Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #15

Hey Blogland,

It’s been an emotional day after learning about the tragedy in Paris. I visited Notre Dame when I was fifteen. That same year, before we ever knew each other, my husband also traveled to Paris and went to see the beautiful Cathedral. Now, almost fifteen years later, we’d both hoped to visit again so we could share those memories. I’m at once feeling the loss of what was and of what could have been, but I know it is nothing in comparison to the grief of the citizens of Paris and all of France. Je suis de tout cœur avec vous.

But before today came a whole week of writing and reading. Let’s talk about that.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The City in the Middle of the Night

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yarp. Not only two but three, thanks to a busy week of reading and reviewing.
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • Yes! And then some!
  • Finish reading The City in the Middle of the Night
    • Yep. And I finished listening to A Gathering of Shadows!a gathering of shadows

Weekly Word Count: 4,368

Do you see that word count? Do you? It was a hard fought week with the manuscript with some scenes pouring out of me while others had to be tugged like knotted rope. But, the point is, I sat down each day and committed to 500 words. Some days that was all I could manage, but most days there were quite a bit more. Most days the flow didn’t hit until I crossed over 500 words and poured into more.

I finally powered through the last third of The City in the Middle of the Night. The review is up now for those who are interested in my thoughts on the book. I also posted the review for A Darker Shade of Magic on Friday, so it was a busy week on the blog.

I read Trail of Lightning and binge-listened to A Gathering of Shadows, pretty much screaming the entire time while I folded laundry. It took all of my self-control not to purchase the audiobook of A Conjuring of Light because I was very nearly too impatient to get my hands on the hard copy today. I also read a short story, as per my monthly goal of a story a week. So, yeah, lots of reading and writing this past week.

I’m trying to remember if there was anything else. The Walk ‘n’ Talk was rescheduled to this week, and Madhu received another Full Manuscript Request, so that’s awesome. I’ve sort of reached that nose to the grindstone phase of the novel. There’s not much to talk about writing-wise right now. I just need to buckle in and get work done.

Speaking of which…

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light

So, yeah. More of the same. I’ve got two book reviews slotted for this week, so we’re all good there. I’m still feeling good about the manuscript and the direction the story is headed, so as long as I make time at my desk, I feel good about my word count goals. And as for reading the last Shades of Magic book? I can’t think of much that could stop me from inhaling it at inhuman speeds.

The short stories are STILL out and I’m still slowly dying of anticipation. Each day more stories are rejected (and some are even accepted) but mine remain in the nebulous realm of “Maybe”. It’s exhausting.

lisa collar tug gif.gif

What else? Walk ‘n’ Talk later this week and another hike on Saturday’s docket. Still don’t know where we’re going, but somewhere pretty and probably wet. I’m sure there will be pictures to share. There’s also a bit of social activity this week with dinner out tomorrow night and possibly(?) trivia on Thursday. Oh! And the Willamette Writers meeting on Wednesday.

Good grief. When am I supposed to do any writing? I may have overbooked myself. And there’s another busy week after that too, but I’ll talk more about that later.

Oh yeah! I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo, mostly as a way to keep myself accountable this month and really focus on getting this draft done. I like seeing the little graph grow each day, and I really like seeing the daily breakdowns of my productivity.

That’s all, I think. Reading and writing. Lather, rinse, repeat. I have a couple busy weeks ahead of me, both personally and writing-wise as I try to get this novel rough draft done before June. Meanwhile I’m trying not to think too much about all the pending news I’m waiting on. The good news is I have enough books that I ought to be well and truly distracted.

TBR madness

See anything you like? Tell me all about it (spoiler-free please!) in the comments! I’ll be back with the review for Trail of Lightning on Wednesday, and A Gathering of Shadows on Friday.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

 

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Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #14

Oh, Blogland, what a week it was. Busy, quick and seemingly never-ending all at once.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish The City in the Middle of the Night

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Between the weekly post, the Monthly Recap, and the Reading Round Up, there was no shortage of blog activity last week.
  • city in the middle of the nightWrite 500 words/day on Tavi
    • *grumble, grumble*… no…
  • Finish The City in the Middle of the Night
    • … No… But I did finish an audiobook over the weekend!

Weekly Word Count: 3,410

So, I was all on track to have this amazing, productive week, only 90 words shy of my goal, when, BOOM! Migraine. I cannot tell you how much that pissed me off. That something as arbitrary and absolutely uncontrollable as a migraine ground my work to a halt. I’m real salty about it.

It’s also the reason why, instead of finishing The City in the Middle of the Night, I listened to all fourteen hours of A Darker Shade of Magic instead. The good news is, I am obsessed with this series now and am gobbling up the second one. I wish I’d read them sooner! The bad news is, I’m still struggling with the Anders book. But, I’m almost there. Just another 60 pages or so.

The only other good thing about migraines is that I completely forget about tracking my submissions. It’s been three days since I’ve obsessively checked The Submission Grinder to see that beautiful, terrifying graph that holds all my publishing dreams in its grip.

While I wasn’t assuming the fetal position and trying not to puke, I was hiking! Blogland, it was an absolute perfect trip out to the Oregon Coast. It poured down monsoon quality rain the whole drive out there, Laurel and I talked about all kinds of things (including some story fodder), and then, right as we arrived, the rain stopped. The clouds moved inland and we have clear skies and the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. By the time we reached the Cape, there were no clouds.

No whales, either. But, there were plenty of birds and plenty of mud. It was a perfect first hike of the season.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The City in the Middle of the Night

Another straightforward week, with the same straightforward goals. The good news is I ought to be able to meet them all this time! Heck, you might even get two book reviews this week if I keep to my reading goals.

I’ll need to make up for Monday’s word count, and the 90 words I missed on Sunday if I want to stay on track for the month. Luckily, the book hit a bit of a stride last time I was in front of it, so hopefully that momentum will continue into tonight’s session.

It’s a busy week, work-wise, and there’s a Walk ‘n’ Talk on Thursday. I’d like to have something substantive to talk about while we walk so I’ll need to get some quality work in before then. Thanks to the migraine, I already feel behind.

No time like the present to catch up!

See you all real soon with the review for A Darker Shade of Magic, and then again later in the week to review The City in the Middle of the Night.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

The Recap – March 2019

March was a crazy month of travel adventures, writing, reading, and working so so much. Considering the utter derailment of my routines thanks to the Cincinnati trip, I’m pretty impressed with my output this month.

March Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read one short story/day
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • No. BUT! I got really super-di-duper close. If I take out the six days of vacation/travel in the middle of the month, I wrote 491 words a day. So… Win?
  • Read one short story/daywinning gif
    • OMG YES! This was my favorite thing about this month and I’ve screamed my overtures from the twitter rooftops. You can see the full list of stories on the What I’m Reading page.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yes! Both “That Which Illuminates Heaven” and “Lifelike” went out to new markets in March and “The Cost of Rain” is still out from the end of January, so fingers crossed everybody!
  • Keep reading!
    • Yep! I read four titles in March. Not a stellar performance but on track with the rest of the year so far.

      Total Monthly Word Count: 12,276

Last month I was really concerned about the time suck Anthem was going to be. Turns out, that wasn’t a concern. The game, while good, failed to pull me in like I thought it would. I enjoyed the story, and only have one mission left before I can call it finished and mentally move on. Which is perfect timing, because Trevor and I have discovered a new couch co-op (where you play together on a split screen) called Outward and we love it so far!

The novel is coming along. I’ve struggled with this middle bit, but I’m feeling optimistic going into April. Things are solidifying in my mind as Tavi’s life unravels and she has to pick up the pieces. The end is coming, I just have to hope there’s still enough words between it and now. I need 25k more before I’m willing to say this draft is done.

Reading a short story a day was an absolute delight. I forgot how much I love short stories, and this was a really wonderful reminder that wonderful stories come in all shapes and sizes. Although, Flash Fiction still has a special place in my heart, I can’t get enough of them.

If you missed my little freak out moment the week before, I got a note from one of the magazines that my story “That Which Illuminates Heaven” is being held for consideration by the Co-Editors. That is very exciting news, for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Assistant Editor liked my story enough to recommend it for consideration. They even used the word “enjoyed”. In reference to my story. A human being that reads and evaluates fiction professionally enjoyed my story. As the Assistant Editor for The Audient Void, I know what that means. I’m pretty critical, and a story needs to impress me if I’m going to send it to Obadiah. And that’s at our super niche, if high quality, market. This is a giant, award nominated professional market… *screaming*
  2. This ups my odds of acceptance at least a fraction. While I’m fully aware that receiving a rejection is still MUCH more likely, the story is competitive at this level and could be accepted. *more screaming*
  3. But, the most exciting part is that my odds of getting a personal rejection is MUCH jd faints gifMUCH higher now. And personal rejections are the gold mines of bad news. I LOVE personal rejections. They are so valuable and life-affirming and often lead to tweaks and edits you couldn’t see on your own. Did I mention I love personal rejections? *faints from all the screaming*

I’m trying not to hang all my hopes on this, which is hard because I do believe that this story is something special. There’s a gap between it and other stories I’ve written so far, like I took a giant leap skills-wise when I wrote it. And it’s very dear to me. It’s very much a part of me, I’m there, in the lines in a way I haven’t been in my other works. I took risks and I’m really hoping they will pay off.

So, yeah, I’m a little bit excited anytime I see love for “That Which Illuminates Heaven”.

Reading last month was slow, mainly because I spent most of my reading time with short stories. I managed to read four titles, which I’ll tell you all about in my Reading Round Up later this week.

April marks the true start of spring here in the Pacific Northwest, which means it’s officially hiking season! Expect to see lots of pictures and hear me complaining a ridiculous amount as my friend Laurel drags me across the state in search of wild beauty in remote locations.

Now, then. What comes next?

April Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read 1 short story/week
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

Another straightforward month. I need to focus on this novel and give it the time and attention it deserves, especially in the later stages. Like I said, I’m hopeful going forward and am excited to see where this thing takes me over the course of April.

I’m adding in short story reading because I liked it way too much to stop now. But a short story a day really did cut into my long form reading, so a story a week going forward ought to be a good compromise.

As ever, submissions continue. And as ever, I could hear back about any of them any time now. Although, it’d be really nice if something could sell so my stress level could drop at least a little. Please?

That’s April. I’ll be around with the Reading Round Up later this week, and hopefully have a book review for next week!

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #13

This was my last week at Starbucks, and that good mood trickled down into every aspect of my week. Plus, a friend was in town so we went out and did social things, I bought a new rug for the foyer, and ate sushi. And me and the hubs found a new game to play together so that’s exciting!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • No, but I made some really good progress this week.
  • Keep reading!sons of ares
    • Yes. I didn’t finish The City in the Middle of the Night, but I did read The Sons of Ares graphic novel, so hooray!

Weekly Word Count: 2,906

This week was really just about playing as much catch up as possible, in all aspects of my life. Writing, reading, talking with family members, hanging out with friends, and chores around the house.

The manuscript crossed the 50k word mark over the weekend, so that’s something! I’m on chapter 16 with probably about 8 more chapters to go? I honestly have no idea. I’m just writing through until I stumble onto the end. It could be longer, but there are at minimum 25k more words to go. Hopefully the novel agrees with me!

The only way I really know I’m entering the last stages of this draft is that other stories are waking up and asking if it’s their turn yet. That means I’m getting to the end of this project, and gearing up for the next one. Just a couple more months.

Short stories are still out. I haven’t heard back from any of them yet, which is promising for two of them, including the one that sent me a note to let me know “That Which Illuminates Heaven” is being held for consideration. I’m still riding that high, by the way, because man does that feel good.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish The City in the Middle of the Night

Another straightforward week. Now that I’m no longer working at Starbucks I’ll have that much more time to write so I’m hopeful for my word counts going forward. It’s April now, which means the start of the hiking season, which means my first hike is this weekend!

Now, I’m not much of a hiker, yet. I like the outdoors very much, but I am not what you would call fit. My preferred activities are sedentary ones. I write fiction, read, and play video games in my free time. But this year is the year I take a hike almost every weekend of the season. I live in one of the most beautiful regions of the world, and dammit it’s high time I saw the sights!

So this weekend is Cape Lookout in Tillamook, Oregon, which is famous for being the absolute best spot to see whales in all of Oregon that doesn’t require a boat. And this month marks the start of the Gray Whale migration, so I am very excited to see what we can see!

cape lookout
The weather isn’t likely to be this nice on Saturday, but a little rain never hurt anyone.

I’ve got a slew of blog posts queued up for this week, including the Monthly Recap and the Reading Round Up, so keep an eye out for those. Otherwise, it’s just more reading and writing this week.

Talk at you soon Blogland,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #12

Blogland,

This was a pretty uneventful week, which is exactly what I wanted after the week of travel.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Clean the office

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • Nope. There was progress, but not half so much as there should have been.
  • Clean the office
    • Yes! I did this right after posting last week’s Goals Summary and it has been so wonderful to have my space tidy and… clear? It was spiritually freeing to have my room back in shape.

Weekly Word Count: 1,479

So, yeah… about this week. I honestly am not sure what happened. I just didn’t find much time. I didn’t make time. My free time was spent making delicious dinners with my husband, reading short stories, and watching Jeopardy. And… it was pretty nice.

The Walk ‘n’ Talk on Thursday was a long one, as expected, but we discussed a lot of great stuff and I think Madhu is very close to querying and getting her story out in the world. Trev and I went to video game trivia and came in 4th, just the two of us, so that was pretty neat. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the David Barker signing like I’d hoped to because by Friday I was pretty worn out.

I have a tiny bit of news in regards to submissions. My newest short story “That Which Illuminates Heaven” has been sent on to the final round of consideration at a very well-respected Professional Market! While this is insanely exciting news, it also means I’ll be waiting even longer to hear back about it, so my nervous energy has ratcheted up accordingly.

Image may contain: text
This was a great email to wake up to Friday morning!

But, the best news I have is that I finally made the decision to quit my second job! This week is my last week working at Starbucks, which means next week is going to have a lot more free time to get work done.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Keep reading!

And that’s it. I’m working something like 47 hours this week and I just don’t think it’s reasonable to expect more from myself than blogging and writing. I’ll be reading a short story a day still, and if I’m focused I’ll hopefully finish reading The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. city in the middle of the night

But, that’s it for this week. Focus, get work done at a steady pace, and prepare to bust ass in April.

I’ll be around this week with a bonus Craft Discussion, and maybe a book review if my book just grabs me and refuses to let go. Next week will be a busy one on the blog with the usual weekly update, the monthly recap, and the reading round up.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #11

Hey Bloggos,

With less than half a week to get anything done, I had some low expectations which is probably why the whiteboard was in the black by Sunday night.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi chapter 14
  • Catch up on short stories

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Due to last week’s travel there were a bit closer together than usual, but both the Goals Summary and my thoughts on our trip are up now.
  • Finish Tavi chapter 14
    • Yes! I think I wrote that last bit in somewhat of a stupor because I don’t really remember doing it, but it’s done and the next chapter is underway.
  • Catch up on short stories
    • Yarp. I mean, I still have to read two short stories today and tomorrow, but I’m on track and reading consistently, which is the whole point.

Weekly Word Count: 1,170

I don’t have a whole lot to talk about last week, since the work week didn’t really start for me until Friday. My weekend was filled with chores, writing, and reading. We made dinners and watched movies and I binged a nature documentary on Saturday. That was about it.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Clean the office

Okay, that last one is a weird one. I don’t normally put household chores on my list of weekly goals, but this one is related to my writing and it’s been bugging me for forever so it’s time to prioritize it. It’s not even all that bad, but things need tidying and organizing, and the floors could do with a sweep. So onto the list it goes.

I’ve been doing pretty good about writing this month. I’d like to catch up for all the missed writing days during vacation, but I’m not going to burden myself with the added workload either. Every word over 500 in a day just adds up. Maybe it’ll be enough. Maybe not. We’ll know on the 31st. (I just did the math, which is always suspect for me; I need to write 719 words a day from here on out to meet my goal for the month, which is doable. But still, I’m not going to push for it, I’ll get close regardless.)

The blog should be fairly active this week. I’ve got the book review for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to write this week and I might write up a little something else if I find myself with some extra time. half in light half in shadows

I have a Walk ‘n’ Talk scheduled with Madhu on Thursday, and then it’s trivia night with Video Games as the theme, so yeah. I’ll be going to that. Friday night is “An Evening with David Barker” which I feel I ought to go to, since I’m on the masthead for his chapbook Half in Light, Half in Shadow, which he’ll be signing at the event. Plus, David’s a great guy and deserves all the support. So, if you’re in the Salem area on Friday night, you should come say hi!

And all of a sudden my week looks pretty busy. Damn. I guess that means it’s time to get to work!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #10

Blogland. I have so much to share with you about Cincinnati that it requires a blog post unto itself. Keep an eye out for that sometime this weekend. In the meantime, there’s work to discuss.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write Tavi Chapter 14
  • Have a great time on vacation!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write Tavi Chapter 14
    • No. But I got a good chunk of quality work in before we left town.
  • Have a great time on vacation
    • Yes? It was a mixed-bag thanks to a migraine the first two days and a doozy of a trek home, but I still managed to relax and have some fun.

Weekly Word Count: 3,566

Last week did see a return to some productive writing sessions. I’d hoped to get even more writing and reading done on vacation, and while no writing happened, I did start and finish The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society between plane rides. Be on the lookout for that review, either this weekend or early next week.Paperback The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book

This trip also brought a halt to my Short Story a Day challenge, so I’ll be reading two a day for the next five days in order to catch up. Follow me on twitter for real time updates and micro-reviews, or check the What I’m Reading page for an updated list.

I maybe started a new short story. Maybe. I mean, I did, but I haven’t finished it and I’m not planning to any time soon. It’s nice to know I have another one in the wings though, for when Tavi is done. Which should still be sometime in May.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi chapter 14
  • Catch up on short stories

This week is basically over, so I need to keep the goals simple. So, lots of reading and a bit of writing are it for me as I try to get back into the swing of things. I’ve got my next book queued up, Charlie Jane Anders’ The City in the Middle of the Night. I am very excited because this book has received a ton of positive press from authors I love, but I have almost zero knowledge about it or the author. Another adventure awaits!

I’ll be pretty active around here this weekend and next week, so expect to hear from me.

Until then, Bloggos!

 

BZ