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Can’t Talk, Reading Guest Post

So… how’d you do? Did you cross the finish line yet?

I made it on the 25th with 50001 words, no kidding. The story is… I don’t know yet. I have half a mind to redraft it with a different concept, and half a mind to finish it as-is. There are bits I *really* like. There are bits I can’t stand. So, pretty much all first drafts, heh.

Today I’m pleased to host my friend Bella Leone for a Can’t Talk, Reading post. She has a new book out herself, one with boys and kissing. No down side. Enjoy!


Why haven’t I been writing?

Well part of it is because I’m making a human, and that shit is some serious energy suck. My baby will be a ten pounder if my exhaustion has anything to do with it.

The other reason I’m not writing?

Jenny Lawson.

The Bloggess to most people.

She has an amazingly hysterical blog at I read her posts and snicker at my desk trying to pretend I’m working hard when in all actuality I’m reading about taxidermied rodents, wine-slushies, and sloth hugs. I also follow her on Twitter to see what her daily shenanigans entail, usually medication and robots.

I’d like to be Jenny Lawson when I grow up. She’s delightfully fucked up in a charming and adorable way. She makes me feel…not as crazy.

And she now has a book of her childhood and young adulthood adventures!

I thought her blog posts about giant roosters named Beyonce and all the other fabulous ways she’s causing her husband grey hair would be just enough funny to kill the average person, but then I bought Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.


Holy crap. I laughed so hard at the first chapter, I thought I was going to scramble my unborn child. I’ve giggle-snorted so hard I’ve had to take pee breaks. I haven’t been this entertained, second-hand embarrassed, and delightfully delirious about a book in a very long time. Maybe ever.

Jenny has a way of stating things so plainly and simply and with just enough sarcasm that you have a hard time believing her “mostly true” memoir, but you also can’t help but imagine it all. No one could make this shit up! It has to be true! There are some poignant moments, especially when she was writing about her infertility. That struck very close to home, but she also dealt with it with humor and grace or ungraceful spazzing, but it worked and it, again, made me feel less crazy. I really recommend you read this book.

In Jenny’s own words, why you should buy her book:

I wrote a book and it only took me 11 years.  (Shut up, Stephen King.)

You should probably go buy it right now, because it’s filled with awesomeness.  And cocaine.  But only if you hollow it out and fill it with your own cocaine.  I’m not buying you cocaine.  Because I love you.

And that’s why you should buy my book.  Because I’m saving you from yourself.  And from cocaine.


And you will be glad you read it, I promise! And I won’t buy you cocaine either, but I did just give you a great book rec, so it’s kind of the same thing!

- Bella

Check out Bella’s new release from Loose Id, Downpour: 

Weathering one of the fiercest storms of your life can seem almost impossible, but once you’re through it, things can be a whole lot brighter. Markus Simmons, a pre-med student who moonlights as a barista, narrates as he and his long-time crush, Clinton Stewart, learn more about themselves and what they’re willing to go through to heal and be together.It took weeks before Markus knew his crush’s name. It took months of serving him coffee every morning before Markus learned that Clinton was an American History major. It took nearly six months into their senior year at UC Davis before Markus accidentally found out that Clinton had no family, few friends, and rather than the dorms, he actually lived in the library.

Bella Leone is an erotic romance author who discriminates against no combination of lovers. M/M, M/F, F/F, and all multiples thereof are fair game. She writes about people in like, in lust, and, ultimately, in love. Bella recently moved to New England from Arizona with her husband and furry minions. When she’s not writing, she’s usually lending a helping hand to other authors or indulging in her penchant for historical & paranormal fiction, petite brunettes, and athletic gingers.

Week Two!

We are officially one week into NaNoWriMo, and I have already neglected everything in my life including laundry and shaving my legs, so we’re right on track.

I’m working on a romance novel, something I’ve written before but I am attempting to pull off a deep POV, semi-believable romance between two unlikely candidates: an ex-drug addict and a demon.

I tell you, these dudes have beautiful backstories. I can write them alone for hours. Get them in a room together, though, and they just sort of stare at each other, waiting for someone to tell them what they’re doing there. As always when I try something out of my comfort zone, I have a newfound respect for authors of deep POV romance. It’s frigging hard!

I’m ready to write this morning, ensconced at my dining room table with coffee and a laptop. Week two is ever the difficult week of NaNoWriMo, no matter the word count going in, things seem to slow to a crawl this week.

I’ve got things for the blog: A guest post, some Can’t Talk, Reading of my own, and more information on my upcoming release, New to This. In the meantime, enjoy the NaNoWriMo Blog Chain–lots of us crazy people out there!

…and so it begins*

NaNoWriMo is coming right up, less than a month away. I’ve yet again got a novel-in-progress, though not quite AS in progress as Worse Things was last year at this time.

I suspect my brain has been trained, now, to develop story ideas right around this time of year. I thank the discipline of NaNo for that. I’ve been trying to come up with a couple short stories in the mean time, but the brain keeps returning to the new novel, so I’m just going to let it. I’m working on plot structure and how to really get deep in a POV with characters this time around. I’ve been a dedicated world builder, now I want to focus my attention on the people, really get to know them.

Also, it’s a m/m erotic paranormal romance, so that should be fun I think.

This year my local group is full of people I don’t know well, and the people I used to write with every year have nearly all moved on to other things. I suspect I’ll be relying heavily on the online community and the truly awesome people of the NaNo Blog Chain to keep me motivated.

I’m still excited though! This is my favorite time of year :)

*Fable is a great series of games, from which I cribbed that title. You should play them, they’re super fun.


Camp NaNoWriMo (aka summer writing goals)

I have two vacations in June. I’m pretty excited for both of them. I’ll be gone two long weekends for fun and relaxation.

So, thinks me, this would be a good time to work on Worse Things rev. 2, right?

I decided to dive into camp NaNoWriMo, which as far as I can tell is the same as regular NaNoWriMo but with no forums. An excuse, really, to get my butt in the chair and write. June and August are slated for big writing months. I think I’ll use the time on Caroline’s story. If I get her done by July, I’ll use the time to write something else.

So, my camp nano goals deviate a bit from the traditional 50 in 30, but I think it will help keep me motivated. Or at least guilty.

By the end of summer I want Caroline’s second draft done. I hope to begin querying her by January at the latest, so I need to get my rear in gear.

It would also be great to get a new story in the bag, but that’s secondary for the summer.

I’m looking forward to the work! But I’m looking forward to vacation, too ;)


Thank you to everyone who commented on the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt post, and to everyone who played. I think that was about the coolest blog hop I’ve ever been a part of. And the grand prize? DANG. Lucky someone!

I’ve let my little giveaway winner know, so check your email.

Anyone doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year? I’m thinking of using the time to redraft Worse Things. I have big plans for Caroline, including perhaps a first person draft to see how that sounds. I’ve never done an entire novel in first person before, so it will be a new adventure for me!

Thanks again. I had a great time this weekend :D

Writerly People on Twitter

I am kind of a Twitter nut. It works as a networking tool, a feed reader, a news aggregator and also just a fun thing to do. I thought I’d mention some of my favorite Twitter feeds here in case you’re looking for someone interesting or helpful to follow!

@joe_hill: Author who often tweets about process as well as other interesting things like Doctor Who and Skyrim.

@scalzi: bacon cat.

@angelajames: Carina Press editor and runs the Before You Hit Send self-editing class. Good class. My favorite thing she does is #editreport–tweeting tidbits from rejections and acceptances for wannabe writers.

@laurabradford: agent with agently things to say.

@saramegibow: another agent with lots of really good advice.

@chuckwendig: indie author and blogger at Terrible Minds. Frequently hilarious. Also he posted a recipe for a fall pasta dish that I LOVE.

Some great and wise writers I’ve chatted with and really enjoy talking to? @amaliaTd, @surlymuse, @aliviaanders, @rebeccaenzor, @siri_paulson, @BellaLeone, @MargueriteLabbe, @Megan_Hart (srsly, buy her books. You are missing out if you haven’t, big time.),

Lastly, check out the #amwriting and #amwritingsff hashtags. Lots of great people there doing what it is we do. During NaNoWriMo, I also suggest using #nanowrimo for lots of great writerly talk.

I’m @ameliajune on twitter, meself. If you have any suggestions for writerly types I should be following, drop me a DM :D


The NaNo Blog Chain Fate

Now that November has passed, what will happen to the NaNo Blog Chain?

I plan to leave it up all year, and as long as I can going forward. Feel free to remove your blog from the list if it was a 2011-only deal, but I hope to stay in touch with the authors I met and check up on them all year long. I am thrilled to get to know some writer buddies.

So, I’m leaving everything there. Feel free to add your blog at any time, also. If you do NaNoWriMo, even if you join in July, you’re welcome!

Win! A success story, less 10K

Woohoo! I’ve hit the 50K mark (and change) for November writing, thus winning my sixth NaNoWriMo challenge. I actually won the thing while watching the Thanksgiving parade on mute. That was surreal, as it turns out. Huge balloons and dance routines with no sound? Just a bit Ood.

The book is not quite finished. I’m about halfway through the pivotal end scene. Horror and death will soon ensue. I’m looking forward to diving into it today, actually. Horror and death are fun to write. I often wonder what is wrong with me, then I shrug and get back to the killin’ (but only on paper. Yeah. Only paper.)

This was the fastest I’ve ever crossed the NaNo finish line. Looking back, I can think of a few reasons I flew through this novel with six days to spare. (Six days! Luxury.)

1. A writing habit. I had been writing daily, as you, invisible imaginary reader, know. I had been writing/editing nearly every day, possibly with weekends off, for at least a month or two before NaNo began. NaNo doesn’t really allow for days off, but all I had to do was add a couple days a week rather than shift from zero to seven.

2. The story. I had a story well underway by November. I’d written 15K, but more importantly, I’d done nearly all the world building and character research I needed to do already. I had an outline. The outline still had the “and them some stuff happens” 25-35K section, but I had a far better idea where I was going than I have in previous years. I even had something of an endgame in mind, though the endgame got pushed up to the end of the middle game and a different endgame was born. Kinda. This is how it goes, though, as you draft. Middle game. It’s a thing. I also had a real vision for the pacing and theme of the story, so I could always return to those things when stuck.

3. The midnight dash bump. No really. Two sets of word count in one day really do set me off right. I was double where I was supposed to be by the end of day one. It helps.

4. 2K per day. I aimed for that instead of the usual 1667. I read on Twitter that someone was aiming for that, in 500 word chunks. 4 500 word sessions is way less daunting than one 2K session. There were many days I hit 1500, then thought that 500 was so easy, might as well do that also. Worked really, really well.

5. Write ins. I didn’t make very many, due to certain spouses having the nerve to need to work late or something. Gah, don’t spouses know that writing maniacally with a bunch of other writers is more important than income?! Sheesh. However the ones I did get to helped me double my word count for the day.

6. I’ll confess to a small amount of racing with one of my NaNo buddies. I won, too, by about 12 hours. MWAHAHA.

7. Tea. Lots of tea. I can’t really eat as much pie as I would like these days, so went to the mall and treated myself to some tasty fancy teas. Then consumed them in mass quantities (quantiTEAS. See what I did thar?). Treating yourself is always a good thing, no matter how you do it.

8. Constant creative mindset. Even when I wasn’t writing, I kept the RadioMuse channel tuned. I heard a lot of static, but I kept listening. Occasionally something came through, and was beautiful. I was angsting about a certain plot point on Twitter, and the second I posted about it, the idea came to me. Keeping the creative juices flowing throughout the day really helped the story gain traction.

Don’t get me wrong, there were difficult sections. I’m convinced that 20-35K is the swamp of sorrows for first drafts. It’s like, the more you struggle, the faster you sink to your death. I don’t know why, but I’ve encountered the phenomenon enough times to know it isn’t unusual, at least for me. I’ve learned to take that section one word at a time, just keep slogging through, and eventually the magic will occur and there will be a path out.

I hope everyone is having a great end run toward 50K about now, or already validated and coasting on the high. Either way, see you on the flip side, NaNoEdMo. *shudder*

Narcissistic Hubris

Otherwise known as the excerpt from the WIP. Writing is hard. Why didn’t someone warn me about this?

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the NaNo, which is going strong at nearly 30K. I’m on the other side of the hill now, in both NaNo word count and in the book itself. I’ve got a middle and an end planned out, the rest is just details. Difficult, fussy details. But I digress. This is mostly unedited. Theoretically, everything is spelled correctly. I do not think this is a final draft, but I think it’s a fun little piece of my raw writer’s delusional mind. Or something like that.

The man stood on the far end of the parking lot, illuminated under a single halogen lamp. He wore no clothes but for a length of cloth tied around his waist and covering his genitals. Light flashed in the Weir’s eyes, and his white teeth gleamed in the dark. The man was grinning a sick, mental grin. Intel hadn’t been bad—the man was covered in tattoos. No skin remained untouched apart from a small frame around his facial features and presumably the genitals although Iain wondered. His skin was a riot of color, bright and faded. The rough ground of the asphalt must have been grinding into his bare feet but he didn’t seem to register anything but Iain and the Lord arguing across the way. Tattoos of koi and samurais writhed in the yellowed light. They danced and bulged and twisted all over his skin like they could fly right off and become real. Iain realized with a start that the man had already summoned a demon.

He shouted to the Lord, he remembered that much, but then he ran. He ran as far and as fast as his body allowed. He was a servant then, still in training in a compound outside of Dublin, and in the best shape of his life. He ran without looking back. The pressure in the air changed—what had been a damp London fog became a hot, dry desert as he ran. His ears popped as the creature emerged from the Weir*. Still he ran, lungs burning and muscles screaming for oxygen.

He had no idea how far he ran. When he finally collapsed in an undignified heap on the pavement, people stepped around him. He’d run toward the city center, it appeared, which bustled with people. He dared to look behind him, and the convention center was long out of sight. The Lord was also nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he’d run a different direction. Cautiously, he made his way back, always looking for the demon sign—a smell of sulfur or a brightly colored smoke but none made themselves visible. He got nearly back to the convention center before he saw it.

From a long way off, he saw a smear of orange passing under halogen after halogen, disappearing in the dark in between. The Weir, an even smaller smear from this far away, seemed to be standing exactly where he had been. As Iain watched, the demon floated around lazily. His training told him the creature had consumed everything it would, sent all life around it to the Great Void for his fellow demons to feed on, and now simply waited to die. No demon could live long in the world, they were compelled to die once through. The Lord, of course, was gone. Iain held out a brief flicker of hope that the idiot might have run away, but his sinking gut told him the truth. The man was dead, consumed by the demon. Shit.

*Weir: a person who can open a gate with their body to summon demons from the Great Void.

Back to the salt mines! How are your NaNovels going?