Thursday, December 24, 2015

ROW80 check-in. 'Twas the night before . . .

I'm a little exhausted (Can one be a little exhausted?) after a day at the doctor with DH. Perhaps its just that he's in pain and recovery seems rather nebulous. But each day we still can laugh and cherish the moments we have together.

I thought to prepare for tonight's last post for 2015 that I would read through the ROW80 posts for this last year. Well tonight I did reread January -- but want to read more so I can analyze what really has been accomplished and identify those common continuing challenges that thread their way through my posts. 

Where are all the members of ROW80? Did you know that last January some 35-40 people routinely posted their updates? And that these last few weeks, we ROW80 folks have numbered between 10-20?

I'm wondering why -- for that process of setting goals and measuring accountability seems nearly automatic. 

Maybe I need to confront my writing challenges more deeply, for my major goal for the year, to finish Rivers of Stone, currently about 90K words, still seems at least six months away. No beta readers lined up. No cover. I'm still in that 'final' revision stage, working on Section 04, with at least one full revision awaiting.

Another benefit of this ROW80 community is that sense of connectedness to other writers, regardless of genre, as they model their successes and challenges, inspiring me many times to take leaps where I might have just peeked.

I still love writing more than marketing, though my daily word count varies wildly. I still resist social media most of the time. I make commitments that I cannot keep, but persevere. Even if my desire to support other writers with reviews and feedback outstrips my energy, I do love being a part of this unwieldy, unpredictable, exciting, ever changing online community of writers.

May 2016 bring you new readers and every success, happiness, health, and inspiration for new stories (and finishing older ones).

And why not visit other ROW80 writers? Or join in!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ROW80 Sunday night under the wire

We're heading into the last week of the last round for ROW80 this year, and some are already thinking about goals for 2016. Not me. Not yet. 

Today's check-in begins with a surprise: I discovered Nancy Marguerite Anderson, a fur trade historian who keeps a wonderfully rich blog. Anderson has also written The Pathfinder, a five-star detailed history of her great-grandfather in the Great Nor'West, roughly from 1831-1884, a perfect fit for my own research for Rivers of Stone

What is the surprise? That although I'm writing fiction and she writes non-fiction, Ms. Anderson answers questions and generously shares her ideas and research. What a fascinating community we build online.

Progress since Wednesday on ROW80 Goals can be reported very succinctly: 
--I've written 3 out of 4 days, finished another major block of scenes and am now working on a canoe capsizing, unfortunately more common back in the 1840s than I realized.
--I'm not close to finishing Shakespeare's Lovers but still hope to post that review by December 26. 
--Posted WIPpet Wednesday on my writing blog, kept up with other ROW80 writers, ISWG and WIPpet writers by reading posts x6.  Also keeping e-mail in-box under 100 (big achievement).
--Adding borders to the bird quilt (very near final assembly), started hand quilting a small sashiko project, and actually met with a trainer at my local gym (he has much more ambitious goals for me than I do), but I shall persevere.

Are you looking forward to the end of the round, that time of fine tuning and re-visioning what may be accomplished in the coming year? 

This week, Kait Nolan, the inspiration behind A Round of Words in 80 Days, has posted a thoughtful article, "On Mastery and the Power of Yet." She offers us a little history behind ROW80 and insight into how we writers work at our craft.

Check out how other ROW80 writers are doing HERE. Join the party. Celebrate your achievements and map out what's next!

And just for fun . . . 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Weds ROW80 Check-in: Riding the rapids

This morning, we saw the first real snow this year (2-3 inches), and the water heater went out. But that's not an omen, just an inconvenience.

Quick report in on this week's progress:

--Pushing the river with more progress on revising Rivers of Stone. I most likely will not finish section 4 before the end of this round, but I'm feeling very encouraged as the scenes tighten word by word. Word count is going down, so I can't say so many words have been added. But the writing is tighter. Right now the draft is organized by location into 5 subsections. Goal by Sunday: Write every day and finish one subsection (Boat Encampment)
--Drafted a planning template for a novella called Return to Foulksay (20-40K words), maybe as a giveaway for folks who sign up for the newsletter. Will Moira and Dylan finally be reunited?

--Started reading Peter Jensen's Shakespeare's Lovers for review (and fun). Goal by Sunday: Finish review.
--Also reading Jack Nisbet's David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work. 
--Hope to receive those last 10 tapes for Standing Stones' audio book . . . and finish before year end!

Completed/Some progress:
--Found the missing border fabric after an exhaustive search at two local quilt shops. I sew between writing sessions to keep moving!
--Will post on writing blog for WIPpet Weds a little later today.
--Keeping that e-mail inbox down to 100. So far.
--Hope to keep that appointment with the trainer today to map out an exercise program. I can walk now up to 20+ minutes, but the hamstring still squawks at me.
--Keeping up with reading other ROW80 writers, x6 so far this week. I feel a little guilty not volunteering to be a sponsor for Round 1, 2016 (which begins January 4), since I've benefited so much from being a part of A Round of Words in 80 Days. So maybe.

And that's all, folks. Back to work! But before you go, why not hop over to the linky for ROW80 to see what's up. You never know when you'll find an inspiring idea to keep you writing, editing, marketing, dreaming. And if you're not already in ROW80, why not join?

"Keyboard Cat"
by Cassandra Leigh Gotto (Flickr)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Row80 Sunday check-in one day late . ..

Just maybe feeling optimistic this morning, one day late for ROW80 check-in. That dratted cold lingers on, sapping energy, but I can report good progress this week:

WritingStill hacking, deleting, drafting, editing, and reorganizing Section 04. Enough to hope that I may be able to finish Sec04 by Dec 26, the end of this round. 

--Listened to the last 20 chapters (out of 50) for that audio-book project. Now waiting for the final 10 from the voice artist (and he is).
--Goal: Review 2 books by indie authors by end of Round 4. Currently reading Fallon Brown's Duty to Protect. Up next: Peter Jensen's Shakespeare's Lovers.

Completed/Some progress:
--Setting up Weds as day to write on writing blog (include WIPpet and/or poetry and/or progress report). Doing the ROW80 report in on Sunday (nearly) means just once a week, fits my schedule a little better.
--Decluttered e-mail down to 100 in the old inbox. Wow! That feels wonderful. 
--Sorted and reorganized my fabric so I can tell at a glance where the batiks are and what my next projects will be. Much better. Usually I work on one 'comfort' quilt to give away and an applique project, so it feels pretty good to have the next several projects identified as I finish the batik bird quilt (missing an inner border for just that right contrast). 

My mantra for this week? One small step leads to the next. And the next. Be kind to yourself and check out what other ROW80 writers are up to as we ease to the end of the year HERE.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pushing the River, Nearly There

Yesterday was my birthday. Wonderful greetings from Facebook friends, an early morning breakfast with DH, and evening with family. No cake. No cards. Just the simplest of days that resonated with pleasure. 

And, no writing yesterday, though the rest of this week has gone well. So I'm checking in one day late for ROW80 and wondering . . . at the cycle of seasons, the rhythm of our own personal lives, beginnings and endings, and the commitments we make to others and ourselves. 

Writing: I'm at that phase of editing when word count doesn't count. Some days I add new words and shape a section; other days, I slash away. Wrote 3 days out of 4. Was it Voltaire who said, "The enemy of the good is the quest for perfection"? I circle around levels of expression and meaning because I want the story to be true to this character and her quest. My goal before the end of the round -- to finish Section 04.
Reviewing: Ha! Made pretty good progress here. 12 chapters reviewed since Wednesday for the audio version of Standing Stones. Darryl sent me 20 more recordings. By Weds: review 10 more chapters.

Completed/Some Progress:
--Found a lovely poetry writing challenge called Three Line Thursday with a knock-me-dead photo. Posted to my writing blog, subscribed to the challenge. Next to the e-mail confirming my subscription was a note that the facilitator is taking a break. I wish Grace Black well and will hope to continue writing a poem a week through December.
--Still decluttering e-mail. Down to 351 this morning. Goal: 250 by Sunday.
--Thinking about the difference between family history and memoir. Goal: 750 words by Sunday.

No progress? I'm not going to repeat those goals that lie there, like dead fish. They may simply vanish by December 26. Except for exercise. And maybe some marketing. And, and. 

May your week go well. And stop by to encourage other ROW80 writers on this blog hop inspired and facilitated by the indefatigable Kait Nolan HERE. Set goals. Write. Measure progress. Rather like looking in the mirror. Write on! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ROW80 Since last Weds . . .

Promises, promises. Were we grateful at Thanksgiving? Yes. Very. Family gathered. The appropriate foods were cooked and eaten. We had power, light, and heat. All is well, nearly. Except we all have those nasty colds that begin with razors at the throat, lots of sneezing, and a desire to hide in bed.

I revamped my goals through the end of Round 4 and am making steady progress on the writing portion once again. Progress report for the last week on Round 4 goals:

Writing by December 26: 
--Finish Sec04 on Rivers of Stone. Wrote 3,000 words this week, chopping and drafting 4 out of 7 days. Focus remains to identify what is missing, work on transitions and deep POV. Getting distracted by some great research. 
--Review audio tapes for Years of Stone ACX audio tapes. Darryl has sent me 30 chapters; I’ve completed 20. He has a wonderful voice.

Completed/Some progress:
--Evaluated Scrivener and while I still love the overall concept and somewhat mastered the layers from corkboard to outlining, I missed being able to plug my photos right in my draft. Verdict: Stick with Word.
--Blog on writing blog once each week. Today, Weds is the monthly check-in for IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group). Before midnight I will post!
--Goal to declutter e-mail down to 250. OK currently at 400 but that's down from 600.
--Completed a few more quilt blocks and found the sashing material for the Bird Quilt.

Pending/Nothing at all done on these:  
--Complete read through/revision notes for Mothers Don’t Die
--Review 2 books written by indie authors (Jensen, Danner, Manion, Drake, Eller, Caudel)
--Complete updates for Reaching and enter in Writer’s Digest self-pub contest. Did get Reaching on consignment at 2nd Look Books in Spokane.
--Reconnect with exercising 3x week. Sigh.

Outside, the first real snow that presented a few driving challenges at 7:30 this morning has turned to slush. Life may have returned somewhat to normal. May you have a very good week and in the words of Mac McDonnell, "Bend, don't break."

Why not visit some of the other ROW80 writers HERE

"Winter at Multnomah Falls"
by Oregon Dept of Transportation
on Flickr

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ROW80 Weds Check-in: What's cooking?

Life has nearly returned to normal. Lights and power have been restored, though some 20,000 still remain in the dark. When we sit down tomorrow to that annual feast, surrounded by family and friends, I am feeling very grateful for all that we take for granted.

Writing goals and progress hit a big bump last week. So in the spirit of ROW80, I'm recasting my goals through the end of the round. 

Writing Goals by December 26:
--Finish Sec04 on Rivers of Stone. This section's currently at 34,400, but it’s not about word count. It’s about identifying what’s missing, building in those transitions, and deepening the POV.
--Review Standing Stones ACX audio tapes. Darryl has sent me 30 chapters; I’ve completed 1-14. By Sunday 8 more chapters (minimum 2 chapters/day). 

Other goals by December 26:
--Complete at least one read-through/revision notes for Mothers Don’t Die.
--Review at least 2 books written by indie authors (Jensen, Danner, Manion, Drake). Completed 2 indie reviews in November.
--Learn Scrivener. Use for memoir. Downloaded, worked through orientation, set up new file and put 2 hours into writing family history.
--Complete updates for Reaching and enter in Writer’s Digest self-pub contest.
--Write in writing blog at least once a week. Focus: Report on research for Rivers of Stone. Thanks to Fallon Brown, I posted WIPpet Weds' snippet on my writing blog CLICK HERE to read.

--Read Jack Nisbet’s David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work and Nancy Marguerite Anderson's The Pathfinder.
--Declutter e-mail to under 250 and keep deleting! Down to 387 today from 500.
--Other:  Continue organizing fabric and quilt! Reconnect with exercising 3x week.

And that's all, folks!  Zing by other ROW80 writers HERE to give them an encouraging comment. Happy Thanksgiving, and remember, we're in this together. Write on!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ROW80 and Thanks-giving . . .

Looking back to last week's challenges made me smile, for this week brought a whirlwind . . . not at all related to writing. 

You may have seen highlights on the national news about the windstorm that hit Spokane on Tuesday night with 70-mph winds, knocking down over 400 trees and powerlines and leaving over 180,000 people in the dark. 

We were without light or heat for 24 hours, and our kids just got power back last night (that's four days and nights with temperatures in the 20s last night).  Here's a pic from Flickr that shows just one of those 400 trees that were blown over.

"Fallen" by Frank Knapp (Flickr)
What was most humbling? A quick reality check on how dependent I am on technology. No power meant no computer. Cell phone at one bar. And a reminder about exactly how much energy it takes to chase after a one-year-old and a three-year-old!

If I wrote apocalyptic sci-fic, I'm ready to describe streets no longer passable, giant trees uprooted, crashing down, and a community managing somehow to work through each day, supporting each other as best we can. Did I say we may have snow by Tuesday? And 40,000 people are still without power as of tonight?

I have nothing to report on my goals this week, but I can wish you all a good Thanksgiving, one of thankfulness -- especially this year that we all stay warm, dry, safe, and connected.

May the coming week be a good one for you. Check in on what other ROW80 writers are up to HERE.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

ROW80 Sunday Night Check-in . . .

This last week has been humbling. Yesterday I drove 30 minutes to a meeting that had been cancelled and then drove another 30 minutes home. But that 'wasted' hour was quite useful in thinking about where I was feeling over-extended and why. 

Sometimes if I run too fast to complete a list that's far too long, I forget the simple pleasures of sitting, thinking, remembering, and sharing.

Participating in NaNoWriMo this year has led me to feel inadequate as a writer. So I'm now officially a NaNo rebel, still committed to writing every day, but at a slower pace. My normal daily word count is between 250-400 words, so attempting 750 words a day is still a stretch. And, joy on joy, I am writing real scenes finally.

ROW Goals by November 22:
--Continue commitment to NaNoWriMo by writing a minimum of 750 words every day. Total for last week: 6,269 new words (nearly 900 words a day).

--Continue review of audio tapes for YEARS OF STONE. Last week: Completed Chapters 1-11. Next week: complete Chapters 12-30.

--Read one indie book for review. Continue research reading especially Jack Nisbet's David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work, and Arthur J. Ray's I Have Lived Here Since the World Began (a history of Canada's native peoples), for I feel I romanticize the world of Métis and native peoples a little too much.

--Other goals: Work on exercise, decluttering, and a little quilting. Continue to read posts by other ROW80 writers!

I hope to begin a new quilt, inspired by a book I recently discovered called Constantinople Quilts by Tamsin Harvey. She uses Turkish Iznik tiles for both color and design of 8 applique projects.

Not only do her photographs and designs remind me of the month we spent in Turkey (primarily Istanbul) and of the rich culture and warmth of the people there, but my DH needs a new quillow.

I don't expect fast progress on this project, for it will take time to find the colors and decide on a design. Here's a picture of Iznik tiles we saw at Topkapi Palace not so long ago:

Detail tiled wall, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul (Camp 2009)
May you have a good week -- with all in balance! Go forth and encourage other ROW80 writers HERE.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

ROW80 Sunday night check-in: Ooops!

Sunday night. I'm sick. My laptop died . . . but I'm making slow progress. Tonight, it's time to check-in for ROW80, A Round of Words for 80 Days.

Goals for November 9-15:
--Continue steady progress on NaNoWriMo. Write every day on Book 3: Rivers of Stone. Total for last week: 10,481 new words.
--Review audio tapes by chapter for the ACX audio version of Years of Stone. So far, 7 out of 62 chapters completed.
--Other goals: Exercise x3, quilt show recap meeting, and celebrate new book by Spokane author Ruth Danner. Maybe a little quilting.

Would you like to download a free copy of Allen's book?  

The Kindle version of Reaching: A Vietnam War Novel will be available for a free download on Amazon, November 10, 11, and 12.

Now I will wish you all lots of good writing as the week kicks off. 

No fingers in the eyes, please! And if you are upgrading to Windows 10, may that go smoothly as well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Winter Giveaway

NaNoWriMo is rolling, and so is my story. That's the good news. It's darn cold out there, already dipping into the 20-degrees F at night this week, but perhaps that means fewer distractions?
Blue = on target and in progress.
Red = not started yet.

Writing goals by Sunday, November 8:
--NaNo write 1,600/day for a total of 9,600 words by Sunday on current wip, Rivers of Stone. Progress: 4,366 for 3 days. So far, so good.

--Review one book for Spokane Authors' writer by Thursday. I'm knee deep in D. Andrew McChesney's Beyond the Ocean's Edge and enjoying the seamanship and sense of early 19th Century life aboard an English frigate. 
--Edit Reaching x10 chapters for minor typos. 
--Write 3 poems to complete OctPoWriMo challenge.

DONE: Sent e-mail alert for Years of Stone and Reaching (both running a GoodReads giveaway starting TODAY, November 4). I'm excited about this one because it's my first newsletter of the year, sent to 50 people who subscribed via MailChimp. You can read it HERE -- and subscribe, if you like.

--Review 10 audio files for Standing Stones, just submitted by ACX voice artist Darryl Hughes Kurylo for the audio book version.
--Write press release for Allen's Reaching: A Vietnam War Novel for KDP's free days honoring Veteran's Day (November 10-11-12).

NOTE: If you are a GoodReads member and want to enter the giveaway, here are the links for Allen's REACHING and for my YEARS OF STONE

View of Alexander Henry Trail by Alberta WOW
Now it's back to drafting scenes for Rivers of Stone. Cat is herself knee-deep in snow, attempting a winter crossing of the Rockies via the Athabasca Pass, which we drove through this summer. To our delight, we caught a summer snowstorm. I can't imagine what traveling by snowshoe with not quite enough food would be like. Wait! That's my job!

May you have a good week of writing, reading, and being an inspired member of ROW80, A Round of Words in 80 Days. Check out what others have written HERE. It's not too late to join in. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

ROW80 Check-in: November already?

NaNoWriMo has begun . . . and I'm going to streamline my ROW80 reporting, adopting a format from other ROW80 writers. If you are in this year's NaNo challenge, search for bluebethley. 

Writing goals for the coming week:
--NaNo write 1,600/day for a total of 9,600 words by Sunday on current wip, Rivers of Stone. Strategy: Focus on Section 04: Cat and Kane traveling with the fur brigade in a late crossing of the Rockies. 
--Edit Reaching x10 chapters for minor typos.
--Review one book for SASP writer by Thursday.
--Write 3 poems to complete OctPoWriMo challenge.
--Send e-mail alert for Years of Stone and Reaching (both running a GoodReads giveaway starting November 4.

Other: Yes, I'm doing daily exercise to ease that strained hamstring AND I'm quilting on several projects simply for the sheer joy of making something with my hands. This evening cheered the Seahawks to a narrow victory over Dallas.  

Just for fun, here's my favorite pic from Halloween, reading to my granddaughter in her bumblebee costume (without wings, but she's an angel).

And that's all, folks! See what other writers participating in A Round of Words for 80 Days are up to in this final round for 2015. If you are a writer, why not join in?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: Halloween???

Sometimes this twice weekly check-in comes along waaay too fast! But a busy weekend looms, starting tomorrow, so I'll check in now:

Writing since Sunday: Only 900 new words, but I'm grateful for each one with steady progress on writing, organizing, and research. And a new poem for OctPoWriMo on my blog. My inspirational article for ROW80, "From Writer's Block to Writing Productivity" is now up on the blog, a subject I keep chipping away at.  

Community/Marketing. Two giveaways in-the-works at GoodReads. Details will follow, once approved. I am determined to write one more review before next Thursday. A writing friend is considering NaNoWriMo, and I'm wavering. If I'm already behind in writing and commitments, how can I realistically participate? Anyone else on the fence?

Other: Tried a class in yoga, but that strained hamstring wasn't ready. Almost finished 5 blocks for a comfort quilt due tomorrow (just a little more buttonhole stitching on two blocks). Maybe tonight with my new favorite evening soap opera, Quantico.

Well, I'm hoping you enjoy Halloween as we ease to winter. 

If you are looking for a little inspiration . . . something new to feed those hordes, why not try Graveyard Taco Dip, from (her post in 2013) 

Or look at an array of spooky Halloween Treats posted by todayserveseverymom in 2014. Her bloody cake with a knife is chilling! 

May you have a great week. Write and celebrate your writing. Check out what others are doing at ROW80 and OctPoWriMo.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Check-in: Turn, Turn, Turn

Sunday evening, dark so early, and the week ends nearly before it begins. I can report good progress this week, though.

Writing: Last week, I wrote 1.9K. This week 4.7K, nicely spread out between plotting, writing scenes, and a few poems. For once, story structure is laid out, though a few unresolved plot holes remain. 

For example, exactly how do I move the younger brother out of the story early so the story can focus on the relationship between Cat and Dougal? Which plot path intrigues you most?

1. Colin gets lost in the wilderness near York Factory and dies.Simple, accurate, reinforces the level of risk of life at this isolated post.
2. Colin winds up on a whaler shipwrecked off the coast of Japan c. 1844, is imprisoned, teaches English to samurai.
3. Colin goes with John Rae to explore the Northwest Passage.

All three are based on events or people who actually lived during the mid-19th Century.

For the coming week, this emphasis on plotting and rereading Section 04 for editing notes will continue. I've pulled out Larry Brooks, Story Structure, for suggestions on how to dig more deeply into this next round of writing/revision. I'm no longer writing a poem a day for OctPoWriMo because right now, the writing is more important. But occasionally, like today, a poem surfaced about fall.

Sunday Afternoon at Manito Park

Marketing. Got a simple website up for Allen's book, Reaching. Any suggestions for improvement deeply appreciated. Here's the LINK. For the coming week, continue to contact folks re blog hop for Reaching. Followup on pending ACX audio book for Standing Stones. Work out giveaway on GoodReads.

May your week and your writing go well! Thanks to A Round of Words in 80 Days for continuing inspiration. Check out what others have been up to this week.

This week's essay, "Writing is Hard" by Abdeah Davis hones in on that moment when we make a commitment to our writing. Yes, a useful read.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ROW80: Weds check-in -- At Last!

Cut to the chase. Accomplishments since my last check-in?

--Survived the Quilt Show (500 quilts. It was fabulous).
--Survived dear hubby's second surgery for basal cell sarcoma; so far, so good.
--Worked on author interview questions for Spokane Authors.
--Finished and sent in an article for ROW80.
--Tried to set up GoodReads giveaway (not successful . .  yet).
--Began a new quilt for a friend with cancer.
--Wrote every day, some poetry, some research.

But the real breakthrough came this morning when I read Joe Bunting's article for The Write Practice on writer's block.

And I am finally, finally writing again.

Kait Nolan's spread sheet helps me see what I am writing every day. Joe Bunting's article gives me permission to accept that what I write will not be perfect, not even after extensive editing. So I can write the story I love, or as he puts it:

“Instead of trying to be perfect, strive for the opposite of perfection: vulnerability, the courage to tell your story with your whole heart.” 

For the coming week, I will continue to try to write a poem a day, but my main focus will be to write first! 

Instead of tackling this draft from the beginning (and getting sidetracked into editing rather than filling plot holes and writing new scenes), I will work on Section 04, that romantic and impossibly challenging journey across Canada in the 1840s --  by canoe, York boat, horseback, and by foot. 

In Section 04, Cat, my heroine, still disguised as a boy, travels west with the fur brigade and artist Paul Kane. For WIPpet Wednesday, here is a snippet of 11 lines (21 days - 10 for the month of October = 11 lines) from today's writing for Rivers of Stone.
You know," said Pierre. "If I didn't know different, I'd think you was a girl."

Cat stilled, bent over the pot simmering on last night’s fire, the stirring spoon in her hand. She faced Pierre and held the spoon as if it were a knife. "And if I was, would you treat me any different? I carry my own weight."

Pierre smirked. "Funny you always wind up doing women's work. Guess it's not bad for an apprentice on yer first trip west. We'll see how 'tis when we get to the mountains."

Matisa walked between them, head down, carrying a heavy water pot, her heavy blanket slipping from her shoulders.

Why not jump over to the LINKY to find out what others have written for ROW80 and check out the writers posting today for WIPpet Wednesday. Make it a good week! 

"Voyageurs at Dawn" by Francis Hopkins
1871  (Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ROW80: Willful Wednesday

The week started with a few challenges. Dear hubby now has a crater on his chin, healing with 7 stitches, but no more cancer. My strained hamstring has me hobbling through stretches. About the only thing I can report for ROW80's Weds check-in is that I still am writing a poem a day for Octpowrimo, posted on my writing blog (only missed one day). Everything else is far behind.

But my office is cleaner.

I have let go of three boxes of books, always, always hard to do.

I finished another lap quilt.

And the next hour beckons. Baseball game on in the living room. Moonlight outside. Sweet, dark night, early enough to work on some writing, yes?

Check out the progress for other ROW80 folks HERE.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

ROW80: Sunday afternoon

May I begin with thanks to that goddess of organization, Kait Nolan, who so generously posted her spreadsheet? The last several months I've been working and writing and feeling like I'm making no progress at all. 

But Kait's spreadsheet, with a few new columns for different projects, allows me to see at a glance that I really AM making progress. And that those words add up to a respectable number by the end of a week. I'm not saying I'm hitting my goals . . . yet. But at last, I can see progress.  

Update on ROW80 goals: 

Writing: Again, thanks to Kait, this week I wrote 2,786 words on plotting, drafting, and poetry. Haven't blogged about my research, but I am still writing a poem a day for OctPoWriMo (inspired by ROW80's Morgan Dragonwillow). Writing poetry is rather a discipline, a focusing down to what is essential in this moment. Morgan posts prompts, but we writers can digress. Not done yet: Any memoir drafts or research blogs. Participate in WIPpet Wednesday. Continue work on author interview questions for Spokane Authors.

Marketing/Community: This week set up Allen's GoodRead's page for his Vietnam era novel, Reaching. Hooray! Stay tuned for announcement for a GoodReads giveaway. Despite computer problems, managed to meet commitments as ROW80 sponsor. To work on this week: Facebook author page (for myself), send out newsletter to subscribers, and set up November reading event.

Other: Babysat a prodigious amount this week. Staring down another series of doctor appointments for hubby. Quilt show opens Thursday. Will strive to keep exercise on schedule 3x this week.

Kait Nolan's "Data Driven Decision Making" (including that invaluable spreadsheet) is HERE.

If you feel like reading a poem, hop over to my writing blog!

Check out what other ROW80 writers are up to HERE. And may we all achieve our goals, writing and otherwise! Now for a little inspiration for Halloween. Are you thinking bumblebees?

Monday, October 5, 2015

ROW80: Round 4 Begins

Lately, I keep running into folks who ask me: "When will that next book be out?" or "Why are you here? [Insert your choice of grocery store, garage sale, or doctor's office]. You should be home writing!"

And so I should. As the last round of the year begins, the lessons I've learned are these: Celebrate any accomplishments, set new goals, accept imperfection, and keep writing! Participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days helps me focus on what is essential.

Looking back: Round 3 marked several major accomplishments.

My husband's Vietnam War novel, Reaching,  is now out there -- available on Amazon. All the work on editing, formatting, and proofing is done. The official release is set for Veteran's Day week, and I'm hoping to garner a few pre-release reviews. Interested? Please e-mail me.

Completing this project satisfies something that has felt unfinished for far too long. My husband's wonderful writing inspires me. Maybe the book will find an audience. I don't know. I can only start on the next phase: marketing. Link to Amazon HERE.

We successfully completed a research trip to Canada (3 weeks instead of 6 because of health issues) to support my current book, Rivers of Stone. I have a lovely mountain of research and notes to support finishing this wip, and equally lovely memories of Calgary, Edmonton, and Jasper/Banff.

Looking forward:  I want to keep this as simple and specific as possible.

Writing: Write 250 words a day, 5 days a week on Rivers of Stone. This may take the form of scenes, backstory, research notes, or editing.  Participate in WIPpet Wednesdays. Blog about research x2 week on writing blog. Write a poem a day (OK maybe even doggerel) through October with OctPoWriMo also on the writing blog. Work on memoir once a week.

Community/Marketing: Develop marketing plan for Allen's book. Continue occasional newsletter. Post on Facebook author page 1x week. Schedule visit to small groups to talk about writing/books x2. Participate in Spokane Authors monthly. Serve as sponsor for ROW80.

Other: Strive for that balance between work and play, body and spirit. Keep on quilting. Let go of what I cannot realistically achieve and cherish each day. May this be a good round for us all!

Found on Facebook. Just imagine how the writer feels!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

ROW80: Check-in: Goodbye to Round Three

The seasons turn. Perhaps fall is my favorite as leaves shimmer yellow and red here in dry eastern Washington. Or maybe spring, because that season marks the end of winter, which is far too cold here.

Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days ends with a brief respite before the last round of the year, a time to reassess writing goals -- and begin again.

Accomplishments? Yes, Allen's book, Reaching, a Vietnam war novel, is now live, though we won't have the official launch until Veteran's Day in November. I've learned a bit more about formatting for CreateSpace and Kindle; the print size on the PB is perfect for reading. I'll tackle some marketing next round (maybe a press release, a small blog hop, a few presentations, visits to local book clubs, and setting up Amazon and GoodReads author pages). Bookmarks and official copies are on their way to us, and here is the cover, designed by Angie Zambrano of pro_ebookcovers on fiverr. 

In this process of thinking about marketing, I've come up with a new term to describe my hubby and me:  gregarious introverts. No wonder I resist thinking about marketing. Thank goodness for writing communities that welcome us writers as we are. 

Now as Round 4 begins, I'll return to my own writing. My challenge for this last round of the year will be to make good progress on two projects -- finishing the research and drafting of Rivers of Stone and the final editing of Mothers Don't DieA simple list. But don't all projects start in this way?

Enjoy this little break from reporting in. See you next Round!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: Poco a Poco . . .

How do we get to Weds so fast?  Almost as fast as the end of the round is approaching.

Progress since Sunday:
1. Designed and ordered 250 bookmarks for Allen's REACHING ($22).
2. Contacted local Vietnam Vets chapter for Veteran's Day events and possible reading.
3. Requested one word corrections (my fault) on finished cover.
4. Worked on 40-page program due Oct 1.
5. Committed to rejoining the Internet Writing Workshop by November 1.
6. Committed to simple marketing plan for Allen's REACHING based on minimal web presence (Amazon Central author page, GoodReads author page); e-mail launch, and 3 events for launch. Maybe a blog hop . . .  not sure yet. All for around Veteran's Day.
7. Yes, actually read 7 folks' posts on ROW80.

To do by Sunday? Decided that I can't really do more than one writing project at a time . . . so focus for this coming week to make final additions (page numbering, author's note), final check format, and upload REACHING to CreateSpace. 

And on the quilting front: Cut out strips for that last row for the 'tree of life' quilt AND got permission froMétis artist Leah Dorion to play around with her really beautiful designs for a quilt. Go see her stuff! 

September Manito Park (Camp 2015)
Funny accomplishment: Last week, took my new (still feels new) Kindle Fire to the park and learned how to use the camera feature. Such a beautiful day I can almost forgive myself for taking a movie of my feet.

May you have a good week, with words falling out of the keyboard as fast as you can type!

And if you have any suggestions for a downsized marketing plan, please comment. What do you think is the most important step to take to promote your book?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

ROW80 Sunday check-in: A little and a lot . . .

Just another week and a half to the end of Round 3 -- September 24 looms. Some real accomplishments to report this week:

--Cover done for Allen's Vietnam era novel, REACHING.
--Requested blurbs/reviews for REACHING.
--Corrections uploaded for YEARS OF STONE.
--Some reading and some writing for RIVERS OF STONE. Not quite my goal but still 1K.
--Steady progress on program for quilt show (deadline Oct 1, 40 pages), illustrations, text, the whole shebang.

For the coming week:
--Finish formatting REACHING (CreateSpace/Kindle).
--And whatever else I can manage.

Allen, Vietnam, 1968
The hardest task for me this week was asking for early reviews or blurbs for Allen's REACHING. First, I hate to ask for favors. Second, I asked a few people I knew locally and a few I met over the last several years on NOVELS-L of The Internet Writing Workshop. 

The result? Wow! I am humbled by the generosity of writers I barely know and so appreciative of their support. Yes, I believe in his novel and hope it will find readers. 

Now, my next challenge: to devise a marketing plan that supports his book -- without any public appearances for my hermit-like hubby. Suggestions?

May the end of the round go well for you. 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Weds: Last Breath of Summer?

As we all head to the end of summer in our various climes, and the end of Round 3 approaches, I find myself in that curious place -- between summer and fall, between research and writing.

WEDS ROW80 update: I'm thrilled to report that the cover is nearly finished for Allen's Vietnam War novel, Reaching. I'll post the cover as soon as . . . That means one more round of formatting for Kindle and CreateSpace, and this little baby will be out in the world. He wrote it after coming home in the early 1970s, and we'll have a launch near this year's Veteran's Day . . . if the bookstore responds!

So I looked at all my goals, got a lot of research reading done last week, but decided to tackle one that's been hanging around since April -- making a few editing changes on Years of Stone and uploading the revised e-book format. Wow! Did that feel good. Now to say thank you to PJ for her thoughtful reading.

Today was in the 70's. Despite my mangled feet, I went walking with hubby at Manito Park. Beautiful. A day to cherish when the snow comes.

Manito Park, September 2015 (Camp)
 Such green everywhere, just a hint of red and yellow on its way.

And, I'm making real progress on the latest wheelchair quilt. This one started as an abandoned 'tree of life'. It's pinned on my writing corkboard, waiting for just one more round.

I'm not sure when Round 3 ends. I only know we're close. For now my goals are to organize, read, think, cherish each day, rest my darn feet, and get back to writing. May the end of the round go well for you!

PS: Ruth Nestvold is sharing her thoughts on how effective her online ads have been. Very helpful! Check her blog out! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: Organize, organize?

Still unpacking from the Canada trip, but slow progress IS being made. Here's the summary of this week's progress so far (sorry if this is hard to read):

But, I'm happy to report success. In fact, let's celebrate! Got the picture for the cover for DH's Vietnam era book finally. The process may be an interesting blog topic because I discovered what appears to be copyright OK may not be. Not all pictures advertised on Flickr under Creative Common licenses are really copyright free. So, as a purse-pinching indie writer, I parted with a single image fee ($10) and found a beautiful image on Adobe's new Adobe Stock program that both DH and DD (dear daughter) approved. Stay tuned for cover reveal soon. Happy dance!

To my own progress in writing. I keep getting lost in the scope of the book (draft at 90K) and the level at which I'm working (ie, distracted by editing and not writing; distracted by research and not writing). 

Two ideas I may try (your feedback please!):

--Do I need a serious chapter-by-chapter outline . . . maybe on Excel where I can include dates, character names, track plot and character arcs, and editing questions?

--Should I put editing questions at the beginning of each chapter in red.

Either approach would be useful, but I'm still facing down months of writing and revising. How I would love this process to go more smoothly. Sigh.
Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park
Canada (Camp August 2015)
Meanwhile, finally the days are a little cooler, the trees are just beginning to hint at coming fall, and all is well. May your own writing goals be met with joy!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

ROW80: Beginning in the middle

We are just back from a three week research trip to Canada, in which we traversed mountains, drove through a snowstorm past the Columbia Icefields, hiked along river-cut canyons in Banff and Jasper, and generally exhausted ourselves at several museums. But we've found really useful materials -- that will take time to process and assimilate. 

View hiking along Marble Canyon,
Kootenay National Park, Canada (Camp 2015)

In short, I've done no writing and limped along on my other commitments. So, today begins anew with goals for Round 3 of ROW80. For the coming week:

WRITING: 250 words a day on Rivers of Stone (current wip). 1 hour a day on research notes.Continue work on hubby's Vietnam War novel, Reaching (cover, final formatting) for e-pub November 2015. 

OUTREACH: Read ROW80 posts x5, INWG x5. Read and review/comment for indie writers David McChesney and Bill Weldy.

OTHER: Read 200 pages John C. Jackson, Children of the Fur Trade. Work on lap quilt, exercise 5x/week, attend Spokane Authors monthly meeting (this coming week), and attend Pillow Case Day sew-in Sept 10. Make progress on WSQ program by interviewing and editing.

We came home to find smoke everywhere from the runaway fires here in Washington. Yesterday's high windstorms added heavy dust, but this morning, I am thankful for a cleansing rain (and temperatures to the low 70s). May you have a good week!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: The kindness of strangers . . .

Monday morning began with a flat tire. We hadn't changed tires for many decades and called AAA. Two hour wait. 90 degree heat. So we cancelled the call to AAA and decided to drive to Les Schwab. 

But when the racket sounded like we were driving on the rim, we pulled over to a parking lot to try to change that wretched tire that now looked like imps ate it for breakfast. A young man passing by stopped to say, "Need some help?" Yes, I am grateful for the kindness of strangers.

Big picture ROW80 goals: Thankfully, I am writing a minimum of 300 words a day. Every day presents new challenges, including DH's 2.5 hour visit to the dentist yesterday. But if I begin the morning with writing, that goal is achievable. Here is the detail of progress so far this week (blue = done, green = making progress, red = not even touched . . . yet).

First beta reader came back with comments on 10 chapters of Mothers Don't Die. My biggest concern was whether police work and the police had been shown realistically. So far, so good. Again, I am thankful for the kindness of strangers.

Might as well divulge all. I'm struggling a bit with how to eat as a newly diagnosed diabetic not on meds. Fasting blood sugars are all over the place. SparkPeople has a neat program online to track food, and this week, since I can't decide exactly what I really CAN eat for breakfast (or for that oh-so-necessary bedtime snack), I vented on a forum. Wow! Back came very useful advice from people I had never thought about. So this week, I am more than grateful for the kindness of strangers.

Which brings me back to ROW80.  Real life can interrupt and distract us from reaching our writing goals. But the process of setting our dreams into concrete, achievable steps makes all possible. We persevere. So drop in on other ROW80 writers to see what's up . . . and be thankful for the kindnesses that come to us every day.
Me and the grandkids reading.

Monday, July 6, 2015

ROW80: Summer Round is here!

Today begins Round 3 for "A Round of Words for 80 Days," 

Since we'll be on the road for six weeks during this round, I really struggled with whether to set goals. But I did. Because I like being accountable -- even to myself -- and I appreciate this community of writers who reach out with words of encouragement and tales of their own writing challenges.  

At the end of July, we're driving north to Canada (Fort St. James, Banff, Edmonton, and Winnipeg), to see the land and dig up research about the fur trade (1840-1850). We're hoping to park our tired bones in a tent most nights. Internet access may be iffy, at best. But I'll have my laptop, journals, the camera. What else is needed?

Tunnel Mountain, Banff (Flickr)

My goals for Round 3:
--Write a minimum of 300 words a day. 
--Blog when I can.
--Finish drafting Rivers of Stone (currently 90,000).
--Complete editing Mothers Don't Die (now out to beta readers) and hubby's VietNam novel, Reaching

My other goals (organized around research, community, marketing, and family) are laid out in chart format but may get short shrift once we leave home. So I'm trying to keep it simple by focusing on primary goals. Wish me good fortune and room in the trunk of the car to bring my books!

I may not be able to check in every Weds and Sunday, but my heart is with you all. May Round 3 be very good for your writing! 

Yes, this is a BLOG HOP for A Round of Words in 80 Days. Check out what amazing goals other writers are setting for the coming round. Be inspired! Persevere! Go forth and comment!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

ROW80: Last post for Round Two

Round 2 for ROW80 has come to an end. A few goals were accomplished:

  • Finished first edit for Mothers Don't Die (65,000 words) and recruited 2 beta readers.
  • Found a narrator for the audio book for Standing Stones through ACX. Now waiting for first 'draft' of recording.
  • Tabled Rivers of Stone (this was a hard decision, but July and August = research trip to support this project). 
  • Wrote a poem a day (April's A-to-Z Blogging Challenge) on my writing blog
  • Experimented with a second promo (discount) for Standing Stones through EReadeerNewsToday.
  • Participated in ROW80 as sponsor and made goal of reading x5 each week. Didn't always post my check-in on time, though.
  • Surprisingly made a start on the memoir project (and taught a workshop).
What I didn't complete makes a longer list. Is it useful to say what I didn't do? I agree with Denise Young that when our writing routine gets knocked to pieces, for whatever reason, we can struggle to return, measuring success sometimes in very little achievements. 

Should I even sign up for Round 3 that begins July 6? We'll be on the road for 6 weeks in Canada (hopefully cooler than the 104 posted today), but I already know that setting goals in the categories of WRITING, COMMUNITY, MARKETING, CRAFT, and OTHER (exercise, quilting), will keep me focused.

And I want those goals in front of me -- that commitment to writing keeps me focused and able to support others.  I'm in. 

How about you?

Detail from fountain, Edinburgh (Camp 2009)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: Not writing, not yet

My friend's husband, a dear man far too young, died on Saturday.

Tomorrow we go to the funeral parlour and confront the realities of death certificates, cremations, and necessary practicalities. So I'm editing a bit, but not writing just now. Will return when I can and wish you all well in your own writing goals, achievements, and endeavors.

 How does nature nurture us through every day with beauty that somehow is new and renewing?

Visit other ROW80 writers, jump right in and voice your words of encouragement. We persevere!