Staying Inside the Lines

I don’t like adult coloring books. Coloring inside the lines of detailed drawings frustrates me because I lack the patience and precise tools to accomplish it well. But I stopped at the library today and passed a table inviting patrons to take a moment. So I did, with this result.

Imprecise, a little confused, very colorful: this bookmark summarizes how life has been going lately.

A major house project is nearly complete, and along the way a bunch of other stuff broke. But at least there’s a final-ish product that we can now use and enjoy. And the other items have now been replaced.

Traveling doesn’t make anything go smoother. Delayed flights, extra laundry, more stuff to put away, loss of home time, and missing the planned schedule…I feel like I’ve been on the road a fair bit of the summer.

One munchkin is about to start school…which makes both of us anxious. We did stop and get school supplies together, which was a fond childhood memory of mine I wanted to extend to her. Trying to readjust everyone’s schedule is much harder.

The other munchkin is about to have a birthday party. Some people love planning parties. Some people like crafting. I like the latter but not so much the former. Trying to balance the time I have with the work to be done is a fine line. I want to make him happy and I enjoy seeing my friends, but I struggle with doing enough and being happy with the result.

Then there’s another planned trip for which some prep work needs to be done. I’ve made a plan but haven’t executed–and won’t–until after the birthday is behind us.

Meanwhile I just started Month 2 of a three-month workout program. It’s kicking my behind: while I feel stronger, the scale refuses to budge. I am focusing on the “beginner” plan and doing it as well as I can. While it’s a hit on the ego to treat myself like a beginner, I do occasionally have to swap or add rest days to the program to keep myself going. I also don’t prioritize the time to do more exercise right now.

Work, of course, continues its daily slog.

The balance is always my writing. My remote coworker said today that we needed to regularly schedule our time together to get our work done because we always de-prioritize it in favor of everything else. There is wisdom to his words. It seems like making time to work on my writing always gets the least of my attention.

By the time the kids are abed and I get back downstairs to a desk, the question is not “how much do I care about this story?” but rather “can I do this story justice right now?”

I finished my final revision of “Sea Dreams” on a printout. This re-read and review uncovered a number of small problems with the manuscript. Right now I’m typing in the edits for the last seven scenes. After that, the story is off to beta-readers and the only changes to the story will be from their identified errors.

I’ve also got the sequel printed out to treat the same way (cutting one editing step from my original process). But I’d like to finish writing the third book before starting the sequel’s edit.

Recreation-wise, I’ve been wrapping up “Quantico” and watching the Netflix series “Anne with an E,” and I’m still only halfway through the past season for “Arrow” and “Big Bang Theory.” I’ve also been reading a few books, including a graphic novel and the memoir “I am Malala,” which I highly recommend.

So for now, it’s on to the next item on the to-do list while I try to keep a grasp of that evasive tranquility.

Do you feel like this season of life has been busy, or have you been coloring inside the lines?

Back to Goals

This month has had me refocus my energy on my writing projects. While I’m still trying to get back to my social life, I’ve found some solace in my virtual scribbles. So what have I been working on?

Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter

This retelling from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, tells the story of a mermaid who falls in love with the monkey god, Hanuman, but must resolve her feelings for him against her loyalty to her father, the demon Ravana.

I’m really excited to share this short story, which allowed me to account for a character forgotten by the epic. We know what happens to Ravana, to Hanuman, to every other character connected to them, but other than their love story, no one knows anything about Suvarnamatsya (sometimes Suvannamaccha). Her voice was so clear in my head, and her story so needed a conclusion.

Right now, the story is done and awaiting cover art: I’ve got an awesome artist painting me a cover, focusing on Suvarnamatsya and the choices that dictate her future. As soon as the cover is finished, I’m going to get the story up on Amazon, free for the first month. If you’re interested, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get an email once the story is released so you can get it for free.

I’ve got a Saturday Snippet coming up for Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter coming soon too. You can take a look at the difference in the opening scene between the first and final drafts.

Sea Deception

I got editor feedback for Novella 1, Sea Dreams. She was incredibly helpful, offering me suggestions to make sure the transitions are solid and that the main characters equally claim the reader’s attention. There were some opportunities I missed that she identified, and I look forward to making her suggested changes and adding her suggested scenes or feelings to really pack the right punch.

On the bright side, she LOVED the characters and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. Luckily for you, you will not have the same problem once you start reading it: I’ll be releasing the entire trilogy back-to-back-to-back, probably with pre-orders.

Which brings me to what else I’ve been writing: Novella 2, Sea Rivals, is getting close to being wrapped up, too. I’m going to take some time off Sea Rivals to polish up Sea Dreams, but I’m getting pretty close to another finished draft for the trilogy.

And in case you missed my tweet, I finally finished naming a major character, “Kai Sterling.”

Blog Stuff

I’ve made a lot of promises for upcoming blog posts and just haven’t finished writing them all yet. The next one might just be a general compilation of “Why Engineers Shouldn’t Watch TV” in combination with what else I’ve been watching.

Stay tuned and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter!