And the winner is…

Not Janey.  As of 10:30 pm, Pacific Standard Time I have a total of 37,530 words. In 90 minutes I would have to write 12,470 words to meet the goal.  Unfortunately, I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to go to work.  But that’s okay.  I may not be a winner of the official NaNoWriMo, but Charlie?  She definitely is a winner!  And her story is almost complete!!

Wahoo!

And now I need to get my happy little behind into bed.

🙂

Winding down

I’ve come to accept that it’s unlikely I’ll make 50K this year in NaNoWriMo.  I’m currently at around 27,000 words give or take a hundred or so.  There are five days (not counting today) left.  I have to sleep at least six hours a night plus I work full time today and tomorrow.  You do the math.  While it would be more fun, it would be rude to write at the table during Thanksgiving dinner dontcha think?  Then Friday we go up to meet my husband’s biological father for the first time.  I don’t think I can count on being able to write while we’re there.  Besides, I’d rather go wine tasting.

But you know what?  I’m okay with not making it all the way.  Charlie’s story is further along than it ever was before and I am determined to finish it.  She deserves to finally see the light.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it when the story is complete.  I may self-publish; I may not.  We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Below is the final excerpt of what I’ve written so far.  Thanks for sharing the ride with me peeps.  🙂

                From inside his parked rental car, Carlo Dante watched the people leaving the Rhodes’ house.  The broad who had seen him standing over Joey’s body got in the driver’s side of the sweet Malibu convertible while the blond man sat in the passenger seat.  As they drove off the older couple watched the car’s taillights disappear.  The man put his arm around the woman and they walked to a late model Buick.  Another couple left the house and followed the walk to the street talking, heads close together.  At the street though they split apart and got into separate cars. 

                Drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, Carlo watched the house for awhile longer.  No one else exited and he figured the Sheriff was in for the night.  It didn’t appear that they’d identified him.  Maybe he was worried about nothing, he thought.  He couldn’t help wondering if he’d left behind some clue in his rush to get away once the Maxwell woman had stumbled in.  And what on earth had possessed him to speak to her?  Had he gone soft in prison? 

                Shaking his head, he started the engine, put the car in gear and headed back to the Seaside Inn.  As Dante pulled into the motel’s parking lot he was running through a list of things he needed to do before he could leave for the airport.  Being distracted he almost missed the man slipping into the side door of the motel.  If the outside light hadn’t been in just the right place he probably would have missed him entirely in any case.  But the exterior spotlight was focused on the door, presumably to make it easier for returning guests.  And standing directly in the beam of light was Anthony Minnelli, tapping his cardkey on the security panel to open the door.  Carlo kept his head and told himself it couldn’t be.  Tony’s still inside, he thought.  But was he? 

                “Goddammit,” he groaned.  “Now I’m going to have to change my flight again!”

                Carlo backtracked to the front of the motel and found a parking space near the main entrance.  No sense in tempting fate by using the same door Tony did.  Once he’d locked himself in his own room he pulled out his cell and dialed a number.

                After several rings someone growled, “This better be very important.”

Time for another excerpt

Thirteen thousand six hundred fifty nine words!  Here’s another excerpt for your perusal and comment if you feel so moved.

At his desk, the Sheriff pored over the notes he’d complied on the murder investigation. It made no sense. What was a complete stranger doing in Charlie’s office? It was obvious, at least to Jeff, that Joseph Minnelli was anything but a tourist. His clothing alone gave that away. Who would believe the guy in the designer suit was here to visit the arboretum or the naval museum?

Jeff heard the bell ring as the outside door opened into the reception area. He listened as Mandy pushed back her desk chair and crossed to the taller counter which spanned the width of the room except for the swinging gate at one end. It was remarkably like the gates you might see in an old courtroom where the witnesses would push through on their way to take the stand. In fact, it had been recovered form the old courthouse before it was torn down several years previously. Jeff liked the connection between the old and the new.

In the outer office he heard Mandy ask how she could help the visitor and then he heard Luke’s voice. Even if he hadn’t heard Luke was in town he’d have recognized that voice. It had echoed in enough of his teenage nightmares, he recalled with a touch of the old self-disgust. Jeff started to stand intending to… what exactly? Staying in his chair, he rubbed his hand over his face. Am I really going to go punch him in the face because he was with Carolyn before me?   God, am I losing it or what? He dropped his head into his hands for a moment and there was a tap on his door.

“Jeff?” Mandy slipped into his office, closing the door behind her. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just having a little argument with myself,” he smiled. “What’s Luke want?”

“He has information on the murder victim he thinks you might find helpful.”

“Oh really?” Jeff smiled. “Well send him in then. Is there any coffee left in that pot?”

“Well yeah, but it’s from three hours ago.”

“Perfect.”

“What? I can make a fresh pot…”

“Sure, make a fresh pot but bring Luke a cup of the old pot first please.” His eyes fairly twinkled with the anticipation of watching Luke take a polite sip. Who said he was a goody two shoes!

Jeff stood up, might as well take every advantage he could. Being a few inches taller than Luke might seem like a small thing but it made him feel better. He squared the pile of paper on his desk and looked up to watch Luke enter. Luke tried on a grin, holding out his hand.

“Jeff, nice to see you though I wish it was under better circumstances.”

“We can agree on that,” Jeff nodded. He indicated the visitor’s chair with a tilt of his head and took his own seat. Mandy came in and set a chipped china mug on the corner of Jeff’s desk near Luke.

“Thank you,” Luke smiled pleasantly at her. Picking up the mug he took a healthy drink and manfully tried not to let it show on his face that the coffee was awful.

Jeff raised his brows. “Everything okay Luke?” He watched as Luke forced himself to swallow the sludge. He had to hand it to the guy, the smile faltered just a tad but it stayed in place. Jeff relented in spite of himself.

“Fine,” Luke got out. “Coffee’s a bit stronger than I’m used to.”

“Ah, well we can fix that.” Turning to Mandy, Jeff smiled. “Will you start a fresh pot please?”

Mandy, bless her, got it. She gave him back a smile and nodded. “Sure thing Sheriff.” Mandy exited the office, drawing the door closed behind her.

Returning his attention to Luke, Jeff pulled over a notebook and pen. “Mandy said you had some information about Joseph Minnelli?”

“Yeah. First, he goes or he went by Joey. He was the second son of Alfredo Minnelli. Minnelli was a crime boss in New Jersey a few decades back.”

“Do you have any idea what Joey was doing in Manning?”

Luke hesitated and Jeff studied him. “What is it Tyler?”

“I think he was looking for Charlie’s father,” Luke’s shoulders slumped for a moment, as if all the air had gone out of him.

“Charlie’s father? Who has been gone for over 30 years?”

Luke nodded. “I know it sounds crazy. Actually I’m in town looking for Jack too. Or at least some sign of where he might be.”

Jeff tossed down the pen and leaned back in his chair. “So 30 plus years later you, and presumably Joey Minnelli come looking for a man who walked out on his family. Luke, what’s wrong with this picture?”

“Look, I realize how it sounds. I can fill you in on the background if you’ll give me a few minutes.”

Spreading his hands wide, Jeff met his eyes. “I’m all yours; I can’t wait to hear this.”

Technical difficulties updated

So last night we lost power due to a severe wind storm.  This morning (4:30 in the freakin’ AM!) when I got up we still didn’t have any power.  I had to get up anyway even though there was no heat.  Wah!

I left early hoping to stop for coffee on the way to the train station, but everything between our house and train was out.  Do you know how eerie it is to see 7-11 and Denny’s dark?

So I stood on the platform amid the portable generators and lights and stamped my feet and danced in place to the music playing on my phone.  And I survived.  I also counted my blessings that the trains were still running.

The electric company predicts it will be Friday night before we have power.  Did I say wah??  What I meant was WAHHHHH!

On the flip side I broke 11K words!  I’m almost to 12,000!  Go mee!  Go mee!

And then I did this:

cover draft 11-12-14

 

Due to technical difficulties

My video card died.

Now you know and I know this is not an earth-shattering tragedy.  Unless of course you’re trying like mad to reach 50,000 words in NaNo and you need to see what you’re typing damn it!

In that case all bets are off … yesterday was a Zero Word Day* peeps … ZERO!  As in goose egg, nada, nil, zilch, zippo.

It wasn’t only the video card; that came later.  But now it IS all about the blasted video card.

So JD to the rescue!  We have two desktop computers, both built by JD more years ago than I’d care to try remembering.  They’re beginning to show their age but since he just built a media computer, funds aren’t there to replace the video card immediately.  JD had a solution:  pull out our not-as-ancient Acer netbook, hook up my ergo keyboard and trackball and wah-la!  I haven’t had a chance yet to try it out and tonight doesn’t look good for it either (it’s my birthday and I’ll go out to dinner if I want!) but maybe I can get an early start in the morning.

I HAVE however, added some words today in between real work.  While it won’t be a Zero Word Day, it certainly won’t be anything to write home about.

*Stolen from my good friend rjkeith at accessoriesnotincluded.

NaNo Progress so far

I suppose it could be presumptuous to call it progress, especially since we’re only three days in and I’m already behind the average word count.  Oh well.  I’m having fun.  Below is an excerpt from the NEW and IMPROVED Maxwell’s Silver Bullet (which I’ve decided is a working title; maybe something cleverer will occur; and then again, maybe not).

                Much of the rest of the evening was a blur.  Charlie was pretty certain she’d had another glass of wine and possibly a crab puff or two.  Now, at ten-thirty she stood at her office door fumbling with her keys.  It took four or five tries but she finally got the office door open, slipped into the reception area and stepped out of her pumps.  Leaving the lights out and weaving only a little, Charlie crossed the room to the door of her private office. 

                “Ss..strange,” she muttered on seeing the sliver of light along the bottom of the door.  “I know I didn’t leave that on.”  Charlie grabbed for the door handle and missed.  “Dammit!  Someone’s robbing me blind and I can’t get the fucking door open!”  Focusing, she tried again and this time was able to grasp the handle.  For a brief moment she wondered whether she should confront whoever might be in her office or call the Sheriff’s office.  Curiosity won out over caution and she flung the door wide.  It swung back against the wall, bounced back and slammed in Charlie face.  Angry now, she grasped the handle again and shoved the door open, stepping across the threshold ready to face down the trespasser. 

                Standing to one side of her desk near the French doors was a man.  At least Charlie thought he was a man.  He appeared to have no neck and for a moment she thought he resembled a life sized Rock’em Sock’em robot like her kid brother had played with as a child.  With his hat pulled low it was difficult to see his face but she could tell he wasn’t smiling.  The gun in his hand confirmed it.

                “Wha…what the hell?” Charlie’s voice trailed away as the blockhead shifted until he was pointing the gun directly at her.  Great, she thought, just great.  Drunk off my ass and staring down the barrel of a … what the heck is that?  Beretta?  Could be, but looks more like a Ruger….  Before she could finish the thought he whirled away and dashed through the open French doors.  Footfalls pounded across the deck leading to the boardwalk.  He was getting away! 

                “Stop right there!” Charlie thought she shouted it.  She started toward the doors to go after him but common sense kicked in as she reached the desk.  The body she tripped over might have had something to do with it too. 

Happy Halloween!

Janey’s busy recovering from the damned bug that knocked her on her ass almost a week ago.  She’s taking tomorrow off to do some other stuff and Saturday NaNo starts!  With the new/old computer up and running (fingers crossed) she hopes to kick it off with a bang Saturday morning while JD is still dreaming.

I hope to keep up with a post or two a week here during November; we’ll see how that goes.  For those of you in WP land who are also jumping into the NaNo pool – here’s to ya!  (You’ll just have to imagine the beer I’m toasting you with; I didn’t have time to hunt down a graphic.  Plus, I’m drinking coffee, not beer.)  May the words flow easy and make sense!

Finally, enjoy this old classic and have a safe, Happy Halloween!

 

Goals Shmoals

Apparently today’s Blogging 201 assignment was to set your blog’s goals. For some reason, I’m not getting the assignments on the WP app on my phone. I was uberbusy today at work and had no time to go online so I’ll look into that tomorrow, I hope.  I probably didn’t get Tab A properly into Slot B or something.

I don’t want to be THAT student; you know the one I’m talking about right? Doesn’t pay attention in class, doesn’t participate in discussions, doesn’t do the homework. However, I have always maintained that JDB is for me alone. It isn’t a vehicle to gain a following or awards. I’m not trying to “wow” my readers with deep messages, spiritual insights, savory recipes or helpful tips.

So what ARE my goals for JDB?

1. To post at least twice a week – at least until November. All bets are off when NaNo starts.

2. Since my favorite part of writing this blog is making people smile or dare I say, laugh, I’ll try to keep my posts on the lighter side. I think posting from my smartphone to take advantage of the autocorrect feature might be cheating, but that won’t stop me if that’s all I have access to.  (You HAVE heard of the humorous website devoted to autocorrect boo boos haven’t you?)

3. Here’s an anti-goal to round things out: my regular readers know I don’t “do” social media. Not as Janey, not as the woman behind the curtain. I just don’t. So the only way this blog is going to grow is kicking and screaming. That said, I won’t turn away readers and I truly hope you’re entertained.

So a NOT regular reader, or possibly another Blogging 201 classmate might ask what the hell I’m doing here if not to brand or grow my blog. I may not be interested in the stats, but I do want to learn the nuts and bolts. I love the changes I made to JDB via Blogging 101. Plus I met some awesome bloggers and follow a bunch of them. I imagine I will meet and follow more this time around. It’s going to be interesting, amusing and thought-provoking and I’m looking forward to it!

Opinions please

I stumbled on a hard copy of  Maxwell’s Silver Bullet.  There may be more than one version in the folder I found, I haven’t looked through it yet.

For those regular readers out there, you may recall that the above is the title of an unfinished novel and that I am contemplating – aw hell – I actually signed up so I guess contemplation time is over.  Anyway, I decided I would try NaNoWriMo this year and hopefully give Charlie the story she deserves.

So my question for you all is:  Do I re-read the hard copy or do I just wing it – starting from scratch?  Please respond in the comments.  Serious or smartass answers are all welcome.

Thanks in advance!

NaNoWriMo, BBT & Stephanie Plum

Or why my novel isn’t finished.

Did anyone see the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory?

SPOILER ALERT!       SPOILER ALERT!       SPOILER ALERT!

The guys decided that since the girls entered their lives they’ve been pretty distracted from their usual creative endeavors.  They realized that next year is the FUTURE, according to Back to the Future Part II.  Why hasn’t the hoverboard been invented already?  Leonard recalled he had worked up some ideas, designs or whatever for such a project several years previously and wondered what happened to it.  Sheldon observed that Penny moved in two days after Leonard’s brainstorm … and the rest is history.

So what do they do?  They determine a women-free weekend is in order.  They will put their heads together and come up with something cool and world-changing.  The women head to Vegas and the guys are left to get brainy.

Unsurprisingly, it appears the women were not entirely responsible for their distraction.  As the episode proceeds Sheldon, Raj and Howard repeatedly wander off course.  I won’t go into all the different ways they’re distracted – I don’t want to completely ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it and ignored the Spoiler Alert.  But by the end of the show they’re all back in the apartment, happily watching Ghostbusters.

So what does that have to do with NaNoWriMo?  Not a damn thing.  But hold on, I’ll tie this together eventually.

If you’re at all familiar with Janet Evanovich’s writing then you probably know about Stephanie Plum.  If you don’t, what is wrong with you?  Go find a copy of One For the Money and read it!  Okay, maybe chick lit isn’t for you; I get that.  I can only take so much of it myself, but Stephanie Plum was my lethal distraction.  Where “lethal” is not literal.  I might as well have been watching Ghostbusters with the guys.

Some years ago I started writing a novel called Maxwell’s Silver Bullet.  The female protagonist was Charlie Maxwell, a feisty, wise ass 40-something.  Sound familiar?  (I even had a cutesy title in mind for the sequel:  Charlie’s Angles! Yes, seriously.)  Back when the novel was practically flying  onto the screen, I had an email pal who worked for the City.  Now that I think about it, I’m not sure we ever met in person – weird (shrugs).  But we connected through work and continued our e-friendship for years, sharing jokes and the like.  I happened to mention one day that I was writing a novel and she begged to read it.  Okay, begged might be a bit of an exaggeration.  She was a writer wannabe too, part of a writers’ group and interested in what I was doing.  So I emailed it to her.

Now despite what you may be thinking, she didn’t steal it.  She gave it a very thoughtful critique and demanded to know where the rest was.  Not only that, she compared Charlie Charlie’s mom to Stephanie Plum’s grandmother!  I asked, “Who?”

“You can’t be serious,” she replied.  “You don’t know about Stephanie Plum?”

“Nope, can’t say I do.”

“You must read her.  I’ll loan you my copies.”

Ah, yeah.  Within the week a box arrived for me with the first six Stephanie Plum paperbacks inside!

It was my doom.  I think I probably finished all of them within two weeks.  Back then I was commuting by ferry so I had LOTS of time to read, and with no laptop I couldn’t write anyway, right?

Once I finished Hot Six I got the next one from the library.  And the next.  And the next.  I didn’t stop writing immediately, but between immersing myself in Stephanie’s world and running into a wall plot-wise I finally came to a standstill creatively.

It’s been a lot of years since then, at least ten.  There were times I tried to pick up the novel and continue but it never seemed to work out.  At some point in the intervening years the electronic copy was lost when our computer crashed.  Poor Charlie.  Then one year I tried NaNoWriMo (see?  I told you I’d tie this together).  That started out okay but again, I hit a wall and didn’t recover.  I’ve been tempted occasionally to try again but so far I’ve resisted the bug … until now.  Once again I am contemplating NaNoWriMo.  And wondering whether Charlie deserves a resurrection and a new plot.  I even went so far as to change my work password (see this post for an explanation).

I’m terrified.  And just a little excited.