It’s stupid o’clock on Monday morning and I’ve made the executive decision not to wake Grant for our usual 5am walk. While we walk in the rain (and enjoy doing so), it’s been coming down all night and the radar is completely green.
It’s November so that means NaNoWriMo.
Nano wtf? National Novel Writing Month.
Essentially the challenge is to, along with a few hundred thousand other people, get 50,000 words out of your head and onto a page, or a laptop during the month of November. It’s a bit like a marathon for writers and I join in most years.
Most years I use it as an opportunity to take a new idea for a test flight – some of which end up as novels, others go nowhere. (As an aside, is there anything sadder than an idea that’s discarded? Ever the Pollyanna, I choose to believe they simply need a different time.)
To be honest, November’s not a great month to be embarking on something like this, but then when is the perfect time? Life is always going to get in the way so the idea of Nanowrimo is to accept that and work around it or with it. There’s always something going on that needs to be juggled with, this year it just happens that I’m coordinating some (interstate) office relocations in the day job and will probably be working on my usual days off. Knowing I don’t have the safety blanket of entire days to catch up on flagging word counts means I need to be more consistent. As such I’m back to writing when I can – grabbing 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there, before and after work, at lunchtime, writing in the evening instead of watching telly. It all adds up.
This year’s project will be the first book in a new cosy crime series set in the fictional village of Chipwell. (Grant named the village, in case you’re wondering…)
Chipwell, situated in Yorkshire about 20 miles northeast of York, is modelled on the village of Westow where we spent some time a couple of years ago; and the village pub, The Chipwell Arms, is based on The Blacksmith’s Arms, also in Westow. If you want to know more about the area, check out this post.
Like most of my books there’s food involved, although this time around I’ll be exploring some of the bakes from Yorkshire.
The leading lady in this novel is Philomena Barker, or Philly, as she’s known. In her late fifties and divorced, Philly lives with her spaniel Balthazar (Bally) in a stone cottage in Chipwell. She’s an antique dealer and has a stall in Chipwell Barn Antiques – along with a cast of other characters I’m getting to know as I write.
I’m currently around 12,500 words in so at this point have absolutely no idea how it’s all going to end – or, indeed, who ends up dead (or if anyone will end up dead) – but suspect it will all begin to come together at some point.
Little Cafe By The Lake
In other news, The Little Café By The Lake was officially released last week. I’m embarrassed to say that in the busyness of moving house for Sarah last week and the rush of back to work this week I had forgotten about the launch.
Given that the novel is set in Queenstown, I’d intended to release it while we were there on holidays, but then borders closed and yadda yadda yadda.
Anyways, Beach Road, as I refer to it, is out in the world and despite my forgetting to celebrate it, I am very proud of it and love this set of characters so very much – so much that I’m not finished with some of them quite yet.
If you’re interested, you can purchase from Amazon here or all other platforms here.
While I’ll be minimising bogging and blog reading time during November (in order to maximise writing time, of course), I did manage to put a few up over the past week:
A recipe for a baked pear salad
In the kitchen
I spent a lovely few hours in the kitchen yesterday baking my first ever batch of cinnamon rolls. The recipe came via my friend Donna from a place that she says (in capital letters) is the best bakery in the entire world.
I don’t know about that, but I do know these were flipping good. Soft and pillowy with cream cheese frosting, the photo does not do them justice.
Plus, it did me the world of good to be playing with dough. It truly does calm my mind.
For dinner on Saturday we travelled virtually to France via a sausage and lentil casserole and Poires Belle Helene – which is pretty much just poached pears and chocolate sauce. Keep an eye out on BKD over the next week for this recipe. Spoiler alert, it works really well with tinned pears if you can’t be faffed coring and poaching them.
I’m amazed anyone can write 50k words in November. It’s a crazy month to do it in. But go you!! You’re well on the way there already!
I love the name of Soul Cakes.
I too am minimising blogging because I signed up to a series of writing comps so I need to focus any spare time on that.
Hi Jo thanks for explaining what NaNoWriMo is as I would not have had a clue. It is a great challenge though to help you write and I’m impressed you can knock out some words in 10 or 30 minutes. I’m loving your idea of the Chipwell Cosy Mystery which sounds right up my alley. The baking looks delicious as well. You certainly do fit a lot into a week! Enjoy your week and hopefully your day job won’t bring too much stress. #lifethisweek
Hey – there are fighing words in this post! Old Town Bakery in Ladysmith (Vancouver Island) is seriously the best bakery on the planet. So glad you liked the cinnamon rolls (they look divine by the way). I am incredibly impressed that you made them (way too hard for mere mortals). Anyway, come visit and I will take you there to settle the question! 😀
Hi Jo – congrats again on the book launch and I love that you’re trying your hand at a slightly different genre this time around. Well done on all the words you’ve written so far – quite an achievement in amongst all your other commitments. And those cinnamon rolls look amazing (you can never have too much icing!)
Hi Jo – I’ve known of heaps of bloggers (some authors, some not) over the years that have participated in NaNoWriMo and I take my hat off to them, and you! Congratulations again on your latest launched book. You are so clever! I’m loving the sound of your new series based in Chipwell! How do you come up with all these ideas all the time. It’s amazing! Your food photos, as usual, have me salivating. I would love to be a dinner guest at your house! Yum, Yum, Yum!! Have a great week!
In awe of the amount of words you’re pumping out, these days I struggle to write a sentence. Those cinnamon buns look the real deal and have me drooling. Adding your new book to my Christmas list – congrats on the launch. Love the sound of the new book too! Chipwell sounds like a place I’d love to live.
You’re on fire Jo, just keep writing and if anyone can get there I know it’s you!! Loving the intro to your new story and those cinnamon rolls look divine 🙂
Perhaps I should be in that writing month group. I have had 95% of a ms written for a decade and I’ve abandoned it. I need your sort of dedication. And congratulations on your new book – you’re a writing machine!
Way to go…on so many ventures. Congratulations on your new book…and I hope you get back to NZ….but first, comes Sydney I imagine. That’s a big month you’ve just shared and I suspect till end of ‘year’ this will be your pattern. Go well….
It’s always good to see your blog in the link up for Life This Week! Thank you so much for being a part of this community. Next week I am announcing my plans for 2022 on Denyse Whelan Blogs. See you then too, I hope. Denyse.
Go you on NaNoWriMo! I’m so impressed with your writing. I’ve been struggling with NaNo this month and only have about 6000 words at the moment and that too, for different projects. Still, trying to tell myself it’s better than none. Love the food pics and the cover of your latest book! Hope writing keeps going well for you.
Mmmmm. Mouth’s watering over here. The ingredients for the soul cookies is sure to make for a tasty treat. And something different.
Congrats on the launch of your latest book. And for getting 12k words down on the new project. I love that you have no idea where the story line is headed!!
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