Christmas eve day and thank you for deciding to spend a moment with me.
At least I’ve felt productive this week. Audio work as been going well and words have gotten done. I’m almost done with the audio for Fall’s Confession and have started on Manifest the Magic. Hopefully this week I’ll be uploading the audio for Fall’s Confession. It would be great to have one more audiobook done by the end of the year.
As I predicted last week, this week was a challenge with Adrian’s play going on. But, it all worked out anyway.
I went to see his play, The Puppet Tree, twice. Here’s a picture on him with one of the puppets he played.
Coordinating schedules and getting home to let the dogs outside too up a major chunk of time. Clearing up a clogged sink also didn’t help matters. Many times I wasn’t even beginning to write my words until 11:00 p.m.
Plus I was finishing up a newsletter to get out last weekend. Fun stuff.
Then there was the major breakthrough on Cirvel’s story which helped to clear up a lot of the questions I’ve had about all of it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to write all of it down when I got it, so I later captured what I remembered and I’m waiting for the rest to return. I know it will, but I must be patient about it.
I’m going to call this prior week the “hard-won week.”
Adventures didn’t go well and it seemed like a struggle to get my daily words in. Each day I barely eked in the words. Life itself was trying to kick me and keep me down. Even getting my daily exercise in seemed to be a challenge. It was definitely strange.
The Jerome Craft and Gift Show over the weekend did go well. I met lots of cool new people. Got some great coffee and continued my own holiday shopping. I think it surprises people to discover that there is a prolific writer and artist living in their very town. Some people do know my kids, but I’m sure there’s a good number of people that think that I’m a recluse. Truth: I’m busy working full-time and building my writing and art on the side. I don’t have the extra time I wish I did to get out into the community. I do hope that changes someday. So, it’s a shock when they realize that someone with so many books lives in Jerome. Also truth: there are several writers in the area who have written and published multiple books.
One of my paintings, the lotus painting, got a tear in the canvas. I told you it wasn’t a very good week. Adrian was carrying it out after the show and slipped on the ice. He dropped what he was carrying and a box went right through the canvas. It’s a clean tear, so I think it’ll be easy to repair. Adrian wasn’t hurt, he just slid and didn’t fall. It is the second canvas that he’s injured though. Yes, I’m counting. *grin* Oh well. I’ve been looking at the painting over the last year and thinking about how I wanted to retouch a few things. This is now my opportunity. What am I going to do? Ruin it?
Another week done. I really, really, really can’t believe we’re nearing the end of this year so quickly.
My son came home from college over the weekend. It’s good to have him back; the house feels full again. I’ve been torturing him about branding/logos. We’ve been working mine over. He’s currently told me to “go sleep on it” so I can give our developments some space and I can review them accurately with fresh eyes. He’s right, but dang it, I’m too much of a bulldog. Once I get into something, I like to get it done. Otherwise, I’m likely to be bored and not come back. I know myself all too well. But, I’ll hope he can keep me on task now.
He’s become such an amazing adult. Both my boys are. And yes, it’s hard to believe they are both full blown adults now. They still feel like my young babies. It’s weird. *grin*
I have so much to get done over the next few weeks. There’s a special promotion deal I’m going to be in during December — more on this later. I also have 1, maybe 2 shows to do in December. Just for these two things alone I have quite a list. But there’s so much more I want to get in before December hits. Hence why getting the branding/logos done are so important; I have a lot of things to get set up before the end of the year. I’m really trying to breathe about several things in my life, but this mostly.
This week, I started the cuts on Tangled Magic and Walk the Path. It was frustratingly hard to make that first surgical incision, yet it had to be done.
The little voice in my head kept telling me that I should be working on designing some covers. “You’re not finding this fun because you don’t have covers designed for the next few books, like Cirvel’s story. Yeah,go design a cover for that. Just a quick little jaunt to see what you can find for cover material, it won’t hurt. You’re just sitting here with you head in your hands anyway.”
Fortunately, I recognized the liar for what she was: a distraction! I often shot back with, “Well, I don’t even know the title yet, so it’s kind of hard to build a cover without knowing the title. How about you go and work on that?”
Here we are, halfway through the first month of the last quarter of 2018. I can’t believe this year is rapidly coming to an end.
I was looking at my projects this weekend. I don’t think I’ll have any more publications this year, but there will be several novels released in 2019. I currently am actively working on 6 novels and one story which I’m not sure if it will be novella length or a full novel. Several of these stories I hope will be released next year.
My son was in a play this last week and so it was a week with an odd schedule. My youngest came to watch Adrian’s play, which allowed me to see him for a bit. I kept myself flexible in order to keep myself working and getting things done.
I’ve made October an interesting month so far. Now not only do I have the “get the words done” goal each day, but I also have a picture to draw and ink for Inktober. Hopefully you saw my post last Thursday showing all the one’s I’d completed up to that point. Yes, there will be more this Thursday. But, as I said, now I have two goals to reach per day instead of only one.
See, my life is the same as everyone else’s. I wish I could make a plan to accomplish my daily goals, every day, without fail. My achiever personality really would like it that way. But reality is reality and can’t always be anticipated. So I fear the day where I miss my goals.
I’ve been trying to record, when I’m home, a chapter on Saturday and another on Sunday. For the most part, it works really well. I haven’t even been setting an alarm to get up extra early to do it. I’ve just let it happen.
This weekend, I hadn’t expected on a dog puking in the middle of the night. On my bed.
It’s bad enough to wake up to the sound, but to realize that she is on my bed is even worse.
I had to get up and clean the mess. Not fun. I should have known that since Kreeli had come in to sleep with me when Adrian was home that she wasn’t feeling well. She loves Adrian and sticks with him nearly all the time. She’s a pure breed Shih Tzu and his companion; living true to her breeding. The only time she really stays with me is when Adrian is gone, she wants some quiet time in my writing office away from everything else, or she’s sick. She hadn’t come in to stay with me after I went to bed and Adrian hadn’t come home from work yet, so I should have been suspicious when she came in after he got home. I just felt her move up on the bed and didn’t give it much more thought.
Until that moment I was cleaning up my blankets in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, it disrupted my sleep cycle and I certainly didn’t wake up earlier than usual.
But the morning still worked out so I could jump in the booth and record a chapter while Adrian took Merlin for a walk. Strangely (not really), Kreeli didn’t want to go; she stayed home and slept. I had nearly finished the chapter when Adrian came home, and I did finish while he started getting breakfast together. Worked out perfectly.
So often when I’m writing a blog post meant to inspire, I talk about it being a choice. You can’t help it when life happens to you (a puking dog in the middle of the night), but you can’t let it stop you from choosing your dreams (figuring out how to record a chapter even when everyone in the house is now awake). I even thought about recording the chapter after I’d finished cleaning up and was getting ready to settle back into bed. I didn’t because I knew I was so tired and I wanted to give a good performance, not a mediocre, irritated, tired one.
And so that is how this week had gone. I made the choice to do Inktober, so I need to figure out how to work it into a schedule that already seems too full. I’m hoping that Inktober serves the same purpose that Nanowrimo did nearly 3 years ago when I participated in that; forces me to learn to use my time wisely to achieve my goals. I know a lot of writers who don’t like Nanowrimo for one reason or another. I think it works well for overcoming the mental block of “I don’t have time to write.” Even if the writer tries and fails, they tried and learned what they are capable of doing. I really want to know how to fit drawing into my schedule, even though I have done it long enough to finish Eggs at Play, I also want to find time to practice/learn/experiment, draw my comic, paint, and work on my next children’s book. The only way I will do that is if I make the choice to do something that will push and challenge me so I can prove to myself that I can do it.
It’s not like i write 50,000 words every month as in Nanowrimo. Most months, I only average around 30,000. That’s a comfortable amount for me. Yes, I have proven I can do 50,000, but I now know where a good level is for me. It’s like weight-lifting where you see how much you can lift, then you adjust down to a lower weight in order to do the reps. I want Inktober to show me that I can draw every day, how that flow feels, and helps me get back to a schedule where I have drawing incorporated into my week.
I’ll tell you, it has already proven enlightening. I have discovered something about myself that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been pushing myself to get Inktober drawings done. I learned that I can’t see lines. I am finally understanding what artists mean by figuring out the shapes, and I understand the concept of negative space, but I haven’t figured out how to simplify something like a photograph down to its simplest lines. This shouldn’t really surprise me. When I listen to music, I hear everything at once, merges, blended. It takes a lot of concentration that I can’t maintain for long if I want to pull one part out, like bass, drums, or a trumpet. I certainly can’t tell what notes they are playing or even attempt to recreate it. When I learned that people could actually follow each individual part and play it, I was astounded.
So what lead me to the realization about the lines? Well, when I was working on Inktober drawings, I would find something simple as a reference drawing. I should have taken a picture of the under-drawing for the “chicken” prompt — I had the cutest little chicken under the cow suit. All but his face was closed off by the time I finished, and the eyes on the face weren’t cute, little, round buttons any more, but sharp eagle eyes. Now mind you, the chicken reference picture was that of a plush. The cow outfit on the chicken I modified from a couple different cartoon references. The “exhausted” prompt where I drew a dead horse, I found a cartoon of a horse with its legs up in the air. It had a saddle on, which I removed in drawing. Then I added all the scenery around it. Yes, it seemed like I was taking simple drawings for reference, then adding my own details to it.
Then, on Sunday, I sat down at Barnes & Noble with some magazines and found a picture I wanted to sketch. It was of a simple cottage with a thatched roof. I’d really like to be able to paint cottages like this. It’s one of my goals. So, I thought sketching this one would help improve my skills. I realized I was seeing everything, at once. I could pull out the lines of perspective because I’ve had enough practice doing that now, but the chimney, the lines of the bricks on the roof, the bricks around the doorway and on the landscaping, the thatching, the forest, the car, it all overwhelmed me. I got frustrated with the sketch. I gave up.
Once I had that failure, I analyzed why I’d had it when I’d been doing so well with Inktober. The answer was clear. Then I was to start taking a marker and going over the picture to simplify it. That’s what I need to do.
Leave it to me to jump in and start learning, then once I reach a certain level I have to go back and figure out all the beginning material. I’ve always been like that. (grin) Blame it on my astrological sign.
For me, learning this makes Inktober already a success. It probably explains where I have plateaued and why. If I can get beyond my frustration and get back to art, it’ll be worth it.
Also this week, I finished and uploaded the audio on For Sale, Call Loki. It’ll probably be released in about two weeks. That means that next week I get to start to work on editing the audio on For a Good Time, Call Loki. I’ve got 4 chapters recorded so far.
I started working on a new logo for my newsletter, but I think that was just a distraction on which I shouldn’t have wasted my time. I need to send my welcome email for readers who have recently joined my list; instead, I delayed it and I should have. I should have sent it, then gone to working on the logo for the next newsletter. Now I need to go send it anyway after delaying it several more days. And I still have no logo. Bad me!
I also started a chapter outline of Tangled Magic. I was working on Walk the Path, but so much had changed and I couldn’t remember the order of scenes that I was frustrating myself. That’s the sign for me to stop and line out the scenes.
It seems like a lot, but to me it doesn’t feel like a productive week. Just a time of trying to keep my head above water. On the other hand, I did a lot of personal projects that needed to get done. I also made applesauce with a bunch of apples that I received. Oh, and I tried to make hamburgers in my Instant Pot — I had to cook them longer than the recipe said, but I was happy with the taste. Have I mentioned that I love my Instant Pot?
Daily word goal reached for 58 days. Weekly word goal reached for 11 weeks.
Writing month to date total: 7,487 words
Writing year to date total: 255,292 words
Drawing/painting last week: No painting this week, but I drew a lot for Inktober. I did take the time to get ahead on my pencil sketches, but I will ink them on the appropriate day. I don’t want pressure that will make me not do this.
Audio: I spent 4 hours recording and editing audio. I uploaded 1 hour 31 minutes of audio for distribution.
I can’t believe we’re sitting at October already. Where has the year gone?
Okay, it’s still only September 30th as I write this, knowing it will post tomorrow morning. But by my clock, we’re about an hour and a half away.
Snake River Fandom Con is wrapped up for this year. I am signed up to attend next year. It will be earlier in September. I’ll be sending a list of my 2019 shows in a later newsletter, as well as updating on my websites when I have a moment. Right now, the con in Pocatello was my last show of the year, though I do hope to find another one or two before this year closes out. Heck, I still have one who box of books that I haven’t even opened up yet, so I want to do that before year end.
After the show, I had dinner with my boys, one of which lives in Pocatello right now while he’s going to school. That’s another thing that makes SRFC so nice because I get to spend some extra time with my baby.
Then, Adrian and I drove home. He’s got work tomorrow. I’ve got to go get the dogs and get things settled, so I’m betting that Monday, when this posts, is going to be another busy day.
Many authors fear reviews. They want them, but anything less than 5-stars seems to shatter them. I don’t read reviews anymore. I used to, but I just don’t go there now. I know I would end up carrying those voices back into my writing room. My artist child is too sacred to me to rent out that head space. I’ve done that and it took me a long time to crawl out from under my bed, so to speak.
So, imagine my surprise when I woke from a nightmare about getting a 1-star review on Quest for the Three Books. Lame! Dumb!
It was probably Loki trying to wake me up so I’d go get to work on the audiobooks. If so, he’s got my number.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about getting a small tablet for my sound booth because I tire of changing pages so often on my iPhone. First world problems, I know. But knowing that I’d mostly be using it for that, I didn’t want to go to the expense of an iPad.
My son recently bought a 10″ Kindle Fire for school and really liked it. I wasn’t certain I wanted something that big in the booth. In 9 square feet, space is at a premium.
Then I saw that a 7″ Kindle Fire for $35. Done. I can live with ads on the lock screen — as long as they don’t pop up at me as I’m trying to get stuff done, I’m good.
So I started working on the audio to For a Good Time, Call Loki this weekend and I saw some passages that others had highlighted. Generally, I have things like that turned off — again, distraction, plus I make a lot of my own notes, so I don’t like it overlapping. These highlights were passages that I presume other people found humorous. I know I was laughing when I saw what they were. See? Distraction.
But I got to thinking that I should look at some of my other books because maybe I could find things that resonate with other people and use those.
This, I feel, has been a good writing week. It’s had an excellent pace to it.
Earlier this week, I gave an introduction into Stonecharmer.
Since then, I have finished the story! Or at least the first book of the story. I still have my ‘rabbit hole’ editing to do on it, but I want to get a ways into the next book before I do that. I’ve know since about halfway through that there would be another book, Stonebreaker. I have now started that book. I’m less than a 1,000 words in so far, but it won’t be long since the story is rolling along.
Plus, the night before I knew I was going to finish Stonecharmer, I felt that there was to be a third book. I know the title, but I don’t yet know if it’s an official title or just a working title, so I’m not going to post it now. Maybe as I get further along. Maybe as soon as I know I have enough material for a third book. I’m really not sure. At this point, I have only minimal story in front of me that I know about. I had really liked the idea of this duo of stories, something along the lines of Tangled Magic and Walk the Path where there are only two parts.