If Walls Could Talk: Dragon Libraries and Thanksgiving

M.H. Norris

If walls could talk this week, they’d be talking about one of three things this week. Or rather, the people around the wall would drown out whatever else it wanted to say with those three things.

First, happy 52nd birthday to Doctor Who.

Second, Thanksgiving is on all our minds. Visions of turkey and all the fixings dancing through our heads as we realize that we have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

From all of us here at 18thWall Productions, we want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you have a fun day with family, food, friends, food–and did I mention food?

One thing we’re thankful for is actually the third thing that is occupying time at 18thWall’s watercooler. The digital release of From the Dragon Lord’s Library, curated by Nicole Petit. Out now, and available on this very site. Volume One & Volume Two are ready for your eager reading.

Did you ever wonder what a dragon keeps in his library?

You can tell a lot about a dragon by their hoard.

Not the shiny one, the other one. The one where they keep their favorite things. Some dragons keep a private stash of dwarven-wrought artifices, and others tapestries that run from wall-to-wall and corner-to-corner. The Dragon Lord himself has a library. A library that devours halls and caves, filling them with every kind of book and codex and scroll.

These are the stories that fill his favorite shelf. Of course they’re his favorites—they’re all about dragons. Pull these stories down. Breath in the vanilla scent that only comes from the oldest books. Savor the writing. Trace your fingers over the calligraphy.

Welcome to the finest library ever known.

Featuring stories by Jilly Paddock, Joanna Hoyt, Claire Davon, J. Patrick Allen, T. Fox Dunham, Dorian Graves, Denarose Fukushima, Kelly A. Harmon, E.A. Fow, Robert W. Caldwell, Jim Lee Patricia S. Bowne, Shawn Hossein Mansouri, Silas Green, Rose Taylor, Edward Ahern, Elizabeth Hopkinson, Gregg Chamberlain, Liam Hogan, Sylvia Downes, and Sue Pettit, this two part collection features the first volume for general audiences and the second volume for readers of all ages.

I’m thankful for the chance to get to come to the wall every week and give it a voice. I love the chance to get to sit down, type whatever is on my mind and hope that you enjoy it as well.

What are some things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving?

We can also be thankful for the idea of what’s to come in 2016. We’re heading into the last full month of stress and publishing and—finally—turkey. It’s a time where things are so magical (like dragons—couldn’t help that reference).

And we’re thankful for you all for coming to read our stories and for taking this journey with us.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 1

From the Dragon Lord’s Library: Volume 2

If Walls Could Talk: A Novel in a Month

M.H. Norris

For some reason, I got it in my head a few weeks ago that doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) would be fun. It’s a good idea I said to myself, an excuse to knock out a draft of something in 30 days.

The above statement is true, it is a good excuse to knock out a draft of something. It’s also a great excuse to knock out something because you want to see if you can make it work. Having the deadline and the community of support behind you while you experiment and play and push yourself is a good idea and an invaluable tool.

National Novel Writing Month

Because NaNoWriMo is an experience I recommend and—knock on wood—so far I haven’t fallen behind.

So, in today’s edition of If Walls Could Talk I’m going to take a few minutes to take a break from my frantic attempt to make today’s word count and talk with you. Hopefully encouraging any of you readers who are embarking on this journey with me.

What is NaNoWriMo? I realized that I should take a second to introduce it in case you haven’t heard about it.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place in the month of November. It is a time where writers strive to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. If you are not in the mood to do that math right now, that equals out to about 1667 words a day.

While NaNoWriMo is fun, and I highly recommend it, it is a challenge and isn’t for the faint of heart.

This is my third time doing NaNoWrimo. If I win, it will only be my second win. And that victory was not easily won.

Day 4 so by the end of today you should have at least 6668 words if you want to be on track. If you are behind, don’t sweat it. I was behind in 2013 (the year I won) and did a come-from-behind-victory thanks to a road trip. I took advantage of being stuck in a car to catch up, get ahead, and coast over 50 thousand words.

One thing I did: I put the NaNo calendar in my Scrivener research tab so I have quick and easy access to what goal I should have for each day (it also takes away my excuse to wander to my browser tab and spend ten minutes looking it up (and then wandering to Facebook to chat with people—when you’re struggling for words, anything is much more interesting than writing.)

Stories are a precious thing. 18thWall is dedicated to finding fun and unique stories and bringing them to you. Taking the old ways of writing and bringing those styles forward.

Because there is something about a book that just takes you to a special and magical place. And as writers, we get the privilege of transporting readers to worlds that only previously existed in our heads. How cool is that?

So here’s my pep talk, finally.

Write that story that is on your mind and in your heart. I received that advice ages ago from an author I greatly admire and I wanted to make sure I passed it on to you.

And write. This is advice for myself even because I’ve struggled already this month to reach the daily word count. But each day you get to have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you make it.

So good luck fellow writers! May we all make it to the end of this crazy month together with a fresh new story upon our pages/screens.

If you need me, I’ll be frantically getting to today’s word count. See you next week!

If Walls Could Talk: Can’t Talk About It

By M.H. Norris

A new site.

A new column.

A new chance to get to spend a bit of my week talking with you all about various projects that are coming your way soon. Whether it be writing, or projects I get to be playfully vague about.

I have a ton of things I will say are my favorites, like the thrill of a new project or the thrill when it starts to come to life and you finally get to see that this can and will be more than an idea.

I love getting to create, to share with you all the ideas I have and use words to create worlds and to bring ideas to life.

But often, there is one thing that is my least favorite is what I can’t talk about. The list of things I can’t talk about sometimes makes me want to make an actual list. Ask James, I’ve had to go to him a few times and ask, “can I talk about this yet?”

I get why that list exists but at times it’s frustrating.

The best example was my debut digest novel, Badge City: Notches. I couldn’t announce that it was coming out for the longest time and there were times where I wanted nothing more than to stand on the rooftop (one of the buildings at a local university has a rooftop patio that would have worked nicely) and announce to the world that I had a book out.

But I had to wait.

Oh the things we can’t talk about in this business. At the same time, the other side of the coin is that I get the privilege of knowing things first. I get the privilege of knowing things as they are developing. Then, when I get to announce them and get to see y’all’s reactions.

When James gave me a description of my new column, I told him that it was extremely vague. Since then, I realized that James is allowing me the freedom to talk about whatever I want. I’m not limited to one specific project or one specific topic. I’m allowed to have fun and talk with you all about whatever’s on my mind.

Well, whatever is on my mind that isn’t on that list…