ROW80 check-in and dog humor

A short post for today, focused on my reading goal.  I hope you’ll check out the authors and their work, especially Matt Hofferth, a once and (I hope) future ROWer.

I have also included a funny youtube video at the end as a bribe.

This past week I surpassed my goals in reading, and it is has been delightful to fill up on words. I started the week with K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly, an academic mystery set in a women’s college in mid 1890’s Hartford, CT.  I attended a women’s college and taught undergraduates for several years, so I thoroughly enjoyed the academic setting. I ended the week with Myndi Shafer’s The Darkening, an entertaining sequel to Shrilugh, the first book in Myndi’s YA fantasy saga.

I have also gone back to catch up with Matt Hofferth’s excerpts that he is sharing serially in his blog, with a main character who has a voice in his head.  Sound familiar, all my writer friends? Matt’s take on this aberrant behavior that we all share (or at least I do) is very entertaining as well as the interwoven posts of behind-the-scenes writing work.

As always, please go encourage the rest of the ROWers here.

I have a dog who would like to pull this trick, but has the weight advantage to become a lead statue.  The videographer starts laughing so much, she loses sight of the dog at one point, but it is still worth a watch:


September 9 Check-in Pinfeathers

Following on my earlier check-in about trying to soar instead of inching along, I do believe I am growing pinfeathers. I have made significant strides in the past few days.

Last week marked the beginning of another round of the academic writing group.  Most of the participants are teaching faculty or dissertation writers, but there are a handful of us full-time day job people. I realized while working on my article last Friday that although it is different writing, the research for it is forming the infrastructure of my novel.

For example, my antagonist is something I’ve studied for years.  It struck me that he (somehow, he is not an ‘it”) wouldn’t let a mere woman interview him, which works beautifully in the structure of my novel. The synergy between the scholarship and the creative writing is very exciting.

To begin work on my author blog, I am now trolling through the picture debacle.  I want to put pictures on the posts, but am woefully lacking in that skillset. Luddite that I am, I have actually had several pictures disappear between my phone and my computer. Sigh.

I am slowly working through my many drafts of blog posts.  I posted my answer to the Eleven Questions meme today, and have another long-overdue post scheduled for tomorrow.

I have continued my hour a day on the fiction–writing or planning, letting ideas simmer. I am going to endeavor to add an hour a day for the scholarship, especially the parts that dovetail with the novel.

Thursday and Friday, I  organized and filed at the day job.  It is sooo not fun, but the clear desk and concomitant clear mind helps me function.

I have walked 5,000 steps every day but Friday, which was only 3,000. We found out that our Weimaraner does not have a thyroid problem, so he and I need to up the exercise.

My next target is social media.  I find myself spending far too much time on FB, and if I wrench myself out of that gravitational pull, I often go “check” Twitter, to end up there for an hour,  All of you need to be far less interesting, okay? 🙂

I hope everyone has a wonderful, productive, fascinating, exciting week. As Kait said, the end of the round is nigh (love that word!).  Take a few minutes to encourage the marathoners who are still posting their links here.


  • I will write at least one hour a day. Yes, with bells on.

  • I will continue to refine my main author blog, which may involve combining the Lapidary Prose blog with Elizabeth Anne Mitchell. Figuring out what to do about pictures, and trying to attain better skills.


  • As I’ve returned to being a sponsor, I will visit all my 8’s twice a week. This has become a habit.  It may take me 24 hours, but I do get there.

  • I will catch up with Facebook, Twitter, and my other sites for no more than an hour daily. I have been overdoing this goal, and need to work on backing off.

  • I will reply to all comments on my blogs. I am keeping up with comments, most of them within 12 hours.


  • Walk at least 1,000 steps a day, preferably 2,000, tracked by a pedometer. I got 5,000 steps 6 out of 7 days, and 3,000 the 7th.

  • Use the stairs going upstairs; if I want to, I can cheat going downstairs. It’s definitely a habit now.


  • I have let many dear friends fall off my radar these past few months.  I will stay in contact with the group daily, if only briefly, and weekly individually. Fail at the individual contacts. 

  • I will stay in better touch with my daughters on Facebook or by phone.  My sons are back home, so my only trouble connecting with them is that they have vampire schedules.  Not so great the past few days.  I’m going to spend several hours watching football after I post this check-in, though.


Check-in April 8, 2012 Tagged and Awarded and Still Magpied

Matt Hofferth tagged me in the Eleven Questions meme. That post will appear sometime in the next week, I hope. 🙂 And thank you, Matt, for giving me something non-academic to write!

Also, a little over a week ago, Shan Jeniah awarded me the Sunshine Award; I have begun writing the post to honor the award. Thank you, Shan and my apologies for the lateness of the thanks!

Today I have to finish writing a grant application that is due tomorrow.  I am hoping to get some time to go to New York City to do some research at the Pierpont Morgan Library.  I’ve been there once, and would love to go back, as it is a researcher’s dream.

I have continued to write the test mile since Wednesday, posting something other than a ROW80 check-in since December. Check it out here if you like.

I’ve also continued to be in complete magpie mode. While I have been busy in the day job, I’ve had to look into various projects for said day job, and, as I reported last Wednesday, I have become reacquainted with how much unknown medieval literature and wonderful forgotten stories there are out there.  I’ve started to feel a wave of excitement that I’ve not felt in a long time.

Happy holidays to those who celebrate; happy day to those who do not.  As always, go encourage the other ROWers here.


February 8 Check-in Scaling back but not gone

The past few days have been, um, character-building. I’ve spoken before about the problems of being “Generation Squeeze,” where one is pulled in two directions by the demands of aging parents and of teenage/young adult children. While we were looking for housing in Albany, which was stressful enough, thank you, my mother-in-law’s assisted care residence called my husband three times in the space of 24 hours about problems with her.

In the same 24-hour period, we both missed calls from our eldest son, who never calls, preferring to text. We got in touch with him the next day, hoping he was okay, to find out that he was calling for his brother, who was in trouble with his university. Great: 700 miles away from the mother and 1400 miles away from the son, we sat and worried.

Meanwhile, my muse was just happy as a bear at a fish ladder. “Oh, this is how Maeve feels when . . .” and “this will work well for this scene.” Oh, please, can’t I just have a nervous breakdown without turning it into prose? The answer of course, is no; the writer part of me uses all of this, working through the emotions and the worry and the pain to infuse what I write with all of it–refined, cleaned up, less self-indulgent, but real.

However, even my ebullient muse is slowing down with the worry, the calls, the trips to pick up my son (yes, the trouble was that serious). I’m not dropping out of the Round–if anything, I need this community even more–but I am scaling way back for the time being.  I may scale back up before the end of the Round, but I may not.

My only goal for the foreseeable future is the test mile. As Kait said in the check-in post, it needs to be a stretch; right now, 250 words is a stretch for me.  Most of it will not end up in my fiction, but it will keep me sane (I hope).

I have always liked Matt Hofferth’s What I have learned section; I saw that Lena Corazon has added that as well.  I would like to add that as a goal, but may hold off for a bit. 

Writing: I forgot to thank all the #teamsprinty folks last check-in.  I joined in one day late last week with 15 minutes to go, and wrote 616 words.  Whew!  It was just great.  I recommend doing sprints with them if you have the time–it’s 2pm EST if you’re available.  It is such a wonderful group! 

Exercise: Packing is wonderful exercise, I am finding. My shoulders and back are particularly sensitive, so I am glad that I have an 18-year-old that I can supervise for all the heavy work.  I am still walking, so that continues apace.

Friends: I have a character flaw that I don’t want to bore or burden my friends when all I have to talk about is my troubles.

Family: As I mentioned above, our younger son is back home for the next few months. Our older son wants to talk to us tonight about what to do with his life.  I am pleased that they trust us enough to want to ask us advice; it doesn’t mean they will follow it, but listening is something.

Dealing with my dad is bringing back all kinds of lost little girl feelings; if that were not enough, my brother has further tests this week to ascertain whether his cancer has returned.  Simply put, I am a total mess.

Day Job: My bosses have encouraged me to take all the leave I can manage.  No fool, I am very good at taking hints.

Please encourage all the other ROWers here.

Leibster Award

Leibster Award

A couple of weeks ago, Jamila Jamison gave me the Leibster Award. 

Thank you so much, Jamila; it is greatly appreciated! I have dithered about, and had a very hard time picking only five bloggers out of all the wonderful people I have met in the past few months. I decided not to give the award to bloggers who had already received it, in the spirit of bringing deserving people to others’ attention. All of these writers have been very supportive of me and I appreciate their help immensely. The rules are to post the Award on your blog, link back to the person who gave it to you, and then to pick five bloggers to whom to pay it forward.

I also want to preface this by saying that I don’t want to oblige anyone to more work than they want to take on. Please take it in the spirit in which it was offered, and do as much or as little as you wish.

Matt Hofferth  Matt wears a bunch of hats, and I am amazed that he can swap them all out with such finesse. He has a life, a day job, and hobbies, but still manages to write, and write well. In addition to interesting posts about the craft, he talks about the characters in his book and how he worked to make them real characters, despite their being paranormal creatures.

Ruth Nestvold  Ruth writes science fiction and fantasy, which I love to read. Her posts share some of the research she does for her writing, as well as posts about the craft.  She and I share an appreciation for early female writers, who are often neglected in the literary canon.

Tia Bach Tia writes fiction that reads like reality, and that is something, even for fiction based on reality.  Tia posts about interesting blog posts she has read, or what she is working through in her writing. She always has something interesting to say.

Rebecca Fleming I also met Rebecca during this Round of Words.  Rebecca is juggling writing and school, which is certainly something I can understand, and I almost always identify with her, except that she can draw and I can’t draw worth a hoot. I love her “ranting” blog, which identifies her as an anti-social desk-hermit, and introduces one to Judgemental Dog.  I dearly love Judgemental Dog.

Violante  is a new friend from the Platform-Building Campaign. She and I share a love of Gone with the Wind, as well as most things from the 1940’s. Along with four others, Violante writes about an interesting range of subjects, from discussions on writers as recluses, to solutions for writing problems.

All of these writers are interesting and well worth following.  Give them a look.