NaNoWriMo 2022

As of yesterday, I finished #NaNoWriMo2022. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in the month of Nov. I’m not finished editing/writing this novel. But I did put in about 57,000 words written/edited in the month of November. Only 30,000-50,000 more to go. 🤣📝👩🏽‍💻✍🏼

I’ve worked on this book for a while. But most don’t know that it has gone through massive changes bringing me to what is a completely new book today. Here’s an excerpt from A Thousand Years…

The day I was born, a violent storm ripped through our community. It was the kind of story legends are made of – or so I’ve been told for all of my 21 years. Walls of torrential rain fell, washing away parts of the mountainsides, flooding streets, and taking out a section of the highway, blocking off the Big Sur coastline from the hospital – 45 minutes away. Newscasters from the city called it the storm of the century. Of course, there were many more of those to come to California over the years – land of fire and mudslide that we are. The California Highway Patrol, local law enforcement, and even CalTrans workers were pulling people out of trapped vehicles all over. As all of this was going on around my mom and dad, who were pulled over on the side of the highway – trapped from getting to the hospital. I entered the world like a screaming wild thing, just as my son did, and as my mom is fond of saying to anyone who will listen, in my granddad’s beat up old truck.

My mom and grandma used to tell me that the way I entered the world was a sign of what was to become of me. Not a good sign, by the way. They have always said I am as wild as the storm I was born in the middle of. Perhaps. Or perhaps the wild around me as I entered the world that day, is actually a sign of how I was born to shake things up. Instead of being born in a sterile hospital, unforgiving amounts of rain fell on the truck, and crazy wind distracted my dad from focusing fully on my mom. I entered the world determined. Nothing has changed in 21 years. I doubt it ever will, in spite of the expectations that follow me around.”

Sea Glass Hearts

elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos, sea glass, sea glass hearts

~ One ~

“She reminded me of the sea; the way she came dancing towards you, wild and beautiful, and just when she was almost
close enough to touch she’d rush away again.”

―Glenda Millard

I am made of salt and sand and the deep jade green of the Atlantic. The salt air courses through my veins. This place, these waves, the sea glass, and shells with rounded edges, beaten constantly in the surf, are the pieces and places of my very soul. The heady scent of the ocean air tells me I’m finally home, though I’m not at all conscious of having lived near this shore. In the setting sun of a July evening, the billowing thunderheads in the distance play with the sun. Shadows and light dance on the surface of the ocean at once bringing out the sparkle, and then moments later shrouding the light in darkness. “So this is it?” I ask no one. Home. The word and all of its implications fill me with competing emotions. I look back toward the car, parked a hundred yards away, in the parking lot of the town’s traffic circle. It’s the center of this beach town, on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

I turn back to the ocean and breathe deeply, taking it all in. Just up the road is the house I bought, sight unseen, sitting first row, pointed towards the sea. I have spent a lifetime, nearly forty years, dreaming of what it would be like to find the place where I began, to return to my beginnings. To the place where I had been knit together in my mother’s womb. When I was a child, before I had been adopted and floated between countless foster and group homes, I made day trips to the beaches of Southern California. In the course sand of those crowded beaches, I convinced myself that I might as well have been a mermaid for all I really knew. One thing I knew for sure, in the deepest part of my being? I belonged to the sea. Somehow, as I would stand there, as a kid, wearing my church charity last year’s style bathing suit, I knew that the sea called me, and would continue to call me . . . home.

Written by Elaina M. Avalos

**This is from my new work in progress – waiting for me once I’m finished with A Thousand Years. I’m currently doing a little work on it this week, while I take a mini-vacay from A Thousand Years.**


north topsail island, north topsail beach, pink moon, elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos
North Topsail Beach – One of NC’s Barrier Islands

It’s hodgepodge of random this evening.

– I have spent countless hours writing & editing my novel A Thousand Years, since October/November of 2020. I ran into some major plot issues and needed to re-work a ton of stuff in the novel (long story). It took me months to figure out how to make the edits work and how to still keep the soul of the story in place. I finally figured that out. What I have now – is a written and edited novel – that is waiting on just a few remaining things before I can call it done. I decided to put it on the back burner this week while I wait for my trip to Western NC. I’ll come back to it with fresh eyes after my trip and a little Graham Ford & Birdie Langston vacay.

– Obnoxiously, the moment I decided to take a little breather from these two characters, and as I walked the beach last night, I decided to start working on a novel I started ages ago. I cannot help myself. I shared the opening lines here on the blog a couple of years ago. But I started writing long before that. You can see it, here. It’s all new and fresh and I don’t 100% know where it’s going, yet. Well, sort of. But not really. #WriterGirlProblems

For instance, I’m still fighting over the protagonist’s name (that’s how new it is).

– I love the simple things in life and finding joy & delight wherever I can. These last couple of years, phew. It’s exhausting for someone that just wants to write, take care of the people she loves, and enjoy the little things in life. I’m so ready for what comes next. I would love to have someone join me on my next adventure. But, I’m ready to do it alone, too. Life is just too short to not chase down what you want. #BirthdayThoughts

– I turned 45 today & it’s a little ho-hum. Haha. I head out of town next weekend for my road trip to wine country & the mountains. Just three days until I leave! I can’t wait. But here’s what turning 45 looked like today (the photos uploaded catywampus):

– Music making me happy or inspiring me lately:

“Know you’re coming from a bad place
Honey, I was there just yesterday
So I know the time it’s gonna take
For you to feel like you again
Wonder if you’re seeing colours yet”

“There are no wrong roads
And no window stays closed
Love is always sad when it fades
The glass is better stained anyways
If never you find what you’re looking for
Come on back to the front porch
Say my name through the screen door”

Making a return . . .

How does anyone not love this man? Here’s an honorable mention:

Now that I’m working on a new novel, I’m gonna need to start working on a new playlist. While I work through some details & it takes shape, I’m listening to this and this (from my OC pal Suz Moshenko). OC means Orange County, dudes (where I’m from).

I have big things ahead. Cheers to 45!

Creating a Space to Write

I made a little writing nook for myself last weekend. I knew creating a space to write would help me focus a little more on doing just that. Confession though – I’m currently writing from the comfort of my big, cozy bed (but whatever). But my mini-office will be where I write most of the time. For the longest time, I’ve put off creating a nook to write – because, well – I’m not a fan of apartment living (at least not in the city I live in). I kept telling myself I’d move soon enough. But here I am, 18-months later, still in my apartment. Going from a 4-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom apartment was a big adjustment. As such, my spare room has been filled with boxes all of this time. I decided to create some space in my “dining room” to write. Folks, my dining room is big for an apartment. And it’s now the space I’ve created to write.

If you’re a writer following me, what’s a must-have for your writing space? One thing my nook is missing is space for a large white board that I’d like to use for mapping out dates and timelines and some inspiration. I’ll use a small corkboard for a bit of that now. But the novel I’m currently editing has a lot of moving parts and spans a 20-year history between my protagonist and her long lost love. I’d like to have a better visual of that than my Scrivener notes.

I keep some of my favorite books (and my first book) around for inspiration. The black notebook was my Grandpa’s. He used it to write his memories of growing up in upstate New York. We have all of his writings in a binder (that each of his daughters and grandkids have copies of). He was actually quite the writer – but didn’t know until he was at the end of his life. These scribbled words are treasures to me. I hope someday to have one or two of these handwritten notes replicated and blown up as posters I hang up in my future office.

I have all sorts of thoughts about what I’d like my someday office to look like. This isn’t that. But it’ll do for now. When I run across images on Pinterest that fit, I save them. Someday, I hope to write full time with a real office. My absolute favorite writing space comes from the movie Something’s Gotta Give (one of my favorite movies of all time). Diane Keaton writes from her bedroom, looking out at the Atlantic Ocean. Keaton, a screenwriter in the movie, is hilariously writerly (Dramatic, artistic, a little neurotic, and adorable – I don’t think we normally call writers adorable. But I’m a writer and I’m adorable, so there you go.) and her home is a dream. You can see an example of her writing space, here. In the movie she writes her next big Broadway hit, crying and furiously writing, after a break-up. It’s a ridiculous series of scenes as she furiously writes her new screenplay. It’s also very realistic. 🙂

The photo below, of LOST show forerunners, is what it’s in my head for plotting out this novel, by the way. I’d love to have photos and all kinds of stuff plastered everywhere as I change all kinds of things around in the book.

LOST = Favorite TV show of all times.

When I was at Home Goods not too long ago, I found this glittery, shiny thing and brought it home. I couldn’t believe – of all the things to find in a home decor store – a print of typewriter (that says “write on”). I mean, it was made to come home with me. I don’t see things like this too often.

I also made sure to add some things to the walls that (totally don’t match) but I love just the same. I have spots for a couple more things that I hope to add this weekend. And yes, this is also where my bar is. To the left of my Grandma’s desk is a cabinet I store my mid-century modern glassware.

Except for the cookbooks (that somehow made it to the wrong place), I’ve tried to keep this bookcase favorite novels, writers, or writing references.

In addition to adding a space for me to write, I’m also continuing to make some adjustments here on my website and blog. In the near future, there will be a single static page and then links to blog content. I have a lot of different interests and I’d like to keep them more organized into separate categories instead of having everything on the main page. My goal right now is to focus on my writing as much as humanly possible and to make this space part of that. At one time, I was a very active blogger (on another platform). I miss those days, regular commenters, and the community I developed there. I stopped consistently writing almost 11 years ago in that space and I’m making it a priority again. In addition to the writing space for working on my fiction, I’ll be transforming this space a little more too. Hopefully it will be more user-friendly after organizing into various categories.

So, writer friends – I know you’re out there – what are your writing spaces like? Share here or on your own blog/website and send me the link so I can see! I love being inspired by what inspires others!

The Trouble With Wanting, Is I Want You

It’s Tuesday and I’m feeling all sorts of feelings today. I’m also diving into another freaking re-write of A Thousand Years. Sometimes I think it’s torture to be a writer {can I get a witness?}. This would be the third reincarnation of this love story. Maybe the third times the charm.

Here are some random musings & three four of my favorite songs this week:

  1. Feeling resigned to my fate, today. I’m learning to be at peace with this. Maybe my new adventure needs to cook a little while longer? Perhaps it will come when it’s good and ready?
  2. I am enjoying a glass of cheap cabernet sauvignon {Winemakers Selection} tonight. I haven’t bought wine in a while because my old lady metabolism needed some drastic help to get working again {getting older as a woman, is just plain rude}. I’ve lost 10 pounds so I’m having a little treat. Also, for a cheap wine, it’s pretty good.
  3. Below are three of my newly discovered favorite songs for the week. Into the Mystic by Van Morrison is an honorable mention. I’d forgotten how much I love this song “I wanna rock your gypsy soul…” How do I get a hold of the man that will rock my gypsy soul? Also, why is Van Morrison so good? Oh! The second honorable mention goes to the stunning Joy Williams with The Trouble with Wanting. Oh shoot, maybe that’s my favorite this week? I just added it. “The trouble with wanting is I want you/And I want you all the time.”
  4. I love planning events. I’m currently in the process of planning two – with a small get-together happening this Friday {the first of three}. It gives me such joy. I’m an entertainer & hostess at heart. I don’t know why – but it truly brings me joy.
  5. I’m currently procrastinating starting the third re-write of A Thousand Years. Someone tell me to go write.
  6. Okay, I started working. But I’m easily distracted. I think I might as well formally set up my “office.” Perhaps that will help me stay on target? I’m currently lounging on the couch like a bum. Not the most conducive for writing. Maybe that’s my project for this weekend?
  7. I promise this post has taken me quite some time to write. I am actually accomplishing something.
  8. I think that’s the end of the random, this evening…