NaNo 2016: Week 3 Update

This update is full of heartbreak and angst.  Ok, mostly angst and anger.  As I was working yesterday on building my characters out–actually adding words y’all, my ENTIRE FILE CRASHED AND I CANNOT OPEN THE RESTORED FILE 🙁

So my total week 3 update is zero, zip, nada.

I am not happy about it.

But I refuse to wallow any longer. I have an older version of that file on my backup drive– I CANNOT stress how important it is to back up your files on an external drive people.  I shall see what I can salvage from that and I shall move on.

Onward and upward people.  I remain in the NaNo hunt (I think this is the longest I’ve stayed in so far 🙂 ) But know, I am not happy about this still.

NaNo 2016: Week 2ish Update

So… it’s more like NaNo week 3.5, but here is my week 2 update.  Week 2 found me still plugging away at brainstorming the world this story is set in.  Now, I have a little issue with plotting my stories… I can brainstorm, and brainstorm, and brainstorm until I have 50-11 possibilities about every single thing.  It’s very overwhelming and I end up usually walking away from the project.  Only to start another one and doing the same thing….lol.

It’s really not funny.  🙂

2016 NaNo update week 2So, week 2 finds me, somehow, 653 words lower than last week.  Not sure where in the heck I deleted words, but apparently I did.  ~sigh~

My goals for this week were:

  1. Finished working outline for book 1
  2. Do template work in workshop
  3. Completed initial sketches for main characters (4)
  4. More tangible words on my story- 7,000
  5. Additional world building and brainstorming as I see fit

Let’s see…. I think I successfully accomplished goal 5 and that’s about all during week 2 :-).  So, it’s week 3 and I’ve been working more on the actual story execution vs brainstorming the possibilities.  So my week 3 goals are largely the same as my week 2 with some tweaks, but I need to list them so I can be held accountable:

  1. Finished working outline for 3 book series
  2. Finish detail outline for book 1
  3. Do template work in workshop
  4. Completed initial sketches for main characters (4)
  5. More tangible words on my story- 10,000
  6. Additional world building and brainstorming as I see fit–but limited as not to spend all my time on it


NaNo 2016: Week 1 Update

NaNo week 1 was been full of action and activity! By far, one of my more productive week 1’s in my NaNo participation history.  I am currently:

  • Taking a very detailed plotting workshop by Mary Buckham
  • Brainstorming story details and characters
  • Creating my world
  • Doing Character sketches
  • Fine tuning my initial story outline

NaNo Week 1 UpdateSo most of my NaNo work this week has been spent on activities that don’t necessarily produce words, but without which I will never have a story.  This is my process, I simply cannot plot a story or create characters without knowing a decent amount of backstory & details.  This is my first time actively doing story development while also drafting an outline and character profiles.  It’s been working!!!! (But more on that later 🙂 )

So, week one accomplishments include:

  1. 2,709 words
  2. Completed “Believable Characters: Creating With Enneagrams” craft book
  3. An outline about 80% complete
  4. The humble beginnings of my story bible
  5. 3 main characters which are solidifying into tangible, workable pieces

Week 2 Goals include:

  1. Finished working outline for book 1
  2. Do template work in workshop
  3. Completed initial sketches for main characters (4)
  4. More tangible words on my story- 7,000
  5. Additional worldbuilding and brainstorming as I see fit

NaNoWriMo 2016

It’s November 1 and we all know what that means!! It’s NaNo time!  There will no long speeches of intent this year.  There will be no super involved and complicated schedules and trackers this year.  No, this year I plan to simply do it.

To. Do. It.

What is it, you may ask.  Well, this year, “it” for me is to, at bare minimum, loosely outline a new 3 book paranormal/urban fantasy (can’t decide which right now) series and to get started on the rough draft of the first book in this series.These are lofty, but doable goals for me this year. And to help ensure my success, I have some tools handy.

First up, this super cute NaNo tracker from Kara over at Boho Berry. One thing I’ve discovered this summer while I was working my way back to writing, is that colorful and stress free creative exercises prime my mind to actually be productive when I sit down to either write or do author goals.  To that extent, water painting, doodling, coloring, free writing, or fun list making do the trick for me.

2016 NaNoWriMo Tracker
Kara made this really cool tracker and has it available as a free download on her site.  The graph really appeals to the analyst in me. I really need to see the numbers and my progress daily and weekly and this allows me have that info but without a spreadsheet or a computer program.  Also, Kara include a cute book shelf with 30 books on it.  I  plan to color in 1 book for each day that I spend with my butt in the chair working on my NaNo goals. This is an easy, unobtrusive way for me to view my stats and get my mind freeing exercises done each day.

Secondly, I am currently taking Mary Buckham’s Power Plotting workshop.  I was lucky enough to win participation in this workshop from the Moonlight and Magnolias conference last month.  Plotting really is one of my weaknesses, so taking this workshop as I am plotting out my new series has been beneficial.  It’s a lot of work to keep up in the workshop and write, but its the path I must take if I am to achieve the goals I’ve laid out for myself.

And lastly, I have me.  Yes, I have my own determination, grit, and accountability working in my favor.  I’ve taken a bit of a break from the creative side of my writing over the last few years, but the timing feels right for me to get back to it now.  I have several stories that I need to tell and there is no time like now to do it.

For all those doing NaNo this year, I wish you good luck and happy writing!! Feel free to add me as a buddy, I’m listed as La-Tessa.

Sally Kilpatrick: Small Towns, Unconventional Heroes, & Ghosts

Sally KilpatrickWhen La-Tessa asked me if I would like to write a post for her blog, I said yes. One, it’s La-Tessa so . . . of course. Two, her blog is dedicated to “enchanting love stories, with a touch of sass,” and I’m really comfortable with that oeuvre. Three, it’s late October, and I have a novel with ghosts.

Hi, I’m Sally (Hi, Sally!) and I like to write about unconventional heroes: preachers, farmers, and, of course, funeral directors. I’m originally from West Tennessee, and I set all of my stories (so far) in a fictional town called Ellery. I plopped it down in the boondocks near where I actually grew up. I live in Marietta, Georgia now, and there are too many people here. Maybe that’s why I write about small towns: there’s no traffic—fictional or otherwise—in my stories.

Better Get to Livin’ is my third novel from Kensington. I like to think of it as It’s a Wonderful Life meets the Sixth Sense in a funeral home. Kensington likes to think of it as “delightfully upbeat,” which is a phrase I’m thinking about adding to my business cards. The gist is this: Declan Anderson works in his family’s funeral home and is suffering from burnout. Presley Cline is a failed actress who has to lie low after a bit of a Hollywood scandal—oh, and she sees dead people. It was absolutely my goal to put the “fun” in funeral home with this story of two people trapped by their respective parents’ ambitions for them.

In the course of my research I read all about the funeral home business. Then I took a little tangent through cemetery management. Finally, I read all about ghosts and people who can commune with them. If you want to see the books I read for research, you can find a list here:

better-get-to-livinIn honor of Halloween, I’m going to tell my own ghost story, and I’d love for you to do the same. I know it’s not quite as cool as a full-size candy bar, but I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Better Get to Livin’ to one of my lucky commenters. If you don’t have a ghost story or if you think the whole thing is hogwash, feel free to tell me your favorite Halloween treat instead so you can still be in consideration for the book.

Here’s my ghost story, one I’ve never told on the Internet before. My Aunt Dot and my Aunt Fairye lived next to each other out in Texas. I don’t remember all of the details, but Aunt Fairye and her husband, Uncle Marlin, both passed away pretty close to one another. For some reason —probably to sort out possessions or look for family keepsakes—Mom, Aunt Dot, and I were all next door in Aunt Fairye and Uncle Marlin’s trailer.

I remember that Mom and Aunt Dot were in the kitchen. I was wandering around, just looking. Being nosy, probably. When I got to the doorway of the master bedroom, something stopped me dead in my tracks. It was as though I couldn’t walk through that doorway no matter what. So weird to be able to see inside the room, but not be able to cross the threshold. Physically I could, but I was frozen in place. I didn’t see anyone. I didn’t hear anything. But I felt a presence that did not want me in that room, a presence that wouldn’t hesitate to be a little rough if I tried to go through that doorway.

Wide-eyed, my teenaged self practically ran back down the hall to where my Aunt and mother were. My heart pounded, and all of the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I don’t think I mentioned it to anyone at the time because I was afraid they’d thing I was crazy, but I still remember an aura of malevolence.


So that’s my ghost story. As for the ghosts I write? They’re not that scary at all. Most of them are kinda funny, really. I’d watch out for the Colonel, though—he’s not a nice man. If you want to find out more about Better Get to Livin’ or any of the other novels I’ve written, you can find out more at

What about you? Have any eerie tales to share as we get ready for Halloween?