Gratitude in My Heart

As most of my readers know I am in the middle of NaNoWriMo. This is my 5th year in this challenge and probably the most challenging of all the ones I’ve done so far. When I did my first NaNo in 2009, I had never written a novel, I didn’t have a blog. I didn’t have a twitter account or a Facebook author page. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was doing except for the fact that God was burning things inside of me to write.

Since then I’ve met lots of wonderful people, some authors, and some readers. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much and at the time I’m writing this post I’ve been blessed with the fact of publishing 4 books. To me that’s amazing and the Glory is all to and for The Lord who has seen me through this journey.

I’m also very grateful for each of you that have joined me in this adventure and I give you my word that the best is yet to come.

Having said all that, I’ve been thinking on how I could thank all my readers for all their support. I’ve decided to place ALL MY BOOKS on sale during the month of November. This will give you the opportunity to get any of them that you have not obtained already or to gift it to someone that you wish had read it.  Here’s the breakdown in the order they were published

October 2011 Growth Lessons (From 2.99) $1.99  Amazon, Nook and Smashwords

clip_image002.pngThis was my first book. This one is my only non-fiction so far. I call it a devotional because you don’t it just includes life lessons that The Lord showed me during my first year of coming back to him and my first year into taking the plunge of writing seriously.  This is what some of the reviews have said

I enjoyed the book and could recommend it wholeheartedly with that one proviso. ”

June 2013 The Road Home (From 4.99) $2.99 Amazon, Nook and Smashwords

clip_image002.pngI have to admit that I have a special attachment to this book.  There are some parts of this book that come from my life experiences, but it was also my first work of fiction and also my first NaNoWriMo project. I learned a lot about myself writing this book. This is what the reviewers have said.

 

November 2012 Season’s Greetings from Amelia (From 2.99) $1.50 Amazon, Nook and Smashwords

clip_image002.jpgThis was a very fun novella to write. I love crime shows and was fascinated with serial killer stories so I wanted to create my own, but with a twist.  This is was reviewers have said.

 

 

 

October 2013 A Brother’s Vow (From $7.99) $3.50 Amazon, Nook and Smashwords

A Brother's Vow (Final)This is the last book I published. This book has a complicated plot. This was the first time I had challenged myself to have a book with these many characters where they all shine on their own. This one too started as a NaNo project. It’s a story that I personally enjoy reading beyond the fact that I wrote it.  This is what the reviewers are saying.

“This is a story about interconnected lives and the consequences of the actions of everybody in the family. It’s not just about one black sheep and his struggle to change. The spiritual lessons you can learn from each member of the Benson family surprise you as you make your way through this complex story and navigate their successes and failures. This isn’t women’s fiction. It’s complex adult fiction with a message for everyone who has promises to keep” Mary Findley

Think about it for just $10 you can get all four 🙂 So now that the holidays are here and you get some down time, stock up on good reading materials or stuff those e-readers that you are giving out as Christmas presents.

As always, Thanks You for your support. Until next time… be blessed.

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Its Nano-time!

Recently the stores are not waiting even for October to start putting out Christmas things for us to buy. I started seeing lights, trees and ornaments as early as the summer. I remember when Christmas used to start closer to Thanksgiving, now the preparations are beginning right after the fireworks of the fourth of July.

However, the sights of Christmas decorations don’t make me think of festivities. It does remind to prepare for the celebration of the birth of My Lord and Savior, but that’s on my spiritual side. As a writer it starts to get my juices flowing for the event that I look forward all year around.

I have never been the athletic type. When I was taking journalism courses in college I took some sports journalism classes because I was determined to live vicariously by those with the gift of athletic ability. At that time, my dream was to cover the Olympic Games or the Superbowl as a journalist. But the Word says that you shall ask and you will receive and as a writer now I have a yearly Superbowl of my own… NaNoWriMo!

The coolest thing is that I don’t have to go through eliminations or rigorous exercises or a qualifying process to participate in my “Superbowl” All I have to do is go to www.nanowrimo.org and register for free… what an awesome thing! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s the challenge to write a novel of 50k words or more in the month of November. Talk about an adrenaline rush.

This will be my fourth year. If you want to try it, you still have time. It doesn’t start until tonight at midnight. If you’re like me, you will be at 11:55pm with laptop in hand looking at the watch and the fingers ready to start. However, I have a dilemma that all of you can help me with. I have two stories to choose from to write this year and I can’t make up my mind on which one to write. Remember I have to start writing it tonight so your votes need to be casted ASAP.

oie_925716pIaKN5y6Story 1: The adulteress- Contemporary Christian Fiction

A couple who’s been married for 18 years start struggling with the wife’s sudden desire for freedom and her infidelities. Can this marriage be restored? Can a praying husband bring his wife back to Christ?

Story 2: Greetings from Saint Nick- Murder-Mystery Christian Fiction

This is the sequel of Seasons Greeting from Amelia (Novella coming out December 14th) (Background on the Amelia Novella- Amelia and Daisy are high school friends. Daisy starts finding random letters from Amelia in her house, but Amelia is nowhere to be found. In each letter Amelia confesses to her best friend some of her crimes and leaving clues of the crimes she’s about to commit. Can Amelia be stopped? )

Then in Greetings from Saint Nick, Nicholas is Amelia’s son, now in college. Estelle, Daisy’s daughter, suspects that Nicholas is following in his mother’s footsteps, but nobody believes her. Is it true? Is Estelle just imagining things?

These will not be the covers for the actual books once they come up for publication. I just did these for fun.

I would love your opinion and looking forward to starting my writing “ Superbowl” tonight”

Go Pandas!!

My Lessons from NaNoWriMo 2011

Every year is the same thing, the challenge to write a novel in 30 days of 50,000 words or more. But is it really the same thing? In my three years doing Nano I can attest that it’s never the same experience, even if you’re meeting with the same people. So like every experience you take something out of it and I’m going to share my lessons from this year.

  • Thou shall not publish a book in October if you’re planning to participate in NaNoWriMo. Goodness gracious alive! It was my first time, and as first timers go, I didn’t know any better. I had no idea of all the work involved once you’re published and balancing all that was quite challenging.
  • Write-ins are your friends – I don’t think I would have made it this year without the write-ins and the support from my Pandas (Atlanta’s wrimos) There were days I couldn’t write being overwhelmed with other responsibilities, and writer’s block rode on my back all month, but you get to a write-in with the mindset that during that block of time is to focus on Nano, and you also talk out your hurdles and everyone pitches in, it was awesome!
  • Not all wrimos are created equal I think I took for granted that I was kind of veteran in this NaNo business and the first week I pushed very hard ending with 30k. You may think that’s amazing! Yeah, but then I was burned out and dragged the rest of the month. You shall never compare yourself to those non-human wrimos who can write 50k in a day (no names mentioned Smile with tongue out) and know that 3-5k for you is ok that way you’re not banging yourself against the walls in the middle of November.
  • Sleep is not optional – As much as I enjoy working all day and night… Wait, who am I kidding, I love my sleep! and  I missed it so much this month. If my plot came to me in a dream, then why didn’t I just take a nap when I was stuck. My brain just doesn’t function well with little sleep, it does things like forget to pay the bills, drive pass my exit, lose my car keys that are in my pocket…not a pretty picture!
  • I love my wrimo family – I have to say that at least in my region, wrimos are very close, even if we only see each other once a year. We stay in touch sporadically through social media throughout the rest of the year, but I’ve met some dear friends through this program. This year, a beautiful lady with whom I speak every day on twitter from Canada came to Atlanta and I had the opportunity to finally put a face with a name.  I also met two other Christian writers, one who I was her mentor and the other one who came to one of my write-ins. It’s a great experience overall.

So even when I did write over 50k this year, I don’t consider it a win because I didn’t complete the novel, but I had fun, met some fun and exciting people, was able to get with my friends again, ate the best coconut cake in town, didn’t gain weight during Nano and overall enjoyed the process of a new creation.

Until NaNoWriMo 2012, Have a blessed day!

Remember as it says in that cute green picture on the left side of my blog. From Dec 2nd to the 6th 99 hours of inspirational books by 10 authors for 99 cents, including Growth Lessons. Right in time for the holidays!

NaNoWriMo has arrived!

…and we shall surrender to the fire that runs through our veins. We shall abandon it all for the upmost desire, the one that will allow the adrenaline to run, the words to entangle and the body to stop breathing…

Oops! I had not seen you there! I’m just getting ready for tomorrow…well tonight. NaNoWriMo starts right at 12:00am and I’ll be ready. I did my last trip to the store to stock on goodies for the month.

By now, some of you have gone to your kick off parties and have received tons of tips and advise from experienced Wrimos, but just in case let me do for you a virtual Nano Prep-Kit:

Icy Hot is your friend- I discovered that during my second Nano. When you are going to many write-ins and having many word wars your wrist become unhappy, but you need to continue writing to get through that word count. It works like magic…it does smell, but it’ll wake you up to make you write some more.

Fill your pantry with hot pockets and ramen noodles- it’s not because of budget reasons. You don’t have too much cooking time. Save your grocery money for your write-ins and take that opportunity for a good meal, but unless you have someone else cooking at home… you need to do something quick. You have writing to do! Remember to buy frozen meals for your family if you’re the one in charge of meals…it’s against the law to cook in November for Wrimos…I tried to warn you!

Coffee– This is vital, you don’t need sleep. You can sleep in December. November is for writing. We will allow you a quick nap here and there so you don’t hallucinate…although that may help your story.

The rules for Thanksgiving– I use to host Thanksgiving every year at my home. Nano broke me out of that bad habit really quick. Now I allow others the opportunity to cook for three days and have their houses to clean afterwards and I offer to bring dessert; which will be carefully made by a local supermarket. Lessons to be learned.

Treats- buy your favorite treats and reward yourself after different milestones in your word count. Also buy your kids, dog, cat or all of the above new toys and treats so that they have something to do while you’re writing.

SAVE YOUR WORK!-Omg! You have no idea how many times we have lost thousands of words, full pages and some have lost their whole work because someone accidentally clicked on the wrong button, the cat decided to crawl over the keyboard, the baby thought the keys looked appealing, the computer decided to die…the thought alone gives me a panic attack. But do not fret. The other thing I’ve learned is about dropbox.com It’s a free storage place for your documents and pictures. You can access it from any computer as long as you have internet access. You can even access it from your Ipad and IPhone. So if the computer dies your novel doesn’t go to the grave with it…but not even dropbox can save the novel for you. Do not trust auto save…every 15 minutes or so hit the save button, it takes 1 second and it will save you from a heart attack or pulling your hairs out.

I finally want to say that I’m very excited as this year I’ll be hosting some 111030-161919write-ins for NaNoWriMo. YAY! Look in the nanowrimo.org site and go to the forums to find out when there will be a write-in close to you. It’s a great experience. For those Pandas in the Atlanta Area that will be going to the write-ins hosted by ‘therisingmuse” look out for these two cute faces.

Happy Noveling!

It’s beginning to smell like Nano

I can’t believe November is around the corner. It’s finally not a hundred and five degrees. I was able to sit outside without the fear of melting. The stores ahead of the game as always have already all the Christmas things out, but the best thing is that it’s Nanowrimo time!

For those who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, it’s the National Novel Writing Month. It’s where thousands of writers abandon themselves into the crazy challenge of writing a novel of 50,000 words or more in just the month of November. This will be my third year doing Nano, but different that my prior years, I have no clue of what I will be writing about.

Us Wrimos (Nano writers) are doing all sorts of preparations at this time. This is our Super bowl, our All Star Game, the moment we wait for all year long. Wrimos are starting to pre-cook meals for their starving families, taking pictures of themselves as that’s all their families are going to see, blocking their calendars from other social events other than our write-ins (meetings of wrimos to write in public places)and buying extra underwear as there will be no time for laundry during the month of November. We will only stop for two hours on Thanksgiving because we need to be thankful to God for our lives, our muse and the turkey and then back to writing.

Do I have many wrimos out there? Do you have a plan set in place? I would love to hear from you.

Let every word count.

The Road to Nanowrimo

Never underestimate the places were God puts you. I’m not saying that it was God’s will for me to be sick for the last week, but  he knew I needed to stop the train of life I was running and there was a lot that I had been praying to hear from him, but had not stopped to listen. Few days in bed shivering with fever, dragging to do every move and knocked out on medication will do wonders to your spiritual ears.

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on the anticipation of my yearly writing main event, Nanowrimo. This is the race to write a novel in a month of 50,000 words or more. Last year was the first time I ventured to do such thing and I was nervous due to the unknown. It’s worth mention that Nanowrimo was the precursor of The Rising Muse. I had so much writing energy after being in writing boot camp that I needed to channel it somewhere, that’s how The Rising Muse was born.  It also gave me the opportunity to finally finish a novel, which in itself was a great accomplishment, winning the competition was not bad at all. The rest of the year has been dedicated to editing the fruits of my labor (hint, hint to my editor, get yourself in gear, we’re trying to publish a book here! LOL!)

Anyway, at 52 hours from facing the challenge one more time, I’ve taken the time to review my life within the last year and see how far God has brought me during this time.  A lot of things have happened in the last 12 months.  I don’t work in the same position, I don’t drive the same car, and I don’t live in the same place. My spirit and my love for God are not even at the same level. I do have more responsibilities, but I wouldn’t trade it for the past. I have new friends, 20 less pounds (that I hope not to gain in November, it tends to happen); a total new life.

In my writing career, what have been those accomplishments in the last 12 months?

  • My first publication, the short story “The Janitor”
  • Winning Nanowrimo, “ The Road Home”
  • Starting my blog, “The Rising Muse”
  • Starting a Spanish Version of the blog with a collaborator (yes, Yanira you deserve a lot of credit too) “TRM en Espanol”
  • My second publication, the story “Obedience and Willingness”

I look at it and I can’t believe it myself. Someone asked me today which was the  accomplishment  I was most proud of in my life ; I responded allowing God to shine through the talents he gave me and letting him use my gifts and mistakes to touch other people’s lives. So to him the Glory of all he’s allowed me to do!

Now at 51 hours the clock continues to race for me to start writing, “Breaking Free”. I think we’re doing better this year. Last year my novel didn’t have a title until the very end. I think we have a good start. Last year the anxiety was because I didn’t know what I was facing. This year the anxiety is because I do know what’s coming.

I want to take the opportunity to thank God for his love, mercy and for giving me this gift. I thank all my readers, my friends and family for your support. Thanks to Yolanda and Jeff for inviting me for the second year to their house for Thanksgiving allowing me to write instead of cooking. I promised a pie and a cake, Publix may end up doing them for me…LOL! To Seth, my editor, for loving me and putting up with my Spanglish writing. Only he understands the things I write, especially when I write in a hurry.

To those around me, remember, as of Monday there’s no cooking. My dog will appreciate visitors to let her out and I will appreciate anyone bringing me a sandwich, a smoothie (Carrie hint, hint), a soy chai latte or (Noe hint, hint) just listen to me fuss about how this story is not coming along. Let the writing begin!!!! 50 hours to go!!!