Monday, December 17, 2018

Just Released: "Pickle Blanket Chronicles: A Flash Mixtape"

Announcing the release of my chapbook, "Pickle Blanket Chronicles: A Flash Mixtape."


This is one reason my writing here has been a little slow. I was in a fun and informative, fast-paced chapbook creation online class with Ariel Gore. While I was interpreting plays and my regular video relay work, attending a work conference, and doing NaNoWriMo.


And I was making this book. It is a compilation of some flash fiction plus a couple of poems. There are some black and white photos, also taken by me.


A brief aside, since several people have already asked me. Flash fiction—what's that? If you do an online search or look in writing magazines, you will find different lengths and more subcategories, but "flash fiction" is basically a story that is under 1,000 words. Some people say under 1,500 words. Some others define it as under 750 words. There are stories which are even shorter than that, some of which have been variously given other names—such as ultra fiction (usually fewer than 500 words), or micro fiction (this could be 50 - 100 words), and there are even more names and word length specifications. There is the revolving popular six word stories and the six sentence stories.


Aside from the opening and closing poems, the stories in my chapbook are between 500 to 1500 words. Thus the "flash" in the title, plus the idea of a "mixtape," which was a compilation of songs in the days of cassette tapes. Mixtapes tended to be favorite songs, which were often shared with friends.


So this book is a mixtape of different styles and of my writing—fiction, dystopian fiction, creative nonfiction—wrapped up in an easily portable 64 pages, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch chapbook. Like a sampler pack of chocolates.


Right now, the book is on the top of my BOOKS by Dot page (see below the banner above). I am working on a BUY NOW link and that should be available in the next couple of days.


I present to you the front cover of my chapbook:



Monday, November 26, 2018

NaNoWriMo 2018 report

It's official: I'm a 2018 NaNoWriMo Winner!

I wrote after work for a while and surpassed the goal. I wrote a bit more when I woke up today. Then I verified my word count and, yes, I am officially a 2018 NaNoWriMo winner with 54,392 words!

Yay!

There is one particular story I worked on that I will continue developing. Several of the other short story pieces will probably be wrapped in to this other story, too. I realized several short story starts and pieces in, that I wasn't really writing a bunch of disconnected stories, they were mostly like from a larger novel. Or maybe just a book of connected short stories. That remains to be seen.

But, for now, I get to celebrate that I complete NaNoWriMo 2018 and I'm glad I hung in there. This was not an easy year in terms of writing and, next year, I will plan differently. I'm still thrilled that I went ahead with it and that I finished. I almost quit more than once.

Due to my persistence and not giving up, I now have a good start on another dystopian story and some other bits to chew on and see what they become.

This marks my eleventh consecutive NaNoWriMo win!


Saturday, November 24, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11 - Day 24

I have been able to get caught up and my current word count is 42,348. The goal for today is 40,000, so I am a little ahead. I hope to get in at least another couple thousand words today and get this wrapped up before the very last day. Because this week starts the seasonal theatre interpreting preparation and, while it is going to be a lot of fun, it is also a lot of work.

Oh, and I am going to be doing the final wrap on my chapbook and creating a distribution plan. The distribution plan is due December 2nd. So I'm wrapping up NaNoWriMo, beginning the seasonal show prep, and getting my chapbook done, to the printer and making notes for how to get it out into the world.

All while doing my regular interpreting work.

This is my creative life and I have no complaints.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11: Day, Um, 21 (part one)

I just passed the halfway point in my NaNoWriMo 2018.


My winner shirt was just shipped, so I have to keep going. Right?


I will do it. I will pass 50,000 words this month. I have some bigger blocks of time and some theatre-free time over the next week. (There are some other work and family commitments, too.)


I will do it.


A story has taken hold and I am writing pieces toward that. My first character was bored and getting boring. But the newest one - she's a dynamo and I am looking forward to getting to know her better.


My chapbook is coming along really well. We are heading toward printing and I am really excited. I can't wait to see it in person.


NaNo is chugging along and I hope to maybe get caught up on Saturday. That might be a little optimistic, but I'm going to give it a try.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11 Day 13

This NaNoWriMo is a struggle. As I've already written, the start was rocky and not my usual happy, let's kick it off at midnight with a room full of other writers. I was with a good friend, we wrote at midnight. I was also significantly short on sleep and at a work conference and a little overwhelmed before the month even began.

These are not excuses. These are facts from my life. Or I should say, they are factors in my life right now.

I still am not giving up on passing the 50k word line before the end of the month. And it is going to be a struggle. It is being a struggle. This will be my eleventh consecutive year of writing 50k+ words in the month of November and I'm not going to fail. I could decide to not do it, to stop, to let myself be okay with not completing it this year. I do know this is my decision and I can decide to say no. But I have decided to not do that.

I will continue.

And the light on the horizon has come closer and it is actually just around the corner, I believe. Today marks the end of a very long run of work, conference, work, theater, work. I do have appointments and some theatre related work in the next few days, but I also have some time available to write; more time than I've had since the beginning of the month.

Oh - and I am in the chapbook writing and printing class. Which is awesome. I am so inspired by Ariel and the other writers in the online class. We are making these amazing books, which are going to be out in the world very soon. Mine is not what I was envisioning when I signed up, but I am loving it. Loving the process. I am inspired by Ariel's instruction and guidance and feedback. I am inspired by the other writers beautiful words, sharing our projects as we work through the learning process, give each other feedback, share our ups and downs.

I will say that the chapbook class is one thing which is keeping me going, despite it being another thing I have to do.

So, there we are, I am writing. I am creating. My dystopian novel has become a series of dystopian short stories. And some of those short stories are short story beginnings. Some of them are leading nowhere and I'm letting that be okay, too. I am writing something every day, except for the one day of road trip from the conference back to home (it was a thirteen hours trek from there to here). I have only made the target word count twice this month. Which means, at this point, the NaNoWriMo word count system is telling me that I need to write 2130 words each day in order to meet the 50k before midnight on November 30th, instead of the normal average of 1667 words per day. That seems do-able. It is not an insurmountable number.

I can and will do this.

My current word count is 12902.  To be on target, I should have 21666 words written by the end of the day. That is not going to happen and it's okay.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11: Day 6

This NaNovember is getting off to my slowest start ever in my history of doing NaNoWriMo.

It is day #6 and, if I was on track, I should have written 10,000 words by now. Normally, my first week of NaNo is one of my strongest. Not this year. Right now my word count is sitting at 4,902; not even half of where I should be.

I'm not giving up, yet. I have considered calling it a wash. My first ever NaNo fail. But I've decided to keep going and see what happens.

Trying to give myself a break because I was out of state at a conference when it started. In a different time zone. On just over half the amount of sleep I usually get. With about 12 hours per day spent at conference events.

Not excuses; reasons.

I also missed (of course) the midnight write-in, which is usually a big boost for me. I missed one entire day due to driving back from the conference (my decision; we could have flown, but I wanted to drive).

I'm feeling a little disconnected from my NaNo writing right now. Which may also partially be due to it being politics season. I'm also writing dystopian fiction, so there is a certain amount of disconnect in the stories themselves.

And I've worked every day since returning from the conference. I know I'll feel better when I have a longer block of time to just let words flow. Right now I'm managing at least some writing every day, except for the day of travel. It hasn't been easy squeezing out any writing, but I"m doing it.

I'll keep at it and will, hopefully, get some long stretches where I can just focus on writing.

Not giving up, yet!

Friday, November 2, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11 : Day Two

I skipped the business meeting at the conference this morning and slept in a bit. I've been running on low sleep for a few days due to the conference being an inverted schedule from my norm. So today I only spent twelve hours at the conference - but it was a pretty good day. Some very interesting research is being done in this profession and some changes are coming.

But probably the highlight of the day was being able to attend Shabbat. It was a special honoring of the two Black people killed at the grocery store last week, and the Jewish people killed at Temple before that, and The Thirteen. The people who organized and performed the ceremony were very open and invited any conference attendees who wanted to, to join them. It was moving and I am glad I was able to be present, to be a part of honoring the recent victims.

Then after the evening workshop, we came back to our room and I finished up the homework for my online chapbook making workshop. I am still loving this workshop (with Ariel Gore, in the Literary Kitchen) and I am in love with my little book so far. (Photo below of a rough mockup of the project.)

And after all of that, I wrote on my NaNoWriMo project. The working title is "Midnight, Raisin Toast, and You." My total word count right now is 3,716. This is ahead of the target for today by about 400 words.

I'm happy. I'm sated. I'm going to bed because 6:30 AM comes very early for me.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11: Day One


I wrote 1885 words from 12:00AM - 12:43AM for my NaNoWriMo #11 (that is 218 words over the daily average target). Go, me!

Now it's time for bed. My alarm is going off in 5 1/2 hours so I can get up, shower, get dressed, grab continental breakfast, and make it to the first session of the conference (8:30 AM) tomorrow morning.

If you know me, you know that this is a super early schedule for me. But I'm making it work. Tomorrow night the plan is to go to bed early. Super early for me.

But all for a good cause - to further my interpreting and mentoring skills, and to write.

Good night.