Slow Start

Starting back to writing, that is. The house is moving right along, and we now have basement walls!

House viewed from the front

 

As viewed from the back

There’s no back wall because it’s a walkout basement. These are very common in the Knoxville area, because it’s very hilly. Traditional, full basements are not common in that area, probably for the same reason.

We went with a block wall basement because, according to our builder, it’s about half the cost of a poured concrete wall. And they’re just as good as long as they’re waterproofed correctly (our current house also has a block wall basement). Once the walls are done, they’ll pump concrete into the interiors–the cost savings come about mainly because block walls don’t require forms. Next step (I believe) is to put the plumbing in. There is a kitchenette and two bathrooms in the basement. The builder won’t be putting these in–we’ll finish it ourselves later–but they will put in drain pipes before pouring the floor.

My goal was to get the electrical plans done this week. I did maybe half of it, mostly because some other stuff I had to do earlier in the week took more time than I thought. I should be able to get the electrical plans finished this week. It’s not like they need them yet, but I don’t like to do this stuff at the last minute; would rather have it done early so I have plenty of time to research–and yes, change my mind before it gets expensive. 🙂

What I’ve Been Reading: I wanted to read some more of the great big paper TBR pile, so I pulled out Heart Dance, by Robin D. Owens. I used to really love this series–actually, I don’t know why I haven’t read any in many years, because I really enjoyed this one. What’s funny is a few chapters in, it started feeling really familiar. At first I put that down to there being a lot of similarities between the books in this series. They don’t need to be read in order, and are each about a different couple, but they’re in the same world and a lot of the same magical things happen to each couple as a result. But then some of the things from the main character’s backstory starting feeling familiar too, and I remembered a pivotal scene that most likely came from this book and sure enough, I’d read it before. Funny thing was, I didn’t remember much about it besides those familiar details and that one scene, though I knew the couple would end up together because duh, it’s a romance. 😀 I still enjoyed it, including the way the ending came about! It was probably 8-10 years ago that I read it, and given the number of books I read, I guess I can take a pass for not remembering. One thing it did was remind me how much I enjoy the series and its world, and make a point to check out the half dozen or so books in the series I know I haven’t read. The first book in the series, Heart Mate, was  RITA Award winner, way back in 2002. If you like fantasy romance with a bit of sci-fi tossed in, I highly recommend it!

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What I’ve Been Writing: My brain’s still stuck on house stuff, so I almost forgot about my goal until last night–11:52, to be exact. So I opened up my WIP and wrote a few paragraphs, helped by the looming deadline I’d set for myself. So, a slow start, but goal met! If it hadn’t been late and I hadn’t been about ready for bed, I would have written more, as it was fun. I wrote a little over 100 words, so this week, I want to continue that, and write at least 100 words, for at least five days.

What about you–how are things in your world? Have you ever picked up a book you thought was new to you, only to find out it wasn’t? My mother-in-law used to do this often enough that she started making a list of everything she read, and she’d check it before buying new books. I do this too, but didn’t start until after I read Heart Dance the first time. How are you doing on whatever goals you might have? I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right… and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

 

This Week was a Bust

…at least where writing was concerned. As I mentioned in last week’s post was very likely, sure enough I did not get any writing done. Maybe I should have titled this blog, “Writing Excuses”…

Part of the reason is because I’m coming up on the climactic scene, which I find to be the hardest part of the book to write. In this case, I’m also fighting “fear of I-don’t-know-what-happens-next,” since I didn’t outline this book to that extent. Anymore it seems that when I do outline, I deviate so much from it, it’s not being worth the bother, so this time, I didn’t outline. I doubt it would have helped even if I had, because… deviating.

We also had a house guest for a couple days this week–a writer friend from New York state! We haven’t seen each other in seven years (too long!) so it was great to see her and spend some time together. It was also exciting to show her my hometown and its fascinating history, almost all of which was new to her. We spent an afternoon at the National Museum of the USAF, and another at Carillon Historical Park. She loves learning about the history and quirky details of the places she visits, so these were right up her alley (and of course, mine). We spent a lot of time in the evenings just catching up–well worth giving up some writing time.

Our tomatoes are also still producing like crazy, so yesterday, I froze some. It’s a simple process that my mom remembers my Great Aunt Marie doing many years ago. Just boil the tomatoes for ten seconds, then dunk them in cold water for at least ten seconds, and the skins peel right off! After that, they can be cut however you like, bagged, and frozen. I bagged five quart bags full, which should come in handy for a cooking day this winter!

And finally, the other reason I didn’t get much done on my WIP is that my brain is just not on writing–at least not fiction. Instead, it’s focused on things like researching water heaters, specifying French doors, learning about smart home devices like door locks. And writing down what I like for our new house. Once I finish, this will be like a requirements document in software, only for our new house. It will help our builder know what’s a change order (“That’s not in the book”) and will help us know if someone screws up (“The book said the pantry is supposed to be white” [that actually happened with our flip house]).

Tennessee Update: our builder was expecting to have the ridgetop leveled by tomorrow or Tuesday, so we’re heading down to check it out and stake out the exact location of the house later this week. Hope to have a better update and pictures next week!

What I’ve Been Reading: I am almost finished with the novel I started last week. It’s really good, so I’ll definitely be discussing it here. It’s also long, which is why I’m not yet finished.

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What I’ve Been Writing: As noted above, nothing! I really just need to start writing and see what the characters do. With the trip to Tennessee, I don’t know how much chance I’ll have to dig into the WIP, but who knows, stranger things have happened, and sometimes I do well writing away from home. So this week, I’ll just set a goal to write something–anything–in my WIP. However, this ROW80 round is coming to an end this week, and I just realized I already met my goals for the round! They were to finish the writing workshop I was taking, Holly Lisle’s How to Write Villains. I finished that about a month ago. The other goal was to finish a chapter in my WIP. I did that last week. Baby steps for the win! I will set goals for fourth quarter in a couple weeks, in time for October and ROW80 Round 4.

What about you–how has your week gone? Ever had one of those where it seemed you got nothing done, but when you thought about it, you actually got a lot done? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Things are Getting Real

So I finally got around to fixing my email notifications for when I post a new blog. Back in May when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect, I realized my email notifications weren’t compliant–and I do have a few subscribers from the EU, so that’s a concern. I did not have time then to figure out how to make my email software compliant or find another solution, so I just disabled it temporarily.

Well, I finally buckled down and did the work, and I now have a new plugin (that’s add-on software, for non-techie folks). So if your email notification looked a little different today (and it should), that’s why.

As always, I would love it if you would let me know if you see anything that looks amiss!

The Front Elevation of our new house

Tennessee Update: this is where things are getting real! Once our builder received the final plans, he sent us a contract to sign. It didn’t lay out the money (but referenced his quote from December for that), but had an estimated start date of August 20! And an estimated finish date of June 20, 2019. My husband and I figure most custom builds go over budget (hopefully not by much) and over schedule, so don’t count on us moving then, but still… whoa, it’s finally happening!

We also got the loan contract from the bank, and that did list out the money… yikes! Not bad, and not a surprise, but still a little scary to see it all laid out. I need to go over those documents again, and email our loan originator with questions. She’s on vacation this week, so nothing much will happen until she gets back.

But while we’re waiting on that, I have plenty to do, starting with picking out windows. What’s fun about that is this is actually something I know a bit about–I spent almost eight years working as a graphic designer for a company that manufactures the vinyl for windows. So I know a lot of the terminology, and what features to look for. And of course, I’m especially familiar with all the benefits of vinyl! (I wrote some of the ad copy, too.) It’s been over 20 years since I left there, so I don’t know anyone who still works there other than a friend of my husband’s who works on the factory floor. I sent in a form on their website. They got back to me the next day with who their manufacturer is for Knoxville, and said they should be contacting me sometime next week. We may still end up going with whoever our builder typically uses, but I wanted to give my old company a chance, as I have had their windows in my current house for 15 (upstairs) and 25 (first floor) years, and they’ve been great.

The other thing I need to work on is to start looking at everything else, from siding to interior trim to electrical outlet locations, and make notes on what we want. I did this for our rental house fire restoration and renovation, and it was a big help to both us and the contractors. Sort of like a requirements document in software, that minimizes unknowns, and provides a reference if something isn’t done right, or to determine if something is a change request, or was part of the original specifications. It took me a whole weekend of doing nothing else to write up the spec book for the rental house; this one will take a good bit longer, spaced out over the next several weeks.

What I’ve Been Reading: A while back, I bought a one-year subscription to Dean Wesley Smith’s and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Fiction River anthology magazine, as it came with three of their online writing workshops and was a heck of a deal. I’m not a big reader of short stories, though I do like them from time to time, so mostly they just sat on my Kindle. I ran across the Wishes issue on my Kindle a few weeks ago, and nothing else had grabbed my attention, so I started reading it.

There were a couple stories I skipped right away. One was written in an odd, screenplay format that had an experimental feel to it that I didn’t like, and a couple others were in present tense, which I can’t stand. But the rest were pretty enjoyable, especially one called “How I Became a Fairy Godmother.” Oh–and all these stories were YA, so this would be a teenage fairy godmother! And the intro to it said that it’s a prequel to a series. Cool!

After last week’s not-so-great book, I was happy to grab One Bad Wish, by Bonnie Elizabeth. What a fun story! The main character finds herself in an unpleasant, alternate reality when she mistakenly grants a friend’s wish that her (the friend’s) brother hadn’t been born. And then she has to figure out how to undo the wish. If you like YA with some fun magical elements, definitely grab this one!

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What I’ve Been Writing: Big improvement here! I was planning to spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day, for at least five days, working on my Villains workshop. Then I read some better ideas, one of which was Beth Camp’s suggestion of a 100-word challenge. I also read a great blog post by Natalie Bacon on motivation (well worth a read!), where one of her tips is to “measure what you produce.” By that, she means focus on what you want to accomplish, rather than just spending a certain amount of time. So for us fiction writers, that would be word count, scenes written, pages revised, etc. I decided to break the assignments in my workshop down into smaller tasks, and then planned to do one or two of those each night. And with that, I met my goal! Week 3 exercises are done, and Week 4’s started. So this week’s goal is to finish Week 4 exercises. There are six left, so that’s one per day, with a day off.

What about you–what big or small things are getting real in your life? Have you read anything good lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Do task-based or time-based goals work better for you? I will admit time-based goals still work for me when it’s something like housework! I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

D-I-Yes You Can!

Things continue to move along at the rental house. My husband spent the day re-sanding the hardwood floors, to re-refinish them. I did running around to get supplies, and was also working on staining the rest of the shelves we’re going to put in the kitchen. They are going to be some really cool pipe shelves, made all the cooler because ours will be over the stove, and have the microwave installed beneath & between them, as shown to the right.

I have some of the pipes, and have the rest on order, so this project should be done and ready to install by next week. Next up is painting the U-shaped pantry shelves and the bench support for the mudroom, which will all be white.

The fact that I am doing this stuff amazes some people. And until about a year ago, it would have amazed me too, because it never would have occurred to me that I could. Painting and staining is no big deal; I actually stained every piece of trim in our second story when it was added on about fifteen years ago. There’s also a built-in bookcase; I stained the wood for that, too. Minwax and I have been good friends now for over fifteen years.

But it never would have occurred to me that I could design a project, or especially that I could cut and assemble it. Not until I discovered non-writing blogs last year (while not doing much writing), one of which was DIY Diva.

I found this on Pinterest, while I was looking for new house ideas–a blog post about how the author and her boyfriend built their own house from the ground up. The article was great. But what really drew me in was the writing.

I wound up reading her blog starting from her first post in 2004 (yep, she was an early adopter!) through the current one. Hers is some of the most witty, engaging, clever yet self-deprecating and just plain real writing that I’ve ever come across. For a good example, see her About page–for which the web address is diydiva.net/loose-screws/. LOL! I couldn’t stop reading that blog until I’d read every last post. Somewhere along the way, she convinced me that I could create and build things too. And I’m not the only one–plenty of times, I read in the comments how someone had been inspired to try building something because of reading her blog. And how this was one of the reasons she loves to blog–to empower others to create, and see that Yes, You Can.

Oh, and her blog was the first place I saw pipe shelves. Check out this master bedroom closet–so cool! Mine are much simpler, but I still think they will be a definite wow-factor in our house’s kitchen when it goes on the market.

She doesn’t blog often any more, but when she does, it’s still entertaining and engaging, and I smile every time I see a new post in my feed reader. So if you want some good, humorous reading with a bit of swearing and a good dose of Yes, You Can, check out DIYdiva.net.

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What I’ve Been Reading: I started a novel this week and am really enjoying it. I’ll blog about it next week after I’ve finished.

What I’ve been Writing: Finally! I managed to fit writing in two evenings, for a total of over 1,000 words. That doesn’t sound like much, but I’ll take it! So this week’s goal? Finish that scene!

How about you–have you ever read something that totally inspired you to do something you wouldn’t have before? Do you read blogs by people other than book-writers (because bloggers are writers too)? Either way, how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

I am Officially…

BD PartyOLD. Yep, that’s why I skipped posting last week. Well, not really because of that, but because my husband threw me a big party last Saturday, and I was wiped out! Not from drinking, just tired.

My husband says I don’t look old, but sometimes I feel it!

The party was a lot of fun. I said “No gifts, please” unless they were gag gifts. He also did up our garage (party area) up right, with 50 black balloons, an “old lady” cane for me. And appropriately, a tiara. 🙂

Most people respected my request, though a few brought bottles of wine. I don’t mind those, 🙂 though I don’t drink much, so they will last me a good while. But probably the best (and most creative) gift was a copy of “my” college yearbook, from one of my best friends from high school…

yearbook

My friend thinks I am really old LOL

yearbook inside

…but there is my photo

I apparently knew some interesting people! – click to enlarge –

VampireWeddingWhat I’ve been reading: I was pretty tired for several days after that, so I had time to read. I read the short stories from a Smith’s Monthly, then a book I’ve been looking forward to came out in the middle of the week: A Vampire Wedding, by Stacy McKitrick. This was a fun addition for those who’ve read any of her other vampire books, especially the one where the main characters in this book met. In this book, human Sarah does not want a big wedding, but agrees to go to Vegas with a few friends because it’s important to her vampire partner. There are a lot of humorous moments with secondary characters, and some real tension with her family, with a great come-uppance in the end (plus of course, a happily-ever-after–more than one!). I highly recommend this series if you like vampire romance, but read Bite Me, I’m Yours before this one.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I finished my latest edits of the novella, and it’s now off to the copy editor! This week, I need to do a print book layout for Mythical Press, and I have a lot going on later this week, so I don’t expect to get much writing done. I’ll be happy if I get the print book done, and manage to keep up with the Business in Writing workshop I’m currently taking. Most likely, I won’t be posting here next week, but be sure to stop by the week after!

What about you–do you have any advice or tips for me, now that I’m “old”? Or perhaps any funny stories to share? Have you read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you may have, whether writing related or not? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Life Rolls

This has been a “life happens” week, one where I knew I would not get much writing done. Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch calls times like this “life rolls,” and all we can do is just roll with it.

I had some family stuff going on, most of which was expected. When this stuff wasn’t actively going on, it was stuff that still occupied thoughts and sapped my energy. This was also expected.

It wasn’t all bad stuff–in fact, most of it wasn’t. For one, it was my daughter’s 20th birthday. We kept the celebration simple, and everyone seemed fine with that.

On a different note, I updated my computer to Windows 10. So far I’m happy with it. It’s everything the reviews have promised–all the best features of Windows 7, plus the best features of Windows 8 (and none of those people hate). I especially like the new Microsoft Edge web browser. I’ve been a Google Chrome user for years because it’s much faster than Internet Explorer or Firefox, but Edge blows Chrome away. I have noticed a few weird things on websites that don’t work exactly like in the other browsers, but they are minor (for example, the drag and drop photo upload to WordPress. Just use the old-style browse to photos). Definitely worthwhile! If you do the upgrade though, be sure to allow it at least a couple hours–it took a good while on my Internet computer to move all the files and update everything. And yes, all my programs work so far, including Photoshop, of which my version is over 1o years old!

We got the living room set up pretty nice!

We got the living room set up pretty nice!

We spent all day today moving DD into the off-campus house near her university, where she’ll live the next two years. I spent most of the afternoon taking her shopping, and helping her do things like put up curtains and hang pictures, plus fix a couple small things in the house while DH took care of bigger things. Isis went along and supervised, but we were all so busy, no one got any photos of her.

What I read this week: I have not had time to read much more than a chapter or so each night, and am less than halfway through, so I’ll discuss this week’s book when I finish it.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goal this week was to make the last few changes to my WIP and get it to my editor. That is DONE. However, I still need to get all the front matter and back matter, so that’s what’s on deck for writing this week.

What about you–have you had any “life rolls” recently? Or at least a “life happens” week? How long did it take you to get back in the swing afterward? If you’re a Windows user, have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet? How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Do Blog Posts Need to be Witty and Insightful?

I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I’ve skipped a few weeks here on the blog. Mainly, I didn’t have anything much to report on the writing front, and just didn’t feel like it. I’ve read many times and in many places that to draw readers to our blogs, we need to have a catchy title, and content that either makes them laugh or ponder or at least is highly entertaining, and lately, I just don’t have that in me.

Actually, I just don’t have that in me most of the time when it comes to the blog. Not that I don’t like blogging–hey, I’ve been at it for three years this time–but I believe we have a limited capacity for coming up with witty, clever and insightful, and mine is pretty low. What little there is, I try to put into my fiction.

I gave it some thought, and came to a realization: as much as I like the blogs that make some keen observation on life, or point out something that could become a problem (a recent topic has been the over-proliferation of political correctness), I also enjoy blogs like Kait Nolan’s and Stacy McKitrick’s, where they write about what’s been going on in their life the past week, what they’ve been reading, and what they’ve struggled with to get to the writing–or the great bursts of productivity they’ve had. It gives readers a glimpse of who they are, and shows us that writers are just ordinary people like everyone else who have to deal with broken pipes and sick pets and take fun vacations and read. So, lacking anything witty or insightful at the moment, I’ll go with the ordinary for my past three weeks.

1. The week of May 11 was Birthday Week here in the Powell household. Not only was that Mother’s Day (which we actually celebrated a week later), my birthday and my husband’s birthday, which are two days apart, both fall in that week. It was also the daughter’s last week of school, which meant moving her out of her dorm and back home for the summer. We topped off the week with a family cookout to celebrate all of the above.

Isis 12 weeks2. Isis has been growing like crazy, and like puppies should be, continues to be very active and playful and ornery! She was less than 10 pounds when we got her at the end of April, and now weighs well over 20. She loves to steal shoes, socks, bathroom rugs, and anything else she finds on the floor, so requires constant supervision, much like a toddler. In addition to housebreaking, we’ve been informally working on things like “sit” and “shake,” but my husband begins more intensive training this week.

3. We sold my Harley on my birthday. It was a tough decision to come to, but made the most sense, as I rode it all of three times last summer. Between my headaches, job, writing, and other responsibilities, I just don’t have time, and never could get into riding just for the hell of it (i.e., without having a destination and purpose). The Harley was also too big for me–I had to have the shocks adjusted all the way down, and wear heeled boots just to be able to flat-foot stand on it, and I was never 100% comfortable on it. It was fun for the few years I had it, but sometimes you just have to realize when something isn’t working for you and move on. We sold it to a young woman who was much taller than I, and who will hopefully enjoy it for many years.

4. I had some testing done for my fatigue to see if it’s due to hormonal imbalances, which according to a lot of stuff I’ve read, is quite common at my age. The results will take up to three weeks to get back. In the meantime, the vitamins and supplements I started a couple months ago are helping. I’m still tired most of the time, but seldom at the debilitating level I was for a while there.

Alienated5. I have made some slow progress on my novel–and yes, it’s now nudging firmly toward novel territory. More changes have occurred to me as I wind toward the end that will make it a better story–but will also make it longer. My progress mostly stalled out over these past few weeks–I’ve gotten maybe a couple thousand words down in that whole time–but today I figured out a few things that should help. Wish me luck!

What I read this week: Alienated, by Melissa Landers, who is one of my OVRWA chapter buddies. Fantastic YA sci-fi about a student exchange program that goes horribly wrong–and about young people from Earth and the other planet who have a lot of  their ideas about each other challenged as friendship–and more–develops. Highly recommend!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: As noted above, the writing is going slowly, but I did manage to format two ebooks for one of my copyeditors, and they came out great! So for this week, I want to get my writing back on track, get the ending planned out, and get 1,000 words down on that.

What about you–do you like “ordinary” blogs, or do you gravitate more to the witty, insightful ones? Do you find it hard to write the latter, week after week? How was your May? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Two More Stress Reduction Tips

It has been a challenging week, as far as getting anything done goes. My husband pretty much runs errands or works when I don’t, so I have puppy duty. It’s fun, of course, but makes it tough to get anything done. So right now, I’m taking advantage of naptime to get this update written.

puppy sleeping

In light of the challenges, I’ve come up with a couple of things that help when times are stressful:

  1. Be flexible, and
  2. Have routines.

They seem contradictory but they”re actually not.

We had our family’s Easter dinner this past Sunday, rather than on Easter, a week earlier. My daughter had to work on Easter and had already planned to come home the following weekend, so we just switched it. It also meant I got a few goodies for her basket at half price. 🙂  Being flexible meant everyone was there, we were more relaxed, and we had fun.

Routines help, too. I do certain tasks on certain days, at certain times. For example, I do paperwork–personal bill paying, as well as bookkeeping for my family’s two businesses, on Monday. I set the bills aside in a letter sorter as they come in (email bills go into a specified folder), then deal with them all at once. Much more efficient than doing a little bit at a time, yet is often and regular enough the filing doesn’t pile up.

I haven’t been working out lately, but when I did, I did it right after I got home from work. Keeping to that routine helped ensure that it didn’t get lost in the shuffle of other things to do and forgotten.

ROW80Logo175Now for this week’s ROW80 update.

The good news: I did manage to open the book file and do some writing five times this week to meet my goal. The bad news: I only wrote about a paragraph each time. I started formatting the ebook but did not finish.

I signed up for an online writing workshop to try and kick back into gear there. Spending money on something like that tends to motivate me, so we’ll see how that works. In addition, I’m going to shoot for writing 300 words in the WIP, three times this week. I also want to get the ebook formatted.

What about you–do you have routines for certain tasks that help keep the stress away? Has flexibility helped you lately? Got any more stress reduction tips? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

One Step Backward, Two Forward

That’s better than two steps backward and one forward, right? Although until yesterday, that was what my week was shaping up to be. Nothing bad, it was just one of those weeks where I had a steady case of the blahs. I was tired, grumpy, and didn’t feel like doing anything after I got home from work except watching mindless television or playing mindless computer games. Writing? Hah! I got a couple of sessions in, to the tune of 1500 words, but not what I’d wanted. Exercise? I did well to get on the treadmill at all, though I did manage to get my workouts in–short ones. It was like I used up all my energy and creativity at work (what little there was, that is). Yes, programming is creative, although in a different way than writing, so it usually doesn’t sap me. Yes, I have some minor health issues, and yes, I’ve seen a doctor, so no worries there. It’s just frustrating that anything that might help takes a while, and sometimes, we just have to deal with this stuff.

Yesterday was a bit better because I had the whole day. The fiction project I’ve been working on lately is a novella where I tried not outlining beforehand, just sitting down to write. But after being pretty much stuck for over a week (the 1500 words were on the other project), I’m reminded once again that I need a plan. So yesterday I sat down and wrote almost 2,500 words of story notes. With that on top of the 1500, I’ll consider my writing goal made for this week.

ROW80Logo175After that, I did my formatting project, and got that into a nice epub form. Which leaves my ROW80 results as follows:

  • Format anthology as ePub – Done
  • 2500 words on TT or SS#3 – Done
  • Fitness 3-4x – Done

Not bad for a week where I didn’t feel like doing anything for most of it, huh? 🙂

So I’ll stick with that for this week. I do want to ramp up on the wordcount eventually, but not just yet.

  • Format anthology for print and proofread
  • 2500 words
  • Fitness 3-4x

What about you–do you have weeks where you just don’t feel like doing much of anything? How do you kick yourself out of that? (I’m really not sure what I did.) If you’re doing ROW80 or working toward other goals, how are you doing? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Coming Soon: Another Way to Warm Up!

Love's a Beach coverThe weather here in Ohio has been crazy the past couple of weeks! Around zero a week ago, up in the fifties yesterday morning, and almost that today, only to drop back to a more typical twenty-something later this week. Luckily, the folks at Mythical Press have been busy getting something ready that should warm up even the coolest soul, if only figuratively: Love’s a Beach, an anthology of stories of summer love by members of the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America.

Yes, the anthology is finally going to happen, and yes, there’s something in it for everyone who likes a little romance, including those who’ve been waiting for something new from the Saturn Society! This is the long-time-coming first installment of Time’s Tempest, my serialized novel that takes place in a parallel timeframe to my WIP Saturn Society Book Three.  In my story “The Storm,” a headstrong handyman on his first trip to the past winds up in the storm of the century, on the run from a madman from the future, with a woman he doesn’t remember meeting—or falling in love with.

I’m doing the formatting for Mythical Press on this one, and that means I’m getting a sneak preview of the other stories in the book, too. And wow! Are they fantastic! There are a couple of humor-laced romantic suspense tales, some sweet contemporary stories, office romances, and a historic story (which interestingly enough, takes place in the early twentieth century – the same time period as “Time’s Tempest: The Storm”). There are also a couple of lovely poems by Ann Gregory. The release is slated for the first of February, and I’m especially excited to see this anthology finally come out after seeing what else is in it! Here’s the official blurb:

Warm up your winter with this anthology of stories of springtime and summer love by members of the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America. From heartwarming to mysterious, comical to suspenseful, these romantic tales show that there really is someone for everyone. Whether it happens today or a hundred years ago, from the Atlantic shore to the American West coast, there’s something magical about the finding love when the warm breezes blow.

More info on the publisher’s site.

ROW80Logo175Doing the work on that has kept me busy this week, but getting the formatting ready for Smashwords was one of my goals, and I met that. I also got my fitness in. I did not get as much new writing done as I’d hoped, adding only 1500 new words, rather than the 2,500 I wanted. So here’s the plan for this week:

  • Format anthology as ePub
  • 2500 words on TT or SS#3
  • Fitness 3-4x

What about you–what’s the weather like where you are, and have you had enough of it? What do you think of releasing a “beach reads” anthology in the winter? And whether or not you’re participating in ROW80, what have you been up to this week, and how did you do? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.