Nanowrimo Spotlight: Recipe for NaNo, A Pinch of Oregano, a Dash of Chutzpah

November 25, 2014

Greetings! Today I have another spotlight interview from a fellow Storywonk, so welcome Melina Kantor! You can find Melina on Nanowrimo as MelissaDK

When did you get started with Nanowrimo, Melina?
Way back when podcasts first came out, one of my favorite authors, Lani Diane Rich, and her friend Samantha Graves (C.J. Barry) started a show called “Will Write for Wine.” At the time, I was an avid reader, but not a writer.

On October 6th, 2007 (yes, I remember the date), I was in Central Park with my dog, earbuds in place. We took a break by the duck pond, and after listening to the episode about NaNo, I rushed home and signed up. By the end of November, I had the draft of my first book. I was shocked.

This is my eighth Nano, and my third time participating in NaNo in Jerusalem.

I love bundling up in my NaNo hoodie, drinking hot apple cider at a cafe, and pounding out the words.

And a personal tradition – towards the end of NaNo, when I’m exhausted and suffering from writer’s block, I write while listening to this episode of Will Write for Wine. Of course, I’m also addicted to StoryWonk NaNo (also thanks to Lani Diane Rich).

Image - Melissa

What are you writing about this year?
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Follow Fest – around we go again!

September 22, 2014

Thanks to Natasha for posting her Follow Fest entry so soon and reminding me that it was time again.

What is your name?FollowFest 2014
Chris Kelworth.

Do you write fiction or non-fiction?
Generally fiction, or at least, that’s what I’m concentrating on writing and publishing here.

What genres?
Umm, science fiction and fantasy of many flavours and varieties, with some mystery and romance thrown in. For readers young and old, not always all at once.

Are you published?
Not yet.

What else do you do besides write?
Hmm. I program computers, both as a day job and a hobby. Listen to country music, walk up city streets, cook a fair bit, collect small electronic gadgets, watch lots of TV and some movies, read and listen to audiobooks and podcasts.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Umm, what else do you want to know? I’m the baby of the family, with a big sister and older brother–also a brother-in-law, two nieces and a nephew who are getting bigger every time I get a chance to visit. I live by myself in Hamilton, Ontario, and love travelling and going to writing workshops. I’m an Odyssey class of 2013 survivor.

What are you reading right now?
Well, I just started ‘Esrever Doom’ in the Xanth series, from the library. On the audiobook front, I’m reading Dune and Lani Diane Rich’s “Time off for good behaviour”. I’m also reading some Crossed Genres stories on my Kindle, and just discovered the Toasted Cake podcast. (Thanks for that go to Elizabeth Twist!)

Which authors influenced you the most?
Jim Butcher, Diane Duane, and Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Where can people find and follow you?
Right here on the wordpress blog– still doesn’t have a Google ‘army of followers’ widget, but the top three widgets down the right side of the blog are all followy: follow, RSS feed, and NetworkedBlogs.

Twitter: @ChrisKelworth,


Do you have a newsletter?
I don’t think I generate enough news for a letter. 😉

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
For his coronation, Napoleon summoned the Pope to Paris, then took the crown out of the Pope’s hands and put it on his own head.

Go here to see the Follow Fest list!

I’m on Storywonk Sunday! (Or is it Monday?)

May 28, 2013

First off, as Odyssey approaches, I’ll probably be posting a bit less frequently, and definitely a bit shorter. I don’t think I’ll be able to kick the blogging addiction cold turkey though!

And a really cool note for today; Lani and Alastair played a voice-mail from me on this week’s Storywonk Sunday! You can download the MP3 off the Storywonk site or from iTunes, (yeah, it’s a nice long episode this week,) and they introduce me around the 9:20 mark of “StoryWonk Sunday 48: Someone is Wrong on the Internet” 😀  They even have some awfully nice things to say about li’l ol’ me.


Watermelon Determination

March 13, 2013

So, I was listening to the Storywonk Sunday podcast this morning, and Lani and Alastair opened the show by talking about something that they’d been impressed by in their latest “The Amazing Race” marathon. I’ve found what looks like a pretty good YouTube of what they were talking about: Skip ahead to around 6:40 for the good stuff:

So, we have some crazy reality show challenge where each team has to nominate one player to knock over a suit of armor with watermelons and a giant slingshot catapult. Claire was picked as the catapulter, (because she was good with horses and they thought the knights on horseback were part of the challenge, not just stage dressing,) and Brook throws herself into the role of the cheerleader. Claire’s apparently having a bit of a hard time both pulling the watermelon back far enough to launch it far enough to reach the armor, and aiming it straight…

Then something goes terribly wrong with one shot, the sling swings around to rebound one melon right back into Claire’s face, hard enough to explode it into lots of pieces.

The big thing that hits me, after watching the video for myself, was the tack that Brook took afterward. She wasn’t callous; I could tell that she cares for her friend and teammate a lot, she’s really grateful that Claire wasn’t seriously hurt and sympathetic about the pain and shock she’s going through right afterward.

But she doesn’t let up, she urges and coaxes Claire to dive right back into the race as soon as she can, because other teams have started to pass them. If Claire just lay down and wallowed in what had happened to her, their team would have been the first to get eliminated, and Claire would have regretted that. Instead, she grumbles a little, but she goes back to the catapult, nails that suit of armor on the second try, and they rush off to the checkpoint rankings or whatever, Claire yelling “I can’t feel my face!” And they make it in fourth place for that episode.

Of course, in real reality, most of us have the option to wallow for a little longer, but the idea of not letting opportunities pass us by is a good thing to keep in mind I think. I had some kind of metaphorical fruit hit me in the face yesterday, when I didn’t pass my G road test on the first try. But I’ve already booked my second test appointment, and once I can feel my face again, I’m going to go over the test paper and figure out what I have to practice over the next few weeks.

We all get hit by some kind of fruit in our lives.

I feel like a true Story wonk now!

February 22, 2013

It should surprise none of my faithful friends and followers here that I’m a huge fan of the Storywonk podcasts with Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens. A little while back I submitted a question on the forums, and this week Lani and Alastair really got on a roll!

It’s a great episode, including the jokes about how nice Canadians are, and shoutouts to myself and to Elizabeth Twist, who I mentioned when introducing the questions. (I’m not sure if Lani and Alastair know that we’re both Canadian or if that was just a random coincidence.) There’s three listener questions and a follow-up ramble about reader expectations in the episode, and I’m the second, so  the stuff about my question is mostly in the middle-ish of the MP3 file. They go to town explaining the differences between problem and conflict that were confusing me, (and the trouble with the capital T Trouble,) and share some interesting thoughts about Man versus Himself contrasted against Man versus Nature, both of which might be applied to The Time Bubble Blues.

So surf on over and give that podcast a listen!

Staking a claim on my literary name

January 26, 2013

Well, I mentioned yesterday that I have a brand-new twitter handle, and that’s just a part of what I’ve been doing to finally ‘stake my claim’ to the name Chris Kelworth around the internet. Generally, I’ve been following the checklist laid down by Lani and Alastair on the rather staticky podcast episode Storywonk Sunday: Cuddling Afterwards. In addition to the twitter username change to @ChrisKelworth, I have:

The idea is to establish yourself in all these places where potential readers might be looking for you, before somebody else comes along and takes the same names – or if you find that one of them is already taken, you want to find that out as soon as possible so that you can make alternate plans – whether that’s changing your pen name or signing up with a variant and beginning to promote that address.

If you’re an author or a writer, have you done any of these things to claim your name? Tell me all about it in the comments.

A tour of Barsoom

January 8, 2013

I’ve been spending some time on Mars lately – courtesy of, and Scott Brick’s excellent narration for “A Princess of Mars.” Since New Year’s Day, I’ve followed John Carter from his gold claim in Arizona to the Incubators of the Green Men and on daring escapes through the hills of dry ocean beds. And along the way, I’ve met Dejah Thoris and a lot of other interesting Martians.

It’s a great science fiction adventure that doesn’t seem much the worse for all the decades that have passed since it was first written and printed, but I’ve also been aware of that vague sense that I’m finally catching up to something that’s been in the public cultural consciousness for a while, and specifically, that I finally understand some of the Barsoom in-jokes and references that Diane Duane filled A Wizard of Mars with. (And Diane’s title could be seen as a cross between “A Princess of Mars” and “A Wizard of Earthsea” 🙂 )

Other books I’ve been reading in 2013:

  • “House of Many Ways” by Diana Wynne Jones
  • “Maybe Baby” by Lani Diane Rich
  • “Dancing Barefoot” by Wil Wheaton

What have you been reading lately?

A little insecure about Camp Nanowrimo…

August 1, 2012

So, yeah, I remembered about Insecure Writer’s Support Group at the eleventh hour. 😉

But it’s a fairly good day for it, because I just started the August session of Camp Nanowrimo. I’ve pushed myself to a pretty good day 1 word count – in fact, the scene with my character’s mother and the witch just started flowing so well that I didn’t want to stop in the middle of it, and I’ve got 1897 words now.

But this is really the first time that I’m going to Camp Nanowrimo and not hanging out on the rebel side of Camp. August last year, I said that I was a rebel editor for camp, and I didn’t really end up with much to show for my editing, though I learned a lot about structure from Lani Diane Rich’s Storywonk revision class. In June, I got about 20,000 words done and more than half a dozen stories, so I’m calling that a rebel win.

This time, it’s fifty thousand or bust. I’m excited and yeah, a lot nervous about that.

But onward! The only way out of camp is the finish line. 😉

Are there still writers just in it for the fame/money?

October 25, 2011

I was listening to Storywonk Daily‘s 200th episode this morning. Lani and Alastair read an email that they’d received calling them out for taking potshots at ‘literary fiction’, and they apologized for taking out their frustration on a few snobby critics who consider anything not literary as ‘trash’ out on the whole genre. Alastair gave shoutouts to some of his favorite literary authors, and Lani said that whoever was passionate about literary fiction and inspired to write it, or loved to read it, they were a Storywonk at heart and that she’d avoid saying mean things in the future. It was all very sweet.

But something was nagging at me as I listened, and it took me a few minutes to figure out what I was thinking about. From a few places, including an article of Douglas Adams that was in ‘The Salmon of Doubt’, I’ve absorbed this meme of the literary author, (certainly not representing EVERY literary author,) who isn’t really passionate or inspired about the stories that can be told in that genre, but full of himself and just wanting to create a piece of “Literature.” (Douglas said in the article that he aspired to be literate, not literary.)

I have to admit, I’ve never really known another writer personally who I’d put into that category. And the broader bucket of ‘writers who are motivated more to be successful than by passion’ wouldn’t be unique to Lit fic – in other genres, considering the scarcity of artistic accolades, the equivalent would be someone who just wants to have written a successful blockbuster and get rich from it, instead of actually being inspired to write. I’m not sure I know anyone like that either.

Do writers like that actually exist, or are they just a cultural meme that sprang up from writers in one genre taking potshots at another?

Narratives from the real world.

September 19, 2011

I was listening to a Storywonk podcast today, more than a month behind as usual. This time, Lani and Alastair were talking about reality television, and some of the ways producers set up the shows so that no matter what the participants do or who wins, some kind of a natural narrative will flow naturally. They also mentioned that professional sports are set up in somewhat the same way, which naturally made me think of this cartoon:

Original Alt text by Randall Munroe: Also, all financial analysis. And, more directly, D&D.

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