END OF THE CHALLENGE

This month’s Goals

Participated in two challenges this month.

Ultimate Blogging Challenge

This is my last post in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge that Paul Taubman and Danni Ackerman run several times a year. Not sure how many times, but this is my third round since I played at it twice last year. Thanks to them there are over a hundred blogs on my site to read. Yeah! Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

The goal was to write a blog everyday this month and to post comments on two other people’s blogs and to report back on that. I wrote 28, since this one is over the midnight line, and it’s 29, not sure if it will count. I tried hard. I commented on other people’s blogs, their Facebook page posts, replied to their Twitters, etc.. But I didn’t post back and report after the first week, took too much time and not all the things I commented on were by members in the UBC.

Since I didn’t make 31 am I a loser? Technically, yes. But I feel pretty good about getting another 29 posts up on my little old site. Someday, someone will stumble across these in cyber space and either learn something new, or feel confident they can do better.

I did my best, tried my hardest, and enjoyed the experience. I learned to post more images, categorize most of the posts, add in music and video. As long as I’m learning I’m happy.

CampNaNoWriMo

Went to camp in the spring and managed to finish my novel Widow Mouse. It’s for sell on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FP5TUF0 along with the other dozen books and other work at http://amzn.to/2aeGCsA.

Went to camp this month and wrote more words, over 33,000, on Wild Violets.  But I forgot to change my goal before validation started, so came up 17,000 short of the 50,000 goal to win. As a dummy, when I posted my words for validation, it shouted winner, since I’m over 53,000 words on the novel. Had over 30,000 when camp started, but had one of those crises where I deleted, then my crazy computer got sick and deleted some too, and 53,000 is about what I have now. I still need at least a week more of words to finish the book, so don’t feel worthy of the banner this time. But here it is, might as well wave it. Winner 2016

To be a Winner

When I grew up, very few people ever had a book published. Only a handful could ever claim to be a best-selling author. Very few people were ever declared a winner.

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Now, everyone gets a pat on the back and is told, bully for you, you tried hard, therefore you are a winner. Professional athletes compete in the Olympics and if there is a competition of some kind, it is an Olympic Sport. If there is a category on Kindle, there is a Best-Selling Author Title for that Category.

Waiting on the real thing, but glad I was able to make the effort. Can’t wait for the next challenge, maybe I’ll actually be a winner.

 

MAKING PROGRESS

Goals

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If you want to make a basket, you have get out on the court and aim at the goal. As President of a writer’s group for over thirty-five years, I know a lot of writers. Most of them want to be successful, published authors. Currently, the majority have one or more books up on Amazon. How? They wanted to write a story that interested them and that only they could create. They studied how to write, read a lot, and wrote a lot of stories. Then they either found help or figured out the steps to self-publish. Some have been more successful than others. One or two have been traditionally published.

The problem with writing and publishing your book is the difficulty in finding an audience to read what you write. Here are a series of articles addressing the problem.

Notice that in 2002, the author advised against it because there were 80,000 books published each year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/28/opinion/think-you-have-a-book-in-you-think-again.html

In 2013, this author is advising against self-publishing a book because there are 800,000 to 1,000,000 books published each year, and building a platform to get noticed is no longer easy.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2013/01/08/thinking-of-self-publishing-your-book-in-2013-heres-what-you-need-to-know/#66528d29f43a

This is the most positive article I could find on self-publishing. Basically, it advises writers to write more books and pay for professional services to compete, while expecting to earn much less on each book.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker/2015-book-publishing-indu_b_6407812.html

A last list of ten self-publishing trends. I couldn’t find the number of titles being loaded onto Kindle this year, my guess is it is probably double the numbers in 2013. In one Facebook group I belong to, one writer had just finished writing seven novels in nine weeks. The competition is fierce. Since I’ll be lucky to complete three or four things this year, it is discouraging.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/70998-10-self-publishing-trends-to-watch.html

Personal Goals for 2016

To finish my Mountain Wives Series – another week should give me time to finish Wild Violets, the third in the series.

To write the third Ghost Warrior story – to complete that series. Unlike the Western Wives and Mountain Wives Series – my blood-thirsty, half-breed warrior does not have an audience yet. But his story is still rattling around in my head and I need to clear it out so I can finish other things.

Hope to write another story to  include in an anthology again this year. Have no idea if any of the Anthologies I’ve been in have a few or a lot of sales, but I enjoy doing the group publishing thing.

To start another series. Widow Wives, about women who lose their husbands during the bloody Civil War and still have to move forward to raise children and find happiness.

To keep writing. Somebody has to break the odds which are longer and longer in publishing. Believe it’s like the lottery ticket, highly unlikely that you’ll ever win, but sure-fire certain you won’t, if you don’t buy a ticket or write that book.

 

 

 

ADMIRE

A simple word this time.

Admire means to look at with pleasure, or to regard someone with warmth and approval.

I am generous in my admiration of all things beautiful, complex, or interesting in any way. I can honestly say  I admire anyone who gets up in the morning with a list to do and settles in at night with a list that is done. I admire people who show love and kindness to others, and those that capture the expression of that in any form.

I thought, this would be a quick blog to write. I’ll just post ten greatest lists: novels, paintings, songs, sculptures, inventions, discoveries, etc.. Couldn’t find anyone’s list I agreed with perfectly. Most of the great art and sculpture lists feature an awful lot of nudity, so will leave you to make your own. Sharing this cute definition of etc., since it fits me to a tee.

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Narcissus

See nothing to admire here. Narcissus was a Greek god of great beauty. The goddess Echo loved him, but as you can see, he only loved himself. Always depicted looking at his own reflection, (although you have to admit Echo was giving him plenty to see if he’d looked her way.)

Some people are famous for posting their self images. Needless to say, that qualifies them as narcissistic, (having an excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance). Part of this blog challenge has involved posting the blog each day to Facebook and Twitter, where one sees daily examples of this.

Artists in order, Michelangelo, Solomon Joseph, John William Waterhouse, and unknown (site Micthellteachers.net).

END OF THE WORLD

 

Doomsday

There were a lot of people saying the world was going to end on 7/29/16. Apparently it didn’t. Thank goodness, since I am behind on all my goals this month. We were away for more than a week, plus there were so many things going on here, including my computer getting sick. Only a little over 30,000 during CampNaNoWriMo, so I won’t make 50,000 goal for the month. Still, I’m pleased to have made progress on the book. Now I know there will be a tomorrow, plan to work on it a lot harder. I’ve done either 25 or 26 new blogs this month, hopefully get a couple more done by Sunday. Not bad when the mind is such a blank.

Liked this tweet, by the Jamison twins, “The end of the world was cancelled due to a lack of interest.” https://twitter.com/PSYCHICTWINS/status/759050538021326850

Here’s a little of the doomsday rhetoric. Japanese stock market had a disastrous day, Hillary was hacked again, and fire-balls were seen on the west coast. http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/false-prophecy-group-end-times-prophecies-predicts-end-world-tonight/http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-

Outside World

On the computer hacking, everyone thinks it’s Russia doing it, even Trump (who asked them to find her missing Benghazi emails). Clearly the hacker is some evil person with more time on their hands than good sense. No one seems to care about these emails, even Bernie Sanders went ahead and gave her a hug and his endorsement. If most people are like me, they don’t have time to keep up with their own.

Since I’m still listening and trying to decide which person to vote for, I watched a few speeches every night from each convention. Today we went to the movies and watched Hillary’s America. Someone at the Y told me I really needed to see it. Probably should go  if you are undecided too. Certainly gives you plenty to think about and fact-check. Hope the election gets here before the end of the world. Plan to make up my mind on who is the least evil by then, so I can vote.

Sharing

Some of my favorite things to tweet tonight were these.

 

BEHIND AGAIN

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Politics

Easier to be scolded by hunky actors than myself. I only have 769 on my new novel tonight, too much listening to the DNC and surfing the web reading scandalous news and rumors.  Learned nothing last week from my computer meltdown, after doing the same as I listened to the RNC.

This is one of the meanest elections I’ve ever experienced. Nothing is too low to say or accuse the other one of doing. All I have decided is that I will vote, and neither candidate holds much  appeal.

Feel so disillusioned and confused by the current state of the world and our government.  Seeing the posts of headlines from respected News media, matched to verbatim leaked Democratic emails, didn’t help.

All I know for certain is that when lips are moving, lies are being told. Also, our government is for sale by our elected officials who promise what they think we want to hear, and then vote for whoever has the most grease for them.

Would love for health insurance to have a one payer system and the blank check written for Obamacare to be cleaned up. I want peace and harmony, and ISIS and other terrorist groups to blow only themselves up, and leave the rest of us and the world alone.

I like the men in the picture, because they’re not in costume. Tonight, Hillary really seemed to be trying too hard to look pure in her white suit.

Critics

Twain's Trash of James Fenimore Cooper - great advice for all writers.

Loved an article in Writer Unboxed, and made a little Pinterest post from it.  Love Cooper, and read most of his books when I was young. To see him slammed so hard by Mark Twain, another of my favorite authors, was enlightening.  As Bob Dylan once sang, “Everybody must get stoned.” (It may not mean to have rocks thrown at you, but I’ve always interpreted it that way.)

Still Learning

Ending with a pin I didn’t create. My fourteen-year-old granddaughter loves Bridge, and she and my daughter-in-law tried to help me learn the basics again last week.

Hopefully, this will make you smile like it did me.

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FILLING PLOT HOLES

 

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Plot Holes

Not sure if the current novel has any plot holes. Won’t know until I reach the end and read it. Tonight at 25,346 for new words added during camp. Was at 30,000 at the start. Last third to go.

Since having a plot hole is a terrible thing, found this nice article with ways to find and fill the rascals. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/436286282634555325/

Editing

Does not sound easy. Hope to finish this book and turn it over to trusted Beta readers to scream out when they hit one. Takes more than one set of eyes to find and fix all the errors in a novel draft. I edit in everyway I can think to find them all, at least a week before letting trusted friends read. Early readers are worth their weight in gold.

Pinterest

Placed the article on my Pinterest board called Writers. Lot of good and useful things there, that I can find more easily than stored on my computer. Love Pinterest and the Cloud. Meant to include it on my research tools the other day. Many scenes in novels have been sparked by the right image. Come visit my Pinterest page, and take anything you find useful. https://www.pinterest.com/bieryj/

 

 

ELUSIVE

Behind on Blogs

I’m at least four blogs behind and saw this word/photo challenge, https://dailypost.wordpress.com/challenge-instructions/. These little blogs will be short and random, but most of mine are like that anyway.

Define the word elusive.

First kisses are like that.

Maybe a brother falling in love with his new baby sister on first sight,

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Or two friends who like each other so much they exchange that first real boy/girl kiss.

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My first thought was of that magical moment when you fall totally in love forever. Like a boy and girl at the end of the perfect date, when they really look at each other for the first time, seeing all the way to the core of that other’s being and know, they don’t want to live without this feeling of love. Which always leads to their first kiss.

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All these feelings are elusive – hard to recapture. Like the perfect image of the ever more elusive butterfly – landing on the right flower. If we don’t see, snap, and save them, are they lost forever? I say no, they are always there as teasing, elusive memories.

 

 

 

 

WEAVING PLOT POINTS IN A NOVEL SERIES

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Knitting Argyle Socks

I’ve always had restless hands and a busy mind. When I was younger and first married, I loved crafts, especially knitting and crocheting. It seemed the harder the pattern, the more challenging the stitch, the more I enjoyed trying to make something. Other than a few sweaters, a shawl, baby caps and booties, and several baby blankets, I never did that much knitting. Crochet is faster and far easier.

The hardest successful piece was a sweater for my new husband with lots of cabling in the front and back that required the use of little short needles and then a circular one to form the neckline. Forty-seven years is a long time ago and I doubt that I could even knit and purl a row these days, but it was fun then.

I even tried to knit a pair of argyle socks, not as colorful or elaborate as Mr. Louis Armstrong’s above, but they were ambitious. I ended up with a lot of colorful threads that always wanted to tangle and snarl, and discarded the project about a third of the way up one sock out of frustration. There was little chance they would have fit any better than my husband’s burgundy sweater did, anyway.

What does that have to do with writing?

Plot Lines in a Series

I started writing tonight (only 333 words) and had the scene in mind to write. But then I had to check the first two books in the series since it felt like I might have written and included it in one of them already. I had. I didn’t want to duplicate the scene, even though it would be from Charlotte’s viewpoint in Wild Violets, instead of Jeanne’s in Widow Mouse.

I made the mistake of doing that in my  first series. I think it was just two scenes, but the girls were traveling west on the same wagon train and the scenes were pivotal in the second novel, Bright Morning Star. I thought if E.L. James in Fifty Shades of Gray, could rewrite her novel, this time from the man’s point of view, and have another best seller, a couple of scenes would go unnoticed. After all, they included different facts and were from a totally different point of view. Of course they did not, and a couple of reviewers pointed it out. I hate bad reviews.

Series are a lot like Argyle socks. Every detail and line written creates a unique period and place that’s shared by the characters in that series. There are a lot of threads that need to be carefully pulled through the books to create the pattern of the complete series without any snarls or blotches.

So I’m still awake, trying to figure out how, or what, to write to get through this section without making any reader feel there is repetition. Enough of a challenge that I am going to bed to sleep on it. One has to trust that the brain will solve the problem by morning, otherwise I will be rereading my Mountain Wives Series again.

 

AWAITING MY MUSE

Seeking Inspiration Today

That’s what I use for an excuse when I want to goof off and just watch movies for awhile. Watched three, none worth commenting on, although the last two were romantic comedies and made me want to write one of those for a change.

Only wrote 1556 words on the novel today, and I’m blogging after midnight. Decided to check the muse, wasn’t sure after finding these images. These old girls in the Greek frieze above look as bored as I feel. The Nine Muses were the daughters of Apollo and interested in inspiring the creative arts: Clio (history), Euterpe (music) , Thalia (comedy), Melpomeni (tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polymnia (mimicry art & grammar), Ourania (astronomy) and Calliope (the superior muse -heroic poems and rhetoric arts). Since I’m working on a new historical romance, suppose I should summon Clio and Erato, but those have more modern connotations, and I’m definitely not writing erotic fiction.

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This painting by John Singer Sargent at least has the ladies moving around Apollo.

My Nine Sources of Inspiration

Books, I read  a lot. Have shelves of books, a well-worn library card, and the Kindle App on everything I own. These days, I am downloading more than I take off the shelf, finding it easier to keep things in focus on my tablet. I intend to read far more than I do. Start way too many books these days that I don’t finish. Feel incredibly guilty, but there is so much information out there to consume (3.9 million books on Kindle alone), and who has the time. Love finding myself hooked and unable to put the book down. Read hoping to find more of these.

Television, we have cable. Since we each have one, I call them dueling remotes. My husband likes sports, news, and flipping. I like some news, reality television, old movies, new movies, new television shows. Find it less and less interesting these days – with far too much flipping. Most days I watch my game shows (Jeopardy and Wheel) and nothing else. Today I over indulged in movies.

Movies, we just got back from time with the grandchildren. They were trying to decide what movie Granny would like to watch, when Grandpa yelled, anything. She will watch anything. And that’s true. Don’t enjoy horror, raunchy comedy, or comic book movies. But if someone wants to watch a movie with me, I am willing to give it a try.

Magazines, no longer subscribe, but get half a dozen anyway from memberships. Find I read more than enough articles on-line. Just Googling a topic and then skimming several until I find one with the answers and depth I need.

Wikipedia, I know it’s not reliable, but by following the annotated references, can usually find the information needed. Again, Goggle search brings more material than one can ever read, plus access to books and historical documents from major libraries. Turn to one of my three sets of Encyclopedia at home if I haven’t found what I want.

YouTube, if I’m trying to learn how to do something and I’ve read about it, listened to webinars about it, and asked people, then I turn to YouTube and watch someone show me how to do it. All I know about Gimp, formatting documents for Amazon, screenwriting format, I’ve learned on YouTube.

Blogs, read the blogs written by experts in the area, whether historical research, writing, or publishing. Endless free material out there at the end of a Google search.

Newspapers, dating myself, but I love to open a daily newspaper and read from first page to last, working the crossword and other puzzles as I go.

People, have a large group of writer friends and participate in two writer’s groups each month as well as online Facebook groups. Someone has the answer. Someone can and will give you honest feedback on what you are writing. Well worth the time to ask them for help.

 

 

 

Silver Dreamer