Camp Complete!


Camp NaNoWriMo has been won!

I adjusted the goal to 40,000 words about a week in, given some changes that Sam and I made which required me to re-write a couple of chapters. I just hit 40k, and claimed my Camp win!

That being said, the first draft is not yet complete (which was also our goal). I vastly underestimated the wordcount remaining; that plus the re-writes (which count toward my word-count goals but not toward finishing the draft) put me a little behind schedule.

Do not fear! We are getting very close. Within the next couple of weeks, we should have a draft completed and be able to jump into the next step.

Check back soon!


Camp Eve

Camp NaNoWriMo begins at midnight!

Sam and I have committed to finishing the first draft of “Buk Tri” during Camp. Based on our current estimates, this will entail writing in the neighborhood of 30,000 words. Of course, that’s just a rough estimate, and we’ll just have to see how the prose unfolds! Nevertheless, it feels very doable, and we are excited to jump in.

As a tangent, both of our spouses have decided to join us for Camp NaNoWriMo! I hope I’m not putting words in their mouths by saying that this is not within either Ashley’s or James’s normal comfort zone. But insanity loves company, so I’m excited that they will be participating with us, working on their own projects.

Wish us luck! And if you are participating in Camp also, happy writing trails to you!!


Returning for NaNoWriMo


I’m getting ready to blast off with National Novel Writing Month 2016. I’ve committed to writing the next 50,000 words in our third book, The Seventh Guardian.

After my success this summer with Camp NaNoWriMo, I know that I am capable of meeting this goal. It will be a lot of work, there’s no doubt. But I am up for the challenge!

I know a lot of people who say that they want to write a book someday. If that’s you, I really encourage you to try out NaNoWriMo. I have yet to find anything that motivates me more than this! It gives me a goal to work toward, and a community of people, locally and around the world, who are all in this together.

It helps to have a supportive husband! My James is wonderful, and during the month of November, he has promised to help, ensuring me the time that I need to write. Thanks, dearest!

If you are also doing NaNoWriMo this year, power to you! Let me know–I’ll be cheering for you!

Camp Success!


I am pleased to announce that Camp NaNoWriMo was a great success! Over the course of the month, I composed 30,021 words of our third book, The Seventh Guardian.


In fact, I reached 30,000 a few days early because my husband and I headed out of town, and I wanted to finish my Camp commitment before we left.

I’ll be honest, Camp was a challenge! I feel very out of practice, when it comes to writing. When I was in college, one of my favorite creative writing professors taught us that there is a big difference between writers, and people who write. Consistency is the key, and I feel really great about the progress that I made this month.

We can’t wait to be able to share the finished project with you!

A bit quiet on the writing front

Each year I get to the month of June and I panic a little before I remember that its like this every year. June is just an incredibly busy month for me. Case and point: I have events every weekend this month (parades, festivals, tournaments, etc) that require extra time and energy in preparation. Besides these weekend events, my studio also has a week-long summer camp that I help set up and teach at, and a four-day leadership conference for teens with which I am also involved. And next week I head down to Dallas for eight days to referee at the taekwondo national championships. All this is on top of my regular full-time workload at the studio.

I signed up to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, but that was before the insanity of my schedule had really sunk in. I’ve written about 5000 words, and that was over a week ago. I have given in and admitted to myself that it’s just not going to happen this month.

Fortunately, Buk Tu is in the hands of our beta readers, who should be returning the manuscript to us sometime before the end of the month. Once July comes, I hope to return to a normal level of craziness, in which more time can be dedicated to writing!

What is this NaNoWriMo thing?

NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers across the world join together in the commitment to write 50,000 words of a brand new piece of fiction, starting at 12:00am on November 1st and finishing by 11:59pm on November 30th. At the end, you’ve got the beginnings of a new novel, and awesome bragging rights.

This will be my [Valerie’s] sixth year participating. Technically, the last two years I’ve been cheating, since my works have been co-authored, but I figure once you’ve won a time or two, you can do whatever you want. Two years ago, my NaNo project was the manuscript which eventually began The Tale of Telsharu, and last year I worked on Buk Tu.

This year, I am taking a break from the Seventh Empire. Don’t worry, I will be returning to it immediately following (or even during–Sam and I are deep into prep for Hanu Zan the Hero!) However, I have decided that I need a bit of a refresher, and what better excuse than 30 days of group madness?

And so we embark upon yet another epic adventure. Stay tuned!

NaNoWriMo recap

Another November gone, and with it goes National Novel Writing Month. It took me two days or so to recover enough for this post. What a whirlwind it was.

Despite moments of near-panic, I completed NaNoWriMo–at 11:53pm on November 30th. Considering that I still needed over 5200 words at 10:30pm, it was a near miracle. I don’t think I have ever written that fast. Ever. Amazing what a deadline will do for you, eh?

My final wordcount for the month was 50,678. I have to admit, dear reader, that this is the least I have ever written for a NaNo. Before this, the least I’d written was around 77k. My mother asked me yesterday, “What would you have done if you hadn’t finished.” I looked at her quite seriously and replied, “Wept.”

Of course, the challenges this month were unlike any I have faced in a forerunning November. The last two Novembers, for instance, I had a day job where I sat at a computer for 8 hours and could pretty much do whatever I liked. You can imagine what my wordcount was like. Of course, the year before that, I was in my last semester at college–but I still managed to crank out those 77,000 words. (I think I needed less sleep in college. Or I simply managed without.)

This month was crazy. First of all, I teach Taekwondo full time now. I spend most of my days on the floor, teaching or in class myself. Computer time can be somewhat limited. I also work a LOT, in the classroom or in the office. I have no small share of 12-hour days.  It can be mentally, physically, and sometimes even emotionally exhausting.

This is before we throw in Traitor’s Gate. We (Sam, our editor and I) have been hard at work getting the manuscript ready for publication. So not only was I attempting to write the sequel, but I was still going through edits and revisions, debating over the title, getting author photos taken, brainstorming together about the artwork, and more.

So, all in all, I am very pleased with myself for having completed NaNoWriMo this year. I may not have had the soaring wordcount of some of my friends and acquaintances (*coughcough* Sushi *coughcough*), but I think it makes me even more proud to have finished strong despite the outrageous adversity. And really, NaNoWriMo is about making yourself write, no matter how difficult. Each of us have our different struggles, but we have to write anyway, or our stories never get written at all. Thus I finish proudly, and say to next November, come!