No post this week. I will be back with a new post next Monday, 1/4.
Instead I'm leaving you with a wish for a safe, happy, and healthy 2021.
Writing Related: I didn't do anything writing related last week. Even though we aren't having anyone come for Christmas, I am still doing holiday baking and wrapping gifts. I've decided to take the rest of the year off from writing and start fresh on Monday, January 4th.
Motivational Quote: I saw this on Pinterest - "Don't be busy, be productive." I feel like right now all I am is busy and not seeming to get much crossed off my To Do list.
What I'm Reading: I started reading Disorderly Conduct by Rebecca Zanetti last night. I like her Deep Ops series so I thought I'd give this Ebook a try.
Random Things: Christmas doesn't really seem very festive this year. While we are baking and bought gifts (thank goodness for online shopping) and wrapping them, we aren't having anyone come to celebrate the holiday. Covid-19 cases are increasing daily in our area and with an elderly mother living with me, we didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. Instead we've made arrangements with the people we normally buy gifts for to have me go to their homes the weekend after Christmas, ring the doorbell (while wearing a mask of course) and leave the gifts and their cookie platter on the porch. I'll wait by my car to make sure someone opens the door and takes the gifts inside before moving on to the next family.
Writing Related: I didn't work on any writing this week. I used the time to finish making my holiday cards because I wanted to get them in the mail this weekend.
Motivational Quote: "Throughout your life you will have to set your own priorities, make your own decisions. They won't always be the best or brightest ones, but that's how you learn." ~ Meredith Vieira
What I'm Reading: I started reading Brighter Than The Sun by Maya Banks on Friday. This is the eleventh book in the KGI series.
Random Things: This is the first year that I've done all of my holiday gift shopping online with the exception of 2 gift cards for local businesses. I really liked the convenience of it. I may continue to do the bulk of my holiday gift shopping online in the future.
Writing Related: I only managed to write 5 pages last week. I started telecommuting for my day job this week due to the overwhelming rise in Covid-19 cases in my area. I ended up working longer hours than I do when I'm actually in the office. I'm going to start setting a timer so that I can keep better track of time so that I don't end up starting a project that can't be stopped in the middle of when it's quitting time.
Motivational Quote: "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can." ~ Sidney Smith I know I'm repeating this quote for the 3rd week in a row, but after how little writing I accomplished last week, I feel like it's very apropos.
What I'm Reading: I'm reading Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean. It's the 3rd book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series. I loved the first book in the series and liked the second book as well, but I'm really struggling with this last one. I'm finding myself looking for something, anything, else to read instead of picking Daring and the Duke up.
Random Things: I should have started making my holiday cards at least a week or so ago, but I've been procrastinating. I couldn't decide what designs I wanted to use so that may have been part of reason while I've been putting it off. I finally decided this last weekend to make just 2 separate designs instead of multiple designs this year. Now to actually make them.
Writing Related: I did not get as much writing done as I had hoped last week. We only had 2 people over for Thanksgiving dinner instead of our usual 12 to 15 people, but the prep work took more time than I expected.
Motivational Quote: "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can." ~ Sidney Smith I'm repeating the motivational quote from last week. I think it should be my new mantra.
What I'm Reading: I'm about half way through Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday. It's the second book in the Matchmaker Bay series. I loved the first book in the series, Mermaid Inn. I'm kind of not liking Paradise Cove as much, but I can't really put my finger on why.
Random Things: My uncle set up a Zoom meeting on Thanksgiving evening with my mom and all of her siblings. Most of her siblings live down south. With the pandemic and travel restrictions, no one has been able to (or willing to) travel. It was nice for my mom to be able to visit with her brother and sisters without anyone putting themselves or others at risk.
Writing Related: I didn't get quite as much accomplished as I have the last two weeks. I have Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday so I hope to spend most of that day writing.
Motivational Quote: "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can." ~ Sidney Smith
What I'm Reading: I started reading Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas Saturday night. This is the first book I've read by this author. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet even though I'm about 90 pages into the story. The story is told from about 4 characters' point of view (POV) with each chapter in a different POV.
Random Things: My mom and I started our holiday shopping yesterday. Like most people, we are going to try to do the majority of our shopping online this year. I'm not sure how I feel about not going to stores yet. It's nice not having to deal with crowds and trying to find a parking space, but it also seems to take away a bit of the holiday spirit to shop on a store's website.
Writing Related: Another good week. I feel like I'm on a roll. I'm also rethinking the title of the first book in the series. I have to make a decision soon so I have time to have the cover changed by my designer and still have time to get everything put together and ready to go so that when January 4th arrives, I'll just have to hit the "publish" button.
Motivational Quote: Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. ~ Robert Collier. I really like this quote so I'm repeating it this week.
What I'm Reading: I started Thick As Thieves by Sandra Brown last night. I'm only a chapter or so into the story so I'm undecided how I feel about it. I really enjoy some of her books, but at the same time there have been some of them that I haven't finished.
Random Things: I started making my holiday cards this past Saturday. I usually make a different card for each person on my list, about twenty people total. This year I'm only making two different cards so some people will get one and some people will get the other one. This will make getting the cards done a lot quicker because I can do all the cutting, stamping, and coloring for both types assembly line style.
Writing Related -- Had another good week. Not as good as last week, but I still feel like I got a significant amount done.
Motivational Quote: Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. ~ Robert Collier
What I'm Reading: I started reading All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne. This the second book in the Devil You Know series. I love Ms. Byrne's books. I own quite a few of them.
Random Things: We've been having a stretch of beautiful, sunny, warm weather the last 5 days or so. It's been in the mid 60's to mid 70's. I'm enjoying the weather because all too soon we'll be back to 40 degree weather and colder. I've been working in the garden to get it ready for the winter. I found a few late blooming flowers including a wayward daisy and a miniature sunflower.
Writing Related -- I had a very productive week last week. Probably the best week I've had in a long time. I'm should be able to get a lot accomplished this week as well. I do have one appointment that will take up my writing time this coming Friday, but other than that I should be able to work on my current manuscript as planned.
Motivational Quote: "Other days, other ways" ~ French Proverb. I think this is going to be my new mantra. If something does crop up that eats into my writing time, then I'll find another way/time to get things done instead.
What I'm Reading: I started Wonton Terror by Vivien Chien last Friday night. It's the 4th book in the Noodle Shop mystery series.
Random Things: I can't believe it's November already. The pandemic and everything related to it (changes in how my job is done, trying to grocery shop, not being able to visit with family members, etc) seems to have lasted forever (I swear the month of May was much longer than 31 days), yet the year itself has flown by.
Writing Related -- I had a really good week despite losing two days of writing time due to appointments and working late. I'm going to try really hard to get this manuscript finished by the end of October. It seems very doable right now.
Motivational Quote: "The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." ~ Walt Disney
What I'm Reading: I started reading Butterfly Bayou by Lexi Blake last night. This is the first book I've read by this author.
Random Things: Last week I wrote that I was fighting the urge to bake cookies. I lost the battle. I made a small batch (2 dozen) of chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. I took a half dozen into work, dropped off the other half dozen to one of my sisters, and my mom and I split the remaining dozen. We ate the last couple of cookies last night with a cup of tea while we were watching television. My "share" lasted a whole week which is a big win for me.
Writing Related -- I had a pretty good week compared to recent weeks. I feel like I can finally see the end of the editing/rewriting tunnel.
Motivational Quote: "Trust that still, small voice that says, 'This might work and I'll try it.'" ~ Diane Mariechild
What I'm Reading: I'll be starting How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson tonight.
Random Things: I'm fighting the urge to bake cookies. The problem with baking cookies is then I want to eat them. And not just one or two. Every time I walk by the container, the cookies call to me and I find it nearly impossible to leave the kitchen without one in hand.
Writing Related -- My local city hall is still not taking appointments. I don't want to wait much longer to be able to file a DBA so I printed off the required forms, filled them out, and will drop them in the mail on my way to work this morning. Now I wish I hadn't waited to try and do it in person, but you know what they say about hindsight,
Motivational Quote: "One day or day one. It's your decision." ~ Unknown
What I'm Reading: I started reading Can't Stop Loving You by Miranda Laisson this past weekend. It's the first book in the Spikonos Brothers series.
Random Things: I don't watch a lot of television, but I'm missing the start of the usual fall television season. When I do want to watch TV, there's not usually a lot on worth watching right now. I've started watching the Aurora Teagarden mystery series on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. They are running shows from previous seasons right now so I've been watching those. The new season's premier episode will be on Sunday, 10/18.
Writing Related -- I figured out the scene that was giving me so much trouble last week. This week I'm going to call and find out if our city hall is accepting in person appointments. If so, I will schedule an appointment to file my DBA. If it isn't, I can do it by mail, but it states on the website that it takes at least 90 days (or longer now due to Covid-19) for applications to be processed by mail which is why I'm hoping I can do it in person. The website even recommends you do it in person, of course this was before the pandemic.
Motivational Quote: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." ~ Mark Twain
What I'm Reading: I started A Coldwater Warm Hearts Wedding by Lexi Eddings yesterday. It's the second book in the series. I read the first book last week. I borrowed the second book when I picked up a couple of books for my mom on Friday that she had requested from the library.
Random Things: I'm going to try and work on making my holiday cards on Saturday afternoons so that I can get a few done at a time instead of trying to get them all made in a week in December. Not sure how many I'll get done before December, but I'm going to try and get at least half of them done. This week I have to make two birthday cards for birthdays that are coming up this weekend.
Writing Related -- I started out well, then hit a wall. I have a scene I need to rewrite/rework and am struggling with it. I've tried writing it from one character's point of view, but I think I need to try it from the other character's point of view.
Motivational Quote: "Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart." ~ Roy T. Bennett
What I'm Reading: I started Coldwater Warm Hearts Club by Lexi Eddings last night. It was shelved in the contemporary romance section at the library, but I think it's more women's fiction than romance. I am enjoying it though. I've never read anything by this author before. I came across the book while I was perusing the shelves waiting for my mom.
Random Things: I tacked up calendar pages for October and November on the wall to help me keep track of things both writing and non-writing related as we move through the last part of year. I used push pins. Wow, were they hard to push into the wall! I was able to get just enough of the point into the wall to hold the papers. That's it. If this tracking system works and I end up doing it throughout 2021, I'm going to need to invest in a cork board to tack the pages to instead.
Writing Related -- I had hoped to get quite a bit done last week, but it didn't work out that way. I had a terrible migraine Wednesday that came on as I was driving home from work so I ended laying down for a couple of hours until the worst of it passed, then tried to play catch up and do everything that should have been done while I was laying down. Friday, I ran errands for my mom so no writing done.
Motivational Quote: (I'm repeating last week's quote.) "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work." ~ Colin Powell
What I'm Reading: I started Seconds to Live by Melinda Leigh Sunday before I went to bed. This is the third book in the Scarlet Falls series. I thought the first book, Hour of Need, was okay. I couldn't finish the second book, Minutes to Kill. It was really dark and dealt with human trafficking.
Random Things: It was finally cool enough in my area to do some baking. (Who wants to bake when it's 80 degrees or more?) I made sour cream blueberry muffins. Here's a photo of one. (I put them away before I thought to take a picture. The photo is of the one I had for lunch with a cup of tea.)
As I mentioned in last Friday's post, I've been thinking about no longer blogging. At the same time, I've been doing it so long I don't really want to just stop doing it. After thinking about it for the last couple of weeks, I've decided I will only post every Monday.
The post may be more along the lines of my former What's Up Wednesday posts at least for a while. I'm going to do this new format/posting schedule for the time being. I may decide to stop blogging altogether at the end of the year. We'll see how it goes.
As I mentioned in Wednesday's post. I'm thinking about no longer blogging. I'm not sure yet. It can sometimes take some time to come up with a topic then do the writing for Monday posts. Sometimes I even have a problem coming up with Friday posts that I think will be interesting. I've been told numerous times over the past few years that as a writer blogging is not a good way to utilize your time. I've been doing it since 2011 so part of me is hesitant to let my blog go. I need to make a decision one way or the other.
My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I only did about 5 pages of new material last week. I took my normal writing time to really take a look at where I am and where I want to be. I've been going back and forth on whether I want to continue blogging. If it's worth putting my time and effort into.
Quote of the Week: "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work." ~ Colin Powell
What I'm Reading: I started reading The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard on Monday afternoon. This is the first book I've read by this author and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.
Random Thoughts: I harvested the lone cucumber I grew this summer. We had no female flowers on any of the squash plants and only 2 female flowers on the cucumber plant. One grew quite well, the other only grew to about two inches or so and then withered away. The plants themselves grew like crazy. It was disappointing that there were only male flowers though.
Random Photo of the Week:
My female cat, Mrs. Green, loves to sit or lay on the windowsill and look out the window, especially when the window is open. She also sits on the sill of our big picture window in the living room. I can always tell when she's been looking out that window because it doesn't open and the glass is always full of little tiny nose prints no matter how often I wipe the glass down.
My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Still working on rewriting the ending. I've added sixteen more new pages. I had a couple of things crop up after work last week that took up some of my writing time. I'm hoping to get more done this week.
Quote of the Week: "We define ourselves by our actions. With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are." ~ Bill Watterson
What I'm Reading: I started reading What I've Done by Melinda Leigh on Monday. This is the fourth book in the Morgan Dane series. There are only two more books in the series before I'm caught up to what the author has written. I'm hoping she continues to write more books in the series.
Random Thoughts: I really need it to cool down for a week or so. I'm about two months behind in working on my temperature blanket because it's way too hot to crochet with the blanket over your lap.
Random Photo of the Week:
I came across this quote and really liked it so I thought I'd share it here.
As you know I've been working on revisions for two manuscripts for a while. If I'm completely honest, it's taken me longer than it ever should have. I did three drafts for each manuscript and then sent them out to beta readers and am now working on revisions based on their feedback. I'm hoping the 4th draft will be the last.
A lot of writers prefer the revision/editing/rewriting process over writing the initial first draft. I'm the exact opposite. I find the revision/editing process to tortuous. The cartoon below depicts perfectly what I'm thinking and feeling as I'm working on revisions/editing. After a few minutes of angst, I make the necessary changes. Although I hate the process, I'm the first one to admit the changes always make the story better.
I included the quote below in my Wednesday, 8/19 post.
"...habit is overcome by habit." ~ Erasmus
I'm trying to replace bad habits with good, or should I say better, habits. I will admit it's hard. I read or heard somewhere that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. I would say it takes much longer than that.
I've been trying to make it a habit to exercise at least 5 days a week since last October and some weeks, I still struggle to get those 5 days in.
I seem to do better if I do the things that I'm trying to make into a habit as part of a daily routine. For example I've started filling our water pitcher every evening around 7:30pm even if it's only had 1 glass taken out of it. By making it part of my evening housework routine, we never have an empty water pitcher anymore.
It's harder to make something a habit if I don't do it daily because I'll push it off to the next day or the next day and then if something unexpected comes up that steals the time I allotted for it, then it doesn't get done.
My Current WIP (Work In Progress): Still working on rewriting the ending. I've added twenty new pages. I feel like it's much better, but the book is going to be much longer than the 325 pages that it was originally.
Quote of the Week: "...habit is overcome by habit." ~ Erasmus
What I'm Reading: I started reading Bones Don't Lie by Melinda Leigh on Sunday. This is the third book in the Morgan Dane series. I'm really enjoying the series.
Random Thoughts: I found a four new cookie recipes that I'm looking forward to trying. Now, I just need it to cool down out of the 80's so I can put the oven on.
Random Photo of the Week:
I scolded Somebody and he went and sat in the corner.
I like to read my horoscope a couple of times a week to see if it relates to what's happening in my life at the time. I'm not sure how much I believe in astrology, but it can be interesting when it seems to relate to what I'm feeling at a certain time. It also can be way off base.
Anyway, I checked my horoscope in the local newspaper one day last week and this is what it said: "You're becoming profoundly aware of what you really want in life. Things are occurring that make it hard to avoid that fact."
When I read that, my whole self sat up and took notice because that was exactly how I was feeling. I have become more aware of what I want in life especially lately. I don't know if it's because I had a birthday a few months ago or it's the pandemic, or maybe it's because my two co-workers are always talking about retiring. One is 61 so she is getting close to retirement, but the other is only 41. He wants to retire at 50 or 55 at the latest.
For the last ten years or so, I've found myself thinking there has to be more to life than getting up, going to work, coming home from work, making dinner, doing housework, having an hour or so to relax, then off to bed to get up and do it all over again day after day after year after year.
Even though I've been feeling that way for a while, I haven't really done anything about it. Just kept on living what one friend calls "a life of quiet desperation."
I've been working much harder on my writing lately than I have in the past. I don't know if it's because of those reasons I listed above or that I'm back to my old self at last after the devastating loss of a loved one 6 years ago that led to depression, anxiety, and the loss of will to do anything but just get through the day much less write.
It's been a long road back with a few setbacks along the way, but I finally feel like I can see the future. I don't want to spend it living in quiet desperation any longer.
I last posted about my container gardening efforts on July 17th so I thought I'd give you an update. The plants are growing like crazy. This is the first time that I've tried growing vegetables where the squirrels haven't dug them up or bothered them at all.
Unfortunately despite having a lot of blossoms, we don't have any squash or cucumbers. All of the blossoms have been male and, of course, female blossoms are the ones that bear the actual vegetable.
We rarely see bees and this summer I haven't seen a single one so I watched a YouTube video on how to hand pollinate the blossoms. But until we have female blossoms, I can't try to hand pollinate to see if it will work.
I'm not sure why we haven't had any female blossoms. I don't know if it's because there aren't any bees around or if it's a fluke or what. I'm thinking Mother Nature is conspiring to keep me from actually being able to grow my own vegetables. 😀
Here's what the plants look like now -
I had to remove some of the older dying leaves from the squash plant that show in the photo below before I took the above picture.
My Current WIP (Work In Progress): I only managed 13 pages of new material for the ending I'm rewriting. One of my siblings had laptop issues and needed to drop it off to a repair shop to be looked at. She doesn't drive due to medical issues so I took her to drop it off on Monday and we went back and picked it up on Friday so I lost writing time on those 2 days.
Quote of the Week: "Procrastination is not your friend." ~ Unknown I'm repeating last week's quote because I really need to keep it front and center lately.
What I'm Reading: I started reading Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien on Sunday. This is the third book in the Noodle Shop mystery series.
Random Thoughts: I really need to go to the library. I'm running out of books to read. I'm so glad our library is back open, but right now it is open limited hours and not at all on the weekends. With my schedule and the limited operating hours, I don't think I can fit a trip in to go to the library until 8/21 which seems soooo far away.
Random Photo of the Week:
This is my new mantra for life. 😊
I have a twenty five minute commute one way to the day job. I'm not complaining because I know people who have commutes twice that long and more.
I usually listen to the radio during my drive to the office especially in the mornings so I can keep track of the traffic reports - if there are any construction slow downs or accidents that cause traffic to back up somewhere along my route. On the way home, I usually listen to classical music to help decompress and it helps me think about the current manuscript I'm working on.
One of my writer friends mentioned she listens to podcasts during her commute. She mentioned the podcast by K.M. Weiland, the Fated Mates podcast, and Joanna Penn's podcast as the ones she listens to most often. I'm going to check these out.
Do you listen to podcasts? What ones would you recommend? They don't necessarily have to be writing related, just ones you enjoy.