Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NaNoWri....NOT! With Guest Blogger Qwillia Rain

Author Qwillia Rain joins us to discuss her National Novel Writing Month results!

Here's what she had to say...

NaNoWriMo + Kids + Writing = 0 Words Written

The month of November can be an interesting time for many Americans (and other authors around the world) what with the start of holiday event planning, family visits, and the last minute shopping frenzy leading into Christmas it's no wonder that very little writing can get done. But November has been designated as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) by a group of overly ambitious would be authors for a good number of years. In the last five years or so, they've included younger writers. That's where the title of this blog comes in. In the last three years, I've encouraged students at the K-8 elementary school where I used to teach, to meet the writing challenge of completing a book in thirty days.

Where most NaNo-ers have to complete 50,000 words to succeed in their challenge, the Young Writers Program (YWP) only requires the students complete approximately one thousand words per grade level -- meaning a 5th grader would only have to write 5,000 words; a Kindergartener would have to complete 500 to 1,000 words. From an adult's perspective, the word count would seem very easy, but when you keep in mind the writing abilities of most elementary students, the challenge can be just that -- a challenge.

This past November has been very trying, at least in the vein of my attempts to meet the writing challenge of NaNoWriMo, not that my students are at fault. I have only myself to blame for even thinking of trying to get 50,000 words written at the same time I coaxed and coached ten elementary students to meet their own goals. I've learned a few lessons about staying organized, focused, and sticking to a schedule simply by watching my kids dither about when it was time for them to put in the work.

That's when I realized I was just as guilty of not maintaining a schedule as the students. I had allowed myself to be distracted by any and every little thing possible as a means of not writing. I let my mind and my focus wander and avoided narrowing in on what was necessary to get the words on the page.

If a person is going to pursue a career as an author those kinds of distractions have to be overcome. Getting the story on the page should be the primary concern and those little things that pull you off task need to be identified and confronted. Each attempt, whether successful or not, will move you one page closer to your goal.

Keep that in mind when you approach your keyboard tomorrow and the next day, and the next. Every day is a new challenge and needs to be met head on every time in order to get to the level you're looking to attain.

A Note from the Book Boost: I totally agree. To be successful as an author you must learn to treat it as a career and not a hobby. I'm sorry you didn't meet your goals this past month but I'm thankful to teachers like yourself who encourage children to write. So important! Please tell us more about your book.


What's a Dom to do when the submissive he wants runs from the feelings between them? From the moment he met Lyssa Lawrence, Mike knew what he felt was love -- not lust. Convincing her has been an uphill battle even after the two steamy hours they'd shared at the Diablo Blanco Club four years earlier.

Lyssa Lawrence wished the man who claimed to love her wasn't so damned appealing. Twelve years of denying the pull of her submissive nature almost went up in smoke four years ago, but she'd gathered the nerve to tell him 'no' when he asked for more. She'd have stayed away for good if her biological clock hadn't hiccupped, threatening her dreams of motherhood.

In the same way she'd strategized her success in fashion design, Lyssa worked out a plan to get the baby she wanted. The Diablo Blanco Club's annual Midnight Masquerade would provide a number of potential donors to choose from. What she hadn't bargained on was Mike's interference through an arcane Club rule.

When Mike invoked Rite of First Claim, Lyssa finally became his. Now, he had one month to prove that the role of his submissive was one she was born to play.


The majority of the guests were dressed in evening gowns or tuxedos. The only ones in costume, like her, were submissives—both those owned and those looking for owners. Scanning the faces, she identified several of her potential donors, but she was careful not to stare at them in a way that might arouse unease or make them leery of her approach. She ignored the tiny pain that twisted her heart when Mike wasn’t among the guests. Forget the fantasy and face reality, Lyssa.

“Smile. We aren’t that scary,” David whispered, his warm breath stirring the hair of her auburn wig over her ear.

A tingle slid up Lyssa’s spine.

“You’ve been here often enough to know we don’t bite.” A wicked grin lifted his lips. “Well, not unless you ask us to.”

Lyssa smiled and shook her head at his jest. “And just how do you know how many times I’ve been here before?”

David reached up and rubbed a curl from her wig between his fingers. “You might be in costume, but I’ve seen you visit a few times with Vance and Ben.”

She met his gaze, trying to read his intent. His capricious eyes gave nothing away. Another tremor worked through her at the thought that this man would never allow another person to guess what he was thinking. Good information to have if she hoped for events to proceed as planned. Especially if she chose him this evening.

“Invitation.” A security guard dressed in a black tuxedo and white shirt stared down at her.

David nodded at the man, who then consulted the clipboard in his broad hands. Both men waited for Lyssa to fish the card from the pocket of her costume. She handed the heavy velum over and watched the doorman check her name off a list.


When Lyssa held up her left hand, he slipped a white plastic bangle over her wrist. There were other colored bracelets, similar to the one she’d been given, in little boxes on the table beside the bouncer.

Once she walked through the double doors leading from the foyer to the lounge area of the Club, she searched the assembled guests for the other men on her list and ignored the urge to scan the crowd for the one man she already knew was not going to be there. She spotted a few of the members she’d designed and created gear and costumes for, and nodded when they waved at her. At the bar, her neighbors Ben Murphy and Vance Justiss were chatting with each other and a few Club members. Vance stood behind the long expanse of teak nestled between the curving staircases leading to the second floor.

His snug black cotton T-shirt emphasized his muscular build and highlighted his copper skin and silver-threaded black hair. In the four years since he’d been back in San Diablo and retired from the Marine Corps, he’d allowed his hair to grow. Tonight the long, thick waves were pulled back into a ponytail that brushed the area between his shoulder blades.

Ben looked sophisticated and sexy in a tailored tux that fit his athletic frame. His dark blond hair, which he kept neat and short, brushed the collar of his white linen shirt.

She sneaked a look at her companion. Four years ago David, with his goatee and long, tied-back black hair, had seemed yummy when dressed in jeans and a shirt. Now that he was dressed in a well-fitted tux, Lyssa wasn’t surprised to see several women moving toward them. The colors of the women’s wristbands varied, but not a single white one was among the group.

Retreat definitely seemed the wiser choice at this point in the evening. There would be plenty of time to determine if David would fit her needs. Lyssa smiled up at him and conceded softly, “I’ll leave you to your admirers.” She eased her hand free of his arm and headed for the bar.

If he protested, she didn’t hear or see it. She smiled at the surprised looks on Vance’s and Ben’s faces as she moved toward them.

“Lys!” Ben rose from the stool he’d occupied at the bar to envelop her in a warm hug. “Darlin’, what are you doing here?”

Vance leaned over the teak counter and kissed her cheek as she took the seat Ben had vacated. “Decided to finally check out a Select-a-Sub Night?” Vance teased with a grin.

“I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about,” Lyssa hedged. There was no way she was going to give away her true purpose behind accepting Mike’s annual invitation.

Ben picked up her wrist and ran his finger over the white band. “More than just see?”

Lyssa ignored the glint of concern in his gaze and asked a question of her own. “What’s the significance of the colors?”

Ben looked at her, his gray eyes measuring as if she were one of his patients before he answered. “Red means a sub has recently left a master and is actively searching for another. Black indicates a sub who is mourning the death of a master, usually within the last three years, and is just returning to the search. And yellow is a sub currently being tested but who is still unsure of the master she is interested in.”

“And white?” Lyssa fiddled with the bangle.

“White means you’re a virgin, baby.” Vance grinned as he set a highball glass filled with ginger ale in front of her and a rocks glass of Scotch in front of Ben.

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Qwillia Rain said...

Thank you, Kerri,

I love working with the kids and when I quit my job in September to write full time, I was more upset about not being around them than the loss of the income. LOL. I was pleased that my Kindergartener and my first grader made their goals (the kindergartener wrote 744 words and the 1st grader 1006) and they were very pleased to be done.
They just haven't learned yet that the hard part is just about to begin -- Editing. Mwahahahaha.

Sorry. You take care and have a great day!

Jianne Carlo said...

Hey Qwill1a,

That's a 25% percent return! I think that's fantastic.

Interesting that the younger ones were those who met their goal.

Congratulations! What you did for two budding writers is awesome and so generous.

Next year,

Jianne Carlo

Qwillia Rain said...

Thank you Jianne,
I love that the kids are still excited about the project even after two and a half months of working on it -- rare for most kids.
Have a great day!

Tara Lain said...

Amazing dedication, Qwillia. Interesting, too, what we learn from these big experiences. The little kids weren't so aware that the task was hard, so they just did it. Thank you for nurturing young writers. Now back to the book! : )

Unknown said...

Good Interesting and amazing facts...