October 2012

And I’m so not ready for it. All that time I had, to plan more, and write down ideas, and develop a detailed outline? Nope. Nada. And now, I have 2.5 days left until it’s racetime. What, exactly, does racetime entail?

Well, for the next few days I’ll be possibly out of power and dealing with Hurricane Sandy. After that, big projects at the office are in the works. The following week sometime, I prepare for, pack for, and leave for Peru. I’ll be there, without any electronics at all, for about 8 days. When I get back, and wake up from the hours of jetlag and sleep I’ve missed, I finish one of the work projects, then have a few days here, before flying home to my parents’ for Thanksgiving and family festivities. And that, friends, wraps up my November. Oh, also, I’m supposed to write a novel – 50,000 words.

I’ve even planned “write-ins” for people in my area, at a local mall. We’ll spend 2 solid hours together, at fairly random dates, just focused on writing. Twitter will become my friend for word sprints.

But in actuality, even though I did it and won last year, I have no idea how I’m going to pull it off this year. But, I’ve got to try. And besides, one of my NaNoWriMo buds reminded me that any word count can be a victory, even if it’s not an official “win.” Well, let’s go, Hidden in Nepal. Let’s do this.

uhh..no but actually:

Well, hello. I’m finally getting down to the deadline here for NaNoWriMo (see previous post if you’re confused). There are 10 days left until November 1. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!

But, okay. I have a plot idea rolling around in my head. I’ve tentatively titled it “Hidden in Nepal” but, as happens with crash-starting any new book, this is likely to change.

My plot on my profile on NaNoWriMo is as follows:

I plan on writing a mystery about a sister and brother who discover evidence that their father is alive and not, in fact, dead from a trip to Nepal as their mother told them, and so go on this goose chase to Nepal and Mount Everest, which they discover is a kind of Shangri-La and people are nearly immortal. Some more science. Then a decision to stay or go, if the security people at the mountain don’t, ah, “take care of them” first, and see if their father is there and all.

<working on details, and a better title>

So, there it is. In brief. In detail, I have:

Further Plot Details

Everest is manmade and is an advanced research facility. Shangri-La. They have already conquered immortality and are very close to time travel. Have accomplished teleportation, how the Tuesday nights worked. Mom (Lily) and dad (Christopher) part of training and research team. Tuesday nights. Travel to Nepal ostensibly for anniversary when children young. Dad stays and mom has to come home alone pretending he died.

North face is not actually that much more difficult but it’s where the entrance is, so climbers are…taken care of. Current society could not handle all the advances yet (work on this) so they keep it complete secret.

Martha finds documents, starts to think dad may be alive. Goose chase!

Martha Gidcomb

Martha works for The Coastal Times now. She bounced around for a few years after college, taking this job or that. Bookstore, local diner Nellie’s, nanny for awhile until the parents divorced. She proofreads the daily articles and columns (except the front page and major articles), and compiles basic information for regulars, like lotto tickets, game scores, weather, and the police blotter. She’s written a few editorials but has yet to find her consistent place and her boss seems unimpressed.

Age: 28
Sex: Female
Eye color: Green
Hair color: Brown
Physical description: Slight, with plastic black-rimmed glasses. Hair always up in a messy bun except when she has meetings, when she pulls it into a perfect ponytail

Additional Notes: Martha always knew there was something odd about her family. Growing up, her parents went out to meetings, never said where, and never together. They always switched. Her mom two Tuesdays in a row, then her dad two Tuesdays in a row.

James Gidcomb

Brother to Martha. Artist, primarily. Painter. Dabbles in music (trance and classical, sometimes mashup), picks up odd jobs as he can. Engaged to Some girl

Age: 33
Sex: Male
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: dirty blondish
Physical description: pretty

Additional Notes: Knows more about the family history than Martha but wants to protect her. Also thought it was over and done. Until now.

James’ fiance(e)?


Barbara B<something>

Gidcomb’s neighbor growing up, points them in the direction of “dad may be still alive.” a little nuts.

Lily Gidcomb

Mother to James and Martha

Christopher Gidcomb

Father to James and Martha. Still alive. Living in Shangri-La, Mount Everest

This November, I am going to write a novel. This means I am in high gear trying to figure out a plot, outline, characters, motives, and doing lots of research. Because I have to get to 50,000 words in just 30 days. Why, you ask? Oh, I hoped you would!NaNoWriMo 2012 Particpant


This is my second year participating in the National Novel Writing Month – or, NaNoWriMo, for short. The premise? Write a novel in 30 days. That’s really it. You win if you make it. You don’t if you don’t. You can plan, but not begin writing until 12:01am November 1. Last year, by some convoluted twist of luck (and amazing support), I swung about 51,000 words by November 29.

The community is absolutely incredible. There are dozens of forums, social events for people living near each other, online events, a place to connect with other people writing the same genre, or who are the same age. A place to ask all the experts out there about everything from adoption to having a big family to what kinds of weapons are made of silver. Anything and everything. I answered a few this week; one about large Renaissance Festivals.


Last year, I wrote a story about families working at a lighthouse in Canada (research: lighthouses in the Pacific NW, homeschooling, helicopters). I wrote a ton of short stories in high school and college. I had planned out my initial ideas of the story, some character quips, and just about finished my initial storyline…25 pages in. So it turned into a whole lot of craziness, more shipwrecks, weird family relationships, another emergency and a finale that came together like a giant movie ending, all the pieces very suddenly getting tied up with ribbons.


So. 2012. The year of attempting-to-actually-plan-this-time. So far my plot idea has serious potential to be novel-like in length. I am writing a crime mystery thing inspired by the fast-paced Dan Brown books I devour, thoughts from Bones and NCIS, and apparently am throwing a little old Terra Nova in there. Just a little. I have the NaNoWriMo trial version of a new writing/planning software called Storyist and bought the iPad version – using Dropbox I can sync my work between my computer and iPad. Which, for a writer, can be key. I will live with my iPad when I’m not home so I can add ideas when my supposed Muse strikes me over the head. Then, with Internet, I will sync this new writing or research to my computer. Psyched? Psyched.

What Am I Juggling?

A demanding job (40 hours – minimum, usually closer to 50/55); boyfriend who just moved a little closer but is just starting his new job; 8 days of November in remote mountains hiking sunup to sundown; researching grad schools and setting up applications/GREs; Thanksgiving festivities (my brother is finally coming home for a week from Hawaii – which is awesome – and also demands I spend lots of time with him).

How Will I Do It?

  • Love and support from you, my followers, friends, and family
  • Twitter Word Sprints: Last year, I used Twitter for a useful purpose (rather difficult for me to do) and did word sprints with other people. Basically word sprints are designated times (like, 6-9pm, or others, as many as will do it, and people sometimes pick up on their own if others are on) where someone says, “Write for the next 10 minutes, and tell us your word count when you’re done!” and you just write like crazy trying to get as many words as you can in the allotted time.
  • The fact that I’m publicly letting the whole world know what I’m doing, putting the pressure on to actually do it
  • Caffeine
  • Snacks

I have just a couple weeks (and a mad dash for a huge project at work) to outline my novel, title it, and run with it.

I know, you’re dying to know what I’m writing about. Save that for the next post. In the meantime…I’m writing a novel!

I came from an event last night honoring retailers who went above and beyond to support our veterans. I know, random. My star of a father co-owns and edits a retailer magazine that is jumping up the charts in the business. Everyone knows him; we could hardly get across the room without 5 people stopping him, saying to me, “Your father is a great man. He has done so much for this industry, this business, [my product], etc.” To be fair, I thought the event/award was going to be about some stores giving away free food and picking up the tab on some grocery bills, but it was so much more than that. It was sponsoring trips for WWII vets to visit the WWII Memorial in DC. It was baking thousands of cookies for troops overseas. It was the man who started an organization that gives $30,000 in education scholarships to every child of a Marine killed in the line of duty. Millions of dollars in donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Care – Afghanistan, sending soccer balls to kids in Afghanistan and Iraq, to kids who “didn’t start anything. They just want to be kids.”

It was an incredible night, far more than I thought it would be. I sat with a US Marine Corps Colonel who looked like James Bond (and who, care of my dad, introduced himself to me as “Bond. James Bond.”) who has been serving for over 25 years. I sat with a just-retired Lance Corporal who lost three limbs because of an IED (who happened to remind me of Prince Harry), and is making the most of it, working with prosthetic legs, determined to work with wildlife or land so he can still be outdoors.

I got back to my apartment, where I found out that one of the men I met and frequently spoke to during my internship with the National Park Service had died. He didn’t always get a great rep from the press but he was always laughing and joking with me, and frequently had me into his office to talk or give advice, or bought me and the other few interns lunch in the cafeteria. He was a great man. And he committed suicide. I won’t go into the particulars of why – and we’ll never know, truly – but does it matter?

We take life for granted. The incredible servicemen I met last night, the men and women I never will, Bill, they have all struggled. Some got lucky, many will not. Life is too short. Tonight gave me the highs and lows of the harsh reality. Make the most of it. Go get your dreams. I know I am going to try.

My home is not a place to eat. I’ve finally come to that unfortunate conclusion. I almost never really take the time to sit down and eat at home. I don’t eat breakfast anymore, so that’s out. Lunch I eat at work. Dinner, I often eat at work, or I don’t really eat dinner at all. My dining room table is never cleared; the few times my boyfriend and I eat in on the weekends, I clear off enough for two plates and glasses. Often, we or I eat on the coffee table during a movie, crouched over the food from my futon. Once, when my boyfriend stayed over and left after I had to go to work, he left me post-it notes in various places around my apartment. It took me 3 days, I think, to find the one in my fridge. He put that one there on purpose. There isn’t a whole lot in there, or not much I’m willing to bother with. What food I get stays in there until finally I throw it out. Every weekend, it’s the same:

Boy: “You want breakfast?”

Me: “Hmmm….yeah.”

Boy: “What do you want?”

Me: “I don’t really have anything here.”

In general, my home has not become a place to enjoy food. And once I made that connection, it set off a few alarm bells – more than all the ones the past year about eating healthy and eating at all and eating office snacks until 9pm, then going home and heading straight to bed (or the Internet) without much of substance in my stomach. And my lunch, some days, winds up being ramen or McDonald’s.

I like chalking it up to work, and my busy schedule, and being in my 20s. But, really, those are just excuses. I’m making excuses for not eating! But it’s a habit that has ingrained itself in my life for so many months, it’s incredibly difficult to break. I go through bouts of trying: I went out and bought a Dutch oven, made some hardcore vegetable soup from scratch, with plans to make a mushroom soup tomorrow. So this week, I will have healthy lunches and dinners. By next week, as usual, I will have forgotten entirely about my interest in learning to cook anything besides Annie’s, about the new “quick and healthy” cookbook I found in the bargain bin at Barnes & Nobles, about the magazine full of recipes I picked up while shopping for my strange ingredients (I mean, celery root? One slice of pumpkin? Do you know how big pumpkins can get?).

And then I’ll get caught up in work, insisting I cannot possibly work from home (for my current project, this often means lugging home 2 binders with 3 inches worth of documentation), or get into work at 7am instead of yawning in at 9am. And then it gets to 8pm. That awkward time: I won’t get home until at least 8:30 or 9, which appears to put making anything remotely substantial out of the question; after all, don’t I want to go to bed at 10? Get up early? Make tea, get into the office before everyone else – that quiet ahh time?

Nope. Instead, I don’t eat, stay up until midnight or later “accidentally” playing on my iPad, or reading 50 different articles I keep stumbling upon, or reading a book, or double checking Facebook again. And then snooze, no matter what time I set my alarm for, wake up, run into work, and the eating habits start again. Or perhaps lack thereof.

I don’t have a super amazing image of myself. I don’t necessarily have a terrible one, but (on the plus side?) I am more confident in my learning abilities and knowledge than I am my body. Anyone who looks at me seems to disagree: I’m pretty small. But there are areas I’d like to be a little smaller. I’m terribly out of shape. My point is, though, that I’ve never had an eating problem. I’ve never tried throwing up, or starving myself, or flat-out not eating. This isn’t like one of those. But it’s an issue, I recognize that much. It’s just one I don’t know how to solve. I don’t really know what to do.