It’s Official!

Normally, on the eve of November, I’d be gearing up to torture my brain and fingers by participating in NaNoWriMo. By now I would have publicly announced my intention to write 50,001 words in 30 days. My pantry should be overflowing with writing necessities like M&Ms, Cheetos, and ginger ale. A few weeks ago, however, I decided to give NaNo a miss because of extenuating circumstances. (I still bought a couple of M&Ms packets, though. It pays to be prepared for anything.)

But I’m officially thrilled—thrilled!—to announce something else: I’ve signed a new print book contract with Entangled Teen! The Publishers Marketplace screen grab below is teeny-tiny, so I’ll just type out the blurb for ya here:

Vanessa Barneveld’THE ABDUCTION, pitched as Veronica Mars meets The X-Files, about a skeptical teen girl who’s told by the new boy in school that they’ve both been alien abductees for years, but soon discovers her problems are closer to home when she exposes a government operation whose leaders will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from getting out there, to Stacy Cantor Abrams and Liz Pelletier at Entangled Teen, by Beth Miller at Writers House (world).

Keep your eyes peeled for release date news, book cover reveal, and other fun stuff…like UFOs!

Happy Halloween!

 

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NaNoWriMo – Day 30

Last day of NaNoWriMo! I wrote 1,000 words last night. My NaNo total so far is a nice round 35,000. My manuscript is a healthy 60K. OK, maybe ‘healthy’ is the wrong description. There’s a lot of waffle to edit out!

Well, how did I get here while working full-time and still having a life? I used my trusty Be Focused productivity app, which kind of works like high-intensity interval training. 25 minutes of writing, followed by five minutes of rest, 25 minutes of writing, five minutes rest, etc, etc, until eventual collapse.

What else helped?

  • Support from my husband and friends, particularly my understanding workmates at the day job.
  • Snacks. Lots of snacks. M&M’s, Cheetos, macadamia nuts, chocolate-coated hazelnuts. I will really need to do high-intensity interval training after this challenge!
  • Having a relatively low target of 30K. 50,000 is the usual NaNo goal. But I knew November was going to be a busy month, so I gave myself a target I knew I could achieve.
  • Craft books like Erika Kelly’s ‘Build-a-Book: A Prewriting Process‘. This one’s an excellent book to pick up before you start writing so you don’t get stuck.
  • Stila Stay All Day foundation and concealer to hide my gradual transformation into a zombie.
  • Music, of course! I can’t listen while I write; I get too distracted. But I do play a few tracks before and after a writing session for inspiration.

My playlist song for the final day of NaNo is ‘Xanadu’ by Olivia Newton-John. I was going to post ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’, from ‘Dirty Dancing’, which is the ultimate ‘finale to anything’ song, but I’ve not listened to ON-J all month! Shame! One of my life goals is to be able to sing this song without frightening the cats.

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo? What were your survival techniques? Do you have an ultimate movie/musical finale song?

Download ‘Xanadu’ by Olivia Newton-John from iTunes.

NaNoWriMo – Day 29

It was a dark and stormy night… Seriously, it was. Yesterday was pretty wild weather-wise. Severe storms, floods and gusty winds battered Sydney all day and all of the night. Our roof leaked, but apart from that we came out of it OK compared to many others. Writing was also OK. I pulled 567 words from my brain last night, bringing my November total to 34,000.

My playlist song of the day is ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group. I’d almost forgotten how much I loved this song until Day 27, when I heard it again in a cool little bar called Grandma’s.

Download ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group from iTunes.

 

Bonus track — ‘Summertime Blues’ by Eddie Cochran.

NaNoWriMo – Day 28

Day 28! Yesterday, after work, I stepped outside of the NaNo bubble and experienced real life with some dear friends, including fellow writer and chocolate enthusiast Annie West.   Later, I put down 100 words, which is 100 more than I expected to write!

Today’s playlist song of the day was written by Lucy Schwartz and performed by Clare Bowen (aka Scarlett O’Connor in the series ‘Nashville’). This song means a lot to me, and Clare’s stripped-back rendition makes me wanna cry. I believe it was recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, where I once saw a bluegrass show. That was the same whirlwind trip where I flew about 20 hours from Sydney, and within an hour of landing was at an outdoor Duran Duran/Nile Rogers gig. I was six rows from the front. It was rainy. It was stormy. But the show went on. Made friends with a lovely couple from Arkansas (I think?) who offered me a poncho. Careless memories!

Download this live version of ‘Black Roses’ from iTunes.

Bonus track – ‘Careless Memories’ by Duran Duran. Download it here.

NaNoWriMo – Day 27

Last night, I wrote 1,503 words, which brought my November total so far to a hopefully auspicious 33,333. Any number over my 30K target is a good number!

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Lead singer Karen O’s tears in this clip are for real. The thing that upset her was unrelated to #NaNoWriMo, no, no, no. (Read this interview if you’re curious.) But just quietly, doing this challenge can bring a writer to tears.

Download this version of ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on iTunes.

A softer version of the song, with a string section attached, is available here.

 

NaNoWriMo – Day 26

Day 26! I wrote 1,555 words yesterday. Much of it was just dialogue, which is an oddity for me. Anyway, that brings my NaNoWriMo total to 31,830, well past my goal for the month. I’ll do my best to limp to 40,000 or thereabouts by the end of November.

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Life on Mars?’ by David Bowie. Hard to believe he’s gone.

Download ‘Life on Mars?’ by David Bowie on iTunes.

 

Bonus track – ‘Sorrow’ by David Bowie.

Download David Bowie’s remastered version of ‘Sorrow’ from iTunes.

 

NaNoWriMo – Day 25

Wow, we’re in the last week of NaNo already! Where did November go? Yesterday, I wrote 1,001 words, which took me *over* my 30,000-word target for the month. Yay! The official NaNoWriMo target is 50K. My book is far from finished, so I’m going to spend the next five days getting as close to that goal as I can.

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T. & the M.G.s. Way back before my now husband and I started dating, I borrowed this Booker T album from him repeatedly, as well as the Stone Roses’s first album and Single Gun Theory’s ‘Like Stars in My Hands’. I couldn’t get enough of those albums, and listening to them now brings back great memories.

If you’re on Facebook, my generous friend and romance author Anna Campbell is giving away two Kindle downloads of my debut YA book, THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, today! Head to Anna’s author page for a chance to win. No geographical restrictions. Contest closes 12pm Sunday US EST/4am Monday Australian Summer Time/5pm Sunday UK time.

Download ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T. & the M.G.s from iTunes.

NaNoWriMo – Day 24

Day 24! Yesterday, I wrote 2,018 words. (Yes, I deliberately stopped there because it’s the year 2018.) Then my boss treated me to the ‘Jersey Boys’ musical, which we’ve both seen in various cities around the world. It’s so worth seeing over and over again. We had second-row seats, but the seats directly in front of us were empty. Perhaps those ticket-holders were busy doing NaNoWriMo.

My playlist song of the day is ‘Walk Like a Man’ by the Four Seasons. Check out the cool kids dancing in the clip below. Two things I’ll have to do once NaNo is over — see the ‘Jersey Boys’ movie and rewatch ‘Heart and Souls’, in which Robert Downey Jr and co sing ‘Walk Like a Man’. Magic!

Download ‘Walk Like a Man’ by the Four Seasons on iTunes.

 

Rent ‘Heart and Souls’ on YouTube. (Warning – the preview starts with loud yelling.)

NaNoWriMo – Day 23

Seven days to go! I added just 750 words to my manuscript last night. However, at this point, I’m only 3,976 words away from my 30K target for November. I can do this! Right now I’m in the middle of a writing a scene set in a restaurant. This scene has so far spanned two and a half chapters. I see a lot of editing in my future.

Today’s playlist song is a joyous little Northern Soul number, ‘Dance Dance Dance’ by the Casualeers. It’s from 1967. No official vid or live performances found, I’m afraid. But happy Friday anyway!

Download ‘Dance Dance Dance’ by the Casualeers from iTunes.

 

NaNoWriMo – Day 22

I thought it would be really cute to end day 21 with my manuscript sitting on 51,234, so I stopped writing after 1,232 words last night. I was exhausted anyway.

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Chains of Love’ by Ryan Adams, whose love of cats rivals my own. Read about his part in coordinating a cat rescue while on tour in New Zealand here.

Download ‘Chains of Love’ by Ryan Adams from iTunes.