NaNo Camp July, Friday 7th (2017)

NaNoWriMo

One of the most important things to do in Camp NaNoWriMo is set a reasonable goal for yourself.

I, uh, may not have done that this July.

In my defense, I told someone I’d do Camp July back in the beginning of June, and I decided way back then that I’d do a 30k count, completely ignoring how tight the month in question was going to be, between three jobs and trying to balance the rest of real life. One of those jobs, the full-time non-negotiable one which shall not be named, is having a bit of a do and thus requires me to work extra time than I normally would this month.

I do kind of need the money… but it means less time writing, and more time tired. It’s also the middle of summer, and I do want to enjoy the summer. Plus I have the summer harvest (raspberries and blackberries are both a thing right now) and a whole mess of kittens. Some of them need more TLC than I’ve been able to give them while being away at work, so my free days are often spent doing that.

That’s a bit working against me. Both my other paid jobs are more flexible, since I’m a subcontractor and I take the work I want to, but I really can’t neglect them even though they only truly make me pocket change. I could put them down for a bit if I wanted to, but then I have a bad habit of not picking them up again for a while.

I swear I did consider dropping my count to a measly 15k throughout the month of June. I just couldn’t get myself talked into it, though. Go figure. So here I am, in July, crawling my way to 30k. I don’t know if I’ll try to stretch beyond it. That’s a thing to cross when I get to that bridge.

Set yourself a reasonable goal. Be stubborn about it. When you break through it, set yourself another.

I believe in you.

–Natasha

NaNo Goals: 7,109/30,000

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News Update: 5/18/17

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything that wasn’t a review, I think. I’m sorry about that. Real life is… uh. Real life. Blurgh.

I swear I’m going to start writing again soon. I’m managing small little pieces, which isn’t much but still proves to be better than nothing. Mostly I’ve just been working (three jobs, and one of them outweighs the other in terms of physical stress) and relaxing, reading things and playing videogames. Watching movies. *motion* It does wonders for bringing in strange tidbits and thoughts. I have so many ideas for things to write, some of which actually belong to things I’ve already got started, but finding time is…

Well. I’m trying, is the thing.

On the outside of real life, I’m getting a tooth yanked next Tuesday, and I am prepared to suffer for the next month for it. Which means watching what I eat, being careful what I do, and trying to keep my core temperature down for the foreseeable future. It also means I’ll be sleeping a lot and trying not to accidentally OD on the painkillers. (Reference: Once was enough, it gave me amazing concepts for hallucinations and strange dreams, but also, once was enough.)

But all that means I’m going to have a little bit more sit down time to relax, at least in the early days, even if I’ll spend most of that sleeping. At least the trip up means that I’ll be able to scratch out a little bit of writing. Worldbuilding, at least. I’m trying to break down several fics and get them moving, and I’ve made progress but progress is slow. *eyes them*

At least it’s progress. And it’s more than I did in the first four months, so I’m okay with a little momentum to start. Momentum, after all, builds up.

Up and up and up.

Sidenote, did you know there is an I Love You Wall in Paris? I didn’t. It was a lovely thing to trip over doing research for something entirely different.

–Natasha

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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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Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 8/28-9/3 (2016)

Writing Prompts1

Oh hey, look, it’s not anywhere near midnight yet! How about that?

Amanda‘s tag this week was pretty impressive, smashing up your first fandom and your newest fandom in a tidy little crossover that I have gleefully double-posted over here.

Now, before I post the fic, a tiny bit of context.

My very first fandom was when I was a little bitty thing, and it was Escaflowne. We had this old antique television, one of those great big things that was basically an entertainment station all on it’s own, only without the fun bells and whistles of drawers and cabinets. This looks pretty close, but you know, it was a long time ago and eventually it died and my father took it out and burnt the wood and wiring off, then hauled the rest off for scrap weight.

My newest fandom is actually Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Yeah, the remake. I’ll watch the originals eventually but for now, this is shiny and perfect and I can’t stop touching it.

Fun fact: I haven’t written for either of these before. Meep.


Le Dragon

“Hard to believe no one ever knew this was here,” Shiro admitted, staring out at the green fields surrounding the Castle of Lions. It was early spring, he guessed, farmland as far as the eye could see around the horse-shoe crags that protected the ruins of a city. He couldn’t see much of the city, though he knew it to be there, beyond stone walls as tall as the grain grew, the new vantage hiding the black and violet scar that was a Galra ship in wreckage.

It had been an impressive display from the air. The crash zone stretched for miles, not just the main warship, but hundreds of fighters scattering like demented freckles, pocking craters in fields. It was old debris, at least a year, Shiro was guessing, but he actually didn’t know anything about the geological recovery rates from refined quintessence exposure on any world, never mind this one. Gaea, the princess said the locals called it. Though they hadn’t seen any of the locals yet, not working the fields– in their defense, he guessed, whatever they were growing was twelve feet tall– and not in the clearing before the city, on what looked like it had once been a thirty-foot road. The road itself wasn’t nearly large enough for the Castle, but the fields didn’t come right up to the road, expanding outward into a large clearing, more than enough to disembark.

More than enough room for a lot of things. They could land at least two of the lions here, easy.

Which didn’t mean they still didn’t technically park in the fields.

Allura led the way down the ramp, wrapped in a combat outfit with her hair pinned high, looking regal and yet still ready to kick ass. Shiro matched pace with her, which was his place as the Black Paladin, and the rest followed them. They were all tense about this, and that they could see the Earth and the moon hanging in the sky didn’t do a lot to reassure them.

The Galra ship had done a lot to reassure them they were dealing with potential allies. Or at least they were people who didn’t like the Galra. But with home so close they could reach out and touch it, he could feel the tension in his own veins. And if he was wired, with nothing back home to go back to, he could only imagine how Pidge and Hunk and Lance felt.

Tense soldiers meant tense first meetings. But it was too late to cast a glance back at them, see how they were holding up. They were already on the ground.

“That’s strange,” Allura murmured softly, considering the large and gaping void of people there to greet them. Shiro resisted the urge to check the sky for the Earth. “The message said someone would be here.”

“They could be waiting to see if we’re who we say we are,” he pointed out, in case Allura had somehow missed the pieces Galra strewn over the landscape on the way down. “Their last visitors probably weren’t very friendly.”

“They weren’t,” a woman’s voice put in. Feminine, young. About their age, more or less. She emerged from the crop, wearing a plain white tunic and a knee-length brown skirt. She was really just.. a normal looking girl, in Shiro’s opinion. She was tall and long-limbed, a runner’s build, and there was a small knife belted at her hip. Not much in the way of protection, but she didn’t look scared of them, only considering, green eyes taking in each of them at once. He saw her take in Allura, and then the rest of the Paladins one at a time, before her attention landed on him. Her eyes widened. “Takashi Shirogane?”

He startled, felt it ripple through him to the rest of the Paladins. “How do you know that name?” Keith demanded from behind him, taking a step forward, prepared to start a fight as easy as breathing. Shiro flattened his hand at his side, a subtle signal, wait.

The woman before him didn’t appear to know what to do. “I saw it, on television when I was back on the Mystic Moon– Earth. That’s where I’m from.” Her brows pulled, eyes narrowing. “That’s where you’re from too, aren’t you?”

“All except the Princess,” Shiro allowed, curiosity pricking at his mind. Someone from Earth, up here on a planet no one had ever seen or heard of? How?

Taking her cue, Princess Allura curtsied, despite wearing a bodysuit and not a dress. “I am Princess Allura of Planet Altea, and these are the Paladins of Voltron. You’re from Earth? What are you doing on Gaea?”

The strange woman did manage a small curtsy, although it looked nothing at all like any he’d ever seen on Earth, or the ones Allura did. Shiro was impressed even still. Curtsies were rare on Earth, and she didn’t look very comfortable doing it. “Hitomi Kanzaki of the Mystic Moon. You could say I’m on an exchange program.” She stepped further out from the grass, bringing two fingers up to her lips and letting out a sharp whistle that rolled through the air. “Van said he was going to ask someone about the people who survived the crash..?”

“There were survivors?” Allura asked her, immediately cluing in on who they were.

Hitomi nodded. “As many as we could pull from the wreckage. They’re beast-men like nothing anyone on Gaea’s ever seen before, and many of them are in critical condition. Fanelia doesn’t have enough supplies or healers to treat them all.”

“You’re treating Galra?” Pidge asked, dubious and doubtful, while all the red flags in Shiro’s brain started to wave around frantically.

“The evil alien bad guys?” Lance added, for effect, though that only resulted in Hitomi’s expression sharpening a bit. It wasn’t obvious; Shiro didn’t think the others even saw it. But he could see the way Hitomi’s countenance shifted at the words, at the disdain not well hidden in their tone.

“I’ve seen evil,” Hitomi disagreed, shaking her head. He wondered where she’d seen it. “These are just soldiers, and some of them are even younger than I am. You can’t tell me kids are evil and really believe it.”

“No. You can’t.” Whatever rebuttal Lance had been preparing to throw at her died with Shiro’s words, shutting down the argument before it began. Allura shot him a relieved smile, and the realization that he’d stopped a diplomatic incident joined it. She stepped forward, all liquid grace, and moved to speak with Hitomi.

“Is this Fanelia then? The planet?”

“The country,” Hitomi replied, allowing Allura to turn her attention away from the group.

Shiro turned to the team, dropping his voice so it was only directed at the group of them. “Look, we have to handle this very carefully. Princess Allura said we might find allies here to help us in the war against Zarkon, but we don’t know anything about them yet. Until we do, we have to play our cards close to our vest.”

“You can’t really believe they’re not evil,” Lance grumbled, more upset at having been called to heel than anything else. “Just look at what they’ve done already.”

It was true. The team had seen a lot of atrocities in the last year committed by the Galra, and they still hadn’t managed to find Pidge’s family yet, despite liberating dozens of mining worlds. Shiro had the added misfortune of having been their direct prisoner for a year before that, so he knew what sort of atrocities they could do to the people under their thumb first-hand.

But Takashi Shirogane was a soldier too. Kerberos was a mission he’d agreed with, and the first one that was really riding on him. But he’d studied a lot of world history at the Garrison, and he’d ended up with a lot of jobs on base that he hadn’t agreed with, and he’d said a lot of things that he didn’t mean, earning his place in the brass. Historical military structure was filled with people who believed, whole-hearted patriots, and people who were just there saying the same patriotic drivel because they had to.

…and it wasn’t like he hadn’t fought Galra in the arena, either, he remembered darkly. He wanted so hard to believe there were Galra out there that didn’t believe in what they were doing. It was hard though; Zarkon had been ruling for ten thousand years. That was a lot of time to drive propaganda and conditioning into people’s heads, building from parents to child to grand-child, making the foundation ever-larger until there wasn’t anything left for anything else.

“I’m just saying, she clearly doesn’t think so. We’re invited guests here, Lance, and we might get to use this as a pit-stop to go home. Let’s not screw it up, okay?”

Lance straightened at once, as if he hadn’t thought of that. Shiro saw blue eyes dart to the side and hunt out the blue orb hanging in the day-lit sky, bright and bold as anything.

Home. He turned, making his way over to Allura and Hitomi. He heard the others flanking him, lured out by the promise of getting to look at Earth. He wondered about Hitomi. Where was her home was, this human on Gaea?

“So where is the king of Fanelia?” Allura wondered.

Hitomi smiled, lifting her hand. A dragon’s roar echoed loud in the walls of the valley, and from beyond the ridge-line, a white dragon appeared in the sky.

Pidge saw it first, the Green Paladin’s HUD registering components faster than the rest, so while the others were still reeling from “It’s a dragon!” and Shiro’s brain was trying to process the incomprehensibility, he heard Katie’s words loud and clear:

“There’s a guy riding that thing!”


And a quick peek at anybody else who’ve done this prompt, yeah? Because it’s always good to take a moment and give a nod of acknowledgement to anybody who can pull off a crossover.

Other Responses:
Amanda’s with a Labyrinth/Fallout
Kayla’s with Barney/Fallout

Wow guys. All our first fandoms were a long, long time ago. Man, I feel old.

–Natasha

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