Author Archives: Cheryl C

Right Tools for the Right Job

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I just realized it’s been over a month since my last post. Oops. Time, too often, zips right by on me. My weekends for the last few months have been consumed by juggling two big projects: finishing the first draft of the new book and destroying/putting the house back together.

The house project continues on and seems endless. It’s not, but, crap, it sure seems like it. The book has gone well, and I wrapped up the first draft two weeks ago. I’m wicked excited for this new novel and shockingly enough, I’m not dreading the editing part of things. Normally I despise editing, but not this time. I took a couple of weekends away from writing/editing to just be away from the story for a bit and focus on the house. I’d planned to pick up editing after the holidays wrapped up, but I was getting antsy to start. So I worked on painting the living room yesterday and have started the dive into editing today.

Like a house project, things are more easily done with the right tools. It’s been over a year since I took some kind of writing workshop, so I am signed up for an online course that I’ll start in Jan (unless I get antsy for that too and jump in early). The one I took last year with Art Holcomb was a 10 week run that was incredible. I used a lot of techniques from that course to write this newest story. By the time I sat down to start typing the thing out, I had the first draft completed in under 4 months. This is writing only on weekends and not every single weekend due to other life things that sometimes interfere. Oh, and the first draft comes in at 97K words which I never bothered to check until I was done. I’m shocked by both the timeline and word count myself.

Sure, I’ve landed on a system that clearly works for me and works darn well, but I can always learn more, even if it is learning things that don’t work for me. So, I’m excited for the new course because I’m guaranteed to learn something new either way.

Hope everyone has a great winter regardless of what holidays you do or don’t celebrate. We have snow on the ground in Maine, and I’ve gotten to take The Decimator (aka monster snowblower) out for a couple of runs. We’re both quite happy thus far this winter and ready for some good blizzard action.

 

image by sxc.hu

Ceiling Finds Go To Historical Society

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After weeks of ripping apart my ceiling and finding some interesting things in there (hospital bill from 1944, 7 day stay, total of just over $21, birth certificates, marriage record, pay stubs from a paper mill in Brewer, various toys, bottle of cough syrup 4% alcohol and for children, and a four-mouse mouse trap), I was able to find these things a new home with the Orrington Historical Society. I originally took them to a big antique store in Brewer to see if they were interested in any of the items, and they passed.

I didn’t want to throw them out, but I also didn’t want to keep them. I popped off an email to the OHS and they gladly accepted. The medicine bottle and the documents will be part of their exhibits. They were also interested in the WW II cancellation stamp on the envelope containing the birth certificates, hospital bill, and marriage record. They wanted to use that in their upcoming Veteran’s Day power point presentation.

Regardless of where they land, I’m happy they went somewhere to be part of a collection. Above is the fb shout out from the OHS for donating the items. Who knew that among all that mouse poop and dust in the ceiling some gems were in there? No wads of cash in the walls, unfortunately, but I am thrilled the salvageable finds went to a good place.

In book news, the 2nd edition of The Monster Within is available as eBook on Amazon. I have approved the print proof of the print version, and that should be loaded to Amazon soon. Once all that is done, I’m going to set up the book for Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Program and see how that goes. I had to pull the ebook off Smashwords to enroll in KDP, but in theory, KDP will auto promote the book within Amazon. So I figured I’d give that a whirl and see what happens. The 2nd edition is also entered in the New England Book Fest for 2017, so I’ll find out next month how it did in that festival. Fingers crossed.

NaNoWriMo

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November kicks off National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. A lot of folks across the globe participate in this event, and a lot of stuff gets written. There is loads of buzz that starts late Sept through Oct to gear up for November writing. I think NaNoWriMo gets bigger each time it rolls around since I hear more about it every year, and that’s a good thing.

My only concern is the quality of what comes out of it. If you’re going to whip out a novel in 30 days, I sure hope you have done sufficient planning or at least have a solid idea of what you’ll be writing. There is a crap ton of work that goes into a novel unless you’re a write by the seat of your pants writer (panster). Some (very few) pantsers are good at what they do, others suck. I’m in the latter category, so I am a 98% planner with a very light dash of pantsing in the mix.

Personally, I don’t have anything to do with NaNoWriMo other than be fascinated by the event as a whole. It’s great for getting people together for motivation, writing, and such, but my process works a bit (OK, A LOT) differently. The idea of cranking out a novel in 30 days hurts my wee brain in ways you can’t imagine.

I need more time for planning. Setting a goal of X words per day is asking me to fail. Trust me, I’ve tried the daily writing thing, and I have worked with writing coaches who say it is a must. For me, it doesn’t work.

Writing isn’t my only gig. I can easily pull a 60+ hr week with work plus travel. The number goes even higher if I’m working overtime. To try to do anything after work other than walk through a hotel door with my knuckles dragging the ground, incoherent words tumbling from my mouth, and leaving a trail of drool that resembles something left by a massive slug, well, just ask for the freakin’ moon why don’t ya? Writing after a day like that? Hell no. Not happening.

I have my routine, and it works great for me. If it didn’t work, I would not have released five full-length novels in three years. I mean really think about this: two books in 2013, one in 2014, and two in 2016. The first book has been overhauled and comes out as a second edition next month, so now we’re talking six books in four years. It boggles even my own mind with everything it’s been up to in the last few years.

So, if you want to jump into the mix with other writers and get after it as a group, look into NaNoWriMo. I think it’s a great idea but not one that’s a good personal fit for me. And with my prior mention of my own routine, it’s time for me to stop fooling around today and get after it on my newest Story. I’m around the 65% completion mark of the first draft after 5 months of writing on it (planned for probably 4 months before I ever typed the first word). :D

 

Image by sxc.hu

Fall has Arrived

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Yep, it’s here.

Made my annual trip up to northern Maine and dragged along a pair of cousins that came up to my neck of the woods. The photo above is from along Golden Rd (or The Golden Rd) that runs between Millinocket/Baxter State Park and Greenville. It’s a 45 mile jaunt across mostly gravel road that has a laughable 45 mph speed limit. If you want your vehicle and your teeth to remain intact, 25 mph is closer to what you’re driving.

Yesterday we tackled Acadia National Park and had a great time there too. That area of the coast is a little bit behind in the leaves changing but there were still some stunning areas of color and great views of Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mtn.

So with the leaves changing now, they will be done and on the ground by the end of the week, or mostly on the ground. It’s a stunning season that you better enjoy it while it’s here because it does NOT last long.

Happy Fall, Folks!

Photo by me, Golden Rd, 2017

Fall is Coming

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Last week I finished my round of edits on the first book and sent it back to the editor. It didn’t take me as long as I though it would, which worked out well since I had such limited time with other things in the mix.

I ultimately had to admit defeat on the house project when it came to the drywall. I got the new walls installed, but the mudding/sanding part kicked my butt. So what do I do when I’ve been clobbered by a house project? Leave!

I bailed after work on Friday to spend some time with friends vacationing in BelfastĀ before coming back home. I had so much dust in the house from the interior work, a deep cleaning was in order. Yes, I’ll have to do it all over again once the interior work resumes, but that’s OK. The dust bunnies were getting large enough to carry off small children. They had to go.

I’ve hired a guy to finish the drywall for me, and that is supposed to happen this week. I’m a couple of weeks behind schedule on that room overhaul, but I don’t really care at this point. Once the walls are mudded and smoothed out, I can start slapping primer and paint. The new flooring arrived last week, so I’ll put that in after the painting is finished.

And I’ll flip back over to The Monster Within work once I get the final revisions back from the editor, which I imagine will happen over the next week or so since I can’t seem to function without juggling multiple balls in the air at once. I’d compare myself to a clown in this respect, but let’s face it, clowns are creepy as hell.

The temperatures here have taken a significant turn toward fall, and I’m back to living in my hoodie. My apple trees are full with ripe fruit, and a few leaves are showing hints of turning. Good times! I am seriously loving this long weekend, and I hope you are too. Enjoy!

Photo taken by me, 2016, off the Golden Rd in northern Maine