Sunday, December 8, 2013

Only by Moonlight Nominated for Fandom Choice Awards!!


Wonderful news!!! 

Only by Moonlight has been nominated for Best Supporting Cast in the 2014 Fandom Choice Awards!! 

Basically, the Fandom Choice Awards are similar to the Academy Awards, but for Twilight Fan Fiction. Only the seven stories with the highest vote counts in each category become nominees, and voting is going on currently. :) 

Here's the link for voting: Fandom Choice Awards: Vampire

Voting is open from December 1, 2013--January 3, 2014. I would really appreciate your taking the time to vote for Only by Moonlight for Best Supporting Cast!!! (It's Question #25 of 29, so it's near the bottom.) 

I can't tell you how very THRILLED BEYOND WORDS I am about this nomination!! I couldn't be happier!!! 

And you make YOU happier, I just sent **two** chapters of Only by Moonlight to my amazing and uber-talented pre-reader, ladylibre, tonight. :)  They need a lot of work, but I hope to get the first chapter up within a week or so, and the second one up by Christmas. :)

So I thank all of those who nominated Only by Moonlight and I'll really thank you for voting!!!! 

And I especially thank ladylibre--this story would literally not exist if it weren't for her stellar and clever ideas. And I also thank all of my incredible readers on Wattpad.com and FanFiction.net--you all inspire me!! 

Doing a definite Happy Dance,
~Cassandra :)
xxxooo

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recognition from Wattpad...and Apologies


Yesterday I received a very cool recognition from Wattpad for being one of their most-read authors! Here's the little widget they sent. As I couldn't fit it in my sidebar (darn!), I thought I'd share it here.

And I apologize for not updating Only by Moonlight. I had grand plans for writing my heart our for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and generating chapter after chapter of raw material for the story. I got a good start going...until I saw my class list for my new online class: Literary Analysis: The Great Gatsby. Most of my literary analysis classes have 8-10 students, occasionally 12 at most. But this class was FULL. At capacity.

Twenty students.

20.

The big 2-0.

Crap was my first thought. There goes NaNoWriMo.

And I've already pulled two all-nighters since class began on November 4, trying to keep up on all of our amazing discussions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel--perhaps the most important American novel of the 20th century--and perhaps of all American literature. The students are incredible. Ranging in ages from 13-17, they are wonderful and insightful writers. I adore them all.


But they are keeping me far busier than I've ever been in teaching any class in my nearly twelve years of teaching online classes to homeschoolers.

They're writing three major responses to discussion questions per week, then commenting on each other's responses as well. Multiply those six posts (minimum) per week times twenty students, and I have a minimum of 120 posts to read and comment on per week. Plus I still have my Expository Essay I and II classes I teach at our homeschool co-op and--oh, yeah--my own two teen boybarians to homeschool.

It's crazy. Fun, but crazy.

So that's where I've been this month--NOT doing NaNoWriMo and NOT working on my stories very much. But teaching my own kids and other students is my other passion, one that was confirmed to me in a very unusual way last night.

So I needed this affirmation from Wattpad about my writing during a month when I've felt disappointed and a wee bit guilty for not being able to pursue NaNoWriMo and Only by Moonlight (and a second story I've started writing by hand in a composition book with my trusty fountain pen). So, thanks, Wattpad, for being so good to me!! :)

So back to writing in December, I hope!! 

Love to you all,
~Cassandra 
xxxooo

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wishing and Hoping and Thinking....





Well, this fall has been absolutely, mind-bogglingly crazy. With teaching an online Literary Analysis class in American Poetry (and having to grade 200+ essays over three weeks) which overlapped with the online MLA Research Essay class (first drafts are due tomorrow), plus teaching the high school Expository Essay I and II classes at our homeschool group's co-op Class Days (we are part of the largest private homeschool group in the state of California), and homeschooling our two younger boys in grades 8 and 11, I've been buried.


So why in the world am I wanting to try National Novel Writing Month again?

Because it really works. It's an amazing rush to freewrite a 50,000 word novel in a mere thirty days, and I'd love to pick up Only by Moonlight and push through, accompanying the characters on their journey.

But the cold, hard reality is that I have another online Literary Analysis class starting November 4 on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. And Literary Analysis classes are super-duper labor-intensive. We'll be discussing the novel for three weeks, each student submitting responses to three discussion questions per week plus detailed comments on two responses by other students in the class. So that's a total of 27 short essays written per student over three weeks. Then in the final week, the students will be watching a film version of the novel (either the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie or the 1974 Robert Redford one) and then submitting a Final Writing Project: a formal essay written from four choices: a letter from one character to another, a formal movie review, a five-paragraph essay comparing or contrasting two characters, or a less formal exploratory essay focusing on one of the themes of the book. I'll have to track all of the points for the nine discussion question essays, the eighteen comments on other students' discussion essays, and the grade for the Final Writing Project--all within one month.

And I'll still be teaching and grading essays for the Expository Essay I and II courses at Class Day plus teaching my 8th and 11th graders at home.    

So I don't know how much (or how little) I will be able to write for NaNoWriMo, but I will try. Since I offer extra credit points for each 1,000 words logged for NaNoWriMo for my Expository Essay class, I need to be writing at least something myself. And I guess writing anything for NaNoWriMo is better than writing nothing at all, right?

We also do NaNoWriMo in our town's little writing workshop which meets on a monthly basis, so I'll need to at least try for them as well.    

So we'll see. I am hoping to send Chapter 10 of Only by Moonlight to my amazing pre-reader, ladylibre, later today and then post it by Sunday (despite having first drafts of the MLA research essays to comment on and the first five-paragraph essays for my Expository Essay class to grade this weekend).

And then...NaNoWriMo!!

Onward!!

~Cassandra
xxxooo

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buried in Work (Again)



It's that time of year again.

Yep, I'm back to work after a busy and exhausting summer. This is what I'm up to now...

I'm three weeks into homeschooling our younger two kids in grades 8 and 11. I need to grade their quizzes, tests, and essays for this week and schedule their assignments for next week...today.

I'm two weeks (and about five days behind) in teaching an online class in analyzing American poetry. Not only do I have to respond to about 100 posts, but I also have to write and post their next five assignments...all today.

I have another online class on the MLA research essay starting tomorrow, and have to post their first week's assignments...today.

I have a literary curriculum on Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan to write...today.

So, needless to say, I have only written about 800 words of Chapter 10 for Only by Moonlight...which I should be posting...today. It obviously isn't happening.

(But I can tell you that I've written right up to the beginning of the Halloween party....)

In addition to all the work pressures, three of our four kids are struggling with some kind of chronic health issue, one quite serious (as in seizure-serious). And all the stress about their health has affected mine so that I'm in much more pain than usual from rheumatoid athritis and much more exhausted than usual from chronic fatigue syndrome. I've been up working until 2:00-4:00 AM almost every night for the past two weeks.

I hope to get back to writing as soon as humanly possible--not only for you my readers, but also for my own sanity. I need to write in order to remain mentally healthy, and I hate being unable to express myself creatively. I need that.  

Thanks for listening to me whine a bit--and thanks for understanding my schedule. I'll write as soon as I can--for my own sake as well as for you all.

Take care, my friends, and be good to each other.

Warmly,
~Cassandra
xxxooo 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer (Almost) Past


Sigh.

I had such major plans for writing this summer. I had hoped to produce 30,000 words in July via Camp NaNoWriMo and to post weekly chapters of Only by Moonlight.

But then a fire scare right after July 4 put us in an uproar. Our small town (pop.1200) is surrounded on all sides by national forest and is located in a valley at 4,000 feet elevation at the base of Mount Laguna--about an hour's drive east of San Diego, California. A raging fire started in the desert, climbed the backside of the mountain range, and then threatened Mount Laguna which is a tiny town of fewer than 100 full-time residents but boasts many campgrounds and hundreds of part-time residences (i.e., cabins that can't be lived in as a primary residence as they're on forestry lands).

My parents bought such a cabin in 1997, and we cram as many as 25 people into the 600-square-foot cabin for Christmas Dinner every year. Major holidays are usually celebrated at the cabin--in fact, there have been several "White Easters" in which we were tempted to NOT dye the eggs and make it really fun to find them in the snow.

The Chariot Fire endangered all of Mount Laguna which was evacuated, including my parents' cabin. When the fire jumped Sunrise Highway, we knew we were in for trouble.

Eventually the evacuation zone came within a mile of our home and the fire burned up to the mouth of a canyon that ends at the north side of our town. Fortunately, the winds shifted suddenly, and the fire started burning back on itself rather than barreling down the canyon. Still, with the fire burning six miles away, it was scary.

We were warned to prepare to evacuate, so the kids and I gathered photo albums, important papers, and packed suitcases with clothing for a few days.

And did I mention that my husband wasn't home during this time? I was left at home with four kids and a '91 Toyota Corolla which wouldn't hold much should we be evacuated. He did make it home briefly to switch cars with me and leave me the minivan. Whew--that was one blessing.

Another blessing (besides the winds shifting--yay!!!) was Facebook. I stumbled across a Facebook group for fires in our area, and they posted links to the CalFire audio feeds, constantly updating maps of the burn area, eyewitness reports via Facebook and blogs of what was happening on the mountain, etc.

Over 7,000 acres burned and 150 structures were destroyed, most of them cabins on forestry lands which then cannot be replaced. Five firefighters were injured, none seriously. And at the end of the week, rains came and soaked the ground, helping firefighters to gain the upper hand and douse the monster that had just seemed invincible before.

So with packing, days of tense watching and waiting, and then unpacking again, my autoimmune issues reacted to my stress and flared up painfully. Plus three of our four kids are not healthy. Our daughter has a gene mutation that causes chronic fatigue and depression. Our eldest son has been having pain and swelling in his joints and muscles, culminating in a seizure last week (we're waiting for a call from the hospital to schedule an EEG), and our youngest son may have a congenital hernia which is messing with his digestive system and needs imaging done.

Did I mention that my husband is self-employed and we have no health insurance?

Plus I taught an online fan fiction class for four weeks which took a good deal of my writing time away. I had eight students ages 11-14, with one from Australia and one from Canada; the rest were from the US. It was intriguing that several of the students were not homeschooled; they were taking the class for fun because they were devotees of writing fan fiction stories. It was a great class.

Here is the class description from the transcript forms I send out at the end of class:

Course description: The Fan Fiction course focuses on the writing of three fan fiction stories over four weeks: one flash fiction story of fewer than 1,000 words, a second fan fiction story or chapter of 1,500 words minimum, and a third story or continuing chapter of a multi-chapter work of fan fiction with a 2,000 word minimum. After receiving written feedback in detail from classmates as well as from the instructor, students revise and resubmit their final two stories at the end of the course. In addition, two character-preparation freewrites are assigned early in the course to aid fan fiction writers in developing believable characters. In addition to exploring and defining the genre of fan fiction writing, students also read and offer an informal written analysis of several fan fiction stories from different genres (books, films, television, video games, anime, etc.) in addition to offering written feedback on a minimum of six stories written by classmates. Problem areas of fiction writing are also addressed and discussed, including: learning terms and techniques of literary analysis, analyzing story elements, writing convincing and compelling characters, plotting and mapping strategies for stories, writing believable (and correctly punctuated) dialog, following the steps of the writing process, revising and editing stories, overcoming writer’s block, completing a multi-chapter story/novel, and preparing to publish fan fiction online or in print form.   

I still have to grade the final stories this week, but they should go fairly quickly since the students have revised the two main stories (1,500 and 2,000 word minimum) that they wrote earlier for the class.
 
So Camp NaNoWriMo fell by the wayside pretty darn quickly, but I have posted a few chapters of Only by Moonlight  and am currently working on Chapter 8 which I hope to send to my brilliant and invaluable pre-readers ladylibre and EmmyDana tonight. :)
 
Year # 17 of home schooling begins in just over two weeks with our younger two starting eighth and eleventh grades. I'll also be teaching my new online class Literary Analysis: American Poetry (which I still need to write and plan) starting September 3, and my co-op high school Expository Essay course starting September 12. My Essay Grading Service for homeschoolers is also picking up speed as I just added a family with tenth grade triplets to  my client list, so they'll keep me busy.  
 
I hope to keep up with regular chapter updates for Only by Moonlight, but with these chapters being quite a bit longer than my chapters for my other multi-chapter fics, I may have to post a chapter every other week. My chapters for Evening Star and Pinned but Fluttering were around 2500 words while chapters for Only by Moonlight have been 4000-5000 words. 
 
So with summer ending soon, I just wanted to let you know what I've been up to and what's ahead. And I'm both ecstatic and sad that pattyrose's brilliant The Cullen Legacy completed today with the epilogue. I'd have to rate this story in my Top Fan Fiction stories along with (in no particular order):
So, I wish you a wonderful final weeks of summer!! Now I'm going to grade final fan fiction stories for my class and work on Chapter 8 of Only by Moonlight for all of you!!

Writing for you,

Cassandra :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime!



Yes, I graded my final essay for my online classes and e-mailed all the graded essays and transcript forms to the high school students in my Shakespeare Literary Analysis course on Friday, and now I have time to WRITE!!

Since January, my schedule has been crazy. Besides home schooling three teen boys in grades 7, 10, and 12, I've taught two co-op writing classes for high school students with a total of 16 students since September. Meeting on average twice each month for a total of 18 classes, the students basically turn in ten expository essays each plus an MLA style research essay which takes eight weeks from start to finish (not counting my grading time) and also do an informal oral presentation on their research project for the class.

Then since January, I've taught quite a few online classes: a 4-week grammar family workshop, a 4-week intensive literary analysis course on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, a 4-week poetry writing family workshop, a 4-week Shakespeare family workshop, and a 4-week intensive literary analysis course on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. During this same time, I also put together most of a grammar e-book based on the grammar familyworkshop course and helped to proofread/edit a 10-month language arts curriculum textbook on "partnership writing" written by my boss.



But now it's summertime!!! And I'll have more time to write!! I still can't believe that since January I've only written a prologue and three chapters on my new story, Only by Moonlight. The good news is that I'm 2500-words into Chapter 4 and hope to complete the rough draft in the next day or two before sending it off to my two amazing pre-readers, ladylibre on FFn and EmmyDana on Wattpad. I'm really hoping to return to my weekly chapter postings so that I can move this story along. It's been difficult writing it because with so much on my mind and so much time between writing chapters, I'm not keeping it simmering on the backburner of my mind like the rest of my stories.

I hope also to pick up a few of my already-started but unfinished stories, excerpts of a few of which I've posted here on this blog. We'll see; I'd love to have a writing-intensive summer!! However, I am teaching one summer class: Fan Fiction!! I taught it for the first time last summer, but since I was designing and writing the class as I was teaching it, the class was quite time-intensive. But with the class all prepared and ready to go, I shouldn't have to use too much of my time on it this summer.


The Fan Fiction class is designed for students ages 12-18, and we'll define and discuss the genre of fan fiction, study and critique a few fan fiction stories, then write three chapters/stories (not necessarily all from the same fandom): a 500-1000 word flash fan fiction chapter/story, a 1000-2500 word chapter/story, and then a 2500-5000 word chapter/story. We'll also discuss how to deal with writer's block and how to finish one's story. With two completed novel-length stories under my belt plus several shorter stories (one shots), coming up on 3 million reads/hits on my works between FanFiction.net and Wattpad.com, and teaching writing for over 20 years at the elementary, junior high, high school, and university levels, I feel confident in teaching a fun and productive course. Here's the link to the registration page if anyone's interested in signing up; the class is 4 weeks long and begins July 8: Brave Writer Online Fan Fiction Class.   

But I am planning to work on Only by Moonlight as much as possible during this summer, especially before September comes when I'll be teaching two overlapping classes: a 4-week intensive literary analysis class on American poetry and the 6-week MLA research essay course. After I return the final research essays, I'll be teaching another intensive 4-week literary analysis course on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (and hoping the new movie will be out on DVD in time for us to watch and discuss it for our class).  So I will definitely have a busy fall ahead of me, but perhaps I can write ahead enough to keep the chapters coming even while I'm teaching in the fall.


I am planning to join Camp NaNoWriMo and write a lot of chapters during July, perhaps enough to keep me posting well into the fall despite my busy teaching schedule. I guess we;ll have to see. ;) I got a great deal of Pinned but Fluttering done during NaNoWriMo 2012 and I completed Evening Star during NaNoWriMo 2011, so I do plan to keep going with NaNoWriMo in November. There's nothing like writing 50,000 words in one month to keep a writer on her toes. ;)

So these are my summer plans, and I hope that I get a lot accomplished so that you may all enjoy Only by Moonlight; I'm so excited about the plot, and I hope that you'll all like it, too. :)

Writing with you, my friends,

~Cassandra :)
xxxooo

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Some Recommendations for You


While I have been able to write little this winter and spring due to health issues, I've been reading fan fics like a madwoman. Since I have little to share on the writing front (I do have Chapter Three of Only by Moonlight drafted at least), I thought I'd share a few fics in progress as well as some completed fics that you may enjoy. 

Currently my WIP obsession is with Pattyrose's "The Cullen Legacy." It's a brilliant, sharp, poignant All-Human (AH) tale of Edward's leaving Bella after a weekend together seven years previously and the fallout from that weekend reverberating even to hopes for the White House. Pattyrose kindly updates twice weekly, Tuesdays and Fridays, with flashbacks to their past mixed with the repercussions in their present and future. It's my addiction; I simply can't let it go.  

On Wattpad I'm quite enamored with Tardis19's "Wild Turkey." A rather light AH high school love story with some angst here and there, it's a lovely romance. Tardis' completed stories are also brilliant with my favorite being "More Than Life" with Edward as a writer and Bella his editor. ;)  

I am also very much enjoying Twilover76's "Changing My Course." Bella is the daughter of the potential Republican presidential candidate who falls for Hollywood actor Edward--and sparks fly! Charlie and Renee (especially Renee) are hate-worthy in this story, and we can't help but love Edward's chutzpah in stealing Bella away from the limelight, her parents' expectations, and her smarmy fiance, James. 

As "Serenity's Prayer" by ladylibre draws to a close, her "Black Ice" (a Rosalie/Edward love/hate story) is really taking off. While part of me rebels against any story that's not Bella/Edward centered (okay, I can handle Bella/Carlisle stories, too), "Black Ice" is a story I read with the same sick fascination as gawking at an automobile wreck on the side of the road...although this story may end up more bloody by the end.... ;) 

And I am also drawn (moth to candle-like) to "A Second Chance" by DeePattinson on Wattpad (also on FFn under D-Twilighter: "A Second Chance") in which pregnant and recently-widowed Bella marries her stand-offish late husband's brother only a month after Riley's funeral; Edward has obviously been in love with his brother's wife for years. Very complex and poignant story, but it hasn't updated for a while. :( 

As for completed fics, I've read three of the four "Angel" stories by drotuno, lately finishing #3, "An Angel's Promise." The fourth "Angel" story is complete, but I like to read other stories between a series, so I'll try "Haunted Angel" over the summer. 

I've also very much enjoyed Emmamama88's "Virgins and Villains" (BPOV) and "Love Rescue Me" (EPOV). Actually, everything that Emmamama88 writes is absolutely brilliant. Check her stories out!! :) Her more recent (and still in progress) "Popsicle Sticks" is worth following. 

I've always loved SparkingWand's "Don't Take the Girl" which I recently re-read, and her current WIP "Compass" is delightful. SparklingWand is also posting on Wattpad under JeanneDoddMcDonald, so it's lovely to "see" her on a regular basis. :) 

A couple more completed stories I've enjoyed: "OsaBella" by myg was full of Quileute legends with the addition of bear shapeshifters as well as vampires as Bella, the high school psychologist, battles her bizarre and forbidden attraction to Edward, a high school senior. And HelloElla's "Nobody's Little Girl" was poignant and simply amazing, definitely one not to miss.

In addition, I list all of the completed fics I've read in the sidebar under "Fics I Have Read in 2013." You can see by the sheer length of the list that I've been doing much more reading than writing. :/

There. That should keep you all reading until I can complete the third chapter of Only by Moonlight. ;)

ENJOY!!

Warmly,
~Cassandra :)
xxxooo

PS And I have to add a new favorite that even made my Favorite Fan Fics Completed list in the sidebar: "Empty" by Hev99 is simply out-of-this-world good!! She's brilliant!! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Back to Writing Again...at Last!



This year has not been conducive to writing for me. 

After completing Pinned but Fluttering on January 5, I've been exhausted, overworked, in pain, or sick until now. 

Seriously. I'm not surprised that I only wrote the Prologue and Chapter One of Only by Moonlight so far, considering how terrible I've felt since the holidays. 

After teaching two online classes at once in January (never again!) then another online class in February, plus keeping up with the grading and lessons for my IRL co-op expository writing class for high school home-schooled students which has been overfilled all year, not to mention homeschooling our three teen boys, one of whom is graduating from high school in June, and we have a recipe for severe exhaustion and a flare-up of chronic pain due to autoimmune issues. 

The good news is that I've rested for much of April, and the current online class I'm teaching is very low-maintenance. In addition, my IRL high school class is working on their research papers, so I haven't had much grading to do for the past few weeks. 

In addition, my doctor ran some metabolic tests and discovered some mutations and other issues, so he decided that I should try some modified B-12 shots which seem to be helping in the areas of mental energy and sleep. I haven't seen much physical energy or reduction in pain yet, but I hope that they're coming along. 

So this week I completed the first draft of Chapter Two of Only by Moonlight and sent it to my pre-reader, ladylibre. She gave me excellent advice (as always), and I plan to make a few adjustments and post the chapter either Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, preferably the former. 

I hope now to be back to posting weekly chapters, but I make no promises until school is finished on June 14. May 20 and onward will be rather crazy with a high-maintenance online class to teach plus grading and returning the MLA research essays to my co-op class, so those four weeks may be a little scary. But until mid-May, I hope to be posting regularly, and again over the summer. 

Dealing with autoimmune illnesses is difficult as stress and overwork definitely worsens the pain and both mental and physical exhaustion. But I'm praying that these injections (which I'll be injecting myself...yay) will help to clear the mental fog as well as strengthen me physically. I'm praying, too, that as my sleep lengthens and deepens, my pain levels will fall, too. I'm leaving it in God's hands. 


Thank you so much for bearing with me during my "slump" here this year. I so appreciate the kind and supportive messages so many of you have written to me on Wattpad and FFN as well as on Facebook. You all are the BEST readers ever!! And I hope that you'll really enjoy the second chapter of Only by Moonlight

Writing for you,
~Cassandra :) 
xxxooo

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Slowly Writing and Re-Writing Only by Moonlight



I've been having some pretty serious physical difficulties over the past couple of months. I've been diagnosed with a bevy of autoimmune illnesses, depending on which doctor I've seen: first it was fibromyalgia, then rheumatoid arthritis, then chronic fatigue syndrome. Now I'm being tested for mitochrondrial diseases. 

Despite the variance in diagnoses, the end result is over a decade of chronic pain that is somewhat controlled by eight methadone pills per day and a great deal of sheer exhaustion. I've overworked myself since the first of the year, and life is catching up to me at the moment. 

After completing Pinned but Fluttering, I took January and February off from writing. In early March I picked back up with my new story, Only by Moonlight. The response to the Prologue and first chapter have been amazing, but I've really struggled with the second chapter. 

Then this week it dawned on me: because this story was written in third person limited omniscient point of view, I was feeling too distant from my characters. As I drafted, I felt that I was "telling" more than "showing"--relating the story through a filter of distance rather than capturing the raw emotion and reactions of a first person narrator. 

So I've since rewritten both the first chapter and the half to two-thirds of the second chapter of Only by Moonlight in first person. I'll be switching the new first chapters on Wattpad and FanFiction.net later today and will keep working on Chapter Two.

And I do have an image of Bella's quilt for Chapter Two that I'll be posting when I upload the chapter. :)  

So thank you for your kind understanding of my physical condition, my busy schedule of homeschooling three teen boys (one graduating this year), teaching an overly-full high school class in expository writing, and teaching online courses for homeschooling families at Brave Writer, plus keeping my own essay grading business afloat. 

I took this week off after Easter--no homeschooling, no teaching, no grading, and it's helped some, but I really need an additional week or two (or perhaps a month) off in order to feel a real change in my health. 

But I'm also missing the creative outlet of writing fiction, so I shall continue, albeit more slowly and painfully than I would like. ;) 

BTW, I'm thrilled that Pinned but Fluttering has passed 1.6 million reads on Wattpad (and an overall total of nearly 15,000 votes on all my works combined there) plus over 1500 reviews on FanFiction.net. 

And even the mere seven pages I've posted of Only by Moonlight has garnered over 90 votes and over 100 comments on Wattpad plus 64 reviews on FanFiction.net; the reads/views on each site are comparable at about 1200 each. Thank you for reading, voting, commenting, and reviewing my stories!! You all just overwhelm me with your love and support!! :)

And if you're interested in the fan fiction stories I've been reading, check the sidebar under "Fics I Have Read in 2013" for a complete list of all the completed stories I've been following. :)

Thanks again for your compassion and understanding, and I hope to be posting more chapters for you soon. :)

Warmly,
Cassandra :) 
xxxooo

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Story: Only by Moonlight


Today I posted the Prologue to my new fan fiction story, Only by Moonlight. I'll add the links to the sidebar later today for Wattpad and FanFiction.net.

This story has been wandering around in my brain for over a year. I plan to edit it later into an original story that I may try to publish...if it ends up being good enough. 

I posted this Prologue exactly two months to the day after I posted the Epilogue for Pinned but Fluttering. It's been weird being away for two months, but after more than two years of posting weekly chapters (and sometimes more often!), I needed the break. Besides, my work schedule has been crazy between the co-op high school writing class I teach and the three online classes I taught over two months (in addition to homeschooling our three teenaged sons). So taking a break from writing only made sense. 

But I really missed it. I missed the freedom of letting ideas flow, of following my characters as they speak and act and think and ponder and wonder. And I missed the sense of accomplishment that came with posting a completed chapter each week. But mostly I missed hearing from my regular readers on both Wattpad and FFN. I've made some wonderful friends, and not posting my writing to them made me feel off-kilter over the past two months.

And for the first time, I have a pre-reader!! The lovely and immensely-talented ladylibre has agreed to pre-read for me and keep me from committing grave errors (and she already caught two major ones in the first chapter alone!). So don't miss reading her superb stories Black Ice and Serenity's Prayer; they're both top-notch!! 

We both knocked our heads together for several days, trying to come up with a title. My dear ladylibre suggested using "Moonlight" in the title, and as I was flipping through images to make the book cover, I saw a book cover for Sometimes by Moonlight which I tweaked to the more appropriate Only by Moonlight. 

Finally. That lack of title has been driving me crazy. I designed the simple book cover although I'm hoping that someone vastly more talented will come along and offer to make me a really nice one. But I do like this one well enough for now and will be content even if no one steps forward to design a proper cover for Only by Moonlight.

My plan is to write on Friday evenings and Saturdays, then get the chapter to my delightful pre-reader, then edit it during the next week and post it the following weekend. I have Chapter One almost ready to post since my pre-reader already went through it,so it will be up this coming weekend (March 9th-10th). 

I'm glad to be back to writing, and perhaps you'll hear more from me now that I'm back among the living...I mean, the writing. ;)

Warmly,
~Cassandra :)
xxxooo


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making the Top Ten...and the New Story



I am thrilled to announce that Pinned but Fluttering was voted into the Top Ten Completed Fics for January at TwiFanFictionRecs!! Thank you to all of you who voted; I was ecstatic to find out that Pinned but Fluttering came in at #8!!

In addition, TwiFanFictionRecs featured Pinned but Fluttering earlier this week with its own post right here! 

And in further good news, Pinned but Fluttering passed the 1.5 million reads (hits) mark on Wattpad this week! It's also received more than 10,000 votes. The total number of hits on all of my Twilight fan fiction stories at both Wattpad and FanFiction.net combined surpasses 2.6 million. 

That number simply boggles my mind.   


I also found out this week that I am to be published in an arts journal called Ruminate under my real name. Thanks to a dear poet friend, I have a subscription to this wonderful journal, and in one of their e-mails, they asked for reader notes (125 words max) on the topic of "glimpses." I scribbled something out and e-mailed it in, and this week they contacted me to say that mine is among those they've chosen to publish in the spring issue coming out later this month. 


What a way to celebrate my birthday this week!! 

In addition, I drafted the first chapter of my new story (still debating the name) last weekend, and then sent it to the lovely and immensely-talented ladylibre for pre-reading. She gave me some excellent advice, and the chapter is ready to post. However, I still need to:

  • name the story (we've been tossing around titles, but I'm still undecided)
  • create a Wattpad/FFN book cover
  • decide whether to write/post a prologue

But I feel really good about where the story is going. I may slow down my posting schedule to once every two weeks rather than weekly, but we'll see. This year has been so incredibly busy so far that my head is still spinning. However, I missed writing these past months, and it feels wonderful to be writing for you all again. 

And thank you for the lovely birthday messages, both on Facebook and on Wattpad. You all are simply delightful, and I wouldn't be writing without your kind support of my work. 

So off to work on the new story...and I think I'll probably write the prologue after all. ;)

Thanks for everything!! xxxooo

~Cassandra :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fan Fic Recs and the New Story....

Okay, so I'm posting this Valentine a little late, but I do love you all and appreciate your support of my stories!! Thank you sooooooo much!! <3 <3 <3

At the beginning of this month I received a very pleasant surprise: Pinned but Fluttering was selected as one of the selections for the Top Ten Fics Completed in January by TwiFanFictionRecs. It's up against some incredible fics--ones I've read and enjoyed so much--written by the likes of CullensTwiMistress, TheFicChick, Chloe Masen, LyricalKris, PrettyKittyArtist, iambeagle, TallulahBelle, FictionFreak95, pattyrose, and Tardis19. So I doubt that Pinned but Fluttering will make the Top Ten, but it's nice to be nominated for something. 

Here's the direct link for voting, and you may vote every 24 hours through the end of February: Top Ten Completed Fics for January.  I would be sooo grateful for your vote(s)!! 

In other news, I am finally past the worst of my grading frenzy. In January I taught two online courses concurrently, something I will never do again; the stress was incredible!! Especially when one class was a Literary Analysis course which means tons of posts--nine per week per student, and multiply that by 15-20 students.... Yeah, it can get crazy!! Plus, Literary Analysis courses also require a final writing project, so I had to grade all of those essays as well. 

In addition, our home school group's semester grades were due on February 14, so I had to not only gather and grade my own three boys' work for the semester, but I also had to finish grading essays and post semester grades for my co-op high school expository writing class. I actually pulled two "all-nighters" last week, up grading essays until 6:15 AM one morning and 4:30 AM another morning. 

So now that the major stressors are behind me and I'm only teaching a poetry writing workshop online, plus home schooling the three boys (two in high school) and teaching my co-op class, I think I'll be able to start on my next writing project. I hope to start next weekend and be posting the first chapter by March. We'll see how it goes; with my chronic illness, I also need to rest after putting in crazy hours since the beginning of January. 

This will be my first AH (all human) story, and when I polled my readers on Wattpad, asking if I should write it as a fan fic or as an original story (Wattpad has tons of genres available besides fan fiction), the fan fiction readers won handily by a two-to-one margin. But it should also edit quite easily into a non-Twilight story as well. I have a couple of approaches I'm debating in setting up the story, and, as usual, I have a premise but no real plan or outline for how this story will proceed. 

That's the fun part of writing for me: not knowing what's going to happen any more than my readers do, LOL!! :) 

So thanks again for reading, for voting (I hope!!), and for waiting patiently while life settles into a vague semblance of order so that I can start writing again. You all are the BEST readers a writer could ever want!! :) 

Warmly,
~Cassandra :)
xxxooo

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Done...and Plans


It's been a few weeks since I completed Pinned but Fluttering. The sense of accomplishment in completing Pinned but Fluttering is incredible; it's nearly twice as long as Evening Star, and it took me nearly a year and a half of posting almost weekly chapters to complete the story. 

Unlike most fan fiction writers, I make no outlines; I don't plan out my plots beyond a vague idea of how it's going to end. It's much more fun to write that way because I don't know what's going to happen, either. But there are also drawbacks to writing off-the-cuff as well: repetition, writing oneself into a corner, etc. Nevertheless, I enjoy writing this way too much to stop now. :) 

Readers on both Wattpad.com and FanFiction.net are requesting sequels to both of my novel-length stories, but I don't think I'm ready to write another epic-type novel at the moment.

The popularity of Pinned but Fluttering continues to astound me. Currently it's received almost 200,000 reads on FanFiction.net (adding the outtakes story to the original PbF) and 1,415,600 on Wattpad.com, for an overall total of over 1.6 million hits all together. Wattpad also shows nearly 9500 votes and 6700 comments while FanFiction.net has over 1500 reviews. I still can't wrap my mind around those numbers....  

Because I am currently teaching three classes in January (two online courses, one a family grammar workshop and the other a high school literary analysis class on Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest, and one IRL expository writing class that lasts all school year) plus homeschooling my three teen boys, I'm taking January off from writing. Between Evening Star and Pinned but Fluttering, not to mention my shorter stories/one shots, I've been posting weekly chapters for just over two years. So once I return my final essays from my online Literary Analysis Class in February, during which I"ll be teaching only one online course (a poetry workshop), plus the IRL writing class and homeschooling my boys, I'll probably work on two or three shorter stories I've started, a couple from which I've posted excerpts on this blog. 

I have an idea for a novel-length story, but I've been debating whether to write it as an original story or as a fan fiction story. I asked my readers on Wattpad which they'd prefer, and currently this is how the polling stands:
Original story: 9 votes
Fan Fiction story: 14 votes
Both/Either (no opinion): 5 votes
I'm still debating. I found myself excited when I received a vote for "Original" and kind of sad when I received one for "Fan Fiction," so my heart it telling me to write an original story which I would publish on Wattpad. But part of me is still drawn to the ease and comfort of writing fan fiction since it's what I know. It would be easy enough to revise the fan fiction story into an original story since this story idea is AH/AU (All Human and Alternate Universe); there won't be vampires or shape shifters/werewolves, but the story will still be a paranormal-type tale. I don't want to say much more, but I'm definitely letting the ideas bubble away on the back burner of my mind this month. 

Teaching two concurrent online classes this month is killing me; I had to take yesterday (Friday) off and just crawl into bed and rest because I am that worn out right now. So please be understanding if I don't get back into writing until March or so. My IRL class will be working on their research essays which means I won't be grading piles of essays as I usually have to do until May when their research projects are due, so I'll have 6-8 weeks of more free time. Plus, as far as I know, I'm not teaching any online classes in March although I have some big projects I need to be working on for my job, mostly revising and editing some of our online classes (those taught only once per year) into e-books that families can do at their own pace. I'm nearly done with the grammar class, so I'm thrilled about that! 

And I am so sorry that I haven't been able to respond to many of the wonderful reviews and comments that readers posted at the end of Pinned but Fluttering. I've saved them all and definitely treasure them, and I will respond when I have the time...which may not be until February. I hate having to postpone commenting until then, but that's just the way it has to be. :(

Oh, and I just found out yesterday that Breaking Dawn Part 2 is being released onto DVD here in the US on my birthday!! At least my kids will know what to get me, LOL! :) 

So that's where I am, writing-wise and life-wise. Thanks for being understanding about my need to take a break. My autoimmune illness has also been in flare-up mode because of my work schedule; when I overwork and don't sleep enough, the pain worsens, which makes it more difficult to sleep, which makes the pain worsen further, etc. It's a vicious circle. So thanks for your understanding and your amazing support; you're all the best readers ever!!

With much love,
Cassandra :)
xxxooo

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fan Fics I Read in 2012

Letters to Corporal Masen by SoLostinTwilightwas my favorite fan fic of 2012

2012 was a year of reading fan fics. Yes, I read a good amount in 2011, my first full year of reading novels and stories in this genre, and 2010 was the year I both discovered fan fiction and started writing Evening Star. But 2012, with all its pain and stress, was endured by reading fan fics. 

I keep track of the fics I read in the sidebar of this blog, and these are almost exclusively multi-chapter fics; I don't usually list one-shots unless they're over 10K words and then only rarely. If you scroll down, you'll see "Fics I Read in 2013" there now, and I already have several fics listed there. So if you ever want some recs, my list is always there. I'm fairly picky about what I read, and if I don't like it, I don't finish it. So if I finished reading it, it already has my Stamp of Approval. ;) 

All fics listed are on FanFiction.net unless I indicate otherwise; there may be a handful from Wattpad. 

This year, for the 2013 list, I'm going to start something a little different. If a pair of asterisks (**) precedes a story title, know that it has been or will be making it to my Fan Fic Stars list...which means that I either have already copy and pasted it to my Kindle or I will be soon. I only put my absolute favorites on my Kindle, the ones I go back to re-read often. So the presence of asterisks means it's a particularly worthwhile story.

For my 2012 list, I added asterisks if I have already added the story to my Kindle.

So here's my list...in the reverse order that I read them (most recent reads on top):

Fan Fics I Read in 2012:
"Summer Nights" by Jenny0719


"Carnelian and Ice" by Raum

"Between the Sun and the Moon" by Jenny0719

**"Bella Hale" by JulesSC (re-read)

"Defying Gravity" by Jenny0719

"Cursive" by Phoebe44

"The Man Who Can't Be Moved" by Jenny0719

"Dear Mr. Masen" by jendonna

"Sins of My Past" by content1

"Dear Maggie" by Jenny0719

"The Vines We Weave" by Twiddler83

"Fixing Bella" by CullensTwiMistress

"Brazilian Chocolates" by AwesomeSauce76

"Pinky Promises" by PrettyKittyArtist

"More" by CaraNo

"Elemental" by TallulahBelle

**"Nightingale" by Lady Gwynedd (re-read)

**"Letters to Corporal Masen" by solostintwiliight (read twice)

**"In Your World" by SoLostinTwilight (re-read)

"Blind Spot" by FictionFreak95

"The Bella Swan Scholarship" by eiluned price

"Clementines" by Nachos4Children

**"From This Day Forward" by HopeSparkles

**"A Different Kind of Pain" by SparklingWand

**"A Forbidden Love" by TwiloverSue (re-read)

"This Life" by CaraNo

**"Indecent Proposal" by pattyrose

**"No Ordinary Proposal" by twilover76 (twice)

"Antiques Roadshow" by aerobee83

"Nine Days to Eternity" by Artemis Leaena

"Between the Covers" by CosmoSydney

**"Decisions" by Windchymes (re-read)

"Blind Luck:" by badjujube

"Hardcover Paranormal Romance" by badjujube

"High Fidelity" by IreenH

**"Our Yellow House" by CaraNo (re-read)

"The Diva Diaries" by KiyaRaven

"Finding Home" and "Finding Liberty" by jennde

"Close Your Eyes" by CaraNo

**"Nightingale" by Lady Gwynedd

"A Soldier's Homecoming" by morsus mihi

"Behind the Images" by A Cullen Wannabe

"A Good Liar" by Raum

"Surviving High School" by tardis19 (Wattpad)

"Design for Life" by tardis19 (Wattpad)

"The Wallflower and the Flyboy" by A Cullen Wannabe

"A Lesson in Fate" by Lillie Cullen (re-read)

"A Lesson in Release" by Lillie Cullen (re-read)

**"More than Words" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

"Plight Thee My Troth" by GingerandGreen

"Isla de Cullen" by CaraNo

"I'll Follow You into the Dark" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

"Hunted in Seattle" by TwiLoverSue

**"Solace" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

**"Pieces" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

**"Forget Me Not" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

**"I Thee Wed" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

"Last Tango in Forks" by AwesomeSauce76

"Stranger than Fiction" by MasenVixen (re-read)

"The Single Game" by AwesomeSauce76

**"Turn the Page" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

"Cliche" by Suzie55

**"Words with Strangers" by Nolebucgrl (read twice)

**"Songbird" by SydneyAlice (re-read)

"The Most Eligible Bachelor" by Lost in Fanfiction

**"Wrenfield Hall" by Wannabe Charlotte (read twice)

"Take the Ice" by bellamarie117

"True Companion" by bellamarie117

"Secrets and Lies" by BellaScotia

"A Darker Shade of Twilight" by Stoney Angel

"Evading Edward" by VampiresHaveLaws

"Another League" by CaraNo

"Nebraska Hideout" by CaraNo

"An Angry Man" by katinki

"First and Ten" by Nolebucgrl

"The Blessing and the Curse" by The Black Arrow

"The Face I Can't Forget" by TwiliteAddict

"Honeymoon Suite" by TwiliteAddict

"Forbidden Muse" by ChocolateLover82

**"Words with Friends" by Nolebucgrl (read twice)

**"Little Buttons" by ChocolateLover82

"A Beer with the Guys" by CaraNo

"A Drink with the Girls" by CaraNo

"No Place Like Home" by Tellingmelies

**"The Wisdom Seeker" by AE Giggle (re-read)

**"If We Ever Meet Again" by pattyrose

"Thief of Hearts" by pattyrose

"The Grand Tale" by CaraNo

"A Little Night Music" by katinki

"Remind Me" by rtgirl

"Cotton Creek" by rtgirl

"Just a Kiss" by rtgirl

"War of the Roses" by edwardandbellabelong2gether

"Requiem" by katinki

**"The Man in Black" by PrettyKittyArtist

**"The Secret Keeper" by AE Giggle (re-read)

"The Count of Tuscany" by withany

"Litany at Dusk" by duskwatcher2153

**"It Will Be As If I'd Never Existed" by pattyrose (read twice)

"Anybody There?" by Kat097

"The Imprint" by Kat097

**"Cullen Hall" by Kat097 (read twice)

**"Romance Is Dead" by Kat097 (read twice)

**"Parma High" by Lady Gwynedd

**"Bear Valley Ranch" by Lady Gwynedd (read twice)

**"Mail Order Bride" By Lady Gwynedd (read twice)

"Anything but Conventional"

**"After the Fall" by Lady Gwynedd

**"The Exchange Student" by Lady Gwynedd (read twice)

**"A Hope Renewed" by Hopesparkles (read twice)

**"Fridays at Noon" by troublefollows1017

"Wanted" by troublefollows1017 (sequel to "Pictures of You")

"Pictures of You" by troublefollows1017

**"High School Confidential" by troublefollows1017

**"Risk and Return" by catharticone

"Come Back to Me" by Melolabel

"Atlas Shrugged"

"While You Were Knocked out Cold" by Melolabel

"Chosen by Blood"

**"I'm Only Sleeping" and "Soliloquy" by Simaril (read twice)*


Have a wonderful 2013, everyone!!

Much love always,
~Cassandra :) 
xxxooo