It’s NaNo Time!

Hi guys! Okay, I admit, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted here. I would love to tell you I’ve been doing something amazing, like a book tour, but that would be a big, fat lie. I am simply lazy about blogging.

In any case, my favorite season is here, which always brings me new energy–weird, I know, given that winter is coming. Autumn brings beautiful colors, cooler weather, sweaters and boots, my birthday (hurray for cake!), squirrels eating pumpkins I never get around to carving, Thanksgiving (a food-centered holiday which is, of course, my favorite), and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  If you don’t know about NaNo, it’s an event in which  thousands of writers all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words during the month of November. NaNo’s website provides advice, pep talks, and word counters, and local NaNo groups provide write-ins where you can meet actual people outside of your house and write with them.

I love NaNo, because it gives me the impetus to get a lot of words on the page, words I then massage for the rest of the year to turn into a book. Eventually.

Last night, I was on a panel of writers who have “won” NaNo (reached the 50K word goal) at the Cuyahoga County Public Library (such wonderful support for writers there!), sharing experiences with other writers who want to do the same. I came up with a list of tips I thought I would share with you.

1. Plan, just a little.

Some of us are planners, some of us are pantsers, and others are somewhere in between. No matter which one you are, do at least some planning. Have some details ironed out before November 1, such as:
• What is your setting? Contemporary, historical, futuristic, fantasy? City or small town?
• Who are your main characters? What are their overarching goals? What motivates them?
• If you’re writing historical fiction, have you researched the time period? If you’re building a new world, have you ironed out the basics, such as names, languages, places, technology, etc.?
• Map out the main events in your novel, the main turning points, so when (not if) you get stuck in the middle, it’s easier to get yourself back on track.

2. Discover how fast you write.

I learned this tip in an online class I’m taking this month called “How to Write Fast,” taught by Peter Andrews. (Super helpful, and I’d recommend it if you see it anywhere–check out his blog too.) Do this before you start: set a timer and write for 15 minutes. Write anything—a description of your dog, a dissertation on the weather, a synopsis of your story, whatever—just write for 15 minutes. Do not edit as you go. When the timer goes off, count the words you wrote. Multiply by four. That’s the number of words you can write per hour. That gives you an idea of approximately how much time you need to devote per day to write 1,667 words.

For example, I wrote 425 words in 15 minutes, which is 1,700 per hour. At that rate, I only need to write one hour each day to reach my NaNo word count. When you look at it that way it seems far more manageable and easier to schedule. Admittedly, it can be harder to write that fast when you’re trying to figure out where your story is going next, which is why #1 above is helpful.

3. Turn off your inner editor.

Seriously. Turn that sucker off. If you try to polish every scene during NaNo you will NEVER FINISH in time, or possibly at all. There will be plenty of time to polish later.

4. Write with other people.

I find writing with other people—whether in person or virtually—to be the single most helpful thing I can do for my productivity.
• Go to a NaNo write-in.
• Sprint with NaNo on Twitter (@NaNoWordSprints).
• Get together with friends to write in person and/or start a chat group on Facebook Messenger for sprints.
Savvy Authors has a sprint room; membership is free.
• My local RWA chapter, NEORWA, has an online workshop during NaNo for sharing ideas, sprinting, etc.  It’s free and open to anyone; you just need to register, which you can do here.

5. Winning isn’t everything.

Sometimes even if you plan, schedule, turn off your editor, and write with other people, the words just won’t come. I have done NaNo six times. I only won twice, and neither of those books has been published. I didn’t win with the three books I have published.  Do try to win, because it’s awesome and fun and feels fabulous, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t. Like many other things, NaNo is simply a tool to help you get words on paper. It doesn’t work for everyone.

My tips will almost certainly conflict with that of other folks, but no one technique works for everyone. Please feel free to share your own tips in the comments, and happy autumn!

 

About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

What I’m Grateful For ~ #LynnCrain #AmThankful #amwriting


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First, let me apologize for being really, really late. While I love holidays, sometimes they make writing impossible and hard to do. Normally I would have scheduled my post but I thought I had plenty of time…and then I wondered where the month had gone…basically I had assure myself, yes, Lynn, it really is the 25th! LOL!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day here in the US and most of us gather around friends and families to celebrate our thanks for the year.

But this year, like no other, has been really hard for me and I have to constantly remind myself to be thankful. After, all we did an international move, found a new home in a new state and are renovating two house. As anyone knows, those last two can certainly take one over the edge in any country.

Still, there are many, many things I’m grateful for and I’ve decided to numerate them here for all of you. So here goes…

1) I am always grateful for friends and family. They are the ones that make happy, drive me crazy and are always there when I need them.

2) I am especially grateful for the folks here at Passionate Critters. We are our own special family, bonded for our love of writing and a deep caring for each other. Never have I been in a critique group who genuinely care for each other and are constantly trying to help one another. You guys ROCK!

3) As awful as the election was here in the US, I am grateful for it. I’m sure many of you are asking why but that’s an easy answer. I was gone from this country for 4 years and 9 months. I knew that people were having a bad time here and we were too but I did not realize just how unhappy people were. I didn’t realize they were struggling quite so much and now I do. I plan to do as much as I can for everyone, even if that means bucking the system if I must. Thank you America for letting me know we need to get the ‘we’ back in we the people.

4) NaNoWriMo is always a fun thing to do but this year it’s been especially important. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get back into my groove of writing nearly 5000 words a day. NaNo proved to me I could do anything I needed to do to put those words down on paper. I promise to have a strong finish!

5) I am thankful that I can write and publish myself and others. I just finished another anthology piece and I clicked publish on it. I am so very, very grateful that authors can now take their career in their own hands and make it work for themselves. It’s an awesome life.

Yes, there are many, many more things that I am immensely grateful for but I just wanted to give you all for my top five. What are you thankful for in your life? If you comment, you’ll be entered into my monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate that I run on my regular blog.

Thanks for stopping by and see you all next month!

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About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Happy Fall, Y’all

Happy FallThe kiddos (for those of us that have said children) are back in school, the air is beginning to cool off (finally), and the leaves are starting to fall.

It’s that time of year, again, to snuggle up inside with a good book and the hot drink of your choice.

Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. More so than spring, fall reminds me of new beginnings (all those new school years for me and then the kids) meant possibility. Anything could happen, there were fresh books to be read, and new fall fashion to wear. I loved the start of a school year. I’d make new friends (I told myself), have a makeover (this never actually happened), and find a new boy (I was not the many-boyfriends type). I was, and am, a nerd.

I live in West Virginia; four season country I’ve heard it called. We have beautiful fall foliage at the end of September through October. I love all those colors. Even though I know it means the leaves will all fall off and the trees will look depressingly naked by winter, I can’t not revel in the reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. It’s like someone got creative with one of those coloring book apps, the ones designed to relax you. Autumn colors are my zen.

Finally, my favorite part–the staying inside and reading part. No one’s telling you that you should be outside, enjoying the hotter than Hades weather (not a summer person, here). It’s perfectly acceptable to get a coffee, cocoa, or whatever your Keurig can dream up and settle in with a book. I’ve got Susan Elizabeth’s Phillips‘ new one (First Star I See Tonight) resting on my e-reader now, just waiting for me to open it up. At the moment, I’m reading (and enjoying) Lover’s Leap by Kimberly Keyes.

What’s your favorite part of fall? And, by the way, what book would you recommend?

I need more books, people. Fall lasts for three months, you know.

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About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

What I’m Thankful For ~ @oddlynn3 #LynnCrain #PCers

 

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Every year, we Americans frantically run around trying to get everything we need for our Thanksgiving dinner. Many times it involves just one or two women cooking while the men do whatever men do while the meal is being prepared. Yeah, I know, sometimes it involves sports.

In my house, the cooking duties are shared equally between me and my husband. He’s taken very well to reproducing some of my Mother’s more famous recipes with a couple from my Grandma tossed into the mix as well. Some of the times, I have to take over because I don’t think he’s remembering it just right…but he does well…for not growing up in my mother’s kitchen.

The past five years have been very different for us because we celebrate a holiday that no other country on earth does. Living in Austria has been fun and enlightening but it can be very lonely when all your family is in the States. We’ve made it a tradition to serve an American Thanksgiving dinner to friends that visit us here as well as invite colleagues to give them a taste of what they are missing.

This year though is very different than any of the other years. I am more thankful for what I have because every time I walk Pup Harry, I am reminded of what others have lost. See, I live right down the street from the French Embassy and not once but twice this year, I have seen the place under a deluge of flowers, candles and condolences because of events in their country.

However, this is the first time that Austrian police walk the perimeter with semi-automatic rifles to make sure that no one comes for the French in this country. Still, it’s a little disconcerting to see that much firepower so very close. If you want to read more about this, go check out my personal blog tomorrow as I am finally posting something on it. Had to get it right within myself before I could share with others.

So, with all this going on, I decided to do a simple 5 Things I’m Thankful For and 5 Things I Wish For The World…here goes…

5 Things I’m Thankful For

  • 1 ~ I am very thankful to have such wonderful friends and family. I couldn’t be who I am without you. You all know who you are and this does include my RWA friends from the States.
  • 2 ~ I am thankful for my Passionate Critters writing partners. I say partners because we learn so much from each other and again, I know that my writing wouldn’t be the same if you all hadn’t helped me.
  • 3 ~ I am thankful for Pup Harry as he makes sure I go out and face the world head on. He’s my constant companion when my husband is gone and I can’t wait to have a yard for him soon!
  • 4 ~ I am thankful that I will be going home soon. As much as I’ve fallen in love with Austria and my friends here, there is truly no place like home.
  • 5 ~ I am thankful that on tonight’s walk, it started to snow. I can’t think of anything more lovely than a Thanksgiving Day with some snow. Even if it doesn’t stay, the big flakes coming down were just awesome.

5 Things I Wish For The World

  • 1 ~ It goes without saying…world peace…I just wish for one day, either Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever holiday is celebrated in December, that the world will stop trying to destroy each other. Maybe something truly amazing can happen to us all.
  • 2 ~ People need to remember we’re all the same species. There is no difference between a black human, a red human, a yellow human or a white human. Our blood all runs red and we need to remember that every day. I mean, really, if dogs get it, you’d think that humans could too.
  • 3 ~ That we all share with someone who is less fortunate than ourselves. I have seen some wonderful sharing recently with the refugees coming through this city and it is heartwarming to see it in action. I just want more of that attitude to happen in my own country.
  • 4 ~ A world without fear. Peace isn’t enough. We need to treat each other with respect and kindness. Every life is important.
  • 5 ~ That we all treat the Earth more kindly. There are millions of us and only one of her.

What do you do at Thanksgiving? Are there any family traditions that you have and plan to pass along to your kids? I’d love to hear from you and learn just what you do special for the holiday. And if you don’t do Thanksgiving, how do you prepare for the December holidays? Can’t wait to hear from you all.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Autumn Magic

Vienna-Fall-Resized-4-WebThere is something magic about fall, which is hard to explain. The green leaves turn into brilliant shades or red, orange and yellow. The air is rich and crisp, sometimes even foggy here in Vienna and that reminds me of being in London or in a US west coast city.

As a kid, Halloween intrigued me to no end and as an adult, the books I love to write the most are paranormal in nature. Today, I write about witches and warlocks, sorcerers and sorceresses, angels and demons or even the common person who somehow has the inside scoop on keeping us all safe and sound.

While some people are bothered by what I write occasionally, I know it’s the product of my hyperactive imagination and the never ending question of what if…what if demons really did exist? What if God needed help in keeping them in check? What if my heroine had to travel back in time to right a wrong without disrupting the space-time continuum? You know, typical writer-type questions.

For whatever reason, like I said in my last column, I tend to be rejuevenated during the fall. I plan stories, I start writing more and I keep to my plans better. I am a lifelong learner and have decided to add some classes into the mix as well. There is nothing wrong with a writer learning about things that will make their writing stronger.

Along with those classes, I’ve been reading more craft books than usual as well. By craft, I’m talking about the craft of writing books. I recently read a great one from Steve Windsor about the fear of writing called Authorphobia. Yeah, the title is exactly how the book is and if you don’t mind a rather sarcastic approach, I’d say check it out because the author has some good points. I’ve continued on with his series with a book on writing a complete novel in nine days. That’s even a little fast for me but I’m sure there are techniques in the book that will help any writer.Tree-Alley-at-Praterstern-F

I’ve also discovered Udemy where you can find a lot of online courses, some of them even free. So far, I’ve found ones on proofreading and designing your own book covers. There are hundreds to choose from and since I love taking classes, this is another win-win for me.

Then there is one more place I love to look for classes and that’s at edX. Here you can learn all sorts of things from leading university’s such as Berkley, Harvard or Rice University. I took an incredible course in Genetics from Rice University as research into on zombies. Basically, I was looking into if zombies are actually possible. Guess you’ll have to wait to see what I learned on that one…LOL!

With all this planning and class taking, I’ve also found time to write more, faster and in my mind better. I love fall with all the newness it brings to learning and doing more to enhance my writing.

What do you do in the fall to enhance your life? I’d love to hear from you and see how autumn is special to you.

Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

The Romance of Autumn

It’s Autumn again here in Northeast Ohio. I adore Autumn. I love the crispness of the air, the smell of burning leaves (it’s illegal to burn leaves here, so I always wonder where that smell comes from…), fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, hot soups and stews, warm, cozy sweaters. I love the crunch of newly fallen leaves underfoot, the rich color of the trees, and the dark, dark blue of the sky on a stormy day. It’s the season of my birthday, Halloween, the Annual NEORWA retreat, and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

 

I tend not to focus on the fact that fall means winter is coming. Winters are pretty harsh here–last year was really a doozy–but living in Cleveland teaches one to live in the moment, at least as far as the weather is concerned. So I enjoy the awesomeness that is Autumn, and worry about winter later.

Pumpkins 2012

 

This year I have more reasons than usual to look forward to Autumn. In addition to my 50th birthday, this October brings the release of my second book, Secret Promise.  I started to write it in during NaNoWriMo in November 2013, finished it in November 2014, and it takes place largely in the fall, so I had many of the things I love about the season in mind as I wrote.

 

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt:

Secret Promise (October 30, 2015)

SecretPromise_w9701_750Falsely imprisoned as a blockade-runner during the American Civil War, Edward Mason yearns to go home. But when after seven years he finally returns to England, the life he expected is gone. His parents are dead, his home destroyed, his father’s legacy stolen, and his girl—his girl is now the single mother of a child Edward never knew.

Abandoned by the man she loved and disowned by her family, Anna Templeton has learned to stand on her own two feet and make a home for her son. Now the successful owner of The Silver Gull tavern, she’s not about to put their happiness in the hands of the one man who let her down so badly.

Edward is determined to regain Anna’s love and be a father to his son. But when a series of suspicious accidents threaten him and those he loves, he must stop the man responsible, or lose everything.

Available in ebook and trade paperback from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. Also available for Nook and Kobo.

Excerpt:

She meandered back to the bar through the now empty room, scooting chairs under tables, watching Edward, who now sat slumped over his untouched drink. Lightly squeezing his shoulder, she leaned against the bar at his side.

“What’s the matter? Other than the obvious, of course.”

Edward snorted with little humor and did not look at her. “The obvious. Shouldn’t that be enough to make me cry into my bitter?”

“A different man, maybe. Not you.” She thought for a minute as she gazed at him. He was older, certainly; they both were. He was harder, more…careworn, she supposed, although the scar added an air of devilishness she had to admit was really quite appealing.

She reached out and traced the mark with her index finger before she could stop herself, feeling the warm flush of his skin. Edward barely stirred, just eyed her from beneath his impossibly long, dark lashes.

“But you’re not the same man you were when you left, are you?”

“No. And you aren’t the same woman, I imagine.” He grabbed her hand to keep it still. She could feel the beat of his heart racing through her fingertips. Hers was not far behind.

She pulled her hand away before she rushed headlong into something she wasn’t sure she was ready to do, and changed the subject. “You never did tell me how you got that scar.”

Edward rose from his stool, tossed a coin onto the bar. “No, I didn’t.” In a single movement, he pulled her to him, pressing his lips to hers. She closed her eyes, tasting. He was the same as he had been on the cliff top, or at least the way she remembered him. Salty, sweet, the slightest bit sour from his last drink, all mixed together with something that was uniquely Edward. She wanted to crawl inside him, become part of him again, just as she had seven years before.

She moaned, grasping him tighter, even as he pulled away. Her eyelids fluttered as her brain tried to understand the absence of him. He rubbed a finger along her bottom lip, his gaze burning through hers.

“Not yet, Anna. You aren’t ready to take me back. But you will.” He kissed her again, hard, then was gone. Her legs were jelly as she slumped against the bar.

“No, not yet,” she breathed into the empty room. “But bloody close.”

 

About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

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