Finally Checking In

Okay, here I am. Whew. I did some things though, so be proud.

  1. Blog Again. A post. Yeppers.
  2. Edit my MG Novel. A few changes, but there will be more since I submitted it to my writer’s group.
  3. Enter at least 2 writing contests. No progress here either.
  4. Regularly attend my writer’s group. I almost forgot. We were watching Squid Game when my phone reminded me. Whew!
  5. Bonus Goal: Write the sequel to my MG fantasy during NaNoWriMo. At least it’s still October, right?

An itty bitty baby does keep you busier than you think. Remember in college when you had all the time in the world somehow? I feel like I did. I could play Diablo until the wee hours of the morning and still have enough time to get my homework done. Ah, Diablo. The good old days. Ah, video games. The good old days.

What are you missing about your good old days? Are you hitting your goals? Let me know!

Photo by Lisa on

#Row80 Begins!

I’ve been waiting almost a month for this. I know the Row80 folks wouldn’t have minded if I jumped in late on the last round, but I like to officially start things, so here I am. For those of you who don’t know about Row80, you basically list goals you want to accomplish. And then you spend the next few months accomplishing them and reporting in. For a writer, it’s often very good to have some accountability somewhere. That’s why I love it. I haven’t done it in years, but I’m ready to roll.


  1. Blog Again. It’s a simple goal, but it’s more about making it habit. The old saying was 21 days, but apparently that’s all over the board now. Regardless, habits can’t be made until they happen often, right? So here we go!
  2. Edit my MG Novel. We’ll just call this one Tower. It’s a Middle-Grade Fantasy and I’m super excited about it. I really think this is the one for publishing. It’s been fun changing to middle-grade because I’ve done YA and Adult for so long. The most helpful thing I’ve done for this transition is to read middle-grade books to get in the language zone. Anyways, polishing is a writer’s life, so I want to do that. I’ve already haphazardly edited it, but now I want to get it really shiny for submission next year.
  3. Enter at least 2 writing contests. I don’t know if there will be 2 contests I’ll want to enter this year per se, but I want to at the very least have two submissions ready to go for whatever contests I select. Preferably flash or short fiction.
  4. Regularly attend my writer’s group. We’ve been meeting online since the pandemic started. They might be back in person, I’m not sure. But either way I want to start participating again. There’s some real synergy that comes from sharing goals and ideas with other writers.
  5. Bonus Goal: Write the sequel to my MG fantasy during NaNoWriMo. I don’t know how much of this will be possible and I don’t know that I’ll be able to win, because of my little guy, but you don’t make any progress if you don’t try. Right?

Let’s do this!

Photo by Luke Webb on

What about you? What are your goals for this Row80? Or just in general?

Getting Closer to #Row80

I’m getting excited to start up this new round of #Row80. I’m hoping it’ll help keep me accountable for my goals and blogging. I’ve wanted to get back into blogging for some time, but I’ve been too sleep deprived. Now I’m finally ready!

I have three stories I’m working on. Two of which are really close to submitting with agents. I’m not sure if I want to submit via email or wait for a conference to see them in person. Or both. I feel in person is better because you basically get to the front of their submission list line.

Do you ever feel like you have a million stories in you waiting to get out, but you’ve got to polish up what you’ve got or you’ll never get anywhere? I guess that’s why I’m more of a plotter, I can more or less write the story in outline form and then it’s ready to go at some point instead of just bouncing around in my head.

Another thing I’m interested in trying is flash fiction contests. I used to be hardcore about reading and writing short stories to bring up my novel game. Because you have to catch the audience’s attention so quickly, it helps you realize what is important and then you can eliminate a bit more fluff from your novel. Obviously it’s not exactly the same, but it helps substantially. I used to read a lot of Anton Chekhov, I may start doing that again.

And what about you guys? How many stories are you working on? Are you close to submitting to any agents or self-publishing? How have you gotten back into blogging or any activity after a long absence?

Row80 Dec 17th

At my writers group party, the spudnuts were a big hit. But I must say, having tried them both ways, they are much better fresh out of the fryer.

And speaking of Christmas type events, last Sunday I attended one of Salt Lake’s biggest yearly events. It’s the hottest ticket in town, and it’s free—the trouble is can you get tickets. Often if you live out of town it’s easier, but as a local it’s anyone’s guess.

What is this event? Why it’s the annual Christmas concert put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and whatever guests they host that year. It’s usually a musically talented guest and someone brought as a narrating type. This year I knew I had to attend because who could miss out on seeing this?

bigbirddirectYep. That’s Big Bird conducting the orchestra and choir. Big Bird! This year’s guests were Santino Fontana (of Frozen fame) and the Sesame Street Muppets. Usually the age limit for this is 8 yrs old and up, but this year they dropped it to 5 and the kids giggled with delight whenever the Muppets were out.

It was probably one of their best shows I’d seen yet. It will be broadcast on PBS, but not until next year. However at the bottom of my post, I’ll embed a highlights video.


How about that Row80?

Finish outlining Book 2. ACCOMPLISHED.

Read “The Fire in Fiction” and one fiction book. Progress! I did read a little more The Fire in Fiction, but I also read The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Where did that randomly come from? Well, I was watching Scrooge, the Albert Finney version and something in that reminded me of what someone had told me about The Great Divorce. Since it’s a pretty short read (about 100 pages in the version I have) I polished it off in a few hours. Fantastic little read if you’re interested in Christian theology. Not to say it’s authoritative or anything, just something intellectual to consider.

So now that I’ve gotten three fiction books read I really, really need to make better progress on TFIF. Hopefully next week I will have finished it, or nearly finished. I believe next week is the last week for this session of Row80.

Rework Book 2. ACCOMPLISHED. I sent off the first chapter to my writers group. As always, they had some good suggestions. It’s interesting how we writers tend to be fairly myopic about our own work, but can see easily see the holes in someone else’s work. That’s why it’s good to have a group to go to or some beta readers you can count on.

BONUS GOALS: # 1 Write at least one short story. No new progress.

#2 Do further plotting for Codename Clemmings. No new progress. I’m not sure if I’ll do the other project or continue working on this or polish up the first chapter of Book 2 more. I guess it’s good a new session of Row80 is coming up so I can make new goals to be accomplished. I’m still glad with the progress I’ve made overall.

Now that we’re in the home stretch of Row80, will you get all your goals accomplished? Have you found feedback to be invaluable to improving your writing?

And as promised, more Muppets.

Row80 Dec 10th

spudnutsI have an upcoming writers group party and thought I’d test out making spudnuts before the actual event.

What are spudnuts you asked? Well, having grown up Idahoan and still strongly claiming those roots, spudnuts are potato-infused donuts. Yep, there be potatoes in them thar donuts. But no, it’s not like bumping into french fries while eating a donut. If you’ve had potato rolls before, you get the idea. It just makes them that much more delicious. And for an Idahoan, yet another useful recipe involving our state’s beloved product.

Speaking of upcoming writers group party, Ms NYT BS has hinted to be there. She wasn’t at the last writers group meeting so we’ll see if anymore of the drama unfolds then. Seems like a Christmas party would be the time for it to happen. We’ll see.


Now that you’re sufficiently hungry, how about that Row80? It seems to be coming along nicely.

Finish outlining Book 2. ACCOMPLISHED.

Read “The Fire in Fiction” and one fiction book. Progress! Still have not read much more of The Fire in Fiction but I am working on What Happened to Goodbye and one other fiction. The other fiction, which shall remain nameless, I’m not sure I’ll get through. It’s sort of an obligatory read and it’s definitely not my type of book. Think academic literary fiction. (No disses on those who like this kind of fiction, I’m just not into it—hence YA fiction writer).

The previous, WHTG, has more a literary feel to it, too. To be honest, I had no idea what the book was going to be about going into it. I just read your blogs and when you recommend books that sound interesting, I throw the name onto a list. And then months later that book ends up on my Kindle because THE LIST.

I mention this though *because* despite not really being sure what in the world the book would be about, it grabbed my attention in the beginning and kept me captive until I was invested enough in the story to continue on my own. It’s not the bestest book in the whole entire world, but it’s interesting. I think it’s pretty good writing to hold the interest of a random reader like me who didn’t even get a blurb (or at least remembered one).

Rework Book 2. ACCOMPLISHED. I doubt it is by any means perfect, but I finally finished this round of reworkings. I feel like it’s at a place where it can be read by beta readers without it being wasteful. Now I just have to wait on beta readers for changes, but I think it’s just fine if it takes a while. I need a break from the world I think.

Well, truth be told I’d love to jump into Book 3, but a wise friend of mine said a genre switch, even if just a short story is supremely helpful to the writing. After I got SHADE to its pitching glory I took a break and wrote Codename Clemmings (as far as I had plotted anyway). It was amazing what a difference I felt. And then when I went back to the SHADE world, I felt refreshed.

Which means Bonus Goals get to happen somewhat.

BONUS GOALS: # 1 Write at least one short story. No new progress.

#2 Do further plotting for Codename Clemmings. Progress! Hooray for bonus goals happening. I’m not 100% sure about the plot of this, but it’s coming along either way. It’s odd how if you spend so much time in one part of the process, say revising, the other parts seem a little foreign in the beginning.

Okay, so hooray for bonus goals happening. Isn’t it nice when little surprises happen like this? Although I don’t know that I’ll get to the short story writing, but one can never tell apparently.

What would you say to Ms NYT BS if you ran into her? Do you take a break from your genre once finishing a major project or do you plow into the next one? Have you ever had to read a book out of obligation? Were you able to do it?