Nano Spotlight: John Reinhard Dizon

November 30, 2013

Hey there! It’s the last day of November, so this is going to be my last Nano Spotlight. I’d like to thank all of my spotlight authors, those who volunteered to be alternates, and those who I wasn’t able to publish this year. Now let’s have a big virtual hand for John!

lI saw numerous posts about NaNoWriMo and finally decided to give it a whirl. Considering I had been sitting on “Soldiers” for two decades, I figured it would give me the kick in the pants I needed. Plus, I’d been sitting in my think-tank man-cave for so long, I thought it would be nice to get in touch with humanity again. That was the redeeming social value. At the writers’ meeting, I was pleased to share time with six young writers who restored my faith in the human race! They were so vibrant, intelligent and filled with great ideas that it titillated my soul. NaNoWriMo is bringing together the artists of tomorrow and giving them a platform upon which to launch the inspiration and visions of the next generation.

What are you writing about this year?
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Nano Spotlight: Litharukia of Toronto

November 29, 2013

Good morning, friends and followers. For my penultimate spotlight, I have somebody from close to home: Dianna

My name is Dianna L. Gunn and I’ve been known as Litharukia on the Nanowrimo forums—or Lithy by my friends—for 8 years. This will be my ninth year participating in Nanowrimo and my eighth win. I’ve also been blogging about it for years, and I’m currently hosting my own Nanowrimo Blogstravaganza elsewhere on the web.

I was 11 years old when I won my first Nanowrimo, and though I could gloat about it, what’s more important is what Nanowrimo gave me: the confidence to go for the writing career I dreamed of and the knowledge that I actually could write a novel.

At the end of my first Nanowrimo, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. At the end of my second Nanowrimo—the only year I ever lost—he passed away. The friends I made through Nanowrimo helped me through that and they’ve helped me through many things since. I’ve never met some of them face to face but they are my dearest friends and many are my oldest friends.

November is always a hard month for me, but instead of focusing on the sad memories and getting bogged down in depression—something I am highly suspect to—I write as many words as I humanly can every year. I’ve written up to 300, 000 words in the month of November and gained a celebrity status in my local community, but it’s the friendships that make it worth it.

I’m really excited to be here and I hope I can help shed some light on the whole Nanowrimo experience for those of you considering participating for the first time.

What are you writing about this year?
May I be frank? Yes? Good. I don’t really know. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a story involving an exile riding a dragon and an assassin, but I have no idea what those characters have to do with each other or what kind of story it will be. There’s also a part of me that’s tempted to stray far from my usual genre of fantasy, though I don’t have any ideas for a novel in a different genre, so I’ll probably leave that for another year.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
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Nano Spotlight: Downright Villainous

November 28, 2013

Good morning, friends and followers. I’m down to my last few followers, and I had to include this next guy based on his pitch when he first emailed. (Links have been added by me):

Hey man, My name is Jackson Haime, both in real life and on Nano. This is me dropping a line saying I would be down for an interview.
Points that make me worth it:
I’ve actually self published something!
I’m a three time winner (On a new account)
I write Newspaper articles.
I’m a university student.
There is a MUPPET in my profile pic.

Have a good day! Look forward to contact.

How many times have you done Nano?
I’ve done Nano four times (It’s a new account.) As well as taking part in Camp the last two years, and Script Frenzy when it was still a thing.

I actually found out about it from my Grandmother. Not sure where she heard it from, but she explained the whole thing like it was some contest, ‘Write the novel in a month and then they judge it’. I didn’t get a name or anything, but ‘50,000 words november’ was enough for google. The rest is a little bit of history.

What are you writing this year?
Villainous_edited-1This year I am working on the second part of Villainous, an episodic novel. The novel focuses on a pair of people with minor superpowers who are trying to become modern day super villains. The first part covered how the two came together, and now we are into the stage of them trying to take over the city.

Who’s the best character in the novel?
You’re asking me to pick favourites? I’m going to have to go with Ashes, who is the lead villain of the story (But arguably not the MC.) Due to his position in life and his motivation, Ashes is left to be a really enigmatic character. Almost a cartoon when he is in the Villain character, but actually has a real (Though a little off the rocker) personality when off duty.
Ashes is the driving piece in the puzzle (The corner piece?) You jump into the story about four years into his story, and just at the beginning of Toby’s. Because you are leaping into a character who is more developed by the world of Super villainy it’s a different angle that was a lot of fun to create, and I’ve heard is a blast to read.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
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What’s Up Wednesday: Keep Pushing Further

November 27, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

More great stories from Asimov’s magazine and Analog! I also finished “The Ringworld Throne” as an audiobook; it was really easier to follow that way; I skimmed through it half a dozen times in paperback and never really got a sense of the overall plot.

What I’m writing:

A new short story for Nanowrimo, about teenage soldiers armed with Area 51 tech, space invaders who turn out to be not so alien, and state guard cover-ups! I reached a good point to let ‘Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale’ sit until I can start reviewing what I’ve got, I think. My word count is now over 56k, and I’m hoping to hit 60 by Waffle-palooza Saturday night.

What inspires me right now:

Mostly my fellow wrimos, and my Odyssey friends. On the other hand, I feel like Nano crash will be here very soon.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went out to dinner with the whole family on Saturday, a kind of belated birthday thing for me. Looking at possible keyboards for the tablet, and also maybe lending it to my Mom so that she can see what it’s like reading with a tablet.

Oh, and watching the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, catching up on Castle, and “How I met your Mother” 🙂

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

Nano Spotlight: N’wah With Attitude

November 26, 2013

Hi everybody! Today’s spotlight falls on Niall

N’wah’s history with Nanowrimo, in his own words:
Thus far my experience with NaNo has been great. There’s been a little bit of readjusting necessary, because the forums are generally friendlier than those I normally take part in, but it’s all good. I don’t recall how I actually found out about it, though I suspect it was through the Vlogbrothers; it’s just one of those things that I’ve always been aware of, but never all that interested in taking part in.
I decided to take part this year since I (kinda-sorta) flunked my A-levels and I’m currently stuck in limbo. What better way to pass the time through November than writing a novel?

What are you writing about this year?
My novel is very loosely a post-apocalyptic story, but that’s not the important part. It follows a pair of survivors (though maybe scavengers would be a better word) as they make their way through non-specified parts of the European countryside.
The first, and “leader” is Finn; he’s the kind of person you’d expect in such a role. Gruff, mean, used to dealing with the universe defecating on him.
The other is Süße (Suesse); she’s a nice girl, and optimistic to a fault. She’s blind and suffers from amnesia that stems from indeterminate trauma before the beginning of the novel.
It’s not intended as a straight up post-apocalypse story, nor as a straight up romance; it’s just a pair of people being forced to live with one another, and dealing with the problems that throws up (lack of food, getting sick of each other, etc). It’ll get pretty nasty.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Tough question. There’s only Finn and Süße; I think Finn.
Süße’s great, and I love basically everything about her, but Finn is just that much more interesting to me. Maybe it’s just because I’m a stickler for anti-heroes, but I’m really looking forward to writing his half of their interactions. Lots of swearing, lots of questionable comments.
All that said, I don’t want readers to prefer either of them. I want people to get into the head of Süße and thus feel what she feels toward Finn; for better or for worse.
That’s the best case scenario, I really don’t know if I can manage that; but you don’t know until you try!

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
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Nano Spotlight: Marshall Norman McCarthy

November 25, 2013

Good morning! It’s the final week of November, so these spotlights are nearly run their appointed course. Today it’s Marshall’s turn.

Marshall and Nanowrimo, in his own words:
This is year is my first NaNoWrimo. I discovered it last year, when a friend posted about it on Facebook. Unfortunately, it was the end of November when I found out about it, so I missed the cut (not to mention that, while I was working on a novel at the time, it was pretty terrible). I’m taking part this year for two reasons: 1) I’ve done relatively little in the last year other than work on my writing and feel that my craft is worlds ahead of where it was a year ago and 2) I’ve been outlining a novel since the end of August and think that NaNo would be a great motivator to keep on track.

What are you writing about this year?
I am writing about a man who is as far away from home as anyone can be; about a partnership, a friendship that is torn apart by Immortal machinations. The story follows a pair of Gunfighters, tasked with killing an Immortal, and leads to betrayal, tragedy, and one man’s first steps on the road to redemption. I am writing about a man named Bates, exiled to a wasted fragment of the world, forced to earn his living with spilled blood, and his quest to find that spark of light in his blackening heart.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Bates, our (Anti-) Hero. He’s sort of the culmination of aspects derived from a few people in my own life, as well as few older characters from my past writing. At heart, he’s a hero; a man of justice and a loving husband and father. But, desperate and severed from his old life, he’s become a killer for hire.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Since this is my first year, I’ll just say this: I’ve learned (the hard way) that no novel can be completed fully in 30 days. So, just write. Don’t get hung up on edit-checks. Shoot for 50k words, but treat it as a first draft – you’ll just have go to back and edit it later. If November is Nation Novel Writing Month, then December should be National Novel Editing Month.

Sneaky Ninja question! Out of your favourite fictional characters, who’d make the best sneaky ninja?
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Weekend Writing Warriors – Return to Civilization 2

November 24, 2013

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Continuing with snippets from my science fiction story ‘Return to Civilization.’ Andy is a space prospector who’s just returned home with the co-ordinates of a ‘jackpot’ planet.


Snippet 1

“Greetings, outgoing vessel. This is the Yukon Stranger, incoming. I hope your check-out wasn’t stressful.”

There was a long pause, and Andy wondered if anybody was listening. Then a gruff answer came. “Intraship messaging within the border zone for non-emergency calls is a clear violation of protocol, Yukon Stranger.”

“Sorry. Last time I checked out, it wasn’t against the rules to message an outgoing ship, inquire about their destination and wish them good luck.” But that had been a long time ago.

“Understood, Yukon Stranger.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Steven Mix

November 23, 2013

Good day, friends and followers. I promised a very special Saturday Spotlight, so here it is. I thought Steven Mix had quite a story to tell when I got my first email from him! So here’s Steven in his own words to start off:

My name is Steven Mix. I was a Sergeant with the 82nd airborne 1st of the 505th. I was airborne infantry (paratrooper) and on a machine gun. I saw combat, lost some friends and got injured. I had no less than 9 concussions in the army. Now I’m living with a traumatic brain injury (damaged frontal left lobe, damaged brain stem), messed up back, messed up neck, messed up knees and ankles. I have memory and cognitive skill issues.

But my intelligence is intact. So writing everything down, really helps circumvent my issues. I had wanted to be an author when I was younger so becoming a writer seems like the most logical I could have done.

When I was deployed to Iraq we lost my Sgt Major on November 21st and then my good friend Cpl Chris Mason on November 28th.

November is a terrible month for me. I tend to get really depressed near the anniversary of my friend’s deaths. Two years ago I decided to try and change November by doing something I had always wanted to do, so I signed up for Nanowrimo and began working on my outline.

I met my wife shortly before Nano began. I obsessively wrote my story for the whole month of November… It didn’t take the depression completely away, but obsession certainly put it on the back burner at times. I even named one of my main characters after my friend Mason.

I then spent the next two years editing and re-editing my book. I had a giant snafu with a terrible copyeditor who strung me along for 6 months and then didn’t do the work he had agreed to do. I even found a publisher. My love life flourished too. I wound up marrying my wife in that time, and had a kid. His name? Mason.

I write zombie horror (I’m a little haunted… it makes sense) so the date isn’t a giant coincidence but two years later, almost to the day, this october 31st in fact, my first novel, Goodbye from the Edge of Never, is going on sale for preorder.

I’m now looking forward to this November. I never thought I would look forward to November again.

The level of enthusiasm the Nanowrimo community possesses is amazing. I might never have taken the leap and tried to capture an old dream and become an author if it wasn’t for Nanowrimo and the motivated members. Now I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that my wife healed me more than anything…. but Nano certainly helped share some of that load. It encouraged me to step outside of myself, to bring a friend back to life in literary form (at least in name) and then helped me find my soul to live again. It helped me slay figurative (or maybe literal) demons in my head. Best of all, I have something to show for it. I’m an author now. I have a novel to show for it. 🙂

My Nano profile is ghostzen . I have no idea where that name came from. I usually go by Zip for a nickname.

My blog (that my publisher wishes I’d update more often) and book info can be found here.

What are you writing about this year?
I haven’t decided what I’m writing about this year. I have two stories outlined and ready to be brought to life. One is book two of The Edge of Never series which is about the world, twenty years from now after a zombie apocalypse has overrun everything. The other story I have outlined is a cyberpunk murder mystery. I don’t know why I haven’t picked one yet but I’m really excited about both of them.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
From the novel I wrote for Nano two years ago, my favorite character is Mason. He’s named after a buddy of mine who died in Iraq (Chris Mason). My son who was born during the books revision process also was named Mason. 🙂 It’s not just sentimental reasons that make him my favorite though. His character is an artist in a zombie apocalypse. He’s obsessed with art and art supplies. Given the chance, he would sprint across a battlefield for a paintbrush. When the world lays in ruins, it gives him a chance to make art from everything. He’s fun to write because he finds freedom on the edge of obliteration. I’m sure he’d agree that he could die at any moment but he’d probably tell you, “that’s why it’s so important to live now.” He wears an old fashioned hockey mask on his face which he will often use as a canvas, and paint various things onto it. He tends to keep his mask raised up to hide the image and show his face until something gets serious, when he’ll pull it down to hide behind and reveal the image on it. This allows me to use his mask to describe the general mood of his group of friends, or foreshadow a shit-storm.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
The advice I’d give fellow Wrimos is, if after the event is done you decide you want to keep going with your novel, or maybe even pursue publishing, don’t quit. I only made it through about 37,000 words when I wrote my first novel for Nano two years ago. The excitement I felt going into it kept pushing me to complete it. After all my editing (and copy editor nightmares), a huge formatting issue, and a gigantic waiting game, my novel is finally being published. It took me two years for my first novel to be released but, it’s actually happening! Just because you finish (or don’t finish) Nano, or run into snags along the way, doesn’t mean that you should give up on seeing your novel go the distance. Nanowrimo IS about a sudden jolt of creativity and a looming deadline but that doesn’t mean you should quit playing with that energy the second the event is over. It should affect you (or infect you) with imagination. All of your dreams should seem a little more attainable after and… if one of your dreams is to be a published author, you should chase that dream, screaming and laughing. The end of Nanowrimo shouldn’t mark your return to that same daily grind until next November.

Sneaky Ninja question! What social class, if any, are you a part of?
I don’t really know how to answer this question. The boring answer would be, “I’m middle class,” but part of me wishes I was part of a fiefdom. goodbye-from-the-edge-of-never-steven-mix-187x300A knight, working my way up to Duke, Lord or King through a series of cut throat political moves. Ya…. Game of Thrones has clearly screwed me up a little.

If you’re interested in reading Mason’s adventure, my novel Goodbye from the Edge of Never will be available for preorder on October 31st of this year. That’s the (almost) two year anniversary from when I began writing it. It’s horror crossed with comedy, lots of action and just a dash of super powers. You can preorder a copy from this site: and receive either a digital copy from Amazon or order a paperback copy. Presale announcement is here:

Nano Spotlight: Josh O’Brien and The Houdini Institute

November 22, 2013

Good morning. Stay tuned for a very special Nano spotlight tomorrow! Not that Josh isn’t special too. 😉

Josh’ s history with Nanowrimo:
My experience with Nano is limited to last year, I came across NaNoWriMo through a friend who wasn’t participating but who though I might be interested, and since I have always wanted to be a writer so I felt like it was worth trying. It was tough managing to write such a demanding piece at the time because I was going through GCSE exams as well as NaNo. In the end, I feel like I may have sacrificed a grade or two in order to get my 50,000 done in time, but it was most definitely worth it because not only did I finish and self publish later that year, I’ve been selling copies at a slow but not nonexistent rate since. My best memory has to be the facebook posts I made. Every day, I posted ” [x] amount of words out of 50,000 done of my wordcount” and I would without fail get someone asking me what I was on about, or telling me to shut up, but I also got lots of support, and honestly that support is why I returned to NaNoWriMo this year.

What are you writing about this year?
“The Houdini Institute of Higher Magical Education and Supernatural Studies”. A magical college, for students of the arcane aged from 11 – 20, which focuses heavily on both the 10 major magics as outlined by the founder, Houdini, and on real world magic that is useful to everyone. My story features 2 students, Mark and Lorna, as they go through a difficult few weeks, following Lorna’s expulsion. She must win her way back into the college by participating in a series of challenges outlined in a very old rulebook, and Mark risks everything to help her. But as a mysterious stranger comes between them to help Lorna, Mark is pushed further and further away.

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Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
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Nano Spotlight: Lesbian romance author, Joann Lee

November 21, 2013

Good morning, friends and followers. Quick spotlight update, I think I’ve got enough interviews in the queue to last me until Nov 29th, so I’m sending out emails to anybody who got sent an interview and never returned it. If none of them are able to get me the answers quickly, I guess I’ll pick one of my alternates out of a hat. 😉 But for today, here’s Joann.

Joann’s history with NaNoWriMo:
I’ve participated in NaNo three years in a row. I’ve also participated in a couple of the Camp NaNo sessions. The first time I attempted NaNo, I wasn’t certain if I’d be able to hit the 50k in a month. I was pleasantly surprised when I not only hit the word count, but I surpassed it! I write all the time, not just during NaNo, but I tend to push myself harder during the month of November.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I am writing another lesbian romance. It’s mostly all that I write. In this particular story Emma, a young woman from a very religious background, has to learn how to accept herself and the world around her.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Luna. Luna is a music teacher at a small town school who befriends Emma when she first arrives in town. She’s a bit eccentric when it comes to her eclectic tastes in everything from food, music, and Gothic clothing choices.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
For someone who is tackling NaNo for the first time I would tell them to never give up. Writing involves a lot of discipline and you should set aside some time to at least write something every single day. Sometimes the words won’t come as easily as others, but keep going!

Sneaky Ninja question! What’s your beverage of choice while writing?
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