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World? Novel Writing Month

November is upon us and that means cold weather, hot coffee, stamppot, and noveling. Yes, noveling. This year I’ll be joining thousands of people around the world as we each attempt to write a 50,000 word book in 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month.


Tchaippachino & Laptop


My first attempt at NaNoWriMo three years ago was when I was still in the United States where the event originated. I wrote in the sort of frenzied zeal you can only drum up when you don’t know what you’re doing and no one has told you that you’re doing it wrong. It was a terrible novel, but it ended up over 80,000 words long and a ton of fun to create.

When we moved to the Netherlands, much of my writing energy shifted over to blogging, but I still made an effort to write some short stories last November about a hard-boiled detective cat and his raccoon sidekick. This novel was less successful, but I was excited to discover that NaNoWriMo is really the “World Novel Writing Month” and that the Netherlands had a strong showing.  Every year the various regions are ranked by word count and the combined Holland & Belgium group had a strong showing despite our relatively small region size.

This year I know of several people here in Maastricht, as well as many other places in the Netherlands, writing their 2010 novels. Both my husband and I are participating this year, but there is always room for more so I challenge you dear reader to take on NaNoWriMo and add to the Holland & Belgium region word count. You’re only a couple days behind.

If you want to join the fun, sign up on the NaNoWriMo website and join the Europe :: Holland & Belgium region. This will give you access to the forum where all the local writers can communicate and arrange meet-ups. The forum is kept in both English and Dutch, so don’t feel intimidated about posting in the language you find most comfortable. Several write-ins have been planned throughout the Netherlands and Belgium, including a regular Thursday write-in in Maastricht and even a “traveling” write-in for people who prefer to write on the train. If you want to “friend” other writers, you can do that as well. I’m “locusta” on the site.

Once you’ve signed up, just start writing on a new project (officially a novel, but many people use the time to write for their blog or to write nonfiction). Keep your caffeinated beverage of choice near at hand and be sure to add your word count to the site and help push our region up the ranks.  Happy Writing!

This article was originally published on Maastricht Region to Live.

Taking the “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” Challenge

Over the next 31 days I’ll be running Maastricht Minutiae through it’s paces with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge (31DBBB) along with the other lady bloggers in the SITS community.  31DBBB is a eBook by Darren Rowse, the owner of the wildly successful Problogger and all the various products that go with it.  The book itself takes you through a series of tasks that force you to think critically about why you blog, how you write, and what you do to build a community.

I’ll probably be posting frequently about the challenge here in addition to my usual blogging, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to make them. Now with no further ado, my answer to the day one task.

Day One Challenge: Write an Elevator Pitch

“A spotlight on the adventure and realities of expat life in Maastricht.”

Are you a Lady Blogger?

If you’re a lady blogger, feel free to join me and 400 other bloggers at the SITS community as we work through these challenges. You can learn more about the 31DBBB book here.

NaBloPoMo May

I’ve been rather lacks in my blogging activities as of late, so I’m trying to put a fire under my butt this month with a good old fashion NaNoWriMo-inspired event. NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month. The object of the event is to post on your blog every day for a month. Personally, I will be splitting my posting between Maastricht Minutiae & my new webcomic site design blog over at Fallen Kitten Productions (home to our webcomic and my web services biz). If you’d like to follow all my posting this month, please sign up for both RSS feeds: Maastricht Minutiae RSS & Fallen Kitten RSS. Maybe this will be the start of a more active blogging trend in the future.

So I hope you enjoy it and if you see me missing an update, feel free to give me a swift kick in the pants. Or whatever metaphor is appropriate here in the Netherlands.

Of High Tea and Blogging Honors

Wow. Two posts in one day. What is this blog coming too?

Yesterday was a good day. Dan and I visited Atomic comics in Sittard; the closest comic book store to Maastricht, followed by high tea at John Mullins. After our late “lunch”, I got some good blogging done and then we went out for drinks with a couple from our language class.

After dinner I discovered that Dave, a fellow Maastricht-based blogger from Random Walks in the Low Country, had recognized Maastricht Minutiae with the Beautiful Blogger Award. I’ve never received a blogging award nomination before and I’m very honored. I read Random Walks and really enjoy how Dave sounds so natural living here. His photos are always tipping me off to things that I’ve missed.

The award comes with some required actions, including writing seven things about myself and nominating up to 7 additional bloggers. So without further ado…

5 Nominated Bloggers

  1. Invading Holland: Very funny.
  2. 24 Oranges: The first expat blog I started following when we move to the Netherlands.
  3. Crossroads Magazine: Great for Maastricht-related stories.
  4. Franco Phoney: Whose blog about living in France I discovered via Absolute Write.
  5. PlagiarismToday: Which isn’t about expats at all, but has great information about plagerism, copyright, and other similar issues.

(more…)

"Dear Annalaan" Published on Crossroads Magazine

sint annalaan sign
The article I wrote about Sint Annalaan has been published on Crossroads Magazine as part of a two-part article about an international family and how they came to name their daughter “Annalaan”. Part one of “Ever named a kid?” is written by Eric Lemay, who lives with his family in the US, about how he and his wife named their daughter. Part two is my letter to Annalaan sharing as much about the place she was named after as possible. We also sent her some goodies like menus and newspapers from the area.

I am pretty excited about this article going live, so I encourage you to swing by Crossroads Magazine and check it out.

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