Winter Farm is Coming and NaNoWriMo So So

I saw a little grey chicken walking back and forth outside the coop gate. I scanned the farm, but Elliot was nowhere in sight. I know that sometimes chickens get attacked by dogs or wild animals, so I was pretty sure it needed to get back in the coop. Not having a clue how to catch it, I started talking to it. “Here, chick, chick, chick.” It looked like it was about to have a heart attack before I even got close to ten feet from it. I bent over and started to grab it, but it flew straight up, exploded, and then reassembled into a chicken about five feet away.

– Chickenshit: Crisis #2 Laid Back Farm Life

In Crisis #2, Billie slowly figures out that the farm belongs to her now, and it is gradually hitting her that there’s not going to be an easy fix. Still, it doesn’t feel like hers. As she tiptoes into her responsibilities, she longs for the comfort of her old life in Seattle and the easy but superficial relationship with her ex-girlfriend, Ton-Ton.

Chickenshit – Or: How a City Girl Does Country All Wrong is Volume I of a series. Available  now on Kindle, Amazon paperback November 2017. The next volume will be published in Spring/Summer of 2018.

The last week has been a mix of last minute farm activity (rearranging chickens and leaf relocation), getting the paperback version of Chickenshit ready for publication, and taking my first stab at NaNoWriMo.

With the cold weather comes special consideration for the birds and egg collection. Nobody wants to slog through mud to grab eggs twice a day, risking slips and falls, so we’ve put down a lot of sand. And now that the babies have matured, it’s time to move them from the grow out pen and feather them into pens of their respective breeds, which requires a lot of shuffling of other birds. I also had to move my pet birds (Buff Orpingtons that will not be under consideration for freezer camp) from their chicken tractor. I initially moved them into the brooder pen, thinking life among younger birds would be easier for their reintegration into society, only to find that the young turks were bullying my girls into staying in the coop all day, and they had to dash outside to get access to food and water, getting pecked and jumped along the way. Now, they seem to fare better in the main pen, where the ladies are mostly older or smaller than they are. Additionally, a couple of weeks ago we finished building a small shed with roosting space and lots of nests, and we have been tweaking it occasionally. It’s a little maddening to build a huge roost space with lots of room and thick piles of pine shaving and still have to shoo birds from the top of nest boxes and off rafters. You’d think they would be a little grateful for all this work on their behalf, but, no, chickens are thankless birds. I mean, I wasn’t expecting a peck on the cheek, but maybe a couple of extra eggs or something.

I will say that Kindle is fairly easy to work with, but Create Space, not so much. I am very thankful that I have Steph to work on the issues that arise prior to publication, as I would surely be pulling my hair out at times. Anyway, I do what I can to assist.

Finally, NaNoWriMo. I was lucky enough to have access to a series of local writing events. Thank you Chris Hollaway, for putting all the events together. I hope it builds every year. There was an event almost every day, and I was glad to participate in many of them. We got into a comfortable routine of initial greetings, settling into writing, and interrupting our work only occasionally for comments or questions. Writing is often such a solitary exercise, and it was great to have another perspective available at times. I highly recommend participation in a group for anyone who decides to do NaNoWriMo next year – especially if you can get to know the group ahead of time. No one wants to sit down to write and be constantly interrupted. Well, except that one guy. But it would also be rough to not feel comfortable enough to speak up every once in a while. There can be a balance.

My project for NaNoWriMo was the second book in my Lookout Butte series. But I found myself still writing copy for ads, announcements, and the first chapter of Chickenshit Volume II to include at the end of Volume I. I didn’t get very far along on my primary project, but I reached 14,745 words with all projects combined (but not including character descriptions an outlines). Not too shabby for someone who used to eek out a small, unmeasured number of words per month. The working title for my next book is Whippoorwill Springs. I plan to have it finished by early spring.

Did anyone else do NaNoWriMo? If so, how did you fare? What inspired you? Did you read the daily posts?