A wordy November

December and the season of Advent is upon us. Soon, 2017 is behind, us and I realize that yet again I failed to keep this blog alive.
With a scrutinizing glare I realize that the last entry I made was back in February. Sigh.

However, just because I haven’t been writing anything here, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing.
Or. That was actually the case up until November 1st. After a two year absence due to exam stress and a deep depression, I was back where I belong; at my computer with a cupboard laden with energy drinks and pringles to get me through the fray.

When I last did NaNoWriMo, back in 2014, I “finished” on Day 6. What I mean by that is that I hit the required 50 000 words, and then went into my usual habit of stringing out a couple of words more, and then abandoning my script.

Nano stats PRE reord Screenshot-2017-11-11 National Novel Writing Month

Until this year, the longest I’d kept up with a NaNo-script was Love Addict in 2012, which somehow turned into a proper novel two years later.

This year, I decided to try something new: If you have ever seen me play Diablo III, you will know that I am an achievement whore, I NEED those achievements.
This year, I found that while I had been away the NaNo site had implemented a badge system, and I was dead set on catching ’em all. Which meant I had to update my word count daily for 30 days.
Considering my plot this year is fairly simple, I decided that I’d either get the 30 day badge OR I’d finish the script. Preferably both, but considering how simple my plot is compared to earlier novel drafts, I figured there was a chance I’d be done before the 30 day mark (As it turns out, I still write in an extremely roundabout way, so that didn’t happen).

This year’s novel is about a young man named Miyuki. At 29, he feels like he has achieved nothing; he has no education, no steady income and he is deeply depressed. On top of everything, he is trying to nurse himself back from heartbreak, and this leads him on a train journey through Europe. His goal is to pick up the pieces of his life and come to terms with a painful memory.

As it turns out, my journey with Miyuki took a lot longer and was alot wordier than I had expected. I’m used to a dialogue-based form of writing, so having a character who is by himself 90% of the time was a challenge. There is a lot of filler material that I’ll have to edit out at some point.

Anyway. The story about Miyuki came to me about a year or so ago, and I had written down some notes for it (very few as it turned out). I had very little to run on, but with no other pressing ideas, I decided to make it my project for this year’s NaNo.
I was nervous at first, uncertain of how to go about tackling this script. I hadn’t written anything in the form of fiction in two years, and I felt like I’d lost my way with words.

But then, on November 1st, I sat down and started typing.
It was an amazing feeling. I felt like I was home where I belonged. The words were flowing out, as if I had never been away from my writing at all.

As usual, I sort of lost my drive once I hit the 50k on day 5 (which had been my goal. I’m always striving to beat my own record). I went from writing 10k-ish words a day, to writing the bare minimum for a couple of weeks. Then yesterday, for the final push I suddenly got the wild idea that I wanted to finish the script.
I nearly made it. Miyuki still has one more train journey to make, and the hardest leg on teh whole of his trip. I have about two chapters and an epilogue to go.

The script currently sits at a total of 138.231 words, and it is going to be a nightmare to edit.
Nevertheless, I smashed all my NaNo records. I wrote for 30 consecutive days.
And. I did it all without my N-key, which abandoned ship about two months ago.

Screenshot-2017-12-1 National Novel Writing Month

Leave it to me to hit this kind of word count and still be dismayed that I slacked off and killed my epic curve.

And though I broke my NaNo-streak, having been absent for two years, it feels good to be back in the saddle. I’m ready to reclaim my throne. But first, I’m gonna celebrate Christmas!

(It needs to be said that the moment I updated my word count for the final time of 2017 – I fled onto the internet and left Miyuki in limbo somewhere in Belgium. I promise I won’t leave him there for good)

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Hectic lifestyle

Augh, is there ever anything such as enough time in this world?

My absence lately can largely be credited to some massive changes in my life, as well as the preparation and execution of Torucon’s Halloween event ‘Toruween’ which I was one of the leaders behind. Despite some chaotic days of rigging beforehand, we managed to finish the event safely and successfully on Friday night!
I had such a good time playing host up on stage, together with Aurora for once, and having been half of the leading team, and an in-promptu member of the deco crew, I have learned a lot of new things, and gained some more insight into what other parts of our crew do as well, which is definitely a good experience to have. Hopefully, it can help me become a better crew member overall!

It was also fun to be allowed to cosplay as part of the crew for once. I had been wanting to do this cosplay ever since the Hallween Party PV came out, so I was very excited about it~

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Among the decorations, we had a fandom graveyard to set off the feels of all our attendees right off the bat. 
I decided to break my own heart a little, so I ordered the decoration crew to make Maaya’s grave stone as well.
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…and brought it home with me

Because I was busy helping with shopping for materials, building a haunted house and decorations, the event itself and then taking it all down again on Monday, I’ve barely had any time to be online.

In addition, I was working on my quinque for my Halloween cosplay at Outland for Saturday, every free moment I got outside of Toruween preparation, to the point where we got there two hours before closing time, just because the damned thing wasn’t done in time. So much stress! By the time I got there, the other cosplayers were long since gone, and my poor friends had been waiting for me for like three hours…. Σ(^∀^;)
But I am so pleased with how the whole cosplay came out! And I managed to win the cosplay contest, which was really cool since I’ve never won anything in my life. So that was fun.
I hope you all had a great Halloween as well!

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Saturday’s cosplay was Suzuya Juuzou from Tokyo Ghoul, but our dawdling resulted in a photo shoot after sundown, with very little light. Though, I’m very happy with how the photos came out, despite the high ISO!

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I don’t really use my dA much anymore, but I’ll be uploading more of these, so please check them out~☆

To top it off, it’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month.
I really wasn’t going to do it this year – especially since I have an exam on December first, in a foreign language, so I really should be focusing on that. But all of a sudden I had extra time on my hands…. And here we are. I started a day late, and I’m behind my usual schedule. I tend to finish NaNo really fast, but this year I’m so stressed, I have a hard time sitting down to focus. Which is why I am writing this blog post, rather than actually writing….

I’ve been on the move all day, and when I finally made it home, I fell asleep…. So I have yet to write a single word today. Which is why I’ve cracked open a can of Rockstar, and plan to sit up until I’ve jotted down an adequate amount of filler words…..

So basically that’s what’s been going on. . And then I need to get working on my webstore, I am so sorry that it’s not up and running yet.
I still want to do the whole mail order thing with Love Addict, but I’m finding it difficult to get a response from my darling readers that’s you.
So please be patient with me. I’ll make a separate post for that in a short while
Didn’t I say that last time too?
Feel free to nag me for these things you know!

Anyone else doing NaNo by the way?
And by all means – I need pointers on what to write for this years Advent Calendar as well! Amuse me; the comment section is here for a reason!

Imagination

There’s something in the air.
This past year has been long and dreary on my part. I’ve been too busy to think, to busy to breathe. And by breathe….I mean write.
Horrified, I realized the other day that I couldn’t remember the last time I actually sat down and wrote something. Up until August, I don’t think I’d written a single creative word since November 2013. That’s a very long time for someone whose head explodes unless it gets some kind of release for all the ideas and stories that are floating around inside.

I’ve written small pieces, and while you never forget how to ride a bicycle, isn’t the truth that when you haven’t been on one for a very, very long time, your balance will be a bit off? Your pedaling will be hesitant and awkward? That’s what it felt like. And even when writing the characters that I now so well, I couldn’t connect with them properly.
It takes time if you want to get back in the saddle again. So although I am swamped, I will write more from here on. Autumn is the perfect season for melancholic music and unpaved virtual roads.

It’s also the time to start gearing up for NaNo. I’m dreading it to be honest. This year I haven’t got a clue what I’ll be writing, or if I will have any time to write at all. To begin with, I’ll fall behind right off the bat, as I’m busy on the first weekend. So we’ll see how that goes. But even when I tell myself “No, I’m not doing it this year.” I end up doing it anyway. I know myself. So I need to practice, to allow myself to tamper with plots and characters and let the ideas flow.

I ran into some kids today – and spoke with them for quite a long time. I’m no good with children, but my hair always attracts them. Of course, it helps when these kids are students at my own school, and I’m already conversing with teachers who worked there when I was a kid their age. It also helps when I happen to know the families of some of these kids, and we actually have something to talk about.
This little girl, whose family I’m very fond of, asked me – because I knew her family, if I could give her a present. I told her that I have no money because I’m an adult. She wanted something still, so I asked if she wanted a story – to which she replied “NO.”
Then I told her that I write novels. Suddenly, they all wanted a story. As expected, one about princesses, and princes, a scary dragon and a terrifying vampire. And by all means, I don’t know the faintest thing about children’s stories. I don’t think the kind of stuff I do is suited for anyone who haven’t yet fallen into the pits of temptation that adolescence offers. And I said that I couldn’t make it up right then and there, but I could feel the wheels turning. Perhaps I’m way out of my field here, but maybe I’ll do it. I did kind of promise them. And challenging oneself out of the comfort zone is never a bad thing, right?
It’s just a lovely feeling to have the creativity flowing again, to be able to utilize it, and let it free.

Speaking of coming out of the comfort zone; the release for Love Addict is steadily approaching, and I’m sort of terrified.
I’ve more or less picked the winners of the give-away.
The release date has been decided.
And right as I’m typing up this entry, I am making arrangements with Outland, laying out the details.

It’s such an odd feeling, when you’re about to share something with the world that you haven’t shared with anyone before. Even though there are more people involved in the process, I always want to try to keep the project to myself for as long as I can – to protect it. To treasure it.
But we’re at the end of the road here. I want to share Love Addict with you all. I want Miya’s determination, his trials and his challenges to reach all of you, to make you smile (and maybe cry).
It’s time. And still I anxiously hesitate before opening my e-mails, before opening an IM window with work-related messages, or before sending out a message to a fan.

It’s such an odd and exciting time.

“Hey, can you do my bookreport”

I was reading this article today (Norwegian only, sorry), and I had to laugh. Basically, the article is about a Norwegian mystery/crime novelist who talks about receiving mails from students doing book reports or semester assignments on him and his novels. He claims that the threshold for e-mailing the author personally is way too low in this country.. Why? Because not only are students e-mailing him asking for basic facts to put in their reports, but some even ask him to send them entire summaries of his novels. In other words – they are asking the author to do their assignment for them.
I found this immensely amusing because well, I’ve had some similar experiences myself. Though, I have yet to be asked to summarize my own novels, and so far nobody has asked me to answer their assignments for them, but I have had my share of e-mails with all kinds of weird questions that I cannot imagine are relevant to the sender’s book report.

I understand that the author in the article wonders if he should laugh or cry when he is mailed a list of generic questions, that are basically just copy-pasted from the demands made by the assignment. Still… At least you should know the gender of the person you’re doing the report on?

As amusing as I find this entire thing, I also do think it is a bit concerning that so many students take the easy way out, rather than doing their own assignments, or reading the books themselves. You’re only fooling yourself in the end, and honestly, there is a book for everyone out there, but to find it means to read.
Remember to do your own homework, kids!

With that said, I just want to clear something up. I mostly commented on this because of the hilarity of someone actually asking the author to summarize his own novel in 100-200 words, rather than doing it themselves. Does anyone really expect that the answer to this would be “Yeah sure, here is an in-depth analysis of my own novel for you.”
Not only is it ridiculous, but it’s also quite disrespectful towards someone who put so much work into this book, and you’re practically saying “I don’t care about your novel. I don’t want to read it. Tell me all about it yourself.”
As an author, I’ve had some harsh experiences where I’ve been at my table at some event and someone comes up, drawn in by Lanny’s amazing cover art, picked up a copy, flipped through it and then said “Ew, it’s an actuall book.” As much as I understand that not everyone enjoys reading, or that maybe my genre isn’t their thing, please consider the feeling of the author when they’re sitting right in front of you. Constructive criticism, and discussion is welcome, but don’t step all over the author without even having a valid argument!

I’m sure nobody means to hurt the author when they do things like this, and most authors probably just shrug it off and laugh, but the worry lies in how they don’t seem to consider the author at all. Moreover, cheating as a whole doesn’t bear witness to much self respect.

Woah, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant, I originally just wanted to share the article, but got carried away.

When it comes to me, I am always happy to answer your questions – I am, after all not your generic, best-selling author, so the amount of information available online is limited. You won’t find me on Wikipedia (as far as I know?), so if you’re doing a book report, or project on my writing, contacting me might be your only resort.
I don’t mind this one bit – in fact, I am incredibly honored whenever someone have chosen my novels or me for their assignments. It is a really strange feeling, but I’m very thankful!
However, know that while I will reply to any questions you might have about my writing, or personal details that might be relevant for the assignment, I will not tell you what my novels are about because you didn’t bother reading them (though, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be picking me for your assignment in the first place, right?) . And, there are certain personal questions I won’t answer, namely concerning my family etc. But honestly, how relevant are my parents’ middle names to your book report?
What I’m trying to say is that I hope you will all consider before asking mundane questions to an author and asking them to solve your assignment for you. In some cases, the only way to get the answer you’re looking for, is to search out the author themselves, and that’s okay. And most authors are slightly narcissistic in nature – we love talking about our own projects, so most likely we’ll love the attention, but be respectful!

This entry is all over the place, so I think I’ll finish here. But if you have any wish to contact me about my writing for a project, don’t be afraid to do so, just drop me an e-mail!

A story of true love

Yeah so, we all know how caffeine and authors go hand in hand, or….swim hand in hand?
I can’t do anything without caffeine, despite being slightly hyper sensitive towards it. I usually bucket down when I write in order to stay focused, stay alert and keep the writing going even though it’s like five am and I haven’t slept for a week… That kind of thing, you know?

But to be honest.. I’m not a really big fan of energy drinks. I hate coffee though, so that’s a no-go. Energy drinks are better in that case. But see, let me tell you a sob story from my youth, about losing the love of my life; the only Energy drink I’ve ever loved: Dark Dog. I first had it at 12 – this was before they put an age-restriction on energy drinks. And yeah, that was it. Over the next few years, Dark Dog was my drink of choice, mostly because it tasted nice. But then! (insert dramatic music)
In 2004, Dark Dog was brutally torn from the Norwegian shelves, due to discontinued distribution, and my world was shattered. I ended up drinking pretty much everything else, but nothing could fill the void. Most energy drinks I find are either too sweet, or too….dry? The aftertaste of Battery for instance… can’t stand it.
So then, after dreaming about Norway restocking my love for years, a friend knocked on my door, completely out of the blue, and what did she bring me? For as long as this friend worked in long-distance transport, she kept rebuffing my small stock, straight from Austria. This happened a few times for about a year or so, and then the adventure ended.
Again I was struck with grief, until about two years ago, when another friend sent me an MMS of what I had been seeing in my dreams for years: A pyramid of Dark Dog, at the Ica in Åre, Sweden, where she was currently skiing. This has lead to frequent trips to Sweden made by some very lovely people, picking up trays of energy for me to consume.

Getting reunited with this energy drink did prove my point: there is nothing like Dark Dog. It’s better than any other energy drink, and now, I can’t drink anything else, because the tastes really can’t be compared.
Where I usually drank it during movie nights or concert marathons or whatever, I now also use it for work. Through the editing of SNOW, the writing and editing of Jaded, and pretty much every project I’ve worked on for the last few years, I’ve had this drink as a support crutch and trusted companion. My brain is completely powered by Dark Dog.


(Photo shows the Aftermath of November 2010. )

And so, when Princess Airhead returned from Sweden three weeks ago with the message of doom, my life sorta shattered: Åre are no longer stocking Dark Dog. HOW WILL I LIVE.
Because this is the third time I’ve been torn apart from my source of energy, I reacted in a kind of….not very great way… And after ranting for hours, I sent a letter to Dark Dog (okay, it was an Email, but still), it was very similar to this post here – a kind of love letter, but very much a sob story.
I didn’t expect them to reply. But you see… Dark Dog are awesome like that.
Not only did they assure me that there are other places in Sweden where I can stock up – but they were also very much interested in the work I do as an author, which is amazing to hear.
So anyway, they asked if they could publish parts of my story on their sites, and I agreed because hey, I might be a tad bit crazy (it’s called dedication), but it’s all true.

So today when I got home, I found an e-mail from the company in my inbox, and when I went to facebook, I saw this:
DARK DOG
I must say, it does feel pretty awesome to be plugged by a company that means so much to me! Moreover, the Dark Dog staff are SO awesome, and really helpful and I can’t thank them enough for not only actually replying, but also for doing what they can to prevent me from dying from lack of energy, but also for advertising me and my novels like this. Guh, all my feelings.
Thanks Dark Dog! You’re awesome, and I love you!

So yeah, if any of you reading this ever want to give me a present? THIS is what I want okay? If you ever pass by a display of Original Dark Dog cans, please don’t hesitate to pick up some for me.
After all, this is the stuff that novels are made of!

(This has not been a commercial blog post, I’m honestly this crazy about this drink, and I adore the staff for being AWESOME.)