Blogging From A-Z: E is for Exuberance (Kifo Island Chronicles)

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Exuberance spun out of the twirl. The man was still watching her. She sashayed over to the bar, swishing her skirt, and stood with her bared back to the table where he sat. She felt his stare making suggestions she wasn’t getting enough, these days.

“May I buy you a drink, pretty lady?” He was beside her now, leaning on the fake driftwood bar; a middle-aged man, neatly dressed. He looked like he took good care of himself, other than the broken vessels on his cheeks that said he was a drinking man.

She smiled, and he smiled back.

“I like cosmos.” She let a hand reach out to almost brush his. The man’s eyes followed it, and Exuberance’s smile got wider as he hurried to catch the bartender’s attention. She flipped her hair over her shoulder, as he ordered drinks – her cosmo, and a double scotch, neat, for himself.

They toasted to nothing, and sipped. After a minute or so, he said, “Do you only dance alone, or -”

“Are you asking?”

“Yes. Will you dance with me, -?” He left a space for her to say her name, and he leaned in close. Exuberance just breathed him in for a few breaths. He smelled of good scotch, suntan lotion, and expensive cologne; the smell of easy money and luxury.

Photo by Lynn Kelley Author, courtesy WANA Commons at Flickr.

It had been too long since she’d had either.

“I only give my name to people who give me theirs, first,” she answered, and this time she did touch his hand. He caught it, brought it to his lips. They were soft, and lingered just long enough to tease her. His eyes glittered in the low lighting.

“You can call me Howie,” he said, with a crooked grin that made promises – promises Exuberance thought she might let him keep.

“Hello there, Howie. I’m Exuberance.” She grinned. She hadn’t had a night this exciting in months; maybe longer. Suddenly, she felt alive – even exuberant enough for the name she’d taken. “Yes, I’ll dance with you.”

Howie was smiling, too. He had a nice smile, and that glitter in his eyes got her imagining. “Exuberance. What an unusual – and fitting – name.”

He kept her hand, and led her out onto the dance floor just as the music changed to a hot Latin beat. They nearly ran into another couple; a silver-haired man with a very young girl, maybe not even out of her teens. They clung together, kissing and swaying, as though they didn’t notice that the slow dance was over.

“Shameful,” Howard said, looking back over his shoulder at them. “He must be three times her age, at least.”

“They seem happy.”

He scowled. “It just doesn’t seem right,” he said.

Instead of arguing, she whirled out onto the floor, pulling him along until he wrapped his arms around her, bringing her hard against him before spinning her away.

Howie was a good dancer, and, when the next slow song came on, he pulled her in close, his arm just a little tighter than she liked – but it felt so good to be held by a good-looking man with money that she pretended she was comfortable, and gave herself to touch and motion happily.

They danced until they were breathless, and then headed back to the bar. After one drink, Exuberance excused herself to go “to the powder room” she said, like she was a fancy lady. When she got back, Howie had already ordered another round.

“Thank you,” she said, as he wrapped an arm around her and kissed her. He tasted of scotch, and his mouth was hungry on hers. She sipped the drink, then let him buy her another, and another, although she had a rule about stopping at two.

Photo by Lynn Kelley Author; courtesy WANA Commons at Flickr.

She was a little giddy when he bent to brush her hair from her ear and whispered, “Would you like to go get something to eat? I know a very nice place, secluded and quiet, up the beach. Very, very classy.”

“I know the place – you mean the Oyster’s Treasure? Howie, that’s the most expensive place on the whole island!”

“I’m thinking it’s going to be worth it.” The glitter in his eyes was brighter now. Was there a shadow in them? No, she decided. It was just the drinks catching up with her.

Exuberance shoved the doubt away, and teased, “And if it isn’t?”

“Then I’ll have to take you again,” he said, and his smile this time said all the things his words didn’t.

Exuberance let Howie lead her to the door.


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Weaving and Puttering : ROW80 Update 12/4/13

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It’s a preparing time for me – preparing for the holidays to come, and preparing for a busy weekend that begins tomorrow, and ends Sunday.

Post NaNo – I’m puttering with this and that.  It feels good to give King of Shreds and Patches a well-deserved rest, and to delve back into writing the final few scenes of To Be or Not  to Be and the pre-editing notes for the “Monsterscript,” Bounded by a Nutshell.  It feels great to be blogging regularly again, and to follow a cow trail or two from one delicious blog to another, visiting old friends and finding new favorites.

Closing out NaNo by attending the local Thank God It’s Over party gave me a threshold to cross, and I feel more at peace than I’ve felt in previous years.  A much more satisfying ending to the WIP probably didn’t hurt, either! =)

Sunday’s update may be brief, or absent, but I’ll be back by Wednesday, and there will be posts between to keep you company, while I’m busy with other things.

May you find much delightment, until we meet here again! 

Round 4 Wrapup Buffet Selections:

Final NaNo 2013 Stats.

Final NaNo 2013 Stats.


Focus point:

  • Offering a sustainable schedule of features.

Maintain four non-ROW80 posts weekly. Target exceeded!

That’s 5! 5 Lovely posts…..BWAHAHA!

Keep up with comments; or post an explanation. I tend to lose track when I am especially creation-focused. Target attained!

  • Comments answered on time, on Thursday and Saturday.

Strive for high-concept posts for shanjeniah Regular Features. Target attained!

  • Yes. Monday’s post was one of my most popular; I got something right, there! =)

Writing:With NaNo, over, I return to my other three WIPs, gradually…

Focus point:

  • Noveling-in-progress.

To Be or Not to Be:

Complete rough draft: ~200,000 words total-December 31. On target.

  • Great news! I surpassed the 200K mark! Not sure when -I was almost certainly prepping for NaNo at the time.

  • I had a flash of inspiration on how the story is going to end –This is a completely pantsed WIP. The end is only a few scenes away (I figure 215-220K, for this WIP that will become two novels.

  • New Words: 988

  • WIP total: 202,995 words.

  • Chapter Fifty- Seven completed…estimate 61 chapters, total (including epilog) .

  • Sketchy freewriting on conclusions.

The opening scenes of my lovely, rainbowy scene list, with word count total.

The opening scenes of my lovely, rainbowy scene list, with word count total.

Editing: Editing hasn’t been on the list much this round, due to NaNo plannning and writing. It seems a perfect time to ease back in…

Focus Point:

  • Continue pre-revision process for Bounded by a Nutshell (Trueborn Warp Series).

Complete on-page editing notes - January 31, 2014. On target.

  • Scene #2 on-page notes completed; p 6/734.

Complete scene-by scene revision notebook – February 28, 2014. On target.

  • Scene #1 notes completed; p 3/734.

Screenshot 2013-12-03 00.08.28Hometending:

Focus point:

  • Tidying and beautifying my physical, virtual, and interior spaces.

Complete family room shift, with new desk as anchor. On target.

  • Jim recycled the old washer that had been hanging out there since the new one came last week. I spent time cleaning up the area, and getting ready to move the Papasan chair into its new home before tackling the not-so-very-lovely chaos that is the computer desk.

Clear email inbox and Spam folder twice weekly; sort, file, and delete.Target attained!

  • Clean and shiny again. I figured that since Jim bought a new mailbox for the house…. =)

Complete and submit quarterly homeschooling reports. -Due December 15. On target.

  • Annalise: Completed 13/13 sections. Yup, it’s a draft!

  • Tally up attendance logs; proof; submit before 12/15.

  • Jeremiah: Highlighted through Practical Arts – section 6/10 (double-check that I have them all).

  • Completed through Sciences -section 4/10.

  • This will be my top priority from 12/1 until completed.

Part of the 'How" section.

Part of the ‘How” section.


Focus points:

  • Relationships.

  • Exercise and Movement.

  • Passions.

Make time and sweetness for Jim, and the children, in ways that are meaningful and important. Target attained!

  • Helped negotiate kids’ preferred gifts at a price Jim was comfortable with. Patience with a potentially costly mistake. Ordered Jim the Kindle Fire we wanted to get him for his birthday last February. Because he waited so patiently, he will have the newest, fanciest model in the house! =)

Immerse myself in writing, living, and being with my family, striving for presence.

Regularly evaluate; adjust as needed. On target.

  • Oh, yes! Blogs and new words and editing notes, oh my!

Practice movement daily, for at least a few minutes. Target attained!

  • Mellow to moderate hometending; still post-NaNo tired.

Add a little more intention to this, and remember to move even when in long nighttime writing sessions, at least occasionally. On target.

  • Doing a bit better.

Allow time and space to indulge my passions. Target attained!

  • Yup. It’s a good time for self-indulgence!

Tend sponsor duties promptly. Target attained!

And extras:

Connect! Target attained!

  • The kids and I attended my local NaNoWriMoTGIO (Thank God It’s Over!) party at a local coffeeshop. Miah and Lise were made very welcome. So many writers, so much NaNo bingo, laughter, and delectable victuals…hard to believe that I waited four years to attend an event! I’ve done two this month, and will definitely attend more next year! =D

  • Reading at extra blogs, following appealing links, and appealing bloggers. Oooh, SHINY!!!

See some  more shiny new ROW80 posts!

The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

Write a Story with Me! #70 – Real Estate Queens!

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Welcome to “Write a Story with Me!”

View the Story Here

What is Write a Story with Me?

This story began July 17,  2012 with the first installment by Jennifer M. Eaton.  Different authors from all genres joined in, and have added, or are getting ready to add, their wonderful talent and ideas to keep this story moving.

The great thing about being a part of “Write a Story with Me!” is that no one author knows where we are going, and we have no idea what the person ahead of us is going to write that we will have to build on.

It is the ultimate challenge to your creative imagination.

I hope you enjoy our story.  If you’d like to hop on-board, NO PROBLEM!  The more the merrier!  Just click here to add your name to the list, and you will be tagged when your turn pops up.

Please read and abide by the rules before signing up.

Thank you, and enjoy!

Marci feigned tears as Mother and Sian went off. She’d long since learned that adults held their words when children were about, speaking freely only when they thought themselves alone.

In one motion, she beat her new wings powerfully, freeing herself from Bethany, and soaring into the shadowy foliage of a truth-tree. She remembered pretend play at spying with her faerie friend. Now, Jenelle’s games felt more like lessons – tools she could use, to learn what was said.

She lay flat upon a thick branch, invisible.

“You are well not to trust her, or anyone other”, Sian was saying. Her voice was sharp as bitterfruit. “I do not. But, if you will trust, do not trust Yoran your husband, nor any Fey who tries to turn your mind to their ideas.”

Can I trust you, Sian?”

Trust no one, Mother.” She whirled, pointing, and a beam of light pierced the foggy night air, and sizzled into Marci’s heart. Then she was taking flight, following the beam to light behind Sian, feeling

first Sian, and then Jenelle’s voice, in her soul. She knew what they intended; trembling, she agreed.

“Release her!” Mother’s voice cracked; the baby screamed.

“No,” Sian said. “She’s coming with me. Yoran was right about one thing, at least. It is all about real estate. We will build our nests, and raise our young, in Establishment places I have prepared in secrecy. We will be real estate queens – and they will never know we breed our invasion force among them!”

They let their laughter trail behind them as they took to the skies, together.

Sunday Sampler for May 17, 2013: The NaNoBrain Issue!


Assorted lovelies for your reading and viewing pleasure….offered up weekly on a pretty blog platter!

I love learning and stretching my perspective; I love sharing what I find with others, and learning and stretching more in the process.

I offer up this  virtual Sunday paper, filled with things I have read and enjoyed recently, in the spirit of learning and sharing.

And now, this week’s buffet of ideas…heavily influenced by NaNoWriMo, which is what November means to me!





Hows and Whys:

Smiles and Laughter:

  • Let’s finish off with a little perfect-for-NaNo comic gem from XKCD.

Share your opinions, editorials, and ideas for future topics or articles in the comment receptacle below…and may the rest of your weekend be filled with restorative wonder!

Weaving with a Plot Tribble – ROW80 Update, 10/31/13

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Have you ever had a shiny new idea seize you, right on the cusp of a Great Big Project?

Yup, it’s happening to me. I watched the Enterprise episode “Home” with Jim last night. And, whammo!

An enormous, gigantic, frantically fertile plot tribble. It carries back and forward through several scenes, already, and…it knows where the quadrotriticale is!

And it’s just over 24 hours until NaNoWriMo starts, and I begin my crazyquest to draft all of King of Shreds and Patches. So, plot tribbles aside, whatever their size, Trip and T’Pol will have to wait a month for me to give them the space for their stories.

I’m hoping, though, that they will continue sharing their story with me, giving me tidbits here and there…because I love the stories that are left untold…what happened, on the way to Vulcan? What did Trip do, after the wedding? What kind of arrangement do T’Pol and Koss make, now that their family obligation to marry has at last been fulfilled? How are Vulcan marriages different than human ones? Was a tremendous mistake made?

Ah, plot tribbles, all over the place.

I think I’d better make sure I only leave out just enough food to keep them from breeding so fast I get inundated….and, while I do that, here’s my current plateful of progress….

Current Goals Buffet Samplings:


Focus point:

  • Offering a sustainable schedule of features.

Maintain four non-ROW80 posts weekly, throughout the round. On target.

Keep up with comments; or post an explanation. I tend to lose track when I am especially creation-focused. Target attained!

  • Done on Sunday and Wednesday. A tad late, still! =D


Focus points:

  • Noveling-in-progress.

  • NaNo Planning.

To Be or Not to Be:

Completerough draft: ~200,000 words total -October 31.

  • Chapters Fifty-Four and Fifty-Five: 6,291 new words.

  • WIP total: 199,615/ ~ 200,000 words. Under 1K to go, now, and the end is taking shape!

  • October, to date: 10,273/ ~11,899 words.

  • I am into the second to last chapter of this WIP -well second to last chapter, and then the epilogue. I hope to be done by the time NaNo begins. If not, I will double up until I am.

PlanKing of Shreds and Patches (A Trueborn Warp SeriesStar Trek fan fiction novel);complete Rock Your Plot planning exercise/ scene-by-scene outline. – October 31.

Add GMCD for all connecting scenes.

  • 29/29 scenes complete!

Sketch action for all scenes.

  • 60/60 scenes titled – WAHOO! =D

  • 60/60 scenes complete. A paragraph each for Opening, Middle, and Disaster.

  • Worked out a large, five-scene pileup of a tangle! I am so happy I plotted, so I could lop a few tentacles off that beastie before it turned into a Kracken in the drafting process! =)

Chart vital stats for each scene: (the old whowhatwherewhenwhyhow).

  • 6/60 scenes completed. One tenth done!

Set up scenes in Scrivener.

  • 5/60 scenes set up. One fifteeth done!

Double check all notes and prep for consistency.

  • 5/60 scenes completed. One fifteenth done!

  • Breathe deeply till Friday!


Focus point:

  • Tidying and beautifying my physical, virtual, and interior spaces.

Keep email inbox clear. Check at least twice weekly; sort, file, and delete each time. Target attained!

  • Still good!

Keep Spam folder clear. Check at least twice weekly; sort, file, and delete each time.Target attained!

  • Yup!


Focus points:

  • Relationships.

  • Exercise and Movement.

  • Passions.

Make time and sweetness for Jim, in ways that are meaningful to us both, and in ways that are important to him. Target attained!

  • Yes. Working through a disagreement, romance (with a candle, yet!), collaboration, and lots of patience. Oh, and Enterprise and Deadliest Catch.

Do the same for the children, individually and together. Target attained!

  • Attended a birthday party, patience, lots of free time; hugs and snuggles and chatting.

Immerse myself in writing, living, and being with my family, striving for presence. On target.

  • I’ve been a bit NaNo-distracted, but have spent time with each of my loves, this session.

Regularly evaluate; adjust as needed. On target.

  • With Halloween, and the imminence of NaNo, and the kids both in growth phases, things have been a little off-kilter. I expect that to shift, once the holiday excitement is past, and my NaNo flow is established.

Practice movement daily, for at least a few minutes. Target attained!

  • A very mellow workout, some hometending, and moving a small stack of firewood.

Add a little more intention to this, and remember to move even when in long nighttime writing sessions, at least occasionally. On target.

  • Better. Moving regularly helps me think.

Work out at least once a week. Target attained!

  • Pleasant half-hour pedaling cardio workout with Eden Mabee. One arm machine.

Get outside for at least a few minutes each day. Target attained!

  • Out and about on Sunday and Tuesday; moved firewood Monday and Wednesday.

Allow time and space to indulge my passions. Target attained!

  • Yup. Time with loved ones; Enterprise with Jim, and that enormous plot tribble to play with. Time outside in the air! Had coffee and biscotti with Eden; rescheduled visit with Elizabeth for a week from Monday.

Complete beta reading by October 20. On target, running very late.

  • Didn’t fix the problem; did contact the writer to touch base.

Tend sponsor duties promptly. Target attained!

Want a proliferation of ROW80 updates?

Want to see Captain Kirk caught in a tribbleanche?!

It’s (not) Learn Nothing Day (here): ROW80 Update, July 24, 2013


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 What is ROW80, you ask? Why, it’s Kait Nolan‘s baby, The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life!

So, I guess I ought to explain that rather tangly title up there. In the unschooling world , today is Learn Nothing Day – a day intended as a joke/experiment to see if it is actually possible to go an entire 24 hours without learning anything.

It sounds a little silly, maybe, as evidenced by these criticisms, but, in truth, it’s a simple and elegant example of how natural learning works, and, for those of us who were traditionally schooled, it can be a huge eye-opener about how much we really learn each day, and how impossible it is to stop -even for a day.

But here’s the thing.

My kids refuse to play.

Yup, that’s right. They are not willing to even try not to learn, not even just for a single day. They learn every other day of the year, and greedily, they want to learn on Learn Nothing Day, too.

To be fair, they tried for two years, and then they were done. They want to learn, and they see no reason to stop.

So, since they are contrarily actively learning today, I bring you instead pictures from a few years ago, the first year we tried to learn nothing. Enjoy the pictures, and read more about our past efforts, here…

Dead-eye Burton with the Lego gun he created.

If I myself wanted to Learn Nothing today, it might have been better not to have continued with my NaNo effort, because I learned a lot about my characters, their interactions, and the plot. I might also have avoided photo editing, because I learned more about how to use the paintbrush more efficiently, and gained skill in other effects, too.

I could have avoided watching a Peanut Butter Gamer video with Jeremiah, because I learned a lot about MySims Kingdom. I could have happily avoided learning what it feels like to step barefoot on a wooden rhythm stick…but it’s a little too late for that.

Really, I am trying not to learn here…so watching the local news is just a mistake…

Fortunately, I watched PBS just before midnight, so all the fascinating bits I learned about the Buddha, and the potential discovery of his remains, are “safe” learning.

I wish I could say I’ll get through the rest of the day without learning…but my record is not very good, and there are hours to go yet…

And now, without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to….in the form of my ROW80 Goals Progress…


Create new blog headers for Trueborn Jottings and The Unfettered Life, using new loglines. On target.

  • I have created a prototype header for Unfettered, but it’s too small, and the blog title was appearing mid-frame. More experimentation is pending.

Prepare Wordless Wednesday Sayen Gardens post. On target.

  • I began editing the pictures using PicMonkey. Progress is slow with the program, so, if the post isn’t ready, I will carry it over for next week, instead.

Write Coffee and Conversation post for July 29 (my birthday). Pending.

  • I have ideas forming in my mind; nothing written as yet.

Young Coquette and book love.

Prep Write a Story With Me post for July 29 posting. Pending.

Keep up with comments and sharing. On target.

  • I have kept up with comments.

  • I’ve shared a little; there will be more of this once I finish my


(July CampNaNoWriMo) -Continue writing. On target.

  • NaNo current total: 85,923 of 100,000 words. Less than 15,000 words to go, now!

Continue with Perchance to Dream writing. On target.

  • Current total: 35,471 of 50,000 words. Almost four-fifths of the way there!

Continue detailed planning one scene ahead for each POV character. On target.

  • Planning complete through scene 12.

  • Scene 10, Amanda’s POV, in progress.

Tidy up The Stars are Fire corkboard cards. On target.

  • I updated the status of all scenes. Small beginning steps.

Keep updates current, and interact socially around NaNo. On target.

  • Internet outage in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (prime writing time for me), foiled me…lasted a couple of hours. Updated when the connection was restored.

  • Social interaction was good, via #CampNaNoWriMo and #ROW80, mostly.

Learn Nothing day coincided with a folk-tale puppet show at the historic Schuyler House, Ummm….way too much learning, there!

Business-y Stuff:

Maintain sponsor visits. Target attained!

ELA and Mathematics for both IHIPs and fourth quarter reports. Pending.

  • Nothing yet. After NaNo!

Check in with WANA113. Pending.

  • Not yet. Again, this will be a bigger focus, post-NaNo.

Post to at least one NaNo forum. Pending.

  • Again, not yet. As I get closer to finishing, I will get more involved in this social aspect of NaNo.


That’s about it, except to say, that after what seems half an eternity, the heat and humidity have broken, and it is actually cool outside. The air conditioner is off, the windows are open wide, and I am weeding and hometending, with more vigor than I have in weeks. =D

May July roll sweetly to its end, for all of my readers!

To peek in on, and/or encourage other ROWers, click here!

General Blogging Action Plan Update (for all blogs)

Round 3 Action Plan for shanjeniah:

  • Create 6 headers (and randomize)
  • Update header text
  • Tidy sidebar
  • Review pages
  • Review categories
  • Update bio
  • Build queue
  • Recruit guest posters

Will complete during ROW80 Rounds 2 and 3; 2013

June 23, 2013 Update:

I’ve set these goals aside, for the most part, as I focus on adjusting my blog posting, and preparing for JulyCampNaNo.

They will be a priority during August, and I will fit in some July progress, as opportunity provides.

I’ve attained a goal or two, and moved a couple a bit further along, in a nudging kind of way…

First Priority:

Develop and post Individual Action Plans through 2013On target.

  • I will post these with my Round 3 Goals.

Write and post Mission StatementsPending.

Post Features Schedules Target Attained!

  • These will be adapted for Round 3, as summer is a very active social and emotional time for my family.

  • I will post the revised schedule when I post my Round 3 goals.

Rewrite bio/aboutsPending.

Build post and draft queues. - On target.

  • Templates in use for all features to speed creation.

  • Revising my posting schedule will make this a more attainable goal.

Resource lists and files for all features.Target attained!

  • All lists have been created and are in use.

Second Priority:

Experiment with Image/Logo. – On target.

  • My vision is a series of images that embody my logline – Lovely Chaos.

  • I have brainstormed logline adaptations for each blog.

Tidy Sidebars. – Pending.

Revamp Headers – a good space for trying out logos. - On target.

  • As noted above, I have logline ideas.

Evaluate pages.- Pending.

shanjeniah’s Blog Features Schedule


  • ROW80 Update – shanjeniah

  • Sunday Sampler – shanjeniah


  • Coffee and Conversation – shanjeniah


  • Time Machine Tuesday- shanjeniah


  • ROW80 Update – shanjeniah

  • Wordless Wednesday – The Unfettered Life

  • WIPpet Wednesday (pending) – Trueborn Jottings.


  • Thursday’s Treat – shanjeniah


  • Friday Frolic – shanjeniah


  • Saturday’s Share- shanjeniah

Tsunamis of Words


The tsunami had already commenced, before my first birthday.

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl, but, for many years, my writing was sporadic and hidden. If anyone said anything remotely critical about it, I would react by retreating, defending, and feeling crushed.

Recently, in a swirling stew of ingredients, I got a flash of insight into why this was so.

As so many things do, for me, it goes back to childhood, and habits and patterns I learned there, which have remained, hidden beneath all those extra words, rambling explanations…my verbal, nearly compulsive need to get out ALL the details, at once, without forgetting anything, to follow all side trails…

I have a long and intense string of memories, that come with a single catch phrase, in my mother’s voice.

” I love when you follow me around and prattle at me.”

I did it often. My mother would bustle about, cleaning and cooking…she likes things just so, likely as a direct response to a childhood where very little was as she would have liked it to be. With an untidy husband and four children, there was plenty to do.

She is also prone to withdrawing her affection for perceived slights – usually, without ever really explaining why, and sometimes for days in a row. She tends to see people in assigned roles, and each of her children had at least one.

Mine tended to be “the smart one”, “the good one”, “the different one”, “the closet philosopher”, and “the ditzy one with no common sense“.

I learned early that most of these were pretty good roles, ones that I wanted to keep, because there was a nearly constant maternal pitting against and judging of us four children, and it was definitely worthwhile to stay on my mother’s good side.

Communing with goats at age 11. I had plenty to say to them, too…

So, once I learned that I could entertain her with a tsunami of what was going on in my head, I brought forth all the words and ideas I could muster.

I’ve been told I think too much (although I think it’s the perfect amount for me), and I tend to get rapid-fire ideas from many sources – engaged conversation has always lit me up.

I used words the way Scheherazade used those Arabian Nights, to keep my mother entertained, to curry her favor…and, later, to win arguments, to keep a conversation going, even when the other party was clearly ready to move on…

In all cases, what I was staving off was a sense of rejection.

As I learned more about myself, and how to communicate with others, I began to see the need for concise language, well-constructed thoughts, and an understanding of purpose. Gradually, this has carried over into all of my writing.

Now, I am able to trim dross, to recognize what I need to do to find it in the first place. I can even ask others to read things and give their honest opinion, and to evaluate this without taking it as an assessment of my value as a writer.

With this new bit of personal insight, I feel a deeper shift coming… I listen to Paul Simon‘s music, lush with layers and textures, emotions and imagery, poetry and wisdom – and I am in awe. He uses so few words….and conveys so much. I see it now, in myself. Not just the what. Also, the why…

And I feel that makes a difference that will grow, from here….in writing, and in life.

Taking time for quiet contemplation….an emerging skill. Photo by Eden Mabee.

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Trusting Myself: My ROW80 Round One Update, 1/23/13:

Post-first evaluation goals

Goals, sans commentary

  • Goals on target or completed are noted as such.

  • Major goals appear in bolded blue.

  • Minor goals appear in bolded black.

  • Bolded black or blue italics denote time frames for completion.


WIP Novels:

Complete rough draft of Sima Garo Provides. Aim for 2 scenes each week (~3000 words), and notes for each scene.

  • I completed the notes for Chapter Twelve, Scene Two (19minutes).

Read through Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell, making general notes as I go. Make task lists for next steps for both novels.

  • Chameleon’s Dish -

  • I have added notes and placeholder files for the as-yet unwritten scenes that will eventually take this WIP from novella to novel length.

  • Note-taking goal accomplished for this WIP.

  • Next, I will begin the task list for this project. I am targeting February 10 as my tentative completion date.

  • Bounded by a Nutshell -

  • I began the note-taking process for this novel with Chapter One, Scene One, where rereading strongly suggested a change in POV character, and a near-immediate introduction of a secondary plot complication.

  • I attained my goal of beginning before the January 27 update.

  • My new goal is to complete note-taking on Chapters One-Five before the 1/27 update.

Begin timelines for both stories, throughout all WIP and extrapolated novels.

  • Sima Garo Provides -

  • Synopsis complete through Chapter One.

  • I will reach Chapter Five of this process by the January 27 update.

  • Bounded by a Nutshell -

  • I had intended only to work on only one synopsis at a time, but I realized that it would be simpler and more efficient to add this one, as I move through each scene in the note-taking process.

  • I have completed Chapter One, Scene One.

  • My goal is to complete the synopsis through Chapter Five by the 1/27 update.

Flash Fiction:

Create new flash fiction weekly through prompts, challenges, envisioning WIP scenes, and original ideas.

  • I wrote the rough draft of an as-yet untitled flash fiction piece, experimenting with an alternate scene for Bounded by a Nutshell, Chapter One, Scene One.

  • I reread and moved to a LibreOffice file for revision.

Revise existing pieces in my Writing Bullpen files, with an eye to submitting and/or creating a collection for a potential book. Aim for one biweekly.

  • I chose to work first onThe Last House.

  • I reread, so that I can allow the imagery to flow. I have a basic sense of what I want to accomplish in revision.

  • Next story up will be A Splash of Red, and then Morning Coffee.

  • I will have revised at least one story by the Sunday, January 27 update.

Submit at least one short story to a paying market each month.

  • See above for revision status of this month’s story.

  • I will submit before next Sunday (1/27).


Return to 750 Use this space for free expository writing at least every other day, and strive to complete every day of the round.

Write book reviews forBowlful of BunniesandFinding Esta, once I have finished reading them.

Bowlful of Bunnies – reading completed.

  • I wrote impressions for the review during my Sunday expository writing time.

  • I’ve arranged the color-blocked passages into a rough order.

  • Next, I will revise, and expand the passages into a rough draft.

  • My goal is to have completed rough draft by January 27.

Finding Esta -Reading is complete.

  • I will write my original impressions and notes during Thursday’s expository writing session.

  • Reading goal completed before personal deadline of 1/23.

Complete one essay or other piece of expository writing each week.

  • I will be revising the rough writing I did on my family issue during the last session.

  • I’ve reread the impressions, and have allowed myself processing time.

  • During freewriting, I began to explore the idea of obedience vs, judgment, something I have been pondering for quite a while now.

  • I will be returning to this idea, as well, during the next days.



Create blog rolls for shanjeniah (writers and resources), and Trueborn Jottings (resources and inspiration).

  • Links added to my spiffy new blogroll:

  • ROW80

  • Kristen Lamb’s Blog

  • Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

  • I’ve decided to work first on shanjeniah, and then Trueborn Jottings, simply because shanjeniah is more often visited, is older, and many links from there will also be relevant at Jottings.

Edit sidebars and layout for all blogs (excepting childrens’ reporting blogs).

  • I created a list of next steps for shanjeniah’s sidebar, and will move through this list, adding new items as they occur:

  • Check page list – delete or hide ones that are no longer relevant.

  • Search bar to top of page.

  • Replace participant NaNo 2012 badge with Winner’s Badge.

  • Add August CampNaNo Winner’s Badge and WIP Title

  • Blog calendar under Pages.

  • Complete these first five steps by January 27 update.

  • Update Unfettered badge.

  • Add link to Trueborn Jottings

  • Update Facebook badge.

  • Add Twitter, Pinterest badges.

  • Blog follow under calendar.

  • Archives under blog follow.

  • I will have this sidebar edited by February 15.

Write at least one post weekly for three major blogs (shanjeniah; TruebornJottings, andThe Unfettered Life.

  • My pending posts for this week, and their status:

  • Obedience Vs. Judgment (WIP)- The Unfettered Life

  • Using Pinterest for Worldbuilding (idea) – Trueborn Jottings

  • Written Beatings, or Speaking my Truth? (WIP) – shanjeniah.


Complete all ROW80 sponsor visits twice weekly; comment, and share posts I read.

  • Blogs I’ve visited this session:

  • Goal completed for this session.

Read weekly at a writer-oriented blog that appeals to me; comment; share; learn; absorb, try, grow.

  • Using the Twelve Stages of Physical Intimacy To Build Tension In Your Novel

  • I love, love LOVE this sexy post!

  • I wanted to comment, but it’s an older post, and I can’t…so, I believe this will be the topic of next week’s shanjeniah post.

Submit guest posts, at least once monthly.

  • Goal completed for January.

  • I will begin my February post by the January 30 update.

Social Media:

Visit Pinterest, SheWrites, or StoryDam at least weekly. Get a better sense of how each works, and build my presence there with sharing, commenting, and asking questions.

  • Pinterest – Trolled the main page and repinned some items. Food, decorating, crafts, inspiration.

  • She Writes – Posted to a group; skimmed groups, my page, and a few comments. Still not sure where this site fits into my social media life…or if it does.

  • StoryDam – Checked the lay of the land, commented.

  • Goal completed for this week.

Continue visiting and interacting through Facebookand Twitter, especially via relevant groups, several times a week.

  • Facebook – Groups, a bit of scrolling and sharing, comments.

  • Twitter – Just a quick peek; no interaction as yet.

ExploreLinked In and WANATribe every other week. Both have things to offer, and are my newest social media connections. I want to get to know them better, slowly.

  • WANATribeI’m starting to get a feel for the place. I signed up forWANA: The Next Generation, and for the first day of the inauguralWANACon, as well. I would have loved to do both days, but I don’t think my family is ready for me to be less available two days running, nor can I easily see where I would find funds for both, just now (my Spousal Budget Coordinator assures me one day was possible, even with my blog upgrade – yup, he loves me!).

  • I feel that WANATribe may become a vital link in my writing network.

  • LinkedInPeeked in quickly; posted status update.

  • Still a bit on the fence about how well this will ultimately fit into my life, but willing to give it time…

  • Goal attained for this two weeks.


Poetry Book Project:

Complete a rough draft compilation, with dedication, introduction, and conclusion.

  • Using the notes I wrote last week, I crafted a 274 word rough introduction.

  • This step completed before the January 27 update.

  • I will reread all poems in preparation for crafting the conclusion.

  • I will have all poems reread by February 1.

Gather art and images for inclusion in the book.

  • I created an Art and Images folder in the Queen of My Infinite Spaces binder, and successfully uploaded and saved one photo, as experimentation.

  • Move all the personal photos used in relevant blog posts to the new folder by January 30 update.

Gather resources for learning how to publish ebooks.

  • I know that I have some, mostly scattered aroundFacebook.

  • I created a tag in myPocket app for these, and added one link to it.

  • Do a search for other e-publishing sources, and continue adding links throughout the round.

Owning My Perspective and Experiences:

At least once weekly, use expository writing time to explore memories, wounds, healing, perspective, or personal philosophy.

  • I wrote just over 750 words, partly on the intro to this post; the rest on obedience vs. judgment, which will appear in The Unfettered Life.

  • Goal attained for this week.

Continue my eating and health goals from Round 4, 2012. Aim to get to the Y once alone, and once with the children, each week.

  • I made it to the Y for my third consecutive week. My right knee, which I injured while mowing the lawn last May, was quite painful, perhaps due to approaching storms.

  • I still managed to increase the duration, variety, and intensity of my workout (I am attempting to keep this gradual, because I want to be able to find a balanced and sustainable level that feels good to my body and soul).

  • Still mulling how to effect a car share, but it’s now become a higher priority, because Jeremiah mentioned today that he’d like to plan a trip to the State Museum…thus far, I have not gotten the children to the Y.

  • I am continuing to eat intuitively, with a recent increase in variety, and more attention to water and eating more foods closer to their original state.

  • My writing energy has encompassed Ebb and Slack Tides. A large shift in the kids’ sleep schedules, and my lingering mild queasiness and knee pain, meant a lower -key time, creatively, as did Jim’s weekend, and shifted workout days.

  • Other than writing and my workout, I also spent more time in Annalise’s room, did general hometending, and restocked the house wood supply against the coming cold.

Reclaiming Our Home:

  • Clean Annalise’s and Jeremiah’s bedrooms, creating spaces of welcome and haven for them, with room for their favorite things and activities.

  • Jim helped me bring in the very large new set of shelves.

  • I cleaned Lise’s closet shelves, bookshelves, and corner cubby drawers.

  • Together we organized most of the new shelves.

  • I began her corner cubby (last surface in the room!).

  • I’m on track to finish these by the 25th.

  • We will go through bins and bags, and her room will be done by the 30th, so that I will have a day off before shifting her room to maintenance mode and beginning Jeremiah’s on February 1st.

Work on general decuttering at least five days a week, focusing on a clutter-prone area when time, attention, and energy allow.

  • I spent time in general decluttering.

  • I cleaned some outgrown clothes from the table in the living room.

  • I have cleaned 2 of 3 days, so far this week, and am on track to meet this goal for the week.

A few last points:

I plan to work on each major goal every session, and work in the minor goals as my time and focus allow.

  • I managed every goal but the kitchen one and blogging ones (not listed here) this session – but that one is on hold until March, so doesn’t really count.

  • This is the best showing I’ve had, thus far. Yay me! =D

I will evaluate my goals, progress and preferences biweekly. on Sunday, and adjust accordingly.

  • Next evaluation will be posted as my Sunday, February 3 update.

It’s a BLOG HOP!