Unpacking Copyright

This week around the house, I finally got around to unpacking some lingering boxes. Three of these were in the master closet, along with a garbage bag full of my husband’s clothes (that he obviously hasn’t really missed, but oh well…). DH installed the final closet organizer and shelves, so I did the unpacking.

What’s surprising is the amount of empty shelf space, along with half of a clothing rail. The rail will be filled when we bring up our extra coats from the basement, but the shelves? I guess I did a better job of decluttering before the move than I thought!

The other thing DH did was to tidy up and hang pictures in this little nook off of the great room. On the right is the door into our bedroom. I finally unpacked the several boxes of books there, and filled the bookshelf, and DH hung his family memorial items. I’m happy with how it turned out! There are still plenty of projects, but getting these done is a good feeling.

Learning about Copyright

This year, I set a goal to learn something about copyright once a month. Copyright is so important to writers, as it’s what gives our work value and enables us to make money from it, by preventing others from doing so without our permission (legally, at least). But there is so much nuance to it, and so many details.

A couple years ago for Christmas, I received The Copyright Handbook, by Stephen Fishman. I already knew the basics, like the fact that we have a copyright in our work as soon as it’s committed to paper, hard drive, or whatever other fixed form, and that holding a copyright does not require registration. I re-read Chapter One, which is a good reinforcement of the basics. On one level, I knew that it’s not required to put a copyright notice on the material for it to be copyrighted, but what I wasn’t clear on was that this isn’t even required by a publisher. The notice is more to reinforce the fact that it’s copyrighted to anyone who might be thinking of infringing, and deter those who might otherwise not realize the material is copyrighted. I also learned that the disclaimers that are inserted by publishers are mostly a tradition (and reinforcement to those who might unwittingly use the material otherwise), but not a requirement, though they were historically. The words “all rights reserved” were never a requirement except in Brazil and Honduras.

If infringement does occur, the author is likely to get a better settlement if the material bears a copyright notice. Without the notice, the infringer might owe a lesser settlement due to the possibility that they could have thought the material was in the public domain (i.e., not copyrighted).

What I’ve Been Reading

I’m still reading the final book in that fantasy box set, which is actually six short novels. That box set has been quite the deal, at $ .99, and has given me many hours of entertainment! I’m really enjoying the current book.

In nonfiction, I read Playing with Fire by Scott Rieckens. One thing I love about reading personal finance blogs is reading about the author’s journey out of debt and/or to being financially independent. Playing with Fire is such a story, about when the author realized he and his wife wouldn’t be able to retire until they were over 70, due to their paycheck-to-paycheck, luxurious lifestyle, and goes over the changes they made to get out of that cycle and work toward the life the really wanted. Recommended!

What I’ve Been Writing

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I met my writing goal this week of 450 words/day for five days, and a total of 2250 words. Actually, I exceeded it a little, and got over 2400 words, so that tells me I’m good to bump up my goal again! So this week, I’m going to shoot for 500 words/day, for five days, and a total of 2500 words.

I met my learning goals this time too, by learning something about copyright as noted above, and I also completed Week 4’s videos and assignment for the WMG Publishing “Teams in Fiction” workshop. This week, I want to complete the videos and assignment for Week 5.

What about you–have you unpacked anything interesting lately? What have you read recently? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing-related or otherwise? 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.

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.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Today is the first day in a week that we’ve had dry weather. It has rained since Monday, only stopping on Thursday and Friday to switch to snow. Our driveway’s a mess, and I’ve had migraines all week, thanks to the weather. And yes, we’re still getting water in the basement, now in different places than before. DH has already been in contact with the waterproofing company, and the owner says they’ll be back out to work on it once it stops raining on a workday (it’s supposed to start back up tomorrow).

I can’t complain too much–our basement water is just some seepage through the walls. But our area got over 5″ of rain in two days, and some people have had their homes flooded. DH is out on the tractor fixing the driveway now, I don’t have a headache now, and we have a lot to be grateful for.

The freeze we had a couple weeks ago didn’t hurt our wild daffodils

What I’ve Been Reading

Fellowship, by Lynette M. Burrows. This is a prequel to her debut novel, My Soul to Keep, set in the same alternate-history, dystopian world, about four newly-orphaned kids on the run in Appalachia. I loved the first book, and loved this one too–the characters are engaging, and the theocratic U.S. in an alternate 1960’s fascinates me. Highly recommended! I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

What I’ve Been Writing

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Once again, I did not make my goal (sigh). The headaches are part of it–I just haven’t felt like doing much. I did manage to write four days this week, and got about 1800 words in–so not a total bust. But I am also again at a stuck point. This time, it’s a need for research. I have characters in three different time periods, and two different places, neither of which is Dayton, Ohio. So it’s time to do some research and figure out what could happen next in these time periods and other places. So this week’s goal is to research at least 15 minutes a day or until I figure things out, and to get 1000 new words, whether that’s 200 words five days, 500 words two days, or something in between.

I did meet my learning goal, and finished the WMG Publishing workshop on Teams in Fiction. Definitely helpful, and a topic I’d never given much thought to before. I am going to take a week off of workshops while I focus on my research, then will probably jump into another one next week.

What about you–how’s the weather where you are? Has it impacted what you do? Have you read any good books lately? And 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.

Not a Creature was Stirring…

…not even a mouse.

Oh wait, yes they are. And definitely at night.

We used to get mice at our old house in the Ohio suburbs, too, especially at this time of year when they want in from the cold. So it was no surprise that we’d get them at the new house, which is in a rural area.

But it turns out that country mice are smarter than suburban mice. At the old house, I’d use tip-traps to catch them, and they worked fabulously. We did not have our pantry food in airtight containers or anything, they’d go for the peanut butter in those traps every time.

But here, they’ll go right on past the traps conveniently on the floor and climb up the pantry shelves for the good stuff. We even tried a different type of live trap. No mice, at least not in the traps. They were continuing to enjoy our pantry, however. We bought airtight pantry containers and put everything we could in them. The mice still managed to find the few items that wouldn’t fit, moving on to my protein shake mix when nothing else was left out of a sealed container.

My husband got tired of dealing with it and bought some guillotine-style traps. These at least kill them quickly, unlike the old-fashioned kind, or <shudder> glue traps. They’re now his problem.

What I’ve Been Reading

Mice haven’t stopped me from enjoying some fiction! With all the extra to-dos that the holidays bring (though I’m not getting stressed out about it), I was in the mood for a nice light, contemporary romance. Always Remember by Sheila Seabrook fit the bill perfectly! What I really loved about this story was how the heroine was living the life someone else (her mother) wanted for her, and came to realize that what she wanted for herself wasn’t as out of reach as she thought. Recommended!

What I’ve Been Writing

<sigh> Once again, not much, even less than last week. I did get a couple of nights in, but that’s all. Just over 500 words. This WIP will never be finished at this rate. But I remind myself that it’s the holidays, will all the extra to-dos (that are worth it, for friends and family), and that we’ll soon be back to normal. So this week, getting any writing in at all will be a plus. I’d like to get two days in before our daughter and her partner arrive on Tuesday. 

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This past week was also the end of the quarter for ROW80. I was still buried with the move when the round started, so I didn’t set any goals. I wrote less than 5,000 words this whole quarter. I used to write that much in a week without a problem! Of course, I also hadn’t moved house since I began writing, so maybe I’ll cut myself some slack. 😀 I’ve seen plenty of folks already stating their 2020 goals, but I’ll figure mine out next week.

What about you–have you had mice in your home? How did you handle it? Have you read anything good lately? And how are you doing on your goals, whether writing or otherwise? I love to hear from you–please share in the comments–and have a wonderful holiday!

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.

My Brain is Full

My supervisor at work says this after a long training session, and I think it’s particularly appropriate this week for a lot of people. So many extra things to do and things to think about with the holidays approaching is enough in itself, but add to that the other various things in life people are dealing with, it’s sometimes hard to be creative.

In some cases, it’s a lack of time, but for me, it’s mental bandwidth. We got some major news on the business that owns the property across the street, which necessitated a neighborhood meeting, a lot of back-and-forth, and took up some mental space. Ultimately, it’s good news, probably among the best we could have hoped for: the business managers have finally come to the realization that this location isn’t suitable for something on the scale they’re planning, which has changed and grown throughout the year. We’re still skeptical, and suspect it’s as much because they haven’t been able to attain the investment they need, but we don’t really care how they spin it as it’s a positive outcome. They tell us the land will still be developed, but in accordance with the existing zoning, so we’re fine with that. It will be interesting to see what form that takes.

What I’ve Been Reading

I finally started back into some fiction this week, after finishing another non-fiction book: The Chaos Cure, by Marla Cilley, aka FlyLady. I Flylady’s plan for getting rid of clutter and keeping my house clean back in the early 2000s when I was laid off, and it helped. While a few of the habits stuck (mostly, making my bed and cleaning out the sink every day), most didn’t, though I did go through a big declutter in 2016 after we decided we were really going to move. I do still think her plan is helpful, and have slowly gotten back into it, in a modified fashion–after all, she encourages us to make her system our own. So I was interested to see what her latest book was all about.

It’s not about her plan–that’s covered in her first book, Sink Reflections. The Chaos Cure is more of a series of tips and “hacks,” many of which I was already doing. It was a quick, easy read, and written in her casual, fun style so it was worth a look. I don’t have the brain to think of them right now, but I picked up a few new things to try as well.

What I’ve Been Writing

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This has been another week where I keep telling myself “any progress is good.” While I didn’t quite make my goal of writing five days and a total of 1,250 words, I did manage to get in three days for almost 1,000 words. The story is getting more and more convoluted, so that’s not helping either. But that’s part of the deal when you write time travel.

This week, I’m going to keep trying for that 250 words, five days. Luckily, I’m mostly ready for the holidays, with only stocking stuffers left to shop for and everything else due to come in this week (I do as much as possible online). It also helps that we kept the holidays simple this year, but who knows what else will come up!

How about you–do you know that “brain is full” feeling? Are you ready for the holidays, if you celebrate? 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.

New Traditions

Our first Thanksgiving in the new house was, as one would expect, quite different from before. For starters, it was our smallest Thanksgiving ever. Our daughter and her partner joined us, but my parents and brother weren’t able to. While it was a wonderful Thanksgiving, it didn’t seem right without them. Maybe next year!

We also had a baked turkey for the first time in close to two decades, ever since my husband discovered deep-fried turkey. In the past, he always fried turkeys for several friends in addition to ours, starting as early as 8 AM. But this year, it didn’t make much sense to buy all that oil just for ours. Our daughter is somewhat of a foodie. She baked a turkey for friends last year and wanted to do ours this year, so that’s what we did. And it was no ordinary baked turkey–hers had butter and herbs under the skin, and it turned out beyond fantastic! She says the number one trick to get a turkey that’s done on time and not dry is to not mess with it. No opening the oven door to check on it, no basting, no doing anything with it once it’s in. I’ll take her word for it!

Her partner had to work early in the morning and they didn’t get here until after three. Normally we eat by then! But this year was a late dinner, around eight. Not a problem since we often eat dinner late anyway. But by the time we were done with dinner, we were all too full (and too tired!) for the pumpkin pie I’d made.

We ate it for breakfast the next morning, and it was delicious, if I say so myself.

On Friday, we stayed around the house–that part didn’t change. My husband and our daughter’s partner got some work done on the property. I did a little cleaning, but mostly, our daughter and I took it easy.

On Saturday, we went to a Christmas tree farm and bought a real tree. My husband’s brother was allergic to them, so growing up, he never had a real tree. And the living room in our old house was too small for anything but a super-skinny fake one. We picked out a nice eight-foot tree, as high as the ceiling in our old house, then decorated. For the first time, my husband was actually excited about decorating. He didn’t have a great childhood, so has never enjoyed Christmas. But being in the new house, with the high ceiling and beams to decorate brought out his holiday spirit, and made the day really special.

Christmas decorations at the new house

What I’ve Been Reading

I read every night, but haven’t finished anything, so I’ll catch up on this next week.

What I’ve Been Writing

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My easy goal for the week served me well. I got the writing in Sunday through Wednesday, then on Thursday, I made a point to do it while waiting for the kids to get here, making for five days. Win! Making a plan that took the holiday and having guests into consideration totally worked! This week, I’ll try going up to 250 words/day, for five days.

How was your Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it? Otherwise, how was your week? Did you do anything different or unusual? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing or otherwise? Please share–I’d love to hear from you 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.

Two Steps Back – Splash

No, I didn’t walk backwards into a pond (that would be cold now!). But that’s what’s been going on this week. My husband tiled our kitchen backsplash wall this week, one of many little tasks we didn’t want to pay the builder to do. I helped a little. It’s glass tile, so will be easy to clean. I’m very happy with how it turned out!

We got our first snowfall of the winter earlier this week, very early for this area! We’re not complaining, because it was still a good ten degrees warmer than Ohio (and any little bit is good), and the roads were clear. Even better, enough people stayed in that it was a very good day for me to go to the DMV to get my Tennessee driver license. Normally there is at least a two-hour wait; I got right in.

I don’t mind snow when it’s this pretty… and only stays for a couple of days.

We also had our first power failure last night. Luckily, my husband had just made a fire, so we were warm. The power was only out for about an hour and a half. One of the neighbors walked out to the street and found that there had been a wreck–someone took out a telephone pole, and the electric cables were in the street. Luckily there were no major injuries and the power company had everything fixed quickly. The fire kept the house warm enough that the heat didn’t even come on with the lights.

What I’ve Been Reading

How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White. I saw this book on another blog right before we moved. With my new house, I’d love to keep on top of keeping it reasonably clean, so this book caught my attention. It was as entertaining as it was informative, and introduced me to the concept of “slob-o-vision:” the inability to see a mess until it’s really, really, out of control (my husband totally has this LOL). If you’re looking for ideas in this area, I highly recommend this, even if you’re not really a slob. (By her definition, I’m “normal”. LOL!)

I liked that book so much, I got her other one, which I really need: Decluttering at the Speed of Life. Moving made it oh-so-obvious that we have Too Much Stuff. This book was also entertaining, and gives a bit of a different take on decluttering that I found helpful even though I have nowhere near the clutter problems she had. Also entertaining and highly recommended, especially if your challenges with keeping your home are mostly clutter-related.

Her blog, where it all started, is also entertaining and helpful.

What I’ve Been Writing

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This is where the two-steps-back comes in: I’ve been kinda stuck this week, and wound up only writing one or two days. I don’t even know how many words, but it wasn’t much. The current scene has now had two false starts; it’s time to just spend a few minutes with an old technique that used to help me tons but I’d forgotten about: spend ten minutes and write everything you know about your story. I’ll try this tonight, then see how I do the rest of the week. So my goal for the week? Get unstuck and going again!

What’s new in your corner of the world this week? Did you get snow, and how was that for you? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing or otherwise? 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.

Progress

I’m happy to report that the title refers to both the house and my writing, albeit slow in both cases.

I went back to Ohio for a few days last week, mostly for work, but I also wanted to see my parents. I also had a couple of nice surprises in that I had lunch with one of my best friends from high school, who works across the street from my client’s office, and also got to see my daughter and her partner. Work was boring, but it was stuff that needed to be done and overall a successful trip. Also the first time I drove all the way there and back by myself! The only other time I drove all the way myself was when we moved, and I had a back seat full of critters (my turtle, goldfish, and two tanks of gerbils). At least I didn’t have to worry about the 4″ of water sloshing out of the fish tank if I had to brake quickly this time.

As good of a trip as it was, I was glad to be home. For one thing, I picked a wonderfully (not) cold week to go to Ohio, and also, we typically didn’t see things like this there, though that may be more because we were in the suburbs, rather than on a ridge top:

View from our deck one evening in October

  

While I was gone, my husband was busy too. He did a bunch of work outside, and after it got cold (though not as cold as Ohio), he installed all of the drawer pulls and cabinet knobs in our laundry/mudroom and in my office. They’re a little detail, but I never appreciated how nice it is to have handles on cabinet doors and drawers until we didn’t for a month.

He also made these hooks out of antlers from a deer he got while hunting last year (also, the deer was delicious). He put these up in our bedroom, and they look great.

  

What I’ve Been Reading

As I mentioned last week, I still managed to read during all the craziness of fixing up the old house, packing, moving, unpacking, and projects here. So far this year, I’ve read 31 books, plus a short story and two nonfiction books that just weren’t doing anything for me so I didn’t finish them. I will just touch on a couple of the novels I read, both of which I really enjoyed.

On Hallowed Ground by Jansen Schmidt This romantic suspense features a Native American heroine and a hero in law enforcement. Rich, cultural details and a lot of research on the author’s part make this one of those stories that pulls you right in to the story world. Definitely enjoyable, and highly recommended for those who enjoy romantic suspense!

Biting the Curse by Stacy McKitrick was another book I enjoyed this summer. This latest installment of the Bitten by Love vampire romance series features a heroine whose every love interest meets an untimely death, until she unknowingly hooks up with Sam, whose vampire powers should protect him, but even that becomes questionable. Another enjoyable read, with plenty of suspense!

 

What I’ve Been Writing

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I met my goal this week of writing 100 words per night. Not that that’s very much, but I’ll take it! I even managed to get the writing in while I was in Ohio. That’s an accomplishment, as I usually find it hard to get to the writing while traveling. It probably helped that I went alone, rather than with my husband.

This week, I’m going to try ramping that up by just a little, to 250 words/day, for five days this week.

What about you–have you read any good books lately? What other projects have you been working on? If you’re a writer, do you find it hard to write while traveling? If not, please share your tips in the comments, as I do need to make regular trips and can use all the help I can get!

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.