Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Woes

Yesterday was J’s (oldest daughter) birthday. She became an official teenager (she turned 13). I thought the weekend would be a great one spent celebrating. Don’t get me wrong, we did have fun and celebrated J’s special day, but it wasn’t all fun and celebration.

Yesterday while hubby was using the steamer to cook his tamales, the stove caught on fire. Apparently some grease (from when he fried some tortillas for chips) had gotten on the burner or something. The fire was put out and no one was hurt, but my stove is burnt.

A few scorch marks on the stove don’t bother me, but when I was removing the stove-top heating elements to make sure the fire was out (I used potholders so I wouldn’t burn myself) I sort of pulled one out and think I ruined the wiring on it. Since it’s an electric stove and we don’t want another fire, we’re going to toss out the stove and get a new one today. In about an hour or so, hubby will call me and I’ll meet him at the appliance store to pick out a new oven.

It was an old stove that came with the house (we’ve lived in this house for eleven years and who knows how long the stove was here before we moved in) so I’m not broken up about having to replace it. Still, that means a day of not getting writing done because I’m moving out the old stove and cleaning (it’s amazing how much stuff gets under the stove) so the new one can be brought in (hopefully before dinnertime).

In addition to the oven fiasco, we discovered a leak under the kitchen sink. Hubby patched it up, but things were pretty wet so we’re still trying to dry them out (and trying to prevent mold). These things always seem to happen at once!

On the good news side of things, this is the first full week of school for the kids (they started last Wednesday)! I’m excited to see how it goes for them—and me. Those first few days of school, the teachers didn’t require much from the kids, but that will change this week. They’ll be sending homework home. Which means we’ll have to figure out how to get back into the routine of doing chores and homework. And I get to figure out if the old time schedule still works or if I need to make adjustments. I’m pretty sure I’ll have some adjusting to do since both of the younger kids will have to read 30 minutes each night instead of last year’s 20 minutes. It may not seem like much, but those extra 10 minutes end up being an extra 20 minutes for me since they read to me separately. *sigh*

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reading. I LOVE READING!! But it’s hard on all of us to schedule that much time and still fit in all the other homework and chores and hope there’s enough time left before dinner for the kids to get outside and have some play time. I’m not sure teachers realize what they’re doing to us when they make such assignments.

Another fun thing that happened this weekend: one of my sisters introduced me to a fun new time waster game on the iPad. It’s called Jurassic Park Builder. Yeah. Like I needed another time waster. As I write this, my iPad is sitting next to me on the desk so I can periodically check on it and collect the money from my dinosaurs. I’ve rationalized it by convincing myself it’s not a huge time waster because it only takes a minute or so to tap on all the dinosaurs and collect the money. Still, that’s a minute I could have spent writing, I suppose. Hopefully I’ll get bored with playing it soon and get that minute back.

How was your weekend? How do you plan to spend your Monday?

Play Write on!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

The first day of school went great for the kids! With them gone, I enjoyed diving back into my old writing schedule. There were a few hours when I had to stop writing to take oldest son into town and get some lunch (yeah, I have one NOT in school at the moment—he graduated last year—but he’ll be taking some college classes . . . they start next month), but for the most part it was a productive swim in the writing waters.

Okay, to be honest, I was too scared and nervous about diving back into deep writing. I needed some time to splash around in the shallow end of the writing pool and reacquaint myself with the waters. So I dipped my toes into the MS with some revising and managed to clear the three chapter mark.

Today, I’m swimming into deeper waters with some writing of new chapters/scenes. Hopefully I won’t flail around in the waters, sink to the bottom, and drown. I don’t understand why I’m so nervous about swimming into the deep end. After all, I know how to swim. It shouldn’t be any trouble to dive into the deep and and just do it . . . but I’m struggling to work up the nerve.

And it’s not like I’m writing a completely new novel, I’m just rewriting an old one. The bare bones are there, I just have to flesh them out and clean up the messy ones.

Have any of you taken a break from writing? If so, how did/do you get back into the “swim” of things?

Write on?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Words

It’s here! The kids are off to their first day of school. While I’m excited because it means I’ll be able to get back to a writing schedule/routine, I’m also a bit nervous. Not sure if it’s nerves for the kids and the new school year for them, or nerves for myself and my writing. I’m not sure why I should be nervous about diving back into a regular writing schedule, but I think I might be. This is the first time in a long time that I’ll have Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for nothing but writing. I won’t be going back to school myself this semester, and (so far) I’m not signed up to do any volunteering at the school library. My days from about 9:00 until 3:00 are all mine for writing!

Of course, Wednesday isn’t in the list above because hubby is off on Wednesdays, and it’s hard to write when he’s home watching TV. But today, he had a meeting in Flagstaff so he’s gone too (won’t be home until after the kids are). I’m going to get some writing done today! It’s not that I haven’t been writing at all during the summer—I did a bit here and there when I could, but it was hard with kids home—but there’s a part of me that wonders if my lax summer habits will be easy to break (played lots of games during the summer). I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things (this blog post might be considered an effort to procrastinate, but I think it’s more of a “breaking the ice” type thing) right away and accomplish quite a bit of writing.

The first project I’ll be tackling is finishing up the rewrite of the MG I’ve been doing. Once finished with the rewrite, I’ll be revising it based on feedback from critique buddies. I’m setting a deadline and planning on having it all finished and revised and ready to send to my wonderful agent by the end of September.

What are your plans for this wonderful Wednesday?

Write on!

Monday, July 16, 2012

July Recent Reads Reviews

It’s time for some reviews on books I’ve read recently (well, since my last reviews in April). As a reminder of my new scoring system, I’m using emoticons. Here’s what they mean:

Open-mouthed smileWOW—I loved this book and will talk/have talked about/shared it with others.

Smile--Not totally in love, but this was a great book and I may talk about/share it with others.

Thinking smile--This was okay. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not my favorite.

Sad smile--This wasn’t for me. I stopped reading and couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Steaming mad--How did this get published?

If you happen to be the author of one of the books I review, please remember this is my honest opinion. Don’t hate me if I don’t give your book a great big happy grin. I am only one reader in the whole wide readership and I’m sure there are those who’ll love your work—it just wasn’t me.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel--Open-mouthed smile--I picked this up at a book fair at the middle school last year. It sat in my TBR pile for quite a while—not because I didn’t want to read it, but because there were so many other books I had added to the pile first (yes, I’m reviewing out of order). I passed over some of the books that had been in the pile much longer and picked up this one. I guess I was in the mood for something dark. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I loved how Oppel treated Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein and other characters. The idea of showing Victor’s earlier years is brilliant! It looked interesting when I picked it up in the book fair, but I may not have if the librarian (a trusted friend) had mentioned she picked herself up a copy. I’m glad I bought it! Oppel’s tale is rich with beautiful prose, and he handles the dark mind of Victor in a sympathetic and engrossing way. This is one I’ve added to my re-read pile.

The story—Sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein’s twin brother, Konrad, is ill and the doctors can’t seem to cure him. Desperate to save his brother, Victor enlists the help of his friend, Henry, and his beautiful cousin, Elizabeth, to help him find a cure. They think they’ve found the answer when they stumble on a secret library filled with Alchemy books. The practice of Alchemy is against the law, but Victor is willing to risk it when he discovers a recipe for the Elixir of Life. Certain it will cure his brother, he’s willing to make great sacrifices (I won’t tell you what and spoil it) to get the ingredients and see the potion made.


Dangerous Favor by Joyce DiPastena--Open-mouthed smile--While this wasn’t a “recent” read, I don’t remember reviewing it and wanted to. I love how DiPastena gives a brand new story and characters while still blending in past characters from her novels, Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart. This is another sweet (and clean) romance that transports the reader to the middle ages. I loved traipsing across medieval France with Mathilde and Etienne!

The story—Mathilde’s family was thrust into poverty when her father was accused of stealing from the king. Mathilde knows he’s innocent, but without a rich and connected husband, she has no way to prove it. She’s set her sights on Lord Therri and is determined to win his hand—and money and connections. She sets out to grant Therri her favor (an embroidered white ribbon her brother let her borrow) for the knight’s tournament. Instead, she’s tricked into granting her favor to Therri’s friend, Etienne. This sets in motion a chain of events that puts Mathilde and those around her in danger. Etinne is smitten by Mathilde and determined to save her from the dangerous nightmares of her past.


Drawn by Marie Lamba--Open-mouthed smile--Lamba’s great characters pulled me into the story, but it was the fascination of time travel/ghosts of the past that kept me reading. I’m a sucker for castles and loved the one in Drawn. The twining of past and present was brilliantly done, as was the romance and growth of the characters in both time periods. There were a few things I figured out before they were revealed (including who the “bad guy” was). I’ve been known to stop reading books when they are too predictable—but there has to be an eye-roll factor present for me to put it down, and there wasn’t any eye-rolling while I read Drawn. Even though I figured it out, Lamba’s characters and world were interesting and real enough to keep me reading.

The story—Michelle De Freccio isn’t sure she’s going to like living in England with her father or attending Wallingford Academy, but she’s willing to give it a try. Especially since no one knows her, and she won’t have the embarrassment of being known as the daughter of a psychic mother and schizophrenic brother to deal with. She’s making a new life for herself and enjoying drawing the mysterious man who’s showed up in her drawings—until she comes face to face with him. She’s immediately drawn to him, but things get complicated when she discovers who he really is. When she tries to unravel the mystery of him, it changes her future and his.


Those are some of my recent (or not so recent) reads. There are more I’ve read and need to review, but this is already a long post so they’ll have to wait until next time.

What about you? Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What books have been your favorite reads recently?


Read on!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

I’m Free to Write

Today I’m grateful for those who fought to win American independence and those who continue to fight to keep us free. In honor of these amazing and brave people, I’m going to exercise my freedom of speech and using the morning to write. Yay!

After the kids are up, we’ll have our flag ceremony (our Cub Scout is excited). Then the rest of the day will be pretty boring. The kids promised to clean their rooms (we’ll see if it happens), and I need to do a load of dishes and a load of towels (amazing how fast they get used in summer when kids are playing in the pool). Maybe we’ll have a barbeque for lunch, but basically everything we do is distraction to keep the kids from constantly asking me if it’s time for fireworks.

Yes, despite the extreme fire danger, our town does fireworks every year. Only because they do the fireworks out on the lake in Green Valley Park. Once again, the sky is cloudy and it looks like rain (it seems to rain here EVERY July 4th). I’m not sure how much of the fireworks we’ll be able to enjoy if it’s pouring down rain (though we did watch the fireworks in a light rain a couple of years ago). Still, we need the rain, and I’m grateful whenever it falls.

We aren’t sure where we’ll go to watch the fireworks this year. We used to have a spot up by the airport but over the years, others in the town have discovered what an amazing vantage point it is and it’s been super crowded the last couple of years.

We don’t go down to the park because it’s WAY too congested down there with all the people and traffic. Still, we’ll enjoy celebrating our independence today however we manage to do it.

But, as I said, I’ll be using the morning to do some writing.

What about you? If you’re here in America, what do you do to celebrate Independence Day?

Write on.