Recovery

Last week was not a good one to say the least. This one, at least, is getting better.

My husband’s surgery on Tuesday went well. Many thanks for all the good wishes and prayers–it never hurts! It did take longer than the doctor estimated, which was making me anxious. Then we found out why: his arm and elbow were broken not in five places like we were originally told, but in eight! So glad he’s on the mend, and the very next day was taking much less of the painkillers than prescribed.

The pain’s still with him, but his biggest problem now is that he’s bored to death. He’s watched every movie on Netflix that interests him, and has gotten to the point of spending money to play Clash of Clans (he’s played for months without spending a penny). DH is not much of a reader–he’s dyslexic, and it takes him like, forever, to get through a novel. But now, he has plenty of time, so I offered to recommend a book to him, but he said he wouldn’t be able to read on the painkillers. But maybe now… hehe! I bet he’d like Holly Lisle’s Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood, or maybe something by Bob Mayer

On Friday, we went to visit his friend who had the stroke, and wow, I could not believe how much he had improved, given how bad it was to begin with. His speech was slurred, but mostly understandable, and he could move all limbs. He said he could walk with assistance, and his parents told us he’s being moved to a rehab facility this week. So very encouraging!

DH also had his very, very, brief follow-up visit with the plastic surgeon who stitched up the cut near his eye the morning after the accident, and the doctor was impressed with how well it had healed. So more good news. It helped that DH is well-acquainted with cuts and bruises from his years playing high school football, and knew how to take care of it (and was something he could do one-handed).

Our daughter was here to visit from the university last weekend, and the only downside all week was that she brought me home the “Miami Plague.” So I’ve had a nasty cold all week, but thankfully, it’s not like the awful flu I had back in March/April that took three weeks to recover from.

IndenturedHeartsWhat I read this week: a historical romance, Indentured Hearts, by Hannah Meredith. Usually, I find the books I read on blogs, and therefore, most are by authors I “know,” at least online. This one, I found on a mailing list, where they were discussing book covers. With my graphic design experience, I like to check them out sometimes, especially when someone who says they have no design experience created a great cover after taking one class. Sometimes that can happen; usually it doesn’t. In this case, This cover is decent for amateur work, but what really drew me was the product description: it was a colonial romance about an English noblewoman who winds up an indentured servant, to a man who once was the same. I was especially interested because my own WIP is set in the same time period (mid-1700s), although on the frontier. I downloaded the sample, and was immediately hooked. Writers, if you want to see an example of a fantastic opening, go get this now! The rest didn’t disappoint, either, and I had no trouble clicking the Buy Now link at the end of the sample. Historically accurate, with real chemistry between the characters, I’m 85% through the book–and still hooked! I hope the author writes more in this series soon.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I didn’t expect to get much done this week, writing-wise, with DH’s surgery and all–and that was before I got sick. But I surprised myself! While it’s not as much as I’d have liked, I was surprised to see that I wrote over 1300 words this week. I started out just shooting for 100 words a day, and didn’t even do anything for a couple of days when I felt really crappy. But those words added up! Still going to take it easy this week, and shoot for finishing this scene plus getting a start on the next.

How has your week gone? If you’re working toward goals–of any kind–how are you doing? Anything you need to recover from? And how do you find the books you read? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

When Life Imitates Art

It has been a crazy week. Two or three people might’ve noticed that I didn’t post a blog last week. Rather than wax lyrical, I’ll get right to the action: I was at the hospital with my husband, who broke his arm Saturday night.

The short version of how he did it is, he fell some ten-twenty feet or so down a ravine leaving a festival. I was with a couple of friends and had planned to meet him in the parking lot. He shouldn’t have gone into the dark, wooded area between the festival and parking area, and a rent-a-cop security guard definitely shouldn’t have directed him there, but that’s what happened. He came stumbling up out of the woods on the other side looking like he’d come out the wrong side of a UFC match, and his arm is broken in five places.

The creepy thing? In my second novel Time’s Fugitive, a guy fell down into a ravine because it was dark, and broke his arm. I wrote that probably eight years ago, but still… weird! At least there weren’t bad guys chasing my husband.

He is due to have surgery Tuesday–couldn’t have it last week, because his arm is scraped up and that needed to heal somewhat first. So I have been playing nurse and not getting much writing done.

It’s amazing how many things are difficult, if not impossible to do with only one arm. Opening a granola bar package. Getting toothpaste. Tightening a loose towel rack. All things he tried to do while I was at work, things most of us take for granted. But he’s doing OK, and he’s keeping a good attitude about it. We are grateful to have family and friends to help, too.

We are just thankful it wasn’t worse. To put things into perspective, one of my husband’s best friends had a major stroke a couple days earlier and most likely will never walk or speak clearly again. He’s only 51.

RevelationWhat I read this week (and last): Revelation, by Maria McKenzie. This is Book Three in the Unchained Trilogy, and mostly focused on Selina, the granddaughter of an escaped slave whose actress mother appeared white and “passed” as such. At the end of Book Two, Masquerade, she’d convinced Selina that life would be so much easier for her if she did the same and pretended her black relatives didn’t exist. Revelation takes Selina through the second, third, and fourth decades of the twentieth century, through marriage, motherhood, and reconnecting with her dark twin brother. Unlike her mother, Selina is a sympathetic character, for we see how she’s constantly torn by the choice she made, up to where the book ends with her great-grandchildren in 1998. A fantastic, enjoyable read and highly recommended!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: Before my husband’s injury, I finished a scene, and most of another, which I finished this past week. I hope to get another done this week between helping him, so we’ll see how that goes.

Do you have any examples of life imitating something you’re read (or written!) in a book? Have you read any good books lately? How are your goals going, whatever those may be? Please share–I’d love to hear from you! Also, any prayers and good thoughts for my husband and his friend are welcome!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Do Cheap and Free Books Kill Sales?

This has been one of those weeks where not much has happened–and I’m fine with that, although I wish more writing had happened. The weather has been hot, humid yuck–typical for Ohio in August, and something we’ve had much less of this summer than most. I think that’s contributed to this past week being a tired, headachey one.

I did have a follow-up appointment at the hormone therapy clinic, where the nurse practitioner upped my dosage on some of my supplements when I told her I’d seen some improvement in my adrenal fatigue, but not as much as I’d hoped. So we’ll see how that goes.

My husband and I also went to a friend’s for a cookout last night. Our friend asked us to bring Isis, since her kids had a blast playing with her the last time we were there. So we did, and we learned not hold our glasses near the floor, even after our hostess brought out a doggie water bowl.

Isis Drinking Wine

 

There has been a lot of discussion on one of my email lists about a small publisher that’s in financial difficulty right now due to depressed sales, and what the causes of that might be. Everyone agrees that this publisher’s ebooks are priced too high, but what’s the right price? Some say that the proliferation of free and $ .99 books have taught readers not to pay more, that there are enough free books on Amazon, why ever buy? Others disagree. Of course there are some readers who indeed only download freebies or buy $.99 books and bundles, but there are also those who want specific books and authors and are willing to pay for them–within reason. I definitely fall into the latter group. But it does underscore the importance of finding readers who really enjoy my work, and want to buy it.

This whole free book thing is even more of a consideration with the launch of Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program, where readers can pay $9.99 a month and read as many books as they want, of those enrolled in the program. My science fiction romance Hangar 18: Legacy is in KU, so if you’re a subscriber, you can give it a try for free!

What I read this week: I finished Forbidden by Zoe Winters, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I started a new one the other night that was really good–one that pulled me in so much that, even after I couldn’t keep my eyes open and turned out the light (and the Kindle), I couldn’t sleep. And not in a good way–stuff in the book kept tumbling through my mind. So I started another one last night, but am not far enough in to discuss yet. Both are by authors I love, so I have no doubts I’ll finish them, but the first I’ll have to read earlier in the day, which I have difficulty finding time for. I also read a research book, The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Colonial America by Dale Taylor. Good stuff for my WIP.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I did not get as much done this week as I wanted. I got most of one scene written (might be able to finish tonight), but I’d hoped for two. Since tomorrow is a holiday, I’ll try for that again this week.

What about you–do you think the massive amounts of free and cheap ebooks available makes people less likely to buy? What’s the weather been like lately where you live–and does it affect your health? Whether or not you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing with whatever goals you might be working toward this week? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Return to Routine

There is something about “back to school” time that gets people back into a frame of mind of getting things done that aren’t yard work/fixup type of tasks. Even those who don’t have kids in school–either theirs are past that, not there yet, or they don’t have any (or just have the four-legged kind)–seem to drift back into a regular routine way of thinking once the yellow school buses hit the road come August.

That is definitely true for writers, particularly those with kids. Dean Wesley Smith calls summer the “time of great forgetting” for writers–as in, they forget all those goals and great plans, and he has very few people signing up for workshops, fewer emailing or asking questions on his blog, etc. Having the kids home from school definitely slowed my accountability buddy. Easy to understand, as she’s a stay-home mom and her kids are young enough to need the extra attention. Mine is in college, so that wasn’t as much an issue for me (especially since she seemed to spend most of her time at friends’), and I managed to ramp up overall output (though not to what I’d like yet), and took a couple workshops too.

But we took the daughter back to college yesterday, and even I feel that sense of needing to get into a more solid routine. DH and I want to do more meal planning, something we’ve been really bad at lately, resulting in a lot of conversations like this:

Him: You hungry?

Me: A little. You?

Him: Yeah. Anything sound good to you?

Me: I can’t really think of anything. What about you?

Him: I don’t know.

Me: Well, what do we have? All I can think of is a bunch of frozen stuff.

Him: Yeah, me too. So what sounds good?

Me: I don’t know. Anything sound good to you?

Isis after bathSo we end up going out to eat far too often. That needs to stop.

The house already seems quieter with the daughter gone, even though she spent a lot of time away at friends’ places over the summer. I will admit I don’t miss her clutter, though. DH and I have enough of our own.

We kicked off the new routine by giving Isis a bath. She didn’t like that too much. No photos, because I was busy holding her while he hosed her down and washed, but she seemed none the worse afterward. :)

ForbiddenWhat I read this week: Forbidden, by Zoe Winters. This is the latest in her Preternaturals paranormal romance series, one I’ve enjoyed for a long time. Ms. Winters is excellent at pulling together couples who have tons of conflict between them–in this case, a vampire priest and an angel who was the vampire who turned him. Though I’m not yet finished with it, as expected, this book does not disappoint!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I spent the earlier half of the week reading Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and planning what scenes I need to add in to my WIP. It’s a book on screenwriting, but 90% of it applies to commercial fiction as well. Lots of good stuff there and already useful. My other goal was to get one of my new scenes written and I did, though it was a short one. Still a win! This week, I want to continue with the new scenes, and am shooting for two.

What about you–whether or not you have kids, do you feel ready to settle back into a routine once school’s back in session? Do you plan for dinner, or do you have conversations like me and my husband? Read any good books lately? And whether or not you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing with whatever goals you may be working on? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

 

Characters We Love to Hate

Rainbow Layer CakeThe week started out last Sunday with a family birthday gathering. My daughter’s 19th birthday was the week before, and my brother’s was this past week, so we always celebrate them together. When I asked my daughter what kind of birthday cake she’d like, she said “something fruity–maybe one of those Jello cakes.” When I found this Rainbow Layer Cake online, I couldn’t resist, and since my brother also likes fruit-flavored cakes, I knew it would be perfect. Sure enough, it was easy to make, and a big hit after our cookout.

A couple days later, our daughter left for GenCon (a gaming convention, for those not in the know), so it’s been quiet around here. She leaves to go back to school next weekend, so time to get used to it. DH and I ate out several times, and he got a lot of work done in the garage, while I did a lot of reading–and a lot of writing.

MASQUERADEWhat I read this week: We’ve all seen them on TV, and maybe read them in books: the character who’s totally self-centered, manipulative, and who goes through life without a care for anyone but him/herself. There is nothing about this character we relate to or sympathize with. We love to watch to see this character get her come-uppance, or if a criminal, be brought to justice, and be triumphed over by the characters we do like and root for.

In my case, this is seldom a main character–I don’t want to spend that much time with someone I’d so despise in real life. That’s especially true for a novel, where we’re talking several hours, rather than 40 minutes or so (not counting commercials), or maybe two hours for a movie. But this week, it was exactly that kind of character that pulled me in, in Masquerade, by Maria McKenzie.

I don’t know why this book sat on my virtual to-be-read shelf for so longMasquerade is historical fiction and a family saga, set in my favorite time period, the turn of the twentieth century. I loved both of McKenzie’s prior books, one of which was Escape, the prequel to Masquerade. Maybe it was because Lavinia, the main character in Masquerade, was introduced in Escape, and we already saw how manipulative she was when she convinced a wealthy theater owner to marry her. He was smitten by her beauty, but she was only interested in his money and connections, to start the career she craved in acting.

I couldn’t find any sympathy for this woman. And I couldn’t put the book down. After thinking about it, I realized I found her so intriguing because she had a secret vulnerability: Lavinia was “passing”–meaning she appeared white, but had African ancestry (her mother was black, an escaped slave). This secret would destroy her career if found out. I’ve found it intriguing to learn that “passing” was not all that unusual in the early 20th century–a surprising number of yesteryear’s stars we always thought of as white actually had African or Asian ancestry, as noted on McKenzie’s blog–and fascinating fodder for her book. Revelation, the third installment of the trilogy, just came out a couple weeks ago, and I know this one won’t wait on my TBR pile for long!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goal this week was to finish the ending scene for my work-in-progress, and I did! It ended up being much longer than I thought–actually, it was two scenes, to the tune of 4,300 words, more than I’ve written in one week in a long time. But most importantly, they both got written, so I’m very happy about that. One thing to note, I’m saying “finish the ending scene” rather than “finish the first draft” because I know there are several scenes to add in. Normally I write in order, but the romance plot just wasn’t gelling for me early on in the book, so I wrote around it. On the plane on the way to Puerto Rico in April, I realized what the romantic conflict was (the change I mentioned that would require massive work to implement, but would make the book so, so much better). So now it’s time to work that in. My goal: List the scenes, and write the first one, where the couple meet.

Fun fact about Isis: sometimes DH fluffs her pillow. No, our dog is not spoiled at all. :D

Fun fact about Isis: sometimes DH fluffs her pillow. No, our dog is not spoiled at all. :D

What about you–made any cool new recipes lately? Who are some characters you loved to hate, either in books or TV/movies? Were you familiar with the idea of “passing?” If you’re participating in ROW80–or even if you’re not, how are you doing on whatever goals you might have? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Little Bits Add Up

This has felt like another busy week, even though I was home for most of it.

Monday was my daughter’s 19th birthday, so we took her out to dinner, and celebrated with presents (we’re having cake and family over today, and celebrating my brother’s birthday along with it). We got her a Nintendo Wii U, so of course spent time setting it up and playing.

That pushed paperwork, which is normally my Monday evening duty, off to Tuesday. Paperwork here is not trivial, as my husband and I own two small businesses in addition to my writing business. And the beginning of the month is always busiest for his businesses.

Wednesday, no one had gone to the grocery store, so we ended up going out to dinner–which I didn’t mind, except that it took a good bit of time, and once again, I didn’t get much writing done.

By Thursday, I was getting kind of twitchy. I wanted to write. I had that ending scene all blocked out, was excited about it, and wanted to just get it down, darn it, but I hadn’t had time, kept being pulled in different directions. That night, I retreated into my headphones while DH watched TV so I could make some progress. Yet I didn’t feel like I did, because there were still some lingering paperwork issues providing distraction. On Friday, DH was busy in the garage, but Isis was very insistent that I play tug-a-lamb with her, so not as much got done as I’d have liked. (That’s OK, a puppy’s worth it.)

It's hard to write when this is being shoved into your elbow...

It’s hard to write when this is being shoved into your elbow…

Saturday, having a whole day helped, but my adrenal fatigue was really kicking in and I didn’t feel like I did much, just a bit here, a bit there. I was also still not done with the ending scene, which had been my goal. Darn thing expanded into three scenes! (I consider it a separate scene when it’s a separate unit of conflict, or separated by time or place, which these all were).

Then I looked at my totals. I’d written over 3700 words this week!

A little bit here and a little bit there really does add up. Now if only I could do that with decluttering my house…

What I read this week: I finished Smith’s Monthly #5 (entertaining, as always!) and started a new book Friday night. I’ll have more to say about it when I’m further into it, so will discuss next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goal for this week was to complete the ending scene, and while I didn’t accomplish that, I did get three other scenes written, so I consider this week a win. I’ve refined the plan for my ending scene, and now can see that it really is limited in time and place, so I think I’m finally there this time. So that’s once again my goal for the week: finish that ending scene. And again, as a bonus, list out what other scenes need to be inserted earlier in the ms.

What about you–ever had one of those weeks when it seemed like very little got done, but when you look back over it, a lot actually did? Can you believe Isis is 55 lbs (my husband got her weighed this week)? O.o  If you’re participating in ROW80, or even if you’re not, how are you doing on whatever goals you may have? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

 

Road Trip for Research

This week has been a busy one. It started out with a research trip, my very first. My current WIP is the first one that hasn’t taken place mostly in my home area, so the first time I’ve needed to travel farther than across town (a twenty-minute drive in Dayton) to personally experience my book’s locale.

So on Sunday, my daughter, one of her friends, and I headed south to Middlesboro, Kentucky, on the north side of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, our primary destination. We arrived to rain and storms, so took it easy at the hotel Sunday night, where I got a good bit of writing in, even with the girls playing computer games in the room. In the morning, we walked out of our hotel to lovely views of fog in the mountains.

Our first day at the park, we took a tour of a restored historic village. Even though this one was occupied in the first half of the twentieth century, it was more on the lines of a pioneer village, with no running water or electricity–great stuff for how my eighteenth century hero would have lived.

Cumberland Gap village

This cabin was inhabited as recently as the 1940s

 

This waterfall began as a tiny spring in the historical village on the mountaintop. Photos do not do its beauty justice.

This waterfall began as a tiny spring in the historical village on the mountaintop. Photos do not do its beauty justice.

Later that afternoon, we trekked across Tennessee to visit the Museum of Appalachia, which was an experience all in itself. That too, gave me some great story ideas–mostly little details that add verisimilitude to our stories. And saw more antiques in one place than I could imagine. So. Much. Stuff. It was overwhelming! But a great place to visit, and a great snapshot of American history and culture, deserving of its association with the Smithsonian.

Then we headed across Norris Dam, which also figures into my WIP, and back to the hotel.

The second day, we took a cave tour. There are 38 known caves in the Cumberland Gap National Park, and we toured just a small part of one of the more well-explored ones, simply called “Gap Cave” now. This one housed soldiers during the Civil War, and has been open to tours since the late nineteenth century.

Civil War soldiers (and people since, before the park took over) left their mark in Gap Cave with carbide lamps and other implements.

Civil War soldiers (and people since, before the park took over) left their mark in Gap Cave with carbide lamps and other implements.

We ended our visit with a trip up to the Pinnacle Overlook, where the curviest and steepest road my old car has ever driven led us to some spectacular views:

Chimney Rock has drawn tourists for centuries, according to a placard nearby. Good to know!

Chimney Rock has drawn tourists for centuries, according to a placard nearby. Good to know!

Middlesboro, from above

Middlesboro, from the Pinnacle Overlook

This one is book cover-worthy!

This one is book cover-worthy!

As much fun as our trip was, I was glad to get back home to this:

I got it... now what?

I got it! Now what?

Then yesterday, my RWA chapter had an all-day retreat, where we did some fun plotty workshops and played a writerly version of Cards Against Humanity, which was great fun. Actually, the whole day was great fun, as always when I’m with a bunch of my writer friends.

What I read this week: Still working on Smith’s Monthly #5. Last week I read the short stories and serial parts, and started the novel. This week, I’m still reading the novel. Lots going on, and it was tiring, so not as much time to read.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I wrote a whole scene in my hotel room, during the two evenings we were in Middlesboro. So mission accomplished! It was not the ending scene, which was what I’d originally planned to write, but another one that sneaked in and needed to be written. Sometimes that happens. Then I got the ending scene sketched out. This week: I’m already started on the ending scene, so the goal is to complete that. As a bonus, I want to list what other scenes need to be added in the middle, because I already know of several.

What about you–if you’re a writer, have you ever taken a research trip? Have you ever been on a writers’ retreat? And whether or not you’re a writer, have you ever visited Cumberland Gap National Park? (If not, you should!) If you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing–or if not, how are you doing on whatever goals you might have? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Does School Kill the Love of Reading?

I had an interesting conversation with a couple coworkers the other day. One woman is about my age, and has a daughter in college, and one in high school. The younger daughter is supposed to read Catcher in the Rye over the summer, and is struggling to get into it, to the point she’s just about decided to just read the Spark notes. My coworker says this is unusual; her daughter is an honors student and usually doesn’t have trouble with assignments, but just doesn’t enjoy reading any more. She wonders if the material they read in school is part of the reason.

Our other coworker is 26, so remembers her own experiences pretty clearly. “So much of it just isn’t relevant,” she concluded. “We had to read a Jane Austen book–I can’t remember which one, not Sense and Sensibility, the one with Mr. Darcy…”

Pride and Prejudice?” I asked.

“That’s it!” She went on. “I mean, it’s all stuff no one can relate to today. Arranged marriages… and the language.”

Now, I need to point out that this coworker is a highly intelligent woman, with a master’s degree, and one who isn’t afraid of doing hard work. My other coworker and I agreed that the archaic-sounding English also put up a barrier to relating to the story and characters.

So we went on discussing books we had to read in school and didn’t like–Moby Dick, Old Man and the Sea, anything else by Hemingway. One of them didn’t care for Shakespeare, either. (Interestingly enough, my college-student daughter loooooooves Shakespeare, but somehow does not enjoy reading a lot of fiction). Yet both of my coworkers like to read. The one just couldn’t figure out where her daughter, who used to like it when younger, lost that joy. My daughter also used to enjoy more fiction when she was in elementary and middle school, but has moved on more toward nonfiction.

However, one thing that somehow never gets old in my family is bodily functions jokes. Yesterday, my dad emailed me a link to this video. Only the Brits could’ve come up with the fart noise heard across the English channel!

Smiths-Monthly-5-testWhat I read this week: I started Smith’s Monthly #5. I’ve  followed Dean Wesley Smith‘s blog for a long time, and especially enjoyed his “Writing in Public” blog series that he started almost a year ago. It was fun reading about a long-time pro’s writing process in putting together his own magazine, and the stories sounded good, so I subscribed. It’s been especially neat to see the end product after reading about his creation of the works. Dean writes in the tradition of the old pulps from the mid-20th century, so this isn’t deep, thought-provoking literature, but they are fun, entertaining stories. I’m about 1/4 of the way through the novel in this one–a science-fiction romance. The hero in it is totally yummy, not creepy-looking like the guy on the cover! (And has only two arms. :))

Sorry, no puppy picture today. I didn’t take any new ones this week. Puppy pics will be back, though!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I finished the scene I wanted to finish last week, and started sketching out this week’s scene. That went okay, until a character tossed a plot bunny (aka, new scene) at me. So I will be working on that this week, with the goal, once again, to complete a scene, whichever one it may be. My accountability buddy returned home from vacation, but did not lash me with a wet noddle because she didn’t get her scene done, either (vacation + kids = I could’ve predicted that). So back to work for both of us this week.

What do you think–does reading too many books we don’t enjoy in school kill the joy of reading? Which books did you have to read in school that you didn’t like–or what are some you did? Is the video something your family would laugh at? If you’re a writer, do you follow Dean Wesley Smith’s blog? (If not, you should! Great info there, both on the writing and publishing business). Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Not Quite Feels Like Win

Om-nom-nom... Must. Eat. Every. Molecule!

Om-nom-nom… Must. Eat. Every. Molecule!

Isis got to get ice cream again on Monday. It wasn’t Dog’s Nite Out–that’s only once a month–but we were out of ice cream and no one remembered to put it on the store list. Everyone wanted some that night, so we went to the ice cream shop. Of course we took Isis! When we ordered, the woman asked, “Do you want a doggie cup?” Of course we did! Even though it wasn’t free that day. Isis agreed; there wasn’t a molecule left in that cup by the time she finished.

Not a lot went on between then and the weekend. I didn’t feel like I got much writing done either, but when I totaled up my word count, it was over 2,000 words. I did not finish my scene, but not bad. More on that below.

Then yesterday, I had to change banks for one of my small business accounts. My bank decided it was time to change their account offerings “to better serve their business customers.” Yeah, right. Translation: offer some extra services most businesses don’t need, and impose a bunch of fees on smaller accounts. The balance to avoid the fees was ridiculously high, so it was time for a change, this time to my local credit union. Don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago–this credit union is close to my house, enough that my husband used to walk our dogs through their parking lot every day. The ladies who worked the drive-thru window got to know him and would give the dogs treats, even though we weren’t even members there! Credit unions are nonprofit organizations, and as such, better suited for smaller accounts. So hopefully I won’t have to make another change for a long time.

I did manage to get a good bit of writing done after that, then went to dinner at a nearby sports bar/restaurant, where a neighbor was playing music. We go to this restaurant all the time, and the food is excellent. But last night, it wasn’t super-busy, yet they managed to screw up my order three times! First, my meal came without my side dish–homemade potato chips. They said they were out and making fresh. Okay, no problem. But the chips still hadn’t come by the time I finished my burger (which was super yummy, btw). Turns out another server had taken them. Then they finally brought them out–with cheese on them! Uh, that’s not what I ordered. At that point, I was wondering if the universe was trying to tell me something LOL. As in, I really Did. Not. Need. Those chips. Which I didn’t. But they’re sooooo good, and I really wanted them. I finally got them about twenty minutes after that. They were indeed sooooo good–and my meal was free. Am I going back? We’ve been to this place enough times to know that last night’s experience was not the norm. The food was still fantastic, and it always is, so yes! We’ll go back.

What I read this week: I finished my friend’s book that I started last week. I will admit this was one of those that took me a little while to get into at first, probably because there were so many point-of-view characters, but by the end, I was really tapping the pages. Not giving any more details since it’s going on submission for a big publishing deal. Here’s hoping it gets one!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 update: My goal was to complete a scene this week. I did not do that, so not quite a win, but when I went back and looked over my wordcount, I’d written over 2,000 words. This is also the climactic scene in the book, and these are IMO the hardest to write. So even though I didn’t finish the scene, it still feels like a win. I also wanted to go back and get notes down for half of the online workshop I just finished. Didn’t get that either. So that’s what’s on tap for this week, get the notes for the workshop, finish this challenging scene, and at least get started on the next, final scene.

What about you–do you give your pets people food treats? Ever gone to a restaurant where you’ve gotten bad service, but you’ll still go back? Have fees driven you to change banks? If you’re participating in ROW80, or just have goals, writing-related or otherwise, how are you doing on them? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.

Are You Insane?

Yes, I’ve been asked that before, plenty of times. Mostly by people who’ve known my husband a long time, when they find out I’m his wife. And I’m sure that someone, somewhere, thinks he’s insane by marrying me. And then there’s the fact that, as a fiction writer, I do hear voices in my head…

But what the title’s referring to is yesterday’s RWA chapter meeting. That was yesterday, with an excellent program on mental illnesses by author and psychology teacher Sandy James. She mostly focused on a few that writers often get wrong, like schizophrenia, and the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths (the  former are excellent actors and hard to pick out, while with the latter, people can quickly tell there’s something “off”). Even though I have a really good book on this topic, The Writers’ Guide to Psychology, Sandy covered these topics in more depth and answered tons of good questions from the chapter. And as always, it was fun to see writer friends and talk writing.

Earlier in the week, it was Dog’s Nite Out–a monthly promo event one at an ice cream shop in our area. If you take your dog, they give you a free single-scoop cup of vanilla with a dog biscuit on it. They must rake it in on these, because the place is usually packed on Dog’s Nite! Even at 4 months old, Isis did great–she’s friendly to people, especially kids, and calm and well-mannered around other dogs, too. Unfortunately, I was busy watching dogs (especially Isis) and eating my own ice cream, and did not get photos. I’ll rectify that next time.

What I read this week: I’m currently reading an unpublished book by a friend. My friend’s currently shopping it to traditional publishers, so I can’t share the title and don’t want to say much about it, other than it’s very well written, and the fictitious city in it is so well-developed, it’s like another character in the story and hard to believe it’s not real.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My own writing is going fairly well. I got my scene written for the week, at about 2800 words. I also finished the last assignment of my online workshop. So, goal met, and same writing goal for this week. For the online workshop, I need to go back and re-watch the videos and take notes. My goal there is to do that for the first half of the workshop, which is about three hours’ worth.

And this week’s puppy picture features my daughter. And yes, Isis is due for a bath…

"She smells like a dog!" There might be a reason for that...

“She smells like a dog!”
There might be a reason for that…

What about you–ever been to a Dog’s Nite Out, or similar event? Did you know the difference between a psychopath and sociopath? (I wasn’t clear on it before our program.) If you’re participating in ROW80, or just have goals, whether writing or otherwise, how are you doing with them? Is it obvious when your pets need a bath? LOL Please share, I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, KoboiTunes, and more.