Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ROW80 writers: Give it a rest!

Are you ready for Round 3? We'll have the next 10 days as a break and begin again with goals and specific deadlines on July 7, when weekly check-ins on Weds and Sunday begin for the next 80 days.

On Monday, I talked a bit about my goals for the next round. Today, I want to simply say my primary ROW80 goal will be to write, participate in the virtual and F2F writing community, and to be as precise as possible in developing measurable goals -- starting July 7.

Indefatigable Kait Nolan has inspired us for yet another round of writing, but the list of sponsors for Round 3 is still so short. Only 5 of us so far. If you are reading and commenting for even 2-3 other ROW80 participants each Mon and Weds, you could be a sponsor, a voice of encouragement. Why not try it for this round? You can volunteer right HERE.

And if you haven't read this post yet, Alberta Ross wrote an entrancing behind-the-scenes look about why she chose self-publishing HERE. Bravo, Alberta!

Now for today's update (for me, Weds are update days):

Writing: Started work on Reaching (DH's Viet Nam war novel). Want to borrow Ruth Nestvoldt's idea of writing a novella as a break between larger projects. Of course, her resulting short (a lovely fantasy adventure, written over the weekend as an experiment) has been yanked, but Ruth lists 27 books on amazon with several being collections of short stories at a very accessible price to entice readers. 

So I shall write The Narwhal Cup, one of those historical fiction tales with a touch of the paranormal. My commitment? To publish by the end of August. Now, how long is a novella? 20K to 50K? That should have my keyboard humming!

Reading: Finished reading Of Dreams and Shadow (YA paranormal) by D. S. McKnight, now ready to write review. Bone Girl by Annette Drake is up next.

Community: I really appreciate the thoughtfulness ROW80 writers bring to their posts. I learn from every single post. The fluid structure of ROW80 satisfies the bean counter in me (measurable and accountable) as well as the intuitive (commitment to flexible goals).

This week, I've been thinking about Lisa's "Index Card Terror: Identity, Masks, and Music." Not only does Lisa revamp Julia Cameron's 'morning pages' in a way that energizes her daily writing, but she talks about how an idea from another blogger helped her to look behind the mask of her key character with music. She very neatly identifies a key song that sets the mood for her main character for each section. Really a wonderful post, well worth reading again.

When I work with other writers, I come away with new ideas or issues to think about. Last night's F2F meeting led to this week's post on my writing blog about the connection between body language and what characters say, "Writers: Raise Your Eyebrows!" There's much in the psychology of body language that helps me "see" my characters a little differently and reminds me to sharpen my observation of others. And maybe will lead to more unique descriptions, well past "She smiled" or "He nodded."

And that's all, folks. May the coming break before Round 3 be very good for you. Do something very different. Roll in the back yard with a child. Stay up late to watch the rising of the moon. Make a memory of something magical and wonderful.

Today's photo comes from Ines Seidel on Flickr, a part of her self portrait project.

Monday, June 23, 2014

ROW80 Check-in: Summing up with Strawberries

Outside my window, the cherries are ripening, but the birds haven't discovered them. Yet.

As this round ends, I'm feeling excited because Years of Stone is very near publication. But this brings me face-to-face with two issues. OK, three issues.

Writing. Like many, I'm finding it tough to write at the same time that I'm editing and formatting. I'm very close to being able to plunge into the next book (Rivers of Stone) and begin that heady process of researching and drafting BUT meanwhile, if that's a month or so away, what shall I write? Each of these would fill up the next month to six weeks. Please, please let me know what you think. Should I:

  • Finish off Mothers Don't Die (a thriller type, completely outside my genre of historical fiction, but still fun)?
  • Prepare Reaching for Kindle (a Vietnam war novel written by my dear hubby (DH) and have paper copy by his birthday in August)?
  • Write a companion wrap around travel journal on Scotland to accompany Standing Stones and Years of Stone?
Marketing. I feel like Sisyphus and the stone, one small task each day. I'm revamping the 'marketing plan' with a kind of count-down timeline and working on a media kit. Met two wonderful local writers who take marketing seriously and are willing to share what they learn. So, for the coming round, I will persevere.

Stamina. I usually have lots of energy, but this round DH's health is not at all good; he's become limited by pain. Because I begin at the crack of morning, I still have 2-3 hours a day for writing and writing projects. I don't know how to do anything differently than to try to keep all in balance (home, writing, exercise), but accepting mortality has never been easy. So as I think about goals for Round 3, I'm not at all sure what I can really achieve -- except to cherish each day and persevere. 

And go strawberry picking with my granddaughter when I can.

Strawberry-picking! (June 2014)
As you look at what you've accomplished for ROW80's Round 2, may you be inspired to jump into Round 3!

Encourage other ROW80 writers here!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ROW80: Weds just comes around too fast!

Aargh! It's only two days since Sunday. How can I have anything to report at all???

--Just waiting on the cover for Years of Stone to hit that magic "publish" button. Wrote about some things I learned about the formatting part of self-publishing, mostly stubbornness and a little fantasy about Russell Crowe. I know the conversion to Kindle is just ahead. As is the need to get the 'marketing plan' down. Now. I also did write 560 words.

--Signed up to be a sponsor for the next Round of ROW80 and have read 4 others in my quest to read 10 a week. I learn so much from the other writers participating -- that's YOU, if you're reading this!

--Still have one more week to read 3 research books for Rivers of Stone. But just before bed, I find myself wanting a few more pages of Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom. I kid you not. This hero balances baby day care with stabbing demons with a plastic mini-toy. Can I blame stress? Also reading a chapter from Cherry-Gerrard's book, The Worst Journey in the World, about a winter hike on Ross Island near Terror Mountain (great name, yes?) in minus 70 degree conditions. Snow. Breath frozen on the face. Perseverance.

Fort Nisqually with fireweed (Linda 2014)
--Did Yoga once this week so far. Goal 3x. Going swimming this morning. That means I have just about 1/2 an hour to write. Dear hubby wants me to write more on the travel blog. We have had some amazing trips, though we may disagree on some of the details. 

Maybe a little more on Macchu Picchu . . . or Scotland. Or maybe Fort Nisqually right here in Washington. A friend gave me some fabulous photos she just took (I haven't been there yet) at this living history site of a Hudson's Bay Company fort. Perfect for Rivers of Stone.

OK. Stream of consciousness. But that's my check-in for Weds. More to come on Sunday. And how is YOUR week going?

Find out what other ROW80 writers have been doing HERE.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

ROW80 Sunday: Happy Father's Day

What an intense week! Finally calming down a bit with final, final edits on Years of Stone. Keeping it short and sweet today since I missed Weds.

Sunday's ROW80 update and goals for the coming week:

--Did write 2x (1200 words) this week. Main focus on serious editing every day. Edited 48 out of 55 chapters. Completed Author's Note. Commissioned map. Goal: Publish this coming week on CreateSpace.

--Goal to post 5x. Well, posted 2x to Travel blog, see highlights on Ollantaytambo (Peru), and just once (today) for ROW80 update. Monday:  Writing Process Blog Hop entry. Next week: Post 3x. 
--Worked on list for regional bookstores. Need to work on book clubs. Sent promo for library panel on self-publishing. Still to do: E-mail blast to subscribers re cover reveal, then FB and blogs.

--Finished Restless Fire (John Muir). Now reading Ned Haynes Sinful Folk and Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings. Goal: Catch up on Writer's Digest and The Writer mags. 
--Finish 3 research books for Rivers of Stone. 
--Did read 10 posts for ROW80 folks this week. Same goal for next week as we head toward the end of Round 2.
--Still want to crit 1 sub on Novels_L this week and begin beta read.

OTHER: Actually found time for one yoga session. Love that quote: "Come on, world peace. I don't have all day!" Quilted just one day. Still committed to removing clutter where I can. Making slow progress here as well. Summer hiking is inviting. Maybe, just maybe.

Near Sisters, Oregon (Camp 2014)
Congratulations to those 25 Semi-finalists out of 500 in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA), announced on Friday, June 13th. Like Robin Cain, for her wonderful The Secret Miss Rabbit Kept, I'm still thrilled to have been a Quarter-finalist for Years of Stone

Discover one of those ABNA emerging writers here and have a great week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday ROW80 check-in: A beginning and an ending

Friday morning, I skipped exercise and writing for an ultrasound. My daughter invited me to hear the new baby's heartbeat, rather like the sound of the ocean. The resulting picture, too, reminds me of a mermaid, secret and hidden. What joy!

Leda will have a baby sister!
Not sure what could compare to this momentous event BUT Angela Germano (pro_ebookcovers on delivered (forgive the pun) another amazing book cover for the forthcoming Years of Stone. Wow! I love it! 

Sunday update and goals for the coming week:
--Write 300 words a day (4 out of 7 days). Total for week 4 days, 1,245.
--Continue edits Years of Stone every day. Done.
--Draft supplements for Years of Stone (book blurb + review highlights). Complete final edits/formatting for Book 1 by next Sunday.
--Write reflection piece for A to Z Challenge.
--Goal: 5 posts this week. OK Posted 2 ROW80, 2 Writing.
--Read/comment 10 posts by next Sunday. Sigh. Only 5 read.
--E-mail blast for cover reveal by next Sunday. Only after e-mail to newsletter subscribers do I then post to FB, Twitter, Google+, and blog. Revise blogs to include cover -- "coming soon!"
--Develop list of bookstores in my area for F2F visits this summer.
--Finish Restless Fires (John Muir) by Thursday AAUW book club.
--Crit one sub for Novels-L each week. Done!
--Read one beta read this week.
--Start reading Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings (my first e-book via library).
--Continue reading research/taking notes for Rivers of Stone (next book). Have 3 to finish before May 24.

MORE? Exercise 3x week. Quilt. Continue balance in all things as we visit doctors, babysit, and (hopefully) write. Continue removing clutter online and focus this week -- the kitchen!
Thinking ahead to Sisters Trip
for the quilt show in July!

Why not stop by the other ROW80 writers to give them an encouraging word?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

ROW80 Weds check-in: Flip and turn

We should cherish each day and each person who brings us the gifts of grace and harmony. 


I write early in the morning, and my computer faces the window. So not feng shui, where all is arranged to encourage looking within, but I delight in that moment before I begin -- when the birds gather and settle in the cherry tree so near, just now beginning to ripen.

The reality is nothing is constant. Not me, not you.

We can strive to create that balance, a sense of order, but without constant attention and perseverance, or perhaps an 'unmindfulness' (obliviousness?), we court chaos. And we must confront disorder, disaster, death, and decide that the darkness is also part of our balance, our lives, our selves. Even our writing.

Now, what on earth is provoking all this? Yesterday, my son-in-law had a car accident. He's OK, but the car was totalled. I'm grateful we're here to help.

Now to that Weds check-in:

WRITING: Write 300 words a day, doesn't matter on what. Goal 4 out of 7 days. So far this week 1 day (450 words).
--Continue final edits for Years of Stone, working every day. So far, so good.
--Draft book supplements for Years of Stone: No progress.
--Draft blurb for cover: Yippee! Done! and submitted the order. About 3 hours of work. That means later this week, or next, maybe a cover reveal!

BLOGGING: Goals 5 posts this week, read 10 posts by ROW80 folks. So far posted 1 writing, 2 ROW80 and read 5. 
--Write Reflection piece for A to Z challenge. No progress, but I'm thinking about it.

--Read Restless Fires about John Muir for bookclub, 20 pages a day. Enjoying this one.
-- Read at least one of two pending beta reads. No progress.
--Crit one sub from Novels-L this week. No progress yet.
--Read two books a week: Finished Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and want to write a little something about this very popular book. Reading Overland to Oregon for Rivers of Stone. So want to start outlining for Rivers of Stone, but edits come first.

OTHER: Exercise 3x this week, quilt, catch up on that round of housework that must be done, and cherish each day with family and friends.

Were you wondering about flip and turn, where that came from? I'm working on a charity quilt and 'flip and turn' is a way of finishing the quilt -- instead of using traditional binding, you layer the batting, quilt top, and backing, stitch together, then 'flip and turn' for a quilt ready for top stitiching. It's such a pleasure to see that almost-finished quilt, a very different perspective from the beginning, with cut pieces everywhere, no discernible pattern. Sometimes there are surprises . . . 

May you be surprised by progress this coming week -- and cherish each day!

Near Painted Hills, Oregon (Camp, May 2014)

Monday, June 2, 2014

ROW80 Monday morning check-in

Summer has finally arrived with 80 degree weather. No surprise. Best time to write is first and early in the morning. Later today, I'll have my interview up, a blog hop of sorts about writers, the inner life.

But what it comes down to is thinking, feeling, and writing. Focus. Not about writing, but writing.

We have three weeks left in this second round for A Round of Words in 80 Days, so I took another look at those ethereal goals I set nearly 3 months ago.

WRITING: I wanted to complete revisions on Years of Stone. Getting close. Comments from the last beta reader will be in shortly, and I'm 10% in on the final review. Write 300 words every day . . . So far, so good. This includes blogging 4-5x a week (not quite there). Need to write that A-to-Z Reflection piece.

MARKETING/PUBLISHING: Market "one thing" each day. Lagging here, but I'm getting more familiar with MailChimp and adding names. Visit one book club. Actually did two, learned a lot, and have questions for discussion ready to go (this is for Standing Stones). Sent 1 flash fiction out. Publish Years of Stone by end of June? Maybe.

READING/REVIEWING: Read 4 books as research for Rivers of Stone. Well, how about 1. Read 4 indie/self-published books for review. A little better here. 2 reviews done. Got sidetracked by ABNA and reviewed 8 writers there. Participated in Novels-L with 2x crits/month.

At this point, I want to throw up my hands and say, ROW80, how do we do this??? Social media? Twitter? Facebook? I haven't posted on my author page for weeks, so writing FB friends are part of family? That doesn't include the daily round of commitments to family, friends, work, and the household routine, perhaps exercise or a something just for fun? Somehow we make space for it all, yes? With heart?

Consider Victorian writers who retired to their study for 6 or 7 hours a day. That wouldn't be me.

This boundary I set
each morning is for writing:
as the sun rises, the rest falls away.

ROW80 writers: May your week go well. Summer beckons. Here's an image from Wikipedia, the Victorian era, a family at the beach.

"On the Shores of Bognor Regis" by A. M. Rossi (1887) Source: Wikipedia