Sunday, December 28, 2014

Silence Reason Holiday Edition: Retail

Yep, I work retail. So, that is part of my reasoning and apology for the long silence on this blog. Retail and holidays tend to be a bit on the chaotic side starting around Thanksgiving, even when your retail is pharmacy focused. (I don't work in pharmacy, it's just a key part of the store.) On top of that, we had a new hire just stop showing up weeks ago so that put us down a person during a time when we needed even more. Short staffed and holidays with 10 days of increased hours the store was open made for a long few weeks.

I didn't work the Friday after Thanksgiving, so that was nice, though we aren't anywhere near as crazy as other retail stores that day. Our big coupon stuff is actually on Thanksgiving and we get more in that morning, I think, than the day after.

However, I also work a good part of my shifts in photo department, so the weeks leading up to Christmas are the busiest for that department. Cards, calendars, photo gifts and just lots of pictures get printed within a short amount of time so by the week leading up to Christmas Day, we are just overwhelmed with orders while dealing with technical issues that always happen at the worst times. And I worked Christmas Eve till after midnight, and then close shift on Christmas Day. I kept busy this year.

So, I've mostly worked for the past month or so and not much else. Well, not much in the way of writing or blogging. I've written maybe over 1,000 words on the Snow novel and a couple online things that needed done. But I've also gone to the gym 3-4 times per week. But I'll talk more about that in the next post, which will include updates, 2015 plans and more. Later I'll have some fitness only posts so look forward to thoughts on fitness with the blog and a couple just about lifting weights.

I hope everyone had a great set of holidays and are ready to rock 2015.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Putting Fitness in My Fiction Blog

Hi there.

It has been a bit of a slow year on my blog, though I notice I post here more than any of my other blogs, so that says something at least. But since I've been more active lately, it's probably time to do an update health wise and talk a little about fitness before we get into the crazy fun of November and National Novel Writing Month (yes, I take part in it every year so this year is no different).

First: Update

September 5th was my last weight post, which included a goal to lose 10 lbs by nanowrimo. I am currently at 194.2, so have lost almost 15 lbs since that post since I had a weight of 209 when I made that post. The walking once a week, the week after I posted, ended up more like 6-7 days a week. I've only missed a few days in the last month, and a couple of them were from a cold. Using myfitnesspal, I can get a slightly generalized idea of calories consumed, which is the main reason for the current loss but the scale is just a small factor. I have many fitness goals, which is really where this blog will focus on (though I will occasionally post weight numbers and maybe some day measurements, plus hoping to one day have before/after images). It has been a slow adjustment and I think it's time I got some fitness into this blog.


I am a fan. I always have even though liking something and doing it are not always connected. And I like many kinds. I used to be in sports (volleyball, basketball, track, softball) but I've also enjoyed walking, zumba, swimming, hiking, and weight lifting. Only thing I haven't enjoyed so far is spinning, just not for me but I wouldn't mind some day trying out cycling.

For now, I walk. I started end of August with a random 5k walk for charity event and from there just started walking 2-4 miles almost every day with a few times where I didn't walk at all. It's a start and has been fun because I've walked with a couple coworkers and might walk with one other when it's not stormy and rainy.

My next plan for winter, at least, is to go to a gym. There are several in the area but most are out of my price range at this time (even the YMCA is over 40$ a month, which I can't afford). The 24 Hour Fitness has a lot of the amenities I'd appreciate such as weights, zumba class, and swimming pool. However, it is out of my price range as well, though might get a discount through work. There is a Planet Fitness near enough and that is in my price range for the next two months. I'm going to check out a few places tomorrow, then make decision for November and December.

Fitness Goals (a few with more to come in future)

Run 5k (color run 2015)
Deadlift (learn how)
Jump high enough to block (HS volleyball, could never do)
Take class on hand to hand combat
Lift heavy weights ;-) (will be more specific once I get to some weights)

I also have some ideas for a few things, which might include researching trademark and such. We'll see how this goes and if there is some community interest down the road. Right now it's one step at a time.

What do you do for fitness?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Novel Progress

So much progress and yet so much more to go.

Since I am still a writer and the purpose of this blog from the very beginning has been the novels, I must talk about how I'm doing from time to time, though the fitness has been a slight distraction from writing. That and I'm more tired now, so I go to bed earlier instead of writing late. I'll get it worked out by NaNoWriMo though. ;-)

For the summer, my plan was to focus on 1 novel and get it done. Well, I got distracted. (Yes, I see the pattern.) I worked on submitting a few stories over the 3 months. Most have been rejected but I'm still sending things out. I try to get at least a couple stories out a month. Other than submitting, I've also written a few new short stories. Many of them were for contests over on but we'll see what happens. One was an expansion of a free write I posted online in a forum and a reviewer already wants there to be more to the story.

I did work on the novel though. I wrote 37,000 words during Camp NaNo and a decent amount in June as well. August, however, I got barely anything done in the novel. I'm near the end where everything goes wrong, the climax of the story, just need to actually write it. I still can get it done by the end of the year but it didn't get done in summer. However, I did write a lot, so that was good.

Novel edit stalled. I won't be submitting the novel to agents in 2014, but I've come to terms with that recently. Instead, I'm going to work on that final edit, get some things fixed up and make the query letter the best I can. My goal is to submit the YA novel in 2015.

World building is also something that was added this fall. Since I've decided for NaNoWriMo 2014 to re-attempt the epic fantasy novel from 2010, I already had my usual prep challenge done. So, instead I am taking the plunge and working on world building. I have notebooks and will spend October focused on that. Working on the different societies, types of characters, magic system and much more. I've added some elements of technology as well, so the novel should be interesting. And I'm going to make myself work on description during November, so it's going to be a super long novel but that's okay. I want to work on using the senses and getting descriptions done, so over the top is fine because I know I can develop it and cut later.

Novel wise, my plan for the rest of the year is: finish LtW, world build, write 100k+ in nanowrimo, work on edits and query letter, and blog.

Are you going to do NaNoWriMo?
What are your current writing plans?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Goals for Fall and Beyond

My goals for now and all the way up to summer 2015.

Summer is over here. Yep, it's now September and so much has happened over the past few months, yet I forgot to blog a good part of the time. Oops. Anyways, here is a quick run down and then fall goals type of blog post for you to enjoy.

I turned 30 recently, which ended up being tame and not as stress inducing as I thought it might be. My mom came to visit, so we went to the beach on my birthday. It was a very nice day too, so we managed to get to the ocean after struggled attempts finding a place that would actually be easy to get to from the parking spot. Also saw a light house, got some nice ocean pictures, looked around little shops, got salt water taffy and ate fresh sea food by the ocean. Very nice day overall. Didn't panic or anything even though I'm not where I'd thought I'd be at 30, but I'm at a good point to make some changes and work towards my life goals.

On that end, I have many fall and winter projects to work on and need to get to busy to accomplish them.

Apartment and belongings - My mess is mostly just unorganized stuff. So need to get it all organized and put in appropriate locations: paperwork, clothes, etc. Get rid of some, donate some and put in better spots for the rest. Would make cleaning easier too.
Pictures - Cat ones need scanned and combined onto cds. I also need to write on the backs of all the other pictures I have that are mine for when I can't remember who and such anymore.

Finish novel draft
Write a couple stories
Query letter

TT needs the final edit done
Standing Ground needs started with the edit
Adult novels need rewrite or edits, but those will wait for other decisions

Post in blogs
I have adsense on one so that needs content posted at least a few times a month. I need to write several posts in advance, have like a blog day or two a month, then schedule them so other days I can comment on people's blogs.

World Build:
Need to prepare for NaNoWriMo by world building Epic Fantasy.

Walk 2 miles once a week, starting out, and increase activity from there.

Watch calories consumed and track on myfitnesspal
Lose 10 lbs by NaNoWriMo (aka November)  this is starting at 211, which was what I had on the myfitnesspal

I weigh 209 now. So, my basic goal is to get to 200 soon. My overall goal for summer 2015 is to lose 30 lbs, which would equate to weighing almost 180. It's not an ending point, but a good reach that I can visualize and from there and I can visualize the next steps. Maybe even some day a swim suit. We'll see. ;-)

November will, of course, be NaNoWriMo, so I'll write at least 100,000 words that month. But I've also got work and trying to make more money, along with crafts I want to do, painting and sewing, etc. So much to do this fall/winter.

What about you? Are you ready for Fall/Spring?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Plan to Build Worlds

It's back... the topic of world building. Yay!

Couple of years ago, back when the blog was called It's in the Book, I had tried to do a regular based world building topic called Worldbuilding Wednesdays because there are some things I need to work on and world building is a major one. Since I write fantasy, it can certainly help to develop the worlds at some point or another and there are so many topics that fall under world building. But I must admit, I didn't do much of it.

Well, now I'm putting myself up to the task. NaNoWriMo starts in just over 2 months and instead of doing the prep work during October, I'm going to spend September and October world building. I have never really tried a full building adventure, but since I already did the prep for this novel (back in 2010, and I wrote 50k of the novel in 15 days) figured now would be a good time to give it an attempt.

Not only that, but I'm going old school. Pen and paper! Very little of my world building attempts will be on the computer. But I do plan to have World Building Wednesday posts a couple times a month where I talk about working on different parts of the worlds. And I still have writing to do, so I'll be online often as usual.

My Tools:
A number of thin notebooks that were on clearance price for under 25 cents each.
Gesso - painting the clearance notebook covers to hide the original images.
Sharpies - to label and draw notebook covers.
Pens - I like colored pens because sometimes it's nice to mix things up for different topics.
Binder - to keep a few together at a time so can take it to work and such.

That is all for now unless I think of something else. While I'm hectic in writing with so many things to get done before August ends, plus have the edit that won't be done by the end of the month for sure, there is a lot to do. But I am looking forward to world building for the epic fantasy novel and may also get some other novel worlds worked on in the near future.

I just keep writing and moving forward. Never know what the tomorrows will bring.

Do you build worlds?
What tools do you use?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Camp NaNo

Another NaNoWriMo topic only this time, it's the summer addition. Also known as Camp NaNo, there are usually 2 challenges each summer. For 2014 there was a camp in April and July, same as last year but the year before the months were different.

I like the idea. November can be a tricky month with the holidays, family obligations, crazy work schedules and/or classes. So, having an option to write during summer is handy. And one month a year just isn't enough.

Camp NaNo also has an extra bonus, though. It doesn't require 50,000 words as the goal. People pick the number of words they want to write during the month. And it doesn't have to be a new novel, so someone could take their 50,000 words if it isn't done yet and add an extra 30,000 during Camp NaNo and that would be okay.

I haven't had much luck in the past with Camp, however. I tried back in 2012 but forgot about it each time. Or the one I did some writing in, I only got a few thousand words. This year, however, has proven different. I made a goal of 30,000 words for the month and I reached my goal a few days ago. The novel was over 30,000 words when July started, so I brought my YA novel up to over 60,000 words and I'm getting closer to finally having a finished first draft on the one I started back in like 2011. This year, it was Yay for Camp NaNo.

Though I will admit, while Camp is fun... it still can't compete with November. I can't wait for NaNoWriMo 2014 and for the first time, I already know what I'm working on. A redo of 2010 where I wrote 50k in 15 days but didn't finish the novel. I'm reattempting the Epic Fantasy with the multiple viewpoints and elves. Woot!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Meal Planning

Speaking of planning, since last post had to do with my summer novel plans, now might be a good time to talk about food.

I have been thinking about this for a while. Okay, by while I mean nearly all year long off and on. It's something that I think is a good idea, but haven't taken the time needed in order to execute said plan. That is: I want to plan my meals in advance. I have been trying to eat healthier but those many days where for a meal, I'm sitting around going "what should I eat" make it difficult because it's usually times where I'm tired or limited on time so don't wanna make the effort to cook then clean, plus my food supplies are on the minimal side at this time. The last minute need food can be difficult on the healthy eating cause there aren't always good options present and so much tasty not so healthy foods are quick.

Thus the idea that I should plan meals out in advance. While I like sometimes to have the option to mix things up, in the long run, it seems like having a plan would help.

I have been eating a little better this month, even though the scale hasn't changed. Drink water every day now, even though still drink a small soda most days. But I drink a few bottles of water each day, so that's good. Also, consuming more fruit and veggies than before. I would eat some veggies, that wasn't too bad, but I didn't really get much fruit. Earlier in the year, it was more like 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a month. So, that's a good increase, though I still eat a little too much candy and cheap, fast items that require just the microwave. But I'm working on it, so that's good. Hoping that if I keep going then some good results will show.

Anyways, back to the planning topic. I would like to plan ahead more but each time I say that, then I do nothing. I have notebooks, calendars and even a dry erase calendar. Plus, I would probably be able to budge better with a pre-planned set of meals. It's something I think I'm going to work on for the rest of summer, putting together plans ahead of time and just eating what is planned. It will take some determination and restraint, but that's the plan for now.

Do you plan meals ahead of time?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Plans

I haven't done a goal or update post for a little while. Since it's June and I'm doing a focus on novels for summer, it seems like a good time to do a post about my plans for the three months.

Since at the beginning of the year I focused on writing short stories, submitting and trying to write on a regular basis, I decided that summer was a good time to focus on novels. After summer there is enough of a break to rest a little before NaNoWriMo. Plus, I have plenty of novels that need work done. So, most of my writing and editing is going to novels for June, July and August.

Summer Novel Plans
Edit Tattle Tell (goal is to finish edits by August)
Finish writing Lighting the Wall (it's at 25k so far)
Finish writing Angel/Demon (it's at over 32k so far)
Write In the Horizon He Saw Rain (rewrite from short story version)
Write List 13 (rewrite from novelette version)

I haven’t forgotten about the health side. No worries. I only dropped about 3 lbs last month, going from 216 to 213. It's a hard range that I buoy in often, so still trying to get lower. Won't be anything special loss wise till I get down under 200. Either way, hoping to keep it going in that direction. I’m consuming more vegetables and fruit, which I think is helping. Then again, I’m going from barely eating maybe a serving or two a day or less to more so it’s easy to increase that amount. Also, cutting down on the buying of candy though I’m also practicing cake decorating and cupcake, so that is a new challenge.

Next, I need to up the physical activity. I do a lot of walking around, standing and even lift heavy things at work, but at home more sitting is involved. I have plenty of dvds and a little space in front of the small tv I never use. I just have to make sure I exercise at a time where stomping is okay cause I’m pretty sure if I start doing work out dvds, the people below me won’t appreciate if it’s at a sleep time. Either way, as I up the healthy foods, I can up the physical activity (or well, as I work on cakes I should up the exercise cause I don’t eat much of it, but I do taste a little and those calories count too).

So, that is my summer plans. Work, novel, eat healthier and exercise. Maybe I can get down to 205 by my birthday. The big 3-0 is approaching.  I’ll bury my head in novels till it gets here.

Do you have summer plans?
What are your writing, reading, editing or health plans for June, July, August?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Stall in Progress

This happens from time to time. I'll be really productive some months (crazy in others, like nanowrimo) but on the flip side of that, there will be weeks or a month where not much gets done. Everything just stalled for the past week or so. But that's okay.

Actually, part of the reason for my recent stall (no blogging, editing, writing, reading) was due to a cold. For the past week, all I've done is work, sleep, go through kleenex and now cough. That was all kinds of fun, let me tell you. *note: sarcasm*  So, that is my "excuse" for not getting much done lately. I felt up to nothing, not even reading a book. My daily writing went to over a week of 0 words per day. So, May is a slack month in progress wise. But now that I'm on the mend, I hope to make the second half at least somewhat productive.

I will admit, I don't feel that bad about not getting stuff done. Sure, it's a set back from some of my goals, like the editing, but at times things happen. Okay, I did feel a little discouraged seeing all those gray zeroes on my writing worksheet. But then I reminded myself that it's okay. I can still keep going and it's not the end of the world to miss a week of writing.

Sure, if things come up all the time and you don't find a way to work around them to get writing and such done, then it might become an issue. But an occasional set back, don't let it get you down. Things happen that get in the way of progress, projects can stall.

I also bring this up because I help moderate a writing web site and now there is a forum where Monday we post our goals for the week (5 days) and Friday we post the results. It's not many days, and some people get a bit ambitious. Honestly, I wish we did 7 day goals but that's a different story. Back to my point... Some people, when posting their results get very discouraged when they "fail" at what they had wanted to achieve. The post is a "woe is me" and "I'm so awful cause I didn't do what I wanted to do" types that start to get defeatist in tone. But try not to do that. I don't make many goals and some of them, I just don't achieve. Instead of getting discouraged, I just evaluate how things went, then figure out my next set of goals and keep moving forward.

This isn't just for writing either. Health and fitness comes with setbacks. Being sick affected how I ate and such for the whole week. Colds are tricky for weight too, for me. Cause I consumed mostly chicken noodle soup, orange juice and sprite, the scale shows a 2 lb loss. Which would be good but once I got back to eating regular food, I usually just gain in back in a few days. Because I can finally eat something besides soup. And it wasn't a healthy loss to being with because it's from eating only like 1000 calories a day and over half of it being liquid form. Plus, this stalls any exercise due to the fact that I slept when I wasn't at work.

Health, fitness, fiction, it all can stall from time to time. The question is what do you do after the stall to pick yourself up and get back to a level of productiveness.

Have you stalled on a project lately?
What do you do to get back into the swing of things?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Reading Rehash

Yay reading. I mean, hi.

I was quiet here on this blog because I took part in the A to Z blog challenge like last year, except instead of this blog or Dawn Embers blog, I used the book review blog. Which meant I had to read. Yay!  Well, I had some awesome help from three others who did reviews, one of whom did 10 of them for me and is joining the blog as a regular reviewer. So, that blog is doing great but now it's time to get back to having all the blogs getting posts on a regular basis. Like this one.

It was great in that it really helped get me back to reading. Last year I only read 10 books for the whole year. Last month, I read 8 books. Along with a little nonfiction book I finished yesterday, that makes my total so far this year already at 11. My goal was 15, but I'm probably going to try for 25 books this year since I'm already at 73%. I will try to read 2-3 books a month from this point, though if I get more great cause we know during November with NaNoWriMo I probably won't read anything then.

I do like reading though I didn't get much writing done in April. Between work and everything, I got the blog and reading done, but not a lot else. Hoping to get things fixed but I'm happy to be reading again either way. There are so many great books out there. I can't wait.

Books I've read so far this year:

 HIVE (Higher Institute for Villainous Education) by Mark Walden
Ash by Malinda Lo
 If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Beneath My Mother's Feet by Amjed Qamar
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Revolt, She Said by Julia Kristeva
March on Earth vol 1 by Mikase Hayashi
Touch of a Thief by Mia Marlowe
The Secret Societies Handbook by Michael Bradley

May Reading Plans:

I plan to finish reading The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier. I also have picked a few other books to read and we'll see how it goes from there. If I finish a couple of them early I might find a book from the library too. The ones picked are: First Test by Tamora Pierce, The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau and the book "and Falling, Fly" by Skyler White.  Need to pick next nonfiction book too but I'll do that later. Either way, the plan is to keep reading.

That is what I've been doing. What about you?
What book are you reading?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April and May

Here is to the rain that will bring the flowers. Also known as, goal updates, new goals, talks of April challenges and plans for spring for my life and writing. Fun times indeed.

April is many things. One is the A to Z blogfest challenge. The last two years I took part in the challenge using this blog, with the most recent (2013) being one where I was crazy and used both Fiction and Fitness (It's in the Book was the title then) along with my Dawn Embers blog. This year I went with a different kind of crazy. I am taking part in the challenge. Just not this blog or Dawn Embers. Even though I've been slacking on reading and don't have active co-bloggers at this time, I took the leap and put in Reading at Dawn. I found an awesome reader who is doing a good portion of the reviews, so it's not just me, and my sister has a couple days. It's crazy but I'm hoping it gives the book review blog a boost and I can push it forward from there. Check out the other blogs taking part (over 1700 of them) over at A to Z Challenge. And check out my posts at Reading at Dawn.

February and March were pretty busy. Here are my past goals and how I did on them:

February Goals
Submit 4 stories to publications. - I sent out 3 in February
Write chapter in AF. - Failed. I've still got a couple chapters left to write overall.
Finish reading HIVE - This one I did accomplish and there is a review posted on Reading at Dawn.
Post 5 blog entries overall. Managed but barely, over all the blogs.
Apply to one job a week. Ish. I was doing good in Feburary, since then not so much.
Batch cook on day off from work. Nope. Still working on planning and cooking.

March Goals
Edit TT. - Fail. Didn't edit at all with all the other things I had to do on WDC this month.
Finish reading 1 book. - I finished Ash on the very last day.
Keep submitting items if they get rejections.  Stalled but then I sent out 7 stories on 1 day so I'm doing better again with this one.
Apply to one job a week. Fail. Got distracted.
Eat 3 servings of veggies a day - not quite but I'm slowly adding more veggies though I need to maybe try and eat more than 2 times a day.

Weight loss didn't happen lately but I haven't put much focus on it either. I haven't really gained either though, so that's good despite needing to buy less candy. I'm at 215 so need to make a goal for April and May to try and get down some as I start cooking and using more veggies.

April Goals
Edit 5 or more chapters in TT.
Read books and keep up with A to Z challenge.
Write 250+ words a day.
Submit 2 stories.
Start doing recipe changes by adding more vegetables.
Lose 3 lbs.
Post at least one post in my other blogs.

May Goals
Write 250+ words a day.
Edit chapters in TT. (amount pends how well April goes)
Start rewriting query letter.
Send out 2 stories.
Get activity ready for summer novel writing.
Post at least 4 blog posts overall.

I have been writing every single day. Some days it's only 250 words but other days it's 1000 or 2000. I'm at over 70,000 words written so far this month and even though I've never been the write every day type. I'm actually liking it and the challenge. Rest of my time is taken up by work but I keep going. And I sleep sometimes too.

But I'm ready for April and May. Always more to do.

How are you?
Did February go well?
What are your goals for April or May?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vegetable Options

See, I promised something not writing and here it is. Vegetables!

Okay, really this is partly cause I had some veggies in freezer, not well kept and didn't notice and got a tad sick from eating it... So, first thing is first. Take care of your vegetables properly. And just because they are frozen doesn't mean they last forever. Especially if bag is opened and not closed well while in the freezer for months.

But on to the rest of the topic. There are three main options when it comes to vegetables: fresh, frozen, canned. All three work in different ways and have different results to varying degrees, pending the vegetable. And my preference varies depending on said vegetable.

The big one. Fresh, as you can imagine, is awesome and useable in so many ways. Can be eaten raw, barely cooked, cooked in many different methods, so much possible with this. However, you don't want to overbuy because you might end up wasting cause they don't last forever as shelf life varies. There are also some I just don't like in the uncooked form in general, while a few others I quite like raw or prefer to start off fresh before cooking. Brussel sprouts, while I have frozen bag in freezer, I prefer to start from raw and cook them. Broccolini is great when bought fresh. Also enjoy carrots, spinach, on rare occasion lettuce, and many other veggies when purchased fresh. And of course squash, mmmm squash. However, I am not the best at cooking right away nor do I grocery shop often in part to having very little money for food. So, I really like buying fresh but it doesn't always work out well at this time.

This can be a good and often times affordable option. There are some small bags of frozen veggies available for under 1$ where I shop. They can be added to soups, casseroles and many other dishes too and last much longer than most fresh veggies will. If spending a bit more, like a few dollars, there are ones with sauces or recipe inspired available nowadays in many stores. Some taste better than others. I haven't had the best luck with frozen spinach. However, frozen broccoli, corn and such have been easy additions to use. Frozen green beans are okay but I prefer canned or fresh. Carrots are okay frozen, for stew and such but eh, I'm not big on reheat and eat from frozen but they are okay. But frozen is a great option minus my small amount of freezer space and keeps for longer, which is good. Next need to find other uses for them, sneak veggies in anything I can so I eat more.

Canned is another often affordable option. These can also be found in some places and sizes under 1 dollar and they have a rather long shelf life. They add well to soups and casseroles but can also be heated up and consumed on their own. Some work out better than others. I'm more of a fan of canned green beans (french style cut in particular) than say eating a can of peas, but they are okay. I haven't tried all the canned ones. I see asparagus but it's usually more than the other veggies and I like fresh more anyways. Canned corn is okay but I'm not big on creamed corn. Carrots are okay but almost too soft yet I like starting fresh and getting them soft... I dunno. I have canned baby carrots, instead of slices. That will be interesting. So, in general I do kind like canned or jarred (don't see much jarring but if I had pickle stuff I'd try to make it like my great grandma's.

So there are a few options in the way of vegetation.

Do you have a preference?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Random Writings

Lately I've had a couple random bits of writing occur and figured it would make for an interesting blog post. I will do a fitness/health post in the near future though, so look forward to a green bean recipe or two. ;-)

But first, random writings!

What do I mean? Well, most of the time, even though I'm not an outliner, when I have a story idea I've thought it through. I watch the story and get to know the character in my head before I do much writing at all. This goes for both short stories and novels. Also is why I don't quite consider myself a true "pantser" because I don't quite discover the story as it goes along on the page most of the time.

And I guess that is what this is really about, attempting to discovery write.

With one story that I have finished in the last month, it all started with a title. I came up with a title that included Fire. From there I wrote a couple paragraphs, then the final sentence, added space between the start and finish, then went from there. Each day that I added bits, for a good portion of the writing, I didn't know where I was going even though I knew the last line.

Another story that got sent out this week has a similar conception. The story started with a prompt about "Mercury" as a name. I wasn't sure what to do at first so this time I started with the first line of the story, about the character being called Mercury. Each time I added a little more to the story (it took a couple weeks at least), I didn't know where I was headed, but now I have the story done and though it's odd, I kinda like it. I've sent it out already. Got an awesomely quick rejection from one place and that made me send it to another place. I'm all about keep trying and submitting and smiling at rejections (yay!). Oh, also since I had one vote on my "rejections" poll and a few people on facebook like my comment (mostly writers, not just family, lol), I am going to have a little place off to the right that shows the number of items I have out and the number of rejections I've received. And back to the story writing topic...

In some ways it's kind of fun to sit down each day with a goal of adding words to a story but not knowing where that will take things. Not having it planned out. Granted by the end, before I get there, I have something in my head, but it's still fun to discover so much along the way.

And in line with the random write, in a group on we have someone who posts prompts and others will write little snippets based on the prompt in the forum. Since it's forum then it has to be short, more micro fiction style. I don't often post on those cause getting novelist to write short story is hard enough, getting me to write micro fiction is even worse (I try though). Well, today is a different story. I wrote an unplanned snippet from the prompt "In the distance..." And since it's posted on the forum there and thus "published" I figured why not share it here as well.

Untitled story by Me

In the distance existed hope.

Beyond the fence of trees, the forest overgrowth that stretched for unknown miles, lay endless possibilities. A real chance to start anew. No history dragging down in the depths of emotional seas. No pain, rejection or loss of concepts once held close to heart. Only the endless possibilities with the potential for a brighter future displayed out beyond the choking vines of the city.
Behind remained regret.

Mistakes made and promises shattered on the cold concrete simmered in the background along with broken memories of a distant childhood. Heart wrenched, shredded in cold indifference held no strength to stay in the cold place once called home. Crushed dreams and empty bedroom provided little reason to stay.

In the distance lay fear.

The unknown truth remained with no guarantee of brighter shores or better times. Hidden behind the serene tree-line existed a world unexplored with potential for both excitement and disaster. Surviving thus far didn't guarantee a future. Leaving held no promise of safety, kinship or comfort.
Behind existed a known trouble.

Comfort came in knowing despite all odds, survival continued in the cold alleys of the city. Having a past indicated ways to continue to a future, more possibilities with the risks already known. Even the empty arms of the friends that remained there had some warmth.

Standing on the brink of change, the past a beckoning hum of pain and regret at his back while the haunting danger of beautiful unknown lay ahead, he took a step forward.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Goals and updates

I think I'm going to change to posting my monthly goals three months at a time on here because that way I don't have a goal post every single month because then it feels half my content gets focused on either what goal am I attempting or did I make any progress. Both good things but you all deserve more.

But for now, I did January goals so need to give you that update. Then I'll do February and March and we'll go from there.

January Goals
Write 4 short stories
Submit 5 items to publications.
Finish writing AF
Work on TT Edit
Start Vegetable focus using canned, frozen and fresh veggies.

1. Not quite. I started at least 4 stories during the month but I didn't finish them all. In fact, I only actually finished 1, which is already submitted, but I worked on 3 others I'd written in the past and sent those out.
2. Close. I submitted 4 different stories in January. 1 received 2 rejections and is awaiting response at the 3rd place. Good progress still since last I'd submitted was 1 story 4 times in 2009.
3. Nope. But I thought of a better ending. yay!
4. ish, not really.
5. I did post a thing, we are looking at green beans.

Also, current weight = 214. Down from 217 I believe so it's a start.

 Veggie Feature: Green Beans

February Goals
Submit 4 stories to publications.
Write chapter in AF.
Finish reading HIVE
Post 5 blog entries overall.
Apply to one job a week.
Batch cook on day off from work.

March Goals
Edit TT.
Finish reading 1 book.
Keep submitting items if they get rejections.
Apply to one job a week.
Eat 3 servings of veggies a day

How is your year going?
What are your goals for February and/or March?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Rejection Consideration

As it comes in hand with getting into that submission process, rejection is an important topic to consider. Rejection is part of life, but in particular it's a big part of the writer's life. Any time you put something out there, chance exists someone will reject it; but that's okay.

I have been on both sides. Having worked as an intern with a small publisher, I had to do the slush pile reading and thus decided which stories we took for consideration and which ones received rejection. It was a strange situation to be in at the time because I'd not sent much out over the years leading up to taking on this role.  There isn't joy for many of us in sending a "this isn't for us" response but not everything can be accepted. Now I'm back on the other side and awaiting for the email rejections from items I have submitted.

Until this year, the only time I had submitted fiction wise was back in 2009, which was a 500 word alien thing that isn't quite a finished story... Yeah, reading it now I wonder why I sent it but that's okay, I thank the kind slush readers that skimmed the short short item. I sent it to 4 places and got 4 rejections before getting distracted by other things. (Yes, I'm an "oh shiny" type, so no adding glitter to comments please as they distract me.) Now that I'm submitting again, 4 submissions so far this year on 2 stories, it's time to look at rejections.

Note: I have a poll on the side over by the about me section that is going until the end of January, 2014. I am curious if keeping a tally of my rejections, submitting and acceptances would be helpful. I'm not going to post much about them at all and never going to list where I have sent. But I want to know if maybe having a counter type spot that shows how many times I've submitted fiction and queries would be interesting for a reader. Any votes are appreciated.

Types of Rejections (in my mind)

Form - This is standard. It's the often short, this is not for us, that is usually premade and just gets the story added in so that the author knows which is getting the rejection. Due to the nature of the business and the number of entries magazines, agents, publishers get, while this isn't the most helpful of rejections, it is common and necessary. The form isn't meant to say the writing is horrible or anything, but a quick way to get the message back to you that they aren't going to publish the item submitted. Simple as that. I've received a few of these, back in 2009 and so far this year too.

Nice Form - This might be a half made up by me thing because it's basically a form rejection though some might start getting into the short but personal realm. In essence, this has a little more than the "we have read (insert story here) but it doesn't meet our needs at this time, the end" type but not a lot added beyond it. To me, the nice form is the one who has the part with the insert story here but also wishes good luck in placing it elsewhere and/or asks you submit other work to them in the future. It's nice because it has that tone, that hey keep going type which sounds more than just "hey, read it but no". I did receive one of these nice ones in 2009 that looked quite formulaic but had send other sci-fi in the future (despite my not having any other sci-fi.... yeah, umm it was nice though).

Personal - This varies a bit but the general standard a friend recommended is if they mention anything about the story beyond the title, it counts as personal. Which means it can be very short, much like a form letter or it can be a full, no but there is why. A few places try to give a comment or two to every submission but those are rare because it takes so much time and effort pending the amount entries sent. One I sent to in 2009 gave feedback to every submission (they are no longer open) and the one I got basically said "make it longer". They recommended novelette length, which is a bit of a jump from 500 words but I totally see why it was suggested and appreciated the comments given. Don't let any reason pull you down if there is much to work on or a hard negative formatting. Like any, take time away and don't backlash but also consider it a success. A personal rejection is something to note, give yourself a tiny candy (or a non-food treat) or something to celebrate cause that marks reaching a point, especially for those that don't give personal to everyone. Then keep submitting (or take break and work on something else).

I could talk more on rejections but that's territory for my other blog (adds note to do a blog post on rejection there next month). Since this blog is focused on my path, let's just leave this here. I am submitting more. I have 2 stories sent out so  far, one that I will be sending I hope next week and 4 more that I would like sent by February 14th due to a challenge I'm in. I'm taking the steps and that's what is great and why I like the rejections. They show me I'm on this part of the journey and not just stuck in the cycle of first drafting. Yay!

What are your thoughts on rejection?
Did you vote on the poll? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Submission Mission

I'm on a mission to submit stories for publication. Yep, after writing for years (I've been on since 2005 if that tells anything), I am making a big push to submit stories out into the world to publications. Yay!

Background: I have submitted very little in the past. 1 sci-fi flash fiction story to 4 places, one creative nonfiction because had to send it, and one set of poems. All rejected, which didn't bother me actually, and one rejection of the sci-fi was personal (as they gave comments to everyone).

Last time I submitted a story up to Jan 1, 2014, was back in 2009...

Yeah, the time has come. So, I did something fun. I made a poster! (Yay for discounts at a place that prints photos, hehe.)

With help of free vector images, gimp and inkscape to make circles, I created this. It has 100 circles and I have to mark a circle for a story submitted.

So far, I have one marked. Yay!  Already got a rejection and submitted elsewhere but still, I am starting and it's great. I can't wait to get more rejections... and maybe some day acceptances too. There are more to come in the near future.

Do you submit your work?

I'm using The Grinder to keep track of where I submit. What about you?

And also... lookie, the veggie thing is live! ----->

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No Kiss Blogfest

Yay, I remembered this year!

Today is the 5th annual No Kiss blogfest. Make sure to check out all of the fun entries here: No Kiss Blogfest Homepage

This year I am using what started as a novelette but is going to end up a novel. And in an odd move on my part, it's actually contemporary Young Adult. Not a trace of speculative fiction in this one. But I still keep the boy/boy part. ;-)  Quick update. Ryan's father had a list for everything including List Thirteen, which was a list of things to do before dying. After his death, Ryan takes on the list in hopes of finishing it to keep for him. This is a scene that shows 2 of the goals and how his friend helps him.

A section from List Thirteen:

Ryan settled down on the floor in the corner of his father's office room. Since declaring his goal in finishing List Thirteen, he had made it his sanctuary. Though he refused to sit in the office chair. Each time he thought maybe he should because it had a very nice, cushioned seat, he couldn't get himself to sit down. It was his father's and he didn't want to change that fact. So, instead he sat on the floor in the corner and faced the organized desk. With a sigh, he opened the thick epic fantasy novel, turning to where he'd given up last.

Staring at the hundreds of pages that remained, he couldn't help but wonder what appealed his father so much about the series. Not to mention how could the author keep writing books of that length and keep them interesting. Plus, it was fantasy. But he had to read the whole series, so he took a quick sip of water and plowed forward, turning the pages to get started on chapter four.

A knock on the door interrupted much later and he grumbled as he put the bookmark in on page 398. He rubbed his eyes, unsettled at the dimness in the room that he didn't remember existing when he'd sat down to read.

The door opened and Trevor peeked in before pushing it wider so he could enter. "What are you doing in here?"

"Reading." He held up the book a couple inches higher as evidence. It hit him how long he'd been sitting as he moved with aches radiation through his legs, across his butt and up his back.

"Oh right, the book thing. Looks like you are almost done." Turning on the overhead light, Trevor moved by the desk and put down the plastic bag he'd brought with him. But he didn't sit in the desk chair. Instead, he stood near the desk, resting against the edge. "That makes one you can cross off the list, right?"

Sighing as he stood, his legs tingled with numb pain as he put his weight on them, he had to shake his head in the negative. "Not even close. The list states the whole series and this is just book one."

"How many are there?"

"Fourteen, well, the last book is called number fourteen but really there is one that is a prequel to book one that I don't know when it should be read. So, that makes fifteen." Ryan put the book aside on a small side table before changing his focus. He kind of liked the book at that point and wanted to finish but his friend coming in with something in tow made him wonder what he had in mind. "What is in the bag?"

"Damn." With a smile he put his hand on the bag. "Oh, this? Well, I said I'd help you with the list so I bought some hair dye. A nice pretty pink. I know you'll love it."

He hated pink and stuck out his tongue at his friend's suggestion. "If you got pink I'm going to punch you."

After a long, fake dramatic pause, Trevor pulled out a box of dye. He held it up so Ryan could see the front that had the color and an image of two people who had used it. "I know you can be a girl at times but relax, I got you a better color than pink."

Staring at the strange box gave him both relief and trepidation. While the color on the label wasn't pink and it had an image of a boy, it also had a girl with the same color and it looked sort of girly on both. But in truth, compared to pink and even purple, the teal dye did present a better option and it was crazy enough to qualify for the list. "Fine. So, I'm supposed to dye my own hair?"

"No, you goof. I am going to do it." Trevor pulled out another box. "And later on we can use this one so you don't have weird hair all summer long."

Ryan squinted at the box, uncertain about how often he'd have to color his hair and at the same time wondered how his mother and sister both put up with it since they did it a couple times a year it seemed. "Black? That isn't my natural color."

"I know. But it will cover better, or so the lady said. Besides, I think it looked good that time."

Standing close to his friend, Ryan caught his gaze, uncertain how to respond. He'd done the black hair look once, a couple years ago but the way Trevor had worded the comment combined with the stare that followed made his stomach twist. He wondered in that instance if something more lay hidden under the comment or if it was like the other things Trevor said to him in the past. Little jokes and pretend nothings that some said looked like flirting. The hand on his shoulder, touching the edge of his hair near his right ear felt real though.

Then it ended. Letting it go, Ryan led the way out of the office so they wouldn't risk ruining the carpet. Instead, they used his sister's bathroom. She was away at summer camp so he could use it without her knowing.

At first, he had little doubt but having to remove his shirt jolted his nerves. But he didn't want to stain his shirt. Relief came when they draped a couple towels over to protect his skin. He let Trevor handle the dye, doing whatever it required in order to get his hair done.

"I think this takes a few steps." Trevor stared at the box. "We need to bleach it first, then do the color."

"Whatever you say." He sat on the wooden stool and waited, not able to do much but keep still.

"Do you know why he had some of these goals?" Trevor kept the conversation going as he worked through Ryan's hair. "Like, some of them are kind of strange for his age, don't you think?"

He winced when his hair got tugged too hard. "I asked mom. She said a few of them were his mid-life crisis goals."

That caused a pause for a couple seconds. "Wait. Your dad planned his mid-life crisis? What a nerd. No offense."

"Yeah, he was a nerd." Even though Ryan smiled, he had to wipe near the corner of his eye to keep a tear from falling at the mention of his father. The hand that squeezed his shoulder helped.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Goals and New Format

It is a new year and time to roll out the new. But first: a quick Salute to 2013! And a great big Welcome 2014!

 (image link)

I didn't do much blogging in 2013 in general. I did the change over from It's in the Book on this one, to Fiction and Fitness but haven't done a whole lot after the April blog challenge. But it's a new year and time to get the blog up and running in a more effective and useful manner. And with that, a new background and new post formats. I still plan to do goal type posts at the beginning of each month, but no more Insecure Writing posts. Hope all who take part in the blog hop continue to do well. I have a few other ideas I'm bringing to the blog though.

First, I am going to do a couple more posts on health and fitness. This includes a focus on vegetables segment, which will probably first be in another post, then two weeks later I will post some recipes I tried that incorporated the vegetable showcased.  Thinking twice a month for now on that feature.

Then there is the writing. Aside from talking about my goals for writing each month, at least twice a month after that I need to post updates. This will in particular focus on what I've written, edited, submitted and any books/publications I've read.

The big thing is simply, blog on a regular basis. Now for the goals part of the blog.
(image link)

I did goals for 2013. Here is the results of those goals.
Writing (novels)
Edit TT and SG, send to test readers, prepare for submission (edited TT, sent to test readers, on final edit, however just started SG edit barely).
Finish first draft of AF, OiEM, LtW and/or AD, TK, GaD (Finished TK and almost done with AF).
Try not to start new novel at least until November if at all (Fail but by accident, shorts became novel ideas).
Be closer to submitting by my birthday (Was closer though not there yet).

read 50 books/manga/etc (Not even close, with manga and such think the total is 20).

Eat healthier (eh, need to write this goal better for next year, be more precise)
Make progress in life plans (In ways yes but always room for improvement).

Now for 2014 Goals

Finish final TT Edit.
Edit SG.
Finish first draft of 2 YA Novels.
Submit more short fiction to markets. (this breaks a goal making rule, but I am not specific for my year goal because each month I plan to make a specific goal for this item)
Read 15 books
Blog once a week minimum, taking all blogs into consideration.

Change diet over from fast and cheap, to vegetables and home cooked but cheap.
Do a physical activity for 30 minutes 3 days a week, not counting work.
Lose 25 lbs. (Current weight is 217).

January Goals
Write 4 short stories
Submit 5 items to publications.
Finish writing AF
Work on TT Edit
Start Vegetable focus using canned, frozen and fresh veggies.

How did 2013 go for you?
Do you have any goals for 2014? Any goals just for January?


I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Mark Twain

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!