Put One Foot in Front of the Other

It’s time for my progress report. Happily, September was a much better month than August. But it was also a month where I didn’t reach many of my goals. This year has been like that for many of us. It’s a year when many of us are struggling. Where we are all on a journey of change–a slow, difficult and messy journey. All many of us can do is… put one foot in front of the other. 

Photo focused on someone in sneakers walking away from  us across gravel--life is a journey--put one foot in front of the other


I finished the rough draft of If I Should Die. As far as rough drafts go, I’m happy with it. The past three weeks, I have been identifying weaknesses and strengths of the story. It will probably be another week, maybe two, before I begin edits. That’s when the real fun starts!

I’m working on bringing some old stories to life. Still have a couple more hurdles before I can release them.


I’ve made a few improvements on this site. Expanded some resources listed for readers and for writers.

Figured out a couple of problems with the new mail service. Hopefully that’s the last major hurdle. Now I just need some time to dedicate to finish up the last touches.

I celebrated my 500th blog post with a giveaway. That contest is ongoing. Please enter or spread the word.

The only reading I accomplished was reading a friend’s manuscript. I made some recommendations. Honestly, it only needed a few tweaks.

I have completed statistics for the month of September. And of course, the end of September is also the end of the third quarter. Also done.

My learning journey continues. I’ve taken several web classes lately. The primary topics are marketing and blurb writing. I won’t bore you with the details.

On the Home Front

My son did a massive amount of work on the lawn at the beginning of the month. And we now have some baby grass where old shrubs used to be and through out the yard. Our house sits on a lot and a half. So there’s a lot of lawn to water (my job). But the new grass is growing and looking good! Accomplished just in time as they predict our first hard frost for next week.

I have been enjoying some Netflix bingeing. I haven’t watched much television for the past five or six years, so I’ve got some major catching up to do. Doesn’t have a thing to do with avoiding certain chores… Nope. Not a thing.

Before school started, my grandson and I went to the Kansas City Zoo. We zipped around there trying to see everything in four brief hours. Didn’t make it. But we had fun.

Two scarlet macaw parrots at the Kansas City Zoo--they put one foot in front of the other, too

Other than my trip to the zoo and essential doctor’s visits, Hubby and I have stayed home. I do most of our shopping online and get it delivered. But when we have to go out, we continue to mask and social distance and use good handwashing. I hope you do, too. 

The Quarter and the Year-to-Date

I evaluate my progress each month and each quarter because I want to improve. To improve anything means you have to want to change. And change is a hard, slow, messy journey.

With the huge  issues going on in the world, I can’t see clearly. I am uncertain what has worked. A lot hasn’t. Ugh. It’s 2020, you know? I’ve met very few of the goals I set in January. Of course, this year’s challenges have been unusually… challenging. 

It’s imperative that I remember I am only in control of what I do. And all I can do, all any of us can do, is to keep trying. Stay on this hard, slow, messy journey. Put one foot in front of the other.

My Horrible-No-Good-Very-Bad Month

It’s the last Friday of the month and I owe you a progress report. Perhaps the title of this post gives you a hint? My horrible-no-good-very-bad month says a lot, and yet not enough. And while I’m an optimist at heart, it got a beating this month.

A black cellphone with the word August on a white screen hints of my horrible-no-good-very-bad month

It Started Bad

The storm of problems that has become 2020 definitely added to the negative side. But those things aren’t responsible for my horrible month.

In July, my oldest and tiniest dog, Astro, had brain damage from a seizure or stroke. You can read more about that in my July Progress Report

As a result, I carried him down the backyard ramp (we have a raised ranch) many times a day during July and into August. I also just sat and held him a lot.

Just as August began, I learned that one of my books was on a pirate site. Investigating further, I learned that the only thing you could do on the site was to enter your credit card information. No other links worked. And there was no information available at any of the Whois type of sites. So, I let it go. Thieves will be thieves.

To Complicate Matters

One early August day, I bent to pick Astro up out of his box. My iPhone did a nosedive from my pocket into the dog’s water bowl! I grabbed it, dried it, and stuck it in a bag of rice. And was without a phone… in a house with a man who has needed emergency medical care many, many times.

The next morning I could call or receive a call, but the person on the other end heard more static than words. And it would not allow me to plug the charger into the phone. I was running out of battery power. I had to have a new phone as soon as possible. But the Apple stores and my phone service provider stores were closed because of the pandemic. The only place I could get a replacement iPhone that day was at a Best Buy a little more than twenty miles away.

Car Drama

I had a low tire. I aired it up, got some gas and took off. Less than a mile from my destination, my OTHER front tire went flat. There was no safe place to pull over, but according to the partially functioning iPhone there was a Quick Trip less than a quarter mile away. I drove slowly, flashers going, and tore the tire to shreds. It was off the rim by the time I got to the Quick Trip. 

There was much drama trying to find help. An expensive tow truck service was not available soon enough. Long story shorter, a kind gentleman pulled into the spot next to my car and changed my tire for me. I finally got the new iPhone, got it set up properly, and went home.

A Sad Goodbye

My oldest dog, Astro, whose death added to my horrible no good very bad month.

At home I discovered that Astro was sicker than before. He refused to eat or drink. By Saturday morning I knew it was time. He was euthanized on August 8th and I have an Astro-sized hole in my heart.

More Drama

About two weeks later, my wheelchair-dependent husband fell when he tried to transfer back into his chair. Now this has happened before, and I’ve had to call 911 for help. So a few months ago, I’d purchased a used patient lift. It looks like this one.

Thanks to Hoyerlift.com for the image.

It took some doing to change my husband’s position enough in my small bathroom to use the lift. But we did it. And other than some bruises and skin tears, hubby was okay. I had some sore muscles that needed babied for a while, but we both recovered.

WIP Progress

image of a laptop, an open journal with a pen on it, a cell phone, and a cup of coffee--things that helped me get through my horrible no good very bad month.

All of this is to say I didn’t meet my word count goals again. SIGH. But the good news is that I reached and passed the 75% mark of the novel. Yay! If I Should Die, the second book in The Fellowship Dystopia, is now 95,000 words.

Granted less drama in my life, I’m hoping to finish the “first draft” by the end of next month.


I have taken a series of webinars on Amazon ads presented by Amazon. I’ve learned a lot and have some changes to implement. Hopefully that will increase my sales.


I read a short novel, The Flowers of Hiroshima, and posted my review of it. I didn’t get the nonfiction book I wanted to read done. 

In Review

My horrible, no good, very bad month has been a challenge. But it’s ending on a higher note. The novel is coming along and there is a good thing coming in the future. Vague, yes, but I’ll tell you more in about a month. So now you know about my month, how has your August 2020 been?

Desperately Sleep Deprived and a Little Progress

How can it be the end of July? Time froze in March, didn’t it? No, of course not. Time marches relentlessly forward. So onward I march. July was a month of being desperately sleep deprived and a little progress.

Mug inscribed with  "It's coffee o'clock" held the elixir of the desperately sleep deprived me

Sleep Deprived

The first week of July my fifteen-year-old Yorkie, Astro, had a dreadful night. He couldn’t settle down. I could find nothing wrong with him, but he’d only quiet down if I held him. So I held him a lot, thinking we were near the end of his time with us.

After a brief phone consultation with the vet’s office the next morning, I decided to keep him home and love on him. So, I drank lots of my magic elixir and we muddled through days and nights and then weeks.

He improved slowly. He’s weaker than before and can lose his balance easily. But he drinks and eats well—better than before his awful night. And he sleeps through the night again. Walking in the grass is much easier for him, so I give him plenty of opportunities to do that. And I’m still loving on him a lot.

WIP Progress Report

If I Should Die, book 2 in The Fellowship Dystopia series, is at 85,000 words. I didn’t make half the progress I had intended to in July. And after a few nights sleep, I realized that sleep-deprived writing isn’t good writing. I backtracked a bit and am moving forward again.


I continue to learn about marketing books and am beginning to see that learning turn into some profitable marketing. Yay!

I also took an amazing course from Margie Lawson’s Writer Academy. “Potent Pitches and Brilliant Blurbs,” taught by Suzanne Purvis, was worth every penny and every minute of time I spent on it. And now I have a blurb, or back of the book description, for If I Should Die. (It will be revealed in a few months.)


Line drawing of a boy leaning against his dog while reading a book and like him, despite being sleep deprived I read

I finished Writing the Other, A Practical Approach by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward. It challenges you through discussions and exercises to examine your preconceived notions of the “other.” The other is any person whose gender or race or ethnicity or culture differs from yours. I’ve been aware of my white privilege for a long while, but this book opened my eyes further. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to write “other” points of view.

I also finished Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells. I found this one to drag a little in the middle, but once all the setup process finished, it zips right along to a satisfying ending. If you haven’t read Murderbot’s stories—I recommend them.

In Review

I learned a lot. I’ve made plans for posts and for website improvements. New covers are in progress. And cars, yard, and house got some improvements. (A huge thank you shout out to my son for his help!)

We continue to stay home and follow safe distances, hand washing, and masking when we’re out.

While desperately sleep deprived and a little progress is the title for this month’s progress report, it doesn’t say it all. Love and health and forward motion end this rocky month on a positive note. How was your month?