Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #4

Today is the end of Clarion West 2018, Week #4.

I am full meal deal, pedal to the metal working on cleaning up the manuscript. I enjoy this part but I’m not very fast so it’s hard to find any satisfaction in the work when I see how far I need to go.

I have done some super baby steps marketing tasks. I will do more. Yay, marketing.

I don’t know why I update the progress meter because I’m not writing for word count now. I’m trying to replace bad stuff with better stuff. The visual is encouraging.

72373 / 75000 words. 96% done!

There is still plenty of time to donate to Clarion West. They are grateful for all donations large and small. Links to me and my classmates and workshop leaders below.


Or pick other writers that interest you: The Group.

If you prefer to send a check here’s an address:
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

According to my latest progress report, there are over 200 participating writers and they’ve raised just shy of $12,000. Thanks everyone for your support.

Do I have neighbor news? Yeah. I’ll make it quick.

A different neighbor is remodeling and the process filled a giant truck with debris. This truck was parked in front of our house. At first I didn’t mind: it’s a public street, she’s doing a project, this is a short term thing. Except 4 days later the truck was still there and there was plenty of room to park the truck in front of her house. She came over while I was at work and profusely apologized to Bob and said she’d been calling the haulers to get that thing out of here or at least move it in front of her house. Then I wasn’t mad anymore. The truck didn’t bother me. It bothered me when I thought yet another neighbor was being inconsiderate.

The next door situation isn’t any worse but still not optimal. Last night at about 9:30pm I cautiously opened the window, ready to enjoy a cool breeze in the bedroom. “Dare I push my luck?” I said to Bob. It was all quiet over there. Five minutes later cars drove up and people started smoking and talking and shouting. “I dare not.” Windows closed. This morning Bob said a car pulled up to that house and three people got out with open containers and carrying a six pack. Maybe I’m just jealous of their leisure time.

World Cup Final TOMORROW! I’m interrupting project BOOK 3 for that.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #3

Today is the end of Clarion West 2018, Week #3.

I am still spending almost every spare second working on cleaning up the manuscript. Every time I go out in my yard I want to cry. There is a big jumble of stuff growing–dahlias, pumpkins, peas, sunflowers, weeds, weeds, weeds. The roses desperately need deadheading. Everything neglected. That’s just how it’s going to be right now.

Sorry, I have not done one marketing thing except think about much I dread marketing. I have three weeks to do better.

Here is the current progress meter:

72168 / 75000 words. 96% done!

Working on these big projects reminds me of this teacher I had in high school, Mr. Lasnik. He taught science classes, and he was a true college prep instructor. His classes were tough, but I loved him as a teacher and learned so much from him — not just biology and physiology but also about how to approach research and studying. He assigned these monster research papers. Back in those days we had to get our parents to drive us to the university library to find articles and make copies. We had to bring bags full of nickels. I remember when the report was almost due I used to think: I will be so mad if I die before I get to turn this in.

That’s what I think when I get to the end of a book.

Fireworks snakes of disappointment. Or Burning Turds, as I called them.

In other news — it was weird having a day off in the middle of the week. I kept thinking it was the weekend. I thought about taking Thursday off but I figured it would be dead at work and I could have an easy day. HA HA! I was busy all day. Now it’s the weekend, and I am still confused about where we are in time.

Bob talked Denise and me into going to the fireworks tent with him. I’m glad we did. It was complete insanity but in a fun way. There was a line to get inside and then the line to check out wrapped around the entire store. There were people with shopping carts piled with fireworks.

I think this was the last year. This year we couldn’t have fireworks in the city limits (our house), and I think next year not in the county (bro/sis-in-law’s house). I understand all the reasons for outlawing them, and I’m happy about it, but it is fun to have a day where all the neighbors are outside and blowing stuff up.

What is the latest with the neighbor situation? Thank you for asking.

A couple of weeks ago they woke me up at 2:30 am on a Tuesday night. It was some obviously drunk people screaming out front. I phoned the renter to complain. We’re trying to be reasonable about this but 2:30 on a school night is not cool. She was very friendly and apologetic and said she would deal with it.

And then Sunday night 2:00 am the same thing. This time I called the leasing agent. When I got home from work, their lawn was mowed, the driveway swept, and a single car parked out front.

The following weekend I heard someone drive up in the middle of the night. The car doors went: SLAM! SLAM! SLAM!


Even though I was awake, I wasn’t mad, because some tried to be quiet. Peaceful since then. Well, there was some sort of drumming and singing one night but it didn’t go on for long. (whew!)

Trees caught fire in the neighborhood. Terrifying to watch. Fire department got it under control quick. We walked up there the next day and no buildings were damaged which was a miracle.

There is still plenty of time to donate to Clarion West. They are grateful for all donations large and small. Links to me and my classmates and workshop leaders below.


Or pick other writers that interest you: The Group.

If you prefer to send a check here’s an address:
P.O. Box 31264
Seattle, WA 98103-1264

According to my latest progress report, there are 200 participating writers and they’ve raised over $9000. Thanks everyone for your support.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #2

I successfully completed my week #2 goal which was 7 days of no writing. I cheated a tiny bit one day when I accidentally read an article about dialogue. As soon as I realized it, I shut my browser.

During my break, I did all kinds of things that I normally never do: I hung out downtown with my sweetie and saw Malcom Terence read at Powell’s, I went to a happy hour celebration for one of my sweetie’s colleagues, I watched epic amounts of World Cup soccer, I finished three books that I had sitting around here half finished since January, I went to the Farmer’s Market, I went to see Isle of Dogs.

It went by fast.

I’m back at it again, working on cleaning the ms. up. I have not done any marketing things yet but I’m sincere in my intent to do so soon.

Thanks to everyone who donated so far. Still plenty of time and all donations are appreciated. Here are links for me and my classmates and workshop administrators.


Lots of other writers — find someone to sponsor here: The Group.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #1

These are some of my Clarion West classmates waiting for Chuck Palahniuk to do his reading. Front row is: Christopher, Maggie, Kristin, Owen, Caren, Eden, Raj, Tracy and a tiny bit of Kira. Behind them is: Jim, Carol, Theresa, Pritpaul, and Douglas.

For week one I finished my romance novel manuscript and sent to beta readers. I am so tired I can’t see straight. I take my personal deadlines very seriously and I estimated three 12 hour days to get here but it was two 12s and one 11. I am looking forward to 7 full days of zero writing other than what I have to do for work. Also I said I would do some marketing. So we’ll see how I do. Tomorrow I hope to be screen free.

I’m going to cut and paste from the Clarion West page: Clarion West Writers Workshop is a nonprofit literary organization based in Seattle, WA with a mission to improve speculative fiction by providing high quality education to writers at the start of their careers.

I attended in 2008 and do not exaggerate when I say it changed my life.

Any donation, even just a couple bucks is cheerfully accepted. These are links to my donor page and my classmates who have registered so far:


Or pick other writers that interest you: The Group.

Hopefully some more detailed updates to come.

This was the word count of the beta reader draft:

72006 / 75000 words. 96% done!

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#indigenous (Old Timers Parade)

Just returned home from Orleans tonight. Long day of driving. I am pooped.

Hopefully next week by this time the manuscript will be off to first readers. It’s going to be tight.

My last trip to Orleans I drove with my Auntie, and I didn’t think she would enjoy my music or podcasts, so I bought a book on CD that I thought we would both enjoy: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

This book has been on my shelf forever. Bob and I saw the author lecture and loved his talk.

Auntie and I got through 8 of 13 discs. I had this great idea that I would read the book up to the part where we listened and then start with the discs again. HA HA. I read 30 pages and never touched it again.

On the drive down I listened to podcasts but on the way home I listened to the book, and I still have 1 and 1/2 discs left. ARGH. Must finish.

Next weekend, fingers crossed. More photos of my trip to come.

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Socked in the Jaw

I spoke too soon and completely jinksed it. The neighbors woke me up 3 times last weekend including twice in one night (11:30am and 2:30am), there have been six cars parked there since I got home last night, they woke me up at 2:30 and 4:30 (!). Mom must be away again. argh.

Last week I was running some errands and had to transport various awkwardly shaped items to and from the car. In the process I managed misjudge what I was doing and hit my jaw on the corner of the car door really hard. I have a relatively high pain threshold and I still had to stand there for a couple of minutes with my eyes watering. It made me think of all those movies and TV shows where the hero gets beaten up and/or shot and then rappels out of a building and leaps into a helicopter and flies off to save the day. That wouldn’t happen.

I was out in the garden earlier looking for greens and I found raspberries. If it ever stops raining I need to get back out there and harvest.

Ms. is cooking along, still more slowly than I like, but I will meet my goals one way or another.

Coming soon: Clarion West Beg-a-thon. It the 10 year anniversary.

68512 / 75000 words. 91% done!

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The Good Place

There’s this comedy TV show called The Good Place that’s about this woman who dies and ends up in the Good Place when it seems that she should have ended up in the Bad Place. We’re already through a couple of season but I’m not going to spoil the story.

This season there was a bit where a character from the Bad Place is strategizing things that could be bad and one of them is this room where the New Yorker keeps coming and piling up, no matter how fast you read you can’t catch up.

My love/hate relationship with the New Yorker continues. Way more love than hate. More like love/exasperation.

Right now I’m powering through the summer double issue as fast as I can so I can go a whole week with no New Yorker. The double issues have this thing where they put short pieces in the middle of longer pieces.

I just realized that I cannot skip around in a magazine. I have to read from cover to cover. So when the article is interrupted I have to stop and read whatever is next and finish that before I go back to the first article. Yesterday I was reading a story that I wanted to finish but then it was interrupted.

“Just skip over and come back to this,” I told myself.

But I could not do it. I had to read the stuff out of order. Why does my brain work this way?

Last month was drier than normal and I was not on my watering game so I think my berries suffered a bit for it. One of the blue berries looks kinda sad, too.

The book is still there and still waking me up at night and still inching closer to completion. Backwards on the wordcount again.(GAH!)

67476 / 75000 words. 90% done!

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I Just Wish Someone Would Ask Me About My Privacy Settings

If you’re concerned about this website and privacy, please be assured that I haven’t the slightest idea how to exploit your privacy, nor do I have the time or energy to learn how, should I decide that your privacy could be of some use to me.

One item that’s been on my list forever is my passport. I knew it was expiring at the end of this year and I didn’t want to leave it for the last minute. But then I never got around to dealing with it. There’s a passport photo place downtown but it’s not super convenient. When the weather was terrible there was always an excuse not to go over there.

I finally set aside a day when I could go over and take care of it on my lunch break when I was informed that paperwork that was supposed to be delivered months ago, would arrive at the exact time I intended to get my passport photo.

Another couple of weeks went by and I was determined. When I looked up the address of the photo place to confirm I knew where it was, I found a passport photo place right next to the office. The whole thing took 10 minutes including the time to walk over there.

Renewal was sent off and new passport has arrived. I can go abroad. Someone buy me a ticket.

Tomatoes went into the ground this weekend. I planted four plants all from Territorial Seed because I had such great luck with them last year. (Non spon!) Katana and Bumble Bee are two. I can’t remember the other two. I wish I could write copy for tomato plants. “Our most delicious and beautiful and easy to grow and tasty and pretty and prolific tomatoes.” I originally put way more plants in my cart and I had to get a grip on my sanity.

Here’s an update on the neighbor situation:

It is one million percent improved. The party moved elsewhere. I have been sleeping with the windows open. (Please o please let me not jinks it by writing this.) There are still a wide variety of cars coming and going but I have no complaints. The renter and I talk when we see each other. One of the young people (wearing a fedora) said hello the other day. I am no longer stressed about the situation

The book is barely under control. If I die today, someone could look at my draft at have a clue what I was trying to do, but if I die today, please don’t look at it.

I still have a couple of major scenes to write, many scenes that need to be filled in, and lots of tidying up to do.

The hardest thing about this process letting things go around the house. Well, the hardest thing is all of it, but one main thing that gives me endless grief is being forced to abandon the yard and ignore clutter and be super half-assed about social interactions. I’m not the kind of person who can look at a giant basket of laundry and not fret about getting it done.

If all goes according to plan, this will be off to beta readers in a few weeks and I will take a very short break and enjoy some World Cup games before I buckle in to finalize it.

68591 / 75000 words. 91% done!

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Second Verse The Same As The First

My sister-in-law and I have the fun task of going through my mother-in-law’s recipes and cookbooks. That isn’t sarcasm. I am looking forward to it.

This is a preview from a cookbook she already gave me.

She is a big orange sherbet fan.

I am not. I love cold frosty desserts but I’d rather have nothing than sherbet.

I loved the annotation on this recipe.

I am still plodding in place on this thing: .

The meter is not reflective of the epic amount of work I’m putting into this. I am now waking up at 2am and fretting about it. At one point I came to the conclusion that it would have to be scrapped except then what?

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Enough With Terrible Websites

I uploaded this photo last weekend and then never had time to write a post.

Mother Nature schedules everything using my soccer schedule. Early season match in March? That calls for 40 degrees and driving rain for the duration. First midday match in May? Ninety degrees, you’re welcome!

I bought a sun hat and sprayed 45 spf all over my arms, feet, and neck-front and back: TWICE. Plus I put one of those waterproof 45 spf special for your face all over including my ears and into my hairline. We only had the sun on us for half the time and I was hot and sweaty but not lobstered.

Tomorrow we have a nooner but supposedly it will be 75 and partially cloudy. I’m still going to drench in sunscreen.

The Project of Everything: URGH. I am still losing more words than adding. I am still fighting back distress about the whole thing and giving myself positive feedback. Words are going to fly out of my brain when I need them, right? Hopefully a better update at the end of the weekend.

Today’s Technology Rager: My doctor clinic emailed me a note about a preventative exam I need to schedule. I can’t get into my account. It says my password is wrong.

I went to change password and they asked me a security question. I don’t have the slightest idea what answer I might have given since the thing does not exist for me. I probably made something up but when I do that, I usually write a note on this piece of paper next to my computer with approximately 9000 pieces of information that I need to get into websites. I wrote nothing on this item.

Now I’m all worked up and I couldn’t take care of the problem. I had to send an email to the help desk which says it will get back to me in 72 hours. Well, yahoo. What’s that? Monday?

I already know what they want from me because they also robocall me on it. Also: I ALREADY HAD THE EXAM AT THE CLINIC.

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