NaNoWriMo and The Stalking Muse: 2013 365 Challenge #277

To NaNo or not NaNo?

To NaNo or not NaNo?

Earlier in the week I wrote about the importance of writing even when your Muse is missing in action. Well, my darling muse seems to have come back from her spa break invigorated and enthused and is now stalking me, mostly in my dreams.

Twice this week I’ve woken out of an exhausting dream with a full-length story in my head. That has only happened once in my life before and resulted in me writing Dragon Wraiths. I’m grateful for the input but, really Muse, I don’t have the time to start two brand new novels just now. I think maybe my Muse knows NaNoWriMo, which I hadn’t intended to do this year, is just around the corner.

The first dream story was in the chick lit strain and all a bit predictable, to do with cheating fiances and manipulative best friends. I think there was even a gay friend: how many chick lit tropes can you get in one plot? Easy NaNo fodder, but likely to result in a lot of hard work to make it original.

Last night’s story, possibly as a result of being woken by my pumpkin son every hour, was a spectacular science fiction drama with explosions, space ships and more action than I could understand or describe this morning. I don’t have any intention of writing a science fiction novel – I struggled enough with the fantasy world building for Dragon Wraiths – but at 7am, if I could have done a ‘print screen’ on my mind, it would have been easy. Maybe reading Rinelle Grey’s blog, over on Coffee Time Romance, about writing scifi romance has rubbed off.

So, who is up for some NaNo this year? I have no idea how I will fit it in – I’m barely keeping up with the daily blog as it is. Not to mention how hard it would be to write two stories simultaneously. But I will have an extra few hours’ childcare, as our extra day comes into play at half term (the kids do more childcare in the winter to stop us all getting cabin fever) so it might just vaguely be possible. If only to keep my stalking muse quiet!


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog: 


“Claire! What are you doing here?”

“Hi, Mum. Lovely to see you, too.” Claire dropped her bag at her feet and ignored the look of barely veiled horror on her mum’s face.

“And who is this?”

Her mother’s tone, a mixture of suspicion and approval, made Claire wince.

“This is Conor, he’s my new boss. He gave me a lift home from the airport.” She didn’t want to explain; to talk about Kim or her own dire finances or anything. She wanted to crawl into her own bed and sleep.

Raising weary eyes to her mother’s face, she released a sigh. “Can I stay? I know I haven’t given you notice. If you’ve got people visiting, I’ll sleep under the stairs. Or in the bath. I don’t really care. I can’t afford a hotel.”

Her mother looked over her head, presumably at Conor, and flushed. “Of course you can stay. You are always welcome. And does your friend want to stay too?”

Claire snorted at the blatant matchmaking, then flushed, worried that Conor would take it seriously.

“It’s grand of you to offer, Mrs Carleton, but I must be getting back. It’s a long journey I’ve got ahead of me.” He seemed to take it as his signal to leave. Walking forward, he turned to face Claire. “I’ll call you tomorrow, to discuss when you’ll be free to start work.”

Holding his hand out towards her mother, he said, “It was nice meeting you, Mrs Carleton. Bye Claire.” Nodding at them both, he turned and walked back down the path towards his car.

Claire felt as if a protective force had been taken away from her. Once he was in his car and driving down the street, her mother’s forced grin dropped from her face.

“What on Earth is going on? I don’t hear from you for weeks. Some men come and take away that rusty heap you left outside and now you’ve turned up out of the blue looking like death.”

“Can I come in, Mum? It’s a long story.”

Her mother stepped back to let Claire into the hallway, before closing the door behind her with a bang.  “And why did your boss pick you up from the airport? Are you sleeping with him? What happened to Michael?”

“Enough, already!” Claire’s voice came out louder than she intended and she heard her mother suck air in between her teeth.

“Sorry. I’m tired. I’ve been travelling for weeks, I haven’t slept for two days and I need a shower and some clean clothes. I’m sorry for not calling you first but I had– ” she hesitated, “–other things to deal with. I’ll explain it all tomorrow, okay?”

Without waiting for an answer, Claire picked up her rucksack and forced one foot in front of the other, along the hall and up the stairs. She reached her old room and paused in the doorway as she saw the suitcase by the bed, the perfume and make-up on the dressing table.

Claire walked numbly down the corridor to the spare room. With an in-held breath she pushed the door open, but the tiny room showed no evidence of being in use. Claire dropped her rucksack by the door, kicked off her shoes and crawled under the covers.


Author Interview: Rinelle Grey

Rinelle Grey

Rinelle Grey

Today I’m happy to be interviewing Rinelle Grey, author of Reckless Rescue, A Barren Planet Romance.

Tell us about your routine as a writer (and more importantly how do you fit it all in with home-schooling your daughter and selling stock photography?)

Hmm, routine. That sounds nice.

I’d love to have a routine, but life here at home is so chaotic with all three of us (me, hubby and daughter) home all the time, that most routines go out the window. About the only routine we have is my daughter’s weekly outside the home activities. However, my husband and I take turns taking her to these, and getting work done. Homeschooling fits in around it all, everything we’re doing is a learning activity really. My daughter is getting a great introduction to the publishing world!

My photography has been taking a bit of a back seat to my novel right now, but luckily it goes on earning money for me even when I’m not doing it. (Just like my novels will). It’s cyclic, and some months I will get a lot done on one thing, some months focus on another. It all seems to work out in the end most of the time.

Reckless Rescue is your first published novel: Is it the first novel you have ever written? If not, why did you publish this one first?

No, Reckless Rescue is the third or fourth I’ve started, and the second I’ve finished. I started writing in November 2006 during NaNoWriMo, and finished that novel in January the following year. I LOVE that story, but it’s a lot more complex than Reckless Rescue, and I didn’t really feel it was a good bet for a first novel. I do still plan to go back and fix it (first novels need a lot of fixing!), when I have a little more experience under my belt to do it justice.

Reckless Rescue, follows the story of Marlee and Tyris. Can you tell us more about them, and their story (without giving too much away!)

Marlee and Tyris are from two very different worlds, in fact, the working title for this novel was Worlds Apart, but it had already been  used a few too many times by other people. Marlee’s world is simple, slow and small, while Tyris’s is a slightly exaggerated version of a city today, with people rushing around busily, and technology making every chore easier. It’s hard to imagine that they would have anything in common.

Their worlds are also opposite in that Tyris’s world is overpopulated, and many people (himself included), have been forbidden to have children, while on Marlee’s world, they are in danger of dying out due to a pollutant in the atmosphere, and couples who are unable to conceive are “encouraged” to try again with a new partner.

When Tyris crashes his spaceship on Marlee’s world, they have to work together, and pretend to live together, while they try to repair his ship and escape from the planet. But as they battle the harsh winter on the planet together, keeping their distance becomes even more challenging than the snow, the council and the risks of a real relationship…


Rinelle's first novel

Rinelle’s first novel

Reckless Rescue is set in the future: Do you think this is where our civilisation is heading? As a reader and writer of Sci Fi/Fantasy does the future worry you?

I did deliberately use many of the current issues in our world (overpopulation, fuel shortages etc) to base issues in Reckless Rescue off. However, I choose not to set the story in our world (Urslat and Zerris, the planets in the novel, are fantasy planets, not Earth in any way), so that I could explore these issues without implying that the events in the novels were what I thought would happen in our world.

As a reader and writer of Sci-fi Fantasy, and someone who is very interested in science and technology in general, I do see problems happening in the world. However, I also see the potential in science and humanity to rise to the challenge, and find better solutions in the future. I’m an optimist at heart, and I do feel that many of the problems we face can and will be solved, and much will be learned from doing so.

Your novel focuses heavily on the ability to have children: is this something you feel passionate about or did the theme develop with the novel?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to have kids. In fact, I still have my primary school report card, where my “What I want to be when I grow up” is filled in with “mother”. So pregnancy and babies seem to make their way into every novel I write in one form or another!

The theme of infertility though, wasn’t one I have any personal experience with. It came up as the novel developed, and I went with it.

Did you always intend Reckless Rescue to be a series? Is that your preferred type of novel?

Initially Reckless Rescue was going to be a stand-alone novel, but as I wrote it, it began to expand into something that was just too large for one novel, so I ended up splitting it into two. It worked out well, with one novel being set on each planet. I have ideas for some follow up novels, following the story of some of the other characters in both Reckless Rescue and Reckless Rebellion, but we’ll see how they fit in with all the other stories I want to write!

You clearly love Sci Fi/ Fantasy romance: what other genres do you like to read (or write)?

I read pretty much everything romance! Fantasy is my favourite, and I’m just discovering Sci-fi. (I didn’t know sci-fi romance existed until I found I was writing it!) I like romance for its heavy focus on characters and character interaction, and the guaranteed HEA (Happy Ever After). I’m not a fan of sudden surprise horrible endings (like City of Angels, that movie will live in my mine as a trauma forever). I can handle sad endings that fit in with the story (like Love Story), but HEA’s are my favourite by far.

I haven’t read much paranormal romance, it just doesn’t appeal to me, and I’m not into suspense/thrillers at all!

You had an unusual upbringing, including living in a variety of homes (shacks and tents). How much did this influence Reckless Rescue and Marlee’s planet Zerris?

I think probably it did. I loved my childhood, and I never felt the lack of money or technology, I was too busy climbing trees and fishing in the river to notice! And I loved the freedom of not having to go to school (I had a lot of bad experiences with bullying before we started homeschooling), and to do all the things we would have missed if we hadn’t been home.

I think though, that Zerris was influenced as much by my experiences as an adult as those I had as a child. Even though I spent a few years enjoying city life, and all it has to offer, I was eventually drawn back to the country (where we live now), and to the simpler life of veggie gardens and backyard chickens. I’ve read a lot about homesteading and simple living, and many of the ideals appeal to me. However, I’m also not ready to give up my computers, internet and dishwasher!

I’m enjoying writing through the differences in the two lifestyles, and hoping I can find a balance between the two, both in my real life, and in the novels.

The Sequel

The Sequel

You’re busy writing the sequel to Reckless Rescue, Reckless Rebellion. I can’t wait! How much of the story for book two did you know when writing the first one? Has it been difficult, knowing the first novel is already published?

I had about 70% of Reckless Rebellion written when I published Reckless Rescue. Initially I had planned for them to be one novel, but I had to split them due to length, and I think they do work better as two separate stories. I didn’t have a complete ending though (I write sequentially), so trying to find an ending that works without changing anything that was written in the first book has it’s challenging methods.

If I was the patient type, I would have loved to have both books written and edited before publishing, but I’m just not. I’m more the ‘get out there and do it, and make it work later’ type!

Finally, you recently took part in the A to Z blogging challenge. Did you feel it was a worthwhile experience? Did it teach you anything about yourself as a writer?

The A to Z Blogging Challenge has been really great for me. I’ve struggled on and off with keeping up with my blog, even though I love to write it. With so many other things going on in my life, blogging tended to take a back seat, and there were many weeks when my blog didn’t get updated at all! The challenge helped me see that a lot of my problems with blogging were in planning, so I’m working on having a monthly blogging schedule (complete with what posts I’ll be writing on each day) worked out in advance. So far it’s working.

However, writing has suffered a little as a result. With a schedule for blogging, it tends to seem more urgent (have to have this post out by Wednesday…) than writing, so I tend to blog first, write second, and this often leads to me not getting to writing! That’s not a good thing, and I’m working on finding more of a balance between the two.


Webpage: – here you’ll find my blog with info about self publishing and writing, and my books.

Amazon Author Page: – with links to buy my books if you’re interested



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