Clarion West Write-a-Thon Begins NOW!

What’s in the hat box?

Hello friends. It’s that time again. The latest class of the Clarion West writing workshop moved into the house today.

A group of us will be writing at home while they are there and trying to raise money while we do it.

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I wrote a post about my experience at the workshop last year and the year before. If I can think of anything fresh to say about it, I’ll write another one next week weekend.

My main goal for this write-a-thon was to re-work a short story about an NDN casino in space that I whipped up in a weekend in January 2017. I haven’t looked at the draft since.

I got it out this morning and the first 3/4ths are pretty good. It’s a fun idea with fun characters. The last 1/4th is a complete mess that makes no sense and doesn’t flow logically from the beginning. It’s like I passed out under a bridge and when I woke up I was forced to finish the story or face dire consequences so I wrote the ending of a different story.

It’s actually such a mess, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ll poke around with it a little, at least a week or two, but I don’t want to waste a lot of time if I don’t see a way to fix it.

Then I need ideas for new goals:

1 – Finish the kayak story and submit. Completely doable.
2 – Figure out some system for all my bazillion ideas and scraps and research. If this was doable, I think it would be done by now but let’s put it out there.
3 – Do some idea storming and try to do the first draft of a completely new story. Not hot on this idea. I don’t know if I want to do a lot of short story writing at this point.
4 – Go through partial novel manuscript that I abandoned when I started writing romances and see if I can get a working outline. Possibly doable.
5 – TBD

I will report at the end of each week.

If you’re inclined to donate, my page is here.

I usually link to my classmates who are also write-a-thoning but as of this moment, none of them are. (FOR SHAME!) I’ve sent them a guilt trip so I may have some to add next week.

One of our workshop leaders is write-a-thoning and you can donate here: Neile.

Micro-donations are welcome. We love your support.

I included a photo of the elders, my mom and auntie – modeling their hats. They were grand marshals in the Orleans Old Timers Parade last weekend.

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Sharpie

I love Sharpies. I have them all over the house in different colors. I have a bunch at the office. I write most of my notes to myself in big giant Sharpie letters.

No one is sponsoring this post except for me, Sharpie lover.

My middle sized red Sharpie at work dried up and gave me sadness whenever I needed to write in red. I finally put in a supply order and I was doing it via keywords online and the Magnum is the Sharpie that arrived.

I practically need two hands to wield it. I tried it out and got high from the fumes. If the office ever gets held up, I’m going to use them as a weapon. (I got two.)

It is my favorite Sharpie ever.

I am going to be in CA this weekend for fun family stuff. Enjoy your weekend.

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Incline

The results of my endoscopy were hiatal hernia. According to my research, something like 60% of the population has HH and many never know unless they find it during an endoscopy. There’s a long list of lifestyle changes and again, according to my research, there is no one size fits all so I’m trying everything, even the woo-woo breathing exercise I found on one website.

One suggestion for heartburn is putting your bed on an incline so your head is higher than your feet. I found some bed risers online and purchased a set. We started with the 3 inch risers which already seemed pretty high. The first couple of nights I woke up further down the bed than the spot I started.

Today we went up another level to the 5 inch riser. It looks ridiculous. They suggest going to 8 inches — we were joking that it would be like training for mountain climbing. I’m going to put a pillow on the floor at the end of the bed. I expect to wake up there tomorrow.

Do I think it helps? I don’t know. Since I made about 20 lifestyle changes at the same time, it’s hard to tell. It could be the woo-woo breathing that’s helping and I could bring back the spicy salsa and French fries. For now, I’m going to keep doing it all.

The annual write-a-thon is almost upon us. Details coming soon. Here’s my donor page if you want to get a head start on your donating.

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Drooling is Permitted

This is the old PGE Park in 2009.

On Friday I had an endoscopy at the day surgery part of the clinic. Just before my turn, I waited by myself behind a privacy curtain and I overheard someone ask about going to the stadium. This person was going that night to get a wristband to get in first to the general admission section. I wanted to call out to find out who was a Timbers fan so we could share our fan-ness but it seemed rude to yell out across the room.

This is the park now from the same view. They just did a huge renovation and added 4000 seats. It is amazing. Too bad our first match there was doodoo.

Continuing my procedure. It’s strange being wheeled in a bed. It’s tempting to want to enjoy it but also it seems ridiculous when I can walk myself.

The prep nurse and also the doctor explained what was going to happen and gave me instructions — don’t try to help with the scope, might feel like you have to drool, go ahead, burping will happen, go for it. They had me lay on my side and next thing I know someone is putting apple juice into my hands. They gave me those bright orange square crackers that I would never pick for myself but I inhaled like it was food of the gods. I never got to drool. (well, consciously.)

My team just got a new player. He just got here a few weeks ago and Bob said on the way home I told him a long and rambling story about him. I did read a lengthy article about him but I don’t feel like I could tell you anything about it off the top of my head.

This is outside. I couldn’t find any older photos from this angle.

Everything went fine. Two and a half hours after I checked in, I was home in bed sleeping like the dead. It was amazing. If I could have taken a picture of that nap, I would share it with you now.

That night we had the windows open for fresh air. I woke around 2am and heard what sounded like high pitched cat sounds. I knew already it was probably raccoons. I went to the front window and it sounded like they were on the side of our house. After a bit, one came running out across the yard. Bob came to join me and after a minute, two more came running across the lawn. They were big fatties scampering down the street.

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Garden Update

These are my broad beans. I wanted to know when to pick them and the directions said when they felt full. Right now they look huge but they feel squishy so I’m going to keep waiting.

If you somehow have missed it so far, Crooked Rock Romance Book 4 is now available everywhere. All links and info here.

This is the berry patch. It was looking completely derelict and I cleaned it up to inspire it to give me berries. It still needs some major TLC. That’s always one of my projects that I intend to do but never seem to get around to. Maybe this year.

Last weekend I was moving some things around in the outside freezer when I found some brownies, helpfully labeled, “normal.” I vaguely remember making a giant pan of brownies at Valentine’s day and freezing some because we couldn’t eat them all. These were so incredibly delicious I almost stuffed the whole container in my face. No nuts, so brace face here could eat them. I can’t remember which recipe I used. It’s nice not to be disappointed by something from the freezer.

Look at Sybil with leaves. I’m going to remove those tags, I just need to carefully label a photo so I can remember which branches are which thing. I found a pear tree with multiple varieties so that may be going in someday too.

Last weekend was my first weekend in about four and a half years that I wasn’t writing a romance novel. I still did a bunch of promo so this is technically my first weekend with zero romance duties. I am going to Nashville with friends. Maybe photos next weekend.

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The Mat’s Too Fat

I spent all day doing book related things and promotional things.

The book will be available on May 15. You can pre-order it now at your favorite ebook seller. The paperback should be available by Friday. If you still haven’t read it, you might want to check out the free prequel story about Linda and Arnie. It’s not super important but there’s a little set up that gets paid off in book #4.

All the links can be found here.

Our bathroom mats were disintegrating so I found some nice squishy ones and impulsively bought them.

We liked the squishyness but you could no longer close the bathroom door without actually pulling it shut because it got caught on the rug. It took me less than 24 hours to decide I hated them but–you know me–I’d rather suffer with something I hate than do anything about it. I lasted about a week and then bought new bathroom rugs. The squishy ones went downstairs.

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Animals Being Jerks

These are walls of water. The photo is from the garden a few years ago.

I spent the last two afternoons busting my heinie in the garden. I bought a bunch of soil and manure and had lots of clean-up to do — weeds to pull or whack, volunteers to discourage. My arms get so tired. I pushed myself to finish the basics yesterday so I could take a break today.

I got a seed catalog this year and they have the world’s best copywriters because once you look at the catalog you become convinced that you need to grow everything.

If you don’t believe me, ask colleague. I asked if he wanted to look at my extra seed catalog and he came back an hour later with a list as long as my arm.

I’m only planting 2 tomatoes this year because I’m trying to cut back on acidy foods. I picked one cherry tomato and one “super prolific plant with bold, bright colored fruit, starts early and produces late into the season, best tasting tomatoes of your life, you will feel younger, healthier, and more alive if you grow this.”

I had two walls of water left. I put one up and the other one turned out to be made of holes. That did not prevent me from trying to use it anyway. But a walls of water that doesn’t hold water is landfill.

I woke up this morning and saw a green blob in the garden.

“Oh no! The walls of water fell over.” This has happened before. As it settles it sometimes leans.

But what I found was my walls of water turned inside out and my poor baby tomato plant floating in mud.

That raccoon was so angry, he chewed off the little stick I used to give the tomato something to lean against.

He chewed the thing up good. I’ve never had a creature destroy a walls of water before.

Look at this poor little guy. I hope he makes it.

I’m going to buy some more walls of water and try again.

BOOK UPDATE: Everything is on track. Should be available next week. Stand by.

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Save Something For Later

I am enjoying this weekend of not working on a book. It’s hard to resist the feeling that I need to be getting something done.

I’ve been spending my mornings reading in bed which is among my very favorite things to do. Yesterday I finished a New Yorker and two books I had going.

Today I started Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse, Book 6), which has been sitting on my shelf for over 2 years. I was so lost I had to stop and pull up summaries of the previous books and even reading through those took over an hour. The good thing is that the second I finish, I can read book 7 and then run to the bookstore and buy book 8. Then I have to wait for Book 9 with everyone else.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for roasting butternut squash that seemed like the temperature was going to be too hot. I was right but I did not know this until after I had created brown, extra-crispy butternut chips. It’s always a hard call with a new recipe. Sometimes the instructions seem off and the food turns out perfect. Other times you have to make a note in your cookbook or toss the recipe, as I did yesterday because it make me mad.

This morning Bob went off to do some stuff and I was under the impression he was returning mid afternoon.

I started a project in the kitchen that involved taking everything out of the utensil drawer and getting rid of the doodads from takeout orders and separating the dessert forks from the regular forks and cleaning everything out. (Yeah, I know, first world problems.)

Bob came home in the middle and it’s too hard if he’s around so I put it all away and took the vacuum cleaner and said, “I’m done organizing for now. I’m going to leave something for next weekend.”

And he practically fell over from laughing so hard.

Quite a few years ago I bought some tulip bulbs that were interesting shaped flowers. I think the bulb is out of gas because now I just get this.

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This Real Forever

What a weekend.

NCAA Gymnastics Final 8 on Friday and Final 4 yesterday. Timber match yesterday.

Changing over from winter to summer sheets.

Baked two pies for Easter celebration.

Finalized Book 4 and sent it off.

My brain is done for the day, the week and even the year. (Nope, kidding, not the year. I’m already itching to start working on some other projects.)

Hopefully I’ll be up for a more meaningful update next weekend.

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Camera Troubles

I wrote about my bulb buying and planting here. I have been deliriously happy with my blooming flowers. Especially my tulips, so pretty.

I’ve taken numerous photos since they started blooming but didn’t notice that I bumped some dial on the camera and all the photos came out too dark. It took me several tries to figure out the problem so by the time I had it working properly, I was tired of taking pictures of flowers.

Don’t worry, there are at least 80 more. I’ll be posting more eventually. But the flowers were already getting blown out by the time I fixed the camera problem.

Last fall I planted broad beans as a cover crop — maybe this strategy is for people with more garden space? When I started the whole thing I wasn’t clear how it was going to work. I’m ready to put in the garden. The broad beans were still doing their thing.

I yanked up most of them and Billy brought his rototiller over. I won’t have time until after the ms. goes to the editor but I have a pile of seeds sitting here, ready for my half-assed gardening.

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