Round 4 Row80 Goals

Round 4 of Row80 is starting. I spent some time thinking about my goals for this round.  This Round ends in December. That means, holiday events may interfere. Best of luck to all.


Round 4 Goals 2015:

  1. Start revisions of book 2 in my Dragonfly Mystery Series-
    I’ve completed one read through. It needs lots of work. Goal is to revise/edit the first 100 pages
  2. Send out queries for Dead in the Water-
    Goal is to send out 1 a week.
  3. Plan one new short story
  4. Edit/Revise Mystic Brew It’s being critiqued now
  5. Finish plotting Book 3 in my Dragonfly Mystery Series I have an idea of what’s going to happen. This will be what I write for NaNoWriMo, so I have to do this in October
  6. Participate in NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words
  7. Read 8 books that’s for the whole round 4. You can view my October reading list here.
  8. Be a good human and socialize online Goal- leave 3 comments a week on Row80 participants and other media
  9. Be a good Baptist and join a Wednesday night group- Seriously, left to my own devices I would be a hermit!
  10. Finish my daughter’s bedroom- At the moment my girls share a room. I fear they may soon kill each other, so it’s time to move daughter #1 into her own room. Which means giving up my sewing room. We have to build a closet/bookshelves/desk and a wall. We’ve made a little progress.

Man I need a snack just looking at this list!

What are your goals?


Name That Town

I’ve decided to change the name of the town in Mystery series. Originally, it was named after my hometown. That’s the actual setting. But after killing off quiet a few characters and causing others to partake in questionable activities, I should probably change the town name.

I want something memorable and Southern. Easy to remember is a must.

About the town:

  • small, less than 6,000 people
  • on the banks of various creeks and bayous. All are part of the Mobile River Delta
  • At one time, a large Satsuma grove gave the town it’s real name (Satsuma).
  • The local wildlife includes: deer, bears, alligators, and many small mammals
  • Until the last few years there were only mom and pop stores and two stop lights
  • at last count 6 Christian churches, maybe more
  • Seasonal activities include: Swamp Fest (yes, that’s a real thing.), holiday parades, Fall Festival

If you have a better name, please respond in comments.



There’s been a lot of chatter lately on organization. If I could find the blog posts I would link them here, they are lost in space. I’ll be honest. Organization is a four letter word in my house, right after housework.

Organization is of particular interest to writers. If you’re like me, you have short stories, novels in various stages of development, submission tracker sheets, self-published projects, etc.. Grated most of this could be taken care of and organized on the computer. But really! I only trust the computer with so much. My backups have backups. WHY? Obviously I’m a bit neurotic.  I usually start my planning and plotting with pen and paper. I like the feel of it and it’s easier for me to work with that than stare at a blank computer screen. I keep a notebook next to my Lay-z-Boy, in easy reach whenever inspiration strikes. I also print out my writing when it’s time to revise/edit. So this is what I end up with:

100_9618I am in the process of re-organizing some of it. I also don’t plan well enough for all notebooks, for the same novel/series, to be the same color.

How I organize:

  1. each short story gets it’s own small polyvinyl pronged folder. I discovered these when my kids were in preschool. They were a little more expensive, but my youngest couldn’t destroy them. Inside that folder I place any plotting/planning notes I have. I also include each printed copy of the SS with edits/revisions. Each edit gets a tab with the date. That way I know which edit is the most recent. A small folder should be sufficient for most SS’s. If it ends up being a temperamental story that needs to be beaten into submission, I’ll move it to a 1″ binder.  I also include a page of queries listed. That way I can see where my stories have been sent.
  2.  Novels are done the same way, except they go straight to a 2″ binder, or larger depending on the size of the MS. Usually, each reprint of the novel goes into a new binder. Each binder is marked with matching duct tape. I have tween girls, fashionable duct tape is in ample supply here.  This is also where a little forethought would have been helpful with matching binders.  Question: When do you throw away ‘older’ versions of your novel? or Do you keep every rewrite?
  3. Novel Blueprints are placed in there own binder and have the same color of duct tape as the MS binder. Confused yet? Some people call these Bibles, I like blueprints. It holds all of my planning/plotting and character sketches. Anything I might need to look back at later, is put in this binder. I use tab separators between sections and include plastic pocket pages to hold things that I can’t put a hole in.  If I can figure out how to print my corkboard from Scrivener, I’d include that. Anyone know if that’s possible?
  4. Series Blueprints is a new binder that I am creating. I have two novels and one novella in a series. I just started planning the third novel. I’m just now trying to decide what exactly needs to go into this binder. I know there will be some repeats from the novel binder. Series character and story arcs, overall themes, and characters will be included. Also ideas for future books in the series. Not sure if another strip of tape on this is necessary or not.

That’s where I stand now. Mountains and mountains of paper held captive in folders and binders. Now I need to get back to work.

How do you organize your writing? If you have any helpful hints or blog post about it, include it in the comments below.


Remember When…Halloween

This is Halloween …..100_7379

Halloween is not what it used to be.  I grew up in a town with two stop lights, back in the bayou. We knew our neighbors and couldn’t walk anywhere without someone calling my mother and telling her where I was and who I was with. I know all about the village raising a child.  We moved in just a few weeks before Hurricane Frederick hit. Because it was a newer subdivision, kids were everywhere. Every house had at least one kid, some had four or five. Point is, packs of us roamed around on a daily basis.

Halloween was the perfect kid holiday. We cut our pumpkins early and put an actual candle inside. My mother forced us to sit still and eat a “real” dinner before we went trick-or-treating. Afterwards, we raced to our rooms, put on our costumes, and grabbed our plastic pumpkins. Mom and dad were waiting by the door to go over the rules:

  • don’t talk to strangers
  • stay to together
  • don’t get in cars with strangers or anyone for that matter
  • come home at 9 oclock
  • don’t eat any candy before we look over it

We’d run outside and walk back up to the door. I’d ring the bell and my dad would yell in a creepy old witch voice, “who is it?”

“Trick or treat” I’d say, barley able to contain my excitement.

Dad would open the door, mom would take a photo and give us each a special treat before sending us out.

Usually, we would meet up with a group of girls and together we’d roam the neighborhood begging for free candy.  Every kid in the neighborhood would be dressed up, going door to door. Older siblings walked with younger children. Even teenagers, I mean high school seniors, went trick or treating. As we walked a few houses would be given the tissue treatment, but mostly it was just fun.   There was even the occasional party with, I kid you not, apple bobbing. Before you start asking if TV was still in black and white, no it was not. This was in the 80s.

Today, trick or treating seems to be a dying event. Maybe it’s because we don’t know our neighbors. I don’t know. Here, neighborhoods have switched to Trunk a Treat or don’t do anything at all. That’s sad. I still look forward to dressing up and going door to door begging for free candy. Is it my favorite holiday? No, but it’s the only one wear I can dress funny and be rewarded for it.

What memories do you have from Halloween?




10 years later….

August 29, 2005 in the morning hours, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast. It registered as a Category 3 storm, winds were 100-140 miles per hour and stretched over 400 miles. It was a monster. My family was blessed to have little to no damage. Mobile was not a direct hit, yet communities in the neighboring counties were devastated. Even though we escaped the worst of the storm, we were without power for a week. Thankfully we had clean water, many were not as blessed.

I remember sitting at my living room window and watching the rain and wind blow. In previous years we had evacuated for several hurricanes and decided early that we would stay home for this one. Based on the information Katrina wasn’t going to be a direct hit for Mobile, and it wasn’t.  We had a supply of food, water, and batteries. The windows were taped or boarded in most rooms. Tree limbs were trimmed and everything that wasn’t tied down, literally, was moved indoors. I watched the morning it came on land as Katrina knocked out the power and a tree in our yard. Thankfully it fell on the street and not our house. That was the extent of our damage. We spent days picking up debris, but that was it. We were blessed.

My husband had an old battery operated TV, that had an antenna to pick up local stations. We watched a few spotty reports and saw the devastation that followed Katrina in New Orleans. A natural disaster made worse by man made tragedy. The levees didn’t hold. Katrina was worse than Camille. I’m too young to have lived through Camile, but I grew up hearing about the horror. I remember driving the short distance to check on my in laws and telling them what we saw on the news.  They just nodded their heads and said, “No, it can’t be worse than Camile.”  When the power returned we witnessed just how horrible it really was.  That’s the thing about hurricanes. The memory builds in your mind and becomes, like a person.

I won’t go into a play by play of the storm, news agencies are doing that on their own. Nor will I assign blame to groups or agencies about the handling of the aftermath. It’s easy to see what should have been done after the event. I pray that lessons have been learned so that we don’t have a repeat performance. Because honestly, there will be another monster storm. Before Katrina there was Camile. Camile was the hurricane that all other hurricanes were measured by.  Now that, I won’t call it an honor, goes to Katrina. New Orleans was a tragedy I pray is never repeated. One lesson I hope everyone learned was, do not depend on government agencies to protect you. You must prepare before the storm hits. Click here for some  pictures from NOAA.  LiveScience has a great article on the hurricane itself.

Hurricane Katrina, 12:45Z August 29, 2005

image from NOAA    

(I think the image is for use! I’m sure they will let me know if it’s not.)

New Orleans is about 2 hours from Mobile, roughly 144 miles.  The damage, flooding and problems caused by Katrina wasn’t limited to just New Orleans. It was a regional catastrophe. Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi/Louisiana coast. A little town called Waveland, Mississippi was hit very hard. Here are two very good click.

Closer to my home is a small fishing area called Bayou La Batre. This area survives on commercial fishing. Katrina tossed the boats around like toys. Click.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see photos of Mobile under flood waters.  Why Waveland? Why Bayou La Batre? Because Katrina wiped out dozens, if not hundreds, of tiny little towns along the coast.  Not just New Orleans. As you watch the film footage and the reporters talking about Katrina. Don’t forget there was an entire coastline affected. Millions in over three states lost family members, friends, houses, jobs, and businesses because of Katrina. It has taken years for all of these areas to recover, some are still trying to recover, and others never will.

We are still in the midst of hurricane season and the last few years have been very quiet. There are a few storms in the Atlantic, but they aren’t a threat… yet. It’s this calm that gets you. You forget how devastating a hurricane can be.

Prepare before the storm hits,




Writing Class

In the Spring I joined Sisters in Crime  (SinC), an organization of mystery writers.  I also joined their Guppy group. Guppy- the great unpublished. They offer writing classes on a regular basis. I just finished my first one. Which is part of the reason, why my blog has been so quiet.

The class was on Scene Creation, taught by Pat Kay. I knew nothing about the teacher and very little about the class. I didn’t even know how you take a class online. It was amazing. Every few days a new lesson arrived in my inbox. I would read the lesson and then complete the homework using my WIP. I used my novel, Dead in the Water.

I was feeling pretty good about the WIP, until class started. AHHHHHH! Talk about a learning experience. Pat gave great feedback on what worked and what didn’t. She was very kind and spent a lot of time reading our homework and discussing it with us.

Now I need to go back, using what I have learned and edit/polish Dead in the Water.  One of the most valuable things I learned is, I tend to head hop. I never really noticed it before, but she called me on it a few times. Another great thing was she helped me through the beginning of my book. We’ve all heard how important those first 10 pages are.  Now, I know what changes I need to make for a better beginning.

All in all, I see a stronger manuscript in the near future.

Have you taken any writing classes lately?


Row80 Sunday Edition

It’s Sunday, that means it is time for Row80 once again:


    • Writing:  I did it.  I surpassed my personal goal of 30,0oo words and won Nano.  Now I won’t feel bad when I wear the winner T shirt I ordered back in the beginning of the month.
    • I’m putting that WIP aside until January.  Not even going to think about it until then!

  • Editing: Finish editing my WIP, Dead in the Water. Finish edits by October 21. Done
  • Submissions: Start submissions October 22  Nov.1, send out 2 a week the rest of the round.  Stop laughing….think positive.  Been busy writing so no news here.
  • Social networking: This is the hardest.  I am bad at just liking a post or a tweet and leaving.  So my goal for this is to respond more to blog posts, even reblogging, and be more involved on twitter. That’s not measurable.  Comment on 3 blogs a week.  Nope, I have been totally anti social this week.
  • Blogging: Have 2 nonRow80 blog posts a week. Happy Thanksgiving 11/27,  Authors Answer 4 11/28,  and Iron Bowl Saturday 11/29  (Alabama won if your interested!)
  • Coffee: Master my new coffee pot.  Apparently there is a learning curve.  Done

There’s my goals, I feel very happy how they are turning out.  How are your goals going?