Monthly Archives: April 2015

And Then Life Happens

I don’t have much of a progress report this week. It is only Wednesday, and already the week has been full of awesome ups and awful downs.

Monday I went to the long-awaited The Energy of Business workshop, and it was fantastic! I learned a lot, and it feels like a puzzle piece has been put in place that will really help with both my writing career and Feline Dreamers (the business my partner and I run together). So I’m very excited about that, and will have more to say about it in the weeks to come, I’m sure.

Tuesday morning my beloved Aunt, who lives next door, fell and broke her hip. She’d had a long string of orthopedic issues, having osteoporosis and thus fragile bones. We thought she was going to be able to enjoy a summer of freedom and mobility. But she lost her balance and fell, and my Mom and I spent the day in the emergency room with her. She’ll be having surgery this afternoon.

So, life happens sometimes and gets in the way of writing, but I love my family and I’m glad I have a flexible schedule and can be there when they need me.

Please send us along some prayers, blessings, or good thoughts if you have them to spare. Thank you!



Filed under ROW 80

Working on the Foundation

Although ROW 80 is a writing challenge, I do have sections in my goals list about physical and spiritual health. For me, feeling good is a strong foundation that supports my ability to be creative and productive as a writer. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten away from that foundation, in the area of physical fitness in particular. I mean, I’m pretty healthy and don’t get sick often, for which I’m very grateful. But I’ve put on extra weight, and I’m noticing how it’s beginning to impact the way I feel.

Now that Spring has finally arrived here in New England, I’ve been putting a stronger focus on moving my body daily, and on healthy eating. It’s going well. I’ve dropped the sweet treats again (this is day 6 with no refined sugar). I’ve been walking a lot, hula-hooping to music, and doing archery with my daughter (to work on my arm muscles). I’m not the type to go to the gym, as it’s very boring to me. So my physical exercise needs to have a fun (and usually outdoorsy) component. I’ve enlisted my very active teen daughter to help me include exercise in my everyday life, which is helpful. As a writer and bookworm, as I’m sure you know, it’s all too easy to be sedentary and not even notice. My intention is to get back in good shape this spring and summer, and then maintain it.

Spiritual connection is also important to my foundation. This week has brought a lot of new ways to connect! This weekend I had both an amazing Tarot card reading with an online friend, and a wonderful dream oracle session that I won. I’ve been undergoing a huge transformation in the past year, which is tied in with a renewal of my commitment to my writing career. These readings have given me not only new insights, but also confirmation that I’m on the right path. I’m really excited about this direction, and how it inspires me on all levels.

As far as my writing goals, this week went pretty well. BlackLion and I have been working on our novel revisions, and have had some really good breakthroughs. I’ve been blogging, and wrote a couple of book reviews as well. I wrote a little bit on my Creative Inspiration Pack, though not as much as I would have liked.

I’m 74 percent of the way through reading How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson, and still enjoying it. I’ve also been watching a video series on publishing from Hay House (I’m on their newsletter list), which is quite interesting.

I hope your week is productive and enjoyable!

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Getting Creative About Creativity

One little item on my list of goals has kind of expanded and taken over much of my writing time. I’ve now accomplished this goal: “Create author mailing list for Starcat’s Corner website.” But I decided that I wanted to create a free offer, something that my peeps would receive as a gift when they sign up. I don’t yet have enough books written to simply give away an existing one. So I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of writing a Creative Inspiration Pack (CIP). It’s okay, though – I’m having a lot of fun writing about creativity, imagination, and inspiration. This new e-book will include ideas and tips for expanding your creativity, games and prompts, and inspiring quotes.

In the process of finding quotes to use in the CIP, I came across this one I’d saved:

“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” – Stephen King

I think I need to re-read his book On Writing, now that I’m writing fiction. I loved the book, and I think even more of it will apply directly to my work, now that I’ve expanded beyond just non-fiction. I’ll pull it down from the shelf and add it to the stack beside my bed.

Speaking of books, I started reading How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. I’m 32 percent of the way through, and I’m really enjoying it so far. There are some good tools in it to add to my writer’s toolbox.

BlackLion and I are continuing our work on revisions for our novel. It’s going well, though we’re finding that we have a lot of work to do on it. I keep telling myself – and him – that it was our first novel we ever wrote, so it’s bound to need some improving as we go! I think the overall story idea is solid, so needing some extra tinkering isn’t a bad thing.

wildpackoffamilydogsI’m feeling a bit better today, physically, and had a wonderful walk with my teenage son and a pack of dogs (our two, plus the two he’s pet-sitting).

The week is going well. I hope yours is, too!


Filed under Quotes, ROW 80

A Brief Update *cough cough*

I’m going to keep this short, as I’m not feeling too well (physically) and want to get to bed. I’ve had a bit of a head cold these past few days, and some other stuff that’s left me feeling pretty low-energy. Even so, I’ve been getting some work done, so it’s not a total loss.

BlackLion and I worked on our book revisions some more, and we’re making good progress. We have time set aside to work on it this week, on Tuesday and Thursday. I outlined my Creative Inspiration Pack e-book, which I’ll be giving away to folks who join my new subscriber list (visit Starcat’s Corner if you’d like to join!). I hope to devote quite a bit of time to drafting it up this week. I took two walks and did some dance/hula-hooping, even though I have a cold. I haven’t blogged much, but I have a couple of posts in the works. So not bad, considering. Hope your week goes smoothly!

P.S. I almost forgot, I did some art this week! I made a new vision board. Here it is:



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Starting a New Notebook

Over the past several months I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying about ethical marketing & promotion, how to make a living as a writer, self-publishing, and the like. One of the suggestions that seems to crop up everywhere – that I hadn’t done yet – is to have an e-mail subscriber list. I added it as one of my goals for this round.

It’s a bit complicated, and requires some extra thought. My partner BlackLion and I have a business and website called Feline Dreamers. We already have a mailing list for it, with a couple hundred subscribers so far. I also have a website called Starcat’s Corner, which is now the home of my blog (which I’ve been writing since 2006) and serves as my author website.


A sneak peek at my new newsletter template…


There is some overlap – our business is focused on personal spirituality, which is also the subject of the two books I’ve written and published thus far. But Feline Dreamers also encompasses guided meditations (audio), workshops, and coaching.

And I’m also in the process of branching out into fiction, and uncertain how the readership for the novels will be different from the non-fiction. Confused yet?

I didn’t necessarily want to reinvent the wheel, but I do think there’s value in having a separate list for my readers. So I’ve been working on coming up with the focus for my new list. One of the main themes of my work as a whole is the value of living the life of the imagination. So I decided to have my newsletters focus on creativity and imagination, and how to make it part of your everyday experience. Thus, Starcat’s Notebook was born! BlackLion was a great help to me with the web-tech side of things. He’s also going to help out with some artwork for the Creative Inspiration Pack that I’m writing. I wanted to have something brand new to give away to my subscribers, so I’m in the process of creating a fun little e-book. I have most of the outline written, and will start working on the draft this week.

What else is new? BlackLion and I have been working on our novel revision plans, which are coming along nicely. I got sidetracked a bit with blogging, as I’ve been focusing my energies on setting up the newsletter and brainstorming my free offer. Journal-writing is still a regular thing. I’m a bit under the weather – I think I’m coming down with a cold – so I haven’t been getting in as many walks. But the weather is nice, and I have made an effort to get outside in the sunshine each day.

I would say that things are flowing along just fine. I hope the rest of your week is fun and productive!

P.S. If you’d like to subscribe to my new list, just visit Starcat’s Corner! I’ll make sure you get your Creative Inspiration Pack as soon as it’s ready. Thanks!


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Still Feelin’ Groovy

I’m still in the groove with my writing and how it’s now integrated with all the other aspects of my life. I’m actually very excited about my writing life right now, to the point where I’ve been wondering how it took me so long to realize what a joy it is! Ah well, I’m only 45, so I have a lot of writing years left in me yet, heh heh. To add to the joy, spring has finally sprung in my northern neck of the woods. Which, for us here in Maine, means melting snow and high temps in the 50s and 60s. And after the winter we had, we’ll take it!

BlackLion and I have been working on our book revisions pretty steadily, and we scheduled in more time to work together on it this coming week. That seems to work best. Scheduling it in, even though we live together, helps us avoid life stuff taking over the entire day. We’ve also scheduled in some time to set up my new mailing list for Starcat’s Corner, and for me to learn more about making newsletters in MailChimp. I’ve been pondering more about the outline for my Daily Spiritual Practice book, and making some notes, which is plenty for now.

Blogging is going well. On payday this week I stocked up on more craft books to read (yay!). I’ve been doing lots of meditation and journal writing, and getting lots of walks in now that the weather is nice.

Life is good! I hope your plans are going along swimmingly, too. Blessings!

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Let Us Start With Some Geekery

writinggeekeryIt’s only the third day of ROW 80 Round 2, so there’s not a whole lot to report. So instead, I have some stats and general geekery to share with you today. First, getting the basic update out of the way:

  • BlackLion and I spent about 3 1/2 hours yesterday working on our co-written novel draft. We hadn’t done anything with it since last summer. We’re using Rock Your Revisions by Cathy Yardley. We finished reverse-engineering our scene chart! Now we’ll be moving on to create GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) charts for all main characters. This is a terrific system for revisions. I feel good about getting back on track with this work!
  • I’ve done some prep work for some of my goals: started to update the outline for my Daily Spiritual Practice book, worked on clearing my desk a little bit, and bought a couple of craft books to read and study.
  • I’ve been doing meditation and journal writing every day, and last night took an evening walk.

OK, now on to the geek stuff.

I’m a Virgo, and I like to keep track of things. I have a small notebook of lists that functions as my day planner. Each page is for one day, and has appointments, reminders of daily practices, and also projects that I want to work on or tasks to complete for that day. I check off the ones I do, and forward the rest to another day.

Because of this, I realized that I have a pretty accurate record of how long it took me to complete my Patterns in the Void first draft. It began as my NaNoWriMo project for this past November (2014). So, here are the stats I’ve compiled by going through my notebook of lists. A note: the amount of work done in any given day varies from an hour to probably 3 hours. I didn’t keep track of hours, but it probably averages out around 2 hours per day, as any focused writing session longer than that and my mind tends to wander off on its own.

  • Pre-November plotting: 9 days
  • 117,094 word draft written in the time period from 11/1/14 to 4/3/15. Total length is 164 days.
  • Active plotting (outside of regular writing time) during this time period: 7 days
  • Total writing days: 55
  • This means a total of 62 days of active work on the novel (plotting and writing).

Obviously I took a lot of time away from working on the novel, post-November. December was consumed with family stuff and holidays. In late January and much of February, I had a slump where I just wasn’t working on it. I regained my motivation and did a lot of work on the novel in March.

This says to me that I can write a novel draft in a relatively short period of time, especially when I’m motivated. This will become important as I ramp up my writing career. I’m feeling really good about all this. I mean, it’s the first full-length novel I’ve ever written by myself. I think I’m doing really well, though I know I have a long way to go to improve both my quality and productivity.

The cool part is, I’m so excited about the whole process, eager to learn and practice. Onward and upward!

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Celebrating and Creating

I finished the first draft of my WIP that I’d been working on during round 1! Huzzah! Patterns In the Void is 117,094 words – plenty of room to edit down. I’m celebrating, and at the same time I’m looking forward to diving into the next round of writing projects. Someone asked if I was sad that it’s done, but no, not at all. I’m so very thrilled about being in such a groove with my writing career. I feel like a kid in one of those really awesome toy stores, who’s just been told that ALL the toys are hers to enjoy at will.

So that’s the plan for round 2 – keep on creating and enjoying! I’m going to set Patterns In the Void aside for a bit and focus on revisions for another urban fantasy novel, the draft BlackLion and I co-wrote last year, The Door Is the Key. I’ll also be writing a non-fiction book I started that’s been on the shelf for a while. The details are below.

I’m very excited about it all. I hope that you are in a space of joy and passion with your creations, too. Blessings!

2015 Row 80 Round 2 Goals

Revise and edit The Door Is the Key book 1 (TDITK1). Finish the first pass of revisions using Rock Your Revisions. Complete re-writes and added scenes as necessary. Do the first complete proof-reading edit.

Complete current nonfiction WIP. Update outline for Daily Spiritual Practice (DSP) book to include the new ideas and direction I’ve been contemplating. Revise what I’ve written thus far. Finish first draft of DSP. Target is 50K words or so. Starting the round, I’m at 8500 words.

De-clutter and organize my life, creating beautiful spaces. Clean and organize my upstairs desk and filing cabinets. Continue to de-clutter and beautify our shared living spaces. Paint the living room, kitchen, and stairwell.

Ramp up Feline Dreamers. Finish updating the Shop on our website. Create weekday Fae Musings e-mails. Create author mailing list for Starcat’s Corner website.

Focus on blogging. Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least twice per week, Feline Dreamers every other week, and on this blog twice per week. Write, edit, and submit guest blog posts for SoulFire Om, Kind Over Matter, Facing North, and Moon Books. Start and keep a running list of blog post ideas, drafts, and picture ideas.

Continue my craft & business learning. Read at least 3 books about writing and/or ethical marketing & promotion. Check out a couple of writer podcasts. Keep notes on ideas to use, and begin implementing them. Add a Call to Action (CTA) to my Cultivating Self-Love e-book. Follow through with action items from 4/27 The Energy of Business workshop.

Make inspiring art and music. Practice zentangling. Create new scrapbook pages and art journal pages. Take nature photographs to use on my websites and blog posts. Practice drumming regularly. Learn and practice at least two new songs with family members.

Expand my spiritual awareness and the integration of all aspects of my life. Pay attention to my dreams and keep records of them. Set intentions before sleep and upon waking. Do the Abraham meditations 3 times per week.

GRACEfully invite ease, purpose, and kindness into my daily life. Do things I love: write in my journal, read, do yoga, dance, spend time with loved ones, and express my gratitude. Eat well and exercise. Get outdoors for walks and hikes on a regular basis.


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