Tying Up Loose Ends

This has been another week of closures, of varying types. We closed on our student rental house on Thursday, which was delightfully easy compared to the last purchase. Having to deal with one incompetent, ball-dropping person on the last one dragged out the process; luckily there was no one like that this time. So now we’re looking to see if we can find some short-term tenants to occupy the place until our next-school-year’s committed ones move in.

We celebrated with–wait for it–a trip to the pet store. We bought Isis a giant rawhide bone, which occupied her all evening. We were both tired afterward–my husband had run around doing errands all day, and I was my normal tired–and my husband decided it was the “best $20 we ever spent.” LOL!

"This is gonna take awhile..."

“This is gonna take awhile…”

Yesterday was somewhat of a beginning, for an end that came a couple weeks ago: the last meeting of my RWA chapter. We have no one qualified to run for president, so the November meeting was our last. We’re having a holiday party next month, then we’re done–at least as an RWA chapter. But there are other writing groups in the area, including a very small one my friend Jim Winter started a while back. We invited another of my writing friends yesterday, and for the first time ever (since I’ve attended at least), everyone was in attendance (well, except for the guy who moved to the west coast). Four professional writers and two relative beginners eager to learn, talking about writing and business and all sorts of nerdy stuff--great fun, as always.

What I read this week: Still going to wait on that, because I’m not much farther through any of it, and all is good and deserving of attention. I’m still working on The Indie Author’s Power Pack, and also started a new book on Adrenal Fatigue that the author offered to me for free after seeing my blog a couple weeks ago. That has some good info I haven’t seen before, so I will be discussing it when I finish. I’m still working on the same novel, too. Enjoying it, just slowly due to the nonfiction reading.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: The writing was also a finishing up of some loose ends–I completed not only the scene I was working on last week, but the next two as well (none were long scenes). My goal was to finish one of them and write at least 3,000 words; I exceeded that and wrote around 4,000. So a big win for me! However that brings me to a turning point. I have now finished all of the completely new scenes the book needs, and now need to go through and start working in changes elsewhere throughout the book. Some of this will be deletions, too. So my goal this week is to get through 1/4 of the book–at least marking where new sections go, if not actually writing them. I am hosting Thanksgiving, but my family is small and my mom, husband, and daughter share in the cooking, so it’s not stressful, and am hoping the time off will help.

What about you–have you tied up any loose ends lately? Or see any in your near future? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? What are you doing for Thanksgiving? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

Trying New and Old Things

Isis in computer room

Isis relaxing in the doorway of the computer room

This has been a week of catching up, on several fronts. I’ll hit the writing further down, but it’s also been a recovery of energy for me. Last weekend was such a busy one, it really took it out of me, energy-wise, so this week has been a lot of rest until yesterday. Fortunately, my energy levels had improved again by then, because my husband and I hosted a birthday dinner for one of my best friends from college and her partner.

This may not seem like a big deal to many people, but when you’re one of those not gifted with the hostess gene (I’m convinced there’s such a thing), it’s not trivial. Add fatigue to that, and a spouse who normally helps but is hindered by having the use of only one arm… well, let’s say I’m glad I know these friends well enough that I don’t worry that my house wasn’t spotless for them.

Which was great because that left my energy free for food preparation. My college friend went vegan about three years ago, so that involved a bit more planning as far as the menu went. Being vegan is something I can’t imagine doing–just getting enough protein is something many find difficult, but my friend is healthier and more active that she’s ever been in the 25+ years I’ve known her, so that doubles my interest in being supportive of her choice. Meanwhile, her partner, whose birthday was a week before my friend’s, was really looking forward to a good steak.

So while my husband was literally single-handedly grilling steaks, I was grilling Cilantro-Lime Tofu on the George Foreman grill. That’s definitely new to me, as neither me nor my husband like tofu, so we’ve never cooked it. I’d found the recipe a few days earlier and it sounded really good (even to me), so I figured I’d give it a try. My friend scarfed it, so it must’ve been good. :) I tried a bite, and indeed, it wasn’t bad at all. However, the rest of us enjoyed our steaks.

The other somewhat-new thing I fixed was roasted squash. My daughter introduced us to this a few weeks ago, last time she was home. She went to a farm market and bought a butternut squash, and an acorn squash, and fixed the former that night. Yum!  We still had the acorn squash, so I did the same with it. There wasn’t much of it, but what there was, was good.

For dessert, my husband had requested apple pie. He loves Mehaffie’s Pies, which are an old Dayton standard, but they don’t list ingredients on their website, and when I researched, I found that most store-bought pies and pie crusts contain lard, whey, or both. So to ensure our pie was vegan, I went back to another old standard–my grandma’s pie crust (aka Classic Crisco pie crust), and made it myself. It was a bit of work, but well worth it–the pie disappeared quickly!

IndiePowerPackWhat I read this week: I started The Indie Author Power Pack, by David Gaughran, Joanna Penn, Johnny B. Truant, and Sean Platt. I’m about halfway through the first book, Write, Publish, Repeat, by Truant and Platt, and have already picked up a ton of good ideas to put to use once I ramp up production and get more books out. I believe this is a limited edition, and is currently $.99. If you’re an author–regardless of publishing path–there is a lot of useful stuff in here. Highly recommended.

I’m also reading a novel, but am not far enough in to discuss, so leaving that for next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goal last week was to go through my WIP to see what I have, where the new scenes fit in, and what’s still needed. That’s done, and a big relief to see I only need three more new scenes, unless something pops in and surprises me–which would not be a surprise. I also finished the scene I was working on, which only needed a few paragraphs. So this week, I want to get back on track with producing new words, and finish a new scene or 3000 words.

What about you–what new things have you tried lately? Any old favorites you’ve dug out after a long time? Read any good books lately? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing, ROW80, 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

Life Comes Before Writing

Sometimes the rest of life keeps us from writing, or for those who aren’t writers, from doing the other things we want to do. Sometimes that sucks. Sometimes, it’s okay. Because sometimes, we just need a little break from our writing (or other pursuits), and the fact is, experiencing life is what informs our writing. hockeyThat was the kind of week I’ve had.

My writing had already ground to a halt because I need to go back and figure out where some of the newer material I’m adding to the novel fits in, and what else is needed. And by the time I started figuring it out, life got busy. Friday night, DH and I drove out to the daughter’s college town to take her winter coats to her, which she will very much need next week. We took her and a friend out to dinner, then went to a hockey game. A good time, and we won, but it put us home rather late.

Yesterday, I had my RWA chapter meeting–always fun to see my writer friends, but also a good chunk out of my day, as it’s an hour drive each way. fire

After that, I needed to help DH clean house, to prepare for having friends over to celebrate a long-time-coming milestone: the seventh anniversary of selling the bar we used to own. Why it’s a milestone is because it means we no longer have to keep any of the paperwork for tax purposes. So we had LOTS of paperwork to get rid of. Since we don’t own an industrial-grade paper shredder, the only remaining suitable way to get rid of it was to have a bonfire–or, since we’re in city limits, two approved-size fires. We had six shopping bags full of paperwork, and it took over three hours to burn it all! But it was worth it, and great fun too.

What I read this week: I am currently beta-reading a science fiction novella a long-time friend will soon publish. And wow is it fantastic! Some fascinating aliens with some rather interesting anatomy, not to mention cultures, politics, and war–and funny twists on some sci-fi tropes. Since it is not yet published, I won’t name the book or author, but when it becomes available, you can bet I’ll announce it here, especially since the author is planning to offer it for free as an introduction to his new series. ROW80Logo175

ROW80 update: This week has been pretty much a bust for writing. No matter; I’ll get back to it this week. But before I can really get into producing more words, I need to get the story more organized and figure out which scenes go where, and what’s still needed. People who write out of order as a matter of course–I don’t know how you do it, and I am in awe! So that’s this week’s goal. On the puppy front–yes, Isis is still a puppy, though now, no one would know it to look at her. She’s now eight months old, and weighs over 80 lbs.! She doesn’t seem to realize that, however, as evidenced by this pic of her being a lapdog: Isis lapdog What about you–do you sometimes find that life takes over your want-to-do activities? Are you okay with it? That’s something I’ve had to learn. How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

A Blessedly Uneventful Week

Isis as Loli Rottie

Isis as Loli Rottie

Sometimes we all need one of those! I’m sure for many, it wasn’t uneventful, simply because Halloween was part of it. Me, I haven’t really gotten into Halloween much for many years. With our daughter away at school, neither me or my husband even thought about it much this year–to the point that, the day before, we realized we hadn’t even bought trick or treat candy! That was just as well, because buying it too soon = we eat half of it before trick or treat comes. So DH bought it on Friday, we had all of maybe 15-18 trick-or-treaters, then plenty of leftovers. :)

Isis did dress up a bit, however. We found this Sweet Lolita hat in our daughter’s room, and it was too perfect not to try on her.

It got cold here in Ohio this week! Taking Isis for a walk yesterday was quite chilly, and today, the Camaro gets its winter tires put on. I remembered to bring in the daughter’s potted roses, so now they are sitting beside my writing computer. They must like it there, too, because within days, they started sprouting tons of new leaves.

Smiths-Monthly-Cover-7-webWhat I read this week: The Slots of Saturn by Dean Wesley Smith. This is the full-length novel that’s in Smith’s Monthly #7, and is the origin story of his superhero character Poker Boy.  What’s interesting about the Poker Boy stories is how fun and entertaining they are to me, who has almost no interest in poker. That’s a testament to the worldbuilding and storytelling: Poker Boy’s superpowers relate to the skills he has that make him a champion poker player–his ability to read people, for instance–but there’s very little actual poker in the stories. And lots of details about the world of casinos that work with his powers that make the stories just plain fun.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goals were to write 5 out of 7 days this week, and to get 3,000 words down. I got the 3,000 words (barely!), but wrote every day. For some reason, it was a struggle to stay in the chair, even though writing is fun. Next week, I have a lot going on Saturday, so won’t be able to put much, if any, time in on the book that day. So it will be a push, but I’m shooting for the same goal.

What about you–do you enjoy Halloween? Do you dress up, or go to parties? How’s the weather been where you are? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

How NaNoWriMo can Hurt Your Health… and How to Avoid it

Regular readers of this blog (all three or four of you) might recall that for most of this year, I’ve been fighting adrenal fatigue. A quick recap for the rest of you, what this basically means is, I’m tired all the time, even after getting a good night’s sleep. And that’s something that’s also hard to come by, as insomnia is a symptom of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue also weakens our immune system, as the adrenal hormones are a key part of it, and when we get sick, it takes more out of us, and takes us longer to recover.

Adrenal fatigue is caused by stress, either acute (such as by being in an accident, injury or being ill) or long-term (stressful job, drawn-out divorce, you name it). Our adrenal glands produce cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone. It’s also the stress hormone, but we need a certain amount of it to function and have energy. In a normal person, cortisol spikes a couple of hours after rising, then gradually tapers off throughout the day. When I did the 24-hour hormone testing, my cortisol only went up in a very shallow curve.

Our adrenal glands can’t tell the difference between running from a tiger, or coping with a dozen clients all wanting their projects at once, or trying to get 1,667 words done late at night. Go on like this for too long, adrenal fatigue can result. Putting my writing off until the time I should have been going to bed, then forcing myself to get the words down anyway, was a big contributor to my adrenal fatigue.

The NaNoWriMo forums and blogs are full of references to sleep deprivation, drinking lots of coffee, and pulling all-nighters to get those words in, as if these things are some kind of badge of honor. (For the non-writers out there, NaNoWriMo is an international challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.) I’ve done NaNoWriMo three times, and won (i.e., completed 50,000 words in the month) three times. Doing the all-nighter once or twice, or staying up extra late now and then to get the words in is fine, but last year, I was doing the latter almost every day. I won, but it wasn’t worth it–especially because it shouldn’t have been necessary.

I could have avoided all the sleep deprivation if I’d just gotten back into one habit that got me my win the two other times I’d done it: do the writing first. In my case, that means as soon as I get home from work on the weekdays. But last year, I let fear and the inner editor keep me from even getting started until I had to start, or I wouldn’t get my words in at all.

There are tons of resources and blogs out there to help us quash fear and the inner editor while writing, so look those up if you need to. We need to remember to keep these evils at bay when we’re not writing, too, or they’ll keep us from writing at all–or until it’s way late in the day.

50,000 words in a month sounds like a lot. It’s not. When I can keep fear and the inner editor away, I can write that much in about an hour and a half, usually broken up into two or three sessions. Professional fiction writers write this much or more all the time. So if you’re doing NaNoWriMo this month, here are my suggestions:

  • Do the writing first (whether that’s first thing in the day, or first after you get home from work)
  • Ask yourself what do you have to be afraid of? And see how silly most of our fears are.
  • Focus your fears instead on the dangers of not getting enough sleep, and get your writing done early.
  • Kick the inner editor to the curb.

My adrenal fatigue is finally improving. I caught a cold right after my husband broke his arm, so that slowed things a good bit. But he is getting better, and I’m finally starting to get a bit of energy. One thing we like to do is take Isis for a walk. There is a big drainage basin near our house, and when it’s dry, my husband has started taking Isis there to throw balls to her with the ball launcher. It is great exercise for her and she loves it! When she’s tired, she lies down and waits for us to start walking home.

Isis ball 1

Isis ball 2   Isis ball 3

Isis lying down

What I read this week: the short stories and serial portions in Dean Wesley Smith’s Smith’s Monthly #7. His story “A Bubble for a Minute” was absolutely fabulous and gave me chills–in a very good way. It was sort of a time travel thing where, when a certain song was played on a record player, a detail in the past changed. A character was trying to “fix” something in the past, with devastating consequences. This is the kind of thing I write in my Saturn Society stories, and this story reminded me why I love writing them. Worth the price of the magazine alone, but there are also some always fun and entertaining Poker Boy stories, as well as the serials which I’m really liking. I’m reading the novel in the magazine now, which I’ll discuss next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: Our offer on the student rental house was accepted–yay!–and at least for now, the paperwork done. I also finished getting the notes on Dean Wesley Smith’s Productivity workshop, so those are two big tasks done, and now I’m getting back to writing more. I did meet my goal this week of finishing the scene and started the next, which netted me about 2,000 words. I averaged 200 words for four days, and wrote about 1200 yesterday. Now it’s time to up the goals–I want to hit 500 words for four days, and get at least one 1,000-word day, for a total of 3,000 words, and write five days out of seven. Oh, and I want to finish the current scene, too. Hopefully I will do more than that.

What about you–have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? Did you win? Whether or not you’re a writer, have you sacrificed sleep for a goal–and was it worth it? We are having some great fall weather here in Ohio for walking–how is it where you are? And what do you like to do for exercise? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

When Everything Falls Into Place

Well, everywhere but one. I’ll get to that in a moment. Last week, we went house hunting in our daughter’s college town, and found a house everyone really liked. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, is in a great location close to campus, is in really great shape, and the kids all loved it. Oh, and the price was right, too–almost too good to be true (but not quite, so not enough to be a red flag). Well, after we got home, the more DH and I thought about it, the more we thought we might as well just put an offer on it, so we did. The seller’s agent says he thinks they will accept, so that ball is rolling.

Then I was looking at some numbers, and found out there is a patron saint of German majors. Well, not really, and I’m not even Catholic, but there should be. I was looking over our daughter’s account on the university’s web site, and found she’d been awarded a scholarship just last week. She is going to do a study-abroad program in Germany this summer, and mentioned that there are scholarships for that, so I assumed that was what it was for and sent her a text about it.

The scholarship was a complete surprise to her, too. I did some searching, and found it was from a man who’d graduated with a German major in 1935–and left a big endowment to the university in 2005, to be used for students of German. And it wasn’t for the trip–it’s for tuition. It’s as if all of this was meant to happen–and now. And no one is allowed to give our daughter a hard time a la “what are you going to do with a German major” any more. :)

My husband’s arm is getting better too. He can bend his elbow enough to touch the top of his head, but he’s still having trouble with rotating his wrist and hand. So we are continuing to hope and pray for that to improve as he works with an occupational therapist.

AbsenceofGraceWhat I read this week: Absence of Grace, by Ann Warner. I’m still not finished, but close, and really enjoying it. This is women’s fiction, with a good romance in it. Women’s fiction usually isn’t my thing, but Ann is such a good writer, it’s in one of my favorite settings (Alaska), and the romance is so realistic and well-woven throughout, it totally works for me. Ann was one of my very first critique partners over ten years ago, and I’ve always admired her lyrical style that really digs into the emotions without ever coming close to being melodramatic. Absence of Grace is available as a free ebook–more info on her site. Highly recommended!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: One thing that has not fallen into place is my writing. All this house stuff has meant that I did not get much writing done this week. There have been inspection reports to read over, paperwork to review and sign, and paperwork to collect for the loan. I did manage to meet my goal of writing–something, anything–five days out of the week, but not very much on any day, and fell far short of my other goal to either finish a scene or write 2,000 words. However, I did get a separate writing computer set up–no Internet, no games, just the writing software, on an old computer I had–so hopefully that will help. So I’m going to think positive and shoot for the same goal this week–write five days, and either finish the scene or 2,000 words.

Isis by turtle tankIsis likes to come in there with me while I’m writing. That can make it a challenge, because that usually means she wants to play. Of course, she does that at my Internet computer, too. That’s the new writing setup in the upper right of the picture. In the upper left is the turtle tank. The turtle is up above, basking. I’ll put a picture of her here sometime. She likes when I hang out in that room and write, but is much less intrusive than Isis. :)

What about you–what good things are happening in your life now? Do you have a special place to write, or craft, or whatever special project-type-of-thing you like to do? Have you read any good books lately? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

 

Hunting Lots of Things

This week has been all about hunting. For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking Dean Wesley Smith’s online workshop on writing Productivity, and a lot of that is about hunting down more time to spend on the writing, and hunting down ways to silence the inner editor so we can get more words out of the time we do spend. Only time will tell how successful a hunt this is. It’s helping so far, but this is one of those I expect to be ongoing.

And, after closing on the apartment building a couple weeks ago, we’re now looking for a student rental house in the town where our daughter goes to college, to rent to her and three friends. We drove out there to look at a few today, and took Isis, rather than leave her crated all day.

On the way out, we stopped at some farmland/wooded property a family member owns, where my husband likes to go deer hunting. He wanted to see if the deer blind he left there last year was still there. To our surprise, it was. So that was a successful hunting trip.

For the house hunting, we did find one we really liked, as did all four of the soon-to-be tenants. It’s still early in the game to tell whether that was a successful hunting trip. A couple of the houses were vacant, so Isis got to tour them with us. For the others, she stayed outside or in the truck with someone. She was popular when we went uptown and got a bite to eat at one of the restaurants that had a patio, and by the time we left, she was totally tuckered out! On the way home, we stopped by my brother’s place, and he and DH checked out something on our truck. Isis managed to find enough energy to try to help:

Working on truck

What I read this week: I started a new book that I’m really enjoying, but am less than halfway through it, so I’m going to wait until next week to discuss.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goals for this week’s writing were to write 5 days out of 7, which I did. I forgot to mention it in my goals, but I also wanted to write 1500 words or finish a scene. I did not finish the scene, but I did write 2,000 words, so that one is also a win. Going to stick with those same goals for this week.

What about you–have you gone hunting for anything recently? Was it successful? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have this week? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

In Closing…

No, not quitting the blog. I mean that more as a summary. Also another kind of closing, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

ROW80 is officially on hiatus this week, and will start up again tomorrow, Monday the 6th. I didn’t get near what I wanted on my goals, mostly due to “life happenings.” One of those was my husband breaking his arm, but my continued working on fatigue and my own productivity was in there as well. When life happens, you can’t beat yourself up over it, just dust yourself off, get up, and move on. Easy to say, not always so easy to do. One thing I learned was that even opening the file and saying, “just write 100 words” always adds up to much more than I expect, so that’s a tool I plan to use again when life happens.

The other happening was that DH and I bought another apartment building, and had our closing last week. That brings us up to three buildings. Managing them is DH’s job. Fortunately, much of that is talking on the phone, something that doesn’t require the use to two arms. This building is right next door to the first one we bought and have owned for over ten years, and we bought it from the real estate agents who handled the sale of the other two, and the price was right so it was a no-brainer. Where it became a life-happens event was that we somehow got saddled with a loan officer who was totally incompetent and dragged the process out much longer than it should have been, and caused me to keep having to dig up additional paperwork (sometimes the same thing more than once), when it should have been once and done. But it’s over now, so all is good. We went over there one evening and met the two tenants who’d lived there a while, both really nice people who seemed like the good kind you want–i.e., take care of the place and pay on time.

Smiths-Monthly-Cover-6-web-coverWhat I read this week: Kill Game, the novel in Smith’s Monthly #6. This is a cozy mystery, and I’m not quite done with it, but enjoying it very much! There is a nice bit of romance in it, common for cozy mysteries, and I like how this one is very genuine, not forced, and works perfectly with the characters and the story. I also like that the main characters are in their 50s and 60s–retired cops who play poker and solve very old, cold cases. This one has lots of fun twists and surprising things that weren’t discovered when the case was initially investigated, much due to advances in technology. While poker playing is what brings the characters together, there’s none of it in the book, which also suits me, since I don’t find it interesting and the actual play wouldn’t affect or impact the story. The novel should be out standalone in a couple months–a good, fun mystery read!

ROW80Logo175I didn’t get much writing done at all until last night, when I managed to get almost 1,000 words. It’s amazing how fast and easy the writing goes when you can kick the internal editor out of the way and keep them out. That is what I want to work on this coming ROW80–to kick the internal editor, critical voice out of my head and keep it out so I can get a lot more written this time.

Which leads me to this round’s goals, which I am again keeping simple: Finish the current WIP and get it to the beta readers. That’s it. I also like ROW80 founder Kait Nolan’s goal of writing 20 days out of 30, so I’m adopting something similar: I want to write–something, even if only 100 words–5 days out of every week. So we’ll see how that goes!

What about you–how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or not? If you’re participating in ROW80, what are your goals for this round? And have you had any “closings” or openings recently? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

What Inspires You?

My husband’s arm is healing well, we found when he went to his first follow-up with the surgeon this week. He obviously still can’t use his arm, but can move it, and doesn’t have much pain unless he’s doing that a lot. So that’s good news! We also got to see for the first time what all the surgeon put in there. 8-O

Broken arm

A bendable, stainless steel plate, and ten pins, in case you’re curious.

Otherwise, not much going on this week until yesterday, one of my writing friends came over for some lessons in formatting ebooks. Or rather, her husband got the formatting walkthrough, while Stacy and I got some writing talk in. Then we went to dinner afterwards, with my husband. Always fun, and I always like helping other writers.

Smiths-Monthly-Cover-6-web-coverWhat I read this week: I finished Indentured Hearts on Sunday, and wow, what a finish! A truly villainous antagonist, a life-or-death situation, and an ending that lived up to the can’t-put-it down beginning and rest of the book. Then I started Smith’s Monthly #6, and read the short stories and serial segments. This is Dean Wesley Smith’s monthly magazine that contains around 80,000 words of fiction every month, including a new novel that he typically writes in about three weeks. One of the stories was written in another writer’s established world (with permission) that I wasn’t familiar with, so I didn’t get into that story. And another one seemed more like a sociological essay on something that might be possible, and while interesting, didn’t come across as much of a story to me. But there was also a new Poker Boy story, plus a Seeder’s Universe story, and those are always fun and entertaining. And in any case, it’s always interesting to read Dean’s work after reading his Writing in Public blogs where he discussed the writing of them.

ROW80Logo175ROW80/Writing Update: ROW80 Round 3 officially ended this past Thursday. Did I meet my quarterly goals? Nope, not even close. I wanted to have the current WIP finished, but it wasn’t having that, ending up being much longer and more complex than I’d planned (and grew like this several times from the short story it was supposed to be at the beginning). Also, life stuff. Still, I’m not disappointed–the book is shaping up nicely, and is still moving forward, despite the life stuff. This past week was another one where I felt like I got almost nothing done at all, but upon checking, I got 1500 words in, so yay! There are some more life things (fortunately, good ones) planned this week, so I don’t know how much I’ll get done. If I get another 1500 words in, I’ll be happy with that. Although more would be better. ROW80 starts up again next Monday (Oct. 6), so if you’re a writer and would like a nice accountability challenge that fits in with whatever goals you set (and you can change them), consider joining us!

Finally, What Inspires You? Karen McFarland asked this question on her blog a couple weeks ago, and tagged me as one of the folks to answer. Thanks, Karen! To answer that question, a lot of things inspire me. History, for sure, especially some of the amazing people from right here in my own backyard, like Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Kettering, and John H. Patterson. Beautiful places, especially the surprising ones that aren’t that far away, like Cumberland Gap National Park. And of course, the wonderful fiction I read. Like Karen, I find a lot of inspiration in music. And for me, the most inspiring, best writing music comes from Canadian electronic industrial band Front Line Assembly.

Most of their music has a very cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic feel, yet it somehow goes as well with my historic time travel books as it did with Hangar 18: Legacy. But even within that, their music is widely varied from album to album. Lately, my favorite, favorite is the instrumental Airmech soundtrack album. Yes, Airmech is a video game–but those who aren’t into gaming, don’t be fooled–this is not the game music of old. This is more like epic, symphonic movie music. The complexity and multi-layeredness of the title track is just stunning. Even my mom might like it! This video is really fantastic too, and captures that post-apocalyptic feel found in much of their music:

Another of my favorites, and probably more “typical” FLA (if there is such a thing) is “The Storm,” from their Artificial Soldier album. I love the retro movie and TV footage in this one!

 

Of course, my puppy Isis inspires me too! Yes, she’s close to 70 pounds now, and still a puppy at seven months old! She just discovered Goldfish TV this week:

Fishy TV

And how she can sleep in this position, I don’t know, but how can anyone resist?

Isis weird sleeping

So tell me, what inspires you? I’m not going to tag anyone, but would love to see from my other blog friends who haven’t already been tagged. If you participated in ROW80 this round, how did you do? Even if you didn’t do ROW80, or aren’t even a writer, how did you do on whatever goals you might have? How was your week? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

Recovery

Last week was not a good one to say the least. This one, at least, is getting better.

My husband’s surgery on Tuesday went well. Many thanks for all the good wishes and prayers–it never hurts! It did take longer than the doctor estimated, which was making me anxious. Then we found out why: his arm and elbow were broken not in five places like we were originally told, but in eight! So glad he’s on the mend, and the very next day was taking much less of the painkillers than prescribed.

The pain’s still with him, but his biggest problem now is that he’s bored to death. He’s watched every movie on Netflix that interests him, and has gotten to the point of spending money to play Clash of Clans (he’s played for months without spending a penny). DH is not much of a reader–he’s dyslexic, and it takes him like, forever, to get through a novel. But now, he has plenty of time, so I offered to recommend a book to him, but he said he wouldn’t be able to read on the painkillers. But maybe now… hehe! I bet he’d like Holly Lisle’s Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood, or maybe something by Bob Mayer

On Friday, we went to visit his friend who had the stroke, and wow, I could not believe how much he had improved, given how bad it was to begin with. His speech was slurred, but mostly understandable, and he could move all limbs. He said he could walk with assistance, and his parents told us he’s being moved to a rehab facility this week. So very encouraging!

DH also had his very, very, brief follow-up visit with the plastic surgeon who stitched up the cut near his eye the morning after the accident, and the doctor was impressed with how well it had healed. So more good news. It helped that DH is well-acquainted with cuts and bruises from his years playing high school football, and knew how to take care of it (and was something he could do one-handed).

Our daughter was here to visit from the university last weekend, and the only downside all week was that she brought me home the “Miami Plague.” So I’ve had a nasty cold all week, but thankfully, it’s not like the awful flu I had back in March/April that took three weeks to recover from.

IndenturedHeartsWhat I read this week: a historical romance, Indentured Hearts, by Hannah Meredith. Usually, I find the books I read on blogs, and therefore, most are by authors I “know,” at least online. This one, I found on a mailing list, where they were discussing book covers. With my graphic design experience, I like to check them out sometimes, especially when someone who says they have no design experience created a great cover after taking one class. Sometimes that can happen; usually it doesn’t. In this case, This cover is decent for amateur work, but what really drew me was the product description: it was a colonial romance about an English noblewoman who winds up an indentured servant, to a man who once was the same. I was especially interested because my own WIP is set in the same time period (mid-1700s), although on the frontier. I downloaded the sample, and was immediately hooked. Writers, if you want to see an example of a fantastic opening, go get this now! The rest didn’t disappoint, either, and I had no trouble clicking the Buy Now link at the end of the sample. Historically accurate, with real chemistry between the characters, I’m 85% through the book–and still hooked! I hope the author writes more in this series soon.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I didn’t expect to get much done this week, writing-wise, with DH’s surgery and all–and that was before I got sick. But I surprised myself! While it’s not as much as I’d have liked, I was surprised to see that I wrote over 1300 words this week. I started out just shooting for 100 words a day, and didn’t even do anything for a couple of days when I felt really crappy. But those words added up! Still going to take it easy this week, and shoot for finishing this scene plus getting a start on the next.

How has your week gone? If you’re working toward goals–of any kind–how are you doing? Anything you need to recover from? And how do you find the books you read? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.