Progress, and Process

This has been one of those weeks where not a lot has been going on, and… not a lot of writing, either. Not really any reason for it other than just slacking. One thing I did was meet with my fiction writers group on Saturday.

It is always fun to see my writing friends, and one thing we talked about was our writing process. As one might expect, there were as many, or more, different processes as there were writers in attendance. Some of us outline; some don’t, some do sometimes and not others. One has recently found that her process lends itself much better to flash fiction (very short stories, of 1000 words or less). One friend writes groups of scenes, but not in order otherwise, and has to figure out what stays, what goes, and in what order. “I would not recommend this process to anyone,” she says. One friend has a different process for every book – some were written with no outline and just an idea; others he wrote with a very detailed outline. Still others fell somewhere in between.

I am for the most part an outliner. However, my outlines are not very detailed, and there are always gaps in them. The gaps are where cool stuff shows up, a place for ideas that will make the story better. Not that I slavishly follow what I’ve outlined, either–with each book, I find that the outline is more and more just a guideline, and can (and should) be deviated from whenever a better idea occurs to me. This is where I really take issue with people who say outlining is not creative; I would say it just isn’t in their case. It’s especially not un-creative when I start by simply writing everything I know about the story, in a sort of free-form, free-flow brain dump where I never fail to find surprises in what comes out, and what I do know.

Last night, my husband was out of town, and you’d think I’d have gotten a lot done. Nope. It was really strange when I went to go to bed–I couldn’t find Isis anywhere! I knew I’d just let her in, and looked all over the house, most places twice. How easily can a Rottweiler hide? Then I heard a scratch on the patio door, and there she was, outside on the second story deck! I hadn’t seen her out there and had shut the door. Boy was I glad to find her! I was also glad to see DH when he got home this morning. Isis certainly was, as you can see here:

Isis hottub

Huntress9-ebookHuntress10-300What I read this week: Huntress of the Star Empire, Episodes 9 & 10 (yes, I get them in advance! :)) by Athena Grayson. All I can say is wow! This series keeps getting better and better. Even better than that, she’s informed me there will be a Season 2, though that’s a way off. Which is just as well, because I just finished the covers for Episodes 10-12. They are fun to do, but Athena knows I can use a break!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: As you can tell from above, nothing to report. So same primary goal as last week: finish the current chapter.

What about you–did you do anything fun this week? Have you had nice weather where you are? Ours has been great, maybe that’s why I’m slacking! If you write, are you an outliner, or a just-sit-down-and-writer? And how are you doing toward whatever goals you might have, 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

The Goddess Treatment

It’s been a good week, despite rainy weather for most of it. Much better than cold! And though I wasn’t able to send some of that rain to our friends in southern California, it did leave just in time for the weekend. I also made some good progress with my writing, so good all around!

The rain did let up enough on Monday for us to take Isis to Dog’s Nite Out at Ritter’s Frozen Custard. As always, she enjoyed her complimentary cup of doggie custard (vanilla with a dog biscuit on top):

Isis eating custard

After she finished, she wanted ours. Failing that, she made a some new friends:

Isis at Dogs Nite

You can do my nails now

You can do my nails now

 

Isis facial

The goddess in all her glory

Later in the week, DH took Isis to Wash Your Dog, where she got the goddess treatment: a warm bath with Black Sheen shampoo, then a blueberry facial! (No, I’m not making that up.) Finally, our friend who works there gave Isis a pedicure and the “Furminator” to loosen shedding fur.

DH learned last week that dogs are welcome at Lowe’s, at least the one near us, so he took Isis there this morning to get a new trailer hitch for his truck. He found out that taking Isis is not the thing to do if he expects to get there, get what he needs, and get out quickly, because it seemed everyone in the place wanted to stop and pet her, and talk to him about her! Of course, Isis was eating up all the attention!

I have also been working on my website, mostly behind-the-scenes stuff that most won’t notice (I hope). One thing I did was add an anti-spam plugin, and wow is it ever effective! This is a self-hosted WordPress site, and spam now does not even  get through to Akismet. Only problem is, with a recent update, it’s a little too effective, and a few legitimate commenters have been unable to comment. The developer has been spending a lot of time trying to fix this, but we’re having trouble pinning it down, since neither he nor I have any problems. It’s really hard to fix something when you can’t reproduce the issue, but I really don’t want to stop using this plugin because it’s SO good otherwise. So if you try to comment, sign up for my newsletter, or use my comment form and see an error message, I would soooo appreciate it if you could email me to let me know. If you don’t mind, please visit www.whatismyip.com and send the big number in the blue box to jen at this domain. (The number will be in format ###.###.###.###). Email can be a little wonky too, and will sometimes bounce with a “mailbox is full” error when in fact it’s not. Something else I need to work out, in this case, with the hosting provider. In addition to that, I need to do more tweaking to speed this site up…

Huntress7What I read this week: Huntress of the Star Empire, Episode 7 by Athena Grayson. This series just keeps getting better! This episode had some nice twists, especially a secret the hero found out about the heroine that even she doesn’t know. I also spent some time this weekend designing the covers for episodes 10-12. Those will post here when I read them!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: This was a good writing week. I worked on my WIP 5 out of 7 days, and completed two added scenes for over 3,000 words. This week, I’d like to finish another two scenes, from one that needs more material and will become two. I swear, when this book is finished, I need to get a goddess treatment for me! I’m thinking Square One Salon and Spa…  :)

What about you–do you give yourself an occasional god(dess) treatment? If you have a dog (or were to get one), would you bathe him or her yourself, or go somewhere like Wash Your Dog? Did you know you could take dogs into Lowe’s? Read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing or otherwise? Please let me know in the comments–I’d love to hear from you! (And please email me if you can’t comment!)

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.

Easter Cheer and Round 2 Goals

Hope everyone who celebrates Easter had a good one! We went to my brother’s, where there was plenty of good food, and good times with family.

Isis and cat

Isis tried to make a new friend, but he wasn’t interested

 

Easter basketI also had put together a pretty Easter basket for my college kid, then forgot to take it to the gathering. D’oh! I think my brain’s still a bit fried from what I’ve been working on all week: making this site mobile-friendly. It took some doing, since this theme wasn’t originally intended for mobile, but I like this site’s look and wanted to keep it, so I got it done. So now you can pull it up on a phone or tablet, and won’t have to wait for all the big graphics to load, and there’s now a simplified menu just for mobile users that slides out from the side. If you try it out and see anything wonky, please let me know!

Cats On the KeyboardI also have some exciting news: the cat story anthology I designed the cover for is now out! Cats on the Keyboard: Real Life Cat Stories by 14 Historical Romance Authors is a collection of true cat stories, written by cat-loving historical romance writers, and compiled and edited by one of my writing friends and editors, Michele Stegman. Enjoy the stories and take a look at the excerpts from each author’s book. (I was included because I write historical time-travel.) Since I don’t have a cat, my contribution to this one is how my parents ended up with their cat, Q.T. Pi. It also includes a sneak peek from my current WIP and upcoming release, Time’s Best Friend, which features a dog. Best of all, Cats on the Keyboard is free on BarnesandNoble.com and Smashwords.com. If you’d like to get it for free on Amazon, please visit its page, click “Tell us about a Lower Price,” and enter the Barnes & Noble link above, so they will lower the price to free. If you prefer to get your ebooks from iTunes or Kobo Books, it will be available at those retailers soon.

If you gather from the above that I didn’t get much writing done, you’d be right. I decided to take the week off and just get the mobile website done. I did do some reading though.

Huntress6atomic-cityWhat I read this week: Huntress of the Star Empire, Episode 6 by Athena Grayson. Getting better and better! I also finished–pretty much–an interesting nonfiction book I started for research several weeks ago, The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. The subtitle pretty much says it all: “The Untold Story of the Women who Helped Win World War II.” What I especially liked about it was that it focused on all the behind-the-scenes people who did all the un-glamorous jobs at Oak Ridge, but who all contributed to the cause. I especially liked it because I learned not only about who worked on “The Project” and what it was like, but also about the ordinary lives of ordinary people in an extraordinary time. My kind of thing!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: It’s time for Round 2, and a new set of goals! Well, mine aren’t really new, as I didn’t get as much done last Round as I’d hoped, so the major goal from Round 1 are pretty much being rebooted for this Round. That would be to finish the WIP and revision, and get it to the beta readers. Ideally, it will be published by the end of Round 2, but since my saying it seems to have a way of making it not happen, we’ll just hope for the best. Also, publishing it is not fully in my control, as there are editors, my publisher, etc. I also spent a lot of time on the marketing workshop this past Round, so my other main goal for this round is to put what I learned into place. Getting the mobile-friendly website design implemented was the first step there.

What about you–if you celebrate Easter, did you have a good one? Do you like pet stories? (If so, go get Cats on the Keyboard!) Got any pet stories of your own to share here in the comments? If you’re participating in ROW80, or even if you’re not, what are some of your goals for these next three months? Please tell us about it below–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.

First Quarter Wrap-up

ROW80, “The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life,” ended its first Round of the year this past Thursday. Since I only post on Sundays, it’s time for a wrapup, and review of how the quarter went for me and my writing goals.

Isis takes a rest in HER spot

Isis takes a rest in HER spot

Looking back, my goals were pretty ambitious. Actually, they were really ambitious, given my fatigue issues and the fact that I work full time. I didn’t do much toward this week’s goals either, though for different reasons. Mainly, my daughter was home from college, and that’s a major routine disruptor. One I was happy to have; just one that made not much writing get done. I will also admit that I made the mistake of getting caught up in a computer game, and spent too much time doing that. Writing is fun, but so is gaming, and my husband has been playing this one for a while, so now it’s like family time. Family does come first, after all. :D I got about 2000 words written on a new scene, but that’s about it.

ROW80Logo175Here were my goals for the quarter/Round, and how I did:

  • Finish the WIP, get it revised, and out to beta readers – Nope. This book has fought me every step of the way, refusing to be written in order (my usual M.O.) and continually throwing new scenes and ideas that need to be worked in because they’re making it better.
  • Prep work for next one, which includes a self-directed workshop – No, see above.
  • Make changes to the Love’s a Beach anthology for my publisher – No. (It’s still available, and therefore this is low priority).
  • Read one craft or business book – Done, plus read two more!
  • Take one online workshop or video series – Done, although with a different workshop than I’d planned, and haven’t gone through a bunch of extras yet, but I will eventually.

Now on the other hand, I ended up doing a few things that weren’t on the list at all. Three of my friends/cover art clients decided to release new work that needed covers. One is for an anthology and was fairly simple; the other was for a serial, so basically is four different covers (we’re reusing each one for three of twelve episodes). I have the anthology cover and three of the serial cover sets done. My other friend just decided to go indie with a project a couple weeks ago, so here’s hoping I’ll get to that one soon. I have a great idea for it, so it will be fun!

I’m also in the process of making my website more mobile-friendly. More and more people are viewing sites through phones and tablets, so this is becoming more important.

And the workshop I ended up taking was more time-intensive than the one I had originally planned to take. All worthwhile, so all is good!

ROW80 Round 2 starts back up on April 6, so I’ll be back on the 5th with my second quarter goals. If you’re a writer, consider joining us! Just click the ROW80 logo or the link at the top of this post for more info.

Smiths-Monthly-Cover-9-webHuntress5-1000What I read this week: Smith’s Monthly #9, by Dean Wesley Smith. Not my favorite of these so far, but still entertaining. Ironically, one of my favorite covers, although definitely one that’s more about the “feel” of the story rather than its actual contents. As a cover designer, it’s much more important to capture feel than exact characters or scene, though it’s fantastic when a cover does both. Still liked this one! I also picked back up on Huntress of the Star Empire, Episode 5 by Athena Grayson, which keeps getting better and better!  

How about you–do you ever shoot for goals that are way too much? How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, whether writing-related or not? Does your dog take over the sofa? 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.

Where Did the Week Go?

I did not get much done on my writing this week, and at initial glance, I wasn’t sure why.

Then I looked at what else I had going on over the week. Early in the week, I designed a cover for a writer friend who’s putting together an anthology of true stories about cats. I’ll post the cover when she’s ready for a reveal. Yes, I have an entry in it too, the story of how my parents got their cat! I’ll announce more when it releases.

I did more work on the marketing course, and also worked on a mobile version of my website (anyone who’s hit this site with a phone knows it’s not very mobile-friendly).

And Thursday was a special day–my wedding anniversary! Since we took a trip last year, we kept it simpler this year–DH and I just went out for a nice dinner that included steak, lobster, wine, and chocolate lava cake. :)

On Friday, my daughter came home for spring break, so lots of time spent catching up with her. We do talk on the phone regularly, but it’s not the same. Yesterday was more good weather, and our first fire in the backyard. And finally, today’s post went up late because she and I went to see the musical South Pacific at a local dinner theater with my mom, so more good family time.

And of course, there’s always this:

Isis catching ball

I did manage to get some reading done, but not much, so I’ll share that next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I keep getting fooled by the changes I’m making, thinking there’s less to them than there are. Last week I had one new scene turn into three; this week I had one scene that I thought would be an easy revision, actually needs to be entirely redrafted, due to changes I made earlier in the story. I outlined that, but it still needs to be written. I also had one complete scene that somehow never got printed out, and therefore never went through initial review and markup, so I did that. That seems to have been the MO of this story all along. So not much progress there, though not for lack of me trying. This week may be busy, with today mostly gone, my daughter home, and possibly some other family stuff (good stuff) later in the week. With that, I figure any progress will be good, though I’m going to try to get the one scene redrafted, and the next one marked up. It’s also the end of ROW80 Round 1, so I’ll give a recap next week.

What about you–how has your week been? Had one lately where one thing after another kept you from something you wanted to do? Here’s hoping it’s like mine–good stuff, so can’t complain! How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

Small Changes

As you can guess from the title, nothing major has happened this week, but there were several other things going on. For starters, we’re finally getting some nice weather here in southwest Ohio, with some sunny and some rainy days in seasonal temperatures in the 40s and 50s. I especially love the first few days when it’s warm enough to drive with my windows down! We had two or three of those last week, and more to come this week. It’s also been good weather for this:

Isis ball 2

…although the field in the photo has been kind of soggy with the snowmelt and recent rain, so not too much throwing the ball in there yet. My husband is a good, devoted dog person who will walk Isis no matter how cold–it has to be a blizzard, a torrential downpour, or a foot of snow on the ground before he skips the dog walk. I, however, am a fair weather walker, but this week has been nice enough even for me. In fact, that’s probably what I’ll do this afternoon.

My husband got Lasik surgery yesterday, and has nice, clear vision now. Well, at least in one eye–the other isn’t quite there, but he called the doctor and goes for a follow-up tomorrow. The doctor didn’t sound too concerned, so here’s hoping that’s a good sign. Not wearing glasses will be a nice little change for my husband.

I also went to a write-in yesterday with some local writing friends and my new laptop that came last week. It worked like a champ, and connected to the library’s wifi right away! I got half of a new scene written, plus enjoyed some social time with my writer friends.

My other main focus in writing is an online marketing course I’ve been going through this week. That’s been taking a lot of time, but good stuff that I think I can actually use. To that end, I’ve been making some small changes in my website. Most of those have been on a copy that just runs on my computer, but if you look at my Books page, you can see one change I’ve implemented here. My next task is to make a more mobile-friendly version of my site.

Huntress4What I read this week: I finished Huntress of the Star Empire, Episode Four, by Athena Grayson. Another thrill-ride that has me looking forward to the next installment! This episode features a new cover design I did for Athena a couple of weeks ago, too. After finishing that, I read the short stories and serial segments in Smith’s Monthly #9, and started on the novel therein, which I’ll discuss next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I did not make as much progress here as I’d hoped, partly due to spending more time on the marketing workshop, and partly because one scene I needed to revise actually was three scenes, two of which were new ones I had yet to write. I got both done, but along with those, only revised two chapters, in addition to one more new scene I did know I needed. So this week, I have one more new scene to write, and would like to get the rest of the revisions done for two more chapters. I also want to get through one more segment of the marketing workshop. I have a couple of things going on later this week, so that may be pushing it–we’ll see!

What about you–are you getting any nice weather in your part of the world? Any recent changes in your life, big or small? How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, whether writing 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

Birthdays and Presents

No, not mine. Well, not my birthday, but I did get myself a present, and it came this week: a new laptop. I do most of my writing on a big ol’ desktop computer (actually, I have two–one for writing new words, and one for everything else), but the laptop is nice when I want to go somewhere to write, take on vacation, etc. For this, I had a netbook that I bought in 2009. But the netbook was really showing its age, and last time I took it to a write-in, took so long to start up, find Wifi, and find my flash drive, half my writing time was gone.

laptop-inspiron-3000-magnum-pdp-module-1So I came home and ordered a fun little 2-in-1, a laptop that can fold back on itself and function as a tablet. It weighs the same as the netbook, and cost a bit more (but still very reasonable), but wow is it faster! And so much fun to use both with the keyboard, and as a tablet at other times. I now know why I hardly ever used the netbook–it was too slow and un-functional. This computer is useful for when I’m sitting on the couch and want to look something up, or just surf the net. Even better, this particular computer was on sale at the time, and came with a free 7″ tablet. Can’t beat that!

And birthdays? There were two, and both fell on the same day, March 4th. One was my Great-aunt Marie (yes, I’m named after her), who turned 98. No photos, because she’s always hated having her picture taken! My family went to her house and had a nice, quiet celebration with her and her grandson, who lives with and takes care of her.

The other birthday was our dog Isis! She turned one year old. Now she’s no longer a puppy! Of course, she hasn’t looked like a puppy in a long time. Isis got a trip to the pet store, where she got to pick out several squeaky balls and got a box of treats. She also went to the vet to be weighed: 88 lbs. of cute! We took a photo to compare this year to right after we got her, with the same toy:

IsisYear1-Year2.-smjpg

Huntress3ebookWhat I read this week: I finished Huntress of the Star Empire, Episode Three. Wow, what a ride this story is turning out to be! And it works perfectly as a serial–each episode concludes its own action, but ends with a cliffhanger or big question that definitely makes you want the next one ASAP. I guess it doesn’t annoy me because I expect it–and that’s a big part of being an author: fulfilling reader expectations. This one does it all: a fascinating world, with complex characters that we learn a bit more about with each episode. If you like science fiction with some romance mixed in, get it now!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goal was to get edits written in for 7 chapters this week. I knew that was a bit ambitious, and it turned out I was right. I got five chapters written in, but the last two turned out to need more work than I anticipated. So I’m going to back down to five chapters this week. Those five chapters include two completely new scenes, so I’m going to shoot for getting everything else done during the week, then getting those done on Saturday, when I attend another write-in. At least I know my computer won’t take 1/2 hour just to start up!

What about you–have you gotten yourself a present lately? Even if it’s something small–mine usually aren’t this “big.” Any recent celebrations, or ones coming up? Have you read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might be working on, 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

The Liebster Award!

LiebsterAwardThe Liebster Award circulates around the blogosphere every year around this time, and this year, it came to me twice! It’s a fun little exercise where the award “recipient” answers a few fun questions, then passes on the award to others. Fun fact: “Liebster” is German for “dearest” or “sweetest.” (I felt obligated to look that up, since my daughter is a German major in college.) There are also a few German characters in my WIP. They don’t ever use that word. :)

Rules-for-Liebster-Award-300x240I was given the Liebster Award by Michele Stegman and Denise D. Young. Michele also posted the rules, to the right. Since I got the award twice and most of their questions are different, I’m going to answer both sets of questions, instead of giving random facts. I’m sure there will be some random weirdness in my answers!

Michele asked:

1. Who or what most inspires you to write?

Fascinating people. Fascinating history. And Front Line Assembly!

2. Are you a daisy or an orchid? In other words, do you prefer the outdoors or being inside?

I like being outside when the weather’s nice, but I don’t like cold or hot. So I guess that makes me an indoor person!

3. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Which would you prefer to be?

I’m an introvert, and I’m okay with that.

4. Do you write with music playing or do you prefer silence when you write?

I can write either way–depends on my mood. Just no TV on, please!

5. Do you have a particular time of day you prefer to write?

I am not a morning person; after dinner seems to be my best writing time.

6. Do you have any pets? What are they?

Regular readers of this blog should be familiar with Isis, our Rottweiler who turns one year old this week! I also have an aquatic turtle (red-eared slider), three gerbils, and a goldfish.

Isis waits patiently for her walk.

Isis waits patiently for her walk.

7. What hobbies do you have?

I like to sew clothing, but don’t have much time for it any more.

8. Do you have a “day” job? What is it?

I am a software (web) developer, and have worked in that industry since 1997. Before that, I worked in graphic design for ten years, which is also what my college degree is in.

9. What is your favorite beverage?

Mountain Dew!

10. What is your favorite animal?

That’s a tough question–I love all kinds of animals! But probably dogs, if I have to pick one.

11. Do you have a writers support group or critique group?

I used to belong to a local chapter of Romance Writers of America, where I met Michele and many of my writing friends, until the chapter was forced to disband at the end of 2014 due to new regulations from National that made it impossible for us to field a president. Several of us still meet informally. I have also made many online friends from ROW80 (where I “met” Denise) and in Kristen Lamb’s WANA (“We Are Not Alone”) networking group.

And here are Denise’s questions:

1.) What most inspires your writing?

See above

2.) It’s a cold and stormy night. What book do you curl up with?

Whatever I’m currently reading, normally an ebook on my Kindle.

3.) What was your favorite book when you were growing up?

Just one??? Can’t do it. But a few that stand out are The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, Below the Root by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Obviously, I was a big fantasy fan (still am, but now want romance with it).

4.) Who is your greatest inspiration?

Again, too many to narrow down, so I’m going to weasel out of this one and just say a lot of historical people, people who’ve overcome adversity, and writers whose work I admire.

5.) What’s your favorite movie? What do you love about it?

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, because it’s time travel, it’s hilarious, and they’re great characters!

6.) Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or no chocolate? What’s your preference?

Dark. But they’re all good!

7.) If you could travel to any place, real or imagined, where would it be?

Australia!

8.) What do you do when you’re not writing?

Play way too many computer games, do business stuff and paperwork for my husband’s businesses, and of course there’s the day job…

9.) What’s your hidden talent?

I can curl my tongue.

10.) If you were a supernatural/paranormal creature/being, what would you be and why?

One who could be in multiple places at once, so one of me could go to work and do the day job, and another of me could write LOL.

11.) Finish this sentence: The perfect day involves…

Family, fun, relaxation, and writing!

Now, we’re supposed to make up our own questions and pass this on, but I need to save my creativity for my fiction, so my recipients can just take their pick and use either of my sets of questions. And my awardees, should they choose to accept, are:

If you aren’t into this, no worries. But if you accept, I look forward to seeing your responses!

What I read this week: I didn’t finish anything new, and this blog’s already running long, so I’ll catch up with this next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goal was to write in the revisions for chapters 5-10, and I made that goal! This week will, I hope, be a quiet one, so I’m going to push to get chapters 11-17’s revisions written in.

What about you–do you have any fun answers to any of those questions you’d like to share here? 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, KoboiTunes, and more.

New Stuff, and Old

Isis with tablet

You should be paying attention to meeeeeeee

Last week, I mentioned that I went to a write-in. I got 350 words written. Would’ve gotten more, if my sloooooowwww netbook hadn’t taken half of our meeting time to start up, and connect to Wifi, or recognize my flash drive. Not cool. I don’t do write-ins often, but it was fun, and I’d like to do something like that more often, so when I got home, I ordered a new laptop, a little 2-in-1 that can double as a tablet with the keyboard folded all the way back. It was on sale, and the special deal included a 7″ tablet for free. The laptop’s not due until March, but the tablet came on Thursday. My dog’s thoughts to the right… given what she did with my daughter’s tablet, I’m keeping this one away from her!

Isis waits patiently for her walk.

Isis waits patiently for her walk.

One thing that is definitely getting old is the snow and cold. At work, we have a whiteboard used for announcements. The only thing on it since after Christmas:

“It’s cold!”

Yeah. I don’t know who’s NOT tired of it, except maybe ski slope operators and enthusiasts. Although, I am grateful we have not been dumped on like Boston or other areas. I am also grateful for my winter tires!

Isis doesn’t care about the cold, and still expects her walk. OTOH, once out, she doesn’t seem to mind when DH cuts them short.

I spent much of the week collecting the information and reports I needed for our tax accountant. It was not difficult, because I keep everything in Quickbooks and in general am pretty organized with my filing. But it does compound, given the fact that we bought two rental properties and established a holding business for each, which means DH and I now own five small businesses when one adds in my writing. O.o Luckily, our accountant makes house calls as a matter of course and a little (or even a lot of) snow does not deter him–in fact, he was early to our meeting yesterday. There were just a couple of additional items I needed to look up for him (hence the reason he comes to his clients), and then he was on his way, taking a big load off of me.

Huntress2ebook300Huntress1What I read this week: Huntress of the Star Empire, Episode One: “Hot Pursuit,” and Episode Two: “Captivated” by Athena Grayson. This is a romantic science fiction story, and another new thing for me: it’s the first time I’ve read a serial as it’s released (or soon to be, as the case is with Episode Two), and it’s just what I expected: fast-paced, lots of action, and a complete story thread in each episode, but with other threads (and the main story) left hanging. (Which, since I expect it, doesn’t bother me.) Interesting characters, lots of sexual tension for the romance fans, and fascinating worlds for the sci-fi fans, this series has it all, and I can’t wait for the next installment! I’m also doubly glad I had the opportunity to design the covers, because it means I get the story segments in advance. Episode One is out now, with a new episode to come every Thursday through May.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My plan for this past week was to get two chapters of changes marked in; I was able to get three (having a work holiday helped). This week, there’s not a lot going on, so I’m shooting for four, with a stretch goal of six.

What about you–is it cold and snowy where you are? If so, are you sick of it? If you’re in the U.S. (or an expat), have you filed your taxes yet? Have you ever read a serialized novel? If you have, do you like them? If not, would you try one, or wait until the whole season (or novel) is out? And whether or not you’re a writer, how are you doing toward 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.

A Week of Questions

On Monday night, I participated in a panel discussion at the Dayton Metro Library on romance novels and writing, along with Athena Grayson, Stacy McKitrick, Catherine Castle, and C.D. Hersh. There wasn’t a huge crowd, but the ones who did come asked some very good questions, and it was a lot of fun! Some examples of their questions, with my answers:

Q. Why and when did you start writing?

A. I’ve always loved to read, and decided to write when I read a really lousy romantic suspense, and figured I could do better. But I’ve always wanted to write. I used to tell myself stories to go to sleep at night (maybe that’s why I don’t sleep well to this day), and started actually writing in high school, and took a creative writing minor in college. It just never occurred to me to actually write for publication until I read that bad romantic suspense novel back almost 20 years ago.

Q. Where does “write what you know” come into fiction writing?

A. Most of it boils down to universal, human emotions and experiences, that don’t matter whether you’re in Dayton, Ohio today, or in the past somewhere else, or in a fantasy world, or in outer space. Some of it is “write what you want to know” and research it. But it’s not a matter of limiting oneself to writing about one’s own, actual experiences and knowledge, because for most of us, that would make for some pretty boring fiction! They also asked us to each read a passage from one of our books where we illustrate this, which was fun to hear and do.

Q. My daughter writes, and has written two complete novels, but struggles with revision because she hates it. Any advice?

A. (Athena and I answered this one in stereo, LOL) “Then don’t!” We directed her to Dean Wesley Smith’s website. Smith encourages writers to trust their own voice and only revise if required to by an editor, a la Heinlein’s Rules. Instead, just pass a work on to a trusted reader, and address any problems they find, then go to a copy editor and proofreader if one is self-publishing. This writer’s mom was really happy to hear that revision is not necessarily a must for all writers.

One more question: why does my dog always stuff her toys under the furniture (aka the ball graveyard)?

One more question: why does my dog always stuff her toys under the furniture (aka the ball graveyard)?

Of course, the panel was time to coincide with the week of Valentine’s Day, which brought up its own questions from my husband a couple days earlier:

DH: So, what do you want for Valentine’s Day?

Me: Uh… same thing you got me last year?

DH: Good, because that’s what I want too!

Then we both had a good laugh, because we don’t get each other anything!

Which was just as well, because I spent Valentine’s Day–at least a couple hours of it–with my writing friends. It was writers’ group day, and we had a “write-in.” Or more accurately, a couple hours of socializing alternating with some actual writing. Always great fun!

Ghostly LiaisonWhat I read this week: Ghostly Liaison, by Stacy McKitrick. This was a really fun and different contemporary romance/romantic suspense, featuring a matchmaking ghost. The ghost just wants the heroine’s help gaining justice for her own death so she can move on, but in doing, ends up helping the heroine do some moving on of her own. While it’s a light read, it still deals with some emotional issues such as moving on after personal loss and accepting love. While it does have a paranormal element, it’s not heavy-handed, and this book is something I think readers who don’t normally read paranormal would still enjoy. Highly recommended!

Huntress1I also mentioned last week that I designed a cover for another writing friend. Well, as it turns out, Huntress of the Star Empire Episode One, by Athena Grayson, will release this week! It’s a science fiction romance, about a female bounty hunter who’s after a psychic–which is illegal in their star system. Athena saw that this story lent itself well to the serial format, and has good break points throughout, so she is releasing this as a serial, with one episode coming out each week for the next twelve weeks. I’m about halfway through the first episode (I got a preview copy, :D), so will blog about it next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I’m still making progress on my revision, though not as quickly as I’d like. I realized one reason this book has been challenging is because it takes place in two historical time periods, not contemporary and one historical time, as my other books have. So there’s more research. And I tend to leave blanks and leave these details to fill in at the revision stage. This helps me do only the research I need, but still takes time on the back end. So with the panel on Monday night, and a lot of paperwork to do on Tuesday, that cut my week short, and I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. This week I need to collect all the tax info for our accountant, but I don’t have anything else going on (that I know of), so I’m going to shoot for getting two chapters revised.

What about you–do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, what did you do? If you’re a writer, what would your answers be to the questions our library guests asked? And whether or not you’re a writer, how are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward? 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.