Nanowrimo Spotlight: Cory Beal

November 25, 2015

Good evening! Tonight, I’m interviewing Cory. You can find Cory’s website here. Cory, how long have you been participating in Nano?

This is my 5th time doing NaNo. I think the biggest difference for me this time is just the challenges of finding the time to write with three little ones running around the house. Finding the time is always the biggest challenge for me (as well as a lot of people, probably most).

I actually started out doing NaNo for the first time in 2010. My wife knew I had been wanting to write a book for a long time and I had started, but never finished one, so she bought me this book, No Plot? No Problem, and that’s when I found out aboutNaNo. I signed up right away and have loved doing it every year since.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I’m doing a sci-fi adventure novel about a guy named J.J. Collins who is in the middle of his 13th life; every time he dies he wakes up again and starts all over as a kid and each time the world around him is different. He doesn’t know why it’s happening to him and he doesn’t really care, mainly he just wants to find the one person who he fell in love with during his first life.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
Star Wars – I remember being a kid and watching the original trilogy over and over, we didn’t have cable, but we had a VCR and the 3 Star Wars movies on VHS, so that’s what I’d watch. I still love watching them, but I think the first, Episode IV: A New Hope, is my favorite.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Just keep plugging away at that keyboard. The thing I learned about NaNo is that even you don’t finish, if you don’t reach the 50k words, you still end the month having written a lot more than you probably would have otherwise, so it’s still a win. Of course, the whole point is to win, to get that magic number, to reach your goal and conquer the mountain. My advice is still the same – just keep writing – it’s the only way to win! Write everywhere – waiting at the doctor’s office, on your lunch break, early in the morning or late at night, whenever works for you. With the technology we have now it’s to write on your smartphone or tablet and have the app sync to your home computer, so there’s not really the excuse of not being able to work on your novel when you are away from home – you should always be working on your novel.

Sneaky Ninja question! What’s your hobby horse?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Alice Hayes

November 24, 2015

Good evening! I’m not quite sure how many more spotlights there will be this Nano season, but I’d like to thank all of my readers and my spotlight volunteers! Tonight I have an interview with Alice. Alice, how many times have you participated in Nanowrimo?

This is my fourth NaNo, and – *fingers crossed* – I’ve been successful every year so far. My favorite memories are the “NaNoIsms” that creep in. Basically, I lose my mind every November. In 2011’s NaNo, I was writing a scene where two teenage characters attend a Bonfire Night celebration, and I put the word help into a sentence without even realizing it. I think it was my subconscious saying “no, really. Help me”. In last year’s NaNo, I was sprinting with some other Wrimos and said something like “15 minute sleep at 10:00, who’s in?” instead of ’15 minute sprint’. But really, for me. NaNoWriMo is about the camaraderie. Knowing that there are others out there doing the same crazy thing as you.

What are you writing about this year?
Say Nothing is a young adult novel set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. Beginning in 1969, it chronicles Catholic Moira Heaney’s transformation from unaffected, blase 15-year-old to political activist. The title is taken from a Seamus Heaney poem, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, as well as the general fear during The Troubles that talk could be costly; that loose lips were deadly.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
Just one? V for Vendetta. It ticks all the boxes for me: creepy dystopian government; beautiful visuals; blood and gore; and vengeance.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
The forums are one of the best resources for you NaNo. I was surprised recently to learn that in a Facebook group of around 200 local Wrimos, there weren’t very many who use the forums. Whether you’re looking for research or whether you need motivation, you can always find what you’re looking for there. I also highly recommend sprints and word wars if you feel completely stuck.

Sneaky Ninja question! Do you have any pet peeves when you write?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Jenny Prater

November 20, 2015

Good evening everybody, and how’s November treating you this Friday evening? (Or whenever it is in your part of the world when you read this?) I’m hanging out in a virtual write-in and posting this interview instead of writing new words, but I’ve just reached 40k and I’ll do more before bedtime, I promise!

So, tonight’s interview is with Jenny, who can be found on Nano as kolingdorm, or at her blog! How much Nano experience do you have, Jenny?

This is my seventh year of NaNoWriMo. I’ve been doing it since I was sixteen, a couple years after I heard about it from an English teacher. I thought it would motivate me to write more and faster, and so far it has. This year I’m actually participating with two accounts, so if I fail here, I probably succeeded somewhere else. Hopefully. My favorite NaNo memory is from my senior year of high school, when in spite of SATs, driving exams, midterms, and the death of my dog, I managed to write 100,000 words, the first draft of the first novel I’m really proud of.

What are you writing about this year?
This year (on this account) I’m trying to finish two half written stories. One is contemporary YA called Fall with Me, about a boy and a girl falling in and out of love and sanity. The other, When the War Ends, is about a princess and an outlaw forced to work together to end a war.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
At the moment, I’m going with Megamind.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t think. Just write. There’s time for spellchecking and fact checking later. Do whatever you need to do to get it done as fast as possible. Sometimes I turn off the monitor so I won’t be distracted by my mistakes. Usually I don’t bother about writing in order – I just get down whatever piece of the story is strongest in my mind. Do whatever you want. Just don’t worry about anything but getting it down.

Sneaky Ninja question! What do you have in your pockets right now?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Emma Lehrer- lehrerscooter8

November 19, 2015

And hello again! I hope you’ll really like today’s spotlight interview. I’d like you to meet Emma, who can be found on Nanowrimo as lehrerscooter8, and has a non-writing blog. Hi, Emma! How long have you been doing Nanowrimo?

I am a newbie to NaNo this year and it has been really exciting so far! I learned about it a couple days before it started when I was looking for writing forums. I saw the website and decided I absolutely had to do it, mostly because I have never finished a book before and the time frame will motivate me. I also had an idea for a book and said “why not” to myself then signed up.

What are you writing about this year?

This year I am writing about a girl named Ailey. Her family relocated from Florida to Northern Canada four years ago. Almost a year ago her mom left them without a word to run away with a different man. When the story starts, Ailey is battling depression. Then her best friend starts hanging out with her biggest middle school rival and she feels abandoned all over again. She fights to find a way to keep moving on, making new friends and discovering new things about herself along the way.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
Ahhh! I love so many movies!! I literally have a new favorite movie every week. This week it is “Love, Rosie” because the story is so moving and adorable and sad and funny all at the same time.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
If I had to give advice, I would probably say that there are no rules in writing. Sad-Girl-in-Winter-Flying-Snow-Around-the-Beautiful-Girl-Are-You-Cold-No writing style is “wrong” and no idea- no matter how crazy it is- is bad. Just write whatever wants to come out!

Sneaky Ninja question! What one thing are you most thankful for?
I have no idea what I am most thankful for. Maybe it is the fact that I am able to express myself through writing, or that I have found my reason to keep moving on. In truth, I am thankful for so many things I don’t know where to start. I guess that life is just full of things to be thankful for.


Nanowrimo Spotlight: Jennifer Weiner

November 17, 2015

Happy day, everybody! Yesterday was a little too hectic to squeeze in an interview, but today I’m back with Jennifer! You can find Jennifer on Nanowrimo as jinrightjm, on facebook, goodreads, her own site, and also read this Smashwords interview! Here’s a bit about Jennifer’s Nano history:

I did my first nanowrimo in 2013 and won that year, but had to include all my creative writing not just on my novel concept. It’s looking like I’ll have to do the same this year since my original idea got tossed when my mini-me decided she wanted to star in a fantasy story lol I’m still doing world building for that idea!

I can’t remember how I found nanowrimo, but it was likely a Google search for writing groups or support or something similar. Or something I read in a group or book on writing.

What are you writing about this year?
This year  I am rebelling by writing short stories with a supernatural or fantasy flair. One is even loosely based off my husband and I!

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
That is so unfair! LOL If I MUST pick just one then I have to go with Memento. It’s an amazing, you can’t see the ending coming, totally screws with your mind the entire time, movie!

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
You can’t lose Wrimo! If you get a character sheet template, or 500 words or some new friends you can talk about writing with or even just a touch of confidence by letting others see your work in progress… those are BIG wins. Especially if you’ve never written a long work before. Don’t worry about the word count, just HAVE FUN!

Sneaky Ninja question! If you could change one thing from the history of your life, what would it be?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Kalynn Campbell, author of ‘She of Thorn’

November 15, 2015

Good evening! We’re about halfway through November already! This afternoon was our local Mid-way party, (at a 5-pin bowling alley!) and tonight is the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco! Today I have an interview from Kalynn, who you can find on Nano as lowbrowser, and you can also check out her publisher’s blog. Here’s Kalynn’s Nano background in her own words:

Technically, this is my third year doing NaNo. The first year I worked on a rewrite of an existing novel, so maybe I should call that year my “gray area” year.

This year, as well as last year, I started my novel with nothing more than a title, a loose outline and a book cover.

Last year was really exciting – it was my first year writing a novel from scratch in 30 days and I’d written over 64,000 words by NaNo’s finish. I loved the process so much, I had to dive in again this year.

What are you writing about this year?
I’m trying my hand at Horror/Sci Fi with a story called ‘THE FOREVER WATER.’

It’s about five College Kids on Spring Break who run across a small town in Northern Florida where nothing seems to age. The story is a twist on the vampire legend using Ponce de Leon’s ‘Fountain of Youth’ as a springboard.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
It’s rough picking just one, but I’ll narrow it down to: ‘WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.’ Heartbreaking but powerful.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Let your imagination loose. Keep on open mind when the character wants to veer off to a place you hadn’t planned. Let your characters live lives of their own and before long your fingers will describe a world you never saw coming, and that’s an amazing feeling – to live the story as it’s being conveyed by its characters.

Sneaky Ninja question! What was the first story you wrote, (or can remember writing)?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Georgi Pendragon

November 14, 2015

Good morning! Here’s another great spotlight interview, from Georgi. You can find more from Georgi at her personal blog, or her nano profile.

What are you writing about this year?

This year I am writing a fantasy novel about dragons, magic and adventure! A prince is wrongly accused of his father’s murder and a young girl and her dragon must help him escape and travel with him across the world to the safety of the Autumn Court. It is a perilous journey and the girl must find the courage to keep going when it would be all too easy to give up.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
My favourite movie has to be The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring. The music is just breathtaking and such a great source of inspiration.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t listen to that little voice in your head telling you that what you’re writing is rubbish. It’s not. It is a rough diamond that just needs to be polished up and cut into shape. And if you don’t make it to the 50,000 word goal, it’s okay. There is always next time. You are brilliant, brave and bloody fantastic to have made it as far as you have so don’t give up! Your story deserves to be told.

Sneaky Ninja question! What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
Probably the most unusual part of my writing process is probably my planning, or lack thereof! I tend to let the story write itself and only really plan alongside the story or when I get to a major event. My story surprises me more often than not and my characters never do what I expect them to do!

Georgi Pendragon is a fantasy writer living in England with her devoted husband, their kitty Moxie and corgi puppy Merlyn. When she’s not writing, she is at university studying a degree in Animal Science though she still daydreams about dragons when she should be concentrating on lectures! Currently her two favourite books are The Redwood Rebel by Lorna George and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, both have been read several times over. She likes nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot coffee and a good book, though now she has to share her comfy space with a wriggly puppy!

What can I add to that but–thanks, Georgi!

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Patricia Loofbourrow, NaNo author

November 13, 2015

Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s spotlight interview. Tonight, we hear from Patricia, who’s on Nanowrimo as kalima. Take it away, Patricia!

I ran across NaNo somewhere online. It was 2005 and I had always wanted to write a novel. It seemed like a good time. Then my husband came home and told me he was being transferred and had to start work halfway across the country in six weeks. 😮
We had three kids in school, one with some fairly serious health issues, so the next six weeks were a flurry of getting the house on the market, transferring everything, and buying another home while 1700 miles away. We got to our new home October 27th. I spent the first week of NaNo writing on my laptop while sitting on the floor of my empty home because the movers weren’t there yet!
But it was a lot of fun. I think that is the NaNo I will remember the most. I’ve participated several times since then (didn’t always win, but I had fun).

What are you writing about this year?

This year I’m writing book 2 of a series about a female private eye who lives in a domed neo-Victorian city split by four crime families. Book 1, The Jacq of Spades (which I wrote the first draft of last year during NaNo) comes out December 1st.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
The Matrix (just the first one)

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Just write. Write everything you can possibly think of about your story: your speculations, all your plot complications, your possible endings, everything. You are not allowed to delete anything until December. Remember, if you delete 100 words a day, that’s 3000 words you could have had. Yes, it’s crap. You’re writing 50,000 words in a month! Of course it won’t be perfect — that’s what editing is about. Every NaNo novel is a first draft, which by definition is highly likely to be a total mess. But you can’t edit what you don’t write. 🙂

Sneaky Ninja question! What time in the day do you write the most?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Ryan Slaughter

November 12, 2015

Good evening all! I’m off to a write-in shorting, but I’ve got a cool interview to share with you from Ryan! You can also find Ryan on the Nano website, on his seldom-updated blog, and his facebook movie reviews! Here’s Ryan talking about his Nanowrimo background:

This is my seventh year participating in NaNoWriMo. Most years I try to do something completely different. The first two years I planned absolutely nothing and had it all come off of the top of my head (“They Blinked” and “We Lived”, both apocalyptic-type novels). The next year I wrote an entire book based off of a title I thought of randomly (“Charcoal Albatross”, is a horror/mystery). The fourth year I wrote a fully researched novel about a subject I dislike (“Cold Iron”, a fantasy about fairies). Fifth year was my attempt at doing something truly original (“Basement’s Colors”, a science fiction/post-post-apocolyptic/religious fusion). The last two years were thought of by a year of writing down my random thoughts and producing a novel from those (“Afterlife Salesman” and “Existence Flasher”, a science fiction lite series). I like the freedom that it gives me to do and write anything, but force me to write in a time frame. I sometimes need an extra push to get things written down, but with this I just have to wait until November!

What are you writing about this year?
This year I am continuing the story from my previous year. Last year, I wrote a story called “Afterlife Salesman”. It was a story about a man named Hal Brandon, who has been unemployed for a long amount of time. One day he finds a really strange job as a salesman. This salesman job sells people their own personal afterlife. The story shows his journey into this strange world of even stranger jobs. This is the continuation of the first novel, “Existence Flasher”. Still following the story from the first novel, this one finds Hal doing well with his new job and even better with his new girlfriend, but something has come up and Hal has to decide between his new life or a different one that he knows nothing about. A life in the Underground. A place with forgotten and unsavory jobs.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
My favorite movie differs depending on my mood. I worked at a movie theater for over ten years, so I have seen many films. I also write reviews for a small movie review Facebook page, but my favorite movies rarely change. I have to choose one so it will have to be the movie that I can watch over and over again. Saving Private Ryan. I’m a World War II history buff, when I’m not writing or working and this film is great across the board.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
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Nanowrimo Spotlight: Stefanie Waring

November 11, 2015

Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s spotlight interview. Tonight, I feature Stefanie, who goes as cuno on Nanowrimo. She also has a NSFW, nattery Tumblr; a website, and a Smashwords profile. Here’s Stef’s impressive Nano history!

I’ve been doing NaNo since 2002, when I was a bored 16-year-old finishing up her last year of high school.  I’ve participated and won every year, growing from cheating like a madwoman to hit 50K to actually finishing novels to challenging myself to hit higher numbers (100K) or write the 50K in as little time as possible (14 days is my current NaNo record; 6 days is my current non-NaNo record).  While I haven’t finished every novel I’ve started, I have completed at least 4 that I can remember off the top of my head.  My favourite memories are the thrill of winning (especially if the novel itself is completed) and also the NaNoisms thread, which is always hilarious.  I even got one of the Top Ten in the 2005 NaNoisms book.  I also think NaNo has made me a much better writer, because it’s made me capable of writing very good first drafts.  Plus I’ve used it in job interviews, which generally impresses people.

What are you writing about this year?
A road trip novel!  It’s an urban fantasy about a singer, Riyadh Aswari, who sold his soul to the devil at the age of 16, so that he could get out of his tiny Alberta town and actually use his musical talent to become rich and famous.  He was given ten years to enjoy this, but as he approaches the end of the contract and his 26th birthday, he realizes that 26 is barely any time at all.  Cutting off all contact with everyone currently in his life (mostly his management team and backing band), he makes an arrangement with a mysterious stranger to drive across Canada to Manitoulin Island in the hopes he can avoid his fate, only to learn that a man in danger of losing his soul should be careful who he trusts.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
Can a miniseries count?  If so, Generation Kill.  If we’re talking strictly movies…  Gonna go with the first Jurassic Park.  I love dinosaurs.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Look, writing is hard.  Anyone who tells you that it’s a cakewalk is either lying or trying to sell you something.  Accepting that writing is hard, and that some days you will write like one of the monkeys that doesn’t create Shakespeare, is the first step to becoming a good writer.  Move on, move past it, and keep going.  Even if that means that, like me, you have to write some really explicit smut as a side scene just to get some words flowing.

Also, don’t write for anyone else; write for yourself.  Your love and enjoyment will show through, and on the flip side, if you’re writing something because society or your friends or publishers or whatever tell you to, readers are going to notice that too.

Sneaky Ninja question! What is your favorite color?
Black.  Like my soul.

I’m planning on publishing an urban fantasy novel (my first) in April or May of 2016.  It’s called Splinters and there are three books that will all be published at once, both separately and as one omnibus edition, on both Smashwords and Amazon.  Splinters is an urban fantasy set in a world similar to our own, where Fae and humans live together in total disharmony.  Told from the POV of Solan Yorke, a halfbreed Fae just trying to pretend he’s human at least long enough to get his high school diploma, and Solan’s boyfriend, human Kyrianos Damascus, Splinters is a novel about war, wild Fae, and storm magic, split into three parts.  A complete but unedited rough draft is available on my website, but the published version will be edited, cleaned up, and have more content.

Thanks for stepping into the spotlight, Stef!

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