Managed to make it to the 25K mark by the middle of the month, woo-hoo! Thanks in large part go to doing a few virtual word sprints with my writing BFF Sheri. The NaNo site has a timer, so we each set the timer for the prescribed time, and try and write like crazy. I admit it's a lot more fun knowing someone else is slogging words at the same time you are!
There have been days...days I wondered what I was thinking, deciding to do this. So far I've managed to get everything accomplished that has needed to be accomplished. Horses, working at the Royal, running Gryph, a portrait deadline, launching an online event for one of my businesses, and so on. Just have to keep it up for two more weeks...!
I don't know how long it's been since I've done NaNo, but this year I decided, prompted by my oldest writing friend, to do it again. My life is no less busy than it was the years past I've pulled it off, so no excuses, right?
I've got my ticker installed, and checked in on the NaNo site...let the insanity begin! No surprise, the story will be based at the track. If it's any good, maybe I'll share parts! Ha! Don't hold your breath. ;-)
It's been almost a year since my last post, must be time for an update on the late, "great" novel, right? Guess what? I lied. I'm editing again. More like, hacking it to bits and rewriting, thanks to the inspiration of a self-published novelist who has actually boldly gone where I've never gone before, haha. Every other week I sit back and think, why am I bothering? Why not just scrap this, keep it as what it is - my own story indulgence, to satisfy the kid in me who was never satisfied with what she read? Half the time I hate what I'm writing, I'm not sure I recognize my characters anymore - or like them, for that matter - and it all seems kind of pointless. It's hard to stay motivated, so I admit I'm struggling big-time. But part of me is still that kid who is never satisfied with any horse book she's read, and wants to write that book.
Anyway...I'm plugging along in my closet questioning this novel's existence. The best part is, when I have serious writing avoidance, I paint, so I've been getting more painting done! Maybe one avoidance will feed the other.
The Queen's Plate is approaching, and for the second year, Woodbine is holding a contest for the "Official Queen's Plate Artist." Seeing as one of my "real" jobs is painting horses, with a preference for racehorses...entering the contest was a natural thing. I made it to the top five, and now it's up to a popular vote to determine the winner of the contest. I've written about my painting, and the great story behind the filly in it, on my art blog. Take a peek! Cinderella, Cinderella... the story behind the painting.
Well, two years and change, is that all it's been? I admit I abandoned the idea of finding a traditional publisher for the LGN (that's "Late, Great, Novel" if you're new here). I've been following people doing the indy publishing thing, and reading a lot of self-published e-books in the last while. My novel isn't going to be the worst one out there, and another horse racing novel is not going to kill anyone. Maybe some people will even like it. I don't have illusions about getting rich - I don't even expect to make any money. I just want to say, after all these decades, I did it. So, why not?
I just finished what had better be the last edit, and even knocked down the word count a little bit, to 123,698. At the very least, these days, it's easy enough to publish electronically - whether or not I try and do a print version remains to be seen. Next I need to come up with a cover image - it seems stupid not to use one of my own paintings. Now hopefully I can find one that actually exists that will do the job, or my plan will be further delayed! I guess I also need to write a blurb, which I've been finding difficult. I've read a number of them that I don't feel do the book justice, so I'm trying not to end up in that same situation!
On the side I've also been working on making the sequel better, so I'll have a follow-up ready to go. I've even surprised myself by pondering a third book - I just can't seem to let go of these characters.
Next steps are the scarier ones - actually working through getting it published. And the real work? Self-promotion! Thanks to many years as a professional artist, I know that full well!
Unless you're new here, you know that I look forward to a few days in Saratoga Springs, NY, each summer with some of my artist friends. This year that plan was foiled thanks to my committed barn help backing out on me without enough time to find an appropriate replacement, so I had to miss out. Hopefully next year I'll get things back on track, so to speak!
Three years ago, one of the members of our little group, fine art photographer Juliet Harrison, published her first book of photos from the Saratoga experience. 2013 saw a bigger project come to fruition, as she brought together contributions from artists, writers and industry stakeholders to create a combination of her photos, poetry, and prose relating to a variety of experiences involving Thoroughbreds and the track. I was among the contributors, and a short excerpt from Fifty Sovereigns is part of this publication. Maybe it's just a small thing, but I find it exciting anyway!
Rather than repeat myself here, I'll share my review from GoodReads. You can find the book on Amazon as well as Juliet's website, which I've linked to above. The book would be a wonderful gift for someone else, or just for yourself.
Disclaimer: I might be somewhat biased as a reviewer, being not only a contributor, but also a friend of Juliet’s – perhaps even a friend who is at least partly responsible for her foray into the world of Thoroughbred racing. That said, I believe this book is a fascinating combination of picures and words that will appeal to a broad range of people. It offers a glimpse into the world of those of us for whom racing is a passion, perhaps one we question with its long hours of thankless work. It also shares words from those on the other side of the fence – the fans who are in awe of the beauty of these animals, and those who are driven by picking a winner in a sport with a rarely predictable outcome. Saratoga features prominently in many of the stories shared – also being where the photos were shot – and one thing is common among them. The town, the track, is a magical, must-see destination. Will you be joining us next summer? ☺
It's not a newsflash that I could go on editing the LGN forever. This latest edit hacked out a few more words, but really, I know I need to stop. I know I'm obsessive. I started to laugh at myself when I was doing the whole add and take away the comma thing.
I think now I just need to come up with a gameplan. As 126K is still a significant length, I've been pondering if I could divide it into two or three smaller parts. I mean, George R.R. Martin kind of has a running tale, right? Ha! Yes I know there's no comparison.
The self-publishing/e-book route is getting the most consideration in my brain these days. I am not looking for fame and fortune. At this point, I really just want to say I've done it. Just like I want to say I've evented. You know, before I'm 50. Which means I need to get on it! That goes for both publishing and eventing. :-D
Yes I should be painting, which is actually something from which I make money. Hmm, I need a book cover....
An interesting note....much of what has been hacked is included in this blog, in the very early posts. So if, down the road, you decide to read the book, and like it, you can always find more bits and pieces here!
I consider myself a closet novelist - and this is what I've been hiding in the closet. This blog contains excerpts from the story, musings on Thoroughbred horse racing, and some of my thoughts as I contemplate trying to get published.