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Hello reader,

 Can you believe that we're more than halfway through 2017? Personally, I'm still stuck in 1997.

A quick update to let you know how the year is progressing for me (this year, not 1997). The first part of the year didn't see much writing getting done. It turns out I had an itty bitty health issue that was getting irritated by being ignored, so it tried to kill me one day while I was taking the garbage out. Luckily, a simple pill has fixed me. Hurrah! (Well, fixed my body. My mind is a whole different story.)

I did manage to develop an essay about what writing grit lit means for me, and the lovely Charli Mills (whom I got to meet in person last month -- yay!) published it at her fabulous Carrot Ranch. Take a gander and let me know what you think.

It's July, so that means I am now writing like crazy. (For some reason, July has historically been a month of writing frenzy for me.) I started out by joining Camp NaNoWriMo (a more relaxed version of the write-a-novel-in-a-month circus that happens every November). I set a goal of writing for 65 hours in July, which I should hit.

I also signed up for a 10-week Speculative Fiction (science fiction/ fantasy/ horror) course that started last week. The instructor has been really motivating and I am (yet again) working on a novel. (Okay, I might have had an anxiety attack writing out that sentence.) I've actually written this novel twice in the last five years, but both times it came out feeling flat and one-dimensional, so I am really excited to have some great insights to make this puppy sing. The story focuses on two sisters surviving in the wake of a radical government program meant to eradicate poverty that ultimately ends up dominating women, with the sisters falling on opposing sides. (If this sounds like an intriguing story and you'd be interested in beta reading a rough draft, drop me a line and I'll add you the list.)

Finally, I joined a 30in31 group: Write 30 complete short stories in one month (31 days). This challenge is really...um, challenging me. I'm behind, but hoping I can catch up to have at least a respectable number of stories by the end of the month. I've also been jumping back to the 99-word challenges at the Carrot Ranch whenever possible. I publish the resulting stories on my blog (usually late Tuesday nights because I always wait until the last minute). One story provoked quite a strong reaction, which resulted in an essay about the power of words (also published on Carrot Ranch).

So now I should get back to writing. I'm actually submitting a horror story to a writing competition today. The deadline's in just a few hours and I still need to finesse the heck out of it (at least I am consistent!).

I'll touch base with you again in a few months to let you know that I survived July's month of writing. Until then... 

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