Things are Getting Real

So I finally got around to fixing my email notifications for when I post a new blog. Back in May when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect, I realized my email notifications weren’t compliant–and I do have a few subscribers from the EU, so that’s a concern. I did not have time then to figure out how to make my email software compliant or find another solution, so I just disabled it temporarily.

Well, I finally buckled down and did the work, and I now have a new plugin (that’s add-on software, for non-techie folks). So if your email notification looked a little different today (and it should), that’s why.

As always, I would love it if you would let me know if you see anything that looks amiss!

The Front Elevation of our new house

Tennessee Update: this is where things are getting real! Once our builder received the final plans, he sent us a contract to sign. It didn’t lay out the money (but referenced his quote from December for that), but had an estimated start date of August 20! And an estimated finish date of June 20, 2019. My husband and I figure most custom builds go over budget (hopefully not by much) and over schedule, so don’t count on us moving then, but still… whoa, it’s finally happening!

We also got the loan contract from the bank, and that did list out the money… yikes! Not bad, and not a surprise, but still a little scary to see it all laid out. I need to go over those documents again, and email our loan originator with questions. She’s on vacation this week, so nothing much will happen until she gets back.

But while we’re waiting on that, I have plenty to do, starting with picking out windows. What’s fun about that is this is actually something I know a bit about–I spent almost eight years working as a graphic designer for a company that manufactures the vinyl for windows. So I know a lot of the terminology, and what features to look for. And of course, I’m especially familiar with all the benefits of vinyl! (I wrote some of the ad copy, too.) It’s been over 20 years since I left there, so I don’t know anyone who still works there other than a friend of my husband’s who works on the factory floor. I sent in a form on their website. They got back to me the next day with who their manufacturer is for Knoxville, and said they should be contacting me sometime next week. We may still end up going with whoever our builder typically uses, but I wanted to give my old company a chance, as I have had their windows in my current house for 15 (upstairs) and 25 (first floor) years, and they’ve been great.

The other thing I need to work on is to start looking at everything else, from siding to interior trim to electrical outlet locations, and make notes on what we want. I did this for our rental house fire restoration and renovation, and it was a big help to both us and the contractors. Sort of like a requirements document in software, that minimizes unknowns, and provides a reference if something isn’t done right, or to determine if something is a change request, or was part of the original specifications. It took me a whole weekend of doing nothing else to write up the spec book for the rental house; this one will take a good bit longer, spaced out over the next several weeks.

What I’ve Been Reading: A while back, I bought a one-year subscription to Dean Wesley Smith’s and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Fiction River anthology magazine, as it came with three of their online writing workshops and was a heck of a deal. I’m not a big reader of short stories, though I do like them from time to time, so mostly they just sat on my Kindle. I ran across the Wishes issue on my Kindle a few weeks ago, and nothing else had grabbed my attention, so I started reading it.

There were a couple stories I skipped right away. One was written in an odd, screenplay format that had an experimental feel to it that I didn’t like, and a couple others were in present tense, which I can’t stand. But the rest were pretty enjoyable, especially one called “How I Became a Fairy Godmother.” Oh–and all these stories were YA, so this would be a teenage fairy godmother! And the intro to it said that it’s a prequel to a series. Cool!

After last week’s not-so-great book, I was happy to grab One Bad Wish, by Bonnie Elizabeth. What a fun story! The main character finds herself in an unpleasant, alternate reality when she mistakenly grants a friend’s wish that her (the friend’s) brother hadn’t been born. And then she has to figure out how to undo the wish. If you like YA with some fun magical elements, definitely grab this one!

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What I’ve Been Writing: Big improvement here! I was planning to spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day, for at least five days, working on my Villains workshop. Then I read some better ideas, one of which was Beth Camp’s suggestion of a 100-word challenge. I also read a great blog post by Natalie Bacon on motivation (well worth a read!), where one of her tips is to “measure what you produce.” By that, she means focus on what you want to accomplish, rather than just spending a certain amount of time. So for us fiction writers, that would be word count, scenes written, pages revised, etc. I decided to break the assignments in my workshop down into smaller tasks, and then planned to do one or two of those each night. And with that, I met my goal! Week 3 exercises are done, and Week 4’s started. So this week’s goal is to finish Week 4 exercises. There are six left, so that’s one per day, with a day off.

What about you–what big or small things are getting real in your life? Have you read anything good lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Do task-based or time-based goals work better for you? I will admit time-based goals still work for me when it’s something like housework! I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments!

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.

10 Responses to \

  1. Congrats on all the good news and accomplishments, Jennette! And thank you for the referral to Natalie’s post. That was really good. I do some of those things but–procrastination and distraction are my middle names. I’m working on it. My good news is that I’ve figured out the character arc for my trilogy which was too vague before. And I’m outlining book two and a novella, so hopefully I’ll have additional stories soon after My Soul to Keep is published.

  2. Lynette, I struggle with procrastination and distraction too. I’m glad you found Natalie’s post helpful! And that you’re working on your next book. Good luck and congrats on the upcoming release!

  3. I’m so excited to hear how the new house is becoming a reality. It looks like it will be beautiful.
    My reality for the next two weeks is the wedding we are hosting at my house on August 4. I cannot believe it is that soon already and how much I have to do! I’m going to try to stick to priorities and just not sweat the small stuff. Hubby is retired now, so the way he does things around the house will just have to do and I will stop being a control freak.
    Best wishes with your writing and with the house. Can’t wait to read the continuing saga.

  4. As reader and writer, I enjoyed learning about your literary endeavors and even the disappointments. I like the idea of focusing on what we want to produce. I think I do something like that. Each day when I get up I ask myself what accomplishments would make me feel really good at the end of the day. It’s been working. I tend to divide my days (as much as possible) into chunks, so in one chunk would be to finish a certain piece of writing. In another would be research where to submit it. Another would be “exercise!”

    We all have different methods (and different conflicting obligations—I’m not building a house!), so we have to stick with what works for us, and be ready to come up with a different strategy when the old one no long works.

    Always enjoy your posts!

  5. Thanks, Fallon!

    Thanks, Chris! I am going to a wedding on August 4 myself, and it’s also my daughter’s birthday – we’ll probably take her to lunch on the way to the wedding (it’s a travel one). Good luck to you in hosting and with letting go of perfectionism.

    Lynette, dividing your days into chunks is a great idea! I do that on workdays, and need to try it on the weekends. Thanks so much for your kind comments!

  6. How exciting!! The house looks really cool. How exciting to pick out every single thing.

    And, good job on the writing front, too. Now keep it up.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a as Jansen Schmidt

  7. Wow! Looks like you’ve got a lot going on. Congrats on juggling everything while still making progress. Not always easy to do.

    Keep up the good work.