Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fly By

It feels later than it actually is.  The past few days have been long, but not necessarily in a bad way.  I can't believe tomorrow is Sunday.  Yes, I've been texting Dillon throughout the day asking if he is packed to come to Texas.  He, of course, answers that he is not.  Knowing him, he won't pack until he gets up in the morning to catch his flight.  I'll never understand how guys can do that and get away with it.

Colt fixed the issues the BMW was having.  It's still weird to step out front and see the little car instead of my Jeep.  And it seems that every time I take it out, I see a swarm of Wranglers.  They're out to get me.  To add to it, it looks as if the dealer is still driving the Wrangler around.  I'm glad they're liking it.  I'll always miss it.

We had some company drop by today.  Colt's cousin from Dallas is in town.  She came with her husband and two adorable kids.  They're such a fun family.  There were a few awkward moments when I realized how un-child-safe my house is.  Even still, I managed to hold the six-month-old for the majority of their visit and survived.  She was starting to fall asleep when they had to leave in time to make their planned dinner with an uncle and his family.

I've spent the a good portion of today and yesterday reading.  Yes, I started the yard work, but it's less than fun to rake leaves in the rain, so I stopped.  We at least have a pathway for visitors.  I did manage to relocate most of the firewood before it rained.  That was good.  It's actually getting cold.  The fireplace is wonderful to sit beside and read a book.  I finished The Brave.  I loved it.  There were parts I didn't really care for, but the story as a whole was charming.  I'd say the moral was that secrets that are left untold and lies that are allowed to continue eventually lead to the corrosion of relationships.  I'd recommend it, but would have to mention a warning about the language and sex in several scenes.  But I can tell Evans included it to build a certain character.

So this evening has consisted of spartan loads of laundry and me kicking around my query letter.  I still hate it.  I think the feeling is mutual.  A work in progress.  But, there is one more publishing house I'd like to try for.  They cover contemporary fiction AND fantasy, so if they take me on, I wouldn't have to fish around for Shattered Remnants (hopefully).

Yes, I'm still in chicken mode.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Final Check-In for #Row80 2011 & Cars

Let's just say my "time off" came early.  This week was a mess from the very beginning.  It seemed that every time I sat down to write, something would come up.  There was a day in which I only reached five words.  Five!  That's pathetic!  Last night was the most productive.  I didn't get the word count, but it was in A&F.  It was a good scene to close with.  Now all I need to do is patch up two holes in the plot and I can say I'm finished with the first draft.  That's nice to look forward to.  I think I concentrate better once I pick it apart and begin to piece it back together for the second draft.

Monday was non-stop.  It started early.  My sister had an accident on her way to work before 6am.  She's good.  Thank goodness.  A semi forced her against a concrete retaining wall.  I'd take the wall over a semi any day.  The big truck never stopped.  So my sister limped her poor little mail-route ready, right hand side drive, Saturn wagon to the closest exit.  My dad met up with her a few hours later and drove her through her mail route.  I spent the day securing a car-hauler to make sure we had the car picked up before the gas station she parked it at could have it towed.  Two shredded tires.  Double bent rims.  Body damage.  Yet to hear about the suspension damage.  And it rained all day.  Yes, we need rain, but it isn't fun to deal with a battered Saturn during a thunderstorm.  It was a long ride home.  We still managed to have fun, but you could tell everyone was ready to call it a day.

In between phone calls, I was at the local car lot.  We decided to sell my Wrangler and get something used with a dinky payment.  I found a Subaru, but they sold it before I got there.  Our salesman (whom we've used many times before) gave me a list of all the used vehicles at all of their lots.  A two door Honda (I think Accord), a Corolla (which I loved), a VW Passat that looked really sharp, and I found a Mustang from another lot.  I only drove the Mustang.  Colt hated it.  He said he wouldn't stop me from getting it, but that he wanted me to keep looking.  The Honda just wasn't for me.  The Corolla had a few options I really hoped to avoid.  The Passat seemed to be a ticking time bomb for electrical issues.  Then, much to everyone's surprise, I spotted a BMW within our price range from the lot across town.  Our guy had it brought in and Colt took it for a spin (I was on the phone again).

It had some problems.  The dealership was equipped to fix it, but they didn't really bother.  Something was out with the AC system (FSU) and the driver seat motor has something goofy going on.  To be honest, I felt sorry for it.  It was surrounded by all these glowing, radiant, and expensive BMWs.  It had the same curb appeal, but was frowned on by all the other car shoppers because of its problems.  I couldn't blame them.  Who wants to buy that kind of car just to turn around and have to work on it?

Well, I guess we do.  Our sales guy dropped the price enough that we couldn't reasonably say no.  I was scared to death driving it off the lot.  We just bought a broken car.  A broken BMW.  And I don't have job.  We don't have loose change around the house that could repair a BMW.  Buyer's remorse within the first five minutes.

But we got it home and tinkered with it a bit.  It has more gadgets than I will ever use.  It's pretty clean inside and out.  Not a bad looking car at all.  Oh, and heated seats.  That's more than awesome.

Anywho, Colt looked around and found out what was wrong with the AC system.  He picked up a new FSU this morning.  We're hoping to put that in tonight.

So, yes, I bought a broken BMW.  I probably should have my head checked.  But the little cutie is less than what gas was costing me in the Wrangler.  That's saying something.  Colt has nearly memorized the repair manual.  He's like that.  He's taken apart and reassembled (properly) several of cars that had worse problems than this one.  One Porsche (yeah, that was an experience) and two Audi A4s.  I had a Jetta for a while, and he saved me from the VW garage many, many times.  Not to mention however many Jeeps he's had in the past.  I trust him with the car.  He seems to be having fun fixing it.  Ugh, and I can't imagine what the dealership would be charging us for all the stuff he's already done on it.  The parts aren't bad.  It's the labor.  Good thing I'm married to the guy.  He gets a big dinner tonight for getting so far with the AC.

And Dillon is coming home Sunday!  We are all very excited about that.  Lots and lots of dinners going on for the next week.  And he has already claimed a run in the Bimmer.  It doesn't handle exactly like his Mini, but I'm sure he'll still have fun with it.  I know he's been missing the Mini, so maybe this will get him back in the adorable little car.

But now I have to get back to the real world.  I've been putting off raking the yard for too long.  It's hard to distinguish where the yard meets the drive.  That means I have plenty of work to do.  I also need to relocate our firewood.  We have a hefty stack of it, so it might take me awhile.  Thus, writing will yet again be put off.  Still lots happening around here with working on the car and getting ready for Dillon's visit.  There's a big grocery run in there somewhere.  So, here's hoping to me getting all of this squared away before much longer so I can dive in at the start of the next round.

Have a great break!  Looking forward to the next round!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#Row80 12/18

And it's Sunday.  Sunday evening at that.  I'm a bit behind.  I don't know how time has managed to sneak by yet again.  I'm not ready for Monday.  I haven't done any of the laundry.  There's probably three loads I need to do tonight.  The rest can wait.  I aimed to do it this morning, but it didn't happen.

In the writing world, little has happened in the typing department.  I'm scribbling in my notebook and looking through old ideas I've penned in the past.  I don't know where all of this comes from.  I don't remember much of it.  I guess it's good that I wrote it down in the first place.

Submission.  Eek.  Yeah, I'm still sitting on the nearly completed form.  It's for a small publishing house.  They're kind of a local indie publisher.  Well, local as in not too far away.  One of the questions, which I knew this was coming but still managed to goof, is asking what writings my book could be compared to.  The problem is I don't usually read general fiction.  I'm more of a fantasy kind of girl.  I've since picked up several general fiction books and have liked them, but I wouldn't say mine is similar to these.  Maybe The Brave by Nicholas Evans, but then again, not really.

Then there is an agent that is now accepting queries.  I've been following her for longer than I care to admit.  I haven't tried communicating with her in the past simply because I'm not confident I have anything she wants.  Yes, she takes my genre, but I'm still very new.  But if I could pick any agent out there, it would be her.  So now I don't know if I want to go ahead and submit to the publishing house or try her first.  Both have an estimated two week turn around and try to give some sort of a response whether or not they take it.  I need a push. 

The library here in town is officially carrying my book.  That made my day Friday when I found out.  They've asked me to come in and to a signing.  Maybe I'm being simple, but I think that's exciting.

15th- 302
17th- 480

I couldn't begin to have an idea of what I've added to the notebook.  I can't stay on one page.  I jump around way too much when I'm working with pen and paper.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 12/14

Easy check-in today.  Not good, but easy.  I haven't written since the last check-in.  Sunday was busy.  Monday was Monday.  Yesterday consisted of cleaning the house, rearranging the spare room, and cleaning out closets.  I now have the Grand Cherokee LOADED for a trip to Goodwill.  We could probably have a pretty good yard sale with all this stuff, but I'm being lazy.  I feel like I'm restocking the store.

Though writing has not happened, both A&F and SR have been running circles in my head.  SR more so.  I didn't realize we were so close to the end of the round.  Yikes!  I need to get on it and make some progress.

Maybe tonight.  I still have one more book shelf to empty, clean, and move.  Then I swap a few more pieces around and I think I'll be done rearranging.  One plus to all this, my office will have more room!  Downside: my back and wrist have had enough.  I feel like I've aged thirty years in the past 48 hours.

I do have a question I'd like to pose:
Do you agree with sharing your work for free?

I know I download the free books and novellas just to try them out.  I've found some of my favorite authors that way.  And the majority of my favorite authors are indie.  Since I've started sharing Shattered Remnants on the blog, I've gotten loads of emails about giving away my work, that I am cheapening it.  I don't exactly see it that way.

Anyone care to weigh in?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

#Row80 12/11 Check-In

This check-in will be boring.  You have been forewarned.  I'm back to beating my head against the keyboard.  A&F hates me.  I'm in the middle of one of the final scenes and I can't stand looking at it.  It has shriveled back into the dashboard and stares at me.  That's okay.  I expected that.  When you spend too much time with someone, they will eventually get on your nerves.  It will sit there awhile.  If I keep tinkering with it, I will drag it into the trash instead of dropbox.  I've been asked twice this weekend about its progress.  Both questioners were given the same answer.  Stagnant, but still existent.  I received grumbles of disappointment from both.  One was a little more colorful about it than the other.  So I won't abandon it.  Just need to take a break.  Where to Belong was the same way.  It's a bittersweet journey.

Shattered Remnants has stepped up.  The problem is that I am thinking on Book Two, yet writing Book One.  Yep, I'm trying to make it difficult.  I've been reading the draft from early last year.  I have to say it has done us both some good to take that much time apart.  I found some of the writing surprising.  Did I write that?  Hmm.  Other parts I've laughed out loud at my awkward attempts to reach for a certain emotion.  I'm still in love with the story.  I just have to figure out a better way to let it unravel.  The portions that have been posted on the blog are still in rough draft form.  I know that is frowned upon, but it's where I am at the moment.  It will be polished several times over before I send it out for its grand finale.

12/7 - 371
12/8 - 0 (boo)
12/9 - 653
12/10 - 1061 (finally gave into SR after staring at the screen for two hours)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shattered Remnants Chapter Two: Reinforcement - Scene One

The early morning sky was darkened by a thick blanket of rainclouds.  Dea peered up at them as she stepped out of her tent.  They were a welcomed sight.  Perhaps they would stick around and provide some shade for the day's ride.

With her packs in hand, she slipped her staff into its sheath on her back.  It was with perfect timing.  A horn sounded from the center of the camp.  Alton was calling for his troops to gather for the company's assignment.

The lanes that were often moderately active quickly filled with a sea of Validius blue uniforms.  Dea fell in step with the flowing mass of her comrades.  Most appeared well readied for the announcement.  There was only a handful of those still working to button up their coats.

The common area was filling in a hurry as Dea made her way to her place.  She exchanged acknowledging glances with Zacairus after he settled in two rows ahead of her.  He gestured at her carried packs, earning a nod.  He gave a hearty smile and a wink in return.

Alton stood before the assembly in his deep blue captain's uniform.  The black and gold cords looped over his shoulders demanded notice.  His light brown eyes passed over the gathered troops before him.  The company went silent.

Dea stood in attention as the captain performed his routine assessment.  She admired his eternal calm.  The man never gave a hint as to what he was about to say.  No matter the pressure of the situation, he remained completely untroubled.  He was the embodiment of tranquility.

"We will be moving out within the hour," he began.  His soft spoken tone forced a stillness over the company.  Even the wind seemed to dissipate in accommodation of his low volume.  "We are to assist the western forces.  There has been a breach in Baldorah's defenses.  Bellfield and Herondale have fallen.  Moatterra is next.

"Pack only essentials.  We will not make camp.  We should reach Moatterra by midday.  We will return as soon as the area is recovered.

"Officers, report to me for your division's assignments."

With that, the company was dismissed.  No one delayed.  The common area came to life with Validius spurring into action.

Dea started for the stables.  All she needed was to ready her bay mare, Marus.  Depending on the horse's mood, it would not take long.  The biscuits in her pack would assure the mare's cooperation.

"How much of this did you already know?" Zacairus asked as he came beside Dea.

She shook her head.  "Only that we were getting an assignment.  Zeke would not tell me anything more."

He gave a doubtful chuckle.  "I thought you were going to start sharing your information."

She picked up their pace and fought back a grin.  "Zeke stopped by last night.  He said Alton will address the company in the morning about a mysterious assignment."

"I would not mind a little notice, Dea."  Zacairus shook his finger at her.  "Mysterious assignment, huh?"

"To be honest, he only said assignment.  I added the mysterious.  I thought you would like that."

"So it was a good thing for me to be packed in advance," he grumbled.

Dea let out a laugh.  She squeezed through a narrow alley between a row of white tents with Zacairus following her lead.  "When are you not packed?"

"I have caught on," he returned.  They stepped out into a less crowded lane and pressed on.  "Since you asked, I have learned to get a pack ready every time Zeke pays you a visit.  His coming is a precursor to new assignments."

The two slowed as they came to the side entrance of the stables.  Tall wooden gates and barricades spread out in a maze before them.  Validius of all ranks moved about with tack and gear in tow.

The small enclosure housed only a fraction of the company's mounts.  Most were kept in the adjoined field.  Since Dea and Zacairus had assignments that day, their horses were kept in the stables over the night.

The smell of wood, dust and straw tempered that of manure.  The dirt floor of the stables muted the steps of the Baldorians within the building.  Stamping hooves and clanking of hardware filled the air.

"They are over here," Zacairus spoke up.  He ushered Dea to the far side of the stables.  She was grateful he was tall enough to spy their horses' heads over the wooden walls.

They made their last turn and eased their pace.  Zeke stood waiting in front of Marus' stall.  He had both Dea's and Zacairus' tack out and ready for them.

"You are such a good man," Zacairus called out in praise.  "You knew we were coming."

Zeke bowed his head in greeting to Zacairus.  "I was right to assume you two travel as a team."

"Yes, sir," Zacairus said as he returned the greeting.  "I will always recruit one of your studies to watch my back."

Zeke's green eyes lightened with a smile.  He patted Zacairus' shoulder, then turned to Dea.  "Did you rest well?"

"Yes, sir."

"Are you ready for your journey?"

"Yes, sir."

"Should you have chosen a good-natured horse, I would have had it saddled and ready for you.  I did not care to fight with this nag today."

Dea smiled and nodded in understanding.  She reached into her pack and retrieved a biscuit.  Holding it up for her mentor to see, she offered it in her flattened hand to the waiting mare.  Marus' lips quickly claimed the treat.

"Ah."  Zeke followed her example and found a biscuit.  "Bribery is often successful."

Zacairus opened the stall that held his dark brown stallion.  "This guy is not difficult.  He would let you saddle him."  The sleek horse held still as he slipped the bit into place.

"I did not even attempt to try," Zeke said.  "I am wary of another man's horse.  It might be bonded or ornery."  He nodded to Marus as she nipped at him.  "Or both."

Dea stepped into the mare's stall.  Marus flattened her ears and tossed her head with a snort.  The mare calmed when Dea took the bridle in her hands.  She would not put up too much of a fight, but Dea knew it was not one of Marus' better days.  The bay's brown eyes flashed with annoyance.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 12/7

I've been a bad ROWer as of late.  Apologies.  Go figure, after the great month of writing, followed by several amazing adventures with friends, I go and bum myself out (went against my own advice and rented space).  I've been doing more reading than writing.  But I'm reading over old notebooks and attempted stories.  Looking for something familiar, I guess.  I think I'm coming to terms with my goof (but I still refuse to call it a goof), so mayhaps I'll get back to A&F here shortly.  SR has been my crutch these past few days though I haven't put any of it in writing.  Lots of quiet time.  But, hey, we all need that every now and again.

It has been wonderful to see how well everyone is doing this round.  The camaraderie has been brilliant.  I'm very happy to be a part of this group.  I'm already looking forward to next round.

12/4 - 0
12/5 - 391
12/6 - 426

Sunday, December 4, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 12/4

Almost missed another check-in.  Busy day.  Good busy.  But that does mean it's been less than great for writing.  I've hit the post-NaNo slump.  A&F is still going, but I lost my train of thought for a day or two.  Then Shattered Remnants came back with a vengeance.  I'm going to have to sit down and let that one roll for a time.  Top it all off with a whole new idea.  Yep.  Why not?  My head is going to explode.

I've only read one of the books I promised myself.  Loved it.  Will easily read it again.  Iron Knight and Inheritance are sitting on my book shelf giving me the evil eye.  Literally.  Have you seen the spine to Inheritance?  Creepy eye staring at me every time I walk by.

But lots of family and friend time as of late.  I was in dire need of that.  Now I'm in dire need of sleep.  And laundry is probably planning an assault some time soon.  I just want to sit down and write and write and write.  It'll happen.  Eventually.  Now it's back to the rat race.

11/30 - 1798
12/1 - 1701
12/2 - 168
12/3 - 599
12/4 - (as of yet) 0

And I'll leave you with an idea of only a part of my adventure from this weekend's excitement.
Ping pong in high heels.
Don't question it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Fiction.  That is my usual genre of choice.  That is where my adventure as a writer began.  For whatever reason these characters come to life in my mind and I have to spill out their stories.  A conversation with a fellow writer reminded me of how close we are to these make-believe persons.  They are with you for however long it takes to fill the pages, and even linger on after.  The book might end, but their stories go on and on.  The fellow writer I spoke of lost a character in her most recent installment.  I didn't see it coming and admittedly cried like a baby.  We get attached to these figments of our imagination.  I still remember the first time I wrote a character's death.  I still get teary when I read back over the notes.  I've yet to release that series.  It's an ongoing project.

I have, however, dabbled in non-fiction.  It isn't much.  It's probably the shortest segment of my writing career.  I wrote it while muddling through a handful of hardships.  Then to add to it, I was at a part in a WIP where the MC experiences a tragedy.

I've since filed the work away and forgotten it.  I made it through the rough time.  I'd like to say all is better, but we all know how that goes.  Friends of mine have had such conflicts thrown into their lives.  Some willingly take what I know from the experience and put it to use.  Others wallow in the misfortune and let it drag them down.  I've seen couples who have been married longer than I've been alive call it quits.  I've seen couples who showed the most heartwarming and inspirational displays of affection for their spouse, then pack and leave in the middle of the night.  Then you have the ones who squabble and bicker and yet are the dearest couples I've ever seen.    There is no right or wrong way.  But there are lessons.

This is mine.

    A friend once told me that everyone falls in and out of love with their spouse throughout their marriage.  This is a normal thing.  Marriage is a perfect arrangement involving imperfect people.  It originated from a loving God, thus it is inevitably to be attacked by a jealous Devil.  Marriage can be a blessing, or it can be a curse.  It all depends on how hard you want to fight for it.  How long you want to work with it.  You have to remember to fall back in love.

    She never told me how intense the barrage of attacks would be.  Am I on the right side?  Am I fighting for, or against this relationship?  Is there a time when it's appropriate to surrender the battle.  How will I know?  I feel as though I've poured my life force into trying to save this bond.  It seems to merely be a bandage on a laceration.  It needs to heal from the inside before the hemorrhaging can be controlled. 

    How many times can a person be mentally and emotionally bludgeoned before they are rendered debilitated?  Is the effect always negative, or can one find a nourishing side to the raids?  If one is to look hard enough, they might possibly locate a point of return, a galvanized base to rebuild from. 

    My mother has always told me, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  Strength is a good thing.  Endurance is better.  The desire to have both is hallowed.  The ability to is empowering.  A person who has the ability to be strong and to endure is untouchable as long as this one continues to put their power to use.  It demands constant awareness on this person's part.  Now, this being with the ability, they may be able to ensure their own survival, but they cannot aid just anyone they want to do the same.  Each person has to have the real desire to save themselves. 

    What does this have to do with marriage?   If one has the strength and endurance required to sustain a marriage, and their partner does not, it is futile and cruel to continue.  Both parties have to put a full and honest effort into the arrangement for there to be a chance of success.  There must be absolute faith in one another.  Unadulterated trust.  Not just the "fall back and I'll catch you" kind, but the "don't let go till we're through to the other side" kind.  The kind you never question, you never look back.  I experienced that once upon a time. 

    How do you get back to that?  How do you re-learn trust after repeated let downs and losses?  If trust is absent, love cannot be retained.  They are interlocking pieces.  Where does the trust start?  You trust persons you know well.  Friends.  It takes time and effort to build a friendship.  They don't happen overnight, not the real ones.  Friends may come and go.  True friends stay.  They are the ones you can be open around.  They don't judge you, but they will advise you if they feel you are making a poor decision.  True friends weather the test of time.  Best friends are of an elite group.  These are the ones you trust your life with, or would give your life for.  These not only weather the test of time, but flourish, become better, grow.  They are the ones who know you, your every look, your every thought, they can even predict what you might say.  They know how to make you laugh, and take the time to do it often.  They listen when you need to vent.  They know how to console you from the heart.  Best of all, you do all the same for them.  The only step up from this is a spouse. 

    A spouse is a completion of yourself.  Not a team, but one person, one flesh.  A spouse is your everything, your very breath.  For better, for worse, till death.  End of story.  Or at least, it should be.  What happens, where does it go bad?  Is it because this person is more or less than what you expected, what you wanted?  There was a vow, a promise.  That is the proof of trust, embodiment of faith.  You are to care for this person, shelter, treasure, protect.  There is nothing you wouldn't do for this being.  You would go to the ends of the earth, use all your strength, give your last breath, and never waiver in your belief this one would do the same for you.  That is what marriage is all about.  Loss of self respect is detrimental to this agreement.  Any lack of self worth will tear it apart.  On the other end, the slightest hint of selfishness will prove catastrophic.  You have to be everything to this other person, and yet be good to yourself.  For they wouldn't want you to be weakened in any way, even self induced frailty. 

    When you allow yourself to stumble, this hinders your spouse.  A strong spouse will quickly adjust to the new load, and become what is needed to correct the situation.  If the problem is not resolved, and is allowed to continue, the stronger one will begin to drain.  As a loving mate, you should first repair your own shortcomings.  This will give you the needed strength and understanding to support your spouse the way you did before the failing.  You will both become the foot-holding the other needs to climb into a reinforced marriage. 

    If your spouse begins to show signs of self doubt, try to get to the base of it before it festers.  Don't pry, but draw them out.  Let them know you are concerned.  Be gentle and kind.  If they don't respond right away, simply let them know you are there if and when they need you.  They may very well be capable to atone for their self.  Then simply move on.  If, on the other hand, it is not stabilized, you may have to dig a little deeper.  Is there an underlying problem?  Is something changed, or lost?  Quick action is imperative. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#Row80 & #NaNoWriMo Victory

As of only a few minutes ago, my NaNoWriMo WIP has the official purple bar of victory.  I am currently rocking out to Linkin Park's Waiting for the End and trying to keep up with Twitter.  Yes, there is plenty of singing off-key and dancing in the chair by me.  I will soon remember my age and get back to work.  Eventually.

I owe everyone a blog visit.  I am so far behind on checking in with everyone.  I'll get on that.  You all rock.

Always and Forever is far from finished.  I panicked slightly when I hit 30k and realized I was yet to get to the point.  Most likely, the first 20k will either be cut or completely revamped.  I also have to admit that if this was not a NaNo project, I definitely would have dumped it before the end of the second week.  It has not gone well.  But that's okay.  It's a first draft.  An incomplete first draft.  It is no longer the boss.

I have three books waiting to be read.  One will be downloaded the moment it is released and I will probably spend most of tomorrow reading while curled up in a comfy chair.  Mireille Chester, I'm talking to you.

A big thank you to everyone for you encouragement along the way.  And a huge congrats to everyone who took part in NaNo.  It was so much fun to scramble for that psychotic word count with you all.  I am greatly relieved to get back to the manageable and incredibly tolerable pace of Row80.  It is far less painful.

The writing will continue.  The partying will continue.  But first, I need to beat the pile of laundry back into its place.

27th - 1567
28th - 3014
29th - 1227
So far today - 1798

Sunday, November 27, 2011

#Row80 11/27 & #NaNoWriMo

First off, no, I did not learn my lesson.  I'm still unprepared for this check-in.  I only got around to a very small number of check-ins last time and I am ashamed.  I would like to say I'll get around to more this check-in, but I'm already behind.

I have a new found respect for writing moms.  I don't have kids.  I'm not planning on having kids.  I'm a nervous wreck on my own, then add bouncing energy to the mix, and you have a grown woman curled up in a corner chanting to herself ... usually.  But I had my nieces over the holiday break, and I have to admit, they were just fine.  Even still, they were a major distraction.  They're picky eaters, but I am too, so we managed.  They're addicted to a game on the Play Station called Sims.  That kept them contained to one room for the majority of the time.  Yet, every time I sat down to work on the WIP, I just could not concentrate enough.  I missed nearly all of the sprints.  The few word counts that were actually mention worthy happened when my mom came over and hung out and sent me to my office.

My hubby and his friend took a road trip during their time off.  I don't like being home alone, and certain issues makes it less than advisable for me to be by myself (nothing major, just go figure I'd have an episode while everyone is out of town)  Anywho, so my mom stayed several nights with me and the kids stayed the whole time.  Mom got sick the second night, and then the kids didn't go home because their mom was sick as well.  It's fine.  I have a spare room set aside for that.  They kept the cats busy, loved feeding the tort and dragon, and didn't try sneaking out the front door.  That's great.

Then yesterday happened.  Cocoa was dumped in the living room (carpet and side of the beige chair), but was cleaned up, no problem.  Then lunch had a accident, and Mom came to the rescue with McDonald's nuggets.  Dinner was at my grandparents' house here in town, my dad's parents.  Yes, we made the kids go along.  Yes, there are plenty of rules at G&G's house, and manners are a must.  All survived.  We stayed longer than I expected.  When we came home, I sat down with my writing.  Then I was summoned to find a plane ticket.  Lengthy bidding game, ticket purchased, back to writing.  Nope.  Scour the internet for sales on jeans for the girls.  Nothing.  I did find, however, loads and loads of adorable coats.  Needless to say, I blew too much time on line.  Then something hit the house.  I thought a tree was blown over and slid down the side of the house.  Mom and I busted out the maglights and shovels (in case it was not a tree but something still moving) and found nothing.  Kind of freaked us out, but oh well, back to looking at coats.  Then there was a "small" fire in the kitchen.  It was contained quickly and with little trouble.  But then, with a storm going on outside, we had to open the doors and windows to ventilate the house.  It's still stinky this morning, but I'm happy it's still standing.

The kids went home a couple hours ago.  I've started laundry and cleaned the floors and bathrooms.  NOW I can get to the WIP.  Yay!  And congrats to all those who have already finished NaNoWriMo.  I'm happy for you and incredibly jealous at the same time.  I'm still loving the sprints and hope to have my time back with the group.  And in other writing news, I've found a publisher (besides the one I've been stalking for most of the year and is still not accepting submissions) that I'm trying to talk myself into submitting to.  It's actually not far from here, so I could even hand deliver if that gets brownie points (will even bring brownies).  But again, I'm the biggest chicken on earth.  I want to do it, but I'm scared to death about it.  I'd love for them to say "Yes", and what's lost if they say "No"?  It's not like they're going to see my work somewhere and go, "Hey, let's call this chick and see if she wants us to represent her."  It's more like, "So what's packed into our mailbox today?  It's gonna be a long day."  Yep, still a chicken.

I'm rambling.

Wednesday the 23rd - 2193
Thursday the 24th - 746
Friday the 25th - 1939
Saturday the 26th - 322 (Hey, kitchen fire.  Those are distracting)

Thanks to everyone for all the supports as of late.  It's very much appreciated.  This is such a great writing group :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#Row80 11/12 & #NaNoWriMo

I'm going to have to plan my posts better than this.  This one is a bit rushed.  I apologize in advance.  I have all kinds of stuff I want to rant about, but a good rant, not the "Oh poor me" kind of rant.  Anyway, that will have to wait for another time.

I've slowed down on the word count since last check-in.  This week has decided to be crazy and unpredictable.  Everything is good, dad is feeling lots better, but time seems rushed as of late.  I did catch up on NaNo.  That was a relief.  But the trick is keeping it there.

Sunday the 20th - 1540
Monday the 21st - 1720
Tuesday the 22nd - 1535

Another big "Thank you" to those involved with the word sprints.  That is where I get the bulk of my word count each day.  The group is great and always encouraging.  I recommend the sprint to everyone.

#Row80 #wordsprint FTW

Sunday, November 20, 2011

#Row80 11/20 & #NaNoWriMo

I can't believe this month is just flying by.  I remember that it seemed to drag last year.  It's not fair how time pulls stunts like that.  Mom and Dad are finally back home.  Poor Dad is still really sick.  He had yet another appointment before the weekend, and was sent home with a stronger Rx.  I hate seeing him like that.

But they're home.  That has to help.  No one likes being ill away from home.  They stopped by the night, err, early morning when the got into town.  The were wanting to leave the bearded dragon with us and pick up their dog that badly.  I think it was a fair trade.  Dottie is fine and adorable and an absolute doll, but I'm just not a dog person.  The dragon is more my style.  I don't think she likes me, but I hope to bribe her with grapes and carrots.  Colt is making sure she gets her share of crickets and 'super' worms, but they gag me.  That's all his.  He doesn't seem to mind.  His friend stopped by last night and took a turn feeding the dragon a worm.  Yuck.

I do have to say one thing.  I do not like how she looks at my tort.  That's not cool.  Torts are not for eating in this house.  And the dragon is big enough that the poor tort wouldn't stand a chance.  She's huge.  I've always known her name to be Joanna, but my aunts are calling her Julie.  Gram always called her Dragon.  So we have another critter with multiple names.

As for the Row80 front and NaNo madness, it's gone surprisingly well as of late.  I'm finally caught up with where I'm supposed to be for NaNo.  The group that meets on Twitter for #wordsprints get a great big thank you.  I don't know what it is about getting together and writing, but it helps a bunch.

Wednesday the 16th - 2716
Thursday the 17th - 1947
Friday the 18th - 3031
Saturday the 19th - 2304

I'm at a point in the story were I just want to spend all day writing.  Go figure I have loads of laundry and dishes that can no longer be ignored.  But I'm hoping next week will be extra quiet and calm, so maybe I'll be able to wrap this one up before the end of the month.  I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#Row80 11/16 & #NaNoWriMo

So, quick check-in.  Lots happening with family.  It's Dad that's sick this time and still out of state.  He's had his second out of state hospital visit.  Poor guy.  He just wants to come home.  And poor Mom is still grieving her mom and is now sitting with Dad in the hospital.  I regret not going with them.  Not that I could have done anything, but I'm missing them terrible.

And I have a word sprint to get to with fellow #Row80 peoples.  That will be a good distraction until the next phone call.

11/13 - 1937
11/14 - 2453
11/15 - 1242

So yes, I'm still behind.  I was doing much better until yesterday.  No one ever calls me and now this month my phone has been ringing and beeping all day.  Go figure.  This month hates me even more than last month.

But everyone seems to be doing very well.  That is encouraging.  I'm loving all the check-ins.  Seems there is so much going on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

#Row80 11/13 and #NaNoWriMo

Progressive.  That is how I would describe happenings since Wednesday's check-in.  I pouted a bit, and told myself I was dumb to sign up for NaNo.  There's no way I can catch up now.  I'm too far behind.  So I goofed around on line and watched a few movies.  I sat outside and enjoyed the cooler weather (which went away today).  I'm still babysitting the Pomeranian for my parents, and she has kept me busy.  I don't know how she knows what time it is, but she is very punctual about her W.A.L.K. schedule.  My favorite (not really) is the 5am adventure.  I make sure to text my parents when I'm out in the dark morning wind in my pjs to let them know I love them.  They just respond with a :).  She is, at the moment, curled up next to my desk a being a good ankle biter.  Diesel (the kitten) steals her food, her toys, and pounces on her once she is asleep.  He is pure evil.  He pulled a wad of fur out of her fluffy tail last night and ran around like it was a trophy.  Poor Dottie.  She, in return, chewed the ears off one of his toys.  He still plays with it.

Anyway, the writing.  Yes, it's happening.  Kind of.  It comes in and goes.  I've decided to let A&F have the days, and Shattered Remnants runs rampant at night.  The only catch is that I'm focusing on book two of SR, not so much on the beginning.  Thus, I have not updated posts on SR because they all contain major spoilers.  Boo on that.

How can you stick to the order of events when they come at random times?

11/9 - 2403
11/10 - 953
11/11 - 1938
11/12 - 2331

Hubby has been cooperative and has handled dinner more than I have this month.  That is a big help.  I'm struggling to keep up with his work clothes, though.  I cut it close this week.  And he has agreed to handle all the grocery shopping and 'fun' stuff like that for the remainder of this month.  But, November is my only pass.  I'm rarely working at the office, so I'm home more often than not.  The deal was that I would do the usual 'home ec' bits while he worked all day.  I've always said I would never be a housewife.  He has always said all he wanted was for me to be a housewife.  He figured I would eventually see more pros than cons about the arrangement.  I've eaten my words as of late.  I dread getting a call from the office.  I am loving the free time to write and work on the house.  It has been such a relief.  And we've decided I'm not a housewife, I'm a starving writer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#Row80 11/9 & #NaNoWriMo

Again with than less than exciting check-in.  I've had a bit of a problem this week.  Always and Forever is supposed to be my front and center WIP.  When I finally sit down with it, it works just fine.  The problem is that Dea's story, Shattered Remnants, has been the progressing story in my head.  This is my fault.  That's what happens when I crack that one open and ponder over it.  So I didn't even open it since I last posted more on the story.  It didn't help.  It's still screaming for attention.  Thought up a total game changer while trying to ignore it.  Yep, I've rewritten this story too many times to keep track and it is still growing.  I'm about to ground it to the notebook until NaNo is done.  I've said I was going to continue Madison's story with NaNo, and I want to stick to that.

That, and Madison's story is easier to swallow.  I don't know how to explain it, but her tale has more ups than downs.  Yes, there's problems she has to overcome, but she has a cheerful outlook.  Dea is more of a dwell in the shadows type character.  Then I wonder if there is such a things as too much angst in a plot line.  No one is safe in Shattered Remnants.  It is definitely a darker story than Always and Forever.  And there is no rush to finish Shattered Remnants.  The publisher I really, really want is not taking submissions at the moment.  That means I have time, right?

As you can see, I'm thinking too much.  I need to focus on A&F and let SR sit tight for a bit.  The trick is following my own advice.

Sunday the 6th - 0 (boo)
Monday the 7th - 1132
Tuesday the 8th - 924 (and that was a battle on its own)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

#Row80 11/6, NaNo, & Update

And it's Sunday.  I'll get right to the check-in.

11/2 - 1103
11/3 - 2116
11/4 - 2151 (between two WIPs)
11/5 - 301

I'm working on the sequel to Where to Belong for NaNoWriMo.  It's weird to get back in Madison's head.  With working on Shattered Remnants lately, which is told from Dea's POV, I think I fried my brain.  Madison is a trusting person who is very quick to forgive.  One review (made me sad) tagged her as gullible.  Yes, she starts out gullible-ish, but grows a backbone.  Now, Dea is completely different.  She is very slow to trust anyone.  Even those she calls her friends, she keeps at arm's length.  There is only one person she really relates to, and he is just as gun-shy as she is.  So hopping back and forth between Always and Forever & Shattered Remnants has be quite the experience.  A&F is taking precedence.  I only pick up SR when I've hit the WC goal for A&F.  I know I mentioned before that I like to juggle two WIPs at a time, but these two are not getting along very well.  It takes a bit for me to change gears.

But the biggest hold up came yesterday.  Gram lost her battle with cancer at 8AM Saturday morning.  While it is a relief that she is no longer suffering, it is very heartbreaking.  I had a small list given to me of friends and family to call.  Even still, I managed to spend much of yesterday on the phone.  It didn't really kick in until late last night.  So today has seen a super slow start.  I was up early this morning to piece my house back together (still managed to house some friends), take a shower, then went back to bed.  Crazy Diesel (the kitten) went psycho on me and skewered my pinky toe.  I don't know what I did to him, but that was less than pleasant.  Lots of soap, peroxide, and two band-aids later, I get to clean the mess off my white bedding.  Boo on him.  Then he cuddled the rest of the morning to make up for it.  He's still a punk.  Anyway, so I will be getting Dottie (the Pomeranian) sometime this week and keep her until Dad gets back from picking Mom up in Florida.  He is planning to head out Monday or Tuesday.  Yep, driving.  That means we are not having to ship the lizard.  Dad said he would pack her into the Mini Cooper and bring her back for me.  And by the by, this dragon is fat.  I've never seen a bearded dragon this plump.  Mom said she is fat and happy.  I hope to keep her that way.  So we still have another long week or two ahead of us, but the worry is over.  Now it's just a great big loss.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Story of the Day - Chp 1 Scene 2 Continued

"I know how hard you worked to get here," Zeke started with a stronger tone.  "The constant training paid off.  You earned your station.  But," he held up a finger, "Alton tells me you had yet another disagreement.  If you went through all the trials and left the palace only to do dishes for an army, I misunderstood your reason for joining."

Dea smiled at his teasing.  She admired her mentor's approach to discussing trouble spots.  "No, sir," she answered.  "I am not fond of the dishes.  My difficulty is with waiting for Captain Alton to act.  He received word the other day that Darien has taken another village north of here.  If we started out the next day, we would have arrived in time to do some good.  Instead, he awaits an order to move.  If that is what has arrived, it is too late."

"So you questioned him."

He made it sound as if her reasoning was weak.  "I simply suggested he send a group of us ahead of the company to scout.  That way we would have been prepared by the time reinforcements arrived."

"I thought we talked about this."

She closed her eyes and hung her head.  "We did, sir.  I did not say anything in front of the others.  I waited until no one was around.  I was not aiming to undermine him in any way."

Her mentor's large hand came to her shoulder.  Its warmth, as usual, calmed her anxious thoughts.  His powers were rarely dormant.  "I know it is difficult to wait for someone to act.  But this is how the Fortis operates.  They are not leaving those people unprotected.  They know where they are needed most.  Alton is more aware than you give him credit for.  He not only worries for those villagers, but he has an entire company of Validius to look after.  He will do what is in the best interest of everyone."

"Yes, sir."

"He must see you as an exceptional Validius."

She looked up and met his gleaming eyes.  "Sir?"

Zeke smiled.  "I have never known him to keep a soldier around after they question him once, much less four times.  Perhaps he is getting old."

Dea let herself laugh.  "Perhaps."

"I would not tempt his wrath again if I were you.  Trust his actions.  Follow his lead."

"Yes, sir," she answered with a nod.  She knew her captain was well respected by her father.  He did not earn such by making bad decisions.

The two drew near the row that held Dea's tent.  Dozens and dozens of crisp white canvas dwellings stood side by side.  Dea peered at them and wondered how long she would lie on the bedroll before giving up on finding sleep.  She was not even vaguely tired.

"I will be here when you return," Zeke said in a kind tone.  "Take the Star Tear.  Keep it in your pack.  Try to use your power as little as possible.  I do not want you becoming marked with no one there to stand for you.  Be careful.  Be smart.  Stay safe, Dea."

"Yes, sir.  I will."

"And pay attention to Alton.  You can learn much from him."

Dea gave a nod of understanding.  "Will you be staying at the camp while we are away?"

"I have business east of here, but I will stay close.  I will be back before you miss me."

"When will you be returning to Alistad?"

"After I know you are back from your assignment and doing well."

"Would you take a letter to my parents for me?"

Zeke took a deep breath and narrowed his eyes in thought.  "Have I turned one down yet?"

She shook her head with a smile.  "Thank you, Zeke."

They moved down the row of tents at an easy pace.  Several soldiers in their midnight blue Validius uniforms occupied the dirt path.  Most appeared to be heading out for duties.  The others were getting situated for their rest cycle.

Dea pretended not to notice Zeke's watchful gaze scan the alley between tents.  His eyes quickly surveyed each Baldorian with whom they shared the path.  She wondered if he even realized he was doing it.  He would always be her guardian.

"Now," Zeke said as they slowed beside her assigned quarters.  "Get some rest.  I will stop by in the morning before you depart."  He reached into his riding coat.  "Put this somewhere safe."  He pulled a small ceramic bottle with a wooden cork from an inner pocket.

Dea took it carefully.  She knew stout bottle was difficult to break, but she still cradled it in her hands.  Its weight surprised her.  It looked to be heavier.  Star Tears were something she would never get used to even though they were a common part of her training as a Healer.

"And before I forget."  He searched another pocket and retrieved a folded paper.  "I told your mother I would have this in your hands the next time I visited."

Her mother's customary parchment reminded her of home.  It still carried her fragrance.  Belwyn loved tending to her roses.  Her study was filled with them.  Red roses were her favorite.

"I have not written one since your last visit," Dea said.  Her sadness hung on her words.  Her mother sent a letter with Zeke every time he came.  Dea's writing was far less often.

He slipped the letter into her hands.  "I am sure you will have one by the time I leave for Alistad.  You will have plenty to tell her about when you return."

Holding the letter and Star Tear close, Dea smiled up at Zeke.  She rarely informed her mother of her duties.  Belwyn was not pleased with her joining the Fortis.  She felt it was no place for women, let alone the Veiled Heiress of Baldorah.

No, her letters consisted of everything except the Fortis and the war.  She discussed the weather, new people she met, and any notice about an upcoming leave.  Those were the kind of things Belwyn would like to hear about.

"I will have one ready before you go," she said.  "How are her roses?"

Zeke raised a brow.  "She never lets me close enough to tell."

Dea couldn't help but chuckle.  Very few were allowed to tend to Belwyn's roses.  Not even Aien tried to interfere with her garden.  Dea admittedly missed their quiet times spent caring for the well loved flowers.

"How did your practice go?" Zeke questioned.  He looked to the staff sheathed across her back.

"Well enough."

"Do we need to practice your techniques?"

She shook her head.  "No, sir.  It was me.  My head was not in the ring."

"Where was it?"

"Nowhere," Dea answered.  "Everywhere."

"Are you having doubts?"

It was a vague question.  "Not about coming here," she quickly clarified.  "But I guess I have doubts about where this war is headed.  I know Father is concentrating on defense more so than offense.  I understand his tactics.  I only wonder if it is enough.

"This war has stretched on for two decades.  Most of those we are fighting do not even know what they are fighting for.  They follow blindly.  They are just as much the victim as all of our people."

Her mentor nodded slowly.  He was pondering her concern.  His answers were always thought out.  "Your father wishes to end this.  He has tried every way possible to reach an agreement with Darien.  The man will not have it.  We can only wait it out.  They will grow weary of it.  That is how they are."

 His reply was the same her father used not long after the war started.  The enemy forces would grow weary.  That was yet to happen.  And by comparing earlier battles with more recent ones, it was intensifying.

It was the popular opinion that Darien's people prolonged the war because of jealousy of the Baldorians.  The Baldorian race was know as an ageless race.  Elvlings was what the humans called them.  The three races, humans, Baldorians and Elves, once coexisted.  It was long before Dea's time, but there were still those who remembered such days.

The Elves began leaving the lands just prior to Belwyn taking the throne.  That was more than six decades ago.  They have not been heard from since Dea was a child.  She was now well into her forth decade.

Zeke went on his way and left Dea to settle in for the night.  After stepping into her tent, she worked to shed her armor.  She started with the strappings that held the staff across her back.  It was the easiest to remove. 

She moved on to her leather bracers.  The method was then repeated with her greaves.  The lacing on each came loose at her urging.  Once those were placed by her pack, she gave her attention to the broad placard that hugged her from high on her waist to low on her hips.

The lacing in the midsection was undone without too much effort.  The upper buckle came next.  The larger buckle on the lower half of the placard always took a little more patience.  The thick straps and sturdy pin were reluctant to release her.

Dea found a place for the Star Tears in her pack.  She made sure it was concealed, yet readily retrievable.  If she was to need the concoction, it would be best if she did not have to search for it.

Setting the pack beside the bedroll, Dea laid her placard and coat atop the bundle.  Taking her mother's letter in hand, she stretched out on her bedding.  Perhaps sleep would be less difficult with a pleasant word from home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 11/2 & #NaNoWriMo

Yesterday was a good writing day for the most part.  So far today, not so much.  I am just now getting to catch up on emails and the blog.  I've seriously neglected my story of the day bit.  It's so close to being ready to post that I've considered jumping into it instead of NaNo and Row80.  But I won't.

Word counts (not so hot)
11/1 - 1753
The rest of the time since last check-in was writing in the notebook, so I don't know how much to count.  Not much, that's for sure.  Outlining and plotting two different stories. 

I haven't gotten around to many blogs this past time and I apologize for that.  The ones I did visit sounded great.  Looks like everyone is still going strong.  Glad to see.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/30

Another weak check-in for me.  But, first off, I just want to say I am happy to see so many taking part in ROW80.  Very nice turn out for this round.  Second, I went against nature.  I've started to outline.  I've always been a pantser when it come to writing.  This is odd because I am incredibly, if not painfully, scheduled and structured in every aspect of my life.  I found the trick with setting up an outline.  Notebook.  I have notebooks stashed all over the house and in my Jeep for quick ideas.  I pulled out one and sat down with it to outline.  It worked.  Something about longhand and no blinking cursor staring at me.  I've always said I would never take my writing to bed.  It has its places and my bedroom is not one of them.  I'm weird, I know.  But the notebook came to bed with me last night.  With the help of the blaring iPod, I was able to sketch out something that resembles an outline.  Then fell asleep with it.  Hubby said it's safe to say I am officially a writer.  He still doesn't read my work, but he is a little more supportive of it.  That helps a lot.

As for the word count.  Not so hot this time around.  Things are still rough and the situation with Gram is constantly changing.  The muse has been less than active as of late.

26th - 1553
27th - 1087
28th -644
29th - 0

I'm not a fan of the falling word count.  Hoping I can concentrate a bit more come the start of NaNo.  I'm still not very optimistic about it this time around, but I'm going to try.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Story of the Day - Shattered Remnants (chp 1 scene 2)

The chirping of crickets and locust accompanied Dea and Zacairus as they walked the trail back to their camp.  A warm breeze stirred the full trees and added to the summer song around them.  The two friends walked quietly, welcoming the calm night.

Dea kept up with Zacairus' longer strides.  She smiled at the thought of how he used to slow with a sigh when she would fall behind.  Her small frame and lacking in height made her the minority.  In her time with the Fortis, she learned to keep up with her much taller comrades.

As they neared the encampment, the sound of a passing messenger rushed toward them.  They stepped aside to make way for the horse and rider.  The messenger never slowed.  The rhythm of his mount's hooves and clinking hardware of his tack sang in unison as he sped by.  His blue uniform matched their own.

"I will bet the first round with Cathal that is another notice to piece together a village," Zacairus said.

Dea smiled.  He was reading her mind.  "Would you rather work your parents' field or patch a villager's roof?"

"I will patch roofs all day long if it meant never setting foot in a field again."

She chuckled with him.  Zacairus came from a political family.  His father was Tabor, an Official of the Northern Districts.  Even though the man was wholly dedicated to his office, he also owned and managed one of the District's largest farms.  His wheat was of the best in all of Baldorah.

The trail forked as it came to the encampment.  They remained on the central path that would lead them to the heart of their station.  A round at the mess hall would conclude their night.

As they neared the Captain's tent, the front panel was swept aside as Alton showed a guest out.  "I will let you know if I learn anything more of it in the morning."

Dea slowed her pace when she saw Zeke, her mentor, step out with Alton.  The two could pass as brothers.  Both had equally mature yet powerful builds and dark brown hair.  Only Alton kept his trimmed short while Zeke's was longer and curly.

"Thank you," Zeke said with a nod.  "I will not keep you.  I know you are busy."

Alton bid him a farewell.  Dea and Zacairus stood in attention as their Captain looked to them.  "At ease," he said before turning back to Zeke.

"Stay safe," Zeke said.

"Stay safe," Alton answered.

The Captain returned to his tent when Zeke went to greet Dea.  Her mentor's familiar smile lit up his already bright eyes.  As an accomplished Healer, he was marked by his power.  The unmistakeable gleam added to his brilliant green eyes.

"Good evening, Dea," he said.  The long riding coat over his tan tunic and trousers told her he just arrived from Alistad, the capitol of Baldorah.  "You have simplified my task greatly by finding me.  When I did not find you in your quarters, I should have known you would be out with Zacairus."  He gave an acknowledging nod to the young Validius beside her.

Zacairus returned the gesture.  "Good evening, sir."

"I trust you two have finished training for the evening."

"Yes, sir," they answered simultaneously.

"Good," he said.  "Dea, I need to have a word with you."

"Yes, sir."

Zacairus gave a shrug when she looked to him.  "I will let you make it up to me tomorrow evening," he said with a smirk.

"You are too kind," she answered with a sarcastic glare.  He gave her a playful pat on the back and turned away.  "Until next time," she called after him.

"Until next time."  He bowed his head to Zeke, "Stay safe, sir."

"Stay safe, Zacairus."

Zeke offered his arm to Dea.  She took it and let him lead her in the direction of her tent.  She had not seen him for several days.  His unannounced visit either meant he brought news from home or Alton informed him of her latest misconduct.

"Good news from home?" Dea asked in an innocent tone.

Her mentor chuckled.  "News," he said.  "Your mother sends a letter, but that is all.  I am afraid my visit was cut short before I could speak with your father."


"Do you have news for me?" Zeke posed.

"No, sir," she answered.  "Nothing new to report."

"We will discuss that later.  First, I need to make certain you are ready for your next assignment."

She looked to him.  "Assignment?"  Her surprise bled into her voice.

"Is that not what you have been waiting for?"

"Yes, sir," Dea answered.  "I was not expecting it.  I assumed…"  She caught herself before she finished her thought.

Zeke was not one to let thoughts go unfinished.  "You assumed what?"

She took her time to find the right words.  She believed the company was overlooked because of her presence.  Her father would do all he could to keep her within reach.  The thought was one she voiced once before.  It earned her a lecture from her mentor.  She hoped to avoid a repeat of the lesson.

"I know there have been changes in the way the Fortis is responding to Darien's threats.  Our company seems to have served as reserves as of late, and I assumed that was to be our purpose for the remainder of the season."

"Did you?" he said with a knowing smile.  "Then you will not be disappointed.  You will remain as such."

Dea kept her relief to herself.  The assignment was not what she dreaded.  Zeke's continued cheer made up for the letdown of knowing her company would remain idle.

"I am not at liberty to tell you where your company will be going.  Captain Alton will inform you and the others in the morning.  I suggest you take your rest tonight so you will be ready for what you might face."

"But I will not need to rest for another three nights," Dea said.  Part of training with the Fortis meant adapting to their sleep cycle.  One could operate day and night for upwards of four or five days before needing rest.  It would take two full days and nights to recharge for another cycle, but it was worth it.  Baldorians were known for their stamina.

"Take your rest while you can," Zeke said.  "It might be awhile before you get another chance."

She studied him.  Judging by what he was telling her, the company was not going on their usual assignment.  If they would not be granted rest for an extended period of time, they would either be traveling a great distance or heading to the front lines.

"I will not be able to travel with you," Zeke went on.  "But I have persuaded Alton to allow you to carry a Star Tear with you.  You will have to keep it to yourself.  They are not readily permitted without the presence of a Healer, but he is willing to consent to this one as long as no one else knows of it."

Star Tears were a concoction made by the Healers to hurry the healing process.  "We are going to battle, are we not?"

"Dea," he paused and turned to her.  He suddenly appeared tired.  Something was bothering him.  "You wanted to be a part of this.  Your father agreed to allow it as long as you were safe.  You know that is why I am here.  But as a Healer, I cannot go where you will be traveling tomorrow."

She knew the point he was making.  Healers were hunted by Darien's forces.  Because they were the reason Baldorians were able to stand against the colossal army, their limited numbers could not be risked.

Dea was not yet marked by her power, but she was also a Healer.  Her Source was still unstable since she did not practice her powers enough to control them.  Most Healers are marked by her age.  It was only a matter of time before the gleam would appear in her eyes and she would be banned from the Fortis.

"I understand," she answered.  "I will be careful."

"This could be dangerous."

"Is Father asking me to return to Alistad?"

Zeke gave a sympathetic frown.  "He is always asking you to return.  He is not yet demanding it.  He knows this is what you want.  He will respect that to a point.  Dea, if you are captured…"

"I understand, Zeke," she broke in quietly.  "I know."

It seemed her secrets would always haunt her.  The two titles she carried would likely mean her death if she were to be discovered by the enemy.  If she were found out as a Healer, they would take her prisoner as they did with Healers in the past.  The following torture would not end until she either used her power to aide Darien or died resisting him.

If her lineage became known, Darien himself would cut out her heart.  As the only daughter of King Aien and Queen Belwyn, she was the future of Baldorah.  Few knew of her true identity.  It was for her own safety.  She was to remain veiled until the time came for her to rule the land, as was her mother before her.  Such was the way of Baldorah.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/26

Hey, it's Wednesday.  Didn't see that one coming.  It has been another so-so week.  I meant to get some outlining done these past couple nights and even set some time aside this morning for it.  Of course, it didn't happen.  I think I need to throw out all my clocks.  They lie to me.

Quisling received most of my attention this time around.

I think I'm going to focus on my daily story today.  Nothing against my other WIPs,  but it has been neglected and I really want to post a few more times before NaNo finishes me off.  Yes, I still plan on signing up.  Wait, I've already signed up.  But if next month is anything like this past month, I will not reach the 50k in time.  I will try.  I want to try.

The big "no fair" is three books will be coming out this week and next that I really, really want to read.  They are all finales to series I've enjoyed.  But I am limiting myself to only one until the completion of NaNo.  I read her other books in less than two days, so I don't see the harm in sneaking in some reading time.  Everyone needs a break sometime.  She is taking part in NaNo, so I'll have to let her know how far behind I get from getting sucked into her wonderful work.  Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where to Belong Soundtrack

I've been threatening for some time now to fill you in on the music that goes with Where to Belong.  The list is a bit lengthy, maybe thirty plus songs on it, so I've slimmed it down a bit to the ones that were on repeat for much of the time I was working on the story.  The real list is broken down by chapters, even scenes.  This is more of the mood of Where to Belong.  Most of it I picked up from Pandora Radio.  Others have been in my music collection since I could afford to buy my own CDs.  To be honest, a few where even from the cassette days.  But those stayed on the long list.  Anywho, the soundtrack to Where to Belong:

Hey Lady - Thriving Ivory
Drops of Jupiter - Train
Lost - Michael Buble
Near to You - a Fine Frenzy
Flowers for a Ghost - Thriving Ivory
Breathe - Ryan Star
Gravity - Sara Bareilles
Almost Lover - A Fine Frenzy
Breath - Breaking Benjamin
Savior - Rise Against
Whipping Boy - Train
Every Breath - Boyce Avenue
Where We Belong - Thriving Ivory

Monday, October 24, 2011

Story of the Day - Shattered Remnants (chp 1 scene 1)

Chapter One: Growing Storm - Scene One

The coolness of the grass beside the training ring was a even better than Dea expected as she slowly sat down.  The welt across her shoulder stung, but she was relieved to reach an end to the match.  She probably could have lasted long enough to wear the young Officer down, but her head wasn't in it.  She granted an opening, and he took it to gain his third point in the match and break the tie.  Now Zacairus was bounding into the ring with a vigor she envied.

"You are keeping track of the points, Dea?" he asked as he gave his sword a testing swing.

"Of course," she said. 

Cathal bowed his head in greeting to his new opponent.  "Zacairus, son of Tabor, we meet again."

Zacairus paced along the edge of the ring with a proud smirk.  His long, black hair was pulled back with a leather tie at the nape of his neck.  It stood out in stark contrast against his white tunic.  "Formalities.  Don't waste my time.  Ready for another bruising?"

The Officer answered with a brandish of his sword as he took a readied stance.  Zacairus halted his pacing.  He took a more relaxed stance, inviting Cathal to make the first move.

Dea only watched for the first few exchanges, then laid back in the grass.  She stared up at the starry heavens and listened to the clashing blades as she waited out the pounding of her heart.  Cathal always proved to be a good challenge in the ring.  He and Zacairus rarely went easy on her, and she appreciated that.  Foes on the field would not, so why should her comrades?

She wiped away the cerise hair that clung to her face and tried to work it back into a the tattered braid.  A gentle breeze stirred the night air.  She breathed it in.

"Point!" Zacairus sang out.

"Don't get cocky," Cathal said in return.

Sitting up, Dea placed a smooth pebble beside Zacairus' coat.  "Point."

She gazed around for the water skin and found it where Zacairus had been sitting.  Reluctant to move anymore than absolutely necessary, she reached for it with her staff, hooked the strap, and brought it closer.

The water was lukewarm, but refreshing.  After a few swallows, she corked it and set it aside.

Laying the staff across her lap, she studied the few markings on its iron body.  Its history was worn along its length.  She had each engraving and scuff memorized.  The weapon had been passed down through her family, but she was of the few to use it as a primary choice.  The last to wield it habitually was her mother's great-grandfather, King Arcaius of Baldorah.

Her full name was Lady Deatrah, the Veiled Heiress of Baldorah.  Her parents were Queen Belwyn and King Aien of the Land of Baldorah.  For the past five seasons, though, she had gone by Dea of Alistad, the title of a Decoy.  She served as a Calvary Validius in the King's Fortis.  Her plan was to defend her people first hand from the armies of Darien.  She worked hard to earn a place among the specialized ranks.  The training was unceasing.  But thus far, she felt the reward was minimal.  Her company had only seen about a dozen battles.

While other companies saw action on nearly a daily basis, the one she was assigned to seemed to be held as reserves.  Alton, the captain she served under, was known for his fearless approach to perilous missions.  She knew the Fortis as a whole had been stretched thin as of late.  Thus, she could not help but wonder why her company was rarely deployed, and when they were, they came onto the scene in time to pick up the pieces of yet another ravaged village.

"Point!" Zacairus called again.

Dea shifted forward and set a second pebble by his coat.

"Are you watching, Dea?  You could be picking up some pointers."

"Only because I wore him out for you," she said with a smile.

Cathal laughed out.  "Whose side are you on?  Point!"

"I think not," Zacairus said, his voice telling of his irritation.

Dea tossed a pebble beside Cathal's coat.  "It was a point."

She watched as Zacairus finally grew serious about the match.  His dark blue eyes turned dangerous as he pressed in on Cathal and set him up for a flawless exchange.  She'd seen him do it many times before.  She counted the movements from the placement of each foot, to the shifts of the hilt, right on up to the concluding pass where he brought the broad side of his blade to Cathal's upper chest.  "Point," he said quietly.

The young Officer didn't argue.  He gave a consenting nod, and took a step back. "Good match."  Cathal sheathed his sword.  "Both of you."

Zacairus bowed his head.  "Good match."

"Unless you want another round, Dea."

She shook her head and got to her feet.  "Next time."

The two men left the ring to collect their coats.  Zacairus handed the water skin to Cathal, who took one long drink from it before passing it back.  "Again tomorrow evening?" Zacairus asked.

Cathal shook his head.  "I have a watch shift.  How about the next?"

"I will reserve the ring," Zacairus said.

The Officer gave a nod and turned for the trail.  "I will see you then."

Dea picked up her coat and brushed off collected blades of grass from the blue fabric.  After pulling it to her shoulders, she fastened the buttons and turned to get her staff.  She paused when she found Zacairus with it at his side.  He had an odd look about him.

"Where have you been?" he asked as he held the staff out for her to take.

She took it slowly and tried to follow his meaning.  "I was right here."

"In body, but your heart was elsewhere.  You let him win.  Where did you go?"

Dea eyed the staff.  He knew her too well.  "I do not know.  Nowhere useful."

He chuckled and gestured for the trail.  "Are you getting homesick?"

"No," she answered quickly, then moved to change the subject.  "Has anything more been said about your promotion?"

"I have not mentioned it again to Alton.  He will promote me when he thinks I am ready."  He slowed as he fastened his sword belt to his leather placard.  "I will have to keep waiting."

Dea watched up the trail and waited for him before going on.  "The next assignment will earn you a new coat."

When he didn't make a reply, she looked back at him.  He didn't appear convinced.  She turned and hoped to encourage him.  "You may not have as much experience as Cathal or the others, but you are just as qualified as they are, if not more so.  The only reason you have not yet been promoted is because you have not been given the chance to prove your worth as often as they have.  If we are ever called from this camp for something other than cleaning duty, you will be promoted to Officer."

He gave a smirk and glance around their surroundings.  "Be careful who you say that around, you will end up with another round of kitchen duty."

She cringed to keep from laughing at his teasing.  He was right, her habit of voicing her opinion as of late had landed her in several evenings of cleaning dishes.  She did not mean to be disrespectful.  Her frustrations had simply gotten the best of her.  And Alton's hearing was just as sharp as his sword.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Story of the Day - Shattered Remnants (Prologue)

 Originally posted 10/21


The wind stirred the trees overhead as Corbin followed the makeshift path through the forest.  Only his family and a few visitors used the trail, but not often enough to keep it from disappearing into the undergrowth.  It was maybe his fifth time since the start of the season.  His father's workshop had been too busy to permit the long walk to the nearest village of Bellfield.  After countless days and nights working the forge, the fresh air and sunlight were welcomed.  He breathed in the sweet scent of the dew kissed grass as countless birds sung out their songs.

It was still early in the summer.  There was a bit of a chill in the air before the sun broke through the clouds.  It was a perfect morning to have breakfast in the field with Arabella.

She stopped by about midday the day prior.  Corbin didn't know how long she had been there.  She always tiptoed into the shop when he was working and would watch silently until he stepped back from the furnace for a break.  He wasn't at the furnace this time, but neither did her hear her come in.  His mind was elsewhere as he studied the dagger he finally finished.  The dark blade took longer to forge than he expected.  Now that it was done, and the black stones set in the hilt, he wondered if he wasted all that time.  A soft kiss on the back of his neck startled him.  He didn't flinch.  He immediately knew it was her.

She hadn't visited lately, and he missed her.  Even his father mentioned the shortage of fresh pie.  Arabella brought one each time she came by.  She joked that it was payment to the smithy for letting her snatch Corbin away.  She brought two pies that day.  One to make up for her absence.  The second was an advance for the next morning, her planned picnic for breakfast.

Corbin played it off as if he couldn't spare a moment away, but she never slowed.  She was ordering his company.  No excuses.  She reasoned that he had not left the shop for weeks and that they needed to discuss wedding details.  He knew she had the entire event planned along with a village full of women to help, so his input would be minimal.  He waited until she gave him that look with those big brown eyes, then readily caved.  Why couldn't the summer pass more quickly and usher in the autumn so he could stare into those eyes everyday?

 The field was still a ways away, but he could already feel her presence.  He smiled at the thought of hearing her laugh as she would tell about the recent happenings in Bellfield.  She would make a point to try to straighten his hair.  He would act as if it pestered him while secretly savoring the touch of her fingers as she combed it into place.  It would not stay, and he wondered if she had caught on by now and it was just as much of a game to her as was is to him.  The picnic would not last long enough.  He would want to spend the entire day hiding with her in the field.  And he knew he could not.

Arabella brought a peace to him that he had not known for some time.  Since his mother died three winters ago, then his brother disappeared last spring, it was just Corbin and his father, Jamison.  The forge became his refuge.  He and Jamison didn't talk much, but they understood each other's busyness, and respected it.  Days would pass between conversations, and those mainly consisted of pending orders and discussing supplies.  But Arabella's coming was a distraction, one he had grown fond of.  He still didn't talk much.  He didn't have to.  She didn't seem to mind his quiet nature, and he could listen to her all day.  He didn't know why she took an interest in him two winters ago, but he was grateful for it.  She saved him.

As he came to the edge of the forest, he could see the tall bell tower standing atop the hill across the field.  His great-grandfather made it long ago when the village was settled, before the Elves set off to find a new land to call home.  His father replaced the weathered bell with a new one when the neighboring king declared war on Baldorah two decades ago.  It only sounded twice that he could remember.  Arabella mentioned her want to have it rung for their wedding like the old one did for happy occasions.  He doubted it would happen.  It was now reserved for warning of threats against the village.  The Officials were not likely to make an exception.

His eyes scanned the field.  All his thoughts quietened when he spied her in the middle.  He chuckled to himself.  She wasn't going to give him a chance to sneak up on her.  Arabella had a blanket laid out and was sitting on one side of it with her basket nestled in the middle.  He stepped out of the forest.  She waved, jumped to her feet, and ran to meet him.

Arabella stopped a short distance from him and held open her arms.  Corbin let out a laugh at her usual antics and went along with it.  He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the ground, spinning her around for one full turn.  When he set her back down, she looked up at him with the smile that could melt his most sour moods and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Did you even try fixing it today?" she asked.

He shook his head.

"What am I going to do with you?" she said.

He closed his eyes and faked a sigh, bowing his head as she fussed at his blond hair.  When she finished, she planted a kiss on his cheek.  "Good morning," he said as he looked to her.

She let him pull her close again.  "Good morning.  Are you hungry?"

Corbin returned her kiss and twirled a lock of her brown hair around his finger.  "Starved."

With a laugh, she took him by the hand and led the way.  "It's a beautiful morning," she said after a few steps.  "I couldn't be any more perfect."

He meant to agree with her when she looked up at him, but something caught his eye.  A young boy appeared on top the hill and dashed to the bell tower.  Corbin paused and peered at him.  He felt Arabella go still at his side.

The bell sounded out clear and shattered the peacefulness of the new day.  There was nothing else to be heard over its ring.

Corbin held tight to Arabella's hand as they hurried up the hill.  It seemed bigger than he knew it to be from all the times he played on it as a child.  Finally reaching the top, he gazed down at the village stretched out below.  Villagers ran frantically through the streets as they searched for cover.  Arabella gasped and hugged herself to his side under the protection of his arm.

Corbin looked to the far side of the settlement and immediately saw what caused the alarm.  An army of horsemen poured out of the eastern forest.  Their armor glinted in the early morning sunlight.  They formed a intimidating row as they stood side by side in a line that could easily swallow the width of Bellfield.

"What do they want?" Arabella asked in a trembling voice.

He didn't answer.  His eyes were locked on the red banners the horsemen carried.  They were from the neighboring kingdom, the realm of King Darien, the enemy.

#Row80 Check-In 10/23

I've managed to stay incredibly focused on my writing as of late.  The run down of the daily word count goals is this:

After checking-in on the 19th - 1008
The 20th was a little more difficult - 502
The 21st consisted of two writing sessions, but I only tracked one - 1053
The 22nd was also two sessions, but I reached the goal early in the day - 1059

I have (if you didn't see the prior post) decided to try my hand at sharing a story daily.  This will be separate from Row and NaNo.  It is something I think that will help me grow as a writer.  Had a bit of a breakthrough this week.  It's nice to know there are so many out there who are in it for the readers.  You have renewed my respect for the field of writing.  I've always admired those writers who regularly make themselves accessible to their readers, and the ones who go that extra mile to share their amazing work with such followers.  I might me biting off more than I can chew, but I'm going to give it a shot.   Maybe somewhere between Row and NaNo and Daily Story, I might become something of a writer.

And thank you to everyone who has been so supportive during the recent bout of family health problems.  I'm not able to post much about updates on Gram, but I really appreciate all of your kind words.  It has helped tremendously.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Change of Pace

I've been a bit a of bum over the past few days.  It hasn't been any one thing that has been bugging me.  Bad news accrued and worry combined to turn into a little raincloud I surrendered to.  My writing has slowed, but my ideas have not taken a break.  I seem to have more ideas than I have time or energy to entertain them.  Once again, I've found myself doubting what I do.  I tried to push through, but let the uncertainty weigh on me for too long.  I know I'm not the only one by a long shot.  But the world of writing can be very lonely and scary at times.  It is constantly changing.  What is a rule one day is adjusted the next.  What is hot one day cools off and moves aside when something bigger and hotter begins to take shape.  Constant motion.  Constant tweaking.  As a writer, one has to adapt their ideas and techniques to an extent to keep up with this turbulent trade.  When it works, it is breathtaking.  When it falls, it is painful.  It's easy to become a pessimist in this field.

I have a point, somewhere.  I guess I've let set backs, both past and present, build up to this point.  I've always been reclusive about my work.  I make myself sick worrying about who reads it, whether they like it, was it ready to let go of, and will it stand on its own.  But I have also learned that once I do let go and take a step back, there is more good than harm by it.  Yes, the negative happens.  It is expected.  Not everyone can come to an understanding of my work.  That goes for any work.  There are so many titles I've pined over and put upon a pedestal only to be dumbfounded when I hear a less than impressed review of it.  Taste ranges drastically.  Then there are the ones who do agree.  The ones who see what I see.  The ones who believe what I believe.  The ones who appreciate my work.  Those are the ones that have convinced me to make some changes of my own.

I know I have my share of growing to do still as a writer and I am eager to do so.  The writing community has given me much to ponder as of late.  I am very appreciative of the advise and kind words offered by those in this field.  Again, the helping hands have outnumbered the naysayers.  And with their kind assistance and the encouragement of those who have voiced their admiration of my shared stories I have decided to open up more of my writings.

Why I write.  That was a topic that surfaced on Twitter.  I don't usually pay much attention to those trends, but this one caught my eye.  So many writers are in the same boat as I am.  We are all looking for ways to share our stories.  We are all looking for the ones who open their hearts and minds to the character we have created.  And when they are found, it is indescribable.

Nothing in the world of writing is guaranteed.  One has to find their own niche along the way.  Even with all the support one can gain in the trade, they still have to make the final decision about their work.  Why they write.

I've reevaluated my own reasons.  I've been ignorant of many of them.  So I am going to try something a little different.  I enjoy sharing my work.  At the same time, I am terrified to do so.  But I know there is only one way to let others see my work.  I have to give it to them.  The very first story line I ever started has been with me for over a decade.  It is the one I am most protective of.  It is also the one that I get the most interest in.  While I kept Where to Belong under wraps for most of it's development,  this other story I shared more frequently.  First, I sent pieces to people I always exchange books with.  I didn't tell them it was my work.  I simply sent it and stepped back.  Everyone asked for more.  I'm not aiming to brag on it, don't get me wrong, it's the fact that I've left those people hanging.  I've left the story unfinished.  That is not fair.

While I am enrolled with Row80 and NaNo in the upcoming months, it will be a little more difficult to follow through with this.  But I'm going to try.  A big "Thank you" to Michelle Franklin.  She gave me the push I needed.  It's why we write.  We share our stories.  It isn't the name, or the publisher who picks us up, or the agent who holds our hand.  It's the readers.  They matter most.  I am very much unknown and new to this trade, but I am having a blast.  I love writing.  So my big change that I've rambled on for far too long is this:

I will begin sharing The Shattered Remnants series on this blog.  I don't know how often I will post, but I hope to keep it regular.  It is a rather long story line.  It can easily exceed three novels.  I've rewritten it too many times to keep track.  It is my firstborn.  And no offense to my other WIPs, but it is my favorite.  The genre is different.  So I will be breaking one of the "rules".  It is fantasy.  While I have released my general fiction work under W.J. Smith, I have not yet decided on a pen name.  I plan to eventually stick with one genre and one pen name, but like I said, I'm still growing.

I'll adjust the tabs shortly and begin the story.  The first installment is called The Veiled Heiress.  What better place to start than in the beginning?

-Stay tuned

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#Row80 Check-in 10/19

Another slow check-in.
The 16th after checking in resulted in 441 words.
The 17th was a flop with a 0.
The 18th ended with 1037.

I would love to up my daily goal to 2500 words, but that will be insane at this point.  I'm wanting to build this WIP lots so I have something to come back to after NaNoWriMo.  But I did manage to goof up my wrist last night.  It's an old work related injury that I insulted by using my left wrist to break my fall.  I'm trying to be nice to it now, but it's really annoying.  Almost wishing my Mac had the android swype.  But knowing how irritating it is with short text messages and emails, I can't imagine writing an entire novel with it.  I'd probably give up and go long hand.  Go figure, I survive playing with spelunking gear to hurt myself tripping over a power cord.  Rope burns and wrist braces are not the writer's best friend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

#Row80 Check-In 10/16

Not so good this check-in.  I can't seem to concentrate on either WIP.  Last I left off Oneiros, I made the mistake of stopping after ending a chapter.  It's also kind of a lull point.  That makes it harder for me to dive in and take off with it.  But Quisling is in the middle of an action sequence.  I can usually pick up from there and roll with it.  I'm guessing everything here at home is finally beginning to sink in.  But anyway, here is the run down since last check-in.

After checking-in on the 12th - 1522
The 13 was a big fat 0
14th ended at 1551
The 15, another 0

So, there it is.  When I get one open and going, it's great.  But sitting down and opening it is the difficult part.  And a big "Thank you" to everyone's kind words as of late.  It's been a great help.  I haven't left my house in three days, and that isn't a good thing.  But I'm heading out once this is posted to see what I can get into.  Hubby and friends have picked up new spelunking gear and I am very tempted to see if any of it fits me.  I am miserably claustrophobic, so I doubt I will actually venture into a tight cave, but fresh air always helps.

Hope everyone is still doing well.  I'll try to get around to more blogs this week.  See you around.