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.