29 May 2011

Sunday Check-In & Updates!

Memorial Day Weekend Is Here....... Remember.   

My family has strong military ties.  My maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army during WWII in the European Theatre.  My great-uncle was commissioned an officer in the field during that same war.  My father served in the U.S. Navy.  My step-father served in the Navy and spent time in Vietnam as a medic on river patrol boats.  My husband was also in the Navy as was his father.  Thankfully, all returned home safely.  This is not true for all servicemen or women.  Now, our daughter is serving our country in the U.S. Navy as well.

When we debate the issues that our nation faces, let us remember that many of our countrymen died to maintain the freedom to do just that!  We may bicker, argue, protest, support, plant signs in our yards, and say or write what we want to because someone fought and gave their life to protect that right.  Without their sacrifices, their bravery, their willingness to accept the call to protect and defend, we might not be in a position to give voice to our mind's thoughts, dreams, or hopes. 

Remember them.      

Novel News

Claiming The Prize is nearing completion.  I will not stay within my original 80,000 word goal, but will most likely end up between 82,000-85,000 words.  I have only 15 pages to reach my estimated 310 pages, and I'm not sure I'll be able to finish in quite so few sheets of paper.  You'll not hear a complaint out of me.  I'm ecstatic to have had so much material to write into the story.  (Besides, maybe editing will 'clean it up' a little.......) 

Chapter two is just about finished in Her Dark Baron!  Allowing myself 25,000 words in this first novella is shaping up to be a fantastic goal.  I plotted out ten chapters of ten pages each, which will produce about 20,000 words.  The additional 5,000 are bonus 'freebies' that I can utilize if/when necessary.  Chapter two is one of those scenes that require a bit more......maybe 500 extra or so. 

Through conversation with a fellow writer and friend, I am learning a great deal about the various formatting requirements needed to upload one's work for publishing.  Generally, I learn by doing, so it all sounds like 'Greek' to me at this point.  Once I navigate this daunting process I'm sure it will seem quite simple, but right now, 'sweating bullets' is an apt term to describe my feelings about this upcoming task. 


Writing such different 'heroes' in my two current projects is absolutely satisfying.  One is open and straightforward, the other is dark, haunted - if you will-, and mysterious.  It provides me options, and I like options.  It also allows me to continue working when I need to think out a scene in one project.  My husband asked me this week if it is confusing to maintain two separate story lines in my mind simultaneously.  For me this hasn't been a problem (at least not yet...).  So I ask, " Do you write more than one story at a time? And if so, has it ever been a problem for you?"

Have a great week of writing everyone.  Don't forget to stop by fellow Round of Words participant's blog pages!
~ Nadja

25 May 2011

Back to My Regular Rounds.......

It's Check-In Day At A Round of Words in 80 Days !

Wednesday is upon us once again.....Where did the week go?  It's the march of time.  I turn around twice, and yet another seven days have escaped me.  You'll tell me to bite my tongue, but before we know it summer will be in full swing, and autumn will be looming on the horizon.  I know, I know....stifle it. 

I've written over 20 pages this week in Claiming The Prize, putting the novel's finish line in plain view.  Woo-hoo!  I've got less than thirty pages to wrap up my first novel!  Astonishment, pride, anxiety...these all swirl in my mind as I come closer to the goal each day.  To put it mildly......I'm over the moon!

The novella progresses as well, with chapter two half-way complete.  I should finish it by the week's end.  This baron of my conjuring is delicious to write, and I may or may not be infatuated with him myself.  No matter, he will be available to all readers in the near future, and if you enjoy a true alpha-male as much as I do, you're going to love this guy.......

I'm eager to get back to my writing.  I'd love to be in a position next Wednesday to post that the novel is finished......Better get cracking!

23 May 2011

Monday's Makeup for Sunday's Slacking........

The Back Story Behind The Inspiration For Claiming The Prize...........

For the first time, I missed a check-in for A Round Of Words in 80 yesterday.....  Not something I normally allow to happen when I make a commitment.  However, yesterday was a big day here.

My fourteen year old son had his wrestling banquet, and as the secretary of the club I had quite a busy day in preparation.  The event came off without a hitch (thank goodness).  The banquet marks the official end to the wrestling season, and I, along with fellow board members heaved a sigh of relief.  I love wrestling....really.  It is the most intense sport I've encountered with my sons.  We've been through football, baseball, soccer, and basketball seasons, which were perfectly agreeable, but nothing compares to wrestling....at least for this family.  We've yet to watch him compete in his MMA career, so I reserve the right to amend my above statement. (He is currently begging us to enter him in his first jiu-jitsu tournament....we're still considering)

Freshman don't always move up to the varsity team.  Competition for limited weight slots is fierce, and often freshman struggle to compete against older, stronger upperclassmen.  Add in that our son is a very young freshman, and the odds go down further.  But, his coaches brought him up to the varsity squad after he won his wrestle off against a returning senior.  He was over the moon....and so were we.  Soon, however, he began to learn just how tough it was to compete on this entirely new level. 

He ended the year with a .500 win stat and a 3.82 GPA, earning a spot on the District II Academic All-Star First Team for 2011.  He earned an Iron-Man after attending every team practice (Mon.-Fri from 3:30-5:30pm, Saturday practice or tournament), every team meeting, and not missing a match for the season.  He was also awarded the Varsity Rookie of the Year for 2011.  The 2011 Team Season Statistics revealed that he placed second on his team for Most Takedowns and Most Technical Falls, and third in the categories for Most Escapes, Most Near Fall Points, and Most Pins. 

Forgive my gushing .......(mothers are allowed), but the reason I bore you all to tears with my recitations is this. The world of gymnasiums, wrestling, weightlifting, singlets, jiu-jitsu, Maui Thai kickboxing, boxing, takedowns, reversals, pins, wins, losses........that's my life!  It inspired me to write the theme into my first novel.
Certainly I've never wrestled, kick boxed, or submitted anyone in my life, but I've watched my sons do all these.  The wins fill you with pride for the hard work they've had to put in to have that moment of glory, and your heart breaks when they come off the mat full of emotion after a tough loss.  They push themselves to get 'one more rep' on the bench press, one more takedown, one more pound off, one more 'A' in the classroom, one more win.  They deny the urge to 'hang out', like so many other high school students.  They get up at 4:30 a.m. to spend the day sitting in a gymnasium (and so do you) to watch them wrestle for 18 minutes total.  They sometimes say, "Mom, you're the best!  Thanks for coming to all my matches.  Lot's of my teammates don't have anyone there for them."

The intense emotions surrounding this world are what I've set out to capture in Claiming The Prize. With only twenty to thirty pages remaining to write the novel to it's conclusion, I sure hope I succeeded.  ~ Nadja

20 May 2011

Friday Blog Hopping......

Welcome Hoppers! 

Thanks to Elizabeth Sharp at Sharp Words for hosting ..........

Her Post For Friday, 20 May, 2011.......

There are so many great authors who have inspired me over the years. I often wonder what it would be like to spend a day with them. If I could spend a day with only one, it would be so hard to choose. But in the end, I would have to go with JRR Tolkien. The man was seriously a genius and I imagine his brain would be kind of like mine, seeing something mundane and ordinary in a way no one else could even imagine. I can tell he is a very visual person, like me, by the vivid descriptions in his books. And I would also love to hear his opinion of Peter Jackson's interpretation of his vision.

So if you could spend a day with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Hhhmmmm.....This is not an easy question to answer, because while I enjoy many authors' novels, I really don't know a thing about them personally.  Spending a day with them would certainly be enlightening, but what a debaucle it would be to discover that I disliked the person behind the stories.  Would it ruin my opinions of 'post visit' works?  I wonder.   
That being said, .....here goes.....
Mark Twain.  From the essays, short stories, and novels I've read, I believe that we would spend an enjoyable day in crotchety-like comraderie over social ills, stupidity, philosophy...etc., etc.,.....
His dark humor and dry wit make his writings some of the best I've read.  Personal favorites I would recommend are:
1.  A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
2.  Advice To Young People (A commencment speech he once gave....no kidding)
3.  The Story of The Bad Little Boy
4.  Extracts From Adam's Diary
5.  Eve's Diary
Elizabeth's featured blogger for today is M.G. Ainsworth at Writing After Nine , so stop by and visit.......
Don't forget to follow the rules......

Follow this blog.
Follow Elizabeth Sharp's blog.
Follow M.G. Ainsworth.
Post today's question with your answer and add a link to the bloghop.
Add your post to the linky tools
Read, Follow, and Comment on pages you visit.
It's that simple.
Have a great weekend..... ~ Nadja

18 May 2011

Thoughts, Progress, and Personality.....

Hello To Everyone From Round Of Words!

Click Here to visit ROW80's Wednesday post and to find the linky tool to stop by fellow writer's sites. 

Wednesday is my 'deadline' day, and I've been a busy Nadja this week.  Once again I have exceeded my word count goals in Claiming The Prize, and I've written half of chapter one in the novella.  I also perused around some fellow participant's blogs, reading their ups and downs over the week.  Overall, it was really a great week. 
A new goal for the upcoming week is to create a list of titles for my new novella, narrowed to five choices by next Wednesday.  I'm excited to explore the possibilities .......

On the 16th, Kait Nolan posted 'Delayed Gratification - Just Say No', and I have to agree with her.  Eighty thousand words may seem an insurmountable task if viewed as a whole, but broken into smaller segments, say chapters or scenes or even one page at a time gives us the pleasure of meeting goals throughout the project.  I'm also a fan of rewarding myself.  Little things, as Kait claims, are indeed the best treats!  A trip to the tanning bed when it's rainy and gray outside (okay...this entire northeastern spring), shopping for new sandals, or a new book to devour are great pick-me-ups, and I work harder to 'allow' myself these little joys often. 
Early in the Round, I started setting a timer and writing in bursts of forty to sixty minutes.  These 'mini-goals', if you will, are extremely encouraging.  I can ignore the laundry, the lint on the floor, the paperwork awaiting my attention for forty minutes.  It's a double bonus!  I enjoy the accomplishment of having worked on my writing and still feel like I'm keeping on top of my household chores & teaching responsibilities. 
Treating myself takes on other forms as well.  I'm a night owl, and I take full advantage of the peace and quiet once everyone has turned in to indulge while I write.  Find what works for you.  I light a few scented tea lights and have hot tea or a glass of wine. (Note:  Chocolate may be enjoyed without guilt during this time)  This 'pampering' marks out my writing time as special - just for me - and more often than not, creativity flows.   
What are the things that make you feel pampered?  What rituals spark the creative muse for you? 

Author and friend, Julius Cicero, has posted the prologue to his current WIP.  Well worth the time to read; I heartily recommend a stop at his blog.
Deniz B.'s post at The Girdle of Melian, Re-Reading Your Old Work, reminds us to go back and see how we've changed over the course of time in our writing style.  Granted, I have no old novels or short stories to return to, but I have written countless essays on study materials, historical personalities researched, and journal entries.  Looking back over them is something I do....usually when I decide that the dust simply 'must go' from the countless bookshelves in my office/library room.  It's great to see myself through eyes that are now more mature......
~ Nadja

15 May 2011

Sweet Sunday.......

Check In With A Click to visit A Round Of Words In 80 Days for today's post and linky list. 

Progress On The Home Front.....

Claiming The Prize (Goodness it feels terrific having a title to type in here.....) is moving rapidly toward its conclusion.  I will probably meet my weekly word goal today, leaving me a few days to get ahead before Wednesday! 
This weekend I am writing a difficult scene.  Completely from my hero's point of view, this fight scene has drama.....and getting the logistics right while including only his perspective is a linguistic challenge!  I'm halfway finished, and today's work should conclude the scene nicely.  With around sixty pages to wrap up my novel, I'm feeling the crunch.  I get the sense that the first half of my novel plays out more slowly than the second, and am anxious to have my critique partner assess this situation, although I like that the story builds in intensity as it unfolds. 

A Novella In The Wings......

 Last week inspiration came upon me for a new novella.  A few hours with a fellow writer to craft a concise storyline enabled me to plot seven out of the ten chapters completely over this week, and I'm more than excited to get writing!  (Whoa there Noddy......first things first.....) I did tackle the opening, not being able to resist, but have decided that I will only allow myself the pleasure of sneaking in work on the novella once my weekly word count goals have been reached on my novel.  Let's just say that the dark, dangerous, brooding Baron I've conjured for this novella is currently consuming my free moments........mmmmm, de-lish! 

Inspiration........Sacré bleu!

Research subject number one displays ultra sexy body language....and those hands...."I can believable...", while subject number two has a physique delightful to behold.....

These two will still be here later....come back and enjoy them as often as you'd like. 
Have a successful week! ~ Nadja

13 May 2011

What's In A Name?

Drum Roll, Please...........

Claiming The Prize, by Nadja Notariani

As many of you already know, my novel has remained woefully nameless for months.  The poor little thing sat on the sidebar under the pitiful banner of 'Still Un-Titled', bearing its shame as regally as could be expected, waiting patiently for me to splash a fantastic tag above its growing word count status. 
Under normal circumstances I jump at the opportunity to bequeath a name, but the 'perfect' name for my novel eluded me.  One of my great friends, my son, and my husband all contributed great ideas, but finding the words that captured the essence of the novel proved to be a greater challenge than writing it!

Okay, Okay....I've prattled on long enough.  The novel's title has been settled.  Claiming The Prize should be completed by June 23.  Allowing myself eight weeks to type it and an additional two for my beta readers/editor to scour it for typing errors/grammar foibles/awkward or unnecessary words...etc, should put edits occurring around the end of August.  If all goes well, I will be ready for publishing in September!  Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself....maybe not.  For today excitement wins out and I give in, indulging big dreams.  ~ Nadja

11 May 2011

Checking-In ~ 11 May, 2011 for ROW80

Wednesdays, Wednesdays.....Oh I Love Wednesdays!  A Round Of Words in 80 Days

Today is hump day!  We're over the mid point of the week.  It is also goal day for me.  I have good news.....and not so good news to relay.  The good news is that I've exceeded my weekly word count goal!  The novel is progressing better than I could have dreamed.  The bad news is that I have procrastinated in the unhappy task of typing .....total words typed.....Zip, Zilch, Zero, ________ (add your word here).  This is a problem.  I'm certain (I have it on good authority) that I will be cursing myself when my fingers are cramping and my wrists seize up in agony after barely scratching the surface of the tens of thousands of words stretching before me, but for the life of me, I cannot bring myself to feel the least bit perturbed about it today.  All I can think about is sitting down to write the torrent of words that swirl around my mind, compelling me to put them to paper.  You may all laugh at me when I dare to complain later......I'll take it like a champ (I think...)

Today was to be Title Day.....but alas, you'll have to wait until Sunday for me to reveal the novel's name.  Three names remain in the running, and I must have the input of my closest 'advisors' before I make my final selection.  (Let's hope they don't all choose a different fav....that would throw me into yet another conundrum!)  I think two options will be the leaders, the third just keeps coming back to me, like a bad penny. 

Nearing the end of my first novel, the question of publishing is in the fore of my thoughts.  To submit my work to a traditional publisher or strike out on my own and self-publish, is a decision that must be made.  Hours of reading around various writer's blogs has enlightened me to the pros and cons of each, but it is the experience of one writer in particular that is nudging me toward self-publishing.  Being a bit of a control freak (I get it honestly....thanks, Dada), I like the idea of having complete authority over my novel.  I like knowing that the edits, cover, trailer, publish date, and promotion will be in my hands.  Sure, I'm a novice, but how else will I learn but by doing?  Deciding to take a serious look inward to discern my motives for writing this book, I discovered that in the end I write because I believe my stories are worth telling, worth reading.  It gives me pleasure, a sense of satisfaction, to see the story unfold before me, and I guess I'd like to say, "I did it!  Story concepts - check.  Novel written - check.  Book edited (I will have my grammar nazi team/beta readers in on this part) - check.  Cover designed - check.  Finished product to be promoted - check!".

Thanks to Gabrielle Bisset and Pavarti for great reads on the subject.  Julius, your witty, logical thoughts are always appreciated.  Weigh in on the issue.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  ~ Nadja

08 May 2011

Another Check-In Comes 'A Round' ~ 08 May, 2011

Progress On The Novel & Abounding Inspiration Make For A Happy Nadja.......

The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best.

It's a beautiful Sunday, and the day to appreciate our mothers!  I'm not one for sappy words and flowery cards, but conveying one's thoughts precisely through the use of language is near and dear to me. My daughters have learned this lesson well, conveying their feelings without silly or cliched sentiment, gifting me with words that have real meaning in our shared experiences.  My oldest, Danielle, wrote simple yet powerful sentences, "Thank you.  You know exactly who you are.  You played the role of super glue when I was falling apart.  Through all the nightmares and anxiety scares, you played the role of super glue when I was falling apart."  She took the words from Gym Class Heroes after the lyrics recalled a tumultuous time in her life, reminding me as well how quiet words and unconditional support healed a broken heart.  Maria, who arrived next in our brood of five, is currently stationed in Pensacola, Florida, as she serves our country in the U.S. Navy.  Being far away, we don't often get to see one another's faces, so we rely on words....written and spoken to connect us.  "You're a blessing, Mom.  'When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says.' Proverbs 31:26,"  are the words she sent, neither fancy nor wordy, yet powerful.  Maybe, however, it was their endings that tugged at my heartstrings the best, for each closed with, "Love you Mommy," the tag from yesteryear, when they were still little girls........

"A mother is not a person to lean on but person to make leaning unnecessary." 
(Dorothy Fisher)

My sons approach the matter of a day for mom in an entirely different, but equally satisfying manner.  The six and eight year old brought me breakfast in bed, making peanut butter and jelly toast with a side of vitamin water all on their own, and quietly watching cartoons until I rolled out of my bed at my leisure.  Zach, my fourteen year old hoisted me up in a great bear hug before 'showing' me how great his 'side-mount choke' technique is coming along....He also ran the vacuum....
It's a good day.

Now To Get To Goals And Such.......

Friday night, inspiration was upon me.  It was an exceptionally productive night for plotting and planning with a great friend and fellow writer.  Two new novella ideas poured from our whirling minds over the four hours we spent at the wooden table and chairs of our favorite (well.....by default) hangout. 
I was seriously behind in my weekly word count goal, but last night I wrote pages and pages of material that upon reviewing today.....doesn't need changed, At All!  (Smiles broadly).  Less than one-third of my word count is left to meet my Wednesday goal. 
The lack of a definate title for my current WIP is haunting me nightly.  I must make a decision, and this week is the end of my procrastinating on the matter.  I have five or six titles in the 'pool', and Wednesday is the deadline to make my selection.  I'm excited to have the cover designed, and as we all know, a title is Very Necessary .....Ha!  Wish me luck. 
Don't forget to visit and follow as you make your 'Rounds' this week.  Click here to visit 'A Round Of Words' blogpage, and then click the linky tool to open the list of participants. 
~ Nadja

04 May 2011

ROW80 Check-In ~ 04 May, 2011

Updates For Round Of Words, Life, And Writing...............

Click Here to visit the ROW80 blog page and see what fellow ROW participants are accomplishing! 

What a great week it has been!  The novel is coming along nicely.  I did hit a bump in the flow mid-week, causing me to wonder if meeting my word count goal would be possible, but after a day's pause for reflection all was well again.  Sometimes it is the silliest things that manage to take my focus on a detour.  The dog splashes all his water on the floor, the phone rings, the cacophony of what sounds like a herd of elephants trampling around my second floor (really it is two young boys 'playing') - these distract me unnecessarily.  Sure, I must deal with the water, but I don't have to allow it to affect me for 30 minutes following.  The phone can be ignored as can the 'rumpus time' above me.  Unfortunately, even a task oriented girl like myself can find life's unfolding 'hoopla' a bit more than I can overcome occasionally.  I suppose these will be treasured memories in ten years or so, but this week .....not so much. 

My novel's story centers around the mixed martial arts, and I got a front row view of a legend in the sport this week at  Scranton MMA, the gym where my son trains.  Royce Gracie revolutionized the sport in this country with his family's brand of jiu-jitsu, and he held a training session with the gym's students on Monday.  It was a very exciting moment for my son, and gave me the opportunity to watch masters of Gracie jiu-jitsu grapple a mere five feet in front of me.  Great material for my story - not to mention a fantastic memory for my son. 

Have a great week everyone....~ Nadja

01 May 2011

ROW80 Check-In 01 May, 2011

Updates, Updates, Updates........Checking In For The First Sunday In May.

Click Here to visit!

It's a beautiful day in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I had high hopes of sitting on my backyard patio set furiously writing away under a blue sky.  But clouds are moving in, seriously deflating those hopes.  Maybe I'll have to settle for writing under a grayish sky.....Sigh.  I am on track to meet my Wednesday goals provided I 'handle my business' today.  This afternoon I will travel to New Jersey with my oldest son to get in a great practice at a wrestling club, which will take three hours round trip.  The practice lasts for an hour and a half, so I'm hoping for a productive 90 minutes while I wait. 

Last night was great fun here!  UFC 129 promised to be a terrific card, and it didn't disappoint.  The GSP bout was a little slow moving, causing me to wonder if the hype over Shields had affected St-Pierre's confidence.  If the fighters meet again - and after last night that seems to be a certainty - George should run a clinic on the man.  Shields is a great fighter, but a loose and confident GSP is, for now, the standard at 170 pounds.  On top of all this, St-Pierre had some injury to his eye in the second round.  Reports say the fighter still cannot see.  Hope the injury is not serious.  Hats off to Rory MacDonald for his impressive victory over Diaz, and a huge shout out to Mark Hominick for his incredible heart.  Living in a house full of males, I am forever watching wrestling, boxing, and the favorite - MMA.  I admit to loving it almost as much as they do.....  My sister takes the award for best comment of the week.  My son had a post about getting ready for the GSP fight and her response had me laughing out loud.  What was it?......."Mmmmmm, Canadian Bacon....."  Ha! 

Items of interest I found in my weekly travels around ROW80 and a Friday blog hop....
A Taste Of Love's Master , the new novella by Gabrielle Bisset sounds great.  Also, Happy Anniversary to Julee over at  Fate And Faith

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Write, Write, Write..........~ Nadja