Sunday, September 17, 2017

OK, so maybe I'm doing that walk of shame as somehow the last two check-ins for ROW80 have slipped right by me. I have two relatively big excuses (besides babysitting).

Revisions on Chapter 71 have taken up many hours in the last two weeks. Maybe, just maybe I'm closer. The next and last revision goes to writer's group this Wednesday. I don't like to argue with anyone at all, but my two main characters need to confront each other.

An opportunity for a radio interview popped up Monday, with recording on Friday. I learned a lot, had fun with an amazing host, and wrote about it HERE on my writing blog.

Meanwhile, here's the official check-in for Week 11 with Round 3 ending on September 21 (this week).

WRITING: Good but grueling progress on that last chapter of Rivers of Stone. Wrote another 1,000 words on the memoir and warmed right up with a poem this morning for OctPoWriMo (a poetry writing challenge that asks participants to write a poem every day throughout the month).

GOALS for the coming week: Write a poem a day. Write at least 400 words for afterword/book blurb. James Scott Bell has very useful 'how to' suggestions in his Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing (the shoe fits). Write at least 500 words on the memoir. Keep reviewing poems for poetry chapbook with goal to publish before summer 2018 (currently have 90 pages).

BLOGGING:  Posted 2x this week and read x14 what others posted. GOALS for the coming week: Post Weds for ROW80 and take a break to set goals for ROW80's Round 4. Read everyone who posts for ROW80 on the blog or in  FaceBook. Continue to post those poems daily on my Writing blog. Luckily I like short poems.

MARKETING: Steady but very slow progress in Bell's book. GOALS for the coming week: Firm up one pending workshop. Set up GoodReads giveaway. Keep pricing for Standing Stones and Years of Stone on Amazon at .99c through September.

OTHER: Finished a comfort quilt and already am excited to start the next one. Doing pretty good with exercise and diet (lots of salads), but it's time to see the doctor about those runaway blood sugars. PR for Spokane Authors on track. Still need more work on decluttering that e-mail.

READING: So far 7/15 for the month. I'm having fun reading April White's Marking Time: The Immortal Descendents, Book 1 (438 pp, 4.5 stars on Amazon with 1,200+ reviews). Saira Elian, a young girl whose mother abandons her routinely, is a tagger armed with a can of spray paint. Then she finds out she can time travel. And the plot takes interesting twists from there.

That's this week, folks. Hope all is well with you. If you haven't yet joined A Round of Words in 80 Days, please consider it. We set goals and try to achieve them with steady work and encouragement. Check out ROW80 writers on our website or on our FaceBook page.

Have a great week!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

ROW80: Oops! Missed Wednesday.

There I was at the end of the day, just settling into writing my Wednesday check-in for A Round of Words in 80 Days, when the phone rang. "Help, Mom! I need a babysitter." Oh, this Gramie can move when needed. In under 5 minutes, I was out the door for a little over an hour. Did I say it was 9:45 pm?

So, this morning's (the morning after the night before) check-in shall be modest as we move nearly as fast to the end of Round 3 (only 14 days left!).

Weds Check in Round 3, Week 10:

WRITING: Goals: Write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone. Complete revisions. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir). PROGRESS: Drafted back of the book copy. All else set aside for revision of the final chapter (more about that below).

BLOGGING. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6. Post monthly for the Insecure Writer's Study Group. PROGRESS: Posting ROW80 today. So far, read 2. IWSG post due later today!

READING: Read 15 books a month. Review 2 books each month. PROGRESS: A little slow here, but finished 3 books and am rigorously deleting books off my Kindle (187 books is just too many). Have 14 on the 'must read' list.

MARKETING: Work on release of Rivers of Stone. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. PROGRESS: Actually feeling pretty good about this. Reading, reviewing, making lists. So far this week, about 4-5 hours.

OTHER: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: Support Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers with publicity. Also continuing: Declutter! Everywhere! Personal: Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy blood level/diet. PROGRESS: Other than decluttering e-mail and sewing doll clothes for the grands, and being reasonably focused re diet and exercise, this goal is a back-grounder.

NOW TO THE REAL STORY about what I've been working on this week, or what some might call the rest of the story. I've talked about this a little here. That last chapter. My group had some comments, but not until I gave a copy to my live-in brilliant editor DH did I begin to "see" how to "re-vision" the last chapter.

His advice? To think about the chapter from THE POINT OF VIEW CHARACTER, what she wants and how she's feeling. My main character is strong, the actor rather than being acted upon. Even the revisions I'm working on can show you what this means.

OLD VERSION: "You must be Mrs. McDonnell," said Mr. Clark. "And a fine morning it is. Welcome to Oregon City. I'll get your husband for you. Just wait here." The tall, portly man gave her a lingering glance that made Cat wonder what Dougal had said about her.

Once again, Cat found herself pacing nervously in the Mercantile, her skirts rustling as she walked around the smalls tore. Had she come too early? Maybe she should have waited until later in the day. Or changed her mind entirely. What would she say to him She raised her chin. I'm here to say goodbye.

REVISED SO FAR WITH MORE TO COME: Cat dashed across the street in front of a team of horses. She shook her skirts out before entering Clark’s Mercantile and pursed her lips. Dougal has some explaining to do, she thought. And this time, he’s going to tell me everything.

Inside, she spotted Mr. Clark bent over a large accounting ledger. “Mr. Clark, I’d like to see Mr. McDonnell.”

“Good morning, Mrs. McDonnell,” said Mr. Clark. “And a fine morning it is. Welcome to Oregon City. I’ll get your husband for you. Just wait here.” The tall, portly man nodded and scooted out the back door of the shop.

Cat paced back and forth. She didn’t like waiting, and she didn’t like being in the closed-in store. How could he stand it after being on the trail? She raised her chin. That doesn’t matter. I’m here for answers. And if he can’t satisfy me, I will say goodbye. She turned back to the counter just as Dougal entered.

May you have a good week, productive and grateful for all that life brings you. If you're here from WIPpet Wednesday, hope you enjoy the snippet in progress. Find out what other ROW80 writers are up to on our WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK! Why not join in?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

ROW80 Sunday check-in: Forward we go!

Ever since Thursday afternoon, I've been a bit at loose ends. Finished revising the last chapter of Rivers of Stone. Still celebrating a little. But now I'm organizing the how-to publish (which platform to use), and writing the wrap-around materials (forward, afterword, more words for promo). So, the progress feels a little convoluted this week.

Rachel shared a motivational quote: "Don't burden your future self. Do it now!" That's been my motivation this busy week as I look to the end of Round 3 coming up September 21. For my list of goals for Round 3 was long and, rather like a cactus, somewhat full of bristles.

Simply put, my goals for September, the rest of Round 3, and the coming week:

  1. WRITING: Write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone. Complete revisions. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir).
  2. BLOGGING. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6. Post monthly for the Insecure Writer's Study Group.
  3. READING: Read 15 books a month. Review 2 books each month. 
  4. MARKETING: Work on release of Rivers of Stone. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. 
  5. OTHER: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: Support Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers with publicity. Also continuing: Declutter! Everywhere! Personal: Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy blood level/diet. 

On the marketing front, I am somewhat in the middle of Denise Wakeman's 5-day challenge to create videos. Her Day 2 challenge was to create a video (or image) about who my readers are. Here's the result!


And last, but not least, here are three not-so-professional pictures of the wonderful quilt I made that honors the 50th Anniversary for two dear friends.

The Front

Detail of the front

The Back

Have a lovely holiday weekend. Find out what other ROW80 writers are up to on our WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK! Why not join in?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Beginnings!

Grump and groan. You've heard it all before. I sit in comfort, relatively cool from the outside nearly-September temp at 93F today (with 97F by Saturday).

Harvey's filled the news in a steady stream of flood disaster. After nearly a week of headlines about Houston, the front page of our local paper this morning featured nuclear disaster. Why not worry about that too? After all, aren't we all on the west coast possibly a prime target?

But the story in Houston keeps getting grimmer as the body count rises. Dramatic tales of rescue. Crowded shelters. And this is just the beginning, as it may well be months before people can return to their homes. I still remember the smell of mold in the basement of a New Orleans library several months after Katrina. At least we have generous first responders, all those volunteers, and the military coming together to help, and money/supplies are pouring in from everywhere.

American Alligator (Wikipedia)
Today's FaceBook funny/not-so-funny: Overworked firemen dropped the f-bomb when they spotted an alligator that turned out to be a life-sized lawn ornament! Turns out a local alligator farm owner is worried that his 350 alligators may ESCAPE during the flooding. As my mother would say, "Oofta!"

Midweek check-in for ROW80, Round 3, Week 9. 

WRITING: Finished 5 Chapters for Rivers of Stone since Sunday. Which means: TA-DA! The final revisions for ROS are complete, and I'm ready to format!!!!  Which also means I'm right on schedule for putting this puppy out before fall turns to winter.

BLOGGING: Interviewed Chris Loehmer Kincaid's about her lovely Where the Sky Meets the Sand on my Writing blog. Read x3 other ROW80 posts so far.

MARKETING: I was playing around with video storytelling as part of Diane Wakeman's 5-day Biz Challenge. The idea is to make videos (very short) and put them up on Instagram (a new venue that's foreign to me), so I'm using PowerPoint and Youtube. Not sure this is a good idea for me, but here's the first day's video:

My month-long promo of offering Standing Stones and Years of Stone (Books 1 and 2 of the McDonnell clan) for 99c (usually $3.99) kicked off officially today through MyBookCave. I'd also like to try BookBot Bill later this week.

OTHER: So what am I doing for fun? We had our first getaway in months. Went for an overnight trip to a waterpark in Idaho. Splashed in the water like kids. Ate out. Left just in time to avoid a tragic fire destroying a historic hotel. A friend donated lots of fabric for comfort quilts; I think I have enough for sewing through the winter. I'm doing just fine on diet and exercise. Tomorrow, that mystery quilt goes to its new home.

I still don't have a clue what to write about next now the BIG project moves into formatting, but maybe one of our ROW80 writers will have something inspiring going on. I'd love to write something light, happy, and romantic. I think we all need more light in our lives.

Have a great week. Check out what's happening on the ROW80 WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sun ROW80: Forward ho!

Hooray for the internet. Kidney #1 left town with 20 pounds of peaches ready to can. I checked my small-print cookbook to find some 30 pages of advice. Then jumped on Google to find a handy-dandy how-to in under 10 pages. With pictures! The result - 5 nice quarts of peaches, canned and ready for winter!

So it's been a pretty amazing week as we ROW80 writers head to the end of August with 21 more days left for Round 3. Here's my weekly update (far from political or tropical storms, though we're tracking the devastation along the Texas coast closely):

Round 3, Week 8: ROW80 Goals, Progress, and What's Next:

WRITING Goals: Revise 5 chapters Sec03. Actually revised 13 chapters this week -- and started on the last section. Only 5 chapters to go for the coming week to actually finish the revisions for Rivers of Stone. Wow! I'm excited. Writer's group meets Thursday, and after 3 years of work, I just may be ready to start formatting and sending out review copies.

BLOGGING Goals:  Post x2. Report in for ROW80 Weds & Sunday. Read other ROW80 posts x6. Set up topics for coming week on Writing blog. Posted ROW80 x2, read other ROW80 writers x7, and have topics x2 for my Writing blog. Also posted a short take on our visit to the Vietnam War Traveling Memorial. Next week? Looking forward to a writer's interview (Chris Kincaid) for the Writing blog, timed just before her September 1 release. Also, the Insecure Writer's Support Group post deadline is Weds, September 6. My goal for the rest of the month is 1x each week for the writing blog.

READ and REVIEW: Reviewed Chris Kincaid's moving Where the Sky Meets the Sand, a novel about a young woman who is transformed by a trip to Africa. Have two library books to read: The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Hahn Beer, and The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (about the Dust Bowl). Allen thinks my next book will come out of the Dust Bowl. I'm less certain, though my grandmother left Oklahoma as a teen roughly at the time of the Dust Bowl. Overall, I wanted to read 20 books this month, but so far have finished only 11.

 Later this week, my promo on MyBookCave will go live, so I'm trying to learn what wrap-around activities are best.

OTHER: Still doing pretty good on changing how I think about food (and how I eat). Found a lovely exercise class that feels like boot camp, and I love it! Goal to exercise x4 times this week. Actually x5. Spent this morning visiting with a friend to sort out donated material for comfort quilts. Now I have about 5 projects going.

Thank YOU, ROW80 facilitators: Shanjeniah and Eden. Hope the coming week is a good one for you. If you are reading this, why not check out what other ROW80 writers are writing and talking about on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK.
My next quilting project (Aug 2017)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Weds ROW80 Perseverance furthers . . .

As we move to the end of summer, cooler weather promises fewer distractions, yes? This week has been a doozy with DH scheduled TODAY for a procedure that puts me in the waiting room for 3 hours. I really don't want to be anywhere else and have notebook, Kindle, and latest quilt to bind for company. So, here's the midweek update.

ROW80: Round 3, Week 8:

WRITING: Goal this week: Revise 5 more chapters of Rivers of Stone. So far? Finished 5 chapters (2 early this morning), so anything more is gravy.  Now 68% done with Section 03. Thinking about the more problematic next section. My question about character arcs: How far does a character have to fall before pulling herself up out of the depths to that sometimes hard to achieve 'happy every after' ending?

READING: Doing a little better reading x3 posts so far by other ROW80 writers (goal this week x6). Finished Suzanne Brockmann's Some Kind of Hero, a rather fun read about a romance writer who falls for a Navy SEAL when his daughter goes missing. Pure entertainment. Fast-paced. Nearly finished (89%) with Chris Loehmer Kincaid's moving When the Sky Meets the Sand.

MARKETING: Finally, finally decided to put Standing Stones on an end-of-summer sale discount to 99c and, thunder fingers that I am, accidentally changed Years of Stone to 99c as well! So created a graphic promo, announced it on FB and Twitter. This is all prep for running a promo to new readers through Book Brag and My Book Cave (more about how all that works later). I'm back now to plan, schedule, carry out, evaluate, and recalibrate!
OTHER: Finished that mystery quilt. Now binding a comfort quilt with a steam-punk theme. House is relatively clean. I'm using SparkPeople to track weight, nutrition, and exercise goals. I even had salad for breakfast this week. Making reasonable progress. Actually, I'm not so worried about progress as in changing how I eat and what I eat (for now, that just means no sugar, no goodies -- and work on portion control). As they say, my goal is to live forever, and so far, so good!

The rest of the week looks much calmer than today. I hope the sun shines bright where you are and that you find all those words to flesh out your story. And why not check out what other ROW80 writers are writing and talking about on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK. Make it a good week!

Summer at Manito Park (2017)

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!