Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weds ROW80 Check-in: Green lights and a WIPpet snippet . . .

A relatively good start to the week, not for overall productivity, for it's been too darn hot (we're facing 90+ for the next 7 days), but because I finally, finally made a breakthrough on the story line for Rivers of Stone. Oh, truly happy over here. I feel like a great green light is shining on me -- Go! Jump into the research and drafting! You have a map!

Writing: Goal 2,000 words for the week. 1,200 so far. Behind on writing blog posts. Spent a lot of time doodling and talking before the plot resolution.

Community/Marketing: Got caught up on NOVELS-L on the Internet Writing Workshop (finally!). The reward? 8 truly helpful critiques of Rivers of Stone, Chapter 1, not the least being laying out the premises for the conflict in Chapter 1 (easier to do now that I know the underlying conflict that shapes the book). 

Posted a giveaway for Book 2: Years of Stone on GoodReads and up to 105 entries! It's not too late to enter (ends August 4th). A lovely friend in Portland OR invited me down to visit her bookclub, the first for 2015 (had to plan around winter snows, really a chilling thought in hot July).

Weds WIPpet. Just a little excerpt built around the date, so July = 7 + 2 (from 2014) = 9 paragraphs from the WIP, Rivers of Stone

Blurb: Hired by the Hudson's Bay Company from the Orkneys in 1842, Cat, disguised as a boy, has traveled with Dougal to the York Factory in Upper Manitoba, to build a new life. 

“This one’s too scrawny to keep. Might as well sell him to the Indians. They’ll feed him dog and fatten him up.” 

Cat was grabbed from behind and twirled up onto a wooden crate.  “What am I gonna get for this hard working boy,” shouted a burly voyageur, his red hair caught up behind his head and decorated with feathers. A crowd gathered, and the men began to laugh.
“Jacques, that one just got off the boat. No fair,” cried another man with a bruised cheek and long straggly blonde hair, as he took a drink from a brown glass bottle. “Sacre bleu, he looks sweet enough to eat.”
Dougal turned around. “No rough housing with me brother.” He looked as if he were ready to fight. With his back to the wall of the store, he edged closer to Cat and lifted her off the crate. “I said to stay close, Cat.” He gave her another shake and turned away from the squabbling men, a roar of laughter following him.
Cat stomped beside him, her boots scrunching in a drift of snow on the north wall of the store.  "Don't you shake me, Dougal. I didn't do anything wrong."
“Hush. Are you all right, love?” asked Dougal. “Did he hurt you?”
“Don’t be worrying about that. I’ll learn how to get along.  Just don't be shoving me. It’s true I’m small.  But I can work, and I can fight.”
“That’s my girl.” Dougal winced. “I mean I'll miss you, Cat.” He hugged her for a moment, then pushed her away. “I don’t know how I'm going to remember you're me brother and not me wife. I'll try to get you into my barracks."

Cat stared at Dougal as if she could memorize his face now covered with a thick, curly beard, his hair pulled back; his eyes, the same she'd always known, looked at her with concern. She wanted to stay in the circle of his arms forever. She shivered. “That would be good, but we'll manage. Can we get something to eat?”

York Factory 1853 (Wikipedia)

And that's all, folks. May your writing week go well. May the turn from July to August bring you good words.
Why not check in with other ROW80 writers to offer words of encouragement? And here's that LINK to read those other writers sharing a snippet of their work in progress for WIPpet Wednesday, all facilitated by Kate Schwengel. Thank YOU.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday morning check-in: Triple digits coming!

Busy, busy week. I'm so ready for those laid-back, lazy days of summer. Triple digit temperatures are predicted for next week. I'm thinking lots of salad, air-conditioning, and a good book or two. We live in an apartment now, but I remember that hammock in the back yard, ice tea so cold the outside of the glass drips with condensed water, and fireflies brighten the dusk.

Time for that Sunday morning ROW80 check-in (that writer's online community that recognizes we have a life in addition to our commitment to writing). Goals and Progress? Yep!

Writing: Making steady progress on planning, plotting, and devising character studies for Rivers of Stone with 2,500 words this week. Next week: Finish character studies, continue building plot, read at least one research book. 

Community: Attended two writer's readings this week, sadly falling behind in writing crits for NOVELS-L. Next week: Post 2 crits by August 1, post WIPpet excerpt Weds here, and attend writer's group Weds. night.

Marketing: A few readers are starting to post reviews on Amazon for Years of Stone. I'm forever grateful to those who read and say what they think, including the indefatigable Carol Kean, writer and book blogger extraordinaire.

Two biggest achievements this week: A give-away for Years of Stone is now LIVE on GoodReads and runs 7/25 through 8/4. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Years of Stone by Beth Camp

Years of Stone

by Beth Camp

Giveaway ends August 04, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
If you like, mark August 1st as the first day of Amazon's Count-Down Deal for the Kindle version of Years of Stone for 99 cents!

Why did I pick August 1st? That's our anniversary, 40 years of amazing adventures. Maybe we'll hear from the neurosurgeon by then. Maybe we'll have dinner out. I have a little surprise for hubby. OK, a big surprise. More about that next week.

Check in on the progress of other ROW80 writers HERE.

Fireflies by Ja Peron on Flickr

Love the magic of this photo by Marina on Flickr 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ROW80 Midweek and a WIPpet farewell . . .

This week, the heat spell broke. We've opened the windows all day and are simply enjoying the sweet smell of air without smoke from wildfires. Meanwhile, my quest for that in-depth character analysis for the hero in my WIP continues a little murky. The more I think about Dougal, the less I understand of this shadowy man who abandons his wife. But I'm working up a profile and will persevere. After all, he's the hero.

WIPpet snippet: Here's an excerpt following yet another convoluted math calculation: July 23, 2014, 7 for July + x 2 (second excerpt I'm posting) = 14 paragraphs from the current work-in-progress, Rivers of Stone. Storyline: Cat has disguised herself as a boy to follow her husband, Dougal, and join the Hudson's Bay Company.

Chapter XX: York Factory (August 1842)
Cat ran into the barracks. Dougal was bent over his bunk, making a bedroll of clothing and a heavy blanket. "It's true then."
"I dinna want to tell you."
Surrounded by the other voyageurs packing equally fast, Cat could say nothing. "I suppose I wish you a safe journey."
"It's orders. I can refuse, but it's where we want to go. I dinna want us to stay in this cold hell hole. Sit down, Cat." Dougal pushed her down on the wooden shelf that served as his bed. "I'm being sent west, and you can't come with me. You're not strong eno. Ah, Cat, I'll be back for you."
Cat felt frozen. She knew this day would come, when Dougal would walk out of her life. She stared at the men readying for the journey, anywhere but at Dougal, but she saw nothing. She folded her grimy hands in her lap and wanted to throw up. "'Tis a good thing we dinna marry, then."
"Hush." Dougal cuffed her lightly. "You can't say anything now. You'll be sent back."
"What do I do? Stay here in hopes you'll return?"
"I canna make promises. A lot can happen between here and Fort Vancouver." Dougal took her hand. "There's bears and Indians. I'm not liking this, Cat. Maybe there's a way for you to come west , but I don't know."
"Leavin' your brother behind, are you?" Snarks paused to stare at Dougal and Cat. "He's a little guy, ain't he. Wouldn't last long out there. Dinna worry. We'll keep him safe here. We'll teach him to drink at Red River. Maybe he'll grow some hair on his face afore you get back." Snarks laughed and moved on, his hair hanging long over his face.
Dougal shrugged. "Not that you'll listen, but I'd advise against going down to Red River."
"This is no life for us, Dougal."
"We canna talk here. Meet me on the parade grounds. We'll have a bit of a walk."
"So when do you leave?"

"In the morning. Early."
ROW80 Weds check-in: Wednesday seems to come along so fast after Sunday, so this check-in will be remarkably short!

Writing: Slogging away on character development. Words written 995. Found absolutely great "beat" worksheets on Jamie 's site.

Marketing: More progress by Sunday. Mostly built the to-do list longer.

Community: Finished blurbs for library panel with two other local authors on e-publishing (December) and a workshop on "Building A Writer's Toolkit" for a local bookstore (August 20). 

Going to see J. A. Jance lecture tonight, and finished reading one of her books just in time. More about that later on the writing blog. Currently reading Annette Drake's Bone Girl and finding it tough to put down!

Check in to read other ROW80 updates HERE and post an encouraging word to keep us all motivated on these hot summer days. 

See what others have posted for WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop created by Kate Schwengel at My Random Muse, to encourage writing. And so we write!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A smokey Sunday ROW80 check-in

This week's ending with a slight drop in temperatures, perhaps as low as the 70s, but wildfires out of control bring a smokey tang from the west. Smoke alert. Hazardous levels of pollutants in the air. Spokane is several hundred miles away from a massive, 200,000 acre fire dubbed the Carlton Complex that threatens small towns. Families have lost everything, and our local newspaper is posting ways to help. I cannot go outside without the taste of smoke reminding me of tragedy.

But the morning is my time to work, and so I shall.

Sunday ROW80 check-in:

Writing: Posted a snippet on Wednesday for WIPpet and am working through Randy Ingermanson's SNOWFLAKE for Years of Stone. Drafted 2,000 words since Weds, but I'm really not happy with plotting. Usually my plot ideas come more organically as I write, and I start with NaNoWriMo to pound out a free-flowing draft. This time, I'm trying to map out the book ahead of drafting to improve my three-year turnaround from idea to publishing. But I'm noticing it's easier to link my characters to motivation and action. I'm just having trouble coming up with enough disasters. What would a forest fire be like in 1845?

Community:  The week ahead looks a little less frenetic in some ways. J. A. Jance is coming to Spokane, and I get to attend her lecture Weds night (if all goes well). She was rejected by a college writing program early in her career, just like me! She's also an OTA (older-than-average) writer, just like me.  She's written 50 books in 30 years. Aargh! So not like me! Here's her interview in the Spokesman.

Marketing: Not so much since Weds. E-mailed a bookstore in Tasmania re Years of Stone. Others in progress: Following up on a review that didn't appear on a book review site. Working on a library panel on e-publishing, a workshop on Building an Author's Toolkit at a local bookstore, and confirming a date for a visit later in the year with a local book club.

Now please consider visiting novelist Francene Stanley's latest post, "The Fragile Endurance of a Writer." Francene publishes her books through a small indie publisher in England, is active in the Internet Writing Workshop, and was a very helpful beta reader for Years of Stone. I'm moved by her comments here about what success for an indie writer means (and will most likely write further about this later on my writing blog).

Meanwhile, may your writing and reading go well!

Hop over to other ROW80 writers HERE.

Manito Park, Spring 2014 (Camp)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weds check-in: Chocolate and a WIPpet . . .

Iced coffee (Kevin & Amanda)
Last night, I met with my small writing group at the local Barnes & Noble (their tables are just right for hunching over rough drafts), and discovered the Java Chip, some kind of frothy, ice-cold chocolate drink that definitely should not be consumed by anyone avoiding sugar and/or caffeine. It was delicious.

WIPpet Wednesday. I took the first draft of Chapter 1 from Book 3: Rivers of Stone. Today is WIPpet Wednesday, so in a hot-summer-kind-of-commitment, I shall post below to honor Bastille Day, July 14, here are 14 paragraphs from this first chapter.

Rivers of Stone: Chapter 1
Aboard the Prince Rupert (Summer 1842)

Catriona gazed at the sea, recognizing with each moment, the life she knew was gone. What lay ahead was uncertainty and doubt. She fingered her hair. Of course she had to cut it. There was no going back. Mother was gone, their land lost, the boys scattered, and her father scrambling to make a new life somewhere in the Americas. 

"You there, no slouching about. Yer to earn yer keep, boy." One of the sailors thumped her on her back. 

"Dinna be pushing me," Cat snapped. She turned back to the officer's cabin, the slops bucket she carried empty.

Catriona huddled in the belly of the ship, tucked against the bulwarks in the hammock she and Dougal shared, nauseated by the close smell of sweat and vomit. If she were above board, even cold, she could breathe. She had hope. But down here, her thoughts rolled with each movement of the ship. Mother said to follow my heart, that 'twas best to leave Foulksay Island, even if Dougal was taking his brother with him. For this, we married? And if we get actually land at York Factory, how long do I have to wear pantaloons and play the boy? Will my life end here, on this tiny boat, caught in ice?

Dougal hardly spoke to Cat these days, except for the nights when he held her close. He and Colin can do whatever the Hudson's Bay Company needs. What can I do? What if they find out? Will they send me back? Her hammock swayed, and Cat touched the side of the ship in the dark. There's nothing back home, and, God help me, there’s nothing here.    

The ship heaved and cracked. Cat squinched her eyes shut. If only she could sleep these next weeks away.  This wasn't like riding Sean's skaffie over to Stromness for market. Dougal had said the trip from the Orkneys to Hudson's Bay would take six to nine weeks, depending on storms. This was the third storm and only the third week of the crossing. Maybe the Merrie Dancers brought the storms because they left home. 

The hammock swayed again as Dougal gave it a shake. "Asleep, Cat?"

Cat winced. "Who could sleep when it's like this?"

Dougal climbed into the hammock. "Simon said it should ease by dawn. You should have seen the waves sloshing the deck. It was grand."

"You're wet. And you're cold."

"Not so cold someone couldn't warm me up."

"Hush. You know what we risk."

"Aye. I know, Cat." He pulled her close. "Just warm me a bit. Ah, Cat, you know what they say. Forbid a fool a thing and that he will do." 

Cat rolled closer. If nothing else, they were together. Even if no one knew. What could it hurt? They were married. 'Twas dark and Dougal was close, warmth spreading between the two of them.

A thought chilled her. They could have a child.

And a ROW-80 Update:

Writing: Finally, finally writing on the next real project, Rivers of Stone, Book 3. The surprise that must be kept until August 1st is complete. I've fallen a bit behind blogging (only 2 posts this week, instead of 3), but I did write about Argentina on the travel blog to accompany the very good World Cup game, though Argentina lost. Biggest thrill: Completed that beta read for Carol Kean's Ironwolf.

Community: So far, so good. Attending local writing groups 3x, including tonight. A little behind critiques for NOVELS-L.

Marketing: Surprisingly good progress here as well with hand selling, promo efforts, scheduling talks/readings/book signings. Need to work harder on getting reviews for Book 2: Years of Stone. I find it difficult to ask people for their review. Sigh. But I'm so grateful for everyone who reads my stuff, that should be enough. Shouldn't it?

Has anyone else entered Joel Friedlander's book cover competition? I did. Learn what a cover designer guru thinks of your cover -- each month a different competition. Check this out at

And may the week go well for you! 

Check in to read other ROW80 updates HERE and post an encouraging word to keep us all motivated on these hot summer days. 

See what others have posted for WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop created by Kate Schwengel at My Random Muse, to encourage writing. And so we write!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday, Sunday

First check in for Round 3 and July will slip away before we realize it! 

Writing: I've been in a curious place -- happy as heck that Years of Stone is out there and uncertain about exactly what to write next. That break between rounds was helpful as I've come to realize that what I really want to do is to, yes, begin work on Book 3: Rivers of Stone. For the next several weeks, I'm working on a secret editing/writing project, but in my heart, I've begun Rivers of Stone. Progress? Just fine this week, thank you! Keeping pace with blogging? 4 posts this week.

Marketing: Always a challenge. I hate to look at that to-do list, knowing that I should have/could have done more. I have begun to reach out to book clubs, book stores, and hand selling. Guest posts this week? One completed and will be up July 15. I've almost got the book launch party planned (site OK'd but date not set). Need to keep following through on that to-do list! 

Community: Finished the beta read for Carol Kean's Ironwolf, a fine read about a woman pilot and her quest for love and self-respect. I hope to see this one in print. And we're back for another round of ROW80, my favorite inspiring online group. Check out what others have written HERE and jot down an encouraging word!

Best news? That box of 80 copies of Years of Stone arrived on Friday, and they look gorgeous! Dear hubby's surgery may be moved up, daughter's health (6 months along) improving, and little Leda, now 2 years old, has learned how to spit!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good morning ROW80 Round 3!

That cherry tree outside my window is loaded with cherries. Birds hover just two feet away (I'm on the third floor) and hop from branch to branch until they gorge themselves. But these sour little cherries -- chokeberries? -- are bitter, a summer bounty I can't eat. Maybe that's the challenge that writers face: Observing and then writing. 

But I'm starting to go public! Invitations to speak are setting up a busy time by the end of this year. People really want to hear face-to-face more about my books, the writing process, and self-publishing.

ROW80 update: Posted Round 3 Goals on Monday, July 7, and tried to simplify them. So far this week, I've made very slow progress as we begin the countdown, doctor visits, and tests for back surgery for hubby within the next 6 weeks.

Writing: Wrote 350 new words and worked on publishing surprise (completed formatting: this week finish proofreading, write blurb and order cover). Met deadline for quilting article.

Marketing. Wrote bookstore and bookclub. Reorganizing and filing by folders (that darn binder got too big!). 

Community/Reading. Keeping my commitments to F2F groups. Currently reading Carol Kean's Ironwolf (beta read) and Emmy Werner's Pioneer Children on the Journey West. Werner uses diaries and letters to share poignant experiences. Children lost, hungry, yet sturdily stubborn and persevering.

Question of the Day: Mark Coker said somewhere that $2.99 and $3.99 were the 'sweet spots' for e-book pricing. I'm noticing that established names are pushing the Kindle e-book prices way up. I hesitate when buying an e-book priced over $2.99, but I'm a penny-pincher. What's your reaction? How do you decide what price you're willing to pay? 

Save the Date! If you are reading this, you are a writer or a fan! To say thank you, I'll run a promotion for Years of Stone, a Count Down deal through Amazon on August 1, 2, and 3.

Read what other ROW80 writers are up to HERE.

Lazy days of summer
Along the California Coast (Camp August 2013)