Let the Writing Begin

This year’s Jack-o-Lanterns.

Wow – November already!

And along with November come NanoWrimo, the annual challenge to authors far and wide to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

For years I avoided NanoWrimo because I felt (rightly) the challenge didn’t fit my personal creative style.

Last year, that changed. I had a short novel in the works, and instinct told me NanoWrimo would be just the ticket to run that baby to the finish line.

The bet paid off. My 2015 Nano Novel, The Hunting Grounds, is now finished and in the querying stage, with at least one promising lead for a potential publisher.

So here I am again, ready to punish myself with another 50k challenge, and hoping it pays off.

In 2015, I cheated just a little. I was already about halfway through The Hunting Grounds, so rather than push myself through the full 50,000 words, I only had to complete about 30k in order to meet my personal goal and finish the novel. Still. Just that much nearly did me in. I was exhausted after 25k, and very happy to be done with my goal.

This year is a little different. My new work-in-progress, Evensong, has only a couple very rough chapters to its name. I still think 25k is all I’ll be able to do on this one, but if I could push it past that, even make the 50k goal and finish the first draft, I would be tickled pink.

So, we’ll see. Last week, I set up my Nano page and put together the blurb for the novel. It used to be, when I started this business of writing, that I’d complete the entire novel and then agonize over how to summarize it in 2-3 paragraphs. Now, I can write out the summary ahead of time, and instead I agonize over whether I’ll be able to deliver the novel promised in my blurb.

Just another example of how there’s no escaping anxiety in a writer’s life.

And now [drumroll] here’s the blurb for Evensong:

Evensong is a companion novel to The Hunting Grounds, part of The Path of Souls collection.

Katarina Sol conserves the craft of her grandmother, making fine dolls she sells at a toy and miniature shop in the quiet neighborhood of Brookside, Kansas City. When a puppeteer comes to town and sets up his business in a nearby theater, Katarina falls into an easy romance with Peter Detlef Kahler, a man who appears a fellow artist and kindred spirit. But as their relationship deepens, it also veers toward the dark side. Katarina begins to suspect an ominous power lurks beneath Detlef’s talent; that the magic of his puppetry is real.

Far from put off by this revelation, Katarina finds herself drawn deeper into a web of desire and mystery. Unable to resist the force of her own curiosity, she soon discovers Detlef’s sinister talent – and realizes it is also her own.

But unlike Detlef, Katarina’s training was never completed. This makes her dangerous in the eyes of supernatural beings that hold dominion over the Path of Souls. They have demanded Katarina’s destruction, and Detlef has given his oath to see it done.

Will Katarina perish according to the will of Detlef’s unearthly masters? Or will their nascent love succeed in breaking the grip of the supernatural realm and setting them both free?

Evensong is the second book of The Path of Souls collection.

Did I give you the chills? I hope so!

Those of you who were with me during last year’s Nano may remember that I do very little posting during NanoWrimo. All my precious writing time must go into this new baby. I hope you understand. But do stay tuned, as I will update you with my writing adventures – and perhaps, if I’m inspired, even a few excerpts! – in the weeks to come.

If you’re doing NanoWrimo this year, friend me! I’m easy to find; my handle is kgastreich.

If you’re doing NanoWrimo and are in the KCMO area, I’ll be attending some of the write-ins about town. Hopefully, we’ll see each other there.

Out with October, in with November. Let the new journey begin!

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