Camp NaNo Is Coming! Camp NaNo Is Coming!

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Never fear, Wrimo, the write-in is here!  Wondering what to do in the off-season?  Getting sad and lonely looks from your manuscript?  Your butt miss its chair?  Just have this need to write?

Then wait no more, and join us in April for Camp NaNoWriMo!  What’s that, you ask?  Well, let’s see, straight from the Camp NaNo site:

Camp NaNoWriMo is a more open-ended version of our original November event.We have Camp sessions in both April and July, and we welcome word-count goals between 10,000 and 1,000,000. In addition, writers may attempt non-novel projects. Camp is a creative retreat for whatever you’re working on!

We even have a write-in, for you social butterflies.

Sunday, April 10, 2016, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M.
Geek Bar
1941 W North Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60622

And remember, find us online:

National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo | ChiWriMo | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Friday Friendships – An Interview with ChiWriMo Member Robyn Bachar

2016-01-08 Robyn_Bachar_photoI got to chat with Robyn about writing, NaNoWriMo, and her book.  Take a peek!

CW: What 1 word best describes your hero and/or heroine? Why?

RB: Badass. (Badass is one word, right?) Andee is an assassin, and not just any assassin. She’s an empath who uses her psychic abilities to find and exploit weaknesses in her targets. I love the image of her on the cover. She’s the muscle in her relationship, ready to do anything to protect her mates. Andee kicks a lot of butt in Sunsinger. She’s much like Carmen in Nightfall and Bryn in Morningstar, who are all very “Give me the gun so I can save you!”

CW: What was your inspiration for this book and the main characters?

RB: I love the epic drama and adventure of space opera. Laser pistols! Space battles! YES. There’s a bit of Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and Mass Effect in the Cy’ren Rising series. Sunsinger is my Return of the Jedi, complete with a final battle of good versus evil that takes place both on the ground and in orbit. Galen is the brains, Andee is the brawn, and Malcolm is their heart. They were a blast to write (this book was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, and it always helps to have a fun story for NaNo).

CW: Is this story part of a series? Will there be more stories in this series?

RB: Sunsinger is the final book in the Cy’ren Rising trilogy. It’s erotic sci-fi romance, each featuring a ménage. The first two books have a f/f/m romance, and Sunsinger was my first foray into m/m/f romance. I love Galen. As soon as he showed up in the first book I knew I had to tell his story, and as soon as Malcolm showed up in Morningstar I knew they needed to be together. Andee is the icing on their cake—they work perfectly together.

CW: What subgenres do you write in and who are you published with?

RB: I’m published with Samhain Publishing. I write paranormal romance, historical paranormal romance, and erotic sci-fi and paranormal romance. I also self-published a fantasy romance. I love stories with romance, adventure, and swords. I even have swords in space. Four of my published books began as NaNoWriMo novels (fingers crossed that the number will soon be five).

CW: What do you love about writing in your romance sub-genre?

RB: The Cy’ren Rising books cross a lot of sub-genres. They’re sci-fi, specifically space opera, and they’re also erotic romance because they feature ménages. Those ménages include bisexual characters, so they also skew into LGBT territory. The combination allows for spicy romance, epic adventure, and angsty drama, where the characters can find true love and save the galaxy at the same time. I love that.

2016-01-08 Sunsinger72lg

Her desire unites them. Her secret could destroy them all.

 

The lord.

 

The sole survivor of the Sunsinger massacre, Lord Degalen Fairren spends his days reading tales of the family he never knew. When a rival house threatens to enslave Cyprena, Galen is forced to pull his nose out of his books and enter into an alliance with House Morningstar, and a dangerous mission to save his world.

 

The assassin.

 

Lady Andelynn Harrow isn’t House Morningstar’s eldest or prettiest daughter, but she is the deadliest. After her father’s murder, Andee must defend her new house and mate—the shy, reluctant Galen—but every battle risks revealing her terrible secret.

 

The slave.

 

Malcolm gets his first taste of freedom when the Cy’ren recruit him to locate the cure to a deadly virus—and feels the burn of desire for Galen, the lord he can never have, and for Andee, who awakens memories of a long-lost first love.

 

The danger they face fuels the heat between them, but with Cyprena’s fate hanging in the balance, the race to find the cure could come with devastating costs.

 

Warning: Contains a blushing, virgin lord, a sexy geek, and an empathic assassin who always brings lube on a mission.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | All Romance eBooks | Samhain Publishing LLC

About Robyn:

Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires, and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her paranormal romance Bad Witch series, historical paranormal romance series Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles, and spicy space opera romance trilogy Cy’ren Rising are available from Samhain Publishing. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. Find her on her website.

 

 

Writer Wednesday – Kickin’ It Old School

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An online friend of mine pointed me to the “A Month of Letters” site and I stopped by to give it a look-see.  It looks like a lot of fun!  In February, you commit to sending correspondence by snail mail for every day that the post office sends mail (so, not Sunday or U.S. federal holiday).  Since I love snail mail, I figured I’d point this out to my fellow Wrimos.

Write on!

A Poem by ChiWriMo Member Felicia R Johnson

Twas the first of December
and all through the land
there were Wrimos still typing
Writing even by hand
Cuz tho the competition was over
and many had won
the writing wasn’t over
so much to be done!
Revisions are needed
type until your fingers are worn
the labor pains aren’t over
until the novel is born.

Twas the First of December, and All Through the House…

NaNo is over.

Right?

WRONG!

Join us this Sunday, December 6th, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. at Geek Bar for the Thank Goodness It’s Over Afterparty!

Plus, keep your eyes on this site for more content – I’ve got an interview with one of our homegrown Chiwrimos, an interview with the founder of Geek Bar, and some more stuff during the month of December.  I’ll also be posting about what to do in the off-season, and you’ll get emails from NaNo HQ on that very topic, too!

But for now, coffee.  Because, it’s December 1 and I should probably go do some chores and find my family under the mountain of laundry.  And the dog.  Here, Fido!

Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Charles Ott

Character Evolution

By Charles Ott

Here’s a quick recap of a couple of million years of human evolution. We started out from a band of apes who left the trees and moved out onto the grassy African savanna. The advantage of this was that it got them, so to speak, out of the high rent district: there was too much competition for resources in the forest, so they moved to where they could eat better.

Once they were in the high grass, they learned to walk on their hind legs. All apes will do this occasionally, but our ancestors learned to do it most of the time (thereby developing our human big butts). Advantage: you can see over the grass. When you’re standing up, your forepaws become useful as arms and hands. Advantage: you can hold sticks, throw rocks or carry food back to your family. They also learned to hunt cooperatively (probably the most important step toward humanity). Advantage: they could bring down game a single hunter can’t tackle.

Once they had hands, their brains began to develop to make better use of them. Advantage: all the things you can do with brains and hands. This is where our ape ancestors really began to differentiate into humans, because they had upright posture, hands, cooperation and bigger brains.

As a writer, here’s the take-aways. First, the apes don’t know that they’re on a path to something. The proto-humans don’t know they’re proto-humans, they get up every morning to take care of important ape business. When you’re in the middle of the process, you don’t know there’s an endpoint.

Second, the only reason the proto-humans took each of those steps is because there was an immediate advantage to them to do it. That is, they did not learn to hunt cooperatively because cooperation would lead to being the top of the food chain everywhere on Earth, they did it to get lunch that day.

All fiction is about a character making a journey. Let’s say you’re writing a novel about a lady vampire who enjoys rambunctious sex with other vampires. She offends one of the guy vampires and has to fight an epic battle to get rid of him. At the end of the book, she has learned that she’d better treat her partners well because she’s going to be encountering her ex-boyfriends for the next couple of millenia. (Yes, you can borrow this plot, and no, I don’t actually think you should write anything so hackneyed.)

The trap you want to avoid in writing this story is to have your character make any step in this process because it will help her reach the understanding she needs at the end of the book. Every step she makes, she must take because there is some immediate advantage to her, even if it’s only to survive until the next day.

Because she has a brain, every rotten thing that happens to her (you’re going to pile it on, right?) teaches her something that contributes to the end of the book. But she must realize these things only because those thoughts have an advantage to her right then. For example, she runs away from her offended ex-lover and seeks shelter with other vampires, but they kick her out because they’re siding with the ex-boyfriend. Your character realizes that cheating on her man offends not only him, but his friends. This is an important step in her progress, but the reason she learns this lesson is that she realizes she’d better stay the hell away from other vampires until she makes sure they’re not friends with her ex.

Your characters must live here-and-now in their world, even though you know what’s going to happen to them in the long run.

 

Check out Charles’ novel, The Floor of the World, available from Amazon.

Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Charles Ott

You Know What I Mean?
By Charles Ott

I think we spend too much time worrying about describing things so that a reader will see them clearly. The plain fact is that no reader is ever going to see what you saw in your mind when you wrote that lyrical scene. The reader is going to see what’s in his mind – and that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

My favorite description of a facial expression is from Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Someone has just annoyed Wyoming Knott and she makes a face “like a little girl saving up more spit.” Now, I’ve met a lot of little girls in my family (and, I suppose, have annoyed all of them at one time or another) and I’ve never seen a little girl actually save up more spit. I’d guess you haven’t either. And yet, we both know exactly what that face would look like, don’t we?

It’s really quite magical: you can describe something that you’ve never seen, show it to a reader who’s never seen it either, and yet somehow those words can create a vivid image.

Hemingway was famously terse in his descriptions, and I’ve heard it said that you can’t really understand his books unless you also saw the same photographs in Life magazine that he saw. The days when you could assume that almost every reader saw the same magazines (Life and Saturday Evening Post, for you young folks) are long gone, and yet we still read Hemingway. Our home-made, wrong impressions of his scenes work just as well for us as the more correct impressions of two generations back.

Here’s an example from the lyrics of Paul Simon’s song Late in the Evening:

First thing I remember, I was lying in my bed
Couldn’t’ve been no more than one or two
I remember there’s a radio, comin’ from the room next door
And my mother laughed the way some ladies do

If you look hard at these lyrics, you have to come to the conclusion that there’s no description going on there at all. Everybody has heard the radio, always playing different music, and all ladies have some kind of laugh. All of us have fragmentary, context-free memories from early childhood. With a rigorous reading, we’d have to conclude that there’s no information at all in these lyrics.

But you can just hear that radio and that odd laugh, can’t you? Of course you can, pieced together from your own experience, whatever that has been.

Science fiction faces this problem all the time, because it often requires the writer to describe something that nobody has ever seen. From Edmond Hamilton’s Battle for the Stars: “Cluster N-356-44 … was hellfire made manifest before them. It was a hive of swarming suns, pale-green and violet, white and yellow-gold and smoky red, blazing so fiercely that the eye was robbed of perspective and those stars seemed to crowd and rub and jostle each other … pouring forth the torrents of their life-energy to whirl in cosmic belts and maelstroms of radiation.” Okay, I have a taste for purple prose – so sue me. You still got the picture, didn’t you?

Bottom line: describe your scene so you can picture it, and trust me, they’ll get it.

 

Check out Charles’ novel, The Floor of the World, available from Amazon.

Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Charles Ott

Writing About Characters with Religion

By Charles Ott

I’m about to kvetch about how religious characters are treated in fiction, especially science fiction, so let me start with some exceptions. Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Liebowitz is a wonderful science fiction novel and, IMHO, one of the finest treatments of the Catholic Church in fiction. Really, if you’re writing about Catholicism in any genre fiction, you need to find a copy of this. James Blish’s A Case of Conscience is an SF novel that’s not only scientifically interesting, the plot turns on obscure points of theology that will delight the geekiest fan. And of course there are many other examples of SF that treat religion well.

But in general, religion in science fiction is a red-headed stepchild without respect for either the faith or the character who holds it. I decided this created an opportunity for me, and I wrote a novel in which one of the main characters is a black Christian man from south Chicago. “Brian Covington” is a scientist who’s not only a Christian, the novel opens during service in a church where Brian is singing in the choir, whapping his tambourine and beltin’ it out like a natural man. A number of friends, all science fiction fans, who read it remarked to me that they would never have gotten past chapter 1 if they hadn’t known that I wrote it.

But I did write it, and along the way I came up with some thoughts about how you can write about Christian characters too.

One: you’ve got to have some critical distance. This can tricky if you are a Christian, but the truth is that this applies even if you’re writing Christian fiction intended for an audience of believers. You must step back and consider how this character will appear to readers who are not of the same faith. As my old pastor used to say, “Folks don’t read the Bible. They read you.” Your character’s inner life must show up in what he does rather than what he believes.

Two: There’s no use writing about a Christmas-and-Easter-Christian. Who cares? If your character has faith, then it must inform everything that he does, and in particular, it must be central to all of his quiet, thoughtful moments. As with anything else in character development, it must show up in what he does during your story.

Three: Having your character proselytize other characters (or even worse, the reader) will explode your story instantly. Don’t even go near this – and this applies even if you’re writing Christian fiction. I mean, seriously, this applies even if your character is a missionary and it’s his job to get converts. Show, don’t tell, and especially don’t preach.

Four: God is not the answer to any problem in fiction. Faith in God might be the answer, but the Big Guy must not take any active part in your story. For my taste, I’d avoid angels, too, but I realize there’s a lot of precedent for angelic intervention in stories. In the world of your story, however, God is Right Out.

Finally and most important: religious faith should not be a “funny hat” that gives a character mannerisms but says nothing about his inner life. As CS Lewis said, “Christianity is not a way of looking at certain things, but a certain way of looking at everything.” If you can describe your character without his faith, then he probably shouldn’t have any.

 

Check out Charles’ novel, The Floor of the World, available from Amazon.

Sunday Morning Thoughts As Week Two Begins

It’s Week Two.  Reality has started to set in.  We get a look at our schedule and think, was I nuts?  Am I even on the right track?

Keep going.

But I’m not a novelist! I’m not even a NaNoist.  How was I kidding?  This is silly.  I don’t even know where my story is going!

Keep going.

  • But Thanksgiving is coming.
  • I have kids and I can’t concentrate with them underfoot.  I’ll be a bad parent!
  • I’m too busy at work.
  • I’m not a novelist.
  • This is goofy.  Fifty thousand words of what?
  • Is this any good?
  • Will it sell?
  • Who am I kidding?

Keep going.

The secret to NaNo, if there is a secret, is that the way to write a novel is to write a novel.  The only way to do that, is to put words in front of each other until you’re ready to type “the end.”

NaNo teaches us to experiment.

The idea of a rough draft is just that: it’s rough.  It’s not perfect.  It’s not something we will run out and slap up on the internet.  No secret cabal is out to take your baby novel and throw it to the wolves of harsh critique.  This is a draft.  A draft is supposed to be rough.

You can’t edit what you ain’t writ.

In order to get to the final draft, you have to have a draft to edit.  You can’t have a draft to edit unless you write one.  So tell your inner critic you’ll buy them bourbon, or chocolate, or whatever bribe works, but right now, you’re writing.

Keep going.

One thing I hear a lot of around now is, “where are we supposed to be?”  I ask, “What do you mean?” “Number!  How many words am I supposed to have?”

Ignore the number and keep going.

Staring at the number is like trying to lose weight while living on a scale.  It doesn’t work.  It just makes us nuts.  Don’t worry about word count.  Don’t even worry about NaNo.  Just make a play-date with you and your baby novel.  Spend time with it.  Name it.  Sing a lullaby to it.  “Baby, you and me are gonna go places | Oh the places we’ll go | Baby, just you and me and a keyboard makes three | Baby you’re comin’ home with me!” ~la la la~

How do you get to the finish line?

Keep going.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

SEALED BY FIRE, an All Romance eBooks Bestseller!
The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT

Book 2 TIGER TIGER, an All Romance eBooks Bestseller!
The Persis Chronicles:
Book 1 EMERALD FIRE
Book 2, EMERALD KEEP
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Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Shannon Kelsey – and a Challenge to NaNoWriMotown!

Poem

by Shannon Kelsey

Do you hear the Wrimos type?
Writing the words of their novels?
It is the click clack of the keyboards
That will not lose to Detroit!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the pounding of the keys
There is a war about to end
When Chicago wins!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and write with me?
Within your active mind
Is there a world you long to write?

Then join in the fight
That will drop all Detroit to their knees!

Do you hear the Wrimos type?
Writing the words of their novels?
It is the click clack of the keyboards
That will not lose to Detroit!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the pounding of the keys
There is a war about to end
When Chicago wins!

Will you write all you can write
So that our word count ma advance?
Some will plot and some will plan
Or write by the seat of their pants
Chicago get writing
So Detroit cannot stand a chance!

Do you hear the Wrimos type?
Writing the words of their novels?
It is the click clack of the keyboards
That will not lose to Detroit!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the pounding of the keys
There is a war about to end
When Chicago wins!!