Category Archives: WIP

June Wrap Up, July Goals

Niagara Falls from the American side (image: Sarah Wagner)

Another month has come to an end… This year just keeps on moving along. June was pretty good overall. It’s been just about the busiest month I’ve had in a very long time and I managed to do almost all of the things. I got the beta draft of Christmas in Bear Ridge finished and off to two quick readers while I muscle through polishing edits and description fluffing. My only real goal is to get Bear Ridge sent off to the editor. Once that’s done, I’ll happily get back to Hunter’s Hell and Gods of the Fallen and Eldercynne Knight. All of them are needing to get themselves finished.

In June, I wrote 23,037 words, completed the beta draft of Christmas in Bear Ridge, went camping in New England, I sent 0 submissions out, got two rejections in, wrote up four Face Off Recaps for the four episodes that have run so far (still my favorite game show on TV), cleaned and organized the youngest child’s room, and somehow only lost 1.5 pounds. That last one makes me so stinking mad. I’ve been doing better on not eating a bunch of stupid stuff, moving more, walked SO much of the freedom trail my whole body is still hurting, and I only lost 1.5 pounds. ugh. I do know it was probably all the sitting during all the driving (1400+ miles) and things like crabcake blts (omg, seriously. Amazing!).

July should have a bigger word count, once I get my edits finished but I don’t know how long that is going to take. I’m going to hope for as many words as June and far less missed days but since I don’t think we’re headed to another campground this month, I should be ahead of the game on that. Mostly, I’ll be happy if I can manage that, a revamp of the etsy shop, AND actually lose 5 pounds.

Mid-month, I have an appointment with the rheumatologist. It’s looking like he’s probably going to end up messing with the medications. I’m in a much better place than I was last year at this time but my bloodwork isn’t showing it so much and I’m still struggling at the end of more days than I’d like. Hopefully, shifting that around will help eliminate my crazy short-term memory problems and maybe even get one with a side effect that’s beneficial, like weight loss (fingers crossed all the ways). If nothing changes at all, I’m still in a place that’s much more liveable than it could be so I’ll make the best of it.


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The Most Beautiful Words

Some of the most beautiful words in the world are “The End.”

I’ve written them for a number of books now, some that will never see the light of day, and others that I can’t wait to show you all. I love writing and sometimes, even with those words, a story doesn’t feel done. And that’s how series happen. I do have a few books that are stand alone one off type books but, now that Christmas in Bear Ridge is done (well, until first readers get back to me and I read through it 8 more times before sending it in before deadline), I’m also looking forward to getting back to Hunter’s Hell and writing those two beautiful words on that story. I have a lot of books in progress but, with the memory issues I’ve been having, I’m learning that it’s probably better to stick to one project at a time right now.

I have more stories than I think I’ll ever have time to tell. I’m going to say that’s a good thing though and run with it.

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Writing Wednesday – Public Speaking

It’s one of those things I really am not comfortable doing but speaking is a part of writing. It mostly comes after the publication part unless you’re an active poet. It’s an important part of getting to know your base and connect with them. My dad was awesome at it but it did not pass down to me. I speak, even to a small group, and I can start off strong but by the end, I’m a shaky, trembling mess of a woman who really would rather sink into the floor than do it again. I’ve always been that way. But, there was a time when I did it anyway and I’m doing my best now to do it anyway again.

1997 reading at Borders. I’m the one in black as usual.

When I was young and brash, I was a part of a reading at a very lovely Borders in Pennsylvania as part of a group of writers who’d been published in a small local magazine. That was the last time I’ve ever participated in an in-person reading. I’d done a few poetry nights at coffee shops during that same year prior to that reading. About ten years ago, I did a phone interview on a radio show and read from a novella and absolutely had a little panic attack (and you can hear it as it builds to boot). I haven’t sought out more opportunities since then, though I did a recording of a short story of mine that found it’s way to a radio show/podcast and that’s fine, no nerves, no twitching (and it’s still available too).

Yesterday, I went to that local writer’s group I wrote about a few weeks ago. I took my oldest kid with me for moral support (poor kid always gets dragged into stuff so I don’t have to do it on my own) but I went. I’m happy to report that, so far, this is not one of the judgy, preachy, picky groups but one where I think I can do some good while I grow and stretch as a writer too. From the people I met, it seems like it might be a really good fit, where I can help and be helped and learn things I didn’t realize I needed to know. You can’t beat that. One of the things this group does is a monthly assignment – a prompt type thing. I did mine and it ended up being more of a poem than a story but I read it. Before I was done, I was shaking and my voice was trying to swallow itself but I read all of the 178 words. And I’m planning on doing it again. And again. And yet again.

I don’t know that’s I’ll ever be as comfortable as my current favorites to watch (there is some language warning in the links if you’re at work or sensitive): Neil Hilborn  or Rachel Wiley, but I’d like to be comfortable enough to share that part of me, that poetry that lives inside me but struggles to get out.

I am not good at peopling but practice makes, not perfect yet, but better. With each craft fair, each face to face, I get a little less me and a little more that person I’d like to be. I write because I love it because it is who and what I am but I also write to publish and part of that is marketing. When you take a story to market, you’re not just selling that story, you’re selling yourself. You can’t really build your base if you aren’t participating in interactions, real world or online, both matter. I’ve been working hard at doing better with that. If you get a chance, go to your local writer’s group, find a slam (and if you do, tell me how!), join Toastmasters – practice the public face of the craft. Go somewhere no one knows you and if it all goes wrong, try again later.

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Writing Wednesday – Making Stuff Up

Part of being a writer is making stuff up. A bigger part of being a successful writer is making up believable stuff. I’ve been making up stories forever. There are times when I’m not exactly sure if a story in my head started in my head or is something I remember from the endless books I read as a kid. Once, I made up a word, a concept, in a story and three years later when I picked up that particular story again, I forgot I made it up and started researching to make sure I got the correct terminology. Which of course I did not because I did, in fact, make it up. It irritated me for weeks, trying to find this little bit of information that honestly doesn’t exist (yet – I have high hopes for this book so you might get to see it for yourselves someday).

Just this week, I did it again. I am working on this Christmas book and, given that I am me, there is a lot of mythology that rears up and says hello. There are a lot of really great Christmas, Solstice, Yule, and otherwise Winter myths to play with and I was getting ready to thread one into the story but I wanted to verify it. Guess what? the fairy tale I wanted to use? Totally made up by me a few years ago when I was going to do a very particular present for the kids in my family. I didn’t do that particular present so it got shuffled away into the starts and fizzles file on my computer. With a different story, I’d just go ahead and use it but I am trying to keep this one to real myths and stories. Not everyone is going to recognize them but they’re all from somewhere real and not just my brain.

I’m actually really upset about that particular winter fox myth but I’m absolutely going to use it in another story someday. I think a telling of it as a short story. If I remember to do it. I have an awful lot of projects going right now but I just keep getting fun ideas dagnabit.

A good writer can make up words, things, ideas, and have their readers absolutely believe in them.

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March Wrap Up and April Goals

Happy Easter!

I can’t believe I’m still managing to get words counted! I’ve always struggled to maintain any sort of accuracy in counting but this Excel file is just about perfect for me.

On the writing, I missed 4 days and had a few under 500 days but I was very consistent overall. 35,417 words for the final tally for March, not quite to my goal and only 200 words better than February but, I’m still very happy with it. I got words in on all my projects but I don’t see that happening next month. My goal is to get Christmas in Bear Ridge zero draft done next month and I’m not super worried about anything else. Word counts are awesome and I’d like to stay in line if not do better than the last two months.

On the fitness front – I didn’t gain any weight so that’s not terrible. I didn’t lose any either though and that’s kind of annoying. I loaded up the MyFitnessPal app again and I’m trying to be good about it. I don’t always succeed but oh well. I’ll get there. I am moving more. This month there was a lot of heavier foods and too much eating out. I did get my stretching bands washed because they made me itchy and I’m able to do the steps a little bit better but in the biggest news, I successfully got up off the ground by myself. I would like to lose weight as I’m sure everything will be easier if I do but I’m not going to be miserable in order to do it – Calories In, Calories Out. That’s about all I have the tenacity for right now.

On the Rheumatoid front, I did spend a chunk of this month with my cane – my ankle did something ridiculous for no good reason and swelled up again for a few days, my knees were a bit achy, and some mornings, my feet were flat evil. My husband bought me a new cane – pretty much a length of knotty, maybe burled wood with a lot of character and a pretty grain with a natural grip and a height that works for me. I love it. My skin is still stupid splotchy, irritated, and now a little angry in spots. Yay makeup. Mostly, my meds are doing what they’re supposed to, even if it isn’t perfect. There are still days but I think that’s just going to be a thing now.  It’s mostly pretty liveable but I’m still adjusting. My short term memory is still really stupid so I’ve been using a to-do list app to keep me on track and on target. It mostly works too! links up with my regular and Google calendar and makes my life much easier.

I didn’t get any art made this month but I thought about it and I planned some out in my head. Well, no, I did dye eggs. I’m totally going to count my six shaving cream and food coloring eggs as art. I had wanted to do more but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. April. Definitely April.

On the personal front, it was sort of a big month – I saw an old friend I hadn’t seen since the summer of 98, my oldest child got inducted into the National Honor Society, I had my annual meeting at the school for my youngest child’s IEP (always nerve-wracking, almost always easy), and, most importantly, celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary. I still can’t believe he’s put up with me this long – he must be crazy. Next month should be a lot slower so hopefully that means also more productive too.

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Sometimes Writing is like Needlepoint

Or maybe building with Lego. One dropped stitch, one missed brick, and the whole thing doesn’t quite work. It might be close, it might be passable, but once you’ve seen the error, it’s all you can see. There are a lot of good threads in my Bear Ridge story but I seem to have dropped a stitch somewhere. It’s not so bad that I have to start from scratch, just that I have to change direction, just a little bit, which requires that I go back to the beginning. I just happen to have some of the needles already threaded this time.

For the time being, the story does now have a proper working title, Christmas in Bear Ridge. But I know me and the odds are good that there will end up being a different title before the end of things. But for now, Stack to my Bory. My computer has yet to figure out how to type while I’m dreaming so, by hand it must be done!

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Happenings and almost news

I have an exciting thing that will hopefully, all things going well, come out just in time for Christmas this year. The idea is pretty fleshed out in my head – the town was already there, some of the players too, it was just waiting for the right call, the right nudge. So, everything cooperating, I’ll have a witchy magic town Christmas romance available this year. I’m having a horrible time with a title though and that’s unusual for me. With most projects, the title comes really easy and maybe it will by the time I finish the zero draft up. Hunter’s Hell is now my backburner project for a few weeks while that zero draft is hammering out. Gods of the Fallen is being put on hold for a bit. The funny thing is I had just been playing around with ideas for Eldercynne Knight before this hit. Too many projects, not enough time, not enough spoons.

For the time being, the tag will be for Bear Ridge but that won’t be the title. Right now, all the titles I have mulled are already out there, come straight from songs, or have nothing to do with the story. I can’t really title it witchy-ish magic town Christmas romance, can I?

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February Wrap Up & March Goals

Well, February was my best month since the last time I won a NaNoWriMo. I am a bit of a spreadsheet geek – facts and figures make me so happy.

The figures!

35,221 total words written for February (47,806 for the year)

How does that break down you ask? 9201 words on Gods of the Fallen, 19552 on Hunter’s Hell, 4011 on this blog, 1694 for the Geek Girl Project, and 44 words worth of poetry (or one rough poem). I don’t do a count of any of my handwritten stuff – notes, snippets, my personal diary and such because that would be a pain in the butt to do.

I missed three days out of the month and that’s it. That’s so freaking awesome. I’m really quite proud of myself today, at least on the writing front.

The health front faired less well … stupid yummy food, stupid boring exercise … I actually gained two pounds. However, given how much junk I probably really ate, that’s not so bad. I bought some new resistance bands to help with some of that and I’m trying really hard to stick with the calorie counter app. For me, it’s really more about the calories – if I can keep that under control, I’m good. Doing actual exercise is just a thing I do so I can eat what I want.

I am tolerating the increase in methotrexate pretty well – changing the time of day has made a world of difference. Now I get to sleep through pretty much all of the tired and icky feelings. I’m not pain-free but I’m certainly at mostly tolerable levels and actually able to type. I’m not up to normal speeds but I am thinking that I have to consider this a new normal. I think my days of 80-90 wpm are probably over.

On to March Goals!

On the writing front, I’d like the total count to be higher than February’s and not just because of the missing days. I don’t mind having to not write for a day or three – I might have things that need doing, might be too tired or drained or whatever. I do want to aim for that 50k word count. Realistically, that should be my average at a minimum. That’s only 1650 words per day on average. I might have some days that are only 300 words and days that are close to 4000 words. I really should be able to do 1650 words per day on average. And I really should add a per day average number to my spreadsheet!

On the health front – my biggest goal right now is to be able to get up off the floor without help. Which means I’ll be able to do more proper yoga again I suppose if I can get the dog to leave me be for a minute. Yes, I would like to lose weight. Really, I need to lose a lot of it – 75-80 is my goal (the doctor would be super thrilled with 50 though). So monthly, maybe 5 pounds lost would be really wonderful but the ability to stand up without help is what I’m after.

I got nothing made last month and I would really like to get something neat made this month. So, I want to make at least 5 things in March. I don’t care what they are but 5 somethings. (And find at least one festival I can manage to do for this summer).

I had a lot of progress in February and I just want to keep moving forward as best I can so March is even better.


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So Far, So Good

I’ve been really good at keeping up this word counting and I’ve only missed one day this month writing and that was a holiday. I’m going to have missed days sometimes. Apparently, I’m having my November now. I’m more than on track to hit 50k this month and I’m really pleased about that.

Yesterday was a day full of going and walking and I paid for it last night. I’m glad we went but I feel bad as I move at about the pace of a snail and the poor dear husband moves more like a gazelle and so do my very tall kids. By the end of the day, I felt about like I felt one the day my very first flare started and we began the process of trying to find out what is wrong with me.

I still managed to get words in on Hunter’s Hell though, a little better than 800 of them. I really do love where this story is going. I feel a little guilty doing some of the horrible things to my characters that I do but they also need to happen in order for my lovelies to grow. That’s always my biggest complaint when I read a series – the characters don’t grow or they lean on one particular crutch too much. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the stories or those writers, just that it’s a thing that I note and remind myself to try to avoid.

I adore JD Robb’s in Death series – love em all. BUT, I do think Eve’s constant misunderstanding of common idioms is ridiculous at this point and she’s going to run out of them. In the latest, it wasn’t so much the idioms that bothered me but the botchery of Hitchcock’s name. Sure, not everyone is a movie buff but this isn’t the first in Death book where Hitchcock is mentioned. So it irks me. It irks me just a little as it’s one irksome thing in an otherwise fun book. They are fun, fast reads even with the occasional bout of come on that get under my skin. The most recent installment is fun, not particularly groundbreaking as the basic idea has been done before many times, but it’s a solid outing with Eve and Roarke. Really though that’s the best part of stories – I can read the same story by eight different writers and they’re all different and amazing in their own way.

I’m hoping to get more words in today but if I don’t, I’m not terribly concerned. At least the kids are old enough to, more or less, let me work and not stop me every three minutes to get them this or that or keep them occupied. They’re pretty good now at keeping themselves occupied.

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January Wrap Up

This month has been a pretty busy, pretty decent month!

On the writing front, it’s been the best month I’ve had in a very very long time. I didn’t start counting my words until half-way through the month so it isn’t exactly complete and I didn’t write every day but I only missed three days in the last half of the month and that’s damned good. I wrote 12,585 words in the second half of January and I’m really pleased with that. I also finished the zero draft of Hunter’s Hell which I started in November so, I might be behind there but the bones of this book are solid and awesome. I submitted Purgatory’s Queen (sci-fi/thriller) and Demonborn (dark fantasy) so fingers crossed all over the place there. I also put in some words on the Gods of the Fallen first draft. I’ll be working both HH and GOTF first drafts for the next month or two. I’ll be very happy if HH is done mid-March.

On the health front: I’ve come a long way in the last six months but I’m not all the way there yet. I can do laundry all by myself now and stand up long enough to do dishes without using the tall stool to perch on. I can type at 3/4 speed for half an hour at a stretch. I’m not back to normal but I’m so damned happy to be where I’m at! I’m even exercising again. Slowly, gently, but exercising. I turned on my calorie counting app and hooked up the Wii Fit board. I’m only down about a pound but at least I’m back to going the right direction. Being off the prednisone is great but I think we’re probably not finished adjusting the methotrexate just yet.

The kids are doing well in school. Husband is the awesome. Husband’s family pulled through their recent health stuff, even if it didn’t exactly go as planned. This might be the closest month I’ve had to normal since my Dad died. ❤  Hopefully this month is even better!

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