Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Update

Sunday Summary

  1. I’ve been enjoying some much needed hermitude this weekend.  There’s just been a lot of social this past month, so I’m finding the quiet very restorative.
  2. I’ve been in the kitchen this morning.  I haven’t actually gotten around to my menu for the week yet, but I made up some fresh turkey sausage to freeze, a couple of quiches, hard boiled eggs, and a fresh batch of marinara.  Yesterday I made a behemoth batch of chicken shwarma (4.5 pounds!).
  3. Know Me Well got a facelift this week.  I was never quite happy with the original cover I’d made for it and I finally came across a couple that I thought suited Liam and Riley.  So that’s been posted and is trickling live at all the various etailers.
  4. I’m working my way through a crit, doing some more reading for fun, and I finally got started on Sooper Seekrit Project Book 3.  I’ve been so twitchy the last few weeks.  I did take a slow stretch to finish first pass revisions on Book 2, but this is the longest I’ve gone without drafting something (nearly a MONTH) in about three years.  Maybe longer.  I was really worried I’d have crippling page fright (I often do, even when I’ve only stopped for a couple of days), but I cranked out the first 1k yesterday without too many problems.  I’m wanting to finish that scene today and get started on the intro to the hero.  I’m not done plotting, but I’m testing out something I did with Book 2–hitting my major plot points, plotting out Act 1, and writing that (to get to know my characters better) and THEN going back to plot the rest of the book.  It worked well for the second book in this trilogy, so I’m hoping I’ll have the same success this go round.
  5. I’m up to my eyeballs in class prep right now.  Summer semester starts June 2nd, so I have until then to finish updating everything to go with the new textbook.  This means that I will be recording 5 lectures this afternoon and I won’t have a voice when I’m finished.  Then 4 more tomorrow.  Bleh.  Not how I wanted to spend the end of my weekend, but it’s nearly done.
  6. We’ve been testing Huck with some additional freedoms, leaving his crate door open at night for the last week.  So far he’s doing awesome.  Just goes in and snoozes like usual.  It’ll be a while longer before I’m willing to try that when we’re not actually HERE, but he generally doesn’t mess with stuff inside.  He’s got a bunch of toys and he’s perfectly happy with them.
  7. I bought paperbacks for the first time in YEARS.  I wanted to read the rest of Louisa Edwards’ Recipe For Love series, and I couldn’t stomach paying $7.99 for an ebook.  Not when I could get used copies of all 5 of the books I was missing for the cost of about 2.5 of said ebooks.  Which I kind of hate because the author doesn’t get anything off those used book sales (other than a devoted fan), but it is what it is.  Cracked open one on Friday…holy crap.  Did mass market paperbacks ALWAYS have 8 point font?  I had to pull out the reading glasses I haven’t used since grad school.  :pets Paperwhite:

Bookish Ennui

Books

I am presently hanging out in the reader’s version of when you are noshy and standing in front of the fridge but absolutely nothing is quite right and you don’t have any idea what you want.

I keep picking different things up and putting them back down because nothing is quite hitting the right note for me.  There have been a couple of things I’ve tried that were interesting and not at all bad, but just wasn’t what I wanted.  I’m definitely coming back to Seanan McGuire’s Indexing serial, which I started in audio.  The premise is really intriguing and the worldbuilding is really good.  I just don’t have the attention span for it right now.  It’s part of why I’ve been on a contemporary binge for the last couple of years–I’m so busy with so many things in my brain that I don’t have the mental capacity to keep anything with serious worldbuilding in my head unless I can binge read it.

One incredibly disturbing thing I keep coming across–and I hope to God this isn’t an actual trend–but I’ve picked up three books in the last week where the heroine…just kind of lost her shit with the prospective hero.  And this was not, like, Black Moment justifiable upset.  It was early on in all the stories.  In one, the hero was kind of gruff and taciturn, bordering on rude…which evidently gave the heroine license to be exceptionally rude back in a “Yeah, well…[insert comeback that would be more fitting in the halls of a high school]” kind of way.  The author was obviously trying to set up for that whole enemies to lovers trope and instead of coming off as unwilling attraction being translated into snark, it made the heroine look immature and foolish.  And also made their suddenly getting all handsy and making out on the beach wholly unbelievable (and let’s not even get started with where sand got during that interlude…it was not sexy and all I could think of on behalf of the heroine is OW OW OW OW OW).  In another, the prospective hero is a famous dude, whom the shero doesn’t have any reason to recognize.  When they meet he gives her his actual name (as opposed to the name the media calls him).  And when they run into each other a little bit later and it comes out that he is this famous personage (whom she’s heard of but had never seen), she literally loses her shit and acts like he deliberately lied to her because he was a douchecanoe.  I mean, I get that she’s sensitive to this given her ex-BF turned out to be married and had been lying about it, but her reaction seemed utterly off the rails and she comes off as a total whack job–and not the adorkable kind of a good romantic comedy.  Apparently her definition of lying is not the same as mine.  In her shoes I think I’d have been justifiably embarrassed, but there’d be no reason at all to tell him off.

As a woman–and a rational woman at that–I find this kind of behavior both unrelatable and frankly embarrassing.  It’s the sort of thing that strikes me as a stereotype of the hysterical woman…generally not founded in plot (or reality).  It makes women everywhere look bad.  And it definitely DOES NOT make for adequate or enjoyable conflict in fiction.  I don’t know if this is a Thing or if this was a mark of the skill of the authors in not quite understanding how to support such conflicts or what.  But they definitely migrated to my Did Not Finish shelf.  So, yeah, other than working my way through la Nora’s latest romantic suspense, The Obsession, I’ve been left very unsatisfied on the reading front the last couple of weeks.

But…onward!

Belated Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Update

Sunday Summary

  1. The last week has been super busy catching up on All The Things that got put off, either in the name of finishing that first draft or because we were on vacation or whatever.  So the story of my life the last week has been GO GO GO GO GO.
  2. I’ve got approximately 2 weeks left to finish updating my summer class to go with the new textbook.  It drives me crazy when they put out new editions.  Especially for subjects like Theories of Learning, which hasn’t changed much since the 70s.  There’s very little actual NEW material, they just moved stuff around in different chapters–just enough that I mostly can’t use my old lectures wholesale.  And since I teach online, this means updating the powerpoints and RERECORDING (and re-editing) them.  Time consuming PITA.
  3. I finished first pass revisions on Sooper Seekrit Book 2 yesterday morning.  Book 1 is still with Awesome Editor, so I’ll let Book 2 sit until Book 1 comes back.  Meanwhile, my focus is on getting Book 3 fully plotted.  I knocked out the concept for Act 1 this morning.  Hoping I’ll be ready to dive into that one on Monday…that will put me having taken a month off from drafting, which is very unlike me.
  4. I’ve been taking advantage of the time off to get to a few things around the house that have been lingering for…approximately the 4 years since we moved in.  Saturday I tackled cleaning out the guest room.  There was lots of evidence of the hurried “OMG, people are coming over. Hide the stuff so we look like civilized, neat people!” brand of cleaning–which means, of course we forgot about most of that stuff.  I tossed out 3 garbage bags full of stuff, did some reorganizing, and moved a couple of boxes of stuff into the attic.  I seem to be managing about a closet a year since we moved in.  I just seldom stop writing long enough to get to this kind of stuff.
  5. I’m ready for some serious hermitude after the last week.  Between Mother’s day, family coming to town on my side and hubby’s, lunch with friends, girls’ night, and another friend of hubby’s coming to visit, I had WAY too much social interaction.  All GOOD, I’m just really drained.
  6. Hubs has introduced me to Baby Daddy on Netflix, which is hilarious.  I love a good sit com.  There’s a love triangle (which normally I hate) and I can’t decide which team I’m on.  But it’s good, light, funny entertainment, which is about where my brain is right now.
  7. Been reading a ton.  Finished Starfish Moon, the last of the Brides of Blueberry Cove from Donna Kauffman.  Knocked out the last of Sarah Morgan’s Puffin Island Trilogy Christmas Ever After (which was released as One Enchanted Moment in a collection for some reason instead of independently in the US), which I totally loved.  Also read Jen Frederick’s Revealed To Him, which was surprisingly good.  Finished Maisey Yates’ One Night Charmer.   Blew through the first of Brenna Aubrey’s Gaming the System series At Any Price.  Great narrator for the audio.  I started Tricia O’Malley’s Wild Irish Heart this morning.  I’ve picked up and put down a lot of stuff.  I have a 6 month Kindle Unlimited subscription that I’ve been using to fill my desire for audiobooks, but I’ve blown through the entire romantic comedy section and I’m running low on things I really want to listen to.  But my Audible subscription kicked back in this month, so I just have to narrow it down and decide what I want.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Update

Sunday Summary

  1. Our last day of vacay in Charleston (a week ago this past Friday) was lovely.  We spent most of the day at Magnolia Plantation, wandering the gardens, checking out the Audubon Swamp Garden, and taking pics of the wildlife (we got several good ones of gators).  We ended the day with a stop by the Angel Oak, which was awe inspiring, but left us generally frustrated because a tour bus of about 50 people besieged the site, making taking pictures impossible.  A word about photographer courtesy: If someone is trying to take a picture don’t walk in front of them and get in the way. IT’S RUDE. Have some situational awareness.   All in all, it was a lovely, if fast, vacation.  And because it was fast, it wasn’t what you’d call restful.
  2. Life has been a little busy here at Casa Nolan since we got back.  There was all the laundry and housekeeping, and food prep, and then once I got back to work on Monday, a week of scrambling to catch up there, on top of figuring out what all I will need to manage while my boss is out of the country the next two weeks.  And I’ve got to scramble to get my summer class updated to go with the new textbook.  Someday…someday I won’t have to teach…
  3. We intended to start Whole 30 on Monday.  And we did.  And then my mother in law’s birthday happened.  So we started over.  And then Mother’s Day happened (well, for me it happened yesterday when I went up to see my mommy).  So we’re starting over again tomorrow.  I’m about to do my menu planning for that and get some batch cooking done.
  4. Not much has happened on the writing front.  I have been slowly working my way through a first pass revision on Sooper Seekrit Project Book 2.  Awesome Editor has Book 1, and I’ve opted to go ahead and write Book 3 before I go back to tackle revisions on the first one, as I didn’t KNOW everybody when I wrote it, so a lot of the characterization was flat (also, it was a NaNo project, so it was written all Speedy Gonzales style).  I’ve just barely started plotting out Book 3.  That’s going slower than I’d like, but I’m conceding that after cranking out 53k words in 23 days last month during Camp NaNo, I am in desperate need of refilling the well.
  5. I’m in a serious Spring Cleaning phase right now, and trying to tackle a room or at least a piece of a room every day.  I’m all about cleaning out and tossing out things we don’t want or need, getting clutter put away and cleared out.  That’s part of my process when I finish a book.  I have to dig out before the next one. There are other household projects that need attending to, but I suspect my creative engines will be firing again before I get to that part.
  6. A part of me wants to make a list of all the unfinished projects around the house and form a schedule for tackling them.  But I’m kind of afraid of how long that list would be.  You know?  That is the kind of thing that once you see, cannot be unseen, and then it will haunt me.  Which would probably result in a lot of it getting done, admittedly, but also would make me neurotic as hell.  Maybe a mini list of stuff that I’d like done this year…
  7. I’ve got my purple belt test coming up in June.  I’ve really got to kick my taekwondo training into high gear.  The last six months has been kind of treating water, with lots of stuff going on, classes missed, and just general lack of focus.  But it will’ve been a year since I got my blue belt, so it’s time.

Charleston Vacay Day 2

Personal

No early morning wake up today.  Well, just before 8 rather than 6:30.  Hubs is still sleeping.  It’s another gloriously sunny day.  Probably muggy, though I haven’t stepped out on the back porch yet.

Yesterday we went into downtown Charleston to the City Market.  I wound up getting a nice leather composition book cover as my souvenir.  I NEARLY wound up with an Agent Carter hat.  It was SUPER CUTE.  But I just couldn’t pull the trigger to spend $85 (which, truly, isn’t bad for a Stetson) on a hat that I’m only likely to wear in the winter and even then not as often as I’d like.  Hubs got a new wallet and a cute little sculpture of a guitarist.  It was pretty darn hot by that point, so we had lunch at Molly Darcy’s Pub (the Guinness and onion burger is amazing, just so you know), then headed to the marina by the aquarium to board the Schooner Pride for an afternoon dolphin sail.  We only saw a few dolphins but the sail itself was totally worth it. It’s been fifteen years since I’ve been on a sailboat (the last time was when I was sailing it myself on Loch Tay in Scotland).  I’d forgotten how much I love it.  If we lived anywhere near a body of water where you could actually sail, I would absolutely have at least a little Sunfish.  But this was an 84′ schooner.  I got to help raise the sails, which was fun.  We got rained on by the end, so between the wind and rain, my hair was looking super fine (not).  Back at port, we took an Uber (this trip has been our first experience with Uber and it’s been awesome) back downtown for dinner at The Griffon Pub, voted (justifiably) home of the best fish and chips in Charleston.  After that, a quick stop in at the grocery to pick up some stuff for a picnic lunch for today, then back to the house.

Today we’re headed to Magnolia Gardens (hence the picnic), then on to John’s Island to see the Angel Oak and the Charleston Tea Plantation (because I’m me–of COURSE I want to see the tea plantation).  We’ve still got to sort out where to have dinner tonight for our last night in Charleston.

Then tomorrow, I’m thinking breakfast somewhere awesome before hitting the road and heading home.  Fast trip.  I’d have taken another day but my boss is preparing to leave the country for two weeks, so we’ve got a million and one things to sort out before she leaves at the end of NEXT week, so it’s back to the grind on Monday.  I wanted Sunday to recover and do things like hit the grocery store and finish up laundry.  We’ll be starting a second round of Whole 30 on our return to counter vacation excesses.

Took me a few days to legitimately throttle back, but it’s been a lovely break away from the norm.

I Need Some Practice At This “Relaxing” Thing

Personal

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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 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.

Sunday Summary, CampNaNo and #ROW80 Update

Sunday Summary

  1. So this happened.  53577 words in 23 days.   Thank you CampNaNo.
    CNW_Winner_200
  2. 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.
  3. We have plowed through both seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Need season 3 please.  That show just hits our happy buttons.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Update

Progress Reports

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. There’s probably other news, but, really, my brain is mush…

Another New Release! Virtually Yours

Books

Okay, so I’m a little late in reporting the release of Virtually Yours.  It actually came out the day after Just For This Moment, but I didn’t want to overwhelm with the awesome.

 

Virtually Yours is a Virtual Match anthology.  What’s Virtual Match?

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.

You can grab your copy TODAY from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, or Scribd.  Or you can nab a FREE review copy from Instafreebie in exchange for an honest review.  Really, you have absolutely no reason not to read this anthology, just in time for the weekend.

You can also enter the Rafflecopter drawing by fellow author Wendy Sparrow for this SWANKY AWESOME circuitboard necklace!  There are LOTS OF WAYS TO ENTER, so stop by today.

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kicking Ass and Taking Names (a #ROW80 Check-In)

Progress Reports

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.