Category Archives: On Writing

NaNoWriMo 2017 Aftermath

It is December first, and NaNoWriMo is over. Now we are all celebrating our victories, or licking our wounds. I am doing both.

For the second time in nine years I’ve failed NaNoWriMo, but boy did I come close. 4365 words from my goal, and I just could not go on. My brain, and my fingers, just gave out. I had been pushing all day long, and I managed to write 7284 words in one day, but I just couldn’t get those last four thousand words.

This was an incredible month, and I learned more about myself, and my novel, than I would have any other time. I threw away chapters, and rewrote a whole synopsis. I got stuck on the novel and went over to write some short stories for the day. I gave up on the original idea I thought I’d write because it just didn’t work. And I got that much closer to finishing book two and three of the new series.

Why did I fail? Well, I had a slow start. I fell into my stride about half way through the month, and finally found what I needed to say. That drove the story forward, and the words piled up. Had I found that story, and my perseverance, a couple weeks sooner I wouldn’t have had that epic writing day at the end.

However, that day writing 7k words was pretty exciting. That shows me that it’s possible, and if I keep pushing myself, and my endurance, some day I might be able to do writing days like that regularly.

I can make excuses about being distracted by life, children getting the flu, and feeling down the first week of this month, but ultimately they are all excuses. The truth is we all have those things happen. Life is not fair, life does not care if you’re trying to write every night. It simply is, and sometimes you have a bad day and you have to write anyway.

So I’m going to be brutally honest with myself, and you, and show exactly why I failed this years writing challenge.

First, for me I know that if I don’t write for a few days it is really difficult for me to keep writing. If I take a week off it takes me a while to get back into the swing of things. If something stressful is going on it’s that much worse.

So here is a chart showing how many words I’ve written every year for the last five years.

I have one month left in 2017, and I am 83,000 words behind my worst year out of the last five. And 48,000 of those words were written in one month. THAT, dear reader, is why I lost NaNoWriMo. Not because the kids were sick and we had to take them to the hospital. Not because I lost the story. Not because I had a couple bad days, or didn’t get enough sleep. It’s because I haven’t written that much this year anyway.

It’s not easy to look at this chart. Writing has been an incredibly important thing for me for as long as I can remember, and it’s upsetting to see how little care I put into my writing this year. Yes, I’ve written 65,000 words just on my new series, but that’s half as much as I wrote on the Witch’s Curse books each year when I was working to get them finished. And the question is why? Why did I give up? Why didn’t I push myself? Why did I choose video games over writing? Or a movie? Or a craft?

I’ve been asking myself that a lot these days. What do I want out of my life? Out of day job? Out of my writing? And I think that’s why I’ve been writing less. I wasn’t sure if it was what I wanted to focus on, because I wasn’t sure if it could get me the one thing I wanted more than anything.

Gregg, my boyfriend, started his own business this year. He works harder than ever, but he’s happier then he’s ever been. And he’s his own boss. No one to be accountable to accept himself (and maybe his audience) and….well no management to look over his shoulder, count the beans, and make sure he’s “doing his job right.” He’s accountable to himself, his art, and fans he’s gathering. And he’s so happy!

That’s what I want for myself, I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Writing seems to be the thing that I’m best at, but I’m still pretty horrible at marketing. I know that because I’ve tried a LOT of marketing this year with maybe okay results. But we live, we learn, and we try something new, right?

The world is a strange place. We have adages like “do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” and “fake it till you make it” but no one tells you that someone has to weed the yard. Someone has to fix the plumbing. Someone has to pick up the trash. They probably didn’t want that for their life’s work either, but there they are. Supporting their family and doing a job so they can have a home, and set the table every night. But when you believe those adages and you aren’t doing what you love as a job you start to feel like you’re not good enough. And so here I was, feeling like I wasn’t good enough. Wondering if I should just give up and let writing be a hobby, like video games or crafts, instead of just working my butt of for the next novel, and trying to make a living on it.

And the truth is I don’t know. I don’t know if I will ever be able to make enough so that I can stop working for someone else. I don’t know if I will ever get a book out that strikes a cord with readers. I don’t know…if I’m good enough. But ultimately it doesn’t matter. I love to write, and I’m going to keep doing it.

So, this NaNoWriMo I learned to stop wallowing in my own self pity, and wondering what if, and just enjoy writing the story again.

And that’s what I’m going to do. Starting tomorrow. Today was a day for reflection.

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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in On Writing


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You can’t afford a computer?

For the longest time I’ve wanted a laptop to travel with so I could write while on the go. Work, breaks, hotels at cons, anything so I didn’t have to stop writing because we were away from home. But laptops seemed pricy, and easy to steal, break, or generally mess up. Plus the laptop we did have was pretty heavy, though I liked the larger screen.

What isn’t heavy, ultra expensive, and doesn’t take up much room? A tablet.

I found a kindle fire for as low as $30 right now for Christmas discounts. Add a folding blue tooth keyboard for $30 and you have a basic computer for $60. There are word processors available on the store, it’s wifi capable, and you’ll even find lots of free games on amazon.

The set up I have was a little more. My keyboard came with a case that folds into a stand. There are also several kindle fires available, some have ads, some don’t, and storage size is different (but remember they take memory cards). You can choose which is best for you. And you may want to purchase or subscribe to a writing program that backs everything up online for easy transfer of files. There is a way to load Google play onto a kindle, that way you can get drop box, but it does take a little work.

If you get an iPad or Android tablet you can possibly avoid the side loading process. Buyer beware though, there are copycat tablets out there that run Android but don’t have Google play, and the one I purchased couldn’t load many websites because it was missing drivers. Then I couldn’t update anything because it wasn’t Google ready.

The word processor I’m using isn’t as great as scrivener, but it gets the job done. In fact I’ve found it’s easier to turn off my internal editor because it isn’t constantly underlining my miss spelled words. Maybe someone will make a scrivener style app for kindle someday. (Hint to any developers out there. I’d pay for it!)

Here is my set up.

The keyboard is smaller so I wouldn’t recommend it for long writing sessions, but it’s perfect for short sessions, or writing down scenes when you are away from home. If you want a better set up there are full size blue tooth keyboards that you can get. They will also work with the kindle.

My set up when it’s ready to go. Light, compact, and flips open. Only thing I’m missing is screen protector.


Posted by on November 26, 2017 in On Writing


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I’ve been using challenges to learn things about myself, and the world around me for some time. NaNoWriMo for five years, the Bradbury Challenge a couple years ago, and last October I did Inktober and Drawtober,

Both ink and draw-tober are about drawing every day in October. I managed to draw 27 drawings, and ink 24 of them. I even add some color to a few.

For each challenge I put myself threw I try to take something out of it. From this one I learned that I loved drawing strange, and unusual things. I loved pushing my creativity in art as well as words. I hadn’t done more then cute little chibi’s of super heroes and other odd things lately, but this had me drawing steam powered submarines, and spider ballerinas, poison fairies and underwater wraiths. I did things with an ink pen I never would have thought to do before.

It was also invigorating. I did a lot of this challenge while we were traveling for twitchcon. We had days where we only slept for four hours, only to get up and put more leather together to get the armor set done. And yet I still managed to do so much. It just goes to show how much you can get done even when there’s a time crunch. Even when you’re sleep deprived. Even if you’re busy and the world doesn’t slow down so you can get your words, or ink lines in.

And in the end being creative is amazing, whatever creative thing you’re trying to do.

You can see more of the drawings, and pictures from twitchcon, over on instagram. 

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Posted by on November 12, 2017 in On Writing


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Review: The Orville

I grew up on Star Trek. I loved watching Kirk battle the monster of the week, especially if the monster was himself. I welcomed The Next Generation when it came out, and LOVED it, even i the first year was a little rough around the edges. I didn’t care, I was able to travel across the galaxy with a sentient android, and various crew members from different races.

I use to watch Voyager every night when I got home from work. I watched many episodes twice. I loved Janeway’s get it done attitude, and Checoti made a wonderful counterpoint to her sometimes blind desire to get the crew home.

I’ve also watched a lot of the fan made series on you tube, some of which are really good!

What I’m saying is….I LOVE STAR TREK! I love the messages, examining each story, seeing allegories in modern life, and the shear fun of monster of the week mayhem some days. Sometimes a bug is just a bug and you have to kill it.

Now there is a new Star Trek, and it’s locked safely behind a paywall, so I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some love it, some find it a little too preachy. The fact that the writers specifically said their Klingon’s are modeled off “Trump supporters” gives me some reservations, but I’m willing to give it a shot. After all, the original Star Trek often comments on society, and ways to improve it. Maybe this one will have some good insights as well.

But for now, since I’m not going to pay for a paywall till the full season is out, I am watching The Orville.

I caught a glimpse of the Orville while at work and thought the design, space, and ship looked a bit like Star Trek, though not quite. I also saw that it was advertised as a comedy. Of course I had to try it.

What I found wasn’t quite a sitcom in space, and it wasn’t quite a Star Trek space opera. It was something in the middle, with enough parody to keep it from tripping copyright, and enough space opera goodness to quench my craving for the cheesy experience.

The juxtaposition of cliche modern language in a space ship that is supposed to be from the future is kind of absurd, but it works. The ex husband and wife team cause just enough strife to keep everyone on their toes, but they also work well together because they know each other. The two pilots often say inane things that remind you they are two dudes from this world, and this time line, that got to play a role on their favorite space opera. Their reactions often would have no place outside a college dorm, or a sports party. And yet it works.

The first few episodes have ship to ship and hand to hand battles. There is character growth, unusually characters from other cultures, and even some important discussion of two cultures colliding, and not seeing eye to eye.

And while all of that is what I expect from a space opera style show I can also see that it’s campy, throws in jokes that aren’t always appropriate to the time period, and setting. But that’s the charm. The original Star Trek had bad fx and latex masks, The Orville has cheesy jokes at odd places. It works.

Now, I it isn’t perfect. The writing is still rough, but I think it’s showing some potential. I also like that it doesn’t spoon feed you a moral. On the third episode dealing with a child that was born the wrong gender, and dealing with the sex change of the child, the answer wasn’t handed to you neatly packaged as “this is the truth”, rather it was “this is what’s happening, but we feel uncomfortable about it even if this is how it has to be…for now.” And we, as the audience, are allowed to decide for ourselves why these things happened the way it did, and the ramifications of it all.

I’ll be watching more of The Orville, and I hope they will take us to many places far far away, with interesting characters and species from the edges of the galaxy.

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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in On Writing


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I wrote a post on Quora today that iIthought would be fitting here. 

Question: How do I write a character to contradict their values. 

My answer: What is the value? What value do they hold higher than that? They will make a choice.

Example, they value life and think guns are bad. But they value their life and their child’s life more. So when a masked guy breaks into their home and somehow the main character gets a gun in their hand they have a choice…. Die and hold the value that guns are evil, or use it against the bad guy.

We make choices like this all the time. Sometimes it’s as simple as “don’t hurt bugs” until the creepy spider shows up in your bathtub. Sometimes it’s something bigger. There is always the question of what is more important to them.

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in On Writing


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Grorg Club

I’d like to take a moment to talk about Grorg club. I know, I know, I’m not a member of Grorg club so I really don’t know anything about Grorg club, and I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut and just listen to people in Grorg club talk. I know that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

But…I was also told that the reason people who aren’t in Grorg club are so afraid of Grorgists is because we don’t discuss Grorgology. I mean, I’d like to understand what it is to be a Grorgist, and why it’s different than being a non-Grorgist, but I’m not supposed to talk, or ask questions.

Then yesterday I saw a textbook from a kids elementary school. It was the teachers version that just showed what the teacher is supposed to know that the students don’t generally know, but is there to influence the teacher in how they teach the class. It said anyone who isn’t a Grorgist, and part of the club, must be an anti-Grorgist. That means they hate them, even if they don’t think they do. I mean…I’ve never been part of Grorg club, but I’ve met a lot of Grorgists. Some have been my bosses at work, or people I talk to at stores, or grocery store clerks. They all seem very nice, and I’ve never felt anything but kindness to them. But…this says I must be anti-Grorgist and hate them even though I don’t. And that I benefit from everyone who isn’t a Grorg club member being anti-Grorgist.

But my boss is a Grorgist, and they are one of my favorite people. How did they suffer for being Grorgist? In fact I would even say they had some advantages because they decided that they wanted something and they went out and got it, regardless of what others would say about it. They are kind of inspirational, and a wonderful part of the community. Almost everyone thinks so, those who are part of the Grorg club, and those who aren’t, just because they are so absolutely wonderful in general.

But…serious talk for a moment. I’ve never understood the mentality that if you aren’t part of my group you must be against me, or if you’re not part of my group you can’t have an opinion on my group. It’s like telling a person who has no kids that they can’t spot a naughty child. Sorry, that child is jumping up and down in the middle of a restaurant and the parents are ignoring it, that’s a naughty child and EVERYONE can see it. You don’t always have to be a parent to see bad behavior.

Now you can insert whatever group you want with Grorg. In fact my direct supervisor at work belongs to at least four of those groups. And you know why they got the job? Because they worked their ass off, and did everything they could to show they were a good candidate. And they do a fantastic job of inspiring the team every day, even when things are falling apart around us and we have to work with broken tools. Their group affiliation didn’t matter, the club they belong to didn’t matter. When it came down to it they put in the work and they did a great job. And they are succeeding.

I belong to a few of those groups myself. But I don’t care about any of that. I care about getting up in the morning, going to work, feeding my family, and making good art. My group affiliations don’t help me. In fact they hurt me. Why? Not because of anti-whatever people. On the contrary, my group affiliations hurt me because people who are obsessed with the group tend to try and make me a victim of innumerable things. If I started letting myself feel like a victim again…well what was the point of getting out of the abusive relationship? Seriously…

I know a lot of people who go through traumatic experiences need to heal, or time to adjust. But pushing the group narrative of victimhood is a disservice.

When I finally came out of the closet about my rape I had a lot of things to figure out. There were moments when my boyfriend, the kindest and most loving person in the world, would try to touch me in a gentle way and I would jump. I wasn’t in danger, and I wanted his touch, but my body was expecting something worse. My body, and my mind, had to relearn how to be in a healthy relationship because I had been trained to expect pain, and abuse, from people who said they loved me.

Being around people who reinforce that idea of victimhood, who keep telling you it’s okay…this is a normal way to act…they HURT me more than helped me. I was trying to learn to act normal to a touch from someone who did love me, and I loved. A touch I was consenting too. And they were reinforcing the idea that flinching was a normal reaction.

IT’S NOT NORMAL!!! Nothing about it is normal. Yes, it’s a natural response, but just like you were trained to flinch you can be trained to stop flinching. You’re supposed to flinch when danger is there, not when someone is being kind to you.

Once I realized my physical and emotional responses were totally fucked up from being in an abusive relationship I was able to say “no, this is wrong” and start relearning proper responses. Had I stayed around people who encouraged me to stay a victim I never would have relearned how to have a real relationship.

I don’t flinch when my boyfriend touches me anymore. I don’t get scared when a man walks behind me on the sidewalk. I don’t respond with negativity when someone gives me a compliment. Because I am no longer a victim.

So, even though I could be part of some of the Grorgist clubs, I don’t feel part of them. I wouldn’t want to be part of the club. I don’t want to be a victim again. But should I be able to talk about them? Should I be able to discuss them? I think so. Just like when I woke up to what was happening to me, I NEEDED to talk about it. I needed to find the truth, and share my experience with others. I needed to know what I was feeling wasn’t in my imagination.

But there comes a point where you have to stop talking and start moving on. I will talk to anyone about my past that wants to talk about it, especially if they were also a victim and need to move from that twisted reality to something healthy. But it isn’t the focus of my life, and it never should be.

Anyway, that’s my two cents for the day. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I just needed to share it. Telling people who were victims that they can learn to stop being victims isn’t the most popular idea out there, but I feel it’s necessary to say. Honestly, the people who want you to stay a victim are the ones who have no respect for you, and think you’re too weak to move on. Not the ones that want to see you get better.

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in On Writing


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All the arts everywhere!

Just a quick update,

Small Bites and The Ring are both free this weekend. And Dragon’s Flame, the first novel in my new series, is finally out. It’s currently 99 cents, but it will go up to 2.99 in a week. If you want to grab it before the price goes up make sure to order it now.

If you read any of these books I would love to hear your thoughts. Write a review, or send me an email at crissymoss AT hotmail DOT com. I love getting reader feedback.

I’d also like to let you know that I’ll be streaming once a week (most weeks) on my twitch. I’ll be drawing, doing small projects, writing sometimes, or just chatting. Depends on what happens. I’d love to have people stop in and say hi, or shout me out on twitter. Schedule at the moment is Wednesdays, 3pm to 5pm PST.

On my first stream I took an old sketch and redid it into something completely cute. My first cosplay! You can watch the time-lapse version HERE, or the full VOD over here.


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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in On Writing


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