Category Archives: Clarion West

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.

me
Theresa
Maggie
Carol
Tracy
Leslie
Neile

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!

Then a person: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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.

me
Theresa
Maggie
Carol
Tracy
Leslie
Neile

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.

me
Theresa
Maggie
Carol
Tracy
Leslie
Neile

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:

me
Theresa
Maggie
Carol

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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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #6

This is a wrap up for week #5. The workshop is starting week #6.

I have, just 5 minutes ago, sent off the finished manuscript to editor. My brain is ruined. I am a little dismayed by how exhausted I am right before I start the work week.

I wish I were more excited about it. At the very end I was still messing around with things and my computer froze during a save so I lost a little bit. I think I’m too tired to be a good judge of what I did. It’s done. Mission accomplished.

This week I will work on the blurb and otherwise give myself a break before I hammer on the promotion stuff. I might try to finalize the prequel story as well.

I made another fail loaf. I had the same problem last week and figured the sourdough was weak. Now I think the kitchen is much warmer than when I usually bake and I’m letting it sit too long. Haven’t had time to research properly. Homemade fail loaf is still better than store bought bread.

(Nice arty reflection shot) Also, RIP Black and Decker toaster. My parents gave this to me when I moved into my Lake Oswego apartment in 1992. I’ve been with this toaster oven longer than I’ve been married. We’re guessing the heat shield failed because Bob put in some bread to toast and minutes later black smoke and a smell like Satan’s butthole came pouring out of it. It’s in the backyard. We’re afraid to stand too close to it.

Last I checked the write-a-thon raised over $13,000. It’s not too late to donate. Even a few bucks is appreciated. You can sponsor any of these wonderful writers:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

And huge thanks to everyone who’s participated.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #5

Clarion West is starting week 5 today. I am reporting on my write-a-thon progress from Week #4.

I did all the things I said I’d do. A draft of the blurb/bleargh exists and I am finalizing the manuscript like a champ. I’m sending it off one week from today and I need every minute to work on it.

This week is a quick garden report:

Remember this? This is one of the tomato plants about a week after I planted it Memorial Day weekend. I wish I had a photo from when I first put them in the ground because they were about as big as my thumb.

There will be an update at the end of this post.

This was the first dahlia this yard. I have a yellow one and a few red and a couple of big pink ones out front. There are more on the way.

Check out that franken flower in the middle. It’s a head taller than the others. What’s up with that? And yes, I realize I have way too many for that tiny patch. They volunteer and I yank tons of them out but I always underestimate them. There’s one little tomato planted back there that is overrun with sunflowers and pumpkin leaves.

This is a backyard tomato that I grew from a seed. I think it’s a Stupice which is an early tomato. Probably helps if you plant it earlier which I did not.

Backyard pumpkin. In the early days the best pumpkins grew out front. This year the backyard is where the cool squash are hanging out.

Here they are – the huge tomatoes out front and growing like crazy.

Thanks again to everyone contributing to the write-a-thon. The last report said $9631 raised so far (not me, for the whole thing). Small donations are welcome. If you’re still considering a donation, please sponsor one of my great Clarion West classmates:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #4

Klamath River upriver from Orleans, July 2017

So to clarify, I am updating my progress for week #3. We are starting week #4 today.

My work flow was out of whack due to a my trip to California. But I did the following:

1. I finished the teaser story for the romance series. It’s shorter than expected but a clean draft so shouldn’t be too much work to get it ready for distribution.

2. I worked on polish and fixing on the romance manuscript. I also figured out a fix to some of the things that were bothering me about the ending.

3. I didn’t do the blurb. I can’t help it, I keep avoiding the blurb. I did epic administrivia and worked in the yard during the hottest part of the day. I found all sorts of things to do instead of work on the blurb. I’ve got 2 more weeks.

I am going to abandon the idea of revisions to the spec fic short story that I have been submitting. I only have 2 more weekends to get the manuscript finished so all my attention will be devoted to that.

Same general area. Klamath River upriver from Orleans, March 2017

The rental house next door is empty again. I am assuming it will be rented again. That will make the 9th tenants in 15 years. We’ve been lucky the last couple of times. We’ll see how our luck holds out.

We also had baby raccoons in the yard this morning. It was daylight so I was a little worried about them. We have a big hedge and no one is next door so I hope they found a safe place to hide. They make a cute chittery sound, like Tribbles.

Here’s all my classmates again if you’ve considered donating but haven’t gotten around to it yet:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #3

The sleepless trend continues although now I’m sleepless in Orleans. We don’t have a schedule here so I can stay in bed as long as I want if I fall asleep again. But still, by afternoon I have a fuzzy head.

At the last minute I decided to go to California for Fourth of July since it’s my Dad’s birthday and we wanted some family time. My sister is here, too. Here’s Summer. I was trying to get her to do her silly face.

I think I’m numbering these posts goofy because today is starting week #3 but I’m reporting on week #2.

I worked on the story, the blurb and the draft but made little meaningful progress. I don’t get a lot done on the weekdays anyway and then Friday I was in the car all day driving here. I listened to S-Town Podcast on the way which was fantastic for a long drive with heavy traffic. Yesterday I read some commentary on it — this could be a whole other post but I’m not up for it right now — let’s just say I had similarly complex reactions about the story.

Highly recommend.

Back to my write-a-thon progress. I have plenty of time in Orleans but I’m not always inclined to work. I like to be outside and listen to the river and relax.

Here’s the view:

My goal for week #3 is to keep on doing what I’m doing but more. I have a couple of days when I get back home when I can be productive.

If you’re thinking about donating but haven’t yet, I strongly recommend sponsoring Raj because he is giving away prizes. Here’s his post with all the details.

Here’s the list of my classmates who are participating. Go hug a writer.

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #2

You know what loves this hot weather we’re having? The garden. This morning I wandered through and you could practically measure how much taller the tomatoes are today. Things are blossoming. It’s nice out there if you don’t mind the heat.

My writing goals do not slot easily into 6 week bits but this week I accomplished the following:

–> In early drafts I tend to use repetitive phrases and words. When I put together the early reader draft, I made a list of items to go back and look for. I did that and while doing that identified some others to work on this week.
–> I worked on the blurb. It’s not done but I have a start to work with.
–> I worked on the prequel story which I am spending way too much time on but I love these characters. I wrote about 700 words.

The plan is to continue on this course except maybe more faster on the prequel story.

As of this minute – these are my classmates who are doing the write-a-thon. The folks not listed are surprisingly strong at resisting my powers of persuasion. I think this is it. Fourteen out of eighteen is still pretty good. If you are inclined to donate, please pick any one of them. They would all love it.

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

This is the main garden and looks like a mess because, as always, I didn’t pull enough of the sunflowers out. Colleague gave me some heirloom seeds that they handed out at a national tribal event, I can’t remember which one, and I have a couple of stalks of corn in there, too.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon 2017 Week 1

Try to tell from looking at this photo, which two married couples came out of this group. Extra credit: can you find Neile?

Howdy Friends!

It’s that time again. Somewhere in Seattle a new group is getting started on their 6 week writing workshop. Sadly, the rest of us are not and we get to hang out and write at home.

These are my posts from the workshop: Overview, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 part 1, Week 4 part 2, Week 5 and Week 6.

I have been harassing all my classmates to sign up for the write-a-thon this year and here’s where we’re at so far. Consider sponsoring some of these incredible human beings who are all terrific writers and wonderful friends. They would love it and all donations are appreciated.

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira

My sponsor page is here. This year I’m mainly working on activities related to getting pen name’s next romance novel finished and all the promotions set up.

I do have one spec fiction story that was out on submission and I’m going to make a few revisions and resubmit during the write-a-thon.

Updates every week.

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