Saying “No” to NaNo, but…

Alright, alright, I’ll confess that NaNo fever hits me too, especially when the season coincides with a WIP. I’ll also admit the NaNo hashtags, NaNo buddies, NaNo word count graphics are sparkly. Very sparkly.

But, during the writing of three and a third books, I’ve learned a few things about myself.

1. I’m more turtle than rabbit. A book takes me a solid year, give or take, start to final revision. You might catch me doing an occasional Twitter word sprint some evening, but I can’t do that for hours at a time, day after day. And while technology allows my fingers to put words down on a page pretty fast, my brain is still a turtle when it comes to generating the words.

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2. My inner editor is a tyrannical bitch. She can’t help it. Even though I know scenes, chapters, characters might not survive a final edit, I shine whatever I’ve brought to the page to a lustrous glow before moving on. Yep, I toss out some of the prettiest word-garbage in town. I should probably do NaNo just to piss off my inner-editor, but the drama…I just…no.

3. I don’t like sharing my work until it’s as good as I can make it. That doesn’t mean it’s as good as it can be – it means I’ve reached the point of turning it over to CPs and betas who will help me see what’s not working and how to fix it.

Instead of NaNo, I might try this.


It’s a little bit NaNo, a little bit Flash Fiction. Is anyone else hearing The Osmonds in their brains? Sorry. Also, a friend of mine who’s part of the REUTS team is twisting my arm… AND this might just be the best part, even if I sign up, I have options. Participate every week. Participate some weeks. Don’t participate at all. Perfect for the commitment-phobe.

Click on the badge to find out more.

Who knows? I might come away with an idea for a full-fledged book. I’m not one of those writers who has a bajillion plot bunnies stashed away in a metaphorical hutch, screaming for their turn to be transformed into a ms.

Also, November 1 marks the opening of CriTiki Lounge! I’m so excited!!!

If any of you are writers, please swing by and join the fun. There’ll be a new Fire-Eater each Friday night. His or her pitch will be showcased, along with the suggestions made by that week’s Lounge Lizard. We want audience participation. When it comes to pitch-polishing, the more the merrier. That’s what “comments” are for, right?


If you’re a writer with a pitch to polish, don’t be shy! We’ll be announcing December genres and themes VERY SOON. Also, there “might” be a Big Kahuna in the Lounge some time during the holiday season. How’s that for incentive, eh?

Cover Reveal – Lauren McKellar

Today I have the pleasure of presenting the cover for Lauren McKellar’s FINDING HOME. I met Lauren on Twitter and she is just the nicest person… She joined our Thursday’s Children blog hop a few times, and she’s also agreed to be a Lounge Lizard for CriTiki Lounge, a project I’m co-hostessing with my friend/CP Kristina Perez. If you’re a writer looking for pitch feedback, check it out! You might be lucky enough to have Lauren’s help.



Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit…

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

Finding Home, Lauren K McKellar’s debut novel, is coming October 1, 2013. Add it to goodreads today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


‘Look, I have to go. Can we talk about this later?’ Dad was asking Mum. Joe had shut the door behind him, and it was a good thing he did too, because when Dad had finished speaking, Mum picked up an empty bottle of Grey Goose vodka and threw it at his head. She missed, missed by a mile, but that didn’t stop the bottle hitting the wall behind him and shattering into thousands of tiny pieces.

‘Jesus!’ Dad exclaimed. He turned around, surveying the damage.

‘Oh, look what I did! Can’t have clean-cut Stevie D trashing the green room. People might talk!’ Mum’s voice dripped with sarcasm. It sounded hoarse, no doubt a result of the hours she’d spent alternating between crying and screaming up until now.

‘Even if this was our bloody lounge room, I would still be furious! You can’t just throw s**t like that.’

‘I’ll throw whatever I want to throw!’ Mum yelled. ‘You’re so uptight.’ She walked up to Dad and put her hands on his shoulders, shaking them. ‘Give up this stupid dream already.’

‘And do what? I can’t afford your habits any other way. If I don’t sing, you have to get a job.’ Dad shook his head.

I inched around behind them and started to pick up the pieces of glass. They were all different sizes, and some had gotten stuck in the carpet. They required a bit of twisting to retrieve, but the others I could pick up with ease and place in my hand.

‘What do you want me to do? I don’t have any skills. And there’s clearly only one thing you think I’m good at these days,’ Mum said, leering. She pulled at her top, exposing her décolletage.

I focused on the glass again. I counted each piece in my hand. Thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight. On the fortieth piece, a shard broke through my skin, spilling bright red blood. Funny. I hadn’t thought my skin would be so thin.

‘Amy, you’re hurt!’ Mum pushed past Dad and came to kneel next to me. ‘What are you doing?’ She knocked my hand with her own, and the pieces of glass flew up into the air and landed back on the floor.

All my efforts — ruined.

‘Let me see,’ Dad said.

‘Get the hell away from her!’ Mum yelled, raising her voice again.

‘Do we have to do this in front of Amy?’ Dad asked. I felt them turn to look at me. Did they think I hadn’t heard? That the fights they’d been having all day in the adjacent hotel room hadn’t resonated with a hatred that travelled through walls?

‘Please don’t,’ was all I could say. But it was enough. Dad left the room, and Mum tended to my hand, spilling some vodka to cleanse it before wrapping it in a spare t-shirt.

‘I’m sorry, baby,’ Mum whispered to me. ‘I promise, things are going to get better.’

Only they didn’t. They got much, much worse.

Find Lauren McKellar:






Thursday’s Children August 22, 2013

Inspired by…Thursday’s Children

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A year ago I started blogging, because I read somewhere that writers should have a blog. Honestly I thought the whole concept was kind of weird, like talking to yourself out loud. In an attempt to engage other people, I started sharing bizarre photos on a weekly basis. I called it Inspirational Thursdays, thinking maybe other people would get story ideas from the same images. After meeting my adjective-defying CP/friend Kristina, this solo concept turned into a collaborative venture called Thursday’s Children. Over the weeks a blog hop evolved into a small community of writers sharing parts of their journeys.

I’ve often been inspired, not only by whatever inspiration you’ve shared in a post, but by your determination in the face of setbacks, your hard-won successes, the lovely things you’ve all said to me and to each other as you comment on TC posts. We all have far to go, but you’ve made the journey much more fun and far less lonely. Thank you!

Thursday’s Children and the Like A Virgin contest confirmed just how awesome it is to bring people together for mutual gain (and good times). Like any shiny new idea, it’s been KILLING me not to spill about THIS one.
Creepy Old Man
Apologiesfor any nightmares you may suffer as a result of that gif…

Now without further ado, please click on the badge below for a sneak peek at the new project Kristina and I have cooked up. We’ve got some awesome writers lined up as mentors, aka Lounge Lizards. And this time, it’s not just about YA/NA. Stay tuned for #CriTiki news on Twitter!


And here are the codes for this final week of Thursday’s Children!

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