Do you know anyone who did NaNoWriMo this year? If you haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November. Writers or aspiring writers are challenged to write 50,000 words of a novel (which is sort of the minimum length to be considered a full novel) over the course of the month of November. To do it officially, you must start the novel from the beginning no earlier than November 1st and reach 50,000 words on that novel before the end of the day on November 30th.

Every year, I try to do NaNoWriMo. And every year, something happens. Last year, I was suddenly inspired to write A Disguise of the Worst Sort. I wrote the entire thing between Sept. 29 and Oct. 29 and ended up in the midst of edits in November. But since I basically accidentally NaNo’d the story in October, I couldn’t really be too disappointed. Just amused.

This year, I had the best of intentions! I had a story all plotted out–a story for my new romantic fantasy series of fairytale adaptations. This one is The Princess and the Pea and involves a princess competition. I’ve been having fun writing it and got up to a little over 25,000 words, so halfway to the NaNo goal. But, you guys, I was really starting to find that I wasn’t ready to keep plowing through the story. I needed to take more time thinking about character background, goals and motivation, and that I was missing a lot of chances for hero/heroine interaction and humor. It needs me to slow down and figure more things out before I plow through.

I had still intended to keep at it, though, until I happened to be chatting with one of my daughters about the soulmarks concept and hit upon a fun new idea for a JAFF soulmark story that I don’t think has been done before. And then I had a block of time in which I had nothing to do, couldn’t use my phone to read on my Kindle app, but I did have a notebook. And I plotted the whole story out with a Save the Cat format. And suddenly I realized that *this* story, being JAFF, is something that I could write straight through.

So . . . I switched stories. I kept the goal of trying to make it to 50k by the end of the month, and, would you believe it, I actually hit 60k! I wrote about 25k on Tested and 35k on the new Soulmarks story. Which means that, yet again, I have not quite done an “official” NaNoWriMo, which requires 50k on the same story. But at least I did make it through to the 50k as a NaNo rebel and got my completion badge for the first time ever!

In the end, NaNoWriMo is a tool. It’s an encouragement to get the story down, and it’s meant to help, not hinder. If it’s only hurting one story, then I think it’s okay to drop it. I would probably not switch stories if I wasn’t confident that I *will* go back and finish Tested later (and have several other books under my belt to prove it to myself).

So, I hope that you all are as excited as I am to see how this new soulmarks story turns out! I’m writing the epilogue right now, so I’m almost finished the first draft, but it will still have several drafts to go before it’s ready to publish. But since it’s not too long, I may be able to put it out later this winter!

Hoping any of you who are writers had fun with your own NaNo, and remember–it’s a tool, not a prison. Use it in the best way that works for you! Even if it means, like me, you have a string of enthusiastically planned but never quite official NaNos in your wake.


“The Olive Branch” is available for preorder!

I have great news! My latest book, The Olive Branch, is now available for preorder. I honestly think this is my best book yet. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to hear what my readers think!

The Olive Branch features a truly nasty Mr. Collins. Despite his villainy, I would consider the book to be PG or PG-13 or so, for any readers who might prefer to know in advance. My 12-year-old has been a loyal beta-reader for several drafts. 🙂

You can preorder The Olive Branch on Amazon! I may try offering it through other sellers as well, but I am still in that process right now, so just Amazon for now.

Elizabeth Bennet faces an impossible choice—wed Mr. Collins or watch him destroy her entire family.

Given a choice, Elizabeth would never dream of marrying the pompous, ridiculous Mr. Collins. But when she refuses his offer, he threatens to reveal a shocking secret that could ruin the Bennets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy has no intention of giving in to his unsettling attraction to Elizabeth Bennet. Still, before he flees to London, he cannot resist seeing her one last time and discovers, to his dismay, that she is now betrothed to her odious cousin. She did everything in her power to evade Mr. Collins at the Netherfield ball, and the woman he sees before him now is not merely unhappy, but afraid. Elizabeth is in trouble, and Darcy cannot bear to abandon her in her distress.

As the wedding day looms, Darcy and Elizabeth become desperate to break the engagement without scandal. It is only when a stranger arrives—a stranger Mr. Collins seems to fear—that Darcy and Elizabeth have any hope of extricating her from this frightening predicament.

As Mr. Collins’s plan begins to unravel, it is clear that Elizabeth may not be the only one in danger. Will she and Darcy be too late to stop Mr. Collins’s vile plans?

The Olive Branch is a clean, full-length Pride and Prejudice variation of about 90,000 words.