Round One, Week Two Progress

…because I couldn’t think of a better title. This has been another uneventful week, aside from a lot of rain earlier in the week (and hoping those up north in the really bad stuff are staying safe!). Of course for me, rain means migraines, as my trigger seems to be falling barometric pressure. I’m thankful the rain let up midweek and was brief yesterday, so I felt better since then.

Almost every morning, my husband and I walk our dogs down the ridge line that bisects our property. Earlier this week (when it wasn’t raining), I saw that we already have daffodils coming up (there are a bunch of wild ones on our property). It’s normal for this area, though maybe on the early side even here, with the mild winter we’ve had. Still, seems remarkable to me because they don’t appear until a good month later in Ohio! Ohio is not a bad place, but we really love it here.

daffodils
Everything’s coming up… daffodils

What I’ve Been Reading

I picked up a nonfiction book from the library on exercise and health, but soon realized it was written for people who don’t have my migraine and fatigue issues, so I stopped reading it. I’m also still reading the last fantasy novel in the big, box set I bought last summer, and really enjoying it. This one pulled me in right from page one, while most of the others took a chapter or two for me to get into. I want to take WMG’s”How to Study” online workshop to learn how to go back through this book and see how the author did it.

What I’ve Been Writing

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My writing goal this week was to write 400 words a day, five days, for a total of just over 2,000 words. I met that, so yay! It was a bit of a challenge earlier in the week, and one day I got less than 300 words, but made up for that the other four days, so a win! Since it was a challenge, I want to ramp up slowly, so this week, I’m shooting for 450/day, for five days, and a total of 2250 words.

I did not quite meet my learning goal, as it turned out I had three more videos in the Week 3 lessons, not just one. I did complete those and the assignment, and got about halfway through the week 4 videos. My goal this week is to complete Week 4, with a bonus to begin the Week 5 videos. Before doing the bonus, I also need to do my monthly reading/learning about copyright. In any case, I’m ahead of schedule on my workshops, as my goal is to do two of these 6-week courses this Round.

What about you–how has your week been? Any signs of spring yet where you are? And how have you been doing on whatever goals you may be working on, whether 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.

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 Start for the New Year

This has been a nice, low-key week, very welcome after the busyness of the holidays. DH and I went to see the new Star Wars movie yesterday. It was a fitting ending to the series, though with Disney owning the franchise now, I’m sure there will be more.

For New Year’s Eve, my husband and I thought about going to downtown Knoxville for their party and ball-drop on Market Square, but decided to just stay home. That was fine with me, as I’m not fond of crowds or cold.

I’ve also been writing (TL;DR: I exceeded my goals!) and going through an online workshop, WMG Publishing’s Teams in Fiction.

What I’ve Been Reading

I finished another novel in the fantasy boxed set. It was full of fantasy cliches (like the young boy predestined to be “the one”) but also had some creative worldbuilding and I enjoyed it. Since there are a couple books in the set I didn’t like, I’m not naming it.

2020 Goals

I also figured out what I want to do with my writing this year:

Writing and Publishing:

  • Finish the current WIP
  • Complete edits on last year’s WIP and get it to the publisher

Learning/Business:

  • Complete two WMG workshops per quarter
  • Keep up blog streak every Sunday
  • Read/learn something about copyright once a month
  • Keep track of books read, including business and other nonfiction, and those not finished
  • Revamp website (it’s sooooo 2011!)

BONUS (Stretch goals)

  • Any additional WMG workshops
  • Edit the current WIP and turn it in to my publisher

What I’ve Been Writing

My goal this past week was to write at least four days, and at least 250 words/day (ramping up slowly). I wrote six days, for a total of just over 1700 words. Yeah, I’ve written that much or more in a day before, but this is really good for me, considering the past couple of years.

This week, I want to continue the slow ramp-up, and write at least 375 words, at least five days.

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Goals for ROW80 Round 1:

  • Current WIP – 36000 words (8000 in Jan, 12000 in Feb, 16000 in March)
  • WMG Workshops – Teams in Fiction, and Secondary Plotlines
  • 3x learn about copyright (once a month)
  • Blog every week

What about you–what are your goals for this year? How did you do on last year’s goals? (Let’s not talk about mine!) What did you do on New Year’s Eve/Day, if anything? I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments, or join the ROW80 group on Facebook!

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.

Figuring it Out

This was another week where it felt like I didn’t accomplish much, though I actually did. Not any significant work on the house on my part, though DH did some work on the grounds, mostly bush hogging to clear out the meadows where the deer hang out. I did do a cooking day yesterday though, so we should be good for meals pretty much through Christmas. Win!

Last week I mentioned that I needed to do the “write everything you know about your story” exercise. I did that, three times. As in, it took me three sessions to write everything I knew (and there’s still more). It helped, but didn’t, in and of itself, reveal what to write for the next scene.

So I pulled out another old trick I’d almost forgotten: Twenty Answers. In this one, you ask a question (usually, “what happens next?” or “what will this character do?”) then write twenty possibly answers, no matter how obvious, stupid, implausible, or mundane. Yep, including things like “everyone decides to just go home” or “aliens arrive and kidnap everyone.” The first few answers will usually be the obvious/mundane ones. You may be forced to write something ridiculous just to come up with those last few answers, but in between are usually a few gems. I didn’t even get to twenty yet and already see a few possibilities for the next scene. While I don’t know what will happen beyond that, I can get going again.

What I’ve Been Reading

The Fates Trilogy by Kristine Grayson. I read this earlier this summer, and what a fun read! I would consider these contemporary fantasy with some romance. In these books, the three Fates are real, and they’ve been fired from their jobs, and replaced by Zeus’ teenage daughters who have no clue what they’re doing. They must figure out how to make things right and help humans who also have special power also find love, while helping them. Highly recommended!

What I’ve Been Writing

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See above. This week’s going to be busy with the holiday and houseguests, and I’m also not 100% unstuck, so I’m going to drop back to 100 words a day, for five days. I also want to finish the online workshop I started back before we moved.

What have you been up to lately? Read any good books recently? How are you doing with whatever goals you’re working on, whether writing related or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you! And if you’re in the US, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

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.

Late Start, Round Two

ROW80 Round Two began last week. Or if you prefer, second quarter of the year.

And I totally missed it.

I do have an excuse reason: we were in Tennessee, a few days later than originally planned. We’d originally planned to go Thursday through Sunday, but DH was sick so we waited a few days and left on Sunday instead, after he was feeling better. I guess some people can get out their laptops and write while in the car… I’m not one of them. And by the time we got in the writing and blog just weren’t happening.

Monday was a whirlwind, though much better than the last day that busy. We started out grabbing some paint chips for the house, then looked at flooring, and that took a good while longer than I expected. But I’m very happy with what we picked out! We wanted something with the look of hardwood, but that wouldn’t be practical with two big dogs, so we went with vinyl plank. Good vinyl is very convincing, and it’s also less expensive than hardwood, so win! Did I mention we’re over budget? So double-win!

After that, we drove by an apartment building our commercial Realtor sent us info on. And while all this was going on, our Realtor in Ohio was calling us. The apartment we’re selling here is under contract, but there have been some odd things about it all, so we’ve been expecting the deal to fall through. It was supposed to close on April 15th… but the buyer decided he wanted to close last Tuesday! So DH was scrambling making phone calls to the title agency and various other players to see if that could happen. The title agency later informed us that they couldn’t pull everything together that quickly, so the buyer would have to wait. We’re supposed to close this week. We’ll see what happens!

Island countertop chosen by my husband

After checking out the TN apartment, and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we went to the kitchen cabinet vendor to confirm our cabinet choices made over email, and to pick out countertops. DH surprised me when he actually made a suggestion on the latter, and it was a bold, dramatic pattern I would have never expected from him. This countertop will be on the island, which will have black cabinets. The rest of the kitchen will have the grey stained cabinets, with black galaxy granite. We have the latter in our house now and love it (the copper fleck is great for hiding crumbs!).

Then we went to meet the builder at the house. We’d already stopped by the night before, but had some questions for him. Workers were there installing insulation. We used our paint chips to decide on the specific exterior colors (as in, other than “brown”). Since my last update, the stone has been added, deck railings mostly finished, and more of the shake siding on the center section that hadn’t been completed yet. The metal roof over the breezeway and part of the porches is done. They also put the hot tub on the porch, since it will be much more difficult to move it there once drywall goes in (soon!). Fireplace inserts were also in, and more work on the plumbing and electrical.

For the colors, most of the house will be the darker brown shown here. It’s about the same color as the decking. Trim will be the medium brown, and the shake siding will be the lighter color.

 

      

     

In other news, the unwelcome business proposed for across the street has postponed their zoning hearing for a third time. Another commercial zoning request in our area was just denied on all the reasons our opposition group is asking for this one to be denied. I hope the landowner and his employees are figuring out that the re-zoning policy does not favor them, and just give up and go elsewhere. But until they do, the neighbors and I are continuing to keep a close watch on the situation.

What I’ve Been Reading: Why yes, I still managed to do some reading. Last week, I finished Trader’s Honour, by Patty Jansen. This is a YA science fiction, and while its predecessor didn’t feel very YA, this one did, mainly because amidst saving the world (or at least her part of it), the main character was worried about college (or their equivalent), and a guy she liked. I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to Book 3 in the series.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Despite my lack of a check-in last week, that’s been moving along, too. My goal last week, thinking we were going to TN on Thursday, was to write 2000 words, and this past week’s goal was to have been 2500. I ended up with about 2200 words last week, and 2600 this week, so happy with that. There’s bound to be some extra craziness this week with the apartment closing and paperwork collection for that, so I’m going to stick with a goal of writing five days, for 2500 words again.

What about you–how have your last couple of weeks been? Any surprises (good ones, I hope!)? How are you doing with whatever goals you may be working toward, 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.