Update: ROW80 Week 9 Sunday

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WriteThatNovelIt’s been a slow week for painting. I still have my work in progress sitting on my easel. Maybe next week I will be more motivated?

I think I did okay with writing. I got between 500 to 1000 words a day each day. It wasn’t work on my novel, however.

I thought it would be a good exercise to write a short story about the parents of my main character. It’s helping me to get this information straight in my head so I can go forward with the rest of the story.

This background information on their story and who they are sets the stage for my two protagonists and introduces other characters as well.

What started as a short story seems to be growing into a novella…it’s taking on a life of its own!

I didn’t get my reviews done like I had planned, but that is on my agenda for next week.

 

 

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35356382Beyond the Sentinel Stars

 

annihilationMy husband and I went on an actual date this week! We went to see the movie Annihilation.

I love Natalie Portman, and I found the movie fascinating but at the same time I walked out of the theatre wondering…what the heck did I just see?! lol

Sometimes I’m a bit slow, but I can’t help but feel that there was much more to this story that couldn’t be incorporated into the movie.

I just received the ebook from the library and I can’t wait to start reading it! Hopefully some things will make more sense and fall into place.

I always enjoy books so much more that the movies just because you know so much more about what is going on.

BreatheI made it to one yoga class this week! Yay! I took my dog Burger for a walk and went to a morning class for a change. It felt amazing but it did wear me out for the rest of the day. I’m not used to that much activity!

So, this week coming up, painting is on the menu as well as continuing with my background short story/novella and yoga class.

I also hope to finish off three book reviews. Phew!

Thanks for reading!

Jo-Ann

 

 

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ROW80: Round 1 Week 8 Sunday

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I’ve been a bit behind not only in my ROW80 posts, but also in my weekly posts as well. That means I haven’t exactly been doing great with my goals, unfortunately.

I had to do a bit of travelling last week. It’s always nice to get away for some girl time! The only drawback is it leaves my absolutely wiped out. Completely exhausted.

No meals were cooked, and it was late in the week before any laundry got done.

I could have scheduled some blog posts, but I didn’t.WriteThatNovel

I could have done some reviews of the books I’d read, but I didn’t.

I didn’t paint.

I didn’t yoga.

But I did get a bit of writing in, so there’s that! I finished up a humorous short story that I was working on for my Writer’s Group anthology.

And I even started writing a new short story. It’s a bit of background to the novel I’ve been working on. If nothing else, it has helped me work out some details.

I picked up some new books at Costco when I was there.

51zyjmrt1ylThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a Bleep

From Amazon:

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

I read this last week. Not my usual read, but I was curious about what Mark Manson had to say about letting go of stuff. He made some really good points on how we view the world and how we view ourselves and then he kinda turned everything upside down. Review to follow!

The Chalk Man is another good one that I can’t wait to start! 35356382

From Goodreads: In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

 

Beyond the Sentinel StarsRight now I’m reading Sherry D Ramsey’s Beyond the Sentinel Stars.

From Amazon: Luta Paixon and the crew of the Tane Ikai have made it back to Nearspace safely, but that safety is short-lived. As if a disastrous diplomatic mission to the crow-like Corvids isn’t enough, Luta’s old enemy Alin Sedmamin is back—and asking Luta to help save his life. In exchange, Sedmamin is offering secrets stretching back more than a century into Nearspace’s past—secrets that could prevent a war.

Meanwhile, Luta’s brother Admiral Lanar Mahane is faced with an awful truth: the Protectorate is spread too thinly across Nearspace to offer adequate protection or defense when the aggressive Chron turn their murderous sights on Nearspace again. They must forge new alliances if Nearspace is to survive, but it’s almost impossible to know who to trust.

As interstellar conflict looms on the horizon and a political plot of tremendous scope and daring threatens to destroy Nearspace from within, Luta and Lanar will test the bonds of family and the strength of hope as they struggle to maintain peace in a world that seems destined for war.

For those who love speculative fiction, it’s an excellent read!

Thanks for reading!

Jo-Ann

 

 

ROW80: Round 1 Week 6 Sunday

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WHAT IS ROW80?
A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.
Set challenges for yourself, write them up and post updates every Sunday and Wednesday. Add your link to the ROW80 Facebook page or the Linky here.

So here’s the skinny:

  • We have 4 rounds a year, each running 80 days.
  • Your goal can be anything you like as long as it is measurable (e.g. number of words/pages, specified amount of time to spend on writing per day/week, number of pages edited, etc.
  • Once you have settled on a goal, you write it up on your blog and link to it on the Goals Post at the beginning of each Round.
  • If your goal changes before the end of the 80 days, simply write up a new goals post and link to it on the latest check-in day post here on our blog or in our Facebook Group.
  • Check-ins are twice a week on Wednesday and Sundays. Write up a blog post of your progress and link to it on that day’s Post.
  • On Twitter we use a hashtag of #ROW80 if you wanna come hang out; feel free to host sprints, share links. See the next point…
  • If you happen to find us after a round has begun, just write up your goals post and hop on in whenever. We’re a friendly bunch.
  • Be sure to grab the ROW80 badge from the sidebar on the ROW80 Blog (right click, save image location, then chuck it in your blog’s image widget or grab some basic image html and use a text widget).

 

Writing:

I got lots of work in on my short story this week. I wrote and rewrote the same story three times!

In the first, I realized it needed more ‘story’. There wasn’t enough background.

In the second, I added more story, but it made the characters kind of unlikeable. Not my intention! This is supposed to be a humorous story!

The third rewrite came out much better. It seems to have more ‘flow’ to it and the characters more likeable. I got some good feedback from my husband and The Geeky Book Lady.

Now, I’m waiting on more feedback from my friends in my Writers Group. We are working on an anthology of humorous short stories, with the proceeds going to support the library where we meet.

I also got some novel edits in, 500 words or so. I changed a few things in the edits I had already made in the same chapter, and I was much happier with how it flowed.

Painting:

I got a couple of hours of painting in on Friday. It’s a start, at least!

Work in Progress
Work in Progress

Here’s the reference photo, as you can see, I still have a fair bit of work to do.

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Yoga

Yoga:

I made it to one yoga class this week. Considering that I’d missed class for two weeks in a row, I am going to pat myself on the back for that!

 

 

 

 

I switched my blog over from being self-hosted to WordPress.com. It wasn’t too challenging, moving my followers over had to be done by the Happiness Experts at WordPress, but other than that it went pretty well.

I have a bit of work to do to get a few more features back up and running, but for the most part it seems to be working well. Phew!

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

What have you been up to? ROW80 Round 1 Week 5 Sunday

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Novel Writing:  

It’s been kind of a weird week.

I spent wasted a lot of time trying to fix my WordPress site. Self-hosting seemed like a great idea at the time, but there’s a huge learning curve for noobs like me when things go wonky.

Plug-in conflicts and updates can totally mess up what was working before. So yeah, a lot of writing time was spent reading about scripts and stuff I still don’t really understand but it seems to be working better now thanks to the help of my hosting peeps.

That being said, I did get over 1,000 edited on one day and 500 the next, so there’s that.

I finished revising a short story I was working on and sent it out to a few members of my writing group for feedback. We are working on an anthology of humorous short stories. The proceeds will be going to the library where we hold our regular meetings. I received feedback from one writer already and he gave some great advice. More revisions will be in the works for next week.

Painting:

 

Nada. My excuses are lousy. They range from distraction, to winter storms, sick kids and spending quality time with my husband.

I’ll do better next week.

Yoga

Weather kept me from attending yoga class.  Nasty winter storms followed by freezing rain and icy roads. It was a low key week for me. I didn’t get much exercise at all.

I did take Burger out to the dog park for a run on Friday morning, however. It was raining, but we dressed for it. It was mild and some of the snow and ice made walking easier. He needed the exercise and so did I!

 

Other Thoughts

With all the struggles trying to get my self hosted WordPress site to work with the Reader on WordPress.com, I began thinking about making the switch to WordPress.com.

My original plan for Inspiration Pie was my author platform in addition to providing book reviews, and just a way to interact with other bloggers. With all the time I spend on Inspiration Pie, I have less time to devote to writing my novel. I think simplifying things will help with that.

As far as author platform, I am rethinking that. I feel I need my own website, with my own name. An email subscription list for an audience who is interested my work, and not just following for the sake of following.

 

What do you think? Do you have a dedicated author platform? Do you think it’s necessary to build your target audience?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

ROW80 Update: Round 1 Week 4 Sunday!

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Novel Writing:  

Finished this round of edits on the chapter I was working on and reasonably happy with it. Yay! I’ve also picked up K. M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel Workbook to perhaps try cleaning up the plot as I go. I want the story to flow well and not drag so I’m hoping this well help with that. 

I’ve realized that I have to make my main character more interesting and a bit more likeable. So far, he’s been kind of flat, so I’ve been keeping that in mind as I go.

 

 

Painting:

I already posted this on Wednesday, but I didn’t paint again this week so I’m resposting what I’d painted last Monday. The work in progress and the reference photo are here if you’d like to check them out.

The colour is a little off on this photo but here is the final painting:

Acrylic 6 x 6 inche

 

Yoga

I’m disappointed I didn’t make it to yoga this week. Hopefully this week I will get a class or two in. 

Been working on deep breathing, trying to control unexplained anxiety that has kept me from doing going out the door this week. 

 

 

I’m excited to have won a copy of The Shadow Girls by Misty Mount! Isn’t that cover gorgeous?

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

View on Amazon

View on Goodreads

Review to come!

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

ROW80 Week 3 Wednesday

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Novel Writing:  

I ended up rewriting most of the chapter I was working on. Perfectionist? Maybe. I just didn’t like the POV! The main character, Mac was written in first person, and so was his brother Finn. When I was revising last week, I decided it might work better to have Finn’s perspective told in the third person. 

I decided yesterday that third person didn’t work. I didn’t like it. So, I went to the beginning of the chapter and tweaked it to first person. It reads much better. I also cleaned up some dialogue and hacked out some extraneous stuff that wasn’t working.

 

Painting:

I painted on Monday and actually finished the piece I was working on! Yay! The work in progress, if you’d like to see it, is here.

The colour is a little off on this photo but here is the final painting:

Acrylic 6 x 6 inches

 

On Tuesday, there was a one day sale on canvas at Michael’s. Buy one get one free! It was around 4o’clock when my friend and I got there. We stocked up on canvas and paint and took our time enjoying the new spring stock and the markers.

There were so many pretty colours to choose from, they were irresistible! And they had paper to try them out…so what do two artists do?

My friend Adelle’s pretty flower
I was feeling the Valentine spirit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reason for showing you these little doodles leads to the next part…why I didn’t make it to yoga class!

 

Yoga

I was all registered for class tonight. I really planned to go! But, by the time I got home from Michaels, I knew there was no way I was going to make it there in time.

We had so much fun colouring with all the colourful markers, but I ended up not being able to make it to yoga. Hopefully, I will get a class in before the week is over.

 

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

ROW80 Week 3 Sunday

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I could say it was a terrible week for reaching my goals, but no matter which way you look at it, I still made progress on my novel, (which is awesome). I did a little bit of painting and though I did miss out on yoga, I did get some snowshoeing in. So there’s that. It’s exercise, right? And there is always next week.

Novel Writing:  

I am almost finished the next chapter in my story. I really thought it was going to be finished on Monday, Tuesday at the latest….sadly that didn’t happen.

Tuesday ended up being a complete write-off. School was cancelled because of the weather. I work much better when there are no distractions around. Trust me, everything is a distraction, but it’s worse when my boys are home. It’s not them…it’s me lol.

My mood was off, too. And that didn’t help. Headaches, depression and all over body pain made want to just curl up and have a nap.

 

My reference photo

Painting:

I got one afternoon of painting in instead of the three afternoons that I had planned.

The picture to the left is the reference photo that I was working from.

Below is my work in progress and I’m realizing now how bad the perspective is on that pool of water! Ooops! I do like the colours, though so there’s that.

Work in Progress

YogaYoga:

Yoga didn’t happen this week. I seem to be able to make the Tuesday class. It’s at a perfect time for me to be able to make it without running around like a crazy lady to get there. 

Tuesday, I felt miserable. Headache, all over body aches and depression. I had an angel on one shoulder telling me to stay home and relax. The angel on the other shoulder said, “Go! You will feel so much better if you do!”

I agreed with the stay home angel, but I later found out that the class was cancelled due to weather. So, I didn’t feel toooo bad about not going. The weather wasn’t great the rest of the week either, the roads were terrible for travelling on. 

I got extra exercise by shovelling the driveway twice this week. Yep, my muscles were feeling that!

I also got a bit of snowshoeing in! I posted some pics from that here. It was a gorgeous day for it, but boy oh boy were my legs burning! I only did about 2 km, a fairly short jaunt but it was enough for me. 

Last week, I mentioned doing some blog posts that relate to the novel I’m writing since it is interlaced with legends and historical stories that link and weave the characters together. I have a post ready to go for Monday, so I hope you’ll stop by and check it out.  It’s the story behind three of the characters, Art, Delvcaem and Becuma and is based on the Irish fairy tale Becuma of the White Skin by James Stephens. 

How about you? Did you reach your goals?

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Jo-Ann

ROW80 Week 2

ROW80

I’m a little late getting my Sunday report done. I had a busy Saturday, and these ROW80 reports have a way of sneaking up on you!

Novel Writing:  My writing group meeting was Wednesday night, so I thought I’d work on my short story that day instead of novel writing. We are working on putting together an anthology with a humorous theme. I got a reasonable first draft down that I was happy enough to share with the group. They laughed at the appropriate parts, so I’m taking that’s a good sign. I did a bit more editing on Friday but I’m still working out a few kinks.

Thursday I finished a chapter in my novel for a total of 750 words. I had hoped to edit a chapter a week. It took me two weeks to edit this chapter. So, I’m a bit slower than I expected but that’s okay. I’m still making progress and that’s a good thing.

 

Painting: I had planned on painting three afternoons a week. This week I painted one afternoon. That was on Monday, so you might already have seen this painting when I posted on Wednesday.

Nothing more done the rest of the week, hopefully next week I will get more painting time in!

 

 

 

YogaYoga: I had hoped to get to yoga class at least three times per week.Unfortunately, I only made it once this week. Between writer’s group and dinner with a friend (it was her birthday!) that was the best I could do. We shall see what this week brings!

 

 

I’m hoping next week will be more productive. Hopefully, I’ll have another chapter in my novel edited, plus I have a couple of reviews coming up on some books that were written locally and I’m excited to share them with you.

I was also thinking of doing some posts that relate to the novel that I’m writing. My novel is interlaced with legends and historical stories that link and weave the characters together. It’s a blend of modern realism with historical fantasy. If you enjoy time travel, evil queens, faeries and steampunk magic, then you might enjoy this.

Have a wonderful week!

Jo-Ann

ROW80 Week 2

ROW80

Monday wasn’t a too bad day for writing. I normally do my writing in the morning, but it didn’t quite happen that way.

Instead, Monday was a day for having lunch with the girls. It was so nice to get caught up with friends after the holidays! And they were writer friends, my inspiration! So that totally justifies it, right?

It was later in the evening when I got 460 words edited. I was happy with that, though I seemed to have added an incredible amount more story to the memory being recalled by the main character. I might be off on a tangent but I will go with it for now and cut it later if I have to.

Tuesday, I’ve edited 544 words and still going strong on the memory…only it’s way better. I think. We’ll see!

Painting:  I found a pack of small canvasses in my studio, around 5 x 5 inches. What to paint, though? I don’t normally work on landscapes, but I thought I’d do a painting from a picture that I took on my daily walk. If you’d like to see the original photo, it’s here, second one down.

Winter Reflections

I’m not really happy with the way the reflected trees on the right hand side look. They’re more like sticks than trees. Aaaand I might have overworked it a bit but overall I was reasonably happy with it. I might try to do something about the trees. I’m getting comments from family that the painting looks upside  down. Hmmmm….

Yoga

Yoga: Oh, I so did not want to go to yoga tonight. I was tired. It was busy, my son wanted to visit my mother. It was so tempting to skip it. But, I did not! I went to yoga and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m so glad I went! Yay!

 

So that’s my update for this week! Did you have goals? 

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Jo-Ann

 

ROUND OF WORDS 80

Okay, this is my first ROW80 post! And so far, I am on track with my goals for the New Year. Yay! I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Novel: I’ve been working steadily on editing the next chapter in my novel, and I’m on target to finish today. I’ll let you know on Sunday how it goes.

Short Stories: Thursday and Friday will be short story writing days so that update is to follow.

Painting: I didn’t paint on Monday as planned, but it was New Years Day, and I spent the day taking down Christmas decorations. By the time I made a reasonable dent in packing everything back up, I was too tired to do anything else. Wednesday afternoon will be another day to paint. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures for you on Sunday!

Yoga! I joined the Y, and went to my first yoga class on Tuesday evening.  I’m a bit sore, feeling that Warrior II and the Chair pose, but that’s a good thing.