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!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

ROW80, Round 4, Check-in 7: Home

We're baack! Two hour time change notwithstanding, after a 14-day cruise, the suitcases are unpacked, laundry is finally clean, and we've made one food run to the grocery store. I have renewed appreciation for internet, television news, and the daily paper. And privacy.

But the real question is: Did I get any writing done?  The short answer is yes! The longer answer is, as my three-year-old granddaughter would say, "Some." I'm working on Dylan and Moira's story. Have made great progress in organizing, plotting, and drafting a few scenes. Up to about 12,000 words and setting up for NaNoWriMo.

Here are my Round 4 goals:

1. Writing: Complete revisions and write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone by year-end. No progress here last 2 weeks. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir). Done. Prequel taking front and center. Write at least 30 poems by end of October. Some progress. Wrote 10 poems in 2 weeks.
2. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6. On hold last 2 weeks. No Internet.

3. Reading: Read 10 books a month. Review 1 book each month. Ooops. Probably read 6 books during last 2 weeks. Deep in Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna (set partly in Mexico) and loving this rich story that features Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

4. Marketing: Work on release of Rivers of Stone before the end of 2017. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. No progress last two weeks. Did hand out a few bookmarks.
5. Other: Write 2 articles a month. Prep for writing workshop early November. Continuing: SASP Publicity. Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy balance with family, volunteering, and all else. All these on hold until tomorrow!

Too much red above, but tomorrow beckons. What was the most exotic thing we saw during the trip? 

Toucans, parrots, and other mystery birds flying in the wilderness of a tropical forest. 

Orchids growing in a tree in a botanical garden.

The nightly towel-creature awaiting us in our room on the Norwegian Pearl

In Cartagena, flower-filled patios, but humidity and heat so high, we could barely walk.
Now, why not check in with other ROW80 writers to see what's up this week for A Round of Words in 80 Days? Have a great week!




Thursday, October 5, 2017

ROW80 Check-in: Missing?

I'm not missing. This is my last check-in for ROW80 until after October 25.
  1. Writing: Complete revisions and write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone by year-end. Prioritize next writing project. Write at least 30 poems by end of October. Progress: Good progress on all goals. So far, surprisingly, 12 poems written.
  2. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6 each week.  Progress: Because those poems (and the monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group) are posted daily, I'm well ahead in posting on the Writing blog, but I'm far behind in posting for ROW80 and/or reading what others have done. 
  3. Reading: Read 10 books a month. Review 2 books each month. Progress: No reviews up this month. For September, read 10/15. October reading so far = 4/10, but one of the books involved lots of page skipping (erotica). Even though I was asked, and the book had terrific plotting, I just can't bring myself to review it. 
  4. Marketing: Work on release of Rivers of Stone before the end of 2017. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. Progress: Steady progress here. Worked on SASP Anthology and set up a November workshop on 'deep revision' (this will be fun). Decided to set up Rivers of Stone for pre-order (a new skill).
  5. Other/Personal: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: SASP Publicity. Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy blood level/diet. Progress: So far, so good in all categories, though I wonder about that 'healthy diet' goal on a cruise ship. Found a way to exercise in water aerobics without hurting my feet. SASP Publicity done + two articles. 
Getting ready for this trip, even though it's only 17 days, feels a little like falling off the world as I know it. My laptop is ready. The suitcase is mostly packed. We drive to the airport at 4:30 am on Saturday, but I'm leaving behind all that is familiar. As well as those dear grands! 


My hopes for writing while away include digging into a new story (unicorns!) and somehow writing a poem a day. We've not vacationed for so long that we're both looking forward to a different kind of adventure. No internet while we're gone means not connecting with ROW80 until I'm back -- after October 25. 

Meanwhile, all you energetic ROW80 writers, persevere in the writing, and appreciate each day! CLICK HERE to see what everyone's up to or hop over to our group on FaceBook!



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ROW80 Round 4 Goals: Am I SMART Enough?

Thanks to Eden’s recent talk about SMART Goals on our ROW80 website, I’m reviewing exactly what SMART means:
  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Achievable – have the specific skills needed to achieve the goal.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved
I would like to do a better job of crafting my ROW80 goals so that they are more realistic (I tend to have longer lists than I can complete – though I don’t want to leave any area out). And I’d like my goals to have tighter deadlines, as the goals tend to slide into longer and longer lists! So, in Round 4, areas for me to be more aware of are:
  1. Scope of my to-do list.
  2. Identify more clearly what constitutes progress and IF I can realistically achieve the goal.
  3. Set more specific deadlines (not the amorphous ‘by the next check-in’).
Eden points out that Scott Barry Kaufman, in Ungifted, suggests that scientists are looking at what motivates us to succeed. He identifies two types of goals:

Learning goals — these tend to be self-directed, usually involve a personal desire for self-improvement ⇒ lead to mastery.

Performance goals — these tend to be motivated by external rewards such as money, status, approval of others ⇒ can lead to fear of failure.

I’m not so comfortable with an either/or explanation for what drives us to write – or to be successful, though Kaufman’s learning vs. performance may help us move away from writer’s block. But I’m noticing that as summarized, learning goals lead to MASTERY (positive), while performance goals "can" lead to FAILURE (negative). For me, putting food on the table is not a negative goal.

Also, are the scientists suggesting that self-affirmations are more important than affirmations from others? For example, support from significant others (notably my DH) keeps me writing, but I don’t write for him. To be fair to Kaufman, I ‘should’ probably read Ungifted.

Also, notice how the first SMART goal (target a specific area for improvement) puts our SMART goals squarely in Kaufman’s LEARNING GOALS!

And, just maybe I’m motivated by performance goals as well, for I write for that zing when a passage, or a scene, or a chapter sings with truth and connects with my readers. Some days, too, I hope for that monthly deposit from book sales to be more than a token amount. For that seems like a nice form of external validation.

So, SMART goals work for me. What motivates me to succeed is that desire to tell a story, to write with discipline, and to achieve balance in my life. That means keeping my goals focused and simple. 

Here are my Round 4 goals:  

1. Writing: Complete revisions and write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone by year-end. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir). Write at least 30 poems by end of October.

2. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6.

3. Reading: Read 10 books a month. Review 1 book each month.

4. Marketing: Work on release of Rivers of Stone before the end of 2017. Work on marketing 3 hours each week.

5. Other: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: SASP Publicity. Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy balance with family, volunteering, and all else.

After all this glorious planning, I'm going to be MISSING for much of October. 

Notwithstanding earthquakes, flooding, and devastating tropical storms, we are leaving for a 17-day trip October 7 at well before the crack-of-dawn. I will have my mini-laptop with me but will have very limited internet access as we meander down the coast of Mexico, cross the Panama Canal, and land in New Orleans for a few days before flying home. Maybe I'll find that next story along the way.

I just want you to know that I won’t be able to read what you post or put up any weekly check-ins for that time. But I will be writing, AND I wish you every success in this last round of 2017.

NOTE: Just in case you were thinking of donating, here's a link to an article by Global Giving (top rated by Charity Navigator) about their relief fund for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islandshttps://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-maria-caribbean-relief-fund/ 


Sunday, September 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!





Thursday, September 7, 2017

ROW80: Oops! Missed Wednesday.

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

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

Weds Check in Round 3, Week 10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

ROW80 Sunday check-in: Forward we go!

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

The Front

Detail of the front

The Back

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Beginnings!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sun ROW80: Forward ho!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Weds ROW80 Perseverance furthers . . .

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

ROW80: Round 3, Week 8:

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

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

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

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

Summer at Manito Park (2017)









Sunday, August 20, 2017

ROW80 Sunday Summer Check-in

This week was fairly intense with babysitting from 5:30 to 11 pm for 3 nights. I love my grands, but they can tire me out! Favorite moment? See mud pie party below.

This week, I spotted a letter to Ann Landers (not the right name, but you know what I mean), which talked about the sadness in getting older. Not just the loss of friends or being left out of family events, but that slow realization that we just can't do every day what we once did without thinking. I've noticed recently that some of those TV newscasters look about 12 years old! But I do worry about my husband's health and hope each day he will improve just enough to enjoy the time we have together. Perhaps this is why I can't quite achieve every goal each week, but I appreciate ROW80's routine that keeps me focused and connected.

Looks like our week of cooler weather is heading back to mid-90's tomorrow. Luckily I do get up very early, so I'm ready to make good progress in the coming week.

ROW80: Round 3: Week 7 - 8
WRITING. Revising Section 03 (20 Chapters/30K words). Goal by Sunday: Complete 5 chapters. Completed 8 chapters so 8/20 = 42% done with this section. Not as much progress in reviewing Section 04 in writer's group as we haven't met this week. Next week: Same goals. Minimum of 5 chapters of Sec03, with Sec04 postponed to the last week of the month.

WRITING PROJECTS: Finished the Call for Submissions form for SASP's website for our Anthology. Late on getting info on next month's speaker, but sent questions and will hope for the best. Next week: No other writing projects pending. Send PR on September speaker by 8/30.

MARKETING: No real progress other than those 3 poems submitted to a local library for its anthology. Meeting re possible presentation has been moved again. Next week: Make calendar and, most important, make decision about putting Standing Stones on perma-bargain. Considering MyBookCave for promo.

BLOGGING/READING: Currently reading Suzanne Brockmann's Some Kind of Hero (quirky writer meets hot SEAL whose daughter goes missing). Pure escape. I'm also trying to read a book by an indie writer with the goal to review before month end. Making no progress yet with blogging, and I keep falling behind on what others have posted for ROW80. Can I blame summer? Next week: Read that indie book. Write the review. Make a schedule for blogging. Read at least 6 other ROW80 posts.

OTHER: Still binding that mystery quilt. Goal to finish this coming week. Then I shall share a picture! The other major challenge I've set is to increase exercise to 4x/week (this week accomplished 5x), and to revamp my diet (more fruits/veggies, no sugar). Many of the changes suggested by The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet (whole wheat, grains) I've already made. So far, I'm holding steady and making progress. 

Here's that picture of the littlest grand I promised. Why not check out what other ROW80 folks are doing on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK. And have a great week!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ROW80: Back on schedule . . .

You know that sinking feeling when disaster strikes? There I was, computer keyboard humming away, ready to write and revise. I opened up Section 03 of the current revision-in-progress to find five chapters missing. Let's just say blessings for back-ups and double back-ups. In under ten minutes, I was back at work.

So in the spirit of Wednesday, here is where I am with goals for the coming week:

ROW80: Round 3: Week 7

WRITING. Just starting revisions for Section 03 (20 Chapters/30K words). Goal by Sunday: Complete 5 chapters. Reviewing Section 04 (the last one!) in writers' group.

WRITING PROJECTS: Just burned way too many hours putting a proposal together to indie publish an anthology for our local writers' group. I'm figuring 30-40 contributors, 200 pages +/-, with graphics, and publish by mid-November. Proposal approved by board. Next: Call for Submissions form and promo.

MARKETING: Does it count that I handed out 6 bookmarks? I also am in the middle of setting up a presentation for another writing group. Did submit 3 poems to a local library for its anthology.

READING: Have read 8/20 books so far this month. Reviewed Lee Goldberg's The Walk about a somewhat sedentary white collar professional who tries to walk home after a devastating earthquake hits Los Angeles. I really liked the story, its many surprising twists, not the least being how the experience tested his integrity and core values. Of course, we did live in mid-Wilshire for five years -- without a car.

DECLUTTERING INSIDE AND OUT: Oh, was I efficient in this category. Maybe another form of procrastination. My e-mail is slimmed down considerably, I recycled through a foot-high stack of files, and got rid of (donated) a pile of cords and electronic gizmos I will never use. My goal to avoid diabetes has shifted into high gear after a nasty blood sugar test. If anyone is in a similar situation, consider The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet (available at most libraries and online). This book (with its positive tone and very specific steps) is transforming how I think about what I eat. Who could imagine salad for breakfast?

The last few days, temperatures have eased into the 80s, a very short bit of rain cleared out the smoke from nearby forest fires, so all seems possible once again.  Thank you, A Round of Words for 80 Days, for just being inspirational.

Why not check out what other folks are doing on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK. And have a great week!








Wednesday, August 9, 2017

ROW80: Not quite normal

Was I the only one who woke up early this morning about 5 am, wondering if today's news would bring word of a nuclear explosion here or over there? And if a war came, how much would it change our world, our interconnected communities, our sense of balance. And so I remember those wars within my memory, the Korean War, Vietnam, Afghanistan.

My projects and progress seem quite small.

Yet today is Wednesday. Time to check in with A Round of Words in 80 Days. See what others are doing here or on our Facebook page. Why not join in?

Half-way through Week 6: August 7-13.

1. WRITING goal: Finish 5 chapters. Finished revising 7 chapters of Rivers of Stone this week so far. Beginning Chapter 45 tomorrow morning (I hope). That's 63% complete (44 of 70 chapters).
2. BLOGGING. Today, here. Maybe on the writing blog later this week. Did read 7x other posts so far.
3. OTHER PROJECTS: Worked on Spokane Authors project (2017 Anthology). Fascinating mix of creative stuff and then all the organizing needed around a timeline (volunteers, job descriptions, submission guidelines, releases, graphics, formatting).

Wednesday is also the day to share a snippet of what's in progress, inspired by WIPpet Wednesday, a small group of writers who share snippets of work in progress. So here are 3 paragraphs (since we are in the 3rd quarter of the year), from that chapter in Rivers of Stone when Cat finds her friend lost in the snow:

     When Cat came out from securing the barn, she faced a wall of snow. The blizzard had strengthened. She could hardly see the trading post, less than a hundred feet away. She heard a low cry. Was that an animal? Someone in distress? She took a few steps away from the protection of the barn, one hand on the fence that led to the fields.
     There. Again. Someone cried out, “Help!”
     Cat kept her hand on the fence as she worked her way towards the cry. She found Pete slumped over on the ground. His breath came slowly, as if it were caught in his chest. 


I really have no other words tonight. The picture of Mount Hood reminds me we are surrounded by beauty. Maybe that is enough.

Mount Hood (July 2017)


Sunday, August 6, 2017

ROW80: Sunday night special . . .

Why am I drawn to suspense this week? Weird dreams could be attributed to the weather -- still hot, and smoky air blowing over Spokane from forest fires. Our air quality hit 'hazardous' a few times this week (worse than Beijing). I honestly don't know which is better, these stinking hot summers or knee-deep-in-snow winters. Or Oregon's more moderate temperatures but constant rain from about October to May. Sigh. But I'm happiest about steady progress on the writing and feeling almost recovered from that stint of immersion babysitting.

Round 3, Week 5: July 30 - August 6 progress:

1. WRITING. Revised 10 chapters this week. Consolidated one chapter so up to chapter 38 out of 66 (OK so a percentage makes me feel good: 58% completed). Also started feeding last section to my small writer's group. Also writing chapter summaries as I go. Feeling good about steady progress.

2. BLOGGING. Posted "I Hate Tailgaters" for Insecure Writer's Study Group on my writing blog to respond to their question for the month: "What peeves you when reading/writing/editing?" Check out the post HERE. Working on a plan for better blogging. Posted 3x this week (met goal).

3. READING. Goal 25 books for the month. So far 5/25. Just started Rhenna Morgan's Unexpected Eden featuring parallel worlds (Earth and Eden). Finished Lisa Kessler's Moonlight (too x-rated for me) though a mix of jaguar and wolf shape-shifters was interesting. Less interesting was Christina Dodd's Just the Way You Are, a class-based plot with hard-working orphan falling for billionaire passing as the 'butler'. Again, a little x-rated (skipped pages). Doing a little better on reading what others have posted online (x4/6 for the week). Hoping for improvement (tonight and in the coming week). Reviews this week x1. 

4. MARKETING. Discovered MyBookCave, a newsletter for readers and authors that features free/discounted books; they do include x-ratings so you can steer away from the downright erotic (which Bookbub does not). Their newsletter goes out to about 78K subscribers, but is significantly less expensive than BookBub. Their website offers helpful info and online submission guidelines. 

5. OTHER: Visited with a group of would-be writers at a nearby assisted living complex and came away feeling that perhaps I had entertained them a little and inspired them with some new directions. But I'm also humbled by the stories they shared, and the gifts of health and family we share. 

Also proposed our local writer's association publish an anthology (poetry, fiction, nonfiction), with proceeds donated to a local charity. Maybe we'll do this every two years? Has anyone worked on a project like this? Have advice to share? Please comment or e-mail me! Thank you!

Recipe of the week: Ravioli tossed with green beans, spinach, sauteed in garlic chicken bites, mushrooms, and topped with Romano. Chopped veggie salad (that store-bought cabbage-based mix with apples added). Easy. Fast. Delicious. My goal: healthier meals.

Sunday means thinking ahead to the new week. May all your goals be met and the weather not quite as hot where you are. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE.

My Rachel, inspired by Frida (July 2017)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

ROW80: Weds progress

Outside, the temps will be in the high 90s again, with the week ahead looking the same. Inside, I leave the windows open in the early morning, and the breeze smells so fresh. I'm still thankful for air conditioning. Imagine the 1840s when women wore long skirts, had babies at home, and in the summer, no air conditioning.

This week's progress on goals:

1. WRITING. Revised 3 chapters so far. Up to chapter 31 out of 67 (not counting what happens later today). Writing chapter summaries as I go. Feeling good about steady progress.
2. BLOGGING. Posted "I Hate Tailgaters" for Insecure Writer's Study Group on my writing blog to respond to their question for the month: "What peeves you when reading/writing/editing?" Check out the post HERE. Working on a plan for better blogging.
3. READING. Doing a little better on reading what others have written (x3/6 so far for the week). Currently reading Vickie McKeehan's Indigo Fire, a nifty thriller about a family abduction set in the Florida Keys. Reviewed Anne Baines' Hunting Delilah, another thriller about a feisty con artist who discovers a severed head in a freezer. Guess you can see I'm reading escapist genre stuff and loving it.
4. MARKETING. Circling around. No action. Yet.

OTHER: Yesterday was our 42nd anniversary so we celebrated with a movie (Dunkirk) and dinner out at a very nice restaurant called Clover here in Spokane. The waitperson (a kid, really) confided he had only experienced 'fine dining' for two months and was loving it. We loved our dinner too, exquisitely flavored -- from the caprice salmon appetizer, to the scallops with crab ravioli. No room for dessert. I should have taken a picture! Now I'm behind on exercising, diet, and quilting. Aargh. No wonder Wednesdays always feel like I'm behind.

Back to the writing. It is Wednesday, so here's a snippet as Cat, our fearless heroine, makes her way south by York Boat to Red River in Manitoba, 1840s. Yes, she's still disguised as a boy.

     Cat gagged the first time they saw a body. A man had been buried beside the river, but something had dug aside the rocks, and a skeleton gazed out at them.
     "Don't look if it makes you sick," said Pierre.
     “Won’t be the first one you see.” Lambidoux snorted.
     Thurston stopped to shape a rough cross of wood and reburied the remains at the top of the embankment.

Have a great week. May all your goals be met and the weather not quite as hot where you are. Tomorrow I'm teaching a workshop on getting started with writing. Should be fun. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE.

Anyone catch the missing apostrophe???

Sunday, July 30, 2017

ROW80: Sunday check-in once again

July is very nearly gone. As Denise Young reminds us, only 53 days remain in Round 3.

This last month has been tumultuous with lots of people, commitments, babysitting, and major shifts in writing. I haven't looked at the goals for the round, keeping instead to week-by-week.

ROUND 3, WEEK 4: PROGRESS FROM LAST WEEK & GOALS:

1. WRITING: Revise 5 more chapters. DONE: Actually revised 7 chapters and finished Section 01 of Rivers of Stone. Began revising Chapter Summaries as well. So far 12/27 chapters completed. Need these summaries updated to keep track of changed plotting and those pesky characters who keep changing their names. My overall goal is to publish Rivers of Stone by year-end, with Sections 01 and 05 being most challenging.

NEW GOAL? Thought I would start a notebook/folder for the next story, but despite the often seemingly overwhelming task in front of me, I want to keep my focus on Rivers of Stone. This week, I will begin revising Section 02 (12 chapters) and finish those Chapter Summaries for Section 01 (15 chapters).

2. BLOGGING: Post x2/week. Read other posts by 4x.  GOAL? Same for the coming week.

3. MARKETING. Not sure yet. I find it easier to set this aside. I am teaching a writing workshop this Thursday. Does that count for indirect marketing? And I did write an article on dialogue for Spokane Authors' newsletter. GOAL? At least review my notes and pick out ONE ACTION STEP to work on.

3. OTHER. Did resume swimming 2 out of 3x this week. Plan to continue. Dithering a little over which quilting project to do next. 

Here's a picture of the Happy Birthday quilt (African theme to celebrate our trip with friends to Tasmania) now in its new home, and I'm equally excited that secret project number 2 is now at the quilter.

Sometimes I think that quilting is much like writing as a project will (at least for me) emerge in pieces. I'm having fun with Pinterest collecting images of landscape quilts. My first effort is rather small, about 10" x 15" that I made in March of this year. But the block is calling for 'the rest of the story.'



Meanwhile, may your week go well. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE. That's where I'm going next!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

ROW80: Sunday and home again . . .

Sometimes we learn again to be humble. After four days with my two lovely granddaughters (aged 5 and 2.5), I've relearned that my stamina has limits. And yet those kids are a joy, curious, and full of energy and love. Our day began at 7am and ended at 9pm. We were too tired to do much of anything else, BUT somehow, I got three days of writing sandwiched in before wake-up time.

WRITING GOAL FOR LAST WEEK:  Revise 3-4 more chapters. 

Completed Chapters 15-20. 

All other goals got postponed.

Biggest lesson learned? Being responsible for these two energetic children brought out a few symptoms of PTSS. I screeched when the little one ran out into the street and panicked at the noises at Jump and Bounce when the five year old hid for 15 minutes. So we are home now and it's quiet, though I haven't written the last 3 days. Tomorrow's Monday, and I hope for better progress when I report in on Weds.

Inspired by Elizabeth Ann Mitchell, here is my short list of goals for the week:

  1. WRITING: Revise 5 more chapters. Start a notebook/folder for the next story.
  2. Blogging: Post x2.
  3. Marketing: Not sure yet. Thinking about Holly Lisle's class.
  4. Other: Resume exercise x4 times this week. Decide what quilting project is next.
THANK YOU SUMMER READING TREAT? 

You can still pick up a free copy of  "My Selkie" through July 31 at Smashwords  

This short story led to Standing Stones, my first historical novel set in Scotland in 1840, also available deeply discounted on Smashwords through July 31.


Meanwhile, may your week go well. Check in with other ROW80 writers either on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE. That's where I'm going next!

Backyard Treat (Summer 2017)



Monday, July 17, 2017

ROW80 Home and not home . . .

Breakfast by the computer. Writing done for the day. Next? Trying to post a late check-in for ROW80 (Welcome home after a week away), and getting ready for immersion babysitting. We leave in 2 hours for a four-day sleepover with those beloved grands -- the five-year-old and the almost three-year-old. Did I say we're not packed, and we're not ready? And feeling somewhat intimidated?

Progress since last check-in and goals for this week:

  1. Writing: Revised Rivers of Stone chapters 9-15. THIS WEEK: Complete 3-4 more chapters.
  2. Blogging: Nada last week. THIS WEEK: Post ROW80 x2 and Writing blog x1. Read x6.
  3. Reading: 3 books. Escapist reading only. THIS WEEK: Most likely escapist reading all week.
  4. Marketing: Gave 2 review copies away. No social media presence. Read 1 article. THIS WEEK: I can only improve. Most likely won't start until Friday. Or Saturday. OK: Do more reading. 
  5. Community: ROW80's post last week about what's ahead reminded me how much I appreciate this online writing community, even as it keeps evolving. So what can I do to support the new changes coming? THIS WEEK: Make a plan.
  6. Other: Made a breakthrough in designing current quilt. Finished the backing. Said 'yes' to teaching a "Let's Write!" workshop at a senior center. Really got excited about writing another article about a wonderful quilter I met at the Sisters' Quilt show for The Country Register. Need to work on both. Exercise? Forget about it! OK, we'll be chasing the grands.
And that's all folks as I try to climb back on a schedule. Check what ROW80 writers are up to on FACEBOOK or the WEBSITE and have a great week writing, enjoying summer, and surviving the current calamity.

Favorite memory of last week: Stopping at Timberline Lodge and admiring Mount Hood while eating a cheesecake slathered with raspberry sauce. Yes, we walked a little at high altitude.

Cheesecake view of Mount Hood

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ROW80 Weds: Round 3 begins . . .

Round 3 begins and I feel a little like Alice, racing down that rabbit hole. We're packing for a week away, our first trip since January and leave tomorrow morning. So I'm not sure about posting goals for Round 3 for A Round of Words in 80 Days, but I can post goals for the coming week (slightly adjusted since we'll be on the road, but, trust me, the writing/laptop is packed)!

ROW80 GOALS Week 1 Round 3: Keeping it simple for the coming week: 
--Writing: Revise 2 more chapters for Rivers of Stone
--Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog Weds/Sun. Read other writers x6.
--Reading: Read 2 books this week. 
--Marketing: Drop off bookmarks wherever possible. Read one marketing book. 
--Other: Draw and journal while on the road.

Last week was pretty amazing with 3 more chapters completed for Rivers of Stone, a comfort quilt completed. Started making doll clothes for the grands. Bought a few doll clothing patterns at an amazing price ($1.99). Who knew these patterns now cost $16-$18/each???? Had an exceptionally useful meeting with my small writing group AND recruited my first 2 early reviewers. Also subbed an article to The Country Register; it was accepted AND they want to review Rivers of Stone (once it's out there).

Biggest challenge this last week? Digging into revision (I wrote about this on my Writing Blog HERE for the July post for The Insecure Writer's Support Group).

Actually worked pretty consistently on marketing this week (MailChimp, Smashwords promotion, website update) AND am offering "My Selkie" (a short story) FREE through July on Smashwords.  One writing guru suggests becoming an 'affiliate' for Amazon and for Smashwords. Has anyone tried this? Results? Did you continue?



Now check out what other ROW80 folks are doing: We're an online group of writers who set goals, work on writing, and encourage each other as we all balance 'real life' with our writing.  We're on FaceBook and have a website HERE

Why not join in? Stay cool. It's only July.  Keep writing and take some time to enjoy summer.