradition fail.

Bonus:
Tell us about your favorite non writing traditions!

There’s non-writing?

In all seriousness, a few non-writing traditions that I keep up:

  • Running the NYC Marathon
  • Having an annual holiday/thank you party for my student workers with a Secret Santa (they ask for it)
  • Monthly escape room. It keeps the brain working. (You know, so the zombies can eat it later.)

[WriYe Blogging Circle] A Rose By Any Other Name

Topic:

Real name vs pen name? Is one better than the other? Why or why not?

For me, it depends on a few things:

  1. How hard is your name to spell, pronounce and remember. You can use your real name if it is hard to spell, pronounce and remember! I always support people who go for it and make others learn because it is your name and you deserve to have it spelled and said correctly. However, I can’t fault anyone who might want to use a different family name, a shortened name or even a new name for their own.
  2. Do you want anonymity? If you have a work life that shouldn’t mix with your creative life, maybe you want to keep it separate. Maybe you don’t want your family knowing what you write. Maybe being a famous writer isn’t your deal. Alls’ fair there.
  3. Are you already established in another genre? If you write multiple genres, you may want to have a pen name for new books in the new genre. Reason being, these are new audiences. New people that will want to read your books. Maybe some will overlap, maybe some won’t, but it would be nice to have a following that isn’t disappointed that your next book out is sci-fi when you usually write romance.
  4. Do you want one? Then go for it.

Bonus:
Which would you use? Real name or pen name? Why?

Right now, I use a combination of my real name and pen names. Right now, I am thinking I will have four distinct pen names:

This one, for my adult fantasy (and maybe my YA fantasy, but I waffle on this).

One for my horror/thriller/suspense stories.

One for the series I might end up self-publishing.

And the last possibility is to have a separate YA pen name all together.

The reason I want to have three is because I think that fantasy and horror have some overlapping audience but not enough that if I were to get published by a trade (knock on wood), I wouldn’t want my readers to hear I was putting out a new book only to find out it’s in the opposite genre.

It’s the one reason I lean toward having a separate YA pen name. I tend to write novels quickly, so I think I might be able (if all goes according to my dream plan) to publish under each pen name at least once every 18 months. That should keep a good cycle going.

The self-publishing pen name is strictly for business reasons. If I do end up self-publishing a series (and erin really tries to turn me to that side with all she learns about it!), I’d want it under a different name in case it goes belly-up.

This pen name is basically my real name with acronyms and my last name shortened. It allows me to keep some anonymity – which I really want at this point in my writing career – but also has enough of me in it that I don’t feel like I’m someone else. That’s why I use it for my favorite, main genre of fantasy.

My horror/thriller/suspense name is a family surname with my middle name. I think it would fit in the genre conventions and is short and catchy enough to be memorable. That and no one else seems to have a name quite like it yet so, gold.

Stats:

Words Written: 10,050 words (all in the thriller)
Chapters Completed:
3
Favorite Scene so Far:
Mae once again getting into a car with Vince. When will she learn that she can’t keep her lunch down with his driving?