Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I did 50 more pages of revisions/edits last week. My goal is to do the same this week. At this pace, I'll have revisions for the entire manuscript completed by the end of February.

Quote of the Week: "One Day or Day One. You decide." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I just started Beyond Reason by Kat Martin. I love Ms. Martin's historical novels and am looking forward to reading this book, though it's in a different sub-genre (Romantic Suspense).

Random Thoughts:  I'm finding that the more I work from a To Do list each day when I get home from the day job the more I seem to accomplish. It may be because I now have a list of things to work on instead of trying to work on a bunch of things at once getting little or nothing done on projects that will take some time to complete. 

Random Photo of the Week:

      Mrs. Green holding onto one of her favorite toys (an old shoelace) while she's sleeping.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Reading and Eating

I have a bad habit of eating snack foods like popcorn, Cheez-Its, pretzels, cookies, and the like when I'm reading a book. I don't know how or when I acquired the habit, but I've done it for years. Like nearly everyone else on the planet, I'm trying to eat healthier and stay away from those less healthy foods listed above. (Oh cookies, how I miss you so.) I'm also trying to break the habit of snacking while reading.

When I do need a snack, I've started eating a small serving of mixed nuts or homemade granola. I've tried a few different granola recipes and decided to share one of my favorites below. A friend gave me the recipe. She's made it for years and has, in her words, tweaked it enough to make it great. I'm sharing the recipe with her permission.

Cranberry Walnut Granola
2 cups uncooked old fashioned rolled oats (I use Quaker brand)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I've also used almonds.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries (I use Ocean Spray brand)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients except the dried cranberries/cherries in a large mixing bowl. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Spread the mixture in a thin layer about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 30 minutes or until mixture is golden in color. Stir mixture every 15 minutes during the baking period. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir in the dried cranberries/cherries.  It will stay fresh for up to 3 months if stored in an airtight container. (It never lasts that long in my house though.)

The granola is great by itself or mixed with yogurt. I also sprinkle it over frozen yogurt and vanilla ice cream. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

This I know for sure...

Like most people I set a select number of goals in January that I want to meet by the end of the year. I also set quarterly and monthly goals to help me meet those main goals. I'm working hard to be able to look back on 2018 and say it was a very successful year.

Also like most people, I tend to lose my way and get off track and any goals I set back in January don't get met or are only partially done. This year I am determined that won't happen. To help me stay on track, I've incorporated a few different habit trackers.

People who do bullet journals use habit trackers on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. While I'm don't use a bullet journal, I've done some research into them. I have high hopes that by using various aspects of a bullet journal, it will help me stay on track.

Yes it's only January, but it seems to be working. I'll update here now and then, maybe once a month or every quarter, how my system is going and if it is actually helping me meet those goals.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I did 50 pages of revisions/edits last week. I plan on doing at least that amount this week. 

Quote of the Week:  “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” ~ Anonymous

What I'm Reading: I started Pretend You're Safe by Alexandra Ivy last night. Ms. Ivy is a relatively new author to me. I've only read 2 of her other books and enjoyed them both.
Random Thoughts: I can't watch any type of horror movie or read straight up horror books because they give me nightmares, but I don't have any problems reading books involving serial killers or straight up suspense novels. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                     I felt in need of a little bit of Spring so I purchased an African Violet plant.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Borrow vs. Buy

I read quite a bit, usually whenever I have some free time though lately free time seems to be coming at a premium. I wanted to write that I read a lot, but I set a goal of reading 52 books last year and fell short. I only read 48 books so I can't say I read "a lot." My mom read 94 books so I guess she can say she reads a lot.

I happened to mention to a friend that I was going to the library this past weekend. She looked at me like I'd just said I was going to commit murder. She asked in an astounded tone, "You don't buy the books you read? You're a writer. I can't believe you don't support your fellow authors."

While I do borrow the majority of the books I read from the library or friends and family, I also buy about a third of them. It would be next to impossible for me to buy all the books I want to read. I do occasionally buy a new to me author especially if the author and/or book has been recommended to me by a friend or family member. For example a friend raved over the Brooklyn Bruisers Series by Sarina Bowen. I borrowed the first book from the friend, purchased both the first and second books, and when the third book came out, I purchased that as well. I do plan on looking into other books written by Ms. Bowen, but unless they grab me like the Brooklyn Bruisers series did, I most likely will borrow them from the library.

Most of the books I do purchase are automatic buys by certain authors. Whenever these authors release a new book, I don't even have to know what the book is about. I make a trip to Barnes & Noble or hop online to Amazon to buy that latest book.

Some of my auto buy authors are Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, Laura Trentham, Jill Shalvis, Sarah MacLean, Lisa Kleypas, Laura Lee Guhrke, Laura Griffin, the Charlie Davidson series by Darynda Jones, and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.

Do you utilize your local library or do you purchase the majority of the books you read? What are some of your automatic buy authors?

Friday, January 19, 2018

This I know for sure...

I've always collected quotes. Not just motivational quotes, though those do seem to make up the majority of my collection, but quotes of all kinds that I can identify with in some form or another. 

Here are a few of my favorite non-motivational quotes:

"Every diet I ever fell off was because of potatoes and gravy of some sort." ~ Dolly Parton   I feel the same way about bread, not sandwich bread, but good bakery bread like baguette, batard, ciabatta, a loaf of sourdough. I could go on and on with the different types of bread that I can't say no to.

"Karma's a bitch only if you're one." ~ Unknown.  I agree completely with this quote.

"When you have got an elephant by the hind leg and he’s trying to run away, it’s best to let him run." ~ Abraham Lincoln.  This quote reminds me to let things go that I can't change or do anything about.

Do you have a favorite quote that may not be motivational, but that you identify with? 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I got a slow start last week, only managed to do 20 pages of revisions. I also started meeting with my critique partner again.

Quote of the Week: Focus, gather your strength, work hard, and success will come.” ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I still reading Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen. I hope to finish it by the end of the week. 

Random Thoughts:Random Thoughts: The weather has been crazy in my area. Last Thursday it was 60 degrees and sunny. Friday was in the low 50's and overcast. Saturday, we woke up to 18 inches of snow and a high temperature of 18 degrees. This week the forecast is for highs in the 20's and a chance of some snow every day.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                 Somebody caught playing with his sister's new toy.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Look Back

I was looking through old posts for an item my friend wanted me to print out and came across a post from a couple of years ago that reminded me that wanting something and working for it go hand in hand.

The old post:
Sometimes you hear or read a piece of wisdom and you think how sensible it sounds. You decide you're going to incorporate it into your life to help you lose weight, quit smoking, or something else you want to change or improve on. You might even start out following that piece of advice but soon you're back to those old, familiar habits, the advice forgotten or ignored. I know I'm more than guilty of doing this.

A week or so ago, my nephew stopped by for a visit. He competes in amateur boxing and is in training for a fight coming up in March. After he outlined the diet he's following (no dairy, no bread, no sugar, basically nothing other than plain poached chicken breasts, plain tuna, egg whites, steamed vegetables, and fruit) and how many hours he's in the gym per week, I said I was impressed. There would be no way I could give up dairy (I eat a lot of greek yogurt) or bread. I love bread. (Not the sandwich kind you buy from the grocery store, but the good bakery type.)

He laughed and said it's hard and that he dreams about doughnuts and is craving pizza. I praised his willpower. He pointed to his head and said, "It's not just what's in here, the whole mind over matter or willpower thing." He moved his hand to his chest and pointed to his heart. "It's what's in here. How badly do I want it? How badly do I want to win my match?"

While some of the post has changed (my nephew no longer boxes competitively, but now just to stay in shape), what he stated about his competitions still is important to me in achieving goals. Last year was a hard year for me in terms of meeting goals and reading this old post has reminded me that when I find myself getting off track, maybe the best thing I can do is ask myself how badly do I want to achieve my goals.

Friday, January 12, 2018

This I know for sure...

I mentioned in Wednesday's post that I was having a hard time getting back into the swing of things in terms of writing and working on revisions/edits. Apparently, other people got used to me being free during the time I was using for writing time as well.

My sister called on Tuesday and asked if I would please pick up her son from an event because she was stuck at work due to an unscheduled after hours client appointment. My other sister dropped by unexpectedly on Thursday to visit and stayed for 2 hours. While it was a nice visit and I was happy to see her since I normally only see her a couple of times a month, I couldn't help feeling like my writing time was draining away.

This weekend I'll be working on a plan to let people know I'm back to my writing routine without sounding like I don't want visitors or that I'm not available when needed.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress):  I started working on revisions of Honor Bound on Monday. 

Quote of the Week: "Make it happen. Shock everyone." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I started reading Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen. This is the third book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series. I really like this series and am hoping it continues.  

Random Thoughts: It's been really hard to get my brain back on the editing/revision wavelength the last couple of days after taking so much time off from writing. I know it'll get easier as I get back into the swing of things, but right now my thoughts are hopping around from one editing thing to another making it hard to concentrate on one issue at a time.

Random Photo of the Week:

I came across this on the internet and had to use it as my photo of the week because it perfectly depicts how I'm feeling as I get back to work on my current manuscript. 


Monday, January 8, 2018

Staying on Track

I set goals last year that I didn't come close to meeting. Not one. It's utterly depressing to state that here much less admit it to myself. I could use the excuse that life got in the way a good part of the time or that I worked in such a toxic environment the first half of 2017 that it was a wonder I was able to accomplish anything given that I was constantly consumed with how to cope with the worst of the toxic offenders whom I had to work closely with on a daily basis.

But then in the first part of June I took a position with a different company that is amazing to work for. There is no real stress to speak of and I now work with wonderfully supportive people. So that being said, one would think I should have made great strides the second half of 2017 in achieving my goals. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

This year I made similar goals to those from 2017. To help keep myself accountable, I made a motivation notebook with sections for each type of goal. For example there is a section for writing goals, a section for healthier living goals, and a section for goals to help me overcome my bad habit of procrastinating or avoidance. I have tracking sheets in each section for each goal set up in a bullet journal style, two pages in each section with pictures and quotes to help keep me inspired and motivated, there are sheets in each section where I can do a brain dump related to that particular goal. I have a few more things in each section, but you get the general idea.

I'm really hoping that my notebook with its tracking sheets etc and my SMART goals written out in quarterly, monthly, and weekly breakdowns will keep me on target or help me get back on track when I inevitably lose my way.

I'll post on Fridays now and then and let you know how it's working out.

Friday, January 5, 2018

This I know for sure...

This post isn't going to be about setting goals for 2018 or making New Year's resolutions, though I do have goals for the year that I'm going to work very hard at achieving. Instead I want to talk about choosing a word for the year.

While I don't think a single word should define how your year should or could be, I do like having a word to help motivate me to stay on track or get back on track when life inevitably pulls you in too many directions.

I took a lot of time to settle on my word. First, I considered "Promise", but decided the beginning of every year is full of promise. I then considered "Intention", but you know how that old say goes about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

After considering a few other words, I chose "Determined."  It defines how I feel I am about meeting my goals this year and other things I want to accomplish before 2018 comes to a close.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Writing is on hiatus during the holidays. I'll be starting back up next Monday.

Quote of the Week:  “The things you want should match up with the things you’re willing to do to get what you want." ~ Unknown

What I'm Reading: I'm not reading a novel right now. I have a stack of magazines I'm trying to get through by the end of this week so I can start the new year fresh and not have stuff I'm trying to clean up from 2017 left over.

Random Thoughts: I've seen a lot of posts and blogs online about choosing a word for the new year to help you achieve your goals. While I don't think a word should represent your whole year, I do like the idea of having a word to rely on that can help you stay on track or get back on track in meeting the goals you've set for the year. 

Random Photo of the Week:

                         Mrs. Green's favorite place to sleep during the holiday season.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

                              I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful 2018.