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Archive for May, 2012

Writing Wednesday: ROWing to the End

Hard to believe it’s already almost the end of May. One more week and my daughter will be done with her first year of school. Not sure how that’s possible. Anyways, I don’t have a lot to report for this last week. It was a four day weekend around here since Friday was scheduled to be a make up day if school had been cancelled over the winter(and due to a very mild winter, it never was). And it was in the 80s/90s over the weekend, so we spent quite a bit of time outside. So, I didn’t get much done on any of my goals.

And we rearranged the living room on Monday, and I put the playpen away(considering Nathan almost climbed out of it. Had one leg over the one side and very nearly pulled himself out). I no longer have my fenced off section of the living room, so I have to put the computer away when he is awake. Which means I have to try to get everything done when he is sleeping. It’s an adjustment. And it may mean refocusing my goals.

  • Have edits finished for Guarding the Heart

I thought I had finished this one on Friday. Then, over the weekend I thought of another scene to add to it. Realized I had not resolved something, just kind of left it hanging. So, I’m working on that now.

  • Find Beta Readers for Guarding the Heart

Have one possibly lined up, just need to get back to her. Would still like a couple more eyes on it though.

  • Have at least 11000 words on Slow Revenge

I haven’t touched it since Thursday. I’m at 9999 right now. Once I do get this last scene done for Guarding the Heart, I’ll turn my focus back to this one.

  • Have at least 29 stories for the Story a Day challenge

Haven’t written any since Thursday for this either. So that’s 23 out of the 30 I should have. Have pretty much given up on getting any more done.

  • Keep up to date on reading blogs and replying to comments.

Have read some but didn’t spend much time on any blogs over the weekend. Behind on replying to comments and never did do a knitting post for Monday. Probably the only reason I had a post on Tuesday is because it was already scheduled. Need to get back on track with that as well.

  • Have What Doesn’t Kill You finished.

Finished this on Sunday. Now I’m reading The Gnome, by Lauralynn Elliott. Almost finished with it.

For next week, I want to:

  • Finish this scene for Guarding the Heart.
  • Find at least two more Beta Readers.
  • Have at least 11000 words for Slow Revenge
  • Catch up on blogs and comments
  • Finish The Gnome and start a new book.

Short Tuesday: Seeing, Not Believing

Something moved in the cupboard. I took a step back, hoping I had not seen what I had just seen. But, there it was again. I moved cans out of the way. Peas. Soup. beans. I don’t know why I took note of each item as I moved it, as if I had to mark it off a mental checklist. In the very back were the jars of mostly fruit and products I had canned myself. Applesauce. Strawberry jelly. Peaches. And finally I was to the back of the cupboard.

I just stared. There was nothing there. Well, of course there was something. The back wall of the cupboard didn’t just disappear. In fact, it was covered by dust and cobwebs as I never thought to clean back here. Except for when I was looking for something to eat and put it off for another time. Wasn’t that always the way?

But, I had seen something move. Where was it? What was it? If it was some creepy crawly thing, and I couldn’t think of what else it could be, I didn’t want it in there with my food. But, I no longer saw anything.

Then, I did. Just a thin line of light at the bottom of the cupboard. As if there was a crack there and light from the next room was coming through. But, that made no sense. There was not a room on the other side of that cupboard. And no one here, other than me, to turn a light on.

I stuck my head a little farther into the cupboard and repressed a shiver at the feel of the cobwebs in my hair. “Really need to clean this.”

And I felt something. Something that was not a cobweb. More like a breeze just brushing over my skin. And that thin line of light widened as if the back of the cupboard was opening. Which is just what it did.

I jumped back, unable to believe what I was seeing, and hit my head on the top of the cupboard. I cursed and slammed the cupboard door shut. Maybe I had already hit my head and was hallucinating. There was no world of little people living behind my cupboard wall. I went and got ice for the bump on my head and convinced myself I had not seen anything after all. And when I went to the cupboard again, nothing moved.


Family Friday: Field Trips, Birthday Parties, & Riding Bikes

Last Friday, Hayleigh went on her first field trip. It was to the Pymatuning Deer Park near Jamestown, Pa. I swear this is about all she talked about for a whole week before she went. It was also the first time she’s been away for a full school day since pre-k is only half a day. She was so excited to go on the field trip. I was nervous because I didn’t know how she would do being gone all day. Shouldn’t have worried. She always does good out somewhere. It’s at home that she has meltdowns and fits.

As soon as she got home, she started telling me about the trip. In fact, she must have been so excited to tell me all about it, that she almost forgot her bookbag on the bus. Another girl had to get off and run across the road to give it to her. One of the first things she told me was that the other kids screamed when the train went through the tunnel. She also told me about feeding the deer crackers and seeing monkeys and a tiger(not what I expected at the deer park). And of course about playing on the playground with her boyfriend(the kid she shares a cubby with at school). And then she wanted to know when she could go again. So, I guess she did have a good time.

On Saturday, Hayleigh practiced riding her bike. We got this bike last year from my sister. It had been my oldest niece’s, but she had moved up to another bike. Last year though, Hayleigh could barely even reach the pedals. So, she obviously did not do any riding then. This year, she has really wanted to ride it. But, when she sat on it, she could not get the pedals to move. Either she doesn’t have the leg strength for it, or just isn’t exactly sure how to make them work. I’ve been having push the pedals around to show her how to do it. But, I can’t keep an eye on Nathan when I’m doing that.

So on Saturday, while Nathan was taking a nap, we went outside to practice riding her bike. And I realized that if I steered, she could work the pedals once she got going. So, that is progress. Now, we just need to work on the steering.

Ready to ride her bike.

Then, on Sunday, we had my youngest  niece’s first birthday. It was the second one this month. In June, there will be three birthday parties(another niece, and two of Cory’s cousin’s kids). None in July, but 2 in August and Nathan’s will round out the busy birthday season at the beginning of September. It was a really warm day and they set up a sprinkler and filled up a little kiddie pool for the kids to play in.

She actually surprised and impressed me. She played with the other kids in the sprinkler. Well, she didn’t really play with them, but did play around them. Normally if other kids were playing there, she would have stayed away from it. So, it made me happy that she’d still go around the other kids. She has definitely made progress there since starting school even if she’s still not as social as other kids.

Sliding down into the pool

Running through the sprinkler

Eating some cake

And just because he’s a little ham.

Writing Wednesday: ROWing Through the Slump

I hit a slump late last week, and instead of struggling against it, I let it slide. Took the weekend basically off. Did get my story written on Saturday, but not on Sunday. Instead, I spent the day at a birthday party and outside playing with the kids. And I am perfectly fine with that. Had a little bit of trouble getting back on track Monday, but did still get some things done.

  • Be through edits for chapter 27 of Guarding the Heart

Not there yet. I’m working on Chapter 27. Have a scene I’m adding to it, so need to get that written. This is the last of the scenes I’m adding in, so the rest should go quicker.

  • Find Beta readers for Guarding the Heart

Still nothing on this front. If anyone is interested in reading over it for me, let me know. I posted a synopsis last Thursday.

  • Have at least 15000 words written on Slow Revenge

Not even close. Right now I am at 9683 words. I have decided that I’m just going to work on this if I have time after finishing my Story a Day each morning. At least until I have finished going through Guarding the Heart. Once the editing is done on that, and I send it out to beta readers, I can focus more time on Slow Revenge. Until then, my daily goal is 250 words.

  • Keep up with Story a Day

Right now, I am 22/23. Have only missed one.

  • Keep up to date on reading  blogs and replying to comments.

Doing good with reading blogs and have kept up with posting my own for the last week. Have fallen behind on replying to comments though.

  • Be 50% through Come Back to Me.

Finished reading it Thursday night. Stayed up late reading it and was really disappointed in the ending. Started reading What Doesn’t Kill You by Iris Johansen. Am currently about 32% through it.

For next week, I want to:

  • Have edits finished for Guarding the Heart
  • Find Beta Readers for Guarding the Heart
  • Have at least 11000 words on Slow Revenge
  • Have at least 29 stories for the Story a Day challenge
  • Keep up to date on reading blogs and replying to comments.
  • Have What Doesn’t Kill You finished.


Short Tuesday: The Dare

This was the first story I wrote for May’s Story a Day challenge. And I think the shortest.


I cared what she thought, so when she dared me I knew I was in trouble. “This isn’t smart,” I said, looking from her out into the darkness.

“Come on,” she said and slipped her hand into mine. “It will be fine. Fun even.”

She tugged on my hand, but I hesitated. It wouldn’t be fine. I knew that. It might be fun, but I knew it would never be fine.

“We shouldn’t do this.”

“Come on,” she said again. With a little less humor this time. And more irritation. “No one will even know we’re gone. Have some fun. You don’t always have to do the smart thing.”

But, I did. Sometimes it seemed I was the only one left who did. And someone had to.

Her hand slipped from mine and slid up my arm. “Come on. I promise you’ll have a good time.”

I knew I would go. Just as I knew everything would not be fine after tonight, I knew I couldn’t resist her. And she knew it too. She danced away from me. And I followed her. Out into the darkness. Down to the water where I knew both of our lives would be changed forever. Nothing I did would stop up. I could postpone it, but nothing would change the ways things were to be. So, I went with it. And she was right. I did have fun.

Knitting Monday: Sun Hat Finished

Last week, I mentioned the sun hat I had started for Hayleigh. Well, I finished it on Thursday. This one only took me about nine hours to finish.  It did turn out really nice. I hadn’t done one with adding the brim after knitting the rest of the hat before, so I was a little worried about how it would turn out. But, it does look nice and Hayleigh likes it(it’s pink, of course she likes it).

I started another hat over the weekend. Haven’t gotten too far on it now, but will hopefully have it finished in the next couple of days.I do like that hats usually only take me a couple of days to finish as long as I have the time to work on them.



Family Friday: Reading

Hayleigh has always loved books. She’d sit and let me read books to her from a very early age. We’ve gone from reading in the glider(which is now in her brother’s room anyway) to reading in her bed, and to where we are now, reading a story before bed out on the couch. She even went through a period of about six months where she would take a couple books to bed. I’m not really sure when or why this ended. I know we started it because she kept getting out of bed right after I tucked her in. So, I put a lamp in her room and let her “read” before she had to shut her light off. And she started staying in bed. And almost every night when I went in to turn the light off, usually by 8, she had fallen asleep with the books.

For Christmas of 2009, when she was 2, she received the Tag Jr reading system by Leapfrog. She really enjoyed using that although we only ended up getting a few books for it. And she continued to want to read her regular books. And she would even tell me what was happening in the pictures. Earlier this year, I noticed that she wasn’t just doing that though. She seemed to be repeating the words as well. Now, I don’t know if she was actually recognizing the words or just has the stories memorized. Especially since the one I noticed this with was Green Eggs and Ham, which we’d been reading every night for the last week(and I always let her pick out the story she wants). And I noticed the more I encouraged her to do it, the more she would read of a story.Now, one time she did read a couple pages of Pinkalicious without even looking at the words. Yes, we have read that one more than a few times.

This past weekend, we were shopping, and Hayleigh used some of the money she still had from Christmas to buy the Tag reading system(and even gave the Tag Jr to her brother along with all but one of the books). So far she only has the one book that came with it(but it will also read the Tag Jr books, just not the other way around), but she really seems to enjoy going through it. She does still have some money left, so we may pick up another book for it the next time we go shopping. And her birthday is less than three months away, so I’m sure she will get some more then.

I’m just glad that she loves reading so much. Now, her brother on the other hand. He’ll barely sit still long enough to look at a book, unless he’s ripping the pages out of it. :/


Random Thursday: Beta Readers

I am once again looking for beta readers. I didn’t have any takers the last time I posted about this. Hoping it just got passed over(think the original post was between rounds of ROW80). So, now that I’m getting closer to finishing edits of Guarding the Heart, I am reposting that original blog post(or at least the part that is still relevant):

anyone interested in reading through this when it’s ready? It is a romantic suspense and runs about 83,000 words. Here’s a quick synopsis:

Casey Brannigan, a personal bodyguard and former Marine, who is trying to get his life back after losing his last client. He almost lost his life and is on the verge of losing his business as well. With his future and that of his partner and best friend, at risk, he feels he has no choice but to take the next job that comes their way no matter what it is.

But when he gets the phone call from Senator Blaine, he wants to turn down the job even though he knows they cannot afford to and feels forced to take it. His daughter, Emelyn, who Casey thinks is just a spoiled rich girl, has been receiving threats against her life. Her father wants someone to protect her while the police look for the person behind the threats. Casey thinks this will be an easy job and goes by himself to her house to watch her. But, there are problems from the start. And when he finds his feelings for her deepening, he realizes there’s more to her than what you see on the surface.

Now, he has to decide if it is worth the risk of getting close to her only to lose her. When Emelyn is taken under his watch, he throws everything he has into finding her, even calling on people he has not spoken to in years. But, as time starts to run out, he fears he will never see her again, let alone confess his true feelings for her. As he closes in on the man who took her, he is forced to face the past he’s tried to leave behind. Will he find her in time or will he have to bury another woman he loves?

Writing Wednesday: Breaking It Down

Last week when I started working on the new WiP, I put down on my to-do list just to write that day’s words. Well, I realized this was not working for me. It took forever until I was able to cross that off. So, I did what always seems to work best for me. Took a larger goal and broke it down into smaller ones. So, at the beginning of my list I have down to write my Story a day, then finish my 750 words(since I write the stories at 750words.com) and then write 500 words on the new WiP. And then I have a few other things I want to get done and among those I repeat my small writing and editing goals. I seem to get a lot more done this way, although I have changed from the word goal to more of a time goal. So writing/editing for half an hour at a time. And then I work my way methodically through my to-do list. and I find myself actually getting things done.

As to what I actually got done over the last week:

  • Be through edits for Chapter 25 of Guarding the Heart

Not there yet. Adding a couple scenes into chapter 23, and still working on that.

  • Find Beta readers for Guarding the Heart

Still no closer on this one.

  • Have at least 8750 words on Slow Revenge

Not there yet. Last Wednesday afternoon, I got a really bad sinus headache and just could not focus. Only got 394 words written. still felt pretty bad on Thursday, so spent most of the day reading. Only wrote 311 words. Started to get back on track on Friday with over 1800 words. Thought about writing to catch up over the weekend, but with my niece’s birthday party Saturday and going out for Mother’s Day on Sunday, we weren’t really home much. So, I was still behind coming into this week. I did write at least 1K Monday and Tuesday, but I still only have 7895 words as of right now. Planning on writing some more later today, so may still meet that.

  • Keep up with Story A Day

Doing good here. Haven’t missed any days yet.

  • Keep up to date on reading blogs and replying to comments

Doing good with reading blogs. And pretty good with staying caught up replying to comments on mine. Falling behind on posting to my own though. Skipped last Thursday and Friday. Almost skipped Monday’s then buckled down and wrote one. And I must have messed up on scheduling posts, because it appears two posted on Tuesday.

  • Be 25% through Willowtree

I gave up on this one, I think before I even got to the 25% mark. Then, I read Sink or Swim by Stacy Juba, One Small Victory by Maryann Miller, and Darker by Degree by Keri Knutson and Susan Branham, all within about 3 days. And yesterday I finished When a Man Loves a Woman by Alina Adams and started Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster.

goals for next check-in:

  • Be through edits for chapter 27 of Guarding the Heart
  • Find Beta readers for Guarding the Heart
  • Have at least 15000 words written on Slow Revenge
  • Keep up with Story a Day
  • Keep up to date on reading  blogs and replying to comments.
  • Be 50% through Come Back to Me.


Short Tuesday: Here Then Gone

It had just been here, and now we couldn’t find it. I looked around me then out to the woods beyond. Then, over at my cousin. “I saw it go down, didn’t you?”

He nodded. “Right here. Your shot took it clean. It should be here. But, there’s no sign of it. No blood or anything.”

I sighed. Maybe the deer I had shot had gone off into those woods. But my cousin was right. There should have been at least a trail of blood to follow. I had seen it go down under my arrow as well. “Come on. We need that meat. We’ll have to go in after it.”

I could feel his hesitation though and turned to face him. And he shook his head. “I’m not going in there. Haven’t you heard the stories?”

“You know I have. I’ve told you some of them.” I turned back toward those woods, supposedly haunted, and away from him. “But, I don’t have a chance. Ma’s counting on me. If I don’t bring that meat home, we won’t have anything to eat. And the little ones need to eat.”

I knew he didn’t follow me as I started for those trees. His family wasn’t as desperate as mine. His father was still home, so he didn’t have to provide for his family when he wasn’t even a man yet. We were the same age, but by circumstance, I had to be older, to act older. I wasn’t bitter about it. It just was what it was. I took another arrow from the quiver on my back and held my bow ready for when I came across the animal. Not only did we need the meat, but I couldn’t afford to lose one of the arrows I had crafted myself.

I took another step deeper into the woods and heard the crunch of a foot on dead leaves and sticks to my left. I turned, bringing my bow up to aim at whoever it was. I wouldn’t let anyone get between me and my family’s next meal. But, there was no one there.

Then, another crunch. This one closer and behind me. Could it be the monster reported to live here? They said you wouldn’t see him until he was right on you. I shook my head. I didn’t believe in monsters anymore. At least not the ones that lived under the beds and in our nightmares. I turned again and still nothing. Letting out the breath I’d been holding, I started forward again.

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