My 2013 PerNoReMo In A Blaze Of Autumn

My what you ask?

PerNoReMo is my 2013 version of NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month. PerNoReMo is my Personal Novel Rebuilding Month. I’ve set some modest goals for the rebuild of my sci-fi WIP, Death Out of Time.

From November 1st through the 4th, I’ve repurposed and added a combination of 5,023 words, well over my daily targets. And that feels good. But it also means I won’t spend too much time on blog posts. So today, I thought I’d share a few more autumn photos from last week. Colors were really beginning to peak. The season didn’t start out too well for color, but things have really picked up over the last week. So, without further ado, here are a few shots from my neighborhood walks.

Spring flowers have given way to fall fruits, inedible though they may be, as on these ornamental pears.

Pear Closeup

Although, some are more colorful than others. (I’m not sure what kind of tree this is.)


This was one of the days when if you wait five minutes, the weather changes. Although it was sunny overhead, just a few miles north were some dark gray clouds hanging over Sugarloaf Mountain (all 1,283 feet/391 meters of it). The green field you see in the foreground is often used as a cricket pitch, not a common game in the US, but it hints at the great ethnic diversity of my neighborhood.


This part of Maryland is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, which take their name from the hazy blue color often seen on them. The Blue Ridge are part of the larger Appalachian Mountain range, which formed about 480 million years ago. Because we’re in the foothills, you don’t have to dig very far to reach bedrock around here.


The maples were really putting on a show. I’m not a great photographer by any stretch, but I’d bet even the professionals would have a hard time getting these colors anywhere close to the “real thing.” These seemed to be glowing from within and were just stunning.

maples 1

But other maples seemed unsure whether they were ready to “bare all” this season. This one has maybe just dipped a toe in the water, so to speak.

maples 2

Reds had been the dominant color up until last week, but the oranges and yellows are catching up, as on this maple.

maples 3

The range of colors makes this time of year one of my favorites. I wish the camera would have caught what my eye really saw here.


Of course, not all trees have great displays. Sweetgums turn a dull yellow and brown. But their bark often peels in interesting patterns of its own.

sweetgum bark

The little fellow below is a woolly worm caterpillar. Supposedly, the size of their brown stripe is a clue to what kind of winter we’ll have. Does anyone know what this guy is predicting?

woolly worm

There’s still plenty to eat, so this chubby guy (or gal) can put on a few more pounds before heading into hibernation. And this one will be able to sleep through Groundhog Day in February without anyone asking how much longer winter will last.


And when you have a lot of parkland in suburbia and no hunting, these little guys have a good chance at growing up to have a comfortable long life—as long as they stay out of the roads.


So there you have my latest fall update. I hope you enjoyed the walk and seeing a bit of Maryland that’s not too far from DC. How’s November looking where you live?

52 thoughts on “My 2013 PerNoReMo In A Blaze Of Autumn

  1. You are so clever! PerNoReMo! ha!
    And thanks for this great tour of your part of the world and a little glimpse into your life outside of writing. Revelatory posts like this are good once in awhile!


    • I know I say this periodically, but I really am trying to mix things up here on the blog now and again. 🙂 Of course, since most people seem to be using their phones for reading blogs, some of the visual changes probably aren’t that obvious. Oh well—c’est la vie. I just hope this and future PerNoReMos lead to a finished product you can reader sooner rather than later!


  2. It’s really been a pretty fall, hasn’t it? I’m loving the colors around us, and you’re right, those maples have been in fine form. So pretty. Thanks for sharing your part of the world with us, and good luck on your novel rebuilding!


    • Yesterday felt a bit more wintry—we were only in the upper 40s for a high. Today’s better, but you can sure tell the seasons have turned. There’s no mistaking we’re in autumn and winter is just around the corner. Hopefully this rebuild is the one and then it’s refining and polishing the drafts until it’s ready for public consumption. I’m doing everything I can think of to keep my self-doubt at bay!


  3. Love your pictures! Glad fall is kicking in there for you now. We’re due for snow today. Bleck. I will be wishing good vibes your way for your pernoremo.


    • Yikes, snow? It’s way too early for that stuff! And here I thought upper 40s yesterday was too cold! Hopefully you won’t get too much of the white stuff—you’ve got a wedding to work on, after all. My fingers are crossed that I’m getting the story right this time around. PerNoReMo and time will tell. 😉


  4. Enjoy those fall colors! We’re past peak now and I’m already wearing mittens (mostly because I’m a wimp when it comes to these things). Best of luck with the novel rebuilding! I’ll be slogging away at mine too and won’t be doing a NanoWriMo until it’s really, really done – if that’s even possible. 🙂


    • I’ve worn gloves for a couple of evening walks now. The temperatures are definitely dipping. We only hit the upper 40s yesterday, and even today’s 55 is a sign that we’re heading toward winter. And I’ve become such a cold-weather wimp since moving to Maryland. 😉

      Here’s to a successful PerNoReMo (which can also stand for Personal Novel Revising Month) for us! (And I have my doubts about ever doing a real NaNoWriMo, too. I just don’t think I could write that much in 30 days—even with a plan!)


      • That’s funny that we both once survived those mid-Western winters (you in WI and me in MI) and we’re wimps now when it gets to be in the 40s – or maybe we’re wimps because we know how painful those winters can be. Yay for PerNoReMo! Hopefully it’ll keep our fingers moving so that they’ll stay warm somehow.


  5. Love the pictures. I have seen a lot of those caterpillars out and about. I don’t know what he is predicting…do I even want to know? The trees are still so pretty, and the maples have been gorgeous this year. We see a lot of the same wildlife that you have, plus we get loads of turkeys around this time of year.

    You’re smart to minimize the blogging this month, so that you can write. I haven’t done that yet. Maybe tomorrow. 😉


    • We haven’t seen any turkeys near us, but they are out here. I’m just hoping we don’t get a big wind and rain storm that takes down all the leaves too early. I’d like this color to last a bit longer!

      We’ll see what I come up with for posts these next few Tuesdays. I think they’ll be simple so I can focus more on the writing. I’d really like to end the year on a good note and build some momentum for next year. 🙂


  6. Fabulous photos, and such good news about your writing progress! Over 5000 words considering you’re rebuilding ‘Death out of Time’ is awesome.


    • Thanks, Helga! I plan to get at least something written, even if only 100 words, or a plot element put in place nearly every day this month. Thanksgiving is out, and some other days might be too busy as well, but I want to minimize those. I need to get back in that mode of writing something nearly every day—so far, so good!


  7. The autumn colours are lovely. The maples are stunning!
    I live at a higher altitude than your mountain!
    The leaves are only just beginning to change colour here and not many have fallen yet.
    I hope your writing continues to go well this month.


    • Thank you, Clowie! Our Appalachians are rather tame as mountains go. Actually, it’s an age thing. They’ve been eroding for a couple hundred million years or more, but back in “their day,” they would have been as high as anything today like the Rockies or Himalayas. I’d love to see the Pyrenees again some day. I can’t say too much, but they’ll have a role in one of my future novels. 😉 I hope your trees will have some spectacular color when they do change!


  8. Thank you for sharing autumn with me. I get to live it through your photos, since I don’t get it here. Last year I spent fall in Chicago with my family, and I saw many of those red glowing trees. They’re awesome.


    • I love maples in the fall. I’m not sure anything can beat them for a blaze of beautiful color. But we never had much luck planting them. We lost a very young one to a woodpecker of all things. He drilled so deeply into the thin trunk that he killed it (or at least let bugs and bacteria/fungus in to do the job). Then we lost another one to a late winter ice storm. So disappointing!


  9. JM, I’ve been doing the same thing, setting priorities. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous pics! I don’t see those vibrant colors down here in sub-tropical temps, but I do miss them. Look forward to reading what you write and keep it up! I’m trying to do the same. xo


    • I really let my priorities slip this year, Brigitte. When self-doubt took charge, I didn’t fight back enough. Luckily, my characters didn’t abandon me, even when I shelved them. A bit late, but I’m trying to repay their commitment. I don’t know that I could handle warmer climates than Maryland, and I would miss the fall colors. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your writing, too! You did a great job with that last challenge!


  10. Good luck with your rebuild, JM. Sounds like the plan is already working out for you.
    No worries on blog posts, either. Though, these photos are plenty gorgeous! (Neat idea to tide us over that way. 😉 )


    • Thanks, Mayumi! So far, so good. I’ve exceeded my modest word counts every day. Of course, it’s still early, so I can’t ease up—especially with the Thanksgiving holiday in the mix. I’m still debating whether to take a few weeks off from the blog over the holidays or to just keep the posts simple. I hate to think what my already abysmal stats would look like then…. 😉


  11. Beautiful colors! Our recent windstorm blew ours away!
    Love your idea for NaNo doing the re-do. I may have to do something like that myself with 3 ‘pending’ books sitting from previous NaNos. 😉


    • A number of writers I follow are passing on NaNo this year and focusing on their existing projects. I think the two approaches complement each other, too. I’m drawing on a bit of that energy that’s spilling out from the NaNo participants. 😉 I don’t expect to write anywhere near 50,000 words, but I stand a better chance of reaching my simpler goals. Then I want to carry that momentum forward and get back to writing something every day (or as close as I can).


  12. JM, I have been so intrigued by the concept of your novel, so I am glad to hear you’re working on it again. Patiently waiting to read it! 🙂 The pics were great. Love the colors!!

    Been very cold in the mornings here and now so dark when I’m driving home that all I want to do is get into my pjs and snuggle up on the coach under some covers. But I can’t – have to push my self to at least get some exercise in and some writing, which is where I am off to now. Good luck with the Rebuilding!


    • Thanks, Arlene! I really hope I’ve got the story right this time. There’s a lot of work ahead, but I think I’ve addressed the problems that some betas noted.

      I like this brief bit of light again in the morning, but the early darkness is the tradeoff. I have to say, I think the light-therapy lamp is helping. We’ll see if it holds up through the winter, though! A lot of leaves are falling, now, and it’s just a matter of time before only the evergreens and hollies are still green. Of course, pansies are everywhere, to be replaced whenever a cold snap does them in. 😉

      Keep up the exercise—it helps in so many ways! And I hope your writing will go well this winter, too!


    • Thanks, Ileandra! I hope your revisions are going well this month, too. There are a lot of us forgoing the new novels this NaNo and focusing on revisions and rebuilds. Maybe the NaNo folks should consider adding an official version of what we’re doing. 🙂

      We are lucky to have a nice park within walking distance of the house. And even though we’re a suburb of DC, there’s a lot of greenspace and trees out here, which is really nice. Far better than the flat prairies where I grew up and spent much of my life!


      • A proper sort of of revisions month would be so cool. It seems like the natural follow-up to writing the novel in a month after all. And I worry that encouraging people to churn out novels in 30 days also encourages people to think that doing so is the end of it.

        With self publishing booming as it is there isn’t enough of a focus on editing and polishing and revising. It needs to be there.

        That park is a beautiful space. 🙂 We have lots of green areas around here but none as beautiful as that. Well… actually Bradgate Park is quite nice and it has deer, but it’s just a tad too far for me to get to easily. *sigh*


    • Thanks, Kourtney! You can just see a hint of the gold inner leaves on these red maples, which really made them stunning. Alas, they are shedding them now, heading into the bare days of winter. 😦

      I’m happy to report I’ve exceeded my PerNoReMo daily goals every day so far. 🙂 Of course, there will be days like Thanksgiving when I can’t, so I’m not letting up!


      • It’s a color you can’t capture or replicate. Sometimes nature only lets you take mental snapshots. 🙂

        Congrats! It’s like that. Days when you are ahead and then behind again. Keep pushing forward. You can do it!


        • Thanks, Kourtney. 🙂 Today’s been a bit tough, but I still met my goal, and there’s still this evening. Based on comments I’ve received from two earlier readers on my new ideas, there are still some plot changes I need to make, even if they’ll be difficult. One.Step.At.A.Time. Right?


  13. YEA for dedication and progress! Really exciting.
    More walks! You live in a gorgeous area – autumn looks like a painting there. We don’t have rocks – mostly old ocean floor gumbo. But it’s cold tonight. My plants are saying we’ll have winter. Almost cold enough to plant pansies which are our all winter flowers. The shorter days/earlier sunsets are making me much sleepier (maybe a bear in past life?). Everyone says those lights help…progress with writing is bound to!


    • Now comes the hard part—I’ve pulled what I can from the earlier version. Now I have to get serious about the new sections! That starts this evening, and my word counts will likely drop to my expected levels. Just so they don’t fall too far below them. 😉

      We are supposed to get a real cold snap come mid-week—maybe only around 40 for a high. That will be a shock! But at least they’re downscaling the chance of snow. So far the light-therapy lamp really is working. The real test will come later next month and into January, when we’re at our darkest levels. But so far, so good. Now, if it will just translate into writing progress!


  14. Hello – dropping by! Not much of that color in California, still mostly blue and bright. Actually, I’m now starting to miss the seasons a little more, especially the colour. But on the other hand, cannot grumble about being able to wander round wearing shorts in November.

    All the best on the November book rebuilding thing. Good to use the month target. Wish I had some time myself!


    • Hi Elliot, so good to hear from you! I’ve been thinking recently about blog buddies, including you, who haven’t been active for a while. You have been missed!

      Life threw some curves at me this year, which derailed my writing for some months. But maybe that was good because I saw where the WIPs really needed more work to be their best. Hence, PerNoReMo. And if all goes well, it will continue for as many months as needed to get the stories in shape.

      I hope you’re doing well and have a chance to pursue your creative endeavors—although your comment suggests you’re still busy! Take care, and I hope we’ll get to see you again soon in the blogosphere.


      • Definitely that step away can often be a good thing, whether you want to do it or not.

        I have a few ideas for some one off posts but little time at the moment. The other commitments are keeping me busy, although really I cannot complain too much (and who listens anyway?).All the best in getting the projects into shape 🙂


  15. Good luck with your rebuild JM, I know how difficult it is! Gorgeous photos – we’re still in the middle of the autumn colours but just lately the days have been much colder and crisper – the fire has been on for the first time since last winter. It was a beautiful day today though – cold, but beautiful sunshine and amazing clouds and a wonderfully calm sea.


    • Thanks, Andrea. Even though I’m daunted by the task, I’m still creeping forward, meeting my PerNoReMo goals. And I think I finally had the plot breakthrough I needed hit me yesterday. Now to draft all those new scenes!

      We’re having a beautiful, sunny weekend with temperatures that aren’t too cold. It’s a bit windy, but I can live with that. Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean are a bit of a drive away, but I’ll bet there are folks enjoying some last weekends on the water before it gets too cold.

      I hope you’re finding inspiration in your autumn weather!


  16. Reworking a novel can be stressful but as you have shown very rewarding when the words flow and the new content works. I wish you very best in your PerNovReMo, great idea 😀 Made me smile.

    Love you photos especially the trees. Amazing colours.


    • The rebuilding is stressful—and exhausting. While I was able to keep part of the original, I’m still back to “Draft One” for most of it. But my hope is that I have a clearer image of the story as it should be. If so, this first draft should be significantly better than the “first” one. And then the revisions and polishing should go quicker than the first time around. Fingers crossed!

      I’ll have to take some current photos—some heavy winds have taken down too many of those beautiful leaves!


  17. Beautiful photos. Also, it was nice to know roughly where this was so that I could go look on a map.

    The red-berried tree you couldn’t identify looks like one we have out here. I don’t know the name of it, but the berries are filled with a white pulp, and are poisonous–or at the very least inedible. I recall having a bad experience with them as a child.


    • When it comes to berries on trees, I’ll leave them for the birds, unless I know for sure what they are. But we’ve got a mulberry tree and blackberries and raspberries growing along the public roadside nearby, and they make a tasty snack. When they’re at peak, a number of people will harvest a bag or two for themselves. I remember some of my friends and I taking a bite of crab apples once when we were about six or seven. And boy, once was definitely enough.

      I had no idea when my husband and I moved out here what the area would look like. I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised. We knew we’d be close to DC and all it has to offer. But the natural areas were unexpected.


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