Tag Archives: writing

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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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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Smooth Out Everything

This cart is long gone. I only went to it a couple of times. It was replaced by a cart called Food Koma (I think?) and I went there all the time. They had a delicious bibimbap dish but they called it something else. Every time I have a good bibimbap source, it goes away.

But the real news is that this little cart pod is now a hole in the ground because apparently downtown Portland needs yet another boutique hotel. The big pod across the street is in danger, too. Last I heard the luxury apartment and condo tower was on hold, but who knows.

It’s been awhile since I mentioned the rental house next door. You might have thought our problems were solved. We were cautiously optimistic. It was quiet over there for months. Maybe loud voices in the yard now and then and still a number of different cars, but nothing to legit complain about.

But then it ramped up again. Lots of different cars again. Not like all different cars coming and going. More like 5-6 of the same cars, often parked overnight. On Valentine’s night (or technically early hours of the 15th) there was shouting and swearing out front for over a half hour together with car door slamming.

It’s been quieter this weekend. It feel like it gets bad unless we stay on top of it.

Meanwhile, I have had an epic writing weekend and I am pooped. I got the last big long troublesome section cleaned up. At this point I have to go back clean up some smaller bits, lots of continuity to fix and then smooth out everything.

But other than that, it’s under control.

66688 / 75000 words. 89% done!

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Old Married People Report

One time I found Bob’s bath towel in the laundry. I washed it and hung it on the hook behind the door so he would have it next time he bathed. It sounds thoughtful but it’s also so he won’t get out of the shower dripping wet and wander around leaving puddles everywhere because he forgot about a towel. I can’t imagine getting into a shower and not knowing exactly how I would dry myself but our brains don’t work alike.

Next time I went in the laundry room it was already balled up and back with the dirty clothes.

He thought he forgot to put it in the wash so he threw the clean towel in there.

Now I fold towels and put them in the cupboard when they come out of the dryer.

Last night I couldn’t sleep and Bob was very chatty while he slept. He told someone they were cute. He said he was happy. He was looking forward to having fun. Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun.

I sketched out the milestones I’m aiming for Book 4. Still on track for a spring (late spring!) release. Although I should tack another month on because it seem like it always takes longer than I think when I get to the last stages.

52085 / 75000 words. 69% done!

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #6

The main fundraiser ended this week. We raised over $17,000 for Clarion West.

Thanks to everyone who supported our organization.

I will resurface after I turn in my manuscript.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #5

Greetings! I have had the house to myself this weekend and very few obligations so I am hunched over the computer cranking on my manuscript.

Sorry, I didn’t do any marketing. It’s partly because I don’t like it but mostly because all my brain juice is used on revisions or mandatory life responsibilities.

I will have have some amazing garden pics soon. There is a blue hubbard squash the size of a baby out there.

The Clarion West class of 2018 has one more week of the workshop. To my best recollection, at this point I was never more tired in my life and I was tired of deli sandwiches for lunch and wanted to see my husband again but also completely in love with all my classmates and couldn’t believe it was all going to be over soon. I hope the current class is having a great experience.

According to my latest progress report, there are over 200 participating writers in the fundraiser and they’ve raised just over $15,000. I met and exceeded my $100 goal, finally sent in my match plus some extra because I sponsored all my classmates. Thanks everyone for your support. There is still time to donate. Honestly, you can donate anytime you want. If you wake up in November and feel like there’s money burning a hole in your wallet, feel free to donate then. Here are some suggested people to sponsor:


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

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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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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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Everything Changes, Everything Stays the Same

Here’s a shot of the irises. They only last about a week and they’re kind of a pain. I don’t know why I feel bad every time I accidentally pull some of them up. Pretty while they last.

Here’s Percy — look how cute his leaves are. I found some fig forums online so I will be learning everything about figs. People who love figs are very passionate about figs. People who don’t know about figs are sad.

This is a giant dark opening behind the alien bush and inside the hedges in the backyard. Every time I do yard work there, I imagine a growling clicky sound like you hear in a horror movie while some unsuspecting lady hums while gardening and a giant creature with claws and teeth gets ready to tear her apart.

If you don’t hear from me, that’s what happened.

Still trying to fix the 90% draft and some sad back tracking happened this week. I nuked two chapter because they were a huge mess and sometimes it’s better to jettison stuff than try to fix it.

64163 / 75000 words. 86% done!

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