Back on the #row80 Boat

Now that Row80 has a link, I’m back. I can’t explain why the link even matters, but it does. I was lost without it. Don’t you hate it when you put your Ipod on shuffle and you have to keep skipping Christmas music ;(  On with the goals.

www-ckrich-com 2017 Goals for Row80

  • Write 200,000 words. I did write a tiny bit yesterday. maybe 200 words or so. I stopped because it’s been so long since I worked on my WIP. I decided I should read what I already have. This morning I printed the pages out, intending to read them later today. Looking at the printed sheets, I need to adjust the settings for page setup. No clue how to do that in scrivener. 2,401 words written this year.
  • Edit 600 pages. I settled on a short fantasy story. I’ll pass this on to critique group in a few weeks. Since I just worked on a cozy, my next work for editing is one that might be called magic realism. Maybe. Not real sure of the genre. It has a cool twist at the end. That brings the yearly total to 227/600 pages.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps.
    I’m making slow progress. I walked 6.3 miles this week. I also added 15 minutes of calisthenics. Not every day. I’m not crazy. I hate calisthenics. 159,702 /2.6 millionMy goal is 50,000 steps a week. I fell just shy of the mark with 45,422 steps.
  • Read 80 books. I finished Corroded by Carrie Dalby.  A wonderful YA read. I also finished reading Plot &Structure by James Scott Bell.  Another book I highly recommend. I wish I had read it years ago. I started A Monster Calls last night. Amazing so far. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading. Finished over half of the book already. Completed 8/80 books this year.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. This is a goal for summer so, check back later.
  • Complete devotional.  I restarted this for February and I am on track. So far. Dropping. Don’t ask.

There you go. Not bad. Even though I didn’t meet two goals, I still made progress. Let’s face it. Any time I spend moving is a good thing. I think I need to memorize the opening dance sequence of Guardians of the Galaxy. No, I will not post it on Youtube when I’m done. I’m not breaking the internet.

How did your week go?





February 2017 TBR List

How did I forget to make a TBR list for January? It’s just as well. I read weird stuff, and spent most of my time on one book 😉

Before I jump to the TBR, this is what I read in January:

  • In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and DurnaDuran by John Taylor
  • Fortune Hunter (Miss Fortune Mystery #8) by Jana Deleon
  • Paris by Edward Rutherford (over 800 pages!)
  • The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman
  • Emotion Amplifiers by Angela Ackerman
  • The Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman

That’s 6/80 books for the year. All of them were really good, just in different ways.

the-2017mother-daughterreading-challengeThere’s plenty of time to join the fun with the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge. I’ve marked 3 off that list.

February TBR

I’ve started reading 3 books, those top the pile.

  • Corroded by Carrie Dalby- Dalby is a local author. This marks the second book of hers I’ve read. It’s a YA book featuring a boy with Asperger’s. So far, so good. The teens communicate through emails on a daily basis so I might use this for my epistolary novel.
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that GripsReaders from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell. That title is entirely too long. I’m taking my time as I read, only a chapter a day. I’m working through exercises as I go. So far– Excellent
  • Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Denis- I love this movie. It’s one of my all time favorites. As a kid, I wanted to live with Auntie Mame, forget the circus. This is on my Kindle and I hope to finish it. So far it follows the movie fairly well. This will take care of the novel set during the 20s!

Other books I might read:

  • A Monster Calls by Parick Ness- As soon as I brought this book home, my youngest stole it. She devoured it within 48 hours. She gives her seal of approval.
  • Fantastic Creatures by A Fellowship of Fantasy Authors– including me 🙂

Reading 4 books this month may be pushing it, but I will try.

What’s on your TBR pile?





Vacation Planning

I’ve been busy planning summer vacation. We haven’t traveled in a while, so I am really looking forward to this. No, I will not tell you when I’m leaving. Let’s be real. It is this summer, before August. Where am I going?

San Antonio, Texas

Actually, I’ve been planning this trip for years on Pinterest. This is a special trip. My mother (Hi Mom!) grew up in San Antonio and she would take us there every few years. My children have never been. This trip is like reliving my childhood and sharing family history with the wee ones all at the same time. So I am really excited.

Things I will not do in Texas:

  • Camping– I did look into a dude ranch that takes tourist on a camping trip. It was expensive and they stop camping in February. I imagine because it’s too hot after that and the tourist might burst into flames. My hubby really wants to go camping. Dude, they have tarantulas! He should know me better by now.
  • Theme parks– I’m not driving 9 hours to go to a theme park. I live next to Florida. You can’t walk a block without running into a theme park.
  • Eat fast food– I may have to break this one, but I’ll try hard not to. San Antonio is like New Orleans, you plan your day around where you want to eat.
  • Buy souvenirs– Unless you include the ice chest I plan on stuffing with food before I leave as souvenirs. Truly, it’s all about the food.

Things I will do in Texas:

  • Walk everywhere– Once I reach San Antonio, my sedentary lifestyle will come to an abrupt halt. I plan on walking all over the city. The Alamo, El Mercado, The River Walk, Breckenridge Park- all of these places will be thoroughly enjoyed and explored.
  • Explore a cave– Believe it or not, San Antonio has 3 or 4 caves within a short driving distance. I don’t know which one we will visit. I love caves. Let me know if you have been to one.
  • Meet Zebras– That’s right, zebras. My youngest loves Zebras and amazingly enough there is a wildlife park that has free range zebras. You can drive your car around and they walk up to the window. I hope we don’t get drooled on.
  • Tubing– Texas is a dry state, not alcohol wise. They do have a few rivers that are known for tubing. My oldest wants to try this. Again, no decision on where.
  • Walk through the St. Anthony Hotel– My great grandparents meet at this swanky hotel. One was a cook the other a maid. My great grandmother was an immigrant from Sweden and didn’t speak English or Spanish. I know there’s a story there.
  • Visit Mission Espada– Family history says we have peeps buried here. I don’t know if it’s true, but a visit should be fun.

That’s all so far. I’m still planning and need to make reservations. If you have been to San Antonio let me know where I should visit and eat. I have plans to eat at Mi Tierra’s twice, maybe more 🙂 We love mexican and BBQ. Actually we love it all.

Where do you want to go this summer?



Mobile is Weird, part 2

I’m continuing with the weirdness that is Mobile. The city has been around since 1702 (I think), it’s had plenty of time to become eccentric.

13. Azalea Trail Maids- These “maids” are high school seniors. A handful are chosen from each school. The girls act as ambassadors to the city. They can be found at most events in and around the city. They even travel out of town. My oldest thought they were princesses when she was little. Every dress is different and there is only one pink. She’s the Queen.

14.  Don’t touch the fishing pole if it’s not yours. This should go without saying, but ask permission first. If it belongs to a southerner they won’t tell you to leave it alone. That would be rude. But they will question your upbringing.

15.  Sushi is pretty bait.  Okay, I made that one up. Sushi is becoming more popular here, but most people are a bit shy of it. I have tried it and don’t care for it. I can appreciate it from a far.

16. There are 2 classic ingredients for most desserts. Pecans and coconut. Almost everything sweet has either pecans or coconut in it. Most have both. I don’t care for either. Any church luncheon or social group buffet will have an assortment of cakes, cookies, and bars all made with pecans and coconuts.

17. Don’t swim at dusk or dawn. If you venture south to the Gulf of Mexico. We have the most beautiful sugar white beaches.  The seafood is to die for. That’s just an expression. If you swim at dusk or dawn you run the risk of feeding the apex predator that swims down there. Those are the prime feeding times of the local shark population. Just for the record, just because you don’t see a fin doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

18.  Don’t wade near the reeds.  The Mobile Delta is a great place to go camping and swimming. There are plenty of spots to canoe. A word of warning, the shark is not the only apex predator we have. Alligators love to hide in the reeds and tall grass near the shore. Especially during the day.

19. Don’t feed the gators. If you get caught there is a $500 fine. YouTube is full of videos of people throwing marshmallows at the gators. It may be fun and the gators might enjoy it, but it’s illegal.

20.  Mobilians monogram everything, even underwear.  No explanation needed.

21.  If you kill it, you clean it, and eat it.  Lower Alabama is a sportsman’s paradise. We have hunting and fishing of every kind. I learned  at my daddy’s knee as a tiny girl the golden rule of fishing: you catch it you clean it. By the time I was 8 I could use his knife and gut/clean a fish. By the age of 10 I could fry it.  And yes, that includes baiting your own hook. The same goes for hunting, but I don’t hunt.

22. We drop a moon pie!  Chattanooga may be the birthplace of the legendary moon pie, but on New Year’s Eve we drop a monster sized one off the top of a hotel at midnight. How weird is that?

That’s it for this installment of how weird Mobile is. I know there’s more.




Spring Fever

I’m having a hard time concentrating. The weather is beautiful. Forget housework and writing, I want to go to the beach. It’s still too cold to swim, but it would be nice just sitting on the sand and watch the dolphins swim. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on Pinterst “pinning” fun things to do this summer.

Here’s a nice picture to get you ready for summer:



Our first trip to the beach is usually Mother’s Day. I may have to move that up. I’m thinking a nice day trip before the crazy Spring Break crowd hits. My youngest tells me her gills are dry. She was voted most likely to be a mermaid by her swim team. She’s swimming with a winter swim group, but apparently 3 times a week isn’t enough. Can’t say I blame her. I love the water.

Yesterday was Super Tuesday. I hope all who had primaries voted. I’m thinking of building a time machine so I can just skip the next four years. No matter who wins, it’s going to be scary! No more politics, I promise.

On a happy note. Fellow ROW80 participant Gloria Weber has a new release out today. She was kind enough to do a guest post. Click on her name to zip on over and read all about it. My copy arrived this morning! I love pre-orders it’s like Christmas.


Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church.  Goal this week attend two workout classes and one day on treadmill.  Total failure.

–Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week.  I just started reading Charming by Elliot James. I love it so far. It’s funny and snarky.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery seriesNada! I’m tossing this goal for now.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. This is my critique project. I have submitted the first 5 chapters.
-Institute Meatless Monday. We had mostly meatless Tuesday, so I’m counting that. It was stir-fry with very little meat.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group.  I have four pieces to read this round. I’m waiting a little closer to the meeting to read them.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted.  Goal this week is: 6,000 words. Not feeling it this week. I think it’s Spring Fever. I have 2,327 words so far this week. I’m down by 673. I am writing every day, but it’s hard. I keep watching the Bluejays torture my dog. They steal his food. I’m making progress, it’s just slow. I did some research this morning on European explorers in the coastal south. I also googled water quality and drowning. 🙂 Makes you wonder what I’m writing…

Edit/publish Mystic Brew.   Done!

What’s the strangest thing you have researched for a WIP?


What Makes a Hero?

I’ve been binge watching the Arrow over Christmas. Just finished season 3, so I’m done until season 4 is on DVD. I guess I can get back to writing. The show made me wonder, what is a hero?


I would use the google definition but it ticked me off when it said, typically a man!

According to Webster (1983):

  1. a mythological/legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.
  2. a man admired for his achievements
  3. illustrious warrior
  4. one that shows great courage
  5. the main male character in a literary work
  6. central figure in an event.

Hmmmm, not sure I approve of all that! I’m not going to rant about the capabilities of women. I’m using Hero as gender neutral.

When I think over the mountain of books I’ve read over my life, certain types of heroes come to mind. This isn’t the scholars list of heroes, this is just how I see them.

  1. The Perfect One: The hero is perfect. He/she has no problem in making a decision. There is only one way. Everything is black and white and they never drift over to the dark side. I call this the Superman hero. Like Superman they never make a wrong or questionable decision. He never cheated on Lois Lane and sent Lex Luther to prison for his terrible crimes. These are great heroes when we are young, but as we grow they begin to seem flat and unrealistic.
  2. The Lonely One: The hero that remains alone, even after saving the world. He separates himself from the rest of society either because of the chaos he has seen or the baggage he carries. He/she is destined to be alone. Poor Frodo suffered this fate. He destroyed the One Ring only to return to the Shire alone. I assume you know how it ends after her returns. He didn’t get the girl, Sam did. It’s a bit melancholy but believable. You undertake this great quest, how do you return home and be happy? I don’t think it was just from the blade of Mordor. I think Frodo’s scars were mental as well.
  3. The Chosen One: This hero is the only one who can defeat the villain. No one else has the skill, ability, or prophesy to do so. These heroes are readily available on every YA shelf. Harry Potter is the chosen one…or is he? Sorry couldn’t resist. For whatever reason this hero must defeat the villain, that is his only purpose. The overall plot surrounds the ultimate battle.

    Heroes in waiting.

    Heroes in waiting.

  4. The Scholar: Not all heroes use their physical strength. Some use their mind. I love these. They’re smart. Take Hermione Granger. No matter what Harry was capable of, he could not have survived without the intelligence of Hermione. Brute force only takes you so far. Someone has to know how to break into the enemies computer system and unleash a nasty virus. Some may say this is the realm of the sidekick, I disagree.  They are heroes.
  5. The Misfit.  This one is popular in YA. The hero that is a total screw-up and only becomes a hero when tested. But even then, they make huge mistakes. They usually lack experience and are thrust into battle unprepared and must learn as they go. We cheer for these because we see ourselves in them. If they can be a hero, why not me? Percy Jackson comes to mind. Like the Perfect One, we outgrow these as well. Eventually this hero must grow and become something more.
  6. The Amateur: This isn’t your traditional Fantasy genre hero. The one I’m thinking of is usually found in the cozy mystery genre. The every man/woman. Usually a woman. She’s living her life and then out of no where someone dies. She’s tasked with the burden of solving the crime. No experience in law enforcement, just smart and nosy. Miss Marple comes to mind. She’s not a traditional hero, but she saved many from jail and others from murder. She’s persistent. This hero is consumed with righting wrongs and keeping the innocent out of jail. No super powers necessary.

    Knights in the woods.

    Knights in the woods.

  7. The Warrior:  We love a warrior. They fight the epic battle of good vs evil. They are the knights, soldiers, and samurai. They fight for the cause regardless of personal loss or danger. They are battered, bruised, and blooded. Good warriors have a dark side. They have seen and done terrible things in battle. But they stand true to the cause. Think about Beowolf, Lancelot, and Jamie Frasier. That last one is my favorite. It’s not uncommon for their lives to be tragic.
  8. The Anti-Hero: This is my personal favorite. They are dark, angry, and cross every line imaginable. They aren’t always a hero, sometimes they are the villain. Everything is grey. Every decision they make is based on their perception of the cause. In comics, Wolverine is the perfect anti-hero. I would place Professor Snape in this category as well. He even died not wanting the world to know he was a good guy. This is the hero that will kill an innocent, if it will stop a worse fate. They make difficult decisions other heroes would shy away from.  Anti-heroes have layer upon layer of back story and experience to play with. They keep the reader guessing.  In a world where the lines are continuing to blur, the anti-hero is becoming more relevant.

There’s probably dozens of other examples and types of heroes. These are the ones that kept me awake last night. My newest project is the tale of a hero. I am sorting out the character and the kind of hero she will be. It’s so much fun.

What is your favorite type of hero?

Who is your favorite hero?




Boo- Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans

Happy Halloween

It seems that cemeteries on Halloween are a running theme with me. The Lafayette Cemetery is famous. Play the music as you read.


Lafayette Cemetery is an above ground cemetery built in 1833 and it was the second Protestant cemetery in New Orleans. You know how dangerous Protestants are! Sorry, bad joke. Yellow Fever almost filled it up by 1840. The tombs are usually used by entire families for generations. Each person interred has their name carved into the stonework.

100_9639These above ground cemeteries have been called Cities of the Dead. And with good reason. It’s laid out in neat rows. It feels like a miniature city as you navigate the avenues. A rather creepy city.




The dead are buried above ground because New Orleans is a bowl. It floods. Crypts keep the dead contained and not floating down the street.




New Orleans is famous for it’s cemeteries and funerals. Honestly, who wouldn’t want a jazz band and second line at their funeral? I want one.

The Lafayette Cemetery is famous. Anne Rice used the cemetery for the backdrop of several scenes from Interview with the Vampire. She also held a fake funeral to promote her book, Memnoch the Devil.

If that isn’t enough, The Originals (TV), features the cemetery. I will admit, the only reason I have wat


ched that show is because it shows New Orleans, and I love New Orleans.   I don’t know what happened to the resident of this tomb. Any ideas?

Hope you all have a great Halloween. Don’t stay out too late, NaNoWriMo starts in the morning! Don’t eat too much candy.

Do you have a favorite cemetery?