Live Long and Prosper

I haven’t been posting much lately (it’s been over 3 weeks), for a very good reason: Yesterday my daughter married a wonderful man in a delightful ceremony in an actual planetarium (complete with a star show), followed by a terrific party in the science museum. To give you a bit of a flavor of the day, the pastor’s message began, “You are about to boldly go where many people have gone before,” and everyone got it. He reminded them that they are not Time Lords, so they can’t try to go back and fix the past or skip directly to an imagined future, but have to take the slow way through life side by side. He wished for them that if they get angry and try to hurt each other, their attack rolls should all be botches and their saving throws against heart wounds should all be nat 20s.

The nerdy goodness continued into the reception, with a dragon theme. The couple drank their toasts out of dragon goblets. The most popular favors on the guest tables were the little plastic mini-dragons. They cut the cake with a dragon dagger. Their cake was designed to look like a medieval castle, and these are the cake toppers that were designed by the groom, 3D printed, and painted by the bride:

I was the primary wedding planner for this event, so I’m happy to say that things went off with just a few minor glitches. Everyone had a good time. Most importantly, the young couple were launched into their new life together surrounded by love, laughter, friends, and family. (And dragons.) Now that it’s done, my participation in the rest of my life can resume, and I wish my daughter and her fiance husband the same thing everyone there last night wishes for them: Live long and prosper.

Ed’s Angry Cardinal


Ed is someone I know from church, who used to sing in the choir before his eyesight got so bad he couldn’t see the music. Back when he could see, he used to paint Christmas ornaments for everyone in the choir every year. We have a glass ornament with a frozen lake and pine trees, a wooden one with Santa, and so on. This one is our family’s favorite. My daughter calls it he Pissed-Off Cardinal, and searches eagerly for it every year as we decorate the tree. If you look closely, you can see where it says Ed just under the main branch. We all love the whimsical nature of this cheery, cranky image. Ed is still around, and we’d thank him every year for the beautiful gifts he’s given us, except that it makes him sad that he can’t do it any more. So I post this photo in honor of Ed, who painted it with love and signed his name with pride. Thank you, Ed.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Names

On Fiction Out of Its Time #reblog

Re-blog Each week I try to point my readers to blog deliciousness that appealed to me that week. This week’s reblog is called On fiction out of its time, and comes from the blog Sam Hawke Writes, written by a fellow named – surprise! – Sam Hawke. He raises an interesting and important question about reading well-loved old books to his young children. Should the text be updated to reflect modern mores and sensibilities? Modern language? How much change is needed, if any, and how much is too much? He doesn’t answer these questions (I suspect the answer will be different for each reader), but got me thinking interesting and complex thoughts. If yo care about children’s literature and about how books reflect their world, you’ll enjoy his discussion.


Camp NaNo – Beginnings

BudsAlmost a week into camp and things are going well. Spookily well, actually. So it’s a good beginning.

The folks at Camp NaNoWriMo have a good system. For those new to the term, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The “real” NaNoWriMo is November, but the same folks run one-month camps in April and July each year. They’ve connected me with eleven other people in a cabin, and we chat with each other online and encourage each other’s writing. As I write this I’m involved in a Skype chat about untangling a plot question in a fantasy story, about which Christmas movies are best and why, and about what motivations work best. I share with them the daily motivational images I put up over on my Facebook page. They share the word of the day from a calendar and inspirational videos. It works well.

On the story side, I’m a few hundred words ahead of the daily goal and the chapters have worked out almost exactly as I planned. I say spooky because I know this will not last. As I approach the middle of the book, things are bound to get trickier. But I’ll get through it!

Are you doing NaNo? Have you ever done something like that? What was your experience like?

Starting Camp: #IWSG


Time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, dedicated to helping out insecure writers around the world. This month the event is hosted by Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ,Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda!. Many thanks to the cohosts!

I have an obvious insecurity to report on today: Camp NaNoWriMo has begun! I’m only about 500 words in so far, and I’m nervous – I need to more than triple that number each day. Can I do it? We will have to see.

My big problem is tweaking. I wrote 550 words in about a half hour last night (starting right at midnight), then spent more than an hour this morning revising them. I know I have to just keep going. But it’s the opening! It’s the most important part of the book! It will determine whether a reader keeps going, or not!

Too bad! Just keep going.

But I changed the scene a little – it’s happening slightly later than it originally was. That change will affect what comes next, so of course I had to go through and make the change, or I can’t go forward.

Man, this is the main thing I have to fix.

Just. Keep Going.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Hello, Facebook!

FB-f-Logo__blue_1024I’ve had a personal page for a long time now, but I haven’t posted there from this blog (not publicly, anyway).

Until now.

I didn’t want my friends and family to have to see all the posts I put up here for my author’s journey. Some might be interested, but others not, and they’ll just plug up everyone’s news feed and create annoyance. But today I created a new page just for WordWacker. All my blog posts should be showing up there (we’ll see if this one does). It’s also a place where I can post shorter notices and musings that aren’t worth a whole blog post. As I go into Camp NaNo in a few days, I’ll be posting daily on there with word counts and inspirational messages.

Interested? If so, please like my WordWacker Facebook page. I’d love to see you over there!

Creeping Up on NaNoWriMo – #IWSG

InsecureWritersSupportGroup  Insecure Writer’s Support Group

This here is my first post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This group, dedicated to providing encouragement, sanity, and virtual hugs to insecure writers around the world, welcomes posts any time, but especially on the first Wednesday of each month. This month the event is hosted by M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee. Many thanks to the cohosts!

My insecurity today: I just filled out the materials to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo coming up in July. The big official NaNoWriMo is in November each year, but the people at Camp NaNo set up similar events in April and in July. I put in information about me and about my book, and clicked the link that says I want to be put into a cabin, which is a group of up to 12 strangers assigned to work together for the month. I requested that be matched up with others writing in the same genre (fantasy) and same word-count goal (50,000). The actual matching happens on June 20, but as of today I’ve officially put my hand in the air asking for partners. This will be a big deal for me, as I’ve never shared any of my fiction writing with anyone, and our interactions will be in the pressure-cooker of the 31-day deadline. I don’t have enough experience her to have any expectations about how this will work, but I’ve made an important step in putting myself out there.

To all my fellow insecure writers out there: Hi! I feel your butterflies. Let’s haul them out into the sunshine and compare their colorful, delicate markings. Did you know some butterflies migrate 2,000 miles each year? If butterflies can do that, then we should embrace our inner butterflies and soar.

Stepping Out

OpenDoor  I’ve opened the door.

I’m a shell-person – an introvert who is anxious about going out and interacting with people I don’t know. Ironic, since I also teach college and interact with hundreds of new people every semester. However, that’s in a context I’m very comfortable with, one where I’ve got 27+ years of experience. Going into a social context that I’m not so familiar with is kind of scary.

There’s a local group of people who are interested in reading and writing science fiction and fantasy: the Rochester Speculative Literature Association (R-SPEC for short). I’ve known about them for months, and even know one of its members pretty well. I’ve been following them on Facebook and meaning to go to one of their meetings, but I kept chickening out. Guess what – last night I went! And it was good. There were about a dozen people, and they were all very welcoming and friendly. They went out of their way to make sure I knew what was happening and how everything worked. And when four members read from their current projects, the comments from the group were supportive and encouraging while still offering good, concrete suggestions for improvement. In addition to sharing works through readings, they have programs with information writers need (how to build a realistic planet, how to handle dialogue, and so on). I think I’m going to join and going to attend again.

Look at me – stepping out there and forming connections.  Yay!

Make Me a Match?

MatchI almost was brave enough to let someone else take a look at my writing – but not quite.

One of the blogs I follow is by Janet Reid, Literary Agent. Her Sharkship is awesome – I recommend it to anyone interested in writing and in submitting one’s writing for publication. In today’s blog she focused on her matchmaking service for people looking for writing partners or critique groups. The idea is that you send her a message describing what you’re looking for: how often you want to submit work to the group/partner, how much you submit at a time, where you are in the writing process (outline to final revision), what kind of feedback you’re looking for. She matches people up, and then you have someone to work with. You will get feedback and encouragement, and will know that if you don’t meet your goals, someone will be waiting for you.

I almost signed up.

Why didn’t I? Two reasons, I think.

One is that I’m turning out such a tiny amount of work on a daily or weekly basis, it would hardly seem worthwhile for someone else to be waiting as the words drip out of me like sap from a maple tree. By the time I finish a chapter, for instance, it can be a month or two later and my partner won’t remember any more what the last chapter was about. Hey, I almost can’t remember, and I’m working on it every day every week or so, at least.

The other is simple cowardice. Actually, maybe not so simple. It’s not just fear of hearing negative things about my work, though there is some of that, of course. The other thing is that I don’t want to have someone counting on me to read their work carefully, think about it, and come up with meaningful, helpful feedback. Who am I to give someone else advice? I’m lost here, myself. It terrifies me to think that someone else might be counting on me for guidance. An interesting way for me to feel, given that I’m a teacher by profession, giving students guidance on their work, including writing assignments, constantly. But there, I’m an expert, fairly confident in myself. Here, not so much.

So, no match for me. Maybe if I get farther down my road, get more confidence, get closer to a draft I want to show someone. it will happen. For now, no.

Oh, and by the way – I wrote three days this week, for a total of 1230 words. Met my goal! Yay!