Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September/October Goals

I had four writing goals for the month of September:

1. Get to 30,000 words in Fifth Season.
2. Outline the current draft of Chaos Season (it may seem strange outlining after the first draft, but I need to get an overview of the book so I can plan the developmental edit.)
3. Edit the first 3-4 chapter of Chaos Season.
4. Finish the rough drafts of the short stories for my Young Seasons collection.

I did manage to finish items 1 and 2, and started 3 and 4. However, I didn't get very far with them. My productivity has been dragging this month. It's probably a case of trying to do too much on too little sleep. (OK, a new Facebook game didn't help either.) So for October, I'm going to focus on just Chaos Season and Fifith Season. I'm over 32,000 words for Fifth Season, so I'm going to shoot for at least 45,000 words in that while I edit 3-4 chapters of Chaos Season.

In addition to the books, I have several other goals for October. My family and I plan on several appearances with the 501st on the weekends. We plan to see our friends in Madison for our annual get-together. I have to help Alex with a book report on top of his homework, plus take him to taekwando and archery classes. (Eugene and I will be part of the archery class as well.) And on top of all this I have to figure out how to make Alex's Halloween costume (he wants something very specific based on a documentary he's seen.) Who knows how much of this I'll manage to accomplish? For now, my first goal is to go to bed early and try to shake my sore throat before it gets worse.

How often do you meet your own goals? Do you ever feel you plan too much?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Justice for All (The Outcast Book #1)

Pat Dilloway has a new book coming out tomorrow, and I wanted to share the book information with you. I like the blue tone of the cover!

Justice for All (The Outcast Book #1)

Robin Howe was a normal teenager until her police captain father is killed by henchmen of the evil Madame Crimson. When the justice system won't take any action to avenge her father, Robin takes it upon herself. Except her first attempt leaves her nearly dead and with Madame Crimson's people on her tail.

To protect Robin, her father’s former partner gives her a new identity that sends her to St. Martha’s Academy for Young Ladies in rural New Hampshire. There she tries to keep a low profile, which isn’t easy when Madame Crimson’s spoiled daughter Tonya takes a special interest in making Robin’s life there a living hell. Yet when a rival gangster tries to kidnap Tonya, Robin has to embrace her heroic destiny.

Buy the ebook for $3.99 here ( or the paperback for $12.99 from Createspace (

Author bio:
Patrick "P.T." Dilloway has been a writer for most of his life. He completed his first story in third grade and received an 'A' for the assignment. Around that time, he was also placed in a local writing contest for a television station, receiving an action figure in lieu of a trophy, thus securing his love with the written word. Since then, he's continued to spend most of his free time writing and editing. In the last twenty years, he's completed nearly forty novels of various genres. When not writing, P.T. enjoys reading and photographing Michigan's many lighthouses. In order to pay the bills, he earned an accounting degree from Saginaw Valley State University in 2000 and for twelve years worked as a payroll accountant in Detroit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Dark Side and the Write Side

I mentioned back in May that my family was interested in joining the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costuming organization that makes appearances for charity. (Their motto is "bad guys doing good.") Last week, my husband and I were officially accepted into the Legion. (Alex can't join until he's 18, so for now he has to enroll in the Galactic Academy--if he ever agrees to let me submit pictures.) Here I am as a Jawa:

And here I am with Alex. My husband is an Imperial Gunner.

I made the Jawa robes and hoods myself; I even bought a simple sewing machine and taught myself how to use it. I also prepared the mask and glowing eyes. BB-8 is not officially approved as an accessory for Jawas, but I hope to take him trooping someday.

Of course, the last thing I need is another activity to take away from my limited writing time. It will be a family activity, though, and depending on where we troop, I may be able to write en route.

As an indie, I'm not worried about whether trooping will conflict with a "professional author" image. It may give me a chance to meet more SF fans, but while I will talk about my books if asked, I don't think it's right to use the 501st to promote my own work. It might be interesting, however, if we decide to attend C2E2 next year with the 501st. Do I troop the entire time, or do I set aside some author time? Even if I can't bring balance to the Force, I hope I can do that with my multiple identities as writer and fan.

Have you ever done costuming, or would you like to? What character(s) would you play?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Free This Week: SF Women A-Z

Today through Friday, my SF Women A-Z: A Reader's Guide is free on Amazon. As regular readers of this blog know, this book started as my A-Z Blogging Challenge this April, when I listed many women authors of science fiction and fantasy in alphabetical order. This guide is expanded from the blog posts and includes information on over eighty authors. I'm making this free not just to promote my work, but other women authors in my genre. So pick up a copy for yourself--or gift it to someone else--and find some new authors to read! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Schedule Changes and Writing

Monday evening, my son started tae-kwon-do lessons. Last night, there was a special "meet the teachers" night at school. Since I have flextime at work, I got up an hour early so I could shift my schedule and leave early. I had to make sure there was enough time to get homework done and eat dinner before we had to go. Since I don't get much sleep as it is, I've definitely been paying for that. My other normal evening chores kept me occupied until 10:45 last night, and I was too tired to think of anything to blog about, let alone write. I hope that once the martial arts class is underway, I'll be able to get more work done while Alex is in class. If I continue to get up early on Mondays, though, I may not be too functional.

Do you have a routine schedule, or does it vary a lot? How does that affect your ability to write or do other things you enjoy?

Monday, September 14, 2015

A New Kindle and Kindle Organization

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was busy. My husband took my son to a chess tournament on Saturday, and Alex came in second for his grade level. His school also took second place. I attended a shower for a friend on Saturday and spent so much time catching up with them that we all went out for dinner together. (My family came to the shower after the tournament and joined us for dinner too.) Yesterday we took our annual trip to a nearby apple orchard. There are a lot of other activities for kids there, so we stayed for a few hours after we were done. I didn't get as much writing done as I wanted to (of course, I never do), but I sure got some quality time in.

Anyway, for my anniversary present, my husband gave me a Kindle Voyager. My Paperwhite was out of memory and not acting properly, so it was time for an upgrade. Here's what they look like side by side (old one on the left, new on the right):

The new Kindle feels very light, but of course I'm used to using my Kindle in a cover. The cover I ordered for this model will fold from the top so I can read with it free-standing. Until it comes, I'm reluctant to take the Kindle anywhere. It does look very nice, with crisp fonts and controls on the sides to turn the pages. When I open a book, I see information such as the beginning of the blurb, number of pages, estimated time to read, number of highlighted texts, and so on. I can delete a sample not just from my device but from the cloud as well. Maybe that will help me bring my books back under control.

As for dealing with my multitude of titles, I'm trying a trick I read about on Kindleboards (I think it was there.) I'm using my computer Kindle app to sort everything into collections, then I'll download the collections to my Kindle. It will take a few days to get that done.

Once I get the new Kindle sorted to my satisfaction, I'll deregister my Paperwhite and figure out where to donate it.

If you have a Kindle, which model do you have? Do you read your e-books on a dedicated reader, or do you read them on a tablet or smartphone?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Science of the Week: 9/11/15

Where were you when you heard the news about 9/11? I'd been in the lab at my old job and came back to my desk. There was a message on the phone from my husband, telling me what had happened. While my co-worked chatted about something else, I burst out with the news. That definitely changed the tone of the office. I spent a lot of the day trying to find out how my friends in New York were doing. Thankfully, they were all OK.

Anyway, here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

Organic "computers" made of DNA could process data inside our bodies

Researchers demo solar water-splitting technology

Farthest galaxy detected

Customizing 3-D printing

Researchers transform recoded cells into factories that produce novel proteins

New species of human ancestor discovered in South Africa

Fertilize the ocean, cool the planet?

Have a good weekend, and see you Monday!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Happy Tenth Anniversary!

Tomorrow is my tenth wedding anniversary. (My husband and I have actually been together for twenty-five years, but some of that time was when we were in a long-distance relationship.) For our first anniversary, we took a one-week trip to London. For our fifth, we took a special lunch cruise on Lake Michigan. This year, both of us have been too busy to plan anything and have limited time to take off. We may take an extended weekend somewhere later, when things are less hectic--if that ever happens.

Here are a couple of pictures from the wedding:

and a few from the honeymoon:

Happy Anniversary, sweetie, and many more!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Science of the Week, 9/4/15

Happy Force Friday! Are the toys going to be with you today? I admit I have my eye on the BB-8 droid--it would go great with my Jawa outfit.

Here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

Can rain clean the atmosphere?

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild

Ancient cold period could provide clues about future climate change

Completely paralyzed man voluntarily moves his legs

Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought

Magnetic wormhole connecting two regions of space created for the first time
(Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes edge a little closer to reality)

Clues from ancient Maya reveal lasting impact on environment

Finding a way forward in the fight against prion disease

I'm going to take Labor Day off from blogging, so see you next Wednesday! Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

IWSG: What's Your Natural Story Length?

It's time again for another edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group. Here are the co-hosts for this month: 

Heather M. Gardner   
Dolorah at Book Lover 
Murees DupĂ©   

When I finished the first draft of Chaos Season back in July, I planned to work on various short stories for a few weeks. I have a couple of projects that have been on the back burner for a while, and I'd like to get them finished. However, although I did work on "The Unnumbered World," the Young Seasons collection, and "Plant Manager," I didn't finish a single one of them. On the other hand, I wound up starting the next book in the Season Avatars series, and I'm making good progress with it (nearly 20,000 words.) I think my writing style may be better suited for novels than for short stories. With novels, it's easier to pants my way through. Perhaps I spread my attention among too many projects, or perhaps I've done more prewriting for the novels than I have for the short stories. What I plan to do this month is focus on three goals: outlining Chaos Season and revising three-four chapters, reaching 30,000 word with Fifth Season, and finishing the two short stories I need for the Young Seasons collection. We'll see next month how well I met those goals. 

Do you have a preferred story length? How many projects do you work on at once? Feel free to share in the comments. I have a very long day ahead of me at work and probably won't get a chance to look at the comments or visit other blogs until tonight. Hopefully I have enough energy left for that by the end of the day.  

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