Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: We Are The Champions

First, a heads-up: I am doing my first guest post ever over at Nicole Basaraba’s blog. I’m chatting about the basics of the steampunk genre, so if you’ve ever been curious about the ins and outs of steampunk books, swing by and check it out.


All right, all right, I know — Queen’s “We Are The Champions” is such an over-done anthem theme these days that it almost verges on cliche and corny, but it is still such an awesome song. Better yet, it captures the sentiment that I have as we close out Round 1 of A Round of Words in 80 Days.

This is the end of my 3rd round of ROW80, and I’m more grateful than ever for participating. I’ve faltered on a few of my goals here and there. The bottom line, though, is that I have done more writing — and more learning about writing — in the last few months than ever before.

What Went Well:

  • TELL ME NO LIES isn’t finished, but I’ve made a lot of progress in plotting and rewriting the first 1/4 of the novel. The new characters and subplots that I have introduced are going to make the book a lot stronger, and give it more depth.
  • For the most part, I’ve managed to integrate exercise into my weekly routine. I’ve had a few slip-ups here and there, and I’m trying to learn how to exercise when I’m feeling stressed out, but I still count this as a win.
  • The day job still saps most of my energy, but I did manage to defend my MA thesis, which means I can sign my name “Lena Corazon, MA.” Squeee!
  • I’ve succeeded in being social during this round, which is a huge shock. I was such a loner last round that I thought I would really have to work at reminding myself to go out and see people, but apparently not. 😀

What I Can Work On:

  • Ugh, blogging on a regular basis still seems to elude me. I have to be in a specific mood and frame of mind to write blog posts, and I still haven’t learned to summon it on a whim. I’m hoping to try and build up a cache of posts over spring break, but… we’ll see how that goes. Next round, I may try to set aside 1 writing sprint each week to work on blog posts.
  • I’d like to make time for reading. After my delicious book binge over Winter break, I’ve been reading in dribs and drabs, and it makes me cranky.

Things to Eagerly Anticipate:

  • Finishing my last class ever, and moving closer to narrowing down a dissertation topic.
  • Enjoying my last few months in Santa Barbara, and prepping for the big move back up to my parents’ house in San Francisco.
  • That tattoo I mentioned during the last check-in? It’s one step closer to becoming reality. I snagged an appointment for May 4th (the only opening the artist had before July), so now I’m just busy counting down the days. For those of you who have asked, I am getting my inner right forearm tattooed with my favorite quote from POSSESSION by A.S. Byatt: “Words have been all my life.” It will be accompanied by a peacock feather quill, similar to the one below.

So rock on, ROW-ers! From what I’ve seen over the last 80 days, you are all doing an amazing job, even if you have experienced some rough patches here and there.

Because we’ve all worked so hard, wouldn’t you say that it’s time for a PARTY? 

Our first ROCK THE ROW was simply epic (if you need a reminder, check out Jenny Hansen’s recap of the shenanigans and mayhem that occurred), but I think we can ratchet up the crazy even more for our next ROCKING celebration!

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Barbara McDowell and I are taking on hosting duties from our glitterific predecessors, Jenny Hansen and Nicole Basaraba. Plans for further madness are afoot, but for the moment, mark APRIL 4, 2012 into your calendars. More details to come!


  1. Woot woot! Love the breakdown for how you analyzed your round. I think you did amazing. You nailed a ton of great goals, have some areas to keep plugging away at and have some FUN coming up. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Tattoo!! OMG…beautiful…I can’t wait to see the pic of yours all done. 🙂
    SQUEEE you and Barbara – that is AWESOME girls. ENJOY!!!
    Natalie Hartford recently posted..Urban Word Wednesday: AmbisextrousMy Profile

  2. I think I’ll be adding reading as an objective. Not that I need the encouragement, but to make sure I set a minimum of say 1 hr a day. And keep that target in mind just in case I hit a great story and want to stay up until 2am. Hey – it could happen. Further to that objective is adding in some non-fiction to the mix. Subjects are not that crucial, could be history, science, medicine, sociology, flower arranging. It’s all to help with my creativity, so that when I want to combine a variety of “things” in a different way for a story, I’ve made sure I already have a lot of different “things” rattling around in my head.
    Mike recently posted..ROW check in 3/18 – too much summerMy Profile

    • I have this huge problem where I have to give myself a maximum number of hours I’m allowed to do one thing. I’m definitely an all nighter when it comes to reading, and oh boy, it messes me up for days after.

      Adding in non-fiction is a fantastic idea! I’m a grad student in sociology, so I feel like I get all the non-fiction I can possibly digest during my day job, but there’s something to be said to reading other random things. It’s amazing how knowledge of different subjects can provide new angles when it comes to writing.

  3. Pretty tattoo!

    Considering your work load I think it’s fantastic what all you accomplished this round 🙂

    I hear you on reading. I didn’t read for months and then I made myself pencil in time to read, and since then it’s like I’m a junkie. Can’t go a day without reading at least 2 chapters. I love it when I can read more than that, though. I think it’s the right balance for those of us who love words – to both read and create them – and balance is always good 🙂

    Looking forward to the part and definitely looking forward to hanging out for round 2!

    • Ahhhh, I am the exact same way with reading! The only problem is that I usually can’t restrict myself to a couple of chapters each night; I get hooked, and then I am up until 3 or 4 am finishing the darn book. It’s so much fun, but it throws off my sleeping pattern (and my health) for days afterwards.

      Can’t wait to see you at the par-taaaay! I am cueing up lots of terrible classic rock anthem songs as we speak…

  4. Karen McFarland

    March 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Hey girl! Just arrived from the great guest post about Steampunk! Great job at breaking it all down. Wow, what a huge genre! But historical. I love that.

    You ROCKED it girlfriend! You’ve had a lot going on with the MA thing and THAT takes priority! So this next round will be no sweat for you. Although I think that you’ll be missing Santa Barbara a wee little bit, don’t ya think? It’s kinda nice there, that’s all I’m sayin’.

    But great to look at what you’ve accomplished and what you need to change to move forward. What an inspiration you are to all of us Lena! Thank you for encouraging me! 🙂

    • Karen, thank you so much for checking out the steampunk post and commenting! It is an AMAZING genre, and that historical bit is exactly what I love with it. So much room for innovation. 😉

      I am DYING over the thought of leaving Santa Barbara. As much as I miss and crave the bustle of city life, I’m also heartbroken at leaving paradise.

      You are an amazing support, Karen, as always. Can’t wait to see you back for Round 2!

  5. Ok SUPER like this post!!!! Another ROW party. Woop Woop! And I didn’t know I was your first guest post. I feel special. 🙂

    P.S. Pretty tattoo to-be!
    Nicole Basaraba recently posted..My love of steampunk began as an accidental affair – by Lena CorazonMy Profile

  6. Fabulous! Another Row80 party, not to be missed! I’m in 🙂

    Great job with your goals, and – as I said before – you are an amazing inspiration. I really don’t know how you are able to handle it all, but you do in such an amazing way, Lena.

    Love love LOVE that tattoo. I’m still trying to convince the hubby to let me do it. I know, I should just “surprise” him, haha.
    Angela Orlowski-Peart recently posted..Garret Tour TuesdayMy Profile

    • Yessss, we have another one for the party list! I can’t wait to see what we’ll get up to this time. 😉

      You are so sweet, Angela, and thank you so much. I think I’ve gotten a *little* better with time management, so that is working out.

      See you next round!

  7. Congrats on the first guest blog! I had my first one this month too. It really feels good to be recognized by peers as someone from whom they’d like to hear more.
    AmyBeth Inverness recently posted..One Year InMy Profile

  8. As everyone has said, you rock, Lena! What a great inspiration for those of us trying to bridge the academic/creative writing divide. I’m in for the party!!
    Elizabeth Anne Mitchell recently posted..March 18 check-in Facing the FutureMy Profile

  9. That peacock feather looks amazing, Lena! And I love the quote, just like I love the book. 🙂

    Congrats on all your progress on all your goals, and here’s to more goals in the next round!
    Ruth Nestvold recently posted..Shooting for the “magic 1000″ in ebooksMy Profile

    • Squee, isn’t that tattoo just divine? I almost squealed out loud when I showed it to my tattoo artist and he said, “Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, we can definitely do something with that.”

      See you next round!

  10. Beautiful tattoo, and squee on the thesis! Big congrats there. So proud of you for getting so much accomplished while getting ready for a major event like that. Great round!
    Stacy Green recently posted..Final Row80 Check In: End of the RoadMy Profile

    • Thank you so much, Stacy! It’s such a weight off of my shoulders. Now I don’t have to feel guilty when I take time out to write, instead of work on research. 😀

      See you next round!

  11. Congrats on your progress, Lena! Whenever we learn something, it’s worthwhile! I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, but I still did a lot so it’s all good. Looking forward to seeing you in the next ROW – and to seeing that peacock tattoo!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..ROW80 RecapMy Profile

    • I agree, Jennette — I think learning a lesson or two is worth its weight in gold.

      Can’t wait till I can share the finished tattoo! See you next round as well. 😀

  12. Great round, Lena. A success by any measure! And a thesis to boot!
    I’m posting my final update tomorrow, and I’m also adding a “things to improve”section 🙂
    And I loved the concept of your tat. It’s going to be gorgeous.
    See you in round 2!
    Fabio Bueno recently posted..ROW80 Update 11 + What’s CookingMy Profile

    • Fabio, thanks so much for stopping by! I really enjoy the “things to improve” section — definitely helps for plotting future goals. 😀

      I am seriously bouncing up and down in my chair over this tattoo. I can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you!

  13. Can’t wait to par-tay with the ROW80 rockers! What a fab group!

    Great job with your goals overall. I have also had a round or two where I didn’t get as far along as I had planned, but I learned so much on the way that the slow-down was worth it. My book was so much better. See you in Round 2!
    Julie Glover recently posted..Miss Spelling Returns: Words that Get ConfusedMy Profile

    • Thanks, Julie! And yes, we ROWers know how to party it up. 😀

      It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one who has had a slow round here and there. I got used to the rapid writing that I was doing during the first couple of rounds, which involved NaNo challenges, so slowing down really troubled me at first. But, like you, I think the book will be all the better for it!

  14. It sounds like it’s all going great for you, Lena. Wish I could say as much for my accomplishments. There’s always tomorrow, right?

    Speaking of tattoos, I’m seriously thinking about my next one (book/reading inspired image with a quote from John Adams, “I read forever.”) being my reward for completing a good chunk of my novel in the next round. Yours idea is wonderful. I hope you’ll show some pics after you get it done.

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the party, as I’ll be out of town. Hope you all have fun! See you next round. 🙂
    Michelle recently posted..ROW80/Round One–Final Check-InMy Profile

    • Yup, I agree, there’s always tomorrow! Sometimes life gets in the way a little bit more than usual, and balancing everything gets to be a smidge too much. 😛

      I LOVE that John Adams quote. I have this crazy idea about tattooing myself with words, because it seems apt and fitting for my reading/writing-obsessed self (my mother begs to differ, however). This tattoo, I’ve decided, is my reward for finishing the MA. I want my second one to be a full peacock, which was *supposed* to be my reward for finishing PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE, but will probably end up being my reward for advancing to PhD status in the fall.

      Enjoy our wee break! I’ll see you next round.

  15. It’s great to know that you are now starting to achieve your goals. I hope that you will be able to catch up on the blogging and reading.
    Carlos recently posted..painting dvdMy Profile

  16. I’ve paid my dues. Time after time….

    *looks around for lighter*

    See you in round 2. 🙂
    Matt recently posted..#ROW80 – Count Me In The Wimper CrewMy Profile

    • Yes, get that lighter out! I think we’re going to have at least one or two of these slow-down anthem hits playing during the ROW80 party. 😀

      See you in round 2 as well!

  17. Congrats on your thesis!!! That tat is going to be amazing and beautiful–you are so so brave (I’d love to get one, but am terrified of needles…ack!) Great job on your goals this round and YAY for the party!! See you in round 2 (and on twitter too!)
    Kat Morrisey recently posted..Bidding Adieu to ROW80 Round 1–Final Check InMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Kat! I won’t lie, I am slightly terrified of this whole process, which will apparently take 2-3 hours (?!). I am consoling myself with the fact that whenever I walk into tattoo shops and see people getting their art done, they are not screaming and writhing in pain… so it can’t be *that* bad, right. 😉

  18. I love the idea for you tattoo! It ties together with ‘Path To The Peacock Throne’ and 19th century love with the writer’s quill on the end of the feather. Very nice. Great guest post, too.
    Nadja Notariani recently posted..The End Of A RoundMy Profile

  19. Loved your post on Steampunk. Thanks for that; I’ve been trying to learn about the genre recently and you did a great job summing it up.

    Awesome work this round, Lena! As usual, the amount you get accomplished in all areas of your life is inspiring. 🙂

    See you back for Round 2!
    J.R. Pearse Nelson recently posted..ROW80 Round 1: The End!My Profile

  20. Oh gosh, that tattoo is beautiful. You’ll definitely have to post pictures of it!

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