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Also known as “birds will start flying into the window any day now” season.

No words.

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Autumnal equinox is tomorrow. I’ve always loved fall, crunching leaves under foot, sipping cider… not so much the growing dark, but we can’t have everything.

Wrote 262 words today, in addition to freelance works and having the kids home from school. Not much, but it’s progress.

Sedum flowers

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Slight hitch at the beginning of the day, as we ran out of milk. Had to make eggs for the girl’s breakfast. So I ran off to the store after getting her on the bus to school. First time in 13 years of living here that I had to stop for a train at the train tracks.

traffic stopped for a trainRead the rest of this entry  )

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I started tracking! Or, well, I started to start. Except I forgot some categories I wanted to use (like “social” and “personal”), and I stopped tracking after I actually started getting anything done. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.


So what did I spend the rest of my day on? Discussing Oreos on Twitter, working on different ways of looking at the data from the SFWA survey (like which member categories have more females than males), and going to the open house at our son’s school.

After that, got home, talked with our daughter about her homework, got her to bed, and wrote 252 words. Still not where I want to be, but better than the last few days.

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Last week went even better than I’d thought, with several days over 1,000 words. This week is being more of a struggle — not sleeping as well, trouble focusing, barely eking out a hundred words or so each day (119 today, for those keeping score). As I said in my newsletter — which went out today, a couple days late — I’m considering tracking my time to see how much I’m spending in the different areas of my life. If you’ve got experience or anecdotes about your own time tracking methods, drop them in the comments. I’m interested!

Meanwhile, I’ll be working on enjoying fall and watching the changing seasons around me. Here, one of our holly bushes is covered with berries, but they haven’t begun to redden yet.


And here we have the sedum, the flowers just starting to open.

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Big joy: The OPPM was released to SFWA’s membership today. Yes, it had the caveat that it’s always a work in progress, and will be updated in the future, but it’s out!

Another big joy: I got good words today. Well, I’ll know if they’re actually good later, but it’s certainly a good amount.

Words written today: 1,071
Words written this month: 2,041
Words written 2017: 157,352
Average words/day 2017: 634
Books completed 2017: 2 (plus 1 novella)
Pages read today: nothing yet
Books read 2017: ? (Yes, I still need to figure that out.)

But look at that — twice the number of words I set as my goal! *happy dance*

Small joy: Season 7 of My Little Pony is out on Netflix, finally, so my daughter did her own little happy dance. (The Internet was reporting it was supposed to be out last month, but no such luck.)

Small sadness: It’s pouring rain, which means I won’t be going to the weekly meet-up of the NaNo group writers. But I miss more often than I go, so it’s only a small sadness.

Rainy day

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Happy September! And so the first week of the school year has passed, and the early stages of fall are upon us.

I got 114 words today. I also totaled up my August work, and I’m not terribly thrilled with it — only 8,802 words for the month, an average of less than 300 per day. Clearly, I have to do better this month.

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Although I did write yesterday, I got to it so late, I didn’t bother posting. For the record, I got 101 words yesterday and 160 today.

So many things to juggle — SFWA work on the OPPM, invoicing for copyediting, finishing up an application for the Sustainable Arts Foundation’s award for writers who are also parents, taking the kids shopping for shoes (and pants for the girl, as she outgrew last year’s), back to school night to meet teachers, school paperwork — and that’s just today and yesterday. As I said, lots of loose ends, and this week is just about tying some of them off.

One of the girl’s homework assignments is to bring leaves to school so they can classify them. Maybe I should send a hosta leaf with her.

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Today’s subject line brought to you by this earworm that a friend gifted me with to cheer me up:

Good day. Finished a freelance job, visited the library, bought a watermelon from a farm stand (as I said, earworm), and managed to track down the particular notebook our son needs for one class. And I wrote 152 words and finished off the current scene.

This week, as I try to catch up loose ends and make sure the kids get off on the right foot for school, my goal is at least 100 words a day. Next week, it can go up again.

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Last day of summer vacation (not counting the weekend). I didn’t spend as much time as I could have this week with the kids, though I did make sure to spend some.

Still writing, too. 451 words today, after SFWA stuff and freelance work. More next week!

The big adventure for the week, though, was going to Genrepalooza in Manhattan. Organized by MWA’s NY chapter and HWA, it had writers from RWA (NY chapter there, too, I believe), SFWA, the Author’s Guild, and maybe others — I didn’t talk to everyone, and the pictures I took are blurry. I enjoyed the trip, though, and took pics in New York. Had to take pictures of the Chrysler Building, as anyone who’s read my short story “Blood and Gold” will understand.

Pictures from the trip:

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I had trouble settling down to work today — a touch nervous about tomorrow’s adventure, which I’ll likely post about on Thursday — so I did a mix of things. I did a chunk of freelance proofreading, and told the author she’ll have the file back Friday. Also did some cooking — a pot of beans, plus a dozen jars of sliced pickles. I was going to make salsa, too, or bake the latest recipe from Sparkle World with our daughter, but that seemed like a bit much.

Eventually settled enough to write 142 words. It’s not a lot, but it is progress.

And for those keeping track, six days until the kids are back in school (Monday). I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, peace and quiet and lack of interruptions will be sort of nice. On the other, I like being able to spend some time each day with them. (Of course, if I get a ton of words next week, the emotions won’t be mixed at all!)

And now, photos of the pickle process.

Canning tools

Cucumbers, dill, and garlic

Processing the jars

Finished product

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(Which is probably at least the three hundredth eclipse pun headline you’ve seen today, I know.)

I have to confess that I haven’t been writing much. The last week was focused on getting Siren Circle up for sale. Today, while waiting in line for eclipse viewing glasses, I started outlining another novella — this one to be a prequel novella, before Ghost Garages, and thus hopefully a good hook for people to start the series. I will get back to work on the third Boston Technowitch book, though.

So pictures today:
eclipse without filter

eclipse through filters

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Mushrooms!

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:32 pm
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In our yard. Which is not fantastic, but not exactly surprising, either. And gives an indication of just how much rain we’ve been getting.

Anyway, not a lot on the new word front today, and what there was, I didn’t count, as I was working through edits on Siren Circle and hence, both adding and deleting as I went. I may add some words later on book 3, Troll Tunnels.

Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures.large mushroom

smaller mushroom

mushroom gills

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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(On the calendar, at least.)

In actual fact, it wasn’t a bad day. I got some normal adulting tasks done, knocked a couple freelance tasks off my to-do list, poked at the writing (yeah, not a lot there — only 59 words), and cooked dinner. But I’m going to try to get to bed before 11 and hope sleep will make tomorrow more productive.

Words written today: 59
Words written this month: 7,563
Words written 2017: 154,072
Average words/day 2017: 694
Books completed 2017: 2 (plus 1 novella)
Pages read today: 5
Books read 2017: ?
Days until school starts: 18

The month’s good start is rapidly falling away. Have to see if I can get back on track next week.

skillet dinner

Tonight’s dinner

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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… and one more, and one more, and …

Is it just me? I keep taking on little things at random intervals, and that works great for a week or two, but then these other little things land, and suddenly I’m needing more sleep so I’m clear-headed enough for everything, but I’m not sure how to get more in my schedule. Yeah, maybe that’s just me. And it’s a recent thing, too — used to be I’d skip sleep to try to get everything done,forgetting about diminishing returns.

Anyway, only 152 words today, but also some thoughts for further down the series, so that’s good.

Random things from today:

Saw the new building that my husband’s department got moved to.


Made a simple strawberry ice cream with the girl. (Whip 2 cups heavy cream with 1 can sweetened condensed milk. Fold in 2 cups mashed strawberries and some pink food coloring. Stick it in the freezer.)

Made the okonomiyaki again. Pickled ginger is a good addition. As is bacon.

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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But oh, so tiring! I spent four hours Saturday weeding, and time on Sunday cleaning, laundering, and baking. I also decided the outline for the third Boston Technowitch is complete enough and got a good start on the first chapter.

By the way — four hours of weeding? Bad idea if the usual exercise your fingers get is typing.

Hand with blisters

Blurry image of blistered fingers (not all blisters showing, and they popped later)

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Words written today: 895
Words written this month: 5,985
Words written 2017: 136,384
Average words/day 2017: 682
Books completed 2017: 1 (plus 1 novella)
Pages read today: lots of rereading of last weekend’s fun read
Books read 2017: ?
Days until school starts again: 40

Our son said I didn’t have to sound so gleeful about the end of summer. I explained that although I love them dearly and like spending time with them, going to the library and such, I just don’t get as much done. (On the other hand, I’m getting more sleep because I go back to bed after my husband leaves in the morning, as I don’t have to get children out the door and off to school. Sleep is good.)

Seen in our backyard this evening while I worked on dinner:

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Artist is Beth Cavener. Title: L’Amante.

Her gallery of shots is much better than mine, but here’s a closer view I took.

closer view of Beth Cavener's rabbit sculpture

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Now for the rest of the pictures.Read the rest of this entry  )

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Our itinerary:
Pennsylvania to Madison, Wisconsin, overnight stop in Elkhart, Indiana
In Madison for a few days with my mom and younger brother and his fiancée
Madison to Fort Collins, Colorado, overnight stop in Nebraska
In and around Fort Collins for a few days with my in-laws
Fort Collins to Pennsylvania, overnight stops in Lawrence, Kansas, and Lexington, Kentucky

It’s a lot to pack into two weeks, and it was wonderful. (Click through to see pictures up to our arrival in Fort Collins. There are a lot, but even this is just a subset of what I took.)Read the rest of this entry  )

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