ROW80 Round 3 Goals

Pinterest Blog Writing BannersI haven’t forgotten how it works.  Check-Ins are on Sundays.  But that kinda doesn’t work for me right now.  Sundays I have a full schedule with zero give.  Heck, I don’t even exercise on Sundays because there isn’t even time for a 30-minute run.  So, when I laid out a writing schedule I made the choice that blogging would have to be Saturdays.  I know I could just schedule it to post on Sunday, but… That doesn’t feel right at this moment.  Maybe later on.  Right now I want it to be more immediate.

So, the first bricks in rebuilding my writing house are down.  I chose to write again, I made a writing schedule, and I picked a project.  With ROW80’s help, I hope to navigate the ups and downs I’m headed towards.

Since I am joining in so late (hey, rules say I can join in at any time) and I’m working on getting my footing still, my goals will be light.

#1) Have written 10,700 words of HALLMARK
HALLMARK is one of my classic code names.  It references the feel I am going for and the inspiration.  This is my first project back and it is a short story for an anthology that closes to submissions in October.  I’ll be over half finished by end of round. Though, there’s already a hiccup.  I have to work on Friday (Sept. 1st), which is one of my writing days.  I hope to make it up somehow.

#2) Take care of myself
This means three things: 3 bottles of water a day (these are sports bottles, not store bought), taking my vitamins, and exercising 6 days a week.  While writing helps me take care of me (mental health wise), I can’t neglect the physical me. Plus, the better I take care of me, the better my writing goes.

#3) Blog on Saturdays
They will be my check-in posts for now.  I don’t have much I want to talk about outside of these goals right now.

#4) Catch up on comics (and stay caught up)
For the last month of summer vacation, I had zero energy/time to read.  And the two weeks before that I only managed some of my pull.   The first day the kids were back at school I counted and I was 38 titles behind.  I read a good chunk that day (13), but had shopping to do the next day and only managed to read 2 more.  Today? So far 0, since I’ve been busy.  So, must catch up!  And when I do, I need to be at 0 by Saturday.  This is the only way to get time to read books again!

And, done!  I would love to put stuff about reading those real books or social media usage.  But, those bricks will be put down later on.  I want to wade into the pool, not be dropped into the middle of the Atlantic.

Aside from the check-in, I’ll also talk a little about life.  In my attempts to be open (but not a downer) about my mental health, I haven’t been at my best.  With the start of the school year came lots of stuff… Example? My daughter had a rough last year regarding getting school work, but somehow (mainly test scores) she managed to be put in all the available accelerated courses.  I’m proud, but a bit worried.  And life always has worries of its own.  I’m hoping my anxiety evens out soon.


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I Have a Plan!

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”
-Helmuth von Moltke

Okay, to be honest, I have part of a plan.  I’m hoping, when finished, my plan is simple enough even an idiot (that would be me) can do it.

Right now my plan is to have a small vacation (to recover from my kids’ summer vacation) August 24 & 25.  Then the weekend is full of events and is followed by a Monday at the office job playing with invoices.  Then, I’ll start my baby steps to being an active writer once more.

The baby steps will be four days a week actual writing and one day a week blogging.  While I would love to do writing 6-7 days a week and a 2-4 day a week blogging schedule (like I used to do), I know that I need to build my discipline from the ground up.  (Just like I did with my household/life management.)  So, baby steps.

What will I be writing? A 5k-20k story for an anthology submission call I saw (due October 20).  I have been outlining it since August 4th.  Just a few more details and my pre-writing will be done.

Aside from that? I’m not sure.  I need to get on the editing horse as I discovered older versions of some of my lost files (some completed and some not).  I also need to start sending to slush piles once more.  I need to awaken some dormant social media.  I have a lot to do, but not a plan beyond starting to write again.  I hope to know by August 26, when I’ll post some goals as I enter the ROW80 circuit once more. (I miss the ROWers!)

So, yeah!  See that?  Two posts not months apart!  I am so trying to be back.

P.S. – I adopted another hamster!!!!  I named her Jester.

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Where have I been?

To answer where I have been, I have to explain how I was… back in 2015.  Around the end of that year, for the first time in a long time, I was very mentally and physically healthy.  I did a lot of work to get there.  I walked or ran 5-6 times a week, did yoga twice a week, worked hard on goals toward my writing, and kept my family taken care of.  I was majestic.

And 2016?
Yeah, I was going to better!  Awesomer!
THE BESTEST!giphy1That’s not what happened in 2016.

A lot of things happened.  Some things I blogged about on here, until I didn’t.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ll start from the beginning.  In December of 2015, despite my vitamins playing a role in getting me healthy, I decided presents were more important than buying new ones.  And I also lapsed in my exercise because “Holidays are about fun and exercise is not.”  Once 2016 started, I struggled to consistently exercise.  Part of that was because I had started my part time job at the comic shop and folding something new into a destabilized routine ended in multiple failures.

Summer then came.  The disruption of kids on vacation, and prioritizing them first, meant writing, exercise, and also house cleaning were in total disarray.  I realized at this point I had to do something to get things under control, but I mistook this as me not having my priorities set.  I was just lacking a realistic view on my life and planning poorly.

Summer also brought lots of pet emergencies that lasted into fall.  Romeo (dumb dog) had a lump (it was basically an injury, fluid pocket), Oreo had a lump (zit), Makoto (chicken) had a prolapsed vent from soft eggs and got her butt attacked by the others, and then there was Cupcake… We thought it was a UTI, but it turned out to be something that took three different vet clinics and $5,000 to discover was sludge (not crystals as is normal) in her bladder…  Despite all the efforts, we couldn’t make her better and she passed in fall, around Thanksgiving.


Cupcake Left

Also in summer, my husband decided to leave the job he had been in for over eighteen years.  In fall he changed jobs and I decided to try having a second part time.  So here we were adjusting to all this and the weirdest thing happened.  I got a new group of friends.  Friends I did stuff with a lot.  I was always busy!  I started hanging on to life by the skin of my teeth!  Things slipped through the cracks a lot…

When 2017 came around, I realized I couldn’t keep going on like this.  My resolution this year was to get back in control of my life and work towards 2015 me again.

So, my exercise is quite constant these days, I am not blinded sided by up-coming events, my house is lived-in-clean (I’ll never have it Better Homes and Garden style), and I am finally feeling like I have a stable life.  But reaching this point made me realize how important writing had been to the great mental health of 2015 me.  Reaching my goals gave me accomplishments and positive moments to feed off of.  Having stories to work on gave my mind a safe place to go so I could avoid the cycle of negative thoughts I sometimes enter.  It also gave me a community that even my new friends couldn’t replace.

Basically, what I am saying is… I’m back.  And because it has been so long this is going to be a little bumpy.  Cheer me on?

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What are my priorities?


This was my morning the other day.  I like images with my blog posts, but nothing really fit it, so I picked this.

In 2015, 2014, and pretty much every year before it, I had a clear idea of what most important to me.  First, family.  Second, writing.  Third… changed depending and for the purposes of this doesn’t matter.  Just got into the counting of stuff that’s all.  Anyways, my point is that  I had my priorities figured out.

I’m not saying I ran my life like a boss, because usually it was too much one thing (writing, for example) and not enough others (cleaning and exercise, for more example).  Generally, I worked hard, adjusted, and kept at it while having a super clear vision. Except in 2015.  I pwned 2015 like it was a noob.

Then came 2016.  I thought I was just going to kill it.  My plan?  Same thing we I do every night, Pinky year. Try to take over the world. Up my game.

To be honest, it has been an amazing year for me.  Literally, something is always happening.  Mostly good, like getting chickens, my parents visiting, and getting a job.  But, there’s some bad in there too, like spending last week on steroids (please, never again) for the first time ever because I hurt my back so bad it gave me sciatica.  This year has been a total whirlwind!!!!  It has been nothing like how I planned, though.

In addition to priorities, 2015 and previous years had a routine to them.  Obviously from the hints in the previous paragraph, this year not so much.  And as I write this I can’t help but wonder.  Is it that having one (priorities) breeds the other (routine)?  Or was 2015’s success entirely because both were present?  Really doesn’t matter.  Either way, I’m sorely lacking both this year.

I’m also lacking discipline.  When writing was my only job, I could tell myself not watching anime, not playing video games, and taking time away from “fun” stuff made sense.  However, now that I have a job where doing those things is a benefit to me, I find it harder to tell myself I should be writing rather than watching SAKAMOTO DESU GA.  Rather than read a book, I’m more likely to pick up a comic.

And, because 2016 has just been that eventful, I didn’t realize any of this until the start of this month.  So, where have I been?  Busy.  Lost.  Am I back?  Sorry, still busy and lost.  But at least I know it now.  With how things have been, I’m not sure how long until I know what’s going on.  But, when I know, you’ll know.

Stay awesome!

Categories: Experience, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What Went Wrong?: 15 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Tales

Today I’m super excited to share with you not only the details of this awesome anthology, but some excerpts!  I hope you end up as excited about WHAT WENT WRONG? as I am. 

We've all had that day...(1).jpg

A Caring Company
By Matthew Harrison

The two HR ladies slowly backed away. Danny, still ‘reading’, kept one eye on them all the time. What did Sandra have in that handbag? “Platform infrastructure obsolescence…” Eventually, the HR ladies disappeared. Danny put down his ‘report,’ and went to the corner to check that they had gone.

On his return, he found Vicky collapsed in her seat, breathing in great gasps. Danny stood awkwardly, wondering what to do. Then Angelina, from a neighboring department, came over and comforted Vicky.

When she had recovered somewhat, Vicky looked up at Danny gratefully. “Thank you so much!” she whispered. “You faced them down.” Angelina glanced at him admiringly, and then returned to her cubicle.

“We should stick together, they won’t dare take us on then,” Danny whispered to Vicky urgently. “Here, take this.” And he handed her his own sheath knife which he had smuggled in. He would have to get another, but they surely wouldn’t come for him that day.

Vicky took the weapon in her small hand. “I’m not sure, I—”

“Just take it,” Danny insisted. “You just have to show it; that will already put them off.”

Vicky nodded, and put the weapon in her handbag. Danny made her promise to call him at once if she saw anything threatening, and then made to go. Glancing back, he saw how frail she looked. He was going to have to find stronger allies to have any chance of surviving in Prospect.

This conviction strengthened as he rounded the corner and found the large HR gentleman standing over his own cubicle.

By Holly Riordan

“I want to test it first, to see if it’s safe,” my aunt said, unfolding the place mats and flipping through them. “Which one wouldn’t you want?”

“We never really did much for Easter. Try using that one.”

“Sounds good to me.” She plucked it from the pile and a smiling bunny face stared up at us. Its fur and little pink nose filled the entire mat, except for a black box in the lower left-hand corner, which held a signature line.

I nudged the knife with my knuckles, hoping she’d pick it up and slice without wasting precious minutes trying to prepare herself for the pain.

That’s exactly what she did. She swept the knife across her skin, like she’d done it hundreds of times before. Like she was as used to seeing blood as the man in the booth.   

“I guess this is my temporary goodbye,” she said as she dipped a pinky into the blood and wrote out the year she wanted. She chose 2008, the same year I was planning on picking. The year before it had happened.

As soon as she finished drawing out the last number, her hands fell to her side. Her eyes rolled up. Her back arched. Then her body froze. I would’ve called an ambulance if I’d had a more innocent childhood, but I’d seen death before. This wasn’t it.

This was magic.

Balancing Act
By N.O.A. Rawle

“Gentlemen! Just starting out on the rocky road to marriage? Want the kinks in your future smoothed out before you start?” the spindly gentleman tugged on his fine moustache for dramatic effect, “Ladies! Want to know that you and your partner will share equal footing in the house? Or know that your spouse will pull his weight?” he allowed himself a smile, but not long enough to arouse suspicion, “We all know that balance is the key to a good relationship but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it… Or is there?”

“My secret is right here!” He gesticulated to the large oblong box draped in purple silk. “It’s simple! Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the key to your Happy Ever After! Here, is what no matchmaker or priest can guarantee! But do you dare to try it?”

The crowd was now so silent that his patent leather boots could be heard as he clicked back across the wooden platform.

“I speak now only to the brave among you. Those of a sound heart! Let me introduce you to the Equilibrator! Modern science, my friends, mixed with a just the right sprinkling of magic of course, has the answer! But are you sure you want what I have to offer?”

The audience nodded, some already murmuring consent.

“The Equilibrator will iron out all your differences before you even know what they might be! Lifelong attraction assured! No arguments! No Discussions! No risk! And I mean no risk, because if you are not satisfied that balance has been brought to your relationship after the first week, I personally, will refund every last penny of your hard earned cash! Yes, that’s right, you heard me correctly! If you can show me that your circumstances are not balanced, I will give you your money back.”

Descends Olympus
T.R. North

Kruse threw open the glass doors with a theatrical flourish. “Look upon my works, ye mighty!”

That part wasn’t an act. I was willing to entertain the possibility of a Guild scientist who didn’t have a few screws loose, but I’d certainly never met one. The walls were lined with wicked-looking weapons, portable orbs and platforms of dubious purpose, and stacks of canisters with brightly-colored biohazard symbols all over them. Kruse handed me what looked like a bottle of perfume from a particularly well-organized section of the counter. I took it gingerly and waited for him to explain before I did anything with it. There was still a stain on the ceiling from some apprentice shaking a bottle of what had turned out to be a new explosive.

“I’m not going to get Victoria-Charlied, am I?” I asked.

“No, may she rest in pieces. I’ve been more careful with labels since then,” Kruse said quickly. “Perfectly harmless, that one. It’s a lovely little cocktail for my new conflict-avoidance line.”

I turned the bottle over in my hands and watched the oily, pink-tinged liquid shift around the dip tube. It was perfectly emulsified, glittered in the overhead fluorescents, and looked more like a body spray marketed at tween girls than a diabolical superweapon.

“I’m calling it Love Potion Number Ten,” he continued. “One spritz and the opposite sex will be putty in your hands! Security guards will hold open doors for you as you make off with everything in the store. Policemen will help you load stolen merchandise into the back of your truck. Armored car drivers will hand over the keys and security codes with a smile.”

Lab Rat
By Jonathan Shipley

Clare reached for her phone, pausing as she felt the sudden increase of increase of air pressure around her.  “No, don’t,” she called, but already she saw the blue glow of the implant in Feodor’s temple.  And McHenry was gone.  Disappeared into thin air.

“Your heart,” she reminded Feodor as the blue faded.  “You know it strains your heart every time you do that.”  But he seemed all right for the moment — no shortness of breath or discoloration of the lips.  She picked up the phone and dialed.  “Where did you send him anyway?”

Feodor started to shrug, then winced at the pain in his arm.  “About a half-mile down the beach,” he rasped.  “He can be thankful that’s the limit of my range.”

Clare nodded absently and finished the call.  A half-mile hike would be nothing to McHenry once he got over the shock of the jump.  As angry as Feodor was, it could have been a lot worse.  A half-mile out to sea, for instance.  Or straight up.

They had a word for it–translocation–because teleportation sounded too sci-fi.  Feodor’s newly developing talent for relocating objects, his heart flutters–both directly connected to his ground-breaking research into trans-dimensional portals.  He should never have used himself as a test subject for the control implant of the machine in the attic.  Now it was to the point where this new translocation talent might be the death of him.


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Categories: Look, May 2016 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment