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nanowrimo | Author Olivia Boler

Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
October 31st, 2013

It’s Nano Time!

Yesterday was kind of a landmark in the world of me. I finished a draft of my latest novel that seemed good enough to show someone other than my imaginary friend who follows me around all day. (Her opinion is one I don’t really trust—sometimes she’s like a hype man, other times…) Anyway, this is, I’d say, the fourth draft of this book I’ve been tinkering with on and off—mostly off—for ten years. It’s about two sisters who run a tearoom and their ups and downs in the romance department. I sent it off to my friend whose judgment I actually do trust—always important to have one of those.

Now I’m kind of dangling here. What should I do next? Well, it just so happens that tomorrow is the start of Nanowrimo. Honestly, I thought I’d miss it this year, that I would still be caught in the happy cloud of Nora and Rainey, the protagonists of the tearoom novel. So, I’m a tad thrown off to be at loose ends. There are plenty of them hanging about just begging to be tied up—like that prequel to The Flower Bowl Spell I’ve talked about. I do believe it’s time to give that a dusting off, just in time for November’s 50,000-word goal. Who’s with me? My Nano handle is livyink. Hope to see you there!

Oh, and have a happy and safe Halloween—and by safe, I mean, don’t pig out on too much candy. It’ll cause a rash.


December 5th, 2012


I am recovering from strep throat, which is why I’m late in celebrating my NaNoWriMo win. Hurray! I actually finished on November 28, hitting 50,003 words in a strep fever. So you know those words are brilliant, right? Right.

Anyway, gotta crow, so here’s my winner’s badge:

NaNo Winner-180x180

What next?

Well, I know fans of The Flower Bowl Spell are hoping the next book will be ready soon. I can’t promise anything. I’m going to have to take a little vacation time and see which of my many projects rises to the top of being publish-worthy.

Stay tuned…

November 19th, 2012

Night of Coughing Dangerously

Every fall, I get my flu shot. Every November, I get a wicked cold with flu-like symptoms—achy, mild fever, coughing, sneezing, sore throat. It’s absolutely lovely. I recall Thanksgiving the year I was pregnant (and still not telling the public) with my son and had this damn sore throat and runny nose. At least it gave me an excuse to pass on drinking alcoholic beverages.

This year, the dreaded ailment hit me at the end of last week and stuck around through the weekend, even though I tried to head it off by popping Vitamin C, the chewable kind my kids now think is candy. My dear husband had to step up to the plate and take on all kid duties by his lonesome, while I crawled back into bed and tried to gather my strength for the NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously on Sunday. After my friends and family had generously donated to the cause, I was going. Plus, I’d raised enough funds to bring a guest, and I’d invited my writing group pal Jesse, who was counting on me being there. Double plus—I wanted to get my swag bag, dang nabbit!

Swag Bag. So cute, right?

swag bag

So I took NyQuil. The family went out to birthday parties and playgrounds and gymnastics classes. I heard, through the fog of my phlegm-encased brain, the skirmishes between my daughter and her dad over homework. Every now and then, I rallied, ate some toast, and typed out the two freelance articles that were due. A deadline waits for no cold.

Sunday afternoon, fortified with Tylenol, I drove to downtown San Francisco, to the Julia Morgan Ballroom. NOWD-ers were dressed to the nines—the theme was “noir.” My attempt to participate rather than hate was a gray knit cap with a crocheted flower. Jesse brought his jaunty leather satchel and dipped into the open bar for martinis.

Jesse and me getting ready to write
Jesse and me getting ready to write

I followed, ordering diet Cokes, my drink of choice when I’m down. The candy bar was like manna from heaven—Red Vines, caramels, coffee toffees, marshmallows—I tried to find things that would help my cough, but who am I kidding? It was all about the sugar. Dinner was a delicious smorg of kebabs, rice, potatoes, and salad, followed by cupcakes.

I tried my hand at the first Writing Sprint competition and wrote about 465 words in 15 minutes. Not bad, I thought. The winner of that round wrote 1,518 give or take. I decided Writing Sprints were not my thing.

Jesse and I’d found a table of nice folk from the Bay Area, and one from Denver (?) We had a window with a city view, but really, the glow of our laptops was the scene that demanded out attention. Some people wrote by hand. One had an old-timey manual typewriter. Not electric—manual. Classic black. Very Dorothy Parker. You could hear it clickity-clacking away over the sounds of music (sample: The Beatles: “Paperback Writer.” Ha!).

The Candy Bar

The Candy Bar

Every time someone hit the 50,000-word mark, he or she rang a bell. The ballroom would erupt in cheers.

I went home that night, calling it in an hour before the end of the festivities—the sugar, caffeine, and acetaminophen wearing off—with a little over 3,000 new words pegged to my novel’s word count.

This morning, I’m still a little light-headed. But I got the kids to school, and my husband got a little quiet time to himself, finally. That’s November for you—colds, 50,000 words, and, pretty soon, pumpkin pie.


The laptops glow in the Julia Morgan Ballroom






The laptops glow in the Julia Morgan Ballroom

Postscript: After writing the above this morning, I got a call from my son’s preschool. Guess who has a fever?

November strikes again!


November 1st, 2012

First Day of NaNoWriMo 2012

I wrote 1,692 words today on the sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell. I have a few thousand more words already written, but I wanted to start the month and the event fresh—no cheating. Not yet, anyway. I anticipate there will be days when I’m not up to the task of writing the daily target of  1,667 words. There will be days, like the last few, when I’ll even wonder why I’m still pursuing this whole writing thing. I don’t have an agent. I don’t win awards. My books have received decent reviews, and for that I’m grateful.


It’s that kind of annoying interior struggle of a lifetime (not to be all dramatic), this truthful wish that I can’t shake to be a “real writer.” The hard fact is I am a real writer, just not in the category (full-time fiction!) I’d like. Still, I have NaNo, and if you don’t know what that is, click here to find out more. Maybe you can have Nano too. If you do decide to give it a try, my become one of my writing buddies. I’m livyink.

July 18th, 2012

Writing Dangerously

Marissa Mayer’s new job has been front-page stuff the past few days. If you happen to live in a cave, Mayer is the new CEO and President of Yahoo!, having been poached from her Google post. I know pretty much nothing more about her except that she’s photogenic, she’s 37, she wears pretty ball gowns to gala openings at old-school venues like the San Francisco Ballet or Opera, and she must be (this is my assumption because I have yet to Google her, ha ha) pretty damn smart. She’s also 6 months pregnant with her first baby, due in October, and today’s NPR brouhaha was about whether she’ll be fit to run Yahoo! while on maternity leave and in the months after that. Why not ask about her fitness now? I was already getting mushy in the head with my first pregnancy as I noted in a San Francisco Chronicle Magazine article way back when. Anyway, I wish her all the best. And I wish she’d fund my next book project.

Marissa Mayer headshot

Speaking of, a couple of days ago, I decided to try to raise money to write for one night this coming November at the NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously. A nice person posted about it on one of the stops of my Bewitching Book Tour, so I did a little research. Since it takes place in San Francisco, looks like there’s some nice swag, and seems non-intimidating and fun, I thought, what the hey? Plus, if I can get you lovely people to help me raise the money to go (all proceeds are plowed back into NaNoWriMo’s non-profit do-goodery The Office of Letters and Light), that would be the cat’s pajamas, or whatever the saying is. If you’re interesting in sponsoring me, click here and thank you in advance.

In the meantime, there are a few stops left on my Bewitching Blog Tour. Go here to see the schedule and please tell your friends.

Question of the day: Can today’s working mom have it all? What is “it” anyway?

April 9th, 2012

Ten Minutes or a Page a Day

For the first time in longer than I’d care to admit, I just worked on my sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell. I have Dina Santorelli to thank for that, because she wrote an inspiring post on her Making Baby Grand blog yesterday, about writing for just 10 minutes, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re lucky, you might actually continue to write for longer than 10 minutes, so inspired will you be by whatever words start to pour out from your imagination onto the computer screen (or paper). So, I admit, I stopped very soon after 10 minutes, but we’re taking baby steps here, right? And I checked my word count: 398. Okay, it’s no NANOWRIMO, 1,666, but it’s something. It’s a page, and there are some writers whose goal is a page a day. (In one year, you’ll have 365. Or, in a Leap Year such as 2012 is, 366.) Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll keep going, even after the timer goes off.

To read Dina’s awesome post, click here.


November 29th, 2011

Olivia is a Nano Winner!

So, I just reached a wee bit over 50,000 words, which means I am a 2011 Nanowrimo winner. Yay, me!

I still have two key scenes to write. Okay, maybe three. Fifty thousand words just ain’t enough.

In the next day or so, I hope to get back to more blogging with updates on my publishing efforts. And yes, there are so many. It’s a manic, sleep-deprived time, but such is life.

In the meantime, enjoy the end of November and the Nanowrimo craze! If I can do it, so can you!

November 18th, 2011

Please pass the chocolate. Now. NOW! Please.

It’s a good news/bad news kind of day, and let’s just say I’m trying to figure out the tone I should take here on this public little blog of mine. I’ve already mentioned that I get a tad, shall we say, sensitive, when it comes to the rejection of my work. I think I’ve been able to mostly work out in private all the usual angst (a taste: feeling like a loser, calling myself a loser, wondering why I have wasted so much of my life, etc., etc.), and am ready to move on (cue the crazy laughter: ha, ha, ha!).

So, the bad news: both ebook publishers I approached back in August, rejected my novel, my precious words! The first gave me a straight form letter, meaning I have no idea why they didn’t want it (Voice in My Head: “Uh, ’cause it sucks?” Shut up!). The second gave me an encouraging form letter of which I will include a bit here:

Though we aren’t able to accept this manuscript, it is always possible that future manuscripts may find a home with us, and we hope you’ll consider us for future submissions. Additionally, please remember that publishing is quite subjective, and what doesn’t work for one publisher may work for another so we wish you the best of luck in placing this manuscript elsewhere.”

For those of you unfamiliar with rejection, the stuff about the pub biz being subjective is a very standard line and not all that comforting when you’ve read it 100 times. But the first part about how they “hope you’ll consider us for future submissions” doesn’t come up every day. So that’s kind of nice. I guess.

So, yes, it’s time to move on. That means I have to go into “bid’ness” for myself now. Which means I’ve got to roll up those shirtsleeves and pony up the money (“Oh, kids, I’m not sure you’ll be getting Christmas presents this year since Santa has to bankroll Mommy’s publishing dreams!”) and make this book a reality. I have to banish the doubters that live in my head (and outside of my head run all the literary agencies, publishing houses, and contests that have rejected my work—crazy laughter again because there are so many!) and just listen to the nice people (in my head and out) who tell me to keep going. (This is usually the point in the post-rejection processing where I blame my writing friends for not being truthful about my abilities. Why haven’t they ordered me to quit, if not writing than at least trying to publish? OK, now I’m making them angry at me. If they are reading. Sorry, guys! I know you mean well.)

Primal scream time à la Charlie Brown: ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Oh, you’re still reading? Then you probably want to know what the good news is. Well. I have a roof over my head. I have a loving, supportive family. I have my health, such as it is. And I am over halfway done with NaNoWriMo, having clocked in 29,181 words as of yesterday. I guess I’d better get to my 1,667 for today.

And what will I call my publishing company?

Happy Friday, people!



November 9th, 2011

Getting down to the funky business of writing

Not to toot my own horn, but [beep beep!], it’s Day 8 of NaNoWriMo, and so far, so good. I’ve somehow exceeded the 1,667-per-day requirement (to make it to 50,000 words by November 30), and even managed to write over the weekend when my family was in the hizzie. And they actually did not feel neglected as I shut myself away for a few hours to get the job done!

I don’t have many “writing buddies” on NaNoWriMo, so if you are doing it, be my friend there! My handle is livyink. I’m also doing a Facebook NaNoWriMo page with fellow scribe Jeremy Nisen, so check that out too, and leave your comments, observations, gratitudes, affirmations, complaints, etc.

By the way, Anne Milano Appel, a translator of Italian works into English, mentioned my post about reading your work aloud in a Hersilia Press blog today. Read what her experiences have been like.

In addition to finally getting some writing done, I have to say, the best thing about this year’s NaNoWriMo (Could I please just shorten it to NNWM? Does that stand for something horrible I don’t know about?) is engaging with other writers about writing instead of concentrating the conversation so heavily on publishing. Of course, publishing is a business, but it feels like the past few months have been spent by yours truly doing nothing more than marketing and promoting something that I haven’t even had the time (or made the time) to do.

That’s not to say I’ve escaped the business side of publishing all together this fine November. Family and friends who haven’t logged on to this blog o’ mine yet have been “hearing” from those who have that I’m “starting a publishing company.” Say what? I did not get that memo. I suppose I’ve been living in denial that I will have to approach self-publishing (if my book gets rejected by all the e-publishers I’ve queried—there’s still hope, folks! A golden sliver of hope.) as a business. Yes, I have skimmed Amanda Hocking’s extremely inspiring and honest blog posts about the hard, sloggy work involved (not to mention the money one has to shell out). I recently read a very helpful post on the Making Baby Grand blog with guest author Robyn Bradley that reiterates much of that.

I would love to know, fellow bloggers, whether you’re self-published or traditionally published or still figuring out the business side of writing, how much time you spend writing and how much businessing? 50-50? 60-40? 70-30? Does blogging count as writing or writing business or a little of both? And whatever your answer, are you OK with it?


October 31st, 2011

It’s Halloween, so what will you write tomorrow?

Hey everybody, Happy Halloween! What are you going to be? I’m going to be a writer. Who wears a pointy hat.

So, tomorrow is November, which means the beginning of NaNoWriMo. Write 1,667 words each day until you have 50K at the end of the month. Cake walk. Today, writers all over the globe are blogging about their plans. Can you feel the energy sparking? I can.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a new idea for my month of writing. I’ve been debating working on either the sequel or prequel to my witch novel. But there’s another story I told in movie script form a few years ago, and I’ve always thought it would be a kick to write it up as a novel. I attempted movie writing in my early thirties,converting one of my novel manuscripts. It was great fun, and helped when I decided to write yet another and very much needed draft of the novel.

Movie scripts actually make helpful road maps for novel writing, because you’re down to the bare essentials of dialog and action. Interior thoughts pop up in voice-overs, maybe, but overall, visuality is king. With a movie version of your book, you can figure out what might be slowing things down (i.e. making readers yawn and reach for the remote). There’s another script I wrote  based on a classic British novel, one I gave a 21st century makeover, and that’s the one I might tackle tomorrow. I suppose I should decide soon, but indecision is part of the thrill!

Fellow bloggers, have you ever written a screenplay? I’d love to know what you think of your experiences. In the meantime, don’t eat too much candy—you don’t want to be be logy tomorrow for the Big Day. Cheers!

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