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Archive for September, 2013

September Round Up

I took a break from the blog last week. Didn’t really have much to talk about, which isn’t too big a surprise since I’m not really much of a talker anyway. I am going to try to stick with a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule with Sundays for ROW80 weekly updates. But, the break was good too.

It’s the last day of September, so I figured I’d use today’s post for my monthly evaluation of my goals and to figure out next month’s goals. So, to start, September’s goals were:

  1. The Choice – finish First Draft: This may be a bit optimistic. I’m currently a little over 7000 words and shooting for at least 70,000. But, I hope to get at least close to the end.
  2. Slow Revenge: Edit through at least Chapter 20
  3. Chasing the Ghost – Finish plotting(Again, may be optimistic, but hoping to get through most of it).
  4. Read 10 books
  5. Finish Story Physics
  6. Knit: Soft Ribs in Green, Boo Baby Cloth, Boo Baby Bib
  7. Crochet: Simple Earflap Hat, Easy Scarf, Cheri Hat

7 goals. Shouldn’t be too difficult. So, how did I do?

  1. This was definitely an optimistic goal. The day isn’t over yet, but so far this month I’ve written 51854 words this month, which brought the WiP total to 58991. Not quite as much as I wanted. I did technically write THE END on it, because I wrote all the way through even when I realized it was going to come in really short. Then, I went back and decided to add more scenes into the first part since it was heavily from one character’s POV. So, I’m adding more from the other one’s POV.
  2. I came close on this one. I finished Chapter 18 and plan on getting to Chapter 19 today.
  3. This was another optimistic goal. Not finished with plotting. I am most of the way through the blueprint, only a couple more sections to go. Then, novel notebook, and scene/character cards. So, I should definitely have it all finished in time to start writing by November 1.
  4. Read 11/10 books for the month.
  5. Finished this about a week & a half ago.
  6. I almost finished the Soft Ribs Sweater and did finish the Boo Baby Cloth. Haven’t started the matching bib yet.
  7. I finished crocheting the simple Earflap hat and just started the Easy Scarf yesterday.

Only a couple of the goals for the month were completely met. But, the others I’ve come at close on. So, that’s not too bad since I knew a couple were pretty optimistic even for me. Now, for next month’s goals(we’ll probably see these again when I do my goal post for round 4 of ROW80, but I want to get them down now):

  1. Finish editing Slow Revenge(October is going to be an editing-focused month)
  2. Find a couple Beta Readers for Slow Revenge & send it out
  3. Clean up Stained Snow & send it to critique partner
  4. Decide what I want to do with Healing the Heart(thinking about rewriting as novella)
  5. Finish first draft of The Choice
  6. Finish plotting Chasing the Ghost
  7. Read 10 books(between what’s on my kindle & book sales this past weekend I have 30 waiting)
  8. Knit: Soft Ribs sweater(add buttons), Boo Baby Bib, & Celtic Knot Bag
  9. Crochet: Easy Scarf, Cheri Hat, & Knotted Headband

A couple more goals than last month, but I think I can manage them.

Writing Wednesday: End of Summer Round

This summer and what I see as the summer round(since it goes through most of what’s considered summer around here) have seemed to go by pretty fast. In July I was doing Camp Nanowrimo and trying to finish up a first draft. August saw me focusing on editing another of my WiPs. And still working on yet another first draft. This month I’ve put my focus back on drafting, with editing a lower priority. I guess 80 days can roll on past when you keep yourself busy.

I’ll update on this week’s progress and how I did with my goals for the round. But, first: this week’s WiPPet installment. 9 short paragraphs from the first of the ‘present’ scenes from The Choice.

Mason saw the cloud of dust before he saw the car causing it. Something twisted in his stomach, but he ignored it. Lots of cars came down that road. It meant nothing. He turned back to the tractor he was working on, only pausing long enough to wipe sweat from his forehead. “Can you hand me that wrench, Dad?”

“Did you see the car?” James asked as he handed the tool down to him.

“Yeah.” It was all he said. He had other things to worry about than some stranger coming to town. He barely went into town if he didn’t have to.

“You don’t even care that she’s back.”

He jerked at that and bounced his head off the bottom of the tractor. “It’s not her,” he said. “She’s not coming back. She has nothing here.”

“That’s not true, and you know it. Her parents moved back here a couple years ago. I heard her marriage ended a couple months ago.”

“You read a lot in those tabloids. It doesn’t mean any of it is true.”

“Your mom heard it from her mother. You know she barely glances at those trashy things.”

He did know it, and it didn’t make his stomach feel any better. “She made her choice seven years ago, Dad. It wasn’t me. Now, can we fix this thing?”

You can visit the other Wippeteers here.

As for my ROW80 progress, it’s not quite the end of the round, and I haven’t quite met all my goals. But, I’ll report on my progress anyway and on how my round went.

  • The Choice: Write 10,500 words(3500/day) – I managed the 3500/day, at least for Monday and Tuesday. Not quite there today. But, I have 8900 so far for the week. I should certainly make this goal today.
  • Slow Revenge: Edit through Chapter 12 – I got through Chapter 11 last night. Will work on Chapter 12 once I get today’s words down.
  • Chasing the Ghost: Get through character arc in blueprint – I got through the first two sections, still have to do the character arc section though.
  • Read: Finish Laid Bare(Lauren Dane) and read The Look of Love(Bella Andre) – Finished Laid Bare on Monday and started The Look of Love yesterday. Currently 33% through it.
  • Story Physics: Finish reading – 2 more chapters to go.
  • Crochet: Simple Earflap Hat – I finished the body of the hat last night. Still have to do the earflaps and tassels though.

I’ve made pretty good progress for half a week. Now, the question is, how did I do on my goals this round?

Writing:
Demons Rising: finish 1st draft(hopefully this month during campnanowrimo) – I did finish this during July. Woohoo for deadlines!
Guarding the Heart: Start 1st draft -shooting for 70k by the end of the round  – I didn’t even start this. Started working on The Choice instead.

Editing:
Slow Revenge: send to readers – sent this to my CP
Make changes – Still working through these.
Stained Snow: Read through – did this
Make changes – done and sitting again until I finish Slow Revenge. Although I might send to CP to get her opinion on it. I still have to cut a couple thousand words if it’s going to be a novella.
Send to readers (if there’s time) – not yet

Plotting:
Guarding the Heart: finish plotting – did this even though I didn’t start writing it
Connie’s story (needs title): want to get most of this plotted by the end of the round, and wrap it up by the end of September. – I have a good chunk of this plotted. Could probably finish it by the end of the month, but more likely in October. And I did come up with a working title of Chasing the Ghost for this.

Social Media:
Update blog pages – done.
Post 3-4 times/week (not counting row80 check-ins) – more like 2 times, some weeks.
Make more of an effort to comment on posts – I have made more of an effort. Sometimes I still don’t comment a lot, but I’ve been trying.

Read 20 books – 43/20. A couple were novellas or shorts. But most of those were full length novels.
Knit 9 projects – 3.9/9 Would say 4 except the sweater I’ve been working on isn’t complete. Need to get some buttons for it.
Crochet 9 projects – 3/9. That will probably be 4 by the end of today or tomorrow.

I didn’t meet all of my goals, and a couple of them changed, but I still made a lot of progress for the round. Now, to figure out my goals for the next round. And of course keep working even during the break. I’ll update on this month’s progress at the end of the month since there’s almost 2 weeks of it left.

Sunday Summary: Wrapping Up Summer

Wednesday I was writing about our heat wave. And today it definitely feels more like fall. I was really looking forward to these cooler temperatures, until I had to stand outside in them for 12 hours yesterday. I knew I was going to be working the pit gate at the racetrack last night. But, it wasn’t until Friday night at almost nine o’clock, I found out I needed to be there at 10:45, usually I don’t have to be there until 12:45. But races got rained out Thursday and Friday, so they had to run those ones yesterday before they could get to yesterday’s scheduled races. So, they had to start earlier. And I ended up working the back gate(where the trucks drive through) instead of the side gate(where everyone walks through to the pits). I can usually close and lock the side gate after 8 when they stop selling the pit passes and then eat and head out to the car to wait for my husband(since he works down on the track). But, we have to keep the back gate open with someone there until after the last race is over. I clocked out at 11:01. It was a very long day, and cold once the sun started to go down. But, I did get over 300 words written for my WiP on a couple of napkins. One of those napkins was for the next scene in it. The other was a couple lines of dialogue that just popped into my head while I was sitting there. There’s only 1 more weekend of racing, and I’m not even sure if I’m working. Still, I am glad it’s cooling off. I enjoy being able to wear sweatshirts around the house. As long as we don’t have to turn on our heat for a couple more months.

I made pretty good progress this week.

  • The Choice: Write 15,000 words. – 15700/15000 My numbers ranged from 856 words(yesterday) to 3873(Tuesday) for the week. It was a really good week.
  • Slow Revenge: Edit through Chapter 9 – Done
  • Chasing the Ghost: Chapter Summaries through Chapter 18 – Done
  • Read: Never Seduce a Scot(Maya Banks) and Insurgent(Veronica Roth) – Done and Done. Both were great reads. Excited for Allegiant to come out(a little over a month).
  • Story Physics: Read through Chapter 20 – Done
  • Knitting: Soft Ribs Sweater – Finish – Essentially done. I have everything except for the buttons sewn on. I’d do that except the buttons I got are two small for the button loops. So, I’m going to have to get some new ones before I can completely finish it. Still, I’ll move on to the next projects until I get some other buttons.

I actually met all my goals for the week. Since the round ends on Thursday, this week’s goal will just cover the first half of the week.

  • The Choice: Write 10,500 words(3500/day)
  • Slow Revenge: Edit through Chapter 12
  • Chasing the Ghost: Get through character arc in blueprint
  • Read: Fine Laid Bare(Lauren Dane) and read The Look of Love(Bella Andre)
  • Story Physics: Finish reading
  • Crochet: Simple Earflap Hat

Writing Wednesday: Heat Wave

Monday I was walking around with a sweatshirt on. Yesterday and today have been tank top days. Seriously, I’m about ready for fall to actually get here. It’s supposed to start cooling off tomorrow and through the weekend, with temperatures dipping down to 60s(F). I have the air conditioner on in the living room today though. Right now, I’m looking forward to those cooler days.

I’ve been barreling along with new words on The Choice(this title might change. It actually comes from a piece of flash fiction I wrote a couple years ago that gave me part of the inspiration for this WiP). I’ve added over 7500 words so far this week, and it’s only Wednesday morning. That’s almost what I wrote all of last week. And I’m almost finished with the ‘past’ scenes for this. I’m attempting a dual timeline because I didn’t feel I could really separate their back story from their current story, they are so wound together. I’ve never written one like this before(I’m a very chronological writer), so I’m hoping it’s not a big fat failure. I’m also thinking about switching it into 1st person. Which is another thing I haven’t done before(at least not for a novel. I’ve done flash fiction in 1st). All except for one scene in the past scenes are from Mason’s POV already, just in 3rd person. Not sure what I’ll do, except think on it a little more.

Anyway here is 8 paragraphs from one of the scenes I wrote this week(A little complicated math: 9+11+2+0+1+3=26, 2+6=8)

“I saw you out there. Right up front,” she finally said as she swept the mementos fans had left her into her guitar case and closed it up. “It meant a lot to me, Mason.”

“Why would I be anywhere else? I told you I wanted to be here, Lila.”

“I know you don’t like being around all these people,” she said with a quick gesture of her hand. “I’m sure you’d rather be out on the farm. Yet you came here for me. Why?” She took a deep breath then looked up at him, and he saw a sparkle in her eye despite the question. “Daddy thinks it’s because you want to get me in bed.”

He couldn’t help it. The laugh just came out on its own. “Well, that has been on my mind,” he said, snaking a hand around her waist and pulling her close to him. “Or it could be that I care about you. That I want to support you. That I-” He stopped and let the statement hang in the hair before letting out a breath. “He just can’t see it, can he? That anyone besides him could care about you.”

“He knows that,” she said, leaning into him. “He just doesn’t want it to be you.”

He felt his skin prickle as anger burned through him. “Why? What have I ever done to him? Or to you?” He put a finger under his chin and lifted it so he could look down into her eyes. “What have I done?”

She shook her head, and he could see the tears in her own eyes. “Nothing. You’ve never done anything, Mason. But, he knows what you are. You’re a farmer’s son who has only ever wanted to work with his father. He thinks I deserve more than that. I could never convince him that I only ever wanted you. He doesn’t think it will be enough.”

Mason’s thoughts crashed together at her confession. She wanted him. Did she mean she would stay here with him? Even when the summer was over. He wasn’t sure if he could believe it. If it would be too much to hope for. “Lila.”

Very rough as I don’t really do any editing until after it’s finished, except to fix any mistakes I happen to see.

Now, as for my ROW80 progress for the week:

  • The Choice: Write 15,000 words. – 7598/15000. I’ve started using Write or Die again this week. It helps keep me focused, or at least less likely to click over to Facebook or Tweetdeck
  • Slow Revenge: Edit through Chapter 9 – I’ve made it through Chapter 7. Not a whole lot of structural changes so far.
  • Chasing the Ghost: Chapter Summaries through Chapter 18 – Actually, I, uh, finished these. Yesterday. While watching the final episode of a show on Netflix. Even more excited to start writing this, but it probably won’t be until at least next month(although this is supposed to be this year’s NaNo, but I might just be a rebel).
  • Read: Never Seduce a Scot(Maya Banks) and Insurgent(Veronica Roth) I finished Never Seduce a Scot yesterday(loved it!). I’m 64% through Insurgent right now and keep tweeting Lauren Garafalo while I’m reading. I swear the book is tearing me apart. And yes, I may get a little overly attached and emotionally involved in fictional stories. My mom used to worry that I didn’t know the difference between fiction and reality(I do, I just tend to prefer fiction).
  • Story Physics: Read through Chapter 20 – 17/20. Keeping up with my chapter a day goal.
  • Knitting: Soft Ribs Sweater – Finish – Almost there. I only have one section left to do and I can put this one away.

Making good progress on my goals for the week.

Mom’s Recipes: Meatloaf

I’m going to try to keep up with a blog schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday(and a Sunday Summary post, of course). I may not do this every week, but I’m going to try. Monday’s posts might be an update on my crafting, or some other random post, like a recipe or something. Wednesdays, of course, will be my ROW80/WiPPet updates. And Fridays will probably either be Fitness Friday or a photo update.

My husband requested meatloaf for dinner last night. At least, he let me know ahead of time. Since it takes about 1.5 hours to bake. We have quite a few things of ground beef from a cow we split with my sister-in-law last year(my step MIL got it for us). So, we took a couple of them out on Saturday. Of course, when I went to get it started, they were still frozen. I got them thawed out and everything mixed together. I’ve always used the recipe I got from my mom to make this. And just like she’s always done, I double the recipe. Otherwise, it comes out really small. I do make a couple changes, but that’s really because there are a couple ingredients we don’t have.

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs(I usually end up using hamburger or hotdog buns and chopping them up in a little chopper thing we have).
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup minced onion(we don’t have onions in the house, but we buy minced onion instead of onion powder. This one I don’t actually measure, just put in what looks good)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

a funny story(okay, maybe funny). Yesterday when I was mixing this up, I looked at the number, but not which spoon I needed. I was grabbing the tablespoon and looking for the 1/2 tablespoon, when I glanced at my recipe card again and swore. Thankfully, I hadn’t measured anything out or dumped it in yet. I actually did something similar one other time when I was younger and making pancakes. Mixed up the sugar and salt measurements. And didn’t catch that one in time.

  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

celery salt is one of the ingredients we don’t have. Could probably go and pick some up, but I’ve never come across another recipe that calls for it, so I’ve never bothered. I’ll usually use garlic salt instead of the powder.

  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard – and this is the other ingredient we don’t have. Again, this is the only recipe I have that even calls for it, so it’s something I don’t worry about buying, so I cut this completely from the recipe. It doesn’t seem to affect the taste.
  • 1/4 tsp sage – another thing I’ve only come across in this recipe, but we do actually have it in the cupboard.
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce – just don’t ask me to say it 😉

Just mix all of these things together, dump into a loaf pan and bake at 350° for about an hour and a half. It makes the most moist(moistest? doesn’t sound right, either) meatloaf I’ve ever had. Last night I could barely get it onto plates because it was falling apart. And of course, my husband goes and ruins it with ketchup. I’ve never used ketchup on my meatloaf. In fact, it’s why I don’t get it when we go out to eat at a buffet type restaurant. It always has ketchup on it.

Sunday Summary: Birthday Week

My son’s 3rd birthday was on Tuesday. We made some funfetti cake mix cookies and opened his presents from us that evening after dinner. Pretty low key.

Wednesday we had both kids’ yearly well-visit to the doctor. Both are healthy. My daughter is short and skinny(we knew that). 12th and 30th percentile for height and weight. And she was right on the border of failing her vision test, so we have to take her to an eye doctor for a more in depth test. My son is on the taller side, 70th percentile for his age, but just 65th for weight. We had to get an antibiotic cream for him because he has folliculitis, basically infected hair follicles. Look like pimples on his legs. They come and go, so I wasn’t too concerned about it. Other than that, and his still big tonsils, he’s good(medically-speaking. won’t mention his monster-ness lately).

We had his party yesterday. Baked his cake Friday night, came out about 5:30 yesterday morning and there were chunks taken out of the bottom. Apparently he couldn’t wait for the party to start eating it.

20130907_060855

I cut off the end he had tried to eat and managed to get it frosted.

That is a fire truck. I'm no artist.

That is a fire truck. I’m no artist.

Party went well. He got some new clothes and pajamas. And a bunch of new trucks to play with.

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These are pajamas...with a cape!

These are pajamas…with a cape!

20130907_144740 20130907_145108

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No more birthday parties until December, unless my daughter gets invited to any for friends from school.

Even with the birthday festivities, I’ve managed to get a good bit done this week. Despite the fact that my kids have seemed to think they need to wake up around 5 each morning. I might wake up that early, but that’s so I can get the bulk of my writing done before they get up.

  • The Choice – 7500 words– 7539/7500 I got there Friday evening, just before dinner. WiP is up to 14701.
  • Slow Revenge: Compile Notes & Edit through Chapter 4 – I got this done Friday night as well. I’ve added 135 words to this so far.
  • Chasing the Ghost – finish plot summaries, beat sheet, and start chapter summaries – finished this last night after the birthday party. I have summaries written for the first 3 chapters.
  • Read: Due Date(Nancy W. Wood) and Unexpected Endings(Elena Aitken) – I only got about 26% through Due Date. Then, didn’t feel the urge to pick it up again, so moved it to the ‘set aside’ collection on my Kindle. I don’t think there was really anything wrong with it. It just wasn’t holding my interest. I did read Unexpected Endings, which was just a short story. Then, I read Coldness of Marek by Rachel O’Laughlin. This one I finished in about 24 hours. In fact, I stayed up until 1 Saturday morning reading it and only stopped when I kept dropping my phone on my face.
  • Story Physics: Read through Chapter 15 – Done.
  • Knitting: Soft Ribs Sweater – Finish – I never even sat down with this until today. Only to realize that the battery on my old phone(which has an app that I use to keep track of my projects) was dead. It’s the only thing I use it for anymore. I got the stitches for the second sleeve picked up onto the needle before I realized this. So, it’s charging, and I’m planning on working on it later today.
  • Crochet: Simple Earflap Hat – finish body of hat – won’t pick this up until the sweater is finished.

My goals for next week are:

  • The Choice: Write 15,000 words.
  • Slow Revenge: Edit through Chapter 9
  • Chasing the Ghost: Chapter Summaries through Chapter 18
  • Read: Never Seduce a Scot(Maya Banks) and Insurgent(Veronica Roth)
  • Story Physics: Read through Chapter 20
  • Knitting: Soft Ribs Sweater – Finish

Writing Wednesday: Bittersweet Days

September 3rd is a very emotional day around here. It was the day, 8 years ago now, that I first met my husband. We’d been talking online and over the phone for a couple weeks, but that’s the day we actually met, in person. And met his dad and stepmom later that night. They accepted me instantly, simply because I was with him. And exactly a year later, we said goodbye to his dad. We didn’t even know he was sick until a few days before he died. He’d been in and out of the hospital that summer with what they thought at first was pneumonia. Found out on September 2nd, that it was lymphoma. He was gone the next day. And four years after that, I gave birth to my son. So, it’s always a bittersweet day. I try to hang onto the good memories. And yesterday, I focused mainly on my son and his birthday. But, when the kids were in bed, we had a Miller High Life in memory of my father-in-law. It was his preferred beer, so we have one for him on his birthday and anniversary of his death.

I missed #WiPPet the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, we were camping with no wifi access. Last week, I don’t really have an excuse for not posting anything. I just didn’t. This month I’ll be posting from a new project. Different from what I usually write. Romance still, but without a suspense plotline in sight. And characters are a bit younger than I usually write. Probably NA range. Which is really a new thing for me. Even when I was a “young adult”, I was writing adult fiction. The idea for this just popped into my head though, and I was so excited to write it, I didn’t even do a lot of planning. Know the characters’ back stories and the general series of events, but I’m still figuring it out as I go. I don’t even have it broken up into chapters yet like I usually start with. Today’s excerpt is from scene 4, 13 lines(9+4)

“Lila sounded beautiful at the graduation last night, didn’t she? I know we’ve heard her on the radio before. And of course when she used to sing in church, but it seemed different last night.”

Mason swallowed the bite of sausage he’d almost choked on. “Yeah, Mom, she sounded great,” he said after washing the sour taste in his mouth down with some coffee.

“Leave the boy alone, Mary,” his father said without taking his eyes from the newspaper. “You know how he feels about that girl.”

“I was just making a statement.”

“You were fishing.” He snapped the paper closed and looked up at her. “And you haven’t even baited your hook. Let him be. They’ll figure it out without your prying.”

 

Now, onto my Row80 Progress:

  • The Choice – 7500 words – 1485/7500. That’s just 2 words short of last week’s total count.
  • Slow Revenge: Compile Notes & Edit through Chapter 4 – finished compiling the notes last night and got chapter 1 done.
  • Chasing the Ghost – finish plot summaries, beat sheet, and start chapter summaries – got the sentence summary written last night.
  • Read: Due Date(Nancy W. Wood) and Unexpected Endings(Elena Aitken) – About 25% through Due Date.
  • Story Physics: Read through Chapter 15 – Haven’t even picked it up yet this week.
  • Knitting: Soft Ribs Sweater – Finish – Haven’t started working on this yet this week
  • Crochet: Simple Earflap Hat – finish body of hat – not starting until I finish the sweater

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