It’s official. I suck at relaxing. I exist at such a high RPM most of the time, constantly going, constantly working, constantly doing. There’s this voice in my head that drones on ad nauseum about all of the things that need to be done. If I’m not napping (which is rare), I’m never idle. The closest I come to consciously doing “nothing” is when I read. And that’s becoming few and far between these days unless I’ve got an audiobook going while I’m doing other stuff (I listen to a LOT of audiobooks).
We left on Tuesday for our first vacation in five years (you may begin to see exactly why I’m no good at relaxing). I made it all of forty minutes before I had to pull out a notebook to scribble in. Got a bunch of notes on the character arcs for Sooper Seekrit Project Book 3 by the time we hit Birmingham. Oh, and did I mention I blew through an entire critique of a manuscript before we left?
Tuesday night we went to an acoustic show by Breaking Benjamin at Iron City, which was awesome. It’s a good venue. Small. There’s a balcony where we ended up tucked up above the crush, which was much better for these two introverts. Only downside was that the line before the doors opened was wrapped all the way around the block and there were smokers. Which meant BOTH of us had our sinuses screwed up, which meant both of us were snoring, which meant we both slept like crap in the unfamiliar hotel bed. I tried to pick up some Sudafed before we left (because in Alabama you don’t have to have a prescription for the real thing). But evidently you do have to have ID from a state that also doesn’t require prescription because they wouldn’t sell me any. This is me giving the middle finger to meth makers who make the rest of us suffer through allergies.
Yesterday was the rest of the drive to Charleston. During that drive I finished inputting the copy edits on the crit I’d done, emailed those off (hooray for being able to use my phone as a hot spot!), read a bit, and generally waited for my sinus headache to go away. Hubs landed a place through AirBnB on the marshes of Goose Creek, just north of Charleston. I cannot begin to describe the level of swank of this place. I’m pretty sure I had a kitchengasm when I walked in. The kitchen here is, no lie, about a third the size of our entire house. Double ovens, induction cooktoop (which took me about 35 minutes to figure out how to even turn ON), acres of counterspace,and a fridge/freezer combo that I would give my first born for (not really but OMG I WANT). It felt like I was forcing the kitchen to go slumming by making something as pedestrian as tacos last night (and then we ate the tacos and it was good because tacos are ALWAYS good). There’s a double reclining swing on the back porch where we sat and talked about what we wanted to do today and dozed when the sun went down last night. There’s something about being by the water that I find soothing, and I think that was the first step in my finally starting to unwind a bit. We watched an episode of Flash from the ginormo bed (we have a king at home, but this thing is HUUUUGE and way up high…I have to actually give a hop to get into it–short people problems)–the first time in I don’t know how long that there wasn’t a laptop in my lap (working on something or other) or a phone in his hands. Which is probably a pretty sad commentary. So we’ve vowed to make that a more regular occurrence.
Now, getting up at 6:38–what is really 5:38 my time–is very much NOT what I had any intention of doing on my vacation. Part of vacations, to my mind, is sleeping in. But owing to the cigarette smoke and lack of Sudafed, there was more snoring and you know when you hit that morning call of nature there’s no going back to sleep. So I got on up, intending to just curl up on the sofa. And then I looked outside and forgot about sleep entirely as I dove for the nearest camera and headed outside. There was a heron in the marshes behind the house and the sky was on fire behind it. It was hub’s Nikon I grabbed (my Canon was in the bedroom), so I hope there was a memory card in there and that it turned out because holy crap, it was beautiful. EDITED: It turned out! So the sunrise over the marshes was ENTIRELY worth getting up early. Gorgeous.
After a twenty minute hunt for a kettle (there isn’t one, despite the swank–who doesn’t have a kettle????), I finally got tea made. I’m enjoying the solitude. That is one thing I really enjoy about early mornings, despite the fact that I am not a morning person at all. It’s not quiet–not really, especially not here with all the marsh birds and the very opinionated Canada geese swaggering down below–and it’s not even really still with the motion of the water and the breeze and the near constant movement of the birds. But I am still. And that’s a rare thing indeed.
In a little while, I’ll start the bacon and coffee. And if those don’t effectively lure hubby from sleep like the song of the Pied Piper, they’ll at least soften the insult of my waking him up to get started on the day. We’re heading in to City Market this morning, then probably wandering around the Battery, maybe hitting up Rainbow Row before we go on a dolphin sail this afternoon on a REAL 84′ Schooner! I’m super pumped. Then it’ll be dinner at The Griffon (because we always love finding a good pub to get fish and chips). Then, I expect it’ll be back to the house, where we’ll sort out what we want to do tomorrow. Maybe head to Sullivan’s Island or to see the Angel Tree. But for now…maybe a second cup of tea.
So this happened. 53577 words in 23 days. Thank you CampNaNo.
Also, THE END on Sooper Seekrit Project Book 2. I’ve got some semi significant revisions to tackle when I get back from vacation because my antagonist’s motivations got muddy in the middle and I’ve got to clear that up. But it’s done. 71757. 43 days. Brain = mush.
We have plowed through both seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Need season 3 please. That show just hits our happy buttons.
I can’t say the same for Wynona Earp. I really wanted to love this show. I love the concept. It’s like Supernatural meets Jessica Jones meets Tombstone. I love all these things. But 3 episodes in and it’s just not gelling for me. The guy playing Doc Holiday is fabulous and his talent is wasted on the rest. He’s the only one that’s gotten us this far. But it just might bunny me with what I’d LIKE to see out of this kind of concept.
We head out to Charleston next week for vacation. First one in five years. Super excited. But hitting Birmingham first for a Breaking Benjamin concert. So taking a week and then diving back in come May!
I’ve spent my weekend camped out in my chair, cranking out words. 16.5k in the last week. A little over 6k in the last 2 days. I crossed 40k on the Sooper Seekrit Project Book 2 today. Thanks CampNaNo (21k since the start of the month). And that’s a lot of numbers. Whatever, I’m cranking it out right now. I’ve been getting a lot of great word sprints in.
Part of why I’ve been busting my hump is because hubs and I are taking a trip for our anniversary at the end of the month. Which means I have to have my CampNaNo goal of 50k (which would get me to the end of the book…I started with about 20k) knocked out by the 25th. So I’ve been having to average 2130 per day.
Hubs and I finally watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. HILARIOUS. And, bonus for us, season 2 comes out next week. Only downside is that we’ve had the theme song stuck in our heads on repeat for 3 days.
We’ve also checked out Wynonna Earp on Syfy. It’s kinda like Supernatural meets Jessica Jones meets Tombstone. All 77 of the guys Earp took out at the OK Corral have come back as demons and his descendants (modern day) have to take them out with his Peacemaker. It’s an interesting concept. Bit of a rough start, but I’ve seen worse pilots. We’re not 100% hooked, but we’re sticking with it a while longer to find out the mystery behind Doc Holliday.
There’s probably other news, but, really, my brain is mush…
Virtual Match is your one-stop shop to convincing those nosy relatives, the too friendly coworker, or your ex that you’re off the market. We’ll match you up with an attentive boyfriend or girlfriend. Texts, emails, phone calls, and even gifts. A virtual love life is all the fun of being in a relationship–well, almost all the fun–and none of the commitment. Our matches know how to stay discreet and convincing. You might even forget it’s not real. Log on to Virtual Match and meet the match of your dreams who doesn’t mind staying just a fantasy.
My own contribution to this collection is Wish I Might (Wishful #5): Bookstore owner Reed Campbell wasn’t looking for a woman. But when the new clerk he hired won’t take no for an answer, he needs a girlfriend in a hurry. His friends give him the perfect out—Virtual Match, a service that offers a fake relationship with none of the fuss. But when Reed gets a second chance with Cecily Dixon, the one that got away, his virtual girlfriend may cause more problems than she solves.
Wishful fans may remember that Reed is Cam Crawford’s (of To Get Me To You) cousin and Cecily is Norah’s (also of To Get Me To You) intern. Norah did promise to introduce her.
So we are barely out of the gate on Round 2 and I am on FIRE. Totally kicking ass on my word count. Part of this is because I already had some momentum going with Camp NaNo (which started on the first), but also because my sweet hubs decided we should take a short vacation for our anniversary at the end of the month (the 26th…13 years!). So we will be headed to Charleston! I’m super excited. But it also means I need to crank out my Camp NaNo words by the end of day on the 25th. I did the math. I have to get 2130 words a day to pull this off. So far, I’m managing, getting up to do a sprint before my morning workout, another one or two at lunch, and another one or two after work. Either I’m finally starting to adjust to Daylight Savings Time (cue requisite wailing and gnashing of teeth), or the motivation of NaNo is enough to overcome the general tractor beam of my nice, cozy bed. Whatever, I’ll take it.
Hubs and I started our modified Whole 30 again on Monday. So far that’s going well. Latest discovery is the Tex Mex Taco Salad from Down South Paleo (I need to do a more full review of this cookbook at some point). It’s REALLY GOOD. Even hubby agreed it needed to go into the regular rotation. Given that we are both taco FIENDS, this is huge. And also means that we can use our cheat meal per week for something else.
Baby Boy Garbage Truck (aka Huck) has finally finished all his post surgery medication and seems none the worse for wear. We’re working on training him to get used to a muzzle for when he’s outside unattended. Not what we want to do but we like it better than having to take him in for another surgery.
And now I really need to get to my evening sprint.
So it’s start day for Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 Days. It also happens to be Day 4 of CampNaNo, which I decided to participate in to try and get properly adjusted to morning writing on Daylight Savings Time. I managed 5:35 this morning. I’m rotating back by 5 minutes a day until I get to 5:15, which is what I pulled off for NaNo proper in November.
Now, Round 2 ROW80 GOALS:
Post at least twice a week on my blog. I never used to have to make this a goal, but I was absolute CRAP at blogging last round. Was very much wrapped up in life stuff and prepping for a double book launch (that happened last week–feel free to check out Just For This Moment (Wishful #4) and Wish I Might (Wishful #5, in the Virtually Yours anthology)).
Write at least 20 out of 30 days. Oldie but goodie.
Do another round of Whole 30, with minor modifications. Hubs and I did this in January to great results. And then fell back into poor habits in February and March and gained a fair bit back. So we agreed to do it again with beverage modifications (that was the hardest part). I get to keep my tea, he gets to keep his coffee, and he gets his (less) sweet tea.
Finish Sooper Seekrit Project Books 2 and 3. I wrote Book 1 during NaNo last year and I’m a little over 20k into Book 2 now. I should finish Book 2 as part of CampNaNo, then have the rest of this Round to knock out Book 3. I’m aiming for back-to-back releases in July, if all goes according to plan.
Get my new website launched. This is close to being finished. I have a few other things to line up before I switch over.
There are other things I want to do but, I’m keeping it streamlined and simple this round.
It is HERE, y’all! Just For This Moment, the exciting conclusion to Myles and Piper’s story (begun in Once Upon A Setup) and the fourth book in my Wishful series. OMG, I love these two so, so much. Myles is my favorite Wishful hero to date (I know I say that with every one but still). I’ve always been a huge fan of the marriage of convenience trope in romance, and this was my own play on the hilarity associated with that. I hope you love it as much as I do. You can grab your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, or add it on Goodreads. You can also check out my Spotify playlist for the book.
A madcap modern marriage of convenience tale sure to leave fans begging for more
Maybe there hasn’t been actual blood, other than a few paper cuts, but Myles has put plenty of sweat into his independent, local newspaper, and he’s even willing to admit to a few manly tears. Certainly, the paper has been his mistress since he moved to the small town of Wishful, Mississippi, and he doesn’t feel it’s hyperbolic in the least to say it owns a piece of his soul. He’s building his dream, independent of the life laid out for him by his family, and that means everything. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to ensure its success.
Piper fell hard for Myles when they co-stared in the production of White Christmas that saved Wishful’s historic Madrigal Theater. Not in love, she’s careful to remind herself, but into very serious like, and certainly outrageous, chemistry-fueled attraction. But Piper knows that the bright lights of the stage can wreak havoc with perspective. She’s been burnt by them before, when an on-stage passion fizzled into disappointment and heartache. That’s why she put on the brakes with Myles, and she admits to herself that the fact that he played by her rules and waited only adds to his appeal.
When Myles tells her that a major investor is pulling out of the paper, leaving him with a huge loan to repay or lose his control over what he’s built, Piper is devastated for him. But when he jokingly admits that the best option he’s come up with is to marry a showgirl to gain access to a trust fund, well, that just sounds like a plan to Piper. After all, why not take this great guy on marriage test drive? He’s worth having just for this moment, however long it lasts. But as their fake marriage turns alarmingly real, they’ll have to decide if they’re in it for the moment or forever.
Welcome to Wishful, Mississippi, a small town with big hearts, where folks come together to make their dreams come true. We first met Myles and Piper when they auditioned for White Christmas in BE CAREFUL, IT’S MY HEART, when another of Piper’s zany schemes helped bring her friends Tyler and Brody together. We followed their story in ONCE UPON A SETUP, a Wishful Meet-Cute Romance, which tells the story behind Piper’s cooling off period. But if you haven’t read either of those, don’t worry about jumping in here. Every Wishful story can stand on its own, just like the sassy women of this charming, southern town.
Not bringing her own car was a serious mistake. Piper realized that just about the time the groom’s handsy Uncle Eddie tried to get acquainted with her ass. For the second time. Despite the lack of alcohol being provided at the reception, he’d snuck in a flask and was sufficiently drunk that the sharp heel she jabbed “accidentally” on his foot didn’t even make him flinch. One of Richard’s brothers noticed and hauled Eddie off before Piper had to get more forceful.
She’d hoped, desperately, that the reception would wind down early and the bride and groom would do the whole bouquet toss and be eager to get on with the honeymoon. Instead, they seemed intent on dancing the night away in a last ditch opportunity to party with all their closest friends. At least most of her duties as bridesmaid had been discharged. Short of post-reception clean up, she was free to enjoy herself. What a crock. Between dodging her relatives and friends of the family who seemed intent on asking every possible inappropriate question, from her relationship status to the state of her eggs—not in need of being cryogenically frozen, thank you very much—and trying to keep away from Uncle Eddie and others like him, she was bored out of her mind and desperate to escape. If the Spring House hadn’t been a full ten miles from town proper, she’d have considered walking.
Ducking behind a ficus tree, she glanced around to make sure nobody was looking before tugging her phone out of the bodice of her dress. Not exactly the ideal place to carry it, but it wasn’t as if these bilious monstrosities had pockets. Still no text back from Myles. Damn. She’d been hoping he’d entertain her a little.
Two strong hands slid over her hips from behind.
Before Piper could jam her elbow back into Eddie’s gut, a voice whispered in her ear, “What’s a pretty thing like you doing in a dress like this?”
Her heart began to thud with excitement. “Does a line like that usually work for you?”
“Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work at wedding receptions? You come crash hoping to get a bridesmaid out of her dress?”
“You wouldn’t have to work too hard to talk me out of this one. But I demand pajamas as a replacement.”
“That can be arranged.” Myles pressed a kiss on the exposed skin of her nape.
Piper shivered and turned to face him, hating it when his hands fell away. “What are you doing here?”
“You asked for a rescue. I’m at your service, milady.” He sketched a courtly bow, his mop of dark hair flopping into his eyes. Had he even had a cut since the show?
“I figured you were ready to get out of here. But if you want to make out in the coat closet, I’m good with that, too. I passed it on the way in. As I recall, you have a fondness for small, enclosed spaces.”
“I did not drag you into that prop closet to make out,” she reminded him.
“Such a waste. So how ’bout it? You want to make a break for it?”
She bit her lip, wondering if she’d even be missed and calculating exactly how much hell she’d catch if she was.
“I’ve got a surprise for you back at my place,” he coaxed.
“Is that a euphemism?”
His laughter skated over her skin. God she’d missed the sound of it these last three months. “Only if you want it to be. But I can promise you quiet and jammies and stove-top popcorn if you don’t. Or we can go out, if you’d rather. But I figured you’d had enough of people tonight.”
He was right. The whole scenario sounded like heaven.
I’m only just now getting around to writing this post, which says a lot about how my week has gone. So, let’s review the goals I set this round.
Successfully complete Whole 30. Done. I finished this in early February to great success. And promptly fell off the wagon with birthday yummies. March has been getting back on track.
Write 20 out of 30 days. Oldie but goodie and a goal I can consistently make. I wrote 70 days out of the last….well, since first of January.
Continue to get up during the week at 5:15 to write before my morning workout. I did just fine with this until Daylight Savings Time came back. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and with Huck’s unexpected surgery and convalescence, the morning routine in March hasn’t been…normal. But I will be endeavoring to roll my get up time backward over the next week in time to get back into this routine for Camp NaNo in April.
Finish Just For This Moment, Piper and Myles’ novella. Yeah, about that. It became a full novel. But it’s finished and it releases next Thursday, March 31st! You can pre-order it!
Outline and finish Sooper Seekrit project Book 2. I finished the outline and am nearly done with Act 1.
Get back into my weekly gym routine. I’d say this has been about 75% successful, though this month, I’ve been doing more working out in my home gym than at the actual gym owing to the [insert vicious profanity here] Daylight Savings Time. But I finally amped up my lifting routine again, which I’ve needed to do for quite a while. Happy about that.
Learn Audacity. Never even touched it. There hasn’t been time. I’ve been too busy working on the formatting for the Virtually Yours anthology that’s also coming out this week on Friday!
Other accomplishments this round:
I wrote over 87k words
Plotted out 3 other projects in addition to Sooper Seekrit Project Book 2
Have worked my way through most of my marketing course (which has been worth every penny)
Read 23 books
Designed a new website (not yet rolled out…soon)
Designed a transition website here
Done a lot of work on my newsletter (and I’m up to nearly 800 subscribers)
It’s been a stressful couple of days. Sunday, our baby dog Huck started acting…odd. He’d vomited twice in the morning (as they sometimes do when they inhale their food faster than the speed of light). And by dinnertime, he ate REALLY slowly (totally out of character) and wasn’t even interested in sniffing our dinner plates. He barely touched his breakfast yesterday and didn’t want to go for his walk, so I immediately took him to the vet first thing. And then there was a lot of hurry up and wait until the radiologist looked at the radiographs. So by 2, he was in surgery for a bowel obstruction.
Meanwhile, I was at the vet school playing guide to my mom and a friend of hers, whose dog was being evaluated (poor Molly is diabetic and going blind). This was the first time I’d been at the vet school since Daisy, and I’d brought her helper harness to donate. The physical therapist ended up being out, so I’ve still got that riding around in my car. Going back in there was…a lot harder than I expected. It’s been nine months.
Fast forward to 5 yesterday and we get the notice that Huck came through surgery fine and he is banned from rope toys for life. All in all, it could’ve been much worse. They were able to extract the rope strands with only 3 small incisions and no actual removal of the intestines. His gut wasn’t actually damaged, just irritated. And they expect a pretty quick recovery. They were keeping him overnight for observation and all that jazz.
I spent all night locked in nightmares, stuck in that place where you’re not totally asleep, not totally awake and caught desperately wanting to sob or scream and…not being able to. It might be I have a bit of trauma when it comes to health scares for my furbabies. So that sucked and I woke up exhausted.
I called to check on him first thing this morning and again this afternoon before we got the go ahead to pick him up at 4:15. Hubs got him a little bit ago, as it’s his day off. And, of course, he’s fine. Everybody’s fine. Well, I’m not completely fine. I won’t be until I can snuggle my baby in approximately twenty-five minutes.
I’ve already ordered Huck some new rubber tug toys (as tug is his favorite thing). And I’m prepared to spoil him completely rotten. Working from home tomorrow to keep an eye on him.
So…that’s been my week so far. I’ve still got half of Just For This Moment to finish proofing, then ARCs will be going out. There’s booklaunchy stuff to do. Mostly I just want puppy cuddles and the pot roast I have in the crock pot.
I haven’t been around lately. I’ve been a busy busy girl!
I’ve been working my way through a marketing class, which has led to some changes around here. This is kind of the in between version of my website. I have actually started building a brand new site with Cloudpress. Cloudpress is a nifty concept. It allows you to build a brand new wordpress theme without knowing a lick of CSS or PHP. There’s a learning curve and it’s a relatively new technology, so they haven’t worked out all the kinks. My site was problematic to the way they are designed because I have 10 years of content and my XML file was too big to easily import. I eventually found a way to do it on my own (because their tech support is uncommunicative and not helpful if you have anything that’s not a simple problem–my repeated inquiries were met with a suggestion that perhaps their service was not best for my project–in other words, please go away, we don’t want to deal with you). But there are a variety of other things I’m still working on there to make sure there’s a smooth transition when that happens (because this isn’t a matter of just importing and installing a new theme–it means installing a plugin to link your site to the version on their servers, and that version will OVERWRITE your site entirely…hence the need to get EEEEVERYTHING set up correctly because it would be very easy to lose stuff). I’ve been working on the new site in a sandbox and will unroll it…whenever I finally finish. Anyway, I made some changes here to kind of ease things in the direction I’m headed.
I got started on the second book in my Sooper Secret Project trilogy, did an outline for another Wishful novella (because you ARE going to find out about Gerald Peyton’s mystery woman), and I just got back my revision notes from my editor on Just For This Moment. They aren’t bad at all, and I should be finished by the end of the week. You may have noticed that the preorder links are going up, with a planned release of March 31st.
In more normal world events, I’m in the midst of updating one of my classes for summer to go with a new textbook (I hate when I have to do that). So that’s sucking up some time I’d rather be doing other things. Someday I won’t have to do that.
Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say I’m still around!
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