NaNoWriMo started this week

I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the past 7 years. Well, this will be my 7th year, not including Camp NaNo in the summers, which I usually only do half-heartedly.

I had to look that up. Every year feels like the first year because it’s new and exciting, and I get nervous about word counts and holycrap50000wordscanIevendothat. I haven’t been successful every year. But for at least 50% of them, I’ve knocked out 50k or more.

I should back up. NaNoWriMo happens every November. Hosted by the Office of Letters and Light (btw, if they ever need a Salesforce admin, I happen to know a gal), it’s an annual mad dash to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. In actuality, it can be anything. Novel, poetry, fanfiction, novella, short stories…whatever. The point is to write. Every single day. And to not worry about editing.

It’s like a safe and responsible form of reckless abandon.

It’s an exercise is not second-guessing every little thing that you do. Do you not do that? I do. All the time.

It’s a somewhat social event, in that you can be social if you choose. There are online forums and regional groups that might host write-ins and weekly meet-ups. I’ve never been to one of those. Never could work up the courage. Go me!

It’s getting back to the roots of something that I really, really enjoy, outside of the necessities of doing it for professional purposes (no offense, blog, ILY.)

So anyway. There it is. Don’t be surprised if, in lieu of useful information about Salesforce, you see a bunch of excerpts over the next couple of weeks. I have 50,000 words to write.

Scratching the itch of nostalgia

My bet would be that most folks reading this blog have not danced with Windows 8 yet. I’ll admit it takes some getting used to, and mostly what I do, working at Geek Squad, is resetting computers or removing passwords because folks are returning computers.

Who cares about Windows 8, you’re probably asking.

9 times out of 10, I would say that I don’t. At all. However, I bring it up because you might not know that the default sign-in screen is an animated landscape featuring picturesque mountains…and the Space Needle.

Once upon a time, this used to be a common sight for me. This was a picture I took one morning walking from Eric’s house (when we were first dating) to my apartment on the other side of Queen Anne hill.

Now that fact of the matter is, I’m too young to be going on about “the good ole days,” but I’m not so young that I can’t get a little bit sentimental about the places I’ve been. And maybe having a weekend to myself and a little bit of vodka in my system isn’t helping, but I was thinking about work, thinking about Windows 8, and thinking about how immensely cool it is that I lived in Seattle. Me! Samantha Grillo from Sautee-Nacoochee, Georgia, moved to Seattle, Washington.

I met my husband there. I got my first “real” job there. I signed the lease for my first apartment of my very own, with no one else to pay my bills with me. I bought my first computer, my first furniture, and my first ferry pass there. I had my first brush with the legal system (don’t worry – I wasn’t arrested!) there. And now, sometimes, it feels like the most tangible connection I have to the city is the log-in screen on Windows 8.

I started this blog in Seattle. Really! Go back to my first post; I made it in Seattle.

I should be taking this weekend of solitude and putting toward crafting, and in a sense I am. Remember NaNoWriMo? Going steady at 77,870 words at the moment, and I’m just getting to the action.

Maybe I made this post because, in a buzzy haze, I was feeling nostalgic. But mostly I made it because I feel an immense level of guilt when I don’t post for a few days. So, in conclusion:

The people who complain about Marvel movies not being canon need to read comics in each decade and see how much is retconned.

Jeremy Renner is astonishingly handsome.

I like it that my coworkers tell me I can’t leave when my shift ends because they want me to stay.

Sierra Mist Cranberry is the best mixer for vodka ever.


I reached 50,000 words today! And my story is not over – not even close. I will keep working on it throughout November, but I have officially “won” NaNoWriMo. Okay, not officially because I have to get it verified on the 25th, but what a freeing sensation!
I had today off, which is what allowed me to write the 8,477 words today that got me to where I needed to be for the NaNo win. I work tomorrow (of course), and then we’re driving up north to spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws. We’re going to eat more a lunch than a dinner, so we can leave early enough for me to get sleep. I’ll have to be at work 4am on Friday, so our holiday will have to be a little bit short.

I get exhausted just thinking about it, but NaNo is done, and it will likely go quickly. We also have to get started on Christmas gifts – canning like fools!

To those of you for whom I was originally planning individual gifts, well, sorry, but NaNo, full-time/over-time work that includes weekend, applying for a mortgage, and a general malaise have prevented me from starting anything specific. Canning I can do in short order, but some of my other ideas not so much.

I’ll have another excerpt eventually, but for now, I think I’m going to get ready for bed. It’s been an exciting day, and I have a tiring five days ahead of me. Then I’ll have two days off in a row. I cannot properly express how excited I am about that.

Hooray for 50k!

NaNoWriMo: An excerpt

Writing is, strictly speaking, a craft. This blog is meant to showcase my crafts. Thus, an excerpt from my novel this year, which is currently sitting pretty at just over 33,000 words.

This particular scene is about halfway through what I have so far. Two main characters are rival mercenaries/assassins, and one has been sent after the other. In answer, Kami’s boss calls her in to discuss the contract on her head. Then she goes out on the town. There are absolutely no spoilers in this excerpt.


Kami was displeased. She had never been one to appreciate being called in, like a dog. Her boss had her number; why couldn’t he just call her with information? Instead she would get some cryptic message and have to drive to the city just to be given a name and general location. All of that could be done in five minutes over the phone.

She stopped the bike in front of the headquarters of the Inagawa-kai and glowered at the door for a moment. Her approach to the door was without pomp, but the guards showed her reverence anyway. She gave them a sarcastic salute and entered, making a bee line for the staircase, ignoring the secretaries who tittered at her.

She took the steps two at a time, stopping at the door at the top. She popped her neck a few times, pushed it open and walked in, “Sunny day today.”

Her boss looked up from the desk and the quiet conversation he was having. He wasn’t happy with Kami’s general disposition, but he had grown accustomed to it. The man speaking with him was obviously unfamiliar with Kami, however, because he stood abruptly and turned, “Who do you think you are?”

Kami arched a brow and watched him approach.

Answer me!”

Kami smiled and tilted her head, glancing over at her boss. He stood calmly and sighed, “Hanaka-san, please-”

You do not barge in on private meetings. Someone must teach you a lesson, clearly,” he raised his hand to strike, and Kami almost laughed. This clearly only angered him more, but the retort was cut off when Kami grabbed his arm, roughly pushing it back and stepping around him. When she had his arm pinned behind him, she turned him around to face her boss, “Clearly.”

Ishii-san sighed, “Kami. Let him go.”

The man tried to peer over his shoulder, fear obvious on his features, “Kami? Kami Mitsuko…”

Kami smiled and let go of his arm, “You didn’t know. I realize,” she looked over his shoulder, “You called me here.”

Ishii-san nodded, “Yes. Hanaka-san, you may go. Kami, please come in.”

The man stepped away, bowed, and then walked out, giving Kami a wide berth. She took a seat across from her boss and waited.

Are you aware, Kami, that the Yamaguchi-gumi have put a contract on you?”

Kami looked over the desk, scanning for anything of interest. She saw nothing that caught her eye, “Of course.”

The man sat in his chair and leaned on the desk before him. He looked across at Kami, fingers crossed in front of him, “Are you planning to do anything about it?”

She considered this for a moment, “No.”

He sighed, dropping his head, “I thought that might be your answer. This doesn’t bother you at all? You have no concerns?”

I am not concerned, no. But it does bother me…in the way that a fly being in my house bothers me.”

Ishii-san sighed, “I will trust your judgment for now, but if things continue to progress, I will have to send you out in retaliation.”

Kami nodded, chewing her lip for a moment, “Okay. Why couldn’t we do this over the phone?”

He smiled, “You know I don’t like doing business that way.”

Yeah,” she stood with a sigh, “I’m really not worried. I’ve met the guy they sent after me, and he’s not going to do it.”

And when they take him off and put someone else on it?”

She shrugged, making her way to the door, “I’ll deal with that if it happens. I’m sure the Yamaguchi-gumi will get over it, right? The guy was a fat pimp. He probably was more trouble for them than anything, and as soon as they realize it…and that their number one assassin can’t even take me in, well, they’ll get over it,” and she walked out.

Waste of a drive, she thought, but I might as well take advantage.

She waved to the guards as she mounted her bike and took off down the street. She felt confident she could find at least one good bar in the area. She had agreed to meet with Mary Elizabeth in the morning, so a crazy night was probably out of the question, but what could happen?

*          *           *

The impact was perhaps more than she had anticipated; the wall creaked behind the weight of her hitting it. She slid down the wall and took a moment to catch her breath before standing again, using the wall as a support. She shook her head free of the fog that was creeping up on her.

That…all you got?”

*        *        *

The sun made red streaks flash across her eyelids, and she groaned. She searched her memory for what woke her – oh, yes, knocking. There it was again. She pushed herself up slowly, still unwilling to open her eyes to face the sun. Based on what was under her fingers and the position of the sun, she placed herself on her couch. She shuffled to the door, still working on the details of how she got home, and opened it, “Yes?”

It’s October!

And that means one month left to NaNoWriMo!

They reset their site every October, though, and that means that I spent about an hour today writing a synopsis for my novel idea this year. And I am not exaggerating, by the way; it really did take me that long. I think at one point I had one sentence written, and I just stared at it, hoping it would self-procreate, dividing itself into more sentences.

It did not, by the way, in case you were wondering.

But I did eventually come up with something that I could stand. I also posted an excerpt, and I also drew the cover!

Version 1! Silhouette not colored in.

The inspiration for the cover was hurricane meets James Bond. I wasn’t sure how to make the hurricane completely obvious, but, really, I don’t care. Final product is below.

Silhouette shaded

Overall, I was pleased with the outcome, and the synopsis I thought was fairly well balanced.

I also have some upcoming news. I got some good news today, but it won’t be complete until Thursday. I will have to post again then.

Progress on Eric’s gift is promising. I have a solid idea finally, and I am making progress. I will post when able, and I will start on Christmas soon!

So much going on…so little time! And November will be spent writing mostly. Crap. I didn’t think about that. Best get to it!