PerCaDraMo Day 08 – Planet of the Apes Again

This was the original sketch I did yesterday for PerCaDraMo, and since I’m feeling lousy right now and I did two sketches yesterday, I’m going to just use this one for today. You can compare this with yesterday’s PerCaDraMo and see the difference between the two medium, Brushes on iPad versus brush pen on paper. I will say I was fairly pleased with the fact that I was able to make yesterday’s sketch look like marker on paper, at least to me. After painting in the black lines and areas, I went back with the eraser tool set up with a spotty brush and lightly picked up some of the black so the red color showed through. To me, that gave it the marker on paper effect.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot of stuff to do today, so I’ll post something new tomorrow. But for now, two apes in a row! Enjoy.

ACW Episode 136 – Too Tempting to Resist

Click on the thumbnail above to view the full-sized image.

Okay, I know last week I said I wasn’t doing NaNoWriMo, but it appears I’m doing it anyway. Since November first, I’ve been able to write at least 1800 words a day, and usually 2K plus. It’s not been hard; I just sit down for an hour and type whatever comes to mind. In some cases, this has been entire scenes, including plot, dialog, characterization, and setting. On other days, I’ve just written about what the theme of the story is, or I’ve done some outlining and back story. As far as I’m concerned, it all counts toward that end goal of 50000 words by November 30th.

I’ve yet to spend more than an hour writing when I do this, which has made me realize a few things.

First, I can type really, really fast. Yesterday I wrote over 2K words in 40 minutes. The keyboard was smoking.

Second, it matters more to me that I get the ideas down than that I get the words perfect. It’s take me a while to reach this point, but I’ve learned that once the basic bones of the story are captured, I can always go back and fix/edit/polish/perfect later. Thus the reason why it’s been painless for me to write 2K words every day.

Third, even though it’s only taking me an hour to get in my NaNoWriMo word count each day, it’s still a significant amount of time out of my day. After a week of doing this, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to trim back a little more in other areas of my life, just so I have a life. I can’t do everything I want to do, and I sure as hell can’t do everything everyone else wants me to do. I posted on Facebook earlier today about how I’m getting tired of other people making demands on my schedule and telling me, “Hey, you work for yourself so your schedule is really flexible.” It’s not, and I’m not putting up with that attitude any more. I bust ass every day to take care of my family and to get my work done. So the rule is, if I am not employed by you, did not marry you, or did not give birth to you, you are not at the top of my priority list. In fact, you are probably at the bottom of the list, competing with a billion other lesser priorities for that last chunk of my free time that I may or may not decide to give away. Deal with it.

Final and fourth lesson – I love to to write, especially when I’ve got an idea in my head that I just can’t shake. I can’t do the short story a week any more, at least not write and podcast at that rate, but I can still write and once I’ve got something written and edited and polished, then I can podcast it. And maybe publish it too. And that’s a schedule and a goal I can live with.

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, keep on rocking. For those of you not doing NaNoWriMo, thank you for your understanding and support. And for those rare few of you who decide you’d rather be assholes and not support, go suck it.

WIP Wednesday – Zombie Santa Holiday Cards Up for Sale!!

Normally I post a work still in progress on WIP Wednesday, but today I wanted to show an end result and talk about how it happened. Plus, you know, promote my awesome Zombie Santa Christmas card which you can buy at

This is a perfect example of how the iPad has changed how I work. The card was drawn in Sketchbook Pro on the iPad. This was something I worked on whenever I was on the go with the kids. When they had karate lessons or swimming lessons, or when I was sitting in the carpool lane at school waiting to pick them up, I turned on the iPad and worked on this baby. It was a piece put together during whatever spare time I had, then assembled into the finished product on my desktop before being uploaded to

I love that the iPad gives me the freedom to work on the go like this. It expands what I can do as a digital artist a thousand-fold. I hate that I have to work on projects in dribs and drabs of time though, because it shows just how full my schedule is.

However, the end result is what matters.

In addition to the very fine cartoon I drew for the front, on the inside the card reads…

“Give a little of yourself this holiday season.”

I think that’s a zombie sentiment we can all get behind, right? If you like the cards, please do stop by my Zazzle store and buy some, or pass along the word to your friends and loved ones so they can purchase these fine holiday cards. I will love you for it and so will Zombie Santa.

Writing Wednesday – PerNoFiMo wrap up

Thank god it’s over. I finished work on PerNoFiMo – Personal Novel Finishing Month – on Sunday night. By that point, I had hit just over 40K words, doubling the amount I had written in that particular writing project to date. The work-in-progress, Whip It!, is still nowhere near done. I estimate the final story will be around 120K. But for now, I’m letting the story sit while I focus on other projects.

So, what did I learn from PerNoFiMo? Well, let’s see…

  • I can actually turn out 40K words in under 30 days.
  • About half of those words, if not more, are going to be pretty crappy.
  • But crappy writing can be edited, while no writing is still no writing.
  • Evenings after the kids have gone to bed make excellent time for writing. I loved curling up with the laptop in bed every night and just banging out words for two or more hours straight. This is one habit I hope to keep up.
  • I cannot write and handle e-mail in the same time period. I can either write, or check e-mail, but doing one negates the possibility of doing the other. I lost an entire evening of writing to tackling a response to just one e-mail. Yeah, three hours on one message. I was not happy about that.
  • Speaking of e-mail, I get too much of the damn stuff. It’s currently eating up at least 2 hours of my work day, and I still can’t keep up with the shit. Which probably means…
  • I need to cut back on a few things, to cut down on the amount of e-mail, or else free up time to handle it more. Or possibly both.
  • Final lesson – I cannot write a mystery without an outline. I must have the story blocked out first; not so much that I’ll lose all interest in the actual writing of the story, but enough to know what clues need to be set up and how to get from the crime to the solution without wanting to shoot myself along the way.

So, there ya go. PerNoFiMo – 40K words in 30 days, story still unfinished and half of what I wrote is complete donkey dung, but it’s progress none-the-less.

Where to go from here? Like I mentioned above, I intend to let Whip It! sit for a bit, possibly 2-3 months, before I return to it. On my to-do list, I have three stories for three different anthologies to write, and I need to get these done. That means I will once again be curling up in the evenings with the laptop to write for two hours before going to bed. Unlike PerNoFiMo, however, I intend to work at a more comfortable pace. I ended up writing just about every night for 2-3 hours, including weekends, and I started to burn out before the last week. Honestly, I like taking weekends off, and so I plan to not write on Friday and Saturday evenings just so I can curl up with the Hubster instead of the laptop and maybe watch some crappy TV. Or hey, even go out to a movie, or dinner, or have sex! Wouldn’t that be novel (as opposed to being a novel, in progress, every night of the week).

I took Monday and Tuesday nights off, so I plan to sit down again tonight and pull out that first story I need to write. Actually, it’s already written, but I really want to take another whack at it and make sure it’s good. Then I’ll get my other two stories written and go back to Whip It! I promise, I will get this story done.

Next week, I’ll try to post a snippet of what I wrote for PerNoFiMo, but for right now, I’ve got all that damned e-mail waiting for me to take care of it. Ciao, babies!

Writing Wednesday – The home stretch for PerNoFiMo

Only six days left in November and I’m still working hard on PerNoFiMo – Personal Novel Finishing Month. At this point, I’ve written over 31000 words for my work in progress, tentatively titled “Whip It!” That’s well past the minimum goal of 20K words, and nearing the ultimate goal of 40K for the month. I’m doing good, right?

Eh, not so much. I’ve hit a snag at this point, you see. I started writing “Whip It!” almost three years ago. Back then, it was fresh in my mind and I had lots of ideas. Fortunately, I did put many of those ideas down in various documents. Unfortunately, I jumped right into PerNoFiMo without really digging through those notes first. That wasn’t a problem for the first two weeks, but for the last few days, I’ve been struggling to get through the story because I don’t know where to go with it. I’m the kind of person who prefers to have a story roughly mapped out before I begin to write. I don’t have to have every detail firmly in place, but I do need to know a general direction, and I mean I really need to know it. I need to have a good solid feel for a story, and quite frankly, I don’t have that with “Whip It!” right now.

Nor do I have the research I really need to make this work. The main character in “Whip It!” is a chef trying to start her own catering business. I know jack about catering. I spent a good part of last night searching the web for info on health regulations and food service permits and other such stuff. There are things I’m not sure my characters can do. For example, can you have a naked man in a kitchen during a health inspection? And how does one get a permit to run a catering business? Since much of the plot revolves around the heroine proving to her jerk ex-boyfriend that she can indeed stand on her own two feet and start up her own business, I actually need to show her standing on her own feet and starting up her own business. So I’ve got a lot of research I need to do before I can write certain parts of the story.

In fact, I’ve got so much research and outlining I need to do at this point that actual writing has ground to a halt. I just can’t keep plowing through the story until I take care of these matters. So what to do? Is there anyway I can hit my goal of 40K words?

I’m going to say “Yes!” Let’s face it, PerNoFiMo is my game so I get to set the rules. And the rules say that if I can’t write actual novel-type writing with plot, character, dialog, etc., then I can and should go ahead and play the game of “What happens next?” “What happens next?” is the question I always end up asking myself when the story grinds to a halt, like it has now with “Whip It.” For instance…

Lucy Cheeks, chef and would-be caterer, is in the middle of a health inspection which she must pass prior to getting the go-ahead to run her catering business. However, her assistant chef, Eduardo Suave – a deeply spiritual but very odd man who looks like the love child of Antonia Banderas and Freddie Mercury – was in the yard behind her kitchen doing nude yoga and he comes back inside, still naked, much to the surprise of the health inspector. What happens next?

I don’t have to write the story to answer it. I can just write notes to myself to keep the ideas flowing. So my answer might go something like this.

Eduardo and the health inspector, Imelda Blanc, have some history between them that Lucy doesn’t know about. In fact, what Lucy doesn’t know is that Imelda was one time Eduardo’s lover and dominatrix. She knows all about his nude yoga habit, and is not surprised to seem him roaming around nude in the kitchen. However, Eduardo is a very hairy man, and as a health inspector, she is concerned that some of his body hair might fall into any food they make. For this reason, she insists that Eduardo cannot be naked in the kitchen. He protests, and Lucy fears she’s going to lose her permit over this when her great aunt Bernice speaks up and says…

So that’s how “What happens next?” works. I just keep plugging away at the ideas, throwing writerly style to the wind. Basically, I’m outlining right there in the body of the story. In fact, once I hit my final word count, I’ll probably lift the entire “What happens next?” stuff out of the story document and save it as it’s own file, then continue to work on it and get all my plot points settled and all my research handled before I go back to the actual writing.

See? Word count keeps growing and those pesky outline and research problems eventually get solved.

One more week left in PerNoFiMo. To everyone out there plugging away at NaNoWriMo, I wish you all the best during these final days!

Episode 43 – NaNoWriMo!


I know, I’m doing PerNoFiMo (Personal Novel Finishing Month) instead of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but this is about how it feels.

I spent Saturday cranking out 3000 words in the novel I’m working on, tentatively titled Whip It! I was feeling pretty proud of myself because that’s a lot of words to produce in just a few hours, so I posted an announcement to Twitter.  Someone almost immediately came back and said, “That’s great! If they’re the right words…”

If they’re the right words? If they’re the right words?  I said it last week and I will say it again. NaNoWriMo and PerNoFiMo are not about putting the right words down on the page.  These events are about putting words down, period.  A bad first draft can always be re-written, edited, cleaned up, etc.  A blank page?  You got nothing to work with.

I explained this, and the person who made the comment understood immediately, and I’m glad, because there are lots of people out there who would still insist that if I didn’t write the right 3000 words, then I’d just wasted a lot of time.  Well you know what?  Those people most likely aren’t ever going to succeed in writing novels.  So there!

Have a great day! I’ll post my progress on PerNoFiMo tomorrow in my Writing Wednesday post 😉

Don’t forget to visit to find out more about National Novel Writing Month.

Also at Oh Get A Grip this week, we’re talking about what it’s like to live with a writer.  Good stuff. Stop by for a look!

Writing Wednesday – NaNoWriMo?

November is coming up fast, and with it, National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s better known, NaNoWriMo. This is the first year since I’ve been writing seriously that both kids have been in school most of the week, and I always thought that when I reached this point, I’d finally commit and do NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 novel during the month of November. That’s 50K words in 30 days, which works out to about 1700 words a day. It can be a bit of a challenge, unless you embrace the idea behind NaNoWriMo, which is not to write well, but just to write period. In other words, if you slave over every paragraph, every sentence, every word, there’s no way in hell you’re going to write 1700 words a day for 30 days straight. But if you just throw your perfectionism to the winds and churn out the words, then hell yeah, you can get a novel written. And then, once you’ve finished that lousy first draft, you can go back and polish it into a better second, third, fourth or however many drafts it takes to reach the perfect finished state. But you can only get to that point if you write the lousy first draft first.

So anyway, NaNoWriMo is coming, the kids are both in school most of the week, and I’m confronted with the possibility that this is the year I could finally participate in NaNoWriMo. This is the year I could knock out the first draft of a novel in a month, get the second draft done the month after that, and maybe have a finished novel ready to send out by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, or even sooner, depending on how long the rewrite/polishing process takes. And it would be great, really great, for me to do this, except I can’t stop asking myself…

“Could I? Should I?”

I’ve been working since September to clean up my computers and get a new website designed and so far I’ve managed only to clean up the computers (though not redo the laptop from scratch, which was the ultimate goal)  and get the new blog up and running (that’s a far cry from having a complete website done, I tell ya). I’ve still got a few days left in October to finish up that website , and then NaNoWriMo would start. But I’m not sure I want to jump into NaNoWriMo completely cold. I would prefer to have an outline worked out, a little research done… you know, I want the writing pump primed, so I’m ready to bolt once the starting gun goes off.

Then there’s the matter of the three unfinished writing projects still sitting on my computer’s hard drive. One of them is up to 43K long. That’s a lot of words to just leave sitting there unfinished. I know NaNoWriMo is all about starting and finishing a first draft, but I don’t want to start a new project when I’ve got 3 others unfinished and one that far along.

So here’s what I’m thinking of doing – finish up the website by the end of the week. Then the first of November, open up that really long, sadly unfinished project and start reading and getting myself back into the feel of it. By the end of the first week, begin writing again. I think I could do 1000 words a day if I pushed myself. I won’t be writing on weekends, because I just can’t right now. The podcast gets recorded and produced on weekends and that’s about as much as I can do and still have a family and a life of sorts. I reaize this won’t fulfill that 1700 words a day I’d need to do NaNoWriMo, but then I’m not actually doing NaNoWriMo. This is more like PerNoFiMo – Personal Novel Finishing Month.

So that’s the goal. I could get 20K words written this way, and that would bring me closer to finishing the first draft of this novel. Then maybe I can do another 20K in December and actually finish it. Can’t say for certain that 40K total will finish this particular novel, but if not, I’ll do another 20K in January and maybe then we’ll see.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, or some variation of it, let me know. I’d be interested in hearing who’s doing it and what they hope to accomplish in the upcoming month!