Back and Happy to be Here!

Hi, Friends! I’m later in rejoining the blogging world than I had hoped, but I’m baaack!!

I survived NaNoWriMo, hitting 50,022 words on November 23rd. My project, however, is a complete disaster. It isn’t just in need of shaping up and editing, it’s in need of a complete overhaul—plus an additional 30K to make it into a book. Although I can say I “won” NaNo (YAY!), I’m not sure “Belladonna Cottage” will ever see the light of day.

NaNoWriMo 2019 winner banner

On the plus side, I came away with three strong characters and a setting I hope to reuse in a different story. The basic premise I developed for Belladonna didn’t work, but there’s enough bare-bones material to build from. And as a winner, I got to purchase Scriverner for half price. Now I just have to take the time to work through the tutorial and learn how to use the program.

Thanksgiving followed by a mini vacation kept me mostly offline, and when I returned to my day job, I was swamped. Isn’t that always the case when you go away? I had hoped to be back to blogging by the beginning of December. I know I’ve missed a lot of your blog posts, but I’m glad to be back and looking forward to engaging.

For those of you who did NaNo—whether you came out a winner or didn’t quite manage to hit that 50K goal—I hope you had a lot of fun participating. And word count of any kind is never wasted (even the hot mess I ended up with)!

I may actually do Camp NaNo in April. And did you know that the NaNoWriMo website, is now open for projects any time? That means you can create your own word goal any time you wish and track your project. I like that idea. 🙂

For those of you in the U.S., I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving. Hubby and I enjoyed time with family, then took a mini beach vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We put our Christmas tree up when we got back, and I have been listening to Christmas music on Sirius Radio daily. I just love this time of year!

A collection of Christmas bulbs in white, gold and silver on a blue background. Also, small gold Christmas tree and silver bells

Even with NaNo in November, I managed to read a few books, and hope to share some of the reviews tomorrow. Wednesday Weirdness will be back in full swing on the eleventh, and by then I should be settled in again. Thanks for bearing with me during my hiatus. I would never have hit 50K in November otherwise. I’ve missed you all!

Let me know what you’ve been up to. Have you started a new writing project? Are you finishing one up? And—most important of all—can you believe Christmas is almost here?I’m scrambling to finish up my holiday shopping. What about you?

64 thoughts on “Back and Happy to be Here!

    • I’m pretty sure you were writing the book with Silver for NaNo. I have been waiting for that one. Congrats on your win too. Way to go!! And maybe we’ll figure out Scrivener around the same time, LOL!

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  1. Mae, lovey to see you back -I’ve missed you! Congratulations on hitting the 50K target and that alone is an extraordinary feat which should be celebrated! 🎉🎁Maybe not the complete novel you hoped to have but lots to work with forwards. Ahh … your mini vacation sounds heavenly and must have felt sublime after all that writing… to just relax and be with your family. Have a festive buildup to Christmas! Xx 😀❤️

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    • Hi, Annika! Many thanks for the welcome back. I got a lot accomplished with NaNo, and enjoyed my mini vacation but really missed being online and seeing everyone’s blot posts. It’s great to be back, and I hope to catch a second breath at the start of the New Year. Wishing you a festive build-up to the holidays as well. I am such a sentimental sap at this time of year, LOL!

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  2. HUGE Congrats on completing NaNoMo, Mae. It sounds like you knocked that word count right out of the park! WooHoo! I’m in the middle of a trilogy at the moment and just broke into the 60k word count on book 2. Book 1 came in at just over 81k. I’m taking a little extra time off from writing this month, though, and will take 2 weeks off completely over the Christmas and New Year period. Have a great festive period 🙂

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    • Wow, Harmony you are knocking word count off the planet! (See how I did that, knowing your series is sci-fi, LOL). You’ve certainly earned that holiday break. I don’t expect to get any writing done than either. Maybe a blog post or two if I’m lucky. Wishing you lots of festive fun as well!

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  3. Congrats on hitting the goal! You were missed. As you know, I hit the 50K mark on November 29. The novel is a mess, but salvageable. I still need another 25K or so words to finish, which I hope to do this month. However, I’ve written less than 250 words after completing it. I’m at the point now that I feel I need to go back and fix the major issues before I move forward.

    I’m blogging at a slower pace this month but want to get back into it full swing in January.

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    • Hey, after winning NaNo you get to slow down a bit, Joan, so no worries about adding extra word count. I didn’t touch my first NaNo win until June of the following year. Of course, YOU are not allowed to let A Cold Dark Night sit that long, because I am eagerly awaiting it’s release. I think I’m Jason’s biggest fan (well, minus the author of course, LOL).

      Congrats on your win, and I think everyone will slow down over the holidays and come back strong in January. That’s my plan, too!

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    • A short story sounds like a nice diversion after NaNo, Priscilla. And even though I don’t have a usable book from NaNo, I’m definitely hooked on a few of the characters I created. Now I just have to find the right vehicle for them. What fun!

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  4. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo! I was a winner too with a bit over 53,000 words. Still have a bunch more to write too. Glad you got away. Berlin and that area is such a quaint place to go. I haven’t been back in many years but my whole family is still there ☺️

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    • My mind is still reeling that we may have run into one another (or seen each other passing on the street) back in our younger days. A small world indeed. I love Berlin and the beachy areas of Maryland and Delaware. Definitely my second home.

      Congrats on your NaNo win. I had no doubt that you would nail it. Can’t wait to see what you came up with when your ready to release it to the world. 🙂

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      • My husband grew up in Baltimore and both of our families had homes in OC but we didn’t meet til college. It’s such a small area, you just know that paths had to have crossed. I was a bit self absorbed as a teen, so I was clueless to what was around me ☺️

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  5. Welcome back!! I’ve missed you on your blog, on MY blog, and in my email Inbox! 🙂 Congratulations on your success with NaNo. I’d say you can count that one a BIG win, whether it’s an actual book in the making or simply a starting point for another tale. Regardless, you wrote 50,000+ words and won the contest. Fabulous! And I’m in awe. The minute I know a clock is ticking or there’s a goal I simply must meet, my perverse little brain closes shop. Even Rabbit won’t talk to me. 😦 But that’s okay. I still recognize what a super accomplishment it is, and how well it works for so many other folks.

    On my news front, while you were celebrating your anniversary (congratulations on that, too!), I finished and PUBLISHED The Light. It’s only available on Kindle, so far, but in another week or so, I’ll be putting together the print version, as well. I’m super excited that this one is finally done, and I’m really looking forward to working on a brand new project. I’ll be starting the 3rd Emissary novella as soon as possible, so I can offer the 3 combined in print as well as Kindle. So, I’m feeling about 1,000 pounds lighter than I did while I was struggling to wrap up Rabbit’s latest adventure, and nearly giddy with excitement at the new possibilities ahead!

    And I’m counting the days until the next A.X.L. Pendergast novel is released. I can’t wait, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be counting the days, as well. We need a PenderFix!!! 😀

    Again, welcome home! 🙂 ❤

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    • Hi, Bestest Pender Pal!!!

      I thought of you often while I was plugging away at NaNo. First–HUGE Congrats on releasing The Light. As soon as I saw your comment I did a warp-speed hop to Amazon and purchased my copy. Big Snoopy Dance!! I have a short novella in queue to read before Rabbit and then I will be diving into WRR 4. I know it will be spectacular. And hearing that Emissary 3 will be in the works is icing on the happy-reader cake.

      I will definitely do NaNo again–especially now that I realize you don’t have to start a project from scratch but can just pick up wherever you are on your current WIP and plan to add 50K. I think I may even track upcoming projects on the NaNo site for extra motivation. I’ve been so used to working under publisher deadlines the last few years, I think I need that extra pressure. Crazy, huh?

      Anyway, it is good to be back. We will have lots of catching up to do. And, like you, I need an A.X.L. fix! 🙂

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  6. Congrats on winning NaNo! I also like the idea of the website being open anytime to set goals. The holidays just aren’t a good time for me. Good luck with Scrivener – I have friends who swear by it, but I’ve never had the guts to try it. I’ve heard the learnilng curve can be long, but it’s invaluable once you’ve got it down. Happy Belated Anniversary – and glad you’re back, Mae!

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    • NaNo is torture for writers like us in the U.S. I basically figure I have to hit that 50K mark in three weeks instead of 4, because Thanksgiving week word count just isn’t going to happen, LOL. I am excited about the website being open year round to track projects and may give that a go in the New Year.

      I bought Scrivener for Windows the first time I “won” NaNo and never used it. Then I made the switch to Mac. I figure I’ll give it another go. It takes an hour to work through the tutorial. I just need to set aside that time.

      Thanks for the welcome back. It feels like hanging out in the old neighborhood again, LOL!

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  7. Glad you won, and hope you make out with Scrivener. I haven’t started anything new, but finished Grinders. I’ve returned to Lanternfish and have hit the middle slog. You missed some root monsters at the writing cabin. (Lisa keeps them in the vegetable crisper.) You guys were all missed and I’m glad to have you back.

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    • It’s great to be back, Craig. I’m uber excited that Grinders will soon be ready for the publishing world, and you know I love Lanternfish (I had to pop over and see what was happening at the writing cabin with the root monsters and Lisa).
      Thanks for the welcome. I so missed everyone while tackling NaNo!

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  8. Welcome back, Mae! 🙂 Congrats on the NaNo win. Every word counts and cheers on the flourish of new ideas! Wonderful to know you enjoyed a nice holiday, too!
    I’m gradually winding things down for the holidays. Our house is fully decorated and the magic of the season fills the air. Cheers to the festive spirit in all its bounty. 🙂

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    • Hi, Natalie! Many thanks for the congrats on the NaNo win. I might have a mess of a book, but I did fall in love with a few of my characters 🙂

      I think everyone is in the wind-down to the holidays frame of mind. In the U.S., Christmas comes really fast for us this year, because Thanksgiving came so late. I love this time of year and everything about it. I bet your house looks beautiful!
      Sending you bright and festive holiday greetings, my friend!

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    • Thanks for the welcome back, Jacqui. I missed everyone while I was offline. It’s so nice to be back.

      I did a lot of planning in October so I had a good springboard for NaNo. Even so–ugh!–I made a mess of things. But yes, I am really happy about the characters and the salvageable setting. I just have to find the right story vehicle to use everything in!

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  9. Congrats on Nano! Sorry the work’s a mess, though. You did so much planning ahead for it, I had high hopes you’d end up with a jewel:) Bummer. Glad you’re back, though. And good luck with whatever you decide to do next.

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    • Thanks, Judi. The plot sounded good in the planning stages but once I started putting it on paper I ran into some major holes. The good thing is almost all of the characters are reusable in other vehicles, I just have to find the right ones for them!

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  10. I’m glad you are back, too. Congratulations on your 50K+. I’m sure you will be able to make use of what you have written. Nothing much new here. Still finalizing the edits on my WIP. should have a call for beta readers in January.

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  11. Congrats on your win, even if it didn’t turn out as expected. Happy belated anniversary, as well! A beach vacation sounds perfect ❤
    I finished one project (my first women's fiction) and have another on the go- deadline is the end of December, yikes!
    We went to a Light the ships parade and a GIANT truck parade- so cool! Other than that, I've been gobbling up the Hallmark holiday movies, lol
    Glad you're back 🙂

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    • Jacquie, those parades sound awesome. I would have loved to have seen both.
      I am so freaking excited about your first women’s fiction. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on that one.

      I’m glad I participated in NaNo–had a brainstorm about a few of the characters last night–and our anniversary trip was lovely.

      Hallmark Holiday movies rule. I’m also looking forward to having Yule Log on the TV come Christmas Eve and Christmas, LOL.

      Many thanks for the welcome back!

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  12. Congratulations Mae, the gains are always positive, as no word we write is ever wasted. I am glad you have crafted some strong characters and isn’t that your forte?
    I had a wonderful break this November, meeting family and friends in India. No groans for long tiresome flights as they were worth the yearly welcome we get. Have a wonderful holiday season.

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    • Balroop, I am so glad you got to spend time with family and friends in India. I’m sure those are memories you treasure. Thank you for the congrats and the holiday wishes. And yes, I am super excited about the characters. Thank you so much for the compliment on my character development.

      Sending you wishes for a warm and lovely holiday season!

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  13. Well done on writing your 50 000 words, Mae. I have just been plodding along marketing my existing books and working on my new book, A ghost and his gold. I am glad that title still works despite my re-modelling. Glad to see you back, Mae, and hope to read a few posts from you before I take my Christmas blogging break.

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    • Thanks for the congrats, Robbie. Those 50K words are a mess, but they’re still words, LOL. I’m glad to hear “a ghost and his gold” is still coming along. It sounds wonderfully intriguing. Thanks for the welcome back, and hopefully I’ll have a few posts to share before the holidays. Wishing you an awesome break when it comes and fun-filled holidays!

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  14. Happy Wedding Anniversary, Mae:)

    I like the idea of picking your own time frame to do NaNo. Its nice to have something waiting for me when I finishing editing This Last Chance.

    I still keep eyeing Scrivener…

    I love this time of year, too. Holiday Sirius is up and running. Welcome back.

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    • Thanks for the welcome back, and anniversary wishes Denise! I think you have until November 2020 to take advantage of the Scrivener offer, so you have plenty of time to decide, LOL.

      Wishing you the best with editing. And enjoy Holiday Sirius. When I don’t have “Holly” on Sirius, I’m playing Christmas music on Pandora. So lovely and festive!

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  15. It’s great to have you back, Mae! Congrats on crossing the finish line. It was interesting how the challenge really kicked in the motivation. I didn’t want to disappoint myself. And even though I didn’t make the 50,000 words, I did manage to add a good 30,000 to an existing WIP and I’m happy with the way it went. I look forward to your posts. And NO, I can’t believe Christmas is almost here!!

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    • Jan, you did AMAZING! And I think this was your first time doing NaNo so you really kicked butt. That is a wonderful word count to carry over on your WIP. A huge congrats to you!!
      Thanks for the welcome back and yes wishes for the holiday season. Like you said, Christmas is almost here!

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  16. Glad to hear you had a great bit of time off, something besides writing 😀 I can so relate to the different between sitting down to write because it’s time to sit down to write, and sitting down to write and catching the “groove”. I can definitely tell the difference in the draft! What a great idea to at least reuse the characters even if the draft is trash. Glad you’re back!

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    • Back and still behind, LOL. I’m sure you understand that, too. NaNo sucks a lot out of us.

      I was toying with those characters last night, running through some scenarios in my head. Nothing has hit the keyboard yet, but it’s a start 🙂

      Thanks for the welcome back!

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  17. I finished NANO with 51,000+ words and a WIP that is utter crap. I do like the characters and some of the scenes that I created, but like you, I’m not sure this WIP will ever see the light of day. It needs a complete over hall and about 20,000 words to finish.

    I haven’t gotten back into blogging just yet, things at the Jones’ house are chaos. But my plan is to get back next week. Wish me luck. I do have a few days off, not counting Christmas.

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    • Wow, Michele, a HUGE congrats to you. I think this was your first time doing NaNo, so you nailed it. Even if it’s “utter crap” (like mine, LOL), what a triumph to churn out that word count. And there is always something salvageable. I’m still toying with my characters in my head and changing up the plot for them.

      With the holidays fast approaching, I think everyone is distracted. Fingers crossed for you on a return next week, but if you don’t make it, the first of the year is a great time t dive back in. Enjoy your holidays and your time off!

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