KATHARINE SWAN: NANOWRIMO WINNER!!!

Well, everyone - I did it! Despite how behind I'd gotten on my novel, I was able to reach 50,000 this afternoon.

Now I have a bunch of cool little icons and other such, which I will install on my blogs - and possibly even my website - shortly. Hooray!

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, November 30, 2006 At 3:43 PM 2 comments

46,077 words - my goal for the night met!

I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to meet it, but earlier this evening I set a goal for myself: to reach 46,000 words tonight. And I did!

That means that I have just under 4,000 words to write tomorrow in order to reach 50,000. Since I don't have anything else that I simply must do before evening, I should be able to resume work on my novel right away when I wake up, hopefully allowing me to finish before I have to leave to babysit.

I had feared for a little while there that I wouldn't be able to finish NaNoWriMo this year - but it appears I might be able to, after all! Hoorah!!!

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By Katharine Swan On At 2:50 AM 0 comments

43,653 words

As Michael says, I am smoking today! I have nearly 44,000 words. I think my goal for tonight will be to reach 46,000 words. That should leave a doable amount for tomorrow.

Of course, I still haven't finished my freelancing article, which I need to do sometime tonight as well...

After writing for so long, I think I need a little break.

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 29, 2006 At 10:19 PM 2 comments

41,781 words

Here I am, trooping steadily along! I added to my word count for the day (since last night's technically went on today's), making the total for the day (so far) 5,064. That puts me at 41,781 total words. I've made excellent progress today, but unfortunately, it may not be enough - I have just over 8,000 words to write by tomorrow at midnight! And unfortunately, thanks to babysitting plans for tomorrow evening, I'm not sure I can trust to be home before midnight... Which means I need to try to reach 50,000 words before I go.

I'll still write a little more tonight, but I also have a freelance article to finish first.

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By Katharine Swan On At 6:10 PM 0 comments

38,761 words

I wasn't able to write the phenomenal amount of words on my novel that I wanted to accomplish today, thanks to a combination of freelance work and getting something in my eye this evening. I have more freelance work to do tomorrow, unfortunately, but I'm hoping to be able to spend a little more time on my novel. The good news is that I wrote 2,044 words this evening; the bad news is that I have more than 11,000 words left to write with less than two days to do it in.

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By Katharine Swan On At 2:34 AM 0 comments

Opportunity doesn't stand in for reliable, sufficient payment!

This evening I was browsing through jobs and ran across an ad on Craigslist for PreschoolRock.com, a website looking for writers who are experts in preschool topics. I read the ad and the first half or so of the page on their website describing the job requirements, and then simply scanned the rest before scrolling down to the application form. After applying, I realized I hadn't seen anything about compensation, and returned to the job description to find it. I was rather surprised to find, in a little paragraph toward the end of the job description, a mention that payment is in the form of ad revenue from your PreschoolRock.com site.

I generally don't cater to jobs that offer ad revenue as "payment." I need a set payment so that I know what to expect each month - especially for a gig that would require as much time and effort as PreschoolRock.com demands. However, I wasn't entirely concerned about it - if I got a response, I figured I would just send the editor an email explaining the situation and apologizing.

PreschoolRock.com must be having a hard time finding good writers who will work under their terms, because I had a response from the editor, Stacey Lloyd, a little over an hour later. I sent the following email in response, which I thought was rather nice, considering how I feel about people who pay their writers in ad revenues:

Thank you for your email. After submitting my application, I read through the guidelines a little more closely and came upon the part about writer compensation. Because I depend on writing as my sole source of income, I cannot afford to put my time and effort into a job that does not pay me directly. Taking a chance on ad revenues might be a viable gamble for someone else, but unfortunately, it's not for me.

I'm sorry if I have cost you any of your valuable time in applying before I completely read the page. I read the first half of the page, and got so excited about the job that I scrolled down and applied immediately. Please believe me when I say that I am truly sorry the compensation arrangement will not work for me, because the topic is one of my own passions and the site seems like a lot of fun. If the payment arrangement ever changes, I would be happy to sign on to PreschoolRock.com - but for now, I sincerely regret to say that I cannot.

Best of luck with your site! It looks great!


About an hour later, I received a response to my nice email: "Ah, a write [sic] must also be a good reader." Even though she put a smiley face after this, I found it rather rude to insult my writing skills after I had written such a nice and apologetic email (not to mention rather amusing for her to criticize my reading skills while she - the editor of PreschoolRock.com - included a glaring mistake in the opening line of her email). To add insult to injury, she continued to tell me how successful PreschoolRock.com is, and what a great opportunity it is to work with the company:

Those who have managed to get selected for this opportunity are already seeing that being a part of PreschoolRock.com goes far beyond the immediate monetary gains. One look in our Writers’ Forum (which you would’ve gotten access to) and you would’ve seen all that’s going on behind the scenes.

I have two comments to this: 1) A "good opportunity" is not a substitute for reliable, sufficient payment, and 2) if PreschoolRock.com is as successful as she says, why can't she afford to pay her writers real wages? In general, my bills need to be paid in "immediate monetary gains" on a monthly basis, so I don't see why I shouldn't expect as much from a writing gig.

Taking a chance on my share of ad revenues being enough to justify all of my hard work does not seem to me like fair payment. Other people - most likely people who already have other jobs or live in areas that don't have the high cost-of-living that is found in most of the U.S. - might be willing to gamble on ad revenues or give their work away in exchange for a "good opportunity," but I prefer clients who will pay me an amount that is decided on beforehand. And even though I've spent my freelancing career working for "immediate monetary gains," I haven't suffered for opportunities.

In other words, don't let any employer ever tell you that their "good opportunity" is worth working for nominal or unreliable pay!

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, November 28, 2006 At 10:01 PM 0 comments

36,717 words - still a long way to go

I was able to get a little more writing done tonight. I am currently up to 36,717 total words - a far cry from the 45,000 I was hoping to reach by the time we got back from our vacation. However, I feel that I made good progress today. Hopefully I will be able to devote a good deal of time to my novel over the next few days.

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By Katharine Swan On At 1:16 AM 0 comments

All play and no work...

I thought I'd easily be able to work over the holiday because I love writing fiction so much... but it turned out to be harder than I thought. We visited Michael's family, and I'm not sorry to say that I ended up visiting with my horse a lot more than I worked on my novel.

Michael's brother recently got a new horse - a colt named Sundance. Although Sundance is only 7 months old - a good 6 months younger than Panama - he's already bigger than Panama. He is a mix of draft horse and some type of show horse; the show horse blood is quite evident, especially when Sundance trots, picking his legs high up in the front. He's a beautiful horse, and very sweet-tempered - but I prefer my fiery Panama.



Panama is still a little bit on the wild side, but I think I was able to connect with him a lot better this time than last time. The first couple of days I was there, he didn't have a halter on - they had had to take it off because it was getting too small on him. It was difficult, because I had no way to keep him with me once he decided to leave, but I was able to give him a little bit of attention here and there.



On Saturday, with four of us helping, we managed to corner Panama and put a halter on him. It took some work, but once we got it on him he was like a different horse - much gentler and tamer, though still slightly skittish. He just doesn't get enough attention, poor guy - but the more he gets of it, the more he wants. By the time we left this morning, he came right up to me when I stood at the fence to say goodbye.



Panama has gotten rather plump, which is good to see - he had been so underfed when we first saw him in May, and it took a long time for him to gain enough weight to cover his ribs. He is now almost 13 1/2 hands tall (a hand is four inches, and a horse's height is measured at the shoulders). He's tall enough so that I can lean my forehead against his neck and smell his horsey smell.

I don't regret for the moment all the time I was able to spend with Panama. It seemed to do him a lot of good. I was able to write a little, reaching a measely 35,080 total words. With only three full days left of NaNoWriMo, I'm hoping I'll be able to devote some time in the next few days to working on my novel. I want to make sure I "win" (i.e. reach 50,000 words) my first go round!

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, November 27, 2006 At 10:19 PM 0 comments

32,322 words

I've written another 2,308 words. Although I reported them after midnight, so they technically go on tomorrow's count, in actuality I wrote a total of 4,699 words today.

I doubt I'll get that many done tomorrow, but I hope to get at least 2,000 done. My goal is to reach where I should be by the end of the weekend - about 45,000 words. If I can do that, it should be an easy sprint to the finish line.

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, November 23, 2006 At 2:31 AM 0 comments

Update on Pre-Press Company, Inc.

About two months ago, I posted a link to another writer's blog entry, warning about a company called Pre-Press Company, Inc. that was currently refusing to pay her. They did eventually agree to pay her part of what they owe her... But, perhaps unsurprisingly, two months later Pre-Press Company, Inc. still owes her half of the agreed-upon amount.

I don't know about Kathy Kehlri, but as far as I'm concerned, they had a chance to prove themselves to be an honest, reputable employer - and they blew it. Then again, I'll bet Kathy probably agrees with me - otherwise she wouldn't have posted another "screw you."

I have no respect at all for a company that neglects to pay its writers, and then tries to bully them into not telling other writers that they're not good for their word. I mean, you have to wonder how many other writers Pre-Press Company has intimidated into keeping silent.

It's everyone's own decision, of course - but I'd say that Pre-Press Company is one employer that writers ought to avoid like the plague.

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By Katharine Swan On At 12:07 AM 3 comments

30,014 words: Catching up!

After just over a week of not working on my novel, I was able to devote more than two hours to it today. As a result, I added 2,391 words to my total word count - and I'm hoping to write some more before the night is over.

As a NaNoWriMo side note - last night the South Denver NaNoWriMo group met to go see Stranger Than Fiction. Amusingly, the plot line of the movie reminded us all of a NaNo novel... But it was a lot of fun. I really enjoy visiting with the other writers that I've met, and I'm really disappointed that there's only one more meeting left. :o( With any luck, though, we'll be able to keep in touch - and we'll see each other again next November!

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 22, 2006 At 8:59 PM 0 comments

Beware of scams aimed at NaNoWriMo-ers!

One of my NaNoWriMo buddies directed me to this NaNo forum thread about the scams publishers run after NaNoWriMo ends. This is a very good thing for all NaNoWriMo-ers to be aware of! Writers - particularly novice writers, who don't yet know the way the business works - always need to be wary of scams, as there are countless people out there who would love to steal your work, your money, or both.

Be careful, everyone - there's nothing like a publisher's scam to ruin your NaNoWriMo experience for you!!!

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By Katharine Swan On At 12:34 AM 0 comments

I've been tagged!!!


Another active member of the online freelancing community, Kathy Kehrli, just tagged me to participate in a Meme. I haven't done this before, but apparently the idea is to make me tell everyone five things they don't yet know. As much as I gab about my professional and personal life on my blogs, this is going to be difficult...

Here goes!

1. I was one of the nominees at my high school for the National Merit Scholarship. That was 10 freaking years ago, so I'm willing to bet most of my readers don't know it. ;o)

2. I wrote my first novel when I was 14 years old. I never published any of my high school writings, but all of my friends read them and loved them.

3. Before deciding to go back to school, I not only taught preschool and after-school programs, but also flirted with the idea of pursuing a career in the automotive industry.

4. My least favorite authors that I read while getting my degree were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Virginia Woolf. I've probably offended someone now...

5. I collect 1950s dolls. Seriously, I have two cabinets full of them, countless shoeboxes and plastic storage totes, and they're still taking over non-storage or -display areas of my house.

As my duty to this game dictates, I have tagged the following people:

Melissa
Brandon
Bryan
Eve
Julia

Unfortunately, not all of my friends are as techno-savvy as me (meaning they don't all spill their guts online on a regular basis), so this little list will have to do.

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By Katharine Swan On Sunday, November 19, 2006 At 12:10 PM 1 comments

The call of duty

I knew it would eventually happen: my freelancing work would eventually supercede my NaNoWriMo goals in a major way. It's been several days now since I have been able to work on my novel, but tonight freelancing had to take precedence once again, as my most important goal is paying my bills.

However, I have a plan for catching up on my novel writing. I'm going to get all of my work done before Thanksgiving - hopefully by Tuesday, actually - and then use all the down time I can muster to work on the novel around the holiday. I think I can get quite a bit out of the long weekend if I am really determined.

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By Katharine Swan On At 3:53 AM 3 comments

Another night of sacrificed NaNo time

I won't be writing again tonight. Unfortunately, I need to get up very early tomorrow - probably about 6:45, which is extremely early for me - in order to take Michael to work so I can borrow his car. (Mine has not been running for a few weeks now, as I haven't had the time to fix it.)

I also have a very busy day ahead of me tomorrow. I am interviewing a subject for an article tomorrow morning; I have a doctor's appointment in the afternoon; and I babysit in the evening. Somewhere in there I'd also like to squeeze in getting a haircut, picking up a couple of books on hold for me at the library, and getting some writing work done.

Unfortunately, this pace may continue through the weekend. Saturday there is a doll sale I've been waiting to go to; Sunday and Monday we are celebrating Michael's birthday; and Tuesday all of the local NaNoWriMo-ers are going to see the movie Stranger Than Fiction. And then with Thanksgiving coming up soon after that... Well, finding time to write may be a struggle in the next few days.

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By Katharine Swan On Friday, November 17, 2006 At 12:03 AM 2 comments

27,623 words

I was able to write tonight, although admittedly I neglected some freelancing work to do so. I decided I can do it as well tomorrow.

I only wrote 1,757 words tonight, but that puts me up to 27,623, almost a full thousand over where I should be at by day 16. It's not as comfortable as a lead as I had before last night, but it'll do.

I also attended a local NaNoWriMo meeting tonight. I really like all of the people that come to them - there was seven of us last time, eight of us this time - and I'm hoping to stay in touch with them after NaNoWriMo ends. Admittedly, I am considerably older than some of them - the second oldest in the entire group - but noveling must be a very strong connection between all of us, because I don't often notice the age difference at all.

I think it's always a good thing for a writer to have other writers as friends. They understand things that non-writing friends just don't, no matter how supportive or appreciative they are.

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, November 16, 2006 At 1:19 AM 0 comments

Freelancing responsibilities come first

Well, I didn't make it back to my novel tonight. I didn't have the evening to work tonight, and as a result I didn't get as much done as I had wanted - so NaNoWriMo had to take a back burner until I got caught up on the paying work. I'm still slightly ahead of schedule on my word count, so as long as I get a chance to write tomorrow night I'll be fine.

The plus side is that I will have the money I need to take Michael out for his birthday. Hooray!

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 15, 2006 At 3:40 AM 0 comments

25,866 words

Tonight I wrote 1,926 words, bumping my total word count up to 25,866. Although I ran out of steam early (i.e. just shy of my goal of 2,000), I'm quite pleased with the progress of the novel. Although I hadn't outlined more than a handful of chapters (and those very roughly), the story is beginning to take on a definite shape now - I know not only how it will end, but much more of how it will get there. And I'll only have to go back and make one major plot change when the writing stage is all over.

I'm already somewhat dreading the editing stage. Although I wrote three novels in high school, my reluctance to edit (combined with the fact that I didn't have much encouragement to pursue it as a career) is partly to blame for the fact that I never published any of those. Although I have gotten much better at editing my own work in recent years, the thought of editing an entire novel is still a bit unnerving. Still, though, I hope to push my way through it, much the way I have pushed my way through NaNoWriMo, so that I can work on publishing my novel.

At which point I will have to deal with a whole new set of tasks that I dread...

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, November 14, 2006 At 2:58 AM 0 comments

23,940 words

I'm very pleased to say that I'm moving along at a fantastic pace. With somewhere around 2,100 words for today (counting what I wrote before and after midnight), I've reached 23,940 total words.
I've decided to almost completely cut an earlier scene when I go back and edit, but since I wrote it during NaNoWriMo, the words count... Therefore the scene stays in until I actually do the edits.

I have a comfortable 2,300-word lead, so as long as I maintain a decent pace of between 1,500 and 2,000 words each day, I should finish the 50,000 words by the end of the month. The novel plot is going strong, too, as I successfully saved it from fizzling out and ending early. (The reason for deciding to delete the earlier scene.)

According to my progress report, I am now 47.88% finished.

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, November 13, 2006 At 3:05 AM 0 comments

Notes on the new Blogger Beta


Obviously, everything published okay, since my last post (discussing the new Blogger Beta) has appeared on my blog. Interestingly, though, the system told me it hadn't gone okay, as I got the message, "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request." Yet when I looked, my post had been published.

Interesting. Despite that little hangup, though, I like the new Blogger Beta. Aside from the fact that I am able to receive people's comments in it - which I apparently wasn't in the regular Blogger - it also seems to be much faster...especially the publishing part.
By Katharine Swan On Sunday, November 12, 2006 At 12:19 PM 0 comments

The new Blogger Beta


Just last night, I switched my blogs over to Blogger Beta. The wait was rather dissatisfactory, as I wasn't able to access my blogs until this morning - ugh! However, I found it interesting that once my blogs were switched, I suddenly had comments dating back to January. They had never shown up, and Blogger had never emailed me to say they were there, despite my settings! So I went through and approved about 30 comments over the past year. If one of them was yours, please don't take offense that I never published it - I never even knew anyone was commenting at all.

As for the news I couldn't post last night: I now have 21,207 total words! I wrote 280 words Friday evening, and a whopping 7,206 words last night! I am now caught up from being sick, and as long as I write another 2,000 words sometime today (or tonight), I will reach my goal for the weekend.

Well, here is the moment of truth: I'm going to publish my first blog post in the new Blogger Beta, and we'll see if it works!
By Katharine Swan On At 12:06 PM 0 comments

A good old-fashioned sick day


I didn't do any work today - instead I had what you might call a good old-fashioned sick day. I got up, ate breakfast, checked email, took a hot bath (once the medicine kicked in and I could breathe out of at least one nostril), ate soup for lunch, and then took a 2-hour nap.

I didn't really feel any better today than I did yesterday. In fact, I think I felt worse, probably because it took me so long to get to sleep last night - every time I was almost asleep, my nose plugged up and I couldn't breathe at all. I can't breathe through my mouth (it really bothers me), so I had to keep blowing my nose.

Fortunately, I don't have any very pressing deadlines right this minute, so I am going to declare my weekend officially started - and work on my novel until the new, stronger medicine Michael bought for me kicks in and knocks me out.
By Katharine Swan On Friday, November 10, 2006 At 5:30 PM 0 comments

This is no allergy attack!

I thought last night that what I had was just an allergy attack, but now it's quite clearly more than that. I'm pretty sure that I caught a cold from the sick baby I babysat last Saturday night.

I feel pathetic. I got some decent freelancing work done today, but I'm wiped out from the effort - even though all I did was sit on the couch all day, all bundled up in blankets. So, I'm crying off of NaNoWriMo tonight.

Here's my plan: tomorrow I am going to get all of my freelance work out of the way (which shouldn't be hard, since I don't have any really serious deadlines looming over my head right now). Then I'll be free to catch up on my novel over the weekend. In order to get totally caught up, I'll basically need to write about 8,000 words by the time I go to bed Sunday evening. I think I can do that, though, with all my freelance work out of the way.

In any case, I'm heading to bed now to get another good 10 hours or so of sleep. It helped quite a bit last night, so I'm hoping that another night of it will completely kick this cold.

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By Katharine Swan On At 1:11 AM 0 comments

The Dems on top of the world...for a change!


Hoorah - with Senator Allen's concession to Webb in Virginia, the Democrats now have a majority in the Senate, as well as the House! Hoorah!

Bush, suddenly faced with a situation that he had vehemently denied would ever happen, is now crying out for bipartisanship. Of course, we're not going to forget that easily that for the past six years he has routinely denied the Democrats any voice in the fate of our country.

He's outnumbered and now he wants to compromise. It's laughable, really.
By Katharine Swan On Thursday, November 09, 2006 At 4:29 PM 0 comments

Our first presidential candidate for '08


Inspired by the result of Tuesday's election, we have our first presidential candidate for 2008: Tom Vilsack, governor of Iowa. After reading his website and listening to his video blog, I think Vilsack will make my choice in the primaries quite a bit harder (as I also like several of the other potential Democratic candidates).

It was difficult to choose which excerpt to use in my blog, but after some deliberation I decided that this passage summarized what I like best about Vilsack so far:

"Under Governor Vilsack's leadership, the state has a record number of employed Iowans, has made significant investments in Iowa's education system, has increased the number of Iowans with health care coverage, and is a national leader in renewable energy. The governor has achieved these results while eliminating three state departments, reducing the total number of state employees, and providing targeted tax relief to working families without raising overall taxes."

I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. It really sounds like Vilsack has his priorities straight: he's doing what's best for the people (jobs, education, health care, etc.) while minimizing what's not best for them (unnecessary government departments, tax increases).

If Hilary Clinton also runs, who to vote for in the primary election will be a very difficult decision for me! Ultimately, my decision has to do with who will best support what's needed for the people without sacrificing the people's freedoms. For me, the first category - what's needed for the people - includes more higher-paying jobs, better access to health care (and less expense associated with it), better public education, more renewable energy and less dependence on oil (and, therefore, countries who hate us), and an end to the war in Iraq. The people's freedoms that need to be upheld include the freedom to choose one's own religion (or no religion), reproductive freedom (i.e. free access to birth control and abortion), and the freedom of speech (a freedom that has been severely compromised by the Patriot Act and the recent phenomenon of the conservative press).

The results of Tuesday's election have me very excited about the new direction the country is headed in. I hope the trend continues well into the presidential election.
By Katharine Swan On At 1:26 PM 0 comments

Under the weather

I had another unproductive night - my second in a row. This time it was because I started not feeling well, and ended up going to bed early. I think it was an allergy attack, and not a cold coming on, but I'm still a little congested this morning, so it may be too early to tell. In any case, I have a feeling the 10 hours of sleep that I got last night probably helped speed my recovery - even if it also helped me fall behind on both freelance work and NaNoWriMo.

The situation is this: I have 13,721 words of my novel, but as of today I should be up to 15,003...and by the end of tonight (I usually work after midnight) I should be up to 16,670. In other words, in order to get back on track I have 2,949 words to write tonight.

Unfortunately, since I'm also behind on my freelance work, I'm not sure it'll happen tonight. However, I'm hoping to get all my freelancing work done before the weekend, so that I can spend Saturday and Sunday catching up on my novel (kind of like I did last weekend).

On that note, I guess I had better get to work!

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By Katharine Swan On At 11:56 AM 0 comments

Local news: Colorado scam against writers

I read Writers Weekly religiously every Wednesday, including the "Whispers and Warnings" section. Today's Whispers and Warnings included an ongoing soap opera with a magazine that I just realized was local. In fact, the horrible woman running it even went to the same school as me!

Jeannette M. Porrazzo, the owner of Form and Style Magazine, has many counts against her. According to the forums, Jeannette Porrazzo owes a writer and an editor each $5,000 or so, and is not paying because she is supposedly "seeking funding" for the magazine. However, on her myspace blog she admits that her magazine has tanked. And goodness knows how many other writers she owes money to: another writer wrote in to say that she and a bunch of writers were outright refused payment because she can't afford to pay them. She is in breach of goodness knows how many contracts, and actually seems to think that because she can't afford to pay up, she's no longer legally obligated to.

Moreover, this woman has sent both Angela Hoy and the complaining writers many emails trying to claim that they have no right to publish their complaints about her. Bull shit they don't! It's called "freedom of speech" - you'd think an aspiring journalist would know about that.

She also has published pictures of someone's wedding - including pictures of minor children - on her website, and is selling the pictures for a profit...without the people's consent. She took the pictures while she was finishing up her degree at Metro. You'd think a journalism student would also know about the laws prohibiting her from doing that. According to the forum post regarding the pictures, the parents of the children are planning to take her to court for it.

The story caught my interest because I like to keep tabs on the scam artists in the business, but also because it's a local - Denver area - story. So, I hope all writers - whether based in the Denver area or not - will stay far, far away from Jeannette Porrazzo and FormandStyle.com.

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 08, 2006 At 3:22 PM 10 comments

Hoorah to all the voters!


Yesterday's election was a terrific success! Although there are measures that I'd hoped for that didn't pass, the widespread Democratic victories more than make up for it! Colorado - normally a conservative state, despite its liberal roots (i.e. being the second state in the nation to give women the vote) - earned itself a Democratic governor, as well as a majority of Democratic House Reps. Nationwide, the Dems have taken the House, and have at least reached a break-even point in the Senate - it all depends on Virginia whether the Dems end up with 50 or 51 senators, and according to the preliminary numbers the Democratic candidate in Virginia is a few tenths of a percentage ahead. It may mean a recount, but I am hopeful that the Democratic party will take the Senate, as well.

I am hopeful that the direction this country has been heading in since Bush took office will be turned back with the results of this election. Bush claims that the Democratic majorities won't do anything to change the White House's policies, but then, he said we wouldn't win, either. :o) Speaking of what Bush says, check out this video. It's beautifully done - whoever did this was a technical genius.

Closer to home, the election results that I can find so far (and how I feel about them) are this:

Amendment 38: Petitions - failed (It would have made it easier for citizens to propose changes to the law.)

Amendment 39: School District Spending Requirements - failed (It would have required schools to spend 65% of their funding in the classrooms. The major problem with it was that it didn't include provisions for bussing, school counselors, and nurses, and other integral parts of public schools. I voted for Referendum J, which did include these things in the 65%, but so far I haven't been able to find anything on whether J passed.)

Amendment 40: Term Limits for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges - failed (It would have limited how long a judge could serve in Colorado. Mainly backed by the conservatives who don't like how current judges interpret the law, I do believe.)

Amendment 41: Standards of Conduct in Government - passed (Prevents election campaigns from accepting "gifts" (read: bribes) from special interest groups.)

Amendment 42: Increase in Minimum Wage - passed (Raises the minimum wage for the first time in ten years!)

Amendment 43: Marriage Discrimination - passed (Puts a clause in Colorado's Constitution, defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Very unfortunate.)

Amendment 44: Marijuana Possession - failed (Would have legalized possession of less than an ounce of marijuana statewide.)

Referendum E: Property Tax Reduction for Disabled Veterans - passed overwhelmingly with 79% (Reduces property taxes for veterans permanently disabled in service to our country, whether oversees or at home.)

Referendum F: Recall Deadlines - failed (Would have extended the deadlines for recalling an elected public official.)

Referendum G: Obsolete Constitutional Provisions - passed overwhelmingly with nearly 76% (Eliminates "outdated" laws and clauses from the Colorado Constitution. I didn't vote for it because it included several clauses about eliminating old age pensions, which made me nervous.)

Referendum H: Using the IRS to Fine Business Employers Who Hire Illegal Immigrants - too close yet to call, although it looks possible that it might win (This law will enable the IRS to fine businesses $150,000 if they knowingly deduct illegal immigrants' wages from their business income. I have two problems with this: 1) I'm pro-immigration, and 2) I don't believe it's the IRS's responsibility to convict and penalize people who break a completely unrelated law.)

Referendum I: Domestic Partnerships - failed (Would have given gay and lesbian couples, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples, rights outside of marriage. Although they still would not have had the federal tax advantages of marriage, they wouldn't have had to worry about things like child custody in case of one partner's death. It's a travesty that this failed, not just for gays and lesbians, but for the millions of children being raised in gay and lesbian homes.)

Referendum J: School District Spending Requirements - failed (Like Amendment 39, would have required schools to spend 65% of funding on the classrooms, but this one included bussing, school counselors, and school nurses in the definition of "the classrooms." I was for it.)

Referendum K: Immigration Lawsuit Against Federal Government - passed (Allows Colorado to waste precious finanical resources in suing the federal government for not effectively enforcing immigration laws. For God's sake...)

Although many of the measures I voted for failed and vice versa, I am duly encouraged by the prospect of a more democratic nation for the next two years. Hoorah to all the voters who got out there and made their voices heard!!!
By Katharine Swan On At 2:40 PM 0 comments

Fits and starts

It seems I am working on my novel in fits and starts now. I was a little behind on my freelancing work this evening, so that had to take precedence over NaNoWriMo. I was still going to work on my novel anyway, but just a few minutes ago I gave my eyes a good long rub, and realized I was tired. So I am going to bed, but I am hoping to write enough tomorrow night to maintain my lead.

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By Katharine Swan On At 2:53 AM 0 comments

13,721 words

In my least productive night yet (not counting the night when I didn't write at all), I wrote only 1,810 words tonight. However, that puts me at 13,721 total words, which is still about 2,000 words more than the goal for the seventh day of NaNoWriMo.

I'm quite pleased with my progress. I've noticed that writing is getting easier as I go along - I'm writing faster and better, and one by one the pieces of the plot are falling into place.

I woke up as Michael was getting ready for work this morning, and he asked how many words I was up to. Amazingly, even though I was half asleep, I remembered and was able to tell him. And although I didn't remember this until later in the day when he told me again, he said he was really proud of me for my progress. I can't begin to describe how good that made me feel.

This truly is a major accomplishment for me. Although I wrote three novels in high school - and was halfway through my fourth when I stopped writing - the most fiction I've written since then is a few short stories, and a few half-hearted attempts to start a novel here or there. I'm hoping that I will continue devoting time to writing fiction, even after NaNoWriMo ends on November 30th - perhaps becoming a published novelist isn't as far away as I'd thought it was.

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, November 07, 2006 At 3:07 AM 0 comments

It's here - VOTING DAY!!!


Voting day is tomorrow. Don't forget to vote!!!
By Katharine Swan On Monday, November 06, 2006 At 5:57 PM 0 comments

11,911 words

Today was a wildly successful day. I wrote about 800 words during the afternoon, which were counted as Sunday's words along with what I wrote late last night. Then, later this evening, I wrote 2,404 words. If you count the afternoon's 800, too (which I do), that makes the day's total word count around 3,200. Not bad for a day's work - I'm quite pleased.

I also finally decided to post an excerpt on my NaNoWriMo profile. My exerpt choice might change later on, or I might remove it altogether... There's no telling. I am typically very reluctant to let anyone read my works-in-progress, so you should assume this is a rare treat and enjoy it while you can. The next time you read any part of this novel might not be until it is (with any luck) published.

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By Katharine Swan On At 2:15 AM 1 comments

8,739 words

I've caught up to where I "should" be in my NaNoWriMo novel. Day 5 should see me at around 8,335 words (I think it was). I got to 8,739, which means I've officially made up for my lost day.

Writing gets harder as I get further in, closer to the parts of the plot that I'm uncertain about. I'm trying to plan the plot as I go, but as I mentioned last night, oftentimes it takes on something of a life of its own. The bad part of that comes when my inspiration suddenly tapers off, and I don't have an outline to keep me plodding onward. So far that hasn't happened, but I know what it's like. I'm hoping it won't come to it.

If I can keep up with this pace, though, I should be ahead by a decent amount again before too long, which will allow me the luxury of time to use on outlining.

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By Katharine Swan On Sunday, November 05, 2006 At 2:41 AM 0 comments

6,407 words

I did a decent job of catching up tonight, although last night's break still cost me. I reached 6,407 words on my novel, which means I wrote almost 2,200 tonight. I'm only about 250 words shy of where I should be if I were writing a steady 1,667 words a day, but I decided to go ahead and stop for the night.

Of course, I have a lot of other freelance work to do over the weekend, but I still intend to spend as much time as possible working on my novel. I would like to get ahead of the game again (in case of other nights like last night).

Interestingly, although I had started a rough outline, little events in the novel are already resequencing themselves. It's funny how as you write, the story just kind of takes on its own life, and suddenly you realize, "Oh, that's how it's supposed to go." Sometimes I feel like I'm nothing more than an outlet for a story that already exists.
In any case, fairly soon I'll have to do some more outlining, because unless I keep coming up with ideas as I write, there's only so much longer before I get to the end of what I've already outlined. (Not that the outline counts for much, evidently.)

In other notes, I'm planning on going to the South Denver nanowrimo meeting next week. It'll be interesting to meet other nanos (as we are called) in the area.

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By Katharine Swan On Saturday, November 04, 2006 At 2:50 AM 0 comments

Losing my edge...already?


I was too sleepy last night. I just couldn't write. I didn't work on my freelance work or my novel... I didn't even read! I went to bed at 11:30, for heaven's sake!

So, I'll need to play some catch-up today... Both with my regular work and my novel.

Better get to it...
By Katharine Swan On Friday, November 03, 2006 At 10:15 AM 0 comments

4,220 words

Another successful night of nanowrimo-ing! I wrote 2,210 words tonight (up from last night's 2,010). Interesting that I ended on something-10 both nights. I suppose I could add a few words so as not to, but I don't feel like it. I'm tired.

Anyway, my story is moving along nicely. According to my nanowrimo progress report, I have now completed 8.44% of my goal. I'm ahead of schedule for both days (hence the sea green-colored cells), and my total word count is ahead of schedule by almost 1,000 words.

Before I get too cocky about my current rate of progress, I should also note that I ready today somewhere on the nanowrimo site that the first week, you should aim higher than the normal 1,666 words a day. About 2,000 words or more a day is what the article (which I can't find now) advised. If you can maintain that pace throughout the entire first week, you'll not only be that much further into your novel, you'll also be much more likely to reach your 50,000-word goal by the end of the month. It makes sense. So, sure, that's what I'm doing. ;o)

Actually, I'm highly competitive, even when it's against myself. When I got to about 3,670 words - the basic goal for the day, yesterday's plus 1,666 - I put my word count in and checked my progress report. The cumulative word count cell was green, indicating that I'm ahead, but the daily word count cell was still pink. No!!! We can't have that!!! I have to live up to the standard I set the day before!!! So I wrote for a little while longer, and ultimately added almost another 500 words to my count.

Well. I'm sleepy and I should probably get some sleep so that I can do my other work during the day (before getting back to my novel). Good night, all.

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, November 02, 2006 At 2:48 AM 0 comments

NaNoWriMo website issues

The NaNoWriMo has gotten slower and slower throughout the day. An article on the site states that it should get better in a couple of days, once everyone gets past their initial posting frenzy. The article also comments that the site is much better during off peak hours (which I'd already noted in my blog post this morning).

We'll see how the site runs later tonight. If it's still really bad, I may not update my word count for a few days - on the NaNoWriMo site, that is. I'll continue to write updates on my blogs.

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 01, 2006 At 5:55 PM 0 comments

A ghostwriter's lament


Listen to this NPR story on the woes of ghostwriting. Really hits home - especially if you've ever ghostwritten anything! (I was the ghostwriter of a few short stories a little while back. I haven't ever seen them in print, but regardless, I know how it feels.)
By Katharine Swan On At 1:20 PM 0 comments

Waking to NaNoWriMo

This morning I had an email inbox full of congratulations and well-wishes. Thank you, everyone! :o)

Although I plan to get my other work for the day done before I work on my novel, I still attribute the fact that I was able to get up easily after only 7 hours of sleep on my excitement over Nanwrimo. The last time I was able to do that without a struggle was over the summer, when I was swamped with work and knew it.

Will Write For Chocolate has had a few really good Nanowrimo comics lately. You can see her latest here. The first frame is how I felt (and probably looked - ear-to-ear grin) last night. Debbie Ridpath Ohi is also supposed to be doing daily comics on the Nanowrimo site, but the first one is not up yet.

I have also made an observation about the Nanowrimo site. If any other Nanowrimo-ers are reading this, take note - the site sucks during the day, but it runs fine late at night. I was able to access my profile page and everything last night, no problems, but today my profile won't load, and all the other pages load very slowly. I'm surprised so many writers are going at this during the day, because I thought writers were nocturnal creatures, but I guess this arrangement works better for those of us who are nocturnals, anyway!

If you are doing Nanowrimo, be sure to visit my profile! I need some buddies!!! :o)

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By Katharine Swan On At 12:02 PM 0 comments

The first 2,000 words

My first day (night?) of NaNoWriMo was quite a success! I already have 2,010 words to my novel - well over the daily goal of 1,666. I've averaged at a little more than 1,000 words an hour. I could probably keep going all night, but my head hurts because I'm tired and I've been ignoring it for the past hour and a half.

I'm going to go to bed now. After all, I do have other work to do in the morning before I work more on my novel. If it weren't for my freelance work, I think I could probably write this novel in a week!

I've noticed that the meter on my blogs hasn't updated yet, but the one on my myspace pages has. Still, if you click on the meter itself you'll be taken to my "progress report," and that should be updated.

In any case, I'd better get some sleep!

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By Katharine Swan On At 2:28 AM 0 comments

NaNoWriMo countdown!!!

Six minutes until NaNoWriMo begins! I'm so excited!!!!

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By Katharine Swan On At 12:00 AM 0 comments

Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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