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A very Happy New Year to you all! I hope everyone had a joyous, peaceful holiday season.

I come with tidings-- I am moving! In the cyber sense. (My physical address has been the same since before high school, which is kind of amazing, really).


In an effort to centralize my online presence and have a home base for when I get some book sales, I've set up a new "official" website/blog:

(Shiny new website/blog: http://www.faithkingwriter.com/)

It's linked to the new Facebook Page I also made for the same purpose. https://www.facebook.com/FaithKingWriter. So if you Like the Facebook page you'll get the blog/website updates in your newsfeed.

Or if Twitter is more your cup of tea, the Twitter account I've had for ages now. @FaithAnneKing

I guess what I'm trying to say is... I'm not going to be posting in LJ anymore, though I will be keeping my account for the purposes of commenting on other folks' entries.

It's been quite a romp, LJ! Thanks for all the fish, etc. etc. :-)


Hello, November, goodbye, November.

Aaaaand hello, December.

2013 where have you gone?

So last month I:

--got a half-Nanowrimo and then life happened. But what I did get accomplished needed doing and it feels good to have it done.

--got to go visit grav_ity and help her move to her fabulous new digs with fewer steps and more room.

--saw Catching Fire twice. No words.

--did not update LJ.

--got a tumblr. It's still a work in progress.

--watched the Doctor Who 50th in a theater full of Whovians who cheered for my River Song costume. That was fun!!

--some other life stuff.

As of this morning, Draft #2 of the Superhero Thing is officially 527 words underway. melyanna and I have big plans, with baby steps due before the end of the year. I'm shooting for 1,000 words a day until my part is done. Should clock in about right!

So.... Nano.

How much do we love Nano? Seriously, at some point in the past decade it stopped being an exercise to help newbie writers get over the "this is crap" stall-out of dejection and became this glorious, freakish, masochistic Writer's Christmas.

I have written (on my own or as a collab) SEVEN WHOLE BOOKS. And that's not counting novel-length fanfic. I don't need Nano to do it anymore, and some years I'm not really at a good point in my writing cycle to stop and start something new from page one. Case in point: this year, laura_josephsen and I are poking faithfully along with our Book 3 "wredit" (half writing a whole new story/ half editing what we're keeping of what's already there). The work doesn't really fit the model of Nanowrimo.

And yet I want to do Nano SO BAAAAAAAAADDDDLY...!!! There's magic, plain and simple, somewhere in those pixels that populate one's word count progress bar.

Why is that? (And why is it only in November? Why don't any of the "spinoff" events hold quite the same power, like Script Frenzy or Camp Nano or NanoEdMo?)

For me, it's all about the shared experience. I've always been drawn to the personal challenge aspect. I tend to shy away from competition against others but competition against myself? -- I'm all over that. Put me in a room with my friends who all get the writer crazy and want to do the same thing themselves? Gasoline-- meet flame.

I love the timing (at least where I live). It's getting colder. It's getting darker. The prime autumn glory of October is gone. The days of cozying up indoors with kitties, socks, PJs, warm socks, and laptops-- all guilt-free!-- are upon us. As an American, I even love the timing of Thanksgiving, since it was always my goal to have either already won Nano by the holiday, or to be far enough ahead that the rest of the way was cruise control.

I love the tradition. I love that emmaorgana has perfect Nano winning streak six years running, but my history is a crazy grab bag of wins, failures, and abstentions. I love that four of my seven children all got their start during Nano (I mean BOOKS, new readers, BOOKS. I do not actually have any kids yet, and certainly not seven of them - LOL), and by virtue of it just being November and observing or sharing in the process, I'm reminded of each moment of triumph, of meeting new characters that I didn't plan, being shocked and delighted by that sudden, perfect turn of plot... (and let's not forget that time in 2009 when I eked out 9,000 painful words IN ONE DAY of mid-plot drivel consisting of my characters painting the stage. And talking. About nothing. A lot.)

I love that I can tell my Mom "Nano starts on Friday" and she automatically knows not to bother asking me to do anything especially social or spontaneous for the next 30 days. (And she respects the Important to me because she's the BEST MOM EVER).

It's just altogether so darn energizing! I can discipline myself tolerably well toward writerly pursuits the rest of the year, but it's never so thrilling, never so fun, as when it's Nano.

So how to cash in on the experience for 2013? Instead of 50,000 words of rough draft, I'm going to focus on logging 50 hours of wrediting. I had originally said thirty hours, but putting in a little practice this week with timing, this seemed just a wee bit easier than proper Nano always feels (as a time commitment).

Activities that count toward my goal: writing new scenes (obviously), rearranging/cutting existing scenes, general editing, and any form of brainstorming with Laura (phone, text, email, text, Skype, updating shared plot map document thing, smoke signals, ESP).

Research does not count, since it's so susceptible to being pulled down the "oooh! shiny!" path to distraction. Which is not to say I might not need to set aside a few research blocks here and there, but they won't be on the clock.

If we finish wrediting Book 3 before the deadline, then we move on to Book 4.

So there we have it. The Plan. May Hardison survive.

Good luck to everyone participating (in whatever guise) this year!

(Oh! Another great thing about Nano: people make fun songs/videos about it: snerched from shadow2serenity)

Beach reads & Beyond

The Saturday after I got back from Dragon Con, I was off again, this time with my family for a full week in the Outer Banks, NC. That's right, a normal person vacation. (*le gasp*)

The beach house was lovely, and I played lots of Pandemic with my cousins (or sometimes by my lonesome, because you can do that with Pandemic) and I also got some reading done, though not quite as much as I ambitiously planned. (Hey, what else is new?)

What I read there. And some when I got home.Collapse )

So there's that! It felt SO GOOD to just read again, a lot, and in quick succession.

Dragon Con 2013

I have been super remiss in blogging about my many recent travels. There have been several. I was also kind of a slacker this year and did not take the trouble to do a hyper-detailed minute-by-minute writeup of my con. It was a really fun weekend. Highlights included:

Watching "The Last Unicorn" with Peter Beagle himself commentating (not much, but he piped in here and there).
Getting my copy of "The Last Unicorn" signed by said author.
Meeting Ioan Gruffudd and getting a signed headshot from "Amazing Grace"
Getting grav_ity a dwarf autograph (Graham McTavish's).
Marching in the parade for the first time. WORTH IT. SO MUCH FUN.
Meeting Diana Peterfreund (again, sort of. Properly, this time) and having breakfast.
Seeing shadow2serenity again and sharing lunch together (along w/ another new friend).
The usual smattering of random but amazing conversations with nerds at a moment's notice.
Seeing dm_lunsford again and going to the Fans for Christ service with her. What a blessing it was!
Playing Greedo in "Shakespeare's Star Wars". I was a big hit!!
OH YEAH, and FINALLY meeting jackwabbit in person at said Shakespeare's Star Wars. She brought my book to sign and I nailed the inscription. Not gonna lie. :-)

In lieu of any other exhaustive detail on any or all of the above, I will now photo-spam you with MOST of the pictures I took over the weekend. There weren't many. I'm getting lazier and lazier about bothering to pull out my camera. It's just that there are SO MANY great costumes at Dragon Con. A person could become permanently fused to their camera!

You never know who you might run into...Collapse )

Song rec

I loved the first Civil Wars album to pieces. I love the second one to pieces too. Such an amazing group! A great blend of old school gospel and folksy bluegrass with some modern flair. Exquisite harmonies (and the occasional surprising cover of a Jackson 5 song). If you haven't checked 'em out, I recommend them to EVERYONE.

This song, of the new album, I've been listening to obsessively over the past couple of days. As a very excellent episode of a very excellent television show once said, a really great song makes you feel happy and sad all at the same time. I think that's what I love about this so much. The lyrics are about a being lifted out of a sorrowful valley. There's aching and longing in the vocals, and yet the same lyrics and the same song radiate hope and comfort and makes you want to smile and dance.

It feels like this has been an extra-tough year for the people around me in so many ways. Two people in my life just lost loved ones to cancer-- one was a 13-year-old child, the other a spouse. My sister is recovering from a serious brain procedure. Friends in real life and online are struggling with jobs and financial issues, medical issues, all the upheavals life can throw at you, really.

And yet life keeps plunging right ahead. The same week my friends in South Carolina lost their daughter, another friend safely delivered twin girls. My sister came through her surgery with flying colors and is the middle of building a beautiful new home with her family. This song defies the sorrow and embraces the joy.

Oh won't you take me from this valley
To that mountain high above?
Oh, I will pray, pray, pray
Till I see your smiling face.
I will pray unto the One I love!

(Oh, and it doesn't make me want to make a Firefly vid at ALL. Huh-uh. Nope, nope, nope...)


I am going to the Outer Banks for a whole week with my family.

That's, like, a regular-person vacation.... (i.e. not a convention*). I'm super excited about it. I grew up in western NC but have never, not once, been to its coast. And I have packed an ENTIRE SUITCASE of books. Granted, it's a small suitcase, but still.

At any rate, there might be internet, but there might not, so just in case, don't burn it down while I'm away! (as melyanna always says)

*On that note, Dragon Con was awesome this year, but I probably won't be writing about it as exhaustively as usual but I do have a few pics I'll endeavor to put up shortly.


Yesterday I made an important writing-related decision, somewhat sad, somewhat relieving.

As many of you know, I began 2013 with the goal of writing 250,000 words. These words were to be divided among various projects, especially stuff that had been simmering for a while that just needed written already.

So far I've written 142,000 words between two projects: Oathborn and The Superhero Thing, and the proverbial ink was not yet dry on the latter before I turned to laura_josephsen and started pestering her about picking up on our Restoration efforts again, as per the next step in my game plan. That game plan was to revise Books 3 and 4 and have a shiny new draft of Book 5 done by year's end.

With respect to my 250K, there were three problems with this changing of gears.

(1) Getting in the right headspace. I've been living and breathing Superhero since February. Restoration is a familiar world, but one I've not revisited in some time and the two worlds are SO different. I couldn't just turn around and start writing toward the one the very next day after I wrote "the end" on the other. I need a short breather to recover and immerse myself back into the world and the mood of Restoration.

(2) An editing-shaped conundrum. So for those of you who are new, here's the deal with Restoration. (For those of you who know all this already, humor me).

The story of 5 books that diedCollapse )

Right now, moving forward with Restoration means refitting Books 3 and 4 with additional story, which is sort of like writing a new book, but also there's a lot of editing involved. It's kind of a hybrid situation. Either way, if there's any kind of editing it's difficult to get a good count on the new words. So measuring my word count progress would be doable, but tedious.

(3) Coauthoring. Laura and I write together. I can't just dive into writing Restoration unless she's somewhat on board. We have to find a pace that works for both of us. And in addition to all the stuff that Laura has going on right now, my suggestion to try and get all the way through Book 5 in the next four months almost broke her (sorry about that, Laura!)

So... in conclusion, I am letting go of the dream. I could still make it if I treated my upcoming beach vacation as a writing retreat and worked my butt off writing while I'm there but I really, really, really don't want to do that...

The revised goal is to get Books 3 and 4 refitted by the end of the year and to do that job well. Additionally, I'm going to devote some freed-up energies to getting more reading done, which I have trouble with if I'm in the middle of an MS. (The "you should be writing, not reading!!!" guilt).

I know I've got lots of victories here-- I wrote something besides the Shakespeare Thing (Oathborn), which helped break away from the holding pattern I'd developed AND I finally got the Superhero thing out of my daydreams and into something we can work with. And we are going to get going again on Restoration. The spirit of the 250K goal was to Get Stuff Done, not just to write words for the sake of a word count.

But even so, I'm still frustrated. Just once I wish I could set one of these lofty goals and actually reach it...

Oh well. At least I get to use the "Hardison Dies in Plan M" tag, which is always fun. :-)

The Superhero Thing!!!

This post is about a month overdue, but I didn't really feel like it was official until I finished a cursory review of the manuscript and passed it on to melyanna for her turn.

However, I am ecstatic to announce that the first draft of The Superhero Thing is DONE!

It's a glorious, hole-ridden, inconsistent mess, and we still have a long, long way to go before we're ready to even show it to Agent Java, BUT it has a beginning, a muddle, and an end! It's a bookling!!! I'm so proud of it!

As ever, we celebrate this momentous occasion with our very special dance, courtesy of bookwormprinces!!

Between vacations

So last week jalen_mara came to visit me and it was fabulous. On Thursday we met emmaorgana at Cedar Point and between the weather, the fast passes we sprang for, and most of all the company, it really could not have been a better experience. We went to see Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters on Friday night and it wasn't horrible! And Jalen very graciously indulged my new obsession with Pandemic a lot in between.

With that long-anticipated weekend behind me, I turn to my next adventure: Dragon Con!! The new planning app for the iPad is heaven-sent and I spent last night putting together my first tentative schedule:

FRIDAY: (River Song costume)

Fly in, get checked in, etc. (I really prefer to fly in Thursday night but I couldn't get a hotel for all four nights this year, alas. On the bright side, I still have my Breeze Card for the metro from last year, so I don't have to buy another one).

Panels starting from 1:00

--Mortal Instruments Book 1 discussion
--Star Trek DS9 cast
--Peter S Beagle discussing the Trek episode "Sarek" (which means I need to watch it at some point)
--Hornblower panel
--Fave SW authors (Zahn, Anderson, Stackpole, Allston, and Some Other Guy)
--YA Lit's "Vampires vs Werewolves" debate
--Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration Ball

(probably either the Beagle or the Hornblower panel will need to be sacrificed for the sake of food and sanity but I always let myself be extra-ambitious with my first schedule. Also? I cannot decide!!!)

SATURDAY: (Red Riding Hood costume)

AM - Marching in the parade

PM - Panels/events starting from 1:00:

--Advanced Sewing Techniques
--Social Media for writers
--Cosplay Charity Auction
--Spotlight on Bell Bridge Books
--The Last Unicorn viewing & commentary with Peter S. Beagle

SUNDAY: (Minion costume)

AM - Sleeping in a bit, some combination of church service, autographs, vendor halls, possibly blood drive

PM - Panels starting from 1:00:

--Why Actors Choose the Roles they Choose (for the Writer's track and featuring Ioan Gruffudd)
--A Diversity of Dragons (Fantasy lit, featuring Rachel Hartman)
--Guns-- Lots of Guns (Writer's track, helpful for my purposes for the Superhero thing)
--Seriously Funny Ways to get Rejected (a panel by literary agents)

Not sure for the rest of the evening? Possibly haunting the board game area for a good round of Catan, Pandemic, or Ticket to Ride.

MONDAY: (Street clothes-- sort of)

Monday is going to be a new experience for me because typically in the past I'm flying home by mid-day and do not do any con activities. This year, when my friend and I were trying to decide on a flight back home, I decided to take a risk and spring for the late evening flight and see if I could manage my stress and energy enough to have a fun Monday too.

AM - Breakfast with a friend.

-- William Shakespeare's Star Wars. Okay. SO EXCITED about this. I found out yesterday that the Star Wars track is doing a light, fun panel about the new book, including select readings. On a whim, I emailed and asked if they were looking for readers. The panel moderator responded that they had mostly everything filled but that I could read Greedo if I wanted, so of course I said yes! In honor of that, I am planning on wearing my alien green maxi dress, finding/making a headband with green antennae, and one of my pairs of bug-eyed sunglasses for an impromptu "Greedo" costume. :-)

-- BSG cast panel (I always try to go to at least one BSG panel when EJO is at the Con, b/c he closes them out by leading a chorus of "So Say We All" and I have yet to get tired of the experience)

-- The Future of Fantastic Fiction

Airport... home... exhaustion... sadness.

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