Uphill, Both Ways

Our mom, Nancy

Forgive us for the long delay between blog posts. It’s been a busy, difficult few months. We ended November on a high note, pleased with the material we wrote during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Feeling accomplished having written every day for the month of November, we decided to take a few weeks off to catch up on things around the house. We never did get back to writing.

The holidays are always busy, and between last minute guests, parties, and a few major health issues, this year was no exception. Our mom, Nancy, took a fall at her house. No one thought much of it until a few days later, she started having her legs give out on her. After a stay at the hospital, it was discovered that she has major spinal issues (on top of her old spinal issues, including five back surgeries). This time the problem lies in her neck. She will be going in for spinal surgery this Thursday. We’ve been spending the time getting things ready, so that she can go into the hospital with her mind at ease that things will be taken care of at home. Recovery will take 6 to 8 months and then she will likely face a second spinal surgery.

When you are part of a writing team, it’s hard to make progress when your partners are down or unavailable. Please be patient with us as we navigate this difficult period. Send some good vibes to Nancy and wish her luck. We just want to get her stabilized and as pain-free as possible.

We might get some writing done or we might not. We’ll make no promises but we’ll keep our good intentions. As always, thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Forward Progress Continues…

Just one of our Thanksgiving celebrations 2021

We hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving/Football Watching/Whatever holiday week. We spent it with friends and family, eating too much food and enjoying good conversation. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) continues for a few more days. While we won’t be anywhere near the 50,000 word goal, we are keeping to our personal goals of just writing every day for the entire month.

Nancy met up with Eric yesterday to do some work on the chapter map for our paranormal horror novel, Area 25. She’s added about 9,000 words so far this month, bringing the manuscript total to 12,000. She was dismayed, however, when Eric suggested cutting a plot line from the main story. No one wants to cut from a work in progress but sometimes it’s necessary. She hasn’t made a final decision yet on whether or not she’ll take his suggestions.

Anne continues to work on the serial killer/thriller Enoch. She’s added 15,000 words so far this month, bringing the manuscript total to 48,000 words. She still has quite a bit of work to do but it now feels like maybe she’ll be able to finish this thing after all. It’s going to need heavy editing and some advice from a few experts before it can see the light of day.

We’re still working and we plan to continue the daily writing after the first of the December. We’ll keep you posted. Thanks to you all for sticking with us. We appreciate the support.

Kind regards,

Nancy, Anne, and Eric

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Really, Universe? I’m trying to write here!

Here we are, entering our third week of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and let’s just say, we’re not setting a blistering pace. It’s been interruption after interruption but, despite all, we have been getting some writing done and taking care of our business responsibilities.

Today, we have a high wind warning and that means more yard cleanup. Last week dumped enough rain that we had flood and mudslide warnings all over the region. Nancy hasn’t had internet or phones since last Wednesday. Hopefully, her service will be able to fix it sometime today. As of her last report, she’s written 5,569 words on our horror novel, tentatively named Area 25.

Anne has been working on Enoch, our thriller. During NaNoWriMo, she’s managed to crank out 10,436 words, bringing the manuscript to 42,751 words. We are shooting for around 80,000 at the finish. Current plan is working on the chapter map. We tend to have detailed chapter maps which speed up the writing process immensely. The beginning and end of this book is fairly detailed but the middle bits are still a bit fuzzy. She hopes to fix that today.

As for business, this week we renewed our Domain name and also renewed our business license with the State of Oregon, thus sealing our resolve to continue for another year. Renewing the business license always feels like it makes it official.

Thanks for sticking with us! We appreciate the support.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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NaNoWriMo 2021 Week One Wrap-up

Well, we won’t be breaking any National Novel Writing Month speed writing records but we did manage to work on our manuscripts every day this week. After such a long, dry spell of no writing at all, we’re going to call that a win. In order to make it to the finish and achieve your 50,000 words, you need to maintain a fairly steady pace that averages out to a little over 1,600 words a day, every day for the entire month of November. Speaking from experience, that is a really hard thing to do.

As far as our writing, we’ve been averaging around 700 words a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. Nancy wrote enough to hit 10,000 words on her horror manuscript today. Anne wrote enough to hit 50,000 words on her thriller/suspense manuscript this week (about 7,000 words). We will continue to plug away at our writing, aiming to write every day until the end of the month. It’s a bit like kicking off our training wheels at this point.

We appreciate all the continued support. As always, thanks for sticking with us. We promise to keep you posted.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Day 1


It wasn’t the smoothest of starts on this first day of November and the start of National Novel Writing Month 2021. That seems to be endemic of the entire pandemic, why change now?

Anne’s day started with both her boys down sick with sore throats. In this day and age, that means a trip to the doctor to rule out anything serious, which took up a serious chunk of her writing time. She still managed to write 600 words on Enoch this evening and maybe she can make up the extra thousand words over the next few days. She’s going to have to build up momentum in order to make that happen. Fingers crossed.

Nancy also managed to crank out 625 words on her horror novel today. Considering how long that project has been languishing, instead of sitting down and writing, she spent her morning re-reading what she had already written quite a while ago. Now that she’s refreshed her memory, she too is hoping to build up some writing momentum over the next few days.

It wasn’t a triumph but it wasn’t a total wash either. We got some work done and at this point, we’ll call that a win. We’ll keep you posted. Thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Time for a Challenge

We’re back! Fall is in full force with its typical crazy rainy weather and November is coming up fast. And with the advent of November, that writer’s nemesis, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), is set to arrive.


Two of the Litzo trio have decided to challenge each other to write 50,000 words in one month. Anne will be revisiting a novel that was started years ago. It’s been temporarily titled Enoch and is more of a thriller than our usual fare. It currently sits at 35,000 words, and another 50,000 would get it to the finish line.

Nancy is going to attempt to finish another novel in the Riverside collection that she has left languishing on the shelf. It’s temporary title is Area 25 and it continues on in our paranormal genre. It picks up where we left off in our horror novel, Creek House, some twenty years later.

Eric will continue to be our backup and editor extraordinaire. When we’re stuck, his ideas often get us going again.

Both of the novels have nearly completed chapter outlines, so that should help us to get back on track. Writing after a fairly long hiatus may be a bit of a challenge, but we are definitely up to it. We’ll spend the next few days prepping for the NaNoWriMo kick-off next Monday. Wish us luck!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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A First Foray into Novel-Writing Software

We didn’t get too much done this past week due to unforeseen circumstances and a death in the family. It’s been a rough one. We started out the week with our first Litzo work session which was very productive and then it all went downhill from there. We’ll focus on the positives. Anne explored the possibility of using a novel-writing software to streamline the rewrite process.

Recently, we’ve begun using Google Docs as a writing platform because it allows us all to access a shared set of documents and it’s fairly easy access. It is also free. The downside is Google Docs is unwieldy when formatting and we often experience typing-lag which can be a bit frustrating. Our preferred method that we have used in the past is exchanging Word documents via email. The main writer maintains the master file and then emails the current version to our coconspirators…I mean collaborators, for their input and additions. After they are finished, they would email their contributions to the main writer for inclusion in the master document. It worked, it just had quite a few extra steps. Anne was hoping there might be a better way out there.

First, she looked into Scrivener. She heard good things about it from her writer friends, along with the warning of the steep learning curve. The problem with Scrivener, for us anyway, is it has no functional way to allow for collaborative writing and editing. Scrivener was scrapped as a possible solution.

Next, Anne looked into Living Writer software. It seemed like a really good fit, if a bit spendy compared to Scrivener. (Scrivener is a one-time purchase, whereas Living Writer is a monthly subscription.) It claimed to be more user-friendly while also allowing sharing for editing. She was also intrigued by the use of character cards and auto-fill for character names (also available on Scrivener). She signed up for the two week trial. It did not go well. After signing up, the new user is supposed to get a link sent to them to confirm their email. The link never arrived despite numerous requests for a resend. Anne finally decided to skip the email confirmation and go straight to exploring the software. One feature offered is to upload a partial or completed manuscript to the site. This seemed ideal as we are in the middle of rewrites of our New Mother Earth series. Anne uploaded the 100,000+ word manuscript of Exiles of Gaia, and that’s when the problems started. First, the software didn’t recognize page breaks or original formatting. It placed the cursor at the end of the manuscript, and there was no way to scroll to the beginning of the manuscript. If there was another way to navigate, besides using a the up-arrow and down-arrow, she couldn’t find it.

After a frustrating morning with the Living Writer website, Anne gave it up as a bad job. It might be different if starting from scratch but she cannot recommend this software if you are looking to rework an older manuscript. She has not given up on her quest for a better way to collaborate.

We’re not sure how much we’ll get done this week. If we explore using another writing software, we’ll let you know. For now, we’ll stick with Google Docs and Microsoft Word. We appreciate your patience and we’ll keep you posted. Thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Happy New Year!

Yay, we made it to 2021! Happy new year, everyone. We took time off over the holidays to give ourselves some breathing room. While our workload is self-imposed, we still feel guilty when we don’t spend our time productively. It was nice to give ourselves permission to not think about anything writing-related for a few weeks. Now, our break is over. Today, we hit unpublish on the two finished books in our New Mother Earth science fiction series. So what’s next?

Now that both Exiles of Gaia and Hunters of Gaia have been taken off-line, we will be reading them from the beginning. This will allow us to identify areas that need work, fix a few problematic characters and plot devices, and update our resource manual that was left to languish after about half-way through Exiles of Gaia, the first book. Anne and Eric will focus on the re-do for the foreseeable future. Nancy will be picking up where she left off on our latest horror manuscript.

Last year kind of knocked us off our feet. It was hard to concentrate, hard to get motivated, and hard to get excited about any of our projects. We know not much has changed with the dawning of the new year, but we have hope. In the meantime, we implore you to keep your heads down and your masks on. Thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Ugh! Back to the Beginning!

Exiles of Gaia was written in the Fall of 2013 and published in March 2014.

We came to a big decision this week about our science fiction New Mother Earth series and the trilogy as a whole. We’ve been struggling with writing the third installment, currently titled Servants of Gaia. The problem is workflow. We know the general details of the storyline for the new manuscript. Most of the major plot points have been identified. What we don’t know, or at least can’t remember, are the details. Over the last seven years, we created a very detailed future universe with hundreds of named characters and reams of background information. The details have gotten fuzzy in the four years since we last hit publish. And that brings us to our big decision…we’re going to unpublish the first two books and go back to the beginning.

There are other reasons besides a need to refresh our memories for the decision to unpublish Exiles of Gaia and Hunters of Gaia. During our recent research of the previous two books, we’ve identified a few problematic representations/stereotypes which were used with some of our characters. We’ve also found plot holes that need to be plugged and scenes that could use fine-tuning. We feel like we’ve come along a bit in honing our craft and we can definitely use what we have learned to fix what needs fixing.

It’s not what we want to do but it is what we need to do. If we are ever going to get the writing flow going again, we need to go back to the start. Anne and Eric will be spearheading the re-do. Nancy will continue to work on our latest horror WIP, Area 25. She hit a bit of a speedbump and we’ve all agreed that she just needs to work on the fun parts and we’ll fill in the rest.

It’s been a hell of a few months and it doesn’t look like it is slowing down anytime soon. We hope that you are able to get into the holiday spirit, wherever you are. We’ll be celebrating the holidays (social-distancing style) as best we can.

We’ll keep you posted! As always, thanks for sticking with us.

Kind regards and happy holidays!

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Thanksgiving Week 2020

We have a lot to be thankful for this week, although it is hard to remember that sometimes. We have each other, even if we can’t see each other in person. Oregon is in COVID-19 lockdown for the next two weeks. The last week and a half or so, we did not get as much done as we would like. We are hoping that in the coming days, we can turn things around.

Nancy spent last week writing a transitional chapter in our current horror novel project. She then decided that it had become a huge information dump and, after much deliberation with Anne and Eric over Zoom, she has decided to put it to the side for use as a reference and move forward with a different concept. We think it will make for a more subtle introduction of our antagonists and will include a solid hint of things to come.

After staring at a page with only two sentences on it for several days in a row, Anne finally put the chapter aside, with the intent of making Eric write it. That is the beauty of collaborative writing, you don’t have to go it alone. She worked on the chapter map this week, and she is ready to move on with writing new material. The third book in the New Mother Earth series currently sits at approximately 13,500 words.

We hope to have more to report in our next blog post. We are dealing with extended family issues at this time and we may have to drop everything to help our Mom, Nancy. Just know that we are doing our best. We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, or our day of gratitude as we like to call it. We are grateful for your support.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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