Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

New Release on October 22, 2018


I am so excited to announce that the 5th, and final, book in the Funeral Singer series, A Song of Redemption will be released on Monday, October 22nd. I’ve loved working on this series, and I think the final book is an explosive and exciting wrap-up to Gillian Foster’s story.

A Song of Redemption

At a loss and depressed following her team’s failure to contain Belphegor, Gillian Foster begins to pull herself together to plan her next moves and build a network of other spirit escorts to help her. The threat of the soul thieves grows daily and thrusts the need to stop them solely on her.

When a horrifying attack on her friend brings the problem home leaving Gillian’s life in turmoil, she struggles to control the damage. Working with Orielle, the anthropologist, who is an expert on supernatural creatures, they soon find support from an unexpected source—the Vatican.

The path ahead is clear; the tasks to be done defined. Now all Gillian has to do is execute them and stay alive.

The Kindle book is now listed for pre-order at 99-cents on Amazon.

To celebrate the release, I am putting all five of the Funeral Singer books, including this new one, on sale for 99-cents each. It’s a great time to pick up the set for a total of $4.95. The books will be at this price from October 22 to October 24.

Next Project

Once this novel is out, I will be prepping for this year’s NaNoWriMo and getting my plot lined up for a new book. I have two ideas that I am trying to narrow down for this project, and I am excited about both. More on that after I get into the writing.

In the Works

I have two books that are in the editing process right now. One is a related book to O’Ceagan’s Legacy, which is to say it’s in the same universe but features one of the supporting characters in the book. That book is In Strange Waters, and I plan to release it in January 2019. Look for more information in December. It’s a little different from O’Ceagan’s Legacy, but it is a fun read with a different viewpoint.

The other book is Time Walker, a fantasy novel that combines time travel with a touch of Steampunk. The planned release date for it is in May 2019 to coincide with the Book Lovers’ Convention in New Orleans. The story combines adventure and a bit of romance… But look for more about that in March 2019.

In the press of NaNoWriMo

It’s November 6th and I’m working on my fourth NaNoWriMo novel. This year my project is the 4th book of my Funeral Singer series. Two previous novels in it were written during NaNo. Last year’s novel is in the O’Ceagan’s Legacy series, and sadly, it is still in the edit pile along with Dew Dropping Hour. I tend to impose deadlines on myself and right now, completing the Funeral Singer series is right at the top of my list. There will be one more book in the series to bring it to five total.  But more about that later.

In this post, I want to toss out my top 7 methods to surge past the infamous writer’s block. I actually compiled these for the most recent High Sierra Writers’ newsletter, so if you’re already seen them, then move along.

There’s really no such thing as writer’s block, you know. You just have to do it. And there are some techniques that work for me. If you’re stuck trying to write something, give them a try and see if they won’t help you past the road block. However, the writer’s block at the top of the page can be a serious hindrance.

7 Tips to Break Writer’s Block

From the experiences of Rene Averett

As I’m starting my 4th year of NaNoWriMo, I’m planning to complete the first draft of my next novel. I have “won” every year so far and have every expectation of completing 50,000 words plus quite a few more in November. Even while doing NaNo, writer’s block can set in. I have a few techniques I use to get past them so I will share my top 7 tips for anyone else to try.

1. Change writing mediums: If you’ve been typing on a keyboard, try writing with paper and pen. I find that it triggers my mind into using my creative side and words tend to flow more easily as my mind shifts modes. After a page or so of writing longhand, I can usually get back into the flow of the story and to the computer.

2. Move around: Get up, take a walk, or do something physical for about 15 minutes. Your brain may just need a break. Put on some music and dance or exercise. Sometimes this includes getting up and feeding the cat.

3. Refresh and ask questions: Get a cup of coffee or a glass of water and allow your mind to think about the scene. Ask yourself questions about it. Maybe you haven’t planned it well enough. Ask the basic reporter’s questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? If you can answer them, then you might trigger the next part of your story or you can write a character back-story scene that gets you going again.

4. Take time for play: Play a game or do something creative, such as sketching, drawing, or cooking. Once again, this provides a break and allows your brain to work on the next part of your book.

5. Skip over the scene and go to one that is clearer in your mind: This works well if you’re a plotter. Often when plotting, you add scenes that you’re looking forward to writing while others are part of the necessary lead-up to that great scene. If the lead-up isn’t coming together, jump to the scene you’re really wanting to write. This often sorts out the troublesome scene in the process.

6. Turn off your inner editor: Easier said than done, but seriously, editing uses a different part of the brain and stifles creativity. Let your creative side go and just write.

7. Dream on it: If you’re having trouble with a scene, think about it before you go to sleep. Your brain will work on it while you’re sleeping and you’ll probably have the solution in the morning.

Hope these tips help you if you find yourself staring at the same line of your computer screen for a long time.

 

Read “Funeral Singer” for free!

Two years ago, on November 1st, I participated in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – for the first time and completed my novel, Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle, which I went on to rewrite, edit, and publish in September 2015.  While I’ve written other novels, this was the first one that I published and it is the first novel of the Funeral Singer series.

As I begin my third NaNoWriMo writing frenzy, I am celebrating by making the Kindle version of Funeral Singer FREE for the first five days of November.

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Available FREE from November 1 through November 5, 2016 at Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014QXQKSM

Gillian Foster is an energetic, bright young woman in her mid-twenties, who is trying to build a career as a musician and singer while paying the bills with a dog-grooming job. She’s pretty, sassy, and a hard worker.  With her band, Spicy Jam – Ferris and Digby, musician pals from college – she plays parties, fairs, events, and clubs whenever she get a booking. When an accidental fall results in a concussion that triggers a paranormal talent, things begin to change.  While singing at a funeral, she suddenly can see and talk to the deceased in an ethereal graveyard without missing a beat on her performance.

Convinced she is having hallucinations, she looks for a physical reason for the problem. While she won’t tell her bandmates or the handsome doctor she’s started dating, she does confide in her best friend, Janna, who believes in all things paranormal. As Gillian gets more jobs to sing at funerals, she encounters more deceased who need her assistance. One of these clients needs more than an assist to the next life.  She demands that Gillian find her murderer. Can Gillian find the man and what will she do if she does?

While I don’t have many reviews on Amazon for it, the ones I do have give it a 4 1/2 star average rating.  A few of the comments about the book:

  • I liked this story very much. It’s very well written and has great character development. The author just made Gillian’s journey easily comprehensible. The use of two point of views (Gillian’s and the detective’s) paid off well. The suspense that was build kept me intrigued despite the plot being a bit foreseeable. – Amazon Reader Coral Fang
  • I’ve been reading this book as what I call my “lunch time book” but yesterday, I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and read it straight through although I must admit, my curiosity got the better of me by chapter 18 and I swiped to the last two chapters, read the ending , then went back to where I left off. I once read that a good book or movie is defined by the ending whether one cares about what will happen to the characters when it’s done. “Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle…” gave me that feeling and therefore I recommend this book to anyone and everyone and can’t wait for the next installment!!! – Amazon Reader Cindy Western
  • This is what a book should be, well-written, well plotted, with engaging characters. It was a privilege to visit this world. – Amazon Reader PRBC

If you enjoy a suspense story with a paranormal twist, here’s your chance to take Funeral Singer for a test drive. If you’re on Kindle Unlimited, the book is available there also, even after the five day promotion.  Find the book here.

Don’t forget that if you sign up for my mailing list, you will have a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card in my quarterly promotion.

Wrapping Up NaNo with a Big Score

Nano-SongforMenafeeI just finished my second round of NaNoWriMo, as any of you who have been following me on Facebook probably know. It’s a fun event in November to promote National Novel Writing Month with an attempt by writers to pound out 50,000 words of a novel within the month. It seems like a lot of words and it is a challenge, but if you go into it prepared and with a little support from friends and other writers, something magical happens. The Reno, Nevada group has a strong showing of writers and many of them are on the NaNo-Reno Facebook page, which offers support to the members during this event.

When I say support, I mean they are online and posting encouraging words, cheering you on and doing writing sprints with you. Believe me, that little challenge of how many words can you write in 30 minutes really spurs you to get those words on paper and they come out surprisingly cohesive. The challenges kick in that competitive nature and you get an adrenaline rush while writing. We held a few write-ins where the writers could get together, chat, drink coffee and write. To be honest, they aren’t quite as productive as the online sprints, but you do get to know the rest of the local writers and that is a plus. Writing can be a solitary business so it helps to meet others who face the same challenges and are encouraging. If you’re stuck in the plot, sometimes they can offer suggestions.

By the way, collectively, Northern Nevada writers pounded out a whopping 5,794,528 words during November.  I took the count at a little before midnight on the 30th.  Well done, Reno writers!

I did this for the first time last year. I had an outline for a book, Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle and a pretty good idea of how the story would unfold. On day one, I tore into the story and by the middle of the month I’d passed the 50,000 word mark, finishing the first draft of 62,000 plus words by Nov. 15th. What I had to do to make it happen was to turn off my inner editor, the one that likes to stop and analyze everything, then hunt for the perfect word or rephrase something two or three times before proceeding with the next paragraph. This is what stalls my writing. I went a webinar with Joanna Penn on how to use Scrivener while writing your NaNo novel and getting the story down, letting your thoughts flow, was what she stressed.

Really, the concept is pretty simple. Let your creative side go crazy and allow  the characters go wherever they choose to go, within reason, during the first draft. If you can do that, you can capture the basics of your novel — the characters, the plot, the twists and the key elements. The revision draft that you will do later in December or January will be the one that will enhance, tune, trim and make your novel a cohesive and compelling (you hope) read. It’s not as easy to do as it sounds, but once you wrap your mind around the idea that you’re not going to worry about anything you say, typos or other issues that tend to slow your writing down, you can do it.

In 2014, I not only finished the first draft of A Song for Marielle, I also started a young adult novel to continue adding to my word count. I got up to about 82,000 words by the end of November. This year, I wanted to beat that word count and I also wanted to write the second book of the Funeral Singer novel, A Song for Menafee. In November, I had Reno’s Comic Con on the schedule for three days, which I also had in 2014, and I had a three day trip to San Francisco to see Josh Groban, which would impact my writing time . The roomie and I took the bus to San Francisco and I used some of the time on the bus to write, although having a Chatty Cathy across the aisle the whole trip made it hard to concentrate on the writing while going out. Then having Sleeping Beast using my shoulder for a pillow on the way back tended to really put a damper on writing. But I still managed a respectable amount those days and I finished my first draft of Menafee on November 11. I then started the second novel, a suspense romance (which will be published eventually under Riona Kelly) and got another 30,000 plus words done on it before the last day of November. I ended up writing 91,062 words in November.

I’m not going to say they are all good words or that the novels are fit to be published, certainly not in the shape they are in after the frenzy of writing. I am about one-third through the second novel so that needs to be finished.  It is currently without a title and is being referred to as The Spanish Story.

But I have one new novel completed and ready to be revised in the next couple of months, which will then go to beta readers.  After that will be the editing and other revisions, then, with luck, to publication by early summer. That’s the plan at the moment. It’s exciting.

The main takeaway from NaNo is realizing that if you can write like that in November, you can do it anytime. You just need to challenge yourself, have a story plan, set aside time to write every day, and do it. When I finished last year, I didn’t write anything new for several days until I thought, I should be writing. It’s becoming a habit, a much desired habit.

Gearing up for NaNo

Old Hillside Cemetery in Reno Nevada – the Civil War plot for those who served in the Civil War.

It’s the middle of October and time to start getting organized for this year’s NaNoWriMo.  I’ve been working on my character sheets for the next novel in the Funeral Singer series.  I have an outline and the next step is to organize all this in Scrivener so that when I start writing on November 1st, I will be ready to knock out a bunch of words from the get-go.

November is not without additional challenges to the writing.  I will be out of town three days of it and Wizard World Comic Con in Reno will take another three days out of the writing time although I will still try to write each day, even if it’s in a notebook to be typed in later.

In spite of that, I love the extra push that writing during NaNo gave me last year and I hope to have as great an experience this year.  If you’re a writer and haven’t gotten involved with your regional group for NaNo, you might be missing out on the “we’re all in this together” group feel that writing, even online, at the same time and comparing word counts with others incentive that you get from the program.  It’s a great boost and it really helped me to turn off the internal editor and just write.  The first draft needs work, but you’ve got a book when you’re done.

So over the next month, I’ll post about my progress on the next novel during NaNo.  I do have a title and the story line is really a good one, I think.  But then I’m a little biased.   Suffice it to say that Gillian Foster will still be dealing with the consequences of the first book while learning more about her “gift”.  I’m looking forward to the story myself and can’t wait to learn what she has to tell me.

Speaking of Funeral Singer, thus far, the first novel of the series, A Song for Marielle has been pretty well received, although I’ve only gotten eight reviews at this point.  Seven are on Amazon and one is on Good Reads.  I really encourage any of you who have read the book to please leave a review on Amazon and/or Good Reads. For any author, the reviews are important feedback as well as a way to let other readers know how a book is received.  Thank you to all who take the time to leave reviews.