Progress – September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017

I’ll admit it: this week got away from me. It’s been productive, but not in a way that I had originally planned.

I finished Space Ninjas Aren’t Real, sent it out, and got it back. I worked up the cover for the audiobook of Stardust, and got two of the three tracks uploaded. And I had a show in Burley, Idaho, this weekend with my friend, Stacy, where we shared booth space. She does amazing natural stone jewelry and beautiful crochet work — all of which she does herself. My son was there, and her husband and their beautiful puppy, Loki, came over. It was a good time. I’m really glad I did this show.

Now, I only have to get ready for Salt Lake Comic Con. Plus, I want to get some pre-orders done before I go. Just a few things to do.

So, here are the numbers.

Fiction words written last week: 4,437 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,448 words

Writing month to date total:  9,071 words (That’s not even enough for 1 of my weekly goals. I really need to get it together!)

Writing year to date total: 266,154 words

Drawing/painting last week: I didn’t get any painting done, though I did spend time on Thursday varnishing several paintings I had finished and Friday packaging up those paintings for sale. I also wired up a couple of the wrapped canvases I had finished. I completely forgot to record time for this. It’s just something I do, part of the process, and I don’t think about all the time that goes into it.

Audio: I spent 3 hours editing audio. That, of course, doesn’t include the time I spent working on the cover for Stardust or uploading the audio; just the time I spent actually working on the tracks.

 

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Progress – September 4, 2017

September 4, 2017

This is now the third time I’ve tried to write this post. Third time is the charm, right? How about we start off with this:

Happy Labor Day.

Goodbye summer of 2017. Let’s not do that again.

While I’ll be glad for a reprieve from the yard work which I haven’t been diligent about this summer, I’m certainly not ready for the steadily approaching winter either. I’m not much of a fan of ice and snow. Maybe this winter will be a mellow one. Keep the snow in the mountains. Yeah, don’t want to think about that either. Moving on.

Last week wasn’t a very productive writing week. Certainly not as much as I had hoped. Oh well, some weeks are like that. I’m hoping the next four months can be very focused and productive.

By the end of the year, I really hope to have Stardust and The Three Books out in audio, as well as the 6th Loki novella (tentatively titled: Mischief on Wheels), Prince of the Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – August 28, 2017

August 28, 2017

Changing this up a bit. I thought I’d start by talking about my week first, then show the word counts at the end. Giving it a try. Let me know if you love it or hate it.

I had the week off from work, but I was busy running around so I didn’t get as much accomplished as I would have hoped. I didn’t even hit my word count for the week though I had been hoping to.

Of course, last Monday we had the eclipse. That was fun to watch. My son and I played video games out in the back yard in-between viewing the sun. Afterwards, I got some writing and painting done.

Tuesday and Wednesday I spent preparing for my trip to Nevada for my Dad’s “Come for Coffee” service.  I spent as much time as I could writing and painting on those days too. Also got some audio recorded. I was trying to get all the individual character voices Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – 08/07/17

August 8, 2017

Okay, I’m actually a day behind here. More below.

Fiction words written last week: 4,431 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,054 words

Writing month to date total: July finished with 39,212 words, August is currently at 4,018 words

Writing year to date total: 230,447 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches and no sketching either

Audio: I spent 5 hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: It’s 2 a.m. and I’m getting caught up on my blog because I can’t sleep and this is nagging me to get it done. I was driving home on Sunday from another Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – 07/17/17

July 17, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 10,738 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  119 words

Writing month to date total: 29,096 words

Writing year to date total: 216,313 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did practiced in my sketchbook.

Audio: I spent 5+ hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues now at 40 days. This last week was a hard-won week too.

I took the week off from my day job as a bookkeeper so I could spend some time focusing on getting my branding done across my books. I’ve been doing that to the covers, but I hadn’t spent any time on the interiors in that fashion. I figured, “9 days, 14 titles equals 2 titles per day with a couple days left over for writing.”

Well, there’s a saying: Man makes plans and God laughs.

I managed to get 10 of the 14 titles done. That was still while writing and dealing with all the mud that kept getting slung at me all week. I still had to go into work (okay, I volunteered for that one because it’s an important client and things needed to keep rolling along, but it was only a couple of hours). My website got messed up by someone else’s hand; why do people have to be destructive? Grrr! Oh well. I’ve started rebuilding and it will be better than before. Plus, now maybe I’ll get all my websites hubbed together like I’d been thinking about doing. While I continue to hope that Loki cuts off their hands for their “handiwork,” they did spur me to put my thoughts into action. I’m taking my time at the moment – I’ve rushed before and not had a truly great fit, so I want to be sure this time. I had “discussions” with neighbors — when my “live and let live policy” gets stepped on, I will rise up. I had to help both my boys with college stuff. And I fought a war with these stupid bugs that come in my office every year and I’m declaring that my office will be free of the pests this year. I’m proud to report that I might be winning that battle.

I did get some reading done this week. I also had a lot of fun in Stacy’s morning water aerobics class. I swear, after I finish one of Stacy’s workouts, I spend the next two hours walking around and feeling like I have a completely flat stomach once more. Always a great core workout! (grin) I know it’s only in my mind that I’m skinny, but I’ll take that feeling. I’m going to miss those morning workouts. (bummer!) I also got to spend extra time with my kids. What could be better? Mowed the lawn; didn’t get to cutting down some very overgrown branches yet — really need to knock that chore off my list soon.  And I went for several walks and a bike ride.

While I didn’t feel real successful about last week, I can say that reflecting on it now reminds me that there is balance in it all. I “tended the garden” of my books and while I’m sure they still aren’t perfect, I keep moving them in that direction. I’m building. I want something that stands for centuries, not just a house of cards or a sand castle. I’m working toward a career that will last my entire life — I never plan on retiring from my art. I persist.


Progress — 07/10/17

July 10, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 13.012 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  1,755 words

Writing month to date total: 18,239 words

Writing year to date total: 205,456 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did practiced in my sketchbook.  I also did some more painting, but  I’m not sure I like what I accomplished. Since I’m still painting over the original painting that I didn’t like, I’m just wondering if this canvas is jinxed. Maybe it needs a cleansing ritual. (I say that half jokingly. Half!)

Audio: I spent 6 hours recording and editing audio.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues at 33 days. Some days it’s not so easy. For some reason, this week has been a mixture of easy days and hard days.

I started reformatting all of my books both ebook and print versions. I’m just about done with The Loki Adventures. Over the weekend, I was trying for two per day.  I managed to get all the way through to the print book on For More Mischief, Call Loki.

Yeah, this week has just been weird. Troubles in my personal life – nothing major, but it’s making me rethink some things. That thinking has given me a bout of depression. Again, nothing major — nothing some sleep couldn’t handle. (grin)  I went to adjust one of my websites (after doing that major thinking) and couldn’t get things wrangled around at all – weirdness. I feel like I’m going to have to rip the whole thing apart and start over because there’s so much junk in there. Then I went to update another of my websites and realized I couldn’t — yeah, that chaps my hide — enough said before I get on my soapbox. I’m looking at another of my websites and considering some changes with it. Again, that deep thinking.  I’ve really wanted to get it going again. Maybe once I get the other two sites functioning, I can think about this one again.

Sorry to be cryptic there, but, yeah, you really don’t want to read my growling or frustration any more than I want to put it into words. Don’t worry; I’ll save that emotion for my fiction.

In other news, the good variety, I received a print copy of The Three Books and I love the new look and cover. So now I have the “classic” edition and the “new” edition on hand.

I finished reading through the manuscript for the other author I spoke about a couple weeks ago. It’s the third one in her series and fits really well with the others. I can’t wait until she releases it.

In audio work, I’ve been working on The Three Books. I can tell I’m going to have my hands full with this project.

Well, once I get all my books having a standardized look to them and all corrected for all the issues I know about at this point, and I get my websites functioning, then I plan on enjoying the rest of my week and getting some additional writing done. I just have to remind myself to keep taking deep breaths and not let the world get at me. Is it any wonder I like to write and escape?

I have often asked myself why I write and paint. I keep coming back to the following thought: I want people to see the beauty of the world around them and enjoy it. I want to give humanity hope and inspiration, to give them courage for their own lives, to make them want to be better people for themselves and their loved ones. I want people to be entertained (because I am the first one who gets to have the adventure before I share it).  In short, I want the world to be a better, more enjoyable and entertaining place. There is really no reason that it shouldn’t be.

So, I hate it when others are out there to tear others down.

Do me a favor this week: go out and use your energy productively, not destructively, and see how much better that makes you feel.

Live long the adventure!


Progress – 07/03/17

July 3, 2017

Fiction words written last week: 10.579 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  865 words

Writing month to date total: 53,999 words for June, July to date is 3,472

Writing year to date total: 190,689 words.

Drawing/painting last week: 0 square inches painted, for complete paintings, but I did sketch in my sketchbook thanks to one night when I was wide awake from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30-5:00 a.m. I also did get an hour of painting in one evening, which means that I finally destroyed a painting I’ve been staring at for a year wishing that there was some way I could save it and knowing that it was a total loss. Painting over it was the final confirmation that I had failed it. Yeah, that’s okay. The new painting that is emerging is pretty neat so far. Not all of the underpainting is covered yet and in some ways I want it to ghost through. It’ll be fun to see what happens. If nothing else, I’ll have a new painting to stare at for a year wishing I could save it and knowing it’s hopeless. (grin)

Illustration year to date total: 131.25 square inches. Nothing official, since I was practicing in my sketchbook. I was practicing hair.  Maybe someday I’ll show some pictures.

Audio: I spent 8 hours recording and editing audio. This is actually only the time I logged. I spent a lot more tinkering around. Boy do I have some foul news. More below.

Week’s happenings: My writing streak continues. Yeah! I am now at having hit my daily word goal for 26 days. But I will tell you that sometimes I wish I would convert it to a weekly goal, rather than daily because some days are tough. On the other hand, if I hadn’t pushed myself to sit down and get the words done, I wouldn’t have had such a brilliant thing happen in the 5th Sacred Knight book. I won’t go into it now, but let’s just say that cosmic forces really needed to align for this event to happen. If I’d been distracted, I would never have seen it. But my heart said I needed to work on Steigan, rather than trying to kick the words out with Loki (he’s easy to write and I can do 1,000 without hardly thinking). I’d been dinking around with a scene all week, not getting more than 350 words done at a time. I had no idea what was going to happen — I just knew that I had to have one specific character tell Steigan something very important. That was literally all I knew. And, of course, the first think the character had done was walk off the scene, leaving Steigan to deal with everyone else. Argh! No matter how much Steigan begged, pleaded, cajoled, etc., no one was going to tell him. If you’ve read the series, then you know exactly how bad of a situation that is when Steigan asks a question and doesn’t get a reply. Yeah, it’s that bad. But neither Steigan nor myself knew what was going on. Then, the feeling came on that I had to sit down and work on it. No light bulb had gone off in my head, so I hoped that I wasn’t sitting down to lose an hour of time to only getting another 350 words done.

Then the gates opened. The character returned to the scene and started talking to Steigan. None of it was good news. Yet, it all fell in place with the story. I love it when that happens!

Trust the process.

In case you’re curious, I’m currently working on 4 novels and 2 short stories. I rotate between all of them and usually work on pieces of several of them in order to get my words in. A few hundred words here on one story, a few more on another, just keeping building until I have my word count for the day. It always seems that I’m anxious to work on one story or another and that’s the one that runs with it that day. My brain, meanwhile, is sitting back thinking about all the others. Unconsciously working on stories. Then I just get to sit back and play. Yeah, best job in the world.

Now that I’ve shared the exciting part with you, let me break the bad news. I have to re-record Loki. While recording The Last Ant and The Doorway Prince, I just made too many adjustments to my booth that I can’t duplicate the sound for corrections on 1-800-Mischief. I hear every one as clear as day. That’s just not the quality that I want to put out. One chapter is already completely re-recorded and edited — I had to do it because the ending of the chapter was so messy that re-recording was the only option. I got so close with duplicating the sound. But so close wasn’t close enough. I keep telling myself that now at least all the books should be similar in sound quality since I’ve finally got a mic placement I like. Still, that doesn’t help for the last month of working on all the audio, thinking that it was going to be ready soon, then discovering it was an epic fail. I keep telling myself the same thing that I do with writing and painting: trust the process. There has to be a reason that I’m having to do it over. I have to be happy with the work first. If it bothers me more than it entertains me, there’s a problem. Unfortunately, I didn’t uncover all the issues until chapter 7. With an 11 chapter novella, that means the one or two things I had to clean up in earlier chapters could have been overlooked, but when the ending of the book just falls apart, it’s better to scrap it all and move on. So, I’m back to square 1 – record the book. Argh!

Practice, I tell myself. I’m still learning. I am improving.

UPDATE: After writing about that, I went back and listened to it again with a different set of headphones. I re-did so of the earlier corrections I had done, but I haven’t merged them in yet. I am hoping to salvage it. It’s hard when I know what corrections I’ve made; I hear them. My job is to make them as seamless as possible. So, cross your fingers and let’s hope that I don’t have to redo the whole thing. I will if I really need to, but I do like this version and I’d not be able to get it read like that again. Besides, I’m ready to move onto the next recording. 

Last week, I also released Fall’s Confession for Kindle only. If you are an Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free until September. After that, I will take the story to wide distribution like all my other stories.

That’s been all for this week.

I hope everyone in the U.S. has a happy and safe 4th of July.  See you again next week.