Thursday, August 30, 2018

ROW80: Weds, Week 10: Let It Bee!

I've been wondering how to report my writing progress this week as slow and stubborn -- and one day late. A little discouraged, I wanted to start with something light, something motivational, so I popped over to look at pictures from our trip to the Calvary Zoo to find this ready-made meme, a perfect start to the rest of the week:

Progress Weds, Week 10:

WRITING. Aargh! Only one writing session this week with The Seventh Tapestry (still good feedback from this week's writing group). The rest of this week has been dedicated to formatting Standing Stones. At least, KDP finally accepted the PDF upload (note: not Word), with some nasty error messages: Fix fonts, gutters, and nonprintable markup. I am NOT renumbering the table of contents until the file's accepted. GOAL: Perseverance furthers. I hope to finish this week and have learned much about Word commands, how one little change in the middle of the book's format can change the entire doc.

READING. Still reading and enjoying Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played With Fire. Wish I could turn off the editor in me that notices those pesky uses of passive voice. 

OTHER: Today is the first unencumbered day of the week, and it's Thursday. So, I shall begin in peace to 'let it bee'. OTHER GOALS: Catch up on reading others' posts, prep for book club meeting next week (need reader questions), follow up on inviting newbies to ROW on Weds, and quilt a little for sanity.

May you enjoy this last week of Round 3. Check in with other ROW80 writers on the blog or on FaceBook.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

ROW80 Sunday, Week 9: Ooofta!

We came home last Saturday after two weeks on the road. Oofta! Didn't really remember how much time it takes to reconnect! So here's my update, definitely a little different.

WRITING. No writing for the first half of the week to speak of. Even though I wrote every day when we were travelling, the first 3 days home = zip! Feel like I'm working with some kind of heavy duty farm equipment to organize & draft chapters with scenes out of sequence. Pretty good progress overall the last 4 days with tighter scenes (and fun adding suspense and romance), but a drop in word count as I hit that delete button.

EDITING (This section is for self-publishing nerds). Someone suggested that self-publishing writers should routinely update that list of 'other books by' and back matter. I thought that was a good idea for my four books. So, 2 done and 2 to go.

Probably burned a good 10 hours this week on attempting to move my paperback version of Standing Stones from Create Space to Amazon. Moving the updated kindle version worked just fine. Here's an excellent background article from Amy Collins on Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer on why we might do this, although NotJohn strongly recommends staying with CS for paperbacks. So, I'm persevering, though I ran into some formatting issues (translating from Kindle to paperback, retyping toc, getting Amazon's paperback template downloaded and functional [Word kept giving me a permission error so I exported my Word file into PDF format and back]. Content is fine. Now just going chapter by chapter to check layout (I'm at chapter 24 out of 62).  Of course, once I'm done, Amazon says we'll need to wait 72 hours before we know if our upload worked. And, I'm not certain about this, but I think I'll have to order a physical proof for the paperback.

READING. Really enjoying reading Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire; it's pretty dark, but compelling. And for pure escape, Ava Stones, My Favorite Major. Pondering point-of-view still, as IF I write from the female lead for my romantic suspense, how will readers know what my male character is thinking and feeling?

JUST FOR FUN, made a meme.

Lion we saw at Calgary Zoo (August 2018)
OTHER: This afternoon, took a two-hour shopping break with my daughter which turned into a 5-hour marathon involving an exploding toilet, so I'm skipping goal setting for the coming week. Know that I'm going to do the best possible. Writers' group meets Tuesday night, and I'm ready.

Read more about A Round of Words, join in, and/or why not see what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ROW80 Check-in with Weds Snippet for WIPpet

Weds Round 3, Week 8: Finally settling back at home, despite heat, smoke, and the challenges of getting organized. The writing kind of faltered this week, but thanks to encouraging comments, I do feel better about having so many unfinished goals that I hope to complete . . . someday!

Progress so far this week:

  • Writing: Goal 1,000 new words on 7th Tapestry. So far, only 400. But it's only Weds. NEW: Begin editing changes for Mothers Don't Die.
  • Other Writing: Still to do: Mermaid Quilt to audiobook (post for voice actors on ACX). Paperback & Kindle format for updates still needed for Standing Stones; paperback updates not showing Years of Stone. These were supposed to be simple changes (showing latest books published). Blogging? Not yet on the writing blog.
  • Community/Marketing. Read blogs x6. Completed 3 so far. Sent e-mail to coordinate next writers' group. Pending: newsletter, indie reviews x2. 
  • Other stuff: Reading James Scott Bell's Just Write and enjoying it very much. Working on a new comfort quilt. Really replenished the stash by visiting two Canadian quilt stores. Otherwise, too smoky out for much exercise (cough, cough).

And now, thanks to the work of Emily Wrayburn, here's this week's snippet for WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop for writers to share an excerpt from their current WIP -- that must somehow relate to today's date! Join in if you like HERE

In this excerpt from my romantic suspense WIP, The Seventh Tapestry (8 paragraphs for the month of August), curator Sandra Robertson visits Adelle Campbell about a potential donation to the Museum of Medieval Art in Edinburgh.

     “I’d like to have you read two letters," said Adelle. "The first one, I’d just like your advice, perhaps your reaction. The second letter is of more interest to the Museum, I think.”
     Sandra relaxed against the settee. “You’ve given me a wonderful tea. Of course, I’m happy to look at whatever you like.”
     “This letter is from a Mr. Cochrane from London,” said Adelle. “He says he used to work for Sotheby's. Apparently, he knows about the Narwhal Cup, but I’m not sure how.” She paused. “He expresses great interest in other artifacts I may be interested in selling, but I don’t know.” She handed the letter to Sandra.
     The first thing Sandra noticed was the very heavy paper and the letterhead at the top of the letter. “The letterhead certainly looks authentic. Cochrane Antiques. Has he been to see you?”
     “Not yet. The letter says he would come up from London, but I just don’t know. What do you think?”
     Sandra skimmed the letter. One sentence stood out to her, almost as if he were hinting that Mrs. Campbell would benefit more from selling to him than making donations to any museum. “He doesn’t mention affiliation with any museum. He may be representing private collectors,” said Sandra.
     “I did call Sotheby's, but they’ve never heard of a Mr. Cochrane. Truly, I’d rather foster local relationships, and I’m so pleased you came over from Edinburgh.” Adelle opened a leather portfolio. “I would like you to read this letter as you asked me about provenance. Please put on these plastic gloves. Call me when you have finished.” She left the room quietly.
     Sandra sat at the antique desk and stared at the letter. Written on yellowed vellum, the letter purported to be from the court of Francis I.

And that's it for Wednesday. Have a great week. See you all again on Sunday. 
Why not see what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook.

View from Sandra's 5th floor apartment
in Edinburgh, overlooking the Writer's Museum
in Lady Stair's Close

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Round 3, Week 7: Catch-up!

Round 3, Week 7 of A Round of Words in 80 Days, with only 31 days left in this round. We're just home from a two-week jaunt to Canada, visiting familiar and new places. Lots of pictures, learned our limits on hiking and touring (need those rest days).

The real question: Did I get any writing done? I pretty much set everything else aside and did manage to write every day on The Seventh Tapestry, with Section 01 coming into focus (more romance) and a few scenes for Section 02 (a fire and a death). Stats: 4,800 words over 14 days = a little over 300 words a day with notes on what comes next and what needs more research.

Eden's note for today's check-in suggests now is the time (she's right) to focus on what we can accomplish (and want to complete) before Round 3 ends. My working list is too long, so basically, here are my goals:

  • WRITING: How about 9,000 new words before September 31 on Tapestry
  • Other writing: Work on moving The Mermaid Quilt to audio-book. Really would like to update Years of Stone format for paperback. The Kindle version shows updates beautifully, but I can't get the paperback format updated. Yet. Also have updates pending for Standing Stones for paperback and Kindle. Neither have updated . . . yet.
  • COMMUNITY/MARKETING. Confirm book club visits x2, both in September. Read more blogs consistently (minimum 8 per week). Set up some kind of  'thank you' and send newsletter for end-of-summer (which is ending far too fast and far too smoky for most of us). Continue reviews x2 for indie writers each month. Meet with writers' group x2/month.
  • OTHER: Finish maybe 2 comfort quilts in September. Keep working that weight goal for July. So far, so good. Exercise: 3x/week swimming. That vacation was a learning experience (stamina) and new adventures. Here's my favorite picture of Allen at the Alberta Wild Bird Preserve.

OTHER UNFINISHED GOALS (and not in any particular order):

  • Wanted to collect my poems into a chapbook. Not sure this will happen this year. Will participate in OctPoWriMo, a poem a day for the month of October.
  • Wanted to work on family history. Again, found some fascinating stuff, including one hardy ancestor who used to walk his bear (yes, black and furry) right down the street in Sweden back in the 1820's. 
  • Would love to blog on my writing blog more than 2x a month. Maybe? This goes back to the newsletter -- connecting with my readers. 
  • Would love to finish (and publish) Mothers Don't Die (kind of a dark, serial killer mystery) this year. Got some amazingly helpful feedback from judges after entering PNWA's writing competition this year. Green light go?
  • Would love to create a boxed set for my historical fiction trilogy, but can't do this until Amazon accepts my updates! Darn!
Ah, the list is too long. Which one would you choose??? Some days now, I need to put my feet up and rest. 

May your goal-setting go smoothly with just a month to go. Let's be thankful for the coming month and see what other ROW80 writers are up to on the blog or on FaceBook.

Oh, and the elevators in our Calgary hotel had the funniest pictures (here's just one, a rare selfie), making me laugh and want to write more memes! Or, like Rui Chan, maybe a haiku with pictures!

Selfie: The left of the sign shows hot sauce bottles!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Row80 Weds Week 5: Suspense!

Oscar Wilde once said, "The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last."

That's about how I feel as I set up goals and peer into the coming month. We leave Sunday morning for a trip that has no destination or end point. We may be gone up to a month (or back within a week). I think we start by heading north.

Here's my progress for A Round of Words in 80 Days since Sunday:

WRITING: Draft 1,000 words/week for The Seventh Tapestry. Progress so far: 1,170 new words. This new genre of romantic suspense is challenging me! I can't quite believe this new story already has 24K words.

RESEARCH: Continue digging into research that supports The Seventh Tapestry. Study craft of writing. Progress so far: Set up binder for travel with major revamp and drafting of entire book. Taking James Scott Bell's Just Write with me as well as research files.

MARKETING: Refine overall plan; carry out 2 activities/week. GOAL: To send newsletter and set up audio-recording before we leave on Sunday.

BLOGGING: Post minimum of 2 posts each week. Update: Not sure about this one. We'll have sketchy internet so I may only post short updates on our trip and writing on FaceBook. But today, I'm posting here AND on my writing blog.

COMMUNITY: Improve outreach through active participation in social media, online and F2F writing groups x5 activities/events each week. Update: Again, this goal may be on hold.

HOME-TENDING: Support healthy diet, exercise, and my family, keeping a balance between work/play. Update: Met weight loss goals for July. Today is our anniversary (43 years!).

You may not know this about me, but I am a shy person. I hate conflict and subscribe to that Victorian theory that sex scenes should occur off stage. So, my new story is romantic suspense. Ooops! Actually, it's kind of fun to work on writing more 'romance' and 'suspense' into my story. 

This week's WIPpet. As part of Wednesday's snippet from a work-in-progress (WIP), coordinated by Emily Wrayburn, here are 8 sentences (for the month of August) from The Seventh Tapestry. Poor Sandra, new at her job at the Museum of Medieval Art, is already facing some problems.

     A door snapped shut at the end of the hall. That’s strange, thought Sandra. I thought I was alone. She stopped at the employee lounge to grab a coffee and entered her office, automatically checking that her office files were as she left them, a single sheet placed cross-wise on the top file.
     They weren’t. 
     Someone’s been in my office, and I’ll bet it wasn’t maintenance. A shiver went down her spine. Only Mr. Hadley knew about her work on the missing artifacts.

WRITING TIP that inspired me this week? Someone nameless, maybe in the latest Writer's Digest, suggested IF you are on vacation, plan to write 30 minutes a day -- preferably before everyone else gets up. Works for me!

Why not check out what ROW80 writers are doing on the blog or on FaceBook OR read some snippets from other WIPpet writers here OR on Facebook. You know you can! And enjoy the summer. Play in the water. Sit on the patio and watch the sun set. Let those words flow. And just maybe leave a review for a writer you like.