story spinning

NaNoWriMo Winner 2009

As of last Thursday, I am a 2009 NaNoWriMo winner. As of midnight tonight, I will be a verified winner, which means the site will count my words and then change my little status bar that shows my total word count from green to purple and I will be able to print out a winner’s certificate and all sorts of fun things. I actually can already get to them because of a glitch in the system, but I like to play by the rules. ^_^ I will also have access to a lovely Winner’s t-shirt, which I will add to my Christmas list and hope someone is nice enough to send to me. (I wear a unisex medium, by the way… I’m just saying, in case, y’know? ~_^)

I’m going to keep writing for the rest of the month, though; the story is interesting enough now, and I kind of like my characters, but there’s still a huge gulf in the middle that is supposed to be The Road Trip. I might save myself from this problem by going back and just giving my characters a pair of plane tickets so I don’t have to deal with charting a course. Or maybe they start to road trip, decide it’s not what they want, and go back to get tickets… or maybe they’ll pack their camping gear and rent a car at the Portland airport, since their ultimate destination is northern Oregon. Yes, I think we can just get rid of the Middle of the current story and it will do just fine. Who needs a road trip, anyway? Not these two.

Another cool thing that happened this week was that my little story synopsis was selected by the NaNoWriMo staff to be given to a New York graphic designer to make a cover for my book. Of course, it’s not a “real” cover for publication, but it’s a fun souvenir of my story this year. Plus they’re only picking 30 people out of about 165,000 so it’s awesome that they picked me. It probably helps that I labeled my story “chick lit” this year, too, as I doubt that’s a huge genre… That’s it up at the top, in case you were wondering. I think it’s hilarious. ^_^

Today I didn’t find something good about Hawai’i (which is my goal every day), so I will count the fact that the kitties are now adjusted enough that they’re both hanging out downstairs with me; they’re both sitting on the table at the moment so they can keep an eye on me, I think. I’ve given up trying to keep them off of it, so as long as they don’t get up there when we eat and I wipe it down before I use it, I think I’m okay with this. After all, sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Before I sign off, I would like to issue a general apology: I have been terrible at getting in touch this month, I know. And I’m usually short and slightly irritable when I do talk to people. For that, I apologize. Please chalk it up to nearly 60,000 words before Thanksgiving and lots of time in front of the computer to do it. I promise I’ll be back to normal in December. No, really, I will!

If I don’t talk to you before then, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. ^_^

joanna irl

Hawaiian Sunsets


The sunlight filters through the tree branches behind my back yard and through the medium brown curtains in my dining room, turning them gold and iridescent. The wind has been blowing all day today, so the leaves are flowing across the kitchen walls and the dining room table and it’s just plain pretty. The sky is sort of peachy pink with a little tinge of purple and there are birds chirping back there. My porch door is open (it’s got a screen door) so I can hear them clearly, and the cats are enjoying the smells and sounds. Hawaiian sunsets are unlike any I’ve ever seen. I wish I was close enough to the water to watch, because the sun just sort of melts into a golden pool on a gently moving black horizon. It’s unreal. The Pacific Ocean is really amazing, and so different from the Atlantic. The Atlantic is cold and gray-green and beautiful in its own way, but the water out here is blue in a way I’ve never seen before.

I think I need to go to the beach tomorrow. As it’s going to be 85 degrees, again, that shouldn’t be a problem.

We have curtains in the house now, and it’s making me feel much more at home. It’s so much less like a fishbowl now. Except for the decorative ones in the dining room (where the window just looks over the fenced back yard), we got the Eclipse curtains that block all light and a good bit of noise for the rest of the house. The mini-blinds are thin here and I didn’t like the feeling that the neighbors could see inside. Maybe I was being paranoid, but then again, when I went to visit my friend next door, we discovered her daughter could watch my TV from her window because she was looking down through the blinds. Not anymore! I love my curtains.

This weekend was nice. J was home for the whole weekend for the first time in about a month, so we went out to a nice dinner on Friday night (when you only go out about twice a month, spending more on the place doesn’t seem like as big a deal, y’know?) and then spent Saturday doing the curtains and generally getting things done that needed to be done. It’s nice to have someone here to help me, and I’m much more productive. Sunday afternoon we went down to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and spent the afternoon there, starting with a submarine tour of a coral reef. There are pictures in my photo blog, if you want to see. It was amazing! We spent about an hour under the water and saw thousands of fish, plus a shark, a group of spotted eagle rays, four sea turtles and a spotted eel. I would definitely go back there, especially with out of town company.


Some of the fish came right up to the submarine and swam past the window. The deepest we got was about 104 feet, and the sunlight was filtered so much at that point that everything looked blue, purple and brown. No reds, yellows, oranges, or even really greens. It was wild. And I took far more photos than are posted, which I tend to do when I get excited. At least you only get the best ones that way.

I’m about 80% of the way through with my novel in terms of wordcount, but very far away in terms of realistically finishing the story. I might not even finish. I might get to 50,000 words, put it down, and go pick up something else I’d rather be working on right now. Who knows? But at least I know at this point I’ll make the goal this year. I haven’t lost NaNoWriMo yet, and I don’t intend to start now.

Now it’s time to dive back into the story. That’s why I haven’t posted much this month, for what it’s worth; if I’m going to write anything, it’s better if it can be included in my wordcount. ^_^

joanna irl

Touring the Port Royal and finding the beach.

Yesterday I got to take a tour of J’s ship. While I couldn’t take any photos, I did find a couple online that are old news photos and things. The one at the top is from 2005. ^_^ It was larger than I thought it would be, but the spaces are still narrow. I got to see his berthing and the mess desk and the quarterdeck, as well as several other places I can’t recall. Oh, and he took me as high up as he was allowed (see the highest flat point on the box-like part of the front?) and I got a nice view of Pearl Harbor.

Today they pulled out to begin sea trials. This was the point when they ran aground last February. J called as they were passing the USS Arizona and USS Missouri. Next time they go do circles in the ocean I’m sending his camera with him. ^_^

Anyway, November is shaping up to be a busy month. Last week I was shown how to get to various places downtown, including Chinatown, the Palace, Ala Moana beach park, and a few others. Then I got a little tour of the east coast. I discovered a beautiful military-only beach and stopped in a little shop where a famous artist paints local scenes– I got two prints of sea turtles. ^_^ All in all it was a good day.

Friday night we kicked off NaNoWriMo for Hawaii. We had almost 40 people squeeze into a little local place called Zippy’s. We played a few games and answered lots of questions and generally had a good time. Of course, I haven’t been able to start writing yet (I’ll have a lot to do today) but at least the other people in the region are doing well. Ha.

That’s about it. Maybe the next post will be more interesting. ~_^