Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's The End of ROW80 Round 4 As We Know It

See what I did there? With the title? *grins*

It’s the end of ROW80 Round 4 and it’s time to wrap up the plethora of goals I had (and changed) and see where I ended up. Overall, I accomplished a lot, writing wise. I've been editing my first book, finished my second book, tinkered around with a few other WIPs I have cooking, and started a collaborative novel with my friend (You know who you are!) I haven’t hit every goal and there are places I can improve, but that will be tackled during the first Round of 2013. Now it’s time for review and reflection, so here goes.
  • Writing: I started the round with goal of writing 5K per week. I changed it in mid-October to “write 5K quality words per week.” This was much harder to do. On average I hit around 3K per week or so, but by making this change, II was striving for quality over quantity. So when I didn't hit the number I was usually okay with that. Once November 1 hit, my "5K quality words per week" goal went away totally. It morphed into “Finish NaNoWriMo.” And guess what. I DID IT! Yup. Look to the right. That’s my shiny NaNo Winner’s badge. So excited!!! This was my third try at NaNo and the first time I won. I gotta thank the ROW80 2pm EST sprinters here cause if it weren't for them, I’d have lost my motivation. Thank you guys--you are the best!
  • Finding Home (Ashten Falls Book 1): Pick a cover and get this novel out by November 1. Um yeah, no. This didn't happen. Not at all. I am still elbow deep in edits. Total fail, but…the edits/changes are for the better. So…progress, but not progress, at the same time. Or something. I'm unsure how to determine whether this was an accomplishment, fail or somewhere in between. Any thoughts?
  • Wanted (Ashten Falls Book 2): My goal was to finish the first (very rough) draft by the end of Round 4. I finished it for the most part thanks to NaNo. I have a few more scenes to write, but otherwise the draft is done. Next round my goals will be focusing on revisions and edits of this WIP. 
  • Check in for ROW80 at least one time per week: I was sporadic here, at least in November I was. Before then I was doing well with check ins. NaNo hit though and I kinda almost forgot the blog existed! I was so tuned into hitting my NaNo goal I shut everything else out. After NaNo, I hit check ins about once per week instead of two. 
  • Write a non ROW80 post once per week: I was sporadic here. I should have done better. *kicks self in the ass*
  • Stay present on twitter: Done! And by doing so, not only did I find a ton more interesting blogs, reviewers and friends to follow, I have even been participating more. I am starting to really enjoy the interactions I have with fellow twitter peeps! 
There were other non-writing/social media goals (mainly regarding work) that I had throughout the Round which I thankfully accomplished.  I sucked at my workout goals. I initially didn't have any, but the last week or so I decided to add one. I failed. Between now and the new year I need to step this up until daily yoga becomes a habit. Again.  In order to accomplish this, I will repeat this mantra from an earlier Zombie related blog post of mine in my head until it is habit: “Not getting off my ass and working out means I could die a painful, horrible, torturous death at the hands of flesh eating zombies, soul sucking demons, blood sucking vampires, throat ripping werewolves and/or evil baddies of the human variety intent on world dominance and/or destruction.”  If you are at all confused by this statement, you might want to check out the aforementioned referenced post. It will *hopefully* make more sense. :D 

Oh and my Goodreads Reading Challenge?!  I finished! *happy dance!* My goal was to read 75 books this year. As of today, I've read 100. And that doesn't count the many, many re-reads I did of Kristen Ashley's books. I'm addicted to everything she writes.

Last, as we end this round of ROW80, and this year, it should be noted that apparently there are only two days left until the end of the world. I really hope the Mayans were wrong. I have a ton of works in progress and more plot bunnies hopping around. I will be pissed if the world ends. As in seriously Mayans. Seriously! *glares*

How did you guys do? Did you hit your goals? What about the next Round-will you be suiting up again or taking a break? Congrats everyone and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday's Random Musical Interlude

As I've been getting stuff done for the holidays, my music has, of course, not been very far away from me. Whether it's while I'm working, in my car, or while I've been planning Christmas Eve dinner and getting the house sorted, it's been on. At this time of year most people would be listening to Christmas music. As some of you already know, I am not most people. Not that I don't enjoy it (holiday music that is). I do. I just generally turn to whatever my mp3 player calls up and go with that. Since I have very little holiday music on it, it very rarely comes up. So this past weekend, here is some music that stuck with me, for a variety of reasons, as I went about work and my to-do list.

1. P!nk's Blow Me (One Last Kiss): I love this song. For me it's not just about relationships. It can apply to anything in your life that is keeping you down. In fact, given the post I wrote yesterday about how I (and others) can sometimes let fear hold us back, this song is especially fitting.   

2.P!nk's Try:  choreography doesn't get much better in this, at least when it comes to music videos. It is so unbelievably artistic. It's on the other end of the spectrum from the other song I linked to by her. While sometimes we need to get rid of the baggage and what is holding us back, there are other times we need to hang on tight and try our hardest to not let go. This song is especially apt for the job I do every day. Too easily people give up and give in, instead of holding on, communicating and compromising.  

Good stuff, yeah? I think so. Hope you enjoyed it and I hopefully will be bringing more random music to the blog as the New Year starts and a new round of ROW80 begins. (Yes I will again try to be more consistent with non-ROW80 blogging. It's like, a never ending goal for me!)

What songs have you been listening to lately that hit an emotional chord, make you want to dance, help you escape from the stress, or maybe just get you through the holiday crush? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Don't Let Fear Hold You Back

When I first started my blog I talked about an issue I ran into in high school with a teacher that resulted in me hiding my writing from everyone for a really, really long time. I thought that by blogging I'd get used to people reading what I write. And I have. I am way more comfortable putting myself out there and just, talking. Sure I still hesitate or think that people will think I'm a dork, or a geek cause of what I blog about, but I've gotten closer to the point where I'm like "oh well. Their loss." I like geeky TV shows like Buffy, Firefly, Veronica Mars, and Castle (just to name a few!), and I play video games. I sometimes think that if I had to pick a character in a book that was most like me, personality wise, it would be Faye from Kristen Ashley's Breathe.  Like her, I'm incredibly shy, definitely a geek, with the added benefit of often being a dork. But I'm cool with that, because, well, that's just me. It has taken a long time for me to accept who I am, but now that I do, I feel comfortable in my own skin.

But even with this relatively new-found self confidence, there are still times I feel a familiar fear creep in and cast doubt on whether I'm 'good enough' when it comes to my writing. My rationale brain knows this is ridiculous. Not everyone is going to like what I write. People will find fault with it, and since it's 2012 and a lot of people out there have lost the art of having manners, some of the criticism will not be constructive and instead will be hurtful and mean. I have a thick skin. I should be able to handle this. I mean, I went to law school. I had to endure the Socratic method  used by a bunch of professors who I swear to god were sadists when it came to humiliating students and bringing them close to tears over questions revolving around torts, criminal procedure, the Constitution, and evidence, among other things. I litigate in family court, get admonished when my clients (or their parents) do things that I tell them not to do, and have argued on  more than several occasions before the Appellate Division. I can handle all this, but yet there are times that the idea of people reading a novel I've written makes me want to cower in a corner. So the questions becomes: why?

I've wracked my brain for an answer and the only thing I can come up with is that I don't have an answer. It is just another part of who I am and something I need to overcome. I've already had a few people read my first novel and am working my way through the edits.  Back in the day, I would have just saved my final WIP and no one would have ever seen it. So...this is progress, in my eyes.  And now, as I move forward with the next steps (querying or self-pub...*tries not to freak out*)...I know that I have to keep going.  I am the only person who has the power to not let my fear stop me from trudging forward. When my novel comes out, people may or may not read it. People may or may not like it. I might have an error here, or used the wrong word there (though I've been editing this so much, if I do, I will scream my house down.) My narrative style might not be to someone's taste. I might have used an adverb. Whatever it is, I will take the constructive criticism and move forward, continuing to write and improving my craft. But I will have scratched something off my Bucket List that I've had on it since I was 8 years old and move on. I finished a novel. I finished a novel. Not many people can say that. But I can. And I'm proud of it.

So what's my point with all this? Why am I writing about my own fears and doubts, again, when it comes to writing? Because this is something I think many writers go through. The writing itself is hard, but it often isn't the hardest part of the process. Often the hardest part is embracing the writing, moving forward and putting it out there. It is often scariest to tell someone--friends, family, coworkers and even strangers--that you wrote a book or story, and let them read it. Fear of judgment, fear of being teased, fear of writing something that doesn't fit the 'mold' of who people expect you to be.  It can overwhelm us and stifle our creative selves. But I urge you:  Don't let it control you.  Don't let it hold you back from something you've wanted to do since forever, the way I did. I hid my writing from those around me for so long that they have no clue I even do it. Not one teeny tiny clue--that's how well I buried it.  And I did it out of fear they would think I was a dreamer, or not serious about my life, or wasting time. Or worse, they would make fun of me for writing, as the little boy in The Princess Bride called it, kissing books! (insert sarcastic voice here *gasp* the horror!*)  With all this fear surrounding me, I held it all inside. I never even gave anyone a chance to react because I let my own fear dictate my actions. Or in this case, my omissions.

Bottom line: Don't let fear control your dream, whatever it may be. Work hard, do your best, keep learning and let it fly. Write what you want, when you want, and how you want. There will be time to improve on the craft; lessons to learn; edits and revisions to make. But there will no improvement at all if you don't write. And when your done and it's the best that it can be, let it go. Let it go with the knowledge that, even if people don't like it or get it, you accomplished something important. You finished a novel, or a short story, or a screenplay. Or whatever it is you were trying to accomplish. You did it, and that is something that no one can ever take away from you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Bit Of A Post NaNo Slump: A ROW80 Update

Last week taught me that NaNo kicked my ass. I was on a high after "winning" and all ready to dive into edits of my other project.  This did not happen. I was easily distracted and got very little writing or editing done last week. I don't know really what I did since I don't have much to show for it. It was all kind of a blur. 

In addition to the mind fog I was in, Thursday and Friday were spent in the hospital with my Uncle who thought he was having a stroke. He's 58 years old and in great health so this was a surprise to us all. After a full body MRI and a billion other medical tests (and ruling out a stroke and heart issues), all the docs can say is that he is a medical mystery and are referring him to another hospital.  They know it's something neurological but have ruled out tumors in the brain and cervical area of his back. They have no idea why he can't lift his left arm over his head and keep it there. It just ..well it just falls down to his side.  So everyone is on pins and needles since this week he has a battery of doc appointments and more tests to figure out what the HECK is going on. Anyone know where I can find Dr. House?

Now, despite this 'issue', he still went deep into the woods with my father on Saturday (he was released from the hospital Friday night) and cut down FOUR Christmas trees. He would not let us just buy a darn tree from the tree farm. Personally I would have been more than happy with using my fake tree I used to have in my old apartment (my cat doesn't bother fake trees; she tries to climb the real ones!). But he insisted. "It's tradition.", he said and there was no talking him out of it. Totally crazy, but determined. Now I have to find time to decorate a tree and stop myself from throttling my evil cat during the holidays. But my uncle is happy, so that's all that matters right now. 

Anyways, here's my ROW80 update for last week:

Continue slogging though the edits for Finding HomeThe plan last week was to finish the edits by Sunday. This did not happen. I'm not going to make an excuse, it just didn't get done. But, there's always this week.

Post at least one ROW80 update (either Wed. or Sun): Done, just a day late.

Post a non-ROW80 post for the week: Epic fail once again. I suck at this. :)

Get through the pile of files on my desk: Done, done, done, DONE! *does happy dance*  December is always a busy time for me (as it is for most everybody) and with family coming to invade my house on the 26th and staying the week, I needed to get my work caught up (and a bit ahead of myself)  so that I wasn't scrambling when everyone got here. This has been accomplished. I have two more things to do and once I finish with office stuff between now and next Thursday, I am home free until January 1st. At least work wise.

Next week my goals will remain the same except I am adding in three additional ones: 

Do yoga three times this week. 

Finish decorating house and finish menu for Christmas Eve dinner.  Last year was the first year we had Christmas Eve dinner at my house. it was a last minute thing because my aunt couldn't do it at her house (she was working) so my sister and I threw something together,. This year we have the main idea for the dinner,  but I need to finalize a few things so I know who is making what (don't want to make three dishes of the same thing!).  If I can get that and the decorating done, I will be way ahead of the game and ready to tackle the dinner and the subsequent guest arrivals!

Work on super-secret collaborative project. I need to think of a better name for this goal. Maybe I will get inspired by Wednesday, but for right now, super secret collaborative project will have to do! Now that NaNo is done, this will be my main WIP for the next little while. 

All of that should keep me busy for awhile.  Not to mention that a persistent little plot bunny has wiggled its way into my head and I can't stop thinking about it. I've jotted some notes down and put it aside, but seriously, why does this always happen when I have other things to do! Such bad timing! I'm a little scared of it, cause it's rather dark and quite different than what I'm used to writing, but so far it's looking quite fun.  Hopefully I can keep that at bay while I work on, well, everything else I need to work on!

I hope everyone is doing well with their ROW80 goals (and with all the holiday craziness!). Have a great week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Didn't Win the Lottery, But I Did Something Better...

I did something that was way more personally fulfilling. And it was something I had better odds of finishing than winning any 500 million dollar jackpot.  



Every time I think about this, I freak out. This draft will need some (major) revisions (of course) and I need to finish about eight to ten more scenes to be totally done with the novel, but it proves (to myself) that I can write an insane amount of words that don't totally suck in a short period of time  Finding Home took me so long to write, so long to revise, and still is taking forever to edit (almost a year when all is said and done).  I'd been thinking that I'd never write anything again, or at least never get close to the length of Finding Home. I thought it might just end up being a one-off for me; something I could never replicate. Or that I'd take another year to finish this one. But it didn't take me a year. It took me preparing an outline and engaging in some serious word crushing as I smashed through said outline and now, I have a 'mostly done' draft of Wanted.  

I'm damn proud of myself. And I've had this song in my head: Matthew Wilder's Break My Stride  Seriously, check it out. There is so much 80s hair and fashion goodness in it.  I was only about 6 around the time of this video, but I remember trying to mirror my older sister's fashion sense, which mirrored this video (and many others).  Oh how I loved the 80s.  Anyways, click it. You know you want to. *nudge nudge*  I double dog dare you.  

*dances around while you click away and give in to the temptation to dance along too (or at least sing!)*

Alright, now that the dancing interlude is over, on to my ROW80 update.  My goals last week were:

Finish NaNo! Done!!

Continue slogging though the edits for Finding Home: NaNo sidetracked me, but finishing these edits is my goal this week

Post at least one ROW80 update (either Wed. or Sun): Done

Post a non-ROW80 post for the week: Um, oops.  Forgot about this. But I have found some awesome music the last couple weeks that I hope to share in the next couple weeks.

Get through the pile of files on my desk by Wednesday: I worked through some of this pile. This week, I will get it all done so that I can focus next week on getting the house (and myself) together for the annual holiday guests that descend on my house the week between Christmas and New Years.

Next week my goals remain pretty much exactly the same. Well, they are the same, except for NaNo.  In terms of writing, instead of a word count or time goal, I will be focusing on the editing of Finding Home with the hope (and determination) that these can be finished by next Sunday.  I have other WIPs I could work on, but after the marathon that was NaNo, my brain needs a break and I want to get Finding Home out (whether queried or self-published, I haven't decided yet) before I turn my attention to another WIP. 

Congratulations to everyone who did NaNoWriMo, it was so much fun sprinting with you guys and cheering everyone on as we went through this process. I feel like we climbed Mount Everest, which I guess we did. We climbed the writers version of Mt. Everest! 

I hope everyone is doing well with their goals and good luck this week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing, Working and A Wedding: Sunday's ROW80 Update

I've been MIA from my blog lately. At least, for the last two weeks I have been. Work and the holidays have had me running around like crazy, and add to that my best friend's wedding (which was this past Friday) that I was helping to plan (somehow I was picked to do centerpieces along with a billion other things I didn't know how to do. I am not crafty at all but I gotta say, they came out pretty damn good!)...well let's just say I've been distracted.

[On a side note, my friend's wedding was amazing. She looked beautiful and I've never seen her so happy. She's been through a lot of crap in her life but has finally gotten her happily ever after. It's so totally deserved. Even I, a girl who is not that keen on the concept of marriage or HEAs outside of the fiction world, cried happy tears for her.]

Despite this hectic schedule though,I have found time to write. This does not mean I am caught up with my NaNo word count though. I am still behind, though I hope to catch up and hit the 50K mark by the end of November. I will have to write about 2500 words per day to make it, though I will try to lesson this daily amount by writing a substantial chunk of words today. I hope!.

So, since my last post on the 7th, this is how I've been doing with my ROW80 goals:

Write the required amount of words for NaNo: As I mentioned, this hasn't been happening every day, but it is happening. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I really, REALLY, want to make it to 50K by the 30th.  But even if I don't, one thing NaNo has taught me is that, even when I have a crazy schedule, if I put my mind to it I can write a lot of words in a month. NaNo has also taught me the importance of an outline. If I didn't have one set up before I started, I'd be nowhere close to my word count so far!

Continue edits on Finding Home: In Progress.  These are coming along quite nicely but I have slowed a bit. I don't want to rush through these (especially with doing NaNo at the same time) so, slow and steady it is.

Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun): Yeah, okay. I haven't posted an update since the 7th. 'Nuff said.

Post one non-ROW80 post for the week: Fail. I have posted some reviews on Goodreads though of books I've been reading so, I'm getting things out there, just not on my blog. I need to work on this.

For this week, my goals are:

Finish NaNo!

Continue slogging though the edits for Finding Home

Post at least one ROW80 update (either Wed. or Sun)

Post a non-ROW80 post for the week

Get through the pile of files on my desk by Wednesday

If I can stay focused I think I have a good shot at accomplishing these goals. *fingers crossed* How is everyone else doing? For those doing NaNo, are you ready for the end or did it come up too fast?

Oh, and as you can see, I changed up the design a bit on the blog. What do you think? I tend to change it as the seasons change, so I went for a toned done Fall theme. I also changed my profile to a Google+ one though I honestly have no idea what the hell Google+ does. I will have to play around with it and see what the heck to do there, if anything. (Since I don't use FB, I doubt I will use Google+ but I do like the profile better on there than the old blogger profile. It looks way nicer). Is anyone else on Google+? What do you think about it? Useful, or no? Anyways, have a great week and good luck on your goals!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank God It's Finally Over...

The election that is.

I mean seriously. I thought my head might explode with the rabid nature of this year's election and my self imposed hiatus from the news. I turned it on last night and am glad to be able to watch real (and hopefully) non-election coverage.

At least not for 18 months  Because that's about how long it will take until we start to hear and see rumblings about Congressional elections in 2014 and the next Presidential election in 2016. I kid you not.

This is one of the problems with the US. Career politicians who end up spending more time campaigning and trying to cover their own butts than actually getting work done. And I am looking and BOTH parties here. *gives politicians on both sides my best scowly face*

This is main reason I am a firm believer in term limits for House and Senate members. If they can't rely on a job as a politician who does little but campaign and disparage the other side and had a finite amount of time to get work done, then maybe they'd do actual work. The alternative is people continue to re-elect the same people over and over and we need up with what we have now,. Gridlock  I'm not trying to be negative but seriously, over a hundred million people voted and we're left with the status quo that we had yesterday. I hope I'm wrong but history tells me that there might be a better than good chance that nothing changes. Compromise, people. It's about COMPROMISE on both sides. Spending cuts, real and serious tax reform, tax hikes for gazillonaires (*glares at Republicans*), and serious entitlement reform (*double glares at Democrats*). All of it has to be on the table.

Anyways, enough about politics right? 18 months of peace, writing and more ROW80 updates. And speaking of those updates:

Write the required amount of words for NaNo: I have been trying to make up my NaNo word count and so yesterday I sat my butt in the chair and typed away. I also got a lot of writing in while the election coverage was on in the background last night. I have 2469 words to make up as of this morning in addition to the daily 1667 for the day. I have the afternoon off so hopefully I can continue catching up.

Continue edits on Finding Home: In Progress

Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun): Done :D

Post one non-ROW80 post for the week: I have an idea to get this done every week by incorporating my love of reading books and the reviews I write on Goodreads. The books I've been reading have blown me away lately, so I think I am going to start reviewing a book or two here on my blog to spread the word when I'm totally knocked off my feet by a particular novel or author. I love to read, I love to give reviews, and I am always looking for something to post about, so it all makes sense to me.

Complete major, serious, HUGE, scary work project: Done!!!  With my work project done, I can take a couple days to relax and regroup before diving into the pile on my desk. I have a busy week next week, but nothing I can't handle as long as I stay on top of things.

Now, I'm off to get some morning writing done. Hope everyone's week is going well and good luck with your goals!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Day Late...A ROW80 Update

I need a vacation. Not even somewhere tropical. Just somewhere that my phone does not have to be tethered to my ear. What did people do before cell phones? 

I mean, I remember being dropped off at the mall in my teenage years and having to bring some change to call my mom so she could come and pick us up in her Dodge Shadow (or was it a Sundance? She had both, one right after the other. Can't remember which came first). Even when I went to college I didn't have one until I was a sophomore  and even then it was one of those that came in a case and I was only ever allowed to use it if I was injured or had some dire emergency because it was like a million dollars a minute. (Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration but it was a lot and I remember being lectured about it repeatedly so it seemed really expensive at the time!)

Anyways, the point is that being accessible 24/7 and not having a moment of peace is a serious drag. So in that sense, I wish for the days of the rotary phones with the 12 foot long cords I used when I was 14 and had to stretch across my parent's kitchen so I could sit on the basement stairs while I talked to my friends. 

The good old days. Though, hindsight is 20/20, so of course there are things I am glad that have evolved since then. (Tight rolled jeans anyone and enough hairspray in my hair to cause a fire hazard?!?!) Just some that I am not so glad about, like being found so darn easily by cell phones.

Anyways, enough of my complaining. Here's my uneventful (and somewhat of a fail) update:

Write 5K words for the week: I've been stuck and it's driving me nuts. With the upheaval of the last two weeks my mind has been elsewhere and concentrating has been near impossible. I was getting a small amount of words in daily but only ended the week with 2413. That's okay though. I just need to keep trying. 

Continue edits on Finding Home: Fail. Fail. Triple Fail! I have this and I need to get to them. But every time I do I get sidetracked. I promise, that this upcoming weekend I will be working furiously to get these done. 

Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun): Well I forgot to post Wed. and yesterday's post is being written today so...better late than never I guess, right?! :D 

Post one non-ROW80 post for the week: Fail. Though I have done several reviews on Goodreads of books I've read this week, but those are on GR and not here. I need to rectify this, most likely by re-blogging the reviews of my fave books here on this blog. This would kill two birds with one stone. *ponders this ides*
Complete major, serious, HUGE, scary work project: This is mostly done and just being reviewed. It will be out on Wednesday (Thursday at the latest) and therefore off my desk! YAY!!! *happy dances*
My goals for next week have changed slightly since NaNo has started and will be:
  • Write the required amount of words for NaNo: This is 1667 per day, but as long as I am on track each week (since some days I can write longer than others), I just want to target the weekly goal here. 
  • Continue edits on Finding Home
  • Post at least one ROW80 update (Wed, Sun. or both)
  • Post at least one non-ROW80 blog post
With the work project out of the way and things slowing down at work, it is time to buckle down and get my writing on.  No more excuses, just progress, right?! How are y'all doing? Anyone else doing NaNo? How is your progress going? Good luck and see you around the ROW! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Who wants a do over?!

*raises hand while jumping up and down*

Book Club, an unexpected death, a wedding shower, work, coffee with former students that lasted 3 hours longer than it should have, writing, and a huge storm heading this way has made for a week I wish I could forget. I mean seriously  there is only so much a girl can take. Next week doesn't look much better. I have a funeral to attend, a divorce trial (I represent the kids, thank god, since the kids are the only sane and rational minds of the bunch), the storm (which I hope to heck it isn't as bad as people are predicting), and another really horrible, heartbreaking case I've been assigned to. (I represent the kids, which makes the horrible, heartbreaking part of it that much worse. But, it's what I do so...*shrugs*) With everything happening, my emotions have been run through the gamut. This is a 'calgon, take me away' moment if there ever was one.

I'm not bitching about this to complain or make it seem like I'm fishing for sympathy, this is just where my head is at.  Most of what I listed is out of my control, so I'll just deal with it. But it doesn't make it suck any less. (And I foresee me escaping into a good book or twelve during the week. Just sayin'! :D )

Anyways, enough about that. Here's my ROW80 update for the week:
  • Write 5K words for the week: Because I've finished with my NaNo prep (it's almost here! GAH!) I managed to get some actual scene writing in on a new-ish idea I've had in my mind. My word count for this week (of words that didn't totally suck anyways) was 3914.  (I also got a bit of outlining done on a collaborative WIP a friend and I are writing. Yay!)
  • Continue edits on Finding Home as they come in: I have not touched these. *headdesks* Can someone please give me a few more hours in each day? Just say, three or four? I promise I will use them wisely. 
  • Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun.): Done.
  • Post one non-ROW80 post: Last week I didn't hit this goal. This week I posted two! 
    • On Thursday it was Books, Books Everywhere and if you are a book addict like I am (i.e. love to read books, can't stop buying them, always have a book in your purse or bag, etc.) you might appreciate this. 
    • On Friday I kind of lost my mind and went off on a tangent. I've been on a TV news media hiatus and I slipped on Friday. If you don't like reading rants about news and/or politics (though it's not really political. I am an equally opportunist when it comes to my disgust with the government! :D ). You can read it HERE if you're so inclined. [And on a quasi-related note, it's been so hard to give up the TV news since I am a news junkie. But I'm working on breaking this habit and after my slip on Friday, I quickly remembered all the reasons to give it up. Progress!]
  • Complete major, serious, HUGE, scary work project by end of the week: In progress. I had wanted to get this done by Monday. I am thinking that, given most of last week was a bust in terms of work productivity I will extend this due date to Oct. 31. I would like to get this done before NaNo begins. 
My goals for next week are as follows:
  • Write 5K quality words for the week
  • Continue edits on Finding Home
  • Post at least one ROW80 update (Wed, Sun. or both)
  • Post at least one non-ROW80 blog post
  • Complete major work project this week (Oct. 31)
I hope everyone in the east is prepared for the "Frankenstorm" that is on its way. Stay safe! And let's hope the storm hype is worse than its bite! *keeps fingers crossed!*

Friday, October 26, 2012

What Happened To No Man Left Behind?

[The following is a rant (take note of the bold and italics! :)  )Also, this post could be viewed as political in nature, which I normally try to avoid. And some might take offense. So if you are easily offended, or prefer to steer clear of politics, news and current events, do not proceed. Also, please understand this is my opinion. I respect other peoples' opinions (I welcome them in fact!).  And I also welcome respectful and informed debate. (I am a lawyer after all!) So leave me a comment but try to be nice and not too mean! Thanks!]

Remember when I gave up the news about a month ago? Well I did, and up until Friday, things were going really well. Originally I wasn't going to turn it back on until after the election  but when I got home Friday I turned the TV on fully intending to watch VH1 or the Food Network. (I am slightly obsessed with Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Ask me about my trip to Hawaii and the miles and miles of walking I did in flip flops all to find a hot dog place.)

Anyways, back to the news. I turned on the TV and the channel was turned to the news. (This was because my dad had stopped over while I was out, and watched the news while he was fixing the cupboard in the kitchen). So before I could change the channel I hear something about the attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th 2012. 

Instead of turning the channel, I kept it on and now, I'm pissed off and seriously freaking sad. 

First, let me say, I don't care about the election or the whole President thing. Whoever wins, nothing is going to change and I am still going to have to get up and go to work in the morning. I will vote, but I'm just not all that enthused. But whatever. This isn't about politics. It's about a government who failed its heroes. 

When I heard the newscaster say  there was an unmanned drone recording the attack I was stunned. When I heard there were people about 400 miles away that could have gotten there, I was shocked. When I heard them say that some of those units could have helped (and some wanted to) because they were close, my heart started to ache. 

Those units that were close apparently didn't get the go ahead from the people watching the freakin tragedy in real freaking time because people weren't sure of all of the dangers.  Hello?! All the dangers?! Seriously,  I have a question for all those in the government who were watching this while people fought to their deaths, literally:  What the hell are you talking about? Of course there are dangers! And of course you won't know them all!! Who cares?! For the love of god, just do something! 

This was some of the other info from the news report:  Americans were pinned down and being attacked and killed, while radioing in for help multiple times. One former Navy Seal (and at the time of the attack was a CIA agent) defied orders to stand down so he could try to save the Ambassador and others. He was unable to save the Ambassador and another embassy worker, but he was able to save others.  While this man and another former Seal (also a CIA agent at the time) manned a gun on the roof to try and protect those still alive, they could see where the terrorists were targeting them from.  They radioed in the coordinates of the attackers but there was no air support to come and take the bad guys out! Both men died when mortars hit the roof. 

I don't know why this story is affecting me so much. But I feel sick over this. If this information is true then what the hell is happening with our government?  And I don't want to hear that there was too much risk. I do not want to hear that excuse! Because that is what it is. It is an excuse. Hell the Seals got Bin Laden in another freaking country for god's sake and we couldn't get into Benghazi, Libya to rescue our people who were under freakin' attack by mortars, after the insurgents killed our Ambassador on our soil?! (He was killed at the consulate which is U.S. sovereign territory, therefore our soil.) GIVE ME A BREAK!

I grew up around military folks. My mom was in the army before I was born. My dad was in the Reserves. My uncle was in the Army and retired after 20+ years. My cousin was in the Army. Three of my grandparents served in World War II as did my great-uncles. I wanted to do ROTC when I went to college but I couldn't because my eyesight sucks. I love this country and our military. As do most Americans. Honor, loyalty, fighting for freedom, those were principles instilled in me since I was born. As was the following principle: No Man Left Behind.  Ever. Never Ever.

The government let people down on September 11th 2012. I don't care who it was. I don't care why. All I care about is that for one reason or another, a bad decision was made and people died. And if it comes out that the US reaction to this attack was soft because of some stupid political reason or something to do with concerns about the election, then people should be ashamed of themselves.  We need leaders, not career politicians worried about saving their own jobs. And we need term limits too, for all of those who are elected to the federal government. (Congress, I am looking at all of you! *gives them all a scowly face*)

I'm so disgusted right now. This should be all over the freaking news! Every journalist should be on top of this and asking questions.  But it's not on all the news shows. It's being buried. I even had trouble finding information on it. And before anyone can say it, had this happened under the prior administration not only would I have also been having this reaction, but I imagine that the mainstream media would be tearing Bush apart and it would be at the top of ALL the newscasts. And rightly so. So why aren't they doing that now?!

I hope we get answers soon. More importantly I hope the families of those killed get answers. Rest in peace brave heroes. You won't be forgotten.

And now I'm turning the off again. Maybe this time for good. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Books, Books Everywhere

I just found a ton of books (paperbacks) that I have yet to read piled high on my bookshelf. Seriously like, I found at least 15 (and that was just on ONE of my bookshelves!). *starts pulling at hair in distress*

I can only surmise that, since I very rarely buy books in paper format anymore, that these were purchases made pre-Nook color. And for whatever reason, they've been sitting on my shelf since then. But, whenever I bought them doesn't really matter. What matters is that I need to read them. And then I need to read the books on my Nook (of which there are a lot) and on my tablet via the Amazon Kindle app (of which there are only a few since I only go to Amazon if they are exclusive there and I have a gift certificate.)

As you might have guessed, I have no will power when it comes to buying books. When I see one I want (especially if it's by an author I love or in a series I am reading) and it's reasonably priced I can't help myself from snapping it right up. (And I add in the 'reasonably priced' bit because of my previous rant about book prices which can be found HERE. I still refuse to pay 12.99 for an eBook  Even if I was a freaking millionaire and had oodles of cash sitting around, I wouldn't do it. I just cannot justify paying that much for ONE eBook.)

Anyways, back to the problem at hand: book buying.  In order to fix this issue, starting November 1st, I am going to limit my book purchases (if I make any) to two books per month, or monetarily speaking, no more than $20 bucks per month spent on books. And since I gave up buying tea in the morning on my way to work and I gave up once a week take out, in the end I will end up saving money. (And that savings, even though small, will go into my vacation fund.)

Some might ask why don't I just stop buying more books until I am done with what I have.  Well, I have a simple answer for this. I am weak. I just cannot go cold turkey and I know it would be an epic fail. I'm addicted people. I would need Chantix for books to accomplish this. Or a 12 step program like Book Buyers Anonymous.

So, now I have to go through the books that need reading and find some order to the chaos.  Once I do that, I foresee many late nights in my future as I work on whittling down this pile. But then, what better way to spend the evenings than curled up with a good book?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The End of a Mediocre Week: A ROW80 Update

I love the Fall. It's my favorite season. But the swing in temperateness we've been having has been wreaking havoc on my sinuses. I woke up Thursday feeling like my head weighed about 1000 pounds. Even today I feel like I've been kicked in the face by a very angry and burly biker dude wearing steel toed boots. This means I haven't had a great week in terms of my goals but, I did what I could.
  • Write 5K words for the week: I've been slow on this front. Very slow. Wednesday I decided to strive for 5K quality words a week and I only ended up (for the week), getting just over 2400 down. This is of course better than nothing and I'm happy with what I've gotten done (better than nothing right!?), but I need to do better. 
    • As an aside, someone asked me how I would measure 'quality' and I thought about that a lot the last few days. It's subjective of course, but for me it has a lot to do with thinking about what I want to write before I write it. I want to take more time with the words I'm getting down now that I've gotten in the habit of writing every day. As I noted in Wednesday's check-in, I'm becoming more of a plotter and this, I think, has helped me in working towards this. Having a plan means I now have an idea where I am going with my story so I can take the time to choose the words instead of just tossing words on the page and going back later to see what sticks and what has to be changed. The idea is to spend less time on revisions later because I've put more thought into the words the first time around. (I hope that made sense, cold meds are making me fuzzy! Gah!)
  • Continue edits on Finding Home as they come in: I received revisions/notes back on Friday but haven't had a chance to go through them yet. I am seeing a week's worth of editing sprints on the horizon and I can't wait! :) 
  • Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun.): Done.
  • Post one non-ROW80 post: Fail. My brain had only so much space this week and between work, writing and this cold, I didn't get a post in. 
  • Complete research for major, serious, HUGE, scary work project by end of the week: In progress. I have a lot of ground to make up in the next few days.

Though I've had a mediocre week in terms of my weekly goals, I can say that I have completed one of my longer term goals 10 days before the deadline. My goal was: Finish prep on Wanted by October 31st for NaNoWriMo. I can happily report that this is done! *happy dances*

Next week, my weekly goals will remain the same though my writing may have to take a backseat so I can finish my work project. Tuesday and Wednesday I am in my office all day and I have already warned people my phone will be turned off to get it done. I may also barricade the door. And put up some razor wire to stop would be interrupters from barging in.

I'm off to get some more tea, curl up on the couch for awhile and listen to Mumford and Sons. I hope everyone had a great week and good luck with your goals!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

From Panster to Plotter: A ROW80 Check In

I think it is pretty safe to say that, if the last few months are any indication, I am becoming more of a plotter and less of a panster when it comes to writing.

Up until late summer I'd always been the type to just sit and write, with only a vague idea about my WIP in my head and scattered notes all over my desk and in my notebooks. But over the last few months I've slowly been incorporating more outlining and planning techniques (as well as getting more organized) into my writing and I am loving the results. And as I prepare for NaNo (by making an outline, scene list and character sketches) I have high hopes I will be ready to go when November 1st comes around. *fingers crossed*

But enough about that (for now!). Here is my ROW80 mid week check in:
  • Write 5K words for the week: On Sunday I was unsure whether I would stick with this weekly word count because last week I wrote less than 5K but the quality was better. After some thought I've decided to make this goal more difficult, because (1) I like a challenge (and the whole point of a challenge is to be challenged, right?! LOL) and (2) I am, apparently, crazy!  I am going to modify this goal to be: write 5K quality words every week. This is a much harder goal to hit I think since, though there are times I can get a lot of words down, they can sometimes end up needing to be be totally retooled or scrapped entirely when I revise because they aren't up to par.  With this modified goal in mind, I've managed about 1200 words so far.  I have a ways to go to hit 5K, but I'm going to try! 
  • Continue edits on Finding Home as they come in: Not  much to say other than in progress.
  • Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun.): I've met this goal by posting today. But I am still going to try my best to check in Sunday as well. 
  • Post one non-ROW80 post: I'm unsure what to post about this week so hopefully something comes to me in the next couple days! 
  • Complete research for major, serious, HUGE, scary work project by end of the week: Monday I did not get one thing done on this project because of the dazed and confused state I was in. Tuesday I didn't either as I focused on getting through a pile of work I needed to get done and had been delaying on. Wednesday I am out of the office until the afternoon. This leaves me Thursday and Friday, since I do not want to work over the weekend. The possibility of weekend work should be enough for me to get this done by Friday. I hope!
So that's it for me; nothing too exciting. I'm off to a meeting outside the office and have to post this quick before I'm late. I hope everyone is having a rockin week and happy writing!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tweaking My Goals: A ROW80 Check In

This week I've decided to start delineating my weekly goals from ones which are longer term. I should have done this when I first posted my goals but better late than never I guess! I won't be addressing the longer term/date specific goals every week in terms of progress (unless I finish early or have to modify them) but I wanted to list them here so I can keep myself accountable. So my goals for the end of the round, or those that have specific dates attached them, are as follows:
  • Finish major, serious, HUGE, scary work project by Oct. 29th
  • Continue outlining/prepping Wanted for NaNo and have this done by Oct. 31st
  • Finish final edits of Finding Home and publish by Nov. 1st (and pick cover at book club! Gah!)
  • Complete draft of Wanted by the end of Round 4
Now, on to this past week and how I did:
  • Write 5000 words a week: Although I wrote every day my word count was lower than expected. I hit 3043. Even though I didn't hit my goal I'm okay with this because I found the quality of my words this week a lot higher than usual. So maybe less is more? I think I need another week or two to ponder whether to stay at 5K or lower it. I like having a high number to strive for, but I want quality words too.
  • Finding Home (Ashten Falls #1): Yes, I am no longer calling it 'book 1'. I was going to wait until I revealed the cover to reveal the title, but it was annoying to call it book 1. As for progress, one of my favorite people in the entire world is pouring through this as we speak and I have been editing as her comments come in. 
  • Wanted (Ashten Falls #2):  I've given book 2 a tentative title as well so YAY for more progress!! This past week I continued to focus on my outline and scene list. I need to be ready for NaNoWriMo!
  • Minimum One ROW80 Check: I missed the check in on Wednesday but I hit today.
  • One Non-ROW80 post per week: I posted something on Friday (not writing related at all; actually more serious than my usual chatter about TV, books, music, and zombies!).  The post can be found HERE.  
Next week my goals are as follows:
  • Write 5K words for the week
  • Continue edits on Finding Home as they come in
  • Post at least one ROW80 Update (either Wed. or Sun.)
  • Post one non-ROW80 post 
  • Complete research for major, serious, HUGE, scary work project by end of the week
And in case anyone wasn't aware, THE ZOMBIES ARE BACK TONIGHT! *squeals* Yes people, The Walking Dead is back with its season premiere. Although the gore freaks me out (it looks way to real *shivers*) and I will likely dream of zombies chasing me, I am sure the show's writers will make it all worth it. I hope! Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well with their goals and see you around the ROW!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pardon The Interuption

I gave up watching the news a couple weeks ago due to an incredible burn out on election coverage (see the post here) and the ridiculous lies and misrepresentations BOTH parties are involved in this election cycle. However, I did cave and, during a moment last night where sleep would not come, I watched the replay of the VP debate. Seriously bad idea and I'm starting to think that moment of sleeplessness was also a moment of insanity.

I won't go into my specific political views other than to say that, my political view is one where individuals shouldn't push their political views on others. I feel the same way about religion. You believe what you want to believe, I'll believe what I want to believe. You want to be a Democrat, Republican, Independent  Green party (whatever that is) or start a new party to elect the Geico Gecko as President (this may be me at this point. I seriously F-ing hate politics) more power to ya. Just don't tell me what to believe or try to win points with me using stupid, empty, nonsensical facts that pander to only your side. I am not an idiot.

That being said, I do have to comment about VP Biden's performance last night in terms of style. He's a lawyer, as I am. So I expected his style to be, strong, but also humble and respectful.  As a lawyer you learn to respect the adversary, even if you don't agree with and even if instances where you loathe that person and wish they were anywhere but in your universe, let alone your vicinity. Because of the need to do this, you learn through debates, oral arguments and trials, that decorum and style is key. This is especially true when one has to argue before a judge or jury. Basically, the idea is to avoid looking like...well to avoid looking the way Biden looked last night.

Mr. Biden was rude. He kept interrupting  chuckling, smiling, and acting ridiculous. He certainly wasn't acting like I would except a lawyer, who served in the Senate for many years and now is the sitting VP of the United States to act. Even when I muted the sound he still looked bad. It was kind of embarrassing to watch.

Some people may think Biden was aggressive and they liked that about him. But for me, he came off as arrogant and thinking he was better than his opponent (and for that matter everyone else who might dare to disagree with him.)  I don't need or want aggression, a lack of humility and someone acting like I'm a moron. I want truth from both sides.  I want things to get better. And sadly I got the impression that whether I vote for Obama, Romney, the Geico Gecko, or the man in the moon, that isn't going to happen.

Is it me, or do they all (i.e. politicians and news media types) talk to us like we're stupid? Anyone else think our fore fathers are spinning in their graves at the state of our Union? I swear I feel like I need to take a shower in bleach to cleanse me after the mudslinging theatrics from both sides last night. I am going back to enjoy my self-imposed hiatus from it all. At this rate, I don't think I'll ever come back.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Forward Progress: ROW80 Check-In

This week found me crazy productive on the writing front. After getting my notes together that were scattered about for the WIPs I've got going, I'm much more calm about what I have to do and how to do it. Outlines, I'm learning, are a freaking lifesaver. At least in my case they are. I don't get overly detailed but just having it there, where I can look back and see where I am and where I need to go, definitely keeps me on track.  (And by the way, thanks everyone for your thoughts on Wednesday's post about Evernote and Scrivener!) My only wish for this Round of ROW80 is that I have more weeks like this in the future, and I don't lose my momentum. I know I will stumble. Life if life after all and who knows what curve balls will be thrown my way. But I can live with that as long as I can pick myself up, find my footing and move forward.

And on that optimistic note, here's my check-in:

Write 5K Words Per Week:  I hit 5681 as of Saturday afternoon. The words were split between Book 1 (I totally re-wrote two scenes which came out so much better!), Book 2, and a new idea that has been niggling in the back of my head for awhile. The main characters in that WIP have been overly chatty and I needed to get them out of my head so I could focus on other things.

Book 1: I knew Wednesday I had to put this aside for a few days. I was fretting and fixating on anything I could find "wrong" with it. This I knew was not good. So I ignored it and worked on other writing related WIPs/outlines, and didn't touch it until yesterday. It was a huge help. I came back to it and saw it with a fresher perspective and was way less critical. (I am my own worst critic, sadly.) Definitely need to remember to do this in the future when I'm freaking out like I was.

Book 2: I added some more info to my outline which is helping to keep me organized and added about 1500 words.

Blog a minimum once per week for ROW80: Done. I hit both posts this week. Yay!!

One blog post per week (not including the ROW80 Check-Ins): I posted on Friday about some much needed motivation I was lacking in my work-outs. It's a humorous post (at least I think it is), so if you want to take a look, or need some inspiration and/or motivation to reach your health/work out/being active goals, or want a laugh at what a dork I am, have a look HERE.

I am hoping to get some more writing in today but that will have to wait until I come home from my sister's Sunday Football Feast. This will entail a torturous couple hours where she will try to feed me food that is not, in any way at all healthy. All while I, use every ounce of willpower, to resist. (She can eat anything and not gain an ounce. I do not have this 'problem'). I asked if I could bring something and I learned not to do that again. Silly me, thinking a veggie platter and some hummus would be acceptable. Maybe I should do an extra workout, or twelve, before I go to her house. *shakes head in resigned frustration*  Have a great Sunday and good luck this week on your goals!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apocalyptic Preparedness: Why I Need To Step Up My Game

I live on a busy road, and though my house is set quite a ways back from said road, when I have the windows open in my bedroom I can hear the traffic. During the day, when I'm trying to fall asleep at night, when I wake up, it's just always there. I've gotten used to it but there are times that I miss living farther out of town where the only sounds were whatever birds were awake fluttering about and the smalls animals running around. 

So this morning when I was startled awake at 3:00 a.m. it took nary a second to realize how quiet it was outside. Like so quiet it kind of creeped me out a little. No, let me amend that. It didn't 'kind of' creep me out. It just did. And it was more than a little. I strained my ears but I heard no cars, no sounds of squirrels, birds, bugs or other creatures. No wind. No nothing. Ever get that feeling--where you get the chills and the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, but you just can't explain why?  Well that was me. I was out of it, trying to figure out why I jolted awake (which I still haven't figured out) and my first random, and clearly incoherent thought was, "wtf happened!?!".  

It was in this sleepy incoherence in the dead of the quietest night ever, that I became all too aware of the old house I live in. This had my mind wandering to all things scary and terrifying, including but not limited to vampires, werewolves, demons, aliens, and of course, zombies and I began to wonder if, should there be a Apocalypse, I could survive. I was not happy with the answer I came up with.  

Why wasn't I happy? Because my survivability rate is not looking good. Let's be honest. I am no spring chicken (I am closing in on 35 way to freakin fast). And also I might be getting better at maintaining my health and working out more, but I am no where near where I need to be to fend off all manner of danger that could lurk in an end of the world scenario. I can't do a damn thing about the first issue (sadly...), but the second, well the second is something I can control.

I mean seriously, if there are going to be zombies, demons, werewolves, vampires, aliens, and/or any other kind of apocalyptic baddies I really need to step up my game and get my ass in better shape. Hell even if the baddies are of the human variety (say, for example, a scenario akin to the destruction of the world's electrical grids and all hell breaking loose as happened in the new show Revolution), I need to be ready. Now perhaps I don't need to go out and practice with a crossbow or get trained in sword fighting, but I should be able to get through a tough 1 hour cardio workout without feeling like I might pass out. I am also thinking that I need to take up running. I hate running but if the zombies or demons or whatever takes over the world and it becomes survival of the fittest I need to learn to run without falling over my feet and taking a header into the sidewalk. (And yes, I've done this. I am the most uncoordinated person I know.) I think I also need to get a bike. It won't help in the winter, but in the other three seasons I could learn to out-bike a zombie riot should that become necessary. The demons, werewolves, aliens and vampires...well that's another story. Especially if the aliens can teleport. One problem at a time though.  

Right now, it's about kick starting my work out to fight off any end of the world hordes in whatever form they may come at me in. My first step will be adding some kickboxing to the rotation. Well, that and learning how to sharpen stakes without slicing any appendages off.

So kickboxing, running, biking, sharpening stakes...I've decided this is my Apocalypse Preparedness plan and my new workout plan. I'll worry about hording food after I get myself into Buffy-esque shape. Okay, so maybe I won't ever get in that good of shape, but even if I get a tenth of the strength the Slayer had, that should be good enough to increase my odds of surviving. It's all about baby steps after all. And whenever I think of complaining, procrastinating or otherwise not working out, I will remind myself of the impending doom and get my butt off the couch.  Instead of no pain no gain my new motto will be: 

Not getting off my ass and working out means I could die a painful, horrible, torturous death at the hands of flesh eating zombies, soul sucking demons, blood sucking vampires, throat ripping werewolves and/or evil baddies of the human variety intent on world dominance and/or destruction. 

This I think should do the trick in terms of motivation. It's too long for a bumper sticker, but I could probably have a banner made for my living room. And now even though I've been up since 3 a.m. I am going to tackle my first Apocalyptic Preparedness workout: the kickboxing DVD I've had sitting around forever but have never used. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Getting Organized: ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In

Oh what a week's in been and it's only Wednesday! I got myself organized earlier this week and it has made getting items on my to-do list done much easier. I mean, it's still crazy long, but I've been able to tick some things off that have been piled on my desk for awhile now. Now if only I can be this organized every week I might find more time to write and read and, oh yeah, maybe have a life outside of work!!! This should be motivation enough for me to stay that course, but perhaps I need a post it on my computer screen to remind me...

Anyways, in getting myself organized I got around to taking all my notes and outlines that I have on my works-in-progress (which are several!) and putting them in One Note. I've had this program awhile and I use it for work projects, but I've never used it for my writing. By getting all my notes together in one place I feel so much more focused, and it has cut down on the random documents I've had saved in various locations on my computer and the post-it's I have everywhere. I know there is a program out there, Evernote, that is similar and I've heard people rave about it. I may switch to that some point but I need to look into it some more. At some point I will likely cave and get Scrivener, but perhaps when things at work die down and I can concentrate on learning how that program works. Right now if I bought it, it would sit there for awhile until I had the time to go through it.  Anyone have any familiarity with these programs or comparisons? Do you use a program like Evernote and Scrivener? Or does Scrivener do the same thing as Evernote?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this if you have 'em!

And now, back to the task at is my mid-week check in:

Write 5000 words per week: I've written 1993 so far this week which leaves me with just over 3000 words to go.

Pick a cover and get Book 1 of my new series out by November 1:  The title of the book won't be Book 1 by the way. LOL! I am just waiting to reveal that when I have the cover picked!  Anyways, this goal is in progress so not much to update here. I do have one worry though about the book in general.  I have been re-reading through this (for the millionth time), and I'm starting to wonder if it is suspenseful enough.  It's not a mystery, it's not a suspense.  It's more chick lit/contemporary with a mystery/suspense element.  As a reader, when I find a book I want to see character growth and development and a side mystery is fun and can add to that growth and development when done right. But I'm waffling, wondering if I should add more (or less) of it. *sighs* I talked this out with one of my crit partners who has assured me it's fine and that I've just read, and re-read, my book too many times. She is probably right. Maybe I just need to put it aside and not look at it for a week. Anyone else ever run into this problem, where you're done but you don't know if you're, well, done (or if it's missing something)?

Book 2 (this remains untitled): Of the 1993 words I've written this week, it hasn't been on this WIP. However, last night I jotted some notes down on my outline and want to get started on those scenes today.

Check in for ROW80 at least once per week: Done!

Write a non ROW80 post once per week: The week isn't over yet...

That's it for me so far. Hope everyone is having a great week and good luck!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Here We Go Again

First, I just have to mention that, blogger's schedule feature does not ever work for me. That thing drives me up a freaking wall! Anyways, moving on...

It's time to get our ROW on!

My work schedule has been beyond crazy, and I have a million things on my mind (and on my to-do list) but despite that, I am forging ahead with a few goals to make sure my writing doesn't take a hit in the chaos. So that said, my goals for this round are:

Write 5000 words per week: The last two rounds I had a goal of "writing every day" in order to build this as a habit.  I am happy to say that this has been a success. Because of this I will have a word count goal every week this round to make sure that, even though I am writing every day, I am hitting a decent word count.

Book 1: Pick a cover and get this novel out by November 1. 
  • I've finished the formatting. I've done all the edits that have been given back to me so far. I am sending it out to my last two crit readers and hopefully will get their final comments back in the next couple weeks. I'm freaking out but I am happy where the book ended up. 
  • As for the cover, this has been the hardest part. Nothing has grabbed me yet. I've narrowed down my choices at least. It will help that I will be getting some help at October's book club with my friends who will help me decide. (While drinking  copious amounts of wine no doubt!)
Book 2 (this remains untitled): Finish the first (very rough) draft by the end of Round 4
  • I have about a quarter of this written. I've also made a ton of notes and added to my scene outline while writing the first book (and while I waited for comments to come back from crit readers). So I feel confident I can get a rough first draft done by the end of the Round. I hope. This book will focus on different main characters but the same city as the first in the series.  The characters in the first book may make an appearance at some point, though I haven't gotten quite that far yet so we shall see just how (and if) that happens.
Social Media (This goal has three parts): 
  • Check in for ROW80 at least one time per week
  • Write a non ROW80 post once per week: I started this a couple weeks ago with a post about my vow to give up the news. Last week I wrote two posts: one about a 60 Minutes episode about sugar (truly fascinating, shocked the heck right out of me!); and another on what I've been watching on TV for the new fall season. If people read it and/or comment, great. If not, I'm cool with that too. Que sera sera, right? The important part of this is me being authentic, having fun, not focusing on stats, and not making blogging a chore
  • Stay present on twitter: Not really a specific goal, more just a reminder to myself to keep at it. For an introvert like me, I find twitter really hard. But I will keep at it, even if it means just lurking while at work or being totally random about music or, lately, about Sons of Anarchy. 
And that is it- a mix of weekly, deadline specific and end of Round goals. I've finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year (75 books baby!), so I didn't add a reading goal. As for being active, I will still be working out but I'm not adding it as a specific goal right now.So far I have been doing really well being (more) active than usual and eating healthier so I will just keep on keeping on and if I start to slack off, add in a weekly goal.

What about you? All set with your goals this Round?  Good luck and happy writing! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'll Take Less (But Better) Television For $100 Please

I used to be quite the TV fanatic, religiously checking ratings,writing on forums for TV shows and fan-fic sites, and always but always keeping an eye on TV Guide, Zap2It and other TV related websites. But then I started getting bored, and way too busy to devote time to watching it.  Not to mention, the last few years have seen quite a lot of crap being produced for the networks.  Nothing was catching my eye, or what was ended up being cancelled. So about two years ago I went through and purged a lot of the shows I used to watch and cut down considerably on watching TV in general.

This didn't mean I gave up on TV completely. I still watch television and some it is even considered "must see", but I just don't watch a lot of it.  With the new fall TV season starting, I've been re-evaluating what shows I have to watch and record (i.e. the must see shows) this season, but also deleting those shows I can live without. Here are a few of my thoughts on some of those shows I'm sticking with, and some I've given up on.

Sons of Anarchy: Holy hell Kurt Sutter you complete me. I am devastated, yes DEVASTATED, by recent events. I mean, seriously...seriously?! But I get it. It had to be done. It, although my heart is in pieces, I can't cry for too long. I should be fine by the next episode and whatever surprises this show throws my way.  And as an aside: if anyone told me when this show came out that I would like a show about hot badass bikers, I would have rolled my eyes. Bikers were never even on my radar before Sons.  Now? Even I got myself a Harley tank-top; not to mention my not-so-secret wish to live in warmer climes where hot bikers were plentiful. ;-)  

Revolution: I record this for one reason. Billy Burke. Love him to pieces. Wait, no. My bad. Two reasons. The second being J.J. Abrams whom I've admired since forever. Alias was, and still is, one of my favorite shows. As for Revolution, so far so good. I like it, I like watching Billy Burke, and will continue to do so long as it stays good. And that one dude, Zak Orth, who plays Aaron Pittman? In the first episode he had me cracking up. Seriously, check out the first epi if you haven't yet. What he says about bees, and then later about Google...hi-lar-ious. Well to me it is.  But then, I have an unhealthy fear of flying insects. Especially ones that have stingers. They do not like me much, and I do not like them either.

The Mob Doctor: Didn't like. It was an hour of my life I will never, ever get back. 'Nuff said.

Grey's Anatomy:  I don't know what to say about this show. I used to be a die hard fan. It was appointment television. But last season left me feeling blah and then...well then that last freaking episode in May. Gah! With Lexie gone and after what happened last night with McSteamy, well I just don't know. They were my faves damn it!! I don't really have a reason to watch this anymore so it's coming off the automatic record list. *sighs* Sometimes it's just time to let go.

Go On: Okay this one has me laughing, though I get it's not everyone's cup of tea.  I think Matthew Perry is fantastic though and the writing is funny. Though, I also love Community, so that gives some insight into what I think is funny. (I even have a t-shirt for the fictional college with the "Go Human Beings" slogan on it. It makes me giggle just thinking about it. I know, I'm a dork.)

Law and Order: SVU: Haven't watched this yet and I gotta say, although it's on the DVR I have no desire to. It just isn't as good as it used to be, and the creep factor kinda makes me not want to watch. (Same with Criminal Minds. I don't mind creepy, but sometimes they go way over the top with it.)  My fave of the L&O franchise was the original anyways, which NBC was whacked to take off. So yeah, I think I may just delete this before I even start. I need to make room for the new show anyways coming to NBC in October, Chicago Fire. Just the eye candy alone might be worth watching at least the first couple episodes.

And that's about all I've got so far. I have to watch last week's Haven so I can be ready for the second episode tonight and see if I am going to stick with this show. The only other show, other than SOA that is, that seems to be on my must see list so far is Once Upon A Time which is back on Sunday. Either this season has slim pickings for TV or I am just becoming more and more uninterested. Or perhaps it's just that I am more discerning about what I watch.

What, if anything, has caught your eye this season? Any good shows worth watching or shows that aren't worth the time?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pour Some Sugar On Me...Or...Actually...No Thanks!

60 Minutes had a segment awhile back entitled Is Sugar Toxic? which I had unfortunately missed in its original airing.  But a friend of mine emailed me the youtube link since she knows this is a topic close to my heart. (My mom is a breast cancer survivor and three of my grandparents had, or have, severe heart disease so I am always trying to watch what kinds of food I consume).  Needless to say, after watching this video, I am so glad I gave up soda as my New Year's resolution this year.  Because, holy heck...WOW!!!

(NOTE:  The link to the video Dr. Gupta mentions, "Sugar: the Bitter Truth" by Dr. Lustig is HERE.  It's long (an hour and a half) and heavy on science, but it's interesting. He is way more extreme than I am in the evils of sugar, but he makes some really good points.)

For me, one of the most disturbing parts of the 60 Minutes segment is where they talk about sugary drinks as being as addictive as cocaine.  This is something I said during the great soda purge of 2012.  But I usually said it in jest.  When I gave up soda in January I would joke with my friends and be like "soda is worse than drugs", or "I think I'm going through withdrawals" and we'd laugh.  Cause it was just soda, so it couldn't really be withdrawals...right?!  But after watching this video, maybe it is addictive.  Of course I am not a scientist and I can only speak from my experience but what I can say from that experience is that giving up soda was awful.  I had headaches, was moody, and I couldn't sleep, among other not so pleasant symptoms. The experience sucked but it was worth it in the end.

What do you think? Is this report just another example of alarmist reporting or does the concern over sugar in our food (and sugary drinks in general) have merit?  Sound off below!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Revisions, Revisions and More Revisions

I am in revision hell. The last three weeks I have sent my draft to my crit partners/betas and as they have come in I've been making corrections for editing/grammar issues, deleting, adding, fixing, and revamping.  In fact, Monday I spent about 4 hours deleting entire scenes. Why?  Because as I went through my draft I realized I had too much in the book.  It's the first in what will be a connected series (same city each book but the focus will be on a different set of main characters, but there will be a mystery that connects all of them), and I realized I had stuffed too much information in Book 1.  It was full of extraneous information that either the reader doesn't need at this point, or could be spaced out in the other books. It was hard cutting out huge sections, but after skimming through after the chances, I realized the flow is much improved.  However, now I have a nagging doubt in the back of my head that I am too heavy on the relationship of the main characters and not enough on the mystery/suspense.  It's a fine line really, cause I don't want people to read it and think the suspense element was just thrown in for no reason.  There is a purpose for it, and the suspense aspect (and what happens because of it) helps the heroine (and hero) move forward and grow as individuals. Without it, the story wouldn't make sense.  *sighs* I think I am being too picky.  I need to unwrap the (figurative) steel grip I have on the book and let it go.

Needless to say, my head is about ready to explode.  But the end is near, and I have three more scenes to correct/revamp and then well, then I can say it's "done."

One good thing about this entire revision process--I've learned what not to do for the next book.  Before this, I've never completed a full length novel.  This novel is 71K words.  That amount of words, for me, means I need to be more organized and set out a chapter/scene outline before I start and edit in sections.  I know some say that is a no-no, but for me editing in sections will make the revision process a bit less overwhelming.

And now, here is my final ROW80 update and a quick summary how I did this round:

Writing Every Day:  Done! I think after two rounds of ROW80 I have finally made this a habit. I write something every day on either my current WIP or make notes/outlines for the others.  It's just become something I do now without thinking, same as me waking up and making a cup of tea.

Book 1:  I wanted to have this done and published by the end of the round.  Well, it isn't but, it is 98% done.  I will finish those three scenes mentioned above this week and by the end of next week hopefully have a cover.

Book 2:  My goal had been to be further along here, but I am not doing too bad.  While writing the first in the series I've been able to write a bunch of notes for the second, and even have a partial chapter/scene list (in addition to the approx. 25K words I already have down.)  This will likely be the focus of the next round.

Social Media:  I've been more active on Twitter and I definitely lurk more! I know, it's a shock.  :)  As for blogging, well, it's been awhile (almost 3weeks), but I did post yesterday about my vow to give up on the news until after the election.  You can read it here if you'd like.

Being Active:  This round I've averaged about three short (20 to 30 mins) workouts per week.  Better than nothing I suppose.

Reading:  My goal was to read one book per week.  I averaged about 3 per week so I am way ahead here.  I have also been more active on Goodreads with reviews and updating my books read.  I only have 3 more books to read to meet my yearly goal of 75.  Woot! If you'd like to follow/friend me on Goodreads, feel free to do so!

Well, that's it for me. I've learned a lot this round, especially about what I'm capable of, and what I can accomplish if I truly set my mind to something. Yeah, I am technically behind on the timeline I had set for myself but I'm not going to be too hard on myself for that.  Rushing Book 1 would have meant putting something out there that wasn't ready, something that I wasn't comfortable with.

Hope everyone had a great Round and hope to see you October 1 for the start of Round 4!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tossing the 24 Hour News Out of My Life

It's September 18th 2012 and I can't take it anymore.

In order to save myself the pain inducing headaches I am making a vow today.  I am turning off the news, going totally cold turkey, until after the election in November (and this includes avoiding news on the internet!), though there is a very strong possibility I may extend this vow to forever.  The 24 hour news cycle is draining the life out of me, sucking me into it's black void of talking heads, negativity and tragedy. I cannot stand the constant back and forth, the lies and distortions on both sides of the political aisle as well as by the media, and lastly, the bias that is so prevalent over all the news channels.  I am at the end of my rope and this is the only way to handle it, so I am just done.  Unless it's weather (and thank god for the weather channel), or there is a major disaster, I will not, under any circumstances, turn on the news.  Not once.  

I am saying goodbye to the pundits, the politics and the vomit inducing ads from both parties and the news media.  I have better things to do, and other shows to watch.  I will even watch football and SportsCenter, if I have to, to avoid the news.  This is huge since I don't even like sports other than soccer and hockey really! (And do not get me started on the current lockout of the NHL players.  This has made me a very, very pissed off Kat.  The claws are out and everything.  Not.Happy.At.All. -_-)  Sure these non-news shows and sports may have little or no educational value but I'd much prefer watching T.I and Tiny on VH1 or Monday Night Football on ESPN, than Anderson Cooper, Ed Shultz, Hannity and all the over crazy people on television.  As an added bonus, T.I. is totally hot, as are some of those football players.  And since eye candy does not give me headaches, these shows are totally acceptable alternatives.

How will I accomplish avoiding the news?  Well, for a news junkie like me, I know this will be hard.  As hard as giving up chocolate cake and I love chocolate cake.  But, instead of the news on in the background when I am in the office, I will be listening to music. (I already do a lot of this anyways, so that shouldn't be a problem).  And I can always fill any desire to watch the television with what is on my DVR (which is already really full), whatever is on TV (Yay for the new television season!), or just taking the time to read or get some additional writing in.

This may all sound crazy but seriously, I need to unplug a little.  By blocking out the the news, I hope to free my mind from the cringe worthy negativity that it seems to be spread.  Sure this may mean I am a bit less informed, but at my age I pretty much know what my principals are, what I stand for, and what is most important to me, so I don't need the media or politicians trying to shape, or re-shape, who I am.  Scraping off the negative and filling it with things I enjoy and that don't suck the soul right out of me seems like a much better way to spend my time.  (Emphasis on the whole 'sucking the soul right out of me'.  I mean seriously, the bleakness and pessimism! I just can't stand it!)

And after making this vow, I feel better already,  Sure it's only been 3 hours, but it's a start!  What about you?  Do you have an addiction to the news you want or need to lose (i.e. are you a news junkie too)?  Or do you avoid the news when you can? Maybe you just watch the local news?  Sound off in the comments below about how you handle the 24 hour news cycle and it's .

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's Going To Be A Good Day...

Well, musically anyways.  And it has to be right? Cause Friday is here, and it's the weekend, so yeah. Long live the weekend! And music, which is the reason for this unscheduled post.   

I was listening to VH1 while making breakfast (which is what I do just about every morning) and their "You Oughta Know" artist came on.  I almost burned what I was cooking because I was listening so intently to this guy's voice. His name is Ed Sheeran and if you haven't heard this guy yet he is so worth a listen.  His official YouTube channel (which is where I was able to embed this video from) has a bunch of his songs there; Small Bump is another good one. But here is the song I heard this morning:

The A Team (Ed Sheeran) 

Also, for those of you who keep tabs on this blog, or see me on twitter, I might have mentioned a time or two (or a million) that I am a big Mumford and Sons fan. Their new album is supposed to be dropping soon (thank god!!!) and their new single, I Will Wait, is beyond awesome.  The video below, from their YouTube channel, is not really a video at all.  But with these guys, who needs the fluff of a video when the audio is enough?! 

I Will Wait (Mumford and Sons)

Hope you enjoy the music, and have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Having Some "Fun."

((ROW80 Update is towards the bottom if you want to skip the music, though seriously, it's good music! Have a listen!))

I've decided that on once a week I am going to try and blog about songs that have me dancing and singing, whether in the car, around the house as I clean, or wherever I happen to be. My tastes range from classic rock to rap to punk to pop to alternative to R&B, and all things in between, so be prepared. These posts could get eclectic! If you look to the far bottom right of the page and click on the keyword 'music' you will get an idea of just what I mean.

So today, the band I am featuring is Fun. And that is Fun, with a period after the N.) I love these guys, however I have no idea what category to put then in, other than freakin' awesome! All I can tell you is that their music makes me want to jump around like a lunatic while singing. I have no idea why this is, but it makes me happy so I just go with it. You've may have already heard the first song, We Are Young. But the second song, Some Nights, is even better (in my opinion) and if you haven't heard it I highly recommend checking it out. I love blasting it in my car on the way to work. Enjoy the music and rock on! \o/

We Are Young by Fun.

Some Nights by Fun.

And now, as the music plays, here's my check-in for ROW80:

Writing Every Day:  Gah! I've missed two days. I need to get back track asap.

Book 1:  On schedule...yippee!

Book 2:  On hold until I finish the revisions for Book 1.

Being Active:  1 workout down, 2 to go before Sunday.

Reading: I've been reading whenever I can to try and get through the books on my Nook.  I've also been participating more on Goodreads with comments in various groups I'm in and with reviews. I love Goodreads.  Just LOVE it!

Social Media:  Continues to be a work in progress, but by combining posts with update info (as I did here, and the last few check ins) I can do both blog posts, whether it's writing, music, books, TV, or whatever, and get my ROW80 update in there too. Two birds, one stone! Yay! :)

Hope everyone is having a great week and good luck to those who are finishing up Camp Nano!