Category Archives: Random Stuff

Monday ramblings: NaNoWriMo Win, Readers’ Workouts and Book Buying Binge



It’s a little early yet, I know, but the writing’s been going really well and I actually “won” NaNoWriMo on November 22, the American Thanksgiving, but couldn’t validate my win until yesterday.

I am now firmly ensconced in “Act III” of my children’s novel, and could possibly finish the first draft this week. Or not, as I’m in for a very busy week. I had a number of indexing deadlines scheduled for earlier this month that were delayed and guess what? They’ve been rescheduled for completion this week and next!

Yes. Welcome to my freelancing life …

Readers’ Workout and #30DS

It’s a good thing I’m writing now about the 30 Day Shred Twitter group I’ve been participating in, because one thing I’ve noticed: when I’m busy, exercise is one of the first things that gets prioritized right out the window. Which is very, very sad because it should be in my top three priorities, right after meditation and writing.

Participating in #30DS has been really motivating so far, though, so who knows, right? Just knowing if I do get the Shred done for the day, I can send out a tweet to my #30DS support group really pushes me to simply get it done. That, and telling myself it’s only 20 minutes. (It’s really about 25 minutes if you count the warm up and cool down, which I do, because apparently I’m supposed to be getting 150 (or is that 160?) minutes of exercise a week).

#30DS is part of Joy Weese Moll’s Readers’ Workout challenge. Anyone can join in; the weekly post goes live every Tuesday and you can either blog about your weekly Readers’ Workout goals and successes, or chime in on the comments. If you want to do the 30 Day Shred with us on Twitter, just jump right in. We’re all doing different levels of the Shred so you don’t have to be at any particular level.

Book Buying Binge

I’m sad to say I went on a book buying binge yesterday (well, okay, not really. I’m actually really happy about it and enjoyed myself thoroughly!).

After my big book purge last year, before moving to the city, I swore to myself I wouldn’t go on such binges again.  I think I’ve done quite well, actually, since we moved last November and this is my FIRST book buying binge since we moved. I should be patting myself on the back, right?

Anyway, I blame Memory and Kailana. I saw their tweets about the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale at Bookcloseouts (can you say 50% off already discounted prices? I can, over and over and over again!) and couldn’t resist taking a look – and then I was trapped! I spent yesterday doing indexing, taking a break to browse Bookcloseouts and add more stuff to my cart, indexing some more, taking another break to add more stuff to my cart, and so on.

I was up until 3 A.M.!! Bookcloseouts has only limited quantities of each book, and several of the books in my cart had only two or three copies left. I wanted to make sure I finished up the purchase before bed, because who knew if there would be any copies left in the morning, right?

As it was, I only managed to hit the following categories: Children’s Fiction, Children’s Non-Fiction, Art, Crafts & Hobbies and Cookbooks.

The sad news is, I only got two books for myself – I’m trying to be thrifty, so each time I saw a book I wanted, I checked the library, which had copies of nearly every book I was interested in. Right now I’m trying to buy copies of books that I’ve already read and really really loved, so I just couldn’t justify adding new-to-me books that are already available from the library (there’s also the NOT-ENOUGH-BOOK-SHELVES motivation).

The good news? I checked off a lot of people on my gift list! So that was very, very good indeed.

I can’t resist temptation, though. The sale at Bookcloseouts doesn’t end until tonight, and I still have all the Fiction categories to browse through. I just might end up with a second order!

A List

I’ve finally been having some sustained success in journaling! And all it took was (1) making my son write in a journal every night as part of his homeschool curriculum (2) which he absolutely refused to do unless I journaled right along beside him (3) so I sat down reluctantly that very first night and that’s when I discovered it’s really easy if I just list in point form things and thoughts from my day.

Ahhhh. What a relief! So I thought I’d try the same thing with a blog post!

1.  I love smaller handbags these days. We walk everywhere now and guess what? That huge handbag filled with half my life for those just-in-case moments is, well, really really heavy. I never realized how heavy it was before because back in the suburbs, whenever I went out armed with everything but the kitchen sink, I was usually in a car, the handbag at my feet. A few months back I swapped it out for a much smaller handbag. I feel kind of naked not carting around all the things I might need in an emergency (flashlight, Chinese fortune cookies from our latest foray at a buffet restaurant, colouring books for the little one, headset in case I get bored at the doctor’s office, doodle pad, lined notebook, index cards, gum, pens in very colour of the rainbow, nail file, mints – you know, that kind of stuff) but I sure do walk a whole lot quicker.

2. Bad copyediting. There’s a lot of talk about bad editing these days, most of which is aimed at self-published books, but I’m sad to say I recently read a book by a much loved author – The Vault, by Ruth Rendell, the latest Wexford instalment – and I don’t think this book, published by a traditional publisher, was copyedited at all. Many of the mistakes were minor, but there were a few that took me right out of the story, mainly because I just had to look back at previous chapters to check previously stated facts. I even thought one of the mistakes was a plot point that I’d caught! A character was described as having parents in their seventies who were clueless about his life, so when we “met” these parents chapters later and they were middle aged and knew everything that was going on, I was sure they were imposters, and a part of a plot. But no, it was just a mistake that hadn’t been caught.

3. Another love: snail mail. I’m just loving my mail these days. Back in February, inspired by Carrie, I sent out a bunch of letters and notecards, and the end result is, I’m still sending and receiving snail mail now! And to top things off, I decided to sign up for Letters in the Mail at The Rumpus and it’s been so much fun getting mail from various authors as well.

4. Reading, reviews and sketchnotes. I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading lately, and I’ve been finding myself doing sketchnote reviews. (If you’re not familiar with sketchnoting, check out Sketchnote Army. To see a previous sketchnote review of mine – well, okay, the only sketchnote review I’ve posted so far – check out my review of Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, by Jennifer Allison) Luckily, we finally bought a new printer, the really fabulous Epson Artisan 837 (and all I can say about this printer is, omg, I can now print from anywhere in the house and even from outside of my house via email), and it has a scanner, too! So if I can get my butt in gear, hopefully I’ll be posting sketchnote reviews of what I’m reading.

5. Navel gazing. Cause I always need to do some. I had a bit of an ergo-mishap about three weeks ago (some gremlin messed with the height of my typing chair and what chaos ensued!). Arm pain has finally subsided and I am starting to feel back in form. Three weeks of drooping around the house listlessly does not make for a very happy Belle, but hopefully I’ll be able to re-activate my recessive “doing” gene now.

I love lists! So, what have you all been up to lately?

Some Wednesday Random

It’s Wednesday, and I can’t think of a thing to blog about – so I’m falling back on the old tried and true. Random!

I’m a Happy Information Junkie This Week.

I finally figured out a way to keep an eye on all the links and fun things I find interesting online, without feeling information overload! And it’s all due to my iPad. Last week I spent a bit of time testing out various apps and I’ve now settled on some essential ones that have made my info-surfing life so much easier.

On the agenda: I’ll be writing up a post about the apps I’m now using. (Always nice to know what I’ll be writing about!).

And I’m Sharing My Finds on Twitter.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (and … ahem … if you’re not, here’s the link to my Twitter profile) might have noticed I’m doing something a little differently these days. I’ve been tweeting links to all the stuff I find terribly amusing or interesting or just plain mind-boggling.

I can’t help it. Seriously, some of this stuff is just too good not to share!

Sniff … Reamde Has to Go Back to the Library.

So I’ve had that big brick of a book, Reamde, by Neal Stephenson, for almost three weeks now. And I haven’t touched it. It’s just such a BIG book, so every time I look at it, I think to myself, I really need to make sure I have a nice chunk of time to curl up with it.


And of course, that never happened. And since this is a relatively new book, I can’t renew it, because there are lots of other eager readers just waiting to get their hot little hands on it.

Sigh. I hate when this kind of thing happens. I actually have it in audio, too, but I already know it will take me even longer to listen to it than it would for me to read it so I might as well just add myself back to the “hold” queue at the library.

The Art of Letter Writing

Okay, so no-one’s going to be too surprised that I wasn’t able to stick to writing a letter a day last month. No, not even though it was a short month (although with that leap day, it really wasn’t that much shorter …).

But I had some good excuses. Like the flu going through the family, which just about wiped out two weeks of the month.

Despite not writing a letter a day last month, I’ve been well and truly bitten by the handwritten letter bug. I’ve enjoyed getting letters from people, and I’ve enjoyed writing the letters I did write. So I’ve decided to just keep on doing this indefinitely.

Not, of course, a letter a day. But several a month. It’s going to be fun!

The Everyday Writer

Last bit of random for now. I’ve been having a hard time getting back into a writing routine. And then yesterday, I came across this blog post by Seth Godin.

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

(The emphasis is mine.)

I decided to take this advice to heart, and last night, I created The Everyday Writer. And this morning, I wrote my first post. My plan is to choose a different writing prompt generator every day (if you click through, you’ll see I have several of them in the sidebar), and then write a little something. Something short, that’s fictional, but Not of the Utmost Importance (the very opposite of the way I think of my writing-in-progress as Being of the Utmost Importance – which, by the way, is one sure-fire way to drum up a bad case of writer’s block).

And I’m adding this into my Wednesday Random because I’ve got to fulfill the “in public” part of the whole shebang.

So those are my latest bits of random! What random bits and pieces do you have going on these days?

Saturday Ramblings: Hollywood, Tosca, and Americas Test Kitchen

Whew! What a wild week this has been. I’m supposed to be in my “less busy” season, but somehow, what with projects showing up earlier than expected, I ended up with three deadlines this week. That kind of stuff is only supposed to happen in November and December!

So I thought it would be good to unwind with a rambly post. Because a lot of other stuff happened/is happening so I have tons to talk about.

As I type this, guess where my daughter, Hayley, is? In Hollywood!

She flew out on Thursday morning to spend a few days with a good friend of mine, Holly Sorenson. Holly’s the executive producer of ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It, and they’re shooting the season finale right now. We thought it would be a great way for Hayley to experience a real live television set in action, so to speak, so she took a short break from her filmmaking studies to fly out to LA.

HollyandHayleyHayley and Holly on the MIOBI set

I love this picture of the two of them on set! They’re having a great time together, and Holly took Hayley out for some pampering, too:

hayleypampering2Hayley getting some pampering

And if you’ve never watched Make It Or Break It before, you’re in for a treat! The show follows a gymnastics team on their journey to the gold; Season 3 premieres next month, and you can catch up on the earlier episodes online.

While Hayley’s deep in Hollywood excitement, I’m going to the opera for the very first time tonight! A friend of mine has season’s tickets, and she asked if I’d like to go see Tosca. I listen to opera only via Ward, who loves it (we’re planning on going together ourselves once we’ve really settled into our city lives), but other than that, I’m a total opera newbie. So I thought a classic opera like Tosca would be a good way to start my opera experiences.

My main dilemma? I have nothing to wear! <insert wail here> And while you might have heard other people say this kind of thing, I can assure you, I truly have nothing to wear. I don’t have dress boots, so that leaves out all my winter dresses (all one of them) and winter skirts (all one of them, too). I know you can wear jeans to the opera but I’d like to be dressed at least a cut above jeans. So the only thing I have left are these black cotton pants which are in no way dressy – but they’re not jeans! I’ve decided to be happy with that.

(I can’t even wear my dressy ankle boots because it snowed last night, and given the choice of walking in snow and ice in heels or my sturdy, dependable Thinsulate boots … well, let’s just say I’ve never been one to pick fashion over comfort and safety …)

Okay, this has been a long ramble, but I’ve really got to tell you about a fabulous recipe resource Ward recently discovered. (And then I’ll stop rambling – I promise!). It’s the magazine version of The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes and Reviews 2012, and it is simply amazing.


So far this week, Ward has made the following recipes:

Chicken and Slicks: this is the Appalachian version of chicken and dumplings. We had it last night and it was SO delicious. You make your own noodles for it (well, I didn’t – Ward did all of that), and instead of using water in the noodle recipe, you actually use chicken broth. Very tasty noodles, very tasty dish.

Cod Fish Cakes: ever have a fish cake and it really tasted more pasty than seafood-y? The fish cakes Ward made from this magazine were the absolute best I’ve ever tasted, and that includes fish cakes I’ve ordered at a restaurant. Solid chunks of cod, with nothing to hide the flavor. Yummy!

Black Bean Chili: I didn’t have any of this, because I’m not one for chili, but it fits the bill for a vegan entrée for Ward. He had a bit of trouble getting the beans soft, but other than that, he said it was delicious.

Rosemary Focaccia: our latest joke is that this recipe alone is worth the cost of the magazine (It’s $9.95, kind of hefty for a magazine but really really worth it). Seriously, I’ve never had focaccia that tasted this good: fluffy with just the right amount of density and chewiness, and a beautiful rosemary flavor through and through.

It’s a plan-ahead recipe, as you have to make the starter between 8 and 24 hours before you prepare the actual dish. You also need a very hot oven, and since our oven is very close to our fire alarm, every time Ward opened the oven door, I had to stand on a chair and fan the hot air from the alarm so we didn’t set the thing blaring. But it was well worth it – it’s so good, Ward has made it twice this past week.

Okay, I’m done rambling, like I promised!

And since I can’t ramble and not talk about food at one point or another, I’m including this as a Weekend Cooking post. For more food-related posts, make sure you head over to Beth Fish Reads!

Some Thursday Random

It’s been a while since I’ve written a “random stuff” post, but I woke up today to a whole pile of jumbled thoughts, so it seemed like a perfect time for random, you know?

Bookish Random

I’ve been having a blast filling my Kindle and Overdrive iPad apps with loads of interesting reads. In no particular order, here are some titles I added recently:

Avenging Angels, by Mary Stanton The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, by Alexander McCall Smith Dark Dreamer, by Jennifer Fulton The Dead Kid Detective Agency, by Evan Munday Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand, by Fred Vargas Three Doors to Death, by Rex Stout A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow A Study in Sherlock, ed. by Laurie R. King

And the Kindle version of A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow, the first Kate Shugak mystery, is free right now at Amazon!

Have you read any of these titles?

Drama Is The Interwebs

All I can say is, wow. People who think the world of books and reading and writing is low-key and well, boring, have never clicked on Twitter links tweeted by the bookish community.

There is a whole lot of drama out there, folks. Drama on Goodreads, drama on individual blogs, drama in tweets (although I haven’t actually caught any of that this week).

And I am pleased to continue in voyeur mode (is that the word I mean?), playing the observer and not dipping my toes in any of it!

A Pinterest Question

I’ve been wondering something. Here’s the way Pinterest plays at my house. I pin recipe links to my Muse in the Kitchen board on Pinterest, then email them to Ward. I keep my fingers crossed and lo! and behold! every so often he serves up a dish I pinned on Pinterest.

So, can I make the claim, “I made something I pinned on Pinterest”? What do you think? After all, the dish wouldn’t have ended up on the dining room table without my initial input. Right? Right???

I had a whole lot more random in my mind when I first started writing this post, but such is my memory, I’ve forgotten most of it. Maybe I should tell you about the dream I had this morning, where I found myself back in university again? Nah, I thought not.

I is for Ingenuity (And Here I Take Care of J, K, L and M, Too)

I is for Ingenuity

Ingenuity? You’re looking at it! Isn’t this the most ingenious post ever? I don’t even have to resort to K is for Ketchup to write a catch-up post for the A to Z Challenge!

(And no, no-one has to know I actually wrote “ingenuous” in that first sentence, and there it stayed until I did a quick reread before hitting “publish”. Thank goodness for quick rereads before pressing “publish”. That’s all I can say.)

J is for Joe Richardson

… because Joe left me the most wonderful comment yesterday on my H is for Hearsay post, and brightened up my day considerably.

Joe’s one of the bloggers I’ve met through the A to Z Challenge, and you must visit his blog (well, read this post first, and THEN go visit his blog). He writes beautifully and takes wonderful photos as well.

Go visit. You’ll be glad you did.

K is for Ketchup

Not because I’m resorting to “ketchup” to write a catch-up post. But because last night, I did, I must admit, begin toying with the idea of using “K is for Ketchup”. And the following happened:

There I was, thinking about maybe saying Ketchup for catch-up. I opened the fridge, and a ketchup bottle launched itself at me, narrowly missing my foot when it came in for a landing.

I kind of took this as a sign that using Ketchup for catch-up was a no-go …

L is for Love Poems

And it really is a good thing I’m not doing these posts individually, because it would scar me for life to write an entire post about this.

You see, I’m not very romantic. My husband and I laugh about this (well, I laugh. I assume he’s laughing along with me, but I wouldn’t swear to it …), because we are such opposites. He is definitely far more romantic than me. (How romantic? Think rose petals strewn along the path romantic, and you’d be close.)

So I just want it on record that I finally did something sort of romantic. This past Monday was his birthday. On the Sunday night before, I spent three hours scouring the Interwebs for love poems – and I found SO MANY.

I used to say, I don’t really do the poetry thing. But after three hours of reading beautifully written poems, I take that back. I fell in love with poetry that night.

Anyway – here’s the romantic part: I discovered I could post the poems to Facebook as a note and set the note to private, viewable ONLY by my husband! So he had a nice surprise when he woke up in the morning. And not only was I being romantic, I was also able to say happy birthday even though I was still asleep!

M is for Magic

I’ve been tasting magic these past two weeks. It’s come in the form of two words:

Writing prompts.

I’ve posted two scenes/sort of flash pieces, both of them the result of writing prompts, and it has been truly magical. Each time, I pulled the prompts the day before, and some time later, the scene came to me. Complete, as in, it came with everything: characters, situation, conflict, descriptions, dialogue.

All I had to do was sit down and write everything down. I did one edit to tighten things up, but for the most part, I wrote them the way they came to me.

Yes. Magic.

And more magic: I’m all caught up!

Another Saturday Random

A Clean Desk

So yesterday I came downstairs in the morning, and discovered that my husband, who’s been getting up at 5 in the mornings for the past month, had decided to surprise me and clean up the office.

And not just the office, but my desk, too!

I will just say here that after three and a half months of back-to-back deadlines, my desk was not a very pleasant sight. Many, many things have been lost in the mess that was my desk, some of which have disappeared for good, or so it seems.

But now my desk is clean! And I’m not surrounded by teetering piles of papers, books, boxes and magazines.

I can walk to my chair using a direct, straight path! I can sit down in my chair and breathe! I can see again that my desk is a natural pine color!

It’s a change I needed, because I’d been avoiding my desk for a while now. It’s been feeling too much like work.

And now it feels like my writing space. I will definitely be finishing up the first draft of ELEMENTAL in the next 30 days. I have it my time all planned out – writing at least an hour a day, I should be able to wrap up this first draft.

Clean deskMy Clean Desk

The book in the picture above, by the way, is Creative is a Verb, by Patti Digh – I have Molly at My Cozy Book Nook to thank for this, as I first read about it on her blog. And yes, it’s as lovely as it sounds. The book, I mean. And Molly’s blog, too!

I’m in such an appreciative mood right now.

(And I’m now intending cleaner bathrooms without having to lift a finger …)


Did I say in my last post, I haven’t really taken to the whole vampire sub-genre in urban fantasy?

So wouldn’t you just know it – guess what the next two books I started reading are about?

Vampires. Of course.

It’s not that I don’t like vampire books. In fact, my top read of 2010 was Justin Cronin’s The Passage. And the year before that, I devoured The Strain, which I read one eerie fog-filled day on the shores of Nova Scotia while on summer holidays.

But for some reason, I’ve just not really felt called to a lot of the other vampire-driven books out there – and in the past year, there’ve been a lot of these.

I’ve been enjoying these two latest reads, though. Maybe because they have a different feel to them than other vampire books I’ve heard about.

One is a secret agent thriller, the other one combines magic and vampires and science and history and evolution (yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds).

They are also very different from each other. I’ll be reviewing both this coming week; I’ve already finished Blood Oath, by Christopher Farnsworth (the secret agent thriller one), and am deep in A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness (the magic/vampires/science/history/evolution one), and enjoying it very much.

What about you? Have you read any vampire-based urban fantasies you’ve really enjoyed recently?

Join My Husband on Facebook!

Well, not my husband, exactly – his dojo!

Last year, I created a Facebook page for his dojo, Renseikan Dojo. I’ve unofficially been the “keeper of the page” for the past while (which basically meant, I didn’t do much with it), but recently stepped fully into the role (you can just call me the dojo’s Social Media Director, okay?).

I decided this past week to be the official updater of the page because it occurred to me, even though the dojo is a local business, its Facebook page doesn’t have to be, nor should it.

I mean, it’s a fantastic dojo, a great place to train, but with the emphasis my husband puts on not only the martial arts, but also meditation and the spiritual aspects of practice, it’s a way to share what the dojo’s all about with more than just the actual, local, physical members of the dojo.

I only just started really updating the page this past week, so right now it’s been mainly about the events we have coming up, but I’m planning on regular updates that will feature quotes about Zen, meditation and spiritual practice (that’s the kind of dojo my husband runs, so it’s a good fit) and lots of inspiring videos.

So, if you enjoy the martial arts, or meditation, or Zen or spirituality, or uplifting and inspiring videos, please like Renseikan Dojo on Facebook!

Speaking of My Husband

I know a few of you follow Ward on his cooking blog, Sensei Cooks. And you’ve probably noticed he hasn’t been posting much lately.

We were talking about it a few weeks ago; he told me he just doesn’t like the writing part of it much. He does like writing out his recipes, though; it’s just the words that go before it that he has trouble with, so he procrastinates writing more posts.

So I hit on a great idea. He’s not too sure of it, so I’m working on him. But hopefully, soon you’ll be seeing more posts on there regularly – and you’ll see Sensei Cooks transform into a vlog!

I think he’d be a natural; he’s used to talking to an audience because that’s part of what he does when he’s teaching. All he has to do is talk about the recipe he’s posting, what changes he’s made to it (and he’s always fiddling around with changes), what he liked about it, what he didn’t like.

And maybe one day I’ll get him to actually let me film him doing the cooking, going through all the steps!

That’s my bit of randomness for this Saturday. What have you all been up to this past week?

Saturday Random

A little bit of Saturday randomness …

Yes, I’m Back

So you might have noticed, despite writing excitedly last month about getting into a blogging rhythm, I then kind of disappeared off the face of the blogosphere (and Twitter and Facebook).

What happened? Back in October and November, I had several clients ask me, “We’ve got a project(s) coming up in the new year – can you prepare the index for us?” “Why, sure!” I said, enthusiastically. But since there were no set dates, I didn’t actually have anything to set down in my calendar. My Basecamp account rules my work life, and I’ve gotten into a rhythm of sorts – if it’s not in Basecamp, I forget about it.

So January arrives. I have a handful of deadlines and I’m quite pleased, since I was SO busy in the late fall and early winter; I could do with the slower pace.

Then the emails come. Those projects have all decided to be ready for me at roughly the same time, and before I know it, I’m actually busier for the last three weeks in January than I was in December (which I’d been calling my “busy month”).

I wasn’t really prepared for the avalanche, but thankfully I got through it, and yes, I am back now for real, and I’m hoping this year to stumble onto a way to even out my workload so that I won’t ever have to go through another too-busy period again. (Wish me luck!)

Free Time? It’s Overwhelming!

So you’d think I’d be having a blast with all the time I’ve been having lately. But I’ve been going through a period of adjustment – to be honest, I’ve been finding myself quite overwhelmed with the idea of actually having time to do all the things that I want to do.

The problem is, there are SO many things on my list (good things, I mean – stuff I really want to do), and I’m having a hard time deciding what to do. And the result has been a lot of sitting around doing nothing, and then looking back and wondering how I managed to waste the whole day away like that.

Thankfully, Janel came to my rescue: she pointed out that after having put my brain through such a long workout, I really need to just give myself time to get used to the new schedule. Go with the flow, so to speak. So I’m doing just that, and it feels a whole lot better.

Short but Sweet

I wrote my first short story in over twenty years! When I was younger, I used to get ideas for shorts all the time, but for the longest time now, I’ve been immersed in ideas for novels. But I’ve started reading short stories recently, and it’s so true: you’ve got to read what you want to write.

The idea came to me one night and I was thrilled – beginning, middle and end, all there! In the bright light of day, though, the ending looked a bit trite. So my brain worked on it a bit more when I wasn’t looking, and gave me a new ending. Okay, to be honest, it’s not a not-trite ending, it’s just not quite as trite as the first one.

Anyway, I then sat down and just decided to write it. (I have my iPad to thank for being so conveniently on hand). Trite or not, I figured, I’d better start somewhere.

More good news on the writing front: I uploaded what I’d written so far of ELEMENTAL ISLE onto my iPad in pdf format, and after giving the whole thing a read, I found myself wishing I’d written more (because I wanted to know what was going to happen!), so I sat down and wrote more. I’ve added two chapters so far, and I’m hoping to work on the novel every day.

Reading, Reading, Reading

I’ve been getting back into a reading rhythm again, too, and that feels very nice; it’s lovely to have the time to sit down with a book from start to finish, instead of dipping in here and there for a few moments of pleasure. I’ve completed a few books, and will be posting a few more reviews soon.

Hercule Poirot and Nero Wolfe were my constant companions last month. I listened to them while working and at night before drifting off to bed, and the two of them helped me keep my spirits up as I worked through all those deadlines.

Not Another Blogging Rhythm?

I most certainly am not going to jinx myself by saying I’ll be going back into a blogging rhythm now! But I’m hoping I’m now back into a regular schedule of blogging, and blog reading (I really missed the latter, although I’ve noticed my TBR list hasn’t grown much as a result).

A Rambly Random Wednesday

I’m feeling rather random-ly today, so of course, it means another post of random stuff! Here are the random things that have been delighting me:

Dream analysis. My older son has been getting university acceptances and a few scholarship offers, as well as several phone calls from the universities he’s applied to, so we’ve had lots of celebratory-feeling days around here.

Last night, I dreamed he cooked up a whole batch of bacon – it was crisp and perfectly done. I’ve never really been big on dream analysis, but this one just jumps out at me. Yes! He is going to be successful, bringing home the bacon!

A Clean Desk. I did it. I finally got around to cleaning up my desk. I took a picture, since it’s a rare event and I like to record things like this for future reference (and to remind a certain husband that I can occasionally be tidy).


And this should give you an idea how I did it – I call it the “everything-in-the-box” method (note: patent pending).


Writing. I started my first readthrough of my WIP, NANTUCKET, last night and I’m very happy to say that this readthrough is going so much better than the readthrough I did of my NaNoWriMo novel last month. No, it’s not perfect, but there’s stuff I can work on, and the story (so far) is shaping up quite well. (Please feel free to cheer …)

Reading. I finished The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern and have one burning question (don’t worry, not a spoiler):

Did Rosaleen know about the book, or not? If you’ve read the book and have more of a clue about this than I do, please let me know!

Lust Speaking of Husbands. As most of you know, my husband is a martial arts teacher. Now that we have a little dojo in our home, he holds the occasional private class here.


What this means is that I’m now getting to see him in his black belt uniform again (I hadn’t seen him in his dogi for quite a while, because I rarely make it out to dojo functions these days).

image index_001_001 ward

I’d forgotten I have a tendency to swoon when I see him in his karate dogi. Oddly enough, it’s not the same for me when he’s wearing his aikido uniform or his jodo uniform.

I guess it’s a good thing to be swooning over one’s own husband.

Blog Stuff. I’m hoping to be able to start working on a new look for Ms. Bookish next week, so if you see funny things happening around here, you’ll know why. The dilemma right now is picking a new template. There are just so many – it’s tough to choose just one. I guess it would be too confusing to use several at once!

Exercise. I’ve decided exercise is no longer going to be a dreaded word for me. It helps that I found a picture of me taken not so long ago where I looked decidedly more svelte than I do now. The reminder that it wasn’t that long ago was a good one.

So, treadmill, you and I are going to begin our love affair, starting today tomorrow Friday. I promise!

That’s my random stuff for today. Every now and then, I love a day of random. What random stuff have you been delighting in recently?

Odds and Ends

It’s been quite a week – I’ve finished a couple of deadlines, spent Wednesday morning getting a test done (no worries, all is well), Wednesday night feeling pleasantly drowsy, pampered and well-fed, (oh, and I spent Tuesday night very hungry since my test required an all-liquid diet the day before), and today I finally managed to get back into Twitter and Facebook mode after having to stay away during the weeks I was drenched with deadlines.

(I don’t think I mean “drenched”. I think I mean another word, but for the life of me, I can’t think of another suitable word right now.)

So I thought it’s time for a nice odds and ends post!

2010 Blog Improvement Project

I joined the Blog Improvement Project last year, but quite late, after people had already dived into the first few assignments, and I never really did end up truly participating. But since I have plans to revamp the template here, and clean up my categories and tags and things like that (and couldn’t participate in Bloggiesta because of deadline woes), I thought it might be nice to participate this year.

This year the BIP is being run by both Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, who hosted last year’s BIP, and Jackie at Farm Lane Books, and it has it’s own site: 2010 Blog Improvement Project.

Have you joined? What kinds of things are you looking forward to doing this year with your blog?

Work Sanity: The Art of Taking Breaks

During my recent avalanche of deadlines, I made sure to take several breaks each day. In addition to pampering myself with baths, I also used games as incentives. When I finished a chapter, I’d indulge myself with a few rounds of the following games (but beware. They can be addictive.)

Mah Jongg Dimensions. This game is hosted at AARP, but luckily you don’t have to be retired to play it. It seems simple, but you only get five minutes and the second and third levels have a lot more tiles. Very fun.

Yumsters 2. Don’t ask me why I became so beguiled with these musical worms. But I was. And I took that trek across all those countries with them many, many times on my iPhone.

Suduko. I played this on my iPhone – and I admit freely, I finally clued in that Suduko is solved EXACTLY like a logic puzzle. I love logic puzzles. I never loved Suduko. Now I do.

If You Like Cats …

(And I do.) My not-aunt Margaret sent me the link to this video (she’s also the one responsible for the Mah Jongg Dimensions game, too. In fact, I tremble in fear before opening her emails because she finds the most addictive and fun stuff online, guaranteed to fritter away chunks of my time).

This video’s on the long side (and it’s been around for a while, so you might have already seen it), but it is totally worth it (if you like cats, that is).

The bit near the end when Maru plays with the boxes is just priceless!

So those are my odds and ends. I’m really looking forward to the weekend – I have a few days to rest, relax and (fingers crossed) get back to my writing. No, I haven’t forgotten that I am writer, and a writer writes. (Not to mention the manuscript of NANTUCKET which is still waiting for me to read in its entirety for the first time …)

Any odds and ends going on with you?