Sunday, May 27, 2018

ROW80: Round 2, Week 8 and hotter!

Temperatures in 70s and 80s this week. Lots of distractions. No real progress on anything on my 'to do' list other than . . . hosting a launch party finally for Rivers of Stone!

What really worked this time? Finding the perfect site at our local library, a lovely, large, and adaptable conference room (capacity over 200). Set-up for the two-hour event took under 15 minutes (4 tables and chairs in informal groupings of 3-4, very easy to rearrange as folks arrived). I didn't know how many to expect and hoped for over 10 and was thrilled when 25 people arrived -- and stayed!

I really had fun AND assistance. Darling daughter staffed the sign-in/sales table. I brought artifacts for each of my books -- mermaid sculptures, travel journals, key reference books, and for Rivers of Stone, a neat replica of a woven belt worn by fur traders.

Roughly every 20 minutes, I talked about the background and read a short selection from one of my books (the audience decided which one), and passed around the artifacts related to that book, answering questions. We then held  a drawing (for one of my books [4 different books] or one of two plants -- audience choice). Snacks? Two kinds of cookies. No beverages; no mess. We laughed, chatted, and had an amazingly wonderful time.

Compared to a formal reading at a bookstore, I found holding this kind of a launch party was more personal and more celebratory. I got to interact with all my wonderful friends who came and who are enthusiastic about my stories. What could be better?

What would I do differently? Not sure. I could have and should have taken more pictures. Next time, I'll ask someone to do this. As a frugal indie writer, I worked to keep costs down (about $40 for books, plants, and those cookies). The library conference room was free, and the library received a heartfelt thanks (and a book for their collection).

Announcements were posted in the local newspaper and online. Posters went up in the library and online. I also sent targeted e-mails and handed out printed invitations to different segments of people I knew (writers, swimmers, quilters), and was thrilled when folks from each group showed up.

Would 'bigger' have been 'better'? I don't think so.

Quilting friends Twyla and CJ stopped by

Writing friends Caryl, Kate, Sue, and Dave from Spokane Authors
Now it's back to work as we wind down (by June 20) Round 2 for A Round of Words in 80 Days. Check back on Weds for an update and have a great week of writing and reading! You can go to our BLOG or FACEBOOK page to see what others are doing.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ROW80 and Weds WIPpet

Wednesday night. Finally quiet time for checking in with A Round of Words in 80 Days. Actually, I'm just committed to checking in every Sunday (goals for the week) and Wednesday (progress so far), regardless of the round of days.

PROGRESS SINCE SUNDAY? Nada. Unless you count driving the 5-year-old to ballet (45 minutes each way) and dealing with foot pain (yes, Naproxin helps, but I hate taking pills). OK, so I did make some progress on Tapestry, since my writers' group met Monday night. I read a scene, excited to be writing (at 6/7 days last week) and excited at how my characters are changing right before my eyes. Sandra is a little older and a lot more feisty. She's no longer a naive intern just starting out.

Wednesday is also WIPpet Wednesday (kindly hosted by Emily Wrayburn), a blog hop for writers sharing a snippet from their current work-in-progress WIP that somehow relates to the date. Today, I'm sharing 5 paragraphs (23 days divided by 5 (May) = 4.6 or 5 paragraphs). From the beginning of The Seventh Tapestry (first draft).

     First days are never easy, thought Sandra. Just go in and get started. She stared up at the massive stone exterior of the Museum of Antiquities. A green and gold banner hung over the entrance, “Welcome to Edinburgh’s Medieval Underground.” My new world. She adjusted her briefcase over her shoulder, wondered again if her resume needed additional tweaking, and smiled at the receptionist as she asked the way to the Director’s office.
     After another layer of assistants, a compact woman wearing a gray suit ushered Sandra into a formal office, complete with a devastatingly large antique desk. Stuart Hadley stood and reached out his hand. “Welcome, Miss Robertson. We’re quite excited you are finally here.”
     “Mr. Hadley,” Sandra nodded. “Aren’t there always complications? I’m thrilled to be in Edinburgh and eager to start.”
     “We have complications here as well. As I explained last week, several major artifacts are missing.” He checked the door, as if to make certain it remained closed and lowered his voice. “Please tell no one that you are from TSP Securities. You are simply a newly hired appraiser and database specialist. At least for the next four to six weeks.” His lips tightened. “I’m hoping we can have this issue resolved quickly. Any hint about these losses would be scandalous and could affect the Museum’s supporters.”
     Sandra nodded. Let the dance begin. All I need to do is find out how these priceless artifacts went missing and who is involved – in four weeks.

YOU can share something from your current wip OR read what other writers are posting by going to this LINKY.

Check in either at the website for A Round of Words in 80 Days or on Facebook. May you find good writing time in the coming week, despite the promise and distractions of spring.

Another shot of the Japanese Garden
at Manito Park (Camp, May 2018)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

ROW80 Sunday Just in Time

Well, Sunday came along just as fast as last Wednesday -- and I'm even trying to slow down! Here's the recap for what happened last week:

WRITING: Actually wrote 6 out of 7 days, steady progress on Tapestry, editing and adding new words (+1,400). Research moving along. Funny to realize how I learn more about my characters as I write dialogue! Meeting with writers' group Monday night.

MARKETING: Getting ready for Saturday's launch party for Rivers of Stone with newsletter, FB posts, and fliers to handout. I'm excited and nervous at the same time, though now this story seems like something that happened another lifetime ago. So, should I do what others have done and combine all three books into one e-book?

COMMUNITY: Doing better here. Read/commented on posts by others x11. Finished beta read for one writer; have another ready to read. Didn't post on Writing blog this week -- so next week for sure. Still so far behind with decluttering e-mail (averaging about 160 unread) . Read 6 books this week (escape! escape!). Still adjusting to walking less. Hate pain meds. Did exercise 5x (water aerobics with no touching the bottom of the pool). Quilting? Making good progress on the 'owl' quilt. Finally mastered how to thread the fancy machine. Starting either an African quilt or aboriginal or finishing something!

Last week, a walk at Manito Park found my favorite tree in the Japanese Garden in full bloom. Hooray for spring into nearly summer.

You know the drill. Check in either at the website for A Round of Words in 80 Days or on Facebook. And have a bountiful week with much to cherish.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

ROW80 & a snippet . . .

I've concluded that Wednesday is just too close to Sunday. Here's my check-in for A Round of Words in 80 Days, for which I report my writing progress most Wednesdays and most Sundays -- unless, as we say, 'real life' intervenes!

WRITING: √ Wrote on Seventh Tapestry 3/3 days. √ Posted on ROW80 blog. Still procrastinating on reading book for review that's due by end of May.

MARKETING. √ Not as much progress. Really pleased about the kind response from folks about the launch party scheduled for 5/26. Talked to Library about posters. Still need more work on press releases. Need to write tourism guy in Canada re Rivers of Stone.

COMMUNITY/OTHER. √ Read/commented x5 other bloggers this week. Still behind on decluttering e-mail.

But I'm writing and loving the way I can find a balance between ORGANIZING and WRITING. New this week: Shutting down the computer by 10 pm.

Wednesday is also WIPpet Wednesday (kindly hosted by Emily Wrayburn), a blog hop for writers sharing a snippet from their current work in progress that somehow relates to the date. For example, today, I'm sharing 21 sentences (5 for the month of May PLUS 16 = 21 sentences).

 YOU can join in OR read what other writers are posting by going to this LINKY.

Here's the blurb for The Seventh Tapestry: Art appraiser/archivist Sandra Robertson is pulled into danger when she finds clues to an undiscovered medieval tapestry in Scotland and attempts to rescue it from the black market with help from Thomas McDonnell, Edinburgh’s Art Crimes Unit.

     Why wasn’t Roger available when she needed to talk to him? And where was Rebecca? Sandra left a message as she fanned through the photographs she’d printed of the Narwhal cup. She flipped on her CD player, the familiar sounds of one of Machaut’s medieval compositions calming her.
     One of the photographs caught her eye. I don’t remember this, she mused. Very faint markings appeared on the bottom of the cup. Oh, I should have taken a close-up of this. Perhaps after I talk to Roger, I can call Mrs. Campbell again.
     Sandra placed the photos into a file folder for her meeting with Roger and glanced at her watch. She had at least two hours before lunch. She began to review the inventory printout Thomas had given her, checking for possible anomalies. After fifteen minutes, she had identified enough questions to take her into storage.
Sandra gathered her notes and made another quick call. Luckily, Priscilla answered the phone.
“Yes, Miss Robertson,” said Priscilla. “I’ll be happy to take you through how we store artifacts not on exhibit.”
      “Good. I’ll be over directly.” Sandra looked at her notes without seeing them. I don’t understand why the list Thomas gave me doesn’t match the Museum’s database. Surely, we can’t be missing this many.

View from Sandra's 5th Floor Apartment
Overlooking the Writers' Museum,
Lady Stair's Close, Edinburgh (Camp, 2009)
(Yes, we stayed here for several weeks, a fifth floor walk-up!)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

ROW80 Sunday Update: Happy Mother's Day

Sunday morning early. Quiet time for writing. What more could we want? So here's my update for this week with plans for next week.

WRITING: MINIMUM OF 1 HOUR DAY/5 days week on Seventh Tapestry. √ Wrote 4/7 days. Finally transitioned from planning & organizing to writing, organizing, and researching. Currently using scaffolding to move from scene summaries to telling the story. Section 01 currently at 10K (goal 20K). √ Finished BETA read. NEXT WEEK? Same writing goals + 3 Blog posts. Maybe work a little on family history project. One book to read/review before May 30, but my problem is this self-published book has so many typos, every time I pick it up, I set it down. Any advice?

MARKETING. √ NEWSLETTER publicizing May 26th launch for Rivers of Stone out! Had fun tailoring the newsletter to writers and quilters in the Spokane area. NOTE: If you want to critique my newsletter, please let me know!

√ Ordered business & postcards VistaPrint, after abortive order thru OfficeMax. And, after much agonizing, decided to go 'exclusive' with Amazon, rather than go 'wide' with other platforms. This was not easy, but I just don't think I have the stamina to support setting up, formatting, and marketing other channels, though Smashwords has a very good platform. Your opinion? NEXT WEEK? Flesh out alerts for launch party on FB, e-mail, writing website. Write tourism guy in Canada re Rivers of Stone.

COMMUNITY/OTHER. Writing group is now back on track meeting 2x/month. So helpful to have F2F feedback of wip. √ Posted 2 reviews this month (Cynthia St. Aubin, Private Lies, and GB Williams, Locked In). Feeling somewhat disenchanted about changes in mobility, so didn't do as much connecting with other ROW80 writers and other online writing communities. NEXT WEEK? Improve! Read/comment x6.

Opening the Box for Rivers of Stone (May 9, 2018)
Just trying to create that ongoing balance between work, play, relationships, and commitments to others. Not much quilting to share this week. Missed an entire week of exercise, then walked 30 min (too far). Wishing you all a happy week ahead, warm weather, lots of words, and just maybe an insight or two along the way. Happy ROWing!

Check in either at the website for A Round of Words in 80 Days or on Facebook.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

ROW80: Some progress. It's Spring!

It's Sunday evening and time to check in after a mix of working on writing, researching, and editing this morning, laundry, a full day of grocery shopping, and planning for the coming week.

  1. WRITING: Minimum of 1 hour/day/6 days week on Seventh Tapestry. Wrote 4/6 days, added 1,700 words. NEXT WEEK? More of the same.
  2. REVIEWING:  Beta read for Fallon Brown’s Flames of Renewal, 1 hour/day. Worked 5/7 days, mostly 2 hour sessions. Completed Chapters 9-17. Not started: Review Stan Parks’ Jakob’s Ladies. Both DUE end of May.
  3. NEWSLETTER out by May 5:  No progress. Pushed to May 15.
  4. WRITER'S GROUP: Now meeting 2x/month.
  5. NEW PROJECT: Seriously beginning a family history. Worked about 3 hours this week, having fun scanning photos and collecting stories, including one about my DH being taken to see Jackie Robinson.
MARKETING: Set date/place for launch party, Rivers of Stone. Mostly done (June 9 or 16 at a local library). Contacted local book club to schedule reading. Done! Still need to follow-up on audiobook marketing x1.

BLOGGING/E-MAIL: ROW80 posted 2x this week. IWSG month post. Done!  (post snippet on Weds, goals on Sunday). Read posts by others x7/this week. Re GOAL of decluttering e-mail? Falling behind. Back up to over 150 unread. Still want to update writing blog and update Amazon’s Author Central (way too many blank paragraphs here!)

Now for the rest of the story: Found this delightful hotel for my characters from the Seventh Tapestry to stay at called the Lion & the Unicorn Inn, some 22 miles from Stirling Castle in Scotland. Thomas will stash Sandra here once the lost tapestry has been found. But will she disappear with the tapestry?

Lion & Unicorn Inn,
Thornhill, near Stirling.

What's for dinner?
A steak on a unicorn platter!
Other updates: Steady progress on the owl quilt. Another appointment with the doctor this week about my foot (results of MRI). Perhaps I shouldn't have played soccer with my 3-year-old granddaughter yesterday.  

Spring should be here now for most of us. I'm wishing you a great week of writing. Check in either at the website for A Round of Words in 80 Days or on Facebook. See you there!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

ROW80: Change is constant!

I'm feeling pretty good because, once again, I revamped my goals overall. Here are my goals for the merry month of May:

  • MINIMUM OF 1 HOUR DAY/6 days week on Seventh Tapestry.
  • BETA: Fallon Brown’s Flames of Renewal, 1 hour/day. DUE end of May.
  • NEWSLETTER out by May 5.
  • Rivers of Stone: Set date/place for launch party. Work 2-3 hours each week on marketing (strategy, action steps). Carry out 2-4 action steps each month. Plan launch party. 
  • Prep for Annette/Sue MAY 7: audio books + Tapestry.
  • Read ROW80 (post snippet on Weds, goals on Sunday). Read A-Z bloggers, and declutter e-mail. 
  • Follow through on 2 ways to promote audiobooks. 
  • Download 2018 A-to-Z into Kindle book?
  • READING: Post 1 review. Track books downloaded and read. Want to read Steven Malone’s Southing.
  • Update my writing blog! See
  • Read through GoodReads reviews on my books. Tips, possible reviewers? 
  • Update Amazon’s Author Central (way too many blank paragraphs here!)
  • Clean up outstanding documents for SASP. 
  • Need to clear out DropBox and retain essential writing files.

Just a NOTE about the writing: The Seventh Tapestry remains my priority, and I'm making good progress (more specifics with the next post). My post today for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, "Just In Time Writing," talks about a breakthrough in writing strategy that helped me immensely this week. Maybe this idea will be helpful to YOU.

Does any other ROW80 writer have trouble saying 'No'? A few health issues pushed me to simplify my commitments this last month. 'Saying no' was not easy, but I immediately felt much less stress.

This Wednesday is also WIPpet Wednesday (kindly hosted by Emily Wrayburn), a blog hop for writers sharing a snippet from their current WIP that somehow relates to the date. For example, today, I'm sharing 5 paragraphs for the month of May. YOU can join in (or read what other writers are posting by going to this LINKY

Here's the blurb for The Seventh Tapestry: Art appraiser/archivist Sandra Robertson is pulled into danger when she finds clues to an undiscovered medieval tapestry in Scotland and attempts to rescue it from the black market with help from Thomas McDonnell, Edinburgh’s Art Crimes Unit.

And here's that snippet from early in the story:

     “We got a call this morning, Sandra.” Roger’s pudgy fingers tapped on a file. “I’d like you to go to Stirling to follow up on a possible donation.”
     “I’d love to,” said Sandra.
     “Make arrangements when you reach a stopping point in your data base review.” Roger smiled. “You’re doing good work here.” He plopped the file on her desk. “Let me know if you have any questions.”
     Sandra turned back to her workstation. Printouts spilled over her desk, perilously close to a cup of cold coffee. How could he know I’m doing good work? I haven’t given him a full report. She took a deep breath. Maybe it would be good to get out of the office. She smirked. I’m thrilled to be here, but this isn’t really an office. It’s worse than my cubby at the Cluny. 
     Most of the time, Sandra didn’t notice the low-hanging ceiling decorated with hanging pipes for heating and ventilation. Her office was more of a converted closet in a warren of small rooms underneath the Museum, created over time for staff and storage. The only time her office had seemed too small was when Thomas McDonnell had stopped by. He was far too good-looking, Sandra thought. And I don’t have time for that.

Perseverance furthers! Make it a good week! Check in with other ROW80 writers HERE or on Facebook. Join the fun anytime.

Blue Heron and Flamingos at Celestun, Yucatan, Mexico
'Dare to be Different'
(Camp, Feb 2018)