A.C.’s Journal: Entry 24 – A Workhorse Writing Day

People keep posting on social media about 5k to 7k per week is a lot. I just calculated my average over the past four years on just the Freelan novels, and it came to 12,207 per week. Of course, that’s an average and doesn’t include my little “side trips” into short stories, a romance novel, and a fantasy novel, totaling a little over 300k. But then, I write full-time. For me, everyday is a workhorse writing day.

How such a day goes:

  • Get up
  • Grab a glass of orange juice
  • Turn on the laptop
  • Start writing (or rereading/tweaking/editing what I previously wrote)
  • Take a break and get some hot tea and yogurt
  • Back to writing
  • Break for lunch
  • Back to writing
  • Get an afternoon snack
  • Back to writing
  • Greet hubby when he comes home from work
  • Back to writing
  • Backup my files
  • Relax and rewind for the next day

Just as a workhorse gets harnessed and spends the day at the work for which he is trained, I get harnessed to my laptop and my brain gets hooked into the work for which years of life had trained it.

Thankfully, I have lots of “buddies” to keep me company and make sure I stay “at it.”

How does your workhorse writing day go?


2nd Story “A Cup of Tea” Published as Guest Blog

Once again, the good folks at Stories from the Soul have considered one of my short stories worthy of appearing on their site! Always a nice feeling. My short story A Cup of Tea was published on Thursday 10 March 2023. Here’s the opening paragraph. Hope you enjoy it and have a few moments to read the rest of the story.

Nothing is more hospitable in the world, or so my travels have taught me, than a cup of tea with a congenial host. That little gesture, seen in British television and movies, is best experienced in real life. I had such an occasion – so comforting at a time when I had needed it – that it has stayed in my memory for three decades now. Read rest of story here.

Read more about the site here:

Stories from the Soul Blog - Stories by Women, for Women

Time for me to get back to work goes on with the Freelan Series and other WIPs.

Best wishes to you all on your endeavors!

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 23 – The Push-Pull of Writing

A few days ago, I sat trying to decide whether to push or give into the pull of writing. “What’s that?” you ask. Good question. Answer: It’s something I just made up.

To me, the push of writing is new stuff, pushing at my brain to get out, get typed up on my laptop screen or jotted on a notepad. It has a loud voice and a very pestering manner.

The pull, on the other hand, comes from the stuff I have already typed up (right now that amounts to 2.6million words in the Freelan series and about 200k in various short stories and a fantasy novel in the works titled The B’raith Chronicles). It all pulls me to reread, edit, purify, clarify, and catch those pesky typos.

Recently, I found something in one of the Freelan MSs that contradicted something in a later Freelan MS. Not surprising. I often have an idea that occurs later in the series and go ahead, heeding that push, and type it up. Then I get pulled back to where I had been working and continue on. As a result, a new technology that I had first appearing in Year 12 of the series got mentioned in Years 7, 9, and 10. Yikes! The issue became a choice between removing those references or keeping them and changing Year 12. Since the scenes in 7, 9, and 10 needed that new technology, guess which choice I made!

Yes, I changed Year 12. Sigh.

Would love to hear if you’ve had similar experiences.

Thanks for stopping by and wishing you the best in your writing.

Meanwhile, I’m getting a jump on St. Patty’s Day with these little beauties! Brain fuel.

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 22 – That “Gee, I Wrote This?” Moment

You’ve all probably experienced it – that moment when you’ve reread something you wrote days, weeks, months, or even years earlier and are struck with how good (or bad) it is. That’s the test of time, when you think “Gee, I wrote this? It’s darn good (or terribly bad)!” The feeling can go either way. But that time test is valuable, giving you a more objective perspective on things.

As I read through a MS for a book in the Freelan Series, I have both reactions. Fortunately, the bad stuff (usually a somewhat garbled paragraph or some events not occurring in the proper order) only needs a little tweaking to improve it. But mostly, I have the thrill of really liking what I had worked on a few months ago. A dastardly plot – a moment that makes me cry or laugh – a scene that gets my heart pumping with excitement – they are all here. And I think, “Gee, I wrote this?” And then I say, “Of course I did!”

Back to my reading, and thanks for stopping by!

Hope your writing is going well. Let the light of creativity forever shine within you.

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 18 – Writing Partner

My hubby is, quite fortunately, a great writing partner in that, he not only comes up with great ideas, he also catches my errors (timeline issues, inconsistencies, typos) as well as adding philosophical explanations and humanizing touches, things I tend to forget as I’m speedily typing along and trying to keep pace with my brain.

Every time he reads through something I’ve written, though, I feel like a kid in school as the teacher is reviewing my homework or grading my test. My stomach flutters like a horde of butterflies are in it, and my fingers shake a bit as I continue typing on other fiction works. When he is done, I review what he has added and sigh in relief at how good it is. I also relish his comments about how much he liked what I had written (and he is not one to spread on the false praise).

Yes, I feel fortunate to have such a writing partner available to me. I hope you have, or will find, such a person to aid you in perfecting your writing.

Let’s all head into the New Year with renewed vigor and hope. Wishing you all the best in your endeavors! And toasting you with a nice chilled glass of Darjeeling tea!

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 16 – Entering a Writer’s Mind

Ever want to get inside another person’s mind? You can – no joke. This isn’t about psychic ability, extra sensory perception, or any other phenomena that saw a surge in popularity in the 1970s and continue to be widespread today. There are no gypsies here gazing into their crystal balls, no seer reading tarot cards or tossing magic crystals to get a secret message from the cosmos. No, this is a pure and simple fact and based on the idea that, just as you “are what you eat,” you are also what you write.

One of the top-selling authors in the world, Ayn Rand, said:

“Art is the selective re-creation of reality according to
an artist’s metaphysical value judgments.”

That just means that how you see the world is how you will write. It comes through, often without you even knowing it. So, that means that when someone reads what you’ve written, painted, drawn, choreographed, or otherwise put out into the world, that person is seeing inside your mind. This is especially true of authors. The better you write it out, the clearer the reader will see it. And that makes the editing process all the more precarious. Be sure you’re working with someone who can see your vision and understand it.

With all this in mind, I was a bit worried about showing hubby a short story I had written a year or two before he and I met. It was from a dark time in my life and clearly shows it. But all was fine. He read it and then hugged me. And I told him, “Thank goodness we met.”

Have a great holiday, all, and thanks for reading. I am putting together a page to display excerpts from the Freelan series of novels. There will also eventually be a page with excerpts for the other fiction works. Look for both in January of 2023.

Excerpt from Hammil Valley Rising Intro

I had posted this excerpt on social media but wanted to put it here, too. This shows the first sight of a main character who transitions from an antagonist to a protagonist. (I post excerpts as images to counter content scrapers out there used by unscrupulous people to grab site content.) Your thoughts on this or other items on my site are always welcome.

See more about Hammil Valley Rising, book 1 of the Freelan series.

Thanks and best wishes for your writing or other endeavors.

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 15 – Catching My “Write-isms”

Having surpassed 2.5 million words in the Freelan series of WIPs, and adding even more in a collection of short stories as well as in a book of fantasy stories underway, I have begun noticing certain “write-isms” (not sure what else to call them). These are words and phrases that I seem to use habitually – a bit of wordiness that I am slowly catching and fixing.

One such word-ism is “a bit,” as in “I feel a bit tired” instead of “I feel a little tired” or “I feel rather tired.” In fact, “a bit” appears 217 times in the first book in the Freelan series (Hammil Valley Rising). Since I’m in the process of what I hoped would be a final read-thru, I’ll hunt them all down and change most, if not all, of them (thank goodness for the Find feature in MS Word).

There are others I catch here and there, such as “for awhile” which should either be “awhile” or “for a while” or something else such as “for an hour or so,” depending on the context. The tough job is recognizing them. They have become second nature in my writing. Sigh. Even Word’s grammar checker doesn’t pop them all up.

Hope you can catch your “write-isms” – those pat phrases and words that you use by habit. They are good at hiding in plain site, so fuel your brain with some nice hot tea and pumpkin pie.

Happy hunting!

See you also on Twitter.

A.C.’s Journal: Entry 14 – Keep Writing During the Holiday Season

This time of year can be a challenge for us creative types. It’s a real break in routine. Whether we deal in the visual, musical, or literary arts, that break can throw us off our stride. I’ve found the best remedy is a bit of fore planning.

For example, for Thanksgiving, I planned to have hubby handle cooking the two turkey thighs (a whole turkey would last us a century or two). For my part, I prepped the cranberry salad a couple days early and chose other side dishes that needed minimal prep time (canned green beans, gravy from a jar, and packaged stuffing), and the pumpkin pie was also store bought. Result: A satisfying meal plus hours and hours of time devoted to writing.

Of course, people often visit relatives during this time of year. In that case, carry pens and a notebook or two. If you use a phone app (which, being the security conscious person I am, I do not), be sure your phone battery is charged up and bring that charger with you. Sneak away from the crowd when inspiration hits and get those ideas down whatever way you can. (I’ve been known to scribble on toilet paper – yes, I was that desperate.)

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and can fit in writing time between now and the holidays ahead.

See you also on MeWe and Twitter.

My First Ever Horror Genre Short Story Posted

As a followup to the flash fiction (<1,000 words) story Walter that was posted a couple weeks ago on a site called The Writers Club, I sent them Wind Down the Chimney, my first ever horror genre short story (>7k words). Happy to say that it was just posted but sadly without centering where I had and without the italicized and bolded text. Never fear. I have posted here a PDF copy in its correct form instead.

These little works of short fiction give me a break from the long work on the Freelan Series.

Hope you’ll have a quick moment to read Wind Down the Chimney, a haunted tale featuring newlyweds Jane and Blake Andrews and perfect for this Halloween weekend!

Click to access wind-down-the-chimney.pdf

And don’t be afraid to try something new with your writing. You never know what might happen.