Back from vacation with a midweek ROW80 check-in

Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Massachusetts, photo by Denise D. Young
Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Massachusetts

I spent last week in New England, visiting family in New Hampshire and spending a day in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I’m back home this week, biting my nails as my kitty undergoes surgery. (So far, the vet says he’s doing well. We bring him home later today.)

It was wonderful to take a break and explore another part of the country. I’ve been to New Hampshire twice and loved it both times. There are so many bookstores—and there was a Starbucks right next to my hotel, so my days were filled with books and lattes. We spent time with my brother and his wife, dipped our toes into the ocean, and even visited Hammond Castle in Massachusetts, a replica of a medieval castle. All of it provided great inspiration for writing, doing what I call filling the well. I returned home rejuvenated and ready to write.

While there, we had a wonderful moment of serendipity when we wandered into RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Amber Benson, a writer/actress/director most well-known for her role as Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was doing a reading, book signing, and Q&A. When asked what advice she’d give to aspiring authors, Benson remarked that the most important thing was to get out and meet people—attend conferences, find critique partners—to do more than hide away in a room and write (which many of us are tempted to do).

Meeting fellow writers and others in the business, whether in person or online, helps us grow as writers and helps us move closer to our goals. It was good to hear from a published author that I’m moving in the right direction.

And now, a midweek ROW80 check-in:


  • Finish a second draft of my novella “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Wrote a new scene to help add tension to the middle of the story. Every day, the story gets a little better, and that’s what counts.
  • Read a minimum of four books on the business or craft of writing. On book one of four. Continued reading “Conflict and Suspense” by James Scott Bell.

Social media:

  • Check in on Twitter daily. Met for Monday and Wednesday, not for Tuesday.
  • Blog two times per week. So far, on track.
  • Comment on three to five blogs per day, Monday-Thursday. Not met.

What about you? Have you experienced any moments of serendipity lately? How are your goals, writing or otherwise, coming along?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

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Fantasy & paranormal romance author. Witch. Tarot reader. Possibly a woodland sprite. Debut release TANGLED ROOTS now available. Magic awaits at

9 thoughts on “Back from vacation with a midweek ROW80 check-in

  1. Ah, that getting out and meeting new people thing…I am a complete introvert. Although, I’ve been told by some that’s not true because when forced to engage, I will. I just don’t want to take the initiative. Makes me a terrible marketer of my own work.

    1. I’m also an introvert. Like you, I don’t usually take the initiative, but once I’m in a social situation I enjoy engaging with others, especially if we’re talking about writing. It’s hard to market as an introvert, but it’s a skill that I’m trying to work on.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Your blog just gave me a moment of serendipity! I had just finished typing an email to my sister right before I read your post. Her newborn baby, Liam, wakes up four times per night and I suggested that she watch Buffy during those middle-of-the-night feeding sessions, since that what my son and I did. And then, your mention of Buffy! Best of luck on your ROW80 goals. That’s where I found your lovely blog. 🙂

    1. Congrats to your sister on her new baby. 🙂 Watching “Buffy” is always a great way to pass the time. A friend of mine said when she had her daughter, she and her husband watched episodes of “Murder, She Wrote.” I guess new parents need something to occupy their minds when they’re up with a newborn in the middle of the night.

      Good luck with your ROW80 goals, too, Kristen!

  3. Ooh – Now I want to take the kids to that castle…maybe the next time we get to Massachusetts, since we’ve just returned…

    I’m not sure I would call this serendipity, or bloody inconvenient and more than a little unpleasant, but – I’ve had a scene swirling around in my head that involves a character with hyperemesis. Although I’m seldom sick to my stomach, I woke up two hours after I went to sleep knowing all was not well with my GI tract. By now, I’d think it would be empty, but apparently not.

    So, while I’m setting aside my plans for lawnmowing, and wishing I’d saved a few gingr candies for an emergency (because my husband left for work early today, and I’m not up to driving even the few miles to the store), I am getting comments answered – and I’ve got a much better idea of what my poor character will be going through (although I hope that my bout doesn’t last as long as I’m thinking hers will).

      1. I am starting to feel better, today. Since tomorrow is my birthday, I’m hoping the recovery escalates as the day goes on. Thanks for the get well wishes!

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