Life in progress


#NaNoWinner2018 – I did it!

It was a tough race to the finish. I was behind by 13K words coming out of the weekend, but I was fiercely determined to finish my novel by November 30th. I had a week to write 21,461 words.

So I devised a method. In a ten-minute sprint I can write 300 words. If I could just do two of those an hour for the seven hours Alex was at school, getting to 50K by the end of the month would be a piece of cake.

And guess who’s going to the store to buy cake? (And all the groceries I’ve been running out of all week.) ME!!

About an hour ago I finished my sixth novel!!



NanoPoblano Day 1 – What was I thinking?

Hello. My name is Linda and I am a Pepper. I have been addicted to blogging for some time now – I do it often when I shouldn’t and I participate in challenges that could easily kill me since I’m unable to back down once I start. This is my confession.

On the demand urging of Sirius Bizinus over at Amusing Nonsense, I’ve decided to participate in the blog hop fondly called NanoPoblano once again. Which wouldn’t be so bad except I’m going to Japan from the 19th to the 30th of this month, so I’ll have to pre-schedule those posts. The good news is, I’ve figured out how to work this to my advantage, and you’re all going to suffer enjoy it with me. 😀 How are we going to do this? We’re all going to learn Japanese together!

I’ll keep it simple for our first day. The word of the day is, “Konnichiwa” (kon-ee-chee-wa). It means hello. It’s a word used when meeting someone for the first time during the day (but not in the evening, that’s a different word). If pronounced properly and with enough authenticity as to make the listener think you actually know the language, it is followed by light and extremely fast conversation that will both confuse you and make you wish you’d mispronounced it.

Conclusion – hello in any other language is preferable.

Tomorrow we will start into commonly used phrases. Bring a notepad and a pencil. Sharpen the latter if you wish to take notes. (Disclaimer: Sharpening the former may lead to paper cuts.)


This post has been part of Nano Poblano. Should you wish to participate, there’s still time! Go here to sign up: You can also type “Nanopoblano” into the search tabs in your reader to read more entries.



Go ahead, call me crazy

2014-Participant-Vertical-BannerIn my infinite wisdom borne of never having enough of a challenge in my life, I’ve decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo, which starts July 1st. My goal is to write 25,000 words of the sequel to the novel I started and failed as a NanoWriMo project in November of 2011. That one took me 18 months to finish. I’m not under any delusion that I can get the sequel done in a month, so I won’t even try.

But wait, Linda, I hear you saying. You can’t even reply to the comments on your blog, what makes you think you can take on another project?

To answer that question, I have no idea other than that I need to start being creative again or I will go completely around the bend. I’m halfway there now, and let me tell you, the scenery ’round there is scary-dark and smells ominously like a fart.

Is it worse than getting lost in the woods while at Camp Nano? There’s only one way to find out. I figure I should be okay as long as I don’t come across any bears — ‘coz you know what THEY do in the woods.



You Actually Can’t Do Anything You Want to Do

As a child I was led to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I don’t remember when I discovered the truth about the latter two, but I do recall feeling betrayed by my parents when I reached into my stocking one Christmas morning and pulled out a gift with a price tag on it. At first I refused to believe it – they couldn’t possibly tell me such a blatant lie, these two adults who were constantly stressing to me the importance of telling the truth. But alas, we all know how it turned out. I’ve been wary of humans ever since.

Even worse than this, in my opinion, is telling kids that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be. I’m sorry, but if you stop growing when you hit four feet, you will not be a Harlem Globetrotter, nor will you be a famous opera diva if you can’t carry a note in a bucket. You will never be President of the United States if you were born in another country, no matter how much you want it.

I don’t care who you are – everyone has limitations. As adults, we learn what these are, and yet I still hear adults lying to generation after generation, promising children who can’t possibly know any better that they can do ANYTHING and be ANYTHING they want to be when they grow up. It’s total, utter bullshit.

In my own case, this on top of being told that everyone is good at something, left me feeling woefully inadequate. I wasn’t about to believe people who would tell me that I was a brilliant singer – these were the same people who told me there was such a thing as Santa. Hindsight shows me that in most cases, it’s just as well. Just look how many end up on TV talent shows only to be laughed at?  So if I couldn’t be good at doing something I loved, what could it be? I tried guitar, figure skating, horseback riding … and ended up a bookkeeper. I couldn’t even type that fast. It’s only in the last fifteen years that I’ve discovered my passion for writing.

But I digress. The incident that brought this whole topic up was a conversation I had with Chris, my Autistic eighteen year old, in the car on Sunday. He told me he wants to be a radio announcer. I know for a fact that he’s been told he can do anything he wants. Radio announcer isn’t one of them, nor will it ever be. He can barely get more than two coherent sentences out of his mouth on the best of days. So I get to be the bad guy. I have to tell him he can’t do it. I tried to explain to him that he needs to get hired in order to talk on the radio, but he can’t understand why anyone won’t just hire him.

I can say with all honesty that I was reluctant to let my kids to believe in Santa. It came down to the question of whether or not to allow them that wonder I remember feeling when I did believe. But I can also say I never really tried to convince them he existed.

I’ve always maintained a realistic outlook for their lives. I’ve been truthful in telling my eldest that he can do almost anything. There are many things Chris will never do and I’ve always tried to steer him towards what is feasible. Alex as well. He will certainly never sing opera – and none of them will ever be President.

I’m sure there are people out there who have become exactly what they wanted to be – we all knew someone who was incredibly gifted and knew what they were cut out for at an early age – but few of them actually turned out to be the superhero they always dreamed they’d be (yes, that was one of my dreams too).

If you were like me and Chris, and your aspirations were outside the realm of what is achievable, then perhaps you’ll agree with me. Or maybe you were more down-to-earth in your expectations. In either case, telling a child they can do or be absolutely anything is something I’ll never do and something I wish others would put a little more thought into. You never know whose dreams you’ll eventually be dashing.

This post was written for Opinionated Man’s Opinion Challenge. Find it here:


NaNoWriMo Challenge

“Write what you know.” It’s one of those things we’re told to do, along with “show, don’t tell,” and a bunch of other guidelines we’re given as writers, that will apparently give us the tools we need to make us better writers and bring home our first million. It’s the “write what you know” thing I want to focus on today though, and I’ll tell you why.

I almost got hit by a bus today.

Don’t panic, I’m okay, but it was a close call. I’m talking inches. Millimeters even. It got me to thinking about my NaNo project, as does everything in my life – when I decide to write a novel, I live and breathe it, almost literally. Having something as dramatic as a real-life near-death experience happen to me (okay, okay, the mirror of a bus moving half a mile an hour nearly clipped my ear as I walked along the edge of a sidewalk) being worth mentioning, could happen to one of my characters, right? You can bet it will.

So back to writing what you know. I don’t think they really mean it in the strict sense of writing what you do for a living outside of writing, for instance. Or even writing about characters who write, though many writers do (I’m looking at you, Stephen King). If we did that, everything we wrote would be autobiographical. And what would the fantasy writers do? I’m thinking an elf accountant would be rather boring.

I think writing what you know can be taken in a more broad sense of feelings, emotions, and yes, little experiences like almost getting hit by a small, slow-moving school bus that’s coming to a stop beside the curb.

So my challenge, for all my fellow NaNoers who are reading this, is simple. Write into your story the next time you write, about something you’ve experienced in the last week. If your characters are in space it can be a sensation, or a sentence you remember hearing or saying.

And if you’re writing an autobiography – oh what the hell. Lie! I dare you!

P.S. Let me know how it goes!