Sunday, August 20, 2017

ROW80 Sunday Summer Check-in

This week was fairly intense with babysitting from 5:30 to 11 pm for 3 nights. I love my grands, but they can tire me out! Favorite moment? See mud pie party below.

This week, I spotted a letter to Ann Landers (not the right name, but you know what I mean), which talked about the sadness in getting older. Not just the loss of friends or being left out of family events, but that slow realization that we just can't do every day what we once did without thinking. I've noticed recently that some of those TV newscasters look about 12 years old! But I do worry about my husband's health and hope each day he will improve just enough to enjoy the time we have together. Perhaps this is why I can't quite achieve every goal each week, but I appreciate ROW80's routine that keeps me focused and connected.

Looks like our week of cooler weather is heading back to mid-90's tomorrow. Luckily I do get up very early, so I'm ready to make good progress in the coming week.

ROW80: Round 3: Week 7 - 8
WRITING. Revising Section 03 (20 Chapters/30K words). Goal by Sunday: Complete 5 chapters. Completed 8 chapters so 8/20 = 42% done with this section. Not as much progress in reviewing Section 04 in writer's group as we haven't met this week. Next week: Same goals. Minimum of 5 chapters of Sec03, with Sec04 postponed to the last week of the month.

WRITING PROJECTS: Finished the Call for Submissions form for SASP's website for our Anthology. Late on getting info on next month's speaker, but sent questions and will hope for the best. Next week: No other writing projects pending. Send PR on September speaker by 8/30.

MARKETING: No real progress other than those 3 poems submitted to a local library for its anthology. Meeting re possible presentation has been moved again. Next week: Make calendar and, most important, make decision about putting Standing Stones on perma-bargain. Considering MyBookCave for promo.

BLOGGING/READING: Currently reading Suzanne Brockmann's Some Kind of Hero (quirky writer meets hot SEAL whose daughter goes missing). Pure escape. I'm also trying to read a book by an indie writer with the goal to review before month end. Making no progress yet with blogging, and I keep falling behind on what others have posted for ROW80. Can I blame summer? Next week: Read that indie book. Write the review. Make a schedule for blogging. Read at least 6 other ROW80 posts.

OTHER: Still binding that mystery quilt. Goal to finish this coming week. Then I shall share a picture! The other major challenge I've set is to increase exercise to 4x/week (this week accomplished 5x), and to revamp my diet (more fruits/veggies, no sugar). Many of the changes suggested by The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet (whole wheat, grains) I've already made. So far, I'm holding steady and making progress. 

Here's that picture of the littlest grand I promised. Why not check out what other ROW80 folks are doing on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK. And have a great week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ROW80: Back on schedule . . .

You know that sinking feeling when disaster strikes? There I was, computer keyboard humming away, ready to write and revise. I opened up Section 03 of the current revision-in-progress to find five chapters missing. Let's just say blessings for back-ups and double back-ups. In under ten minutes, I was back at work.

So in the spirit of Wednesday, here is where I am with goals for the coming week:

ROW80: Round 3: Week 7

WRITING. Just starting revisions for Section 03 (20 Chapters/30K words). Goal by Sunday: Complete 5 chapters. Reviewing Section 04 (the last one!) in writers' group.

WRITING PROJECTS: Just burned way too many hours putting a proposal together to indie publish an anthology for our local writers' group. I'm figuring 30-40 contributors, 200 pages +/-, with graphics, and publish by mid-November. Proposal approved by board. Next: Call for Submissions form and promo.

MARKETING: Does it count that I handed out 6 bookmarks? I also am in the middle of setting up a presentation for another writing group. Did submit 3 poems to a local library for its anthology.

READING: Have read 8/20 books so far this month. Reviewed Lee Goldberg's The Walk about a somewhat sedentary white collar professional who tries to walk home after a devastating earthquake hits Los Angeles. I really liked the story, its many surprising twists, not the least being how the experience tested his integrity and core values. Of course, we did live in mid-Wilshire for five years -- without a car.

DECLUTTERING INSIDE AND OUT: Oh, was I efficient in this category. Maybe another form of procrastination. My e-mail is slimmed down considerably, I recycled through a foot-high stack of files, and got rid of (donated) a pile of cords and electronic gizmos I will never use. My goal to avoid diabetes has shifted into high gear after a nasty blood sugar test. If anyone is in a similar situation, consider The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet (available at most libraries and online). This book (with its positive tone and very specific steps) is transforming how I think about what I eat. Who could imagine salad for breakfast?

The last few days, temperatures have eased into the 80s, a very short bit of rain cleared out the smoke from nearby forest fires, so all seems possible once again.  Thank you, A Round of Words for 80 Days, for just being inspirational.

Why not check out what other folks are doing on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK. And have a great week!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

ROW80: Not quite normal

Was I the only one who woke up early this morning about 5 am, wondering if today's news would bring word of a nuclear explosion here or over there? And if a war came, how much would it change our world, our interconnected communities, our sense of balance. And so I remember those wars within my memory, the Korean War, Vietnam, Afghanistan.

My projects and progress seem quite small.

Yet today is Wednesday. Time to check in with A Round of Words in 80 Days. See what others are doing here or on our Facebook page. Why not join in?

Half-way through Week 6: August 7-13.

1. WRITING goal: Finish 5 chapters. Finished revising 7 chapters of Rivers of Stone this week so far. Beginning Chapter 45 tomorrow morning (I hope). That's 63% complete (44 of 70 chapters).
2. BLOGGING. Today, here. Maybe on the writing blog later this week. Did read 7x other posts so far.
3. OTHER PROJECTS: Worked on Spokane Authors project (2017 Anthology). Fascinating mix of creative stuff and then all the organizing needed around a timeline (volunteers, job descriptions, submission guidelines, releases, graphics, formatting).

Wednesday is also the day to share a snippet of what's in progress, inspired by WIPpet Wednesday, a small group of writers who share snippets of work in progress. So here are 3 paragraphs (since we are in the 3rd quarter of the year), from that chapter in Rivers of Stone when Cat finds her friend lost in the snow:

     When Cat came out from securing the barn, she faced a wall of snow. The blizzard had strengthened. She could hardly see the trading post, less than a hundred feet away. She heard a low cry. Was that an animal? Someone in distress? She took a few steps away from the protection of the barn, one hand on the fence that led to the fields.
     There. Again. Someone cried out, “Help!”
     Cat kept her hand on the fence as she worked her way towards the cry. She found Pete slumped over on the ground. His breath came slowly, as if it were caught in his chest. 

I really have no other words tonight. The picture of Mount Hood reminds me we are surrounded by beauty. Maybe that is enough.

Mount Hood (July 2017)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

ROW80: Sunday night special . . .

Why am I drawn to suspense this week? Weird dreams could be attributed to the weather -- still hot, and smoky air blowing over Spokane from forest fires. Our air quality hit 'hazardous' a few times this week (worse than Beijing). I honestly don't know which is better, these stinking hot summers or knee-deep-in-snow winters. Or Oregon's more moderate temperatures but constant rain from about October to May. Sigh. But I'm happiest about steady progress on the writing and feeling almost recovered from that stint of immersion babysitting.

Round 3, Week 5: July 30 - August 6 progress:

1. WRITING. Revised 10 chapters this week. Consolidated one chapter so up to chapter 38 out of 66 (OK so a percentage makes me feel good: 58% completed). Also started feeding last section to my small writer's group. Also writing chapter summaries as I go. Feeling good about steady progress.

2. BLOGGING. Posted "I Hate Tailgaters" for Insecure Writer's Study Group on my writing blog to respond to their question for the month: "What peeves you when reading/writing/editing?" Check out the post HERE. Working on a plan for better blogging. Posted 3x this week (met goal).

3. READING. Goal 25 books for the month. So far 5/25. Just started Rhenna Morgan's Unexpected Eden featuring parallel worlds (Earth and Eden). Finished Lisa Kessler's Moonlight (too x-rated for me) though a mix of jaguar and wolf shape-shifters was interesting. Less interesting was Christina Dodd's Just the Way You Are, a class-based plot with hard-working orphan falling for billionaire passing as the 'butler'. Again, a little x-rated (skipped pages). Doing a little better on reading what others have posted online (x4/6 for the week). Hoping for improvement (tonight and in the coming week). Reviews this week x1. 

4. MARKETING. Discovered MyBookCave, a newsletter for readers and authors that features free/discounted books; they do include x-ratings so you can steer away from the downright erotic (which Bookbub does not). Their newsletter goes out to about 78K subscribers, but is significantly less expensive than BookBub. Their website offers helpful info and online submission guidelines. 

5. OTHER: Visited with a group of would-be writers at a nearby assisted living complex and came away feeling that perhaps I had entertained them a little and inspired them with some new directions. But I'm also humbled by the stories they shared, and the gifts of health and family we share. 

Also proposed our local writer's association publish an anthology (poetry, fiction, nonfiction), with proceeds donated to a local charity. Maybe we'll do this every two years? Has anyone worked on a project like this? Have advice to share? Please comment or e-mail me! Thank you!

Recipe of the week: Ravioli tossed with green beans, spinach, sauteed in garlic chicken bites, mushrooms, and topped with Romano. Chopped veggie salad (that store-bought cabbage-based mix with apples added). Easy. Fast. Delicious. My goal: healthier meals.

Sunday means thinking ahead to the new week. May all your goals be met and the weather not quite as hot where you are. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE.

My Rachel, inspired by Frida (July 2017)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

ROW80: Weds progress

Outside, the temps will be in the high 90s again, with the week ahead looking the same. Inside, I leave the windows open in the early morning, and the breeze smells so fresh. I'm still thankful for air conditioning. Imagine the 1840s when women wore long skirts, had babies at home, and in the summer, no air conditioning.

This week's progress on goals:

1. WRITING. Revised 3 chapters so far. Up to chapter 31 out of 67 (not counting what happens later today). Writing chapter summaries as I go. Feeling good about steady progress.
2. BLOGGING. Posted "I Hate Tailgaters" for Insecure Writer's Study Group on my writing blog to respond to their question for the month: "What peeves you when reading/writing/editing?" Check out the post HERE. Working on a plan for better blogging.
3. READING. Doing a little better on reading what others have written (x3/6 so far for the week). Currently reading Vickie McKeehan's Indigo Fire, a nifty thriller about a family abduction set in the Florida Keys. Reviewed Anne Baines' Hunting Delilah, another thriller about a feisty con artist who discovers a severed head in a freezer. Guess you can see I'm reading escapist genre stuff and loving it.
4. MARKETING. Circling around. No action. Yet.

OTHER: Yesterday was our 42nd anniversary so we celebrated with a movie (Dunkirk) and dinner out at a very nice restaurant called Clover here in Spokane. The waitperson (a kid, really) confided he had only experienced 'fine dining' for two months and was loving it. We loved our dinner too, exquisitely flavored -- from the caprice salmon appetizer, to the scallops with crab ravioli. No room for dessert. I should have taken a picture! Now I'm behind on exercising, diet, and quilting. Aargh. No wonder Wednesdays always feel like I'm behind.

Back to the writing. It is Wednesday, so here's a snippet as Cat, our fearless heroine, makes her way south by York Boat to Red River in Manitoba, 1840s. Yes, she's still disguised as a boy.

     Cat gagged the first time they saw a body. A man had been buried beside the river, but something had dug aside the rocks, and a skeleton gazed out at them.
     "Don't look if it makes you sick," said Pierre.
     “Won’t be the first one you see.” Lambidoux snorted.
     Thurston stopped to shape a rough cross of wood and reburied the remains at the top of the embankment.

Have a great week. May all your goals be met and the weather not quite as hot where you are. Tomorrow I'm teaching a workshop on getting started with writing. Should be fun. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE.

Anyone catch the missing apostrophe???

Sunday, July 30, 2017

ROW80: Sunday check-in once again

July is very nearly gone. As Denise Young reminds us, only 53 days remain in Round 3.

This last month has been tumultuous with lots of people, commitments, babysitting, and major shifts in writing. I haven't looked at the goals for the round, keeping instead to week-by-week.


1. WRITING: Revise 5 more chapters. DONE: Actually revised 7 chapters and finished Section 01 of Rivers of Stone. Began revising Chapter Summaries as well. So far 12/27 chapters completed. Need these summaries updated to keep track of changed plotting and those pesky characters who keep changing their names. My overall goal is to publish Rivers of Stone by year-end, with Sections 01 and 05 being most challenging.

NEW GOAL? Thought I would start a notebook/folder for the next story, but despite the often seemingly overwhelming task in front of me, I want to keep my focus on Rivers of Stone. This week, I will begin revising Section 02 (12 chapters) and finish those Chapter Summaries for Section 01 (15 chapters).

2. BLOGGING: Post x2/week. Read other posts by 4x.  GOAL? Same for the coming week.

3. MARKETING. Not sure yet. I find it easier to set this aside. I am teaching a writing workshop this Thursday. Does that count for indirect marketing? And I did write an article on dialogue for Spokane Authors' newsletter. GOAL? At least review my notes and pick out ONE ACTION STEP to work on.

3. OTHER. Did resume swimming 2 out of 3x this week. Plan to continue. Dithering a little over which quilting project to do next. 

Here's a picture of the Happy Birthday quilt (African theme to celebrate our trip with friends to Tasmania) now in its new home, and I'm equally excited that secret project number 2 is now at the quilter.

Sometimes I think that quilting is much like writing as a project will (at least for me) emerge in pieces. I'm having fun with Pinterest collecting images of landscape quilts. My first effort is rather small, about 10" x 15" that I made in March of this year. But the block is calling for 'the rest of the story.'

Meanwhile, may your week go well. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE. That's where I'm going next!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

ROW80: Sunday and home again . . .

Sometimes we learn again to be humble. After four days with my two lovely granddaughters (aged 5 and 2.5), I've relearned that my stamina has limits. And yet those kids are a joy, curious, and full of energy and love. Our day began at 7am and ended at 9pm. We were too tired to do much of anything else, BUT somehow, I got three days of writing sandwiched in before wake-up time.

WRITING GOAL FOR LAST WEEK:  Revise 3-4 more chapters. 

Completed Chapters 15-20. 

All other goals got postponed.

Biggest lesson learned? Being responsible for these two energetic children brought out a few symptoms of PTSS. I screeched when the little one ran out into the street and panicked at the noises at Jump and Bounce when the five year old hid for 15 minutes. So we are home now and it's quiet, though I haven't written the last 3 days. Tomorrow's Monday, and I hope for better progress when I report in on Weds.

Inspired by Elizabeth Ann Mitchell, here is my short list of goals for the week:

  1. WRITING: Revise 5 more chapters. Start a notebook/folder for the next story.
  2. Blogging: Post x2.
  3. Marketing: Not sure yet. Thinking about Holly Lisle's class.
  4. Other: Resume exercise x4 times this week. Decide what quilting project is next.

You can still pick up a free copy of  "My Selkie" through July 31 at Smashwords  

This short story led to Standing Stones, my first historical novel set in Scotland in 1840, also available deeply discounted on Smashwords through July 31.

Meanwhile, may your week go well. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE. That's where I'm going next!

Backyard Treat (Summer 2017)