Tag Archives: writing progress

Where We Are Today

This morning's beach shot by Scott Spradley.
This morning’s beach shot by Scott Spradley.

Scott, over on Flagler Beach, gets up every morning to catch the sunrise. He posts pics almost every day. What a nice way to start the day. If you’d like to follow him on Facebook, he’s here:


I’ve been a real slacker this year, both in writing and blogging. I didn’t have any resolutions, so I didn’t set myself up for failure, but I have not been terrifically productive either. I have done no guest posts, no interviews, only a couple of promotions for others, and a couple of book reviews.

I have been busy though. I have two outlines for Naked Eye series books. I received my final edits back for Naked Alliances and have been very busy polishing that manuscript. Right now I’m on chapter twenty-five with five more to go. This last chapter has been the most challenging to get through. There was a scene that I personally felt wasn’t working as it was written, so I cut quite a lot out of it and did some rewriting. The rewriting was easier than deciding what to cut.

Knocked out for a couple of days with a broken tooth. It’s not fixed yet, but it’s not hurting either. I have an appointment scheduled to have a root canal with posts and a crown to be put on February 10th. I missed an author symposium and book signing. I also have jury duty February 5th. I try to do my Civic duty, but honestly, I’d like to get out of this one.

We’re also dealing with the stolen boat situation as best we can. It’s a tough call. The place where the man said they bought the money orders that he claims they cancelled (the ones that never made it to our bank) says it can be sixty-five days to get a refund, which is what he says he is waiting for. That would give him until March 13th to pay up. If we file a stolen vessel report and they find him, he could be arrested and not be in a position to pay (IF he intends to pay).

The attorney has basically said he is in the business to sue people and wants a $200.00 retainer and $2000.00 settlement if the man pays (That’s nearly a quarter what we are owed.). The thief has not responded to his request to provide proof of the money orders, return the boat, or pay the balance. The Lee County authorities don’t have it high up on their priority list and haven’t permitted us to file a stolen vessel report yet. They seem to want to see more of an effort to collect first, and had us send notification of intent to pursue legally (which, again, the man did not respond to).

The RS is thinking we should give him until March 23rd, and then file the stolen vessel report if he doesn’t pay at that time.  Major frustration! Meanwhile, we’re making payments with interest on a boat he’s living aboard for free.

Scariest thing is that it is a documented vessel with Homeland Security in our name. If he smuggles drugs, runs it aground, wrecks into another boat, or crashes into a dock, we’re liable.

On a positive note: We’ve been babysitting the grandkids from time to time and the grandson is not screaming for hours when he’s with us anymore. Thank God for sisters.

abbysitting 006

The Murphy-Harpst Home: Writing About the Past

Rolling some ideas around in my head. I guess I should tell you where I am before I embark on something new. I have a tendency to get several projects going and bounce around between them.

It wasn’t like that when I wrote Red Clay and Roses. The idea for that story had rolled around in my head for twenty years. Having the time to put the words down brought it all together in a hurry. I didn’t really intend for it to become a published book. It isn’t set in a standard novel template and has its share of faults, but I’m proud of it just the same as if I had set out to accomplish writing a novel.

Naked Alliances was my first attempt at actually putting together a totally fictional story. There are things I like about it and things I don’t. I can’t say that I’m totally thrilled with it. I know authors are supposed to be very confident and write what they want to read and be all excited about putting it out there. I’d be lying if I said that I did not have any reservations.

At any rate, I know it has improved thanks to some wonderful beta readers and a couple of fantastic editors. I just got the novel back from its last pass through an editor’s hands and I am on chapter twenty-one of thirty finishing up those edits and I am much more excited about it now than I was at the start. I plan on continuing the Naked Eye series.

I have rough outlines completed for the next two novels. One involves missing elderly, and another involves development encroaching on wildlife habitat.

I still have Surviving Sister in the works, a 1950s-60 saga that continues with Hannah Hamilton’s family members, particularly her mother and her Aunt, who both suffer from mental illness during an era of major changes in how the mentally ill were treated. Concerning the Hamilton family members, it could be read as a sequel to Red Clay and Roses or a standalone. One of the biggest hindrances to writing this novel is the research required. There is so little documentation of treatment modalities in that era. My personal psychiatrist has given me some reference books that might help move things along. There is also a romance in that book that has slowed me down.

A nice lady from the orphanage that I lived in back in the mid-seventies has written to me. She found a blog post in which I mentioned the Harpst Home. That really has me thinking. I’ve done loads of research on Ethel Harpst and the Harpst Home and still have contacts there. Although it is primarily a treatment facility now, no longer an orphanage as most children are housed in foster care nowadays, it is still home to dozens of youth who would be at serious risk if the home did not exist.

Here is an excerpt on Ethel Harpst from “Georgia Women of Achievement”


Ethel Harpst
Ethel Harpst

 Perhaps Ethel Harpst’s biggest gift was the time and effort she gave to so many children in need. Harpst began her long career of caring for children at the McCarty Settlement House at Cedartown’s mill village. During her time teaching there, she took in a number of children who had been orphaned by parents who succumbed to illnesses. The Ethel Harpst Home opened in March 1924 and housed many children until the walls could expand no more.

Harpst traveled to raise funds for a new home, and in 1927 the first modern building, James Hall, was completed. And just in time for children who were displaced and orphaned during the Great Depression. An answer to prayer was the interest and attention shown by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Pfeiffer of New York. Through the Pfeiffer’s and several other friends, money was raised to allow more buildings to be constructed on the campus over the next 20 years, and hundreds of acres of land were contributed to the cause. All this is thanks to the dedication and tenacity of Harpst to continue fundraising. Today, the site houses the Murphy-Harpst residential program, where Georgia’s severely abused children can go for healing and therapy. In 2010-11, the program served nearly 300 children, which included 97 children in residential treatment.”

Sarah Murphy
Sarah Murphy

Long after her death in 1967, the Harpst Home merged with the Sarah Murphy Home. Sarah Murphy was a black woman in the area who had created a home for black youth.  Harpst Home became the Murphy-Harpst Home in 1976, during my last year there when it started integrating.

So, I’ve been wondering if I should write a book about them. It would either be non-fiction or a historical fiction based on their stories.

OR, Should I write a purely fictional story about a resident there and how she saw her world and the changes she went through?

Having been a resident there myself, I could better relate to a fictional character and write in the first person. There were so very many different coming-of-age stories to come out of that place during my short time there, I think it would make for a most interesting read.

What do you think?

What would interest you most?

Historical Fiction about the founders?

An orphan’s personal story?

I remember the first black girl that came from the Sarah Murphy Home to the Ethel Harpst home, and her roommate. I’d love to tell their story.

What would you, my audience, like to read?

Any ideas you’d like to share?

Writing and a New Adventure

Today marks a year since I wrote the first words in Naked Alliances. It has been through a dozen beta reads and I’m not finished editing. It isn’t ready for publication and I’m not sure it ever will be. I have a couple more stories in my head for Richard and Brandi and I plan to work on those.

I have another project in Surviving Sister. That one is a really slow go. I write on it in bursts and then draw a blank for weeks, then go back and add more. I’m not sure where or how it is going to end. It is a linear write and I’m taking it as it comes.

We bought a new boat. I’m excited about it, but not nearly as excited as the rocket scientist. He has owned a boat since age sixteen, but has never owned a brand new one. I’m hoping he’s got one he can just tinker on upgrading and not spend hours and hours making repairs. I’m looking forward to going coastal and collecting stories.

This is a 2015 Nautic Star 231 Coastal and we have named her “Nauti Dreams.” We were naughty to buy her before selling the old boat, but we do have a few interested parties in the old one so say a prayer, keep your fingers crossed, and let’s hope for the best. The new boat is both a pleasure boat and a fishing boat. We got the T-top in black and tan.

test drive boat 002

We pick up the boat Friday and get to take her out for a test run on Lake Harris at the dealership. We plan to bring her home and get her equipped for a coastal voyage. The rocket scientist has some vacation saved up and we’re going to dance her from marina to marina for a few weeks. That should be fun. We will be on tour back behind Sanibel and Pine Island around Ft. Myers.

There are some stories in this adventure, I’m sure, and other adventures in front of us. We got her for $16,000 less than MSRP, so that was a good start. This is a nice trailerable boat, so we can go east or west with no problems. Take a look:

Blog Culture: Sunday Summations


Sunday Summations

I am trying to get a better handle on scheduling on this blog, and I would also like to highlight some blogs that I have become acquainted with so you get to know them too.  Sunday summations should be a regular feature as I examine my week and my goals.  Future Sunday Summations will probably be much shorter.

Summing up my weekly happenings:

1. Structure:  How I am attempting to stay organized.

  • I have created some drop down menus on this blog to better organize and lesson the length of the menu.  The subtitles should make things pertinent to the titles easier to find.
  •  I have completed the settings posts for Red Clay and Roses, the novel, and those can now be found under the menu title of the novel.  I may divide out the feature posts as well.  These settings and features are designed for fans to find more info on the book.
  • It is a goal to have a new posts added to each menu title or a subtitle weekly.
  • I may be adding other menu titles as new subjects develop.  I would really like to have a humor post at least once weekly…sometimes I can be funny, even if I am laughing at myself in the process.  I try not to laugh at the expense of others, but sometimes that happens too.

2. People: Cruising my Reader, and getting to know more and more WordPress family and friends, I have collected some blogs that are of significance to me for one reason or another. They are from a variety of interests and I am sure some of you will find them interesting, as well.  Check these folk out!  They are really cool!  I have categorized what I could. These categories are subject to change weekly.

  • Book reviews:

  • Queen of all things Books: Ionia Martin’s Readful Things. (Many sneak peeks with advance reader copies.)
  •  An all genre serious reviewer: Rosie Amber at Rosie Amber
  •  Master of Collectables: Julian Froment at Julian Froment’s Blog
  • Music:

  •  A lovely Soprano with a beautiful voice & 150,957 followers: Charlotte Hoather
  • Writers writing:

  • A lady with a sense of humor about her serious writing efforts: Katie Sparkes at Disregard the Prologue.
  • Wonderful poetry and short stories: Helen Midgley
  • New author with a new blog and a newly published book: Dean Kealy at Dean’z Worldz
  • Math & Science:

  • Fascinating and artistically colorful geometry for the fun of it: Robert Austin at Robert Loves Pi (Prepare to be dazzled.)
  • Scientist, deep thinker, and poet: Erik Andrulis at Anacephalaeosis
  • Useful Information for writers, authors & bloggers

  • Everything about Publishing and Marketing: Chris McMullen at Chris McMullen
  • Promotional Event for all authors, readers and gift givers.  Get signed up.  This is going to be HUGE!: Chris McMullen at Read Tuesday
  • New feature on blog “How to on WordPress” videos: Bradley Corbett at Green Embers (He takes requests BTW)
  • Guidance on writing techniques regardless of your genre: Victoria Grefer at Creative Writing with the Crimson League
  • Humor:

  • My kind of off the wall funny stuff: Rob Pop at Humans Are Weird (He always makes the time to return comments, and can often be even funnier when he does.)

Gosh!  So many creative geniuses…I could go on forever, but there will be other days!

3.   Process:  Just an update on my own personal progress this week:

  • With the help of blogger friends and readers in my reading and critique group, I decided on a prologue for my first book in this yet to be titled work and series.
  • There are now four beta readers for my new WIP (not counting my husband).
  • I got 12 bookstores lined up to buy copies of Red Clay and Roses when the paperback is live.
  • We are almost there with the paperback at CreateSpace.  It has been an interesting but sometimes frustrating journey.
  • My new bookmarks came in this week.  I think they are much more professional and not so microsofty as my last bookmarks.  My former ones were created by my publisher.  I would highly recommend having your bookmark image created by your cover image artist.  They can work wonders with graphics.  Thanks to Charles Yallowitz’s idea at Legends of Windemere, the QR codes are a great way to advertise without looking so much like an ad and they give me opportunity to make immediate sells on my smartphone without carrying around a pile of books.
  • New Bookmarks
    New Bookmarks
Old Bookmarks
Old Bookmarks

Sorry my formatting really sucked on this post.  I have yet to conquer formatting, which is why I have an independent publisher prepare my books 🙂