Sunday, September 16, 2018

ROW80: Sunday night check-in.

Dark outside. No moon. No light. I do see a few stars.

Tonight, after a round of telephone calls, I'm grateful for the comforts of home and feeling sad about my friends who are struggling with serious illness. While I didn't get all my goals accomplished this week, I made a little progress with the writing. So, just going to set goals for the coming week and not worry about what I cannot help.

Round 3 ends Weds, Sept 19, so here are my goals by Wednesday:

Continue prepping excerpt & synopsis for writing contest due 9/30.
Write 400 words for The Seventh Tapestry.
Participate in WIPpet Weds.
Continue to read other blog posts (x8).
Finish next comfort quilt.
Begin planning for next round.
Continue downsizing (including books!).

Usually I just end by saying why not see what other ROW80 folks are doing HERE on our blog or on Facebook, but this time, consider reading Denise Young's post, "Finding Simplicity and Slowness Amid Change."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

ROW80 Sunday: Last Day for Freebie!

First off: Today is the last day for a free Kindle copy of my first (and very short) collection of poetry and short stories, The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales. It's free just to say thank you . . .

And today might well be the shortest check-in of all time as we thunder towards the end of Round 3 on September 20. After all, I did 4 loads of laundry today, vacuumed, and helped DH cook! Here are my accomplishments for this week . . . so far. (Blue = done, Green = in progress, and Red = no progress or axed.)
  • GOAL: Post Tana Lovett's Guest Blog post, author of As Long As There Is Chocolate, on my writing blog. DONE! 😍
  • GOAL: Minimum 1,000 words on The Seventh Tapestry by Sunday 9/16. In progress: +100 so far (but lots of cutting/revising).😉
  • GOAL: Read other blogs x8. Participate in Weds WIPpet. Also in progress: X4 so far.😉
  • GOAL: Write blog for local writers' group. Nope! 😦
#WIPpet Wednesday. Today is the day we're supposed to post a snippet from our wip, somehow related to the date. So here are the opening 12 sentences (for Sept 12) from The Seventh Tapestry (romantic suspense), but I really think this opening will be revised!

     First days are never easy, thought Sandra. Just go in and get started. She stared up at the massive stone exterior of the Museum of Medieval Art. A green and gold banner hung over the entrance, “Welcome to Edinburgh’s Medieval Underground.” My new world. She adjusted her briefcase over her shoulder, wondered again if her resume needed additional tweaking, and smiled at the receptionist as she asked the way to the Director’s office.
     After Sandra rode up two floors in a tiny elevator with intricate black iron grill work, a compact woman wearing a gray suit ushered Sandra into a formal office, complete with a devastatingly large antique desk and a view of the gardens below. 
     Stuart Hadley stood and reached out his hand. “Welcome, Miss Robertson. We’re quite excited you are finally here.”

Go here to read what others Weds WIPpet writers are up to!

Find out what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook. And, write on!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

ROW80: About Mermaids and Goals

Today and through Sept 12, here's my THANK YOU to everyone who loves myths from other cultures and short stories: My book, The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales is absolutely FREE on Amazon (Kindle format).  So, go get it! Send the link to a friend. Celebrate writing by sharing.

Now back to reality. As we move ever so fast to the end of Round 3 (ending September 20), how are we all doing with those goals we set so long ago at the beginning of summer? I had far too many BUT have accomplished a few. For now, I'd rather share what's working from this week:

  1. WRITING: Making slow but steady progress on The Seventh Tapestry, but picked up another beta reader (Thank you, Richard). Successfully uploaded updated back matter for all three Stones books (you have no idea how much work that entailed). Now I can move on to just ONE of those other goals that have been in the pending list far too long. Posted on my writing blog for IWSG: What publishing path did I follow and why?
  2. COMMUNITY: Sent newsletter to subscribers!!!! Tied to Mermaid Quilt giveaway. Read other ROW80 posts x6. Attended local RWA chapter meeting.
What's next for my goals for the coming week?
  1. Write Guest Blog post for my writing blog.
  2. Minimum 1,000 words on The Seventh Tapestry.
  3. Read other blogs x8.
  4. Write Guest Blog post for local RWA.
Took a few days off!!! Celebrated Grandparents' Day in style at Silverwood (an annual tradition).

Silverwood 2018
Happy end of the summer. Find out what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook. And, write on!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

ROW80 Weds Week 10: Yep! Catching up.

Round 3 ends on Thursday, Sept 19. Right now, I'm still catching up. My long 'to do' list is updated. Here are this week's accomplishments:

  • WRITING: Finally, after hours of fighting format (felt like a full-time job), Amazon accepted both the final update for Standing Stones AND for Years of Stone. Just have to wait that proverbial 72 hours to doublecheck all was uploaded correctly. Maybe by Sunday. The Seventh Tapestry took a back seat, but a little progress was made here too (see Weds WIPpet below). 
  • COMMUNITY: Really enjoyed meeting with Glen Willow Book Club this week. These lovely 16 women asked questions, and we had the most delicious cheesecake. One woman's face fell when she learned she might have to wait 2 more years for the next book! Another point: Some readers found my books hard to read because the characters suffered. Shaped by history, my books tell how one working class family struggled for survival.  We talked about the differences between happy-ever-after, tragic ending, and happy-for-now. This reminds me of M.K. Tod's survey of readers of historical fiction. Her findings show that women readers want to be immersed in a historical time period. Many readers also want that happy-ever-after ending, for don't we all need hope? 
  • Sent questions for guest post writing blog (Tana Lovett, As Long as There is Chocolate) to support her reading later this month. This sweet story with a touch of chocolate, romance, and ghosts from the past definitely has a happy-ever-after ending. 
  • Set up a 'thank you' for YOU and readers that will run September 8-12: free Kindle downloads of The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales, a collection of short stories and poems. Go for it!
Now for Wednesday's WIPpet, featuring a snippet from a current work in progress, somehow relating to the date. I'm going short this week, just 4 paragraphs (Month of Sept = 9 - 5 for Sept 5 = 4 paragraphs) from The Seventh Tapestry. Sandra, our intrepid heroine concerned about missing artifacts from the museum, meets with her boss, Roger. 

Sandra slipped into Roger’s office, struck again by the two small framed tapestries that decorated his office. “Those are quite lovely. Are they Flemish?”
“You have a good eye,” said Roger. “I’m very proud of them. Actually, though they were woven in Flanders, these two came from Spain.” He touched the frame of the two hangings. “They were a gift from the Giroux family, one of our major donors.”
Sandra wondered if the gift had been approved by the museum. She looked again at the hangings. “Were they part of the collection at the Palace of La Granja just outside Segovia?”
Roger looked at her with surprise. “Yes, I believe they were . . . surplus, or something like that.” He huffed. “I do have appropriate provenance.”

Royal Palace of La Granja de la Ildefonso, 1873
Modeled after Versailles
(Source: Wikipedia)
Ah, but does Roger have provenance?

Hope to see you all again on Sunday. Why not see what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook. Thank you to Emily Wrayburn for continuing to host WIPpet Wednesday. And, most important, have a great week in whatever moves you!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

ROW80: Weds, Week 10: Let It Bee!

I've been wondering how to report my writing progress this week as slow and stubborn -- and one day late. A little discouraged, I wanted to start with something light, something motivational, so I popped over to look at pictures from our trip to the Calvary Zoo to find this ready-made meme, a perfect start to the rest of the week:

Progress Weds, Week 10:

WRITING. Aargh! Only one writing session this week with The Seventh Tapestry (still good feedback from this week's writing group). The rest of this week has been dedicated to formatting Standing Stones. At least, KDP finally accepted the PDF upload (note: not Word), with some nasty error messages: Fix fonts, gutters, and nonprintable markup. I am NOT renumbering the table of contents until the file's accepted. GOAL: Perseverance furthers. I hope to finish this week and have learned much about Word commands, how one little change in the middle of the book's format can change the entire doc.

READING. Still reading and enjoying Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire. Wish I could turn off the editor in me that notices those pesky uses of passive voice. 

OTHER: Today is the first unencumbered day of the week, and it's Thursday. So, I shall begin in peace to 'let it bee'. OTHER GOALS: Catch up on reading others' posts, prep for book club meeting next week (need reader questions), follow up on inviting newbies to ROW on Weds, and quilt a little for sanity.

May you enjoy this last week of Round 3. Check in with other ROW80 writers on the blog or on FaceBook.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

ROW80 Sunday, Week 9: Ooofta!

We came home last Saturday after two weeks on the road. Oofta! Didn't really remember how much time it takes to reconnect! So here's my update, definitely a little different.

WRITING. No writing for the first half of the week to speak of. Even though I wrote every day when we were travelling, the first 3 days home = zip! Feel like I'm working with some kind of heavy duty farm equipment to organize & draft chapters with scenes out of sequence. Pretty good progress overall the last 4 days with tighter scenes (and fun adding suspense and romance), but a drop in word count as I hit that delete button.

EDITING (This section is for self-publishing nerds). Someone suggested that self-publishing writers should routinely update that list of 'other books by' and back matter. I thought that was a good idea for my four books. So, 2 done and 2 to go.

Probably burned a good 10 hours this week on attempting to move my paperback version of Standing Stones from Create Space to Amazon. Moving the updated kindle version worked just fine. Here's an excellent background article from Amy Collins on Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer on why we might do this, although NotJohn strongly recommends staying with CS for paperbacks. So, I'm persevering, though I ran into some formatting issues (translating from Kindle to paperback, retyping toc, getting Amazon's paperback template downloaded and functional [Word kept giving me a permission error so I exported my Word file into PDF format and back]. Content is fine. Now just going chapter by chapter to check layout (I'm at chapter 24 out of 62).  Of course, once I'm done, Amazon says we'll need to wait 72 hours before we know if our upload worked. And, I'm not certain about this, but I think I'll have to order a physical proof for the paperback.

READING. Really enjoying reading Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire; it's pretty dark, but compelling. And for pure escape, Ava Stones, My Favorite Major. Pondering point-of-view still, as IF I write from the female lead for my romantic suspense, how will readers know what my male character is thinking and feeling?

JUST FOR FUN, made a meme.

Lion we saw at Calgary Zoo (August 2018)
OTHER: This afternoon, took a two-hour shopping break with my daughter which turned into a 5-hour marathon involving an exploding toilet, so I'm skipping goal setting for the coming week. Know that I'm going to do the best possible. Writers' group meets Tuesday night, and I'm ready.

Read more about A Round of Words, join in, and/or why not see what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ROW80 Check-in with Weds Snippet for WIPpet

Weds Round 3, Week 8: Finally settling back at home, despite heat, smoke, and the challenges of getting organized. The writing kind of faltered this week, but thanks to encouraging comments, I do feel better about having so many unfinished goals that I hope to complete . . . someday!

Progress so far this week:

  • Writing: Goal 1,000 new words on 7th Tapestry. So far, only 400. But it's only Weds. NEW: Begin editing changes for Mothers Don't Die.
  • Other Writing: Still to do: Mermaid Quilt to audiobook (post for voice actors on ACX). Paperback & Kindle format for updates still needed for Standing Stones; paperback updates not showing Years of Stone. These were supposed to be simple changes (showing latest books published). Blogging? Not yet on the writing blog.
  • Community/Marketing. Read blogs x6. Completed 3 so far. Sent e-mail to coordinate next writers' group. Pending: newsletter, indie reviews x2. 
  • Other stuff: Reading James Scott Bell's Just Write and enjoying it very much. Working on a new comfort quilt. Really replenished the stash by visiting two Canadian quilt stores. Otherwise, too smoky out for much exercise (cough, cough).

And now, thanks to the work of Emily Wrayburn, here's this week's snippet for WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop for writers to share an excerpt from their current WIP -- that must somehow relate to today's date! Join in if you like HERE

In this excerpt from my romantic suspense WIP, The Seventh Tapestry (8 paragraphs for the month of August), curator Sandra Robertson visits Adelle Campbell about a potential donation to the Museum of Medieval Art in Edinburgh.

     “I’d like to have you read two letters," said Adelle. "The first one, I’d just like your advice, perhaps your reaction. The second letter is of more interest to the Museum, I think.”
     Sandra relaxed against the settee. “You’ve given me a wonderful tea. Of course, I’m happy to look at whatever you like.”
     “This letter is from a Mr. Cochrane from London,” said Adelle. “He says he used to work for Sotheby's. Apparently, he knows about the Narwhal Cup, but I’m not sure how.” She paused. “He expresses great interest in other artifacts I may be interested in selling, but I don’t know.” She handed the letter to Sandra.
     The first thing Sandra noticed was the very heavy paper and the letterhead at the top of the letter. “The letterhead certainly looks authentic. Cochrane Antiques. Has he been to see you?”
     “Not yet. The letter says he would come up from London, but I just don’t know. What do you think?”
     Sandra skimmed the letter. One sentence stood out to her, almost as if he were hinting that Mrs. Campbell would benefit more from selling to him than making donations to any museum. “He doesn’t mention affiliation with any museum. He may be representing private collectors,” said Sandra.
     “I did call Sotheby's, but they’ve never heard of a Mr. Cochrane. Truly, I’d rather foster local relationships, and I’m so pleased you came over from Edinburgh.” Adelle opened a leather portfolio. “I would like you to read this letter as you asked me about provenance. Please put on these plastic gloves. Call me when you have finished.” She left the room quietly.
     Sandra sat at the antique desk and stared at the letter. Written on yellowed vellum, the letter purported to be from the court of Francis I.

And that's it for Wednesday. Have a great week. See you all again on Sunday. 
Why not see what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook.

View from Sandra's 5th floor apartment
in Edinburgh, overlooking the Writer's Museum
in Lady Stair's Close