Sunday, November 30, 2014

all that's left

The last day of November, which means tomorrow is, for me at least, the first day it is appropriate to begin the Christmas season.  Maybe I will work on Christmas cards this week. Yea, right.

It also means that we are two-thirds of the way through this Round. As much complaining as I have been doing here the last few weeks, I think I will have all of my goals in the bag in just a few weeks.

Big goal - Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days”   On Friday I signed off on the final electronic proof. Both the cover and the interior look fantastic. I’m pretty excited to get a physical copy of the book in my hands within the next week or two.

Small goals
Finish writing my novel – I finished writing the really super-rough draft of my novel last Sunday. The working title has been “Jenny’s Story” or sometimes “A Tale of An American Woman”, which had started out as “A Tale of An African Boy”, when I was originally telling the story from both Jenny’s and the boy’s perspectives, but decided a while back that I should stick to one (or as it turned out, three or four perspectives) instead of seven or eight. As much work as this book has been, I don’t know if I will ever write the African Boy’s tale, but it is still a possibility. But to circle back to the beginning, I need to think of an actual title for this thing.
Work on my third devotional – I actually did a little bit of research on it and wrote a hundred words. I know, oh, boy, but a person has to start somewhere.
Submit three pieces somewhere – I have officially submitted three pieces, having been rejected by one and having not heard back yet from the other two.
Christmas program at church - Boy, I need to get to work on this, don’t I? It is just under three weeks away. Yikes.  

I spent yesterday at a craft show, once again peddling the wares of my daughter’s nonprofit organization and telling everyone I could all about it. It went quite well I thought, got rid of a lot of stuff and made $240, which I believe is the second or third highest income for a single day. The suitcase I have toted around to nine different sales in the last 17 months is getting pretty empty.
 My space at yesterday's craft show. A lot of this stuff has gone to new homes. 
All that's left in the suitcase

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Book, a Back and a Bathroom

Despite a rather dismal beginning to my vacation last weekend, I managed to rally my incapacitated back and my nonfunctioning muse and actually got a lot done since I last posted here.  

Big goal - Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days”  My publisher continues to say that we are ahead of schedule. By the end of this week or the first of next week, they are to send me the final electronic proof. Once I sign off on that, it is another week or two to get a physical book proof and then, wonder of wonders, within another two weeks I will have a shipment of books to begin peddling. End of this project is actually in sight.

Small goals
Finish writing my novel - Seeing as this has taken nearly two years, it shouldn’t really qualify as a small goal, huh? My gauge however was that I was up to somewhere around 68,000 words earlier this fall. Those final words should not have taken that long. But Sunday night, around 9:30, I entered an “ # “ into the computer (which used to mean “the end”. Does it still?) My final figures came in at 71,695 words and 39 chapters in 21 months. Now I will put it away for a while to rise like bread dough (or ferment like red wine, or even perhaps fester like an open wound). I still have research to do, so depending on where that ends up, I may need to make a lot of changes. I know, I kind of put the pie before the pumpkin, but that’s how I roll. But no matter, I have to give myself a big pat on the back. I have finished the rough draft.
Work on my third devotional – Unfortunately, congratulations are perhaps a bit premature, as I didn’t look at this at all. I don’t’ know. I will get inspired here real soon.
Submit three pieces somewhere –This is very impressive. I submitted two pieces quite a while back. I had heard back from one – rejected, and hadn’t heard anything on the other, so I sent another email inquiring and they emailed me right back, that they will be in touch in about another two months to let me know. But none of that is as exciting as my next piece of news, because, yes, just this morning, I submitted a short story to Apple Valley Review. That makes three submissions this Round.
Christmas program at church – I didn’t do much on my own, but several people actually approached me to sign up for something. Next week I promise to really crack down on this. Because I let our Sunday School teacher and our Puppet master decide what songs they want to perform, I just have to hope they have come up with something and then I can plug it into the program. Then assign my handful of reading volunteers their readings and I’m done. Right?  

As I lamented on Sunday, I had big plans to paint my bathroom while I was off this week. Despite a painful and crooked back, I pushed through, and with lots of moaning, groaning, crawling around ungracefully and resting in between, the hubby and I got the bathroom back together this morning.
I hate it when I don't take a "before" picture. This is from 2007 and I don't know what I was thinking when I took it. Could I have straightened up anything in this bathroom?
This is "during" just as the hubby was finishing the ceiling. 
Ta-da. I am working on a lighthouse theme. I only have three lighthouses right now (you can't see the lighthouse rug), but I have high hopes to hit up the second-hand stores.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

One more tale of woe

Friday was the beginning of a week’s vacation and I had so many things planned. My biggest goal was painting my bathroom in time for Thanksgiving. Right now 15 people total should be gathered around my table on Thursday and I wanted them all to be able to use my bathroom with bright, fresh walls.

I’ve had a back ache all week, nothing bad, just enough to slow me down a bit. Saturday I had signed up for a craft show to sell our Kenyan crafts for our nonprofit, and the hubby and I were able to set up most of it Friday night. All I had to do Saturday morning was put out a few more things and organize a little bit. I stopped at the gas station for a bottle of ice tea, as I hadn’t slept much the night before because I was worrying about stupid stuff.

I got back in the car with my drink and – boom – just like that my back went out. We have patients all the time complaining about back trouble. Yes, I believe them that their back hurts, but when they are walking down the hall, I find it hard to sympathize with them, because I can see by the way they hold themselves, that even if they’re in pain, their back is not “out”. When my back is out, when I’m standing in front of the mirror in my underwear, it is obvious something is wrong. My right hip is out of place by at least three or four inches. I’m not kidding, I look like I could be in a carnival side show. I feel pretty pathetic when I walk, because I can’t make myself not limp. I also try to hang onto something so that if my back spasms, I don’t fall down. Because falling down would be like a turtle lying on its shell. “I’ve fallen down and I can’t get up.”  

I could go on, but let’s cut to the chase. I got through the sale, sitting in my chair as much as I could, selling some stuff and talking about the nonprofit to anyone who would listen. I came home and went to bed. At least I am now caught up on my sleep. By the end of today I may even be caught up on my reading. Writing? I can only hope. If I sit too long in my office chair, as comfy as that it, my back does lock up and moving again is quite the chore.

And all the while those bathroom walls are calling me. No, I think they are mocking me. So what did I get done this week before I became disabled?

Big goal - Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days” Let’s just concentrate on the positive. We have finalized the cover and, at least on line, it looks better than I could have imagined. It makes me all the more excited in anticipation of holding the actual book in my hands. My publisher says that we are ahead of schedule, but I am looking at the calendar, trying to figure out just what schedule that is and how I am going to have books to sell before Christmas. Oops, that does not sound like I am looking on the bright side, does it?
Small goals – Look, I deleted my small goals because you had to be getting bored with all the no’s.

So, I guess I can work on the small goals this week and those bathroom walls can just mock me all they want. 
At least the cover of the book isn't mocking anyone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

update and a photo-bomb

I’ve been feeling guilty about not posting on Wednesdays, so I thought I would write a quick update this morning to let you know, if anything else, that I am still alive.

·         The Devotional – I am still waiting for the finished cover concept. The holdup is that there was a miscommunication between me and my publisher, but that was ironed out last night, and he just this morning sent me some revised covers to review. Otherwise the layout process is coming along. My publisher says we are ahead of our timeline, but I don’t remember getting any such timeline – I just wanted 100 copies of it by mid-December so that I could sell some to my adoring fans for Christmas presents. We will see.
·         The Novel – I wrote one of the final scenes at work yesterday. Only 390 words. But it is something. I just want to sit down and finish it, but I just don’t have any blocks of time anymore.
·         The Devotional in progress – Haven’t even looked at it.
·         The Christmas program – We have a meeting at church tonight, so hopefully I will catch up with our Sunday School teacher and a few others. No one seems very enthusiastic about it this year, so it is an uphill battle. I just refuse to give up on the handful of kids we have in our church. The church will never grow if we don’t get the kids motivated and encouraged. So, I won’t give up.
·         The Nonprofit – My daughter and I worked on the nonprofit for a couple hours Sunday night. We want to start pulling together the team of volunteers she is taking to Kenya next fall, so we are writing up an information packet to give to prospective travelers. There are five people who have expressed an interest in working with us, now we just have to get their commitment. We also are going to have a booth at craft shows this Saturday and next Saturday. Three months ago, my daughter ordered more jewelry, artwork, and other items from one of her contacts in Kenya. Our package has yet to arrive. I try not to get mad about it, because I know this is just the Kenyan way, but it would be nice to have some more new stuff for the craft shows. Two months ago Maggie said she was sending it back to the states with one of her volunteers. Three weeks ago, she said she was sending it with another volunteer who was leaving that day. If only she would give me the name of that volunteer I would bug them, but I am fearful she never sent it with any volunteer. I will practice my patience. Hakuna Matata.
·         Exercise – I am trying really hard to run/do aerobics at least every other night. I have been doing pretty well, but only 10 minutes a night. I want to increase that time, but just haven’t been able to push myself.

I think that’s it for now. I was going through old pictures of the pets for my other blog, and stumbled across this picture of Betty. Don’t you love Barney photo-bombing it!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BICFOK (I am not swearing.)

Are you sure this is right? Is it really Sunday again, already, and once again I didn’t post on Wednesday? I really think that I have been living in some kind of time warp. I absolutely positively cannot believe that I have been getting absolutely positively nothing done! Arrggh! I am so frustrated with myself! I keep thinking this madness is going to end and I am going to get back on track, and then I look at the calendar and – arrggh! – another entire week has passed!!

So what have I done this week?

Big goal
1)      Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days” On Tuesday I got the latest round of edits back from my publisher. I read through the entire manuscript (which is only 10,000 words, so don’t feel sorry for me) that night and sent it back, having found only two typos. The next day my publisher emailed me back that they found and fixed the typos and that the manuscript is off to the layout people. I should get the final proof this week. After that is ok’ed we can proceed to printing. Or we could, except that I haven’t ok’ed the final proof of the cover. It seems so close, and yet so far away.
I also sent my publisher twelve quotes which I pulled from the manuscript to be used in promoting the book. Which means that my original list of ten things to do is now complete.
Small goals
1) Submit three pieces somewhere. Let’s just say “no”. I don’t know where I am at anymore. But I think it is still at two legitimate pieces. The book where I log in all my submissions is like an arm’s length away and I am too lazy to even reach over and check it.
2) Finish the novel No, I opened the file and then apparently closed it again without doing a thing.
3) Start my third devotional, with a tentative title of "The Early Ministry of Jesus in 40 Days".  Hmm? Another manuscript which I opened , glanced at and then closed without having accomplished anything.
4) Christmas program at church. Didn’t do a thing.

To my credit, we had a major snowstorm Monday and Tuesday. Again with the time warp, because it feels like it was weeks ago and that we have been buried in snow for months. I am already ready for Spring. I think the sudden descent into Winter has sucked out of me what little ambition I did have.

Wish me luck this week and especially the week after. I have the week of Thanksgiving off from the day job, and though I have a list of things to do around the house, I hope to find time to write. BICFOK (butt in chair, fingers on keyboard)
My yard outside my office window last Sunday. 
The view outside my window on Wednesday morning and ever since. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Still feels like I am taking it easy

Oh, dear, it looks like I didn’t write anything here on Wednesday. Once again, I have no idea where the week went. I whittled away on a few goals, but I still think I need to focus on getting my focus back. Or not. Maybe I will just keep taking it easy.

Big goal
1)      Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days” On Thursday I got the first round of edits back from my editor and proof-reader. So I worked on that most of the day and night on Friday and sent it back at ten o’clock Friday night. Yes, it could have waited and I could have re-read it one more time and sent it on Monday morning. But I just wanted to get it back to my publisher. The more I read it, the more I started losing my mind. Yesterday, I emailed my revised biography. So now it is all back in my publisher’s court and I just have to wait for my next task.  I have huge doubts that this book will be out in print by Christmas, but all I can do is keep getting my stuff done as efficiently as I can and stop looking at the calendar.

Small goals
1) Submit three pieces somewhere. Haven’t submitted anything in a while, but I did do some market research on Saturday. The way the markets are, you are better off finding a potential market first and writing something specific to their requirements, instead of writing a piece that is going to sit because you cannot find a market for it.  
2) Finish the novel. I did indeed work on the novel, finished chapter 35 and wrote 800 words on chapter 36. In the past I lamented that I thought it would end around 30 chapters and not make the recommended 40 chapter mark. It does not look like that will be a problem anymore.
3) Start my third devotional, with a tentative title of "The Early Ministry of Jesus in 40 Days".  I have most of the Bible verses outlined already so I did take a look at it once this week. Nothing came to me, so I put it away. I know that God is going to have to help me with it, so there is no use working on it if I don’t feel Him hanging out.  
4) Christmas program at church. Didn’t do a thing. 

I did spend most of Saturday afternoon with my daughter working on her nonprofit. It has been a while since we have worked on it, so it was a good thing to get back at it.
 I cannot wait to get back to Kenya to help out these kids. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where does time go and where do things like giant numbers go?

Holy cow, I cannot believe it is November already. 

I have an obsession with planning vacations and on Friday I talked the hubby into taking off the first week of January with me. I told him we could fly somewhere warm. He was actually onboard with that and I spent all of Friday on line looking up various options. Today I finally came to my senses, realizing we cannot afford any such trip. I told the hubby we would just stay home that week, keep the curtains closed, all the lights on and turn up the heat – all so we could imagine that we were some place warm where there is never any snow on the ground!!!

Yup, we have snow on the ground right now and I am really dreading the next five months!

Big goal
1)      Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days” – I had planned on getting my updated bio to my publisher this week, but that didn’t happen. It is on my to-do list for today. I did get the cover concepts from the graphic designer. It seems like none of them is ever the clear-cut winner and I always ask for some tweaking. That should be done this week. I am still waiting for the first round of edits from the editor, but I have high hopes that that will happen this week too.

Small goals
1) Submit three pieces somewhere. Haven’t submitted anything in the last week, so am still at two submissions, one a rejection and one resolution unknown.
2) Finish the novel. I did work on the novel, writing close to a thousand words (I really should return to keeping track of my word count, huh?).
3) Start my third devotional, with a tentative title of "The Early Ministry of Jesus in 40 Days". Nope, but I had this moment of insanity this week where I thought that since everyone else is doing NaNoWriMo in November, I could write this devotional this month, writing one entry a day, two entries on some of those days, but my total word count is only around 10,000 for these books, so I should be able to easily do that, right? Yea, it’s the 2nd today and I haven’t started.
4) Christmas program at church. A family of four volunteered to run the kitchen for me, getting drinks and snacks for the Jesus Birthday Party we always have after the children’s program, but that’s about it. Our Sunday school teacher is pretty negative about getting her single class of six kids to participant much, so I gave her my pep talk and not much else to do at this point but hope and pray.  
One of the covers still in the running and I don't know where the big "40" went that should be right in the middle.