Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ROW80: Really, the last 2017 check-in . . .

The last few days, I've been thinking about resolutions and what I hope to achieve in 2018. The reality? I'm just not sure.

After three years of work, Rivers of Stone is done, and I hit that magic button to publish it in Kindle and paperback format. It's finally out there. The Kindle version is available for $0.99 through December 31. I'm celebrating just now because the paperback version arrived yesterday. My desk overflows with 23 copies of Catriona and Dougal's story for family, friends, and consignment!

Meanwhile, what do I wish to accomplish in 2018? It may well be time to simply let go. Yes, I do enjoy writing every day. Working on some kind of a story. But, truly, at the moment, I don't feel at all like diving into another three-year project.

Starting on January 7 and for the next 8 weeks, we'll be living in Merida, Mexico, where the sun shines every day (no snow), and the temperature averages 85 degrees (compared to a high of 19 today). Our casita has a rooftop patio for lounging with a hammock. Yelp promises many, many restaurants with unique Yucatan cuisine, nearby museums (including one specializing in Mayan culture), open air markets, musical concerts, 20 miles to the beach, and two Mayan ruins relatively close to this city of nearly 1 million.

Maybe I will find a new story. After all, La Casa de Frida is just down the street. What magic awaits?

We will also have internet, so I hope to keep up with my ROW80 colleagues by reporting at least once a week. But, alas, my ambitions for 2018 are small.

  • Write daily with no particular project in mind.
  • Cherish the time with family and friends.
  • Declutter, let go, and finish projects (quilting and writing).

May the New Year be good to you in every way. 

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

ROW80: Last post for 2017

Reckoning. That look in the mirror to ask: What worked? What went well? What would (or could) I change?

In reality, 2017 began with a death in the family. Major breaks in long-standing relationships were not healed by year end. My dear husband's health shifted and never quite improved. Highlights: A summer birthday celebration for a dear friend, a cruise through the Panama Canal, two completed quilts for friends, maybe 7 comfort quilts for cancer patients. And now, outside, snow, the darkest time of the year, lightened by family and friends, Leaf Day, and ongoing participation in writing groups, including A Round of Words in 80 Days.

The writing? Finished Rivers of Stone, my biggest goal. Taught a few workshops on writing. Helped publish Celebrating Spokane Authors, an anthology featuring 19 writers.

Not quite sure what is next. Part of me doesn't want another major project. Yet, the research tickles my fancy. Smugglers in northern Scotland in mid-19th Century. The beginnings of the suffragette movement, sometime in the 1860s in England. Those rumblings for Irish independence (the Fenian movement) about the same time. As I'm now almost to the middle of being a septuagenarian, perhaps a three-year turn-around for a novel seems daunting.

We leave for Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico for 7 weeks, starting in early January. This may be our last trip, for dear hubby doubts he can travel so easily as we have in the past. But we have rented a small house, an 18th Century Colonial, just 4 blocks from the historic district, an easy walk (we hope) to those necessaries. With netbook nearby, I'm looking forward to 85 degree weather, unstructured time, and immersion in a culture we love.

Maybe I'll find a story or two, or some lovely tropical birds as we sit on the patio in the sun.

Tres Ventanas by Lucy Nieto (Flickr)

Meanwhile, I wish the very best for ROW80 writers in the coming year. May your goals be specific and focused, infused with dreams and energy, and may you find the words you wish.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

ROW80 Sunday night late

Not sure I can update very completely tonight as we've been busy with company -- as so many of us are this time of year.

I did finalize and upload the very last (I hope) revisions on the Kindle version of Rivers of Stone. These revisions were hard won after that final review of the paperback version. Through December, Rivers of Stone is available for the special launch price of $0.99. The paperback version is also now available, and I'm holding my breath until my order of 20 books comes in, sometime around December 27.

And I'm thrilled to report the first review of Rivers of Stone came in!!!!! 5 stars!!!! How grateful I am for readers who love my stories AND write reviews!!!!

Finishing Rivers of Stone was my biggest goal for this year. All else pales.

I've worked hard on revisions and marketing as well, but these seem more a distraction. My husband's health is not well. Weeks pass, and he doesn't really improve. Or, he improves and has another setback. He tells me he never expected to live this long, but I'm not ready to say goodbye. So think of us in the sunshine of Merida for most of January and February, maybe sitting on that rooftop patio, lolling around on hammocks, far from snow.

Each day brings its own small celebrations. For example, this week I visited a trio of authors' at their book signing. What joy.

May 2018 be a good writing year for you. 

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ROW80 Weds check-in: A shot in the dark?

No, that was a shot in the arm! A 'new and improved' pneumonia shot led to red swelling from shoulder to elbow. I was the lucky one. DH got two shots in the same arm. But after 3 days, we're doing better. Well enough to resume (almost) normal activities. (Editors: Is that "almost resume" or "almost normal" . . . )

UPDATE FOR ROW80. This week's list of goals is short. With only 3 weeks to departure, I'm starting to sort, organized, and let go of some projects.

WRITING/EDITING: Edited 3/5 chapters of Mothers Don't Die. No poetry this week yet. Read other ROW80 writers x4/6 (so far).

LAUNCH PARTY. IF the paperback copies of Rivers of Stone get here in time, I will have some sort of launch party to celebrate here in Spokane.

MARKETING/CONTESTS/REVIEWS: The Kindle version will remain on sale at $0.99 through December 31. Just beginning to research contests but requested review Rivers of Stone by My Book Cave.  Set up GoodReads giveaway (paperback) to run December 19-31. Plan to submit Mothers Don't Die (first 28 pages) to the Pacific Northwest Writers Assn by January 1. Gads, I hate asking for reviews but will persevere. Sent one more query.

SOMETHING FOR YOU

Do you love granola but kind of stagger to a stop when you check the price? Try my happy Stovetop Granola for a less expensive and delicious option -- and you know exactly what's in the recipe because you put it there.  

Read through the following informal recipe which takes about 15 minutes and give it a try. Adjust any ingredient to your taste. Experiment!

1. BROWN THE OATMEAL. Start with a big pan. Add 2-3 TBSP olive oil and 4-5 cups of old-fashioned oats. Brown over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring enough so the oatmeal doesn't stick and burn. Empty toasted oats onto a cookie sheet to cool while you carry on the next step.

2. PREPARE THE FLAVOR SAUCE. Melt one cube of butter (I know, that's a lot) into the pan. After it's fully melted, add about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Stir until the brown sugar melts and bubbles. If you feel like it, add 1 teasp salt and/or 1 teasp vanilla.

3. ADD TOASTED OATMEAL TO FLAVOR SAUCE. For the next 5 minutes, stir often to prevent sticking and to mix ingredients fully. Toward the end of the 5 minutes, add 1 TBSP cinnamon, 2 handfuls of raisins (or a mix of your favorite dried fruit), and 2 handfuls of your favorite nuts (any combination of walnuts, almond flakes, and/or cashews). I add the fruit at the end of the cooking so they plump up a little. Now, turn that granola onto the cookie sheet to cool. 

You can store the granola up to about 3 weeks, but it never lasts that long. I keep my granola in a glass cookie jar and like to sprinkle it on top of regularly cooked oatmeal. 


You've just made your very own granola! Enjoy the end of 2017.

May you meet all your goals in 2018, write amazing stories, and cherish those you love.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

ROW80 Sunday Check-in: Happy Unbirthday!

I got an unexpected present at my birthday dinner last Wednesday. A nasty cold -- one that landed with an intense headache and ended with lingering low stamina. But I'm back, one day late and ready to meet the rest of hectic December.

This may be one of the simplest of check-ins, for here's what I really did get accomplished:

Thursday: Completely down and out.

Friday: Barely recovering.

Saturday: Lovely book signing at 2nd Look Books here in Spokane, bolstered by hot latte and a nicely sympathetic friend. Actually met some new readers and crawled back home after the festivities.

Sunday: Football. I have never slept through so much and nor seen so little.

Monday: Worked on marketing. Set up GoodReads giveaway. Requested review for Rivers of Stone from Underground Books.  Joined the Historical Novel Society. Wrote article for Spokane Authors on 'exciting' change in CreateSpace. Effective October, 2017, they've closed their online store, ended their slightly higher author royalties, and shifted sales over to Amazon, promising wider readership).

Week's inspiration? Talking to people who love to read historical fiction. Getting feedback from someone who attended my writing workshop last month. Finding out that our work on publicity for SASP's new Anthology featuring 19 writers of fiction and poetry, Celebrating Spokane Authors, led to a feature page in the Spokesman-Review on Thursday. And DH made me lunch and supper on my sickest day.

By next Sunday: I'm still dragging a bit, but in the coming week hope to set up a launch party, request some more reviews for poor, lonely Rivers of Stone, maybe find a contest or two (HNS), and learn something more about Instagram. OK, and maybe, just maybe edit 5 chapters in Mothers Don't Die and write 2 poems. Read what other ROW80 writers are up to x6.

We're supposed to get some snow by Friday. I've started on a weird owl quilt for the 3-year-old, and there may be more football in my future. Good luck with winter, my ROW80 friends. Forgive me for being late one day. Have a wonderful week ahead.  Be well. Take some toasty time by the fireplace (even if it's imaginary), find a good book to read, and all's well, especially if we add some writing and story-telling.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.





Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ROW80 #20: Happy Writing! Happy checking in!

Best of news: Early this morning (on my birthday), I hit that magic button and sometime within the next 24-48 hours, Rivers of Stone will go live as a paperback on Amazon (already online as an e-book). After three years of work, this is a big YIPPEE!!!

Since we're going out of the country nearly all of January and February to Merida, Mexico, this project needed to be finished before 2017 faded away.  This week, with inspiration from Olivia Randolph's stunning Facebook ad (b/w with color reserved only for cover), I fooled around with PowerPoint and posted this in my quarterly newsletter:

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Last Sunday, my ROW80 planning/reporting life changed. With that new chart, I've moved to colorful progress, where (so far) nothing seems to slip in the abyss, and I can "see" how what I'm doing meets my goals.  What this really means is that those goals that I'm less comfortable with are truly more visible -- and I'm making progress!

So, here's my first update with color! Blue = DONE. Green = In progress. Red = Priority, but no action yet.

BIG PICTURE GOALS
ACTION STEPS
WRITING: Work on projects that nurture my writing and poetry. Read articles about writing strategies. 
1.     Proof final PB Rivers of Stone.
2.     Write 2-4 poems each week.
3.     Read/revise Mothers Don’t Die for Kindle. Completed through Chap 5.
4.     Draft scenes (1K words/week) for Island Wife.
5.     Read 1 writing mag/week.

BLOGGING: Post blogs so they realistically reflect my writing & readers’ interests. Connect with online writing community by reading other bloggers.
1.     Post ROW80 Sun and Weds.
2.     Post Writing blog 2x/month. Part 3: Deep Revision pending. Posted IWSG (Dec 6).
3.     Read other blogs x6/week. x2

MARKETING: Carry out action steps that build writing visibility. Read marketing research (declutter where possible).
1.     Sent newsletter December 4.
2.     Setup GoodReads giveaway for ROS.
3.     Take notes on useful market research.
4.     Send out review requests ROS.
5.     Order bookmarks.
6.     Alert folks re 12/11 signing.
7.     F/U re blog post re historical fiction.

SASP: Support Spokane Authors with publicity and 1 special event each quarter.
1.     Confirm readers for Feb 23 Auntie’s read.
2.     Pre-write articles xJan/xFeb.
3.     Post FB update re Launch Party and meeting Dec7.
4.     Update Anthology description Amazon.
5.     Put Auntie’s readings on KPBX.

READING: Track books I read and review 2x/month.
Read 6 books in December. 2/6 so far.
HOME-TENDING: Identify specific actions that support healthy diet, exercise, and family.
1.     Plan 2 veggie meals this week. x1 so far.
2.     Swim x3. x1 so far.
3.     Declutter home and e-mail.
4.     Transfer calendar to phone!!!
5.     Kitchen focus: 2 hours this week.
6.     Comfort quilt: finish border.

Thank you, Eden and Shan Jeniah, for keeping us all focused. May you ALL have a wonderful week to come, lots of writing time, nurturing down time, and limitless time with those you love.

Check out what we're doing over on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Row80 #18: Major reboot!

Today's check-in begins with a quote that changed entirely how I track goals/action steps for ROW80.

Fidji Simo, a Vice President of Product for Facebook, recently said in an interview: "Focus is doing things with a clear intention and making sure that all your decisions match your intention."

That fits right in with the rhythm of ROW80's goal-setting and checking in to share progress. In the last month, though, I've felt inundated with commitments and goals. I often couldn't SEE what my priorities were, yet deadlines loomed. So I spent this morning revamping my tracking system. Instead of a 'daily diary' coupled to a chart for the week, I now begin my Daily Work file with this simple chart:

DECEMBER GOALS

BIG PICTURE GOALS
ACTION STEPS
WRITING: Work on projects that nurture my writing and poetry. Read articles about writing strategies. 
1.     Proof final PB Rivers of Stone.
2.     Write 2-4 poems each week.
3.     Read/revise Mothers Don’t Die for Kindle.
4.     Draft scenes (1K words/week) for Island Wife.
5.     Read 1 writing mag/week.

BLOGGING: Post blogs so they realistically reflect my writing & readers’ interests. Connect with online writing community by reading other bloggers.
1.     Post ROW80 Weds and Sun.
2.     Post IWSG x1/month (Dec 6).
3.     Post Writing blog 2x/month. Part 3: Deep Revision.
4.     Read other blogs x6/week.

MARKETING: Carry out action steps that build writing visibility. Read marketing research (declutter where possible).
1.     Send newsletter in Dec.
2.     Setup GoodReads giveaway for ROS.
3.     Take notes on useful market research.
4.     Send out review requests ROS.

SASP: Support Spokane Authors with publicity and 1 special event each quarter.
1.     Confirm readers for Feb 23 Auntie’s read.
2.     Pre-write articles xJan/xFeb.
3.     Post FB update re Launch Party and meeting Dec7.
4.     Update Anthology description Amazon.

READING: Track books I read and review 2x/month.
Read 2/6 books in December.
HOME-TENDING: Identify specific actions that support healthy diet, more exercise, and a harmonious family.
1.     Plan 2 veggie meals this week.
2.     Swim x3.
3.     Birthday dinner w/family.
4.     Declutter home and e-mail.
5.     Kitchen focus: 2 hours this week.
6.     Comfort quilt: finish border.

So far, I've found a few lost action steps along the way and am again reminded by Adrienne Rich's very famous quote, particularly for women writers, but this first bit always inspires me as she calls us anew to "Re-vision -- the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes . . . "

As we enter this chaotic month of December, may you be blessed with a sense of peace and energy, a renewed commitment to writing, and all that makes your life and creativity bloom.

Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing  FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

"Reflections" by Camil Tulcan (Flickr)


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ROW80 Weds: Digging In . . .

Let's keep it simple as we balance between this year's memories of Thanksgiving and the end-of-the-year to come. Red = no progress.  Blue = Done!

WEEKLY GOALS BY DECEMBER 2.

1. WRITING: Proof the final paperback for Rivers of Stone by Sunday, 12/2. NOTE: Final proofing of Rivers of Stone depends on whether I get that darn proof copy in time! Read Mothers Don't Die to see if the story stands on its own. Done. Edited Chapters 1-4. So 4/30 done. Write 1,000 words on Island Wife. So far, 350 words. Started researching smugglers in northern Scotland. Write 4 poems. 3/4 so far.

2. BLOGGING. Weds and Sun for ROW80. Finish Part 3 on deep revision for writing blog. The monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group is set for December 6 (my birthday) and asks us to look back over the year. Would we have done anything differently? I'm not sure at all.

3. READING. Start tracking reading again. Goal to read 6 books for December (and review at least 2). Reviewed Suzanne Ireland's Mermaid in a Fishbowl. Harder for me to read paperbacks as the print is just too small.

4. MARKETING. All out media push and setting up readings for Spokane Authors' new Anthology with launch party this Saturday, December 2. Probably 6 hours so far. Meeting today. In process: sending out review requests for Rivers of Stone. Sent out 5 requests to 3 wonderful writers who said YES! Plan to send newsletter by December 6. Did first draft. Prepping for book signing, December 11. Dropped off poster, media sheet.

5. NEW GOAL: Home-tending (inspired by Shan Jeniah) to work just 2 hours a week on some long-ignored part of our home. This week: focus area = the kitchen. 2 sessions done. Even DH helped, but the stove awaits. Decluttering continues. Emails down to under 100 again. 

QUESTION: How long do YOU keep those notes and papers that support previous books? I'm ready to start heaving them out for more space in filing cabinets. How about you?

OTHER GOALS: Almost done with another comfort quilt and ready to start a twin-bed size for littlest grandchild. Bright owls against a powder blue cloud filled sky. Maybe machine applique. The generosity of quilting friends warms me when I work. Not making progress with physical exercise just now. Keep missing swimming classes. DH is sick now for 5 weeks and we're gearing up for the second trip to the doctor. So I try to stay balanced between what is possible and what needs to be done.

BACK TO WRITING: When I read Mothers Don't Die this time, I wasn't reading marked up pages. I uploaded the latest draft to Kindle and tried to read it as if I were reading this thriller/suspense tale about a kidnapping for the very first time -- and that I didn't know the writer (me). 

Surprise! Not everyone will like this tale, but it drew me in. Another surprise: So much of my writing was shaped by childhood experiences and memories. Here's, finally, another new goal: This old, much revised tale will be up on Kindle before 2018.

Me playing with my cousin, Jimmie, on Bainbridge Island, about 1951.
Now, what's happening on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

ROW80 check-in: Post Thanksgiving

Hope no one succumbed to Black Friday. My Friday was spent quilting with several friends, trading fabrics, and having a blast -- far from words, deadlines, and queues of shoppers. I worked so hard on Thanksgiving, my feet still hurt! Yet I remain thankful for family and friends and every last tiny piece of pie (pumpkin, apple, mincemeat) that tantalized my tastebuds.

I'm thankful for ROW80, that round of words with like-minded writers who persevere with goals and accountability. Thank YOU for keeping up with your own writing yet commenting. This coming week, my goals are simpler yet . . .

GOALS BY DECEMBER 2.

1. WRITING: Proof the final paperback for Rivers of Stone by Sunday, 12/2. Begin reading Mothers Don't Die to see if the story stands on its own. Write 1,000 words on Island Wife. Write 4 poems.

2. BLOGGING. Weds and Sun for ROW80. Finish Part 3 on deep revision for writing blog.

3. READING. Start tracking reading again. Goal to read 6 books for December (and review at least 2). Want to read Maids of Misfortune (M. Louisa Locke) and Olivia Mourning (Yael Politis), Just finished Suzanne Ireland's Mermaid in a Fishbowl, a story of an intrepid young woman who teaches at a prison (5 stars). Love the way her characters and understanding of prison life are vividly told.

4. MARKETING. All out media push and setting up readings for Spokane Authors' new Anthology with launch party this Saturday, December 2. In process: sending out review requests for Rivers of Stone. Plan to send newsletter by December 6. Prepping for book signing, December 11. 

5. NEW GOAL: Home-tending (inspired by Shan Jeniah) to work just 2 hours a week on some long-ignored part of our home. This week: focus area = the kitchen.

Now, may we all have a mild and writerly productive winter . . . so far,  no snow here, but those beautiful fall leaves are long gone. Please visit other ROW80 writers on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

And, just one more question: Would YOU like to subscribe to my very occasional e-mailed updates, release discounts, etc? If yes, please click HERE.

Picture shows what I'm already dreaming about -- for January and February: Coffee in historic Old Town, Merida, Mexico.

Old Town, Merida, Mexico



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ROW80 #15: Happy Thanksgiving!

I've dropped out the last two weeks. Despite thinking about all of you, working away on your writing and checking in on your progress as part of A Round of Words in 80 Days, I just couldn't join you.

Two major projects kept me busy.

If you know what 'doesn't fit trim size' means, then you know where I've been. Just before dawn this morning, CreateSpace accepted my files for Rivers of Stone. The proof will be here in another week (already found 2-3 spacing errors to correct). And then I will finally (after three years of work) hit that magic button to complete the paperback version. The Kindle version of Rivers of Stone is already live.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Over the last two weeks, I also worked intensely with a team to publish Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers' first anthology, called Celebrating Spokane Authors. Some 19 poets, authors, and essayists contributed work to this anthology. Our launch party for the anthology is December 2 (Saturday), and I'm scrounging for reviewers. If you are interested, please let me know.

This is Round 4, Check-in 15, and I'm still not ready. My fingers are in that frozen keyboard state. But, a little later tonight, I'll be making a mincemeat-apple pie. Tomorrow, we'll be gathering around the turkey with family, grateful for every moment.

The next challenge? Back to work on setting goals, deadlines, and evaluating progress.  And work on marketing, which always makes me vaguely guilty. We CAN do this!  Wishing you all the very best of times as we approach the end of the year.

Thankfulness from Thanksgiving Quotes










Sunday, November 12, 2017

ROW80 check-in: Happy Veteran's Day.


When I first met my husband some 43 years ago, I didn't know he was a Vietnam vet. He was just the most wonderful and intriguing person I'd ever met -- a writer, a dreamer, a poet, and a traveler.

Two years ago, for his 70th birthday, his novel Reaching, based on his experiences as a draftee serving in Vietnam, was published. Life is sometimes complicated, but my gentle husband hasn't changed that much.

Yesterday, we celebrated Veteran's Day quietly with milkshakes from McDonald's and lots of football. I try to take good care of him because I want him to stick around, but we're at that age when saying goodbye is too close to reality. I'm not ready.

ROW80 Round 4: Check-in 12:

WRITING by Sunday 11/12: Use 750 words to write a minimum of 250 words a day on Island Wife. Make final revisions/formatting for Rivers of Stone a top priority. Completed afterword for Rivers of Stone. Now working on final formatting for Kindle. Wrote 400 words this week on memoir. Wrote 3,167 words for Island Wife. Taught workshop on “Deep Revision” on Wednesday (more about this on writing blog).

BLOGGING by Sunday 11/12: Post on Writing Blog. Report in for ROW80 Weds and Sunday. Posted Thursday and Sunday. Posted Part 1 of ‘Deep Revision’ on Writing Blog. Read posts by other ROW80 writers x6 for the week. Read x4 this week so far.

MARKETING by Sunday, 11/12: Work on marketing/timeline for Rivers of Stone release by December 15. Finalize cover back. Send queries re blog hop/early reviews for Rivers of Stone release. Send November newsletter. Send query re early reviewers. Set up pre-orders. Sent request for permissions x3 for quotes in Rivers of Stone (luckily one person quoted is long dead). No progress otherwise. Other: Draft PR for SASP Anthology release party and send queries to reviewers. Worked up timeline, designed promo, contacted 3 potential reviewers.
In an effort to keep life relatively simple, here are my GOALS FOR Week of 11/13-11/19.
  1. WRITING by Sunday 11/19: Write 750 words/day for Island Wife. Continue 1 hour/day formatting Rivers of Stone. Write 500 words/memoir.
  2. BLOGGING by Sunday 11/19: Post ROW80x2 (Weds/Sun). Post Part 2 “Deep Revision” on Writing Blog. Enter Carnival of Indies by 11/15. Read posts by other ROW80 writers x6/this week.
  3. MARKETING by Sunday 11/19: Work on marketing/timeline for Rivers of Stone release (December 15). Finalize cover back. Send queries re blog hop/early reviews for Rivers of Stone release. Send November newsletter. Send query re early reviewers. Set up pre-orders. Re SASP Anthology: Write press releases & send to local newspapers and post event online. Send promo for launch party to contributors, requesting they forward to their social network. Contact 4 more potential reviewers. Coordinate report for SASP board.
Those beautiful red and gold fall leaves are mostly gone. We're at that stage where we scan the coming week's weather forecast for snow and sigh happily when none is predicted. Isn't it a perfect time for making progress on all goals as the temperatures dip, right?

Question of the week (yes, I'd really like to know):  As an indie author, did you use pre-orders? How did that work out for your book? Would you do this again? Also, do you think it's better to release your book at the very end of the year (December) or wait for 2018? 

Now, what's happening on our FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE.

Manito Park October 2017





Thursday, November 9, 2017

ROW80: If It's not snow, it's rain . . .

Here's my Round 4, Check-in 11:  
WRITING GOALS by Sunday 11/12: Use 750 words to write a minimum of 250 words a day on Island Wife. Make final revisions/formatting for Rivers of Stone a top priority. Completed revision on Rivers of Stone. Now working on final formatting for Kindle. Wrote 800 words this week on memoir. No progress on Island Wife. Taught workshop on “Deep Revision” on Wednesday (more about this on writing blog).

BLOGGING by Sunday 11/12: Post on Writing Blog. Report in for ROW80 Weds and Sunday. Posted Thursday. Plan to post re writing workshop on Writing blog. Read posts by other ROW80 writers x6 for the week. Read x1 this week so far.

MARKETING by Sunday, 11/12: Work on marketing/timeline for Rivers of Stone release. Finalize cover back. Send queries re blog hop/early reviews for Rivers of Stone release. Send November newsletter. Send query re early reviewers. Set up pre-orders. Sent request for permissions x2 for quotes in Rivers of Stone. Other: Draft PR for SASP Anthology release party and send queries to reviewers.

You might have noticed I'm changing up the reporting to make deadlines more visible. And hopefully more efficient.

Like any other week, this week has begun with a pretty full schedule. Most of my 'free' time went to prepping to teach yesterday's workshop on "Deep Revision" over in Coeur d'Alene, which was a blast. Personally, I think I wandered a bit, especially in the intro, but the writing activities were fun, people were active participants, and I learned some new ideas along the way. Plus, the topic will show up in this week's Writing blog post!

With story revisions finally complete for Rivers of Stone, and the workshop behind me, I can now switch my writing attention for the rest of November to NaNoWriMo. Yippee!

One tip I found in researching that workshop was a reminder to think about one of your writing goals just before going to sleep. This way, the unconscious part of your mind works away while you sleep. I've done this off and on and often have been surprised in a pleasing way. So, this morning's insight was about how to write memoir.  I've struggled with how to talk about events and issues I'd rather not share. The 'suggestion' from my unconscious this morning was to write a letter to my daughter. Sounds flaky. But this little tip changed both content and tone -- and the words flowed! 

Me, Allen, and Rachel . . . Back in the day (1980s)
What's the bottom line? The snow melted. It's raining. We're one week closer to Thanksgiving. As we set goals for the rest of this month (and December on its way), I'm thankful for A Round of Words in 80 Days and wish you all a very productive and happy month!

Why not check out what's happening on the FACEBOOK group or on our WEBSITE




Sunday, November 5, 2017

ROW80: Snow already?

Another intense week of writing and revision. Here is one of my favorite picture from last week's visit to Manito Park at the height of Fall colors. But it started to snow yesterday and hasn't stopped, making me very grateful for those few perfect days playing with the leaves.

Fall moment, Manito Park (November 2017)
ROW80, Round 4, Check-in 10: Goals and Progress:

WRITING: Use 750 words to write a minimum of 250 words a day on Island Wife (NaNo project).  Make final revisions/formatting for Rivers of Stone a top priority. Currently at 70% complete on revisions for ROS, and 1250 new words for Island Wife. GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK: Complete Revisions on Rivers of Stone. Write 1,250 new words for Island Wife.

BLOGGING: Report in for Insecure Writer's Support Group with monthly post. Done. Report in for ROW80 Weds and Sunday. Posted Weds & Sunday. Read posts by other ROW80 writers x6 for the week. Read x7 this week. GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK: Same.

MARKETING: Work on marketing/timeline for Rivers of Stone release. Contacted local book store and scheduled December book signing. Worked with Sue on Anthology launch and marketing plan for Spokane Authors. GOALS FOR NEXT WEEK: Finalize cover back. Send queries re blog hop/early reviews for Rivers of Stone release. Send November newsletter. Draft PR for SASP Anthology release.

Like you, I'm busy. This morning began Daylight Savings and a 5 am run to the airport. This afternoon ends with 4 hours of babysitting. Last night, a reading at the Spokane County Public Library of its anthology celebrating 75 years (they accepted one of my poems). This week (if the snow holds off a little), I'll lead a workshop in Coeur d'Alene on "deep revision." Add in 2 meetings with quilting groups, another babysitting session toward the end of the week, and it looks like a pretty intense week.

I'm also ending this week with a profound sense of gratitude and dismay. No pictures of happy kitties here (though Aaron Rodgers' State Farm commercial with his dog ALWAYS cheers me up).  OK, one picture:
Aaron Rodgers & Rigbee
The gratitude comes from appreciating family, hubby a little better from his bad cold, and simply being home. The dismay comes after visiting a homeless shelter here in Spokane as temperatures dipped below freezing. We should be able to take better care of those who cannot take care of themselves.

Meanwhile, we persevere. Make it a good week. Check out what we're doing on FACEBOOK or the the ROW80 web! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

ROW80: Chocolate Hangover???

I have kept my muse happy. Pulled her right out of a slough of depression by thoroughly revamping my goals. 

So, to share progress for ROW80's Round 4, Check-in 9: here are my new goals (after much hard reflecting).  

WRITING: Use 750 words to write a minimum of 250 words a day on Island Wife.  Make final revisions/formatting for Rivers of Stone a top priority. So far this week, I worked 4 hours on both, 350 words so far on Island Wife (with more tonight).

BLOGGING: Report in for Insecure Writer's Support Group with monthly post. Done. Report in for ROW80 Weds and Sunday. Posted Weds. Read posts by other ROW80 writers x6 for the week. Read x3 so far this week.

MARKETING: Work on my own marketing/timeline for Rivers of Stone release. Contacted local book store and scheduled December book signing. Worked with Sue on Anthology launch and marketing plan for Spokane Authors

And about that chocolate . . .  how about a piece of cake instead?

Red Velvet Halloween Cake
from Sayitwithcake

With all that sugar from Halloween, why not go visit A Round of Words in 80 Days at our blog OR over on FaceBook to see what everyone has done . . . Be well. Write with joy!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Round 4, Check-in 8: Aaaargh!

I wish I could report better progress this last week, our first week home. But I'm beginning to realize the older I get, the more time I need to recover. Still haven't written those blistering letters to all concerned that led to a 3-hour wait while going through customs. Imagine 2,000+ people, most over 70, standing in line for 3 hours with no place to sit or go to the bathroom, some folks with walkers. This was NOT pretty, making me ever grateful we are back home.

Here are my Round 4 goals with updates:

1. Writing: Complete revisions and write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone by year-end. No progress yet. Organizing for NaNoWriMo. Some progress. Write at least 30 poems by end of October. Only 11 poems for the month, so far, with 3 days left. Did transfer poems from journal to Word file.
2. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1/week (posted 3 poems) and ROW80 blog x2/each week (posted only once -- unless today counts). Read other writers x6 (read x3).
3. Reading: Read 10 books a month. Review 1 book each month. Still reading Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna (490 pages & about 48% through), but I'm far from other reading and reviewing.4. Marketing: Work on release of Rivers of Stone before the end of 2017. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. Still unpacking and trying to catch up, so no real progress here. I am in the middle of talking to a local book store about a book signing (tied to release).
5. Other: Write 2 articles a month/Wrote 1. Prep for writing workshop early November. Continuing: SASP Publicity (wrote article on NaNoWriMo for the newsletter; proofed new Anthology -- SASP's first!).
6. Personal: Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy balance with family, volunteering, and all else. Resumed exercise (water aerobics). Went to the advanced class by accident and really got a workout. Did buy a box of Trader Joe cookies, but all else OK. Lots of veggies and brown rice. Am appalled this morning by CNN's report of water-spread disease in Puerto Rico.

So, to keep things simple, here are my focus goals for the coming week:

  1. WRITING: Write minimum 250 words a day. Keep writing poems through end of October. Proofread Rivers of Stone for e-pub.
  2. BLOGGING: Same as always: 1x/ROW80, 2x/Writing blog (Include post for Insecure Writer's Support Group).
  3. MARKETING: Work on my own marketing plan.
  4. READING: Continue with Kingsolver. Will be lucky to finish mid-November.
  5. SASP: Develop launch and marketing plan for our new Anthology.
This morning begins with dense fog, making me grateful for yesterday's trip with grandkids to Finch Arboretun for "Leaf Day." Finch staff piled up mounds of fall leaves for the kids to throw at each other and jump around on. 

Let's bring joy (and productivity) to the coming week! Check out what other ROW80 writers are up to on the BLOG or on FACEBOOK. Make it a good storytelling week!