Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday, Monday

Okay...good weekend.
Beautiful weather, Redskins finally won (Yay!), East Carolina beat Carolina (Double Yay!), NC State won, husband's basement project almost finished (woo-hoo), and this morning I was able to get the usually impossible-to-get urine sample from the puppy-brother to see if her UTI is cleared up.

On Writing: So, still okay with my 100 word pitch. Wish I could convey the comedy better, but I think that's the best I'm going to do. Edited my 1st chapter some more. Will reread this morning to see if the edits accomplished what I was attempting. I hope to submit to sytycw no later than tomorrow. Once I've done that, I'll spend some time reading more entries and leaving comments. Then I have to finish my synopsis (only have a long very rough draft.) And then it's time to move on and start thinking of my next WIP.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

These Squirrels Are Killing Me

It's going to be a long fall if the squirrels around us don't get smarter. Now, our dog Bella is not the sharpest crayon in the box. She is the sweetest, but let's just say she won't be on any Amazing Pet Tricks show. So you'd think the squirrels were pretty safe around her. Except I haven't seen such dumb squirrels before. If a dog has treed you, why would you choose that moment to come back down the tree where the dog is waiting? Or, the squirrels will run but instead of running up the nearest tree, they will pass ten trees to get to a certain tree as Bella gets closer. Now, maybe these are really evil-genius squirrels just toying with our sweet, not-so-smart dog. Either's going to make for a looooong fall until they get to hibernating.

On writing: I might have finally fixed my 100 word pitch in the shower this morning. I get some of my best ideas in the shower. Go figure. I've had my pitch done for a few days, but like I said before, I don't love it. So, off to write out my idea and see if it works. I just want to say of the over 200 entries in the So You Think You Can Write 2013 contest so far, there are a lot of great ones. And how great for all these writers to put their writing out there. It's a scary thing, and kudos to all. I plan on getting my chapter up early next week. The pitch has delayed me and then while I was hashing over the pitch I started changing my 1st chapter some more so need to reread and make sure they were good changes.

Edited to say: Yes! I think I have my pitch! 100 words exactly. Says what it needs to say. Aaaaand...I think it has the punch of presentation that was missing up until this version. I'll leave it alone for now while I go run some errands and then work on my 1st chapter. Crossing fingers that when I read it tomorrow I still like it. Whew! I will sum up this pitch odyssey with a quote from My Cousin Vinnie, one of my favorite movies: "I'm done with this guy!"

Monday, September 23, 2013

"Who Let the Dogs Out? Who, Who, Who?"

Yesterday was a beautiful, open the windows wide kind of day. We live in the woods so you hear the wind in the trees and birds and frogs. Very relaxing. Except that our neighbors decided to let their dog/dogs out and then leave. I didn't think people did that anymore. I know decades ago, that was more the norm, but I haven't lived anywhere in the last few years where people do that, on account of safety for the animals. (And I've lived in MD, NJ, AZ, TX and now NC)

Our neighbors have three dogs. Very sweet dogs. I've met them. Let me go on record saying this is not about the dogs. This is about the owners. They left their dogs outside yesterday and one of them literally ( I am not kidding) barked for over four hours straight. That is why I am assuming they left for the day. How can anyone listen to their dogs bark for that long and not react or bring them in? So sad for the puppy, but I think our family was on edge after a few hours of listening to it. Shutting all the windows only helped a little.

On writing: I worked on my 100 word pitch yesterday. I'm close. I like it, but don't love it. I have 10 more words to play with. I'll see if I come up with anything more today. I want to read my chapter out loud today and go through the Angela James "Before you hit send" editing list from her class. I'm sending out good luck wishes for everyone entering SYTYCW2013. Hoping for an inspirational and positive learning experience for all!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Baby Chicks!

We went to the local feed store this morning. I love that place! Now that we moved out to the country (over a year ago) we have these fun stores. Lots of salons and restaurants run out of people's houses in town. It's so sweet. Very old-fashioned in a sense since the fast growing town we used to live in had lots of rules against this kind of thing.

Anyway, now that we live in the country, we live where people have horses, livestock, chickens etc. They have baby chicks at the feed store! So cute!

One day we might get chickens for fresh eggs, but not today. Today we got some grain-free dog food for the Bella-dog. There are other Addison's dogs that have GI problems with some grain-based foods, and since we're trying to narrow down why she gets sick, we decided to try new food. Happily, she loves the new food! But now we'll wait to see if it makes her tummy feel better so she doesn't have to keep eating grass the way she does. She's still being treated for a UTI, but after the round of antibiotics is done, if that didn't clear it up then the vet said we need to do an ultrasound for stones. It's always something, but we love her.

On writing: I am still working on my 100 word pitch. (Insert eye roll here.) I did a little more editing on my first chapter. There is something about entering a contest that makes me look at my writing with more unbiased eyes. My problem with the 100 word pitch is fitting everything in that is needed, keeping it clear, and trying to add humor since the pitch is supposed to reflect the tone of the m/s. It's not there yet. Maybe not even close. I have a very rough draft of my synopsis done, but I'm trying to get the pitch and first chapter polished first. Okay, back to my pitch because it is not writing itself.

Friday, September 20, 2013

So Much To Do...So Little Time

My writing "To-Do" List:
1 Finish the 100 word pitch for my SYTYCW13 entry.
2 Finish synopsis for the same.
3 Go over chapter 1 again.

I still have to finish the last chapter of the m/s, but that is wrap up/ epilogue for the most part. I'm still not positive which of my two manuscripts I will use. The editors say enter your strongest, but I'm not sure I've decided which one that is. The Harlequin editors posted critiques on 22 First Pages yesterday, and the writing level and talent of people is amazing to see. It makes it agonizingly understandable how hard it is to get a book published when there is so much talent out there. Okay, off to tackle my to-do list. But first...more coffee.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Harvest Moon

"The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox, the beginning of northern autumn.  In 2013 the Moon is full on Sept. 19th (the night of Sept. 18-19 in North America)  while the equinox follows close behind on Sept. 22nd.  The coincidence sets the stage for a nice display of Harvest moonlight." More on the harvest moon at the link. Cool stuff.

Slept with the windows open last night and it got down to 50 degrees. I love the cool air when you're under a toasty quilt. But, if gets any cooler I may have to put the winter-weight comforter on early. It's silly, but I like to rotate quilts on days like 1st day of spring (off goes the winter comforter. on goes the spring quilt.) 1st day of fall... like that. But I just realized I don't have a summer quilt...I will have to start looking around to see what I can find.

On Writing: I'm participating in the on-line SYTYCW13 Conference as much as I can this week. (But also busy writing my synopsis for the manuscript I plan to enter. And also need to write the 100 word pitch. Yikes!) I had never heard of the competition until this year, so I have never seen it. I've heard some of the other writer's stories though and it sounds like if you go into it as a learning experience you can get the most out of it. Once the actual contest starts, I plan on using the comments as if they're input from unbiased beta readers to make my writing stronger. Digest them, decide which ones ring true (i.e.- lots of people make the same comment) and which ones to set aside.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The End...Sort Of

On Writing: Well, I arrived at my word count goal (and then some) but this ending- I'm not sure about it. I still have a little wrap up/epilogue stuff to put in the last chapter, but this ending just doesn't feel as "right" as my last book's. Maybe I just need to put it aside for a few days and then reread it and see?

So You Think You Can Write '13 week long conference begins today. I only just discovered the Harlequin forum last December after the contest was over and done, so this is all brand new to me. I think I'd like to enter my current WIP, but not only do I still have to write a synopsis, but may need to edit the first chapter a little. Should be a fun educational week!

Day 13 of Whole 30 (no sugar, wheat, alcohol) and I'm feeling great. I am starting to wake up remembering my dreams again and have more energy. Day 13 is the amount of time it usually takes for sugar cravings to stop. So far, so good. Now, if I could just get the exercise going regularly...

SWG: DWC: 2,015 ( total from 9/13, 9/14, 9/15 combined)      TWC: 56,989  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pardon my Contruction Zone

I'm going to be working on this blog in the next few days trying to add pages, but since I'm not super techno savvy I guarantee it will be like any construction/reno project...a chaotic mess before it comes together into a beautiful, more user-friendly website. Some of the pages I add may be blank for a few days while I figure this out. The management thanks you for your patience.

On Writing: I am so close to finishing my WIP. So close, but...I'm having trouble with my final scene. I just can't come up with something that feels "right" for my characters and the book. I can't decide if it's because the ending in my first completed manuscript felt so very right that I was lucky with that one, and I should just write this and it'll be fine....Or, I should keep on mentally torturing myself until I have something better. I've been struggling with this for a for a few days and have concluded that today is the day. I'm just going to write that final scene because:

 #1 You can't edit what you haven't written
 #2 Writing it may spur other ideas.

I am actually 26 words away from my goal of 55k. So, yay! This scene should take a few k of words, and I always add more during the editing process, so this may a m/s that I'll have to pull out a scene since the wc for this line is 55-60k. So, here I go. Roll Tide.

SWG: DWC: 1,597 TWC: 54,974

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Land of Hope and Dreams"

Just like so many families in the US and around the world, Sept 11 is a sad day for our family. Still hard to get through. Along with 9/11/2001, a few years later my wonderful brother-in-law, Brian, lost his courageous battle with cancer on Sept 11. He put up a fierce fight, but cancer's a f'ing bitch. I know Brian's up there watching over my sister and their children. Their strength has been amazing, like so many families on 9/11 who've had to carry on without their loved ones who left this earth way too soon.

So, for Brian, I'm off to listen to his favorite Bruce Springsteen song...Land Of Hope And Dreams.

On Writing: Not much yesterday on account of the day. But here are the stats:
SWG: DWC: 1,273  TWC: 53,377  (and the daily word count is for 9/10 and 9/11 combined)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just a Tuesday

and taking the Bella-dog to the vet for her monthly Percortin shot for her Addison's. Just wanted to flash through here with my writing update.

On Writing: Eh. Not a great writing day yesterday. I guess I'm trying to figure out how to get the last few scenes aka tying up loose threads right. I have a few ideas, but as yet, none are jumping out at me as the way to wrap this up. I hope one of my characters speaks to me today.

SWG: DWC: 379 TWC: 52,104

Monday, September 9, 2013

Feeling Good Eating Healthy

I know. I know. I've never really talk much about food in here. Other than our BBQ smoker experience. This isn't a food blog, but a writing blog. But, today I feel so good I feel like sharing. So, today is day 6 of my latest Whole30 (
eliminating sugar, wheat and alcohol from my diet. Once I get through the "carb flu" (your body's reaction to transitioning from using mainly carbs to burning mostly protein and fats) then it's amazing how much clearer my brain feels. It's pretty amazing. I even feel more creative. My husband and I have been eating primal for over two years now. Not 100%, but maybe 90/10.

The Whole30 is a very strict way of eating that really cleanses your system and gets you back to the basics. I have probably done a year's worth of Whole30's over the last two years, and stick to mainly a primal diet in between. Really, the main difference for us is the Whole30 is very strict and clean; a little more work in cook prep and planning, although not much once it's your 'way of life.' A primal diet is still a diet based on whole foods: meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit (minimal), some people include dairy. I cook with coconut flour, almond flour and coconut oil. Still avoiding wheat, except for the occasional loaf of sourdough that is a must in our family. But primal life allows for red wine ;) and a little bit of dark chocolate on occasion.

Anyway, this works for me. The first 13 days of trying anything new are the most difficult. I find once I get through the first 13 days where sugar, the nasty bitch, is calling my name so 'sweetly,' trying to temp me, once I get through that, the sugar cravings go away. Well, so anyway, that's what I'm up to, but if this newsy information about the eating habits of a slightly quirky writer was more than you had signed up, I apologize.

On Writing: I had a very good writing day yesterday. I actually wrote a scene out of order, which is not my preferred method. I really like to write a story from beginning to end. Mainly because new characters appear and turn a story so often, that to me it doesn't make sense to write a scene for the end when I don't even know if my characters will be taking that road by that time of journey, you know? But, I'm pretty close to the end of my WIP and I was unsure of what the next scene "needed" to be, so I went ahead and wrote a scene toward the end (possibly the final scene?) because this showdown had to happen, it was just a matter of where and when. And I still need two more things to happen. So, I'll reread this morning and see if now I can't figure out if those two things can fit in my missing scene.

September Writing Goal:  Daily Word Count: 2,778  Total Word Count: 51,732

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Geese Overhead!

It's that time of year again. I was sitting out with Bella and my coffee on the front porch this morning when the first wave of geese flew overhead in formation, honking away. Yay! It's one of those first signs, a harbinger of fall. I. Love. Fall. I think it reminds me of my childhood and running and playing in the woods near our house as a child. I spent so much time there. Sometimes I feel such peace in the woods, other times nostalgic. Often though, it invigorates and renews my optimism. Love the sound of the wind blowing in the treetops, especially deeper into fall when the leaves have turned all the colors of fire and earth. The drier leaves have a different sound quality...crisper, sharper, with an edge of excitement. Is it just me? Or does everyone love fall like I do?

On the "to-do" list...
I did the laundry, and exercised, although the exercise wasn't a quality workout. Sometimes the first few workouts for me are just about showing up. It's only after the first few that my body connects to the muscle memory of movements that it begins to love it again. I have to finish downloading the Scrivener class today, since that will only be accessible for another week or so. I think I'll put the tub of wood putty on my desk next to me, that way I can start that project when I'm brainstorming/thinking during writing or just getting up to give my butt a rest.

On Writing: I'm down to the last 6k, but I might have to cut the scene I wrote yesterday. You know the idea that every scene must move the story forward/have a purpose or cut it? I'm not sure this scene does everything it should for the word count. It could be I need to do this in another scene. But I think I'll write first, then reread yesterday's work and see if it's a scene that moves plot forward or is too stagnant to stay.

SWC: DWC for 9/6: 1,552  DWC for 9/7: 1,219  TWC: 48,954

Friday, September 6, 2013

Do-over on the "To-Do" List

Yesterday's "To-Do" List
1. Write.
2. Exercise.
3. Download the rest of on-line Scrivener class lectures.
4. Reread health insurance info. Make decision.
5. Vacuum and laundry.
6. Research yellow jackets to see if we need an exterminator.
7. Wood putty the nail holes in trim in writing space.
8. Make egg omelets for daughter #1.  done

I let myself get distracted by a problem one of our twins is having. I can't let myself do that. I have been trying to help for months now, but maybe what he needs it to crash and burn for the life-lesson to stick. It's hard as a parent to watch. But I've offered help and advice. Now I need to step back. I can't let it mess up my whole day worrying, you know? So, needless to say, my "to-do" list is still calling to me. I will try to chip away at it after I get some writing done.

On Writing: Not much. Planning for a better day today.
SWG: DWC: 394 TWC: 46,183

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Today's "To-Do" List

1. Write.
2. Exercise.
3. Download the rest of on-line Scrivener class lectures.
4. Reread health insurance info. Make decision.
5. Vacuum and laundry.
6. Research yellow jackets to see if we need an exterminator.
7. Wood putty the nail holes in trim in writing space.
8. Make egg omelets for daughter #1.  done

On Writing: Good writing day yesterday. I have under 10k to go. Last week I was worried my plot was going to run out of steam before getting to the necessary word count, now I'm worried that I don't have enough space to write the scenes that I need to wrap everything up. Gah! The lighthearted scene I had planned to write yesterday morphed into something more serious and emotional. It was something the h/H had to discuss, I just didn't think they'd do it in this scene. But often the best scenes end up being ones you didn't plan, but the ones the characters insist you write, you know? I still have to reread it this morning to see if it works. And it probably changes where I go next, because I'm pretty sure they're about to jump into bed...

September Writing Goal: DWC: 1,612 TWC: 45,789

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"By all These Lovely Tokens September Days are Here,"

"With summer's best of weather
And autumns' best of cheer."       
Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885
I love, love, love September and Fall. I love the cooler weather, yet not cold like winter. I love the wind that whips up, unlike the stagnant hot air in summer. And I love the muted colors and sounds, so different from spring.
Okay, more specific September Goals:
#1 Finish WIP. I'm at 44k. So about 11k to go to reach minimum of 55k. I ALWAYS add more in the editing process because I have to go back and add more narrative and action/speech tags.
#2 Regular exercise. Get back to lifting weights. Maybe add in some walking, and if my knees and hips can take it....dare I try to run again?
#3 Clean the sugar and wheat out of the diet for September. 
#4 Revisit YA manuscript. When WIP/romance is done, it needs to sit, untouched so I can have some distance from it to better edit/critique it. During this time, I want to pull out my complete YA. I think it's got some great stuff there, just maybe it needs a different beginning?
#5 Decide on whether or not to enter SYTYCW13. I will only have two full romance m/s to choose from, so decide if I'm entering in time to write 100 word pitch and edit.
#6 If I get all of that done....then begin thinking about next book in my Climax series. Which brother is next...?
On Writing: A good day of writing. Getting closer. I should probably just accept that I am not the kind of writer that can pound out 5k words/day and be happy with a daily output. Oh, well, should be a fun scene to write next. My h/H go to the pound looking for a puppy...yeah, you can probably guess what happens.
SWG: DWC: 1,903 TWC: 44,177


Monday, September 2, 2013

September Goals

Will officially set September goals tomorrow, but obviously #1 is to finish my WIP. On a side note, I finally moved into the new writing space in the basement. I. Love. It. I have a wonderful view of the woods outside our house. The only bad thing is that yesterday, my husband was working on moving the woodpile so it was closer to the house. Apparently, he disturbed a yellow jackets nest. I had a front row seat of the whole thing from the window in my new writing space. It was terrible to watch. By the time I had run upstairs and outside, my poor husband had been stung 6 times. It could have been worse. Threw some Benadryl down his throat, put some baking soda mixed with water on the stings and then ice packs after that. I'm thinking of getting curtains for the room now. (kidding!)

On Writing: Well, my September goal is to finish the rough draft of my WIP, so the last 15k of the m/s. I'm hoping my plot doesn't fall short.
TWC: 42,274