Grace to end the old year

English cocker spaniel, Grace

This is Grace (aka Gracie). Our daughter has wanted to keep her (stealing the dog from her grandparents) for a couple of years. Now she gets her wish — my in-laws came to visit for the holidays, and they’re leaving Grace here when they go home.

Doubling up!

In this case, I have doubled from 112 words yesterday to 226 words today, all written while my daughter was doing soccer practice. I must have looked a little odd sitting there in my camp chair, left hand wrapped around both the umbrella handle and the iPad, as I pecked away with my right hand. Very happy with the words.

Also was pleased with daughter, who was not the fastest nor most graceful on her team, but who did happily participate. And when they switched from practice to play, she did her best, first on defense and then as goalie. Next week, though, we’ll definitely bring a hair tie for her.

The rest of the weekend was split between puttery house and family stuff (organizing under the kitchen sink, baking chocolate chip cookies, supervising daughter very laxly as she did laundry) and SFWA stuff (hit a milestone on the OPPM). Oh, and watching my husband play Arkham Knight.

I’ve got a lot on the agenda for work and SFWA and home this coming week, too, but I want to ramp up the writing to at least 500 words per day this week. I won’t lie — I want more. I’d love to be doing ten times that and have the next book drafted in a couple of weeks. But I know I can’t jump from here to there without burning out — and probably dropping other things I’m responsible for getting done as well. So I’m setting the bar at 500 this week, and we’ll see how that goes.

(Oh, yeah — and it’s occurred to me that Inktober is in less than a month! I can’t wait!)

More loose ends

Although I did write yesterday, I got to it so late, I didn’t bother posting. For the record, I got 101 words yesterday and 160 today.

So many things to juggle — SFWA work on the OPPM, invoicing for copyediting, finishing up an application for the Sustainable Arts Foundation’s award for writers who are also parents, taking the kids shopping for shoes (and pants for the girl, as she outgrew last year’s), back to school night to meet teachers, school paperwork — and that’s just today and yesterday. As I said, lots of loose ends, and this week is just about tying some of them off.

One of the girl’s homework assignments is to bring leaves to school so they can classify them. Maybe I should send a hosta leaf with her.

Watermelon nights

Today’s subject line brought to you by this earworm that a friend gifted me with to cheer me up:

Good day. Finished a freelance job, visited the library, bought a watermelon from a farm stand (as I said, earworm), and managed to track down the particular notebook our son needs for one class. And I wrote 152 words and finished off the current scene.

This week, as I try to catch up loose ends and make sure the kids get off on the right foot for school, my goal is at least 100 words a day. Next week, it can go up again.

End of the line

Last day of summer vacation (not counting the weekend). I didn’t spend as much time as I could have this week with the kids, though I did make sure to spend some.

Still writing, too. 451 words today, after SFWA stuff and freelance work. More next week!

The big adventure for the week, though, was going to Genrepalooza in Manhattan. Organized by MWA’s NY chapter and HWA, it had writers from RWA (NY chapter there, too, I believe), SFWA, the Author’s Guild, and maybe others — I didn’t talk to everyone, and the pictures I took are blurry. I enjoyed the trip, though, and took pics in New York. Had to take pictures of the Chrysler Building, as anyone who’s read my short story “Blood and Gold” will understand.

Pictures from the trip:

In a pickle

I had trouble settling down to work today — a touch nervous about tomorrow’s adventure, which I’ll likely post about on Thursday — so I did a mix of things. I did a chunk of freelance proofreading, and told the author she’ll have the file back Friday. Also did some cooking — a pot of beans, plus a dozen jars of sliced pickles. I was going to make salsa, too, or bake the latest recipe from Sparkle World with our daughter, but that seemed like a bit much.

Eventually settled enough to write 142 words. It’s not a lot, but it is progress.

And for those keeping track, six days until the kids are back in school (Monday). I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, peace and quiet and lack of interruptions will be sort of nice. On the other, I like being able to spend some time each day with them. (Of course, if I get a ton of words next week, the emotions won’t be mixed at all!)

And now, photos of the pickle process.

Canning tools

Cucumbers, dill, and garlic

Processing the jars

Finished product

Epic timing

Tonight, because of the thunderstorm (it is a dark and stormy night) our daughter wanted scary stories for bedtime. I told her I had a very short one. “You have to go back to school in 25 days!”

“Really, Mom?”

“Yes, really. You have less than a month of summer left. Mwah-hah-hah-hah!”

At which point, lightning crashed and thunder boomed, punctuating my evil laugh. Definitely the best way to end a scary story.

Words written today: 2,543
Words written this month: 5,222
Words written 2017: 151,731
Average words/day 2017: 706
Books completed 2017: 2 (plus 1 novella)
Pages read today: 5
Books read 2017: ?
Days until school starts: 25

Yes! I got past that 150,000 mark! So happy for this! Also, daughter and I made cupcakes today. It was a good day.

Gone to the dogs

That was the first half of the day — the children’s section of the local library does a monthly session of reading to dogs as part of the summer program. I think it’s geared toward younger children, encouraging them to read aloud and improve fluency with an audience that won’t criticize them. However, our daughter loves dogs, so she eagerly signed up to read today.

She read the opening of Ursula Vernon’s Giant Trouble to a lovely black poodle. The poodle’s companion said that her reading was excellent — and also a mile a minute. No surprise there.

I meant to work on the outline for the next book today, but instead, I worked on creating a print version of the novella. I don’t have plans to put it into any sales channels, but I can see a few uses for having copies myself.

No new words today, alas!

Rain to sun to rain

It was pouring when I woke up. By the time I got up, it was mostly sunny with fluffy clouds. By dinner, dark and pouring rain with lots of thunder and lightning. Weather can’t make up its mind.

I split my time today between writing and working on birthday cake for my son. We had an interesting exchange about frosting (I asked him about cream cheese or buttercream, and he said, “Frosting for the cake?” I said yes, I wasn’t planning to put frosting on the fried rice), but now the cake is done and waiting for candles to be lit.

birthday cake

The writing went really well today. The climax and denouement and all clicked, and I got a good chunk of words. Still need to go back and edit and beef up some earlier stuff, but I’m on a roll.

Words written today: 2,450
Words written this month: 9,791
Words written 2017: 140,190
Average words/day 2017: 684
Books completed 2017: 1 (plus 1 novella)
Pages read today: 0
Books read 2017: ?
Days until school starts: 35

I stared at those numbers and said, “Hey, if I just write 209 more words this evening, I’ll have 10,000 for the month!” Which is true. However, cake is calling. And ice cream, too.

Words can wait until tomorrow (which is also when I will send my newsletter that should’ve gone out today).

Family, friends, and fun

I spent a good chunk of the day helping our daughter clean her room so she could host her friend for a sleepover tonight. Then our friends came over, and we gamed — D&D (3.5). I’m DM-ing a run through Castle Ravenloft. I’m not the best DM, but everyone seems to be having fun, which is my metric for success.

Eventually, after our friends left and the girls settled down to sleep, I wrote all of 35 words (3 new sentences). Also corrected one typo (changed “hiving” to “having”). Not much, but I still count the day good.