Getting geared up for #NaNoWriMo 2019

Nano image by Jennifer C. Cantrell

This November, I’m working hard on my novel for NaNo.

For those who don’t know what NaNo is see their site

The idea is to get a first draft of your novel down within a month.

I usually don’t aim for the fifty thousand words they suggest. However, I always work on my work in progress.

October 21, 2019 Publication Rumour

Really pleased to hear that one of my stories, accepted by a small magazine some months back is nigh on published! Still not certain exactly when the story will come out, but really pleased! It’s hard for the publishers of small magazines and anthologies. They do this work really for love and ego-boo not financial gain, so kudos to them. I truly appreciate each and every one of them.

Plus, for the individual writer, in this career, small pieces of good news can be very important. Writers don’t always get all the accolades all the time.

Creative Input this week:

While I’m doing my exceptionally busy day job gig, I’m going to think of ideas for the chapters-in-progress. Today I read some of the work and planned a couple of things I need to get in before I typing “The End” of draft one.

Roses and red leaves Kitsilano

Also, I have a substack account now, too. It’s a new thing for me, to experiment with mailing lists and probably more for my mini-publisher enterprise than my own work, but we’ll see. Click the link below to see it and subscribe.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for so much in my life, although I’ve had my ups and downs. Being widowed with a toddler is nothing I recommend, for example. However, I have a wonderful kid who is now a great dancer and a UBC student, managing a busy schedule herself.

This weekend even though my favorite SF con, V-CON is not happening, and that makes me sad, I decided to keep the two extra days off and just power through my creative work. This was a great idea because I’ve crossed the rubicon!

I’m at 100,197 Words! Absolutely fabulous progress! It’s a bit of a milestone to hit one hundred thousand words on a project.

I’ve had to accept the fact that when you write a novel as a ‘pantser’ without an outline, it is going to be wildly complex to finish. I’m not near enough to The End to proclaim the first draft is done. I expect my finished product will probably balloon out to 120,000 words, then get trimmed, fixed and fashioned into a decent 100,000. It’s a lighter urban fantasy novel, too so I don’t think it requires “doorstop” size.

Plus, I got in a lovely walk today on Jericho before it rained. The trees are gorgeous now.

Novel Progress

Hooray! I’m at 98,000 words! Having two vacation days this weekend meant I could get at the novel. I’m scheduling quite a few Fridays-off in before the year end.

Using mandated time-off for creative work is one of the few benefits of not having a ‘real vacation’. Maybe when the novel’s published I’ll go somewhere nice.

unsplash-logoDarshan Patel

September 15, 2019

Progress is slower than I hoped. Having a full-time job and teaching on the side often makes for slow creative writing progress. Yet, I have made some progress. I’m at 95,300 words and, more importantly, I’ve figured out what I want to do with those last 7 chapters. I can write quickly, once I know where I’m going with a narrative.

My friend Craig has finished his first draft! Congratulations! It is a wonderful thing to progress to the next level with this. I’m wishing him a good rewrite and copyedit, so he can get it to an agent or publisher soon.

Meanwhile, hoping that my day job slows to a dull roar, which will allow me to take much needed vacation days to write on the novel.

During that time I’ll be in ‘novel prison’ as Craig calls it!

Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash

June 2019 Graduation Season

Jessica’s been to two Grad affairs and has a third later this month. The “Prom” was kids-only but I was invited to the Grads and Parents Dinner Dance. It was really lovely and we invited her Aunt Sheila and her partner. It was great!

I enjoy celebrating on these nights. It does remind me that everything changes!

We have to deal with change in our writing careers. It’s not always everything or nothing. Sometimes we have little wins that propel us forward unbelievably.

So be happy with the wins you create!

May 26, 2019

Whistler trip

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. After the balcony redo, we traveled to Whistler, BC for the Peak Invitational Dance Competition. My daughter competed and, for the first time, had her own students in the competition. It was great! She did well and we really enjoyed it.

I used the vacation as a way to de-stress. I was hoping to get further in my projects and I did, but in unusual ways.

I walked the mountain trails and thought of my father, who loved the mountains so much. It is sad he isn’t around anymore, and even sadder that his last decades split much of my remaining family up, so that we aren’t close. But walking the mountains gave me a sort of new serenity with it all, which was calming. The mountains are holy places, for certain.

I rested and hot-tubbed enough that my body felt wonderful after two days or so. Also, I walked about twice as much as I usually do! My ‘steps’ were very high! We ate well and sometimes splurged, but it was our holiday!


I brainstormed on my upcoming publication of my collection of published short stories. For my novel, I will send it to agents, but collections of published short stories are not something that traditional publishers want. My short story collection will be made up of the stories & poems I’ve sold, gathered into one ebook. I will also include a new story or novella as well.

I need a presentation format for producers who could option these stories.

Also, I want an ebook for relatives and friends who might want a collected version. Even my best friend, who has been around since the (ahem) 80s, isn’t as familiar with all my work as he wants to be.


I’m experimenting with brands, realizing from my Film Gals work, that I need a name for the collection of short stories but also, for a publisher name & logo.

It was easy with the film one but harder for short stories in science fiction and fantasy. I’ve done a couple and I think using “Cat” in the name is good. Also it has to be science fiction and fantasy focused. Plus, it should be high contrast really.

I made the following on using one of their free logo templates. I’ve done something similar on but can’t download until I pay for it. It has a different cat image.

Beta Book Publisher imprint name and logo.

So, the search for a name and logo continues. There was a series in the 1950s about a Space Cat and so this is not a good, unique name. Sigh.

May 13, 2019

I drove to Surrey Arts Centre today for the Festival du Ballet. My dance kid was competing. It was a good drive and a nice change from the weekend’s obsession, which was removing all of my many plants from my balcony. The building is getting power washed and painted. Admittedly, for the rent I pay, I should have a fabulous apartment, but this is Vancouver and we have crazy Silicon Valley type rents.

I love my place though, especially because it has a fifteen by five foot balcony which overlooks trees and a sunset view. I am a gardener as well as a writer. So the process of moving, sorting, deciding and cleaning was difficult. But I think the space will be better for it.

It reminds me that gardens are like a lot of art, we try, sometimes we don’t succeed and then suddenly there is a fantabulous bloom and everything feels worth it!

Balcony clean up
Balcony at a transitional stage