Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

An Explosion of Chaos (aka Moving)


No, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. I have, in fact, fallen into a vortex of chaos unlike anyone has ever seen. The struggle is real, folks. The battle rages on and on – a battle, I fear, that I am losing.

For those not in the immediate circle of ‘All Things Schad’, we have moved to a new house. This, of course, caused an excessively long hiatus on All Things Wordy & Nerdy owing to the fact that I had to pack said house, cram my entire existence and that of five other humans into small boxes, bags, and containers. Then I had to unpack said existence and rearange it into its new living arrangements. That is the battle that continues, the endless war of cardboard and packing paper; of purging the things that no longer fit nicely in our new abode; the endless sea of laundry that mystically accumulated in the few weeks while we stuffed everything else into and out of boxes (how does that even happen, btw?). Even now, as I write this, I delegate to the youngest of my spawn the ritualistic movements of unpacking a box (though how he managed to unpack it in my loft and not in his bedroom, I have no idea…).

Logistically, a great chunk of the unpacking has been completed. Rooms are put together, we have a functional kitchen and dining spot, and I have found a place in which to work on All Things Wordy & Nerdy while I hunt down all the pieces to my desktop (which is still not set up due to the lack of said missing pieces).

Inside my often-times idiotic brain, however, there is a screeching, panicking creature that demands that all of the things be completed right now. I have to bitch slap her from time to time so I don’t push myself too hard. It’s a constant struggle.

I try to view the unopened boxes or tottering piles not as ‘mess’ but as ‘transition’. It isn’t working.

So, instead of looking at them at all, I have now forced myself to take breaks into the realm of All Things Wordy & Nerdy, focusing specifically on the multitude of projects piling up inside of that world with little to no progress since all of this ‘moving’ nonsense started.

Zombie Babies (working title) for Corrugated Sky’s anthology continues to plague me (no pun intended). It shambles along at sub-sloth speeds but at least it’s shambling. Small favors. Especially since that’s due sooner rather than later.

Hellfire 2 is actually coming along a lot better than it was earlier in the summer when I tried to put sequel thoughts to paper/screen. I’m hoping to have draft 1 done by October. We have to be realistic here, people, I’m working on a lot right now.

Edits to Ashes have taken a nose-dive into stagnation because the diva that is my bard has been put in a box and he is angry about it (no, really, the doll based on his character was boxed for the move and it enraged the mental muse in my mind. Yes, I’m weird, but y’all wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t). Freak. Way to throw a tantrum, Reven.

Clockwork Gods has also taken a long hiatus because, reasons. I don’t have any good reasons, other than the fact that not a single one of those little bastards cares to play nice with me right now. I, seriously, have the most melodramatic muses in all of written existence.

On the publication side, there are two projects underway that take up all of my Adobe skills for formatting and cover art. Both will be done by the end of September (which means I really need to find all of my desktop pieces!! Formatting on a laptop kinda sucks). For now, I must maintain a modicum of secrecy on both projects but, rest assured, they will be mentioned later on down the line when things are progressing a little better than ‘where the hell are all my computer wires’, which is their current status. *sigh*

And, while my mind continues to sprint along at three-bajillion miles per minute with an equal amount of tabs open and a dancing fucking cat cuz, why not, the rest of me is like ‘WOMAN SIT THE FUCK DOWN!!’. Yes, body, I hear you. We are sitting, see?

It is unhappy with me. Moving is incredibly physically intensive even if I have been making a concerted effort to not lift too many boxes. Things still need to be stored, and shuffled, sorted, washed, put away, hung, cleaned (omg, don’t get me started on the incredible lack of cleanliness from my boys; not even a week… UGH!!), etc., etc. I am definitely putting my new meds to the test. While I have not completely shut down, I’ve come fairly close and I am gimping along at, roughly, beached whale speeds – which is to say I sort of waddle back and forth a little and hope for some forward momentum in those weak movements. It’s kinda funny (sad and pathetic, but funny). And I have a cough that won’t quit, cuz I needed that one little extra thing to make life that much more difficult.

Where is my mimosa and spa day? Let’s get that scheduled soon, life; k, thx. I hear my washer and dryer singing me the songs of its people now; assholes. For real, they sing. It’s creepy. Laundry should not be that happy about itself. Just sayin’.

Posted in Stories

WP: Out of Retirement

Little-Man-Ice-Cream-350x524The light of the television screen painted the tan carpet in a washed out blue strobe. There was no sound, closed captioning trying desperately to keep up with what was being spoken on the screen. Fire engines and police vehicles created a spectacle of lights in front of the giant vintage milk container that made up Little Man Ice Cream. Standing on top of the unique building, was a person crackling with electricity from head to toe.

“Daddy, that man sparkles.”

Joe Gatton glanced over at his daughter from the tiny kitchen where he prepared her favorite meal: Spaghetti O’s with mustard and pickles. Her mother ate that very same concoction while pregnant, smiling at Joe as she ate bowl after bowl of it right across from him at their tiny table. Now the only time Joe saw his wife was in pictures.

“Is he an angel, daddy?” Embry continued. Joe looked at the television, feeling his chest tighten.

What he saw was not the same thing his daughter saw. She did not see the danger standing atop Little Man Ice Cream. He knew what that thing was and it was no angel.

Denver was supposed to be a haven, a safe place away from people like the man on the television screen. The laws were still different state by state, city by city. Denver did not allow people like that inside their borders. Technically, they didn’t allow people like Joe.

“Come eat your dinner, Em,” Joe said, drawing his daughter’s attention away from the breaking news on screen. She happily complied. He kissed her cheek, setting the bowl of food down in front of her before changing the channel to cartoons. She watched while she ate, letting him slip back into his bedroom unnoticed.

He dug around his drawers and under-bed boxes until finding a small hand-held device oval in shape and bright white in color despite being in a dusty old corner for over five years. Joe shut his eyes, took in a deep breath, and pressed his thumb to the center of the oval.

“Recognized: Greenlight. Connecting you to PeaceKeeper Headquarters…”

The voice held a childish tone, accented in a British lilt, but also robotic. It was not a voice Joe ever thought he would hear again; a voice he didn’t want to hear again.

“WiFire; state your emergency, Greenlight,” said a woman with a heavy Russian accent. Her face popped up as a hologram from the oval device in his hand, her hair a bright electric blue.

“My emergency is that there’s an electric shit head standing on top of my favorite ice cream shop in Denver, WiFire. What gives? I had assurances that this place was safe.”

“There’s been complications,” she said by way of explanation. “Do you not watch television?”

“If NickToons counts as television, then yes, I watch that all the dammed time. My daughter is here, WiFire. Do you understand that? My daughter. There is a Stronghold not sixty miles north of here, dammit. Are they all on vacation??”

“Sixty-five miles,” WiFire corrected. “And there is no Stronghold in Fort-”

“Spare me! I know there is a Stronghold in Fort Collins!”

“No, there is not,” WiFire corrected again with a firmer tone in her voice and set jaw on her face. “The Strongholds were compromised. Many have been shut down or moved. The Secretary of Defense felt that it was not in the best interests of anyone to maintain a compromised posting within a military base. The Stronghold beneath Fort Collins has been destroyed.”

Joe was speechless. He felt his jaw drop open and knew that she could see his shock. Five years; he’d stepped away five years ago and never looked back, never once thought of his previous life until tonight.

“I am monitoring the activity in Denver now. There has been no damage. Without a name, I cannot track this particular Evolved, especially since your state has no database of Evolved.”

“Because they’re not allowed,” Joe nearly growled.

“I am aware,” WiFire replied calmly. “I am transmitting the situation to-”

“Let me talk to Karma,” Joe interrupted again with a heavy sigh.

“I am afraid that is not possible,” WiFire answered making Joe frown and glare at the blue-haired woman in the hologram call. “Karma is no longer in PeaceKeeper Headquarters. He is in Spain.”

“Spain,” Joe repeated with heavy annoyance on his voice.


He looked up, tucking the device behind his back. He kicked the under-bed box back into its spot with his foot and stood quickly. Embry bounded into his room with her empty bowl, red sauce and mustard all over her face.

“All done! Can I have a cookie?”

“Yeah, baby, uhm, just give daddy a second and I’ll get you a cookie. Put your bowl in the sink.”

“K!” Embry said, spinning around with her pigtails flying through the air as she ran back out to the kitchen. Joe watched her, feeling his chest tighten again and his stomach twist itself up in knots. No one was coming to help them, it didn’t matter what WiFire did or didn’t do, who she transmitted the situation to or not. He knew what the PeaceKeeper’s capabilities were.

“Where is the nearest Stronghold?” he asked, partially dreading the answer.

“Los Angeles,” WiFire answered. The PeaceKeepers were good, they were fast, but they weren’t that fast.

“Reinstate me, WiFire,” he said almost sadly. “Formal request, Gatton, Joseph Andrew aka Greenlight with additional request for full protective custody of Embry Elizabeth Gatton, effective immediately.”

“Do you want to list a next of kin or specific guardian for Embry?” WiFire asked, her eyes looking down to the keys upon which she typed the request. He could hear the keys clacking together, felt a lump form in his throat, but suppressed it long enough to speak.

“There is no next of kin. She’s it. Requested guardian – Kristian Lyle aka Seraph.”

“Reinstatement completed, Greenlight. I am sorry,” WiFire said. “You will report to Auspex. They have been made aware of the situation. ETA – five hours.”

“Five hours?” Joe echoed.

“There is a situation in San Francisco that they are currently involved in. Again, I am sorry, Greenlight. Things have changed. Good luck.”

The call ended, WiFire’s image vanishing in a blink. Silence filled the room again.

“Daddy!” Embry called from the kitchen.

Joe blinked and glanced over to the side table where his wedding picture stood in a silver frame. His wife smiled at the camera while he kissed her cheek. Beside the frame, was a small urn with her ashes.

“Coming, Em,” he said though not loud enough for her to hear him. He put the oval communication device in his back pocket as he walked out to the kitchen where his daughter waited.


* For more super hero fun, check out Hellfire, available in print and eBook on Amazon.


Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

Sin City, Baby!!


This is where I am, where I have been since Saturday, and it is FABULOUS! Yes, even broke-ass writers need a vacation. The brain needs a dumping ground from time to time or fresh inspiration. What better place to get it than Las Vegas??

If you’re bored, go pick up a copy of one of my published works. They’re all listed here with fun links to Amazon where they can be purchased. Please and thanks – don’t forget to leave those reviews. Stars are your friend.

I’ll be back next week to annoy you with more of the cHaOs that is my life. Toodles, poodles.

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News, Steampunk

Puffs of Smoke


Every writer has ideas that look like this. Incorporeal blobs of steam that sorta just ooze out our ears from time to time and drift towards the keys in a sad attempt to become something more coherent.

No? Just me? Yeah, probably just me.

Last week, I spoke of the inspiration behind my story for Corrugated Sky’s Tales of the Black DogThis week will be similar but with a (sadly for you, I’m sure) much longer explanation for my inspiration with a focus on my absolute fav subject: STEAMPUNK. No, really, I dig it. If I could afford to live and breathe Steampunk, my whole wardrobe, house, and tech, would all be done up in the steam fashion. In fact, I have plans to turn my wheelchair (yes, I have one) and cane (yep, got that too) into a steamy version of awesomeness before all my faculties leave me. Baby steps, y’all.

Anyway, I digress. So, the inspiration for Heart of the Matter has a rather long and involved history that began with the living campaign hosted by Wizards of the Coast, Living Greyhawk. For the non-geeks out there, think of it like a total global D&D game. It was amazeballs, truly. My bestie and I came up with an idea for a set of characters based on these guys:


But, with a little more:


You can imagine how that went. Instead of the brothers being 5 years apart like Sam and Dean, we made them twins (cuz that’s my number one obsession after Eeyore) and threw them in the world of Greyhawk. They were spectacular and awesome and polar opposites and then the game ended and we all had the sad. *tear*

Then, my ridiculously endless imagination thought ‘what would our boys look like if we threw them into the 20th century?’. With my ample amount of time to dedicate to such random musings, I proceeded to write up a scenario in which this was their reality. What I came up with was that Geiger (my bestie’s boy) was a mechanic and Tristan (my boy) was an out of work musician cuz that’s the kind of loser he is. I changed their last name to Fallon (from ap’Fallon and we’re not even going to try to explain that one here) and decided they’d be Boston-Irish as a result. Cool, right?

Then that thing that I don’t actually have a lot of crept up on me and the story fell by the wayside. The twins then got a third revival in a piece that I’m still toying with about psychically linked twins – one of which is a murderer and the other sees it. Weird, huh? But I did not finish that particular round of CampNaNoWriMo and, thus, their story remained unfinished yet again (though there is now potential for a revival on that with some obvious need for changes now).

Fast forward to last year when the call for submissions went out for a steampunk anthology. My brain instantly went ‘WE CAN DO THAT!!’. It’s a story, how long can that possibly take? Longer than you might think is the correct answer. I struggled and poked and tried to make another prefabricated steampunk character cooperate with a shorter piece and he was not having it. Like, not. at. all. (Thanks a lot, Oliver :P). Enter my bestie who always has my back and massages my brain wrinkles from afar with the suggestion that I use our boys in something quick, steamy, magicy, and totally awesome.

DONE! Thus, these guys happened:

Fallon Twins

Geiger and Tristan Fallon, both members of the Union Militia. One tinkers with automatons (G) and one fights with alchemical magic (T) during World War III. Yes, III. This one went further into the future, threw in the steam, added a shake of magic cuz that works better than actual physics in my brain and POOF! Heart of the Matter was born.

You can read it in Smoke and Steamleave a totally awesome review, and be blessed by the glory that is the Fallon twins. You’re welcome.



Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

Done! Sort of…

Finally! Part one of this monstrous beast I’ve been working on for literally TWENTY YEARS is finished! FINISHED!!! Sort of…

Draft One is finished, thanks greatly to the push from this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Hooray; bells are ringing; bust out the bubbly. No, don’t do that cuz you know what’s coming. Is it really done? No, of course not. I said Draft One. That means there will be a Draft Two, and probably even a Draft Three somewhere in there before it is ready to go to publication.

Alright, no big, so BICFOK (Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keys) right? Well…

Yes, and at the same time a very resounding ‘NO’. While the butt is in the chair, the focus is not entirely on Ashes (the recently completed Beast of a Book). There are, so far, two planned sequels to Hellfire (available here) that are also in their fledgling drafts. There are works to edit for this year’s upcoming Zombie Anthology through Corrugated Sky. There are other works to format, cover art commissions to do, book signings to plan, conventions and fairs to attend (cuz that is how we, the self and indie published sell books, ladies and gentleman), and then a giant f*ing carrot that a friend of mine dangled in front of my nose in the way of TOR’s open call for novella submissions. WHAT?!

Cuz I need another project to add to my plate. But… but… it’s TOR! Just the thought of submiting to a publishing house that famous and that large makes me a little giddy on the inside (which, of course, means I will be writing the novella). It’s just a novella, right? I can do that in my … oh… oh yeah, I don’t get much sleep. Hrm…

No, perhaps this was not as well thought-out as I originally believed. Yes, I still have an insane amount of adulting that I need to do outside of this relatively new writing career that is, surprisingly, off to a much better start than I expected (which reminds me – GO REVIEW, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BOUGHT MY BOOK!). No, I still can’t pay any of my – – wait, that’s a lie, I can pay one bill with the current revenue I’ve racked up. WOO!!! Success!!!

Now, I need to keep that going and still make sure my house isn’t a total disaster and feed these little mini-me’s that insist on eating me out of house and home; it’s, like, their thing.

I’m sure, by now, I sound like a broken record. ‘All your posts are about the same thing, Chelle, get some new material!’. I’m a mom, people. I am a mother of four who is trying to keep it together long enough to make something out of this writing career or die trying. This is my life. This is my total chaotic existence. Words, kids, house; repeat.

Which reminds me – 20 year High School reunion eVites have gone out. Twenty. Years. If someone had said to me that this is where I’d be in twenty years, I probably would have slapped them for being insulting. Kids? Me??? Full time writer!? Ha! They don’t make any money! I was going places. I don’t know what those places were anymore, but I was certain that I was going places. Now look. I’m going to the laundry room, that’s where I’m going! Be jelly.

Posted in Chelle

Inspirations: Black Dog Asylum


Truly terrifying, isn’t he?


Fluffy. Wait, fluffy?

Not, really what one thinks of when trying to find inspiration for a story relating to a deadly black dog, but this is what I got. This mop-top, tiny old man of dog that likes to stare at me, just like this, while I work.

In truth, it was a combination of two images that brought on the inspiration for my submission to the anthology Tales of the Black Dog.

The image of the left of this beautiful cane corso just struck my heart. The dog is stunning, regal, and, I’d imagine when provoked, incredibly terrifying to look at. The other image just seemed a little eerie to me and then the thought struck: what if the black dogs in my legend were set to guard the unwanted souls locked away in an asylum?

That was all it took. The idea spawned a first draft that was less than thrilling, comments from beta readers that helped me find better focus for a second draft that worked beautifully with both the legend and the message I was trying to convey. Black Dog Asylum is now one of four short stories featured in Corrugated Sky’s anthology Tales of the Black Dog and my second published work of fiction (the first was a short piece in the October 2009 edition of Bards and Sages Quarterly).

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? This is my ‘somewhere’ – a tale of terror sure to make your hackles rise.

Posted in Chelle

The Muted Voices of Tabletop RPGs

Role Playing Game K20 DiceRavenCon 2018 has come and gone. It is a convention I quite enjoy for a miriad of reasons, not the least of which is getting to see friends that I rarely see anymore. The con offers the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people (GEEKS FO’ LIFE!!) and expand my suddenly growing professional network of fellow artists and authors. As I sat with my crew of geeks and artists, gamers, writers, and fellow cosplayers, we began to reminisce about how things all began. See, there’s been a shift; a change on the winds of convention camaraderie that was hard to pinpoint at first. But then, it struck, the answer to the ‘why’ we’d all been asking for so long.

Why aren’t the conventions we attend the same anymore? Why do they not have the same feeling of epic awesomeness as before.

Don’t get me wrong, RavenCon was a blast! It is one of my favorite conventions in the VA-DC-MD area, but it is different from what it was when it first started.

The answer: the death of organized gaming.  I know, I can hear you asking “Gaming? Why would that matter? It’s a game!”, and you’d be right, it is a game, but the organized RPGs that were so popular 5-10 years ago now no longer exist. Sure there are things like Pathfinder Society and the new Living Arcanis but the two are mere shadows of the grandeur that once was.

So many of the people I know, the people that I reach out to for ideas and inspirations, all sat around a table with character sheets and dice poised and ready to defend against a larger, fictional threat. And if the threat wasn’t being handled at a face-to-face table, then it was being discussed, in character, on forums that encompassed entire regions. Full novels could, and have, been written about the misadventures of these varied games. The largest of them was Living Greyhawk but it was by no means the only one. Instead of sitting behind a screen, people had a vested interest in the comings and goings of the alter egos and commiserated about their real lives right along side their fictional ones. Families and relationships were built with the people at these tables, in game and out. My own children grew up knowing all of these people and their stories. Those I still see now marvel at how much they’ve all grown because they were part of a community, part of the family.

Ok, so what? Things ended. It’s still a game, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t. It is unyielding inspiration. It is years of story told by many voices, voices that are, sadly, greatly diminished.

I think that is why I keep my fingers glued to the keys and my eyes to the screen. Or rather, one of the reasons. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil but much of my current work has been inspired by adventures I actually took . I was the bard or the superhero (still am when I can find a table to sit at). I’ve been a spy and a hacker, a vampire, a thief, even a villain. I have walked in the shoes of all the characters I write about outside of my own mind. They’ve interacted with other characters, characters that were the creations of others. It offers a different perspective to writing when you can be the people you write about.

More and more I find myself aching for that kind of camaraderie again, especially when my brain takes a hateful halt to all things creative and I am forced to stare at my boring walls instead of continuing the planned slew of fiction to be published. I need the out, to speak to others in a voice that is not my own and have them respond without them wanting to lock me away in a padded room.

Gaming in a large community like that is as much a part of me as writing. I miss it. And, I am not alone.


Posted in Chelle

What’s Next?

nowwhat1So, I’ve published a book (HOORAY!). Now what?

I could twiddle my thumbs a little. Work on a few of my other three hundred different hobbies, or find a nice semi-gloss paint for my office cuz this puke yellow that it currently is does nothing for my creativity. I could also Netflix and chill for a bit cuz, dammit, I deserve a good binge watching after all the work I’ve put in.

But, that is not how the life of an author goes. The creativity doesn’t stop just because one project has been completed. The compulsion to write continues. In pure cHaOtIc fashion, I now simultaneously write three different projects while binge watching all the shows I have on my list of things to watch, taking breaks to do my part time paying job, and looking over two projects from someone else entirely who has asked for my help in getting their books published.

What does that look like in a normal view?

  • Project 1 is for CampNaNoWriMo. It is my fantasy novel, now 20 years (yes, 20, sue me) in the works through various changes, iterations (including 4 D&D campaigns, several stories and 3 failed attempts at this dang novel), and heartaches. The plan is to have Ashes to Embers (working title) ready for publication by December (if not sooner) of this year.
  • Project 2 is for Corrugated Sky’s 2018 anthology. This year, the theme is Zombies. Naturally, I had this grand idea for something kinda quirky, kinda fun, kinda scary-weird… that I absolutely hate as of… literally7a or so yesterday morning. For real. I was on the treadmill when I went ‘Gods, really?? Why am I writing this crap??”. *sigh* Version 2.0 now in the works, draft 1 is due April 30. HA!! Might need an extension on that one.
  • Project 3 is the thing that (hopefully) everyone really wants: the follow up novel for HellfireRight now, the working title is Hellfire: Time Paradox (yeah, probably not the most creative but that’s why it’s a working title) that will pick up 1 year after the end of Hellfire. If all the stars align, the planned release for #2 will be this July or August.
  • Part time job is marketing for the local community restaurant. It’s fun and I love the staff and it is right up my alley of things I know how to do. Plus, I can do it from home and get free fries. Bonus.
  • Other – I’ve had a few people ask how I did all the things I did for Hellfire. My answer is usually “with a lot of blood, sweat, tears, booze, and selective cursing at my screen”. In layman’s terms, it means I just spent a lot of time doing the formatting before handing it off to a friend to do the digital formatting cuz InDesign hates me. BUT I’ve also had these same people ask if I’d be willing to help them with their formatting and edits and such. And, while I’m not entirely 100% sure I’m qualified for any of that, I’m at least willing to take a look for a friend cuz that’s what friends do.

Obviously, the big ones are the writing projects that are all in progress. See, the ‘work’ for a writer never stops. It continues at all hours of the day or night, even in our sleep. You don’t make it as a ‘big time’ author by stopping after your first success. You don’t even make it as a mediocre author by stopping at your first success.

I’ve published. It’s out there for the world to see (you should go read it). Now I write the next one. And after that, I will write the next, and the next, until my fingers cease functioning and my voice is but a rasping whisper. Because I am a writer and that is what I do. This is how I live my dream.

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News


IMG_20180405_165136_840It has taken a full week for me to process the fact that I am now, truly, a published author. Hellfire hit the virtual shelves of Amazon (and the Kindle store) last week. Sales have been steady – few, but steady. The fact that there have been sales at all surprises me. I know, it shouldn’t, that was the whole point, but somewhere in the back of my mind I still see the slightly awkward weirdo writing things down for fun during the blessedly quiet minutes of the day rather than the author, the publisher, the business woman I’ve become.

Yet, here I am, finally published, finally living my dream. It is one thing to see my name on a book with other authors and quite something else to see it on my book, all alone.  I’m still coming to terms with it, still feeling the giddy butterflies in my stomach and the gasps of awe when people reach out to me or the publishing company I helped found for book signings and appearances. It’s thrilling and overwhelming all at once.

Naturally, I share this with you, my readers. The work continues. There is a sequel in the works, a third anthology to submit to, a fantasy novel being written for Camp (finally!), marketing to handle, events to plan for. I’m sure the elation will wear off eventually, but, for now, I’m riding that high for as long as I can.

Hellfire is now available for purchase through Amazon. You can find it on my Current Works, through Corrugated Sky Publishing, or directly through Amazon.

Check it out, leave a review, a comment, or just follow along as I expand my world of published pieces one little book at a time.

Posted in Chelle, General Updates/News

April CampNaNoWrimo 2018


April approaches. Can y’all even believe it?? I can’t!

As cHaOs continues to revolve in massive poop storms around my real life existence, my author/publisher life… erm… also revolves around a few massive poop storms. Looks like they’re finally meshing together! Growth.

However, in all seriousness, the final steps for the release of Hellfire are underway. There is a second novel being released by Corrugated Sky Publishing (for which I am co-owner) at the same time that I have been assisting with as well, and a new anthology planned for the end of the summer based around zombies that also requires a good deal of my attention.

We add to this a new position as marketing manager of a local restaurant that I’m finally settling comfortably into, a new web design project for my husband’s business, and mothering of 3 children and one recently minted adult-child (yes, the oldest turned 18! He survived!!) which makes for quite a bit of cHaOs roaming around the house; that we are about to purchase; at the end of April; when it’ll be time to do some much needed painting, upgrades, and landscaping.

Naturally this means I must take on yet another project, right? Right?? Of course it does, because that is how we operate here at cHaOs – with too many things to manage at once. It makes for some interesting days, long nights, and unique mixtures of alcohol.

The new project in question is, of course, the April version of CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve done Camp a few times now, not always consecutively. July tends to be a little more crazy at cHaOs than April because the peace of school-aged children tucked away at their institutions of learning is shattered during the summer months. Last Camp I did was the first time I ever finished the set goal. It was sort of a big deal, though I never actually finished the novel in question and, to this day, it remains at about 50% completion before edits. I’ll get to it eventually.

This April, we shall kick of with a holiday combo of Easter (which we don’t really do here except to make the youngest believe that a giant bunny still comes to deliver plastic eggs full of chocolate and coins into our back yard for him to find) and April Fool’s Day (which we also don’t do because I am liable to cut someone for pranking me). There is already a plan in place for achieving word count on the first day and the novel is loosely outlined so I don’t start chasing bizarre rocks down a murky path halfway into day three.

This particular novel is the novel. THE ONE; the one I’ve had in my head and attempted to write many times over for the last twenty years (yes, this book idea is older than my oldest kid). I’d honestly written it off as a loss for, surely, I would never be able to properly wrap my mostly pink wrinkles around the ginormity of this undertaking. I’ve run the campaign (D&D for you non-geeks out there) three different times; written countless stories; written and re-written the novel seven times, easily (probably more) and watched at lest four of those novels burn in digital hell when my electronics have bitten the proverbial dust at the worst possible moment ever. In fact, iteration number one sits on my shelf, printed with a cover, as a reminder of why that didn’t go anywhere. It’s awful, people. Like… cringe with a desire to light it on fire as tribute to the muses, awful. But, as will happen with writers, there I was in the shower singing my fav tunes when BAM it hit like a bolt of lightning to the brain. I very nearly ran downstairs in a towel to write it all down before it vanished into the ether (I lost the pencil to my AquaNotes *sad panda*). Instead, I dashed through the rest of my shower, dressed, and ran down with towel still on head to scribble into the Giant Notebook of Ashes (shortened name for the book). Twenty-two chapters later (the last four may need to be redone, we’ll see), the book is now outlined with a beginning, middle, and end-for-now (it has always been planned as a series). Hooray! April will be the month for Ashes to spring to life!!

The questions are bouncing in your head, though. I can see them. I feel them reaching out to me, asking: ‘How?’ ‘Are you crazy?’

With everything else happening in my life, it is often the question I get asked the most: how? How do I do this while still managing a home, several miscellaneous jobs (not all of which are paid, I might add), working on so many projects and still find time for sanity and sleep?

It’s a simple answer really: I’m not sane. Not even a little bit.

Beyond that, however, it is a matter of time management. I am not the best at it. Far from it. I’m convinced that underneath the masks of fibro, bi-polar disorder, potential RA and/or MS and whatever else is happening in this busted frame of mine, I am also totally ADHD and just not diagnosed. I bounce from idea to idea, thing to thing until all of the things or ideas are done. Some I abandon, but most will, eventually, get finished. I’ve also learned to focus on one task until it is done which, for me, means that I only do three other things instead of five or six. I have children that are old enough to take over the chores which frees up time.  All of them are now in school so I can find peace in the early morning once they’ve gone away on the bus, as well. I’m not particularly active in community things cuz I’m just kind of a hermit like that, and I’m ok letting the laundry pile up a little in favor of getting just a few more words on the page. I also don’t exercise nearly as much as I should (or at all) but when I do get that wild hair, I take the phone with me to record my thoughts (because, like the shower, the ideas pelt me in the wrinkles at the most inopportune times, including the treadmill).

So, if you’re feeling a little creative but also a little intimidated, give Camp a try. It is not as stringent as regular NaNoWriMo which, I find, to be more in-your-face get-her-done writing (which I totally need by that point and look forward to every year). Goals are more flexible from only writing 30k words (or less if that’s your flavor), to edits only, to the full 50k and beyond. It is whatever you make of it. Don’t let those ideas rot away unused, even if you are the only one that sees those words hit the page. They are still words that need to be written.

And, don’t forget, Hellfire will be available for purchase mid-April. Cannot wait! Can you?