Category Archives: General Blog Posts

Three Work Looks Everybody Needs

I get ads in my e-mail. Attempting to elude them is like dodging the wind when you walk outside—it ain’t gonna happen.

Every now and then, I’ll get ads from clothing companies, insisting that they have the “perfect work look” for me. When I check them out, I see “power dresses, power suits” or something that can go from work to nightclub, with photographs of models wearing said outfits. Models who have likely never worked an office job for years uncounted. Yeah, they’re all young and gorgeous, making me think “Wow, if I buy those clothes, I can look exactly like that!”

Bwa-ha-ha.

Not.

I have three styles of work outfits.

  1. Pajamas*
  2. t-shirt/sweat pants* (cold weather)
  3. t-shirt/crop pants* (warm weather)

*Some or all of those things may have coffee stains. Some or all of them may be several years old, with no retirement in sight. Some or all of those things include socks, because cold feet.

Yes, I’ve had jobs in the past that had some sort of dress code: office worker, college professor, retail manager, etc.

Sure, I was younger and better looking then.

None of those jobs made me even half as happy as my current job—where I dress however I want, slurp coffee whenever I want, and write whatever I want.

Nowadays, I spend more money on printer ink than on gas for my car—mostly because I only leave the house once a week. Maybe less.

I’m not saying this is for everybody. I’m not saying I don’t sweat the work or the deadlines, because I do. Some days, the words flow like water. Other days it’s a real battle to put even the smallest words on the page.

Why am I writing all this—and asking you to read it?

Because November is right around the corner.

Yep—November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

If you’ve ever had the dream—or the idea—of writing a book, then November is the month to do it. Why not get a head start and make an outline, now?

I know what you’ve heard before—nobody’s perfect on the first try.

Well, that’s true.

It doesn’t mean you can’t make it perfect—or as perfect as you possibly can. What I’m saying is this; November is for writing the book. The next few months are for cleaning it up, making revisions, editing and then doing all that again.

If you don’t believe me, ask Joe—my assistant.

He wrote his first draft in no time. Then, he went through many, many subsequent drafts, revisions and edits, just to get that first effort whipped into shape—good enough to publish. What he did is what every author does—he put the work into it.

Make the writing worthy of the story, in other words. The trick is to keep working at it and not quit. Most aspiring writers fail because they never finish the first draft. Think about that for a minute. November is the time to finish a first draft.

This November, don’t forget to vote—and write.

http://nanowrimo.org/

Also, remember that MindSighted, BlackWing Pirates Book One is now available on amazon.com. To read more about it, including a preview, visit my website, subtledemon.com.

I’m now working on The Rose Mark, Black Rose Sorceress Book One. This is exciting, because it is the first in a new series that has no connection to anything that has come before.

Connie out.

Na-No-Wri-Mo

 

nanowrimo2

(National Novel Writing Month)

(in case you didn’t know)

Every November, if you are anywhere near social media, you may be seeing tons of stuff about Na-No-Wri-Mo.

It can be a very good thing for those folks who’ve been thinking about writing, but just haven’t found the time/motivation to actually sit down and do it. There are writing groups everywhere for you to join and libraries are offering space for you to come in, sit down and write with your fellow Na-Mo-ers.

I even got an invite from a library near and dear to my heart to come in, write and offer advice to others who are just starting out. I might have done it, too, if I hadn’t been out of town half the month.

In fact, I know several people who’ve started a book (or three) who just can’t keep moving on said book (or three). Na-No-Wri-Mo is perfect for them.

The thing is, one of the questions I get asked the most is how do I do it?

The answer is a simple one, and one that ultimately disappoints everybody when I say it. Maybe they’re looking for the magic answer, when I don’t have any magic answers. My answer to this question invariably remains the same:

sit

I see their hopes fall, crashing onto that heap of other dead hopes that live in their soul. Surely I’m hiding something—some trick, some useful piece of advice, or even a magic wand!

I have two wands, actually; I bought one at the Harry Potter thing in Orlando—I have Sirius Black’s wand. Sadly, it only ever worked for him.

The other wand was made for me by someone talented in that area, and while it may be useful in turning mice and pumpkins into horses and carriages, it does nothing for me in the realm of writing. How do I know that?

told me so

Just kidding.

It sits on my shelf and does nothing at all.

Back to writing:  I don’t officially engage in Na-No-Wri-Mo. The reason?

I actually DO the same thing five or so times a year. I get up. I feed cats. I make coffee. I sit down at computer.

I write.

No, I don’t think everybody can do that. I don’t expect everybody to do that. Most people (they’ll tell you so themselves) have jobs. There’s this habit we all have—of eating, sleeping and getting from one place to the other, and jobs are the way to get those things. I can’t tell you how fortunate I am that writing IS my job, now, because it wasn’t always that way. For years upon years, I put my time in for someone else, doing the best job I could.

None of those jobs were as satisfying as the one I have now.

The thing is, sometimes writing is a breeze. It’s like sailing a boat with a really good wind blowing. You fly across the water.

At other times, it’s like trying to paddle a huge log upstream, using a tree branch.

And—getting a story going, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction—that may be the hardest part of all. If anybody has ever had to prime a pump to make it produce water, then you know what I’m talking about.

A story is sort of the same thing. You pour words in and pump (write) and pump (write). It takes freaking forever to get anything out of it.

Until something comes.

Finally.

Words are pouring out like gangbusters (or water).

Be careful, though. When you stop, remember to start again as soon as you can.

Otherwise, you’ll be back at stage one, and you remember how hard that was the last time, don’t you? You’re priming the pump again. Therefore, write as much and as often as you can, so the hard work can be behind you.

The secret ingredient, I think, is in the not giving up.

Soooo,

I guess this post is really about NOT GIVING UP, or,

nogiup

Keep writing. One word leads to another word.

One paragraph leads to another paragraph.

One page leads to another.

One book leads to a sequel.

Writing may become as important to you as eating or breathing.

Warning:

Your eyes may glaze over in movie theaters or during dull conversations.

Because Book.

Your story may insert itself into dinners with friends. Walks with you dog. Laughs with your co-workers. Arguments with your boss.

Because Book.

All that, of course, will teach you one very important lesson:

nowasted

You can use those dinners with friends, walks with your dog, laughs with co-workers or disagreements with your boss as fodder (or fill) for your books. Only the names, locations and fine details should be changed to protect YOU fromthem

Just kidding.

Not.

Happy November, everybody. If there’s a book or a story, short or otherwise, in you, now’s the time to set it free.

Connie

What’s In a Name?

Has anyone checked out subtledemon.com lately? Far down on the left side of the front page, and also on the Bibliography page, you’ll see the title of a new series, and the title of the first book in the series. The book title is somewhat humorous to me, for some reason. I love it!

Also, the title of the third book in the First Ordinance series is revealed. And yes, Connie has already started working on it, however, Cloud Invasion, R-D #2 is the next book scheduled for release, sometime in December.

Speaking of the R-D series, does anyone have a clue what R-D stands for? (:-]