NANOWRIMO…The Making of a Novel

If you’re an author or up coming writer who has never participated in NANOWRIMO, you may be asking yourself–what’s the point? I wanted to share with you my experience and get you excited about this opportunity to come up with a new plot and push yourself to write, write, write.

Admittedly, I didn’t participate in 2011, however, I jumped in feet first in 2010.  On Halloween day, and i still had no idea what I was going to write about.  Earlier in the day, I had skimmed over the news and seen something about a kidnapping that sparked my interest.  I generally write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, so I knew I’d have to give a kidnapping story a spin that would blow readers away in order to make the thirty days work for me.

I did some quick research and found information about a playground in Alabama.  Several children had been abducted and subsequently, their bodies were all found in this playground.  Morbid–I know! However, it gave me the idea for a novel that was eventually released in September 2012 called Becoming Jolie.  I’m not a plotter by any stretch of the imagination, so I made a few quick notes and decided I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

Before you start making excuses, hear me out.  I was working a full-time job, taking care of my children and husband, dealing with constant migraines and doing all of the things that we all do just to keep things going.  The only thing I required of myself is that I would write at least thirty minutes a day, even if that meant staying up until everyone else was in bed.  This wasn’t difficult for me, because that’s pretty much the best time for me to write anyway.

Here is the great part–I almost psyched myself out in the beginning.  I kept thinking there was no way I could write 50,000 in 30 days, especially with all the balls I had in the air.  I had to keep reminding myself that nothing horrible would happen if I didn’t make it.  A wonderful thing happened though, the more I wrote, the more the words flowed.  I finished Becoming Jolie and met my Nanowrimo goal in 18 days!

That book has turned out to be a fan favorite.  Of course, it went through changes and edits.  In fact, the finished product after Nanowrimo had some major point of view issues, as I was quite green when I set out to finish it.  My point is, you never know what will happen if you challenge yourself to participate.  Have fun with it and relax–no one will beat you if you don’t finish!

So I know you’re going to ask…am I going to do it this year? I am currently working on a novel and a short story.  What better way to push myself to get them completed?

Ready! Set! Go!  Here is the link to the site –Go ahead–Sign up – http://www.nanowrimo.org/

Interested in the novel created during Nanowrimo 2010?  Here’s a link, blurb and the cover just for you:

   Blurb:

Jolie Bourque is trying to finish her thesis on mass hysteria and get on with her life. Enter Follette, Louisiana. The small town has been plagued by ghost sightings and a rash of missing children. She is convinced everyone in town is crazy — except Hutch Landry and his brother Tucker.

The brothers seem to be the only people willing to help when she starts asking questions. Just when
she thinks things can’t get any crazier, she begins to have dreams and visions of her own. Uncovering the town’s ties to her own life throws Jolie into a tailspin.

Can she survive the madness that is Follette, Louisiana? Who is preying on the town’s children? Can Jolie afford to fall in love while drowning in madness? If she does — how on earth will she choose between brothers?

It’s all just part of the journey to Becoming Jolie.

http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Jolie-ebook/dp/B009DHBW26/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_3

Comment and let me know if you plan to participate and are reaching your goals!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of  The Keepers, The Watchers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Magia Rising & Becoming Jolie

Coming soon:  Muscial Scares & Black Water Bayou

 

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Becoming Jolie Huge Giveaway!

Becoming Jolie is going to be FREE for download on Amazon from October 8-10.  We have set up giveaway so that you can win lots of free stuff by helping us spread the word!  Just click on the rafflecopter link below and follow directions.  Hope you enjoy!!!!

Prizes – Original cover – signed copy of Becoming Jolie – (The one with the swing set on it), PDFS of Magia Rising, Becoming Jolie and The Watchers and a $10 Amazon Gift card are all up for grabs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Year in the Life of an Author

I started my first novel in November of 2008.  As most of you know by now, I’d always been a writer.  I still have friends tell me they used my stories to turn in for grades in school.  That thought scares me, because most of what I wrote back then was a little frightening!!

In April of 2011, I was going through a bit depression.  I can remember the day that I got my first contract from Astraea Press vividly.  I’d been at home suffering from a migraine and feeling sorry for myself.  When I opened the email and saw the contract attached tears of joy rolled down my cheeks.  Someone out there wanted to hear my stories!

The Keepers was published in June of 2011.  I can’t even begin to tell you what it feels like to see your work on Amazon or to hold your novel in your hand for the first time.  For me, the biggest thrill was putting that book in my Dad’s hands and saying here, this if for you and me and all we have been through together.  Also, this was a very personal book for me.  One about a main character whose mother had died of breast cancer and the damaged angel that came along to save her.  This tale was so close to home that I was extremely nervous about sharing it, but tickled that I had the chance.

Everything wasn’t perfect.  No, my first novel was quite the roller coaster ride.  Somehow, the edition that was originally uploaded was not the one that the publishing company and I had spent hours pouring over during edits.  I got a lot of great reviews, but then the die-hard readers started to mention editing errors and after much thought and support from Astraea, I pulled the book and it went back to editing.  We literally had to start over!!!

During this time, Astraea put out a call for short stories which would be published with all monies going to the Japanese Tsunami Relief.  This is when the Mulligan Man was born.  I’d had a dream one night that I was standing in my front yard screaming, “I want a Mulligan!”.  My son, Colton, and I jotted down ideas and characters and this fun YA Folk tale came to life.  It is different from anything I’ve ever written, but one of my pride and joys because my son played an integral part of developing it.

The contract for Jamais Vu with Astraea soon followed and it was published in October 2011.  Whirlwind right?  Yes!  And so much fun.  I can’t talk about Jamais Vu without either crying or beaming.  As though the cosmos was trying to make up for all that had gone wrong with The Keepers, everything with Jamais Vu was easy.  There are over 25 5 star reviews on Amazon for this book and several four star reviews.  Knock on wood, not one person has ever slammed it!

This book also had deeply personal meaning to me.  My mother was playing with a gun she thought was unloaded when I was a toddler.  She was shot and spent years recovering.  My main character, Darby, also suffers this fate in Jamais Vu.  I wanted to pay tribute to my mom’s story but give it a huge paranormal twist and I think this book did the job.

In February 2012, the follow-up to Jamais Vu, Deja Vu was also published by Astraea Press.  Blessings! Blessings! Blessings!  By this point not only did I have four book in the marketplace, but I also had developed wonderful friendships with readers, bloggers, reviewers, cover artists, editors and publishers.

It is such a rush.  There are people out there who want to read my books!  Before I ever considered getting published, the one thing I said was, “If I could just have a few fans who enjoy my work, I’ll be happy.”  I’ve far exceeded that goal, and to each and ever one of you, I am eternally grateful and humbled by your love and support.

So that brings us to the middle of 2012, back to the time where I started last year.  On July 9th, Becoming Jolie, my first Adult Paranormal novel will be published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.  Also in July, The Watchers, the sequel to The Keepers will be published by Astraea!

So what else is coming?  I’ve written the first novel in a new series called Magia Rising.  I’m considering self-publishing that one in October.  Next year, I know for sure this book will have a follow-up as will the Jamais Vu series.  I’m also hoping to self publish a novel that I’m currently offering chapters of on my blog, The Awakening.

I’ve had some hard moments in the last year. Sometimes, I’ve been frustrated and overwhelmed, but mostly I’ve been filled with joy and love.  There is nothing like meeting one of your biggest fans for the first time, getting emails from people dying to read your next work, hearing from young authors who just want someone to talk shop.

I hope that I can continue to offer you all stories that capture your hearts and imaginations! Today, I just want to say thanks!  Every time you mention my book to a friend, share my Facebook posts or Tweets you are pumping new life into my crazy brain.

As long as you will all have me, I’ll be around!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James

Website:             www.moniqueoconnorjames.com
Facebook:          https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511255176
Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/moniqueoconnorjamesauthor
Twitter:  mjames13

Author of The Keepers – http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1331129226&sr=8-6

Jamais Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Deja Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Deja-Vu-ebook/dp/B006X3133G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

The Mulligan Man – http://www.amazon.com/The-Mulligan-Man-ebook/dp/B005ES06M0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Coming July 2012 – Becoming Jolie from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing & The Watchers from Astraea Press!!!!

Free Read: The Awakening Chapters 15 and 16

Okay I owe you guys some more chapters~  I’ll get them posted promise…..Love you a bunch!  I think I also owe you some ghost stories!

Chapter 15 and 16

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers – http://www.amazon.com/The-Keepers-ebook/dp/B0054LO9E8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1331129226&sr=8-6

Jamais Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Jamais-Vu-ebook/dp/B005SG02FE/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Deja Vu – http://www.amazon.com/Deja-Vu-ebook/dp/B006X3133G/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

The Mulligan Man – http://www.amazon.com/The-Mulligan-Man-ebook/dp/B005ES06M0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Coming July 2012 – Becoming Jolie from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and The Watchers from Astraea Press

The Book Demolition Derby!!! Scavenger Hunt! May 5-May 20th 2012

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 A fabulous group of authors has gotten together to offer readers the chance to win lots of signed books and PDFs for their collection!  This is amazing!  We hope you enjoy!

Here’s the scoop!  Below is a list of web addresses for each author and a question from their website.  Most of the questions come from the first page. (If a question comes from another page we will tell you where to look).

We made the questions as simple as possible.  The idea is just to visit each website.  Once you have answered all the questions email your list of answers to nique313@yahoo.com.  On May 20th, we will do a random drawing from the correct answers and you can win signed books or pdfs from these authors.  (See prizes below.)

Questions and websites:

1. http://www.moniqueoconnorjames.com/ – In what state does Monique live?

2.  http://www.kristinecheney.com/ – click on bio- what is the name of Kristine’s labra-doodle?

3. http://www.ginikoch.com/ – Making the world safer one _______ at a time.

4.  http://sellery.weebly.com/– What is the name of the anthology Miller’s Daughter was published in?

5. http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com – Click graveyard – what does Jillian keep track of here?

6.  www.elainecantrell.com – Hope. Dreams.

7.  www.frederickjarceneaux.webs.com – Where is the setting of Mirrored?

8. http://eawest.mcphitty.com – What are her unusual pets?

9. http://www.lisakumar.com/ – Escape into fantasy and _______.

10. http://www.breaessex.com/ – Shadows and ________.

11. http://www.briclarkthebelleofboise.blogspot.com/oise.blogspot.com – _____ from the life of an author and speaker.

12. http://www.thesupernovasaga.com/– Who is the publisher of Supernova?

13. http://murdersandmysteries.wordpress.com/ – What kind of dog is that on Lindsay’s blog? (hint – Lassie)

14. http://www.iris-b.blogspot.com/ – Dare to live your _______.

15. http://feliciarogersauthor.webs.com/ Click on about me. For what is love without _______.

16. http://www.lisaorchard.com/ click on bio – Where did Lisa grow up?

17. http://www.nancygideon.com/ Romance by any other _____.

18. http://www.loraleelillibridge.com/ – Ordinary People….Extra-ordinary ______.

19. http://www.sherrygloag.com/ – The ______ of romance.

20. http://joselynvaughn.wordpress.com/books-sucker2.htm – The things that give me joy (and _______).

21. http://www.patriciakiyono.com/ – Escape into a great ______ _______.

PRIZES:

FIRST PLACE: 7 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS

SECOND PLACE: 5 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS

THIRD PLACE: 2 Signed Print Books & 3 PDFS

FOURTH PLACE: 10 PDFS

FIFTH PLACE: 7 PDFS

SIXTH PLACE: 3 PDFS

Cheers and Enjoy The giveaway!

*** PS:   I did everything I could to get the covers of the books to pull into this post and for some reason the preview button wasn’t working in wordpress!  So here is a list of the books that are being offered just in case it doesn’t work!

Print:  The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Spartan Heart, Secret Santa, Alien in the Family, Her Kind of Man, A New Dream, Mirrored, Sucker for a Hot Rod, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, Supernova, Seeker of Shadows and All that Matters

PDFS:  His Chosen Bride, Aegean Intrigue, The Legacy, The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man, Spartan Heart Part One, Spartan Heart Part Two, Spartan Surrender,  Secret Santa, Unfiltered, Legend of The Oceina Dragon, Legend of the Inero Dragon, Vala Agenda, Vala Heritage, Battlefield, The Sentence, Imperfect Beauty, Through the Rabbit Hole, Foreshadow, Eternal Witch, A Body In the Attic, Emily Dahill CID, A Dog Gone Christmas, Journey to Her Dreams, Painted Lady, Love Octagon,The Super Spies – Cat & Lady Killer.

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man

& Coming Soon:  Becoming Jolie and The Watchers!!!

Free Read! The Awakening – Chapters 3 & 4

I promised you chapters 3 & 4 today, so here you go!  Hope you enjoy!

Chapters 3 & 4

 

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu & The Mulligan Man from Astraea Press

Coming May 2012 – Becoming Jolie from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Free Read! The Awakening Chapters 1 And 2

Okay so honestly my hope for my blog is to give something to my readers.  I want there to be a reason that you stop by to hear me talk about my crazy cat or the kids or some ghost story I want you to hear.

I wanted to create a gift for the people who read my stories and love them. So here’s the dealio – I have several works in progress!  I need to work on all of them eventually and this is a great way to get going on this one while I work on some of my other ones, so I’m trying something new!

One of the manuscripts that is sitting on my laptop waiting to be worked over is  a stand-alone, paranormal fiction novel called The Awakening.  I’d like to post FREE chapters once a week and let you follow along as I do the first of many edits on it!

Here are my requests (You knew there was catch right?)

1.  Don’t be too critical it has not been truly edited.

2.  Don’t hate me if I change the name and feel free to make suggestions as we get further into the story.

3.  Share my blog with your friends so they can read along and comment too!

4.  Follow me so you know when I post new chapters!

That’s it!   That’s all I’m asking!  At the end of this little experiment, I will edit the heck out of it and publish it on Amazon and Create Space.  In between chapter posts I plan to entertain you with my nonsense!

Hear are Chapters 1 & 2:  Chapters 1 and 2

I really hope you enjoy!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, The Mulligan Man published by Astraea Press

Coming May 2012 – Becoming Jolie – from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Ghost Stories #3 – St. Louis Cemetery #1 – New Orleans, LA

This cemetery plays a pivotal role in my latest work in progress.  There is something romantic and intriguing about the place, despite its location in the middle of the warehouse district in New Orleans.

Let me set the scene for you.  The entire cemetery is surrounded by a cement wall, perhaps to keep the ghosts in, or the vandals out – no matter, both seem to ignore it.  The tombs are shoved together so tightly that they create a mystical maze for tourists and mourners in which they can lose themselves.  There are oven tombs with brick arches, where the dead are interred behind walls, barrel-vaulted tombs characterized by their vaulted roofs, box tombs, built closer to the ground, parapet tombs with their raised crosses, and the list goes on and on.  There is no rhyme or reason to the placement of these tombs and so a wonderful lack of symmetry is formed.

St. Louis Cemetery #1 is listed on the National Registry of The Most Haunted Places in America, and for good reason. The remains of those who participated in the Battle of New Orleans can be found here, along with the city’s first black mayor, and it’s mayor and its most famous resident the Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

Sighting Claims:

1.  Many are said to have captured Marie Laveau’s ghost on film here.  Believers and tourists still leave flowers, candles and offerings at her tomb everyday.

2.  It has also been said that ghostly, nude voodoo practitioners perform rituals in the cemetery after midnight and well into the morning hours.

3.  A ghost by the name of Henry roams the maze of the cemetery.  The story goes that he gave his tomb to a woman who was supposed to keep his papers for him.  While he was out to sea she sold the tomb, and when he died he was laid to rest in a potter’s field.  He has spent the time since inquiring with tourists if they have seen the Vignes’ tomb.  He appears in a dark suit with no shirt and is desperate to find his final resting place.

4.  Alphonse – he was a lonely young man, or so they say.  Upon entering the cemetery, he may take your hand and ask you to help him find his way home.  He’s been seen taking flowers from other graves and bringing them back to his own.

5.  Ghost cats and dogs are frequent sightings here.  Many believe that they are the ghosts of the caretakers animals.

Take the cemetery tour if you are in New Orleans, or if you are really brave, check them out on your own.  Even if you don’t see a ghost for yourself, you will be taken by the place’s beauty.

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu, Deja Vu, and The Mulligan Man published by Astraea press.

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.

 

 

Deja Vu Debut 1/12/12 Giveaways!!!!!

You probably know by now that Jamais Vu’s follow-up, Deja Vu, will be coming out tomorrow 1/12/12.  I have lots of giveaways going on right now and just wanted to do a little run down so you don’t miss anything.

Okay first,  if you purchase Deja Vu on 1/12/12, email the receipt to nique313@yahoo.com and I will give you the choice of a PDF of The Keepers , Jamais Vu or The Mulligan Man!  Two for One!!!!  This is for 1/12/12 only.

Next, Rachel Van Dyken had a fabulous write-up about the books on her blog.  If you comment on her blog, I will draw someone on 1/12/12 o receive a PDF copy of Jamais Vu or Deja Vu (Your choice).

Okay last one for now.  We are playing throw me something mister on my facebook page.  Change your profile picture to the cover of Deja Vu above and yell “Throw Me Something Mister” on my page!  On Saturday, 1/14/12 I’ll draw for several winners and the prizes are the collectors beads below and maybe even a couple of PDFs!

Have Fun! Thank you all for always supporting me!

Cheers,

Monique O’Connor James

Author of The Keepers, The Mulligan Man, Jamais Vu and Deja Vu published by Astraea Press

Coming Summer 2012 – Becoming Jolie published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Ghost Stories Part 1 – The Myrtles

I’ve decided to insert a series of ghost stories into my blog purely for your enjoyment.  I’ve gathered these from here and there, and as far as I know they are told in earnest.  If you’re like me the thrill comes just as much from speculation as seeing or hearing something!

I’ll start with one of my favorite places in the world, The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  The Myrtles websites touts it as one of America’s most haunted homes.  Here in Louisiana, it’s a popular place to spend Halloween night, if you have the cojones. 

The home was built circa 1796 and the stories about the ongoing hauntings have websites dedicated to both debunking and proving their validity.  Whatever you believe, visitors and paranormal investigators alike claim to have witnessed the sights and sounds of a truly haunted house.

Here are some of the ghost who haunt The Myrtles:

1.  Chloe – A slave who allegedly poisoned two children and was subsequently hung on the property.

2.  The ghost of those children have been seen playing on the Veranda.

3.  William Drew Winter – lived at the Myrtles in the Mid 1800’s.  It was reported that he was shot on the porch by a stranger.  William left the porch just after the shooting and began to make his way to the second floor.  It is said that he died on the 17th step and that the sound of his footsteps can still be heard.

4.  The ghosts of several slaves have approached visitors asking if there is any work for them.

5.  People have reported that the grand piano in the home often plays by itself.

Even with all the spooks who hang around, The Myrtles is one of the most beautiful plantation homes in South Louisiana. Put this one on your list of must see locations should you find yourself in this neck of the woods!

Cheers!

Monique O’Connor James author of The Keepers, Jamais Vu and The Mulligan Man available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Coming Early 2012:  Deja Vu; Coming Summer 2012:  Becoming Jolie