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Archive for June, 2012

Writing Wednesday: ROW80 Round 3 Goals

It’s that time again. Since Round 3 starts on Monday July 2, it’s time to start thinking about what I want to accomplish during this round. This time last year, I was making goals for my very first round.I once again have my goals categorized, but am keeping them fairly simple.


  • Finish the first draft of Slow Revenge by 8/10.

Since I seem to get the most of my writing done first thing in the morning, I’m setting aside that first hour of the day(sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less) and dedicating it to writing. No playing on Facebook, no checking email, just putting my butt in the chair and writing. Whether I get 100 words or 1000, it won’t matter. As long as I spend that time writing.


  • Read 1 chapter a day of Stained Snow to finish by 7/13 and make notes on changes to make.

This seems quick, but since there are only 10 chapters, it shouldn’t take long to read through.

  • Have edits finished by 7/31.
  • Start Guarding the Heart edits on 8/13
  • Finish Guarding the Heart edits by: 9/14


  • Decide on next story idea once Slow Revenge is finished
  • Plot out idea using snowflake method.
  • Be ready to start writing in September.


  • Read 12 novels(or 1 a week)
  • Read 1 craft book

So, there are my goals for this round. For me, this is keeping them simple. And some depend on getting the previous ones done on time. The deadlines may change, but I like to have that as a goal as it keeps me motivated.

Who else is doing this round of ROW80? what do your goals look like?

Short Tuesday: The Hunt

The footprints in the snow suddenly ended. I looked around me, but there was no sign of my quarry. I had followed his trail here but now there was nothing. “A wounded animal doesn’t just disappear,” I muttered.

My family needed this kill. The little ones were hungry for something more than the bread Mother had been able to afford. I had been splitting my share between them. Until Mother learned what I was doing and insisted I needed to eat as well.

I started farther into the woods, where I had seen the deer flee after being struck by my arrow. But, there were any number of little paths through the woods the animal could have taken. Then, I saw a streak of blood along on side of a tree with a feather stuck in it. I knew that feather came from an arrow I had carefully crafted myself. Another reason I had to find this animal.

I started past the tree, keeping my bow at the ready with another arrow in case I ran into the deer and needed to take it down. Or anything else. I had heard the stories about these woods. How could I not? I had lived here for all of my fifteen years. And I knew I was not the only boy the same age out here trying to provide for his family.

I heard a noise ahead of me and off to my right. I moved slowly so I did not frighten the deer away when I came upon him. But, when I came into a clearing  and saw him, I realized that would not be necessary. He was already down. Still alive, but unable to get back on his feet. I raised my bow, aiming the arrow for his heart. It wasn’t just about the meat I could bring home now. I couldn’t let an animal suffer because of me.

But, I found I could not release the string between my fingers. Then, a light washed over the clearing. The light did not hurt my eyes as the sun would have. And the figure coming toward me through that light was anything but a monster. She stopped beside the wounded animal and rested her hand on his head. Then, she looked up at me, and I found myself lowering my weapon as if against my will.

“You do not need to harm this animal today, Son. Your family will be provided for. Go home now.”

Then, my arrow was out of the animal’s side and back in my hand. I must have been in shock because I did just as the woman said. Turned around and started back the way I had come. It wasn’t until I was almost home that I questioned just who she was. And why I had listened to her. Then, I worried about what I would find when I got home. They were counting on the meat I could bring home, and I had failed them.

ROW80 Goals Review

Hard to believe another ROW80 round is over. This makes a whole year of doing this for me. And I’m sure I’ve achieved more in this last year than I would have otherwise, even if I have not always met all of my goals in the time I had planned.


  • Spend at least 1 hour a day reading through and taking notes on the first draft of Guarding the Heart.

I may not have spent an hour each day, but I did have this and all the edits done by the beginning of June(or early in June at least).

I did find some readers for it, even though it took longer than I thought it would.

  • Send it out to Beta Readers by 5/11.

that didn’t happen. I have a couple more people to send it to today.


  • Decide on the next WiP.
  • Once chosen, apply snowflake method to story idea.
  • Have story fully plotted and outlined by 4/30.

All of this was done just not by the end of April. Did start writing it in May, then set it aside until I finished editing Guarding the Heart.


  • Write 1 piece of flash fiction a week.

I definitely have more than 1 piece a week after doing the Story a Day in May challenge. Not sure exactly how many I wrote though.

  • By 5/1 start working on next WiP.

Didn’t start on 5/1. Was probably about a week later than that, and like I said, set it aside until I finished editing the other one.

Social Media:

  • Keep up with my Blog schedule
  • Have posts done at least 1 day in advance

This one I had trouble keeping up with.


  • Finish reading Plot & Structure and complete the exercises for each chapter.

Finished this one at the beginning of the round.

  • Read 2 novels a month, or one every 2 weeks.

I’ve done pretty well with this one and even read more than that sometimes. Not exactly sure how many I’ve read, but it’s definitely more than 6.


Overall I have done pretty good with my goals this round. Now, it’s times to decide what my goals will be for the next round.

Writing Wednesday: Final Round 2 Check-In

I’m going to be doing a final look at how I did on my overall goals for this round tomorrow. But, first, I’ll check in with how I did on this week’s goals. There weren’t very many of them as I’ve been able to cross more things off as I go. But, I’m continuing to make steady progress.

  • Send Guarding the Heart out to Beta Readers.

got it sent out to 1 yesterday. Then, I posted on my personal Facebook page to see if I could find more readers for it. While I want opinions from other writers, I’d also like ones from people who are simply readers as well. I figure both groups will see different things as they read. I got a pretty good response from that post, so I need to work on getting it out to those people now.

  • Have about 20000 words on Slow Revenge

Almost. As of right now, I am at 19,960. I have decided that instead of having an actual word count goal, I’m committing to writing for 2 hours every day. I usually avoid time goals because sometimes all I do is sit and stare at the screen. But, I have decided that if that’s all I do, it’s fine. I still have my butt in the chair and hopefully next time it will work better. I have these 2 hours broken up into 2 sessions. One first thing in the morning and the other during the ROW80 sprint in the afternoon. So far, the morning session seems to be the more productive one. Of course, I just started doing this yesterday. I do still have a target I want to reach each day, but that’s more so I know how much I need to write to meet my deadline, which I have changed to the end of July. I know I may not meet this, but I’d really like to have it finished before my daughter’s birthday.

  • Finish reading Director’s Cut.

Finished reading this Monday night. Enjoyed it.

  • Re-figure my blog schedule

Still haven’t looked too much at this. Thinking what I’ll do is just keep it as a guide instead of a strict schedule. If I don’t have anything to write for that day, I won’t stress about it. But, at least I’ll still have an idea of what to write about.

Did good on the goals I set for myself this week. And as I said, I’ll review how I did on my overall round goals tomorrow.

Short Tuesday: Slamming Door

The door slammed behind him. He cringed but just kept walking. She obviously did not want him there anymore. So, he would not turn around and beg. Instead he walked to his car.

And he just sat behind the steering wheel. He had no desire to go anywhere. He wanted to be back in there with her. But, that made no sense, since she obviously did not want him anymore.

What had the fight even been about? He couldn’t remember now. He knew they’d both had a little too much to drink the night before. But, it wasn’t the first time. And they didn’t fight every time they drank. Just most of the times. He should be used to it. And she always let him back in. But, this time felt different. Very different.

She hadn’t been hungover this morning. Not like he was. No she had seemed stone cold sober when she told him she wanted him to leave. And she never wanted him to come back again.

He shook his head. He’d heard those words before. Many times before. But, there was something else in her voice this time. Something that told him she meant it this time.

He dropped his head to the steering wheel. He didn’t want to be without her. They must be meant for each other, since they could not stay apart. At least that’s what he always told himself. Even if they turned into uglier versions of themselves whenever they came together.

He shook his head and stepped back out of the car. He wasn’t going to let her use him like a yo-yo anymore. He would put a stop to that right now. He slammed the car door behind him and walked back up to the house.


Family Friday: Summer Fun

We have been blessed recently with some really nice weather. This was really nice especially with my niece’s 5th birthday party this past Sunday. They just recently got a pool, so Hayleigh was really looking forward to swimming at the party.  And thankfully the weather cooperated for that. Shortly after we got to the party, Hayleigh was in the pool. Of course, she can’t swim on her own, so I was in there with her and she had her life jacket on. But, even with that on, she was clinging to me. After presents were opened and cake and ice cream eaten, we were back in the pool. Two of her cousins had these “puddle jumper” flotation device things. I had seen them before, but didn’t want to get them for her until I had tried them on her. So, she borrowed one of her cousin’s while we were there. And suddenly I had a completely different child.

Hayleigh has always been a very cautious child, pretty much from the day she was born. She would sit and watch everything until she was sure she could do it. She’s still that way really. Well, once she got these puddle jumpers on, that was gone. She was still a little nervous at first, but that soon went away. She didn’t cling to us. She even swam her way across the pool(with us right next to her, but we didn’t have to hold on to her). After that, we decided we definitely needed to get her one of her own. It seemed pointless last year because we really only went swimming a couple times a year(and she has really only grown into the weight range, 30-50 lbs, in the last year). But, we now know three different people with pools, one of them my sister-in-law who lives just down the driveway from us. So, I see more swimming in our future. Cory’s mom picked up one of these puddle jumpers this week, so now Hayleigh has her own.

Trying on her puddle jumper

Cory’s mom was on vacation this week, and she came up on Wednesday to take us to lunch and then to the park so the kids could play. Hayleigh had the choice between Pizza Hut or McDonald’s(really the only choices in our town). And she chose McDonald’s. This isn’t odd for an almost five-year-old, but her reason for the choice? Because they have apples there. And she ate those before she even touched her nuggets or fries. After lunch, we headed over to the park. The kids had a lot of fun going up the steps and down the slides(okay, Nathan had more fun going up and down the steps and acting like he was going to dive right off the platforms), and swinging. I am really starting to believe that I gave birth to a monkey who has absolutely no fear. Certainly the exact opposite of his big sister.Although she did go part way across the monkey bars with me holding onto her legs. and she did go up the little rock wall(although she couldn’t figure out at first what to do with her hands and feet when she got close to the top.

Maybe I’ll just jump down…or give Mommy a heart attack

thinking about walking down the slide

Going up the rock wall

After we left that park, we went to another little playground in town. And the kids played there some more. And Nathan ended up having to sit on the bench for a bit because he kept trying to run out of the playground towards the road. Like I said, no fear.

riding the motorcycle at the “tot lot”

riding the horse

driving the fire truck

climbing down the slide

The kids had a good time playing. And Nathan came home and took a late 2 hour nap and was only up a little past when he would usually be asleep at night. Of course, they were both still up fairly early in the morning, but that is just a normal occurrence in our house.

Writing Wednesday: Nearing the End

Hard to believe it is almost the end of another round of ROW80. This will make the fourth one I’ve finished. In that time I’ve finished two novel first drafts and one novella. A lot more than I’ve finished in previous years. I’m very good at starting things, but finishing them takes a lot more work.

  • Get Guarding the Heart sent out to Beta Readers.

Not sent out yet, but did contact the two readers I lined up. I just contacted them this morning, so after I hear back from them I will send it out. I would still like a couple more readers as well.

  • have note cards/mapping done on Slow Revenge

Finished this on Wednesday.

  • Going to set a “test mile” of 500 words a day on Slow Revenge. So, have 2500 by Wednesday(for a total of 12500 on the WIP).

On both Thursday and Friday, I managed to meet the test mile but not surpass it by much. Over the weekend, I sat down and figured out how many words I needed to write a day(5 days a week, since I don’t usually write on weekends) to finish by the end of August and came up with about 1232. So, I rounded that up to 1250. I plan on readjusting this goal each weekend, so that I can hopefully meet that deadline. On Monday, I wrote just over 1300 words. And yesterday I had 1266 done in the morning before either of the kids were up. Today I’ve only written 517 so far. Hoping to get more down during nap time though.

  • Finish reading Family Ties

I finished this last week and read Crash Into You by Roni Loren and last night I finished reading Roots of Insight by Breeana Puttroff. Next up is Director’s Cut by Keri Knutson & Susan Branham.

Just one more week to finish meeting those goals. Even if I don’t meet all of them, at least I know I am making progress.

Goals for next week:

  • Send Guarding the Heart out to Beta Readers.
  • Have about 20000 words on Slow Revenge
  • Finish reading Director’s Cut.
  • Re-figure my blog schedule

Short Tuesday: House Hunting

They crinkled their noses, wondering what could make the room smell like this. “The house hasn’t been open in a while,” the realtor explained to the couple who followed him inside.

“That’s not the smell of a closed up house.”

“Thomas, maybe it’s nothing,” the woman beside him said.

But, he shook his head. “It’s definitely something. A house doesn’t smell like this if it’s nothing.”

The realtor was becoming increasingly nervous. The house had sat empty for so long and finally they’d had a pull on the line. If he didn’t reel in this couple, who knew how much longer it would just sit here. “I’m sure your wife is right, Sir. It just needs to be aired out.”

Thomas shook his head again but wandered through the entry way and into a living room. “It’s spacious,” he said, turning in a circle until he had taken it all in.

“Yes, there is lots of room in here,” the realtor assured him, perking up again. “Lots of room for those toys when that baby gets here.”

Thomas’ wife smiled and and rested her hands on her expanding belly. “Only a couple more months. We’re hoping to have a house before that.”

“Well, let’s take you through the rest of the house, so you can decide if it’s the one for you.”

They left the living room and the realtor led them toward the stairs. The woman hesitated. “I think I’ll just stay down here and wander around while you’re up there. If that’s all right.”

“Well, okay, but are you sure you don’t want to see what’s up there?”

“I trust Thomas to let me know what he thinks. If he likes it, then I’ll take a look.”

She headed off down the hallway as Thomas and the realtor started up the steps. They had just reached the second floor landing when he heard his wife scream. He turned and darted back down the stairs, following the sound of her cries. He found her in a bathroom, staring at the decomposing body laying in the bathtub. He fought back his own reaction to the sight and the smell and turned her to him. “Don’t look at it,” he told her.

The realtor came in behind them, and Thomas looked over his shoulder at the other man. “I told you it wasn’t a closed up house smell.”


Family Friday: Pre-K Graduation

Hayleigh’s last day of school was on this past Wednesday. But, the pre-K classes did their graduation on Monday. And even though she will be staying back for another year of pre-k, she was not left out of the celebration. It was a cute ceremony. There was a slideshow playing when we first got there of pictures taken of the kids throughout the year. One of the first ones I saw was of Hayleigh climbing up to one of the slides, and she was looking over her shoulder at the camera. And the look on her face was totally one of her looks. Then, the kids came marching into the room singing a song and wearing caps they had made. They sang a few songs then got their diplomas. And seeing Hayleigh beside all the other kids, I could see just how much smaller she really is than the other kids. Which makes sense considering some of them are almost a full year older than her(since some turned 5 as early as last September).

walking to the front

getting her diploma from her teachers

with the diploma back at her cubby

She’s now on summer vacation. and on the first day of that, she kept asking me when she was going back to school. This girl definitely likes school. Hope that continues for a long time.

Writing Wednesday: Organizing

A couple weeks ago I found an article on a new way to outline. What I’ve been doing works pretty well for me, but I’m always willing to try something new. This method will actually let you see all the plot lines of your story and see how they intersect. thought it was interesting. So, Monday I started filling out note cards with each of my scenes(a  couple of them I put on the same note card b/c they are so closely connected). Right now I have about six left to do. Then, I will go through them and mark which plot line(s) they go with and then draw a diagram to show the different plot lines. I think I will still use the snowflake method to do the initial plotting. But, then will use this to figure out my scenes and outline before putting it all into Scrivener.

Onto what I’ve managed in the last week:

  • Finish this scene for Guarding the Heart.

I did get this done. And I compiled it all and exported to Word. then, I went through and tried to find at least the glaring errors. So, it is now ready for other people to read.

  • Find at least two more Beta Readers.

Nothing here yet. Would anyone else be interested? You can read the synopsis here.

  • Have at least 11000 words for Slow Revenge

Have not gotten any more written on this. Once I finish the note cards and mapping out the scenes, I will get back to the writing. Of course, today is my daughter’s last day of school before summer vacation, so I don’t know how much I’ll get written while she’s home. I know I’ll adjust to the different routine though.

  • Catch up on blogs and comments

I did catch up on reading blogs. Still falling behind on posting blogs and replying to comments. I’m thinking about rearranging my blog schedule since I can’t seem to keep up with it right now. Going to do some more thinking on that.

  • Finish The Gnome and start a new book.

I did finish reading The Gnome last week and started reading Family Ties, by Louise Behiel. I’m currently 89% through it. So, I should be finishing it either today or tomorrow.

Goals for next week:

  • Get Guarding the Heart sent out to Beta Readers.
  • have note cards/mapping done on Slow Revenge
  • Going to set a “test mile” of 500 words a day on Slow Revenge. So, have 2500 by Wednesday(for a total of 12500 on the WIP).
  • Finish reading Family Ties

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