Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Row 80 #8: A Royal Wednesday

Is anyone else grateful for every reader, every book sold, every word written?

I am. It's been a long day. I tested out many, many beds in a quest for a bed that doesn't have lumps (our current bed is ten years old). I just downed a Bud Light, commiserating with my tired feet, yet looking forward to another episode of Killing Eve. I don't drink beer that often, but oh, when the feet hurt, what a treat.

Spring finally popped here. Nearly all of those deciduous trees are sprouting shades of green. In addition to hyacinths and tulips, we now have azaleas and Oregon grape.

Somehow, in spite of distractions (shopping, doctor visit, library stops), I'm feeling blissfully happy. Yes, we found a bed. And, yes, I wrote today.

Round 2, Week 4: Wednesday Update:

Today's report is really short and sweet. Wrote 800 words so far this week. Read posts by others x3, subbed Chapter 8 from The Seventh Tapestry to NOVELS-L, did two yoga sessions, and posted today's update before midnight!

Last week's plea for help in naming a small bookstore in Edinburgh came up blank. Maybe I'll have to go with the Unicorn Bookstore. At least that ties to the Royal Coat of Arms for the Kings of Scotland. And maybe my theme. After all, The Seventh Tapestry features a lion and a unicorn!

Meanwhile, have a good week. Cherish each day. Write alot. And share your thoughts with other ROW80 writers participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook.

Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland
Used from 12th Century to 1603
Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, April 21, 2019

ROW80 #7: Everything's Going to Be OK . . .

Does your life ever feel like it has more plot twists than a novel? Sometimes, every day is sunny, the words flow, and even the morning has promise when we face another empty page. And sometimes, we encounter the unexpected. Back pain. The serious illness of a friend or family member. A reckoning with the calendar: How many days make a true round of days?

So, tonight, after lovely holiday meals (including a chocolate meringue topped with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and whipped cream), I confront what's been accomplished this week and hope for another good week for us all.

Round 2, Week 4: Goals and Progress:

WRITING Goal: Write 1,000 words on Tapestry. Inspired by Kristen Lamb's "How Writing Faster Can Vastly Improve Your Storytelling,  I added 2,458 words (a first!) to Sec01. Editing from first to third person continues. Scaffolding helps me 'see' what's next.

BLOGGING Goal: post x3. Posted x2. Reading posts by others? So far 3/7.

NOVELS-L Goal: 4x/month. UPDATE: Completed 4 so far.

MARKETING: Need to order 2 audiobook covers.

Best writing moment. When the inner thoughts of a character come to life. When characters begin to argue with each other, even when in their own thoughts, they're thinking something quite different. And, when I can set aside editing when I draft!

HELP WANTED PLEASE: I need a FICTIONAL NAME for a small, used bookstore situated on a side street in the old part of Edinburgh. Imagine your favorite bookstore, with hundreds of books all well-organized by topic, shelves crammed with possibility, several nooks to simply sit and browse, and a corner office in the back, where the owner is as love with books as you are, always ready with recommendations. The Bonnie Reader? Lost & Found Books?

Spring at Manito Park, Spokane

May the coming week bring you new words, new insights, and good connections with other writers who encourage and inspire each other with A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook. Why not join in?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

ROW80 #6: Wednesday already?

I've nearly stopped watching/listening to the news, even avoiding online updates, as much is heartbreaking. This week's fire at Notre Dame, so devastating to so many still brings us together everywhere in efforts to protect, preserve, and reconstruct this wonderful cultural heritage. Though the spire is gone, the two towers remain. So much work lies ahead.

South Wall, Notre Dame (Camp 2004)
I can report a good week and a few breakthroughs.

Round 2, Week 3: Goals and Progress:

  • WRITING: Focused on writing and revision of Sec01. Added +800 words (Goal 1K for this week). 
  • BLOGGING: The week is barely begun, so this update to ROW80 is my first post. (Goal posts x3). Reading posts by others? So far 3/7.
  • NOVELS-L. Would like to do more critiques this week. Goal: 4x/month. So far, have completed 2.
  • MARKETING: No progress. No planned progress other than need to order 2 audiobook covers.
  • OTHER: Swimming and quilting coming along on schedule. Planning for future travels involves much folding and refolding of maps, thinking about weather, and how much we can hike. My office is finally nearly organized and I've given another two boxes of books to the library.
Best writing moment. An e-mailed newsletter from Kristen Lamb, "How Writing Faster Can Vastly Improve Your Storytelling," invited me to register for her online class, but the class was full. So I wrote her, thanking her for her inspirational article, AND SHE WROTE BACK!!!!! 

The gist of her article is that when we write and revise at the same time, we stay somewhat at the surface of our creativity. When we write faster, push ourselves to get more words down on the page, we tap into our own deeper feelings and motivations that move our characters, our story, and our readers (as well as ourselves).

So, I'm switching The Seventh Tapestry back to third person point of view because I want that balanced inner connection to BOTH main characters. This week, I used scaffolding to build the structure of Neil's part of the story and began drafting. So, the verdict? Not sure yet, but I'm happy that more of Neil's story is emerging. My writing sessions are now balanced between drafting AND revision, well supported by comments from my F2F writing buddy and the Novels-L group of the Internet Writing Workshop. The writing goes well.

from Kristen Lamb
May the coming week bring you new words, new insights, and good connections with other writers who encourage and inspire each other with A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook. Why not join in?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Row80 #5: Sunday Night Special

I'm not watching out for a tornado this week. Instead, spring is closer than ever with willow trees having that yellow-green blush that always precedes the leafing out of those long leaves that remind me of my childhood when I would hide in the willow.

So, short and sweet, here's my progress:

--WRITING: Made the goal of 1K by adding 1,157 to The Seventh Tapestry. Had a great work session with my crit partner. Finally worked a bit on family history.
--BLOGGING: Posted 2/3 for the week. Still behind in reading other ROW80 posts (only read 3/7).
--CRIT Novels_L. Critiqued 2x (goal for the month). Yippee. Would like to do 2 more crits before the month ends. Subbed a new prologue after much work.  
--MARKETING: Nada. For sure, I need to order 2 covers for audiobooks in progress. Amazon sales page finally, finally is linked for Rivers of Stone
--OTHER: Resumed quilting, swimming, and cooking. Falling more into the role of a caregiver for my husband. Feeling a little sad that I haven't written a single poem for April (National Poetry Month), so I read through old poems just for fun. 

May the coming week be filled with words that dazzle, your own writing a form of poetry, celebrating this round of words with writers who encourage and inspire each other with A Round of Words in 80 Days -- also on Facebook. Why not join in?

Japanese Garden, Manito Park (Spring)
A short drive from our apartment

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ROW80 #4: Wednesday surprise

My feet keep giving up, but new shoes are on the way! Despite a hectic schedule this week with unexpected appointments, and a lower word count so far, I'm feeling pretty darn good. Forsythia, daffodils, a few hours of sunshine now and then, and that green or pink haze on some trees lets me know that spring is truly coming in the next few weeks.


WRITING: Weekly: Add 1K words to Seventh Tapestry. WEDS check-in: Added 437 words. No progress: family history. 

BLOG: Weekly: post x3 and read blogs by others x7. WEDS check-in: Posted ROW80 blog and have read blogs by others by Weds, 3/7.

CRIT Novels-L: Critique submissions by other writers 2x month. WEDS check-in: no critiques yet.

MARKETING:  Clarify marketing goals. WEDS check-in: No progress. Amazon pages finally linked for Rivers of Stone.

Best Writing Moment: The first pages of a romantic suspense story need to truly involve the reader. I'm just beginning to revise the first draft of The Seventh Tapestry. An e-mail invitation to participate in a writing marathon from Camp NaNoWriMo hit my inbox, starting today and 'running' through April 14. And that prompted me to write instead of revise!

 So, does this opening scene grab your interest?

     Sandra had to get out. Now. 
     Flames flowed up the walls, hot ribbons scorching her skin; the ceiling above her blistered by fire. Like a cockroach, she scrabbled across the carpet as fast as she could. Not fast enough. I'm going to die.
     The night light blinked. Sandra awoke on the floor, her knees burning from rug burns. There was no fire. She was safe in her dad's apartment. Her pulse pounding and in a sweat, she sat up. When will the nightmares stop?
     "You all right?" her dad called. "I'm here if you need me, darlin'."
     Sandra laughed, a shaky laugh that once started, turned to slow tears. "Maybe a cup of coffee?"
     "Come downstairs in five," he said.
     Sandra checked her knees. He didn't need to see her bloody knees. She limped to the bathroom and cleaned each knee. The bleeding wouldn't stop. She pressed bandages over both knees, as the smell of coffee lifted through the rowhouse. Sandra took a deep breath and pulled on a fresh pair of jeans. 
     It was time to talk with her father about their last case.

What participating in such a marathon means is that I will be pushed to explore and write even as I'm working on editing. And that's fun, even if what I write will ultimately not be used.

Check out ROW80's website at A Round of Words in 80 Days for how to get started! Or you can swing by our Facebook page to catch up on how other ROW80 writers are setting goals and measuring progress. May you have a good week, and let's celebrate spring!


Sunday, April 7, 2019

ROW80 #3: Sunday Sunshine

So far, so good. I spotted the first forsythia today, its sparse yellow blossoms a welcome contrast to the bare-boned trees of winter that yet linger.

Efforts to declutter mind and office continue. This week, I cleared out TWO shelves of books, donated to our local library. We also visited two senior living complexes this week. We decided we won't move when our lease is up here, even if our apartment is dark (stress immediately lower). Instead, we'll spend that extra bit of money on traveling. Next, need to decide where we'll go to escape next winter's snow.

My story's in an odd place. After drafting that last chapter for Section 03, I realized I love the concept, but the dialogue between heroine and hero doesn't ring true. So, I've called the first draft complete, and, with lots of notes, I began the first revision of the first draft yesterday. More revision and research ahead, inspired by generous and helpful critiques from The Internet Writing Group. I'm telling myself that perseverance furthers!


  • WRITING = Weekly: Add 1K words to Seventh Tapestry. Sunday check-in: Added 1,357 words!  Not yet: Add 500 words to family history (or work 4 hours). 
  • BLOG = Weekly goal = post x3 and read blogs by others x7. Sunday check-in: Posted on ROW80 blog x2 and on Writing blog x1 (Insecure Writer's Support Group). Read blogs by others x10. My monthly post for IWSG: "About Blushes and Beginnings."
  • CRIT Novels-L = Goal = Critique submissions by other writers 2x month. Sunday check-in: Critted x1 (Don McCandless). 
  • MARKETING = Not yet: Clarify marketing goals. Sunday check-in: Still working on linking pages for Rivers of Stone on Amazon. Anticipate first audiobook 'pages' this coming week. Did post on Twitter and Instagram. Books I ordered from Amazon for the book reading next month were sent USPS and not delivered on Saturday (we were home), so following up on this. Redelivery not guaranteed. I can always pick the heavy package up at my local USPS, but again, not guaranteed. Good thing the library book club is next month.

Check out ROW80's website at A Round of Words in 80 Days for how to get started! Or you can swing by our Facebook page to catch up on how other ROW80 writers are setting goals and measuring progress. May you have a good week, and may spring soon come to your Zip code!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

ROW80 #2: Short and sweet

It's Wednesday, a little later than I planned (blame filing taxes), but I'm feeling encouraged by being home and by the start of a new round. So, in keeping with one of my new goals to keep all simple, here's my progress report for the first 3 days of Round 2:


Goal 1K/week on The Seventh Tapestry. So far: 928 words. Scaffolding and chapter summaries help me think about where the chapter is going, how to ensure continuity, and to get the full story down on the page in this first draft (goal to finish first draft by April).


Sent handout to library book club for next month's reading. 

Sent quarterly newsletter out to subscribers! If you'd like to sign up to receive my occasional newsletter (and find out what Writer's Digest said about Rivers of Stone, go HERE!

Read only 2 ROW80 posts . . . so far.

Ordered author copies from Amazon to take to the reading and discovered I can only order author copies IF the paperback and e-book are 'paired'. So far, I'm five hours into trying to fix this 'pairing,' thank goodness for only one of three books. I can be forgiving, for Amazon took on a huge job in closing down CreateSpace and porting all those paperbacks over to KDP Print. But what this means just now is I have to wait up to 96 hours to see if customers can find the e-book and the paperback on Amazon's same sales page. As my mother would say, "Ooofta!"

Best Writing Moment: Realizing that that critical feedback from writers on NOVELS-L of The Internet Writing Workshop will make all the difference when I start revising my rough draft -- and is already influencing how I write now.

Here's just one quote from a critique of Chapter 5 to show you what I mean: "I think Sandra needs to drive this story more. Right now, most of your scenes and beats focus on people telling her what to do. The story needs to focus more on what she decides on her own to do." --Dave.

May you have a good week. Check out our website at A Round of Words in 80 Days for how to get started! Or you can swing by our Facebook page to catch up on how other ROW80 writers are setting goals and measuring progress. Looking forward to checking in on Sunday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

ROW80 #1: And Round 2 Begins . . .

Just this last week, Winter has finally morphed into Spring, the snow has melted off the sidewalks, and it's time to post goals for Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 days.  I'm trying not to be too ambitious, especially as sometimes I find it challenging to post 2x a week on this ROW80 Blog.


WRITING: Finish drafting The Seventh Tapestry by July, 2019. Work on characters. Structure for series and draft some scaffolding for prequel, Books 2 and 3. Min 1K words/week. RESEARCH to support the story and study techniques for writing romantic suspense.

MEMOIR: Work on family history, converting papers and photos to story form (Min 500K/week).

AUDIOBOOKS: Learn ACX marketing techniques. Work with Mandy Fugate-Moss (ACX) as she records Years of Stone, Rivers of Stone (April-June 2019).

  • Meet with my F2F writing group weekly. 
  • Participate in online writing communities: Active: NOVELS-L (4 crits/month). ROW80. 20 Books to 50K (FB).
  • NOVELS-L: Minimum 1 crit/week.
  • Participate in associations: Sisters in Crime = JAN. PNWA. Historical Novel Society.
  • BLOG x4 monthly. Travel blog 2x month. Writing blog 2x month. ROW80 6x month. Explore reviews x1/month. Research guest blogs.
MARKETING: Set goals for marketing: Instagram (relate to my genre). Post weekly. Send newsletter quarterly, starting in March. Set up readings with book clubs and/or other outreach.

UNDECIDED: My 'to do' list gets too long very quickly. I want so much to finish that first draft for The Seventh Tapestry . . . so, I'm putting aside long-hoped-for revisiions on Mothers Don’t Die (dark thriller, currently 34 chapters, 62,500 words). IF I attempted to revise 2 chapters each week, that would take a year to finish . . . but at what cost to current projects? To make a final decision whether to work on Mothers Don't Die or not, I could do a simple read through. Maybe.

Thanks to A Round of Words in 80 Days, I feel more disciplined about writing and about holding myself accountable for what I am able to accomplish -- plus, I've met some truly wonderful and supportive writers along the way. Consider joining in!  Check out our blog HERE or on FACEBOOK

First check-in tomorrow, Wednesday, April 3. Happy writing!