Final Round 3 #ROW80 Check-In

I have been generally lousy at actually checking in this round.  Not because I didn’t have things to report, but just because I was busy DOING said things and not taking time out for anything else.  So, to review

Goals for Round 3

  1. Oldie but goodie, write 20 days out of every 30.
  2. Finish writing Turn My World Around, the Wishful novel (#6) I’m 2/3rds of the way through with.  
  3. Finish revisions on Dance Me A Dream (#8), another Wishful novella that’s my contribution to a holiday anthology releasing later this year.
  4. Revise Sooper Seekrit Project Book 1.
  5. Plot out Sooper Seekrit Project Book 3.  
  6. Begin formatting Wishful books for print editions.

How I Did

  1. I wrote 65 days out of the last 83 (since I track my stuff by actual calendar month, not just by round).  In that span, I cranked out 102,825 words.
  2. I did finish Turn My World Around, which released September 1st.
  3. I also finished revisions on Dance Me A Dream, which were next to nil. Awesome Editor said it is the closest thing to perfect I’ve ever handed her.
  4. I didn’t even touch Sooper Seekret Project Book 1.
  5. Didn’t do any plotting on Sooper Seekrit Project Book 3
  6. And I didn’t touch the formatting for print editions.
  7. What I did do is jigger around my production schedule to push back the Sooper Seekrit Project’s release until after the first of the year and moved up the next book in my Wishful series (which may or may not end up as the first of a related spin-off series..we’ll see).  This is Autumn and Judd’s book, which I’ve been waiting to write for nearly two years.  And once I gave it the go ahead, Autumn was more or less “Move over, honey,” and spewed out the first 40k in 20 days (which actually got her together with Judd) And then she abandoned me to slog through the Dreaded Valley of the Shadow of the Middle on my own.  In any event, I cranked out this entire book and sent it off to Awesome Editor this weekend.
  8. And I began the expansion of Wish I Might, the novella I have in the Virtually Yours anthology.  It comes back to me in October and I decided that I wanted to flesh it out a little.  I expected maybe a scene here or there.  Ten scenes later…it’ll probably wind up a short novel.  So once that’s done, I’ll be releasing it out into the wild on its own.

So, all in all, it was a very very productive Round.  I’m quite happy.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Butter Dip Biscuits

About a month ago, I came across this recipe for Butter Dip Biscuits posted on Facebook. It’s one of those video recipes that leaves you with an unattractive rope of drool hanging from your mouth. What? Only me? :wipes chin: Really good biscuits are something I’ve been in search of for the past six years since we turned into a gluten free household. Our local coffee shop at one point contracted with the gourmet restaurant next door to get these fabulous egg and cheese biscuit sandwiches on Saturday mornings (which was why I used to get myself up at the same hour on Saturday as I did the rest of the week because if you didn’t get there early, you didn’t get a biscuit). Those went by the wayside when the coffeeshop had its own kitchen built, and I was in mourning. But as soon as I saw this video, I was put in mind of the biscuits I loved so much. I immediately set out to replicate the recipe with gluten and dairy free ingredients. The first batch was an epic fail.  But by then I really had a yen, so I started over.  And y’all, the second batch almost made me weep with joy.  At long last, I was able to replicate my beloved biscuit sandwich (albeit with my dairy free cheese).  I had a real Moment.  So here I am to share with you my gluten free dairy free butter dip biscuits.

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance or other dairy free spread
  • 1/2 cup cassava flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. turbinado sugar
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy free milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar to sour
 Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In an 8×8 glass baking dish, put the Earth Balance in the oven to melt.
  3. Meanwhile, add the apple cider vinegar to your dairy free milk (I used unsweetened almond milk).  Give it a stir and set it aside to sour.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, xathan gum and salt.
  5. Add the soured milk and stir.   You should have something like a thick batter.
  6. Add the batter to your baking dish and spread out with a spatula or the back of a knife or your fingers.  Whatever floats your boat.  The Earth Balance will splash up over the top and that’s totally fine.  Encouraged, even.
  7. Score your biscuit dough with a sharp knife wherever you want to divide them.
  8. Pop them in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once during baking.

Brand New Wishful Novel–Turn My World Around!

Hola readers!  I know, I've been quiet for ages.  It's because I've been head down writing writing writing!  This is the first of those products, a book that wasn't even on the production schedule this year.  :gives Tucker the side eye:  Nevertheless, here it is, Wishful #6, Turn My World Around.  

Tucker and Corinne FinalWhat's the statute of limitations on Mean Girl crimes? Corinne Dawson, former cheerleader and all-around high school queen, swallowed her pride after her divorce and returned to Wishful to move back in with her mother. She's trying to pick up the pieces and make a life for herself and her son, but try to find a decent job in a small town when everyone hates you. It seems like almost no one is willing to let bygones be bygones.
 
Except Tucker McGee. Watching her juggle work, going back school, and motherhood, all while keeping her chin up despite the cold shoulder the town's been giving her, has only reinforced what he already knew--that Corinne is a woman of hidden depths. And he wants to know everything about her.
 
Someone once said, "The best things happen while you're dancing." What better way to win the heart of the girl, and help the girl win the heart of the town, than partnering with her in the local dance competition? He and his theater friends have been all been tapped to perform for the “Dancing With The Stars” type charity event. So what if one of those friends is Brody, the guy Corinne threw herself at in high school, and Tyler, Brody’s then girlfriend, now fiancée. If he asks, surely his friends will be willing to put the past in its proper place. Or will they? Can the town of Wishful forgive Corinne's mistakes and welcome her home again, or will she have to make her home someplace else?
 
 
 
 
You can grab your copy for the introductory price of $2.99 during launch week!  But look out! It's going up on September 8th!

AmazonBarnes and NobleiBooksKoboSmashwords  or Add it on Goodreads.

 
 
 

Midweek #ROW80 Check-in

The last couple of days have been the kind that make me want to punch something.

I finished up the clean up pass on Turn My World Around and got that sent off to my editor.  And I did the final proofread of Dance Me A Dream, the holiday novella I have coming out in the Romancing The Holidays anthology this November.  Then I did some soul searching and decided to change around my production schedule again.  My Sooper Seekrit Project requires more work than I feel I can reasonably get done by the end of October (when I wanted to release).  Plus I was looking at that second draft like someone had just suggested that I leap out of this perfectly good airplane. November has notoriously been a slow month for releases for me, so I opted to save the second draft of SSP1, revision of SSP2, and writing of SSP3 for the end of the year and move my next Wishful novel on up in the pipeline.  I feel really good about this decision, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting this particular book for quite some time.  I had started this book last year and put it back down because I just wasn’t ready to write it yet.  It wasn’t gelling for me.  But the whole thing is plotted out and ready to go, loaded into Scrivener and everything.  So I spent a little time yesterday evening looking over what I’d written before (not too much) and cutting most of it. I was all set to get started.

And then the Universe started conspiring against me.

My computer has, for the past two weeks, been trying to unsuccessfully install the latest Windows 10 update.  It’s been rebooting on its own (which is problematic) and had done so again while I was at taekwondo last night.  When I got it back up, it was running like crap.  So I started the process of trying to do a system restore (failed).  Hubby started the scan disk before he went to bed.  It was still running this morning.  Without getting into all the steps I took, I spent most of today wrestling with the damn thing (and also having a spite conversation with the office tech guy about Macbooks, which I think I’m going to save up for because I am tired of Windows updates breaking shit).

When I came home at lunch, armed with one of the fleet laptops from work and intending to write, I discovered the dishwasher wasn’t draining.  So when I got home from work, I had to pull out the entire load of dirty dishes (after doing 2 sinkfuls to make room for the ones I needed to pull out), siphon out the water and deal with that.  Thankfully judicious use of vinegar cleared it up without my having to do actual plumbing (although I’ve done that before).

By the time I sat down from dealing with that, teenager got home from her day.  After she filled me in and went to do her own thing, the dogs kept wanting in and out and in and out and basically I just didn’t get a proper chance to write.

And I’m grumpy

But I finally got my computer sorted, made the dishwasher my bitch, and I have a plan for tomorrow, so it’s bound to get better.

If Jason Bourne Were Written By A Woman

I went to see the new Jason Bourne movie yesterday as part of hubby’s birthday festivities.  We actually marathoned all its predecessors (except for Legacy) before going so that teenager would be caught up on the storyline, so all the details of the originals were fresh.  I was really looking forward to this because I love watching Matt Damon fight, and I was excited about finding out more about who he really is.

I am sad to say that I found the entire movie disappointing.  I literally sat in the theater rewriting everything from the first pinch point on.  I felt like the entire thing was lazy storytelling, shoddy camerawork, and a bunch of nonstop action for action’s sake.  Now I love me a good action movie–but only if it is supported by an actual PLOT.  The first three Bourne movies were.  This…was not.

So I’d like to talk about everything that was wrong with it and what I’d have done different, as a writer.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Let’s just stick the preview in here for space.

 

SERIOUSLY, IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS, LEAVE NOW

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Still with me?  Okay then.

What’s wrong with Jason Bourne

So one of the things that makes The Bourne Identity compelling is how Marie grounds Jason.  We can see from the beginning that, despite whatever badass training he has, he’s actually a good person.  How he deals with her the entire story shows that and is a constant counterpoint to the fact that he turns out to be an assassin.  And then they go and kill her off early on in The Bourne Supremacy.  I’ve never quite forgiven them for this, particularly since that never happened in Ludlum’s books (which, I grant you, I never read).  But from a narrative standpoint, I can see what they did there in taking away the one person who believed in him absolutely.  It sets him on a path of vengeance for the rest of that movie and the next.  I didn’t like it, but okay.  Now part of what I noticed on this binge watch we did of the early movies this week is that they allude to some kind of history between him and Nicky Parsons, his handler in Paris.  To my mind, she was being set up as a potential love interest, so when I saw her listed in the cast list, that’s exactly what I expected and what I wanted.

What we GET is her risking her life at the start of the movie, hacking into the CIA to retrieve all their black ops files.  It’s a two purpose action: 1) She wants to get more information on Jason and who he was (a very personal motivation) and 2) She (working with some other hacker dude) want to expose all these programs from what they view is a corrupt government.  So she sets up a meet with Jason in Greece (who we first see riding in a truck to some fight somewhere, jumping in the ring, knocking a dude out with one punch, and then going on his way elsewhere–what the hell he’s doing there is never explained and we just kind of assume he’s been going around doing underground fighting maybe as a way to make ends meet?).  They use a public demonstration as cover and this turns into a riot that is the backdrop for a LOOOOOOONG ass chase scene (because of course the CIA figured out Nicky hacked them and has sent teams after her and Jason), at the end of which Nicky is fucking shot and killed. 

This is the point where they officially lost me.  Because it’s the lazy play, the obvious play.  They did it with Marie, and now they’re doing it again.  They’re treating him like James Bond and taking away everyone who could possibly care for him because he’s supposed to be a forever tortured badass and toxic to everyone who comes near him.  This absolutely didn’t work for me as a viewer because there is absolutely nothing to soften him, nothing to humanize him.  They wanted him as close to unhinged as he ever gets because, according to the Treadstone shrink, they believe he’s lost his reason to exist by leaving the program and he might could be brought back into the fold (and since he is, of course, a multi-million dollar asset, that’d be handy, right?).  But it just doesn’t play out like that.  Jason is never really unhinged.  He’s an in control badass (with apparently 72 lives).

Part of what made the original movies work is this contrast between who he is, who he was because of Treadstone, and the tiny kernels we find out about who he was before that.  That made those first three movies (but most especially the first one) very character driven, despite all the action.  We don’t get that in Jason Bourne.  The ONLY piece we find out about his past is that his father was an analyst for the CIA, he’s the one who envisioned the Treadstone program in the first place, and the mysterious “they” had Daddy killed off in a bombing in front of Jason (who was special forces) in order to motivate him to volunteer for the Treadstone program (which daddy didn’t want him to do).  The rest of the movie is totally a revenge plot taking out Director Dewey (dude behind the decision to kill his daddy) and the assassin/agent who actually killed daddy.  That’s it.  That’s all we got.

One of the other things really missing from this movie was the one-upmanship.  Jason is always ahead of the CIA in the other movies.  Because he’s the best.  He’s a total badass.  So that’s where we see stuff like him calling in and making reference to the fact that he can see Pam or that he’s caught Noah in a lie because he’s actually in Noah’s office or whatever.  There’s really only ONE moment of one-upmanship in Jason Bourne–at the very end when the hotshot cybercrimes chick, who they sort of try to lead you to believe is helping Jason for possibly noble reasons but who is really just in it all for herself, finds a little video recorder in her car proving that he heard every word of her conversation with whoever the bigwig was she was talking to when the audience finds out she’s not a nice person at all.

Jason was never motivated by wanting to expose the black ops operations.  He’s always been in it to find out who he was.  I think they were TRYING to make this movie about him carrying on what Nicky would have wanted, but it was an epic fail because they didn’t spend any actual TIME with Nicky outside the damned chase scene.  And I never bought that’s really what Nicky was in it for either.  The dastardly CIA black ops sector is tied in with a very Big Brother social media monitoring plot that, while timely to present day concerns, just didn’t really feel like it fit with the same kind of former spy movies the previous three were.

What I would have done differently

Well straight up, I would not have killed Nicky.  In my version, they had some kind of history together.  Maybe it was after he became Jason Bourne rather than David Webb (to preserve the mystery about his dad) or maybe they’d been together before Treadstone and when he up and volunteered, leaving her behind in the name of going after the people who took out his father and becoming his handler was how she kept up with him because she still loved him and hoped to get him out someday.  I could make either of those play and be fine.  But for the sake of this hypothetical narrative, let’s go with the first.  She’s his handler, he’s her asset (while he’s in Paris) and Lord knows they wouldn’t be the first pair to develop feelings.  Maybe they acted on them.  Maybe they didn’t. (I’m a romance author…they totally acted on it in my version). But they had that emotional connection.  And then he gets his amnesia.  Doesn’t remember her.  Goes through all this stuff, they think him lost.  And then he shows up again.  And she helps him evade the CIA during the third movie.  So fast forward to now, the time period of Jason Bourne.

Jason has been off the grid, punishing himself, torturing himself.  Nicky’s been off grid, too, doing the hacker thing.  So she hacks in, gets this information, takes it to him in the midst of this riot.  They evade the assassin.  Maybe she’s hurt, but she doesn’t DIE.  She gets patched up, things get heated, and Jason starts to remember that they were involved before.  This engenders his protective instincts (even more than where they already are).  So of course he thinks he’s toxic and she needs to get the hell away from him because see evidence: Marie.  They argue, but ultimately she stays with him.  But all is not well because the cybercrimes chick managed to upload malware into the files, so when they go to access them, it pings their location.  So the CIA sends a team, the assassin, and manages to remote wipe the files (this was actually in the movie).  Another escape, but not before he finds the next piece of the puzzle, the dude who did the surveillance on Jason before he joined Treadstone (again, already in the movie).  So they go through that whole situation, where he finds out more about his dad, surveillance dude ends up dead, and we get the next piece of the puzzle that sends them to Vegas (happened in the movie–but in my version Nicky’s alive and with him).  Since the next leg of the story takes place at an epic tech conference, Jason goes about what he has to in order to expose Dewey and take out assassin, and Nicky does some awesome techy thing to contribute to the plan (the details of which I really don’t care about because that whole thread was kind of dull, but I’m working with what they gave me–anybody who doesn’t already think the government is watching what we do and say online is fooling themselves).  Dewey ends up dead, so does assassin, and Nicky and Jason split.  Jason meets cybercrimes chick, leads her to believe he might be buying in, and then leaves the video in her car to prove he’s not.  And then Jason goes off to meet Nicky at some rendezvous point, where we have one of those nice glorious moments like we had in Greece at the end of The Bourne Identity so that there is some kind of positive payoff to this whole mess.

So basically I could have tolerated the rest of the movie if they hadn’t killed Nicky off.  Because they could have achieved the same motivation for him by having that as a threat.  He’s permanently terrified of this possibility after Marie and it would’ve made for some great personal conflict to see him caring about Nicky, fighting that, and ultimately getting to have their moment in the sunset.  He NEEDS someone to ground him.  And I, for one, would much have preferred to get more about his background than the pitiful crumbs left to us.

End rant.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Check-In

  1. I finally hit THE END on Turn My World Around!  Is there actually anything else to day besides that for an update?  Well yeah, I guess so.  Awesome Editor can’t get to it until Friday, so I’ve been making the clean up pass.  Already completed my search and destroy mission on a lot of my overused words and now need to do the full read through to make sure everything gels the way I want and to fill in any brackets.  I’ll be working on that over the course of the week.
  2. I’ve also been working on my revision outline for Sooper Seekrit Project Book 1.  I have the first half of the book outlined fresh and spent a chunk of this morning adapting my Scrivener file to accommodate that.  I’ll be able to keep large chunks of Act 1 and Act 4 but most of the middle is changing.  I should be able to keep somewhere between 16-25k of the original 60k.  Maybe more, depending.  I’d love to have the first act revised by the time I get TMWA back from Awesome Editor.  We’ll see.
  3. I’m starting Whole 30 again tomorrow.  I’ve been cooking All The Things today.  Grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, hardboiled eggs, zoodles, chopping broccolini, paleo mayo, paleo ranch, nut butter (trying a blend of nuts this time), and red velvet cheesecake shooters, which are obviously NOT for Whole 30 or for me at all, but they were hubby’s birthday dessert request.
  4. We had a big Bourne marathon the last few days in preparation for going to see the latest one this afternoon (also for hubby’s birthday). I’m still pissed about Marie but on binge watching them like this, I want to know what his history is with Nikki.  There’s something there…
  5. My reward for finishing the latest WIP was reading Crushing On Cooper, the latest Camp Firefly Falls novel.  Another fun romp at camp (though I wish it hadn’t been in present tense first person–that’s just not my bag).  I found out there’s merch, so I totally ordered a t-shirt!
  6. There’s probably other news, but I can’t remember just now…

On The Subject of Profanity In Fiction

As an author, you know when you put any book out there that somebody, somewhere, isn’t going to like it.  You can’t please all the people all the time.  And that’s fine.  There are readers out there for everybody and everything (as proved by the popularity of the dino erotica, but that’s another matter).  As a general rule, I try not to read reviews.  Reviews are not FOR me, as the author.  Reviews are aimed at other readers–and love or hate, that’s someone’s opinion.  It’s being put out there to help other readers determine whether or not a book is for them.  But sometimes my will power fails, and I’ll go look.  Or see inadvertently when I’m looking at my Amazon ranking.

I’ve had various criticisms lobbed at To Get Me To You (thanks to the recent Bookbub, nearly my widest read work, second only to Blindsight, which has just been out for way longer).  

It’s too long/wordy/detailed.  That’s fair.  I did a metric ton of research on that book and because of who the shero was, the specifics of the marketing involved in saving the town were, in my opinion, important to the plot and to the setup of the series arc. That’s not for everybody.

It sounds like another book I read.  I am not the first person to write a small town romance set against a threat from a big box store, nor will I be the last. There are no new stories out there.  Just different ways of telling them.

It would’ve been better without the sex.  We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.  None of my books are classified as sweet romance, so if it’s a novel, they’re probably hitting the sheets at some point and that’s an important part of the romance arc.  Better that be out there up front, so nobody’s surprised.

It just wasn’t for me.  Dude, that is totally okay!  I try books all the time that aren’t my bag.  Sometimes it’s because it’s just not what I’m in the mood to read that day and sometimes it’s because it would never be something I was into.  There are millions of books out there.  Don’t waste your time reading something that doesn’t float your boat, because hey, this isn’t school and you aren’t being graded for not finishing something.

But the particular criticism that seems to be popping up most often (because several readers have felt compelled to email me about it directly) is my use of profanity in fiction.  And I don’t mean the usual lexicon of four letter words that have, over decades and centuries, been decided are taboo.  The objection seems to be of the “don’t take the Lord’s name in vain” variety.  One review insisted I used Jesus as a cussword.  I still maintain it was an exclamation or a shorthand interrogatory and that Jesus does not have the grammatical variability of a good F-bomb, but that’s personal preference and not something I’m here to debate.  No, the two points I actually want to address are the issue of intelligence and using profanity to sell books.

It is an oft lobbed criticism that people swear because they aren’t smart enough to come up with a better way to say things.  In fact, there have been psychological studies that prove this is not the case.  People who swear a lot are very low in the taboo quotient–meaning they don’t give a damn what society or anyone else says and aren’t going to be held back by arbitrary rules about what words are considered acceptable and what words are not.  I will happily submit myself or any of my foul-mouthed friends in any legitimate vocabulary competition to further prove disprove the assertion that we somehow lack intelligence.

The conclusion of the blistering email I received this morning was that you don’t need profanity to sell books.  I agree with this 100%.  You don’t need profanity to sell books.  And that isn’t why I use it.  I use profanity in my books for verisimilitude.  Because that’s HOW PEOPLE SPEAK.  What those characters swear about and what curses they choose says something about who they are. People swear when they’re angry or upset or when they stub their toe for the umpteenth time on the coffee table.  People swear when they’re impassioned.  People swear.  Period.  Cursing is language. It’s a part of the rich tapestry of life and I employ it with my characters because it’s just another layer of detail that makes them real, makes them relatable.

Now maybe that’s not relatable to you.  And that’s fine.  You may choose not to swear at all.  You may choose never to take the Lord’s name in vain.  You may actually believe that saying “Lord, that person is crazy,” is wrong.  That’s your prerogative.  But it is not mine.  My characters swear.  I swear.  We’re all going to continue to swear, and we aren’t going to change that because it makes you uncomfortable or somehow violates your personal principles.  So please, go ahead and review my book poorly on that front.  Shout it from the rooftops and tell your friends.  Because you are not my target audience, and you’d be doing me a favor in scaring away any prospective readers who share your particular sensibilities.

Meanwhile, may I direct you to Harlequin’s Love Inspired line?  Or their religious suspense?  Or other segments of Christian romance?  These genres actually do have a convention of limiting or eliminating swearing and they may be more to your liking.  You should probably just avoid the other 90-95% of adult fiction entirely.

P.S.  I’m leaving comments on for now.  Feel free to express your opinion, but play nice or I’ll dropkick your butt into the spam folder.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Update

  1. First off, according to trending on Facebook, it seems that today is National Ice Cream Day.  Since we have entered the part of summer that’s hot as blue blazes, this seems like an excellent idea.  And I JUST made a fresh batch of coconut milk ice cream yesterday.
  2. It’s been a busy busy week at Casa Nolan.  We’ve been working on getting the teenager registered for school.  This has definitely, thus far, been the biggest challenge we’ve faced as stand in parents.  So here we have this compulsory thing, and yet they make it so difficult to accomplish!  It takes all the logical stuff–transcripts and shot records–and also 17 forms if ID, a DNA sample, an act of Congress, multiple proofs of residency, and a sacrificial chicken.  Between the two of us, the teenager’s grandmother and I managed to round up everything (multiple trips to multiple different locations in the school district) to finally get us to the point of ready to pick classes, which she’ll do once the counselors are back next week.
  3. In more fun areas, we birthdayed this week for teenager.  She turned fourteen.  Had her party with all her friends yesterday.  There were board games; homemade pizza, pie, and ice cream; and a pinata.  Good times were had by all.  I think there was even the chasing of some Pokemon (pokemen?  What the heck is the plural?). This afternoon we’re going to see the new Ghostbusters.
  4. So, with all of that, the word count has been rather low this week.  I knocked out about 2500 words on the current WIP on Monday and Tuesday and nothing the rest of the week.  I’m right at the Black Moment where I break them up, and I always REALLY REALLY hate this part, so there’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I’m hoping to push through that today so that next week I’m on the downhill slope, hurtling toward getting them back together.
  5. I did get editor’s notes back on the holiday anthology novella.  I earned my very first gold star!  Other than some typos and clarifying a couple of things, I didn’t need to revise anything.  It was super clean.  Apparently I’ve got the whole Hallmark Channel Movie vibe down pat.  So I did knock out the necessary revisions on that in the fastest revision ever, and that frees up the last week of this month for current WIP (which is good as it seems to be taking longer than anticipated).
  6. School starts August 4th, which seems insane.  Also, it’s a Thursday.  What do they think they will accomplish in 2 days? Either way, I expect we’ll be doing some last minute school shopping and such and then we’ll be getting into whatever qualifies as our normal routine.
  7. My pal Susan shared a link on Facebook last week for mason jar pies.  This now has me off on a savory pie quest.  I’m thinking about doing quiche in a jar, chicken pot pie, and any number of other single serve, all in one kind of meals, in addition to the obvious ACTUAL pie.  There was also a link somewhere to basically how to make mason jar lunchables, which I also thought was fantastic.

     

  8. Other exciting food things this week include the arrival of my Instant Pot.  This thing is like 7 appliances in 1: -Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer.  I got it because I wanted to try out the pressure cooker part.  I mean, a roast chicken on a WEEKNIGHT?  I got a super deal on it on Prime Day.  This is a big thing in Paleo cooking, and I’ve got a few cookbooks through Kindle Unlimited.  Need to go read the instruction manual though. Super excited about my new toy!

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Round 3 Goals

Well, how’s this for crazy?  I set up all the stuff for Round 3 over at the ROW80 blog and never got around to actually posting my goals.  A lot of that is because I went immediately on vacation down to the coast for some writer time with Lisa Kroger.  We had a spa day and lots of brainstorming, which was fantastic.  There’s no telling what the lovely ladies doing our pedicures thought of our conversation.  I sorted out what was missing from my current book and did a read through in order to incorporate the new material about my hero.  Now, I’m sitting here with an epic case of page fright trying to get back into things.  The teenager gets back in an hour or so from a two week stint with her grandparents, so time is short for words tonight, but then we’ll be getting firmly back into routine.  So, with that in mind, it’s time to set some goals:

  1. Oldie but goodie, write 20 days out of every 30.
  2. Finish writing Turn My World Around, the Wishful novel (#6) I’m 2/3rds of the way through with.  
  3. Finish revisions on Dance Me A Dream (#8), another Wishful novella that’s my contribution to a holiday anthology releasing later this year.  I actually wrote this one last Christmas and just need to make a pass through to deepen some stuff and generally flesh out a couple of things.  That should be nice and quick.
  4. Revise Sooper Seekrit Project Book 1.  The first draft of this was…almost devoid of conflict because I didn’t fully understand the conflict until I was nearly through.  Took out all the narrative punch. Plus I didn’t know my hero or shero or world well yet.  So, this will be a full on new draft (mostly).
  5. Plot out Sooper Seekrit Project Book 3.  This one’s plot has been eluding me, so that’s why it’s been pushed off to after this other stuff.
  6. Begin formatting Wishful books for print editions.  I need to just take a long weekend somewhere and knock them all out.

That ought to do me.

Operation Goddess In Training Reboot

In the beginning…

Several years ago, I started a self directed goal of taking better care of my body–through fitness, better nutrition, skincare, the works.  And I dubbed it Operation Goddess In Training because the idea was to treat myself like the goddess I know I can be (this would be before the term for inner goddess was hijacked and ruined by 50 Shades).  For a long time things on that front went really well.  I got back into good routines, into much better shape post grad school and it was a way of looking at health and fitness that was a lot more psychologically healthy than what I grew up thinking in terms of short cuts and yo-yo dieting and quick fixes.  Years later, I am in a much better place mentally.  I’m a lot more at home in the body God gave me and no longer concerned with being a size 2.  Everything is a lot more about FEELING GOOD.  So on that front, I feel I’ve been successful.  My skin is a thousand times better than it used to be.

But five years ago, Daisy had her spinal stroke and our whole life changed. Instead of long walks at least once, often twice a day, we went through a phase where there weren’t any walks at all because we couldn’t bear the look on Daisy’s face when we took Callie and not her because she couldn’t walk.  The whole thing just led to a much more sedentary lifestyle that we simply haven’t quite managed to overcome in the year since her passing.  Daily walks resumed, but they aren’t as long as they used to be (mile and a half instead of nearly three).  I’ve fallen down on my weight lifting and gotten bored.  I had a good year where I was running regularly, but then the treadmill died.  Even once we joined the gym, the last time I tried to do C25K, running gave me a straight up histamine response and I kept ITCHING so bad, I couldn’t keep it up.

In the middle of all this, hubby turned out to be gluten intolerant.  A few years after that, I turned out to be allergic to casein.  Both of those things led to massive changes in our diet–for the better on a lot of fronts.  Lots more fruits and veggies and organics, avoiding GMOs and other inflammatory sorts of foods.   Very little in the way of processed foods.  But the curious side effect of clean eating?  The less tolerance you have for any of the crap. Given that the vast majority of the world doesn’t eat this way, it makes for some problems. Because I’ve gotten to a point where a single slip (aka, having one of those cookies at the office or eating something out or having a hard cider and I’m dealing with the consequences for anywhere from three days to a week. Which means actual progress is nonexistent and that’s bloody frustrating.  It feels like it’s a choice between being a normal, social human or being a hermit and getting somewhere.  It feels like I’m being betrayed by my body.  I mean, seriously?  I can’t have Sour Patch Kids or a cookie or alcohol or a whole plethora of tasty but logically bad for you foods anymore? Stuff that I ate with apparent impunity for YEARS? Le Sigh.

Making some changes

I finally realized I’m currently showing most of the symptoms of leaky gut, so yesterday I started the protocol for that.  Had plenty of experience when we did this with hubby.  Teenager left today for a two week visit with her grandparents, so I’m gearing up for a two week stint of getting my eating back on track.  Picking back up with my protein shakes for breakfast and lunch and pulling out the smaller dishes to reset my appetite. I am forced to acknowledge at 36 I can no longer eat the quantities I used to…at least not without being hella more active than I am right now.  And given it was 98 degrees yesterday WITHOUT the heat index, being super more active right now is not what you call real appealing.  The whole active thing is sort of an issue right now.  So…I decided to go back to what I did when I started Operation Goddess In Training in the first place.

90da2295-3e2c-472d-9d3e-309688fd21e1_textBack to the beginning

I started this journey with my Wii.  it was when the things were pretty much new.  I started with Wii Fit, expanded to New U Yoga and Gold’s Gym Cardio Boxing.  I added in running and weighted hula hooping and weights, all in turn.  So…I’m going back there.  I’m starting over.  Today I put fresh batteries in my Wiimotes and the Wii Balance board and I popped in Wii Fit for the first time in 5 years.  I’m twenty pounds heavier than I was the last time I used it (which I already knew)–that means, of course, that my little Mii suddenly blimped up to a bowling ball with arms and legs.  Fine.  Whatever.  It’s making me start over and unlock everything all over again.  So I started that process today.  And it’s another step in the right direction.  I’m in a place of baby steps.  And that’s okay.  As long as those steps are in the right direction.  I’m going to start focusing on the things I do right instead of the things I’ve done wrong.  They’re done.  I’m not.

And because of the consequences I absolutely know that I’ll have from eating some of these things, it makes it easier to say no.  Doesn’t always happen, but the consequences are severe enough that I definitely give some serious thought to violating those restrictions.  And I definitely have the positive reinforcement of feeling amazing when I actually DO stick to things.  Changing lifestyles is rough.