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My love of photography.

#ROW80 Check-in Sept. 11th

A moment of silence to remember 9/11.

Okay, let’s get right to it. I’ve been dealing with exhaustion again. And migraines. So I haven’t made as much progress as I’d like.

Here’s the rundown:

Short story – Done and ready to submit.

Ever Touched – Had to rip 3k out b/c the twist was not working. Wrote 1,432 words since last check-in — just over the minimum to finish by the end of the month. Would like to start having 1k days again. Hit 101k again last night.

Covenant – Nada, but thought about it. No energy. 😦

Water – Mostly every day.

Exercise – Yes, twice this week.

Secret project – Nada.

Reviews – Still working on getting the one book read. Need to focus.

Office organization – Got the filing cabinet! Forgot about the folder frames, which my wonderful hubby picked up for me this morning and installed. Now, all I need to do is transfer some files from the packed-to-the-gills one and figure out what else to throw away. It’s coming along.

Darkroom – Would have loved to get in there yesterday, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Too tired. Had a migraine.

Chocolate consumption: Gluten-free brownies, WW chocolate caramels, French Silk pie, WW Ultimate chocolate sandwiches, chocolate-marshmallow cookies. I think that’s it. We’re having Boston creme donuts today for dessert.

#ROW80 Check-in July 24th

I am back from vacation! It was fun, and hot, and relaxing. 🙂 I return to work tomorrow and I am really not looking forward to it. The first day/week back is always the hardest.

So, how did I do? While on vacation I edited my short story. On Friday, I typed in the changes and did a few tweaks. It is due today. I will probably do another quick edit pass before I send it in.

I read Fury Rising by Yasmine Galenorn which is awesome so far. I’m not quite done, but I am excited to see how it ends.

Here is the rundown on the rest:

Ever Touched – 731 words, broke 90k in draft.

Covenant/8 mins a day – Nada.

Exercise – Quite a lot while camping. Lots of walking and picture taking.

Water – Two times while camping (it was SO HOT) and once yesterday. Need to pick up the pace.

Fireborn – Did the read through while on vacation. Made some decisions for the revision, which is the next project. The first half is solid. The second half needs major work.

(I also started another read through — a novella I wrote 10 years ago and never finished. I was originally under the delusion that I had finished it, but hadn’t. But it is very close to being done. This is the novella that my short story is based on, so if I want to do something with it, a lot would need to be changed. Still, very interesting. Things are simmering.)

Pictures – Lots taken while on vacation, regular ones and digital infrared.

Reviews – I am getting ready to start another one of the books in the hopper. Most likely the one with the deadline.

So, I’m beginning to get back into the swing of things. I imagine this week I’ll be closer to getting into a rhythm.

I also have a secret project I may be working on too in between all of this. 😉

Chocolate consumption: Loads! S’mores, chocolate chip/white chocolate chip cookies, WW chocolate caramel things, cookie dough ice cream cone (bought by the beloved!), chocolate pudding, chocolate/chocolate chip zucchini bread (my mom’s! Yummy), WW sundaes, WW ultimate chocolate ice cream sandwiches…is that it? I think so!

#ROW80 Check-in July 17th

I have finally been able to sit down and do a proper ROW80 post since the round started. I have been busy finishing (and then revising) the short story for TDP. It is officially done. I do need to do some clean up and proofreading still.

Due to Real Life, our deadline has been changed to July 24th. So I have a bit of a breather. Hubby and I are leaving for our yearly week-long camping trip this afternoon. We are going to Metamora, MI, about an hour from where we live. He’s been there before but I haven’t so this should be fun. 🙂

So how have I been doing with my goals? Not too well. I think I will be able to settle in and get things moving after the camping trip is over. I’ve spent so much time packing, and we had a family birthday party last weekend, and I just haven’t been thinking about much except getting everything done…except my goals. Le sigh.

So here’s the rundown:

Short story – Finished. Needs another pass + proofreading. I hope to do some (or all) while on vacation.

Ever Touched – Wrote 1, 829 words.

Water – Two times this week. A bit short of my goal.

Exercise – Zero. Bad Erin, no cookie!

Covenant/8 mins a day – Nada. I hope to restart after vacation.

Pictures/Digital infrared – I am bringing three cameras on the trip with me, so there will be pictures!

Fireborn – I got it on my Kindle Fire, so if I have the time (and energy), I’ll try to start the read-through while on vacay.

Review books – Just posted 2 reviews. I have another book I am starting soon (and has a deadline) and 3 more in the hopper, and one coming in late July. I’m keeping up, but barely.

Author interviews – Started on #1, but haven’t finished yet. That one is due in August, and #2 is due in September.

Chocolate consumption: Hersey’s chocolate cake from my mother-in-law’s birthday, so good! WW ultimate chocolate sandwiches, WW caramels, WW Sundaes, Chips Ahoy Chocolate-chip/Oreo filling cookies.We have a package of Chips Ahoy White Fudge chocolate chip cookies that we’ll be trying at camping, and of course, s’mores!

#ROW80 Round 3 2016 Goals

Happy 4th of July to all Americans, and Happy Monday to the rest!

So, here we are at Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days. I started a few years ago not really knowing how it would go, but it’s become a huge part of my writing life. 🙂 Accountability is HUGE for me, so it works well.

Without further adieu, here are my goals:

~Finish and submit TDP short story by July 15th deadline (I’m in the home stretch now on the rough draft, so I *should* be able to do this.)
~Do All the Things related to anthology release (TDB later)
~Restart Ever Touched and finish by end of round (32k left to go)
~Read-through of Fireborn
~Reinstate Covenant/8 minutes a day writing 2 days per week
~Drink one glass of water 5x per week
~Exercise 3x per week
~Experiment more with digital infrared
~Take more pictures!
~Keep up with review books (I’m on 4 ARC review teams)
~Complete 2 author interviews

I think that it is for now. 🙂 As always, I will also report on my chocolate consumption because c’mon, everyone loves that!

#ROW80 Round 2 Final Check-in

Well, here we are at the end of the round, and I have to say, I think I did pretty well. I was fighting some things, exhaustion and other commitments, and at times it was tough. But I am happy with what I accomplished.

Here were my goals:

~Finish rough draft of Ever Touched. <–NOT DONE. Close, but I got sidetracked by an editing job, a query letter, and a longish short story with a tight deadline. My #1 plan is to finish this next round. I’m at 88k (of 120k) so far!

~If there’s time, start planning Fireborn revision.<–NOT DONE, because Ever Touched isn’t done, but I am planning on doing a read through of the completed draft ASAP.

~Continue logging outline for Survivor into Scrivener.<–NOT DONE. Just not enough time. This will be carried over to next round, b/c my next primary project will be Survivor.

~Reinstate 8 minutes a day of a first draft again/make progress on Covenant <–DONE once. I was fighting exhaustion mostly, and wrist tendonitis, so this was just not working for me. 😦

~Make prints of the film I developed yesterday (my test roll). <–NOT DONE. Same song, second verse. I had to order in chemicals and a new safelight. Not enough energy. It’s happening SOON though!

~Experiment with digital infrared <–DONE! Check it out here!

~Plot Elysium <–DONE!

~Clean office <–Started, but not completed

~Continue #AprilLove2016 when possible <–DONE! 14 out of 30 days. Did not complete due to wrist tendonitis.  Dear CourageDear Inspiration, Dear Younger Me, Dear Future Me (the rest were written in a journal offline).

~Exercise 2x a week <–MOSTLY DONE, 2x and sometimes more!

~Drink 1 glass of water every day.<–MOSTLY DONE, every day except 2 every week. 

Looking forward to next round! Who’s participating?

#ROW80 Check-in June 15th

I have been so busy, I haven’t had time to do a proper ROW80 post in awhile. So I finished an editing job and have started my short story for Turtleduck Press. It’s about 5k now.

Here is the rundown of the rest:

Query letter – Still working on this. Getting closer.

Covenant – Nada, but seriously thinking of starting this back up soon.

Water – Almost every day!

Ever Touched – Nada, but am thinking on it, which is good.

Elysium  – Still waiting to do something with this.

Exercise – Did my 2 times last week, and did 1 time this week so far.

Darkroom – Tentatively planning on doing some printing this Saturday.

Chocolate consumption: A lot! WW Chocolate ice cream sandwiches, WW Sundaes, WW Twix bars, WW Chocolate Caramel thingies….

And that’s it for now, I think. 🙂

#ROW80 Check-in May 22nd

This week I’ve been mostly working on my query letter. It’s coming along. I hope to have it finished very soon.

I started Changeling 5 and have been working on that as well. I don’t think I even touched Ever Touched, which sucks because I need to keep moving on it. But Changeling 5 is due for approvals on June 1st, and I need time to revise, so that was the priority.

Here’s the rundown:

Covenant – Nada

Water – Every day but 2.

Exercise – 3 times, all walks.

Elysium – Another nada. 😦

Darkroom – Nada. Trying to figure out what a good day would be for printing. Still fighting exhaustion, so I honestly don’t know when it will be. Hopefully soon. I may shoot more b&w on our camping trip this coming weekend if I can fit all my equipment into one bag. We shall see. 😉

I’ve also been thinking a lot about Survivor, and I am considering starting that as my new main project after Ever Touched and the Fireborn revision. It’s going to be a huge challenge, but I absolutely love the story and NEED to get it out there. The first step is rewriting it.

Chocolate consumption: WW sundaes, WW chocolate caramel things, ice cream Twix bars, and a new thing, Skinny Cow brand chocolate ice cream sandwiches. But it’s not the normal sandwich. There’s chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two thin layers of chocolate cake and then covered in chocolate. OMG I thought I was in heaven last night when I tried one! (I am craving another RIGHT NOW.)

So that’s it for me. How are you doing?

Photo Notes: Digital Infrared Photography Testing

So, I finally got around to doing more digital infrared tests! I took some pictures outside in front of my Mom’s house and on the street. The sunlight was absolutely PERFECT for infrared, so I went for it.

These photos actually turn out red in the camera, and I convert them to b&w in post-processing. I’m getting the hang of it. See what looks like snow on the grass? It isn’t snow. It’s the GRASS. B&W infrared turns everything with chlorophyll white, the sky dark like it’s night, and stuff glows. Human skin glows, too.

It’s really neat. I’ve loved it ever since I was taught in college.

(Stay tuned for actual b&w infrared on film. That is also a plan of mine!)

Here they are!

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Digital infrared, Mom’s house (and the house where I grew up), pic taken 4/16/16.
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Digital infrared, my street, pic taken 4/16/16.
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Digital infrared, my street, pic taken 4/16/16.
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Digital infrared, my street, pic taken 4/16/16.
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Digital infrared, my street, pic taken 4/16/16.
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Digital infrared. Chevy HHR. Pic taken 4/16/16.

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Digital infrared. Mom’s goose. Pic taken 4/16/16.

AprilLove2016 Day 8 – Dear Younger Me

Where are the first 7 days, you’re probably wondering?

And what is AprilLove2016?

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The Younger Me in college (1997). This was when I started experimenting with self-portraiture. Yes, I took selfies before they were cool. 😉

Okay, AprilLove2016 is a journaling/creativity challenge where every day you get a prompt, and then you write (or draw, or photograph, or something else creative!) a love letter. It’s been pretty fun so far. Days 1-7 are written in my journal and I’ve elected to keep them private.

But this one really resonates with me, and I believe it will resonate for lots of folks, too, so I decided to make this one public.

So, onward to the love letter.

Dear Younger Me,

I wish I could have told you — and made you believe me — that things would get better: that you weren’t always going to be made fun of and bullied; that someone (several someones actually!) would love you; that you’d become one hell of a writer and photographer. That you’d be beautiful, in your own way. That you’d feel better about yourself and, most importantly, not want to die.

Oh, sure, there were times when I (Older Me) have still felt like that, but there’s one very important thing is that I got help. So, you’d never have to worry about feeling that alone ever again or that hopeless, because there is hope, and it was there. I was in my twenties when I made that all-important, life-saving decision to get help.

You were never alone.

You had friends. You had boyfriends. I know you continued to feel awkward in your skin, so much that the idea of dancing froze you up, and that unfortunately, had still persisted. But feeling okay? Not like a freak? That’s much less. Sure, there’s the whole chronic illness  thing to contend with now, but damn, girl, what you went through then prepared me for this. It gave me strength and tenacity and an iron will. It helped me cope with my chronic facial pain. When you used to say to yourself, “if they don’t see how much they are hurting me, they’ll leave me alone,” you didn’t know that someday you’d be using that same skill to not fall apart when the eye pain got so bad you couldn’t think. It helped me to be more stoic and calm, and not complain or curse my fate (well, I did, a few times, but I made sure to also be grateful that I could still see!).

Everything you did then, everything you felt then, led to me to the woman I am today. I just turned forty, you know. Back then, I couldn’t imagine forty. You know, a “real grown up.” When you had your first boyfriend and had that nasty break up, you learned from that experience although it hurt so bad back then. And then the next one — and the one after that — all the way to my husband now. All the things you went through, all the heartbreak, all the disappointment, all THE SHIT, was preparing me for this marriage I am now. It wouldn’t work so well without all that experience, all that heartache you went through, that taught me how to function in a relationship.

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This is the Older Me today, in my home office. See that blue photo behind me on the right? That’s one of mine. Originally b&w, toned brilliant blue. The lovely green, red, and yellow wall hang beside it was made by my very creative Mom. 😉 

When you had jaw surgery at fifteen, and couldn’t talk for three weeks and couldn’t eat solid food for two months, I’m not sure how you made it. When you had to go back to school in the fall with your jaws wired shut, you had to reach down into reserves of strength you didn’t know you possessed. Your French teacher said, after listening to you trying to speak French, that you were brave. To which you answered, “I’m just doing what I have to do.” And when the wires got cut and your jaws were stuck, you didn’t cry as the doctor cranked them open. Didn’t cry when you were forced to do it to yourself every day at home so you could eat. Didn’t cry when everyone else could eat cake at your sister’s party, and all you could “eat” was frosting and ice cream. Yeah, you were strong. This taught you strength and resilience and perseverance for what was to come.

Your decisions weren’t stupid, you know. They were the right ones for you at the time. You couldn’t possibly know what would happen in the future, that a driver’s license would be out of my reach, or that my health would be the suck. You loved writing, so you went for Journalism. You fell in love with photography, so you pursued that (and had to have your own darkroom!). Nothing is ever wasted, nothing is a mistake. Granted, my life looks so much different than the one I envisioned in my twenties, but who cares? I’m me. I’m still the same person. My goals and dreams have changed dramatically. (By the way, that dream you had about being published? Yeah, did that in 2012.;) ) And that’s perfectly fine. You were such a dreamer. You really were. And I suppose I am still, but I’ve grown up, you know? Things change, but that’s not always a bad thing. We’re evolving. We’re meant to become who we’re meant to become.

I am still evolving, I think. I’m not sure when that will stop, if it will. I’m learning still, even though I’ve been out of school for twenty years. Life teaches you so much.

I have a quote that I absolutely love: “The world breaks everyone. And afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” I think the world — and perhaps life? — broke you a bit there. But you grew stronger. What was weak is now strong. What is sad is now happy. What is broken is now put back together.

I think I will always be a bit broken, though. I don’t think I’d want to be “fixed.” Reason being, this is what gives my writing/photography/etc such depth. Because I feel so deeply, and strongly, and I know what it’s like to lose everything. I know what it’s like to feel like a freak. I know what it’s like to be in someone’s shadow, to not be perfect. To not be cool.To feel like I failed. To feel like I am worthless and not worth loving. That nothing of me is worth it. That I exist in darkness, bereft of light.

This is only slightly true. But I’m working on it. It’s because of you. The You From Back Then taught me this.

But you also taught me how to be free.

And that, my dear, is everything.

#ROW80 Round 2 Goals

Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 Days begins today! I think I’m a lifer. I have never accomplished so much than when I’ve been ROWing. Accountability is an important part of my process.

Round 1 went well. I was hit with fatigue issues toward the end, but I get almost everything done! So I’m hoping for another productive round!

Here are my goals:

~Finish rough draft of Ever Touched.
~If there’s time, start planning Fireborn revision.
~Continue logging outline for Survivor into Scrivener.
~Reinstate 8 minutes a day of a first draft again/make progress on Covenant
~Make prints of the film I developed yesterday (my test roll).
~Experiment with digital infrared
~Plot Elysium
~Clean office
~Continue #AprilLove2016 when possible
~Exercise 2x a week
~Drink 1 glass of water every day.

There’s a chance things may need to get shuffled around pending any editing jobs or small projects for TDP, so I’m going to try to be flexible. But these are the things I hope to accomplish this round.