ROW80 Update, Gold Stars Edition

I’m lying in bed as I type this. Not by choice; my lower back still feels like it’s trying to peel itself away from the rest of my body and escape. Still, it’s nice to have the option. It’s 2:38 on Saturday afternoon, the kids haven’t killed each other while I’ve been in here, my parents are safely at their new home in THIS VERY PROVINCE (holycrapwow)… So I’m not complaining about anything.

A Round of Words demands an update, does it?

*cracks knuckles*


I’m moving slowly toward my editing goals. Chapters one and two have shaped up nicely– nicely enough to be sent away and ripped apart, anyway. I’ve eliminated most of the semicolons from the manuscript, which a few of you know is a big huge insane accomplishment. My addiction is ridiculous. Like, multiple semicolons in a single paragraph ridiculous, because they’re invisible to me when I’m reading things over. There are now exactly three in the entire book.

PROGRESS! *self-high-five, which is really just clapping, but whatever*

I’ve also got scenes outlined on lovely index cards, and have decided that a few of them could be combined with other scenes, which (maybe, possibly, I hope) might cut a few thousand words and make one character stronger. I’ve finally nailed down one main character’s motivation for doing a Very Big Thing, and the other’s situation at the beginning of the story.

Pro tip: Make sure you get these things straight before you start the first draft. Or the second. *headdesk* This is what I get for allowing the guy who was supposed to be a love interest to tell his side of the story.

Sooooo many scenes.

Sooooo many scenes.

In related-but-not-goal-specific news, my earliest reader for Bound is now looking at my draft of the sequel. This is a huge step for me– I never show anyone work that’s not polished. I think this will be better, though, because I already know there are issues. My wonderful friend has been asking for this for over a year and a half, now. It’s time.


I’ve started reading that ARC that I mentioned, and I’m already floored by the amazingness. So far it rates a “let the bathwater get cold” on the “Couldn’t Put It Down” scale, which isn’t too shabby. I’m always a little nervous about promising a review (as I’m always honest, but hate to hurt anyone’s feelings), but I don’t think I need to worry about stepping on any toes with this one.

I finished reading Coraline to the boys last night, and they’re already asking when we can read it again. I suggested maybe reading another book together, instead. They’re considering it.

Haven’t read any non-fiction this week.


I’m getting better (though by no means perfect) about putting the phone down when the kids are around. I crave distraction, so this is difficult for me. This probably indicates deep and horrible issues, but for now, I’ll just deal with that symptom.

Made to-do lists every night. Partial credit for follow-through.

Meal planning… THAT’S what I was supposed to be doing right now! I knew there was something. Better get on that. See below for my cry for help…

So that’s it. I think I’m doing well so far. I’m going to have four hours to kill on Monday when I take the car in for repairs and have to wait around for a dentist appointment, so here’s hoping I get a crazy amount of editing done then, or at least get through one of the two upcoming tough bits. I’ll be reporting back on Wednesday, and if I stay on track I’ll let myself participate in WIPpet Wednesday this week.

Gold stars all around!

Questions for you: Any ideas for cheap, simple meals that don’t require that the cook stand for long periods of time? What do you think I should read next with the kids? And writers, at what stage do you feel comfortable letting people see your work?


About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with five cats, two dogs, and just the right amount of humans. USA Today bestselling author of the Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy), Into Elurien, and Vines and Vices. Writing dark, decadent, and deadly Urban Fantasy as Tanith Frost. View all posts by Kate Sparkes

3 responses to “ROW80 Update, Gold Stars Edition

  • IsabellaStines

    I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions for new books or easy meals (on second thought… would something made in a crock-pot be a good idea? Something you could throw in there and let simmer while you DON’T stand for a long period of time?), but I will answer your writing question: Honestly, I never feel like my work is ready for other eyes to see. But after a few revisions, I just have to get over myself and put it out there.

    Best of luck to you!

  • Gloria Weber

    Of my recipes the only one that comes to mind is Chili Dog Casserole. 30 ounces of chili, pack of hot dogs, 8 flour tortillas, and half a pound shredded cheese (usually I do cheddar). Pour half the chili in casserole dish. Wrap hot dogs in tortillas and set seam side down in dish. Cover with rest of chili. Cover with cheese. Cover with foil. 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

    I let others read my work when I feel secure about the story, but before I nitpick grammar or word choices.

  • rosedandrea

    For book suggestions I’m going to fall back on my childhood. My dad read My Side Of The Mountain to us when I was about 11 (3 sisters stair-stepped behind me) at bed time. My mom is amazing at reading aloud and read The Secret Garden to us when I was about 12. Doing all the accents!
    She also read the first 2 or 3 books from The Little House On The Prairie series to us. I think I was about 8…ish.

    About non-standing recipes I’ll have to agree with Isabella about the crock-pot. If you don’t have one, there are all kinds of simple casseroles out there. One of our favorites is potato pie.
    After non-stick spraying the casserole dish you cover the bottom with a layer of half cooked potato pieces (frozen french fries also work). Pour in some small veggies you like (we usually go with sliced green beans, peas, or just a mix. These can also be frozen). Whip up some eggs (we do 3 per person), season to taste. Pour them in the casserole dish. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 until it’s firm and a butter knife put into the middle doesn’t come out, uh, egg-y. (I’ve never timed it, but Lonnie says it takes about 2 1/2 hours. Mind you, that is 9 eggs, so yours could be longer or shorter. Sorry).
    Now I hate baked eggs and quiche, but for some reason this really tastes good to me. Plus, in one pan you have your carbs, veggies, and protein!

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