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The Good, The Bad, The Funny

A recap of my week:

The Good

I am somehow cruising through Camp NaNoWriMo. After two weeks of barely keeping pace, I am now days ahead. Days. As in more than one. Four days, to be exact. Now, of course, that I’ve announced it to the world I’ve completely jinxed myself and will spend the next 15 days without a single story-related thought in my head.

But they’re there at the moment, and I hope they stick around for the rest of the month. Seriously, I have no idea how this is happening. I have no idea where my 30,000+ words thus far have gone in this manuscript. I’m also starting to suspect that 50,000 words will not be enough to finish this story, but that’s a different post for a different day. Let me say this, though:  Second Nature is now over 730 pages long (11 pt font, 1.5 spacing, or roughly 282,000 words, if you were curious).

I never thought I’d look at Effigy and think ‘short.’ Never. Not once.

Speaking of Effigy, it’s been almost a year since that novel was released into the wild. Its official book birthday is next week (Monday or Wednesday, to be as exact as I can in this case.). I’ll be putting the e-book edition on sale then, provided I don’t forget and I can figure out how. I’m also contemplating doing some Effigy-themed posts during this time. So, if there’s an Effigy-themed topic in which you may be interested in reading, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

The Bad

I still live in Florida. I’m still unemployed. I keep checking the want ads every day, but still, no one is hiring a sarcasm specialist. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…before the college kids go back to school and some store is desperate enough to take on both me and my attitude. Fingers crossed!

The Funny

These videos:

(Please note, the second video contains a not-insignificant amount of profanity. That’s probably obvious, as it’s right in the name. Anyway, it’s NSFW. Or suitable for people who don’t find profanity as amusing as I do. (Yes, I am incredibly mature like that.))

That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great weekend!

Music of the Night

A while back, I had an idea that in an upcoming scene I wanted to write that a character of mine would be singing a song. Or, maybe not a song exactly. Originally, whatever this brilliant composition would end up being was supposed to be something like a childhood rhyme that girls might recite on the playground while jumping rope, or something that would be accompanied by an intricate hand jive. “Miss Mary Mack”- esque,  if you will, but darker and potentially creepier. You know, something that would fit in the world of my novels.

So I spent some time following that decision brainstorming lyric ideas, but nothing really took. I had an opening line that I was fond of, but nothing to follow it. Then last week (Last Wednesday, to be exact), Camp NaNoWriMo helped me get to the point where I kind of had to start writing that scene in which the song/rhyme was needed. I couldn’t put it off any longer.
If you follow my author page on Facebook, or my Twitter feed, you may already be aware that I had spent the majority of Wednesday afternoon working on this song—just the lyrics, mind you—because by then, the concept had fully become a song. If you were curious, me working on a song looks an awful lot like me wandering around the house (and possibly Large Mart and the Dinn Wixie (just try to crack that clever code—go on! I dare you!)) trying to think of words that rhyme. Fortunately, none of those words were ‘orange.’

Eventually (thankfully) it clicked, and I successfully wrote the lyrics to a (very short) song.
When I sat down to write those lyrics into my manuscript that night, I started to sing those lyrics to various melodies because that’s just how my brain works. Then I broke out the iPad piano (I miss having a proper piano. That is all.). Then I decided that I just had to write down the music to accompany my lyrics.
Back in high school and early on in my college career, I wrote a lot of music. A lot. But I hadn’t done it a good long while. So long that I had no idea where any of my blank staff paper might have been. (Some day, I will finish unpacking all of my boxes…but it is not this day.)
So, like a crazy person, I made my own:
A sample draft. I need a better eraser.
It was such a productive way to spend a night.
Especially because after I finished the first song, I went right on ahead and wrote a second song. (Who needs to write words anyway?) The second song is about the loss of innocence and demons and dying. So naturally, it ended up as a jaunty-sh jig-like thing.
Because that’s how my brain works.
Anyway, I spend the entire night and most of the next day singing my two brand new songs (That one dog is really glad he’s deaf.) because they were stuck in my head and I was kind of excited about them. In endlessly doing so, I slowly realized that my songs bore a striking slight resemblance to songs I had heard before. Only I couldn’t figure out which ones.
It took me a while to work it out, but Sunday morning in the shower, it finally came to me:
So…..It’s possible I won’t be winning a Grammy any time ever. The next drafts will be better. Or maybe they’ll sound like Bon Jovi. Time will tell.
But the whole song-writing experience left me feeling surprisingly good about my WIP. I’m keeping pace with Camp NaNoWriMo, and while there’s definitely some heavy revising in my not-so-distant future, I’m not hating the story as much as I was last month. This is not to suggest that I won’t be in the opposite state of mind next week, or even later on today, but at the moment, I’m happy with how things are going.
How unusual.
That’s going to do it for me today. I’ll try to do better the next time. Until then, all.

In Which I Bring Back Goal Posts

But not, like, for soccer or football or whatever. I am referring to a blog post—this blog post, as it happens—in which I set goals for an upcoming month.

Fascinated already, aren’t you?

Sherlock Sleeping
That’s what I thought.

Anyway, I haven’t done a monthly goal post for a while now. I just checked—the last post concerning a goal that wasn’t “Pack up my belongings and move to the other end of the East Coast” was back in October 2014. There were two goals set that month:

1) Finish Part Two of my then-current (and, hell, still-current) WIP, Second Nature.


2) Walk, run, or bike at least 88 miles.

Ann on Jogging

But I never blogged about whether I had accomplished these goals. I know for a fact that I didn’t make the first one, as I didn’t finish Part Two until March of this year. I went back and checked the mileage log (Yes, I have a mileage log. Yes, I know it’s weird.) and saw that I only logged 50 miles last October, with a note written in the margin that October 2014 was the month I was dealing with my horrendous back injury. So, given that, I think 50 miles was pretty damn good.

Anyway, as part of my goal to get back into the swing of things following the Big Move, I am bringing back my monthly goal setting, and I am posting them for all to see on this blog to help hold me accountable.

And now, without any further ado, here are my goals for the month of July:

1) Win Camp NaNoWriMo and, by doing so, complete this never-ending draft of Second Nature.

I am so excited for Camp to start this Wednesday. And scared. But excited. And scared. But, you know, excited. Really. It’s going to be great. Or, potentially,  a huge disaster. But it’s going to be great. Have I mentioned that I’m excited? (And scared…) I really want to finish this book this July.

2) Attempt to make some progress on my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Back in January, I set a goal to read 60 books this year. In general, it’s not too difficult for me to achieve this…She says as she admits that last year, she only finished 56 books. And so far this year, I have managed only 19 books. According to Goodreads, I am ten books behind schedule. Could be worse, I suppose, but I’d like to make up some ground on that this month. This could be a crazy goal to set, given that I’m also attempting to write 50,000 words in July, but it’s not like I have a day job. (And it’s not like I’m still bitter about that, either.)

I Didn't Know You Could Read

3) Log some serious mileage.

I’m also way behind on my 2015 mileage goal. In January, I set out to log 800 miles (via walking, running, biking, etc.). I have 730 miles to go. So way, way behind. Last July, I managed 125 miles, so I’ll shoot to match that number this July. Again, it’s possible I’m setting myself up for failure come August, but go big or go home, right?


Just think of it this way: If I keep crazy busy, I won’t have time to dwell on how much I don’t enjoy living on the surface of the sun. (Yes, I know the surface of the sun is much, much hotter than Florida, and that if I truly did live on the surface of the sun, I would have been incinerated or whatever long before now, but C’MON! Just give me this one, okay?)

And on that note, I’m outta here. Gotta rest up while I can. July’s going to be rather busy. (I hope.)

The State Of The Novel Address

One of the first things I did upon moving into my new house was to get some semblance of a storyboard back on my walls. (The kitchen could wait.)

Yes, I still have my Trello board, but my office just doesn’t feel like an office to me without a storyboard. Oh yeah, that’s right—my new office has wall space enough for me to have a storyboard there and not on my dining rooms walls.

And there was much rejoicing (by The Man, anyway).

But as I still haven’t uncovered all of my original storyboard supplies, and the big-ass bulletin board remains un-hung, it’s not a full and complete storyboard. Yet, anyway, but it’s something, and I needed something because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THIS WIP.

Shortly before the Big Move, I wrapped up a draft of Part Two of Second Nature. I dabbled a little with Part Three before realizing that I no longer knew where the story was going to go. The Big Move happened, and the WIP got shoved onto the back burner (a fact over which I was incredibly mature and understanding and did not at any point throw a major temper tantrum) until recently.

My writing pattern thus far as been as follows:


Yay! I have an idea, and it’s awesome!


What was I thinking? That idea was terrible! I’ll come up with a new one.


Any minute now…


Hey, I think there’s some vital housework that needs to be done.

I know how Part Three starts, and I have an idea as to how Part Three ends (or should end). What I’ve done (or am doing) is scribble a one-sentence synopsis of a scene I think would work onto a post-it and slap it on the wall. I add or subtract or rearrange as my thought process dictates. There’s no real rhyme or reason to anything yet. Mainly, it’s just a compilation of character confrontations I think should happen based on the events of Part Two. In doing all of this, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work out how to connect A to C.

I’d really like to get this draft finished. I’d originally hoped to have this book out this coming July, but now I’m hoping that the first draft might be finished. I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes. I just find it discouraging that I’m still working on it.

But I’ll keep working on it. I don’t tend to give up easily—unless, of course, we’re talking about exercising or eating health—and I’m certainly not going to give up on this project. I’m obsessed with it, and I’m dying to know what’ll happen next.

So that’s the status of my writing. Until next time, all!

The Pewter Pegasus

In my hometown, there used to be an establishment called “The Barn” that was charitably considered an antique store. It’s a Walgreens parking lot now, but during my high school career, it was a junk store that was housed in a red barn.

You could find just about anything there, whether you were looking for it or not. They had furniture, dishes, glass bottles in every shape, size and color; small appliances, large appliances, farm tools, and things that simply defied categorization. It was my favorite place (besides the used bookstore) to go and poke around just to see what I could find.

But of all the things I thought I might one day come across, I never once imagined I would stumble upon something that would help shape my not-as-yet-written fantasy series.

The day that happened, my brother and I were just aimlessly wandering around (not that you ever really did anything else at The Barn). We had gone from room to room without finding anything that particularly sparked our interest—at least not enough to buy—so we headed out.

However, before we made it through the door, we passed a case like the sort in which a department store would put higher end jewelry, and something there caught my eye.

A tiny pewter pegasus.

And I mean tiny. It could fit comfortably on a silver dollar. It could almost fit on a quarter. To this day, I have no idea how I even saw it in a case that was crammed full of other miniatures and jewelry and knick-knacks, but I did.

Pewter Pegasus (Medium)

I stopped. I stared. I tracked down an employee (no easy feat). I bought. I don’t remember exactly, but I think I paid five dollars for it. Whatever the amount, I do remember thinking that it was too high for such a little thing, but I handed over the money anyway because I had to have it.

I went home, put my pewter pegasus on my desk (where he’s been every since), and wrote a story about the leader of a rebellion in some far-off fantasy place whose companion was a tiny, talking pegasus prone to sarcasm and manipulation as he strives to save the world.

One never knows when and where inspiration will be found: people-watching in the park, hiking in the mountains, driving a lonely stretch of highway, in the shower, washing a sinkful of dirty dishes, in television, movies, books—or in a plexiglass jewelry case in the most dubious-looking junk store ever.

That junk store find eventually became Faolan, a pivotal character in Effigy, and one of my favorite characters for which to write (all the sarcastic characters are…I wonder why), and I honestly couldn’t imagine the story, or the series, without him.

And all for the bargain price of five dollars.


Effigy (epic fantasy)
by M.J. Fifield
Release date: July 22, 2014

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.


Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon, Amazon UK, and CreateSpace

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