October Over

flying #sunset:

Another blog challenge over. Believe this makes 31 posts. For me, I’m going to count it challenge met. This makes the second time I have blogged every day (almost – 31 posts, but not one every day). According to all the marketing gurus – I should be adding followers, winning friends, and influencing people.

Not so much.

It is probably that I am not searching for valuable content to share before writing. The trend now is to do what one does on Pinterest, repost the great content with a different heading and a sentence or two summary. Not seeing how this increases the world’s sum total knowledge or actually is beneficial.

The experts say to make sure what you post benefits your readers. Once again, have to wonder what my mythical readers and few fans want to read – what would help you. I hear silence. All I can share is my experience post retirement with writing and self-publishing. I try to do that honestly, hoping to find something inspiring to share. But I’m afraid I’m living a rather uninspiring life – although certainly a happy and satisfied one.

I should be collecting email by offering you a worksheet, booklet, book, song, or new hat or something like that. Intend to work one of these up someday, but not convinced it will work. I sign up to get these sometimes, but then unsubscribe when people send me ads asking me to buy things. I’m retired, I don’t buy a lot these days.

Sending you love and hope your life is happy and satisfying too.

I hope to post something once a week for awhile, just like after the last challenge. If I have amazing news, I’ll share.

Want to use my time to write. Have about 35,000 words written on the new novel, hoping to finish it and start another during NaNoWriMo. That begins tomorrow. Tallyho!


Halloween Party

Participated in my first book launch party as one of the hosts. Interesting experience. Only had to be on line for half an hour but spent time checking into the site before and after to try to figure out what was expected. We posted a short piece about our story in the new anthology, Gift from the Dark, and had an opportunity to talk about our other work and answer any questions. Here is my little introduction piece.

When I was a young writer, I used to clip interesting newspaper articles that sounded like they would make a good story. This began as a piece that appeared in The Knoxville News Sentinel over twenty years ago.

Victims of crime are usually the very young and the very old, not strong and fit people. That’s because criminals are cowards, only concerned with what they want, not how they alter or destroy their victim’s lives.

Most of us assume people grow older and dearer as they age. I’ve always wanted to write a story with an old “Dirty Harry,” who is targeted to be a victim. Used part of this idea in a recent novel, “Killing the Darlings,” http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IRRMO2A, but wondered what would happen if the couple weren’t older and sweeter like the Darlings, but mean, really mean. Hence, this short story, “Vicious People” in the Gifts from the Dark Anthology, “a miscellany of dread.” getBook.at/giftsdark

Nice to meet and get to know the other writer’s in the book a little better, even if at a great distance. It feels strange, posting something and waiting for a reply. The feed is up on Twitter as well as at the new books page, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207844251815402&set=gm.870371459718950&type=3&theater

With 50 to 100,000 new books going up on Amazon, each month, it is hard to get any attention. Think the party organizers did a great job setting everything up and taking care of making the video, publishing the book, and announcing its new release. All funds from the book sale will go to charity, to benefit the mentally ill and their families. Happy to be a small part and have another outlet for my writing.

Here, for those who didn’t get enough carved pumpkins tonight. Happy Halloween!


James Patterson Flash 2


Although I didn’t post a blog last night, this will make my second today. Maybe I can do a couple tomorrow and meet that little challenge too.

I did write a second scene for the James Patterson Flash, a group writing assignment as part of that class. Enjoyed doing the first scene so much, eagerly (idiotically) volunteered to try a second. Have no idea what the whole novel will reveal, although with people posting their scenes, I have a rough idea. It is basically a story of Temptation and sin. Will wait to read the last chapters to learn if there is redemption at the end of the book.

I think it was being part of the group and taking part in writing blindly that made this fun. Hope there will be another challenge like it.

Last night I managed to copy my scene to a drive and carry to my husband’s computer (which has the land line) and post it. No idea if it arrived in time but if the deadline was midnight, I made it with an hour to spare. Woke and sent it again when home from Y, in case it didn’t make it the night before.

Don’t know if my efforts were good enough or will be included in the final work. Fingers crossed.  I am supposed to be part of another Anthology, this one  by the Cake and Quill group. Looking forward to the launch party for the new book tomorrow. Will definitely blog about the experience later. All funds from book sales will go to charity.

Technology Failure


This isn’t a new ball park or flag, but something formed over 8000 years ago that Nasa is calling the Kazakhstan geoglyphs. Pretty remarkable for stone age people with primitive tools, almost like the Nazca lines in Peru. So if they could manage all this, without air ships or tools to lay out their elaborate designs only visible from 430 miles up, why can’t I get along without the Internet?

Our Wi-Fi was out last night. No saving my book chapter to the cloud. No connecting to Word Press to write and post another blog. Instead of feeling guilty, I  felt like I used to when the school announced a Snow Day. I relaxed and did a little dance. I started two days late on this October blogging challenge, so I’m going to finish at least two blogs shy of earning a gold star. Believe me, I can live with it.

Although I love a goal and a challenge, I know by now I’m not going to win everyone that I set. But I’ve always believed in reaching for a goal, striving for perfection. If I don’t reach them (never will perfection), at least I am better in so many ways for making the effort.

Now to face the next big challenge. For the fifth year, I’m going to enter Nanowrimo, just like all the kids at school. I know I’m a little older, but they can’t feel any more eager. I have entered four and finished four. 50,000 words, here I come.

Times Flight

Battling Time

When I taught school, one of the first signs I printed and posted on the wall beside the clock read – Time Passes, Will You?  (Alright, I’ve always been a bit of a smart aleck. Maybe more than a bit.)  But when I look at my face in the mirror, it seems as though Salvador Dali has been repainting it. Time is passing too quickly. I have such a long list of things to get done and very little is changing, and what does, is changing far too slowly. Time really is melting away.

My Balance Sheet

I wrote a chapter on the new novel today. (Sounds good, but I’m four behind, so wanted to write two.)

I’m finishing another blog. (I will have almost thirty new ones, but not thirty-one.)

Nanowrimo is galloping toward me, listened to another inspirational podcast by Deb McLeod. She has a free 14 day series at http://debmcleod.com/nanowrimo-events/ (I’ve listened to two.)

We have a wonderful Cookeville Wrimos group, (getting ready for Nano. Meant to participate this year since they meet twice weekly. (I’ve only gone to one meeting all month.)

Hope to finish my current novel during this year’s Nano and start another. (Still haven’t outlined the other.)

Wrote one scene in the James Patterson Flash challenge. Like a nut, I accepted another scene to try. Need to get it written by tomorrow. (I researched it tonight, didn’t write it.)

Well If I weren’t running out of time, I could list a lot more. My list of projects is ambitious, but my get up and get busy is less so every year. At least I keep trying.

Because time passes and I know I will too. I just want to get everything on my list done before my time is up.

Wildwood Flower

Writing late and a little slowly, searching for words to express the emotions of my characters. Young, in love, Alma is newlywed and walking away from the only home she has known with no hope of ever seeing her family again. Her Ma died before the wedding, but Alma felt her presence hovering over her all day.  Walking beside her is the strange man she has married, a Melungeon. They are looking at the tall poplars as they walk, talking about Wildwood honey.

Wasted time earlier reading many of the posts from the James Patterson Flash written over the weekend. It was hard to fit it in around family time. Wrote after midnight the first night, woke to edit and post while everyone was drowsy. Revised and sent in on the last day of the visit, again very late at night. Curious to see the finished project. Everyone’s stories have been so interesting. Almost have a vision of the scope of the book. Great seeing it unfold this way, scene by scene. Work is numbered, but the submissions are jumbled and it feels a lot like working a jigsaw puzzle trying to keep it straight.

Long,  rainy day, today. Hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

Out of Excuses

Back to Normal

We’re home alone. The cats are thrilled to have our devoted attention again. Beds are changed, laundry done, dishes stored away.

It is quiet. Almost caught up on email, almost. Turned on television first time in three days. Indulged in two episodes of Antique Road Show. Guilty pleasure.

Now, here I sit, ready to write. Blank.

May give myself tonight to sleep, read a little, and hit it hard tomorrow. But I have a book to finish, another to work out for the Nanowrimo challenge. Have only a few days left to get ready.

Exhausted. So happy, that for three days I had the ones I love within hugging reach. Living across country is hard. Have always envied my friends who have children living beside them or at least in town. Lots of extra hugs. Some complain it takes too much time, too much involvement, and it leaves too little time for themselves. I wonder.

It’s so quiet without them.

James Patterson Masterclass Flash

Taking a class to learn from the biggest, bestselling author of them all, James Patterson. This weekend was the Masterclass Flash! We were given a scene to write in a novel, with two people getting the same scene, and only the information for our own short scene. Each received a list of characters in our scene, a setting location, a lead in on where and when it was set. Then the important moments and the challenge to write a complete scene in first person, past tense in the POV of the main character in the 700 word range.

Received my scene Friday night about 7:30. Due by Sunday. Company arrived Friday. Turned in draft yesterday about 11:00 in the morning. Of course, wrote in third person. I can be such a goober. Submitted first revisions tonight about 11:00 p.m.  Nice challenge.

Last day with family.  Another fantastic homemade dessert from my granddaughter – a yummy coconut cream pie. Another meal out, this time to a steakhouse. I love puzzles and games of all kinds. Really felt the love as they played card games and board games, ending with a double round of Pictionary. With just me and old Grandpa,  it is a rare treat to play more games than I can stand. Loved every minute of it.

I always read a stack of books or stories to the grandchildren when we’re together. It’s our nightly ritual. Tonight my grandsons each read their favorite story to me. What a treat. Love, love, love being Granny.

Grandmas storybook - [someone else's caption]:


Feel the month long competition pounding at the door. Here is a link to their marvelous free resource on getting started.https://www.facebook.com/darlene.r.league/posts/10206477626278359

Need to be getting ready, but…

Watched my son peel apples my grandchildren picked so my granddaughter (at 13 quite a remarkable cook), could make into a pan of apple crisp. Yummy.

Lovely morning changed to a drizzly afternoon. Went shopping, ate pizza (one of my favorite foods), and came home to play board games, mind games, and cards. Another enjoyable day.

Spent the last hour researching personal accounts of men who traveled west in pursuit of gold in the 1849 gold rush. Bursting to be back in my novel. Will have to wait.

Another day blessed with family tomorrow.


Long Day, Little Work

Wonderful day with my precious grandchildren.

They spent the day in a pumpkin patch picking out just the right ones and then racing through mazes in corn and sunflower patches. Hay ride back to the car with their treasures.

Spent the evening eating Chinese food, and then ate homemade Macaroons baked by my granddaughter. She shared her composition on Columbus. So impressed with my little writer. All three played Parcheesi with me and trounced me good.

Great Day. Working on a scene for the Patterson Flash Fiction, two paragraphs, but tomorrow is another day.

Halloween by N. Rockwell: