The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Crunch Time

19 More Days!!
It's so hard to believe that we're leaving for Vegas in barely more than two weeks. We've been planning this trip for so long, and it's so close now! Basically, though, I realized this weekend that it's crunch time. I am running out of time to lose weight and get my skin perfect and get rid of those terrible tan lines on my shoulders, etc. There is so much I want to do before we go, and even though the world won't stop turning just because I don't get them done, I really want to give my ALL to the next two weeks (16 days until we leave, technically) of preparation.

Last night in my journal, I wrote down a dieting plan. I have already been following one, and although I have lost several pounds, I want to see if I can lose another 8 pounds before we leave. Right now, I'm only 3 pounds away from being the lowest weight I've been in almost 5 years, and I know that I can do it. I have an exercise plan to work out three times a day (Jazzercise in the morning, walk in the afternoon, exercise bike throughout the day in 5-10 minute increments). Between that and the food changes, I think 8 pounds is completely lose-able.

This weekend, I did a trial run of my hair/makeup/dress. It turned out great! I still need to get a haircut and get my nails done, but the thing that really needs to get done most is that my dress needs to be altered. And yes, I'm doing this myself! I have to hem it but since it's silk and I have never worked with silk before, I'm slightly terrified. With only 16 days until we leave, I'm out of time. The dress alterations goes on my to-do list for this week! Yikes!

The sad tragedy of this month is that I did not win NaNo WriMo. It's the last day of the month today, and my manuscript for Pandemic sits at just over 30,000 words. It's sad, but it's not the end of the world. It became a matter of priorities, and the fact of the matter is that my priority this month has been the wedding and making Christmas presents for family. I can't be mad at myself for that. Pandemic will still be here when we get back!

With that, I'm off to Jazzercise!

Golden Heart Entry

Today, my Golden Heart entry goes into the mail. It has to be in Texas by the 2nd, and I'm not taking any risks by sending it any later - especially with the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up. Last night, I sat down before I printed the final copies of my partial manuscript so that I could go through the check-list, check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and make sure I ended with a "hook". At 55 pages max, the partial and synopsis need to really grab the reader, so a hook at the end can't hurt, right?

It's been just over a month since I mailed my full manuscript out to Silhouette, and I haven't even looked at it since. So last night when I printed out a copy to read through, I was mortified. "Oh my God, this sucks!" That was my initial reaction. I underlined cliche's and awkward sentences. I cringed at wording that I thought I'd changed. I was feeling pretty sure that a rejection letter was on its way from Harlequin. By about the fifth page, I stopped. The first few pages were marked to hell, and I thought, surely, I didn't send out a manuscript with this many errors or things I would want to change.

So, I went back to my computer file and looked. Sure enough, I had opened a pre-final-edit copy of my novel! Whew! What a relief!

When I found the right copy, the one I actually DID send to Silhouette, I was so happy. The more I read, the more I loved it. I was so proud of myself for the changes I'd made and the strength of my voice. The characters started to come alive. The dialog was fresh and witty. There was humor mixed with sexuality and passion, but there was also conflict and story questions. My spirits soared. It might not be a Golden Heart Finalist, and it may still receive a rejection letter, but at least I can hold my head up high and be proud of what I've written.

With a 6 page synopsis and a partial manuscript that comes in a 47 pages, my Golden Heart entry is a near-max 53 pages total. I have 6 copies printed and bound together with a black binder clip, and today they will begin to make their journey to Texas. Then, they will be sent out to the GH first-round judges. 5 different authors from around the country will read my partial, rate it, and by March 25th, I will either be a finalist... or not. Either way, I'm proud of myself for trying.

29 Days until the Wedding!

I can't believe we are now actually under the 30 day mark! I am so excited! Since our wedding is also a vacation at the same time, I know that we are going to have such a great time. And... what's even better is that our wedding is going to be so stress-free! It's already paid for (as of yesterday's call to pay the final balance at the chapel of the flowers), and we're going to be so relaxed!

One thing I love about this relationship is that we almost never argue. Sure, some people like to say that arguments keep their relationship spicy or whatever, but I'll take happiness and love over arguments any day. Most days, the closest we come to an argument is a debate about the future of publishing or some such topic that we both find interesting. When we go away to a new city, we spend a lot of time talking about the future and just walking around, enjoying the sights and the food and each other's company. I know that Las Vegas was the best choice for our wedding, because there will be so much to do and so much to see.

29 days until the wedding, but 26 days until we leave for Vegas, and there is so much we need to do still! Like my dress needs to be altered. (Yes, I'm doing it myself, which is scary.) We need to write our vows and choose our music. I have tons of Christmas presents to make. We still need to make more money so we can actually enjoy a few shows while we are there. And then there's the normal stuff like working and writing and cleaning. It's so hard to concentrate on those other things when I keep smiling about the fact that we'll be married in just 29 days. I honestly never knew love could be like this. Well, I knew because I'd seen my parents together for so long... but I never really believed I could find a love that was this comfortable, yet electric... this challenging, yet supportive... this much fun after all this time! I can be happy knowing that I've truly made the best choice of my life.

Harlequin Horizons? You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Upsetting news from Harlequin, a publisher I have idolized for so long. Earlier this week (or was it last week?) they announced an epublish division called Carina Press. I wasn't too upset about it, because it's just another way they can publish novels. No advances, fine. That's the way most epubs do it anyway. But two days ago, H announced a new endeavor - Harlequin Horizons. They are promoting it as a self-publishing venture, but it's really a misnomer. It's what most people would called a vanity press - which is a publisher who asks you to pay money for them to publish your novel. Then, when you are published, you don't actually get any distribution or help marketing your book AND they still take 50% of the profits!

It's a nasty idea, really. Self-publishing should be about empowering yourself as an author. Taking your career into your own hands and trying to be successful on your own. What Harlequin is doing with this new company is not self-publishing, nor is it empowering authors. It's a scam is what it is. A recent article on the subject in the NY Times actually read "Got a romance novel in your desk drawer? Polish it up and get ready to become a Harlequin author." Omg! Horizons has also stated that they will now include information on their new "self-publishing" option IN their rejection letters. So, basically, they will say something like "We're sorry, but we are going to pass on this project at this time. However, you have talent and you should check into this new alternative called Horizons."

I know better than to throw a couple of thousand dollars at them so that I can self-publish my own book with zero distribution, but what about the average person who submits to Harlequin and doesn't have RWA or another organization in the know to tell them any better? Harlequin is preying on the hopes and dreams of hundreds of women, basically saying that whether they can write worth a shit or not, they can be a Harlequin author! WHAT?? What's worse is they appeal to those dreams by saying that they will monitor the self-published books in order to find diamonds in the rough that they might consider pulling into their normal Harlequin imprints.

Because of this recent move into vanity publishing, Harlequin has been removed from the RWA's eligible publisher list and all of their perks for the National conference have been taken away. This affects hundreds of Harlequin/Silhouette authors who are used to book signings and various recognition at nationals. It's very upsetting to me, but imagine their authors? The ones I have heard from are PISSED. They have worked hard to get where they are and now this? It's demeaning.

As for me, I'm now dreading the rejection letter I could possibly receive any day now, telling me to consider Harlequin Horizons for my book. Ouch. As if I have $1500 to spend on thier most basic services! If I had money just sitting around, I wouldn't need a publishing deal so badly!

Is this the beginning of the end of the publishing world as we know it? Is Harlequin just trying to squeeze the last bit of money they can out of the publishing world before it all changes to self-publishing and ebooks anyway? In many ways, it certainly feels like Doomsday for one of the formerly most respected names in Romance.

The Biggest Loser's Rudy is the Biggest Jerk

Last night, I just wanted to stand up and scream at the TV during the elimination on The Biggest Loser. As if last week's argument with Shay didn't make him look bad enough, he had to attack Rebecca this week when there was absolutely no reason for it. Rudy has done extremely well on this show, setting records left and right for most weight lost ever in 10 weeks and for losing 100 pounds faster than anyone ever has before. I am sure his family is proud of him for it. But I just cannot like him, no matter how hard I try.

Last week is when my extreme dislike really started. There was a circus challenge where the contestants had to jump through a hoop onto a trampoline in order to sort of "Vote" for someone. Each person had a hoop assigned to their name and if they got 100 "Votes", they were eliminated. The winner of the challenge was given immunity, so it was a HUGE advantage. As they were standing there about to start the challenge, Rudy turned to Shay and said something along the lines of "I won't go after you until we're the last two, then we'll go after each other, kind of like a hoop alliance." Shay agreed, excited to have an agreement that Rudy wouldn't go through her hoop until they were the only ones left. Staying true to her own agreement, she encouraged her friends to not go after Rudy.

First of all, I think Rudy was being pretty sneaky when he made that fake alliance in the first place. He knew that if he was up against Shay at the end, he could definitely outrun her. Also, he never had any intention of following up on his own promise. He only wanted to make sure her friends didn't go after him first. SMart tactic, but shady to say the least. In the end, there were Rudy, Shay and Danny left. Who does Rudy start gunning for? Shay. Not Danny. Shay. With two people going through her hoop, Shay was eliminated. Danny followed, leaving RUdy with immunity. Then, he has the nerve to actually say that he never had any kind of alliance with her (Cue footage). Freaking liar.

Then, when the weigh in came around, Rudy barely lost any weight. Why should he? He has immunity. And everyone knows that if you hold back one week, you have that much more chance of losing big the following week. For Rudy, it was all game play, and it makes me really annoyed with him.

This week, after the makeovers and his speech about how his sister died of cancer when they were both teenagers, I was close to liking him again. Not quite there, but trying to sympathize with how this man became 440 pounds in the first place. Then, during the elimination, he has to say that he is voting Rebecca out because he doesn't "Trust" her. He accused her of playing both sides of the fence (which basically means she was too good of friends with Amanda and the other younger players for his taste). He even accused her of lying. What? If that happened, it certainly happened off camera. And what was his reasoning behind saying anything that would stir up negative feelings. He couldn't just say, "LIz and I have become really close in the house and I just couldn't write down her name."? Or "I respect and like both of these ladies, but in the end, I voted for Rebecca." No, he had to make Rebecca, who he knew he was sending home, feel terrible.

Rudy is cocky and underhanded. After his 4.5% weight loss, he just needed to make himself feel even better by rubbing salt in Rebecca's wounds. To me, those are the worst kind of people. THe people who have to make others feel bad just to make themselves feel good. If Rudy wins this whole thing, I think I'll puke.

The happiest thing for me was seeing Rebecca at the end of the episode during the transformation segment. She looks amazing! She's lost over 100 pounds now and was running a half marathon! I couldn't believe how great she looked! I'm glad to see she didn't let Rudy's mean comments hold her back.

With only 2 episodes left, there are five people in the running for the title of The Biggest Loser: Rudy (yuck), Allen, Liz, Danny, and Amanda. I personally don't like Liz or Rudy this season, so my votes are with Amanda all the way. I'd be happy for Allen or Danny too, because they seem like nice guys, but Rudy and Liz are too focused on the game. I don't want to see them win the 250,000 dollars. That's just my rant on TBL. Thanks for listening :).

Now, I need to get myself ready for the big ANTM finale tonight! In that finale, I'm rooting for both of the finalists! It's a win-win situation!

Christmas on a Budget

What? A Christmas post in mid-November? Well, there's no use saying it's too early. There were Christmas decorations up at the local mall well before Halloween. There's no use even complaining about it. Every year, we complain about how early the Christmas decorations go up and the music begins to play, and every year they continue to put them up earlier and earlier. My theory is that this year, they went up super early because the malls and shopowners are struggling financially. They are hoping that the wreaths and the jolly music will remind us all about the people in our lives who are expecting presents this year. They are hoping we will all run out and spend a bunch of money for the next two months so that they can stay in business. There's only one fatal flaw in this logic.

No one has any money to spend.

This year, Christmas is on a strict budget for everyone I know. People in my family (including me for the most part) are doing hand-made gifts this year instead of buying traditional presents. G and I are getting married and where my parents would usually have bought us tons of presents for the holiday and something separate for our wedding, the budget for them calls for one combo gift that will have to work for both events. Do we care? Not one bit, and I'll tell you why. We understand what it's like to be struggling right now financially, and no matter what the businesses and corporations want us to believe, presents simply are not the most important thing about Christmas. Or weddings for that matter!

The most exciting parts of the season this year for me are my wedding and spending time with my family. It's my neice, Sami's first Christmas and I can't wait to see her and spend time with her. My sister and her family always come and spend the night, and my neice Kanon is getting old enough to enjoy other parts of the holiday like baking cookies and playing games. It will be fun to spend time with all of my family over the holidays, and of course, being around G the whole time without him having to work means three full weeks of us being together nonstop. Those are the most important things this year for Christmas, and those things fit perfectly into everyone's budget.

If you are stressing out this year about affording Christmas, just step back and think about the true reason for the season. No, I'm not going to lecture you about the baby Jesus or anything. But the true meaning of Christmas is family. Love. Happiness. Not presents and debt and stress. Stop being a slave to the demands of the holiday and the expectations put on you by traditions of spending thousands over the holidays. Yes, I know that businesses need this season to survive, so go support them if you can afford it. But family comes first. Happiness comes first. If you're stressed about money, do what we're doing in my family and pare down your Christmas budget. Make presents by hand or buy less and don't worry about it. Just vow to spend time with the people you love this year and understand that for a season of joy, that's all any of us really need to be happy.

NaNo WriMo Update

We're officially halfway through National Novel Writing Month, and this week I made it to the magical 25,000 word mark. Basically, that means I've been playing with Hello Kitty markers and pencils and ribbons for the past couple of days :). By next Saturday, I should be hitting the next goal of 37,500, which sounds ridiculously close to the end!

So, how do I feel about my novel so far? Truthfully, I think there are some good parts, but they are few and far between. In the first 25,000 words of my zombie apocalypse novel, there has yet to be a single zombie. This could be a problem. Well, actually, that's not entirely true. I wrote a pack of zombies into the prologue. Yay! I had almost forgotten about that. But the time has come where I need to start writing them into the main story. To explain where they came from and how they started killing people.

In the end, I know that my novel cannot be finished at only 50,000 words. 50k is still my goal by the end of November, but the entire novel needs to be more like 65-75,000 words. I am praying that by the time I get those 75k words written, I will like my novel a lot more than I like it now. Is it normal to be less than thrilled about an early first draft? The story is good, I know that. But now I'm afraid it's too cliche or overdone. I'm committed to this story though, and I must press on. All I can hope is that somewhere in the next 12k words or so, I start to really love the way I'm writing it.

Suvivor Samoa: Russell's Second Immunity Idol

Last night's episode of Survivor completely redeemed this season in my mind. For the first several episodes, I was thinking, This season is seriously weak. Russell's diabolical mind is the only half-interesting thing. But, as often happens on Survivor, things got interesting once the tribes merged. While most of the season has been about Galu kicking ass at challenges and Foa Foa getting kicked off one-by-one, the merge last week shook things up a bit.

Eric, who sadly was my pick to win it all, went home last week in a major and honestly confusing blindside. It's Survivor 101 that when tribes merge, whichever tribe has the most people should automatically stick together and start picking off the tribe with the least people. However, Eric got cocky, barking out orders that started making people feel uncomfortable. Natalie, a Foa Foa member, and well in the minority with 8 on the other team and only 4 on hers, was actually able to talk old Galu into voting off one of their own. Eric was gone, causing me to lose my Survivor pick with my sister. (Her pick (Jaison) is one of the remaining four Foa Foa.)

This week, with Eric gone and Russell's hidden immunity idol played, it looked like Russell was the obvious target. Old Galu members decided to pick off Foa Foa one at a time, going Russell, Natalie, Jaison and Mick. Well, not one to give up easily, Russell did something no one has ever done before on the history of Survivor - he found a SECOND hidden immunity idol at camp without any clues.

The first idol he found was early on in the first or second episode. He knew there probably was an idol (because there is always an idol) and he went looking for it. He found it without trouble. When Galu flushed it out last week, he simply went looking for another one. While several of the old Galu members were off on a beautiful reward of waterfalls and brownies, Russell was making good time searching the camp for an idol. He searched by tree mail, up trees, and anywhere that looked like a landmark around camp. Then, he walked onto the bridge by the little pond, got down on his belly and looked underneath the bridge. "No way," he said. And I almost peed my pants! "Holy Shit!" I shouted to no one but myself. I couldn't believe it. He actually found another idol.

At first, he said he wasn't going to show it to anyone, but then he changed his mind. He shared the info with the only Galu who has been on the outs since day one. Shambo. Brilliant! As ditzy as Shambo can seem, she's a very valuable friend to have, and Russell is so damn smart to have figured that out. They mutually decided to gun for Laura, but damnit, Laura won individual immunity for the second week in a row! I couldn't believe how fast she plowed through that puzzle. Of course, she's only putting more and more of a target on her own back. As soon as Shambo and Russell get the chance, they'll vote Laura out in a heartbeat. (And good riddance if you ask me. Not a fan.)

Back at camp after the immunity challenge, old Galu decides it will be Russell who goes home. Little did they know, Russell was sharing his hidden idol info with the remaining members of Foa Foa and doing exactly what Shambo suggests by telling everyone to vote our Kelly. There was a little bit of a nervousness at the last minute because Russell overheard Galu talking about voting Natalie. Should he play the idol? Give it to Natalie? What? I was on the edge of my seat as the tribe made their way into tribal council.

Eric, obviously still pissed at his former tribe for turning on him (which is turning out to be a very dumb move on their part numbers wise), walked in as the first member of the jury. Galu seemed easy and confident. Their plan to vote out Foa Foa was foolproof right? They have the numbers, seven to four (thinking Shambo is stupid and is with them, ha!). When Jeff said his little speil about "If anyone has a hidden immunity idol...." and Russell stood up, the looks on Galu's faces were PRICELESS! Dave's jaw dropped to the floor. Monica put her head in her hands. They stared at Russell like he must be joking. "I'm not done playing yet," Russell said, pulling the second idol out of his pocket.

Omg, it was a Survivor moment to remember! I was literally cheering at the screen. Even though Russell was one of my least favorite at the beginning, he has gradually grown on me as the underdog with a truly devious and brilliant mind. When Jeff said that none of the votes against Russell would count, I was just praying that the old Galu voted Russell and not Natalie. When the first vote came up, I cheered again. Russell's name was pulled out of the hat five or six times. None of those votes counted. Galu was just waiting to hear whose name Foa Foa put down. Then it came. Kelly. You could see the relief on Monica's face. Thank God it's not me, she was thinking.

Galu wrongly thinks that they still have the numbers. Six to Four, right? They have no clue that Shambo has already joined the old Foa Foa, making it Five to Five. If they had kept Eric in the game, Foa Foa wouldn't have stood a chance, but they were dumb and let the underdogs catch up with the numbers. Shambo played it like a pro, acting shocked and agreeing with Laura that now Russell has stirred up some shit that he'll have to pay for. She's brilliant to play along with it, and when she turns on them, it will be another blindside. Next week, Jeff says the idol will go back into play, so it will be a race to see which side can find it first and just how it will come into play again.

For me, this was a top 3 Survivor episode of all time, right behind the Fans Vs. Favorite episode where Ozzie was blindsided and the one where that poor kid actually gave up his individual immunity idol and got voted off. Good job Russell, Foa Foa members, and Shambo. You five just made this a season to be remembered. As for me, I'm rooting for Russell to go all the way.

Deploying to Iraq

My cousin is leaving today to go to Iraq. I am not sure how long he'll be there, but I think most of these types of deployments are a year, right? That sucks. Sometimes I still can't believe we have so many soldiers in the Middle East 6 years after we started this 'war'. More than six years even...

My cousin Kevin is leaving behind a young son and his wife, and I know they are so sad to lose him when he's overseas. I am really proud of him for enlisting in the Army and serving our country, but at the same time, I get so scared when he goes over there. Last time, when he was in Afghanistan, his unit was attacked and several of his buddies were injured. Kevin was a real hero, recovering from the initial blast quickly and getting his wits about him so that he could defend their position. I am certainly proud of him for that, but I also pray that he does not see that kind of action again this time around.

My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin today. I know you won't read this before you go, but I love you, and I'll miss you.

NaNo WriMo Write-ins Rock

Tonight, I went to my second official NaNo write-in at the local Borders Bookstore. It was awesome. I met some great local writers and got over 2000 words written. I definitely recommend going. Even though I consider myself to be pretty outgoing, it makes me nervous to go to a coffee shop alone, not sure if I'll meet up with people and get along with them. But, I am so happy that I got over those silly fears and just went out. It was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun. Oh, and another bonus to going to meet with local authors is that they can help with ideas and recommendations on cool websites or books out there. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the group that was at the Cary Borders tonight. Unfortunately, "Shadow Birth" aka Kelly, had already left before I remembered that I had my camera. I am the one taking the picture, so I'm not in there either, but it was a fun group. If you haven't been to a write-in yet, but you are doing NaNo WriMo, GO!

In this photo: (L to R by NaNo username) magiuspendragon, Rai Yan (our fearless ML), thegreekparvula, and lynoir. Great group of people! I had fun hanging out with you guys. (**Sidenote: Notice the purple pen on the table in the left corner of the photo? Oh yeah, one of my 12,500 word NaNo rewards! Love it!)

In this photo: Rai Yan, the Raleigh area ML, holds up his beautiful sign, letting NaNo participants everywhere know we mean business. (**Sidenote: No, Rai Yan does NOT work for the FBI. I asked.)

Wedding Shoes!

Next on my wedding to-do list was a pair of comfortable, yet cute shoes that I could wear while walking around Vegas after the wedding. I don't want to wear high heels because I don't want to look too much taller than G in the pictures, so I was really looking for a pair of tennis shoes. But not clunky ones. Something pretty. Impossible, right?

Well, I remembered that my friend B bought some very cute tennis shoes that were sort of shaped like ballet slippers and might have been Sketchers. I started poking around on the internet and found some just like hers. For $60. Ouch! I guess so far as shoes goes, sixty bucks really isnt' that bad, but we're trying to save money here.

This weekend, G and I went to visit his mother for a little while and G put together a desk she ordered. While he was working, I suggested we pop over to the outlet mall really quick to see if they had any acceptable shoes. You won't believe it, but I found the exact type of Sketchers I was looking for! On the Clearance rack! And the only pair they even had was my size. It was fate. So, here are my very cute, very comfortable, $25 wedding shoes. I am so excited!

NaNo Update: First Goal Reached!!!

12,631 words so far!

Yay for NaNo! It's amazing how much you can do when you give yourself permission to suck! This month, I am not allowed to do my neurotic, change my plot a thousand times thing or rewrite the first chapter six times and then throw it all out and start over. No, this month, I have to keep on trucking, whether I like what I'm writing or not. I have to keep writing until the word count says 65,000. Yes, I know that NaNo is all about the 50,000 words in a month, but call me crazy, I'm aiming for 65K instead. I have also given myself permission to break the rules and write a little longer than one month to finish that over-50K word count, but there's no way I'm going to miss the 50K by November 30th. I must succeed!

Anyone who reads my blog or knows me personally knows by now that I need outside motivators. If left purely to my own inner desires, I will come up with excuse after excuse as to why I didn't accomplish something. That is why for NaNo again this year, I have decided to give myself little mini-rewards for each word count milestone.

And today... I won my first reward! That's right, 12,500 words in and I get the fabulous EnerGel Purple pens! Okay, so none of these rewards are fancy or expensive, but they make me happy and that's what matters. All told, I've spent about $30 on rewards, and it's money well-spent. Of course, if I don't reach a word count goal, I have to take any un-earned rewards back to the store. I seriously don't want to do that, so I'm working hard to meet my goals. Here is a little peak at my future rewards: (I already blogged about this earlier in the week, but it didn't include pictures, so here goes)

Goal #1: 12,500 by Saturday, 11/7 Reward: EnerGel Purple Pens. Okay, so this might not excite anyone else, but dammit, I love pens! Especially purple ones.

Goal #2: 25,000 Words by Saturday, 11/14 Reward: Hello Kitty Items!
Yes, Hello Kitty is my hero. I got these things at Target in the dollar bin and I am not ashamed to say that even at 32, I still love Hello Kitty and she still makes me happy.

Goal #3: 37,500 Words by Saturday 11/21 Reward: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks
Since I'm writing a book about the zombie apocalypse, what better reward than a book about how to survive it? I have already read his book, World War Z and I loved it. Can't wait to read this one too!

Goal #4: 50,000 Words by Saturday 11/28 Reward: T-shirt
I couldn't resist this shirt, because it's so true! If the zombie apocalypse comes, only those who have pwned some monsters in video games will survive. Everyone else will be too shocked to know what to do! (In my idea of a perfect future, I will wear this shirt to a book signing where hundreds of fans have lined up to meet the author of Pandemic, haha! Dreams are good for you!)

Since I'm aiming for 65,000 words total, I have also added an extra little goal of reaching the 65K by December 5th. If I do that, I get to go get a Manicure/Pedicure. A fitting reward since a week later I'll be getting married!! Woohoo! (And by the way, the wedding is happening regardless of the word counts :).

I'm proud of myself for reaching my first goal a full 2 days early. I'm sure most of what I've written is terrible, but it's better than a blank page anyday. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go open my purple pens and play with them for a while!

Feeling Yucky

Basically, I just wrote a long post about how I've felt yucky all week. It's no secret. Cramps, fever, yucky. But seriously, who wants to read about that? So I deleted the post and instead, I'm leaving you with this. It always makes me feel better to hear this song. It's not the words, really. It's the beat. Awesome song.

Wedding Invitations are finished!

Last night while I watched the Biggest Loser, I finally sat down and finished putting together our wedding invitations. That basically involved attaching the vellum overlay to the floral-printed cardstock with a ribbon, then adding a little touch of sparkle in the form of a red rhinestone, and finally putting it all (along with a little card that has info about the website) in an already addressed envelope, sealing it up, and adhering a flower seal on the back. It took me almost the full 2 hours to get all sixty invitations done, but I am happy with the final result.

Hopefully people won't get them and think it's totally weird that I sent out invitations to "watch" my wedding online. I just want people to be able to go online and watch our video. Yes, it's a little bit non-traditional, but I know the people who care about us most will want to be a part of our wedding day. I plan to send these out today!

Next on the wedding check list? I have got to find some comfortable non-heel shoes to wear on our wedding day!

NaNo: Day 3

NaNo WriMo is off to a strong start. The President, Chris Batty (? did I spell that right? /shrug) gave the advice to start strong early, to pump out as many words in the first few days as possible. Why? Well, because at the beginning you have a lot of energy and are pumped up for the new story. A week in, however, you start to realize that writing 50,000 words in a month isn't as easy as you thought it would be. You start to feel tired and uninspired. That's when having a huge start can really help.

On days where you're feeling low or you don't want to write, you can simply tell yourself that all you have to write is 500 measly words. That's nothing! Barely more than a page or two! Chances are, of course, that once you're writing and getting into the story, you'll write more like 1000 or more words, but anything is better than nothing. The important thing is not to let yourself have any 'zero' days where you don't write any words at all. Keep plucking away and in another 27 days, a novel will be born!

NaNo WriMo has Begun!

It's officially that month again where over 150,000 writers from all across the globe vow to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 short days. I was counting the minutes until midnight, chomping at the bit to get started on Pandemic, my YA zombie apocalypse novel. I've been working on ideas for this book for so long that I can't believe I'm actually writing it now!

It's 1:17, but with the change in time, it's really already 2 hours and 17 minutes into November. I couldn't believe it when I looked up and I was already 2709 words and 10 pages into my novel. I'm sure it sucks, and I'm sure I'm going to need tons of rewrites at the end, but for now, it's just really fun to keep writing and not worry about editing yet.

Like last year, I have decided to work on a reward system. Only this time, instead of just the four NaNo weeks, I am actually going to write for five weeks. Why? Because I want this novel to be more like 65,000 words instead of 50,000, but I'm not quite sure I can write that many in 30 days. So, I'll aim for 50,000 by November 30th and 65,000 by December 5th. So what are my five rewards this year?

  1. If I hit 12,500 words by Saturday, 11/7, I get a 3 pack of purple Energel pens. Anyone who knows me knows I am pretty much obsessed with new pens, so when I saw these awesome purple gel pens for only $4 at Staples, I had to grab them. Amazing how motivational a silly $4 item can be, but dammit, I want those pens! If I don't hit the goal, I have to take them back, and I'm just not going to let that happen!
  2. 25,000 words by Saturday 11/15 gets me a variety of Hello Kitty items that I bought at Target last night. I only spent $5 on this reward and it includes: A pack of four HK mini-highlighters, A pack of 3 HK double-sided markers, Two packs of different designs and colors of HK ribbon I can use for hair bows or crafts, and a pack of four HK pencils.
  3. 37,500 words by Saturday 11/21 means I get to go buy Max Brooks' "Zombie Survival Guide." I just finished his book, World War Z and it was incredible. I am going to look for a copy at the used book store since we're saving all the money we can for the wedding, but even at the regular book store, it probably won't cost more than $8 or so.
  4. 50,000 words by Saturday 11/28. I bought a shirt at Hot Topic that is black and on the front in red writing it says "Video Games: Preparing Youth for a Violent, Post-Apocalyptic Future". How cool is that? I figure it totally fits into my YA zombie apocalypse theme. Plus, I love video games, so it really works for me. I plan to wear it someday when I'm doing a book signing for Pandemic after it gets published :P
  5. 65,000 words by December 5th and I get to have a manicure and pedicure in preparation for the wedding. I will make a beauty day out of it, where I can relax and be happy that my first draft is finally finished! Also, at the point, it will only be 2 weeks until our wedding!
For all you NaNo's out there, hope you are kicking ass as the month gets off to a great start. Don't give up. We can do it!

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

Sarra's Works in Progress


Sarra's bookshelf: sarra-s-favorites

Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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