Sunday, December 17, 2017

ROW80 Sunday night late

Not sure I can update very completely tonight as we've been busy with company -- as so many of us are this time of year.

I did finalize and upload the very last (I hope) revisions on the Kindle version of Rivers of Stone. These revisions were hard won after that final review of the paperback version. Through December, Rivers of Stone is available for the special launch price of $0.99. The paperback version is also now available, and I'm holding my breath until my order of 20 books comes in, sometime around December 27.

And I'm thrilled to report the first review of Rivers of Stone came in!!!!! 5 stars!!!! How grateful I am for readers who love my stories AND write reviews!!!!

Finishing Rivers of Stone was my biggest goal for this year. All else pales.

I've worked hard on revisions and marketing as well, but these seem more a distraction. My husband's health is not well. Weeks pass, and he doesn't really improve. Or, he improves and has another setback. He tells me he never expected to live this long, but I'm not ready to say goodbye. So think of us in the sunshine of Merida for most of January and February, maybe sitting on that rooftop patio, lolling around on hammocks, far from snow.

Each day brings its own small celebrations. For example, this week I visited a trio of authors' at their book signing. What joy.

May 2018 be a good writing year for you. 

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Click to visit Amazon





Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ROW80 Weds check-in: A shot in the dark?

No, that was a shot in the arm! A 'new and improved' pneumonia shot led to red swelling from shoulder to elbow. I was the lucky one. DH got two shots in the same arm. But after 3 days, we're doing better. Well enough to resume (almost) normal activities. (Editors: Is that "almost resume" or "almost normal" . . . )

UPDATE FOR ROW80. This week's list of goals is short. With only 3 weeks to departure, I'm starting to sort, organized, and let go of some projects.

WRITING/EDITING: Edited 3/5 chapters of Mothers Don't Die. No poetry this week yet. Read other ROW80 writers x4/6 (so far).

LAUNCH PARTY. IF the paperback copies of Rivers of Stone get here in time, I will have some sort of launch party to celebrate here in Spokane.

MARKETING/CONTESTS/REVIEWS: The Kindle version will remain on sale at $0.99 through December 31. Just beginning to research contests but requested review Rivers of Stone by My Book Cave.  Set up GoodReads giveaway (paperback) to run December 19-31. Plan to submit Mothers Don't Die (first 28 pages) to the Pacific Northwest Writers Assn by January 1. Gads, I hate asking for reviews but will persevere. Sent one more query.

SOMETHING FOR YOU

Do you love granola but kind of stagger to a stop when you check the price? Try my happy Stovetop Granola for a less expensive and delicious option -- and you know exactly what's in the recipe because you put it there.  

Read through the following informal recipe which takes about 15 minutes and give it a try. Adjust any ingredient to your taste. Experiment!

1. BROWN THE OATMEAL. Start with a big pan. Add 2-3 TBSP olive oil and 4-5 cups of old-fashioned oats. Brown over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring enough so the oatmeal doesn't stick and burn. Empty toasted oats onto a cookie sheet to cool while you carry on the next step.

2. PREPARE THE FLAVOR SAUCE. Melt one cube of butter (I know, that's a lot) into the pan. After it's fully melted, add about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Stir until the brown sugar melts and bubbles. If you feel like it, add 1 teasp salt and/or 1 teasp vanilla.

3. ADD TOASTED OATMEAL TO FLAVOR SAUCE. For the next 5 minutes, stir often to prevent sticking and to mix ingredients fully. Toward the end of the 5 minutes, add 1 TBSP cinnamon, 2 handfuls of raisins (or a mix of your favorite dried fruit), and 2 handfuls of your favorite nuts (any combination of walnuts, almond flakes, and/or cashews). I add the fruit at the end of the cooking so they plump up a little. Now, turn that granola onto the cookie sheet to cool. 

You can store the granola up to about 3 weeks, but it never lasts that long. I keep my granola in a glass cookie jar and like to sprinkle it on top of regularly cooked oatmeal. 


You've just made your very own granola! Enjoy the end of 2017.

May you meet all your goals in 2018, write amazing stories, and cherish those you love.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Click to visit Amazon












Monday, December 11, 2017

ROW80 Sunday Check-in: Happy Unbirthday!

I got an unexpected present at my birthday dinner last Wednesday. A nasty cold -- one that landed with an intense headache and ended with lingering low stamina. But I'm back, one day late and ready to meet the rest of hectic December.

This may be one of the simplest of check-ins, for here's what I really did get accomplished:

Thursday: Completely down and out.

Friday: Barely recovering.

Saturday: Lovely book signing at 2nd Look Books here in Spokane, bolstered by hot latte and a nicely sympathetic friend. Actually met some new readers and crawled back home after the festivities.

Sunday: Football. I have never slept through so much and nor seen so little.

Monday: Worked on marketing. Set up GoodReads giveaway. Requested review for Rivers of Stone from Underground Books.  Joined the Historical Novel Society. Wrote article for Spokane Authors on 'exciting' change in CreateSpace. Effective October, 2017, they've closed their online store, ended their slightly higher author royalties, and shifted sales over to Amazon, promising wider readership).

Week's inspiration? Talking to people who love to read historical fiction. Getting feedback from someone who attended my writing workshop last month. Finding out that our work on publicity for SASP's new Anthology featuring 19 writers of fiction and poetry, Celebrating Spokane Authors, led to a feature page in the Spokesman-Review on Thursday. And DH made me lunch and supper on my sickest day.

By next Sunday: I'm still dragging a bit, but in the coming week hope to set up a launch party, request some more reviews for poor, lonely Rivers of Stone, maybe find a contest or two (HNS), and learn something more about Instagram. OK, and maybe, just maybe edit 5 chapters in Mothers Don't Die and write 2 poems. Read what other ROW80 writers are up to x6.

We're supposed to get some snow by Friday. I've started on a weird owl quilt for the 3-year-old, and there may be more football in my future. Good luck with winter, my ROW80 friends. Forgive me for being late one day. Have a wonderful week ahead.  Be well. Take some toasty time by the fireplace (even if it's imaginary), find a good book to read, and all's well, especially if we add some writing and story-telling.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.





Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ROW80 #20: Happy Writing! Happy checking in!

Best of news: Early this morning (on my birthday), I hit that magic button and sometime within the next 24-48 hours, Rivers of Stone will go live as a paperback on Amazon (already online as an e-book). After three years of work, this is a big YIPPEE!!!

Since we're going out of the country nearly all of January and February to Merida, Mexico, this project needed to be finished before 2017 faded away.  This week, with inspiration from Olivia Randolph's stunning Facebook ad (b/w with color reserved only for cover), I fooled around with PowerPoint and posted this in my quarterly newsletter:

Click to visit Amazon

Last Sunday, my ROW80 planning/reporting life changed. With that new chart, I've moved to colorful progress, where (so far) nothing seems to slip in the abyss, and I can "see" how what I'm doing meets my goals.  What this really means is that those goals that I'm less comfortable with are truly more visible -- and I'm making progress!

So, here's my first update with color! Blue = DONE. Green = In progress. Red = Priority, but no action yet.

BIG PICTURE GOALS
ACTION STEPS
WRITING: Work on projects that nurture my writing and poetry. Read articles about writing strategies. 
1.     Proof final PB Rivers of Stone.
2.     Write 2-4 poems each week.
3.     Read/revise Mothers Don’t Die for Kindle. Completed through Chap 5.
4.     Draft scenes (1K words/week) for Island Wife.
5.     Read 1 writing mag/week.

BLOGGING: Post blogs so they realistically reflect my writing & readers’ interests. Connect with online writing community by reading other bloggers.
1.     Post ROW80 Sun and Weds.
2.     Post Writing blog 2x/month. Part 3: Deep Revision pending. Posted IWSG (Dec 6).
3.     Read other blogs x6/week. x2

MARKETING: Carry out action steps that build writing visibility. Read marketing research (declutter where possible).
1.     Sent newsletter December 4.
2.     Setup GoodReads giveaway for ROS.
3.     Take notes on useful market research.
4.     Send out review requests ROS.
5.     Order bookmarks.
6.     Alert folks re 12/11 signing.
7.     F/U re blog post re historical fiction.

SASP: Support Spokane Authors with publicity and 1 special event each quarter.
1.     Confirm readers for Feb 23 Auntie’s read.
2.     Pre-write articles xJan/xFeb.
3.     Post FB update re Launch Party and meeting Dec7.
4.     Update Anthology description Amazon.
5.     Put Auntie’s readings on KPBX.

READING: Track books I read and review 2x/month.
Read 6 books in December. 2/6 so far.
HOME-TENDING: Identify specific actions that support healthy diet, exercise, and family.
1.     Plan 2 veggie meals this week. x1 so far.
2.     Swim x3. x1 so far.
3.     Declutter home and e-mail.
4.     Transfer calendar to phone!!!
5.     Kitchen focus: 2 hours this week.
6.     Comfort quilt: finish border.

Thank you, Eden and Shan Jeniah, for keeping us all focused. May you ALL have a wonderful week to come, lots of writing time, nurturing down time, and limitless time with those you love.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Row80 #18: Major reboot!

Today's check-in begins with a quote that changed entirely how I track goals/action steps for ROW80.

Fidji Simo, a Vice President of Product for Facebook, recently said in an interview: "Focus is doing things with a clear intention and making sure that all your decisions match your intention."

That fits right in with the rhythm of ROW80's goal-setting and checking in to share progress. In the last month, though, I've felt inundated with commitments and goals. I often couldn't SEE what my priorities were, yet deadlines loomed. So I spent this morning revamping my tracking system. Instead of a 'daily diary' coupled to a chart for the week, I now begin my Daily Work file with this simple chart:

DECEMBER GOALS

BIG PICTURE GOALS
ACTION STEPS
WRITING: Work on projects that nurture my writing and poetry. Read articles about writing strategies. 
1.     Proof final PB Rivers of Stone.
2.     Write 2-4 poems each week.
3.     Read/revise Mothers Don’t Die for Kindle.
4.     Draft scenes (1K words/week) for Island Wife.
5.     Read 1 writing mag/week.

BLOGGING: Post blogs so they realistically reflect my writing & readers’ interests. Connect with online writing community by reading other bloggers.
1.     Post ROW80 Weds and Sun.
2.     Post IWSG x1/month (Dec 6).
3.     Post Writing blog 2x/month. Part 3: Deep Revision.
4.     Read other blogs x6/week.

MARKETING: Carry out action steps that build writing visibility. Read marketing research (declutter where possible).
1.     Send newsletter in Dec.
2.     Setup GoodReads giveaway for ROS.
3.     Take notes on useful market research.
4.     Send out review requests ROS.

SASP: Support Spokane Authors with publicity and 1 special event each quarter.
1.     Confirm readers for Feb 23 Auntie’s read.
2.     Pre-write articles xJan/xFeb.
3.     Post FB update re Launch Party and meeting Dec7.
4.     Update Anthology description Amazon.

READING: Track books I read and review 2x/month.
Read 2/6 books in December.
HOME-TENDING: Identify specific actions that support healthy diet, more exercise, and a harmonious family.
1.     Plan 2 veggie meals this week.
2.     Swim x3.
3.     Birthday dinner w/family.
4.     Declutter home and e-mail.
5.     Kitchen focus: 2 hours this week.
6.     Comfort quilt: finish border.

So far, I've found a few lost action steps along the way and am again reminded by Adrienne Rich's very famous quote, particularly for women writers, but this first bit always inspires me as she calls us anew to "Re-vision -- the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes . . . "

As we enter this chaotic month of December, may you be blessed with a sense of peace and energy, a renewed commitment to writing, and all that makes your life and creativity bloom.

Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing  FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

"Reflections" by Camil Tulcan (Flickr)


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ROW80 Weds: Digging In . . .

Let's keep it simple as we balance between this year's memories of Thanksgiving and the end-of-the-year to come. Red = no progress.  Blue = Done!

WEEKLY GOALS BY DECEMBER 2.

1. WRITING: Proof the final paperback for Rivers of Stone by Sunday, 12/2. NOTE: Final proofing of Rivers of Stone depends on whether I get that darn proof copy in time! Read Mothers Don't Die to see if the story stands on its own. Done. Edited Chapters 1-4. So 4/30 done. Write 1,000 words on Island Wife. So far, 350 words. Started researching smugglers in northern Scotland. Write 4 poems. 3/4 so far.

2. BLOGGING. Weds and Sun for ROW80. Finish Part 3 on deep revision for writing blog. The monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group is set for December 6 (my birthday) and asks us to look back over the year. Would we have done anything differently? I'm not sure at all.

3. READING. Start tracking reading again. Goal to read 6 books for December (and review at least 2). Reviewed Suzanne Ireland's Mermaid in a Fishbowl. Harder for me to read paperbacks as the print is just too small.

4. MARKETING. All out media push and setting up readings for Spokane Authors' new Anthology with launch party this Saturday, December 2. Probably 6 hours so far. Meeting today. In process: sending out review requests for Rivers of Stone. Sent out 5 requests to 3 wonderful writers who said YES! Plan to send newsletter by December 6. Did first draft. Prepping for book signing, December 11. Dropped off poster, media sheet.

5. NEW GOAL: Home-tending (inspired by Shan Jeniah) to work just 2 hours a week on some long-ignored part of our home. This week: focus area = the kitchen. 2 sessions done. Even DH helped, but the stove awaits. Decluttering continues. Emails down to under 100 again. 

QUESTION: How long do YOU keep those notes and papers that support previous books? I'm ready to start heaving them out for more space in filing cabinets. How about you?

OTHER GOALS: Almost done with another comfort quilt and ready to start a twin-bed size for littlest grandchild. Bright owls against a powder blue cloud filled sky. Maybe machine applique. The generosity of quilting friends warms me when I work. Not making progress with physical exercise just now. Keep missing swimming classes. DH is sick now for 5 weeks and we're gearing up for the second trip to the doctor. So I try to stay balanced between what is possible and what needs to be done.

BACK TO WRITING: When I read Mothers Don't Die this time, I wasn't reading marked up pages. I uploaded the latest draft to Kindle and tried to read it as if I were reading this thriller/suspense tale about a kidnapping for the very first time -- and that I didn't know the writer (me). 

Surprise! Not everyone will like this tale, but it drew me in. Another surprise: So much of my writing was shaped by childhood experiences and memories. Here's, finally, another new goal: This old, much revised tale will be up on Kindle before 2018.

Me playing with my cousin, Jimmie, on Bainbridge Island, about 1951.
Now, what's happening on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

ROW80 check-in: Post Thanksgiving

Hope no one succumbed to Black Friday. My Friday was spent quilting with several friends, trading fabrics, and having a blast -- far from words, deadlines, and queues of shoppers. I worked so hard on Thanksgiving, my feet still hurt! Yet I remain thankful for family and friends and every last tiny piece of pie (pumpkin, apple, mincemeat) that tantalized my tastebuds.

I'm thankful for ROW80, that round of words with like-minded writers who persevere with goals and accountability. Thank YOU for keeping up with your own writing yet commenting. This coming week, my goals are simpler yet . . .

GOALS BY DECEMBER 2.

1. WRITING: Proof the final paperback for Rivers of Stone by Sunday, 12/2. Begin reading Mothers Don't Die to see if the story stands on its own. Write 1,000 words on Island Wife. Write 4 poems.

2. BLOGGING. Weds and Sun for ROW80. Finish Part 3 on deep revision for writing blog.

3. READING. Start tracking reading again. Goal to read 6 books for December (and review at least 2). Want to read Maids of Misfortune (M. Louisa Locke) and Olivia Mourning (Yael Politis), Just finished Suzanne Ireland's Mermaid in a Fishbowl, a story of an intrepid young woman who teaches at a prison (5 stars). Love the way her characters and understanding of prison life are vividly told.

4. MARKETING. All out media push and setting up readings for Spokane Authors' new Anthology with launch party this Saturday, December 2. In process: sending out review requests for Rivers of Stone. Plan to send newsletter by December 6. Prepping for book signing, December 11. 

5. NEW GOAL: Home-tending (inspired by Shan Jeniah) to work just 2 hours a week on some long-ignored part of our home. This week: focus area = the kitchen.

Now, may we all have a mild and writerly productive winter . . . so far,  no snow here, but those beautiful fall leaves are long gone. Please visit other ROW80 writers on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

And, just one more question: Would YOU like to subscribe to my very occasional e-mailed updates, release discounts, etc? If yes, please click HERE.

Picture shows what I'm already dreaming about -- for January and February: Coffee in historic Old Town, Merida, Mexico.

Old Town, Merida, Mexico