Slow “Vacation” Week

You would think I could have gotten a lot done this past week, given that my husband went to Florida for Bike Week, leaving me here with the critters. This is what my mom refers to as a “vacation.” :D. But no.

He came home Friday night, which was just as well as Bike Week shut down early due to virus fears (and not a bad call either). He and his friend actually didn’t participate in Bike Week at all, as they were staying with his friend’s relative, and wound up just cruising through the center of town where the activities were supposed to be. Attendance was sparse, so they just rode through and didn’t even go into any of the bars or music venues. My husband came down with a sore throat and wasn’t feeling well for the ride home, but he made it safely and was feeling better the next day, leading us to conclude he just had a cold or mild flu. However, he’s staying home, just in case. As for supplies? We’re lucky to have made our regular monthly Costco run a week before the panic struck, so we’re good. And I already work from home, so I’m fortunate there as well.

What I’ve Been Reading

I’ve been reading a couple of nonfiction books, as well as novel that I’m really enjoying, but I didn’t finish anything this week. So this too, will have to wait until next week.

What I’ve Been Writing

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Part of my slow writing week may be that I had some extra bookkeeping to do for our businesses, finishing up things for taxes and such, and updating records since we sold our old house. That was in fact the case–but not all week.

I’m still having trouble keeping going on the WIP without knowing where it’s going. I mean, I have an idea of how it will end, but no idea of how what I’m writing now will lead to that or even tie in.

I got about 700 words written before totally bogging down again. My WIP is boring to me, so what else could it be to readers?

Time to regroup–AGAIN. I need to just spend the week getting a better idea of what will happen, and maybe even do some rudimentary outlining. I never end up following the outline, which is why I quit doing them, but maybe my creative brain needs something to latch onto before it can suggest something better. We’ll see!

On another note, I did get my learning done, and completed another week of my online workshop. I want to do another week of it this week, as well as do some reading on copyright.

How has your week been? Have you been affected by the virus pandemic? I hope you and yours are staying healthy! How are you doing with whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? 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.

Some Good News

This past week, we finally sold our house in Ohio! We actually got a contract on it a month ago, but we knew not to count on it until closing. That happened Wednesday, so we are now free and clear of it–and its bills!

The other good thing is that I finally made a writing goal. More on that below.

What I’ve Been Reading

This is a book I’ve been waiting to see published for a long time: Torn Between Worlds by Linda Chalk. Linda is a writing friend, and her book is pretty unique: a Native American historical romance where it’s the heroine who’s a Native American. Except in a way, she isn’t–brought up by white settlers from a very young age, she knows nothing of her heritage. She gets a chance at finding it when she joins a wagon train to California. The story is set in 1848 and covers the journey on the Oregon Trail, along with Lydia’s many discoveries, starting with the sexy trail boss Joe. I really enjoyed the historical detail that really brought this story alive–highly recommended!

What I’ve Been Writing

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My goal this week was small–only 1000 words–but that did the trick. I met that goal, and also completed the next week of my online workshop on Secondary Plotlines. I also got a book about one of the time periods in my WIP, and started reading that.

This week, I’m going to keep my writing goal small, as I still don’t know where this book is going and that slows me down. So I’ll go for 250 words/day, for five days, or a total of 1250 words. I also want to read my research book, and complete another week of my online workshop.

What about you–what good things are happening in your life right now? Have you read any good books lately? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I 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.

Changing Goals, and Copyright

It’s now March 1st, and I’m nowhere near where I’d hoped to be with my WIP.

I actually had a good week, a nice, relatively-uneventful one. Even better, my migraines have backed off a bit, and I only had a headache two days this week, and just regular headaches at that. Still unpleasant, but not migraine-unpleasant. Yet I can’t seem to figure out what happens next in the WIP, and am even drawing a blank with my lists of 20 things. So I started back into learning, this time with WMG Publishing’s Secondary Plotlines online workshop. Just watching a few of the videos knocked some ideas loose, so I did start back into the WIP for 650 words, most of which were on one night, so yay! However, it’s a long way from what I set out to do this month. More on that below.

What I’ve Been Reading

The novel I’ve been reading is a long one, so I’m still not finished with it. I’m enjoying it, so I’ll definitely discuss here when I’m done. In nonfiction, I read 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. This book was published ten years ago, but is every bit as relevant now as it was when it came out, and very well could become a time management classic. One of the basic exercises the author suggests is to track how you spend your time for a week (Dean Wesley Smith suggests this too, in his Carving Out Time for Your Writing video lecture). It’s really eye-opening to see how we really spend our time. I spend more on Facebook and playing games than I thought. I know I need a lot of downtime, so overall, it wasn’t a surprise. The rest of 168 Hours is also good, and it deals with both work and home. Recommended if you want to see how you can find more time to do the things you want to do, and less on things you have to do.

Copyright Learning

I also spent some time reading The Copyright Handbook this week, meeting my goal to learn something about copyright each month. Chapter Three deals with registering copyright. As I mentioned last month, registration is not necessary to have copyright–as soon as you commit your work to a tangible form (that includes computer data), it’s considered copyrighted. However, if someone infringes your copyright, you can’t take them to court unless the work is registered. And if you register after the infringement occurs, you can only go after actual damages, which can be hard to prove. The exception is with a newly-published work: you have up to three months after publication to register, even if the infringement occurs prior to the registration. The catch here is that some courts consider registration to happen upon submittal, others consider it to happen when you receive the certificate, and still others (including the federal court for my area) are unspecified. So bottom line, if you’re an author, register your work ASAP after publication for the most protection!

Registering a work where the same entity owns the rights to all components–the text, front matter, cover design, and back cover copy for a book, for example–is a simple matter. But when those components’ rights are owned by different people, each owner’s portion should be registered separately to get the maximum benefit in case of infringement. Same goes for an anthology, where the works within are copyrighted by different authors.

What I’ve Been Writing

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As noted above, my WIP is slow-going. My goal for February was to write 12,000 words. I barely got 3,000–and that was more than I thought I’d written. So it’s time to revise those goals. For March, I’m going to shoot for 5000 words total, starting with 1,000 this week. If I hit the March goal, that will bring my quarterly total to 16,000–about half of my original goal but still something.

I did meet my learning goal this week, which was to go through the Week 2 videos and do the assignment for another online workshop on Secondary Plotlines. I’d already done the first week a while back, so I reviewed my notes for that first.

What about you–have you had any goal changes lately? Have you ever tracked how you spend your time? If so, what surprised you? If not, what do you think you’d find? And how are you doing on whatever goals you have, whether writing-related or otherwise? 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.

Not Quite this Time

This week, we finally got our wet basement issues fixed (we hope, but so far so good). We’ve had moisture on the basement walls with a big rain since before we moved in. At first, the builder passed it off as from not having final grading done. But even after that was complete, the front wall of the basement still got wet whenever we got a good rain.

We also had leaky gutters, and when the gutter guy no-showed for a fix, my husband took care of it with some extra caulk. We thought that might fix the basement issues, but no.

Given the builder’s disappearing act, we went right to the waterproofing company. They responded quickly, came out and took a look, dug down a little… and found a big ledge of concrete along the front porch wall about a foot below ground level–right where the moisture was appearing inside. They eventually determined that when the front porch was poured, the concrete crew just did their cleanup right there, dumping the remnants of the concrete right next to the house instead of taking it away, like they should have. Or at least dumping it a little distance away! There were also punctures in the waterproofing layer, caused by using too-large gravel beside the house.

It took a few weeks to get the fix done due to the rain, but they finally came out and dug up the yard along the front porch. Fortunately, we had not done any landscaping, because we knew this was an issue and it could come to something like this. They removed the concrete, reapplied the waterproofing, and later came back to replace the dirt. Now we need to let it sit and compact for a few weeks before we replace the stone slab steps. At least it’s done! And yes, the builder will be paying for it–the waterproofer does a lot of work for him, so they’ve been in contact.

Coming back from walking the dogs required using the side door that day!

What I’ve Been Reading

Finally finished the fantasy box set! And I really enjoyed that last story. I will probably buy the next in series from several of these authors, and when I do, I’ll include those here.

What I’ve Been Writing

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Not as much as I’d hoped–my goal this week was to write for five days, 500 words/day. I did write five days, but only hit that wordcount twice. I just couldn’t get myself to keep on writing. Luckily, I figured out why last night: I’d taken a wrong turn with the scene I was writing. As in, it wasn’t needed at all. I was bored writing it, which was why I struggled to get to 500 words. And if I was bored writing it, readers will be bored reading it, so it has to go. No big deal, I will just work the necessary information in elsewhere and start in on the next scene, which I am looking forward to writing.

The good news is that while I didn’t meet my goal this past week, I still met–and exceeded–my January goal of 8,000 words. I’ll take it!

This week, I want to shoot for 500 words/day again, for five days.

I did meet my learning goal, and completed the week 5 videos and assignments for my online workshop. This week, I want to complete week 6’s materials, which will complete the workshop.

What about you–any unexpected setbacks lately, whether with your writing or something else? How about your goals? And have you read any good books recently? 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.

An Uneventful Week is a Good Week

And yes, it’s been an uneventful week around here–just doing the day job, writing, and living life between the two (as in fixing dinner, cleanup, that sort of thing). Yesterday a bad storm rolled through, which for me = migraine, so not much of anything got done then, but yay me! I’d already met my goals. And that’s so much easier to do when there’s not much else going on.

My dog Skeet finds uneventful days a good opportunity to make herself comfortable on the day bed in my office.

What I’ve Been Reading

I finished another novel in the fantasy box set (I swear I’m almost done–I started this thing back in August!). I enjoyed this one, too. I don’t like to talk about books I don’t like, because in the case of the one in the box set, it was just not to my taste, but because of it, I don’t want to name the set. But I do expect I’ll be buying more fantasy this year, because most of these books are part of series.

What I’ve Been Writing

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As noted above, I met my goals this week! After not hitting my writing goals in so long, doing so twice in a row is really exciting. My writing goal was to write 375 words/day, at least five days. I did write five days, and exceeded the word count for a total of a little over 2200 words. Part of me wants to ramp up to 500 words/day (and I exceeded that one day), but it was also a bit of a push so I’m going to go for 400/day this week, again shooting for five days and a total of 2000 words.

I also met my learning goal of completing week 2 videos and assignment for the WMG Publishing “Teams in Fiction” online workshop, and I went on to week 3. I’ve done all but one video (there are five), so I’m going to set a goal to complete that and the assignment, and do the week 4 videos this week, with a bonus goal to complete the week 4 assignment as well.

What about you–do you like uneventful weeks, or do you find them boring? Do you read box sets? And if so, do you go on to buy other books in a series if you like the one in the set? How are you doing with whatever goals you’ve had, whether writing or otherwise? 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 Good Busy

Not much writing happening this week, between the holidays and hosting family and friends. We decided “new state, new traditions,” and started by inviting neighbors over for a drop-in open house on Christmas Eve. While we kept the menu fairly simple–a few appetizers, snacks, and cupcakes–there was still plenty to do to prepare, plus we needed to wrap gifts. And wow, what weather! We wrapped gifts outside on our deck! Can’t say I ever did that in Ohio, though we hear it was unseasonably warm there too.

We had no idea if many (any?) would come to our Christmas Eve drop-in, as a lot of people are busy that night with family, but over a dozen people showed up on Tuesday night, and we had a great fun just hanging out and getting to know our neighbors a little better. Our daughter and her partner arrived that evening too.

They love coming to our new place in Tennessee, which makes us feel really good. On Christmas, after we opened a few gifts (we kept that simple, too), we did a little hiking on the property, and DH taught our daughter’s partner how to drive the tractor and let her bush-hog, which she thoroughly enjoyed! Christmas dinner was simple as well as delicious–our usual traditional ham and twice-baked potatoes, with green beans and biscuits.

We spent the next few days with them, trying out a couple of new-to-us restaurants and a local brewery, which made for a fun and relaxed few days. On Friday night, more friends from Ohio came in, and we made use of our secondary guest space in my office. Our daughter and partner took off the next morning, and we spent the day doing some shopping and sightseeing with our friends.

We drove out to Douglas Dam, where one of our friends took this fantastic photo.

The weather has been amazingly warm and nice all week. Our friends left this morning, so DH and I went for a motorcycle ride, just doing a little exploring in our part of the county. It seems crazy to be able to do such a thing in December!

What I’ve Been Reading

I still managed to read a little every night before bed, even with guests. I’ve been reading through a big box set that I probably won’t discuss in detail, as I didn’t like one of the books in it. Nothing wrong with it, just not to my taste. I am enjoying the others–pretty typical sword and sorcery fantasy fare.

What I’ve Been Writing

I set a very low goal this week, given the holidays. I did not plan to write while we had guests, but I did get to it on Sunday and Monday, and met my goal. This week, I’m going to shoot for 250 words, for four days, as New Year’s comes right in the middle of the week and I don’t yet know what we’re doing for that holiday (if anything).

2019 Goal Wrapup

This pretty much sums up how well I met my admittedly crazy writing goals, given the move:

via GIPHY

I wanted to finish my current WIP. I got about 20,000 words written on it, most of which were written before the move. Heck, I’m just glad I got anything at all written since then! Here were my other goals, which I didn’t detail out in my initial goals post at the end of last year, but that I did write down elsewhere:

  • Finish writing Time’s Guardian – DONE
  • Finish writing Time’s Judgement – this is the current WIP. See GIF above.
  • Complete at least one WMG workshop per quarter – DONE!
  • Read The Copyright Handbook – Nope
  • Attend WMG Business Master Class in Las Vegas in October – YES!
  • Send out one newsletter per month until giveaway books are gone; at least one newsletter afterward in 2019 when there’s news (ideally, quarterly) – uh, I did one books giveaway and took the rest to the library. There hasn’t been any news to speak of on the writing from since, so no newsletters.
  • Keep track of books read, including business and other nonfiction, and those not finished – Yep. I read 35 books this year, plus TONS of blogs.

So, I guess I would consider that kind of a mixed bag, though better than I expected. I’ll take it!

ROW80 doesn’t start back up until next week, so I’ll post about my 2020 goals then.

What about you–how were your holidays, if you celebrate them? Did you stick to old traditions, or work in something new? How did you do on your 2019 goals? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you. And have a happy New Year!

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.

Any Progress is Good

The pups are ready for Christmas!

This didn’t feel like an eventful week, yet when I think about it, I got a lot accomplished. We finished decorating for the holidays, and took photos for the Christmas cards, which I ordered yesterday. I would have liked to have had this done way before now, but that just didn’t happen. They’ll still come in in time for people to get them before Christmas, so that’s what matters. 

What I’ve Been Reading

Fiction reading has been slow, as I’ve been glomming on a blog lately: A Slob Comes Clean, by Dana K. White aka Nony the Slob. I discovered her books first, which I blogged about a couple weeks ago. When I learned she started with blogging, I had to check it out. Not only am I always looking for easier ways to manage my home, her writing is pretty darn funny.

She’s been blogging for ten years, and I went back and read from the beginning. I do this with blogs every once in a while when I find one that really draws me in, and I realized it’s reading about someone’s journey that I really enjoy. If you struggle with keeping up with your house, or just want some entertaining reading that’s also informative, I highly recommend A Slob Comes Clean!

What I’ve Been Writing

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My goal this past week was to write at least five days, 250 words/day. Well, I ended up getting slightly stuck again, and I did get unstuck (thank you, Twenty Answers!) but didn’t quite hit that goal. I did write for four days, for a total of just over 1000 words. It may not be my goal, but any progress is good, so I’m happy with that. I still have some holiday-related stuff to do (mainly shopping), so I’m going to stick with the same goal for this week (and hope I stay un-stuck!).

What about you–are you ready for the holidays, if you celebrate? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Do you like to read blogs (other than writing blogs, for you writers!)? 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.

I’m Back

Six weeks ago, we moved into our new house.

In a way, it’s been a long six weeks. In another way, it seems like it’s been no time at all.

The house wasn’t 100% finished when we moved in. We gave the builder a punch list when we were here on Labor Day weekend. They finished the things they needed to get a Certificate of Occupancy, but didn’t fix any paint dings, unevenly-hung doors, or things like that.

Nor did they clean (they wanted $3000 to do that, then came down to $1500. Plus the builder’s 15% fee. No thanks).

But the move finally happened three weeks later. We’re here, and slowly cleaning, fixing things, and unpacking.

But never mind all that. How about some pictures?

Even U-Haul’s biggest moving truck couldn’t fit all our stuff! DH has had to make several trips back to Ohio, mostly for garage stuff. Maybe we have too much?
The disaster that was my office after moving day
The kitchen and dining room three weeks later, after our daughter and her partner helped us clean. There were still boxes shoved against the island.
Husband and dogs napping in the family room
The view off our deck one foggy morning, with clouds layered between the mountains
After a couple weeks of constantly sweeping dog hair, we got a robot vacuum. Isis still isn’t sure what she thinks of it.
One day my husband kept hearing something going clunk… clunk… near his truck. Then he saw the legs underneath. I guess this wild turkey thought he found a new friend in the truck’s shiny, black door!
The front of the house, complete with junk still on the front porch.
The back of the house, with some grass growing now that we’re finally getting some rain!
Taking a walk down the driveway. The dogs love it out here!
The office is no longer a disaster! Isis approves.
…but there are still plenty of boxes to be unpacked, mostly books (does that surprise anyone?)

As you can guess, there hasn’t been much writing happening. Since early summer until this past week, I think I broke out the WIP twice, maybe three times. And those Big Hairy Audacious Goals I came up with back in January?

Um, yeah. Not happening.

But I’m now getting back into my WIP. This past week, I went to Las Vegas for Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Business Master Class for writers. Well worthwhile, though much of what I learned there is future oriented–as in, information I’m not ready to put to use right now, but that will be good to know for planning, ideas, and just knowing what’s possible.

I also got to meet some cool and interesting people, including Smith, creator and owner of Bookfunnel Damon Courtney, BundleRabbit creator and owner Chuck Heintzelman, Mark LeFebvre of Draft2Digital, and Allison Longuiera who runs WMG Publishing for Smith and Rusch. 

While the learning opportunity was great and met my expectations, the workshop helped me achieve my other main goals: 1) get my writing mojo back and 2) bust out of my comfort zone.

Granted, the whole move has been about the latter, especially given that I’ve been interviewed on TV twice since then! That was for our neighborhood group that continues to fight the business that’s trying to go in across the street from my house. They are trying some different tactics now (requesting a new mixed-use zoning designation instead of commercial), but so are we. All is still up in the air, though I highly doubt they’ll get to do as large an enterprise as they’re shooting for.

What I’ve Been Reading

Plenty! I have to read at least a little bit to go to sleep at night. But this is already going long, so I’ll go over some of those books next time.

What I’ve Been Writing

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As noted above, not much! After I returned from Vegas, my goal was to simply open my WIP each night and just write something. I did that. Now it’s time to jump back into ROW80, “the Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life.” For those unfamiliar with the group, the year is broken up into four quarters, or “rounds.” They’re already well into Round 4, but what’s great about ROW80 is you can jump in any time, set goals that work for you, and get that accountability some of us need on their blog or Facebook page. 

I still have a lot to do in my office and around the house, so I’m going to keep this week’s goals modest: 100 words/day, for six days. Wish me luck! And visit other ROW80 members on the blog or on Facebook.

What have you been up to lately? I’ve tried to keep up with my blog reading this summer, but that too has been down a bit in the past few weeks, so let me know! Did you make any Big Hairy Audacious Goals at the beginning of the year? If so, how are you doing on them? 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.

Overdue Update

Anyone who’s read this blog recently (this past year) can probably guess why I’ve been absent for the past several weeks. Yes! My brain has been stuck on house-house-house-apartments-house-house-apartments-house-house…

We’ve been to Tennessee twice since I last blogged, and there’s been a lot of progress on the house. All three people who read this are probably looking for pictures, so who am I to disappoint them?

The exterior painting is mostly done, with the exception of the porch posts and deck railings, and a few spots of trim. Also, the builder finally got rid of the big dumpster in front so I can finally get a decent photo:

    

They’ve mostly been working inside this past month. They have stained the beams, installed the tongue-and-groove ceiling in the great room, master bedroom, and my office, and have put up most of the window and door trim. Ahhh, the smell of Minwax in the evening…

When we were there in early May, our daughter and her partner joined us. It was the first time they’d been to the property, and they loved it! We went for a hike around the land. There is an old, fallen-down farmhouse on the other side of the ridge from where we’re building, and our daughter found the outhouse that went with it. She also found wild roses along our driveway, and there were wild strawberries growing on the other side of the ridge. Fun discoveries!

A lot more had been done when DH and I returned last week. Kitchen cabinets were in, and so were the built-ins for my office!

     

And in case you’re wondering, no, our entire house is not being painted mauve. That’s the primer (which was weird to me, as I’ve always seen white primer).

In addition to the house stuff, there’s also been some big changes in our real estate investments (aka my retirement). We sold the 16-unit building we owned here in Ohio, which leaves us owning only our house here. We then bought two small complexes in Tennessee, one with 10 units, the other with 13. There is a lot of paperwork involved in both selling and buying, and I’m the one who handles that, so… apartments have been very much on my mind. It helps that the new buildings came with property management in place, and they look like they really  have their act together, so once I get online banking and a few bill payments set up, our work with these should be minimal.

We’ve also started working on our current house, getting it ready to sell. My husband’s been patching walls and painting, and we’ve started to pack away personal items and get rid of clutter. We’ve already taken a load of outdoor stuff to Tennessee, and will take more once the house is under lock and key.

What I’ve Been Reading: Of course I’ve still been reading! I can’t go to sleep at night without reading first, kind of like how Beavis and Butthead can’t sleep without TV (thumbs up if you get that one!). I’m too lazy to link them all or find covers, so I’ll just list them. There were a couple of additional non fiction books I started but did not finish, that are not listed here. I highly recommend all of the books below!

  1. Soldier’s Duty by Patty Jansen. Third in her Return of the Arghyrians science fiction series, which I really enjoyed.
  2. Writing with Chronic Illness by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I found this one really helpful in seeing how someone else has dealt with this and still manages to produce a lot.
  3. Heir’s Revenge by Patty Jansen. Fourth and final book in the Return of the Arghyrians series.
  4. “Savannah’s Destiny” by Stacy McKitrick. A fun, entertaining short story that meshes her Bitten by Love vampire romances, and her Ghostly Encounters paranormal contemporary romances.
  5. Growing as a Professional Artist by Leah Cutter. Came as part of a writers bundle I bought. Some good tips on dealing with being a introvert and having needs that are different than most people (creating art).
  6. Atomic Habits by James Clear. Details why and how we form habits, and how we can control which new ones we form (and get rid of bad ones).

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhhhh… not much. I started about a month ago with a greatly-reduced goal of 100 words/day, five days/week. I hit that for a couple of weeks, then hit a snag in the WIP. It was too easy to just set it aside, especially when the latest Tennessee trip came up and apartments took over my brain. I have still been thinking about my WIP though, and I think I see a way through the hangup, so I’m going to try getting back to the WIP. Since the new house, and all the stuff to do at the old one is still taking up a lot of my brainspace, I’m going to start back in with my easy goal of 100 words/day, for five days.

What’s been going on with you, or in your life? Do you sometimes feel that your brain is too full to be creative? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have? 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.

Getting to It, Again

Things have been crazy since I last posted, three weeks ago.

In that time, we’ve sold an apartment building, realized our house was waaaay over budget (and figured out some ways we can mitigate that), and contracted to buy another apartment building. Oh, and there was a holiday in there too, for which I had to do extra cooking and cleaning (fortunately, I had help).

So yeah, no time or more importantly, brain, for writing or blogging.

The apartments are kind of a big deal, because that’s most of our retirement. We manage them ourselves, and that has made them more profitable than they otherwise would have been. We can’t exactly do that once we move, so we decided to sell them, and buy something in Tennessee. This has all involved me collecting a lot of paperwork, executing contracts, researching potential purchases, and more–enough that I’ve had no brain for writing. Fortunately, the new apartments we’re under contract to buy make good money–enough that it will help with the house’s budget overages. So it’s all good.

My husband took a few more house pictures when he went there last week to look at the apartments. The exterior is finally getting paint. The fireplace on the back porch is done, and drywall is also done. I picked out interior paint colors and emailed the builder, so that comes next.

          

What I’ve Been Reading: In the past three weeks, I’ve completed two nonfiction books, plus a short story anthology.

The Fiction River was enjoyable as they always are, and yes, there were two or three stories I skipped because they were in first person present tense. Despite the title, only a couple of the stories were romance; the others dealt with love for one’s children, family, friends, or even a place.

The Due Diligence Handbook was all about things to look for and check into when under contract to buy commercial property, which includes apartment buildings larger than four units. We are under contract to buy 23 units, so this seemed worthwhile. It really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, though, and a lot of it was not applicable to apartments, but more focused on retail, office, or other types of commercial property.

Work Optional was a good book about preparing for retirement, and was written by the author of the Our Next Life blog. Like the blog, the book goes over the financial aspects of preparing for retirement, but focuses mostly on the emotional side of it and planning what you’ll do with your time–material that isn’t well-covered in many other retirement resources. Recommended, whether you think you’ll be able to retire early or are just hoping for a traditional retirement starting in your mid-60s.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhh….. (see above). The apartment and house stuff pretty much took over my brainspace for the past few weeks. There just wasn’t anything left for writing. It was compounded by the fact that I’m in a stuck spot right now. So this week, I’m going to try to ease back into it with a very modest goal–100 words a day, for five days. We’ll see how that goes.

What about you–do you sometimes feel  like there just isn’t any brain left for writing (or something else)? Have you read any good books lately? What’s been going on in your life? And how are you doing with your goals, whatever they might be (I hope better than me!)? 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.