Tag: Reading

Vampires… in SPACE!: Reviewing Rob Bartlett’s The Turing Revolt.

I was generously given the opportunity to review Robert Bartlett’s novel that came out last year titled The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity Book 1. I was given a PDF version to review.  You, however, can get it from Amazon. I was given permission by the author use quotes to develop this review, so let this serve as your warning that I present some potential spoilers.

Also check out his website and follow him on Twitter.

I love sci-fi. If I had to relate this book to other notable media it would be the plot of Star Trek with the character development of Lost Girl. So, if you’re into those, this might be up your alley. I think that adding earth fantasy into science fiction is an untapped goldmine. It’s certainly not anything, I’ve come across yet. Bartlett is a writer with ideas!

Bartlett writes, “One of the chief characteristics of successful vampires is a hugely inflated sense of self, a megalomaniacal ego,” and this description serves to describe the protagonist, Milo Sapphire, to the T. Like I’ve said, Bartlett has such great ideas, his world building mirrors Star Trek closely only with a more natural capitalist twist, but we’re stuck having to see it through the lens of a character who reminded me too much of the guys who wouldn’t leave my desk when I worked in the hotel industry. They knew I had to stand there for eight hours listening to them go on and on, which would always evolve into larger, more unbelievable tales as the night went on. And at the moment they thought I should react, they’d say something, like maybe a “heh” (looking at you Milo Sapphire with your 51 Heh’s at the end of narrative sentences), and I would purse my lips and nod my head to acknowledge that I heard them, but really I had given up listening a long time ago. As such, there was no actual room for character development. He’s already too awesome, the literal chosen one of He/it.

There was great world building, superior to most indie books, I’d say, but like the character development, it got bogged down by the narrator having to tell us over and over again how strong and powerful he was. <~ When it came to the point in the storyline for him to show how big and strong he was through action, it didn’t get delivered, and when it’s realized by the narrator that it wasn’t delivered, there’s continuous “well what happened was…” Additionally, there are at least four non-earth worlds, and at least 2 different sentient races, and we barely get any description on the planets or the ecosystems because that’s not the what the narrator is concerned about showing off, unless it’s determining the race’s (or tech’s) gender. He seemed real hung up about ensuring there was some binary construct, or giving detailed explanations well after the item has been introduced. As such, my needs as a science fiction enthusiast did not match up with the narrator’s descriptive capabilities. But I know Bartlett can bring it, he’s shown that through the complex plot structure. I’m going to lean towards the notion that maybe he didn’t think the audience cared about those details as much, or he was true to the persona of Milo Sapphire and intentionally left it out.  

If you are someone who gets a little bogged down by grammar concerns, be aware that this text has minor errors throughout it, none of which inherently prevent the context from being understood. (There are ten that I found on the first page of Chapter One, and they are still present in at the least Amazon digital copy of this piece, so I assume the text that I received hasn’t been altered from what could be purchased). Personally, the author writes this conversationally, as if the narrator is speaking directly to the audience, and thus writes heavily with the personality of Milo Sapphire in mind, so I think the errors are an element of helping to display the character’s true persona. Additionally, there is a lot of repetition in what is delivered, but I rationalized it, again, as the personality of the narrator. Finally, the chapters are short, and sometimes things like a conversation gets broken up into multiple chapters, which I assume is for emphasis. For example, one conversation spans eleven pages and four chapters.

Like I said, I had the pervy desk stalkers in mind when I read this, so I’m not surprised that all the women are described based on items like shrugging “her shoulders in frustration making her barely contained breasts jiggle distractingly causing several boyfriends to get slapped by their female companions for so obviously ogling her” (I chose this one because it also displays the grammar that is presented throughout the text). There is only one woman (a female accountant who is only mentioned in one sentence) that isn’t viewed from a very misogynistic lens. Even the avatar of one of the sentient ships is described as “she wasn’t appealing to me as a potential playmate for the evening, unlike the lovely young lady whose view was now blocked by three strangers,” and Milo Sapphire states this comparison twice in adjoining paragraphs. As a female reader, I would define this depiction as concerning. I value representation of women to be a make or break in what I read, so if I’m being honest, if I wasn’t being asked to review this piece, I would have stopped reading after the first chapter. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily bad; more so a recognition that I am not the key demographic for this piece.Although to be fair, the males are viewed descriptively from a similar lens. The only physical description that Sapphire gives of himself is “while I don’t brag about it, I’m generously endowed” and of course that endowment must be used to save a woman from the clutches of a succubus. Women are literally throwing themselves at him at every turn because he’s so powerful (note not handsome, his physical description as far as I could see was never noted. The women are purely attracted to his ability to pump out pheromones and be the baddest dude in the room.)

The main concern I have is when the narrator clearly defined his instance with Nikki as rape, but he rationalizes it as being ok because another woman (a rape survivor herself), his vampire subordinate along with his subordinate, and his AI say it’s the only way to save her. He fully commits to raping (or dominating) Nikki, but to save face (and likely backlash) the woman comes out of her stupor to say, “Please make me yours. Her hold is weakened but it’s still there. Please take me now!” It’s every Incel’s wet dream… and my need to shower to cleanse my soul from the whole experience. Despite that concern, I could see Bartlett trying to walk this fine line that he created, and even with the RED FLAG I addressed, he did his best to dance around it. I haven’t read any of his other works, so it’s hard to say if this is the byproduct of trying to stick within the boundaries presented in the fantasy lore he sets up and the personality of the character, or if it’s just Bartlett trying to live out his fantasies via writing. My gut says it’s the former, because he had plenty of other opportunity to throw in further gratuitous sex scenes, but he didn’t.

Finally, the ending. There isn’t one. It’s a cliffhanger intent on gearing you up for Book 2. Zero closure to any of the issues that were presented, although there was some conversations about the beauty of bureaucracies intentionally delaying some of the conflict. Personally, I don’t mind cliffhangers, assuming there will be a quick release of the next one, but if you don’t like that, maybe wait until the series is over to purchase this book.

Currently, it is $0.99 from Amazon, so you won’t be breaking the bank if you choose to purchase it. I am looking forward to seeing how Book 2 develops, given the wide range of reviews presented on GoodReads.

Winter Reads

I work for a community college, and in higher academia, we are blessed with having a winter break that spans a little over a month. My years have taught me that I have to be careful with this time, because it feels like I have a lot of it. I do; it just goes quickly, leaving me wondering what exactly did I do during break other than binge watch Community and SuperStore?

This break, I am setting myself up for success! I’m going to use this time to invest in my independent author community. I asked the #writingcommunity writers to suggest some books to read, and they delivered, giving me a range of exciting stories to read during the coldest, darkest Connecticut winter months!

Here is a list of my line-up as well as a link to purchase the books, if you are break as well and want to do a pseudo bookclub.

No Water for the Desert by Brittany Buckner

Addressed to Kill by Keith Wright

Girl: Repurposed by Meaghan Curley

The Road To Revelation: The Beginning by Clifford T Wellman Jr

Return to Hades and Other Adventures by Iseult Murphy

Songbird: a novel of the Tudor Court by Karen Heenan

The War in Our Hearts by Eva Seyler

Good & Faithful Heretic: Poems of Protest by Sarah Joy Green-Har

I’d love to continue to support my fellow Indie Authors, so if you come across a book that deserves to be added to the list, let me know!

Happy Winter Break!

How I do NaNoWriMo: One woman’s reflection of the process.

This morning, I was like, hey! When is National Novel READING Month, but I was informed by my kids that NaNoReMO is a year long affair. However, NationalToday.com states that in 2003, the National Book Foundation recognized October as National Book Month. We missed it this year, readers. Mark your calendars though, because we will be doing it to the extreme next year!

We are on day seven of celebrating the month designated in the writing world as National Novel Writing Month.

I wanted to address three things that my excitement in the previous post didn’t allow.

  1. I am not a National Novel Writing Month Master. In the past, I avoided it because I was not in a position to put myself into a 50k surplus of words. The first time that I entered NaNoWriMo was last year, and I was successful only because I trained.

I have spent years writing, building my literary muscles, and learning strategies that have made me relatively successful in meeting goals that I set in place. I also have a work environment that promotes writing, and I have amazing coworkers and mentors who are continually checking in on me. I have a relaxed home life with no expectations that consume all of my time. I am one of the blessed.

I also have a kickass kitty editor:

2. I was asked the other day, if your main objective is to just get 50,000 words in a month, aren’t they going to be really crappy? For example, you could just blather on about the blue sky, or well maybe it was more gray but at either rate something that made your character think it was about too to rain, which thus altered their mood and made the whole day seem pretty blahworthy? <~ in other words, wouldn’t you just be putting words on a page, and not really have accomplished much if you’re going to revise them out?

I agree that sounds like a waste, and I’m not going to claim that people don’t do that. However, I would say to give me more credit than that. I am as equally likely to put an excess amount of words into my drafts even when I’m not tracking them, not because I’m a bad writer, but because I know that my main goal in creating a draft is getting words on a page. My focus is on my ideas, or what I’m visualizing, which can change as I gain more clarity through the act of writing. I embrace the sloppiness and redundancy of my drafts no matter what time of year.

Despite my bravado in the previous paragraph, I was curious, so I looked back at a rough draft of a piece that I had started in September. It was a short story, still kind of crappy and needing a lot of revision. In this piece, I did what I’d like to call a very skeletal telling of the situation. The plot was moving on, but there was no real description of anything. There was also a lot of dialogue that felt awkward (Do people still say Greetings?). Then, I looked at what I had written on the first day of Nano. My first day of NaNo work was superior to the short story. But it wasn’t because I was focused on getting words out and spending more of my time writing, I credit the fact that I did more prep work for my NaNo project. For the NaNo project, I had spent October detailing things so I had a clearer picture, and because I had a clearer picture, it was easier to bring the words out. I don’t really know the characters in my September short story yet, so sometimes they became stiff as I was writing about them. As such, I would say that NaNo is not affecting my ability to write efficiently, plotting is. And it’s not to say that my September piece won’t eventually be on the same level, it just means I took a different approach to get there.

3. My biggest secret to the NaNoWriMo experience is that I don’t write all day, nor do I write in large spans of time. Never have, even as an academic writer, and to me, an hour is too long. During NaNo, there has not been a day so far that I haven’t been able to sit down and do some level of ninja writing sprints. In these sprints, I don’t look at 50k, I look at 500 words. I’m just going to commit to sitting wherever I am at, watching my characters, and seeing how they interact with each other… for 500 words. Sometimes it takes ten minutes, others 20-40 minutes, but after that, I am off to do something else.

I don’t make it a habit to be consumed with writing so that I become burned out. You will never catch me trying to sit down for more than 40 minutes to write, and this is a model that I celebrate throughout the year. The only thing that has changed during NaNo is how many times that will I sit down and sprint throughout the day. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t go over 500 words; I have on several occasions, if I am in the zone. I just don’t expect it.

I also don’t do any writing after 7 p.m. unless I am at work on Thursdays.  I embrace the me time during these hours, but again, I have a schedule and support network that allows me to do this. Not everyone has that luxury.

I am really curious to see what every one else’s tricks to NaNoWriMo are. What tricks do you find successful that I can add to my toolbox?

Or what are your reasons for not attempting NaNo? It’s not for every writer, and these reasons are just valuable.  

Do You Have to Read to Be a Great Writer?

This has come up often in my various online writing groups:

There’s a writer, new to the world of compiling stories in a text based format. Like me, they want to be the next Ms. J.K. Rowling…

They have a manuscript ready for review and are eager to either workshop or jump straight into finding the agent that will make their dreams come true.

The only catch: they haven’t read a book in years, and this really doesn’t sit well with a lot of other writers. “How can you not love reading?” the other writers ask. The non-readers become pariahs in a community that was meant to support them.

In their defense, aren’t writing and reading separate activities with one being passive and the other active?

To me, it’s ok that that non-reading writers do not read; I’m not out to manage anyone else’s time, but I’m wondering if writers can become great if they don’t.

I tried to do some research.

I put “Famous authors who don’t like to read,” into Google, but I only found various sites telling me that this idea doesn’t exist. In order to write you MUST read! Article after article says it, so it must be true. On the other hand, there are some Reddit threads of people thinking it’s ok for writers to not read.

There’s an article from Salon; however, that I found interesting. It attributed a growing list of writers not reading to our culture:

Or maybe the bolder point is that craft is of little interest to certain want-to-be writers. In our 15-megabytes of fame culture that favors quantities — friends, followers, number of comments — over quality this might be what it all comes down to, because if you can be recognized and rewarded as a writer without being much of a reader, guess what, most people will not try to read James Joyce.

Is it fair to say that all non-reading writers are just out for the fame? Sure, especially when a lot of reading writers are doing it for the same reasons.

I will openly admit that I have not had a huge amount of sales, but I have two shrines in various workplaces with my books on display. Whether these people have read my work or not, they know I have tangible books out there in the world that people are reading, thus identifying me as a writer. The books don’t have to be good for this to be part of my identity; they just have to exist. I love identifying as a writer and that others identify me as one.

To conclude, my research didn’t really answer my question on whether you have to read to be a great writer.

If anything, it led to more.

Despite respecting the non-reading writers, I haven’t lost hope in converting them into avid readers. Sometimes we just need to be introduced to a new perspective.

Here is my response to the top three reasons that I’ve been told why writers don’t read:

There’s never enough time:

That’s a valid point no matter what a person is trying to accomplish. There are only 24 hours in a day. Other than a serious dedication to time management, it’s hard to find a solution to this universal problem. Do you really have zero time to read, or do you not want to invest your time on it? Even 10 minutes a day is better than 0. I learned that philosophy from Hal Eldrod’s Miracle Morning.

In 10 minutes a day, maybe you could get a book read every few months. That puts you leagues ahead of fellow non-readers!

Which leads to the next reason also involving time: It takes away from writing time.

This is also legitimate. I read less when I’m writing, and write less when I’m reading, but I’m still always doing both within my day. When I was going for my B.A. in Creative Writing, I had already developed a deep link between reading and writing (which is probably why I am super judgmental in regards to writers needing to read). It was necessary to budget time for writing because it was part of my degree program, but I didn’t have the same level of eustress to manage reading. As such, I mentally converted reading time into an “Independent Study.” Every class that I enrolled within I found a book to correlate with it. For example, when I took a non-fiction workshop, I read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. With this philosophy, I made reading a priority, thus furthering my inability to separate reading from writing.

But ugh.. sometimes reading isn’t pleasurable, which is fair, especially if you were forced to read texts like the Scarlet Letter in high school. Writing and reading; however, are like muscles. They need to be exercised and diving into extreme sports, like 1000 pages of The Stand by Steven King, can cause serious brain fatigue. Ease into it, grasshopper!  If you aren’t swallowing novels like they’re tic tacs, that’s ok. There are some amazing short stories out there, like Donald Barthelme’s “The School.” They can give you the same satisfaction as reading novels. There’s a yearly anthology that I love called The Best American Short Stories, which has some of our best contemporary authors compiled together just for you! A couple of pages a day can introduce you to great writers.

Now that I have addressed the reasons non-reading writers don’t want to read during their writing journey, here’s three reasons why I think you should:

Passion is hard to keep consistent when you’re writing. My first official novel took 2 years to complete from start to finish. It took J.R.R. Tolken twelve years to write The Lord of the Rings. If you are curious about other turtle paced writers check out this article: 7 Novels That Took Their Authors Years To Write (To Make You Feel Better About Not Finishing NaNoWriMo). Reading keeps you invested in the project even after your writing bug has disappeared. Additionally, it shows you that if books like those listed on the worst books can get published, it means your book can get published, too! <~ although hopefully it doesn’t show up on the worst books list.

Like I’ve said before, I’m a big time book pusher. When I’m talking about my book, I’m also pushing other books. “Oh you liked mine? Check out this one next!” This allows me to move beyond my one and done book and be a wealth of information for my readers, which keeps them coming back! It lets them see that I am just like them! I care about my readers, and I know they’ll appreciate my recommendations. Bonus points if they have recommendations for me! In the independent book selling market, this level of connection with readers is crucial.

I learned a lot from my creative writing classes, but none of the education really sunk in until I saw it in practical application. Reading immerses you into various techniques and styles, allowing you as a writer to better develop your own. By reading books, I learned about flow of ideas, how better it is to show vs. tell, and where to insert physical description. I also learned to reflect on my responses to what I was reading and utilize these to project the same responses for my audience. As such, reading has made me a better writer. Beta reading has made me an even better writer.

At the end of the day, if you’re a writer who doesn’t like to read, you probably didn’t read this post (totally ok; it kind of lost my attention at the end as well). If you did, you just read like 1000+ words, so you can now say you’re a reader. Kudos!

Am I saying that you have to be reader to write, nope, but I am saying that if you want to be a GREAT, you should.

If you have any recommendations of books that turned you from a non-reader into a reader, please share them in the comments. I’d love to see what books brought others to the reader side.  

Tea Time

When I was growing up, my mom used to take me to a British tea shoppe forty minutes away from our home. I’m guessing it was her way of trying to raise me with some sense of her culture, but I was not cultured by any means, which meant I was in constant opposition of the woman who ran the shop. She was an “elbows off the table, child!” type of person, so you can imagine we got along smashingly…

As such, I’ve always had a bitter taste for tea. Now that I’m an independent woman, in control of where I can put my elbows, I’ve been relaxing my opposition of tea.

Especially when I think of Lewis Carroll.

I loved Carrol’s interpretation of the world through Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, because it reminds me a lot of how children initially observe their surroundings and try to put everything into a larger context. They are paraded by adults through constant stimuli, all of which often seems new and disconnected!

As an adult, the book allows you to go back to the excitement of throwing all logic going out the window and appreciating the randomness that is left.

In his tale, there’s an iconic moment where Alice runs into the Mad Hatter, who is having tea with the March Hare and the Dormouse. I loved it because ALL THE RULES of tea time are flamboyantly and willfully ignored. Take that, mean tea shoppe lady!

If tea must be endured, that’s the kind of tea time that my kids will be growing up around.

In the Mystic Village, there is a tiny tea shoppe that brings Carroll’s vison to life. It was the perfect blend of my mother’s insistence of “proper tea,” (although since the loose leaf tea leaves had already been removed before it got to her, she’ll probably argue that it wasn’t proper after all) and my need for not being pressured to pour things a certain way.

We took Granny to celebrate her birthday!

Naturally, I was the Mad Hatter.

And my merry tea time team:

Please note that elbows on the table is the preferred position when eating at my table.
Also note, Granny broke the tea pouring rules!

On loan from the Scriptorium

Legend tells of a heavenly chain of bookstores in the far off shores of Niantic where there are thousands of books available for a low fee. They have cats, they have playgrounds, they even offer snacks and coffee. It sounds too good to be true.

Seriously though, I knew the Book Barn in Niantic was not a legend; it exists. Part of self-control; however, is knowing that you shouldn’t go into these kinds of establishments, or you’ll walk out penniless. Staying away is a matter of fiscal responsibility.

On my birthday; however, the family and I decided to make an epic day of going to the Book Barn’s all four locations. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

I’m pretty sure my family thinks it is hilarious when I drop my very rigid purchasing stamina and splurge. What’s one more dollar book, mom? Get all seventeen books in a science fiction series from the 1960’s!

All those books, and we barely broke over $100.

It’s been almost a year since the great book splurge of 2018, and I’m still working through my selection.

Up on the list right now is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

I noticed that there was a little insert. Robin asked her dearest friends and family to take care of her book and to ensure it returned to library.

I found it in a used book store, guys. Either Robin no longer has a library (Dang, did she watch Marie Kondo too?), or a loved one violated her request to return it to her personal library.

I’m pretty conflicted about this. I’m sorry Robin. Not only do I have no ability to return it to you, but I wrote in it… a lot.

The note had me thinking:

I loan books out all the time. In fact, I’m a self-proclaimed book pusher. If there is a book that I think you’d like, I will hound you to read it, and if I have a copy of that book in my possession, it’s easier to push it onto you.

There have been a fair number of books that I have purchased, and I won’t ask for them back. I figure there’s gotta be a good reason that someone didn’t return it: the most likely being they never finished (or started?) reading it, but plan to.

I loved the idea of showing the connection that these books have to my own personal library. Even if they never return, they had a spot within my illustrious Scriptorium, if but only for a small moment in time.  

And maybe it’s the conditioning of my college days to keep a mental log of commentary while reading so I can write a fifteen page paper later on it, but even to this day I still love annotating the books that I read. Even if it’s, “OMG what are you doing?!”

So, I made my own little inserts for the Scriptorium books. I put my web address in case anyone comes upon the book, in say a used book store, and wants to reunite it with the Scriptorium. I’m one step ahead of Robin!

I also made a blank one, in case anyone else on the internet would like to bedazzle their own personal library books. If you’d like the PSD copy to alter it to put your own ideas, email me at Faith.Allaire@yahoo.com and I will gladly email it you.

Children of the Planes

The Kindle Edition is Now Available for Pre-Order

Maybe it is his video game withdrawal or the fact that he is not used to being outside for such lengthy periods of time, but Zane finds himself under constant surveillance of an alien named Jax. Jax never stops talking, trying to convince Zane that it is able to travel to an Inner Plane of the universe where an Aged is King is destroying civilization to find his lost jewel. Jax has plenty of stories to share about how the children of the Inner Plane are fighting back:

An orphan forced work in the textile factories within the Walled Cities who learns to read.

A warrior girl of the Arikara Tribes that reunites her people with the Great Herd.

An elemental boy who rescues a baby bear from wolves and learns they share a special connection.

The youngest sea captain who crashes on an island that reveals memories that had been purposely taken from him.

Are these children real, or is Zane going crazy?

Book One of the Children of the Planes series.

In Memory of William Goldman

21787I am a child of The Princess Bride movie. The witty banter, the belief in true love… the passion for adventure.

It’s crazy that my literary week has been consumed with William Goldman only to hear that he passed away.

It wasn’t easy explaining that to the kids. I had them fall in love with an author only to have him pass away.


Last night we got to the part where the man in black is climbing up the cliff.. and the rope is cut! But dang if that doesn’t stop him! Up he climbs, the true spirit of perseverance. But who is he?

Princess-Bride-Quotes-And-Sayings-2 (1)And being 10, she kept saying “Inconsiderate” instead of inconceivable. My constant corrections were driving her crazy, but this is something you have to get right! It’s these small details that stay with you forever.

Of course, I corrected her by saying “You keep saying that word! I don’t think it means what you think it does.” Which cracked me up immensely, but irritated my little young reader. And when she got to the part were Inigo says it, the look on her face was worth it…

Not knowing how the tale unfolds, my daughter mourns the death of Westley. She was upset that he died because Buttercup loved him. Westley will be reborn… he will live on and will continue both his own legacy but Goldman’s as well. As writers, isn’t that one of the finer ironies in life? Your characters will live again and again within the minds of the reader long after you’re gone.

Thank you William Goldman for helping to shape my childhood, but helping me pass on memorable moments to my children.

NaNoWriMo and Caffeinated Rebellious Adolescents

My son’s school is expanding, which kind of sucks because my property taxes went up, but it’s exciting because it looks like my kids now go to the school of the FUTURE.  Seriously, I think they modeled the look of the school to be like a building on the Jetsons…only firmly cemented on Earth. Could you imagine the taxes needed to keep up  a building that defies gravity?!

Now, I don’t know if this really makes sense, because you figure that if the school is expanding, so is the library, but they recently did a purge of books. I am proud to say that my book squirreling fanaticism was passed off onto the eldest, for he came home with more than his fair share of free books.

He had me in mind when he snagged one:


The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson.

coffee… social activism… rebellion… angsty characters..

Yup that about sums up my needs as a reader.

I will be making sure that every adolescent that crosses my path knows of this book’s existence. In a world that is so politically charged (and divided), this book inspires our next set of social justice activists. Now, the main character didn’t exactly set out to be a political revolutionary, but I’d wager neither do most social activists. It’s one of the consequences of seeing the need for change in the world you live in and realizing that no body is going to bring about that change but yourself.

More importantly, you don’t need to be older, smarter, or richer, in order to create change in the world. Young people are doing amazing things each day.

For example, The Stoneman Douglas Highschool Activists on creating safer gun control:

Malala Yousafzai advocating for women to receive equitable education:

Sophia Cruz on humane immigration practices.

It’s truly amazing whether you agree with their stances or not. Every day, no matter what your age or position in society, you have a voice!

And writing is a great tool for becoming empowered!

crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76Stevenson wrote The Latte Rebellion during a NaNoWriMo challenge, which given that it is the Eve of NanoWrimo, should inspire those embarking  upon National Novel Writing Month. I’m surprised that so many writers around me have not heard of this, so let me do a quick clarification. November (yikes that’s tomorrow) is National Novel Writing Month, and there is an organization called NanoWriMo that challenges writers to spend this month plugging away at a project. The goal is to get to 50,000 words, which is the smaller side of an average book. They have an online forum page, regional chapters who host events, web series, and word sprint mini challenges to keep writers engaged. They also host CampNanoWrimo events twice a year that allow you to set your own goals.

I find it incredibly useful to build up your writing muscles, but more importantly to NETWORK! Writing is incredibly isolating, and so it’s healthy to find a community of writers to support and to be supported by. I’ve found a lot of my online community by being a resident CampNaNoWriMo member. This will be my first official attempt at NanoWrimo itself. I have faith that if Stevenson can be successful, I can be as well!