Last night I met my goal of adding at least 30,000 more words to the novel I started in June. I’m glad I did because it pushed me further along toward completing another new book.  I had a goal last month of writing 50,000 during Junowrimo, but could only get 42,500 words as I had to work out the plot, characters, etc. This month, I’ve taken a lighter load so I could at least get it done. I’m still writing. My new goal will be to finish this novel in August.

Hate not finishing a challenge. The above quote is similar to what I was taught as a child. “If you say you’ll do a thing, then do it.” I grew up in a large family, and each of us had chores and tasks to finish. We learned early that it mattered if we washed the dishes when it was our turn and put them away. If we didn’t, it made getting breakfast cooked and eaten harder and might make us all run late to school and work.

There was always the threat of a whipping, but I don’t remember any of us ever getting one for chores. (There were plenty of switchings or paddlings for fighting, for breaking things, for doing badly at school, etc., though they mainly stung our pride, not our legs or bottoms.) We wanted to do our share and were proud when we did something to help. Sweeping, dishes, emptying trash, helping to cook, making beds, hanging clothes, putting away food, cleaning the car, feeding the animals, carrying in wood, etc. The list was long and changed with the season, but we knew each job was important and needed doing. Our parents worked so hard, we wanted to help them.  I feel sorry for children now, so little needs doing, and so little is asked of them. But the world changes.

It’s funny about these goals. Being retired, I pretty much can do anything I want, whenever I want. The problem is, the farther into retirement I get, the lazier I become. Really appreciate these little challenges. There are no whippings, but if you make the goal you get a little pat on the head, even if it’s with your own hand. Life is better with a goal and some meaningful work to complete. Tomorrow will be the last blog and I’m eager to finish blog 31. It’s not like anyone will see them or probably read them, but even if the deadline is an arbitrary one, I intend to get it done.






I mentioned the other day that we gave up our cable subscription and are relying on a subscription to Amazon Prime and the Internet, mainly YouTube for entertainment. So far, it has been wonderful. My daughter added us to Netflix the other week. Had no idea that this would be any good. My husband started watching a show this morning about eleven. It was after eight this evening before we came to the end of the show, Stranger Things.

We both love stories of adventure, especially starring children. It had hooks at the end of each little episode that compelled us to come back and watch just one more show. Thank goodness there was no Season 2 shows yet. I may never recover. Still trying to hit my word count for my Camp challenge tonight. And this is my shortest post yet. But did love it, always nice for us to spend that much time together doing anything.



Today, we’re supposed to blog about a controversial topic and give our opinion. I hate giving my opinion on anything, but I always do my homework.

Love living on this big blue earth. Currently, it is undergoing tremendous change as populations expand beyond resources. The debate is as to whether men are the cause of the current climate change.

I remember when Albert Gore, a Tennessean, claimed that the world was warming and the ice caps would melt and the oceans would rise, and most of the coastal regions would be lost. I didn’t believe him then, and I don’t believe him now, although I sat through the school broadcast of his film and the threat to the polar bears without giving my own lecture.  The data in his graphs had been badly manipulated. As a science and math teacher, I noticed that. Another reason I doubted it was we were having much colder than usual winters at the time.


Here is the latest NASA release on the issue, released for all those seeking funding during the Paris Climate accord.

Scientific consensus: Earth’s climate is warming

However, climate is influenced by many factors. The least of these is the CO2 content in the atmosphere. Water vapor has far more impact on the Greenhouse effect. The major causes of climate change are the magnetic shift in the poles, volcanic activity, solar activity, and ocean currents. Plus, our planet is only five hundred years out from the last little Ice Age and is still warming.


These are several reports from panels of thousands of scientists who argue that climate change is not unusual and it is not man-made. Even if it were, there is not enough money in the world to make any change that would be significant enough to change the weather. It is a hoax that has made Al and many government scientists rich. There are many real things to worry about, in my opinion, this is not one of them.

Love to hear your opinion.



Today we’re supposed to share our favorite blogs. Mine are all on writing or screenwriting (best tool I’ve found to learn story structure).

I don’t go online often to a particular site, there are so many riches out there. Receive email when some of my favorites post a new blog and always check out these people.

JoAnna Penn at The Creative Penn  – her blogs are recorded plus transcripts and she has a great English accent plus priceless, current advice on the Indie-Publishing world.

Orna Ross – another big Indie-Author, with a lovely Irish accent, she interviews the best, her blog is recorded with transcripts so you can listen or read it.

Seth Godin – @ThisisSethsBlog – old, talks a little swishy, knows everything about writing, selling, and making a living as a writer or speaker.

Other podcasts and blogs I follow on YouTube:

Ashley Scott Meyers, selling your screenplays – he interviews independent film makers and award winning ones. Lots of advice on how to sell your work.

Erik Bork – famous for writing Band of Brothers script, has wonderful practical advice on story writing of all kinds

Jenna Moreci – she is loud, (swears a lot), writes short peppy blogs and I love her energy and enthusiasm

Brandon Sanderson – lessons on Sci-Fi Fantasy writing, whenever I’m needing a glimpse at a successful writer, like to listen to him teaching his genre, a low energy speaker

I read newsletters that send me to feature bloggers.

Writer Unboxed: Some of the best current writers about the publishing industry.

Book Baby: Generic blogs, well-written on designing covers, writing back-of-book blurbs, fighting writer’s block, etc.

In other words, fart away way too much of my life online because I feel I have to be constantly learning something new all of the time. Internet and YouTube make that more than possible and terribly addictive.



It won’t happen until August 21st, but already all the hotels in town are booked for the event. Television stations have begun to spread the news. In case you haven’t heard, one of the most miraculous events will occur in a vast area in the United States where people can gather to watch it. If I were Mark Twain, I’d be writing a book using it as a plot point. The total eclipse of the sun will occur, and we know precisely when and where.

As an old science teacher, I wish I had some students to share my excitement with. So here are a couple of links so I won’t shout your ears off. No one explains better than Nasa.

If you want to join the 12.2 million they predict will watch, see where you can drive to and sit in awe for a couple of life changing minutes, (with protective goggles of course), here is that link.

And to just fade away, here is a great song.




I’ve mentioned before my love of reading and learning, as well as my tendency to listen to podcasts and webinars. Creative Live has an interesting series of interviews with best-selling authors and how they write. It is called Between the Lines and here is their description. I love their previous series, they run some wonderful how-to classes on art, photography, author promotion, etc. They are always free during the live sessions and very affordable if you want to buy access to the videos or workshops later.


Between the Lines is a series about uncovering the REAL story of these 16 best-selling authors and what story telling means to them. Each of these authors has their own stories that influence their work. Most writers are writing either directly or indirectly based on their experience, their dreams, or their realities. They are telling their stories, whether they are “made up” or based on real life. That takes a ton of bravery, a ton of courage, and that is what stops people generally from putting themselves out there. There is a fear of being not only judged on your work but your ideas. Writing takes BRAVERY. It takes a leap to put yourself out there for eyes to read what you have to say, and then there is the part of actually getting it done. This series is really about being brave, how these authors write their truth and how they MOVE people through their creative pursuits. This series is about what is “between the lines” for each these authors.

Here is the link to the website and signup. It has the list of fantastic authors being interviewed and when the shows will be presented. Kelly Corrigan is a great interviewer so I’m sure it will be fun. Especially helpful if you are considering writing your own memoir or reality inspired fiction, you might want to check it out.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to escape the internet and get back to my own writing. As usual, finding it hard to stay focused.



I carried my cable box in last month and have been going cold turkey. I have an Amazon Prime account so I can watch movies and since our new television is a Smart one, far smarter than me, it lets me surf the web. I can watch news and old movies on there for free. And reruns of game shows, mostly posted by people who appeared on them. The problem, Internet news tends to favor the weird, even more than network news. I guess the weirder it is, the more hits it gets.

Here are a couple of links to some of the stranger ones, in case you’ve missed them.

Not sure why anyone would want to move hagfish or slime fish.

This is Russian, seems to be the most frequent word online, other than UFO.

Some jobs are tougher than others. At least this guy could handle his.

I love these big guys, not sure why everyone is herding them, they seemed to have their trunks packed and plans made.  These two might be a honeymoon couple. The nerve of some animal lovers.

And lots more. I miss real, honest, truthful news. I’m a lot like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man. A had a fixed routine. I finished my work,  watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, then watched Local News to see what was happening close to home, the weather and local sports, then National News to see what was happening in America and around the world. The change of our media into one united voice of hate and ridicule for the new President and most Americans, unless they are part of the fringe along the coasts, destroyed that. I cannot relax and listen to it. There are no factual reports of what is actually happens. Everything is an editorial, someone’s view of what they think is important and how I should see it. It was making me crazier.

I could not relax and listen to it. There are no factual reports of what is actually happens. Everything is an editorial, someone’s view of what they think is important and how I should see it. It was making me even crazier.

So, I’m left with the weird Internet news and listening to BBC, Fox, and the fringe broadcasters. I miss regular television, wish there were some way to return to the simpler days of the big test pattern, then cartoons, old westerns, game shows, news, and shows about normal families living normal lives. I miss my routine.

At least I wrote my count tonight in Camp challenge, and did this silly blog, although trying to get the links to click mean it is late. Apologies for sharing.


Rain storm this afternoon has settled into a gentle soothing rain. I’m enjoying writing in the rain. Listening to some music on You Tube like these three tunes.


Well, back to writing while the rain drops make music for me. None of these are related to my story. Hope you had a sweet rainy day too.









Writing is slow as usual, glad to be in Camp where I get to hear others whine about their difficulties too. One of the other authors, we all are anonymous to each other which enables greater sympathy, as most things on the Internet do. Strange how candid you can be to a total stranger.  She wrote, “Every time I sit at the computer lately I experience writer’s block, but not the kind where you can’t come up with something, it’s the kind where you know where you want your characters to end up, but you have waaaayyy too many options on how to get them there. I’ve been trying to suck it up really but what if I choose the wrong direction? Blah.”

It is great to know you are not the only one. In this novel, I’m going back to minor characters in Fires Down the Shenandoah, the invading couple who take over Joanna and Charles home. Katherine and Robert Michelson are the enemies, but in their story, they will be the heroes. I was struck by how awkward it would be to be a Yankee, demanding that your enemy the Rebels, wait on you and give up their bedroom, etc. But part of the conflict for the couple is that it happened before when Robert came to Charleston to spy on the troops at Fort Sumter and he and Katherine Carlton met getting ready for the Debutante Ball. I know where I want A Picnic to Start the War, to begin and where it needs to end. But oh, the sticky, sticky middle.

The reason I’m writing it is I wanted to explore how you could hate someone’s politics, but love and cherish them at the same time. What is it like to live among enemies, which they both have to do at different points? Knowing you are not just unwelcome but hated. That if you aren’t careful, there is the real danger you or your loved one might be hurt or worse. Then there is all the danger of the battles to be fought between the start and the ending of this book. I’m forever researching too since there are many, many Civil War experts in this country and I want to get things right.

It is a maze and every day there are new decisions. Because once you create a scene or event in your story, it helps to change the next and every event after that.

Part of why I love writing. The open ended questions and the never ending problem-solving. Still, I’m looking forward to the end and hope my aim stays true on the target.



Love books. I’m always wanting to read another, buy another, write another. I’m happiest now in bed with my Kindle reader open, reading a book to fall asleep, or waking late, wallowing a little in bed to finish the story I started the night before.

As a member of writers groups, President of a local group for almost forty years, I’m surprised how many people join the group hoping to write a book, preferably a best seller. I’ve never discouraged anyone from pursuing their dream because it may very well be a book I’ll love to read.

Honestly, there’s not that much money in writing for most people. If you don’t love writing, if you have a choice to quit it and take up another hobby where you can earn money, then you should quit while you can. I write because it is a compulsion and my brain keeps spinning stories that keep me awake at night. So, I make notes and when I think I see a complete story, I get up and write. You can make this a habit, and it may make you wealthy, but understand the odds are pretty long.

What I do for all dreamers is to encourage them to write and finish their stories. If you want to write, read a lot, read a lot of books about writing, and write until it becomes an unbreakable habit. Please write your stories and books.

I also warn beginning writers to beware when it comes to spending a lot of money with anyone who offers to help them realize their dream. Honestly, I listen to tons of webinars, one even offered to mechanically help you write the next book in a few hours. Others advise hiring others to create the cover, edit the book, or handle the promotion. Writing a warning tonight, because just read two good articles saying the same thing, beware. Here are the links from AutoCrit.