Working Wednesday, January 27, 2021

If you want a HWSWA post on Friday, ask a question here. If you don’t, feel free to talk about something else, but if you want us working on a question post, now is the time to think up something. Bob knows all about being in the Army. And falling asleep and plowing his jeep into a tree in the Deep South. I know a lot about . . . well, not much. I can see why nobody asks questions.

This week I’m dealing with a tactless response I made to Krissie’s blurb for a new book, Bob making fun of me for being old (“I thought those 90 and over qualified for the vaccine in NJ”), planning for Lee’s project in Feb which is MONDAY, dealing with a friend who is depressed because Trump lost (I try to be understanding, but that one is just . . . ), and getting this house cleared out so that (as my daughter put it) the EMTs will be able to get a gurney in when I have my next heart attack. (I’m pretty sure Mollie inherited my tact.). So the days are just packed.

What are you doing this week?

87 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, January 27, 2021

  1. Working Wednesday: we tramped the Queen Charlotte Track! Or most of it. We got to Lochmara (my favourite place in the Marlborough Sounds) after 66km and the kids mutinied, refused to walk the last day, and we spent the day there instead. Honestly, I wasn’t hard to convince, it was 34°. Lochmara has icecream. And cider. And hammocks. I have pics on insta, #workingwednesday

    HWSWA Question (on the subject of tact): I love how seamless your co-written books are, especially given your different writing methods and also typically different subject matter. I wondered, have you read each other’s independent books, and if so, which are your favourites and why? I think maybe this is a question about how your writing works together, when on the surface it might seem unlikely?

    1. Please could you give us a link, Alannah? I’ve been using our original hashtag: #workingwednesdaypix but I can see there are at least two others, including yours, that are very similar. They’re also popular, so I couldn’t see your posts.

      This must be why it’s so hit-and-miss for Argh pix to show up on my Instagram timeline. Perhaps wecould come up with a different tag that no one else is likely to use, and drop all the variants on Working Wednesday?

      1. I’m fine with this. Anything that has “ArghInk” in it is likely to be specific to here, if that helps. ArghInkWorkingWednesday?

        1. That sounds fine; although we could go for simple #arghink: looks like you or someone launched it but then abandoned it:

          There does seem to be an ‘arghinka’ who’s not related to us.

          It would be good to abandon the Working Wednesday one, though – it and its variants are pretty popular. Of course, if it follows Argh Ink, there’s no problem

          1. I’m thinking maybe best to keep it shorter. Once you add WorkingWednesday, you’re immediately open to people posting singular and plural variants. Whereas if we can spell ArghInk (and we can always check that here), we should all see each other’s posts.

          2. I second the motion for a straight #ArghInk – definitely more closely linked to here.

          3. I don’t remember doing an ArghInk instagram. Huh. I’ll have to go look and see what’s on there.

          1. It was lovely. We cheated and had our packs transferred by boat each day, so just carrying day packs, and felt very grateful.

        1. What a gorgeous place to visit! I am jealous; especially since the view out my windows right now is all snow.

        2. Sigh. That looks gorgeous! I really would love to get back to N. Z., but the person who gave me the frequent flyer miles to get there in the first place now uses his own miles. Which makes your pictures even more appreciated. Thank you!

  2. I’ve been juggling three jobs – I worked on Sunday to try and get ahead, but then the first edit came back from the author with a lot of rewrites, which it took me seven hours to deal with. Sent that off yesterday morning and switched back to the proofs; but got overtired and couldn’t sleep. So I didn’t wake until 10.30. Luckily decided to have breakfast before showering, because when I came downstairs it sounded as if it was pouring with rain, and I discovered three inches of water and a fountain playing in the garden passage/storeroom. It had come through the dining room and halfway down the kitchen.

    So I stripped off to get to the stopcock, just beyond the fountain, and then texted the plumber and started bailing. Hesaid he’d come early evening, but in fact arrived in half an hour; and since it’s mild and dry today, altogether it’s not as bad as it could have been. But I’ll have to miss out on a walk (which I also did yesterday, due to the weather and work) – I’ve got the front garden passage door and the back door open, to try and dry things out. I was taken aback to find when I’d finished bailing out the kitchen that the 3inches of water in the passage had mostly vanished: it must have drained straight down through the concrete! It’ll have been laid over the original Voctorian brick floor, which of course wouldn’t have a damp-proof membrane.

    Must finish the proofs! And also not push myself so that these interesting jobs become slogs.

  3. I started a project seven days ago to do one sketch a day for 100 days, without fussing over the subject or the result. Just sketch and move on.

  4. I got new countertops at the beginning of January. As part of the process, I had to empty out the cabinet under the sink. Once everything was out, I realized how horribly warped the bottom had become after multiple instances of water damage. I cut out the warped bottom a week or so ago. This weekend I finally put in new support pieces and put in a new bottom board.

    I dragged out a job that should have taken an hour into an all day project, but the result is dramatically so much better than the original base that I keep opening the cabinet doors and staring at the clean, pretty, perfectly level and flat base. I was going to paint it white, but the wood is so pretty I’m thinking about just putting some polyurethane on it and leaving the wood look.

    1. Diann, I did a lot of refinishing of woodwork and cabinets. First I put on a coat of clear shellac then a thin coat of polyurethane then two coats of full strength polyurethane, sanding in between. This is pretty good for most spills but not perfect if you have standing water for a long time.

  5. I am feeling triumphant. I’ve finished the quilt I started over 10 years ago. I know it was 10 years, because I still have the magazine (dated November/December 2010) with the pattern in it. I finished off the binding this morning, prior to “going” to work.

    It is lovely to look at. (As any quilter will tell you, we can point out every flaw, but I think I’ve disguised most of them.)

    Now to finish something else!

    1. It looks flawless from here!

      That is one beautiful quilt – I can understand why it took a while, but you should be very proud of yourself. 🙂

    2. I think it is gorgeous. The colors are some of my favorites. I love the contrast between the border with the print and the large flowers in the center is so striking. The white around the flowers also really draws your eye. It was worth waiting for!

    3. That is gorgeous! The fact that you have finished so many other quilts in the interim makes your accomplishment even more amazing.

  6. Somehow our quarterly deadlines have come around again (every 3 months like clockwork!), so I am busy dealing with that. We have lots of personalities in our office, and somehow my day gets taken up just dealing with them all and keeping them all off the ledge.

    I am setting some goals for myself starting 2/1: making sure I take a walk every day, even if it is just a short one. I realized yesterday when I went to pick up some Vietnamese takeout that I hadn’t left my condo since Saturday morning’s farmers market visit. So outside every day for a little bit, and once these deadlines are over, outside every morning for a real walk.

    I’m also going to start doing a basic indoor exercise routine a few days a week. It’s long past time.

  7. Well, I think that keeping it together is pretty good sometimes, so I’ll say I’m doing that. Also, keeping in mind that just because you write a list, doesn’t mean you can get your list done.
    Another dear old friend, suffering from cancer for some time now, has decided that enough’s enough. He’s gone on hospice care, and stopped eating, and that takes up space in our thoughts.
    I have hopes for a painting session tonight.

    1. I’m so sorry about your friend.

      Also, keeping it together is amazing and more than enough work these days.

    2. I’m so sorry about your friend. Once they stop eating it becomes very hard to watch and keeping it together in the face of that is no small feat.

  8. Off topic, in their blog post of Jan 22, 2021, Ilona Andrews has a discussion of traditional publishing vs self-publishing, with numbers. Very interesting.

  9. Snow in Southern Cal at low levels. Cold nights. Big storm coming tomorrow and more behind that. We do need the rain, just not the mudslides. I made a huge pot of matzoh ball soup, so that’s good.
    LA is off stay at home orders. Again. And this time I fear they’re rushing it. All due to politics, of course. I haven’t had a haircut in year, I wear it in a ponytail and quite like the easy management. Could wait at least another six months.
    I did get the first vaccine but having difficulty getting an appointment for the second one. I have until Feb 18, so I’m sure more spots will open before then. It’s a pain trying to navigate the website and I’ve no clue how the elderly and the non tech manage. It’s ridiculous.

    1. I also think lifting the restrictions is a bit precipitate, given the pace at which new strains of the virus are being identified. I will continue staying at home, being grateful for my remote job.

  10. A little late because I did this today. Many of my Working Wednesday uploads are from the week. Recently, they’ve all been actual Wednesday products. And I’m oddly satisfied by that.

    Do advise if I should enter the CookAlong? I really amended the recipe so not sure if spirit of the process counts! 🤭

    In terms of writerly-ness:
    I have so many great (non-fiction) ideas but lack the stick-to-it-ness I need to get it going. Especially as the day job takes a lot of at-home work.

    What gets you stuck in? I think Bryce Courtenay called it “bum glue” – figuratively glue your bum to the chair and write. Jenny has at length lamented her, “Ooh shiny new idea” issue. But how have both of you learned to stick to an idea and see it to the end.
    What works for other authors? I’m opening it up to Argh authors on here.

    1. Haven’t cracked it yet. I suspect it’s routine, and for me probably starting small – half an hour a day, say. When I wrote my gardening book, I used to stop gardening whenever I had an idea and write it up. Using a bound, hardback notebook – for something to lean on, since I was sitting in the garden, and so I didn’t lose track of any of my writing. I did that for about six months – through a growing season – and then read through it and brainstormed how I wanted to structure the book. It was a lot of fun to write, and I’m glad I didn’t start with structure – it was lovely to be spontaneous, and see where it took me. Gardening, of course – like walking – is a great way to come up with ideas.

    2. I play leapfrog with projects. Write first draft of book 1, then write first draft of book 2, then go back to book for second draft, and so on. Except it’s usually different drafts, because I’ve been doing this for a long time and seldom start two books one after each other, so it’s more like first draft of book 2, second draft of book 1, brainstorm book 3, then second draft of book 2, etc.

      It helps with the doldrums, getting tired of a book and thinking it sucks. I get the draft done, put it away for a month or two and come back to it fresh, and while I may still have “it sucks” moments, the distance usually lets me see how to improve it.

      Beyond that, for me, it’s write (almost) every day, even if it’s just fifteen minutes, because I need to keep my head in the story. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me. If I write every day, I think about the story when I’m not writing, and if I don’t write every day, I stop thinking about it too, and then it takes time to get back into it.

      1. That’s pretty much the way I’ve been doing it since the beginning of last year. 🙂 A little bit every day, even if it’s only to read back a section that I wrote recently. That would typically be on days when I’m too fried from Day Job to compose anything new.

  11. Major paper shredding day at the shop. Yesterday found more of mother’s personal papers for shredding. Found correspondence to Michigan for her birth records and other interesting letters, not to be shredded. Continuing to get rid of stuff. Badly strained my back a week ago dragging and lifting heavy containers of old records for shred day. My new doc sent me for an X-ray which was compared to old one, 2018. Old doc did not tell me I had “moderate to severe arthritis in lower back.” BH! Carrying on. Found my box of writing going back a few years. February will be daily writing.

    1. MY mother had tax records back to 1972 and pictures, pictures, pictures. I managed to identify “Roommate #2” and find one of her sons, but was surprised to have a picture of an unidentified man turn out to be Mother’s stepfather, who died only in 2005 — I knew him very well. He just looked different in 1933!

  12. I inched along with my fanfic project. I didn’t make much progress, but it was a tricky part so it felt good to get past it.
    I thought I have everything gathered up for my dreaded visit to the DMV (although I have a bad track record on this) but when I sat down to make an appointment online, none were available. At any locations. For two months at least. I stopped looking after a while.
    I thought about calling them, but their phone line has been frustrating in the past and there’s already a helpful note — “311 cannot help schedule appointments if there are none available.”
    I shouldn’t even care. The Mayor has said expired licenses have a 45 day grace period after the public health emergency ends. But the DMV sent me a very snippy note reminding me that my license was about to expire and they were still open during the pandemic. Guess I’ll just have to be rebel with an expired license. 🙃

    1. I continue to be gobsmacked (a) that you have to do this and (b) that you can’t do it online. I’ll start having to renew mine every few years once I’m 70, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do this online, just as I do my annual road tax for the car.

      1. Jane, in DC usually you can renew online (but it’s different for every state so don’t quote me!) but this is a one-time thing b/c of the REAL ID (their caps, not mine) Act, which was established in 2005 after 9/11 and that has been involved in legal wrangles ever since. The idea it’s supposed to stop the creation of fraudulent passports, IDs. etc.
        If I’m reading their instructions correctly, I have to bring at least 5 forms of proof to them but there may be more (I have a hard time parsing bureacrat-ese).
        I need: proof that I can drive, that I’m a citizen or legal resident, proof of my social security number, and *two* pieces proof of my address (and those cannot be my driver’s license or what I used to prove legal US residence even though they both have my correct, current address.)
        I’m not even joking when I say I’m contemplating bringing my birth certificate and marriage certificate. I’m bringing a copy of a deed to my home (really!). Maybe if I call my mom she can find some of my old report cards. (sarcasm intended).
        I’m middle class and it’s a nuisance, but not insurmountable. I can’t even imagine what is like for people whose life doesn’t have a big paper trail.

        1. When it comes to bureaucracy bring the kitchen sink. When you don’t have a paper trail, it can get really tricky, grow up in a rural area, in a country with no birth certificates, you have to get creative.

          1. Alabama did not start issuing birth certificates until some time after my mother (1916) and my uncle (1918) were born. When she was working for WPA in 1939 she would go to graveyards to find the dates her clients’ parents had died, as partial proof that they were eligible for Old Age Assistance. Grade school records, if she could find any. Baptismal records if they belonged to a church that baptized infants. Of course if they had been born elsewhere she was out of luck with those things, since she certainly didn’t have a travel allowance, but most of them had lived in that county all their lives.

        2. The only things I can think of to say to this are: Wow! and Good Luck! (meant very sincerely – the US DMV has an international rep, and you have my sympathies)

        3. When I did my REAL ID license renewal here in Florida years ago, I had to present my birth certificate and marriage certificate to explain the change of name. And the marriage certificate given to us by our minister was NOT acceptable. I had to contact the county that issued our license, send a check for $10 and have them send me an official marriage license. Lucky for me the lady at the county was super helpful. When I went to the DMV, I had all that, plus a current and two expired passports, just in case. And I think at the time they would not take credit cards or checks, so I had to find an ATM for cash. Thanks goodness that once that was done, I’ve been able to renew online.

          I feel for you. Good luck.

          1. When I renewed my license a couple of years ago, I had to bring my unexpired DL , something showing my full name, as well as proof of my physical address. Fortunately my passport had my full legal name on it or I would have had to bring in both marriage certificates (I have been married twice) as well as the divorce paperwork showing proof of my name change. Paperwork trail!

        4. I was so proud. I had my passport, driver’s license, bank statement, social security card, utility bill. I had everything I needed. Waited over 2 months for my appointment. Waited outside for 20 minures. Was the only person that had everything during my visit. Just got a letter from the DMV the scans didn’t go though. Lather, rinse ,repeat. I shouldn’t have smirked on my way out.

          1. Suspicious … Maybe the scanners have been broken all along, but no one has noticed because they make sure no one actually gets to that stage. It’s like if you were the Keeper of the Holy Grail and you mislaid it among the booby traps and pools of piranhas so you leave an empty locked box around for decorative purposes 🙂

        5. I have a passport and a birth certificate with 1) an original signature of, I presume, the doctor who actually delivered me, and 2) all four grandparents listed as well as my parents. It’s a non-standard format because I was born courtesy of the US Navy on Guam. On the other hand, my father and grandfather registered a certified copy of the certificate in our local county courthouse (which you do as a document, not a birth certificate, like a deed, dutifully exchanging some suitable amount of money), so if necessary I could probably find it in the Grantor – Grantee file.

      2. In NZ we have to renew every 10 years as you have to pass a vision test. But it’s easy. Turn up, hand over your old license (they have photos), eye test, done. I think it’s more frequent over 70.

  13. I’ve been working on getting my Helen Binney series re-released after the publisher reverted the rights to me. At the moment, the audiobooks are available, but not the digital/paper versions.

    Also, working on getting back into daily writing, which I got out of the habit of over the last few months. And preparing to do some finishing of quilt tops during #DailyFeb21. I think I’ll commit to 21 minutes of quilting a day.

  14. I’m working on staying awake after one of those nights. A fair chunk was spent not-quite falling asleep, having Quantum Leap flashbacks. No particular episode, just Sam doing stuff, then getting all sparkly and being somewhere else. I know it wasn’t any actual episode, unless I missed one or two where Sam shoves a butt-patter into an empty elevator shaft. Sam didn’t usually kill people.

  15. I think I would like Mollie. 🙂

    I’m in the ‘just keeping on keeping on’ brigade – I am working on some quilting (I’m rotating 3 different projects at the moment, at various different stages, but no finishes to show yet).

    Does making snowmen count as ‘working’? If so,

  16. I’ve been chopping my way through the never-ending chore list and I’ve crossed a few things off.

    The bathroom purging and organizing is done. Paul made me a shelf for under the sink in the main bathroom so that’s done. I just have to put some contact paper on it to make it look nice but from a functional standpoint it’s done and that’s all I care about. I also mopped the floor this morning so everything that lives on the floor (scale, bath mat, TP holder) is on the counter but under the counter is tidy so that counts for something. The en suite bathroom (a super luxurious 2 piece) is also organized but needs tidying. I’m still counting those as finished projects because everyone knows bathrooms are actually only clean for 0.45 seconds and therefore are always in need of a tidy.

    I drilled pilot holes in the cabinet frame for the tip-out drawer under the kitchen sink and now all I have to do is mark where the holes go for the part that’s on the false front but in order to do that I need help and Paul is asleep.

    Since the drill and a giant box of drill bits, and a multi-headed screwdriver with removable bits, are in the house, every little project I have that needs a drill is getting done. Because it’s sooooo hard to take the drill et cetera back to the garage and bring it in again in 3 days when I think of something else. Coat closet shelf and grizzly bear print, your time is now!

    I put up a few hooks in places that needed them and they have made storing awkward things like Paul’s lunch kit a lot easier.

    I know I did something else but I can’t remember what.

    1. Scratch that, the false front tip out tray thing was a bust. I spent about 3 hours trying to make it work but I can’t because my sink is too deep. If you don’t have a ginormous sink, it probably works a treat.

  17. I’m part of the keeping on keeping on brigade, too. I sorted a big pile of mail and papers (over a foot tall, what was I thinking, well I was thinking “I’ll look at that later… “), to get out the BILLS (yes, I stuck bills in there, what a dummy) and have it down to about 2 inches for me to actually do something with. I’m waiting for my housekeeping crew to show up, and after they leave, I will PAY BILLS, and maybe figure out my taxes. (They are mostly medical co-payments, I do keep up with the mortgage, etc.) I think I’m still missing one 1099 for my taxes, though. (US taxes.) The bills look daunting, but actually there are a lot of repeats in there. And Final Notices, I believe. Gah.

    Other than that, I am seriously thinking about taking up knitting and crocheting again. It has been about fifty years; my Granny taught me when I was 8, and I knitted and crocheted my way through my teens, then dropped it for some reason. I am being inspired by the beautiful items I’ve seen here and on other blogs. Also, the yarns are GORGEOUS now, compared to when I knitted!

    I’ve been trying to think of a question for He Said She Said, because I love the conversations, and I guess I still wonder how the two of you ever managed to write your first book. Jenny does Discovery Drafts, and at that time, it sounded like Bob preferred to plan and outline first. How did you ever get that first book out without driving each other nutso with your different approaches?

    Also, I want to know about the jeep accident in the deep South. That sounds interesting.

    Jenny “another heart attack”? Was there a first??? Please take care of yourself!

    As part of my daily work (in addition to cooking and mild housekeeping), I get to spend part of each day now checking all my sources to see if anywhere in King County, Washington state, has slots available for the Covid vaccine. I’m eligible now, but there is still a limited amount of vaccine. Patience is NOT one of my virtues.

    1. I collapsed with Congestive Heart Failure two years ago. Then I got better. My numbers are normal again. No worries. Except Mollie worries. Krissie doesn’t; she says I’m unkillable, although we have an agreement that I die first because I’m not doing life without her.

    2. My SIL in King County just emailed me this on how she got her vaccine

      “What happened with me is that while I was tutoring Wednesday afternoon, the email subject line about opening to 65+ came across the top of the iPad screen. A few minutes later an older (86) good friend emailed our book club that she had gotten an appointment and sent along a site to check out. As soon as I finished the session I checked her link and it was just to determine eligibility—not to make an appointment. I am in the UW medical system, so I thought, I know, I will go into UW ecare and see if I can find out information about how to get an appointment. Lo and behold—they must have just posted them because there were hundreds of appointment slots starting the very next day.”

      I hope this helps. I am still weeks away from signing up and it is unlikely I will get it then because the vaccine in Oregon is in such short supply.

        1. I just heard from friends who live in Lake Forest Park (North Seattle). They checked the State website and found vaccination sites all over the city. They went to one at one of the community colleges (I don’t know if they had to get an appointment first and they are both in the 65 to 70 age range). There were students directing you to free parking, then another group of students who had clip boards that you filled out your information, then you got your shot. They said they were not in line for longer than 15 minutes. Very efficient.

  18. There’s been a lot of sitting about with the stupid broken leg, but every day is a little better. I’m putting my house to rights, now that all the visitors have finally left (is it wrong that I put my overseas-working-husband in the visitor category?). It’s almost 18 months since the move and I’m still trying to work out the best arrangement of things in the (much smaller) space. I went by 1000 days of Spanish practice recently, but with no actual people to practice with, I doubt I’ll ever be more than passable.

    And I made plum jam.

    1. I saw online that one seniors’ care home in France was connecting with US colleges and offering conversation practice over Zoom. Maybe you could arrange something similar?

  19. This morning my husband woke me up to tell me the wind had torn up part of our roof. Since the wind is still howling, I tossed all today’s plans out the window and spent the day talking to insurance agents, insurance adjusters, and roofers. The roofer left the job he was on, drove for almost two hours, and nailed down my roof so it wouldn’t tear off the rest. I am impressed. Also exhausted, and unable to focus on anything else. So, that was my working Wednesday. Really, this past year has left me without any reserves for minor emergencies.

  20. I shoveled my driveway this morning before I left for work. Does that count? I shoveled it last night too, after I got home from work, but it snowed overnight so I had to do it again this morning. We were having a nice snowfall deficit going on this winter ( 20 inches below normal) and now winter has decided to play catch-up.

  21. So if you’re still looking for questions, here’s mine. I’m sure you’ve been talking about clichés before, probably sending them to writer’s hell. But what I observe is that a lot of readers seem to like them since the bestselling books very often have them. Maybe we could talk about them a little more – how to evade them, how to put them to good use, and what is the main difference between clichés and tropes? (Forgive me if I ought to know that by now.)

  22. I have decided to work on drawing a coloring book for the daily February project. The working theme is a hobbit garden. So I am researching garden and hobbits, but I am looking for suggestions as to subtle things that I can hide in the images. What would you see in a hobbit garden?

    1. What a wonderful idea!

      I would hope to see all sorts of things, food-related, for a hobbit garden. All sorts of gardening tools (hoe, shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, and that’s the extent of my gardening knowledge). Then, I’D want to find food tools – spoon, fork, knife, bowl, plate -and foods – crumpet, muffin, cookie, doughnut, toast, bowl of grains (good luck!), scrambled eggs (?), bacon, link sausage – and of course various fruits and vegetables.

      Now I’m hungry, darn it.

      Let us know how it goes?

      1. Thanks! Definitely a potager garden. I was thinking of adding parts of trolls who have turned into stone etc. I am going to have to revisit the book. I don’t remember details anymore.

        A picnic would be fun too. I will put it on the list.

    2. A hobbit garden sounds like great fun!

      You could show Sam sneakily listening through the window while pretending to do the gardening. It amused me when Gandalf caught him doing that.

      1. I think that I am going to try to avoid truly copy-righted images. More hints of clues? Plus so many people have done better jobs at hobbit and LOTR art than I ever will…

        But maybe a window with an ear showing in the bushes. Thanks!

  23. I made bread pudding for the first time It was a bit of a comedy of errors. The bread was way too hard so cubeing it took some effort. I ended up patchworking the recipes since none of the ones I found seemed just right and I didnt want to do a water bath.
    Then when I was making the custard, I hit the wrong button on my mixer so half my kitchen was covered in custard. When it was baking, I asked my husband to turn off the oven and he turned off the timer instead so it over cooked and the top got a little dark.

    Does anyone know what to do with extra custard. My pan wasn’t big enough to hold all the liquid, so I have about two cups left over. Can I just pour it into a pan and bake it?

    1. Never made bread pudding but love it. Fond memories of bread pudding every morning when we spent Christmas at a Maui resort years ago. Sons loved it too. Brought memories of the infamous diving fin incident too, of which we have a good laugh.

  24. It got to 36C yesterday (97F for you strange imperial types) which is a good 10 degrees too hot for dinner. So I cooked roast vege and haloumi salad. I roasted the haloumi and it melted all over the tray, so cooking step 2 was cleaning up a mess. But the salad was delicious and healthy enough that I basked in a feeling of virtue.

    One of our tenants moved out unexpectedly so I’ve been looking for a replacement. The house is a bit of a niche situation so getting new people always takes a while, sigh.

    And my big achievement for the week is that I got inspired by Lee’s #dailyfeb2021 challenge and started it early. So, for each of the last 5 nights, I’ve drawn some or all of a quick portrait of someone. Once, I remembered just before bed and only spent 10 minutes on it. But still, drawing every night for 5 nights is a record for me and I’m very pleased.

  25. I ran some errands, failed to get a vaccine appointment (waiting for more doses, and grocery shopped. That’s about it.

    Mostly, I tried not to think about my dog. She’s been vomitting a bit, is not eating well, and just seems off. Her liver enzymes are elavated, too. So it’s back to the vet’s on Friday for some sort of super x-rays. It’s never easy.

    But, our county commision meeting last night, while extremely long, did have its entertaining moments. And a couple of things I’m against were voted down. So there’s that.

  26. Pretty much all I’ve been doing is a) Day Job and b) recovering from Day Job and c) reading. The weekend weather was kind of awful so there was no yard work.

    Did manage a tiny bit of writing. I am turning the second-written novella into a full-length novel, which will mean massive amounts of rewriting of the early part (and editing-out of scenes that arced the novella but won’t arc the novel), integration of a 30K+ outtake from a different novel project, and writing lots of new scenes.

    Did the early assembly, then constructed a timeline for my main characters. They are present throughout the series so I know – in broad strokes – what they’ve been doing from 2011-2020 in series time. Putting that timeline together helped me spot where the arc for the novel should be. So far I’ve only written one new 2K scene, but it really helped me see what I think is the emotional hook.

  27. Working Wednesday is Working Everyday to get the house ready for the photographers. Yesterday and today I tackled the back yard, sweeping the patios, weeding, repotting plants, mulching – all in the interest of making an appealing serene haven that will have someone leaping to buy this place. We’re supposed to get rain starting tomorrow afternoon, so I will shift to doing indoor serene haven-creating. Then once the rain stops I’ll finish up the front yard and hopefully we’ll be ready. My iWatch is very happy with all this activity on my part!

  28. I literally did no work today because we are having a big storm week and my power was knocked out from 1 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. No work for me! Surprise vacation day! I spent the day lounging in my papasan chair in my bathrobe, living off Chex Mix and reading.

    Uh-oh, the light just flickered….

  29. Regular work stuff, plus taking Christmas down and applying to grad schools.

    Hmmmmm, questions…
    Military stuff for Bob, because I sometimes ghostwrite military heroes:
    – What are some common reasons people decide to leave the military/not reenlist?
    – What are some jokes/ stereotypes that different branches of the military have about each other?
    – Are there any characteristics/ perspectives/ habits that military people might hang onto after they’ve left the military?

    You’ve said that plot is not the part of writing that comes naturally for you. Any tips for a non-natural plotter trying to learn how to plot mysteries? (Why can’t a book be 100% great banter?)

    Any tips for revising? Right now I read it and fix the parts I don’t like, then my beta reader reads it and I fix the parts that she doesn’t like. Which works good for putting out a finished product that is lacking in bad parts, but seems a little lacking for putting out a finished product that is rich in good parts.

  30. Bet Me is on Oprah magazine’s list of best romance novels

    How often do you and Bob print out your works in progress to review? Do you notice things on the printed pages that you don’t notice reading on your computers?

    RBG set an example for everyone in trying to understand friends with different opinions and said, “you can disagree without being disagreeable”

  31. Yes! I have a question for both you and Bob. What systems do you use to keep everything organzied while you write? (I mean early stages, not after you’ve started figuring the story out.) I’m currently working on my third novel, barf draft. I have folders labeled for each character, but also one that just says “notes” where I jot down things as I think of them, kind of stream-of conciousness. I am definitely low-tech and write all my first drafts by hand. I tried to create the story on the computer and my brain doesn’t work that way. I almost gave up, but then discovered if I write long-hand my brain will spit out a story. So fancy computer programs don’t cut it for me. Any advice on how you organize the big mess of a first draft without losing your place?
    Thanks to you both! Love HWSW.

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