Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Writer's Wednesday: NaNo update #2

Battle of the Brains: Planning Vs. Pantsing


Hey, everyone! I'm coming up for air (from the depths of my new MS) and wanted to let you know how it's all going--especially that extensive outline I started with!

We're three weeks in, which means most of us are in the doldrums. At least, that's where I am. I've been managing to meet my word counts every day, but I feel like I'm forcing it out. Like I have constipation of the imagination. This, of course, is famously where the outline helps.

So is my outline helping? Have I stuck to the plan well enough for it to have any meaning at all at this point?

Yes and no, on both counts. I've wandered a bit--things I planned for one point have ended up happening earlier, which leaves me with holes, or a lack of a point for a planned scene. But I do still have a more or less chronological list of the the things that need to happen to get to the solution of the mystery, and I can consult it when I'm flagging.

I also have a growing list of things that I think I'll need to go back and write into earlier scenes, from minor character things to plot points and red herrings. That means I need to look at pulling things to a conclusion around 65 or 70K words, to keep the final draft around 80K.

I think I'm going to have to admit that there's no way for me to make a nice, clean first draft that gets all the story bits in place. I did a great job of visualizing the beginning and ending of the story, but the stuff in between is... fuzzy. I wonder it it's possible for it to be anything else.

Word count as of 11/19: 42084. Less than 8K to "win" NaNo, but just past halfway to a novel.
Target: 80K by Christmas. We have a 2-week trip planned in early December. I'll be writing on airplanes, for sure!

 Don't forget--sign up for my newsletter by Dec. 15 (top right on this page) and get a free copy of the sweet Pismawallops PTA novella, The Christmas Question.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Launch spotlight: The Chronicles of Marsh

The Ninja Librarian is delighted to announce the release of a new addition to the Princelings series!
 The Chronicles of Marsh, by Jemima Pett (#9 in the Princelings Series) was released Nov. 14!

Genre: fantasy/history/memoir/MG/crossover (yes, it really is all of these things!)
Length: 59,000 words
Triggers: one sad death scene
Recommended: for children over 10 with advanced reading skills

Publisher's Blurb:
The Princelings of the East are now King Fred and Prince Engineer George.  Gone are the years of innocence when they travelled for adventure and uncovered time tunnels and pirate plots.

Now Fred, assisted by his queen, Kira, has the responsibility for his people, his lands, and for persuading the lords and kings of the Realms to act together for the common good.

George just has to work on his inventions, always thinking of a final goal: to fulfil the promises made to Lord Mariusz so long ago.

Neither has an easy task.

Fred decides to write this history of his reign. He starts with the joy of his inheritance, but quickly shows us that developments in the Realms are not leading towards a settled and happy future.

Ordinarily, in this kind of post, I'd insert my review here. In this case, that doesn't seem quite right, as I was a beta reader/editor on this one and might not be wholly objective. So I'll just say that it is a must-read for anyone following the series, though not the place to start the series. I love the Princelings, and encourage anyone who likes Erin Hunter's Warriors, Brian Jacques, or Narnia to take a look at the series. This one fills in a lot of important bits and breaks your heart a little.


Chapter One
Spring came subtly to the marsh. The reeds stood at odd angles, however the snow and winds had thrown them, beige against the black of the water and green of the new grass. The stubby willow bushes showed fluffy silver buds cracking out of chestnut-brown casings. On the more open wetlands, the peeping of wading birds made an incessant whistle against the wayward breeze.

The banners on the castle towers fluttered, halfway up the flagpoles. The castle stood proudly on a rock, surrounded by miles of reedbeds. To the east ran a line of dunes, then the sea. To the west, a thinly wooded meadow area gave way to dense forest. To north and south, reeds continued as far as the eye could see. 

In the castle, the entire population had gathered round a wooden box, set on a trestle in the middle of the upper square.

Fred watched as six members of the 25th Rifle Brigade, smartly dressed in their dark green jackets, hoisted the coffin onto their shoulders. They followed their captain, a huge person named Haggis, towards a gateway that led to the castle’s crypt. Fred felt the warmth of his wife next to him, warding off the chill in his heart. It was not just the death of his uncle. He wasn’t ready to be a king.

Yesterday, Princess Kira had been showing the children of the castle how to make a sound like a bittern by blowing across the neck of a jar. Today, Queen Kira was giving Fred moral support as he addressed his people.

“So, as we send our beloved King Vladimir on his way,” Fred said to his audience, “I ask each and every one of you to support me as your new king, to help me uphold the best traditions of our castle, and to help me serve you in the best interest of our community.” He paused for a couple of seconds, then added, “ I believe we have refreshments ready in the lower square.”

“Long live the King!” cried FGP, the castle’s long-serving steward. He’d never had any other name, and nobody knew what the initials stood for.

“Long live the King!” the people responded. Then they hurried off to the corner of the upper square and down the stairs. A feast was laid out for all at the tables set out in front of the tavern.

Chronicles of Marsh, Ch 1  © J M Pett 2019

Buying Links

iTunes, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords Amazon   (universal link)
Paperback: ISBN 9780464454038 – coming soon to your favourite store.

About the Author

Jemima wrote her first book when she was eight years old. She was heavily into world-building, drawing maps, building railway timetables, and dreaming of being a champion show-jumper, until schoolwork got in the way. Then she went down the science path, reading all the scifi in her local library, writing papers, manuals and reports, as well as editing the newsletters for her sports clubs. She changed career aged 42, to a new and exciting cross-cutting science called environmental technology, and worked in energy efficiency and climate change. A few years on, she was writing stories based on the personalities of her first pets, guinea pigs named Fred and George, after the Weasley twins. Then her other guinea pigs demanded starring roles….

Jemima Pett lives in Norfolk, UK, and first started writing fantasy adventures for young teens over ten years ago.

Connect with Jemima Pett:  Blog ** Amazon ** Goodreads ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Pinterest ** Smashwords

Now enter the Giveaway

~ one $20 or £20 or €20 gift card~

Runners up prizes:
~free ebooks of Chronicles of Marsh~
~1 UK winner gets a Princelings Notebook worth £16~

Note that only 3 entries are permitted per day to avoid spam. You may return to use other ways to enter at any time during the period of the giveaway.
Giveaway ends at 23.59 on December 6th, UK time. Open worldwide. You can come back to complete all the entries at other times but only three entries are available to you each day. Just visit Jemima Pett's page and make your entry! 

And just because I love the series and love the covers, here are all the rest!

The Princelings Books: Jemima Pett

Friday, November 15, 2019

Favorite Holiday Memory Blog Hop

Running a little behind here...

Blog Hop Question: What is your favorite holiday memory?

(This includes Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule/Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc.)

My Memory:
I have a lot of good holiday memories. I admit I love Christmas, from opening stocking in our jammies to big family dinners (and pie! I like pie!). A couple of favorite memories stand out in my mind, though. When I was about 5, my mom got creative on a budget. She sewed each of the three of us a patchwork snake (thus thriftily using up scraps of fabric, some furry, some not) and put it in our Christmas stockings. The kicker? Those snakes were 6' long! We know that, because my middle brother got a tape measure in his stocking as well, so of course we measured them.

Mom stuffed the snakes using cut-up scraps of fabric, and I remember that she was sitting around snipping the scraps into little pieces, and I got worried that she was wasting good fabric! She just gave that mysterious mom look and said she thought she could find a use for the bits :)

New Picture Book Release from Elaine Kaye!

On Christmas Eve, Gregory and Sammy get a special visitor—Santa Claus! Santa brings them on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world and to the North Pole. Bundle up and come along for the ride!

General Age Range - Kids 4-8 (Story Picture Book)

Book Links:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Smashwords / Goodreads


Get Pea Soup Disaster now!
Kindle / Nook / Kobo

About the Author: Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools. She currently lives in Florida, but has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.

Hop around to the other blogs participating: