Browsing articles in "Personal"


Oct 28, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Personal  //  No Comments

It’s almost that time of the year. Nanowrimo (or National Novel Writing Month) is getting ready to kick off November 1.

What is it?

Nanowrimo is a time when people all across the country and all over the world gather together to try and churn out 50,000 words by 11:59pm on November 30 (about 1,666 words/day).


So what’s the point of Nanowrimo? Nanowrimo is meant for those who feel like they can’t write a book. The task can seem so daunting. So, it encourages those who participate to not only get into the habit of writing everyday, but also to see that writing a novel-length manuscript isn’t so crazy. Sure, as my husband pointed out, you can write complete gibberish to meet the word count. In the end, like anything we spend time on, we get out what we put in. Besides, during the course of the event, published authors send out emails of encouragement and advice, and people from all over offer their own support. If you sign up for a specific region, there are often writing events you can attend. Writing alone isn’t for everyone, and being surrounded by everyone participating in the same thing can be exhilarating.

So, why am I doing it? I write everyday already. I’ve already written novel-length manuscripts. And I’m pretty comfortable writing alone (again, I do it everyday). I’m using Nanowrimo as impetus for me to force through the novel I’m working on. It’ll be good motivation. I’ve already tried Nanowrimo multiple times over the years, but I’ve never completed the requisite 50,000 words (the week of Thanksgiving always derails me). But, I’m determined to try one more time. I’ll be using a new profile this year, one that’s more in-line with my brand. If you’re planning on signing up for Nanowrimo, come check out my profile, CTBIdeas, and be my writing buddy. It’ll be a fun way to encourage each other’s writing dreams. See you there!

Update on the State of my Life

Sep 14, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Personal, Published  //  No Comments

My husband and I are back from our 10-month 12-country trip around the world. It’s been crazy settling back into the normal routine of life, and my writing has been a bit disrupted because of it. While it was frustrating at times, I’m glad I spent the necessary time and energy. Now I can focus back on my writing without having too many worries lingering in the back of my mind.

I hope to also get this writing blog on a semi-regular schedule now that I actually have the time to spend on it. I’ll be introducing a weekly feature which will be explained in my next post. And for those of you who also pop in to  Imaginor, I’ll be trying to get my mini-series’ there back on track also. So, many things happening on this website that I hope you’ll like.

In other writing news, my story, “The Job”, was published back in June in Issue #4 of Beyond Imagination. I’m particularly fond of the brothers that inhabit that story. I may even expand their story out into a full-fledged novella one of these days. You can check them out here.

I also had my poem, “Immortality”, published in Issue #5 of Dark Matter Journal, which was a welcome surprise. Poetry was my first love. I have a soft spot for the rhythm and flow of poetry. I also have a deep and abiding interest in science, though I’m more of a dabbler. These two interests came together into this poem, which you can read here (available in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions).

My Write1Sub1 challenge has had its rocky moments. I have to say it’s been easier to submit at least one story out each week than it’s been to write a completely new piece. But, I’m still slogging on.

My novel has gone through about a million changes (I’m not even sure if I’m exaggerating here) but I think I’ve finally got a handle on things. My goal is to finish a first-ish draft by the end of the year and have it submitted out to agents by June of next year. But, then again, you know what they say about best laid plans.

All in all, though, I’m happy and writing everyday. And, really, that’s all I want out of life right now anyways.

A Reading of “Ulysses”

May 24, 2014   //   by Christina   //   Latest News, Personal  //  No Comments

On our tour through the UK, we decided to also pop in for a visit to Dublin, Ireland.  While gathering information for nearby attractions through the brochures set into our hotel’s reception area, I came upon an ad for “Sweny’s Pharmacy”.  I noticed they did readings of Joyce novels.  What a wonderful interlude while in Dublin, to listen to the words of one of their literary leading lights.  Even better?  Sweny’s Pharmacy features in one of Joyce’s most famous novels, Ulysses

We were greeted with a cup of tea and the thick tome of “Ulysses”.  “So,” I began, to the only other participant who had arrived before us, “a reading, huh?”  “Yes,” the older man, a full head of white hair and sparkling eyes, replied “it’s fun to read aloud.” My husband and I glanced at each other.  We’d have to read aloud?  Not exactly what we were expecting.  “Yikes,” I whispered, “I’ve never read Ulysses before.”  My husband shook his head, “Me neither.”  I knew James Joyce liked to make up words, and Ulysses was rumored to be notoriously difficult to read.  As I flipped through the pages while we waited, my concerns didn’t lessen.  Instead of freaking out further, I looked around and struck up a conversation with the owner of the establishment.  All the interior decorations of Sweny’s Pharmacy are original, all dark wood and glass and apothecary drawers.  The only major differences were likely the books piled before us and the shelves peeking out from the back section groaning underneath the weight of still more books.  The owner riffled around and returned with Ulysses translated into Chinese.  I wonder how many other translations lay in the back. 

I wanted to know if the same people showed up each week, so I asked our original friend with the sparkling eyes.  “Different members of the same core group,” he replied.  As others showed up at the door, he leaned back over, “Each gathering we have takes on its own character.  Sometimes we have analytical ones who like digging into the words.  Sometimes we have the ones who enjoy the history behind Joyce.  Today, we have the mad ones.”

A dark-haired man, around our age or a few years older, began the chapter with a quick introduction to what we were to expect in the following pages.  He spoke of character development and observations and symbolism with such passion, his hands weaving pictures through the air, he made what was essentially a Cliffs Notes summary of the chapter quite fascinating.  He followed by reading the first page.  Turns out the chapter we started with contained the section that featured Sweny’s Pharmacy.  What luck!

Around we went, each reading a page, some slower than others, in a multitude of accents.  Giggles broke out over particularly funny or salacious passages.  We reveled in Bloom’s train of thoughts, of the familiar made unfamiliar in such a way as to clarify our own world.  Like we had cleaned the lens of our eyes and saw everything anew.  Read aloud, I could grasp bits and pieces of what Joyce was trying to say, when before it’d looked like gibberish.  Especially read aloud in thick Irish accents.  Two hours later, we finished two chapters, our throats a bit hoarse, our cheeks and hearts warm .  My experience at Sweny’s had given me new inspiration and motivation to focus back on the novel I’d been editing the past year or so. 

As we walked back to our hotel room, the musical rhythm of Joyce’s words still bouncing around in my skull, I gazed over the River Liffey and imagined Joyce walking by us, also enjoying the cool night air. 


**For more information on readings, check out their webpage.  Donations are encouraged but not required.  Everyone likes hanging out at the nearby pub afterwards.