Category Archives: Contests and Challenges

The evolution of November

December is here and with it came the end of this year’s NaNoWriMo. So many things have changed for me this year. The drastic shift started back in February when I decided to start actively pursuing this insanity called publication. So I shouldn’t be surprised that NaNoWriMo and the part it plays in my writing has also changed. This year I’m not working on a new story, I’m revising an old one so I can sell it soon. That’s the plan anyway. Even knowing that’s where I’m at, I still feel guilty that I didn’t “win” this year. That’s how much a part of me this silly thing I do every November has become.

What did I do in November INSTEAD of finishing NaNo? Lots of things…

I’m working with some amazing authors to create a non-profit organization for writers with a community and collaborative focus rather than book sales. A professional organization for writers like no one has ever created before that gives back to members at all levels as well as the public at large. It’s super fun but part of me wonders why I gravitate to being in charge of things rather than just being a participant. Not in my nature apparently. It doesn’t feel like work, but if you add up all the time I have put into it, I’ve done quite a lot the last month toward this collective vision that we hope will be amazing.

I submitted a short story to a very prestigious writing contest for as-yet unpublished authors. Wait, I know I’ve been hinting at publication news for a while now but I still don’t have a signed contract to purchase my story. It is slotted for a short-story collection due out next year but until the deal is done and signed I’m not talking about it as a past-tense reality. Doesn’t mean I’m not super excited about it, I just don’t want to jinx it. Yes, deep down I’m a neurotic writer. See? This contest comes with cash prizes for the winners and some pretty impressive writing credentials if I’m a finalist – including publication. But I won’t know until months from now. And we all know how impatient I am. Luckily I have things to take my mind off the waiting. This was one of my specific goals for this year so checking it off my list was a pretty significant milestone for me.

Because I do have a pending deal, I must have a “real” website with a URL that doesn’t include “blogspot” or any of the other free sites. In other words, I have to get legit. So in all my free time (ha!) I’m building a website to migrate my blog to. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to follow me when I go and, if everything works out the way I hope, all my past content will come with me. We’ll see when I get to that point. Building websites is not a job I want – full time or part time. It kind of sucks. I’m really good at what I know and having to start over with an associated learning curve is frustrating.

Because I have to get legit, I had to get professional head-shots taken so I can use them everywhere people expect. Prompted by a deadline for said pending publication deal, I had to get them done ASAP. Imagine my horror when I found out you can’t use your smartphone to take a selfie and use that. I was a photographer in a past life before I started writing and I’m better behind the camera than in front of it. However, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. It helps to have a long-standing relationship with a photographer you trust… Voila! Big hair to match my big personality.

Hubby said the other day, when I was apologizing for all the time I’ve spent away from normal family life lately, that it was to be expected since “writing isn’t a hobby anymore”. Imagine that. My hobby isn’t a hobby anymore, it’s a business that will someday pay off. I have no delusions of ever replacing the lucrative income from my corporate job but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

I let a beta reader take a gander at my story that’s getting ready for public appearance. She immediately started drilling me about the world I’d built and characters I’d created that had already become real to her. She needed answers and she needed them now. Guess I better get cracking on THAT novel soon, too.There are now more stories and novels in the pipeline than I ever thought possible.

When I look back at where NaNoWriMo has taken me, I’m okay with my Novembers evolving into something different. Maybe next year I’ll be in the first draft arena of another story so I can participate. If not, at least I’ll still be writing!


Halloween Challenge Micro-fiction

The challenge: write a story in 250 words or less. Challenge accepted! If you want to read more free stories from local authors who also accepted, check it out HERE, sponsored by Utah Fantasy Authors.

“Little Red”

My body jerked awake, the doorbell yanking me from the brink of sleep.

 “Trick or treat!” came muffled through the door, probably teenagers looking for mischief. The little pirates and sparkling princesses had long since dwindled. I’d dozed off before extinguishing the porch light but I still had candy in the bowl. Better get to it if I didn’t want a trick.

I smoothed my rumpled costume and lifted the red hood over my hair. Reaching into the bowl for a handful of the requisite sugary nonsense, I opened the door.

“Looks like you’ve been expecting me,” the wolf face said with a chuckle. Did those lips move? The make-up these days was getting so elaborate.

“Great costume. Aren’t you a little old, though?” Where was the candy bag ready and waiting to accept my offering?

“Not for what I have in mind, Red,” he growled, fangs and inhuman bone structure flashing in a burst of movement.

Claws dug into my arms like tiny knives shoving me back inside the house, hot breath in my face. My vision tunneled and I screamed as the creature kicked the door shut. Heartbeat frantic, I grabbed for anything within reach that would help. Candy bowl clattering, nothing.

“Take whatever you want, just don’t hurt me.”

“Mmm, what I want will hurt, my treat.”

My head smashed against the tile. The weight of him on top of me registered as my throat erupted in pain. Ripping sounds filled my ears.

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