Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Blogfest Entries, Challenges and Contests, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Round One 2017, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom

Building Into a New Month: January 2017 Final Update

Hey there!

It’s February 1, which means that my January goals are now history, and it’s time for me to proceed on to a new month, with an updated focus. I’ll unveil those on Sunday, along with my Round One progress to date. For today, though…my final January update.

Writing:

  • Kifo Island: Write 5,000 words/week The Far Shore (KIC #6), until complete. Secondary goal. Scene 20/24 in progress. 1,609/5,000 words; 55,721/~65,000 total. I didn’t finish, but I’ve definitely moved this along.

  • Patreon Posts Complete January/March offerings. Tertiary goal: Adaptation: Complete all materials need for a February 1 launch (includes bio). I made progress, but not as much as I’d hoped for.

  • Fan Fiction: Draft one new chapter each for “Arachnid Nebula,” and “A Beagle’s Bedside Manner.” Side goal complete.

Plotting:

  • Rose and Jeremy novella: Plan/plot “Tuesday Afternoon Tea” using The Story Toolkit and existing notes. Develop one-paragraph sketches for remaining 3-5 stories. Primary goal. Character Arc worksheets;7/7 complete. Printed Romance Arc worksheets. Simmering WednesdayFriday sketches. Didn’t finish, but made good progress, and have a much better sense of this story than at the beginning of the month.

  • Kifo Island: Select April and July novels. Create rough AeonTimeline for first six novels/ select and place April and July novels. Secondary goal complete.

  • The IDIC Romance/Solemates: Begin TnT fan fiction – Enterprise/TOS crossover epic timeline; place general events. Take notes and simmer future projects during timeline creation. Tertiary goal completed.

Revision:

  • Short Stories: “Miss Spider and Mister Fly”; Complete edits. Primary goal. First pass edits complete.

  • Kifo Island: Sea Changes: Continue rough revision for crit group; scenes 58. Secondary goal. Scene 5 and 6: Revised and submitted. Didn’t finish; but moved forward.

  • The IDIC Romance: Progress with revisions for First Contact; With Jazz. Review A Backdrop of Stars  1-3 (already posted) and revise 4-7 for posting. Tertiary goal. ABOS: Chapter 1 completed. Chapter 2 simmering for secondary revision pass. Chapter 3 highlighting for revision complete.

  • Work through Holly Lisle’s Revision Course (using “FC,WJ,”) first 3 lessons. Side goal. I was at the beginning of Lesson 2 when I realized that I really needed to wrap up some other things first; 1/3 completed.

Blogging:

  • Blog Hops: Just Jot It January  Write 333 word stream of consciousness vignette for each day’s topic; complete guest posting duties as assigned. #atozchallenge: Complete any loose ends and unfinished business, move all posts to blog interface. Primary goal. #JusJoJan: 31/31 complete. #atoz took a backseat, but some forward progress was made.

  • Blogging Features: Resume Mindful Monday: Biweekly posts on mindfulness. Find blogging/website rhythm. Secondary goal. Completed the first portion; still working on the second.

  • Website Development: Evaluate website page needs; make lists/basic sketches of new pages. Tertiary goal. I have a rough list.

  • Blog/Website Interface: Begin duplicate posts on blog and two-way linking. Side goal complete.

Submission/Publication:

  • Dark and Bitter anthology: “Miss Spider and Mister Fly”: Return edited mss to editors; follow up as needed. Primary goal completed.

  • A Splash of Red”: Complete final revisions and edits/polishing passes; work with Jaz on cover art; make front/back matter checklists. Secondary goal. Began working with Jaz; initial matter checklists jotted.

  • The IDIC Romance: Submit A Backdrop of Stars chapters 1-7 to fan fiction sites as completed. Tertiary goal. I got close, but didn’t submit anything until after midnight on the 31.

Hometending:

  • Homeschool Administration: Gather materials for second quarter reports, due March 15. Create Flickr portfolios for this school year, for both children. Primary goal. Expanding bullet list to Lise’s English Language Arts; 1/11 sections; rewrote template intro for the current report; a bit of progress here.

  • Resets/reorganizations: study, family room, and kitchen. Complete three 27 thing flings each room, each week. Bedroom, living room, and bathroom: one 27 thing fling each room each week. 27 General Hometending rounds weekly. Secondary goal. I’d call this a moderate success; I was more mindful of the goals.
  • Personal Administration: Clean, organize, and back up all designated fiction files. Maintain Blogging/ Homeschool directories. Sort and delete excess mail Homeschooling, and Transactions in Progress folders. Tertiary goal. I did some of this, but not as much as planned.
  • Photo digitalization: Scan 27 travel photos per week; save in organized files with backup. Side goal. Goal Adapted: I made one general directory, but will wait to organize until I’ve finished the travel photo scanning. Good progress.

Lifetending:

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, each week. Primary goal. This continues to be the simplest to meet and most important of my goals! =)

  • Continue planning/ attending outings (personal and family) as desired. Secondary goal completed (and ongoing). Shopping with daughter; write-in; vaccination appointment and lunch with son; plans for couples’ workout on Thursday; also tentative plans to see George Takei’s Allegiance with my son on the 19th, and the Welcome to Night Vale All Hail Live Show with my daughter in April.

  • NNWM local group: Interact regularly, in person and online; participate actively in critique group. Tertiary goal. This was a solid if incomplete success. Three pieces critiqued in January (with three more in the queue, and one of my own submitted.

  • Paying it Forward: Offer beta reading, reviews, and promotional posts for other writers. Side goal. I could have done better, here.

Selftending:

  • Journal six mornings and three evenings each week. Meditate five mornings and two evenings weekly. Primary goal. I’m getting better at the evening stage; still slip when I stay up all night, which often happens 2-3 times a month.

  • Get a cumulative total of at least 90 minutes moderate physical activity 6 days weekly, and 6 hours of more strenuous activities (tai chi, swimming, hiking, cardio, weights, etc.) monthly by end of round. Secondary goal. Moderate: most weeks. Strenuous: 8/6 hours. Both much better than previous months.

  • Smart Change: Reread early chapters/worksheets; create an approach plan. Side goal. Downloaded book for rereading/goalsetting. It’s a beginning.

Leaps of Faith:

  • Apply at Starbucks and Panera for part-time work. . Adjusting: Will save Starbucks as a secondary option. Read job description; made first steps in applying to Panera.

  • Go through Publication email folder; make subcategory for marketing-related posts. Folder taken from 232 messages to 197; opened some posts and filed in bookmarks. Changes in my email accounts threw me off.

  • Finish up Patreon page and post. This hinges on getting at least the January materials finished, which I’m still working on.

  • Reading: Finish listening to Alexander Hamilton audiobook; read two other books; write four reviews. Audiobook:82% complete. Read the books, but no reviews, making this a mixed bag.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80  –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

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Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Fan fiction, Just Jot It January, Star Trek: Enterprise

“There Are Other Dangers:” The IDIC Romance for #JusJoJan Day Ten

Welcome to Day Ten of Just Jot It January, where the prompt is: danger.” I’ve resisted until now, but…well, today, I delve back into my fan fiction playground, because the prompt was perfect, and because I have a goal to add another story to my “Arachnid Nebula” arc this month.

This, then, is the beginning of that story. If you want to know what happens before this, the title link above will transport you to the first installment.

And, as always, standard disclaimer applies. I write these stories for love, not profit. I don’t own the characters or their world. It’s not my fault that they keep whispering stories in my head, and that they demand I write them, is it?

There Are Other Dangers”

Trip sat beside the sleeping woman, watching that little line over the bridge of her nose. That line said there was still something bothering her, even now. Was she still having bad dreams?

How in the world could her dreams be so dangerous to her?

Trip wanted to ask Kov what she’d been dreaming, and if it was the same dream, the one he was supposed to be in but wasn’t. He wanted to ask him what he’d been doing, what he’d felt when he was holding her head. What that damned Tolaris had been doing to her –

But he kept his mouth shut.

It wasn’t his business until and unless T’Pol said it was.

As he was thinking that, she opened her eyes wide, staring right at him. She extended two fingers and reached a little shakily for his face, stroking their backs over a cheek he hadn’t gotten around to shaving yet. Trip swallowed; he was sure she wouldn’t want him to feel what he was feeling. Not now, anyway.

“Am I dreaming?” Her fingers trembled; so did her voice.

“Not unless I am, too,” he said, softly, damning his voice for its sudden huskiness.

“You are awake, and lucid.” Kov’s voice was calm; she probably liked that better.

“He didn’t take you, Tr – Commander.” She was getting her bearings, going back into that Vulcan persona. But her fingers stayed on his face, trembling, proving she wasn’t quite herself yet. “He did not, did he – ?” She glanced questioningly at Kov, then back to him. She’d been pretty out of it in her quarters; probably didn’t remember the first introduction.

“I am called Kov. What was yours, is still. However, there are other dangers we must discuss, when you are ready.”

Damn. Kov hadn’t said anything to him about there being more trouble. What the hell had happened to her?

But him knowing wasn’t as important as her knowing. And he figured she’d need privacy for that. So he took her hand gently in his, gave her a little squeeze, and guided it back to her biobed. “Well, now that you’re awake, I guess I’d better be going -”

“No!” She sat bolt upright at that, and her breath came sharp enough that Phlox poked his head in through the curtain.

“It would be better if you remain, Trip.” Kov’s voice was quiet, but certain.

“I quite agree, Commander. T’Pol doesn’t need any further upset.”

Trip bowed to popular opinion, and his own wishes. “If that’s what you want, T’Pol.” Her hand came back up to his face; following instinct, Trip put his over it, and tried his damndest to ignore how good it felt, having it there. “All right. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Speak, Kov.” It sounded a little rude to Trip, but he’d heard Vulcans talking to each other, so he kept his opinion to himself. Kov didn’t seem to find it the least bit offputting.

“What I sensed in your mind, and the doctor’s readings, indicate that you are in danger of developing Pa’Naar Syndrome as a result of the contact with Tolaris.”

What is Pa’Naar Syndrome?

Will T’Pol develop it?

How will it affect her, if she does?

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Just Jot It January, SoCS, Weekly Features

I’m Puttin’ On My Coat… #SoCS and #JusJoJan Day Seven

Welcome to Day Seven of Just Jot It January, where the theme is: “coat.”

There’s a light and intermittent coating of snow on the ground, the temperatures are frigid (well below freezing in the daylight hours, and well below that at night.

And soon I’ll be putting on my boots, gloves, and coat, and heading out of my warm cozy house and into the cold.

This might be my shortest post of the month. I’m leaving within the hour to attend a presentation by two local authors (one of whom I’ve been corresponding with the last several months), and, from there, to the Schuyler Mansion to attend my first-ever Twelfth Night festivities, eighteenth-century style.

I’m hoping to get to the library early enough to spend a little time working on my revision class – I’m loving it, and since I started with fan fiction (my personal sandbox), I’m having no trouble at all remaining motivated – the actual issue is pulling myself away to do other things!

Well, the time is ticking away, and I won’t be home again for several hours. As I want this posted before I go, I’ll close for now, and be back tomorrow with more jottings.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

The entrance hall of the Schuyler Mansion, from the staircase landing, during my October visit with my daughter.
The entrance hall of the Schuyler Mansion, from the staircase landing, during my October visit with my daughter.

 

 

Posted in #weekendcoffeeshare, Blog Hops and Fests, Just Jot It January, Weekly Features

Pipe Dreams and Tangibility: #weekendcoffeeshare and #JusJoJan Day Six

If we were having coffee, I’d say, “Welcome to Day Six of Just Jot It January, where the theme is: “tangible.”

And then, I’d welcome you into my tangibly creative life, and our tangibly untidy home. Of course, since I’m writing this very early on Friday morning, and I’ve slept really only in bits and pieces for the last two days, and irregularly all week, I might also be tangibly a little punchy. If that’s entertaining to you, you’re going to love this post!

OK, all that said, let’s use my new coffee mugs. They’re nice and big, just the right shape, and have nice messages (which is why I bought them especially for myself and my #weekendcoffeeshare guests). It’s not an accident that they also hold enough coffee to produce a tangible “wake up” effect…something very handy for a writer whose brain seems to be on overdrive, getting busy with an abundance of inspirations, epiphanies, and project ideas.

So, do you mind if I tell you a little bit about what’s bubbling in my exceedingly active mind?

Thanks. I was probably going to get more than a little jittery trying to hold it all in when it blends with strong coffee…

This week, I began Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel. It’s an intensive 22-week class, and, at the end, I will have learned a good and solid framework for revising the hundreds of thousands of words I have written and not so patiently waiting to get out of my laptop and out into the world.

It’s the key to opening the door to the next level of professionalism. It’s exciting; I can already see, from this first lesson, that the way I approach revisions, and the other stages of writing, is changing for the better.

After this, publishing and marketing are the only summits I will still have to scale.

It’s exciting. A dream I’ve held since I was a child banging on my dad’s old manual typewriter – the yearning he called a “pipe dream” – can become a reality!

Well, coffee can only work for so long, no matter how large the mug, or how strong the brew. I’m sure you’ve seen enough of my uvula with this huge yawns. Let me walk you to the door, before I go reacquaint myself with my bed.

May your week be filled with tangible joys!

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Just Jot It January, Writing Sample

Warning: Creative Mind Surging for #JusJoJan Day Three

Welcome to Day Three of Just Jot It January, where the theme is:warning. Today, I’ve got some straight up  stream of consciousness jotting to share….and my stream of consciousness was flowing with unfettered swiftness today, so be warned, and heed the label!

Warning: Creative mind surging in a state of apparent chaos. Serious lurches and waves of seemingly unrelated and disheveled intensity will lead to….

Where?

What?

When?

How?

I don’t have the answers for you. All I can say is that I am much like a sea sponge at the moment, soaking up input…I’m reading a book I’ve been trying to get to since November (first NaNo, then Kindle death and resistance to getting the replacement insurance entitles me to, then, well, that thing called life. Why now? I’m going to go to a local writers’ event where the author, with whom I’ve been corresponding for several months (we share a fandom), will be speaking.

I watched our local PBS station’s Downton Abbey marathon for over 30 hours, doing hometending on the fundraising breaks. I got through the first three series (except for a quick doze a time or three).

I’ve also been binge watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, because it’s what’s next in the chronology project I undertook in January of 2015. I might be further along, but I keep going back to Enterprise, which is my favorite Trek incarnation.

I’ve invested in a novel course, because I have floundered utterly at getting revisions done in a timely manner. For this course, I’m revising a 21,420 word fan fiction novella, because fanfic is my laboratory and my sandbox; it’s shorter than any of my mainstream fiction, and I’ve been wrestling with this piece for at least three years now. I can see that the elements are there…and, even at page 13/79, and the first of 22 lessons, I can see that, although this first revision might take some serious time, ultimately, I’m going to have techniques I don’t have right now.

I’m also handling some minor revisions for a story that’s been accepted for publication; rereading and organizing materials for winter plotting, revision, and writing projects, and interacting socially in person and online…

So fair warning. Things are simmering, and there’s no telling right now exactly what will emerge in this creative stew!

 

 

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Love Is In Da Blog, Mindful Monday, Unschooling, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom

Sometimes Clumsy Mindfulness: Mindful Monday, LoIsInDaBl Day 15, and JusJoJan Day 31

This is going to be my last triple-duty post, at least for a bit, because this officially ends my Just Jot it January 2016 make-up posts. The final prompt is clumsy, and comes from Judy at Edwina’s Episodes.

I’m not quite ready to begin ‘making up’ the first couple of weeks of Love Is In Da Blog just yet, but I am totally on board for daily posts, and I will be catching up once I rest a bit from my belated JusJoJan catchup marathon, and move a couple other projects along a bit. Today, the prompt is loving mindfulness.

Bee is also efficient, and has paired her month-long hop with others, including Silver Threading’s Mindful Monday, one of my regular weekly blogging stops. A bit of a windfall for me, as I get back into the swing of things, while at the same time adapting to my Accomplice’s midwinter vacation.

 

All that is a little clumsy, isn’t it?A lot of words to say where this post fits in, and you haven’t even had a chance to read the post yet.

I think maybe that says more than it might seem to. You see, I’ve made a practice of mindfulness for the last several years. Without it, I couldn’t possibly have made the huge paradigm shifts I needed to make in order to become the unschooling parent I wanted to be. It was necessary to look at every aspect of my parenting, and that, by extension, led to examining my approach to the rest of life – my marriage, my relationships with my family of origin, my friends, and the larger world.

What I resisted the most, though, and have come to lastly and rather clumsily, is my relationship with myself.

Like many women, and maybe most mothers, I tend to focus more on the services I can do for others than those I can do for me. Western culture paints an image of the selfless mother, giving and giving to her family, stretching herself thinner and thinner to met the needs of others.

It’s never really mentioned that, if we approach marriage and motherhood selflessly, we are by definition subsuming ourselves. Or, put differently:

We. Are. Subsuming. Our. Selves.

Don’t our loved ones deserve wholehearted, full-souled love and service?

Don’t we deserve to be ourselves, to be something beyond the roles we fill in the lives of others?

In my journey into radical unschooling, I released a good many of the trappings society gives to the role of ‘mother’. If there had been nothing of myself to replace that with, I might have alienated myself from my children – and that would have done nothing for the relationships that are at the heart of unschooling.

So there’s a real, external reason for prioritizing the care and keeping of me. But that’s really not the point.

If I never nourish or inspire my own soul, I’ll lose myself. Without myself, I have nothing. Nothing for anyone else, but, more importantly, nothing for me.

 

So, even though it’s clumsy, in the last year or two, I’ve put increasing attention on being mindful of me. What does that look like?

  • Rather than attempt to be awake or asleep on my family’s schedule, I honor my own rhythms. I don’t need as much sleep as my spouse or children, and, especially at the new and full moons, I tend to be nocturnal and highly creative. I treasure those quiet hours. I couldn’t fully indulge in this tendency when my children were small, so it’s something I really appreciate now that they’re older.

  • I have my own morning rituals. For years, my Accomplice has generally risen earlier than I do, and gone to watch game shows in the living room. It’s his way of waking up; he needs to cocoon himself. Only in the months since I first read Amy Kennedy’s #onegoodcupproject post, I’ve realized that what I need upon waking is time with my various journals, and in meditation. I’ve also learned that I do best when I change up the meditation, so I’ve been exploring various techniques, such as the tangling drawing shown here.

  • I seek out movement and exercise that suits me. A lot of my activity is hometending, in bursts throughout the day – writing is sedentary, so I set a timer on my phone and hop up when it chimes. I also love moving firewood, mowing the lawn, walking, swimming, and tai chi – generally, low-impact but strenuous activities that allow me time and space for inward focusing.

  • I take time for my own pursuits. Both of my children, ages 14 and 11, enjoy spending a good deal of time in their rooms, engaged in their own pursuits. While we still have more time to just be together doing things we enjoy than we’d have if our kids had school, homework, chores, or punishments, I also have far more free time than I did when they were small and needed me for most of life’s essentials. I use some of this to attend a weekly write in with my local NaNoWriMo group, and to attend tai chi classes. More, I give myself time to write and blog daily, because those are both integral to my personal happiness, and feed my journey into mindfulness.

  • I’ve given myself space. Space to learn and grow in, to create in, to dream in. Physical space, in my cozy little study, and inner space, in unscheduled, flowing spans of time to simply be.

Yes, I’m still learning, still more clumsy than graceful. But that’s if I only look forward to those levels that I haven’t attained yet. If I turn back, though, and see where I’ve come from – well, I’m a prima ballerina!

How about you? Have you been mindful of yourself lately, are you in danger of becoming selfless, or somewhere in the middle, like me, learning and growing as you go along?

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekend Coffee Share, Writing in Freedom

An Arctic Blast: #WeekendCoffeeShare, #SoCs, and #JusJoJan Day 30

If we were having coffee, I’d be waiting at the door to take your coat and usher you into the living room, where the fire is crackling away, because, baby, it’s cold outside! And I’m not talking about just a little cold, either.

I mean bona-fide killing cold. The kind that makes me so happy for the simple pleasures in life, like hot coffee and plenty of seasoned and fragrant firewood for the old wood stove, and water that pumps up the way it should from our front-yard well. I’d tell you, while you get settled, that I don’t take that water for granted in weather as cold as this (windchills of -40 degrees Fahrenheit – I wasn’t kidding when I said Arctic!). Last night, it froze, and my hero Accomplice went down into the well housing to reset the heater we only need on days that plunge into the single digits.

If we were having coffee, I’d say Happy Valentine’s Day, and tell you how when I met my Accomplice, just about nineteen years ago, now, I never anticipated this life with all the details that make it this life, our life – and not anyone else’s version of living. We fell in love, after all, in a place of canyons and scrub pine, juniper and sage and hot sun and monsoon rains. The air was thinner, and there was something of magic in a life of such complete freedom. On weekends off, we traveled to Sedona, to Flagstaff, into the canyon on Havasupai lands, to the ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings, through Winslow and Wickenburg and Crown King. We slept beside Lava Tubes and Lee’s Ferry, and were once interrupted in the middle of the night by a solitary javelina hog, who, thankfully, just wanted to scuffle around the perimeter of our campsite.

If we were having coffee, I’d shake my head and remember, long ago, in that newlywed gauzy place, that we talked about our future at Elijah Bristow State Park in Dexter, Oregon, and while strolling around the Pisgah Arboretum, and there was nothing in those conversations that mentioned a baby boy named Elijah James Burton, who would be born not breathing on July 13, 2003, and whose entire life would be lived in the span of twelve days, and in only one place – the NICU of the hospital where he was born, and where he would die while his Daddy held him, and I listened to the monitors slow, then stop.

I’d tell you that we never expected that to happen, and certainly not four days before my birthday. I’d tell you that, before you exclaim about how tragic an event that was (and, yes, it was, and I know it with every fiber of my shattered mother’s heart), you might want to witness the rest of our story – how Elijah’s heart valves still presumably beat somewhere in the chest of a teenaged girl, and how we are all better, and his little sister exists, as a result of his coming, brief stay, and exit from life.

I’d tell you I am a sweeter and more gentle person, a better version of myself, than I was before this precious child who came and so quickly left, and yet has stayed, in spirit, bringing value and grace much larger than the small body that once contained him. I’d say there’s a certain kind of magic and wonder in that, and then I’d turn, with a sad and private smile, and wipe a tear for a Valentine I can never hold close. After that, I’d excuse myself for a moment, to tend the homefire, and go hug the daughter who would not be if her brother had lived.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I want to touch on lighter and happier notes, now. Like the snapping of the fire I just stirred back to happy life. Like the dishes soaking in the sink, or the clean laundry that will go to the dryer when I get up next. Like my daughter’s laughter, and her play with her Littlest Pet Shops, heard in muted fashion through her bedroom door. Like my teen son, asleep in his room after being up all night. Like the tapping of my laptop keys, the hum of the heaters that supplement the coziness of the fire, and the sounds of peace, so different from the sounds I grew up thinking of as home.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it’s about time for me to go. I promised my daughter that I’d be ready to listen to the newest episode in the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, which will air early tomorrow morning. I was rather late coming to this unique series, and it’s best listened to and experienced sequentially. I’m now about to listen to Episode 74, “Civic Changes”, and need to get to 81, “After”. This quest is slightly complicated by the fact that I need my attention for both composing blog posts and podcast listening – details are important in both. So, I’ve been alternating. Fortunately, I can finish drafted posts while I listen. Unfortunately (well, in regards to the quest), there’s a Castle special on tonight, and I’m not about to miss that…so we’ll have to see how all this plays out.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this post is my make-up for Just Jot It January, Day 30, and used the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt: ‘an’, as a word, and/or part of one.

If we were having coffee, I’d bid you farewell with warm thoughts, and direct you to Part Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share for your next cuppa. And, of course, I’d wish you all a week full of the very loveliest of chaos!