A Very Productive Vacation

Isis waits patiently for playtime

Isis waits patiently for playtime

We’re not supposed to work on vacation, right? Except I did–because in this case, “work” was something fun–writing!–and I didn’t go anywhere.

On Thursday, DH and I saw our daughter off to Germany, where she’s doing a study abroad for two months (Heidelberg and Berlin, if anyone’s curious). Then DH took off on his motorcycle for his annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C.,  where he participates in Rolling Thunder, one of the largest rides in the U.S., to honor POWs, MIAs, and other vets.

I took Friday off of work, hence “vacation” for me, too. I took Isis for her daily walk and went out to dinner with my parents, but otherwise, I stayed home and spent time writing. I also played a lot of ball with Isis. Let me say, it’s a challenge to get editing done when a dog is dropping a ball into one’s lap every thirty seconds!

What I read this week: Still working on the novel I started the week before, but also read–wait for it!–MY upcoming release! I will post a cover reveal and tell all about it here once it gets back from my editor.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I finished my revision, and did a read-through. And it was a good thing I did, because this book was written more out-of-order than any I’ve ever written, and there were quite a few piddly little continuity errors. The more I catch before handing off to the beta readers, the better. I actually enjoyed reading my own book, which is good, since I write the books I want to read! It’s now off to the beta readers, so that’s something to celebrate. So the remainder of this ROW80 Round, I plan to focus on marketing tasks. Up this week: rewrite the product descriptions (i.e., blurbs, or back cover copy) for my existing books, as well as the upcoming book. I hope to get more done than that, but I also have a cover design to do for one of my beta readers, so any other marketing tasks will be a bonus.

What about you–did you do anything fun this holiday weekend? Do you consider it a vacation for you, too, when your partner goes out of town? Do you work when you’re on vacation? And if you’re a writer, do you read (and enjoy) your own books? Please share in the comments–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, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

A New Vacation Phobia

I’d never really thought about it before, but as I was packing for my recent trip to France, it occurred to me that I have a phobia that’s very real, and mostly manifests during vacation: the fear of running out of reading material. Never mind the plane trip – whenever I feel nervous about that, I remind myself that plane accidents make the news because they are so rare, and that I do something statistically more dangerous every day when I get into my car and drive to work.

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

No, my fear is running out of books to read. The longer the plane ride, the worse it is. Traveling internationally, to a country whose primary language is not English is another concern – we might be able to find a bookstore, full of stuff I can’t read (or in the case of French, can’t read well enough to just enjoy the story).

Of course, you’d think it would be easily handled by simply taking lots of books. I used to do just that. I didn’t bother packing my clothes until a day before departure – if not that morning. No worries there. But my books, I started collecting several days before, if not a week. I’d pick books from a variety of genres, and a variety of subgenres of romance, because hey! – who knew what I’d be in the mood for when I finished the current book?

If the vacation was a long one (a week), the books would get their own bag, or at least would fill my carryon bag, along with the change of clothes I always packed in case my luggage got lost. So when ebooks became popular, it was a godsend.

Problem solved, right? Finish a book, just hit Amazon, Smashwords, or the local library’s website and download another.

Except that you can’t go online from an airplane. OK, yes, we actually can, but bucking those rules is not something I want to try.

So I still spend a good bit of time before vacation loading up my smartphone with ebooks. Again, I need a good selection of genres so I can read what I’m in the mood for – and so I have backup in case I get hold of a book I don’t like. Then it’s necessary to open each book to ensure that it’s downloaded to the device so that once I’m up in the air, I don’t need to worry that I’ll click on a book that looks really good, only to find that it hasn’t been stored on my device.

But ebooks aren’t a universal solution either. You can’t even turn on the smartphones and ereaders until the plane is a good ways up in the air. Depending on how long the wait to take off is, that could be the better part of an hour. Okay, yes, there’s the Skymall mag, but that’s only good for 20 minutes or so for me. I need books. So I still wind up packing a print book or two. Oh, and with my smartphone, battery is another concern. An 8- or 9-hour flight is more than my phone’s battery lasts, especially if I take some time off reading to play games. So I also have to be sure to pack an extra, extended-life battery, and double-check that it’s fully charged before I leave.

So how did all of this work out for my trip to France? Well, I read two ebooks and one print book the whole time (I am not a speed-reader, and I did spend some time playing games). My extended-life battery had just gotten low when we landed in Paris, so it served me well. And the books themselves?

I still have over a dozen on my phone, unread. 🙂

What about you? How many books  do you pack, if going on a week-long vacation? Do you worry about running out of reading material?

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Catching Up

I am overwhelmed. First of all, by the wonderful outpouring of support from my blog readers who stopped by and commented while I was in France and away from Internet. Thank you! Your support and comments mean so much to me. And thanks again to Michele Stegman for a wonderful guest post last Thursday, as well as to all of our friends who stopped by.

It’s amazing how a little thing like a vacation can throw us off. I am, by necessity, a very routine-oriented person. Workouts, writing, blog posts, blog visits and comments, housework – none of that would get done consistently or well without my routines. It was nice to get away from the madness into a different kind of madness (I was with a tour group, and there was a lot of “hurry up and wait”), but it’s good to be back home. It’s going to take me a few days to get around to all the blogs I missed, and to get back on Facebook and Twitter. It took a good several hours to go through email, and that’s with going no-mail on most of my Yahoo groups. I also have a web design job to finish this weekend – good thing my workweek is short this week! Oh, and that’s not even counting any real writing. I’m not going to push that until next week.

What about you? Do you have trouble getting back into a routine after a little time off – even if it’s something planned and positive? Any advice for me?

Please know that I appreciate every comment, tweet and Facebook share! If you comment on my blog, I’ll return the favor – only now, it might take me a few days to get caught up. And I will share a little bit about my trip. Thanks so much for your support!

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