Monday, April 2, 2018

Goal Post

All right, so this is going to be a long post, so I'm just going to jump right into things. If you celebrate Easter, I hope it was a good one.

Here's a quick-ish recap of the goals I set for myself last month:

1. Send Second Nature to the printer.

Okay, so, technically, I did this. I sent the manuscript to the printer, and I am now in possession of a proof copy. This may seem like progress, but there were some formatting errors, and a few really stupid typos that I am now in the process of rectifying. I'm not sure how long this process will take—except it will almost certainly take longer than I think because it always does—but I guess I can still say that I achieved my goal.

2. Prepare for and don't vomit during upcoming presentation at local writers group.

I did this. And I didn't even vomit. I am also told it went reasonably well. (Which may not be the phrase they used, but it's one with which I am almost comfortable.) Not only did I do this, but I also received an invitation to give said presentation at another local writers group—and I said yes. That presentation isn't until May, so I have plenty of time to worry about it.

3. Walk or run at least three miles a day.

I just missed this goal. By one mile on one day. The Man and I, however, have managed to stick with our running program, though. I'm not sure whether to put that in the good or bad category, but we're still running three days a week.

4. Complete one fifteen-minute yoga workout each week.

Yeah. I didn't do this. I did one fifteen-minute yoga workout the entire month. It may be time to give up this goal. At least for a little while.

5. Read at least four books.

I only read three. I probably would have made this goal had a certain flawed proof copy not arrived. Oh well. Better luck next month...

Speaking of April, here's what I'm hoping to tackle this month:

1. Complete review of Second Nature proof copy, make all necessary changes to the manuscript, and order a new proof copy.

2. Walk or run at least three miles a day.

3. Don't sob too uncontrollably when I go see Avengers: Infinity War

4. Don't beat myself up too badly when the entire month goes to hell (as it inevitably will because...karma, apparently) and I accomplish nothing on this list.

I have a lot going on this month, so really, my major goal in April is to just get through it. Sure, I'd like to wrap up Second Nature once and for all, but it's taking a back seat this month (Can't be helped. Other things are more important.).

I aim to do my best (and also to misbehave...) and also to forgive myself if I fall short.

What's on your to-do list this month? Are you A to Z-ing? Camp NaNo-ing? Both? If you are, best of luck to you. I'm rooting for you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Celebrate Good Times (An IWSG Post)

Hey, everyone!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group. (Click on the link for more information and a complete list of participants...)

This month's amazing co-hosts are: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, Gwen Gardner.

This month's (optional) question asks, "How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?"

It depends upon the goal.

More often than not, I just get irritated with myself for not having achieved the goal sooner, but it has been suggested that perhaps that particular approach may not be the healthiest one ever, so I am trying not to do that anymore. (With mixed results, naturally.)

So when I finished Second Nature's blurb last week, I celebrated by taking the afternoon off and going to the beach (*ducks as everyone in a cold-weather climate throws giant snowballs at her head*). Of course, me taking the afternoon off looked like me sitting in the sand and writing a scene for Full Circle, but we all celebrate things in different ways, right?

When I finally published my debut novel (fine, my only novel...) Effigy, I celebrated a little bit differently.

I bought swords.

I really love swords. I told myself that if I one day released Effigy into the world, I would treat myself to a matching pair of short swords. My significant other was like, "Can't you just eat a lot of cake?" To which I responded, "Oh, I'm going to do that, too."

And I did.

And yeah, maybe I bought a matching dagger, too.

They're pretty awesome. If I do say so myself. (I understand if I am saying so myself...) Plus, it totally inspired me to want to write and publish another book so that I could add to my collection. Three and a half years later, I am...getting closer to accomplishing this goal.

Which means that I am getting closer to needing to decide upon what to add to my collection next. A double-bladed battle axe? A nice broadsword? A trebuchet? (That could be one way to encourage my loud neighbors to stop being loud neighbors...)

Or perhaps I should just stick with the cake.

How about you? How do you celebrate your writing achievements?

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Goals

Hey, everyone. Happy Monday. Hope y'all had a great weekend.

As I mentioned in my last post, today I am sharing my goals for March.

Stop me if you've heard these before...

Send Second Nature to the printer

The Man has this theory that I'm actually the problem here. Which is...ridiculous and completely not accurate at all. Except it isn't and it is. Here's hoping that this month is the month when I get my act together long enough to get this book wrapped up once and for all.

Prepare for and don't vomit during upcoming presentation at local writers group

I'm scheduled to give a talk on storyboarding at a local writers group on March 10th. I'm not exactly sure how that happened, but I do hope that my obsession with storyboarding will defeat my absolute terror of talking in front of other people.

Walk or run at least three miles a day.

Part of this goal will also be to keep up with the running program The Man and I started last month. We're supposed to run three times a week. Every time we do, I have to wonder why we started this stupid program.

Complete one 15-minute yoga workout each week.

I hate that I have to keep backing up with this goal. Next month, it'll probably read 'one 15-minute yoga workout every other week'.

Read at least four books.

I know I have a slight lead in my Goodreads challenge, but I'd like to keep that lead. However, that said, I will totally sacrifice it in the name of getting my own manuscript to the printer.

Other Things I'm Looking Forward To This Month:

—A visit to the Ren Faire. I still haven't decided upon which theme weekend I want to attend, but as long as I get to go at all, I'll be good.

—Season Two of Jessica Jones. Season One was seriously amazing, and I have been looking forward to the second season from the moment that the first ended.

Ready Player One in theaters. I'd really like to read the book again before I go (it's been a while since I've read it. A refresher course couldn't hurt), but I have no idea if that's in the cards.

That's everything on my agenda this month. What's on your To-Do list?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Wrap Up

Wait...what's this? Two posts in the same week?

I know. I can't believe it, either.

Okay, so we've finally reached the end of February. I say 'finally' because it feels as though this month  (this year) has gone on for about twelve million years. I wouldn't mind this phenomenon, if I were actually getting anything done, but the harsh truth remains that I really am not.

Whatever. I'll just try again next month.

Today, however, I am offering up a review of the goals I had set for myself at the start of February and a little bit on how I did with them.

Here we go...

1. Send Second Nature to the printer.

Yeah. That didn't happen. But did you really expect it to happen? I'm still working on the blurb for the back of the book. Three-quarters of it is done and ready to go. There's just one paragraph for which I haven't yet found the right wording. I'm a little afraid that I'll be working on the blurb for the rest of my natural-born days and a good portion of my being-a-ghost days, which is sad. If I'm going to be a ghost, I want to do way more interesting things than write blurbs for the back of books.

2. Read at least four books.

I actually managed to do this one. Not only did I read four books this month, I read eight. Sure, three of those books were kids books that were lying around my mother's house (some series about a pigeon who wants to drive a bus and eat junk food), but they still count, right?

3. Walk, run, or bike at least three miles each day.

I fell short on this one, but not by much. I missed the mark on two days (one by a little, one by a lot). Every other day, however, I either met or exceeded the three mile mark, which is a vast improvement over January. The Man and I have even started one of those "Couch to 5K" type programs to help us become actual runners and not theoretical ones. It's going really well. Here's some footage of me running:

4. Do two fifteen-minute yoga workouts each week.

Yeah. I managed one ten-minute workout the entire month. So...yeah. Still a little work to do here. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting back into the routine, but if anyone can come up with a way to blame Florida rather than my own laziness, then please let me know. I couldn't find a gif I liked for this, so please enjoy Baby Groot instead:

Recap of Other Things I was Looking Forward to in February:

—The Super Bowl.

Yeah. That did not go the way I had hoped it would. But, like, congrats to the Eagles or whatever.

—This Is Us

Well, I sobbed and then sobbed some more. This show makes me cry a lot. I have a friend who's afraid she's this cold, unfeeling monster because she never cries while watching. I've assured her I'm just a big baby. Here's some footage of me watching the show:

The Black Panther movie

I thought it was a lot of fun, and I want to be Shuri or Nakia or Okoye when I grow up. That is all.

—Ren Faire visit

This didn't happen. Other things came up, so the Ren Fair visit has been bumped to March. I'm trying to decide between two theme weekends: Saint Patrick's Day or Harry Potter. I know you wouldn't think it, but it's been surprisingly tough to settle on one. The Man, being the superhero that he is, has suggested that we just go both weekends. Which seems like a good compromise to me.

The Winter Olympics

I watched so much curling. (Yet, I still don't understand it. Like, at all. I was even reading about it online, and I still don't understand it.) And figure skating. And downhill ski racing. Congrats to the U.S. women's hockey team on their gold medal. That was a hell of a game, even if it did make my Canadian friend very, very sad.

Okay, that's going to do it for me today. Tune in on Monday when I write about my March goals and plans. I promise it'll be more riveting than it sounds*...

I know it's just Wednesday, but have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

*—Possibly not more riveting than it sounds.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Souper Soup

Hey, all!

Today on My Pet Blog, we're pleased to be taking part in the Souper Blog Hop, celebrating the latest release, Pea Soup Disaster, from super (see what I did there?) author Elaine Kaye.

Participants are asked to share a favorite soup recipe, or—if you're like me and you don't cook anything that requires a recipe—just share a favorite soup...even if it comes from a can. Which is good, because pretty much anything I can cook comes from a can.

My father used to make pea soup, this big giant pot of it, whenever he had a ham bone. I never had any. It just looked so...gross. I like peas, I'll eat ham, but pea soup? No way. However, my significant other loves it, so whenever my father made a batch, he would send me home with a big container for him.

Personally, I've always been partial to Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup. We had it as kids, usually mixed with some kind of pasta, and the meal just stuck with me, I guess. Even today, Cream of Chicken soup and elbow macaroni is one of my top go-to comfort foods.

And because I'm a smart ass, here's a picture of the soup in a bowl...

Congratulations, Elaine! Wishing you much success!

Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates.

Available in Print:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Kaye got the idea for Pea Soup Disaster from her son who loved to eat her homemade pea soup. Pea Soup Disaster is the first of many fun stories featuring Gregory Green and his teddy bear, Sammy, as part of the Gregory Green Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Find Elaine:
Website / Instagram / Litsy - @ElaineKaye

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Take This Book And Shelve It (An IWSG Post)

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I'm assuming that everyone coming out here today is already well-versed in this group, but if you're looking for more information, or a complete list of participants, click on the above link.

This month's co-hosts are: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte.

This month's (optional) question asks, "What do you love about the genre you write in most often?"

But I'm skipping that question in order to discuss with you something that's been weighing on my mind.

How do you know when/if you should put aside a project?

See, I have this WIP I've been working on off and on (more off than on) for a while now. Its working title is Vinnie & Ellie, so you may already be somewhat familiar with it. In case you're not, it's a maybe-not-actually-a-romance novel I decided to pull out of my unfinished manuscript pile last year in an attempt to, you know, finish it.

And this attempt started off reasonably strong, I thought, but has steadily slowed over the past few months. Whatever momentum I had at the beginning is gone. It's like I no longer have a feel for the characters, who they are, or what it is they want or do or...anything else. It feels as though the only way this book will be finished is if I make some kind of deal with a crossroads demon. I'm stuck. I'm blocked. I'm...I don't know. Disinterested, maybe. I don't know exactly what it is, but every time I sit down at the computer to work on it, I soon find myself doing my best Cave Slayer impression.

I don't want to give up on this project completely. I like the main characters (mostly) and I like where the story's headed (mostly), or at least where I think the story's headed. (Or where I'd like it to head. As much planning as I do, I still seem to never truly know where a story's going to end up.) There are a pair of scenes of which I am particularly fond (mostly...just kidding. I really am fond of them, which for me, is really saying something) and I would hate for them to go to waste.

But in spite of these truths, I just can't seem to make myself work on it.

Which brings me back to my initial question.

How do you know when/if you should put a project aside?

Should I find a way to power through this dry spell (or whatever it should be called)? Should I stick it back in the unfinished manuscript pile and find something else to work on? Should I give up writing in favor of becoming a professional consumer of baked goods? (That is a job, right?)

Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do to rectify it?

Thanks for stopping by today. See y'all next time.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

February Goals

All right. So, 2018 got off to a pretty crappy start, and I can't say I dealt with it particularly well. I've been feeling rather...lost or unmoored or stuck. (I know those last two are opposites, but it fits, strangely enough.) I admit it's been like that for a good long while now, but January certainly aggravated things past the point of appreciated.

So February finds me in need of getting back on track. Or, at the very least, getting to a point where I can find the track. Actually getting back on track might end up being a March thing. (Or a never thing. We'll have to see how it goes.)

With that in mind, I present my goals for the month of February.

1. Send Second Nature to the printer.

I guess the good news to be found in my crappy start is that at least nothing else has gone wrong with this book. Of course, that's mostly because I've barely done anything at all with this book lately, but a girl will occasionally take whatever wins she can get. So February's goal is to get the formatting all wrapped up and be finished with this book once and for all.

2. Read at least four books.

My 2018 reading goal is to read 52 books. I am just slightly behind that pace, so the goal this month is really just not to get further behind. Titles I'm looking forward to maybe getting around to read include Still Me by Jojo Moyes and Artemis by Andy Weir.

3. Walk, run, or bike at least three miles a day.

I am woefully behind in my mileage goal. I like to think that if I can get myself more active more often that it could help with my being-stuck issues. It certainly couldn't hurt, right?

4. Do two fifteen-minute yoga workouts each week.

Doing more yoga was a part of my yearly goals, and I have yet to complete a single workout. I really need to change that up.

Things I'm Looking Forward To This Month 

1. The Super Bowl (Go Pats! And yes, I know you likely hate them and/or football. I'm cool with that. Also interesting fun fact, The Man is looking for somewhere else to watch the game because he can only take so much of me jumping up and down on the furniture while losing my mind. It's been a loooooooong season.)

2. The next episode of This Is Us (Even though I already know that I am going to sob so freaking hard. Seriously. Even the preview for this episode had me in tears.)

3. The Black Panther movie (Even though it means we're one movie closer to the next Avengers movie, which will likely see me sobbing so freaking hard.)

4. A vist to the Florida Renaissance Faire (I haven't been to a Ren Faire since I moved to this godforsaken state. (Sorry, anyone who likes Florida. I just...don't.) I really can't wait to have a nice yard of beer and go shopping for weaponry.)

5. The Winter Olympics (I really do love watching the Olympics. Even curling. Maybe even especially curling.)

What's on your to-do list for February?