“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.”

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge

Oh but I am so very tired these days. You were always one of the more forgettable presidents anyway, next to Buchanan and Harding…

In January I kept up with writing 2,000 words a day. I finished the first draft of space opera on Friday, the 29th, so the persistence paid off. Of course, now I am waffling a bit on outlining for book 2 in the series. I have the overall arc in mind, but the devil is in the details. If I keep pace with my expectations I will start writing book 2 tomorrow and finish it sometime in early March. But I am so tired. Nonetheless: push through.

Yesterday we spent a lovely day in Sonoma with K, R, and K, visiting Preston Vineyards and Bella Vineyards. I much preferred Preston; they had a giant bowl of estate olive oil out ($45 a bottle!!), and a basket of fresh sourdough bread. Dave liked and bought a few of their zins. There was a great black lion of a cat lying out on one of their picnic tables, accepting pets as was his due. We witnessed a rooster seizing a hen by the neck, jumping on her back and, well, having his roosterly way with her. It was brutal and efficient–maybe 5 seconds of action?

We went to dinner at Bravas in Healdsburg and sat in a cozy, orange-painted alcove and tapas–roasted octopus, anchovies, olives, pickled trout, Dungeness baked noodles, fried chicken, kale salad, brussels sprouts, scallops, garlic toasts, foie gras sliders, rum balls, chocolate mousse, and soft serve vanilla ice cream with spiced apples. Everyone else washed the food down with martinis and wine but I sipped my water and was very content.

We retired to K and R’s apartment in Rohnert Park and watched a bit of TV before driving home around 11 at night. I was exhausted and bloated from all the good food but enjoyed the day very much. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do something like that again.

Today–Sunday–we spent the day running errands and cleaning, as Carter’s parents are spending tomorrow night here before flying out to Wyoming on Tuesday morning. When I’m retired I want to be like them–jetsetting everywhere.

We dropped off books and donations at Goodwill, bought a few necessities at Target, then came home and cleaned out the second bedroom/nursery, moved things up to the attic to store, and cleaned up the house generally. Cleared the top of the TV center, cleaned out the fridge, took out all the trash in the house, and put out fresh sheets and towels for our guests. Vacuumed and did two loads of dishes. Put away the fish tank. Once baby is here we shall have to do a better job of regular tidying as massive cleanups like this are, well, totally exhausting and infeasible with a demanding blob around.

I cooked Carter’s breakfast burritos for the week, roasted some chicken thighs and stirred up a romaine salad for dinner, and cooked a pork and cabbage dish for the weeknights ahead. I’ve come to realize that if I don’t finish cooking on Sunday, I’m not going to do it during the week.

My stamina is running a bit low these days, but still managed to get to 11k and 10k steps this Sat and Sun, respectively. Hoping to hit 13-15k during this upcoming week.

And now I know why writers are advised not to journal in the evenings. What a boring recitation of events. Goodnight!


“Marklar, or brick pile.”

“Marklar, or brick pile.” -my nephew, providing name suggestions for the baby

I rather like brick pile. Brick-Pile or Brickpile. It’s a nice strong name, unisex, and no one in the family’s used it in the last few generations.

These days baby spends her time kicking me to let me know she’s there and won’t be ignored. Fair enough, little girl. I won’t forget.

I spent a hefty chunk of my break planning to plan (and failing). Come new year I usually do set resolutions, or at least a few solid goals as to what I want to accomplish in the upcoming months. But this year I am feeling hesitant. It wasn’t just pure laziness this go around: more than any other year, I don’t know what 2016 will bring. I don’t know if it will be sheer madness, or bliss, or both (which is more likely). I don’t know if I’ll have time for anything more than baby, Carter, and work. Will I have time to write? If I have the time, will I have the energy? I don’t know.

I could force myself to get down to business and work on side venture, but on the other hand, why don’t I savor the privilege of having a good maternity leave?

So, I’m floating in limbo. It’s strange to start a year with very few plans beyond pushing a human being out of my private parts.

I think I may formulate a plan and then go with the flow. It may happen this way, or it may not. This year more than ever I feel I will have to retract my claws and let myself be blown around in the wind.

So let’s try this.

Year-end results, based on mid-year and Q2 2015 goals

{Personal/art Goals}
-recovered from miscarriage, got pregnant, stayed pregnant
-finished head & hands drawing class (got an A!)
-earned a promotion at work, which is good because maternity leave will render promo impossible for a while

{Side Venture}
-Made $12.5k for the year, exceeding $10k goal
-Got over 200 sign-ups on newsletter
-One failed submission (no regrets)
-Did not learn paperback formatting, did not write one of my planned sequels
-Wrote/pub’d around 100k words overall

Given the amount of time and work I put into SV in 2015, I’m pleased with the results. Sure, I could have done better/more. But this is good. I’ll take it.

Soft-peddly squishy aspirations for 2016 (avoiding the word “goal” like the g-damn plague)

-Give birth to healthy baby
-Physically recover from pregnancy and childbirth
-Don’t go insane in first 3 months, and first 3 weeks especially
-Be nice to Carter
-Be nice to myself
-Read 75 books, track on Goodreads

-Doodle more often, weekly at least
-Take one more art class before due date (v. risky)
-Journal daily, or close to it

{Side Venture}
-Outline and write 3 shorts for bestselling series to keep reader engagement, but not reaching for anything grand or huge numbers
-Aim for February, May, September release dates
-Make $6k (a reasonable number considering drop off in publication)
-Read space opera bestsellers
-Outline and write my own space opera series (3 books, 70k each)
-Publish in September, October, and November.

Actually looking at the thoughts and hopes that have been fluttering around my skull in writing makes me realize that I am still being very, very ambitious. This is probably a bad thing, but it feels good to write it out. If I can accomplish half these things by the end of the year I will be overjoyed. If I can accomplish a quarter, I will be pleased. If I can only accomplish 3 things (the first 3 things on the list preferably) I will be satisfied.

Yesterday a royalty check rolled in from a distributor I’d totally forgotten about, so I’m already at $1,850. They actually pay me more each quarter, despite my works for them being rather stale. So yay! I’m almost 1/3 to my $6k goal! Maybe I’ll make my “reach” goal $12k again. But I think it will be somewhat less than that this year, as I’m not writing very much for my established pen name and sci-fi is a much less lucrative category.

Well, let’s get going.