Sunday, November 19, 2017

An anticipated failure of a week

As I mentioned last Sunday, I knew this week was going to be busy. Had two combined sales (my books and the nonprofit), one on Wednesday and one on Saturday. Had church service Monday night. Went to a Young Living Oil Party on Tuesday. Had a meeting at church on Wednesday night.

Then Thursday night, things really derailed. We had a murder in my small town. First one since March of 2008. I probably wouldn’t have been so freaked out by it (though no matter what, it sickened and saddened me), except it happened in the house less than a block from my work and pretty much everyone was gone from my end of the building except for the cleaning person and I didn’t know what was going on until I pulled out of the parking lot and drove by all the squad cars. So Thursday night was a total waste, as I made a bunch of phone calls and kept watching and listening for news updates. I slept okay that night, but got up at four am to write a post to my other blog about it and why I feel the way I do about guns. Stressful, stressful, stressful.

And then Friday, my day off, I powered through the house work and got ready for the sale yesterday. Speaking of the sales, on Wednesday the nonprofit did well, but not so well on Saturday. Sales of my books was opposite of that. Most exciting was that I talked to someone from a Bible camp who might want me to speak at a group there.   

So this is what got done on my list. (As usual, green is goal accomplished, yellow is worked on, red is a failure.)
1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
a.     Attend the book signing Wednesday. Sold ten books. Thought that was pretty good, then . . .
b.     Attend the book signing Saturday. Sold 19 books!
c.      Promoted those book signings before and after.
2) Write 3,000 words on the new WIP, “Now For Something Totally Different”.  Nope. Not a word.
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Yep.
4) Read five other blogs and comment on three of them. I read three and commented on three.  
5) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Nope, I don’t think I got to any of them.
b. Do four things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
1] Repack all the Kenyan merchandise, re-inventorying it as I go. 
2] Attend the craft sale on Wednesday.
3] Attend the craft sale on Saturday.
Mini-bonus: I sold the twin size bed on Facebook’s Marketplace. Nice to get it out of the basement.

I only work at the day job on Monday and Tuesday this coming week. And granted, Thursday is Thanksgiving, but Hubby is working, so I’m not going to cook and only my two kids will be home. I better get something done during those five days off.

1)  Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” four times. As much as I know I should keep working on this, maybe it's time to back off. The book needs to start to find its own way in the world. 
2) Write 3,000 words on the new WIP, “Now For Something Totally Different”. 
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
4) Read five other blogs and comment on three of them.
5) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Pick up the spare room in the basement, since the bed's gone. 
c. Work on emptying the spare room upstairs, even if it means putting some of that junk in the room downstairs.
d. Do four things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
The list continues to look much the same. I need to get these things done. And start fresh January 1!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. 
With my lovely daughter, at the sale on Wednesday.
Pretending to sign a book at the sale on Saturday. 


Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Colorful Post

As you know if you read my post on Wednesday, I started a new work-in-progress Tuesday morning. I’ve written 4,703 words on it since then. That is certainly not a bad thing, but kept me from staying on task as much as I had hoped. Looking over my goals for last week, however, somehow, I did pretty darn good.

(Green highlight is “I rocked that goal!”, Yellow highlight is “I gave it a shot”, and red lettering is “I just ran out of time!”)

1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
a.     Posted the back cover of the novel on my social media.
b.     Created a Facebook event for my book signing on the 18th.
c.      Contacted my publisher’s media person and gave her the names of five more area book stores I would be able to visit.
d.     Updated my Facebook cover photo with all four of my books.
2) Work on the study guide for “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven”, which I had started in September. Na-da, but that’s coz I started a whole different story. (Which I thought deserved its own separate color.)
3) Update my website.  A very little update, but hey, I did something on it.
4) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Done.
5) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Read five and commented on three (I think).
6) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Actually, I fell down the rabbit hole of looking at my old pictures, but I did scan 20 of them.
b. Get another box of stuff out of that spare bedroom and take it to the second-hand store. Not a second box, but at least I took that first one to Goodwill.
c. Post things to sell on Craig’s List.  Posted four items on Facebook’s Marketplace and got rid of two chairs!
d. Do three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
            1] Created a Facebook event for craft show on the 18th.
2] I set out all of the merchandise I have that’s for sale, as my son wanted to re-inventory it in QuickBooks, but he never made it to my house yesterday. Hopefully will do that today.
Bonus Points: I sewed a skirt yesterday. (Am I overboard with the color highlights?)

This week I have two combined sales (my books and the nonprofit) on Wednesday and Saturday. We also have a new schedule at church, so services are Monday night now instead of Saturday night (along with Sunday morning, which I never even try to make coz I am usually on the computer all Sunday morning), so, I should get to church Monday night. Tuesday night I’m going to an essential oil party. Wednesday night I have a meeting at church. I think that’s enough!

Yet I’m going to do all this as well:
1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
a.     Attend the book signing Wednesday.
b.     Attend the book signing Saturday.
2) Write 3,000 words on the new WIP, “Now For Something Totally Different”.  
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
4) Read five other blogs and comment on three of them.
5) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Do four things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
1] Repack all the Kenyan merchandise, re-inventorying it as I go. 
2] Attend the craft sale on Wednesday.
3] Attend the craft sale on Saturday. 
The first wrap skirt that I've sewn.
Even without a pattern it was super simple and I love how it turned out. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

when i spring out of bed

I woke up from another vivid dream the other morning. This one supplied me with several scenes and a premise. It’s not enough for a novel, but I can picture it as a novella and actually have two other stories in mind with a similar theme – strength in marriage when the odds are stacked against you, or something like that.

So I sprang out of bed yesterday morning and wrote close to 400 words, adding another thousand last night. Coz I just don’t have enough going on.

1)    First novel, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand”, released two months ago. I have two book signings for it coming up next week, but need to continue to promote it online and where ever else I can.
2)    Second novel, “The Truth Beyond the River” (or something, still not sure about the title). Finished the rough draft a few weeks ago. Will give it til maybe the first of December and then start editing it. Hope to start looking for a publisher (or even an agent) for it by maybe February.
3)    Latest work. A book of three novellas. I’m calling it “Now for something totally different” for now, as the feel of it is different from other things I’ve written. Not as heavy on the Christian theme, the characters even have some questionable morals. Of course, they are good people in the end, but – yea – we’ll see. 
4)    The memoir of my second and third trips to Kenya. That’s kinda passed the mellowing stage and is just plain fermenting.
5)    The study guide for my first memoir. I really want to throw that together. I know that it won’t make any money, so I may just make it available for free to anyone who wants it, but I still want to finish it.
6)    I have three more ideas for novels. Argh! Along with my sister’s story. And I’m sure there’s something else.

Anyway, just wanted to share that with you! Time to get back to work.  
From August of 1979, I would have been 17. It's my "take a picture of me and you die" look.
Or my "leave me alone, I have books to write" look. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

It really wasn't that bad

I’m not going to berate myself for this past week’s accomplishments. I worked until after seven Monday night and after six on both Tuesday and Thursday. I had a meeting at church Wednesday night, and I left home late morning on Friday for an educational seminar for the day job, returning home last night. I am totally okay with not getting much done on these goals in light of that schedule, and I wasn’t even going to repost those failures here. Then I looked at them, and it wasn’t really that bad.

The really bad thing that happened last week is that two of my book signings were cancelled. They were at two different Book World locations, and it was announced the first of the week that the chain is closing all of its stores by the first of the year. This is my kind of luck. On the upside, I sold seven books yesterday at the conference and also had a poem published in an online poetry journal. There is just no reason to get down about things; there is always something, something to be thankful for.

Here are my goals for the past week and as usual, green highlight is goal accomplished, yellow highlight is at least worked on and red print is a total failure.

1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
a.     Shared the flyer for my next book signing on my social media. And then had to retract it, as that signing was cancelled.
b.     Shared the information on the book signing which is still on for a week from Wednesday.
c.      Sold those seven books at the seminar yesterday.
2) Work on the study guide for “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven”, which I had started in September. Nope.
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. I only posted twice to the Dino Chronicles, but I did write a mid-week post to this blog, so I think it is reasonable to count that.
4) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Read four and commented on three.
5) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Scanned ten of them.
b. Get one box of stuff out of that spare bedroom. Man, oh, man, I have got to get that junk cleaned up! The box I had filled the week before made it to my car, but I never got around to dropping it off at the second-hand store, so it will probably be in my back seat for another week.
c. Do three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
1] Audited the books for last fiscal year. 
2] Talked to two women about going on a medical outreach with me to Kenya next year
3] Posted on Facebook about our craft show on the 15th.  

Gotta say, I’m surprised there was so much green and yellow. Now, for next week.  
1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
2) Work on the study guide for “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven”, which I had started in September.
3) I’m thinking it’s time to update my website as well.
4) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
5) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them.
6) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Get one box of junk out of that spare bedroom and taken to the second-hand store. 
c. Post things to sell on Craig’s List. 
d. Do three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.

I don’t think there is much on my schedule to slow me down. On Friday, we are getting a new oven, so I’m sure I’ll be doing some baking next weekend. It’s been, I think, four months since the oven has worked, so, yea, I need to bake something!

Have a great week. Have you started your holiday baking? 
One of the old pics I scanned last week.
"Cuttin' the rug" with a relative at a cousin's wedding in 1979. Man, I wish I was still that thin. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Asking for some help

I don’t have an update to post today; am just looking for help in making a decision.

Now that my second novel is finished, I really need to decide on a title for it. The setting is a huge old house (which was most recently a monastery) next to a river. Just like in my newly released novel, the setting is a major factor. The reader is reminded in nearly every scene of where they are. Even more so than the first book, this one revolves around that setting. Granted a real-life drama inspired this story, but it was that big old house that triggered my imagination.  

I’d ideally like “river” and “house” in the title. Unfortunately, nearly everything I’ve come up with which include those two words has already been done. Also, even though I looked up the title “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” on Amazon before I committed to it, I didn’t do a google search until it was too late. Apparently, there is an entire Arabian television series by that title. So not only have I been checking the title of books, but the titles of movies and TV shows as well.

Here are the names which I’ve come up with which I haven’t found anywhere else.

The River Beyond the House
The Place Along the River
What cometh down yon River
The House Beside the River
Where the House Sits
Where the River Flows
Where the River Always Runs
What the River Said
What Lies Beyond the River

Do any of these grab anybody? 
I was looking for a line within the book which used one of these phrases and I found one. Can you guess which it is?  


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Is it possible to have too much green?

Whoot! Whoot! WHOOT! I finished the rough draft of my latest novel at five in the morning yesterday. Not once, but twice in those last four chapters, my main male protagonist threw me off, saying or doing something I hadn’t anticipated. I was like – seriously! You rock, MMP!

The other exciting thing is that I asked my husband to start reading it, and by nine yesterday morning he was up to chapter 10. He said that he liked it, but that he really did not like one of the male antagonists. Up to chapter 10 this MA hasn’t even done any of his bad stuff yet, but I’m impressed (with my husband or with my writing skills?) that Hubby picked up on this character.

Anyway, here are the stats: Total words - 73,554. Total chapters - 57 chapters, plus an epilogue. Started - 08-21-16. Finished rough draft – 10-28-17.

Next step. Let the Hubby finish reading it and email it to one other person for their initial review. Let it simmer for a month or two, then do a quick read through, checking for obvious grammar errors and inconsistencies, such as someone likes coffee in the first chapter and never drinks it by the end. My plan is to get that done by the end of the year. Give it another month or two to rest, then do a thorough edit to finish by March or April. Okay, I could continue with my plan, but that is for 2018.

Here are my goals for the past week and as usual, green highlight is goal accomplished, yellow highlight is at least worked on and red print is a total failure.

1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
a.     I posted a picture with a quote from the book to Twitter and LinkedIn. Twice. (So counts as two times.)
b.     Started researching ways to get more reviews and emailed a woman who reviews books on Amazon. I’ve had a hard time finding out how to contact people. I know ways I can stalk them on the internet, but I feel like if they don’t make their email address available, that they really don’t want strangers emailing them. I will continue to research this. 
c.      I heard from my publisher’s media person and she scheduled a book signing for me, so I shared that on my social media.
d.     Posted a rant on Facebook asking for reviews. Maybe not the right approach, but that’s life. I can be pyscho at times.
2) Finish the rough draft of the new novel. YEAH! You already know this.
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Yes.
4) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Read five, commented on three.  
5) Clean up and organize my emails. I’ve always tried to keep my inbox less than 50, but it’s up near 100 right now.  I got my inbox to 50 at one time, but every minute it seems, another email pops in. At least it is back to manageable.
6) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer. Done.
b. Get one box of stuff out of that spare bedroom. None of it was from the spare room, but I did collect a box for the second-hand store.  
c. Do three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.
            1] Sent in our yearly report to the state.
2] With my son, we updated Quick Books to get ready for Audit committee next Friday.

Wow, that was pretty impressive. An awful lot of green. Like I’m on the wrong month – it’ll be a while before we celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Now, can I keep up this pace?  For next week:
1) Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
2) Work on the study guide for “A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven”, which I had started in September.
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
4) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them.
5) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Get one box of stuff out of that spare bedroom. Try selling some of our stuff, maybe post to Craig’s List. 
c. Do three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.

1] Audit the books for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2017 (we are a little behind).





My Aunt Clara's three kids. Frances died of cancer and Ben died in Viet Nam. Only Bill lived to old age. Ben (above) was actually the inspiration for one of the characters in my new novel. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Whew! That feeling passed

Another uneventful week. As in, I did okay on the goals, nothing happening which should have kept me from doing more, but life goes on.

Here are my goals for the past week and as usual, green highlight is goal accomplished, yellow highlight is at least worked on and red print is a total failure.

1)    Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times.
a.     Shared on Facebook that I’ll have the books at a seminar I am attending in November for the day job.
b.     Posted to my other blog a deleted scene from the novel.
c.      Posted to Twitter and LinkedIn the dates of my book signings in November. 
2) Write three thousand words on the new novel. I wrote 2,794 words. So close, that I had to give it more than just yellow. (And Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback, is out for the season with a broken collarbone. Actually all of Wisconsin has been wearing black all week. Our pastor even incorporated it into his sermon last night.)  
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles. Done.
4) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them. Read five, commented on two.
5) Clean up and organize my emails. Nope. I just keep looking at them.
6) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.  Nope.
b. Get one box of stuff out of that spare bedroom. Work on selling some of the stuff in that room. Nope.
c. Work on three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers. I signed us up for a sale in December and worked on the year-end audit report (our fiscal year ended the end of July, so we are a bit behind).

And next week:

1) Promote the new book, “Where the Sky Meets the Sand” five times. I really need to get on this. The book is selling rather poorly on Amazon and has only got ten reviews.  
2) Finish the rough draft of the new novel.
3) Post three times to my other blog, The Dino Chronicles.
4) Read four other blogs and comment on three of them.
5) Clean up and organize my emails. I’ve always tried to keep my inbox less than 50, but it’s up near 100 right now.  
7) Non-writing things to do:
a. Scan a dozen of my mom’s old pictures into the computer.
b. Get one box of stuff out of that spare bedroom. Try selling some of our stuff, maybe post to Craig’s List.  
c. Do three things for the nonprofit, Tumaini Volunteers.

I don’t know. Sitting here writing this this morning, a sudden wave of depression came over me. I think I could just quit the whole writing thing and get on with life. Read books and watch TV shows like other people. Go to the movies. Go out with the girls after work. Drink alcohol. Something, anything that normal people do. I feel like my home office has become a dungeon that I have been banished to, instead of a healthy place filled with creativity and life.


Whew. That feeling passed. I just had to write about it, I guess. I’m living the life I want to, no matter how dysfunctional it feels at times. I am who I am. 
 And here I am, as my great-grandmother's great-granddaughter. Thinking about doing this for Halloween. My one attempt at being a "normal" person - dressing up for Halloween for the first time in a millennium.