My WIP: Intro to the Introduction

I had a great day of writing today! I am at 42,000+ words. Almost done with NaNoWriMo! Wheee!

After my head explosion of being accused of writing porn in my Work In Progress, In the Bushes, my youngest daughter (who is in her thirties in case you were wondering) suggested I write an Introduction to the book to explain the sexual nature and how I will be using the vernacular of the time which is very different than that of today.

I was able to put on paper what has been in my thoughts for a long while.

However, as I wrote, I found I needed something to introduce the Introduction and came up with this.

The Pre-Introduction:

Leave your Political and Social Correctness at the door!
This entire book is politically and socially incorrect. Every word. Every theme. Every story. All of it. Completely and totally un-PC and socially incorrect. It will be helpful if you could adopt a No Offense Taken attitude. If you cannot, you might want to get a refund on your purchase now.
You have been forewarned.

Clear Enough?

I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to say these things as if I were talking to the reader.

Do other writers have to do this, too? I have never seen anything like it yet, but I don’t read a lot of controversial books.

What would you do if you saw this in a book?


Boy, do I feel better.

Sometimes kids are so freakin’ wise. Thanks, baby girl!.

NaNoWriMo Porn Intro
Photograph I took of California Screamin’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s California Adventure.

NaNoWriMo: Anticipating This Porn Issue

Yesterday, I did a post called NaNoWriMo: It is NOT Porn! My youngest daughter read the post and the snippet from the WIP and came up with a great solution for the guaranteed critiques saying the exact same thing.

Detailed Forward

My daughter said I will need a detailed forward explaining the book before the story begins.


In the forward, I can explain: This is history… and then talk about the realities of those years, how people will want it hidden and not discussed, and I am talking about it because it has to be shared or the memories of the things I went through will vanish. Sure, others have their own experiences and they can write about them, but these are mine. And I know because I know, these are not isolated and unique.

New Freedom to Write

This morning, I woke up to a new feeling of ease and comfort about my writing. I’ve been plowing along in NaNoWriMo (passed 40,000 words last night!), but have had that niggling, “What if?” feeling and then “What if” turned into something I had not consciously anticipated, but should have.

“That’s porn.”

It’s History

Now I have a way to mitigate at least some of the criticism that will rain on my pages once I get this thing out.

I’m very excited to write this morning.

NaNoWriMo: Scaffolding

I used to be a Pantser… a writer who writes by the seat of their pants without an outline. I was arrogantly proud of not using outlines and “just letting the words flow.”

Next, there are Plotters and they write with an outline that’s usually prepared before they start writing the book, but can also be altered during writing.

Outline? What’s an Outline?

I have been working (periodically) on In the Bushes (working title) for five years now. I worked on it during NaNoWriMo three years ago and won because I wrote 50,000 words that November. However, the last two NaNos were a bust for me because there was so much blurred, unorganized writing all I could do was skim what I had written and then try to find a place to pick up where I might have left off. It was impossible to move forward and I quit NaNo within the first week both years.

NaNoWriMo 2022 Scaffolding

After last year’s failure, I thought I should read up on outlines. Maybe I could use a teensy bit of organization? So I started reading.

I just looked in my Audible library and have read fifteen books specifically about outlines or have sections on outlines in them. In just the last year.

Information Confusion

Of course several of the books countered each other. Most said their way was The Best. Some were okay, but others I tossed aside as useless.

The two books that resonated most with me were Save the Cat! Writes a Novel and How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. I’m not going to explain either of them, just know they teach different ways of doing an outline and I combined them.

Becoming a Plantser

NaNoWriMo 2022 Scaffolding

I’ve since become a Plantser… a person who does a combination of both Pantsing and Plotting. Starting in June, about four months before Preptober, which is the month before NaNoWriMo in November, I began arranging my outline in Scrivener. I’ve written a lot of words in this WIP, but it needed arranging in some sort of order.

I started with years: 1978, 1982, and 1988, the three most prominent years in the book. Then I moved to locations: Orlando, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Orlando again. These I could move around as needed, but had specific parts to the story. I could move the cities to their proper years when I knew where they would go. I arranged the characters I had into the years I knew they would be in and for those whose years were still unknown, they went into their own folders.

When I was done moving people and folders around as if I were playing Backgammon, I made sure the title of the folder aligned with what was inside. Here’s a fun one: “DC ScabiesIwoJima.” In Scrivener, there’s a place for notes on the side and I write clearer notes about what my folder has inside. I’ll leave this one up to your imagination.

NaNoWriMo 2022 Scaffolding

Lastly, I wrote “NNWM next to the folders I wanted/needed to work on this NaNoWriMo. So the folder I mentioned above says: “NNWM DC ScabiesIwoJima.”

I rarely worked in chronological order when I was Pantsing. Now, however, I am going down the list, starting at 1978 and moving down, filling in what is next. And next. And next again.

Where is the Pantsing Part?

Sure, I’m doing a good deal of Plotting, but I do not have the amount of detail either the books or people have said I should have.

I do not write back stories for my characters. I don’t write what the motivations of the neighbor might be. I don’t go into the minutiae many books suggest. I am more loose with those aspects.

NaNoWriMo Ease

This is my first NaNoWriMo with any kind of an outline and the difference is amazing.

I am so organized. That is not a sentence either my mind or mouth has uttered much in my life.

The writing is flowing each day with complete ease and joy. I do not dread the page. I am not crying with frustration confused about where to start. When I start the next morning, I merely read the last sentence and move forward. I am not spending hours re-reading and editing what I had been writing for months and, quite sadly, years.

NaNoWriMo 2022 Scaffolding

It’s stunning how easy NaNo is this year. As of today, with ten more days left to get to 50,000 words, I have 35 thousand plus words. If I continue as I have been, I will get there a couple of days early.

The novel will not be finished. Not remotely so. I will have to re-write so much because I am seeing where I went wrong in other parts. I can see through the muck easier now that things are neater. They are not perfect, mind you. Just neater.

Scaling the Scaffolding

I see the outline more as scaffolding… people call it that a lot, apparently. I was writing a couple of days ago and a new character I had not anticipated walked in on a beam I did not see I had lain down for her. She wandered in easily, walked on that skyscraper’s beam as if she were walking in the garden grass, introduced herself to me and made herself a space in my book. I wondered where she would have gone had I not had the scaffolding up at all. Would I have found her? Seen her at all?

NaNoWriMo 2022 Scaffolding

What’s Perfect for YOU?

I would never presume to tell a Pantser to learn to outline. Each person finds their own paths to writing. I am trying not to be cranky with my Self about that stubbornness all those years when I “should” have at least tried another way when I found myself flailing for so long.

And I will give a little shoutout to hypomania for the ability to focus more. Here’s to mental illness!

NaNoWriMo: Filling My Plot Holes

As I said in my post this morning, I felt much better after coming up with a strategy for inserting sexual innuendos into my WIP. I have practiced with my writing all day long and am not doing a bad job of it, as you can see in this paragraph.

Hypomanic Writing

I wrote quite a bit today. The post this morning, my NaNo word count, and a work post as well. It feels good to have the words falling out of my fingers.

After my 24-hour work day on the 8th (did I mention that?), I was exhausted for the next six days, napping like I had not since before the hypomania. I thought for sure the 24-hour day had zapped my supply of energy and I was really not happy about it. But starting mid-day yesterday, I started waking up again. So when I wrote so much today, it felt fantastic!

And yeah, the clock is still doing its weird blue glowing crap it’s been doing for a couple of months. I ignore it for the most part.

Drag Queens: “Teach Me Tonight”

This version of  “Teach Me Tonight” was a frequent Drag standard in 1978ish.

On YouTube, there are great LGBT history videos that I’m watching to help jog my memory of the sexual innuendos I need for my WIP. Besides what I need them for, they are amazing pieces of historical art and I encourage you to take a look as well. As much as I know, I am still learning from the Drag Queens, Female Impersonators, Transwomen, and more. Really good stuff.

I look forward to writing more tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo: Plot Holes Abound

So I’m writing writing and it’s going great when all of a sudden, I write, “Lisa walked away, but turned her head and stuck out her tongue. Manny yelled, ‘Hey, I’ve got somewhere you can put that.'”

And I had a writing epiphany.

That was the first sexual innuendo I had written in 135,000 words. (No comment from the peanut gallery about my over-writing. I know.)

Naughty Allusions

The gay world I was in in the late 70s and early 80s was rife with sex talk of all kinds. (I assume life still is, beyond my work.) I experienced everything from double entendre to graphically obvious and everything inbetween. How could I have forgotten that until now? And what the holy (har) fuck (har har) am I going to do about it now?

Burying My Head in the Snow

I was so upset last night I crawled into bed and cried before putting old Christmas movies on TV and melting into pretty dancing dresses and Santa Clause.

In the back of my Christmas mind, I kept thinking about the thousands of gay sex comments and jokes I would need to dredge up in my memory so I could use about one hundred of them. My stomach hurt trying to come up with even one. (Well, except for that one there.)

Drag Shows

I learned much of my naughty banter from drag queens. The ones on RuPaul’s Drag Race are quite different than the ones whose shows I attended and where P would grab strangers’ groins (that is P and the pic is mine) and ask to see their packages unzipped.

(I included one of P’s shows at the bottom.)

Paul Wegman at Parliament House

First, I don’t think drag queens would be allowed to grab strangers’ crotches anymore and then public nudity would surely be a no-no, right? And none of that would go on RuPaul’s show at all since it is on TV.

Drag Queens on YouTube

Ahhh, my YouTube addiction shall be rewarded with watching some 1970s and 1980s drag shows!

Amusingly, my dear Queen (the band) is interspersed with drag queens. My search title was: “1970 Drag Queen Shows” and drag shows and 1970’s Queen shows both popped up. I couldn’t have smiled more. And my stomach ache went away.

Tons of Work Ahead (and Behind)

I suspect I will be inserting the innuendos, double entendre, and smutty comments during the editing process when I am finished with the book. I will try, from here on out, to include them in my writing.

I was shocked by my realization, but think I have a solution so am not so freaked out today.

Oh, and I have finished my word count for today, and it is only 8:30am: 28,099 total words for November. Wheee! Apparently I can write when the pressure is on.

NaNoWriMo: Pieces-Parts

Today is Day 12 of National Novel Writing Month/NaNoWriMo and I now have over 23,000 words of the 50,000 expected for the month. I am really proud of myself!

I’m listening to a couple of Playlists as I write, mainly my Sting and my Queen “Meditation” Playlists.

The songs I listen to by Sting are on the softer side, Symphonicities, music from The Living Sea: Soundtrack from the IMAX Film album, some The Soul Cages.

I’ve written about the gist of my Queen “Meditation” Playlist in my “Rabbit Hole: Track 13” post… ballads and most songs from the Made in Heaven album.

Pulling a Book Apart by the Words

I’m in an odd part in the writing.

First, I was working on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (what STInfections were called in the 70s) and my MC’s (main character) gay friends going to the Free Clinic every week for medication. These were weekly gatherings where they would go to lunch afterwards to drink gin and tonic or shots of tequila to wash the antibiotics down. Back then, it was so flippant. There was a pill for everything, so it was no big deal to get syphilis or gonorrhea or the other parasitical infections that were common.

That got heavy after about 2000 words so I moved on to drag queens and their clothes and how they taught my MC how to dress and wear makeup properly. Well, like a drag queen, actually. My MC sat in the back of the stage with the queens, watching them get made up and bite each other with words and laugh. Mostly laugh. There were some drugs, too, but that was ancillary. And lots and lots of smoking cigarettes.


It’s tough when the two sections become cause and effect.

I was having a grand time writing about my MC dreaming about dressing in drag and spinning around in chiffon dresses or walking down the runway in bugle bead evening gowns when she had a vision of her favorite queen getting very sick and dying.

My own heart fell knowing this drag queen in real life and knew the circumstances of her death from AIDS, which is where the book is leading. The sadder parts are coming and my heart hurts knowing that.

Sometimes writing is hard, but not in the ways one typically thinks of writing challenges.

I will keep going. It needs to be said.

And read.

NaNoWriMo Inspiration

A woman in one of my forums was ready to quit (a common feeling about this point, Day 10, in NaNoWriMo) and I had a moment of clarity about something other than sexually transmitted diseases and bath houses and shared this with her:

Wayyyyyy long story very abbreviated, I’m watching musicians and artists and analyzing how they do what they do. One sidelight that has come to me as a writer is that they practice. A lot. When they feel like crap. When they just finished a concert. When their paintings are on the wall of the Louvre. They practice. Thousands of their pieces (musical/artistic/glass/etc.) are abandoned or broken or tossed (sometimes in anger!) to get to that ONE that might make it through to anyone seeing or hearing it. Even that isn’t a guarantee.

Why should my art come any easier? Why shouldn’t I also have to write millions of letters, thousands upon thousands of words that are for naught, just to get to one phrase (not even a full sentence!) that might lead to something that resembles a story years down the line?

So I keep going. I hope you do, too.

So discouraged artist, composer, musician, athlete, and of course, writer, please promise me you will keep going.

I will if you will.

Bipolar Diary & NaNoWriMo

Fluorescent Fingers

I was typing yesterday, like I do for hours and hours daily, and then I started seeing colors. They were fluorescent and seemed to be coming from my fingers. Confused, wondering if I had stuck my fingers somewhere I didn’t remember (you know how you get marker streaks or bruises that seem to come out of nowhere), I looked closely at my fingers. There was nothing on them.

As soon as I started typing again, there were the flashes of colors. Were they coming from the taps? That’s not what it looked like. They looked almost flame-like, licking the air around my first knuckle. The colors, really the colors of fluorescent markers, that bright green, orange, yellow, and blue, were what was dancing around my fingers.

They still are and only when I’m typing, but I have to say, it is quite distracting.

More than the clock which is, in case you wondered, still having intermittent sparks and glowing itself. It’s tormenting me. I know it has an agenda. (Is that psychotic? What I just said? haha!)

Bipolar Visual Hallucinations

Fluorescent NaNo

It’s oh so (not fun) typing for NaNoWriMo, trying for 1667 words a day, with flames emanating from either my fingers or the keyboard. I still can’t figure out which.

I’m trying to play along as I collect words for NaNoWriMo and am doing well. We are on Day 4 and I have completed 9735 words so far. 6668 words is the typical Day 4 goal and I am above that which is good because I have a constant work day on Tuesday and will not be writing, so trying to jump ahead to compensate.

Queen Walks Into My Novel

Queen NaNoWriMo

I swear it fits! It happened organically. I was writing along, fluorescent colors flicking up my fingers, and then the next moment, Queen was in my WIP.

I saw Queen in 1978 and there was a huge to-do about Freddie Mercury being a “fag” (the common word my group of gay friends used and I use throughout my novel) and I was going to the concert, well, because I loved Queen, but in my novel, the guys are charging my lead character, Lisa, to go see for herself if he is as gay as they say (who “they” are or where they said it is beyond me). Lisa’s friends gathered together $6.50 for the ticket (impossible for Lisa to have had at that time) and she got a friend from a kind of friend of a friend, having to exchange “favors” for the ride, and she went to the concert.

Queen NaNoWriMo
Roger and Freddie high-5 with Bri in the background. Montreal 1981

See how happy Queen is to be in my book?

Me, too! (Even if it is the weirdest thing ever. Maybe that’s what’s psychotic!)

NaNoWriMo & More

Days 1 and 2 of NaNoWriMo were a success (both days exceeding the 1667 words needed to stay on track) and it’s going surprisingly well. I often start well and fade as the month goes on, so let’s see how I am in a couple of weeks.


The Editor in My Fingers

I have always edited as I write. Always. My “drafts” are usually good enough to publish/print and that’s just the way I have always done things. Even writing these books I have been working on for nigh on five years. It’s definitely kept me from getting any traction to finish.


A few days ago, I had a dream that told me to write like I tell stories out loud. Just “speak” them onto the paper (keyboard). I practiced for three days before NaNo and it went surprisingly well. But what about when the pressure is on and I begin to think about editing all of this garble in the future? 

Don’t think.

Just write.

Talking Story to the Computer

These two days were so easy to get the words out without my constantly trying to think of a better word, making sure I don’t put too many adverbs in, getting the timeline correct.


Just write.

So I just wrote. 

NaNo Forums

I belong to a great forum for older writers and we are all so supportive of each other. Again, it is only Day 2, but I like several of the folks there and they seem to like me okay.

I’ve been asked several times to join Discord, but I have demurred. I do have to work during this month and have a lot of writing to do there, too. Besides my 2000 NaNo words this morning, I wrote an 800 word essay that was needed at the last minute. I have to Tweet and and and… blah blah. 


So no Discord. No new distractions even though I know it would be fun and might be helpful. Actually proud of myself for saying no to an invite. I must be growing up.

The Clock Still Glows

I really am still in this hypomanic state. It’s working well for NaNoWriMo, so not complaining.

My Morning Ritual


I tell the boys (Deacy, Freddie, Brian, and Roger) good morning, turn on the Playlist for the writing at that moment (shockingly, not always Queen!), light the candle, put the candle in front of Buddha, get two cans of Diet Coke (that I am hoarding as if it was TP in 2020), then sit down and begin writing. This is usually around 4am.

Feels like a good rhythm so far.

PrepTober: Today’s NaNoWriMo Prep

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, aka November… the month when many writers challenge themselves to write 1667 words a day for 30 days, or 50,000 words in a month.

50,000 words is the length of a typical novel.

What’s to Prepare?

Folks in my life chuckle when I say I’m going to “prepare” for NaNoWriMo.

“Don’t you just sit down and start typing?”

In theory, yes, but writing that many words in a month is daunting. 1667 words is about five and a half pages. Not book pages, but computer pages. 250 words a page.

No big deal, right? I sit at the computer all freakin’ day long typing anyway.


Damn, the AC isn’t blowing out cool enough air. The path to get there is blocked by the Diet Cokes and the case of water. The large trash bag needs to go out and that’s in front of the computer table that has the water and Diet Cokes under it. It won’t move out of the way until I move all of the crap first. I need to get the vacuum cleaner thingie… the small one with just the right attachment so it will suck up the dirt in the weird AC filter area. And that’s in the back. I’ll have to turn the AC around, but make sure I don’t pull the hose out of the AC unit or the window or I will be seriously screwed trying to get them back where they are supposed to go. Every time I turn the AC, water pours out of the bottom, so I will need to make sure to have plenty of washcloths and towels near, but I’ll have to hang them on my shoulder because I will have moved the table out of the way to get to the AC. I have to unplug something on the plug tower to plug the vacuum thing in… what will I unplug? I guess the fan. Damn, it’s going to get hotter in here. I better get this done fast.

See my dilemma? If I was going to do this on a NaNoWriMo day, half my day would be taken up by scut work instead of writing.

Diversion Definition: Scut, aka Scut Work – work no one wants to do but that has to get done anyway. Often the least senior person on a team is relegated to scut work. This is a common term in the medical world and where I learned it first. Drawing blood, starting IVs, taking vitals, cleaning bedpans, cleaning instruments, making sterile packs, etc. are all considered scut work.

NaNoWriMo 2022

Stop Hopping Around

See how my mind can jump around? Probably like yours, but in different ways. So when I sit down to write during NaNoWriMo (and what I “should” do any time I sit down to write), I need to not wander the Internet, not search for definitions, not look for music to listen to, and certainly not watch YouTube videos.

Oh Yeah, Preptober

I needed a prep for Preptober, but am catching up now.

I’m looking around my space and getting things done that I can ahead of time.

  • Making a couple of playlists (Plenty of writers have a playlist for each character! I am not that particular.)
  • Filling my medication boxes
  • Making a menu so I don’t have to think, just toss something in the microwave
  • Keeping up with the laundry
  • Cleaning the room well and then keeping it clean
  • Etc.

<sarcasm> I’m sure this was the most fun blog post you’ve read in a long time. </sarcasm>

Off to see what else I can prep!

Oh, and I did get the AC filters cleaned, the trash out, and the Diet Cokes and water restacked and every surface cleaned and the floors vacuumed.

Too bad I can’t sleep or I’d take a nap.

One of My Main Characters Died IRL

While my work-in-progress, In the Bushes, is a novel, it is an Autobiographical Novel and there are composites of real people that make up the characters.

Non-Composite George

One of my friends from my 1978 gay days, George -the name he chose for his character- is being written as his real self. He’d be easily distinguishable because he was widely known.


Can you see me wince?

My real life friend George died a few weeks ago. My heart aches missing him.

And now I’m at a place where I’m lost as to how to continue with his character. He is integral to the story and being gone doesn’t really move the plot along.

(This feels incredibly morbid even talking about him in this manner, but I have to imagine others have similar issues, yes?)

Real Life Mimics Novel Life -or is it the other way around?

It never occurred to me to ask George what he would prefer I do if he died. Talk about morbid! He was active in the theater community and loved being the main focus of attention, so I like to think he would tell me to just go for it. Make George anything I want or need him to be, just let him have fun.

We had a great deal of history with each other, starting when I was 17 years old and ran into him at the front door of the Parliament House’s sprawling complex. Immediately, we went from acquaintances to confidantes and eventually roommates in several locations. We knew each other well.

We lived for the drag shows. We befriended folks in the piano bar. We disco danced quite clumsily.

When I had my kids, he was a sweet friend who supported me through my foray into straight life.

And now he’s gone.

Where to Go From Here

This is the challenging part of the “autobiographical novel,” – how much is me and how much is creativity?

I’ve pondered how to move forward for these weeks and think I’ve decided to let George lead the way. He does yack with me, so I could ask him what he wants to do next. I could let him have control of my hand and just write it out. I could listen as he dictates his desires then wake up and write the notes quickly lest I forget his words.

I could do all of that.

I miss George.

3 Generations at NaNoWriMo 2022

After being censored out of NaNoWriMo back in March 2022, I vowed to ignore National Novel Writing Month in November, but my daughter Meghann talked me into joining her last night. She and her daughter/my granddaughter are going to participate.

How Could I Refuse?

Three generations doing a NaNoWriMo together? How cool is that?

(Thanks to the dear friend who said, “three generations”; it hadn’t even dawned on me!)

NaNoWriMo for Young Writers

I didn’t know there was a program for writers under 18 years old. They say they start at 13, but for those under that age, with parents along for the ride, they, too, are welcome. I can’t wait to watch my granddaughter’s writing unfolding.

My Own NaNo Prep Begins

I have re-opened my NaNoWriMo Dashboard and updated my profile. The saddest part is having to say, “My project this year is a rollover from 3 years ago.”

What happened to completing a novel in one month? Here I am three freakin’ years later still on the same project. Ugh! That’s just sad. I better make some progress this year or I am really going to be angry at myself.

NaNoWriMo 2022

I know I “shouldn’t” be angry. I am just a slow writer who struggles with finishing things. It has been a part of my life always, starting something with great enthusiasm then petering out. Ugh. I am embarrassed to even admit that.


For the next couple of days, I will get my Scrivener in order. I write in Scrivener, a wonderful program that keeps things beautifully neat and allows writing in a plethora of ways and styles depending on how one writes, keep notes… Planner, Pantser, or (like me) a Planster.

As a Planster, I have a sort of outline, but I also write out of order and spontaneously, changing the outline when I feel it needs to be different. Planners are meticulous order-keepers. I can’t do that.

Save The Cat!

I used to be a Pantser, but read 1000 How-To-Write-A-Book books and saw the benefit of outlines. I tried incorporating them, ending up with a variation on the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet mixed with…

NaNoWriMo 2022

…The Hero’s Journey

I mix Save the Cat! with the Hero’s Journey.

The Save the Cat! Beat Sheet is, to me, simpler and I can embellish highs and lows in the basic outline. Combining them both, with a loose connection, allows me to move freely through my writing.

Besides being a story with an actual journey, my WIP, In the Bushes, has Lisa traveling through her life, inner and outer, as she comes to terms with the lives and deaths of so many around her. The Hero’s Journey works well with those aspects.

NaNoWriMo 2022

Heroine’s Journey

Being the good feminist I am, I tried to map out the Heroine’s Journey, but there were parts that didn’t work so well. I know it shouldn’t matter, but my book feels like it has a lot of masculine energy so the Hero’s Journey seemed to work better.

NaNoWriMo 2022

Confusion to Order

My Scrivener has been a mess, but now I keep it pretty neat.

When it was messy, I was writing scenarios and they seemed to be chapters all on their own, but they were too short for a chapter. Chapters are between 1500 and 8000 words. I feel good with chapters about 4000 words (16 book pages), when I read and when I write.

I’ve moved short scenarios that I thought were chapters into one full-sized chapter and that feels good. If I had a small section on a party (1000+ words), I combined it with the part that explained who lived at the house and who attended the gathering (>1500+  words) and added the day after the party’s section (1500+ words), making it all one chapter with 4000+ words.

Combining the smaller sections has neatened things considerably and it’s helped me to have some sort of sequence I can follow.

“On My Way Up!”

I feel good prepping for NaNoWriMo at the moment. The focus ahead seems doable. I just have to remember to work, too, not just write. (I tend to get hyper-focused and have a hard time multi-tasking sometimes.)

Preptober has begun.

I am on my way up!

Censored Out of NaNoWriMo Forum!

I’ve been on the periphery of the NaNoWriMo community since 2018. I have never really found “my crew.” So as I was trying to “find my crew” in the LGBTQIA+ group, preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2022, I thought I would try to find others who were of like minds.

I wrote:

Old Femme Dyke Looking for Other Old Homos (Most Un-PC Thread Ever)

taking a big deep breath

“I’m a 60+ year old femme dyke and am writing a semi-autobiographical novel about the years between 1978 and 1988, immediately pre- and post-AIDS. It’s mostly uplifting – filled with fun and joy, sex and way too many drugs, and includes a road trip (of course).

“I’m keeping the vernacular of the time, hence wanting to talk to others who were in the discos – the glory holes, the bath houses, etc. – during those years. I was a fag hag who lived with groups of gay men, so was privy to their sexual lives. While graphic sex isn’t the driving factor of what I’m writing, it is definitely the undercurrent throughout. (And I am not wanting to have sexual discussions here!)

“Adding another layer, I was coming out as a femme lesbian in a world filled with androgynous women. Drag Queens were my sister-friends. Trans folks were rare, so have bit parts in the book. (One of the hundreds of Un-PC things being written.)

“I am also wanting companionship as I recall those who died without hope and without their families.

“Gads, this is complicated. Anyone?”

Reply from the Moderators

Intro to automated one:


“This is an automated message from NaNoWriMo to let you know that your post was hidden.”

That was boring.

Highlights of the individualized email:

“Your post has been hidden because of the language of your title and in the body of your post.”

“… inflammatory words.”

“… you are part of the community”

“… you have every right to reclaim that word …”

“… we support the community reclaiming those words …”

“… seeing these words can still be triggering …”

“Thank you for understanding.”

My Response

“Well, ‘understanding’ is probably not the word I would use, (name removed), but since I have no choice in the matter, that pretty much is the end of it.

“You and I both know that ‘inflammatory’ words are in the eyes and ears of the beholder. These words are not inflammatory to me at all, never have been, even in the cruelest and most volatile of years.

“It’s certainly going to be interesting to see this book in the hands of the public some day. I better build my walls of armor now.

“This reminds me of the 1978 book called Faggots by Larry Kramer (I encourage you to look it up) when the gay community went berserk with his disclosing what they wanted to keep hidden. I can relate!

“Instead of feeling thwarted, I am empowered to move forward faster.

“Thanks for the sword!

“Barb Herrera”

Where Do I Belong?

Zack (pre-transition) and me standing in line to get married in San Francisco, CA on February 16, 2004

I called my former partner, my Beloved Zack, to ask, “Where do I belong if I don’t belong with my tribe?” He was so kind and said, quite emphatically, “NOT IN THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY!”

He recounted a discussion at a Transman meeting after his phalloplasty and they were talking about penises in general and someone stood and said “My girlfriend” (who was sitting in the meeting of transmen), “is triggered by the word ‘penis'” and expected the discussion to stop. Zack told the guy to take care of his girlfriend by ushering her outside if she did not take care of herself by removing herself from the transmen meeting.

That was the last Trans meeting Zack went to.

Again, Where Do I Belong?

Me, San Diego Gay Pride 1987

So, am I so old that I really do not even belong in the gay community anymore? What about my feelings of ostracization and feelings of experiencing ageism?

I have marched and written reams of articles fighting for lesbian rights, gay rights, lesbian mothers’ rights, gays in the military, gay marriages … I’ve spoken on local and national TV news programs … and now I am marginalized? Now my own experiences are moot because I am old?

Zack and I in the news after our San Francisco wedding.

Now I am not needed because those rights have been won and it was so long ago, the fight doesn’t even matter anymore? Because no one alive in these groups remembers the people who fought for them?


Who the fuck did they think won these rights for them?

Now I am not needed because I am not PC? Because my words don’t “fit” with the younger mindsets? Because the vernacular changed while I was out fighting for their rights?

Me, San Diego Pride Parade 1987

Where Are My People?

Zack told me to find an older group of liberal straight writers to work with. I have no idea where they are, but will begin a search. (Thank you, Google!)

Isn’t that kind of sad? Isn’t that really sad?

I think so.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

The goal for National Novel Writing Month is to scribble out 50,000 words on a new piece of work. I did it! Actually, 51,000 words (204 book pages) by November 30, 2020. I am so proud of myself.

The Autobiographical Novel/Historical Novel (not sure which it would be considered yet) about life before and after AIDS took amazing turns as I was a Planster (someone who does an outline, but also allows the characters unfold as they want to). I have whole characters that birthed themselves and a relationship between mother and daughter was born. I don’t quite know what to do with them yet because that was not in the original outline. I have never written a novel before so I am reading everything I can about how to do one, but not sure I will find answers in someone else’s books.

We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I WON!!!

NaNoWriMo & More

Today was Day 12 of National Novel Writing Month and I am kicking ass at writing! I have met, or surpassed, my goal of 1667 words every day since Day 1. Today, I went over 20,000 words towards the required 50,000 to “win” NaNo.

President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris won. I breathed for the first time in 4 years a couple of days ago. I cannot wait until the dumpster fire is gone from our once-beautiful White House.

My Fibonacci Therapy is AMAZING. I really do not know how to even explain it except a lot of “seeing” and “changing” things around in my mind. It is more than The Secret kind of seeing, it is seeing my own mind shifting.

I’ve relieved a great deal of my feet and right ankle pain. In 1996, I went to a pain therapist who taught me Biofeedback and Self-Hypnosis and I used that knowledge for decades, but as I have gotten older, I either have forgotten how to get in that healing zone or have become resistant, so this therapy is reminding me -and teaching me new ways I never knew before- to relieve the pain in my body.

Things are good. We’ll see what happens with the Novel I am writing. It is rather pornographic at times. I wonder if it will be sold in the Fantasy Adult Bookstore and Glory Holes next to the Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

In the meantime, I am writing writing writing!

NaNoWriMo 2020

Today is Day 2 of National Novel Writing Month and I am giving it a go again this year.

Project Shift

I thought I was going to be working on my Psychological Thriller about a serial killing midwife, but last year’s project demanded I regroup and work on her.

So, I am back to In the Bushes (working title). The book initially began as a memoir, but it is about gay life between 1978 and 1982 and I struggled with it last year because of outing issues, along with the drugs and rampant sex. Then a few weeks ago, I learned there is something called an Autobiographical Novel, using the outline of one’s life, but creating an entire story mixing fact and fiction and voila! All my concerns were gone. I wasn’t going to out anyone and I could talk about sex and drugs all I wanted without incriminating anyone.

Still Some Ongoing Issues

Between tropes and fetishizing, I worry what people will think. My life was very white, but for the sexual experiences with black men (several characters prefer black men sexually) and that will surely not go over very well.

The main concern is the religious right will, once again, say, “See? They got what they deserved” by having such indiscriminate sex and extreme hedonism.

But I am writing.

And that is a very good thing.

NaNoWriMo Again!

National Novel Writing Month begins at midnight tonight… November 1, 2019. I did NaNo last year and wrote around 30,000 words. Not the 50,000 word goal, but not bad.


Yes, 50,000 words in a month. That’s the purpose of NaNo. That is 1667 words a day. If I am being prolific, I can do around 700 a day, sometimes up to 1000. But consistently? Not so much.

I have 4 Works in Progress… 3 Memoirs and 1 Psychological Thriller. The one I am working on for NaNo is (working title) In the Bushes: Gay Life before AIDS. I spent a lot of time in the gay community from 1978-1982 and have fabulous stories to share about those crazy times before my friends started to die around me. I’ve already begun, have just over 7000 words so far, and the book is unfolding beautifully. My goal for November is to write those 50,000 words.


The NaNoWriMo community is amazingly supportive. Tons of forums… many serious, others completely frivolous. I closed my Facebook for the month, but must stay out of the NaNo forums until my daily numbers are met.


And so I am off to write. Wish me well!


NaNoWriMo Redux

National Novel Writing Month kicks my arse!

After getting off to a blazing start, I petered out a little past mid-month… which, it seems, is pretty common. Instead of the 50,000 word goal, I ended up with 35,111 words, which is, admittedly, about 35,000 more words than I have written in the last 6 months. My goal was not a novel, since I do not write novels, but to do a slew of posts for here. Hey, I did that! I still have 8-10 in drafts, waiting for pictures before popping out whole.

However, around Day 6, a fiction story started pouring out of my fingers. Huh? Where did that come from? I have no idea, but sharing it with my audience of one (another besides myself), it seems to be coming out as a pretty decent story.

Not having written complete fiction before, I knew I was making horrendous mistakes, including with dialogue. A group in Second Life (My NaNoWriMos!) suggested several books and I quickly acquired those. Poring through those, I am able to write more clearly than the earlier pages.

My writer friends also suggested Scrivener, a program specifically for writers.


I loooooovvvvveeeee Scrivener. I did not start learning it until after midnight on December 1, but, so far, it has helped me so so much with my organization and being able to put things down on paper that I am usually carrying around in my head.

This is the synopsis of what I am writing.

Witness Mistress Lara’s training of Esmé , a natural submissive, to her eventual collaring by her new Owner, Master John. The path is not without its obstacles, Esmé requiring not only gentle guidance, but sometimes harsh punishments… neither of which are what they might seem at first blush. Everyone, from Dominants to submissives, learn what it means to maintain their roles and when it might be necessary to cross the lines.

(Title of Book [still unknown]) exposes the intertwined connections between BDSM, sex and love.

How far would you go to prove your innate worthiness to someone you desire?

Dang, I can write a decent synopsis! Hopefully the book is as yummy.

Re-reading it, I can already see the changes I have made because I learned I needed a Villain or three. A Villain?! Really? So I found her (the first?) and am doing her backstory. She seems so tender and was so hurt in her youth, you can hardly help but care for her. Oooo, until she does naughty things to Esmé.

I’m really having fun watching this story unfold. I have some idea of where it is going, but am much more a Seat-of-the-Pants kind of writer… not much of a planner it seems. I can’t wait to see what, if anything, ends up with what I have written. For all I know, it could be a short story instead of a novel.

We shall see.