Cabinet Shopping

That’s what we did for the new house this week. We also had a tenant move out of one of our apartments, and that unit was due for new cabinets as well – the ones it had were original, from the 1970’s, and were cheapies back then. So we went to Cabinet Factories Outlet of Richmond (Indiana). This is where we bought the cabinets for our flip house, twice, and we paid about half for them that we would have from a big box store.

Side note about this shopping trip only readers would appreciate: we took a different route there than we usually do, and went through the small, historic town of Fairhaven, Ohio, which was featured in The Mycologist, a historical fiction book I read a few months ago, so that was cool to see!

An example of the cabinets for the new house

The apartment cabinets, we could have obtained from a big box store for about the same as we paid in Richmond, but the ones we bought were nicer. We also gave them info to work up a quote for our new house. I already talked to a supplier in TN that our builder uses, but if we can get them significantly cheaper in Richmond, it will be worthwhile to drive over there, pick them up, and take them to TN ourselves (they don’t deliver). My mom was familiar with the brand they quoted us, and said it’s a very good product.

Not much news on the unwanted business across the street from our house in TN. They have been working on the corrective measures the county and state are requiring of them to fix some of the environmental damage they’ve done, so that’s a good thing. Their zoning request is still on the preliminary agenda for March, but that happens automatically when one requests a postponement. They’re required to post notices of the zoning change request at the property fifteen days prior to the meeting, and those haven’t appeared, so that tells us they are indeed postponing again, as they’ve communicated to the media (our group is still keeping an eye on things, however). One article published last week quoted the CEO (not the landowner) saying that if this location doesn’t work out, they’ll buy land elsewhere for the business. That sounds really good to us  and our neighbors! Hopefully it will be in a location more suitable for their business, rather than trying to force a big commercial project into a residential community.

There has also not been much going on at the house itself–I think the builder finally was able to get the rest of the windows in, since they had a couple of dry days, but not being able to do that has delayed them a bit.

On another note, only one week until Daylight Savings Time, whooooo! I am always happy to have that extra hour of daylight in the evening, and it helps my energy levels, too. My fatigue hasn’t been as bad this winter as the past few, I think because I’m working remote. But I’m still glad for DST! I’d like to have it year-round, because I hate the time change, but better to have the change than to be stuck on standard time all year.

What I’ve Been Reading: Still haven’t finished anything – the fiction I’m reading right now is actually six novellas/short novels in one, that makes for a really long book. I’m enjoying it, but will discuss when I finish. One of my requested nonfiction books also came in from the library and I started that, too.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Finished the corrections, and Time’s Guardian is off to my first reader (and copyeditor #1)! I also started my next WIP, which will most likely be the last in the Saturn Society series. My goals was just to start on it – anything, even if just a sentence. I got about 125 words in, so that’s a win!  I had a hard time the past couple of weeks finding time for the edits, so this week, I want to ease back into writing new words. My goal is to write at least 250 words/day, for five days.

What’s going on in your life? Done any shopping lately? Do you prefer Daylight Savings Time, Standard Time, or just hate the change? 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.

Busy, but not Accomplishing Much

Ever had one of those days, or weeks, when you feel like you’ve been busy the whole time, but haven’t marked much off your to-do list?

I was discussing this phenomenon with my daughter recently, and she said when she has days like that, she looks back and realizes she actually was busy–with chores. Stuff that needs to be done, but isn’t part of our regular goals.

I’ve had one of those weeks, but I can’t blame chores. In this case, it’s Facebook, mainly keeping track of our groups in Tennessee who are working on fighting the zoning change across the street from our new house. That’s something no one in the neighborhood wants. I am not able to do much from 300 miles away, but moderating the groups is one way I can help, along with little bits of research, so I’ve been doing those things. I have a website to work on today for them, so this will be a short post.

I don’t have any new photos of the house, but work is continuing there, and as far as I know, all is on schedule.

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What I’ve been Reading: My own book! I’d hoped to get through the read this past week, but only got about halfway through. Part of that is because I haven’t had the time to devote to it that I wanted, the other part is simply because, have I mentioned it’s a long book? I’ve been watching workshop videos while on the treadmill, so no nonfiction reading either (though the videos count, right?).

What I’ve been Writing: Again, nothing. I’m focusing on the read-through of my WIP. That’s also the plan for this coming week. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to finish the read-through, so I can then move on to revisions.

What about you–ever have one of those days, or weeks? What’s been going on in your life? And how are you doing with whatever goals you might have, 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.

Finished the Book!

It was thisclose, and I got it done! Now I am doing a read-through before sending it to my editor. More later in this post…

In Tennessee, things continue to escalate with the proposed new business, and our neighbors are meeting as I write this to strategize about some public meetings coming up. One of our neighbors rented a high-quality drone and took aerial photos of the grading, clearing, modification of a stream, and other environmental damages the owner has already done, all without permits. Unfortunately, from what I hear the typical MO in that area is to grade/clear/build first and ask forgiveness later. But while getting photos of the property in question, our neighbor also took some very cool pictures of our house.

He also took some video, and we could see the guys installing siding on the side of the house where the breezeway is. Cool! All the windows are in except for the trapezoids on top, and all the doors are in except for the front. They have been finishing up the siding and building the breezeway this past week. And no, our driveway is not as crazy-steep as it looks in the photo on the right. It’s steep, but not that bad!

What I’ve Been Reading: I not only finished writing my current book, but I also finished reading two books. For fiction, I read an anthology of short stories: Fiction River: Hard Choices, edited by Dean Wesley Smith. There were three of the twenty stories I skipped that just weren’t to my liking, one of which was in present tense (which I hate). Interestingly enough, there were two other present tense stories in the anthology, but they were so well-written it didn’t bother me enough to skip them! And two of the stories I didn’t like were in past. Just goes to show these things are always a matter of taste.

In nonfiction, I finished a book I bought and started probably three months ago, Find Your Focus Zone, by Lucy J. Palladino. I’m not sure why this book took me so long to read, unless it was because I mostly read it on the treadmill, and I split that time up by also watching workshop videos. It gave a lot of interesting psychological background on why we have trouble staying on task, and offered some techniques to deal with it. It was published in 2007 so was outdated. Most noticeable was the absence of any discussion on social media, but the techniques and background in the book about email and web surfing apply to that just fine. I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it, but it was worth a read.

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What I’ve Been Writing: My goal this week was to write 5,000 words or finish the book. I met that goal! It only took about 2,000 words to finish the book, and thank goodness, as that thing clocked in at 155,000 words! My next longest book, Time’s Fugitive, is 143,000 words. So yes, I have some cutting to do. I also had all kinds of other writing-related stuff I wanted to work on this week, and none of that got done, mostly because I’ve been too wrapped up in Tennessee drama, and I’m watching Facebook like it’s a train wreck. Social media is normally not a problem for me because I just don’t get on it, but I need to keep up with this and contribute in any way I can from 300 miles away.

Anyway, back to writing: my goals for this week are to finish the read-through, and to send out a newsletter. I keep putting off the latter, and I need to get on it. I have TONS of books that I don’t want to move, and who better to give them to than my readers?

How about you–any cool surprises in your life recently? Any surprises at all? Have you read any good books lately? How are you doing with whatever goals you might be working on, 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.

 

Mostly Writing

This has been a relatively uneventful week, at least for me. Things are still happening in Tennessee: no new pictures, but the builder tells us that the windows are now in the house, except for the custom shapes. Siding has gone up (though I don’t know if it’s finished), and work continues on HVAC and electrical. I also got a call from the kitchen cabinet vendor, and saw the specific brand and style of cabinets he recommended, which were just what we wanted (at least until we see the price, then we’ll know for sure!). Work continues regarding the commercial development across the street, too, mostly in the form of emails to government officials, in brainstorming other ways to stop or at least downsize it, and in efforts to meet with the landowner for more discussion. The neighbors are meeting later this afternoon, and I will call in.

On the current home front, the Pit of Doom is no more. I mean, it’s still there, it’s just not a Pit of Doom anymore. It’s just a regular little room–it could even be a safe room. It now has a proper floor thanks to a helpful neighbor, some mini-mix concrete, and my husband’s ingenuity in rigging up a drainage pipe chute, held in place with an engine hoist. Mr. Goodwrench is a good guy to have around!

It’s been nasty cold here in southwest Ohio, and I’ve hunkered down and focused on my writing. More on that below.

What I’ve Been Reading: Since it’s too cold to walk outside, I’ve been using the treadmill and reading nonfiction, though I have not yet finished that book. I did finally finish the novel. It took so long partly because it’s a long book, but mostly because I had so much else going on that I could only read a chapter–sometimes only a scene–each night. That book is My Name is A’yen, by Rachel Leigh Smith, and I enjoyed it a lot. I will admit it took me a little time to really get into this book, but that’s been true of some of my favorites, like Patty Jansen’s Icefire series. Ms. Smith markets her work as being mostly focused on the hero, and it definitely was, but it did not give the heroine short-shift as I feared it might. Despite getting less focus, she was still a well-developed, sympathetic character who experienced growth. But the best thing about this science-fiction romance was probably the world-building. The setting was 3,000-some years in the future, and while some of the minor characters were from Earth, it was set in space and on other worlds. The cultures were very well-developed, but it was done in a manner where everything wasn’t handed to the reader early on. Instead, the writing stayed in close point-of-view where if a character wouldn’t naturally think about what a particular phrase means, the reader doesn’t get that information until it fits into context. It threw me a bit at first, but was fine once I decided to roll with it. I enjoyed this book, and plan to pick up the next in the series. Recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi romance!

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What I’ve Been Writing: My goal this week was to write at least 1,000 words a day, five days–a pace I haven’t hit in several years. I made it, with 5,371 words! Even better, my WIP is thisclose to being finished–definitely within 5,000 words. So for this week, I plan to write 1,000 words a day, five days, or until the WIP is finished. If I finish early, I will plan to spend that time skimming back over the book, because I know there’s some sloppy writing near the beginning. I also need to start working on a revamp of this website, get a newsletter out, and do numerous other publishing tasks I’ve been putting off. So my plan is also to spend at least five hours on my writing or related tasks–finish the WIP, and use the remaining time on something noted above.

How has your week been? How’s the weather like where you are? Have you read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, 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.

Construction Update

I somehow managed to get a once-a-week blogging streak going, so I’m posting today’s update mostly to keep that.

This week was a busy one, as it probably was for most people with the holidays. I finished my shopping on Tuesday, which is better than I usually do. Normally, I put off buying stocking stuffers until a day or so before Christmas, but this year I got it all early. It’s more important now than in the past, as starting this year, stocking stuff is all my husband and I are getting for each other. Now all that’s left to do is tidy up the house, and cook Christmas dinner. My mom brings a lot of that, so that’s easier than it sounds.

Tennessee Update: the house is going up fast. The builder sent us these pictures just two days after our neighbor sent us last week’s.

      

From left to right, the back of the house, the front, and the garage. There will be decks all across the back side. And wow, does the place look huge! It isn’t that big a house – about 2000 square feet, plus the lower level. That will be unfinished, which we will do later.

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m reading an entertaining fiction book in a series I love, but haven’t finished anything this week. I have not had much time to read other than a chapter or so before bed, so it’s going slowly. I didn’t read any nonfiction this week besides blog posts.

What I’ve Been Writing: The writing is still coming along slowly. I hit my not-very-ambitious goal of writing at least 200 words, for five days this week, so that’s a win. I also finished Dean Wesley Smith’s video series about writing a clean first draft. Most of it was reiterating stuff I’ve already read/heard from him before, but he finally described his “cycling” method of writing the way I’ve always thought of it: revising as you go. I’ve been working toward this myself, as I find it a lot more fun than writing sloppy first, then doing a massive revision (which is how I used to write). I”m not convinced that this is the way to go for everyone (even Smith says “every writer is different”), but it might be something worth trying if you haven’t.

I also discovered some plot holes in my WIP–pretty typical when writing time travel. So this week, my goal is to spend at least an hour total on my WIP, starting with fixing this, and maybe or maybe not including new words.

What about you–what’s going on in your world? Are you finished with your holiday preparations, if you celebrate? What are your plans for the week? I love hearing from you–please share in the comments! And finally, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all!

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 Purge Begins

No, not like the TV show. I’m talking about stuff–my stuff. Way too much stuff that’s collected in my house in the 25 years we’ve lived here, and has got to go before we move next summer.

I went through a big purge of stuff a couple years ago, but never got around to my office or garage. Let’s not even talk about my husband’s garage–yes, he has his own, he is Mr. Goodwrench, after all. But even in the parts of the house I got to, clutter has re-accumulated since the last purge. In some cases, not enough was purged to begin with–there’s still stuff there that I don’t want enough to move. So out it must go.

I’m happy to save I’ve managed to decrapulate my office, working just fifteen minutes a day over the past two weeks, Flylady style. (And isn’t “decrapulate” a great word?  So perfect for what I’m doing.) Today I worked in the basement, where there were still wood scraps, tools, and mostly trash from back last summer, when I was building mudroom and closet shelves for our flip house that we sold in July.

Now the purging will get tougher. I’ve hit the areas I missed on the last purge, so now it will really be a matter of asking if I want something enough to be worth moving it–and asking that of almost everything. The other challenge is that a lot of what needs to go is my husband’s, but he’s the kind who will wait until right before he needs to begin packing.

One side of my future office, with less bookshelf space than the current one (door is to the right)

Much of what I need to get rid of is books–and you all know how tough that is! In some cases, these are books I loved–but not enough to re-read them (something I almost never do anyway). I gave away a few boxes of them in my Readers Group Newsletter, then stopped due to just not having enough time and energy. Now it’s time to start that back up, so if you want to win a box of books, now’s a great time to join! Just click the link above.

House Update: Not much has gone on since our visit, as it’s mostly rained since then. The waterproofers were able to get their work in on the day we left, before the next rain, and plumbing for the basement drains is in. But this week is finally supposed to be dry, and they should be able to get the basement floor poured, then framing begins!

What I’ve Been Reading: My new Kindle Paperwhite came in this week, yay! I can now read in the dark again. Still haven’t finished anything there, now that I’m reading two novels–the paper one I already started, and am continuing when I go to bed before my husband, and an ebook I’m reading when it needs to be in the dark. So nothing to report there yet. In nonfiction, I finished Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. (On a funny note, when we first got our daughter a cell phone, she used to get tons of calls for Dave Evans from bill collectors until I yelled at one and told them the phone number was an eleven-year-old girl’s, and we didn’t know any Dave Evans. Somehow, I don’t think it was this guy. 🙂 ) I will admit this book didn’t do a lot for me, mostly because it turns out I’m not its intended audience. It’s focused on careers, and is geared toward people who are unhappy with their life or just don’t know what they want to do, and is full of exercises to work through to get ideas and figure that out. It’s ideal for recent grads, retirees looking for an encore career, or for anyone who wants a big change in that area. Judging from my recent career win in getting approval to take my job with me when we move, you might correctly guess I’m not in that position. The book also had lots of examples about people who were going through that, which I enjoyed. I guess what I got out of this the most is assurance that I’m on the right path with the changes I’m working on right now, and that’s not a bad thing!

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What I’ve been Writing: Another 1400 words–which equals goal met, whoo-hoo! The Coach.me app has really helped, especially on those days I just don’t feel like writing. Okay, I did take two of those this week, but my goal allowed for that, so no worries. I also met my goal of increased output on the days I did write, and got over 200 words each time. Still not tons in itself, especially considering how many people won NaNoWriMo this year (or even participated and “failed” to success by writing more than they otherwise would have), but hey, I’ll take it! Coach.me is also helping me with decluttering. Like writing, I have a goal to work on that at least five days/week.

Since this week is likely to be a busy one with all kinds of holiday to-do’s coming up, I’m going to stick with the same goal–200 words/day, for at least five days. Other goals include continuing with the purging, and getting the Christmas decorations up and most of my shopping done (thank you, Amazon!).

What about you–do you have stuff you need to purge? What about books–how do you purge them? If you celebrate the holidays, how are your preparations coming along? And how are you doing with whatever goals you may have, 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.

Slow Progress

That’s the case both with our new house, and with my writing. But much better than no progress, right?

We went to Tennessee for a couple days last week. Not much had changed with the house since the last photos I posted, but it had been two months since we were last there, and we wanted to check it out anyway. Since my last update, mostly what had been done was gravel laid in the driveway and in the basement, and the safe room built. This wasn’t something on our plans or that we requested, but our builder says the walls need to be built under the front porch regardless, so why not make it something useful?

Safe Room under the front porch

 

View from the front of the house, with garage on the right

 

This will be the view from the front porch – much different, with the leaves off the trees

Pictures are one thing, but standing in our soon-to-be basement and garage were quite another! We also met with our commercial real estate agent, who’s ready to step in and help us find and buy rental property down there as soon as the apartment building here in Ohio sells. Turns out her husband owns a brewery, and even though it’s not yet open to the public, they invited us over to see the place and enjoy some samples! The beer was fantastic, and it was tons of fun hanging out with them and the guys who were helping them build out their tasting room. We also had fun getting to know our next door neighbor, and our favorite server at our favorite restaurant (yes, we already have one, LOL). I even managed to keep up with my writing goals while we were there!

Thanksgiving was our usual nice, simple event with no drama–my favorite, and something I’m always thankful for. It did seem a little weird when my husband asked to take photos of us at the table, since it will be our last Thanksgiving in this house. It got really quiet for a few minutes there, but overall it was a nice, happy family get-together.

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m reading both a nonfiction book and a novel right now, but haven’t finished either, so I’ll discuss here after I have. The fiction reading is going slowly because I finally caved in to the ads to trade in my Kindle, and sent it back to Amazon while I could still get $25 for it, as opposed to only $5. It holds a charge, but only for a few days, and it’s getting difficult to charge since the USB socket no longer makes a good connection. So I figured I’d trade it in while I could still get the higher amount. My new one hasn’t come in yet, so I’m reading a paper book. No problem, except that means I have to turn off the light when my husband comes to bed. I miss my Kindle, because I like reading in the dark.

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What I’ve Been Writing: I met my stretch goal of writing all seven days this week, including the two nights we were in Tennessee and on Thanksgiving! It wasn’t that much, as I’m still baby-stepping my way with a 100 words/day goal, but I’ll take those words, especially since I finished a difficult chapter. The Coach.me app has been a big help, because I really love checking off that goal every day. It’s helped with my decluttering goal too, though I only got five days of that in due to our trip. This week, I’d like to up the writing goal a bit, and go for 200 words/day, for at least five days this week.

What about you–did you have a nice Thanksgiving? Have you done anything unusual and/or fun lately? How are you doing with whatever goals you may have, whether writing or something else? Please share in the comments–I love hearing 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.

Restart Accomplished!

Not much going on in Tennessee, so no new photos. They haven’t even done the waterproofing yet, because of too much rain–the house hasn’t had enough time to dry off between storms. But the weather’s looking good for this week, so here’s hoping they get to it before the holiday!

On the other hand, plenty has gone on around here, including writing! I had an unspoken, unwritten goal this year of reading more nonfiction. Given my “What I’ve Been Reading” posts, you might guess that I’ve done well on that goal so far, and I have. This week, I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, which is about starting new habits or stopping bad ones. (The full title is Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.) This book gave me some good insights on my trouble getting to the writing, along with some things to try.

It begins with the premise that when it comes to things like setting goals, forming habits, meeting deadlines and the like, people fall into one of four “tendency” types. Our tendency, along with whether the goal/habit/etc. is self-imposed, or comes from an external source, determines how likely we are to meet the goal, stick to the habit, and so on.

On one end of the tendencies is the Upholder, who is good at meeting any goal, deadline, or habit formation, regardless of whether it comes from within or from others. The author identifies as this type, which obviously, can form habits more easily. At the other end is the Rebel, who resists habits, deadlines, etc. regardless of their source. Upholders loooooove gold stars, while Rebels couldn’t care less.

Most people fit into one of the other two types. The Questioner does great at meeting self-imposed deadlines, goals, etc., but resists those imposed on him by others. I’m using “him” here, because my husband is a Questioner, as is Ms. Rubin’s, and my brother is definitely a Questioner. That’s not to say Questioners can’t meet guidelines imposed by others, but it needs to make logical sense to them.

The fourth, and most common tendency type is the Obliger. These folks hate to let others down and will meet deadlines set by others, but find it hard to meet self-imposed deadlines or goals, or to establish habits simply because they themselves want to. Obligers do much better when there is some kind of external accountability.

So which one of these am I? If you guessed “Obliger,” you are right! That’s why I love ROW80 so much. For those who might not know, “A Round of Words in 80 Days” is a challenge group in which each writer sets her own goals, then reports back to the group in the form of a blog post once or twice a week. There is also a Facebook Group, and anyone is welcome to join at any time. Many times, knowing I had to report in for ROW80 would give me the extra push I needed to get to the writing and meet my goals.

Coach.me, online version

But lately, it hasn’t been enough, and that’s where the book had some good suggestions. Four basic techniques can help just about anyone form a habit. These include monitoring (tracking something makes us pay more attention to it), foundation (adding a habit to another, existing one), scheduling, and accountability. Scheduling was something I’d certainly heard of before, but had never tried. So this past week, I did. I blocked off time on my calendar every night after dinner (foundation). Then I tried something else that the book suggested might work particularly well for obligers: I downloaded an app. The book didn’t name a specific one, but a quick Google search for “writing habit app” led me to coach.me, a well-reviewed app available for Android, iPhone, and on the website. (The app itself is free; additional optional coaching services can be purchased.)

The app lets you select from one or more existing goals (or create your own), then determine how many times a week you want to work on it, and when you want reminders. When you work on your goal, you “check” it off for the day, which I find so satisfying! Every few days, the phone will notify you if you have a streak going–fun! Also, I love seeing those checkmarks add up. I guess Obligers like goal stars, too. 🙂

So between scheduling my writing time and using the Coach me app, I’ve managed to write every day this week. Once again, I’m starting slowly, so it’s not a lot, but I am writing. Even better? I set another goal in Coach.me for decluttering, and I hit my five days/week goal there, too.

What (Else) I’ve Been Reading: On Common Ground by Jansen Schmidt. This contemporary romance features Trevor, a cop on administrative leave who also knows ranching. He works on a friend’s ranch while waiting for Internal Affairs to investigate his case and clear him of guilt. Having recently escaped a bad marriage, he wants nothing to do with women, not even the hot female horse trainer who’s also hiding out while working on the ranch. As a rape survivor, Ketra wants even less to do with men than Trevor wants with women, so watching these two resist their growing attraction to each other pushes all the right romance buttons, along with the cowboy/horses/ranch tropes. Following them as they learn and grow and slowly leave their distrust behind makes On Common Ground a satisfying romance read I definitely recommend.

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What I’ve Been Writing: My goal in Coach.me was to write at least five days a week, at least 100 words a day. I wrote for six days (I’m writing this on Saturday, and haven’t written yet today), and got a total of 1,077 words! Not a lot compared to NaNoWriMo standards, and not a lot by my standards, but I’ll take them!

This week’s going to be tricky. I have a lot going on, plus Thanksgiving on Thursday, which I’m hosting. So I’m going to stick to the same goal–write at least five days, at least 100 words. We’ll see how that goes in a non-typical week!

What about you–which tendency do you think you are, based on my quick descriptions? Do you find it easy to form new habits or lose bad ones, and how does that vary if the habit is self-imposed, or comes from an external force? How do you stay consistent in your habits–any more tricks I might try? And how have you been doing on any goals you might have, 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.

Slow Start

Starting back to writing, that is. The house is moving right along, and we now have basement walls!

House viewed from the front

 

As viewed from the back

There’s no back wall because it’s a walkout basement. These are very common in the Knoxville area, because it’s very hilly. Traditional, full basements are not common in that area, probably for the same reason.

We went with a block wall basement because, according to our builder, it’s about half the cost of a poured concrete wall. And they’re just as good as long as they’re waterproofed correctly (our current house also has a block wall basement). Once the walls are done, they’ll pump concrete into the interiors–the cost savings come about mainly because block walls don’t require forms. Next step (I believe) is to put the plumbing in. There is a kitchenette and two bathrooms in the basement. The builder won’t be putting these in–we’ll finish it ourselves later–but they will put in drain pipes before pouring the floor.

My goal was to get the electrical plans done this week. I did maybe half of it, mostly because some other stuff I had to do earlier in the week took more time than I thought. I should be able to get the electrical plans finished this week. It’s not like they need them yet, but I don’t like to do this stuff at the last minute; would rather have it done early so I have plenty of time to research–and yes, change my mind before it gets expensive. 🙂

What I’ve Been Reading: I wanted to read some more of the great big paper TBR pile, so I pulled out Heart Dance, by Robin D. Owens. I used to really love this series–actually, I don’t know why I haven’t read any in many years, because I really enjoyed this one. What’s funny is a few chapters in, it started feeling really familiar. At first I put that down to there being a lot of similarities between the books in this series. They don’t need to be read in order, and are each about a different couple, but they’re in the same world and a lot of the same magical things happen to each couple as a result. But then some of the things from the main character’s backstory starting feeling familiar too, and I remembered a pivotal scene that most likely came from this book and sure enough, I’d read it before. Funny thing was, I didn’t remember much about it besides those familiar details and that one scene, though I knew the couple would end up together because duh, it’s a romance. 😀 I still enjoyed it, including the way the ending came about! It was probably 8-10 years ago that I read it, and given the number of books I read, I guess I can take a pass for not remembering. One thing it did was remind me how much I enjoy the series and its world, and make a point to check out the half dozen or so books in the series I know I haven’t read. The first book in the series, Heart Mate, was  RITA Award winner, way back in 2002. If you like fantasy romance with a bit of sci-fi tossed in, I highly recommend it!

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What I’ve Been Writing: My brain’s still stuck on house stuff, so I almost forgot about my goal until last night–11:52, to be exact. So I opened up my WIP and wrote a few paragraphs, helped by the looming deadline I’d set for myself. So, a slow start, but goal met! If it hadn’t been late and I hadn’t been about ready for bed, I would have written more, as it was fun. I wrote a little over 100 words, so this week, I want to continue that, and write at least 100 words, for at least five days.

What about you–how are things in your world? Have you ever picked up a book you thought was new to you, only to find out it wasn’t? My mother-in-law used to do this often enough that she started making a list of everything she read, and she’d check it before buying new books. I do this too, but didn’t start until after I read Heart Dance the first time. How are you doing on whatever goals you might have? 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.

 

This Week was a Bust

…at least where writing was concerned. As I mentioned in last week’s post was very likely, sure enough I did not get any writing done. Maybe I should have titled this blog, “Writing Excuses”…

Part of the reason is because I’m coming up on the climactic scene, which I find to be the hardest part of the book to write. In this case, I’m also fighting “fear of I-don’t-know-what-happens-next,” since I didn’t outline this book to that extent. Anymore it seems that when I do outline, I deviate so much from it, it’s not being worth the bother, so this time, I didn’t outline. I doubt it would have helped even if I had, because… deviating.

We also had a house guest for a couple days this week–a writer friend from New York state! We haven’t seen each other in seven years (too long!) so it was great to see her and spend some time together. It was also exciting to show her my hometown and its fascinating history, almost all of which was new to her. We spent an afternoon at the National Museum of the USAF, and another at Carillon Historical Park. She loves learning about the history and quirky details of the places she visits, so these were right up her alley (and of course, mine). We spent a lot of time in the evenings just catching up–well worth giving up some writing time.

Our tomatoes are also still producing like crazy, so yesterday, I froze some. It’s a simple process that my mom remembers my Great Aunt Marie doing many years ago. Just boil the tomatoes for ten seconds, then dunk them in cold water for at least ten seconds, and the skins peel right off! After that, they can be cut however you like, bagged, and frozen. I bagged five quart bags full, which should come in handy for a cooking day this winter!

And finally, the other reason I didn’t get much done on my WIP is that my brain is just not on writing–at least not fiction. Instead, it’s focused on things like researching water heaters, specifying French doors, learning about smart home devices like door locks. And writing down what I like for our new house. Once I finish, this will be like a requirements document in software, only for our new house. It will help our builder know what’s a change order (“That’s not in the book”) and will help us know if someone screws up (“The book said the pantry is supposed to be white” [that actually happened with our flip house]).

Tennessee Update: our builder was expecting to have the ridgetop leveled by tomorrow or Tuesday, so we’re heading down to check it out and stake out the exact location of the house later this week. Hope to have a better update and pictures next week!

What I’ve Been Reading: I am almost finished with the novel I started last week. It’s really good, so I’ll definitely be discussing it here. It’s also long, which is why I’m not yet finished.

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What I’ve Been Writing: As noted above, nothing! I really just need to start writing and see what the characters do. With the trip to Tennessee, I don’t know how much chance I’ll have to dig into the WIP, but who knows, stranger things have happened, and sometimes I do well writing away from home. So this week, I’ll just set a goal to write something–anything–in my WIP. However, this ROW80 round is coming to an end this week, and I just realized I already met my goals for the round! They were to finish the writing workshop I was taking, Holly Lisle’s How to Write Villains. I finished that about a month ago. The other goal was to finish a chapter in my WIP. I did that last week. Baby steps for the win! I will set goals for fourth quarter in a couple weeks, in time for October and ROW80 Round 4.

What about you–how has your week gone? Ever had one of those where it seemed you got nothing done, but when you thought about it, you actually got a lot done? How are you doing on whatever goals you might have, 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.