NaNo Camp July, Friday 14th (2017)

NaNoWriMo

I went to a private school as a girl. It wasn’t a large school, only a couple of students, but it was legalized and I have a copy of the Board of Education’s recognition of it as such.

But despite not being a large school, it had all the trimmings. We had a School Mascot (the Mustang), we had school colors (black, maroon, navy), a school flower (the magnolia). We had regular classes, or what I assume is regular because it was normal for us. We had our subjects and the tests for those, book reports and writing classes, schedules for tutoring, though we didn’t call it tutoring, of course..

We had very few sick days because there were so few of us, so it wasn’t like the flu came in waves or anything. We never had to deal with a lice scare, and we had both inside lessons and outdoor lessons. I learned how to balance a checkbook, how to build an animal pen, how to make a quilt; complex mathematics, base sciences, human history. When we were done with class for the day, we were cut loose and left to our own devices. We had our field trips– one time, we went to an auction in another state. I saw a zebra in real life.

During the summer, the local public school had a type of summer schooling, which any child that lived in the area could attend. I only went one year due to the difficulties caused by it, but it provided me with more than enough social interaction for several lifetimes. Those of my school were outliers  to those of public school; they did not take kindly of us, and we fit in none of their pre-established dynamics.

Our school didn’t have dances. I went to one at the public school, invited by a young ma’am who attended, and I had one dance with a young man who also had no date. I bristled at a lot of people. It was strange. Not really a dance, not really a party, just… a bunch of awkward not-yet-teenagers. Three teachers tried to get me to change schools, further making it more awkward.

When I graduated, I spent the next year or so trying to figure out how to test for the GED. Some businesses counted my diploma as sufficient schooling, but a lot of them called private schools as fake, accepting only diplomas from the local public schools. No college in the area would accept it at all, since my school hadn’t been required to do standardized testing and we didn’t have GPAs. The Adult Education Center gave me the run-around on GED testing, asking “why was my primary schooling not sufficient?”

We never got Letterman jackets (a fact which I hope to rectify, eventually) and we never got high-school rings.

I remember all of these things when I write a character. The character’s history matters. From where they were born to where they went to school to the school colors and school pride they carry. Sometimes it’s just a token, a throw-back to way back when, but the little details are important too. Even if we never use them in story, it’s nice to know a little extra color about your cast.

–Natasha

NaNoGoal: 13,706/30,000

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News – 3/15/17

I haven’t done a news update in a while, have I? A little over a month now, right, and the last thing you guys heard was a desperate bid for help.

I’ve told almost everyone, everywhere, the end result of that. We pulled it off, and I am beyond over the moon about it. Not in the least because of all the stress that is gone, but because I can finally return my attention to other avenues of life beyond that stress. My studies, my writing, my crafts.

That being said, I don’t have a lot to update news-wise right now. I have my job, which I… may not speak of, for it is like He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in many respects, and I do have a fondness for not going to bed hungry. My writing gigs do not buy food or pay bills, though with the lack of stress I can turn my attention to them too. I might try a little tonight.

Old Man Winter is trying super hard to get his last few licks in before Mother Nature kicks him out for nine months, as evidenced by the magnificent blizzard in the North-East right now and the great deal of cold in my area. We’re only getting the very edge of the storm that’s sitting on the rest of you, and I’m honestly not sorry for that. The cold makes my joints ache and I need those for above-mentioned work.

Two of my kittens were adopted. Puff, born last October, and his older sister Cinder went to my cousin’s farm, where by all accounts they are fitting in very well with the clowder of kittens she already possessed. Puff’s siblings finally have names: Fuji, Vesuvius, and Kilauea. I ran out of dragon-themed base words and went for mountains (re: volcanos) instead. Kilauea likes the house dogs and plays well with animals Much Bigger Than He. Meanwhile Fuji and Versuvius are generally quiet but spend a lot of time trying to play Hunter on each other. They also have great fun murdering, and losing, toy bells.

I feel like that’s going to be vaguely upsetting when I finish getting my room rearranged and they keep me up all night, but I’ll get used to it.

I did manage to find something amazing though. I found out my top favorite author on the planet has a WordPress, and I can stalk them dutifully and gobble up everything they have to offer. Also, ALSO– they do original fiction? Yes! I want a book. I want a signed book. I will die happy. (I could write an entire article about why this author makes me happy and how much they’ve taught me just by posting their fanfiction online, but that’s obviously a different article.)

I’m going to try super hard to return to a regular posting schedule, folks. Cross my fingers I can pull it off. If nothing else, I might be able to return properly to posting little one thousand word piece-work for you to enjoy. I had a lot of fun with that.

I have missed writing.

–Natasha

News Update 2/4/17

GoFundMe – YouCaring

I’ve updated the fundraiser description(s) to help clarify some things, but since I’ve been quiet on the update front for a while, I’ve decided to come and tell people what’s up.

I got a job. I managed to get back in to my place of employment after some time off, and I’m making money again, but it’s not going to be enough to pay it off in time if they decide we have to pay it off by March. I just don’t make that much money, and even with the rest of us pulling it in, it’s not enough. I wish it were.

So I still need your help. Please, if you can donate, please do so. Even five dollars is a huge help, and could keep us from losing our home.

–Natasha

Just In Time: Christmas News

Christmas is less than a week away. Next week is the last week of the year– 2016 will be over. If I make it that far, all the way to December 31st, I will have made it to my goal: I will have done one thousand words every day for one year.

I don’t think I’ll put the same new year’s resolution for 2017, which doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do a resolution. But one thousand words was difficult, especially with the way this year went. I do have a new resolution in mind for 2017; I’m going to comb over my book and get it stamped with approval. My grandmother is interested in reading it– and I’m ready to move on to the next book. Which means I have to finish this climax first.

I’m going to try to do it before Christmas day (haha, good luck, self) since I know I’m going to end up incredibly distracted for the remaining week. New Year’s Cleaning, anybody?

Our New Years tradition is soda and coffee, and usually we buy some to just shove in the oven because that takes less time. This year, I think the current plan is to make it ourselves. I don’t know of any holidays that occur in January, aside from the Yearly Power Clean The House and lots of What Is That White Stuff On The Ground.

In February, we run from my mother’s birthday right into Lupercalia, and by chance halfway through Lupercalia occurs that Valentine’s Holiday people are so up in arms over. As a rule of thumb, I don’t participate in that one. A month from then is White Day, Valentine’s Day’s roommate’s celebration. I cannot remember what else is supposed to happen in March. Something important…

It doesn’t matter right now, and it wont until after New Years. But another important thing to cover in February is the Chinese New Year.

No one I know celebrates it. New years and different variations thereof are things that interest me, and I collect information about them much like I collect decks of cards and stray things. So much of other cultural holidays can give you insight into their worlds, and ever little bit can count, if you know how to pay attention.

I celebrate the Lunar New Year. Probably not the way the Chinese do, or other cultures if they also celebrate the Lunar New Years. I don’t do it by anything major, exactly. I try be outside to see the full moon of February, and barring that I try to watch it from my window, because let’s face it: the coldest month of the year is February, and it’s not like I’m watching shooting stars here. I really just like… to look at the moon.

So another New Years resolution is to see every new and full moon for 2017. I’ll start in January, I think, partly to help me track it and partly because it’s technically 2017, and I’ll go until I see the cycle over in February 2018. The calculated odds of me managing to pull this resolution off is slim to none, but I’ll try it. Can’t hurt to try?

Pick yourself a few resolutions. See if you can make it. Make a couple resolutions– a couple big, a couple small, so you don’t feel too bad if you have to give one or two of them up. But try. You’ll be pleasantly content when you pull one off.

–Natasha

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News Update: October 5th

Today, I am twenty five, and tonight I will be twenty six.

Also I think I have a cold. Moving on.

As some of you may have noticed, my posting has slackened a bit. In my defense, winter is coming, and with winter comes a great number of winter holidays, winter jobs, winter sicknesses and the great desire to never see snow again. Also stress. So much stress.

Of course, I do hope to keep my once a week posting going, but I cannot promise it, just like I cannot truly promise that the sun will rise tomorrow. Catastrophe could happen, you know? What I can say is that I am fairly sure the sun will rise tomorrow, and that I think I can do once a week posting. I’m not nearly as prolific at it as some other writers I know, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, it’s the first week of October, which means NaNoWriMo– er, November– is right around the corner.

Now, I don’t know how many of my followers are doing it (I am still in awe that I have followers) or how many are doing other artsy-related things for November like Sketchvember, or how many people are doing things this month, like Plotober or Inktober or the like. I do know that whatever you plan to do, even if it’s just take the month off and relax, I wish you the best in it.

However, I am planning to do NaNoWriMo. I am slowly ticking through the last part of my book, and hope to have it finished when NaNo concludes. Cross my fingers, right? Right.

During NaNo proper, as I did for Camp NaNo, I will post once a week on Fridays with my weekly update slash cheer slash attempt to keep myself and others motivated. But as others who know me are likely aware, I will mostly become a hermit. Yeah, that happens. So if you don’t hear from me much during the winter, it’s because of that.

–Natasha

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And Another Writer Tag

Pulling this tag posted by Amanda, because it’s important to ask yourself questions as a writer and give honest answers. You never know how much about yourself you can learn just by trying to figure out how answer someone’s question! So here’s ten of them.

Q: What do you eat or drink while writing?
A: Whatever I can get my hands on, honestly, provided I manage to remember that it’s there. I have this nasty habit of falling into tunnel vision, writing or not writing, and forgetting that the rest of the world is a thing that actually exists, so I won’t do those silly little optional* things like eating, or drinking, or sleeping.

Q: What do you listen to while writing?
A: Break-up or love songs, or something with heavy drums to get my heart beating. I can write almost anything to a love song (I cannot drive to a love song) and heavy drum beats in rapid succession get the heart moving, providing cells with oxygen and therefor the body with energy.

Q: What is your biggest distraction while you’re writing?
A: Other people. Cats. Food, when I remember it exists. Reading.

Q: What is the worst thing that has happened to you while writing?
A: In November 2015, I lost about… two thousand words when my laptop randomly decided it needed to not function. I hadn’t saved them up yet, since I was in the middle of writing them when it happened, and it was an absolute tragedy. I spent the following day getting my computer to function again. The aut0-save feature managed to salvage about two hundred of them, but it still had me out of sorts and paranoid for the following week.

Q: What is the best thing that has ever happened to you while writing?
A: In my first official NaNo back in 2011, I walloped out my a very own (and very bad) novel that may never see the light of day ever. It wasn’t all bad, but I didn’t have enough content to make a solid book out of it, or enough of a plot. But I loved it, and I loved the characters. I’ve since decided to rip it apart and deconstruct it, rebirth the people and the plot-line in another vein, but I had so much fun while working on it, it’s not even funny.

And that’s the best part. I realized how much fun I have while writing. More-over, and perhaps more important, I realized I’m writing for me.

Q: Who do you communicate with while you’re writing?
A: I am very bad at multitasking writing and communication, especially verbally. I’ll be mid-sentence in my work and finish it up while talking with someone, and I’ll look down and find I’ve written every word I have spoken since I started. Oops?

But beyond that, I have a very select group of friends who can prod me while I’m writing that get a valid response, provided it comes in written format so I can stare at it and try to puzzle out what we’re talking about. I do not shift gears easily, alas.

Q: What is your secret to success and your biggest writing flaw?
A: My secret to success is probably that I’m doing what I love, and I’m loving what I do. I like to write, and I write what catches my interest. My biggest flaw is that I’m all over the place. I have at least a dozen books in progress, which does not even go to mention how many fanfictions I’ve got running at any given moment.

Q: What is your inspiration? What makes you productive?
A: Other writers. It took me a long time to figure out other writers were people, but when I did, boy did that ever help. I realized if they could do it, as long as I applied myself– as anyone applies themselves– then I could make something out of all the stories in my head.

Q: What is one thing that you do or that other writers do that is super annoying?
A: I am very, very flighty, and easily distracted. I don’t know why. It frustrates me. As to other people, I’m not sure. Writers are, by their nature, some of the least social and most secretive people on the planet, zealously guarding their work. Some of it’s so secret I imagine that you’d have an easier time getting your hands on the NASA launch protocols than you would figuring out bad writing quirks.

Q: Are you willing to share something you’ve written?
A: I write a ton of things, and I’ve been more or less consistent posting them all on my Ao3— but if you want something I haven’t yet let the rest of the world see, I can absolutely share a small snippit of a WIP.

<Snippit from my Modern Assassin’s Creed AU>

“That’s a nasty bruise.. You’re Mentor William’s son, aren’t you?”

“His name’s Desmond,” Sasson offered from the other side of the room, but Fadila was sitting up, like she meant to get up despite Sasson’s protests.

Bruise? Does he need ice?

Altair hummed. “No.. well, it can’t hurt. This looks really fresh. It’s not even done darkening yet.

It wasn’t there when he got here,” Altair put in at last, prompting the novices to look over at him. He was twelve, and he wouldn’t shrink from their attentions.

Are you sure, Altair?” He nodded, which only made the other look even more troubled. “Sasson–?

I’ll go get the ice.” Sasson was already heading back for the door when Altair looked over at him, trying to figure out what the teenagers were doing. It was just a bruise, they bruised all the time. But somehow Altair was sure it was not just a bruise after all, or he felt it wasn’t. If it was just a training bruise, he wouldn’t have opened his mouth. The novices wouldn’t have sounded concerned about it if it were just a training mark. “Fadila–?

I’ll stay here, go on. Altair can look after me while you’re gone.” Sasson frowned at her, but he opened the door and vanished beyond it anyway.

 


And there we are. Ten more answers about me. Some of which you knew already from previous questions, and some of which are possibly new. At least one of which contains a ficlet! What joy is this?

–Natasha

*Eating, drinking and sleeping are not actually optional.

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The Playlist Book Tag!

So I nabbed this tag from The Immortal Readers, because I can and you shouldn’t put things on the internet if you don’t want other people to see them. Also because it looked interesting and I just had to give it a whirl!

Unfortunately– and here’s the thing– I don’t read as much as I’d like, and so I can’t make a super long post on this tag. So I’ll do five!

Wait, what do you mean, what’s the tag? Oh. Well! I’m going to put my playlist on shuffle and choose a book that the song reminds me of. Because I can. And because that’s the tag. So! First one’s first, yeah?

Walk on Water – Dio
James Rollins’ Deep Fathom: It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this book– I unfortunately don’t have a hard-copy of it yet, but nobody said audio books don’t count.

Deep Fathom is about a former Navy SEAL who has to save the world– from itself… and the sun.. and the US Military, of course. One of the key focuses of this book is human nature and, well, antique architecture and how the two can coexist or not. The main hero, Jack Kirkland, spends a lot of his time in this book getting one-upped by the opposition, while trying desperately to figure out what’s going on and save his crew; they’re close enough to be his family, after all.

Saving the rest of the world is important, I guess, especially since you have to save them from their own hubris.

Dreams of Candlelight – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Ann Salerno’s Rain of Flowers: One scene that still sticks out of this book in my head is really sweet. The main character doesn’t necessarily find herself an absolute heartthrob– she finds a man who captures her heart, and who understands her. And to prove he understands her, what does he do?

If you said flowers and wine, you’re wrong. He gets them a getaway in rural Japan, reliving– for just a little while– the antiquated, historic world that they both love and both of them were born in the wrong era for.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Amy Winehouse
James Rollins’ Altar of Eden
: Yeah, some more James Rollins. I’m not sorry. I love this author, he’s good!

Altar of Eden is the Veterinary story everybody needs to read. Partly because it’s about evolutionary science and partly because it’s amazing, plus it contains a saber-toothed jaguar cub, and everyone needs one of those! This book has some radical ups and downs for the cast as they spend a bunch of the book trying to unravel mysteries, part of the book running from smugglers, and another part of it trying to unbreak a small part of the world. It’s one of those books where I think… almost all the good guys come out of alive?

Brothers – Dean Brody
Robert A Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars: This is a tricky one, because this song reminds me more of fanfiction than it does books proper, or more songs. But I’m not doing fanfic recs in this tag, or saying here, have some more music. So. Books.

Why Podkayne? I listened to this song and let my thoughts take me where I will, and I got a lot of Poddy and her brother out of it, I’m going to be honest. You don’t see a lot of their interactions in the book, but you can tell they love each other, in their own ways. They love each other so that when something happens to one, the other feels it on a visceral level– as you see in the later chapters of the books. Just as the brothers in Dean Brody’s song.

Kiss Me – Avril Lavigne
Alydia Rackham’s The Paradox Initiative
: On the list of songs I own but don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to… but the book, however, I have read, and it’s absolutely amazing.

But what’s it about? The Paradox Initiative follows Kestrel Evans as she attempts to help Jack Wolfe find the renowned scientist William Jakiv, and maybe accidentally fall in love along the way.

So there you have it. Five songs, five books, all of which you should go read. I think I might redo this eventually again, maybe in about a year. It was pretty fun! You should give it a go yourself, if you’re feeling up for it.

–Natasha

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