Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round 1 2014

Playing With Possibilities: ROW80 Update, 2/26/14

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It’s been a free-form few days. I’ve spent a good deal of time with my pre-revision plans for Chameleon’s Dish, in preparation for my March revision effort – more on that in Sunday’s post.

I’ve had some extra sleep; and time with my family. I’ve written an extra blog post, for August McLaughlin‘s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III.

Oh, and one more thing.

I won the Branding Prize Kristen Lamb offered to WANACon participants. The conference was well worth the registration fee, already – so this is a delightful surprise. And it means that Kristen will be bringing her WANA Mama magic to my online presence.

Gulp.

It’s scary-wonderful, and I’m very excited to accept this non-door prize!

And now, on to the ROW80 stuff…

Is there a metamorphosis in my future?

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

 Answer comments at least every other day. Target attained!

  • Getting much better at consistency, here.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature.On target.

Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home. On target.

  • Had a chat with Jay Donovan from Tech Surgeons, after WANACon.

  • I may be playing with website ideas sooner than I thought – more on that in the coming weeks.

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May). On target.

  • I spent a few moments jotting down the opening sequence of events for the story series.

  • Next, to set an endpoint…

The Promise of future editing! =)

2014 Editing:

 Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Work through Chameleon’s Dish Pre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. On target.

  • Continued Points #9-11; reread pre-revision scene notes.

  • Scene summaries and Cheat Sheets for all plot points and pinch points completed.

  • Summaries and cheat sheets for connecting scenes complete through Chapter 6/23 (Scene 20/60).

  • I went to the NaNoEdMo site to register; there’s no official challenge this year – so I will do it independently.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.On target.

  • Computer desk nearly ready to move to Jeremaih’s room; general decluttering.

Spend time daily in my study.On target.

  • Every day, except for Tuesday.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames. Setting aside for the rest of the round.

  • As I get ready for editing in March, then intensive writing for April and May; I’m going to take a break from these, in order to focus one these projects.

2014 Lifetending:

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

 Choose two playful motions for each day in February; do them several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. Well…I was sick. Getting back into it this week.

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWersare playing with this round!

Ahhhh, lovely pages!
Posted in Blogfest Entries, Life Writing

The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III – Finding Beauty in a Life of Lovely Chaos

Pop on over to August’s place and join the beautiful fun!

This post is part of August McLaughlin‘s  Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III.

 Check out other amazing posts, have a few laughs, get inspired, and maybe even win a fabulous prize at August’s delicious blog!

This year, I’m celebrating a type of beauty that is often overlooked.

Allow me to introduce you to the Lovely Chaos of my beautiful, untidy, spontaneous, unusual, everyday kind of a life!

As I was starting this post, I was listening to my daughter, video chatting with her best friend.  Littlest Pet Shop characters were living out “very dramatic lives” on the floor all around her.

A few things;

  • Her best friend lives a state away.
  • It was after 1am on a Wednesday.
  • My daughter and her friend have never attended school.
  • My daughter is nine years old.
Homemade pizzas, custom-topped and baked to order. Said the girl, “Mommy, we’re murdering yeast so we can eat it!”
Practicing her pyramid-building skills – and demonstrating a keen-edged sense of balance, not to mention product-model flair.

Not only are my children innocent of a single school memory; for the last five years, we have embraced a mutually respectful family dynamic (no one has chores; no one gets punished; we do a LOT of peaceful negotiating; we all learn and learn and learn –  no curriculum or lesson plans required!).

Physics boy strikes again. “Mom, can you come to the kitchen? And will you take a picture? I just broke the laws of physics!”

And to think of all the times I’ve complained about dirty dishes…when there will be more.  Always.  No, they won’t always impress me the way these did, but they will always be the remains of food eaten and nourishment taken.  There is a certain type of beauty in that, and that the dirty ones brought learning and fun.  There’s beauty, too, in the way the cats later made toys of tumbled pyramid cups!

“Mommy, will you take a picture? Here’s my sign!” Yes, there is a lot we can learn from a nine-year-old who loves herself as-is.
One confident and happy girl, not outmatched by a snowbank taller than she is!

Girls can get so many messages telling them to be someone and something they’re not, that, to be worthy, they need to look and act in ways that appeal to others.  Yes, she loves her unique and ever-evolving fashion sense, and she knows she is beautiful.  She knows, too, that she is many other wonderful things, and that the most important of all is ….herself.

There’s tremendous and powerful beauty in her knowing that!

Sweeties at the sweet shop!

Our life is more a matter of flow than of schedule.  A candy store trip on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, before a huge snowstorm.  Yup, that’s beautiful – and so are their big silly grins.

Creativity in other forms adds beauty!
A novel in progress: Bounded by a Nutshell (AKA the Monsterscript) hangs out while receiving a dose of pre-editing notes.
A beautiful playground, just for me!

Natural learning is the focus for the whole family – even me!  After years of subterranean shame regarding my need to write, I now Own My Own Words. And my worlds.

I own my life, and the stories it holds.  And I own my fascination for Vulcans and their secret inner lives…and owning it all, down to the last non-canon fanfic, is a beauty I denied myself way too long.

His hair is wild, but his smile is real. I see a man emerging, where a boy has been.
Little Miss Force of Nature. A beautiful, sparkling, spirited spitfire of a blossoming girl.

Living life the way we choose, on our own terms, whatever our ages, is beautiful.  My  surfer-headed boy with his triangle of freckles and treasured Pinkie Pie pendant? My daredevil diva with the dancing eyes and impudent tongue?

Perfectly themselves.  Perfectly beautiful.

At the Children’s Museum of Saratoga.
Foam block architecture – and one beautidully happy architect!

Supporting natural learning is a little different each day – but there is always give and take.  A trip to a childrens’ museum gives me photo ops, and a certain girl the pleasure of pursuing her building passion.  Win-wins are a big part of our lives, and they’re beautiful every time!

Sheet, Annalise, and Sea Breeze…. three beautiful amigas!

‘Round here, there’s room for all types of love, even passion for battered stick unicorns and tattered former bed linen.  Beautiful friendships matter!

Refrigerator canvas, by Annalise.
Ribbon board canvas, by me, for me.

Self -expression is a beautiful piece of life here…

Yes, it’s chaotic, at times. No, I’m not always graceful about it.  It can be tricky, living a life that embraces such  freedom.  It’s not how I was raised, or how I thought I would be, when I became a mom.

But…

No two days are just alike.  I’m never bored.  There’s always something to see and marvel at, some new piece of living rolling out before me.  So, it’s not tidy….far from it!

My house is often messy, but my life – my life is beautiful!  

Are there moments of beauty in your everyday  world? Grace notes that make your moments sing with joy?  Do you ever just slow down, and really look at your own beautiful life?

Remember, if you want more, you can find many other contributions to the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III here!

Posted in Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing

Coffee and Conversation: Do You Write? Do You WANA?

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again –   time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my familywas driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

No, I didn’t misspell that last word. WANA stands for We Are Not Alone; and it’s the baby of WANA Mama and Social Media Jedi Kristen Lamb -. It’s a space for loving expression, support, learning, and companionship for writers and other creatives. You can take classes, or pick the brains of people who’ve been where you are, working through the same questions that are plaguing you. You can meet up with other WANAs on Facebook, Twitter, and at WANATribe – our own WANA social media hub.

Photo Credit: Lynn Kelley Author; courtesy WANA Commons, at Flickr.

And then there’s WANACon – the all-online writer’s conference chock-full of terrific presentations on every aspect of writing and publishing – and, so far as I know, the only one that encourages participants to attend in their pajamas! =D

Last weekend marked the third WANACon. I attended a single day of the inaugural conference. I got so much out of that day, and I was eager to attend again.

So, when I knew that the February 2014 WANACon would fall during Jim’s vacation, I dipped into my personal savings, and registered for the full conference. I knew I wouldn’t make every presentation, but it was well worth the price – Kristen has arranged for all the presentations to be recorded, along with the chats and slideshows, and these are part of the registration fee. So, I knew that whatever I missed, I could catch later, at my own pace.

Photo credit: tdthread; courtesy WANA Commons at Twitter.

That turned out to be a very, very good thing. Last Monday morning, I started coughing – a deep, hacking cough followed by chills, sweats, a head emptied of everything but feverdreams, and an utter lack of anything remotely resembling energy – unless it was for still more coughing.

I am also deep in the process of working through my pre-revision checklist for a novel-in-progress, which I will be revising next month.

And, somehow, in all the muzzy-headedness and scene-plotting, I forgot when WANACon was, and I overlooked the various neon-lit, personal reminders.

I finally “remembered” when Kristen posted at the end of Day One. When I woke up Saturday morning, the kids, who were getting sick themselves , were streaming videos…they were sick, too, so I waited until they were finished, and then I caught the final three presentations:

  • Kait Nolan, ROW80 goddess, who spoke on self-publishing with great skill and a delightful Southern accent.
  • Julie Duffy of Story A Day.org and Gabriela _Pereira, of DIY MFA, speaking about the structure of the revision process – perfectly timed for my first “big-girl” revision effort (and Julie possesses a lovely Irish lilt; a terrific bonus for my ears!).
  • And, to wrap things up, our own WANA Mama, Kristen Lamb, on blogging for authors – with a lot of attendant silliness and cow trails along the way.

Afterward, I caught up with Jay Donovan of Tech Surgeons (and another homeschooling parent!), who had me laughing with my poor sore throat, and made generous offers of advice and testing space that might finally help me overcome my terror whenever I contemplate the process of establishing a writer website. And I got to know a couple of other WANAs, too!

It was, for the circumstances, the perfect amount of learning and social interaction. I couldn’t have held any more.

And yet, when I’m ready, there is so much more to partake of, and to immerse myself in…

If you write, and you feel alone, WANA might be the perfect social and learning resource for you – and you may make lifelong friends, too! For those of us who write, WANA is a wonderful resource – free for the taking!

What about you? Do you have a passion? A society or group where you always know you can find something new to learn, someone to chat with – talking shop, or about anything else? I’d love to hear more about it – and I promise to sit a ways away, in case I’m carrying lingering contagion!

Photo credit: Eden “Kymele” Mabee; courtesy WANA Commons at Flickr.


Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Sampler for February 23, 2014: The Love Edition

Assorted lovelies for your reading and viewing pleasure….offered up on a pretty blog platter!

I love learningand stretching my perspective; I love sharing what I find with others, and learning and stretching more in the process.

I offer up this virtual Sunday paper, filled with things I have read and enjoyed recently, in the spirit of learning and sharing.

February is a great month for love and lovers, at least here in America. In the spirit of St. Valentine, I offer this sampler box of sweet somethings….all wrapped up in a silk-covered heart-shaped box, and tied off with a great big ribbon bow. Bon appetit!

What’s a mash-up post on love without a great love story? OK, a mashup post on love with two love stories – one fictional, and one delightfully real.

And that leads us into a most delicious aspect of love- touch, connection, titillation – you know, good old-fashioned sex.

I love animals. Let’s round out this roundup with two celebrations of love on the hoof and with wagging tails….

Who and what do you love? How do you show it? What about them makes your heart swell and beat with that special splashing thrill? Love is better still when it’s shared!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Round 1 2014

I WANA Play: ROW80 Update, 2/23/14

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Do you WANA? I do!

Honestly, I didn’t attend nearly as much of WANACon as I intended when I registered. But then, I was in fine fettle, and no idea that I was about to get slammed by a nasty sickness that fogged my head. I saw a notice about PajamaCon – and it didn’t click. I forgot the entire first day of programs.

When I did remember, yesterday morning, the kids were streaming The Last Airbender. They’re sick, too, so I let them have the Internet. I finally got to WANACon just in time for the final three presentations – and I got to hear Kait‘s lovely Southern voice as she filled my head with goodness!

I’ll have more to say about WANACon tomorrow. Today, it’s time for an update!

How the pyramids were made?!

Play Jar Update:

It was a slow week, with being sick. I started a couple of Play Jar projects, but only completed one. Hopefully, now that I’m on the upside of this very nasty virus (which I strongly suspect was the flu), I can get some more play in!

  • 1/59 slips completed.

  • #28: Reread Star Trek novel How Much for Just the Planet? – I liked it much better the first time through, when I was 20 years younger or so!

  • 22/80 total completed.

Playing with the laws of physics – that’s my boy!

2014 Blogging:

 Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments at least every other day. Target attained!

  • I kept up, more or less.

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.On target.

  • Still a little behind, but getting to them a little faster than earlier in the week.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. On target.

I did Annalise’s makeup….good thing she’s pretty, and I can write!

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May). On target.

  • Spent a bit of time with T’Pol and Trip. They decided to tell me parts of their story in my dreams. It seemed to be time. =)

Appreciation for a helping hand, voluntarily given.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Work through Chameleon’s Dish Pre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. On target.

  • Completed Points # 7 and 8. Began Points #9-#11 – the final steps before I’m ready. I’ve now got a quarter of the novel’s cheat sheets and scene summaries completed, and moved the appropriate rough draft scenes and segments to the new draft, where I have existing scenes.

  • It definitely looks like this is going to be a major rewrite draft.

At ease in a snowbank taller than she is, and which is now greatly diminished.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.On target.

  • Computer desk very nearly excavated; general decluttering.

Spend time daily in my study.Target attained!

  • Yes; cleaning and creating.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames. On target.

  • Set these aside to some extent, to focus on the pre-revision plan.

Foundation for physics play….constructed by a clever boy.

2014 Lifetending

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Select and complete projects from my Play Jar.On target.

  • Details above.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful motion for each day in February; do it several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. On target.

  • A little simpler and slower, due to illness, and nothing on Wednesday.

  • Hometending; yoga tree pose; t’ai chi breathing exercise.

Sponsor Visits:

Whether you ROW, or no, how was your week, and what’s in your plan for the new one? I love hearing about your lives! =D

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

Chef Bluebeard and the kids made pizza from scratch – ours had yummy goat cheese! =)
Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: What’s a Picture Worth?

Welcome to Saturday’s Share – Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today’s Share pretty much sums up my life. There’s beauty, joy, and words. There’s that girl; the one who picked those pretty flowers out of the cottage garden by the front door, and brought them to me in a plastic basket that’s been scuffing around here for years now. I wonder if she knows how much prettier that sparkle in her eyes is than any flowers ever could be?

And there’s my laptop, and the original draft of Chameleon’s Dish, the novel I’ll spend 50 hours rewriting as my NaNoEdMo challenge, as soon as the calendar shifts…and yes – all this activity was taking place on my bed – because some afternoons just happen to be like that, here.

Sometimes pictures say a lot about who we are, and how we live. Maybe that’s more true, and less true, today than at any other point in human history. Taking pictures has become almost effortless. I can do that with my little pay-as-you-go not-quite smart phone; my Kindle Fire, my laptop, and two cameras (one sophisticated; one point-and-shoot).

Sometimes, I just go through the house and snap random shots of our life as it is, so that I can look at them through the camera’s framing rather than my own. I can see a huge mess; the camera sees a small detail, like this photo…

Then, I can go to PicMonkey, and edit the picture in many ways, making something that might have seemed unhappily chaotic magical in a whole new way!

It gives me a better vision of my life. There’s less grumbling about imperfections; more seeing the wonder around me.

That’s something that’s missing from the oldest photographs, when people dressed up, posed stiffly, dared not smile….because a photo was precious, and a huge effort to capture. The magic then was maybe in being able to capture the moment at all…and so much more quickly than a portrait could be painted.

There’s always talk about the “good old days” – and I’m not going to say that there aren’t bits of bygone days that I would have rathered keep than see them evolve.

But, in this way, I am very grateful that I can use technology to capture these moments, share them, and see them anew.

That’s pretty magical, isn’t it?

How about you? Are there things about modern life that make your life seem magical and more wondrous than it did, before? Are there pieces of the past that you still mourn?

Happy makes more happy. I’d love to hear your stories and see your happy photos. Drop me a comment, or post a link, and join in the happy-making fun!

After all, Saturdays are for sharing! 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Round 1 2014

Infected Play: ROW80 Update, 2/19/14

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Well, when we were anticipating Jim’s vacation, contracting a nasty virus was not on the list of things we might enjoy. And yet, here we are, downed with another cold.

On the plus side, the kids are healthy, at least right now, and independent sorts. They don’t need lots of tending, anymore, so we’ve been able to rest.

That being said, I was significantly slowed in my writing efforts, this session, although I made great progress on the pre-revision list for Chameleon’s Dish Monday night, as I was beginning to cough.

Tuesday, though….Tuesday, my bed and I hung out together, and, although I did move forward, I often had to set the laptop aside in the middle of a sentence – my mind just stopped functioning.

That being said, here’s my accounting of the last days…

The image of spunk and sass! And she calls me Mommy. =)

Daily Writing Frames:

Wordy Wednesday :

Trueborn Thursday:

  • Plot, draft, complete, revise current and pending WIPs. – yes

  • Completed silent rereading of Blood and Breath.

  • Moved through Pre-Revision Plan for Chameleon’s Dish.

  • Completed pre-editing notes for Bounded by a Nutshell.

Fiction Friday:

Social Saturday:

Settling Sunday:

  • ROW80 Update – yes

  • Reading – yes

  • Reassessing – yes

My Kinda Monday:

Trueborn Tuesday:

  • Plot, draft, complete, revise current and pending WIPs. – yes

  • Pre-Revision Plan for Chameleon’s Dish –some, but slowed by sickness.

Kids just wanna have fun!

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments at least every other day. Target attained!

  • Yes, even though I was sick, I managed.

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.On target.

  • I made several visits on Monday, but the sick came to me that night, and I wasn’t up to visits on Tuesday.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature.On target.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Work through Chameleon’s Dish Pre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. On target.

  • Completed Point #6; Points #7 and #8 in progress.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.On target.

  • General decluttering.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames. Target attained!

  • Details above.

2014 Lifetending:

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful motion for each day in February; do it several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. On target, mostly.

  • Skipped Tuesday; sick in bed all day.

  • Moving firewood, toe touches, side stepping.

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

And now, time for another cuppa!