Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday: Coffee and Planning, Oh My!

We've been home nearly a month from Mexico. After adjusting to the temperature change (and the reality that I now am cooking again), we're making progress in getting caught up. Not totally, but step-by-step.

I still am hoping to find a way to simplify Wednesday's check-in. This morning, I read Chris Loehmer Kincaid's blog and admired how she set up her goals for the coming week. Thank you, Chris. I'll now post goals/progress on Sunday. Check in with progress on Wednesday. Reboot the next Sunday.

So, forgive the length of this post, but here are my goals overall, with progress for this week noted.  Blue = done. Green = progress. Red = No progress. Strike-through = Seriously pending for now or dropped. [And I can just copy and paste from Word. Hooray!]

·       Write 400 words a day on Seventh Tapestry project, 5 days/week. This week: 1,163.
·       Use 750words 5/days for minimum 2,500 words week.  This week: 5,133.
·       Update Kindle copy (download new file from CreateSpace once PROOF OK).
·       Read 2 writing magazines/week. Read, recycled, gave away 23 writing magazines.
·       Participate in On-line Writing Community: IWW, IWSG, the Hearth on GoodReads, KBoards, WANATribe. 2-4x/week. No progress.
POSSIBLE? Poetry chapbook this year (before July)? Proof/publish Mothers Don’t Die?

·       Update my writing blog! See
·       Post ROW80 Weds (WIPpet) & Sundays. Done!
·       Post Writing Blog every Tuesday. Done!
·       Read other blogs x6/week. Done! Read/commented x10.

·       Send March Newsletter.
·       Work 2-3 hours each week on marketing (strategy, action steps). Done! Carry out 2-4 action steps each month. Plan launch party. Pending, some progress.
·       ROS: Enter Writer’s Digest contest by April 1
·       Order ROS copies for sales/Launch Party. Pending (waiting final proof).
·       Send ROS to Historical Novel Society reviewer. Pending (waiting final proof).

·       April 5: co-host Audio Book presentation. Mapped out presentation.
·       Write articles/do PR for March/April.  Queries sent to presenter.
·       Prep final report Anthology for board.
·       Weekend Workshop: March 27: Planning session. April 3: Board meeting.
·       SECONDARY: Update Anthology description Amazon.

·       Read 6 books in March. So far, read x6, mostly romantic adventure.
·       Clean up Kindle by deleting books.
·       Review x2 other books.
·       Read 1 writing craft book in March.

·       Declutter e-mail daily (<100).
·       Cook healthy meals; healthy snacks.
·       Exercise 30 min x5/7 days. This week: 6/7.
*    Spend quality time w/family. Quilt.

Because I'm working more on plotting than actually writing, the few scenes I'm writing feel disassociated from the story, more like pre-writing than actually writing. But this coming week's added goal (now that Allen is feeling better) is to finish reviewing the overall plot summary so I can get to work! Next week's goals overall = the same.

May you have a great week -- even if it's an off week!

Check out what other ROW80 writers are up to, either on the FACEBOOK group or our WEBSITE. Thank you, Eden Mabee and Shan Jeniah!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

ROW80 and a Weds WIPpet

I swear that spring is on the way. We still have snow around the edges here in Spokane, but I see buds on the trees and the birds are slowly coming back, though I've only seen red-winged blackbirds, crows, and a flock of wild turkeys. Here's my Weds progress report:

WRITING/BLOGGING: Over 750 words/day so far (plotting, research, planning, writing). Got two checks and another review for Rivers of Stone!  Rethinking my writing blog and have committed to a weekly post that will reach out to my readers. This Tuesday posted The Seventh Tapestry: Arthur's Seat, exploring settings around Edinburgh. That was fun!

OTHER: Did read other ROW80 writers/x4, so far. Goal to write more believable romance elements. Found two great resources: Jax Hunter's "Writing Romance: the Midpoint" (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) and a whole section, "The Love Issue" in Writer's Digest (Feb 2018).

Did some research. Two books useful: Eugene Soltes, Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White Collar Criminal (interesting case studies about how morality slips step-by-step), and Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo's Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art (lays out relationships between galleries, auction houses, donors, museums, and art crimes). Ian Rankin's series good for background but not quite my genre.

FOR THE COMING WEEK: More writing, more research, some blogging, more work on marketing plan with focus on upgrading/updating my Writing blog website.

And for the first time in a very long time, here's a snippet for WIPpet Wednesday, an excerpt from my very new wip, The Seventh Tapestry.

SCENE: Sandra's office at the Museum has been ransacked, and Thomas, a police officer liaison for the Art Crimes Unit in Edinburgh, assigned to her for the last several months stops by. Formula: 14 sentences (for the day) + 3 (for March) + 1 (for good luck) = 18 sentences.  

Thomas kept telling himself there's no reason to let her know that he liked her and that he wanted her to stay in Edinburgh. He couldn't stop watching her, trying not to stare as she picked over the papers strewn about on the floor in her office.

"Well," she said. "Are you going to help me or watch me work? I can't figure out why someone tossed my office. None of this makes any sense."

"I can get Alex for you."

Sandra shook her head. "If it's all right, you could just help me. Or just stand there. I'd rather not be alone."

He didn't blame her. He felt the same way. He didn't want to leave her alone, but he needed to find out what the team had on whoever broke into her office. He fell back on interrogation mode. "Do you normally lock the door?"

"Always." Sandra grimaced. 

Women's March, Edinburgh 2009 (Camp)
May you have a wonderful week. Persevere with what is closest to your heart.

Check out what other ROW80 writers are up to, either on the FACEBOOK group or our WEBSITE. Thank you, Eden Mabee and Shan Jeniah, for facilitating ROW80 so beautifully!

And why not check out the other WIPpet Wednesday entries and add your own. Just post a bit of your WIP, connect it to the date, and link up with us. Thank you, Emily Wrayburn.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

ROW80: Sunday, Sunday

The snow is melting. The sun is out! No grouching today.

PROGRESS ON GOALS FOR THIS WEEK. OK, slow progress this week. Done! Making some progress. Not even a little. I can't really rate my progress because it's been busy, progress is being made in several very different categories. So it looks like a 'green' week!

1.     WRITING: Used Snowflake and to add only 1,125, under goal of  2,500 words. Allen is giving me detailed crit on my plot summary for The Seventh Tapestry. Did not participate in Weds WIPpet's snippet. Worked on research for TAPESTRY with 2 sessions at the library (research) and 2 online. Looking at art crimes, museum scandals, and various other notorious crimes, including a study about why people get mired down in white collar crime (a psychological study).

2. BLOGGING/E-MAIL: Blog 1x Writing blog, 2x ROW80. Read others x4 (under goal of 8). Posted on my writing blog a monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group. This month's question was 'How do we celebrate when we complete a writing goal?' Making slow progress in de-cluttering e-mails (if I don't do this every day, they replicate).

3. MARKETING: Worked on Marketing PLAN x3 sessions, but the real sink hole this week was working on formatting for CreateSpace. I literally dropped hours on this Weds/Thurs/Fri (3-4 hours each session), until an writer/editor friend reviewed my code. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! After Sue's work, the file passed the first hurdle (CreateSpace's dreaded interior reviewer) and will be reviewed next by a 'human' reviewer at CS. So it's hard to make progress on marketing without review copies to send out, but I did discover KBoards' resources and am still working that action list. Really enjoyed participating with 3 other writers at a local reading on Thursday this week -- and sold books! I tend to forget that face-to-face can be fun.

OTHER: Two quilting sessions. Almost done with the binding on one of my favorite comfort quilts. Getting back into the rhythm of exercise (walking, water aerobics), though my foot is still tender. Cooking. Cleaning. Did I say that our little apartment was torn down and put back together when our maintenance people replaced the kitchen, entry, and laundry flooring. Hooray (after 6 years)! And one last grand achievement: got the car in for maintenance. Spring is on the way. Maybe this year, I'll figure out to do with this orphan block!

Have a great writing and reading week. Why not join in and check out what other ROW80 writers are up to, either on the FACEBOOK group or our WEBSITE.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ROW80 Weds: There's still snow on the ground!

Check-in today will be relatively simple. Even as I shudder to see those storm pictures from back east, I can report that snow is still on the ground here in Spokane, but it's melting!

Source: Wikipedia
WRITING: Steady progress with, adding 1,125 by today, out of 2,250 for the week. Working on both character sketches and expanding that plot summary for The Seventh Tapestry. Played around making a draft cover with images from Wikipedia, and I did write one blog for March, Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Really enjoyed some diverse research this week so far: Scottish troops in Afghanistan during the time of the looting of artifacts there as well as looking at what kind of work the Art Crimes Unit does. May change the name of one main character as Thomas sounds a little too British for my Scottish hero.

MARKETING: Haven't made as much progress here, though I'm organizing a binder and still chunking away at defining what's next. GOAL: 5 hours this week. So far, just one hour. Tomorrow, I'm taking books to a reading with 3 writers and will also staff a book table at a craft fair over the weekend with other local writers. Probably the most exciting news is that Rivers of Stone (19th Century Canada) will be listed in the May edition of Historical Fiction Review, and the Historical Novel Society has requested a copy for review. So defining those action steps (and following through) can actually work!

OTHER: Almost back to quilting (lined up two projects to work on). Groceries almost replenished. Spent 6 hours at the emergency room with hubby. All is well. We got meds, a diagnosis, and a referral. Add in a few other meetings, babysitting, an outing to the movies (Game Night, funny plot twists; I'd give it a B), and perhaps it's OK that I didn't get as much done this week as possible.

READING: I forgot to recommend Lucky Bet by Anna Reader. This book sticks in my mind because of its engaging plot, detailed settings of Victorian London, and affirmations of family, honor, integrity, and, of course, love. I'm currently reading William Miller's Noble Man, a complete shift to a thriller/kidnapping/international slave trade context, with hero Nick fighting against evil to save those he cares for. Miller's character descriptions are inspiring. Up next: the highly recommended Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Opening sentence: "I like to think I know what death is."

May you be cozy and warm for the rest of the week, happy with your accomplishments, with a clear sense of direction, knowing that Daylight Savings Time will be here Sunday! 

Why not join in and check out what other ROW80 writers are up to, either on the FACEBOOK group or our WEBSITE.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

ROW80 Sunday Progress . . . but no dog!

We've been home now for 10 days after two months away at warmer, snow-free Merida. That flight home started at 4:30 am and ended nearly at midnight. I just might be too old to travel like that anymore, for it's taken more than a week to unpack the suitcases, restock that empty refrigerator, and resume somewhat of a normal schedule for the writing. At times, I've been a little overwhelmed with trying to figure out what's next. Did you notice that I didn't report in last Sunday or last Wednesday?

But I'm truly back. More than ready to benefit from the structure that setting goals and reporting in to all of you that ROW80 encourages.

THIS WEEK'S SUMMARY: Used 750word 5/7 days for a total of 2,506 words, barely over my goal of 2,500/week. Didn’t post ROW80 Weds. Did work on setting goals for March. Reworked TAPESTRY plot summary, tightening to 3 pages. Didn’t blog at all. Did declutter e-mail. Set up 2 readings for March and happily discovered new reviews for Rivers of Stone. and thanked the reviewers.

WRITING: Still working Randy Ingermanson's SNOWFLAKE, more slowly than I like. My 'normal' process is writing scenes and jumping around in the story as it unfolds. Randy's process is more linear, but so far, I'm happy with the plot and digging away at backstory for characters. I miss an active F2F writing group, that objective, critical feedback that helps me see my work with new eyes.

MARKETING: I don't have a marketing plan. I haven't even had a launch party for Rivers of Stone. So, my biggest leap forward this week was discovering Nick Thacker's book marketing plan which lays out a step-by-step discussion of the key elements needed. I've put his suggestions into a checklist and am amazed all over again by how much work indie writers do!

My MARKETING goal for the coming week is to complete a working checklist/timeline AND to read 5 marketing articles to polish that new checklist/timeline. One of Nick Thacker's suggestions was to get active on KBoards. Has anyone used KBoards for marketing, visibility, and/or resources?

Snow is on the ground, but the morning seems somehow lighter. Maybe spring is on the way to your house? I hear songbirds. The tips of trees are turning that pre-green yellow. I learned how to make Peruvian Chinese rice. Allen loves it, and the soy sauce is a lot tastier when you cook the rice with it, rather than splashing the soy sauce after the fact. May you have a beautiful week!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

ROW80 Sunday Progress and Russians?

This week, I discovered my main character, Sandra Robertson, is a bit of a hiker. It's fun to set her loose on my favorite walks around Edinburgh (Royal Mile and Arthur's Seat). She's also excited to visit Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, as well as local museums and other historic neighborhoods. When we get home, I'm pulling my travel journals and photos!

Even as we close in on leaving Merida (just 2 days left before we hop on that plane back to snowy Spokane), I'm still spending about 2 hours a day on plotting,research, and character development. I've never worked this much on plotting ahead of writing, and am eager to get those 3x5 cards up on my corkboard back home.

Today we walked about 2.5 miles to the artisan's market, hoping to find those crafty gifts for friends back home. As we strolled through the Central Plaza, a troupe of dancers and a puppet master entertained the Sunday crowd.

Folk Dancers, Merida (February 2018)
ROW80 Check-in SUMMARY. Wrote 7/7 days on for a total of 4,131 (goal 2,500) words, most a combination of plotting, research on black market antiquities scandals, and character descriptions for The Seventh Tapestry. Read 7 ROW80 writers (goal 8). Wrote a puppy poem for ROW80 and revised another poem on Merida (history). Did some interesting research on marketing/reviews as part of getting ready to be back home. Didn’t participate in this Weds SNIPpet.

READING THIS WEEK: Yasmine Galenorn’s appealing Legend of the Jade Dragon, single mother of two with witchy tendencies faces disaster with a cursed jade figurine; Libby Howard’s cozy mystery, The Tell All (Locust Point Mystery); and Amy Gamet’s Hero Force (3 book set).

Just a thought about the Russians: My three blogs are hosted by Blogger. One of the features they give us is the ability to look at traffic sources and audience in a global map. I do look at these occasionally, so earlier this week, I was shocked to see 346 hits (views) from Russia on one of my blogs. Why? Even today, I got 126 new hits from Russia. So I'm wondering if this is an anomaly, a glitch in Blogger's tracking program, OR something else. I know technology continues to change . . . but why on earth would my little blog pick up so many views? Anyone else check where their readers/visitors are coming from?

That's it for this week. The week ahead will be busy, intense, full of change. I most likely will not check in on Weds as we'll be heading for the airport about 6am and arriving home (in a different time zone +2 hours) at about 11 pm. So, have a great week and know that I'm thinking about you!

Join in and check out what other ROW80 writers are up to, either on the FACEBOOK group or our WEBSITE.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Weds ROW80: On Puppies and Progress

Mid-week check-ins are difficult. I feel as if I've barely gotten started on the week, and already, I hold myself accountable. This week is no different. More research than writing, though as I read through layers of articles and try different search terms, surprised at what I'm finding, I laugh: You truly cannot make this stuff up!

My story slowly takes shape, and I have hopes that this pre-writing planning will lead to a story that has more structure, even if I STILL haven't exactly figured out who the villains are, where the 'real' action takes place, and who falls in love for that happy-ever-after ending.

CHECK-IN: Not counting today's writing with 750words, on Mon/Tues, I've written 1,350 out of goal 2,500, and read x4 out of x8 for ROW80 this week. Perseverance furthers!

And I wrote the poem.

"Morning Thoughts Before Writing"

Outside this colonial mansion
the morning traffic begins: Trucks rattle by at speed,
tourists jump out of the way. Pedestrians don't have
the right of way here. Pigeons coo, the sound
competing with those drivers who honk
and bluster their way; two cars barrel together
down this street meant for one. I gloss the headlines,
appalled at the misery that awaits us all.
No time for innocent puppies or
little girls who draw ragged red Valentine hearts.
I am yet thankful for your whispered words
this morning. At least we still have love.

Playful Puppy from ROW80
Happy Valentine's Day wherever you are. Have a great week! Join in and check out what other ROW80 writers are up to, either on the FACEBOOK group or our WEBSITE.