NANOWRIMO Novels

NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month is a competition in which you are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel all in the month of November. It’s a great contest. You are on the honor system to record your daily word count, and at the end to upload your document for confirmation. Should you upload a 50,000 word document you WIN! Meaning you have the satisfaction of working your butt off for 30 straight days. It truly is on the honor system because you could type, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” repeatedly until you reach your goal, and no one would know, or care.

I’ve entered this competition four times. The first time was a bunch of years ago, before I wrote all that well, when I’d not yet published anything. Not surprisingly, the book was terrible, unpublishable. But I finished.

75X2Years later, I wrote Restitution. A year later I went back, edited it, and it was published by Shadowridge Press. It’s actually a great and tight little thriller. Sometimes, NANOWRIMO works really well.

The summary is: Destiny intervenes for Tucker Millis, a delusional writer who needs a purpose in life and a plot for his new novel. When he discovers his new phone number once belonged to a man on the verge of turning himself in for a twenty-five year old murder, it’s a dream come true. Tucker uses the messages and calls intended for the murderer to manipulate lives and to craft his story. But he’s propelled back to reality when he can no longer escape the full horror and dire consequences of the world he’s created.

All in all, I’m very proud of this book.

get-attachment.aspxThe next year, I started another novel called, My Name is Marnie. I didn’t know where to begin so I made the brainstorming sheet (picture). The problem with NANO is that there’s no time to outline or edit. You write in a fury and don’t worry about plot holes or inconsistencies. About 10,000 words into it, I met my boyfriend and abandoned the project because I spent all my free time chatting on the phone with him. So the next year, I picked it back up. Sure, I had the whole year to go back and work on it, to outline to plan. But I didn’t.

I jumped in and finished the book at about 45,000 words. I didn’t reach the 50,000 but the book was done so I stopped. Here’s the thing. Because I rushed and had no outline, and because this is a mystery, I’ve spent a year rewriting and changing, and fixing this book. And just when I think it’s okay, I see something I missed, or rather someone in my critique group does.

I am in the process of printing it out one last time to reread it start to finish. I’ve run it through Grammarly, my editing software. My group has red penned it ad nauseum. My beta readers are looking at it. My publisher has read half and will I’m sure finish once I really, really complete it.

I write all this because I’ve discovered outlines are really important, especially in mysteries or thrillers. Some people can write without them, but it’s become clear that I can’t.

proteus_cover_KINDLE_03-28-13When F. Paul Wilson and I wrote The Proteus Cure we did not try to rush to write it in a month, and we had an outline. Before the outline we had a timeline, then a spreadsheet/Word table sort of thing. Then an outline that we rehashed long before we got to the fun part of writing the actual book.

The fun part is writing. NANOWRIMO is a blast but I think going forward, I won’t jump to the fun part without first writing the outline. Maybe next year, I’ll have OCTOUTWRIMO-October Outline Writing Month.

Stop by HERE to check out all the books and stories I’ve got for sale.

Tracy

The NECon Line

neconWhen my daughter was born, one of the first things I did was draw a line on the wall to measure her height. Later we moved and I put another higher line in a new place. She was six when I bought that house. A year later I went to my first NECon. It was 2003.

Over the years, a lot has changed in my life. As she grew, I’d make her line higher. Some years she’d grow an inch or two, some years not at all. And with each year I attended NECon, my career grew a little. Some years the leap would be big, sometimes small.

When I attended my first NECon, brought by John McIlveen, I was terrified. I hated being away from home. The idea of meeting 200 strangers scared the hell out of me. But he brought me just the same. I roomed with him and his four daughters (this was back before the newest Mac, who is now 9). I’d never spent any time on a college campus before. Not one where I slept and ate in the cafeteria. I’ve been going to night school forever at Northeastern but this was different. I felt like this was my new home. That first night I spent the most time with Stan Waiter, Dallas Mayr, and then F. Paul Wilson. I think we played cards in John’s suite. I don’t know when I went to bed but it was really late. By the end of that weekend, I had so many new friends. When I arrived I had never published a single story, much less a book, though I’d been writing my whole life.

Another year rolled around, and another. My daughter’s lines on the wall got higher. Still no sales for me but I was meeting people, learning how to write better. I was randomly assigned to room with Rhodi Hawk, Lori Perkins, and later Jan Kozlowski who have become dear friends. Plus all the ones I friended all on my own. The list is too big. Paul Wilson and I started working on a project (The Proteus Cure) and that led me to Thrillerfest. And Thrillerfest led to me other Cons and friendships, like with Heather Graham (who made her way to us). I had more confidence suddenly. Enough to leave the bad relationship/short marriage I was in.

So I took my kid and left, sad that the marker lines on the wall were gone to me. We started new lines at this place when she was 11 and still pretty short. The week I left “him”, I sold my first story, then another (Doorways and All Hallows). I couldn’t wait to go to NECon and tell people. Back then Shocklines was our only outlet. I had a MySpace but could never warm up to it. But NECon was where all the real people were. 200 hugs. People who had met there, people you looked forward to meeting that you knew from Shocklines.

Over the years, I had a few relationships I’d rather forget. I published a kid’s book I’d rather forget. I’m sure many of us regret watching Headers that time in the auditorium. And there was that time we had to spend at Salve and I lost my car in the middle of the night because the campus was too big and confusing. There has been a lot of uncertainty in my life, a lot of change. But one of the biggest constants, one of the only constants, has been NECon. Year after year I’d show up, embarrassed that I was no longer with X (in the true algebraic sense, X is a variable). But it was okay. Lots of my old pals showed up with new wives or husbands.

This month was my 10th NECon (okay my ninth but it was 10 years ago I started). I’ve published 3 novels, a short story collection, a whole bunch of short stories in anthologies and magazines. Almost all my friends are writers. All the negative hurtful people in my life have been replaced by cool people who, one way or another, I can trace back to NECon. They say you can do it with Kevin Bacon but I’m willing to bet that everyone is probably just a few contacts removed from NECon. It has changed that many lives.

My daughter is 17 now and her height line is as high as it will go. She’s full grown. But I still go to NECon and each year there is growth. Emotional, professional. They say “Don’t forget where you came from.” NECon 33 reminded everyone of that.

We have all changed in the last ten years. People have married and divorced, babies have been born, our loved ones have passed. Careers have taken off. We’ve gone gray, and our legs have grown weary. And if you look at pictures from all the NECons, you can watch us all grow up. It’s like the line on the wall. A marker, a reminder of where we were before.

There is no way to say thank you enough, except maybe to make a toast, just like at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. Thank you Bob Booth for providing a place for us to come alive. To the richest man in town.

toast

The Proteus Cure

proteus_cover_KINDLE_03-28-13The Proteus Cure is a chilling medical thriller I co-wrote with NY Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson. The formal release date is May 1st, but if you subscribe to this blog or just happen to come across this post, congratulations! You can buy this before everyone else! Here’s a bit about the book, which we’ve kept super secret until now.

“Paul Wilson and Tracy Carbone have penned a winner. The suspense is razor sharp and the characters masterfully drawn. Paul Wilson is at the top of the game, and Tracy Carbone is a welcome addition to the genre. You’ll love The Proteus Cure.” – Michael Palmer, NY Times best selling author of Political Suicide

In medical ethics, the line between right and wrong is often blurred. Who is to decide what is for the good of humanity?

Changing the world. One person at a time…

That is the mission statement of Tethys Hospital, run by Dr. Bill Gilchrist and his deformed sister, Abra. VG723, their revolutionary stem-cell-based therapy, appears to be capable of doing just that for the cancer patients who come to Tethys. VG723 is often their last hope. But if they match the protocol, they’re virtually guaranteed a cure.

Dr. Sheila Takamura, a young, dedicated oncologist, is proud to be involved in the clinical trials. Once the FDA approves it for widespread use, VG723 will revolutionize cancer therapy. That is why she’s alarmed when former patients return with bizarre syndromes. Yes, they’re cancer free, but they’re experiencing dramatic changes in their hair and skin and general appearance. When she investigates a possible link to the protocol, those patients start dying. As the body count grows, Sheila finds her own life in danger. She comes to suspect there might be a literal meaning behind the Tethys motto – but can she learn the truth in time to save herself and millions of others?

“Wilson is one of the masters of the medical thriller.” – Larry King

Click the links here for access to all versions of the book:

US Kindle
Trade Paperback
UK Kindle

No Kindle? No problem.You can download a Kindle app to your tablet or phone. If you want to use your Nook, Sony, or Kobo reader, THE PROTEUS CURE carries no DRM and can be converted to any file type via a program called Calibre. Here’s how:1. Buy THE PROTEUS CURE on Amazon and Select “Transfer via Computer” from the “Deliver to” pull-down menu on the product detail page, and save to your computer.2. Download and install the free program Calibre.3. Open the Calibre program and click ADD BOOKS in the upper left-hand corner, selecting the .azw file you just downloaded onto your computer from Amazon.

4. Once the ebook is in Calibre, highlight it by clicking on it and then click on the CONVERT BOOKS tab. Select the type of file you’d like to convert it to (most of the new ereaders use epub files).

5. Upload the newly created file to your ereader of choice.