Freedom 2/5/16

Do you ever just feel the need to be flat,

Press your palms to the ground, a truck’s doormat?

My eyes, let them roll, for they feel no pain,

Soaked up to the lids in the mud and the rain.

The points of the gravel, oh my, how they shine,

They gouge in the dirt, in the flesh that was mine.

Soft as a whisper, it floats me and flakes,

Crumbles of me are all She can take.

Her breath is bated as mine comes undone,

The Earth and I together, we now live as one.

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NaNoWriMo Fever!

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is Nanowrimo Eve! Which, since I’m not ten years old anymore and allowed to wander the neighborhood begging candy like a hobo, far more exciting than Halloween! I’m continuing to work on my project from Ready.Set.Write! this summer, mostly because I haven’t finished it, and being a bit of a completionist I don’t want to start writing another book until I’ve finished this one.

For those who haven’t heard it, my first Nanowrimo I completed my first novel, which has had a lot of titles, including Sanctuary and Roz vs. the Unholy Ho-Bag from Hell, but is now referred to as Book I. Being inexperienced as an author I tried to tell three stories as part of one book, and ended up with a ponderous tome even I didn’t want to read. My second Nanowrimo I wrote a sequel to said ponderous tome that makes GRRM’s eyes bleed. The next one I set about splitting up and rewriting my original novel, and this summer I started the rewrite on the second half of that book- now Book I- and I’m writing Book II. I haven’t even looked at Book III in over a year, mostly because I will have to change so much by the time I get there, I don’t need the stress. And it’s looking like my existing Book III will actually be Book IV, because I got too much story to tell before I get there.

So Book II hasn’t had as many names as the first one, though I think I saved the file as Roz vs. Captain Evil-Pants, but I call it Book II when I talk to other people. I’ve been toying with Rise of the Upstart Crow, but I don’t know. I do think the next one will be A Murder of Crows, though. I kind of suck at titles.

I’m happy to be writing again. I got very busy at work, and while I love my 3 jobs they do sort of suck up my time faster than a Hoover in a tornado, which leaves the fun stuff like reading and writing and watching TV with my beloved on the sidelines. I’m going to be a little crazy this month trying to cram it all in- anyone have a Day Stretcher? I only need a few extra hours….

I did read Jim Butcher’s steampunk novel the Aeronaut’s Windlass this month, and in spite of my general dislike of the genre, really enjoyed it. I would like a gauntlet, but mostly because I think it would make me feel like Ironman. I also really loved the bits with the cats, because that is totally what I think goes on in the brain of Snotty Kitty, my cat. Did anyone else hear the voice of Scottie from the Enterprise in their head when Journeyman was speaking? But overall, a great read, however, I am biased, because a book with Butcher can never be a bad thing. 🙂

Happy Wrimo!

Ready. Set. Write! End of Summer Wrap-Up!

RSW9

This was a summer of many firsts for ol’ A.L.! Most of them came as a result of this contest, and I would like to thank the facilitators for all of their encouragement and hard work!

This Summer in Review:

  1. I started a blog! I’m still surprised this thing exists, but having to post my progress every Monday has been good for me- I have trouble being both creative and consistent. Even though the contest is over, I’m going to try to keep making myself accountable.
  2. I am *better* at using my Twitter account (@alpanekbooks) than I have been. This has probably been harder on me than any other part of my summer projects because I am not a social media native- my job requires a certain amount of anonymity, and people finding me on social media wigs me out a little.
  3. I am halfway finished with the complete rewrite for the second novel in my series! I had hoped to finish it, but with so many firsts this summer, I didn’t quite make it. I hope to complete this draft before NanoWrimo in November and start the rewrite on Book 3 in the series.
  4. I left the company where I spent my entire career for a new one- it has been a busy transition, but I’m really happy I made the jump and am excited to pioneer a new program.
  5. I have recently discovered that if I’m typing, I over-use exclamation points and smiley faces. I am trying to remedy this, as I am not a 13-year-old girl.

I will keep you all posted about my progress in Roz vs. Captain Evil Pants- it’s been a wonderful summer, and I look forward to meeting here again next year!

Cheers,

*alp

Ready. Set. Write! Week #11 Goals, 8/17/15

1. How I did on last week’s goals.

Last week was rough. I worked to get my online class up and running, and read the new Chloe Neill book, The Veil. I really enjoyed it, in spite of the post-apocalyptic setting, which I have never really cared for, but Neill makes it work. She really made New Orleans a character in her story, much in the same way she does with Chicago in the Chicago-land Vampires series, which is one of my favorites. I have never been to New Orleans, but the way she juxtaposes the City that Care Forgot with post-war New Orleans brings it to life and made me feel like I could see it. Her new heroine of Claire Connolly was reminiscent of Merit, but since Merit’s story is one I totally dig, I didn’t mind. The Claire-Liam dynamic was appropriately tense, and I’m interested to see where she goes with their relationship in future books. Here’s the cover:

So if you’re in the mood for some fun UF, The Veil is a good choice!

I did make my word count of 3k this week, I did get my class up so people could see it without there being a ton of holes in it, but alas, sleep is a tempting, torturous, tramp that continues to elude me. Sigh.

2. My goal(s) for this week.

I’m going to downgrade to a 2k goal this week, as so much is happening. I also need to remember to start monitoring my online class, and preparing for my first day of my live class! I know. I have 4 jobs, and that does include writing books- that is joy, but doesn’t keep the lights on, while the other jobs do. At least for now. I need to do some trimming, as I’m starting to feel a little like I’m being choked with baby spinach, but for this week at least, I will swallow what I can. I will be doing some deep-cleaning of my house over the next couple weeks, too, as my mother-in-law is coming in from L.A. for an extended visit. I cannot have her sitting on dusty chairs. It would be mortifying. So I will have to tuck my story into the corners of my universe. Again.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

BOOM! Also drag queens dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

My new job is awesome, and I’m having a great time. I am also spending more time in the car on a daily basis than I have since I left the DC Metro Area, and I’m still trying to structure my time. However, everything changes every day- today I expected a day where I unpacked the boxes in my office. Instead, the adoption supervisor took me on a road trip to Home Visit a family in a section of SWVA that I think god forgot, because the whole way there it was a house, a church, two houses, a church, lather, rinse, repeat. I got to push a stroller with three children in it up a mountain in high heeled sandals for two hours in 90 degree weather. It was MARVELOUS.

5. Something I love about my WiP.

Even when I think I know what’s going to happen next, I still get surprised. 🙂

Ready. Set. Write! Week 9 Goals, 8/10/15

1. How I did on last week’s goals.

Last week went pretty well! I finished Chapter 7 (4.5K this week!), and am nearly halfway complete with my WiP! I also spent an inordinate time in the car. My new job involves a lot of training in a lot of places, none of which are close to home. Today alone I logged 270 miles! But the new job is going well, in spite of my tushie getting squinched in the car. 🙂

2. My goal(s) for this week.

I need to launch my online class this week, and I am woefully behind. So my 1st goal is to complete that first. My 2nd goal would be to finish Chapter 8. I’m not doing well with trying to dictate number of writing events- it’s causing me stress, so I’m just going to set a word count. I’m aiming for 3k this week. My 3rd goal would be to sleep. I haven’t had more than a couple hours a night in weeks- last night I drifted off after 4 and was deeply disappointed when my alarm went off at 6:30.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

When he pulled back he noticed my examination. His lips parted in a grin, and his canines seemed to grow into a downward position, much longer than the rest of his teeth. I wanted to touch his face and see if the boy I knew was still in there. A groundswell of sorrow flooded my chest as my eyes misted over for a boy who spent all of his days searching for home, for sanctuary, for someone to love him and be glad when he came in safe at night, to end up like this. He was trapped in a body that would never know true maturity, to forever be thought of as a boy, and be discounted as such, even when the ages of the world passed him by. I hated it, and I hated the monster that would squander this child’s potential because he needed a door boy.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

I have been driving all over Southwest Virginia for the last week, including to places where the county seat might be a gas station- not that it contains a gas station, but the center of town consists of ONLY a gas station. It has hampered my free time quite a bit.

5. Something I love about my WiP.

I love how much fun this rewrite has been!

Ready. Set. Write! Week 8 Goals! 7/27/15

I know. I didn’t post last week. I was at the beach and our hotel’s internet connection was spotty at best, so I took the week off before I started my new job TODAY! It was a typical first day, paperwork, getting set up on the computer, finding a basket in my closet that contained stuffed animals, legos, and tampons. In what universe do those things go together??

1. How I did on last week’s goals.

I want to finish chapter 6 this week. I need to work on my online class. 

I did both of those things! I also got burned very crispy at the beach, and the long hours in the sun were inspirational. 🙂 I also walked up to the porch of the Sharks’ House, rang the bell, and no one was home. I felt courageous as no one put me on the plate.

2. My goal(s) for this week.

I started my new job today, and as I’m still trying to figure out the wheres and why-fores of this new universe, I’m going to go vague again. I want to kill Chapter 7 this week, and work on my online class.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

My MC is planning to break into the stronghold of her adversary to rescue someone. Naturally, the stakes are high and snark is on the line, and Chapter 7 is going to show us that it does NOT go well. Granted, if everything went well, this story might be boring.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

Time to write, what with the travel and job change. I have done quite a bit of planning in my head and on the Notes App on my phone. Also, my hands are sunburned. This makes typing hard.

5. Something I love about my WiP.

The story is always there when I reach for it. Roz never lets me down.

Ready. Set. Write! Week #6 7/13/15

1. How I did on last week’s goals.

a. Write on 2 occasions. This will not include the writing I’m doing revamping my class, though I imagine there will be a fair amount of that, too.

I spent a LOT of time revamping my online class- more than I really wanted to spend- but it is unavoidable. I only wrote on one occasion this week, as too much of my time was spent with the works of David G. Meyers (who is bloody brilliant, by the way, but there are no faeries in his book, and I find that most unfortunate).

b. Achieve 2,000 words. I’ve been able to crack the 1500 word mark the last 2 weeks- let’s up the stakes a little.

I did make my word count. I actually forgot I picked 2k as my goal, and was going to shamefacedly report I didn’t make 3k. Imagine my delight when I discovered I DID make my goal after all!

c. Tweet on at least three occasions. I really am working on this. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to fit this into my life, but I struggle.

I did Tweet several times this week. I get alerts every day that new people are Following me (and not in a weird, paranoid sort of way), and I cannot figure out why. I appreciate the Follows, I really do, I’m just amazed by it, especially since Tweeting things that aren’t rubbish has been such a struggle for me. I lack confidence in my Twitter ability, but I hope that with practice, and not getting fired for posting something stupid, this will get better.

2. My goal(s) for this week.

I am not going to be super specific for my goals this week. This is my final week at my clinic. I have worked for this company my entire career, and saying goodbye to my clients and the staff who have been my friends for years is going to take up a great deal of my head space. Most of my clients have reacted as expected, with either tears or yelling at me, and I find myself repeating the same things over and over, like, “You will be able to make progress with the new provider they hire,” and “Of course I’ll miss you too,” which is true, and not a platitude. I will miss them all. The staff have been great. They threw me a breakfast party and bought a gorgeous music box that plays “What a Wonderful World,” and a new gnome for my collection. I have a thing for both music boxes and gnomes, so they couldn’t have made any better choices. I have 3 gnomes now, which I think constitutes a collection. It started with Drunken Bastard Gnome, who has a pet fetish and terrorizes all the animals in the neighborhood. Then I got Fredo Gnome, who has solar powered binoculars that light up. He is my second gnome, and the one most likely to stab me in the back. My new gnome is Lazy MF-er Gnome, and he is in a hammock in the living room while the other gnomes are out in the garden planning gnome-like mischief. I also happen to think Lazy MF-er is the smartest of the lot, as it’s bloody hot outside, and he’s hanging out in the air conditioned house. Sweet tempered, our Lazy, but rousing him for any reason is inadvisable.

Wow, that was long and ramble-y. I want to finish chapter 6 this week. I need to work on my online class. I am not going to be more specific than that. I’m also leaving on Saturday for the BEACH! I know, I’m shark bait on legs, but there are no sharks on the sand, so I think I’ll be safe. Next week’s goals will be even more vague, as I don’t know what kind of internet the hotel will have, but I could have a story about a man-eating great white named Jaws who sleeps in my bathtub. Stranger things have happened. Including the story I wrote about a gnome who buggers house-pets.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

Dread started gnawing at my stomach lining. I could feel an ulcer forming. This was going to be a rough night.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

I do most of my writing on the weekend, because if I get caught up in a story I won’t go to sleep until I’ve exorcised that particular demon from my addled brain, and this girl still needs to get up and be empathic tomorrow. Being empathic is very hard when you’re jacked up on too much caffeine- too much bouncing, plus still tired, and it’s difficult to focus on what people are telling me. This weekend ropes of snot were working their way out of my face, and all I wanted to do was sleep. And eat doughnuts. But I didn’t have any doughnuts, as buying them is a slippery slope into having doughnuts for dinner, which I have been told is not good for me. I’m better today, due to tons of rest and the miracle of NyQuil, but snot got in my way this week.

5. Something I love about my WiP.

It shows up everywhere in my universe. Heck, I was shopping online last week and came across a model who looks EXACTLY like my MC, and I was floored.

Ready. Set. Write! Week #5 Goals! 7/6/15

I have completed Week 4 of Ready. Set. Write! I cannot believe it has been a month already! Here is how I did last week:

1. How I did on last week’s goals.

a. Write on 2 occasions.

I did manage to write on 2 occasions! Granted, they were within the same day, but they were spaced out, so I’m calling this one for the win! I also worked on the overhaul of my online class, which I both love, because Psychology is amazing and I love learning, and hate, because this part is tedious and makes me want to scratch my eyeballs out- full-on Oedipus. However, I did learn that when you achieve REM sleep, you stop snoring. I have no idea how that factoid might be relevant, but I found it interesting, nonetheless. I considered Tweeting it, but decided that I did not want to earn the moniker Captain Nerd-Pants. I will totally understand if people reading this blog decide to taunt me with my own feared nickname- I earned it and offer forgiveness in advance. 🙂

b. Achieve 1,500 words.

I achieved 3200 words this week! Huzzah! Come and crush a cup of wine with me and we will wear masks and sing and dance, and oh this is starting to sound like R&J, and we all know how delightfully THAT ended!
This means that I’m almost a 1/3 of the way through my WiP! Wahoo! I totaled it this evening and was really surprised. I very much envy writers that can plan each chapter in advance, and form character arcs that move through the book before writing a word. I have never been able to write like that, not even in school. Remember in elementary school when they made you do the outline webs for essays? I could not do this. I would write the bloody essay then write the outline after, because whenever I tried to cage myself in, no words would come out. I’m still like that. I have found when I’m reading a book, I’m always thinking about what’s supposed to happen next, trying to guess where the author is going to go, or where I think they SHOULD go. That is how I write. I reread the last chapter I wrote and what is supposed to happen next comes out. I usually have a vague idea about the high points of the story, but often those change before I get to the end. This frustrates me, mostly because I would like to be more organized in the way I write, more structured, but often this forces my characters into situations where I’d rather they not participate. This is something to practice.

c. Tweet on at least three occasions- up one from last week.

I lost count after 3. I Tweeted, and even RETWEETED some things! Look at me, moving up into the old-lady land! I did go on a small diatribe about how women superheroes deserve pants, too. Batman wouldn’t go out without his suit, Superman either. Robin didn’t have pants, but he grew up and became Nightwing, and was able to afford his own pants. I just don’t think that it’s too much to ask for Wonder Woman to not have to go into battle with her hiny hanging out. Plus, you’d think she’d want a little extra protection- people are going to SHOOT at her for heaven’s sake, and the Lariat of Truth is not going to tourniquet a femoral artery nick when she gets shot in the ass, because her only armor covers her boobs. Seems like poor planning to me. I understand in the comics she has been redesigned and will feature trousers as part of her new costume, but in the JL movies coming out, she will be pantsless. I weep for her.

2. My goal(s) for this week.

a. Write on 2 occasions. This will not include the writing I’m doing revamping my class, though I imagine there will be a fair amount of that, too.

b. Achieve 2,000 words. I’ve been able to crack the 1500 word mark the last 2 weeks- let’s up the stakes a little.

c. Tweet on at least three occasions. I really am working on this. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to fit this into my life, but I struggle.

3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

Jesse murmured instructions to me, and I smashed the things in the bowl. The eyes were dried eagles’ eyes. Ew. But Jesse insisted we needed their power of sight to find Chasity, and that no live eagles were hurt in the procurement of the eyes.
“Not even Don Henley?” I joked, but nobody laughed. I did see Hirem stifle some mirth in my peripheral vision. Maybe he wasn’t all bad.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

This week is wasn’t so much time, as my beloved was taking his annual group of student to NYC and I had ample time to tickle the keyboard. However, I didn’t. I know, so many days slip by when I WANT to write and don’t have time, and this week I binged on Fringe episodes on Netflix. Sad, really. And it’s not like I had writer’s block and didn’t know what to say- I knew what was happening next and how to put it out there. I just didn’t. However, I did discover that when cleaning my kitchen, if I fill my sink up with warm water and a cap-full of white vinegar, my counters are smooth and clean and shiny with no harsh chemicals, and my stainless shines like the top of the Chrysler Building. I also made homemade lotion from coconut oil and sandalwood oil, which is GLORIOUS. Perhaps we will call this “the week of ADD affliction,” and leave it at that?

5. Something I love about my WiP.

I always have a hard time with this one, because I don’t get frustrated and start to hate my WiP until after it’s finished and I have to go back and move things around. So right now, we are still in love- it never leaves plates of bacon grease in my sink, or the toilet seat up, or my cabinets wide open. We are happy. 🙂

Ready. Set. Write! Week #4 Goals, 6/29/15

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

a. Write on 2 occasions.

I only wrote on one occasion this week, but it was very productive- nearly 3,000 words! I have a tendency to only write in big bursts, and I’m trying to be more disciplined about my writing. I was not as successful with the discipline, but the end result was positive, even if I did it wrong. 🙂

b. Achieve 1,500 words.

I achieved 2,678K this week! There may have been dancing and singing of show tunes. It was awful. Be glad you don’t live in my head. Or my house. 

c. Tweet on at least two occasions.

I was able to Tweet on several occasions- I usually remember on Monday when I write my goals, and Sunday when I realize I haven’t done it! I’m calling it my Social-Networking Homework, and I’m hoping that eventually I won’t have to think so hard to remember to try it. I have several new followers this week, which continues to astound me. I’ve only ever communicated with people knew in real-life online before, so the fact that strangers are following me ties my brain in a knot.  

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

a. Write on 2 occasions- I am going to get better at this, I swear. I have never figured out how to discipline my creativity, so this is my summer project. My new job will start as 4 days a week, then move up to 5 as my caseload grows, so I’m hoping there will be lots of writing time!

b. Achieve 1,500 words.

c. Tweet on at least three occasions- up one from last week.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

“Backwoods Lobotomy,” I replied. “I couldn’t kill him, and couldn’t have him following us. So I made the hunt unimportant. He’ll be pissing in corners in no time.”

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

Time. Wrapping up my caseload has been emotionally difficult for me, because even though I know the new job is going to be amazing, I do care about what happens to my people I’m leaving behind. I think the Greek word for the kind of spiritual, mentoring love is agape, and leaving people you love behind on any level is never easy. Also, my beloved is taking a group of students to NYC this week sans A.L. I never sleep well when he is gone. 😦

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

There are not a lot of places where the dark corners of the soul can come out. My WiP shines a light into those moldy, cobwebby places and breaths air into them.

#RSWrite Week #3, 6/22/15

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

a. Write on 2 occasions.

I only wrote on one occasion this week. In my defense, I quit my job and accepted a new position with a different company, and that took up a lot of my brain space. My amygdala has been a little overactive, because while this is a good move for me professionally, I have worked at the same company for my entire career, and leaving is nail-bitingly frightening for me. However, I keep telling myself how good the move will be, and I’m hoping the cognitive dissonance will force my attitude to change and match my actions. 🙂 

b. Achieve 1,500 words.

I achieved 1,634 words this week. Since I’m quitting my job, I don’t have to give a lecture on Grieving (Huzzah!) and Worth publishing sent me the wrong edition of the textbook, so I was not a productive instructor this week- not even a little. Which probably means I should have spent more time with my WiP, but alas, see subsection A for the rest of my week. I did have nightmares that all the desks in the new office were replaced by beds, and I couldn’t get into the shower because family members I haven’t seen in 20 years were making me wait in line. But it’s going to be good. Yup. I remember CBT. 

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

a. Write on 2 occasions.

b. Achieve 1,500 words.

c. Tweet on at least two occasions. I know Christina June has higher hopes for me than that, but half the time I forget I have a Twitter. I’m not really a Luddite, but I play one on TV.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

I have a faerie. His name is Rosencrantz. This makes me laugh every time I type it. I realize this makes me a little mad, but really, all the best people are. 🙂

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

The Great Job Challenge ate all my head space this week. The balance between trying to do my regular job and trying to secure another job was WAY harder than it sounds. I do not know how people have major secrets from their spouses because trying to keep this a secret from my workmates made my brain leak from my ears.

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

This is a sort-of rewrite of my first NanoWrimo book- the first one was a ponderous tome that GRRM wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, and this year I’ve been rewriting it into smaller pieces. I finished part one a while ago, and this is part two. It’s been all new stuff so far, which I thought might be frustrating, but it has flowed really beautifully, and I’m not sure that I’m going to include much from Episode I (Originally titled “Sanctuary,” but now I call it “Roz vs. The Unholy Ho-Bag From Hell.” I’m sure it’ll change again, but it makes me laugh. Calling my WiP “Roz vs. Captain Evil Pants,” which makes me giggle like a 12 year old in a Hello Kitty Store. I know- I need to get out more.). However, I have been really mean to my heroine- so much so I feel a little guilty- not guilty enough to stop and decide to write her ridiculous ass into a romance, but a little guilty, nevertheless.

Good Luck to my fellow RSWriters this week!!