The paperback version of Snowbound is live!

ImageJust wanted to let you know the paperback version of Snowbound is finally live via my CreateSpace store. You’ll be able to purcase it from Amazon in a few days. Ebook version is still in the works. I had a some formatting issues which I am trying to get sorted ASAP. So, if you are in the mood for a love story set in snowy Vermont with a nice holiday mood, then Snowbound is just the thing for you. 🙂

I’ll keep you posted on when the ebook version (which will be available for all ereaders) will be ready.

Some of you may remember Snowbound as my Nanowrimo 2011 novel. It was also the novel that helped me complete Nanowrimo on time for the very first time.

More novellas and short stories will be coming your way soon, so keep checking in. 🙂

Happy reading (and writing)!

I am a NaNoWinner

That's me!

At 6:48AM this morning, something magical happened: I wrote the last sentence of my NaNoWriMo novel. I was so focused on writing that I forgot to eat breakfast. My fingers danced over the keyboard and so many ideas sprang into my head that I could barely keep up with them. Then I looked up at my Project Targets window in Scrivener and realized that I had written more than 50,000 words. I was done. For a few minutes, I was completely stunned–this was the first time I’d finished Nanowrimo on time–in fact, I finished it a day early.

But my joy was short-lived–when I tried to validate, the Official Nanowrimo Validator claimed I hadn’t written 50,000+ words. According to the validator, I was shy of the official target by 367 words. I wanted to scream. I checked Scrivener.  The Project Target window still showed 50,067 words. I tried again. Nope, the NaNoValidator still claimed I was short of words. So what was I to do? I wanted to validate my novel so I wrote exactly 367 more words just so it would be “official”.

But the most important thing is that I did it–I managed to write the first draft of a novel that I can revise and either submit to agents or publish myself and I did it in 29 days. I am proud of myself for actually writing so quickly and ignoring my inner editor and my evil inner critic and wrote without worrying if every sentence was perfect or if I forgot to bring in some plot points until I was nearly finished the book. I can fix all those problems when I revise and I don’t have to feel like I can’t finish Nanowrimo on time anymore. I know I can. Because I did. 🙂

Nano Update Week 4 — 40K? You betcha!

Picture: Andy Shapiro

This week has been a really productive writing week. The words have flowed easily, even without having the final chapters outlined. My characters are, for the most part, doing what I want them to do. The manuscript is, of course, not perfect. There are scenes that are nothing more than dialogue–those “talking head” scenes where you don’t bother to add details about who is where or how they react physically. There are scenes that are way too much “telling” instead of “showing”. All of that will be fixed when I begin revising. I am just happy that I made it this far without falling completely off track.

If I am lucky this weekend, I may actually be able to wrap up this baby. I am not going to count on it. Who knows if I will have the steam to write as much as I did last weekend. I may be too busy making my belated Thanksgiving dinner. As long as I get my word count goals completed I will be happy. So what is my official word count now? 40,330 words. I have roughly 1200 more words to write today to reach my minimum daily word count. I will write the rest of it when I come home from work. Right now, it’s 6:30AM in Stockholm and I need to eat breakfast. I’ve already put in a half-hour of writing.

So what’s happening now? The roads are finally open again. The people of hunters Grove are digging themselves out of the remnants of the storm. Mia and Jake get another surprise visitor…and it doesn’t look good for Evan… I wonder what will happen next. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see… 🙂

Nano Update Week 4 — Only 14,000 more words to go!

Photo: Gary Stanley

Considering how awful week 3 started off, this is the best Nanowrimo I’ve ever had! I was four days behind and I managed to get back on track. I am now on par, by the end of today I will be at around 37,000 words. So at the moment I have 14,000 more words to go but by the time I stop writing today, I will be at 13,000 words and counting.

I realize now that every year in the past (with the exception of the first time I did Nanowrimo) I managed to get stuck in the Nano Taco (as Chris Baty calls it)–the toughest period when you’ve come to around 20000 words and your brain short circuits. This year, I made sure I had a good outline so I could stay (for the most part) on track. The story I am writing isn’t exactly the same as the one I outlined but it hasn’t veered so far off course. I’ve managed to hold the story together by not getting too caught up when I can’t think of what I want minor characters to do or say. Now I don’t even worry about it. I just tell my Inner Editor/Critic to wait until later when it’s time to revise. Then I jot down some notes of how I think I can fix it and move on.

So what’s going on the story? The storm has passed but the problems it caused are still looming. Can Jake and Mia work through them? Or will Evan’s scheming push them apart…? We’ll see…

Nano Update, Week 3 redux — Chugging to 30K and new excerpt online

So now I’ve crossed the 28000K threshold–yay me! And the story is rolling along mighty nicely. As of now, I have 28500 words written. I think I could make it to 30K tonight.

If you want to read any of it, go to the Nanowrimo 2011 tab here on the blog and you can read a new excerpt, this one is from Chapter Six.

So what’s happening now? Well, Jake and Mia return home and find Mia’s married ex, Evan, shivering in the driveway. He thinks he can talk Mia into continuing their affair. Little does he know that and Jake have already admitted their attraction to one another. A storm’s blowing in and the winds have picked up. Will they be able to get Evan back on the road or will they be stuck with him for the night…?

Just to get you in a Vermont mood, here’s a view of West Windsor, Vermont blanketed in snow.

Nano Update Week 3–Crossed the 25K Threshold

I did it! I crossed the 25000-word threshold! I am still behind in my word count but I have written enough so that I’ve shaved off two of the four days I’d fallen behind schedule. Last night, I wrote over 3250 words total. The night before I wrote 2500 words. I want to make it to 30000 or more words by Sunday. If I write at least 2000 words per day between now and then I will have 31000 words. I could probably write more, I am getting to an interesting part of the story.

And what’s that? Well, a snowstorm is blowing in from Canada. Mia and Jake are getting closer…and now Evan, the married ex-, has called and said he’s on his way. Will Mia’s newfound resolve falter when she sees him again?

Nano Update: Week 3

Well, this week has been a week marked by sluggishness. Not because I am losing steam. This is sluggishness caused by having the cold from Hell. I should be closing in on 30,000 words by now. Actually, today I should be at the 26,666-word mark. I am nowhere near there. I am at 21,899 words. Why? Well, on Friday, I began feeling under the weather. It started with a bit of brain fog, the telltale sign of upcoming sinus problems and cold. I ignored it. I thought it was just that I was hungry and my blood-sugar levels were low from not having a mid-day snack. Then I woke up on Saturday and the back of my nose and throat burned. I still thought it was no big deal. Took my multivitamin, went for a walk, came home and did some writing. And then the sneezing started. And then the fever came. And then the runny nose made its appearance. By Sunday, my nose was sore, congested and runny. My sinuses throbbed. By Monday, I was running a fever of 100.2°F (37.9°C). I have been trying to stay on track but writing with a fever has proved impossible. I didn’t manage to get any writing done on Monday. I was feeling a bit better on Tuesday and managed to write 2000 words. If I am lucky, I will manage 2000 words today. At least the fever is gone. The main thing plaguing me now is inner-ear pain caused by pressure from my congested sinuses. I will probably go back to work tomorrow since the fever is now gone. I will need to bust my ass the rest of the week and this weekend to get back on track.

So what’s happening now? Not much. A long, meandering chapter in which Jake and Mia go to a tree farm to pick out a Christmas tree. And Jake realizes he’s attracted to Mia. And since my story is set in Vermont, I figured we could enjoy a view of the Northeast Kingdom region in Vermont I found on Yankee Magazine‘s website. It was a reader-submitted photograph for their 2011 Autumn Photo contest but I couldn’t find the name of the photographer.

Nano Update: End of Week 2

I am coming to what many say is the hardest part of Nanowrimo–getting past the 20,000-word threshold. I am pretty close. I should have crossed it yesterday but I had a translation to work on and I wasn’t feeling well (and I went out after work on Thursday and Friday). My plan was to spend all Saturday writing. For the most part, I did. But, since I fell behind already on Thursday, I had a lot of writing to do. Still, I think today I will be able to pass 20000 words and be on par for the Sunday goal.

So what’s happening in my story now? Well, Mia goes into the guest house attic when Jake isn’t at home to look for her grandmother’s Christmas decorations. While searching, she finds Jake’s trunks full of his camera equipment and notebooks. Snoopy girl that she is, she reads part of one of his journals and learns that Jake was in Afghanistan, working for Reuters, when he saw a woman killed by a sniper. She’s stunned by the flood of emotions in his writing and wonders if this is what has indirectly led him to Vermont.

That’s it for now. Time to get dressed, take a walk and then head to Thelins Konditori for some java, lunch and writing.

Nano Update Week 2, midweek

Just a quickie to let you know that I have now crossed the 15k word count threshold. I’m pretty proud of myself. This time last year I’d already run out of interest and steam. Of course, I was also trying to write while doing the work of three people and working way too much overtime. But this year life feels relatively normal and I feel like I have my writing mojo again.

So where are we so far in the story? Mia’s met the hot South African who’s renting her deceased grandmother’s guest cottage, they’ve already had their “don’t really like you” moment and now her godmother has arrived with the perfect plan to distract Mia from her broken heart–singing Christmas carols on the village green…that’s it for now! 🙂

Week One: Nanoprogress

I think the same thing happens to me whether it’s Nanowrimo or any other writing project–I start off with a bang and get tons done the first and second day before something distracts me the third day.

That’s not to say that this year is going poorly. It’s actually going really well. I am much more interested in my current story than I ever was with last year’s story. So what’s my problem? I don’t know. I think it’s the scope of the project–50,000 words in 30 days–that suddenly seems daunting on Day 3 whereas on Days 1 and 2 it was something I could just chuckle about and say, “Yeah, yeah, no problem.” But I am trying to stick to my plan of writing at least 1667 words a day. If I can maintain that tempo I will have finished on time and I will be pleased as punch with myself.

So my plan to stay on track? Get up every morning and write before I eat breakfast. Usually I can get at least 800 words written even in my zombie morning state. The remaining 867 words I write in the evening when I come home from work. This is the more difficult part because the social part of me wants to go out and meet people, the lazy part of me wants to watch TV or read a book. So the more ambitious part of me has to remind myself that if I ever want anyone (besides me and my writing buddy) to read my work I have to finish it. That is usually enough to get me going again.

Music helps. I have my Spotify playlist for Nanowrimo 2011 and it pushes me forward. It’s around 2 hours of music that I think captures the feel of what I am trying to write. If you have Spotify, here’s a link to my playlist. I usually make one every year so if you’re interested you can also listen to 2009 and 2010’s playlists.

Now it’s time for me to return to writing. I’ve got around 700 more words to write today to stay on track and I want to finish it before I eat dinner.

By the way, you’ll be able to read the synopsis and the very, very rough version of chapter one tomorrow afternoon.

For those of you who are nanoing this year, how’s it going for you?