Sunday, September 17, 2017

Time to Rejuvenate

Last week was stellar. This week? Well, sometimes you just gotta add the color yellow with a sprinkle of red. As usual Green highlight is goal accomplished. Yellow highlight is at least worked on. Red print is a total failure.

1) Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” once every day, or a total of seven tasks for the week.  Since I did ‘b’ five times, I count an accomplishment of seven. 
a) emailed five more chapters to my internet-slacking friend earlier in the week and then gave her an actual copy yesterday.   
b) the Goodreads Giveaway is up and running, so I promoted that five times on all my various social media.
c) I got an email from the publisher of my memoir asking me if I had ever written a study guide for that book because he had gotten an email from someone inquiring about it. I emailed her back my thoughts on that (that I thought it was a good idea and I wish I had time to write one), and did mention the novel in the email.
2) Write three thousand words on the new novel. 1,704 words, a little over half.
3) Work on the poem on aging for Oct 20 deadline. Or work on a piece for “The First Line” for Nov 1 deadline. Actually, I wrote a poem on horses and submitted it to Wilda Morris’s monthly poetry challenge. So, I’m so totally counting that.
5) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Only posted twice. What is up with that?
6) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Read five and commented on two, close enough to count.  
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Nope.
b. Go through one box of my mom’s stuff and discard what I can. Nope.
c. Start contacting the college kids I mentor through our church. Not really, but I did at least get my records out and updated them.
d. Work on three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers. Gosh, I can’t honestly say it was three things, but I know it was a couple. It had to be, though I can’t remember what.

Next week? I am not making any goals for myself. I am on vacation. The Hubby and I are taking a few day trips (going to the Renaissance Festival today!), doing a little bombing around, gonna try to keep it low key and just relax. It will be my last chance all year and I’m gonna really try to rejuvenate.

How about you? Have you taken any time off to just unwind?
I at least had a copy of the new book in my possession for a day before I gave that one and only copy to my best friend. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

a stellar week

Last Sunday, after I posted my goals for the upcoming week, I looked at that list and thought, “have I lost my mind? What makes me think that I can do all this?”

Friday morning as I was looking that list over, I thought, “this is going to be a post full of red.” Then I started really looking at it, and went, “no way!” Lots of talking to myself this week. 

As usual Green highlight is goal accomplished. Yellow highlight is at least worked on. Red print is a total failure.

1   1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” once every day, or a total of seven tasks for the week. Anything from signing up for a book signing to giving someone a flyer about it.  I didn’t think I could pull this one off, but here ya go:
a)    Signed up for a Goodreads giveaway of the book. 
b)    Emailed five more chapters to my friend who has internet even slower than mine so I can’t send her anything as an attachment.
c)    Emailed the book information and media kit to:
1))  Christian Lighthouse Books
2))  UW-MC, my alma mater
3)) UW-Madison, campus in the novel
4)) UW-Stevens Point, next closest campus to me
d) My other three books are being offered as e-books for free this weekend, so I have been promoting that on my social media, so I am counting that as I’ve been mentioning the novel with the other three (ie get four books for the price of one!).
2) Write three thousand words on the new novel. I wrote a startling 2,134 words. Not quite my goal, but pretty darn good, don’t you think?
3) Commit to the new title for the new novel. It’s not going to be the title in the end, but I’m gonna start calling it “The House by the River.”
4) Work on the poem on aging for Oct 20 deadline. Also write a poem about horses for Wilda Morris’s poetry challenge, deadline Sept 15. I wrote the horse poem.
5) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Done.
6) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Time to get back in the community of writers. Read five, commented on three.   
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Scanned 38. Holy cow! I just love looking at them and once I get started, it’s hard to stop.  
b. Go through one box of my mom’s stuff and discard what I can. Nope. But I did finish washing my house’s windows.
c. Work on the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
1)) write up the agenda for today’s meeting and send it out. Done.  
2)) make a poster for the talk the end of September.     Done.
3)) made an event on Facebook for my daughter’s talk at my work the end of the month. Done.
4)) frame the remaining paintings we have to display today at my daughter’s work. Did the best we could.  

Bonus points: I submitted a piece of flash fiction to Gathering Storm Magazine.

One other thing I’m going to do is get out a calendar and keep track of just how many hours I spend on all of these things (actual writing, promotion, and the nonprofit). That will probably explain why I don’t get any sleep. I could add in the hours I spend away from home for the day job too I suppose. But that would turn out depressing.

Anyway, so is anyone willing to take bets on whether or not I will have an equally stellar week this week?

1) Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” once every day, or a total of seven tasks for the week. 
2) Write three thousand words on the new novel.
3) Work on the poem on aging for Oct 20 deadline. Or work on a piece for “The First Line” for Nov 1 deadline.
5) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
6) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them.
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Go through one box of my mom’s stuff and discard what I can.
c. Start contacting the college kids I mentor through our church.  
d. Work on three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.

Hoping that you have a stellar week this week!
I'm pretty sure my mom is on the right, but don't know about the other two ladies.
I just think this is a cute picture, from around 1945. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Getting my life back

Since I posted here on Wednesday, an unprecedented event for me, I must have had a good week. Right? Meh, as my son would say. The mix of color on this week’s goals works for me though. A little bit of balance.

As usual Green highlight is goal accomplished. Yellow highlight is at least worked on. Red print is a total failure.

1)    Send emails to the rest of my contacts regarding the new book and asking for reviews. I sent emails to the final ten people on my contact list. Heard back from one of them, and also from three of the people I had previously emailed.   
2)    Set up two more book signings. Umm, first of all, why is the word more in that sentence. I didn’t think I had any book signings scheduled. Oh, that’s right. My daughter’s talk on September 25 and the craft show in November. So, then, no.  
3)    Write three thousand words on the new novel. I wrote 2,048 words, so that was pretty good, I think. I also spent about an hour doing research on-line while I was coloring my hair Friday night. A year ago, I promised myself that I was done coloring my hair, but it is just taking too long for it to completely grey. I have about six different shades in my hair, so I added some frost, a seventh shade.
4)    Pick a better working title for the new novel. I have come up with about six titles, but they all have been taken already. I want to use the word river because the river plays a big part in the novel, but evidently everyone uses river in their title. So far the only one I can come up with is “The House Beside the River”, but that seems very dull to me. I am going to come up with a better list this week and post all my options here for you to vote on.  
5) Work on two items to submit:           
a) favorite quote and reflection for work calendar, Sept 15 deadline. Done. I picked a quote by Mother Teresa – “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” It really shouldn’t be that hard to add a few sentences reflecting on that.
                        b) poem on aging, Oct 20 deadline. Not done.
6) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Done. I also changed the theme of the blog to match more closely my website. I’m seriously thinking it is time to hire a professional to set all my social media up with the same theme. But I hear cha-ching, cha-ching when I think that.
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Scanned 23 of them. I scored Mom’s photo album from the 1940s, so looking at all those oldies makes it more fun.
b. Wash two or three more windows. I only have five left! And hope to do them today!
8) Bonus goal! I ordered new business cards for myself and bookmarks for the novel.

With Labor Day tomorrow, I should be able to get extra stuff done this week. Also, extra staff has been hired at the day job, and now that they are nearly trained, they are actually lessening my work load. Hopefully, I’ll start coming home from work with some energy left at the end of the day. It’s been a grueling year at the day job and I’m ready to get my life back.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to load myself up with goals here. I want to get my rhythm back first.
1)        Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” once every day, or a total of seven tasks for the week. Anything from signing up for a book signing to giving someone a flyer about it.    
2)        Write three thousand words on the new novel.
3)        Commit to the new title for the new novel. 
4)        Work on the poem on aging for Oct 20 deadline.
5)        Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
6)        Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Time to get back in the community of writers.
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Go through one box of my mom’s stuff and discard what I can.
c. Work on the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers. Not sure yet what I will do on it this week, but there is always something.
Have a great week and a great start to fall, wherever you live. 
One of the scanned pictures. My mom (on the right) with a friend in 1942.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Getting things rolling

Here is an unexpected mid-week post. I haven’t done too much on the list of goals I posted on Sunday, but things have been going on that I wanted to share.

A dear writer-friend, Beth Camp, posted an author interview of me and my novel on her blog. I so appreciate it and wanted to send her out another thank you.

I’m also up to six reviews of it on Amazon, all five stars and I wanted to give a shout-out to those kind people as well. The release date for the paper version is this Friday, so my marketing efforts will step up a notch then. I just so badly want to have that physical copy in my hands before I go too crazy with promotion.

Regarding our nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers, we had a sale on our Etsy Store. That’s always exciting, especially when it comes from out of nowhere. Like so many other things on the internet, there are so many vendors on Etsy that it’s hard to rise to the top and get noticed.

We updated the Tumaini website a few weeks ago and now are working on finalizing a new logo and business cards.

Finally, it’s been two weeks since I worked on the new novel. I pulled it up tonight, took an inventory of it and have set the bar at finishing the rough draft by October 13. That means an average of 500 words a night, which will be more like 1500 words a couple times a week, but I want to keep it all in perspective. I just wrote a 310 word scene on it, before I decided to write this quick post.

Yup, time to move on and get things rolling.

Hope you are having a good week as well. 
You know how I always have to include a picture. This is the first one that bounced up when I opened my file of pictures. My daughter took it while she was in Kenya for six months in 2010. I love this picture. Always reminds me that we all need friends and it doesn't matter who they are. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Lofty Goals. Or not.

Once again, I did so poorly on my week’s goals that it doesn’t pay to reprint them here. I still do not know what is wrong with me. This seven-month funk should have run its course by now. The antidepressant is helping in some ways, but I still haven’t found my drive. Scrolling through Facebook or mindlessly watching Home and Garden TV continues to suck the life out of me.

Today is our family picnic, at my house, in the rain. We will have to picnic in my living room, all 37 of us! This past week I did wash the windows I needed to do and cleaned up the spare bedroom which has been taken over by Mom’s stuff all year.

Also, I did sign up for two events for our nonprofit, as well as to sell my books. The end of September, my daughter will give a presentation on our work in Kenya, at the clinic where I work. I’ll have my books available for sale there. Then I signed us up for our yearly craft sale the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I’ll have my books there as well, along with all of our Kenyan merchandise.

I think that was about it for the week. Except that I keep forgetting to mention that I continue to post to this blog once a week and to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles, three times I week. I should give myself credit for that, huh?

Once again, I’m going to look forward to the coming week with lofty goals. “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” is to be released on Friday, so I’m hoping to get my copies by then or shortly after. Oh, and there are three reviews of it on Amazon now, with another one promised to post soon.

1)    Send emails to the rest of my contacts regarding the new book and asking for reviews.   
2)    Set up two more book signings.   
3)    Write three thousand words on the new novel.
4)    Pick a better working title for the new novel.
5) Work on two items to submit:           
a) favorite quote and reflection for work calendar, Sept 15 deadline
                        b) poem on aging, Oct 20 deadline
            6) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Wash two or three more windows. I only have five left!

With the Labor Day Holiday weekend coming up, maybe I can finally get some stuff done.
Have a good week and safe end to the summer.
  
Some of Mom's stuff cluttering up the spare bedroom.
The spare bedroom looks a lot better now. 


Sunday, August 20, 2017

are things going swimmingly for you?

Ok, well, I’m looking at the goals I had for myself and it’s not even worth repeating them here. If you follow me on Facebook or read my other blog, you may already know why. People have told me that passing a kidney stone is like having a baby. Not even close. I popped my kids out in six hours and three hours, respectfully. This stupid stone is hanging on like there’s no tomorrow.

I slept pretty much two entire days this past week, but rallied enough to travel with Hubby and the Dog for two other days. Checked the internet on my phone every day, but completely skipped going on the laptop a couple days. 

I know I need to get it together this week, but with a family picnic at my house next Sunday, I don’t think much except yard work and house work is going to get done.

Yet, I’m going to try to do this: 
1)    Continue monitoring the situation on “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” – returning emails and Facebook messages from interested parties and naturally jumping if I hear of a potential venue for a book signing.  
2)    Stop checking the book’s ranking on Amazon several times a day. Stop obsessing about how few reviews I have.  
3)    Write three thousand words on the new novel.
4)    Pick a better working title for the new novel. I have waffled between “The Novitiate” and “The Abbey” and “The Big House”, but none of them does anything for me. In my head, sometimes I call it “Where the River Runs Red”, but not only has that already been done, it’s almost too close to my first novel. I will think on it.
5) Work on two items to submit:           
a) favorite quote and reflection for work calendar, Sept 15 deadline
                        b) poem on aging, Oct 20 deadline
6) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Wash three of my house’s windows. I did wash one window yesterday. I can’t imagine finishing them all by the picnic, but at least need to wash the ones in the public areas.  

How are your goals coming along? Swimmingly? Are you ready to get back at it after a summer vacation? 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

are you ready to take a break?

Here’s how this week’s goals panned out:
1) Contact the media person and then three more places for book signings and / or readings. Emailed the media person. Twice. I think I am going to just relax and not worry about it until I get my own supply of books to sell. All the experts will say that is the wrong approach, that you and your book have to hit the ground running. But  - bleah – I’m just going to take a break anyway.  
2) Email everyone (within reason) on my contact list, reminding them about my new novel, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand”, and asking them to write a review for it on Amazon if they’ve had a chance to read it. And offering to email them a free copy of it if they would write that review. Have emailed 32 people, only up to the K’s. Have gotten two responses. Only one review yet on Amazon, but someone did praise it on Faceebook and she got two responses to that.  
3) Write 1,000 words on the new novel. Wrote 1,495 words!
4) There are three places I’d like to submit to in the next few months, so I should work on those. Nope, didn’t write any of them.  
5) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Scanned sixteen.  
b. Wash five of my house’s windows. Washed two, but they were the biggest ones! (The attached pictures of those windows are from years ago.)
c. Finish reading “On Writing” by Stephen King. I am going to count this as done. I couldn’t sleep last night, so got up and read the last real chapter. I had already read Furthermore #2 and Furthermore #1 is too technical to rush through.  
d. Repack all our Kenya merchandise. Done.   


This coming week, as already mentioned, I am going to take a break. It’ll have been a month since “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” has been available on-line. Perhaps I could be doing more here at home to promote it at this point, but I think it may be time to let it rest, wait until I get my copies in my hot little hands. Give this whole marketing thing a fresh start by the end of the month.

So what will I do this week: 
1)    Continue monitoring the situation on “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” – returning emails and Facebook messages from interested parties and naturally jumping if I hear from a venue which I have already contacted.
2)    Stop checking the book’s ranking on Amazon several times a day. Stop beating myself up if it continues to slip. It will jump back up once the paper version is out.
3)    Write three thousand words on the new novel.
4)    Pick a better working title for the new novel. I have waffled between “The Novitiate” and “The Abbey” and “The Big House”, but none of them does anything for me. In my head, sometimes I call it “Where the River Runs Red”, but not only has that already been done, it’s almost too close to my first novel. I will think on it.
5) There are three places I’d like to submit to in the next few months, so I should        work on those things:          
a) poem using book titles, Aug 15 deadline, which I need to write today if I’m going to
b) reflection for work calendar, Sept 15 deadline
                         c) poem on aging, Oct 20 deadline
6) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Wash four more of my house’s windows. Have washed only two of them and have a total of nine left by the end of the month. Physically, I can’t wash more than a few a day.  
c. Find a relaxing book to read and read it!
How are your goals coming along? Swimmingly? Or is it time for you to take a break too?

Have a great last few weeks of summer.