Category Archives: Updates

I Took a Breather

I missed the last two check-ins for the ROW80. Mostly I needed to rest and heal some. Saturday the 4th, I had one….heck of a day. I’d headed up to NYS to help my mother with some things at the house (the Northeast was in for an exceptionally long and hard cold spell for the region and she was afraid that the furnace might not keep up and the pipes might freeze). And… the week before my dad had passed away suddenly, which meant she’d had limited mental energy for handling emergencies.

The picture above is how I was spending time at my hotel in Clifton Park, since Mom had asked me to just stay near, but not come over (she’d had trouble with the wind and had jammed newspaper in the door to wedge it closed and didn’t want to open it and let the cold in… yeah, I know). It ended up being an okay night. Cold, even the hotel, since the windows had iced over, but I had warm blankets and the heater worked.

And Mom called in the morning to say though the cold water in the kitchen had frozen some, she’d been able to get it going without any burst pipes. We were going to meet for a late lunch, go back to her house, and hopefully fix some things she’d been letting slide. Minutes later I was standing outside my hotel in slippers and pajamas while this was happening (it was 6°F out):

All I had was my room key and my phone….. Yeah, Dad used to be a fireman, and basic rule I’d always been taught was don’t worry about personal belongings, just get out of the building if the alarm is going off. The only thing I’d paused for was to make sure the cleaning lady who was worried about leaving her cart in the hall left immediately too. I’d been holding the phone and had had the key card because ‘d recently gone out to get ice.

Well, after my slippers started freezing to the pavement, I called Mom and asked her if she could help. Yep. Here I was going up to help Mom, and she had to rescue me. But eventually she was able to drive down, just as the firemen were able to help me into my room to grab my purse and keys so I could sit in my truck (and eventually again, to help me clean out all my stuff because the hotel was being fully evacuated for the night).

What do two frazzled women do in freezing weather in upstate NY? We went out to eat. My brother offered me a couch to crash on for the night (radio silence from the hotel about an alternative place to stay). So after enjoying our meal, we went to Mom’s house as planned before. And… boom!

Now, honestly, I can (and have) tripped over dustbunnies. But.. In the dark, dealing with the neighbor’s yapping dogs , I wasn’t paying attention to the uneven sidewalk… Mom says I was flying for a moment. The sidewalk does head downhill somewhat so, that’s probably why. Bloodied my left knee, my right hand and elbow, and… knocked the breath out of me so hard I couldn’t stand up for several minutes.

It still hurts to take a deep breath. I’m not sure how I slept on my brother’s couch that night.

So… I took a breather another way. Except doing a few errands for Mom on Sunday and then driving back down to NJ, I have taken things a bit easy this week. I can’t lay down in bed yet. Just reading (Thinking Fast and Slow, The Corner That Held Them, and Dissolution) as well as catching up with my latest BritBox mystery shows (Waking the Dead season five right now). Still… I did manage to do some ROW80 goals.

Here’s how I did:

  • Continue to freewrite daily; aim for at least three pages or 20 minutes BICHOP Nope. Managed two days of any writing, but mostly my muse has been out of calling range
  • Maintain the ROW80 blog and update pages and info as I can Yes
  • Spend an hour daily, five days a week, sorting computer files (photos, notes, etc.) I cleared out some TBR tabs on my computer
  • Spend an hour daily typing in notebooks, five days a week Nope
  • Reading… focus on reducing the “presently reading” list by finishing the library books (the hold up here is that several are non-fiction for research purposes, and those can be slow going when I’m taking copious notes or cross referencing details) Yes, as noted above… though I also picked up two more library books that had come in through the interlibrary loan program
  • Update name blog and test it for “digestibility I wrote a post several days late, does that count?
  • Learn the ins and outs of the Fediverse (Mastodon, Diaspora, etc.) Nope
  • Maintain a weekly sabbath, a day where I do not NEED to do anything at least Didn’t actually take any time off. I’d actually been relaxing in my hotel room, using it somewhat like a writing retreat until the alarms went off. Now I’m just laying somewhat low and recouping. So… no.

My plan for the rest of this ROWnd is to just… get through it and do what I can. This next weekend we’ll be in NYS again since Mom has some computer and paperwork issues that she needs help with. I intend to go to my local writing group events on Tuesday and Thursday. Just going day-to-day until I can get to something closer to this again:

Boodle and a Weeping Beech at Wintherthur

The Hidden Hurting Things

Just a quick update for my ROW80 peeps. Been keeping up with my words with the lowest count for a day being 902 (today) and an average of 1300 a day. Wish I could say these were all story words, but I’ve started a lot of entries lately with “I don’t know what to write” until the brain gets sick of that and starts throwing me stuff. Sometimes I even trick my brain with silly bits where I’ll intentionally throw one of my characters into a fix they’d never get into on their own. The brain rebels and starts saying “NO, this is what would happen.”

It seems to be the only way to kickstart the brain these days. So many other things have demanded the mind.

With my husband’s work schedule shifting this month to facilitate a work-trip to Tennessee, we’re trying to figure out how to fit in house shopping time. The deadline for us to have a house down near Philly is March, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for inspections and closing. And of course, being winter, my head is desperately trying to go into hibernation state, not moving.

They say Thursday’s Child has far to go…

And onto the WIPpet… As I mentioned last week, I’ll be offering pieces from rewritten work in Singer of the Swan Song. Trying to make sense of the story and building up the sections of this piece of the Swan Song Series had been my main NaNoWriMo focus last month. Along with trying to fill in pieces of the rest of the series… If all goes well, I’ll be able to release the series within a short period, and hopefully will have managed to avoid too many continuity errors in doing so.

Well… we’ll see.

Today’s WIPpet starts right at the new opening I’ve been working on. That said, I’m not quite sure I’m on the right track here. So, I offer this piece, and those for the rest of this month, as a bit of an experiment. Hope y’all don’t mind being guinea pigs for a bit… (Feel free to point out anything that bothers or confuses you; I’d rather know now that when I hit send to an agent or publisher)

Five sentences for the 5th of December… sort of. There’s some fragments here, and I chose to add them together.

“But Mama!” ‘Tara hesitated before the dark maw of the stable entrance, unable to force her trembling legs to follow her mother into that bad place. She knew what hid in there, lying in wait in the dark. The screams, the hurts, the blood and tears…

Fire… the pain and fire burned throughout her head and body even now.

Out of the shadows, the small yellow glow of a rushlight hurried toward her, reflecting off her mother’s mantle and casting the woman’s shadow deeper into the darkness. “Quiet, girl,” her mother whispered, extending a hand.

I hope you found yourself intrigued by this opening. Let me know what did (or did not) appeal to you. And when you’re done, why not hop over to the WIPpet linky where you can discover some other wonderful writers. A happy shout out to Emily Wrayburn for hosting our friendly group.


Just kicking back

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here.  Sometimes it feels like it’s been a long time since I wrote.  It’s not true…  I’ve managed some writing regularly.  Not as much as I feel I should be doing, and definitely not enough to feel the release writing used to bring to me when life was a bit less crazy.

Things have been a little off-kilter these days.  We’re in the midst of a move, preparing for a trip to the UK (was already half in the works well before all this location change stuff happened), the home repairs and renovations we’d intended on finishing through “Weekend Warrior-ing” are now being done at whirlwind speeds….

I haven’t had a lot of mental energy left for posting to my blogs.  Or rather to this blog.  I have managed pretty well at keeping the ROW80 blog on track.  Mostly…  I dropped the ball this week,  twice.

So, to get myself back into a bit of a schedule, I’m resuming my ROW80 journey.  Simple goals…

  • RWA challenge, write 200o words and edit 100 pages of CTSS each month.
  •  Keep up the ROW80 blog and prep things for the England trip
  • Keep sane goals…  sort through closets and dressers for more donations; sort through houses we’ve visited by neighborhood, access to trains, etc.

It’s enough.  The Boodle has camp for the next two weeks, so I’ll be driving a lot.  Audiobooks!  I think I may want to download an audiobook or two.

Yeah…  that’s how it is.  😉