WW Photo Challenge: G is for Genesee Brewery

G is for Genesee Brewery

Genesee Brewing Company has been making beer in Rochester, NY for around 140 years. They make good beer, and we’re proud of them around here. A few weeks ago I was visiting the lovely lakeside town of Sodus Point and saw this terribly atmospheric old industrial plant, and was surprised to learn it was once a Genesee brewery! It was a wonderful structure to photograph, and a touch of home for me.

If you’re interested, you can join in on the photo challenge! Pick any image you created you can label with the letter G. Will it be grapevines or the Grand Canyon? I’d love to see what you come up with. Here’s how to participate.

  • Post an image on your own blog or website.* All types of images are welcome. If you have serious equipment and serious skills, that’s awesome! If you snap pics on your phone (like me), that’s also awesome!
  • Post a comment on this page with a link back to your post. If you post a comment that includes a link to your blog, I will add a link to your post below.
  • Check back over the next week to follow the links. That way you can see what other people did with the theme and join in the fun.

Olga Godim is participating in the challenge with her custom-designed book covers, and this week she gives us a gargoyle! Check it out here.


*Just so we’re all clear, you post your photos on your own site, which means you aren’t giving control to me or to anyone else. We’re all invited to view the images you post (and comment if your site allows for comments), but nobody has the right to use your images in any way without your permission. Got it? Great!

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WW Photo Challenge: Fantastic Fish

F is for Fantastic Fish

I collect fish. To be honest, I started when my kids were little because it made gift-giving easier for them; if it had a fish on it Mom would like it. I picked fish because I really love how fluid and fantastical they are in real life, and it’s fascinating to see how different artists have rendered that in their works. I have pictures on my walls, mobiles hanging from the ceiling, and shelf after shelf of fish sculptures. I picked just a few of them for this picture, to show something of the variety I’ve found.

Do you collect anything? I’d like to hear about it! Tell us about it in the comments.

If you’re interested, you can join in on the photo challenge! Pick any image you created you can label with the letter F. Fireworks, falafel, fiddles,or finger puppets; anything with an F will work Here’s how to participate.

  • Post an image on your own blog or website.* All types of images are welcome. If you have serious equipment and serious skills, that’s awesome! If you snap pics on your phone (like me), that’s also awesome!
  • Post a comment on this page with a link back to your post. If you post a comment that includes a link to your blog, I will add a link to your post below.
  • Check back over the next week to follow the links. That way you can see what other people did with the theme and join in the fun.

Olgum Godim has another lovely book cover for this week’s theme, all about fairies! Check it out here.


*Just so we’re all clear, you post your photos on your own site, which means you aren’t giving control to me or to anyone else. We’re all invited to view the images you post (and comment if your site allows for comments), but nobody has the right to use your images in any way without your permission. Got it? Great!

WW Photo Challenge: Electrical Energy

E is for Electrical Energy

The letter this week in the WordWacker Photo Challenge is E, so I finally took a picture of an electrical substation I’ve driven by many times. i love the intricacies of the transformers, cables, and other superstructure that’s involved in this busy little spot. it also reminds me how much is behind maintaining our reliance on a dependable supply of well-regulated electrical power. I don’t know about you, but when the power goes out I can feel totally lost, at least if it happens at work. There’s literally no work I can do without power. At home, at least I can read a book (by candlelight, if need be).

You’re invited to join in! Pick any image you created you can label with the letter E. Anything from an egg to an elephant! Here’s how to participate.

  • Post an image on your own blog or website.* All types of images are welcome. If you have serious equipment and serious skills, that’s awesome! If you snap pics on your phone (like me), that’s also awesome!
  • Post a comment on this page with a link back to your post. If you post a comment that includes a link to your blog, I will add a link to your post below.
  • Check back over the next week to follow the links. That way you can see what other people did with the theme and join in the fun.

Olga Odim has contributed another nice book cover to entertain us with elegant eggs for the letter E! check it out here.


*Just so we’re all clear, you post your photos on your own site, which means you aren’t giving control to me or to anyone else. We’re all invited to view the images you post (and comment if your site allows for comments), but nobody has the right to use your images in any way without your permission. Got it? Great!

WW Photo Challenge: Dice and D&D

D is for Dice and D&D

As I’ve said before, I love playing table-top dice-rolling role-playing games with family and friends. It’s a terrific way to enjoy time together and it’s always good for lots of jokes and fun. For the D photo challenge this week, I decided to take a shot of just some of the dice I use when playing Dungeons and Dragons on Monday nights with my family. Players will notice the 20-sided die, known as a d20, near the middle that’s showing the 20 on top. Rolling a “nat 20” is almost always a great thing, so it’s good luck in this photo. Green is my favorite color (can you tell?), and I’ve collected several different sets of green dice. This means when I get to do 3d8 damage to the rock worm that’s threatening my party, I’ve got the dice to do it with!

You’re invited to join in! Pick any image you created you can label with the letter D. Show us your dog, your dojo, or your diamond-studded dagger. Here’s how to participate.

  • Post an image on your own blog or website.* All types of images are welcome. If you have serious equipment and serious skills, that’s awesome! If you snap pics on your phone (like me), that’s also awesome!
  • Post a comment on this page with a link back to your post. If you post a comment that includes a link to your blog, I will add a link to your post below.
  • Check back over the next week to follow the links. That way you can see what other people did with the theme and join in the fun.

Here’s a book cover by Olga Godim for this week’s challenge. Who doesn’t love dragons?


*Just so we’re all clear, you post your photos on your own site, which means you aren’t giving control to me or to anyone else. We’re all invited to view the images you post (and comment if your site allows for comments), but nobody has the right to use your images in any way without your permission. Got it? Great!

WW Photo Challenge: Construction

C is for Construction

The letter for the week in the WordWacker Photo Challenge is C, so I’ve chosen to share a picture I took recently of a construction site near my home. They’re building a new YMCA, and it looks like it’s going to be HUGE. At least, this site is very busy and covers a lot of territory. It’s good to be reminded occasionally about what’s behind the infrastructure we all use so casually. I can’t wait to see what it all looks like when it’s done.

You’re invited to join in! Pick any image you created you can label with the letter C. What’ll it be–a casserole, a cougar, or a Cessna 172? Here’s how to participate.

  • Post an image on your own blog or website.* All types of photos are welcome. If you have serious equipment and serious skills, that’s awesome! If you snap pics on your phone (like me), that’s also awesome!
  • Post a comment on this page with a link back to your post. If you post a comment that includes a link to your blog, I will add a link to your post below.
  • Check back over the next week to follow the links. That way you can see what other people did with the theme and join in the fun.

Olga Godim put together another terrific book cover for today’s challenge. Check it out here. Visit her site to check it out!


*Just so we’re all clear, you post your photos on your own site, which means you aren’t giving control to me or to anyone else. We’re all invited to view the images you post (and comment if your site allows for comments), but nobody has the right to use your images in any way without your permission. Got it? Great!

WordWacker is 4!

Today is the birthday of the WordWacker blog. It’s 4 years old today, and I’m celebrating by looking back and looking ahead. As always, let’s begin with some statistics:

  • In the last year I posted 92 times, which means an average of about once every four days. This brings my total posts in the blog to 373.
  • The WordWacker Facebook page is now discontinued. It was never a big platform for me, with just a handful of subscribers, but I decided a few months ago to get off Facebook personally and deactivated my personal page, which means the WordWacker page is also no more.
  • I’m much more active these days on Twitter. I’ve got 121 followers over there, and I’m proud to say I lost none in the recent bot purge. I’ve been posting a haiku there every day for the last month or so, and plan to continue that. I also participate sporadically in some of the hashtag writing games, mostly #1linewed and #SciFanSat, but only if there’s something in my current WIP that fits the theme. Other than this, I drop occasional messages when I feel like it. You can see my most recent tweets in a feed here on the blog, and can follow me on Twitter @Celia_Reaves.

Looking at my blog posts over this past year, here’s what I find.

  • By far the biggest category was photo challenges. I was very active in the WordPress photo challenge, posting on that 41 times until it ended (I wrote about how much I’d miss it here). I’m not willing to live without a weekly photo challenge, though, so I decided to start my own as of July. There have been five posts relating to starting up this new challenge, and you can see the first entry here. I hope that over time more people will decide to join in and post links to their own images each week, but even if that doesn’t happen I’m still going to post an image a week based on a letter of the alphabet.
  • The second largest category was the A-Z Blogging Challenge, for which I composed a haiku word puzzle relating to each letter of the alphabet. There were 29 posts, one for each letter plus some extras like the theme reveal. This was the third year I participated, and it was still a lot of fun. The first and most popular letter was the letter A, but the letter G and the letter P also got lots of likes and comments.
  • I posted only seven times about my writing. The biggest one was in honor of the 4th version of the manuscript. In that post I said it would soon be going out for beta comments, and I’m at that stage right now. My plan is to revise based on their feedback (which will be version 9!), get another round of feedback, revise yet again, and then start querying with version 10. I’m also cooking an idea for a second book to work on, though my ambitious plan to draft it this month during Camp NaNoWriMo didn’t work out.
  • There were 10 miscellaneous posts on other topics: holidays like Christmas and New Year, Earth Day, and Star Wars Day, and some recognition of a photo of mine being chosen as a writing prompt for the A-Z Challenge.

Looking ahead, what do I see for the blog?

  • I will continue to post photographs. Those are my most popular posts in general, and I love doing them. If I can continue my weekly challenge, or even grow it, that’s great. If not, I’ll find some other way to keep posting pictures.
  • I will do the A-Z blog challenge again in 2019, and I will almost certainly use the same theme of haiku word puzzles. That’s a whole lot of fun to do.
  • Every year I vow to post more about my writing progress, but it never seems to happen. I’m not going to do that again. I will write about writing when I have things to say (as I always have), and especially if I reach some meaningful milestones. When I start querying, you’ll hear about it. I’ll probably post something when I get my 100th rejection, and my 500th. If I should get an offer of representation, you’ll definitely hear about that! If I get that second book up on its feet, I’ll write something about it as well. I also hope to do more reblogging of helpful information from other bloggers. There’s a lot of wisdom out there I can help to spread.

Oh, and there’s one more really important thing I want to say:

Thank you to my followers!
You make it worthwhile!

The Towel is Thrown

Remember when i said I’d gotten enough planning done so I could try to write a draft of a new novel this month for Camp NaNoWriMo? Well, it turns out I was wrong. I got almost 15,000 words in on a story, but stalled out completely at that point and have abandoned it, at least for now. Yes, I’m throwing in the towel on this one.

I’m not broken up about this, even though I still love the story I was working on and would have loved to have made it through a draft this summer. Sure it’s disappointing, but more important to me is that I learned a couple of useful lessons. Don’t we all love to learn new things, especially about ourselves?

  • I’m a plotter, through and through.
    • As I was gearing up for this project, one of my writer friends said he doesn’t like writing outlines, because then there’d be no surprises and no fun in the writing. In this my friend writes like E.L. Doctorow, who is famous for saying that writing is “like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
    • This is SO not me. If I’m taking a cross-country trip, I like to have the road map planned ahead of time. I can still take detours into side streets that catch my eye, and will discover the details about the towns and cities and shops I pass through.
    • I’ve always thought of myself as a plotter, but now I know for sure. The 15,000 words I wrote were scenes I’d planned and seen in my head ahead of time, at least in general. Once I stepped over the edge of that plan, I was stuck.
  • When I tried to plan the rest of the book, I realized I couldn’t.
    • The story I’ve finished and which is out for beta critique right now mostly takes place in the real world of cell phones and highways, with a fantastical overlay. The part of this new story I hadn’t fully planned and proved unable to actually write was going to be set in a fairly typical fantasy world.
    • To get myself in the mood for this I pulled up an old favorite, Barbara Hambly’s wonderful, if dated, duology The Silent Tower/The Silicon Mage. In it a woman from our world is pulled into a pre-industrial, magical fantasy world and has to fight evil there. Hambly has a graduate degree in medieval history and made that world come alive, from the cities where small boys earn pennies sweeping dung out of the way so their betters can cross, to the tiny hamlets where a bad harvest means starvation and death.
    • Sure, with enough research I might be able to do the same, but I’m not convinced I could and I’m certain I don’t want to spend the amount of time it would take.
    • To resurrect this story i need to go back to square one and figure out how to tell it here. There’s no way to pull that off this month, so I’ve got to set it aside. For now.

These two lessons apply to me and this project. However, they also reflect a larger message that applies to anyone who is a writer or any kind of creative person:

Find and follow your own process

You don’t need to write or create the way anyone else does. Listen to suggestions from friends and teachers and try them on for size, but don’t hesitate to drop them if they don’t work for you. Learn from work you admire, but if it’s not for you don’t force it. You have your own way of being and doing.

That’s always enough.