Early start

Today, the boy was taking the PSAT, which meant I was up by 7 — practically unheard of on a weekend. It also means I got most of my Saturday tasks done by 9 a.m. and then flaked out for much of the rest of the day. Family time, though, so that’s good. Even when there are no new words.

Today, my Inktober sketch is of a pair of “fierce” English cocker spaniel puppies playing at my in-laws’ house. (I didn’t draw the two who were being good.) I used the 0.3 Multiliner and the Pentel brush pen. It’s hard to tell where the ear ends and the face begins, among other things. Still, puppies!

drawing of English cocker spaniels
English cocker spaniels


I’ve never minded Friday the 13th. With one blood relative and one in-law having birthdays on the 13th of different months, if anything, I think it’s a cool day.

On the other hand, it’s the second week in a row my son’s school has been disrupted by the threat of violence, so I’m rapidly becoming less fond of October. Again, no damage done other than expense of bringing in experts to check out the bomb threat (I wouldn’t have guessed there were 5 nearby municipalities with bomb-sniffing dogs) and an interrupted day, but that gets to be a bit wearing.

Got around 50 words today. Need to get back on track.

Today’s Inktober prompt was “teeming.” Sketched some flamingoes from the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison with my Copic Multiliner. (If I’d gotten a better picture of the prairie dogs, I’d probably have used them instead.)

flamingoes drawing

Begin the hours of this day slow

Robert Frost’s words pretty much describe the way this month has been going for me. The poem “October” in full:

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.


Today went better than the past few. 529 words, and an interesting new character introduced to the series.


The Inktober prompt was “shattered.” A car accident, captured along a highway. The rear and the angles are off. Drawing with nib and brush.

drawing of car accident
vehicle accident


Not a lot of words — only 116 — but given the trouble I’ve had focusing, I’ll take it.

Picture today didn’t come out very well. The Inktober prompt was “run,” but I didn’t really have any good photos for that. My son suggested I do a hare (he thought this especially appropriate after yesterday’s tortoise), and the only one of those I had was the photo of Beth Cavener’s “L’Amante,” at the Chazen Museum of Art.

ink drawing of sculpture by Beth Cavener
Beth Cavener sculpture L-Amante

Task lists

Fall shares one of the drawbacks of spring: pollen. This is why I like the first hard frost of the year; it kills plants so they’ll stop trying to kill me. (My son tells me neither the plants nor Pennsylvania are actually trying to kill me. I tell him I’ll believe that when they stop.) Between allergies and various medications to lessen their impact, I have a hard time focusing. This is the primary reason I haven’t gotten much writing or freelance work done for a couple of weeks — it’s too easy to drift, trying to remember what else needs to get done.

This makes today a real accomplishment, as I took cardboard boxes to the recycling center, got another gallon of milk before we ran out, checked my post office box (empty, as usual), copyedited a journal article, and did my Inktober sketch. Still no words, but this feels like progress.

Today’s Inktober prompt was “gigantic.” This is an Aldabra giant tortoise from the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, sketched with the Copic Multiliner.

ink drawing of giant tortoise
photo of giant tortoise

Not so quiet day

I knew today wasn’t going to be hugely productive. Rainy day with the kids home? Right.

No words, and currently lots of doubts about participating in NaNoWriMo next month, but I decided not to fret about that.

So I took the girl shopping for bits of the Halloween costume she wants me to assemble for her, did some reading, attended SFWA’s weekly operations call, put up with son and his friend gaming, let daughter go off to movie with her friend, and then did pizza and impromptu gaming (Hogwarts Clue) with our friends. All in all, a very good day off.

Oh, and I sketched. Today’s Inktober prompt was “screech.” This is a cave bear skull from the geology museum at the Colorado School of Mines. No, bears don’t really screech, but the open mouth felt suggestive. Again, used the Pentel brush pen.


sketch of cave bear skull

photo of cave bear skull

By hook or by crook

Quiet Sunday — sleeping in, daughter’s soccer, rereading some of my favorite bits in a friend’s unpublished paranormal romance to get my thoughts straight, laundry, and my daily sketch.

Today’s Inktober prompt was “crooked.” This broken stump was around one of the lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. A mix of Copic Multiliner 0.3 and the Pentel brush pen. I’m really liking the brush pen for shadow work.

tree srump sketch
tree stump

A not-so-shy sky

So I was really happy to find the perfect photo from our trip this summer for the Inktober prompt of “sky.” We were traveling west across Nebraska, the clouds were all kinds of threatening, and there were tornado warnings both north and east of us. Didn’t know if I could do justice to it, but I was going to try.

I did my picture — then discovered that today’s prompt was actually “shy.” Guess I’ll have to do another one tomorrow.

Picture was done with the Pentel brush pen, India ink, and brush that came in the Artsnacks box set for Inktober. The brush and ink were key to filling in that stretch of road.

What else did I do today? I planned to scrub down the kitchen, help the girl organize her magazines and comics, and paint. Instead, I slept in, bought groceries, and hung out watching my husband play Mass Effect: Andromeda. Plan to write a few sentences before I switch over to reading for half an hour or so before sleep.

ink drawing of cloudy sky over flat landscape
cloudy skies over flat land

Not ready for the weekend 

How can one not be ready for the weekend? Quite simply, still too many things on my to-do list for the week still untouched.

On the other hand, the weekend does mean sleeping in — and it’s a three-day weekend, so that’s a plus.

No words today.

Inktober prompt was sword. Swords are from a visiting exhibit (Samurai: Way of the Warrior) that was at the Chazen Museum of Art on the University of Wisconsin campus. I was very irritated with this sketch and noticed all the things wrong with it. (I can give you a list.)



Long morning 

Today had school drama. Slow motion, check Twitter to see if there were updates, then try to keep working drama. By midmorning, everything was resolved, people had done their jobs, and that was that until after school when I heard the boy’s view of things.

Today’s words: 1,025

Nearing the one-third mark! I’d like to be farther, but the only way to get there is to keep going.

Today’s Inktober prompt was “long.” I really wasn’t sure what to draw for this, but went with a long mountain ridge from Rocky Mountain National Park.

mountain sketch
mountain ridge