Nanowrimo spotlight: Jean Davis – Author, Blogger, NaNo Participant

October 27, 2016

Programming note: I’m still looking for Spotlight interviewees for this year! Post a comment or email chriskelworth at gmail dot com if you’re interested.

Good afternoon! I’ve been too busy to post this spotlight for a little while, but–here’s Jean! Jean, tell us a little about your Nano experience:

2016 will be my 11th year participating in NaNoWriMo, and my 8th year serving as ML for my region. Shortly after finishing my first novel (which took double digit years). I heard about NaNoWriMo from a writer on a fan fic site on which I was participating at the time. Writing a novel (albeit a really rough draft) in 30 days seemed like an outrageous prospect given my prior experience. As it turns out, that was, in fact, possible! After proving to myself that I could churn out a really rough draft in a month, I decided to start taking this whole writing thing seriously – joining a critique group, learning a whole lot about writing, and later, getting published.

The only year I did not reach 50K, was the one year I was building a house and I knew going in, that year wasn’t going to be a winner. However, I always enjoy spending time with my local NaNo community, which is by far, the best part of the whole challenge, so I dove in anyway. I also spent several years doing the Young Writers Program side of NaNo with elementary students. Thankfully, my children grew up and though one stopped participating, the other one has joined the adult program, allowing me to spend much more time with my adult participants and my own writing.

What are you writing about this year?

This year I’m writing the second half to a YA Sci-fi novel I started once during NaNo as a short story that panned out into a bigger idea, and again last year as novel but then set aside to write another novel because the middle of the plot wasn’t quite clicking with me yet. I have notes this time (I’m not usually a planner), so that should help keep me on task. My daughter should too, she really wants to read the finished book. She wasn’t at all happy with me when my novel intentions got hijacked last year.

Where are your backup files, and why?

If you’ve ever lost a even a day’s worth of writing, you’ll back up all over the place. The loss of your creative efforts is a severe motivation sucker. Recently an unexpected windows update and a Word auto-save malfunction caused a week’s worth of editing to vanish into the ether. I was most displeased. No one wants that any time of year, but especially not during NaNo when you’re pushing yourself so hard. Protect your words! My writing is now auto-saved to Google Drive. I also do a back up to a flash drive and a network drive every couple days.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?

Commit to writing your novel. Which beyond making time to write every day means: Get yourself some support, either from family and friend. Get involved with your region for more support and motivation. Log in to the NaNo forums or your regional forums and glance at all those progress bars to see where yours comes in. Set up a reward for yourself when you reach 50K as extra motivation. This could be a winner shirt, guilt free time for a game, movie or show you’ve been wanting to watch/play, or dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Sneaky Ninja question! Who is your favorite author ever – you have to pick just one!

This answer would change widely depending on when in my life you asked the question, but at the moment, I’m going to say George RR Martin for the simple reason that even though it’s been so many years since the last book, I’m still anxiously waiting for his next one.

Sahmara book cover, written by Jean Davis

I recently published my second novel, Sahmara, which was my first NaNo novel in 2006. It is available in print and ebook and currently free with Kindle Unlimited.

Busy with their own war, the gods of Revochek lose control of the destinies of their people. The gods aren’t the only ones staring at defeat. The country is in ruins, its people killed or prisoners. If all of Revochek falls, the balance of the gods will be broken, paving the way for Ephius, the god of Atheria, to plunge the entire world into war.

One young woman escapes her Atherian captors only to find herself alone, unarmed, and starving. Torn from her life of privilege and the arms of her ma’hasi lover, Sahmara is unfit for life on the run. The well-being of her family is unknown, and if Zane hadn’t been killed, he is a slave. No one is coming to save her.

Desperate, Sahmara prays for help. She does not expect her prayer to be answered by an ancient woman with a thirst for blood or that her single desperate plea might be the one that rescues them all.

You can find more from Jean at her blog. Thanks for sharing this with us, Jean!

Nanowrimo spotlight: Listening to your book

October 21, 2016

Good morning! I’ve got a new spotlight for you, from Mariah. Here’s Mariah talking about her Nano experiences:

I believe I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2005 or so I believe. A couple years were on accounts that have been long since lost to the ages, a couple without even using the NaNo site. Most years I’ve won. I usually do pretty well with front loading, I write a lot up front and then start to slack as the month goes on. Sort of the opposite of what I see from most people.

I had a couple epic failures, one where I spent the entire time designing a solar system, all the math included. A couple successes too, Dangerous Metal was the book I wrote in 2014, which was a from scratch rewrite of a book I wrote in 2013. The rewrite on it was basically throwing out the plot, and a couple of the characters, and the genre. So I had the main character and her background and a few side characters. Everything else was rewritten for that one.

What are you writing about this year?
I’m doing another rewrite this year. The novel I wrote during Camp NaNo a couple years ago is an urban fantasy story. I really think it is strong, but I need to make some changes to match up with the second book I wrote last NaNoWriMo proper. I’m currently calling it the fantastically catchy title of “Jenna’s first book”. It is a story that needs a character cut out (sadly the love interest, but he just didn’t bring enough to the table), another character amped way up (he’s the one who always should have been the love interest, why was I holding them back!), a different kind of try fail cycle on a few things, and much more background. I’ve been toying with the idea of not just rewriting from scratch, but I do think that I’ll create a better end product if I just start over entirely. We’ll see how long that lasts though. Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo spotlight: This Boy’s Mind – Q & A with Rising Author Joshua David

October 18, 2016

Good afternoon! Today’s spotlight is on Joshua

What are you writing about this year?
This year I’m working on a novel that will mark a major milestone in my writing career. Not only will there be the challenge of achieving my 50,000 word goal this year, but I’m also challenging myself to finally finish a novel that I’ve been holding off on writing for over 10 years now. It’s titled “This Boy’s Mind” and it is essentially one of the first books that I had the idea for. However, it has always seemed like such a daunting project that I’ve never given it the attention that it requires. Last year I wrote “Nowhere” which at the time was just there, 100% in my head and ready to come out. This year I’m tackling my mountain, and if I succeed, I know it will be huge.

This Boy’s Mind is the story of a boy named Christopher who is propelled into an alternate dimension and meets the Great Birdman, Falgeron. Falgeron informs Chris that the Dark Lord, Veo has commissioned his evil minions against Christopher in an effort to destroy him before Chris can become the Hero described in prophecy. The chief evil pursuing Chris is a giant, undead, possessed wolf named Legion. Meanwhile in the real world, an evil presence has found a way to cross over and begins wreaking havoc on a small Colorado town. The small town Sheriff , Woodfellow T. McElroy and an FBI Agent, Trent Upton must figure out how to stop the creature before it brings about the end of the world.

Where are your backup files, and why?
For the past four years or so, I’ve stored all of my backups at Recently, however, I’ve been told by several artists and other authors that Dropbox may not be the best place to be. Something about how the files aren’t encrypted and can be vulnerable, so I’ve begun the task of switching all my files over to the site . I have to report, so far so good. I enjoy having additional data storage space also. Some of my covers can be sorta hefty on the data side.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Try to keep in mind that Nano is a personal goal. Try to view Nanowrimo for everything else it is and not just a wall of 50,000 words that you have to try to climb. If you don’t achieve the 50K it’s not the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad writer or that you can’t ever be a professional. Trust me, I’m no professional, but I’m one of the slowest writers you’ll meet. I’ve failed to achieve my Nano goal before, but looking back, I know that it was Nanowrimo that propelled me into writing tens of thousands of words for my novel that didn’t exist before. You will not regret the time you devote to your writing this November, use Nano as the tool that it is, try to focus on your project, but ultimately keep it lighthearted and don’t let the 50K keep you from continuing or even from trying.

Sneaky Ninja question! What’s your favorite midnight snack?
Doritos makes a flavor of chip called “Flamas”, and they are crazy good. I don’t know if they’re more of a local thing down here in Texas, or if they’re nation wide. That’s gotta be my go to snack. I like having some wine when I write, but that’s more of a weekend thing.

boysmind_smallMy name is Joshua Ashburn, but I write under the name Joshua David. I’ve been writing since I was about 15, but even before that I was imaginative and liked to read.
Right now, the challenge for my writing is that I don’t have much free time. I have a family ( a wife and four kids), two jobs, various extracurricular activities (cub scouts, soccer, cheer camp, etc…)
Sometimes when I get home I feel so drained that I can’t seem to get any words out. My sacred writing time is on my lunch break at work. I eat quickly and then get about 30-45 uninterrupted free minutes to write. I can generally produce about 500 words a day this way.
Nanowrimo for me isn’t so much about getting the 1667 words per day as it is staying afloat with about 600-800 words per day and then catching up on the weekends.
My project this year is a novel called “This Boy’s Mind”. It is my second major Nanowrimo project. I’ve also done Camp Nanowrimo twice. I keep my readers informed through my Blog:
The main thing I’m looking for right now is honest feedback from my readers. I would love to hear some comments on my blog or reviews on my Amazon page. That’s what I crave as an author…:)

Thanks so much for giving me the interview, Joshua! Wishing you all the best for November!

Nanowrimo spotlight: M.L. Millard on Nano Light

October 14, 2016

Good morning everybody! I have a familiar face coming back for our first spotlight interview of the season: M.L. Millard, who was also in the spotlight back in 2014. M.L. is participating in Nano for the fifth time this year, and this time she’s a rebel… Welcome back, M.L!

What are you writing about this year?
This year littlefootI’m finishing my Littlefoot series. Well, really part three of one book. I put the first part on Kindle, but when I’m finished with this last part I’ll put them all together on CreateSpace. I loved writing part one so much, but now I feel like I’m having to force it. I hope it’s funny anyway! Littlefoot finds herself in all kinds of mixed up fairy tale situations. In part one she was a Rapunzel with normal-length hair, a Cinderella who didn’t want to go to the ball, and more. Part three involves Jack and Jill, Camelot, and a Grimm’s fairy tale that you probably haven’t heard of but would give away my ending if you looked it up. I’m a rebel this year, only aiming for about 12,000. But I really want to finish Littlefoot!

Where are your backup files, and why?
Funny you should ask. Did you have the same Windows problem I had earlier in the year? I lost everything. Luckily I had emailed myself my fiction, but I lost, among other things, my Littlefoot Part Three notes and my list of which agents and publishers I’d already sent queries to for two of my non nano books. I really need to get one of those automatic backup plans.
Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for Wrimo Spotlight interviews for 2016

October 10, 2016

Okay, let’s do this, one more time! The Nanowrimo website has refreshed, and I want to do some more interviews with people who are doing Nano here in my blog.

The interviews will start going up as soon as I can get them coming in, and will run through November 30th. If you’re interested, either leave a comment (with an email address I can use to get back to you,) or email me at chriskelworth at gmail dot com!

What’s involved? I’d like to get a little background from all of my interviewees about their level of Nano experience. I’m going to ask a few standard questions in each interview, along with one sneaky ninja question to try to take you off guard.😉 I’d also like everybody to include up to 200 words to tell us about yourself, your Nano novel, or something you’re interested in, or shamelessly plug your website, your book, your twitter feed, or whatever. For extra visual appeal, you can include a small image (400*400 pixels, or I’ll shrink it down myself) to serve as a visual aid to your answers, help you promote something, or share a picture because you think it’s cool – but no photographs of yourself, please. Think outside the box! Pictures and 200 word blurbs are not required.

If you’d like to take a look at some of the interviews from last year, you can find them here.

You can take some time to answer your questions over email, but hopefully you can get back to me within a week of getting the interview. You don’t need have your own blog or link back to me; if you’re doing Nano and interested in filling out the interview, I’d love to spotlight you. Thanks all, and I’m looking forward to doing this one more time.

(And yes, this post is 98% recycled content…)

A few quick announcements!

February 3, 2016

First off–I sold a story! “Love is a Masterpiece” is going to be released in the next few weeks by the Gallery of Curiosities podcast. There are a few more details over at the author blog, and stay tuned there for further announcements.

Secondly, I’m doing the A to Z challenge again in April 2016, focusing on my drawings, so go and subscribe at my drawing blog, Drawing Teddy Bears, for all 26 drawings!

Hope 2016 is treating you well.

A quick note on Awesomeness

December 12, 2015

Hey there, my awesome friends and followers! Project for Awesome is going on right now; it’s this great big charity video contest thing, really pretty cool. The more total votes a charity gets, the more they get from what P4A has raised this year. That’s–awesome, right?

So, it probably won’t surprised you guys that I went and voted for every video on this page, huh? But feel free to go ahead and vote for whatever awesome charities you feel like…😉

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Emily Shore

November 30, 2015

Greetings, friends and followers! November is almost over, I just got back from this year’s Wafflepalooza celebration, but I’ve got at least one more spotlight interview! Tonight, I spotlight Emily, who you can also find at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Here’s Emily talking about finding Nano:

I was technically a ‘newbie’ this year though not a true newbie as I’ve average 3-5 books a year since I graduated in ’09 and have written a 90K book in a month before. However, I wasn’t aware there was an official Nano website. I joined so I could connect with other writers, and I also appreciated the ‘stats’ page where I can see my goal and chart my progress (major motivator for me). Love the forums, definitely a fun place to find other like-minded writers.

What are you writing about this year?
This year, I’ve been working on the third book in my YA anti-trafficking trilogy. My first book was picked up by ZSH Literary Agency and will be shipping out to publishers soon. I’m 91K into the third book but have a goal of 125K.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
Princess Bride – hands down. Appeals to everyone.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Read, don’t attend writer’s conferences (research online and take university or writing community courses instead), never underestimate a good editor, look up Twitter pitch fests and contests like crazy and enter, enter, enter!

Sneaky Ninja question! What social class, if any, are you a part of?
Lower middle class stay-at-home mom

200 word rant:

My overarching goal through my books is always to have strong female role models when it comes to their relationships, both familial and romantic. These are so often neglected in YA literature. My tailored goal for The Menagerie and its follow-ups is to shine a light on the brutal sex trafficking industry where over 400,000 girls are trafficked each year in the U.S. alone, girls average age 12-14. Few people know of the abuse and degradation that these girls have to endure under the hands of predators. Even fewer can understand the circumstances that contribute to entry into that world like abuse or neglect in the home. I want to use my books as a speaking platform and address young teens and their parents on this issue in the interest of raising awareness, education, and prevention so we can protect the little girls all around us.

Links to learn more:

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Dreaming of NaNoWriMo

November 28, 2015

Good evening! It’s late, and I’ve been doing a lot of word sprints today, but I’ve got a spotlight for you from Lidy, who you can find more from on weebly, wordpress, and twitter. Here’s Lidy on her Nanowrimo history:

This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve always heard about the writing challenge done in November but had never participated until 2013. What compelled me to join that year was because of a dream I had. A dream about a teenage girl, a witch, who took the biggest risk of all. By outing herself as a witch to rescue the first friend she made in years. And I thought it’d be too much of a risk to let her just exist inside my dreams.

I had to write her story and the NaNoWriMo challenge helped me to do that. Then I skipped it the following year to participate in NaNonFiWriMo (National Nonfiction Writing Month). And now I’m back again, but doing things a little bit different. I’m just not writing one story but two and extending NaNoWriMo until December 30th. The first and current story is a romance novel. And the second story is a young adult urban and portal fantasy novella. This year, I’m disregarding word count. And just focusing on writing the rough drafts of each. Fixing plot holes, pacing, characterization, etc. after NaNoWriMo.

With two years of NaNoWriMo and one year of NaNonFiWriMo, my best experiences were always the people. Meeting people who were just like me. Who had a story to tell. And all of us coming together in solidarity to do one thing. Tell a story that only we can tell.

What are you writing about this year?
This year, I’m writing my first contemporary romance novel. It’s your typical boy re-meets girl, but girl tries to run away and is in denial of her feelings. So boy chases girl. There’s a lot of crossed love lines going on, a love pentagon actually and as I’ve realized myself lately. My second story is about an inner city girl who always dreamed of something bigger and better. And getting out of the ghetto. All the while not realizing that the amazing dreams she has were actually visits to other worlds. And she’s just about to get what she wished for and not in a good way.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
There’s too many to choose but when it comes to favorite movies, I’m an 80s girl. But for the sake of picking of just one, I’d have to say that my favorite is Ghostbusters.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Misty Anna

November 27, 2015

Only a few days left in November! Tonight’s interview is with Misty Anna, who can be found on Nanowrimo as re.paige! Here’s Misty talking about her Nanowrimo history:

I discovered Nanowrimo a few years ago — I believe I was searching online for writing contests to enter. This is my third or fourth year participating, but will be the first time I’ve finished/won (I’m presently 2k words away from 50k). The most I ever completed before this was under 9k words last year.

What are you writing about this year?
A young woman who dreams of a fantasy world that she eventually discovers truly exists. She must travel there to stop her own world from being destroyed.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
The Princess Bride

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t give up; no matter whether or not you reach 50k, you still achieved more words than you began with!

SneakyFrostbite small cover Ninja question! Who is the most important person in your life?
My life partner, Travis. He is the most supportive and encouraging person I could ever ask to share my life with.

I decided to become an author when I was only seven years old — fantasy books were my passion and escape from life.

My present Nanowrimo project, entitled ‘Frostbite’, is aimed to be self-published in PDF format by March 2016.  If you would like to donate in order to support my startup, please visit:

Donators will receive copies of my upcoming book(s) in PDF and/or hard-copy format, based upon the amount of the donation. I appreciate any and all help offered in order to achieve my dream!

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