Cover Reveal: Chocolate Aftertaste by Liz Grace Davis

Starfish woman

You how people say writing is a solitary profession?  Well, for the most part, they’re right … it is.  But for me, I’m lucky enough to have some amazing writer friends spread out across the globe … and one of those friends happens to be the crazy-talented author Liz Grace Davis.

Liz and I first met a few years ago (or, in author speak: many books ago) when we both were active members of a forum for writers.  We’ve exchanged, oh, only about a thousand e-mails since then and today I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the launch of her new cover for her amazing novel Chocolate Aftertaste.

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ChocolateAftertaste-LizGraceDavis-Cover

Nora Darkin’s life has never been her own, but that’s about to change, and what she finds on the other side will taste a lot like sweet freedom.

 

Aidan Darkin, a wealthy entrepreneur, has controlled his daughter, Nora, since the death of his wife years prior. Nora never thought to question the decisions he made for her, always believing he knew best. But trust comes with a price, and for Nora, the sacrifice is her own happiness.

 

On the eve of Nora’s wedding, confronted with a truth that will change everything and a betrayal that will fracture the life she’s always known, she will do the unthinkable—defy her father and make her escape.

 

On her own for the first time, Nora makes the quaint country town of Dreara, known for its extraordinary chocolate, her temporary home. Faced with choosing for herself for the first time in her life, Nora sets out to capture her own independence, to fall in love for the right reasons with a man of her own choosing, and embark on a journey that will fulfill her soul—even if that means risking it all, and losing more than she ever imagined.

 

But even a place known for its chocolate doesn’t offer Nora the sweet beginning she’d hoped for.

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In celebration of new cover, Liz (together with the team at Grapevine Book Tours) is offering an incredible giveaway.  One lucky winner will have the chance to snag this “sweet” swag.

• Print copy of Chocolate Aftertaste + postcard
• $10 Amazon/B&N gift card + eBook copy of eBook copy of backlist novel, Tangi’s Teardrops, or an ARC copy ofHoneysuckle and Jasmine
• eBook copy of eBook copy of backlist novel, Tangi’s Teardrops, or ARC copy of Honeysuckle and Jasmine + keychain+ postcard
• eBook copy of eBook copy of backlist novel, Tangi’s Teardrops, or an ARC copy of Honeysuckle and Jasmine +postcard + pen

**Enter Liz’s Sweet Giveaway **

LizGraceDavisLiz Grace Davis grew up in Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Germany. She now lives with her husband and daughter in Vienna, Austria. Her travels had offered her the opportunity to gather useful material, from both her own experiences and those of others. She is a firm believer that memories, both good and bad, are worth cherishing. The roads travelled lead people to who they are today.

As a result, she enjoys breathing new life into some of those experiences and sprinkling them with snippets born of her imagination, to write fiction novels. Liz’s aim as a writer is to both thrill and inspire readers.

Buy The Book:

Amazon

Barnes & Nobel 

And be sure to check out what other’s are saying about Chocolate Aftertaste on Goodreads!

Guest Blog : Enid Wilson

So excited to be hosting Enid Wilson today.

Enid is the author of The Spinsters Vow, a brilliant twist to a classic.  Enid graciously agreed to dissect the 99th page of her novel for our reading enjoyment!

 

A Woman of Wit

 

Thank you Ashley for hosting me today. Ashley has given me a fun subject to blog about. She asked me to pick the 99th page of any of my nine novels to talk about.

 

I’ve chosen my latest historical romance “The Spinster’s Vow: Mrs. Darcy’s Journal to Love”. The 99th page featured a heated argument between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, about Wickham. In this Pride and Prejudice-inspired story, Mr. Wickham was in fact the heir to Longbourn and a cousin of Elizabeth. Here is an excerpt:

 

I did not like his raised voice, and so I retorted, “How am I to know? He is my cousin!”

“Whom you have only known for a day!” Mr. Darcy said.

“I have only known you for a short duration, as well!” I replied.

“Have I done anything, during our short acquaintance, to make you doubt my integrity?”

“I still do not know you well!”

“You believed that I took away his inheritance – something entitled to him – took it from a childhood friend of mine, no less? And left him at the mercy of others?”

“Mr. Wickham was very charming. He sounded altogether sincere when he related the circumstances to me.”

Mr. Darcy’s eyes flashed. “Suspicion certainly does not seem to be within your inclination.”

“Are you accusing me of ignorance?” My voice raised another notch, as well.

“I thought I had found a woman of wit as my partner for life.”

“Now you accuse me of being a simpleton?”

 

In this refashioning of Jane Austen’s classic, Mr. Bennet had gone missing. Mr. Darcy met a melancholic but spirited Elizabeth Bennet who had vowed to remain a spinster until she found her father.

 

A debauchery at a masquerade forced the couple to marry. Misunderstanding ensued and it took the couple a journey across the continent to search for Elizabeth’s father before they realised their love for each other.

 

I hope you like this new take of P&P. Comment below to have a chance to win an ebook version of The Spinter’s Vow. Tell me about your witty partner. Contest opens to worldwide readers and closes on 30 April

 

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Author Bio

 

Enid Wilson loves sexy romance. Her writing career began with a daily newspaper, writing educational advice for students. She then branched out into writing marketing materials and advertising copy. She loves food, travel and tennis.

 

Enid’s novels has been ranked in the top 50 best-selling historical romances on Amazon USA, the top 30 best-selling Regency romances on Amazon Canada, the top 21 romantic short stories on Amazon UK and the top 39 British mysteries on Amazon. Enid loves to hear from her readers. Visit her at www.enidwilson.com

The Last Dawn … Author Interview With Christina Lasater

Today I have the chance to let you meet author Christina Lasater.  I want to thank Christina for the chance to pick her brain on her first year of publishing … and for willingly agreeing to share her journey with us all.

Christina just published her first novel, THE LAST DAWN, a futuristic novel that takes the reader on the journey to the end of the Earth and into a brave new dawn.

Linked at the bottom is a very special code that will let you all download and read THE LAST DAWN for free through Smashwords for a limited time, until Monday 2.20.2012!

ENJOY!

xx,

Ashley MP.

Tell us what your first year of publishing has been like? What was the pit and what was the peak? 
I haven’t quite made it to a year since I decided to publish/have been published but so far it has been exciting. The pit has been just how time consuming it was. When I decided to publish, I chose Smashwords, CreateSpace and Amazon all of which required different formats for the manuscript; it was tedious work. The peak was seeing my novel go “live” on those websites and when people began to purchase their copies.

Before you became the writer you are today, with your first novel officially published, where did you see yourself landing? Did you think you’d be traditionally published or were always planning to go it alone into the Indie Universe? 
Years ago when I decided that I wanted to be published, I always imagined having traditionally published novel. I dreamed of being published with one of those major publishing houses. Up until a few months ago, I had little knowledge of Indie publishing. I knew that it was going to be a lot of hard work and I would be alone in my adventure but I saw it as a challenge that I wanted to try.

Did you query? If so, what was that experience like you as a first time novelist? What was the nicest thing an agent said … and what was the most disheartening? How did you deal with it? 
I didn’t query since I chose the Indie path.

Hindsight is always 20/20 … if you could go back and rewrite the journey towards publication, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? 
I don’t think there is anything that I would have done differently except for taking so long to reach my goal. Before I decided it was time to crack down on myself and to stop procrastinating and to set that goal, I had already been working on my novel for almost a year and a half. I was ready to get it finished. I had already planned out my novel but I needed to plan out exactly when I wanted it to be finished. I created a strict schedule, doing so much every day and every week. Being so focused on what I had to do every day helped me to finish on time.

If you could pass on one piece of knowledge to other writers just starting out what would that advice be? 
Do your research. Research your options, traditional or Indie publishing, to get a good understanding of what you are about to enter. One of those options just will not suit you even if it is something you had your heart set on doing and that’s okay. Don’t let that discourage you.

New writers always face fear … what was your greatest fear about publishing your first novel?
 
Exposing my writing to the world. Last year I began writing articles for Examiner.com & Yahoo! Contributor Network. I finally mustered up some courage to release a piece of fiction on Yahoo! and it was completely terrifying. Up until that point, I had never let anyone read any fiction I have ever written. When I received positive feedback from readers, it helped quell those fears and encouraged me to continue sharing my works of fiction with others. It helped me to convince myself to finish and publish The Last Dawn.
How did you come across the idea and decide that, yes, this will be my first book, this is how I will launch my career? 
About two years ago when the 2012 Doomsday talk started, it had me thinking about what could happen when the world does end. I was also taking a writing course around that time. I had an assignment to submit a proposal and the first three chapters of a book and chose The Last Dawn idea. My teacher replied that she liked the idea and that it was a promising topic. Months after the course was over, the idea was still stuck in my head and I was becoming obsessed with turning it into an actual novel. I had never before been so passionate about my writing like I was when I was creating The Last Dawn. I just knew that if I couldn’t stop thinking about this project, I had to finish to it.

What about the story THE LAST DAWN kept you focused as a writer, kept you telling the story to the finish line? 
I was personally interested in the topic; the unknown of space, lost love, etc. I’m a hopeless romantic and into the whole could there be life outside of Earth thing so when I could combine the two, it was perfect for me.

What is the message you hope your readers will walk away with after finishing the book and setting it aside? 
To let your imagination run wild, that is what fiction is all about. The concept of The Last Dawn might seem silly to others but if I would have held onto that belief that others wouldn’t like it, I never would have published it. Don’t be afraid to write anything, even if you think no one else will like it.

Are you currently working on a follow up or are you taking time to breathe? 
I have a few different projects in the works and I’m hoping to get one out by the end of this year. I’m not one to be able to take a little time out because that is when I get writer’s block. My idea of taking time to breathe is writing a few articles on Yahoo! Contributor Network in between my fiction projects.

Parting words? 
Thank you to everyone who supports Indie authors and for giving us a chance in such a difficult business. We all have to start somewhere and I am happy in my decision by taking this path.
Tell us about your novel, THE LAST DAWN …
The back cover of my novel is just the synopsis:
    “The Last Dawn begins in late 2055 during the last few days of Earth. As Earth’s demise is imminent, Madison Weatherly and her former flame, James, reunite. Only a few hours remain for life on the dying planet when the entire population is dispersed throughout the universe. As Madison tries to adjust to a new life on a new planet and far away from her love, the desire to be with him never wavers. When an unexpected opportunity comes to leave her planet to find him, Madison takes off on a risky adventure through the galaxies.”

Snippet from The Last Dawn:
Chapter One:
    “Pandemonium is breaking out across the globe. Riots are coming in from all major cities. Police are out in full force arresting demonstrators and attempting to calm the panic…”
    Speechless and in shock, Madison Weatherly turns off the news report. She does not want to believe what President Mona Paterson has just announced during her televised speech. Although Madison, along with the rest of the population, knew this day was coming, it still does not feel real. Five years have passed since Intergalactic Officials first visited Earth and they seemed to have flown by. The end of the world scenario has always felt like a future generation’s problem, not reality in 2055.
    Flying cars and time travel machines do not exist; life is the same now as it has been for almost a century. An occasional visit from aliens is the only futuristic element seen now-a-days. The aliens do not have giant heads and creepy green skin as vintage movies portray; they are human like everyone else. The officials visit during government elections and world leader conventions. Madison has never seen any of them is person; they land and take off under the radar, not wanting to cause any commotion.
    Nerves begin to eat away at her as she searches for her emergency pack of cigarettes. Hidden under the miscellaneous items in her kitchen junk drawer, she fishes them out. She quit smoking several years earlier after meeting her boyfriend, Rick North, who despises the habit. He’s none the wiser about her emergency habit. These days, the only time Madison retreats for a smoke is during rough and drawn out trials when her nerves get the best of her. Or, you know, when the world was about to end.

As a reminder, if you have not downloaded your free copy of The Last Dawn from Smashwords, the code is: RK73W. I have chosen to distribute my novel exclusively through Amazon for the next 90 days starting Monday, February 20th. At that point, my novel will temporarily be taken off the Smashwords website.

The End Of NaNoWriMo

I regret to inform you … I failed.  Bombed hard.  I finished this wonderful month with a whopping 8,000 words.  Sad and pretty pathetic.

I had good intentions, of that I can assure you.  But the month was like … pure insanity.  Between out-of-town guests and holiday shopping, I got really, really sidetracked.  I couldn’t focus on writing like I could with my first novel and somewhere along the way I made the decision that if this was going to be a true follow-up … then it needed my undivided attention, something I couldn’t give it since I was so tethered to finishing THE MILESTONE TAPES strongly and still staying totally involved in “real life”.  The book will be fleshed out … soon … but not in November.

I’d like to also take this moment to thank the authors who jumped head long into my month-long Blog Party.  I can honestly say, it was it was amazing experience for me.  I had just the best time hosting you all and giving the platform in the pursuit of inspirational tales from the trenches.  Thank you!

How did you all do?  Put me to shame … share your successes!

Blog Party for Michael Kingswood

Well, our last interview is going live.  It’s been a beautiful month and all the authors who freely gave of their time and knowledge have my deepest gratitude.

Last, but certainly not least, is author Michael Kingswood.  A Boston University graduate, pilot and scuba diver, Michael somehow manages to find time to write novels and short stories.  This is his NaNoWriMo journey…

 

-Name:

 

Michael Kingswood

 

-Blog/Website Address:

 

http://michaelkingswood.com

 

-Tell us about you:

 

I’m 36.  Married with three kids (oldest turns four next month pastedGraphic.pdf ).  My degree’s in Mechanical Engineering (minor in Astronomy), and I have masters degree in Engineering Management and a Master of Business Administration.  I grew up on Tolkien, Eddings, Feist, and Brooks, as well as a heck of a lot of Dungeons and Dragons.  During the day, I’m a professional Naval Officer.  I’ve been on Active Duty for 14 and a half years, most of it on submarines though now I’m an education and training management specialist.  I grew up just outside of DC, so I’m a hardcore Redskins fan (even though they’ve sucked for a while).  I went to school in Boston and married a girl from Maine, so I’m also a Red Sox fan.  I like dogs, and as far as I’m concerned the only good cat is General Tso’s Chicken.  pastedGraphic_1.pdf  I started playing violin at age three.  At 13, I shifted over to the guitar because that was more cool.  I’m still proficient at both instruments.  I enjoy pretty much all music except rap, though I will admit there are a few rap tunes that I’ve enjoyed over the years.  As far as books go, I enjoy reading scifi, fantasy, techno-thrillers, economics, astronomy, history, and military fiction (ala Tom Clancy).  My other hobbies include running, cycling, karate, flying airplanes, skiing, scuba diving, sailing, and video games.  One of these days I need/want to get back into D&D again.  It’s been too long.  pastedGraphic_2.pdf

 

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what inspired you to join the writeathon?:

 

It’s a challenge.  I like challenges.  I’ve been writing seriously for a bit less than a year now.  I heard about NaNoWriMo and it instantly resonated, just like running a marathon, biking a century, or any of the other things I’ve done just because they’re challenging.  It should be fun!

 

-Do you have a plot idea, how about character description?

 

The novels I’ve written (or am writing) so far have all been scifi, while a lot of my short stories have been fantasy.  For this one I think I’ll roll out a fantasy tale.  I’m thinking something along the lines of Seven Samurai in a fantasy setting.  We’ll see how it goes.

 

-If so, how much pre-writeathon work have you done?:

 

Just thinking about a general plot.

 

-If not, why not?:

 

So far I’ve found outlining to be annoying.  Plus, I always deviate from the outline anyway, so screw it.

 

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo?

 

I know for a fact I can git ‘r done if I’m not distracted.  But with a wife and three very little kids, distractions abound.  Carving out time and sticking to it will be the biggest difficulty.

 

-What sort of experience are you bringing to the table?

 

I’ve been writing seriously for almost a year.  I’ve completed one novel, three novelettes, and six short stories.  I have another novel about 1/3 done, a third 1/10 done, and either a novelette or novella (not sure how long it’ll really be) that’s in the begging phase still.

 

-If you’re already a writer, what your the “normal novel” pace?

 

Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?  I finished my first novel in four months.  The second is taking longer.  *shrug*  Back in July, I challenged myself to crank out words while my wife and kids were away for 10 days.  I got out 29,000 words.  So I know for a fact I CAN do NaNoWriMo-level writing production.  With no distractions.

 

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?:

 

But of course.

Blog Party For Shiromi Arserio

Shiromi Arserio, British born author, avid traveller and editor joins us on this Black Friday to discuss her NaNoWriMo journey of 2011.  I’m really excited to have the chance to host her since she just so happens to live in my dream location–the Pacific Northwest!

-Name:

Shiromi Arserio

 

-Blog/Website Address:

http://www.shiromi.net

http://www.igp-scifi.com

 

-Tell us about you:

I am a British writer and performer. I’m currently calling the Pacific Northwest my home, and loving every minute of it. In my “day job” I write travel and outdoor articles for both online and print publications. However, I also write plenty of science fiction and fantasy and run a Sci-Fi website called Inter-Galaxy Portal.

 

-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

 

I don’t tend to write novels outside of NaNoWriMo, so it’s hard to say. I tend to write a decent first draft 5,000-10,000 word story in a month, but it varies depending on the story.

 

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

 

My first NaNoWriMo experience was in 2007. I heard about it and knew I wanted to try it. My novel was a fantasy story set in the Regency Period. That year I was so new to it, I didn’t even really know about all the write-in’s and such. I did win that year, but I remember having to really “stretch” the story out.

 

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

 

I’ve won three out of the four years that I’ve done NaNoWriMo, and the year I didn’t win, I quit because I was in the process of mvoing and didn’t have the time for it. I usually don’t write too far over the 50,000 word goal, although last year, I did 50,000 words, but I’m only about halfway through that story.

 

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

 

I had never written a novel length piece of work before, so it was a cool goal to try and achieve. Some years I’ve thought about skipping, but I’ve moved around a lot these past few years, and going to the write-in’s is a fantastic way to meet other people. The shared goal and the constant encouragement helps a lot. Last year, I even got to do NaNoWriMo with my 15 year old niece. We cheered each other on, and she won, which makes me so proud. If I did my novels without that support, like I did the first year, I would probably quit. The social interaction keeps me coming back for more.

 

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

 

Definitely go to the write-in’s. The encouragement really is essential, especially if you’re surrounded by non-writers who look at you strangely when you tell them you’re doing this. Also, I always try to write a little extra over the daily word count, because life has a funny habit of getting in the way.

 

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

 

Two are on the backburner right now. The first one I wrote badly needs some editing- it really didn’t need to be novel length. The second book doesn’t feel quite ready yet. As for the third, half-finished book, I plan on finishing that book, and releasing it as a serial online. I’m hoping to release the first part by the end of the year.

 

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

 

I’m hoping to move to a new house soon, so between that, and the fact that I have a lot of short stories that I’m also working on publishing, it’s going to be a busy November for me.

 

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?:

 

Honestly, I haven’t done much prep work, which is kinda bad, since it’s less than two weeks away. Unlike most of my stories, this one is one I haven’t mapped out. I will have to do some research so I don’t get writer’s block halfway through, but this year’s novel will be far more fluid than my previous work. I know who the main character is, and the general situation and tone I want, but that’s about it.

 

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

I hope to finish this one and self-publish it, but we’ll see. It’s too soon to say, I haven’t even begun mixing the dough, much less putting it in the oven to bake!

Blog Party for Donna Brown

Donna Brown, admin of one of the most successful indie websites around, joins us today from the UK to discuss her NaNoWriMo 2011 adventure!

Name: Donna Brown

 

Blog/Website Address: http://bookbagsandcatnaps.com / http://adoptanindie.bookbagsandcatnaps.com

 

Tell us about you: I’m self-employed and live in Yorkshire, UK with my husband and our six cats.

 

NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what inspired you to join the writeathon?:  I’ve had an idea in mind for a long time and I knew if I didn’t do something like NaNoWriMo, I’d never get it down on paper.

 

Do you have a plot idea, how about character description? My character is a man called Harry Schmidt.  A couple of years ago I wrote a short story about Harry that began when he inadvertently killed his mother with a shoe.  I liked the story but always felt I’d sold Harry a little short so I wanted to write a novel about him.

 

If so, how much pre-writeathon work have you done?:  I’m not going to use any of my previous writing but I have gone through it and my notes to keep the ideas fresh in my mind.  Other than that, not much!

 

If not, why not?: Two reasons. 1) It’s my first NaNoWriMo so I’m not sure how to prepare in a way that works for me – I guess I’ll know next year!  2) I’m working on  ‘Adopt an Indie’ month, which is also happening in November and trying to bring bloggers, readers and indie authors together.

 

What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block…):  Definitely time and discipline.  There are about 140 authors taking part in ‘Adopt an Indie’ and then there are around 50 book bloggers and readers galore.  I like to make sure I stay in touch and support people.  I’m going to have to be really disciplined about NaNoWriMo time!

 

What sort of experience are you bringing to the table? (examples: already an author): Not a lot.  I mostly write short stories but my husband, David, he’s the author of the house.  That’s one of the reasons I’m doing it: I don’t know how I’ll ever commit to a novel otherwise.  I’m too flighty with my ideas!

 

If you’re already a writer, what your the “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?

 

Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?: Definitely.  Even if I don’t do anything with it other than finish it, edit it, edit it some more, read it and keep it in a cupboard, I think I’ll regret it if I don’t tell Harry’s story.

Blog Party for Rebekah Webb

Rebekah Webb writes anything that suits her fancy, and she’s attacking NaNo with that mentality this year.  She gave me this interview about her adventures in NaNo land…

Name: Rebekah Webb

 

Blog/Website Address:

www.carjohnson.com

http://carjohnsonrocks.wordpress.com/

 

Tell us about you:

I’m a writing from California. I recently published a comedy e-book (which was not a NaNo story.)

 

If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

It would still take me about a month. My normal pace of writing is about 1,000-1,700 words a day if I’m going at a comfortable pace, provided I don’t get a case of the lazies.

 

This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

My first NaNo was last year. I’d put off signing up for the longest time, as I was working on a novel that was taking up all my time and I didn’t want to start one just for November. Well, that novel was stagnating and I realized I should just go for it with something  completely new (which turned out to be horror.) That completely new novel became something I could actually work with and the stagnate novel that I spent so much time on became a short story.

 

Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

I ended up with a little over 50,000 words. I would have had more, but a lot of things were going on in my life that conspired to make my first NaNo the most difficult possible.

 

NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and keep you coming back for more?:

I wanted to see if I could slay the procrastination demon and actually write. In other words, I wanted to force myself to stop the “Oh I’ll do it later” attitude that plagued me. As for coming back for more, it’s a lot of fun.

 

What were some of the things you took away with you–lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

My first NaNo taught me a lot of things, mainly to actually do what works for me when writing. Before, I was attempting to write an epic fantasy, despite the fact that I prefer science fiction and really don’t like much epic  fantasy. And I made an extensive outline, even though I write best with a minimal outline. Basically, I was a moron trying to write a genre I don’t like and in a way that isn’t compatible with my brain. That’s the best advice I have for people:

Don’t be a moron. Writing is like any other skill. Figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are, not someone else’s.

 

What was the hardest part?:

The hardest part was actually all the stuff that was going on outside of NaNo. We’re talking family strife, broken computers and trips to the library to use their internet.

 

What was the easiest part?:

The actual writing.

What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

Actually, I think it’ll be a lot easier this year. Of course, that might lull me into a false sense of security and cause me to procrastinate, but I’m bound and determined not to let that happen.

 

Do you plan to pursue your NaNoWriMo story past the November 30th deadline?:

Yes. I did it with last year’s story and I see no reason not to do the same thing this year.

 

What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it? (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book if that published book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

I edited it and it is currently on submission at a small press. They respond to every request they get, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

 

Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?:

I’m going to do the same thing I did last year. I’ll make an outline of plot ideas three days before November 1st and use those to craft the novel.

 

Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

Of course. Otherwise, it would just go to waste.

Blog Party of Monica La Porta

Monica is truly the definition of an artist.  Born and raised in Italy, she now lives in my favorite place–the Pacific Northwest.  Not only can Monica write words and turn them into beautiful books, she is also a painter and sculpture balanced by being a mother and wife.  I am really excited to get to share her NaNo experience with you all!

-Name: Monica La Porta

-Blog/Website Address: www.monicalaporta.com

-Tell us about you: I am an Italian transplanted in misty Washington State.

If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace? Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:

I write 1000 words every day, or at least I try my best to. When I am particularly inspired I can write up to 5000 words, but I’d say that normally it would take two months to write a 50,000 word novel.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

My first time was three years ago, and I approached it like a vacation from reality. A month to write whatever my mind concocted without worrying about contents, characters, flaws in the plot. Just pure, unadulterated writing. Loved it. The house suffered from it.

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s? How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

I won both times I participated; dead even. I tend to write more than the recommended word count every day, so that I finish earlier and celebrate Thanksgiving without worrying about deadlines.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

The first time, I wanted to push myself to see if I could write more than the 1000 words I had settled on. I had lots of fun in the process, my family was very supportive, and I decided to do it again.

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s? Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

Free your mind and write for the sake of it. Don’t’ worry too much about house cleaning and cooking. My house and my family survived the last two Nanos, and I am confident they will survive 2011 Nanowrimo as well.

What happened to your story–did you publish it? Junk it? Still working on it? (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

2009 Nano’s  is safely stored away. The story I was trying to write took a life of its own; it started as a young adult tale of a blind girl going through daily life struggles, and soon enough dragons and princesses made their appearances. Promising, but messy. Maybe, one day, I’ll take a look at it again. 2010 Nano’s, The Priest, is going to be on Kindle later this month (October 2011). Last year Nano’s was born as a prequel of a novel I was already writing. I was almost done with Pax in the Land of Women, when two characters came alive: the Priest and Rosie. Their story was sad and worth telling, but there wasn’t space for them in Pax. Nanowrimo came around, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to put Pax on hold and write The Priest. One year later, the stories of Ginecea, a land where women keep men under captivity, and love between a man and a woman is a sin, are ready for public consumption. Lots of writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, professional editing (twice), and proofing in the last 365 days…

What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

2011 Nano’s is going to be a challenge because I haven’t made up my mind, yet, about what I am going to write. I should be working on the third and final installation for the Ginecean series, and give The Priest and Pax their conclusion, but I have been toying with an idea for a while, and the other story is calling me.

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo? Do you have a strong plot mapped out? Character development? What are you current plans?:

Well, for Pax at War I have the whole story mapped out. If, instead, I give in to temptation and I work on the young adult paranormal story I have been thinking of lately, I haven’t planned much. I have a general idea for the atmosphere and the setting, two main characters already talking and wandering around, but the plot is still open to endless possibilities. The only certainty at the moment it is that no vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, witches, or elves will be enrolled in the cast.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

Definitely, in both case scenarios. If I write Pax at War, it will be the final chapter of a trilogy, and I have already reserved a spot with an editor for May 2012.  If I write the young adult paranormal, I’ll keep working on it later on.

Blog Party for Jason G. Anderson

Successful in the past, Jason opted out of NaNo this year…read more to find out why!

 

Name: Jason G. Anderson

 

Blog/Website Address: www.jasonga.com

 

Tell us about you:

 

I live in Australia, in the small island state of Tasmania. I was born in the north of the island (Devonport), but moved to the south (Hobart) to attend university. I was lucky enough to get a job soon after graduating, and ended up staying here. I work in Antarctic science (as an assistant, not a scientist), where I help scientists manage the large amount of data they generate/collect. It’s interesting work. I have a wonderful wife (Marina), and we live in servitude to the several cats that allow us to live in their home 🙂

 

 

This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

 

My first time was in 2010. I go a bit more into why I joined up below, but after I had decided to do it I needed a story. I had one come to mind straight away (I had been toying with writing it for a few years), so I began doing what I could to outline it in a basic way (just figuring out what scenes I wanted, and the order they fell in).

 

Then, in early October, a new idea suddenly burst into my mind. As often happens with new ideas, it wouldn’t go away. So I abandoned my first idea, and set about outlining my new idea. That was the story I went with into NaNoWriMo, and that’s how Gears of Wonderland was born.

 

 

Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s? How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

 

There’s a fun story about that. I always knew that the story wouldn’t be finished in 50k words, so my goal during NaNoWriMo was just to get more than 50k words down (for purists who say you should finish the story, I was ready to add a “Then rocks fall, and everyone dies” sentence at the end to make it count 🙂 ).

 

Late on the 29th, I was only a few hundred words away from the goal, so decided to call it a night and cruise in on the 30th. The next day I did my extra words (it took less than half an hour from memory), then went to the site to submit it.

 

Only for the “official” word count to come back over 2000 words short!

 

Needless to say, there was a mad scramble of writing. I don’t think I’ve ever written that quickly before (or since), but just over an hour later I resubmitted the manuscript, and had passed the goal (by a few hundred words).

 

Why was there a problem with the word count? After some testing, I found the reason. I was using OpenOffice to write the manuscript, and the word count feature in OpenOffice is really stupid when it comes to smart quotes. It counts the opening parenthesis of dialogue as a word! The last time I tested (a few months ago now), that bug is still there.

 

 

NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

 

I’d heard about NaNoWriMo several years ago (my wife did it unofficially, and managed to win), but I’d never thought of trying it myself before. But the mention of NaNoWriMo back in late August/early September last year struck a chord in me, and I decided I wanted to do it.

 

It was events earlier in the year that made NaNoWriMo appeal so much. I’d been running a tabletop roleplayiing game for a group of friends for years, but around the middle of the year the group broke up. Which meant I had lost my main outlet for creating stories. When the idea of writing the stories down was presented, my mind just grabbed it. The rest, as they say, is history 🙂

 

 

What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s? Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

 

I have three tips. I managed to do all of them last year (one by chance, two by design), and I think they were the main reason I managed to succeed.

 

First, plan your story in some way before November 1. You don’t have to go overboard (in fact, you don’t want to – you’ll probably just stifle yourself), but having a rough idea of where you want the story to go means you don’t ever waste valuable writing time trying to figure out what happens next. I made my plan by getting a pile of old business cards, and writing a sentence describing each scene I had thought of on a card. I then played around with the order of cards, added and removed cards, etc, until I was happy with the flow of the story. I stayed reasonably close to my plan, but did change a few things as I went along.

 

Secondly, make use of your non-writing time, especially if you have a very limited time to write. Think about what is going to happen next, either in the current scene you’re writing, or the scene after the one you’re writing. When you sit back down at the keyboard, you’ll be able to make the most of your writing time.

 

Finally (and this was one I found out by accident), do everything you can to write as much as you can on November 1. I started as soon as midnight hit, and took the day off work to continue writing. By the end of November 1, I’d written 5000 words. This gave me a good buffer for later on, as there were many days where I was only able to write a few hundred words.

 

 

What happened to your story–did you publish it? Junk it? Still working on it?

 

I continued writing my story until mid-December, when I decided I was happy to call draft one of the story finished. I then let it sit for several months, while I worked on other things.

Finally I came back to the manuscript, read through it all in as short a time as possible (two days), made some notes about what I wanted to change, and then set about re-writing and adding sections. I added an entire chapter to the front of the story, moved some things around in the first quarter of the book, and added a number of scenes.

 

Once I was happy with it, I hired an editor (Lynn O’Dell) to go through it. She really outdid herself, and the story is much better because of the work Lynn, her proofreaders, and a friend who was my beta reader all put into it.

 

Gears of Wonderland went live on Amazon on October 12, and needless to say, I’m extremely happy! You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005USJ5U8

 

 

You had a really successful NaNo last year….what made you decide to take a pass for the 2011 go around?

 

Unfortunately, it’s a case of bad timing. I have a book in progress that I really need to finish (it’s booked in for Lynn to edit), so I can’t afford to take November off to work on something new. And there’s no way I could do NaNoWriMo and work on the current book in progress 🙂

 

 

Do you think you’ll ever do a NaNo again? Why or why not?:

 

I will definitely do NaNo again. Next year I hope to plan my time in a better way, so I can start a new book as part of NaNo. I’ve certainly got enough ideas running around in my head!