A Crazy Few Weeks

The last few weeks have been crazy-busy around here! And all good stuff. Most of that is due to the kitchen remodel, which is on schedule, so that’s good. My daughter also turned 21 a couple weeks ago (I, know,¬† ūüėĮ ) so we had a little party for her–a bit of a challenge without a kitchen, but workable with our party room in the back garage. A good time was had by all, and though it wasn’t a barf-day for my daughter, it was for her friend who came home with her!

More craziness came from their house, which we own and rent to them and two other kids. We contacted our Realtor to put it up for sale, figuring it could take a while for the right buyer to come along. WRONG! We had an offer the very next day! It was a lowball amount, but they eventually came up to a price that will give us a tidy profit, and is still a fair price for them, considering the rent the place brings in. Our daughter and her friends met the buyers when they looked at the house, and said they seemed like they’d be very nice landlords. Best of all, we don’t have to worry about renting it for next year–that’s now the buyer’s responsibility.

Kitchen tileSo back to the kitchen. My evenings have been taken up with trips to Lowe’s, and also doing some of the work. Last week, I painted the few sections of the walls that wouldn’t be hidden by cabinets or backsplash. This past week has been tiling. DH did 90% of that, but the remaining 10% was a bear. We thought we’d save some time and get the all-in-one grout that doesn’t need any mix-ins or sealer. But this stuff hardens much faster, and doesn’t just wipe off with a wet sponge–it needed to be scraped. If we were to do this over, we’d definitely use traditional grout! In any case, it’s done now, and looks great! DH got the appliances today (which are currently sitting in my garage), and the cabinets go in tomorrow. Progress!

SandAndStormWhat I’ve been reading: I dug into a fantasy this past week, Sand and Storm, by Patty Jansen. While the characters drew me in with how well-developed they were, the worldbuilding in this book was the real star. Many, rich cultures and all the politics of their interactions and their histories… yet it wasn’t an info-dump bore, but deftly worked into the story. The book did end on a cliffhanger, with little resolved, which I know is common in fantasy but still not my fave. However, it was such a good book I went and preordered the sequel, which is due out in a month. This author is pretty prolific, so I’m confident¬†she’ll¬†deliver. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy fantasy!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: Judging from all that’s gone on, you might guess that not much has been done on the writing front. And two weeks ago, you’d have been right. But last week, I finally powered through the last (I hope) sloppily-written, PITA to revise scene, plus two others. This week, three more scenes revised. Things are still busy this week, as I expect to be putting stuff away in the new kitchen cabinets, but I’m still going to shoot for 3-4 more scenes revised. A big bonus would be to finish all seven remaining.

What about you–any crazy busy-ness in your life? Here’s hoping it’s all good! Or maybe you’re lucky enough to be enjoying a more settled summer. Either way, what have you been up to? And how are you doing on whatever goals you 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.

 

Distractions are Back

Beartooth Highway

His favorite part of the trip was Beartooth Highway

My husband’s been on a long-haul motorcycle ride vacation out west. (And no, that’s not the distraction the title’s referring to, LOL.) He’d planned to be away for almost three weeks, but plans changed with one of his companions, and he returned a week early.

Which was fine with me. ūüôā I realized, while he was gone, that a few days of him away is a “vacation,” as my mom calls it, but more is just too quiet. It gives me even more respect and gratitude to military spouses–something I would not be good at being. The important thing (besides his safe return) was that he had a great time and saw some really awesome (literally) parts of the country.

What the kitchen looked like a week ago

What the kitchen looked like a week ago

His plan was to start the kitchen remodel as soon as he got back. THAT has been the distraction–and thank goodness, a good one!

I had the kitchen already packed up before he returned. He slept most of the day, but the day after that, he jumped right in, with the help of a few friends.

On the left, you can get an idea of what the kitchen looked like before. It’s very small–this photo was taken from the opposite corner, which as you can see, is not very far away.

Kitchen gutted

The kitchen when I arrived home from work on Tuesday

It would have been great to enlarge the kitchen, but the back wall backs up to the bathroom, and the other side backs up to a staircase. The other two walls are exterior. So opening up the kitchen would require an addition, which was definitely not in our budget. So we decided to keep it small, but maximize the space and make it very nice.

The other big problem with this kitchen is¬†that everything is old and worn out, and its layout was very inefficient–see the dumb, wasted space between the stove and dishwasher? And no storage over the stove or refrigerator? That ¬†will all change. And let’s not¬†even start on the oh-so-seventies floor or cabinets–ugh.

This can’t happen too soon, and my DH agreed. He and two friends dug into it on Tuesday. My DH does not waste any time. ūüėÄ After everything was removed, we found some good news, and some bad. The bad was that we had a lot of old, galvanized pipes that were rusting and needed to be replaced. Fortunately, the plumber is a friend, and charged us about half his normal rate. The good news was that my husband expected to need to replace the subfloor–but it turned out to be in great shape, with no damage at all!

We had the plumbing for the sink moved to beneath the window on Friday, along with the bad pipes replaced. Now, DH and an electrician friend are rewiring the whole kitchen, because like many things in our¬†1950s house, the electric was never completely updated, or done right. With the new kitchen, I’ll be able to use the microwave and an electric skillet at the same time without throwing a breaker. ūüôā Next up, flooring!

It sounds like DH is doing all the work, right? He is, but that work includes many trips to Lowe’s, where I go with him to pick out stuff or to simply help load/unload. And he has had questions while installing the electric, so those are the distractions. But they’re distractions I don’t mind.

Friends_FortuneWhat I’ve been reading: Friends and Fortune Cookies, by Elizabeth Bemis. This is the book I mentioned a while back, when I read another by her, Love and Oreos. Liz was one of my very first critique partners many years ago, and while I’d never read Love at all, I did read and critique a very early incarnation of Friends. It was fun to read the published book and spot little things I remembered from way back then. These included the main characters, their names, and their professions, as well as the main premise of the story: the couple had been friends for most of their lives, but whenever their relationship started to progress to something more, they always screwed it up. There were, of course, a lot of differences in the published book. The main one was that there was a lot more conflict between the hero and heroine, and more baggage preventing them from easily getting their HEA (happily ever after), which made it an enjoyable read. So if you enjoy contemporary romance, grab this one for sure! If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, it’s free.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: As you can guess from the rest of this post, I did not accomplish much at all with my writing. The distractions are part of the problem, but the other is that I’m revising a book I wrote half of during NaNoWriMo 2013, and it was written very sloppily. Some of the scenes just need a bit of touch up here and there, but the one I’m working on now needs a lot of fill-in, so it’s a bunch of not-much-fun fixup work, and going very slowly. If I get this scene finished this week, I’ll be happy with that. Anything else is a bonus.

What about you–have you had any distractions lately? What have you been reading, and what do you normally like? How are you doing on 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.

Frustrating

This has been one of those weeks with very little progress, as far as the writing goes. No life rolls or anything like that either, just no time and/or energy for it. And that’s with my adrenal fatigue being better¬†lately.

For example, DH and I went out for dinner for our date night, as we do every week. We did our usual: go to a bar and grab something to eat, play trivia, and hang with friends. It was a good time. But I don’t get home from work until around 6, and barely had time to change clothes and do my after work routine before we left. We didn’t get home until after 10, and by then, I was too wiped out to write. I know, writing is just sitting at a computer and making stuff up, but that takes mental energy, and my fatigue is mental as well as physical.

The day after that, we finally got in all the rent checks from our apartments, so I had a good couple hours’ worth of paperwork to do in preparing the deposits. And after that was done, I had food prep to do, as I’m doing a cooking day today. This was also a work day, so by the time that was finished, it was again 10PM, and I was beat.

Yesterday was Saturday, and you’d think I’d be able to come up with some time to write. But noooooo, I had errands to run, some of which DH couldn’t do or he would have. Then I had to finish a few food prep things I didn’t do the night before. After that, I had two loads of laundry to do–normally, I do that on Sunday, but I’m cooking today so that won’t work. Then I spent about an hour doing my weekly Home Blessing, and just general tidy up because we had friends over for dinner. We had a great time (and some great food, which DH fixed), but by the time I’d cleaned up and our guests left, it was–you guessed it–10PM and tired.

I forced myself to spend 15 minutes or so writing, but it wasn’t fun or easy, because I was so tired. So this week, instead of the ten scenes I’d hoped to edit and fix? I got one and a half done. So frustrating!

StarNomadWhat I’ve been reading: I did have time to read, as that’s something I can do when I’m tired–it doesn’t take much mental energy to enjoy someone else’s creative work. This week I read Star Nomad, by Lindsay Buroker. I’ve been meaning to try her books for some time now, and this one’s the first by her I’ve read. It was a really good, fun, science fiction adventure. If you like Firefly, this is a must-read, because it really reminded me of that (though not in a rip-off sort of way).

I also finished a very long, nonfiction history book by my friend from high school, the one who gave me a copy of “my” yearbook for my birthday. He has not been able to find a publisher for it, and I’ll grant that it’s a niche topic (military aviation history), but it was very well-written and mostly kept my interest. I say “mostly” because it went into exhaustive detail–but I am not the primary audience for this book, and I believe those who are, will love this level of detail. I’ve been reading this book on my treadmill for the past six months, and I only use the treadmill when the weather’s too cold, hot, or rainy to walk the dog, so it’s taken a while. I am trying to get him to self-publish it, though he has a bit more work to do for that (finding pictures and getting permission for them, getting a Foreword written by someone known in the field, etc.).

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: As noted above, I didn’t even come close to meeting my goals last week. And this week doesn’t look to be much better, as I have a lot going on. So I’m going to shoot for getting one scene fixed/revised. Anything more than that will be a big win.

What about you–do you get frustrated when you don’t have the time (or energy) to do the things you want? What’s the one thing you don’t sacrifice? Have you read any good books lately? And whether or not you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing on whatever goals you may 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.

When the Work Pays Off

There was an opportunity for some Dog Shaming this week.

There was an opportunity for some Dog Shaming this week.

I didn’t do a whole lot this week besides the usual work and home stuff, and finished looking over my galleys for Time’s Dilemma. It should come out next week, and it’s great to see the work finally pay off.

My husband got a major payoff this week, too. For the past four years, he’s been working on a total restoration of the ’79 TransAm he bought right out of high school. As in, he took every single bolt off that car, completely rebuilt the engine (and modified it quite a bit), and restored and repainted the entire body. The only thing he didn’t touch was the upholstery, which is original but still in amazingly good shape.

Pontiac NationalsThis weekend he went to the Pontiac Nationals in Bowling Green, KY and raced it for the first time. He knew there would be a lot of tuning to do and possibly more work in tweaking things. He did do a bit of that, and finished in time for the main racing events on Saturday. He didn’t expect to make the finals, even though he knew his car was good. He just didn’t know how good, or how well he knew the car (which is really key). He didn’t just make the finals–he won runner up in his class! So proud of him. Four years of work finally paid off, and he had a great time too.

Restoring a car as a hobby isn’t unlike writing. It takes many hours of work that may never pay off. I’m fortunate in that I’ve completed now eight novels, and four are published, soon to be five, which is what I worked toward this week. It’s a great feeling. Even though Time’s Dilemma is 1/3 the length of my other Saturn Society novels, it was still a lot of work. Here’s the scoop:

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Time’s Dilemma

A Saturn Society Short Novel

Never Tell

Time traveler Florie LeBeau follows the laws of the Saturn Society that protect people with her gift, but the handsome stranger who arrives at her Cumberland Gap farmhouse from the eighteenth century defies every one. From his very presence, two hundred years past his time, to the things he knows about her, everything about Zeke Allen breaks the rules–the rules of time travel, and the rules protecting Florie’s heart.

Never Change the Past

Florence might not know Zeke Allen, but he knows her… loves her… and knows she’ll play a key part in the war that will soon involve her United States. But her four-years-older self swore him to secrecy, for Zeke revealing his knowledge could change things‚ÄĒwith devastating consequences.¬†

And Never, Ever Fall in Love

Though drawn to the captivating frontiersman, Florie denies her longing for him, as the Society forbids involvement with those from other times. But Zeke pushes her boundaries, determined to win her love, for he must ensure her visit to his time four years hence, or else it could cost her country their war, Florie her future, and both of their hearts.

Gain entry into the Saturn Society and meet the men and women who can cross time itself to follow their hearts into thrilling adventure and sensual romance today!

 

Available in ebook at major retailers – print coming soon!

Want a free copy in advance? My publisher has given me ten ebooks to send out to anyone who agrees to post an honest review on release (I’ll email you when that time comes). And yes, by honest, I mean it’s totally OK to say this book sucked like bucket of ticks if that’s your honest opinion (but hopefully you won’t think that). Just Contact Me and let me know whether you’d like a Kindle book, or an epub that can be read on Nook, Apple devices, and most other e-readers.

sm19What I’ve been reading: Smith’s Monthly #19¬†by Dean Wesley Smith. Now I’m only a year behind in these LOL. The novel in this issue is Heaven Painted as a Free Meal, a Ghost of a Chance story. I love these, about an organization of ghosts who help people and occasionally save the world. Some really unique worldbuilding, how the ghost world works in these, like the ghosts still eat, sleep, and do other life-like things but with “ghost” copies that aren’t missed by the living. And there is a lot of good humor in them, and some romance. Definitely recommended if you enjoy paranormal!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My main goal was to complete my galleys for Time’s Dilemma, and that’s done. I also wanted to finish my re-read of what I have so far on the next book–finished that last night. This week’s goal is to outline the rest of the next book, since what I have needs a lot of work.

What about you–what have you put a lot of work into recently, and have you seen results? Have you read any good books lately? How are you doing on whatever goals you may 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.

Rolling Thunder

I had a good reason for being away from the blog last week: I was in Washington DC, in the Rolling Thunder ride.

Some of you may remember I ride myself, but not for this. No way. I sold my Harley a couple years ago because with writing and my health issues, I just did not have time to ride. My bike was not suitable for long trips anyway. For this, I rode on the back of my husband’s Harley, a super-comfy Ultra Limited touring bike, which is made¬†for long trips.

Yes, we rode all the way from Ohio to DC on his bike, accompanied by a couple of rider friends. We were blessed with good weather the whole way there, and while we were there, and only encountered a bit of rain on the way home.

While there, we did some sightseeing, and I got to spend a night with a couple of my best friends from high school who live in the area. It was great seeing them and their little boy.

The parade, a.k.a. the Run to the Wall (referring to the Vietnam Memorial), was on Sunday. I met back up with my husband and our friends at the Pentagon, then did the ride through the city. Fun, but also really makes you think about the reason we have Memorial Day–to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to¬†our country.

This was the ninth year my husband has been to Rolling Thunder. He thought attendance was down from past years, but according to the official Facebook page, there were almost a million bikes there. Definitely a worthwhile and fun experience!

Rolling Thunder Marine

This Marine salutes for the entire duration of the parade – about six hours for all the bikes to go past. He never lowers his hand! This year, he had his bride with him.

Rolling Thunder ride

Riding through downtown DC

LoveAndOreosWhat I read this week: I didn’t have time to write while away, but I did get some reading in. This week, I read Love and Oreos, by Elizabeth Bemis. This is a contemporary romance, which is not really my thing unless there’s suspense or a paranormal element. This had neither, but I had to check it out, as Elizabeth was one of my very first critique partners, many years ago when I just started writing. This was a cute, lighthearted story of a plus-size ad agency creative director and her hottie client who owned a fitness center. What was especially well-done about it was the heroine. She’s overweight, loves good food (like chocolate), and hates exercise. Wow, can I relate! But it was also nice to see how she learned to enjoy healthy food and some kinds of activity. What I really liked was that she had lost a little, realistic amount of weight over the course of the book, but wasn’t skinny by its end–and the hero loved her as she was. I had not read this book in any form before, but I will have read the next book in the series, Friendship and Fortune Cookies, as it’s one I critiqued. I’ll be interested to see how much it’s changed since then. If you enjoy contemporary romance, I definitely recommend these!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update:¬†Time’s Dilemma came back from the copy editor right after we returned home on Monday, so I dug into that right away. Completed my edits, and now it’s in the publisher’s hands again, and should be out in ebook form within a week! I’ll post an update here on the blog when it’s out, but if you’re dying of curiosity now, you can check out the book page. For this week, I need to go back over the next book in the series, which is Book Three in the linked novels. It’s¬†about half drafted,¬†and I need to determine what’s there that’s good, and what needs to go.

What about you–did you do anything fun or exciting over the holiday weekend? Or for those not in the US, any weekend recently? Have you read any good books lately? How are you doing on your goals, 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.

I am Officially…

BD PartyOLD. Yep, that’s why I skipped posting last week. Well, not really because of that, but because my husband threw me a big party last Saturday, and I was wiped out! Not from drinking, just tired.

My husband says I don’t look old, but sometimes I feel it!

The party was a lot of fun. I said “No gifts, please” unless they were gag gifts. He also did up our garage (party area) up right, with 50 black balloons, an “old lady” cane for me. And appropriately, a tiara. ūüôā

Most people respected my request, though a few brought bottles of wine. I don’t mind those, ūüôā though I don’t drink much, so they will last me a good while. But probably the best (and most creative) gift was a copy of “my” college yearbook, from one of my best friends from high school…

yearbook

My friend thinks I am really old LOL

yearbook inside

…but there is my photo

I apparently knew some interesting people! – click to enlarge –

VampireWeddingWhat I’ve been reading: I was pretty tired for several days after that, so I had time to read. I read the short stories from a Smith’s Monthly, then a book I’ve been looking forward to came out in the middle of the week: A Vampire Wedding, by Stacy McKitrick. This was a fun addition for those who’ve read any of her other vampire books, especially the one where the main characters in this book met. In this book, human Sarah does not want a big wedding, but agrees to go to Vegas with a few friends because it’s important to her vampire partner. There are a lot of humorous moments with secondary characters, and some real tension with her family, with a great come-uppance in the end (plus of course, a happily-ever-after–more than one!). I highly recommend this series if you like vampire romance, but read Bite Me, I’m Yours before this one.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I finished my latest edits of the novella, and it’s now off to the copy editor! This week, I need to do a¬†print book layout for Mythical Press, and I have a lot going on later this week, so I don’t expect to get much writing done. I’ll be happy if I get the print book done, and manage to keep up with the Business in Writing workshop I’m currently taking. Most likely, I won’t be posting here next week, but be sure to stop by the week after!

What about you–do you have any advice or tips for me, now that I’m “old”? Or perhaps any funny stories to share? Have you read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you may have, whether writing related or not? 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, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

The Trouble with the Cloud

I am a list-maker. If I don’t write down what I need to do, what I need to buy at the store, or things like birthdays and events, then nothing gets done, we don’t get what we need from the store, birthdays¬†would be forgotten, and I would miss appointments and events.

I use an app called Cozi Family Planner for all of this. It syncs across my computer, my phone and tablet, and on any computer I can access the web (i.e., if I think of something while at work). It’s also intended to be shared with family, so I can schedule things for my husband, and we share the grocery list. It works so much better for me than slips of paper.

I had a pretty big to-do list for today. Mostly little things, but a bunch of them.

And Cozi is down today. I’ve been using it for at least four years, and this is a first. Once I figured out that, no, it’s not Google Chrome being wonky, I got a little twitchy. Then I wrote my to-do list on a sticky note. I think I remember everything that was on it for today, but I hope Cozi gets fixed soon, because there are things on it for later in the week that I’m afraid I don’t (or won’t) remember.

It kinda does highlight the dangers of relying on the cloud, and I think it’s time to have a paper backup–at least for the long-term stuff.

ChildrenOfAmargosaWhat I’ve Been Reading: The Children of Amargosa¬†by TS Hottle. This is a science fiction novel in which the main characters are teens, but this could be enjoyed by readers of any age.¬†It’s the follow-up to Gimme Shelter, which ended on a major cliffhanger, and takes up where that left off. Children follows the main character into a war with invading aliens. But the aliens aren’t the only enemies. A massive rebel militia has risen up among the humans, and they’re more than willing to kill other humans for supplies. This book is non-stop action that takes the reader on a relentless roller coaster ride, but where it really shines is in the character development. The teen characters and their main adult ally are such well-developed individuals, they are almost like real-life acquaintances. There aren’t¬†a lot of space ships or techy stuff in here, though they’re present in the background. The real action of the book is in the transformation of the young fighters as they grapple with the deaths of parents, friends, and romances while struggling to survive–and triumph.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: My goals for this week were to write a book description, and provide front- and back-matter of my novella to my publisher. I did get the description done, but that’s all. Luckily, the book is still in first round edits, so I have some time on the other stuff. So that’s what’s on for this week.

How about you–do you rely on¬†online calendar and list tools, or do you use good old fashioned paper? Is there an app you can’t do without? Have you read any good books lately? 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.

The Hardest Thing to Declutter

Most of you reading this blog probably would agree with me what that is: BOOKS! Yes, that’s what I’ve been working on this week in my ongoing decluttering efforts. And like most writers, I have a lot of books.

I have an antique book case in my dining room that’s stuffed full, about three feet wide by five feet high. I haven’t touched that yet. What I’m working on now is the built-in bookcase in my study. That’s about nine¬†feet long and three shelves deep. These were not only stuffed, but double-layered on about half the shelves that were full of mass-market paperbacks.

My bookshelf runneth over

My bookshelf runneth over

About half of these are mass-market paperbacks I picked up at various RWA conferences and have never read. The last RWA con I attended was in 2011. They looked good at the time I picked them up, but I figure, if I haven’t read these books by now, I’m probably not going to, especially since I prefer ebooks now.

The other half are books I have read and enjoyed enough that I¬†just couldn’t give them away before now. Yes, most of us have keepers, and while decluttering, I did indeed find plenty that I love enough to move, even though I seldom re-read fiction. But there were many that I loved, but don’t see myself re-reading… and definitely don’t want to move.

So rather than just give them to someone to sell, I decided I would rather give them away to friends. I have a dozen paranormal romances boxed up and ready to go. The giveaway will be offered to those subscribed to my Readers Group. If you would like a chance to win, but aren’t there yet, you can join here!¬†The giveaway announcement will go out sometime¬†this week, probably Tuesday. I have lots of books to give away besides paranormal romance. Future giveaways will include suspense, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, historical romance, and fantasy/sci-fi. Oh, and there are also a bunch of writing craft books that I liked and found useful, but know I won’t re-read.

The other interesting thing I did this week was attend a fashion show. This was at my daughter’s university, and I’ll admit, the only reason my family went was because my daughter was a model in it. I don’t have any pics, because all I had was my phone camera, which is no good in that sort of venue (dark with just the performers lit). No matter anyway, because my daughter had to be in the most unflattering outfit¬†in the whole show! It was a short, pouffy white dress with a huge bustle in the front. It made her look about twice her weight. I described it as “marshmallow Tinkerbell,” but I think her description was better: a walking wedding cake. She said it was an interesting experience (as was watching it), but not one she’d care to repeat. I have to agree. Just not my thing.

I have to¬†give the fashion design club major props on one thing: the models weren’t all tall and thin. They included several short girls (one was my daughter), and most were a good, healthy weight. They even had one model with Down’s Syndrome, who the audience loved. The show also went off well, as far as the audience could tell, though my daughter said several things went awry. So an interesting experience to do once!

What I’ve been reading: Still not done with the science fiction book, though I’m close!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I did not get done what I wanted this week. I finished the cover and sent that to Mythical Press, but did not get the book description done for them yet. So that’s up for this week. They are also asking for my front- and back- matter (Acknowledgements, Author’s Note, etc.) so completing those are my goals for this week.

What about you–do you have a lot of books? Do you find it hard to get rid of them? Have you ever attended a fashion show? Or have you had another new experience recently? How are you doing on 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.

Priorities, and First Quarter Wrap-up

I’ve been absent from the blog for a couple of weeks, but I have a good reason: my family. While I like writing my blog and chatting with those of you who comment, my family is my priority.

Nothing bad happened–I just had opportunities to spend time with family I don’t see often, so that was more important. Two weeks ago, my daughter arrived home for Spring Break. She had a lot to talk about, so I wanted to spend that time with her, and the blog never got written. I thought about posting it on Monday, when she was off visiting friends, but got busy with typical Monday things. I could have pushed, but being kind to myself is best for my health, so I let it go.

Then last week was Easter, and I hosted the family gathering. My family is small, and Mom and I are old hands at planning ahead for these (we do the same thing every year, food-wise), so it’s not a big stressor. We had the added blessing of hosting my mom’s cousin, who lives on Vancouver Island and was here for the holiday. He’s extensively well-traveled and well-read, and is a fascinating and fun person to talk to, and it was also fun to catch up on what’s going on with his family. So, not a stressful day, but a busy one, between cooking, spending time with my family while they were here, and then cleanup. My mom and daughter help with that, but it’s still a big job. So I decided to let the blog go once again.

Wreck of HeavenGods Old and DarkWhat I’ve been reading: I always make sure to take time to read, and I finished Holly Lisle’s World Gates Series, which I binge-read. Book Two is The Wreck of Heaven, and Book Three is Gods Old and Dark. (Book One is Memory of Fire, mentioned in my last post.) This was one of those series that’s so mind-blowingly awesome it could¬†be depressing for a writer in an “I could never write something this good” sort of way. Luckily, I enjoyed it too much to think much about that. But wow, enormous stakes, heart-rending emotion, and one of the freakin’ best villains I have ever read. You know, one of those that’s horrendously evil, yet so well-developed we can still feel a twinge of sympathy and understanding of how he became that way. And an immensely satisfying ending that didn’t tie up everything neatly into a bow, but where we knew the characters were on their way, with plenty of hope. Flipping AWESOME. If you like epic and/or contemporary fantasy, this series is a MUST read!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: ROW80 Round One ended last week, and I didn’t even realize it at first, LOL! I met some of my goals. I finished the first draft of Time’s Dilemma, and got it to my beta readers. However, I did not finish the revision, because the beta readers found a lot more work it needed than I expected. So I am still working on that. Still working on the cover for it, too. Round 2 of ROW80 starts tomorrow, so my goals for that¬†are to finish Time’s Dilemma¬†and get it to my publisher, hopefully in time for it to be released this quarter. I would like that to happen in time for me to get a start on the next long Saturn Society novel.

What about you–how are you doing on your goals so far this year? Do you sometimes have to shelve one thing you like to do for another priority? How has the weather been in your area, now that it’s officially Spring? (Ours has been all over the place!) Have you read anything awesome lately? 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 Binge that’s Good for You

I’m talking about reading–but of course!

It doesn’t make you gain weight. It isn’t mindless. It can even encourage physical activity–for example, I stay on the treadmill longer if my book is really good.

For the most part, this week’s been uneventful, and that’s fine with me. I had a chance to read a lot while waiting for a doctor’s appointment (a doctor I’m not planning to go back to, because of that). I didn’t get as much writing done as I wanted, though I can’t really blame the reading for that. My fatigue’s been acting up a bit, so I did more lying around watching TV than I’d have liked.

Critter Update: On the good news front, I have not had to go back to the vet’s office–so far, my gerbil Spaz has not resumed chewing his foot, and it’s finally starting to heal.

memoryoffireWhat I’ve Been Reading: Memory of Fire, by Holly Lisle. This is the book I happily devoured last week. It’s the first in her World Gates series, a blend of contemporary and epic fantasy. And it’s so awesome, I decided to do something I can’t remember ever doing before: I immediately bought the next book in the series. Usually, I read a few other books before going back to a series, but I know a lot¬†of people binge-read, so I figured this was the series to try it out on. These¬†books feature likeable, relateable main characters, and they’re¬†massive in scope and stakes: not only one world’s fate hangs in the balance, but many. These are richly-developed worlds where everyone, including the bad guys, is fascinating and even they draw sympathy. I fully expect to pick up with the third as soon as I finish with the second, The Wreck of Heaven, which I’m reading now.

Something else interesting to note: I picked up Fire for $.99, on sale. It’s not an indie book, but was published by a Big 5 company: HarperCollins. The big publishers get a lot of criticism for overpricing ebooks, and while they do run sales like this, they tend to price other ebooks at $9.99 or more–higher than the paperback version. I fully expected to find that with Wreck, and figured I’d get it from the library, as I don’t like to pay that much to greedy publishers. I was pleasantly surprised: books 2 and 3 are¬†$4.99 and $5.99, right in line with indie fantasy novel prices. So it’s good to see that someone at a Big 5 publisher¬†has their head out of their posterior region, and I have no problem supporting that. ūüėÄ

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I did finish the scene started last week, but instead of revising the next two, wrote another (short) new one. So… a semi-win, I suppose. For this week, a third (very short) one is next up, then finally I plan to get back to revising the existing material. I have my writers group meeting coming up next weekend, and some other stuff going on, so I’m going to shoot for just one edited scene.

What about you–do you binge-read? Or binge-watch TV series? (I’ve never done that, either). Have you read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you may 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.