life: what have I done?

It’s never a “good” time to apply for promotion… not when it’s academic and requires a sh*t-load of documentation, writing, and compiling of letters. But I applied, and now I’m in it to win it (she says with a strained smile). I’m nothing, if not committed. But it does mean that my lofty writing goals are going to become a bit more down-to-earth. Namely, there’s no way I can reach my current word goal, while also putting together a promotion file, keeping up with reviews (something I do professionally, outside the blog), and grading essays. It’s crunch time! And some things are going to have to wait. I’m glad I’m between drafts with project #1, because there’s no way I was going to get any work done. I’m going to keep writing, but I’m going to scale back. Take things slow and steady, rather than rush and try to meet some arbitrary word count (it’s a rough draft, after all, there’s always Camp NaNo in July).

Things may be a bit quiet around here, but I’ll continue to check in from time to time. Wish me luck!

off the shelf: spies, forgers, and lovers unite!

a little departure from the Friday vlog.

I like to sneak some sweetness between the “serious” reads (you all know that), so I took a chance on a couple of prepub selections from Loveswept (via Netgalley).

512k37PVBiL._SY346_The first was Sharon Cullen’s Wed to a Spy, a historical romance set in the court of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Synopsis:

When Aimee de Verris is caught with her sweetheart, her aunt, Catherine de Medici, packs her off to Queen Mary’s court, where she is to spy on Mary or lose her chance to return to France.

Sir Simon Marcheford is one of Queen Elizabeth’s best agents. When the Queen sends him on a mission to Spain, until fate delivers him to Mary’s court. Things get heated when the two get caught between a forced marriage and a plot against Mary.

Thoughts:

With the exception of Philippa Gregory, this is a time period that I rarely see in romance (maybe I’m not looking in the right place?). Like most romances, this was a fun read and an easy romp. I liked the change in setting (I tend to read Regency or Victorian), and I found the dynamic between Aimee and Simon believable for the period. It wasn’t until I reached the end that I realized I Sharon Cullen also wrote Campbell’s Redemption, which I read a few months ago and found refreshing in its depiction of romance and widowhood. Definitely recommend if you want something Elizabethan.

Find Sharon Cullen on amazon.

51dwAl4i9FLThe second selection was K.C Bateman’s A Counterfeit Heart.

Synopsis:

Sabine de la Tour is on the run. A forger and a woman, she had everything to lose if caught. Unwilling to let her friend Anton take the fall for her actions, she flees with him to London, where she presents herself to the one man who came close to learning her secret: the relentless Lord Richard Lovell, agent of the crown and lust incarnate. Can a forger change her ways? Can she be more than a counterfeiter Lord Lovell’s eyes?

Thoughts:

I really liked this one. The moral ambiguity in particular added an extra something to the romance, as well as the “meeting of equals” feel between Sabine and Richard. In addition to history, there’s a lot of art in this novel, which made for a smart read (Bateman is an art appraiser and antiques expert, as well as a historical romance writer, which makes for some really rich description). If you want Regency with a dash of mystery and danger, check this one out.

Find K.C. Bateman on amazon.

Disclaimer: Previews via NetGalley. Not affiliate links. Just sharing the book love.

writing: on finishing draft 5

I can now say that I’ve finished draft 5. New prologue and all. I learn something new from each draft, but one element that really became obvious is how sparse I am when it comes to description. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s just a fact. I tell myself to add more, but end up taking out. My very first rough draft was around 98k words (give or take, I have the numbers saved somewhere). The first draft rewrite clocked in around 90k. The next one was around 79k, followed by around 90k again. Current draft is complete at 83k.

Of course, now I need to do a continuity read, because I edited out of order and things might be screwy in places. But that will wait. For now, I will celebrate and get over the cold that finally got around to me. (I thwarted it for a good two months)

life: this world we live in

I had a video for today, but too much has happened and I just can’t bear to make light of it. My heart is breaking in so many ways. I’m scared for my future, my friends, my family, my country, and I just can’t find a way to wrap my mind around it all. There is just so much that I can’t fathom. I don’t know how we’ll get out of it and I can’t see a bright future at the end.

My truth is this:

I grew up in public housing, in a single parent home. I was poor. Public television inspired me. I ate free school lunches. I completed an undergraduate degree because of grants, and a graduate degree because of an assistantship. I completed a second grad degree because of a subsidized federal loan. I worked my ass off for a future that is at risk because someone else’s elected official(s) does not value the work I do nor the people I come from.

And then there is the threat to our peace and our environment. I just don’t have the words.

life: mid-month writing check-in

March is underway and my writing is coming along at a really good pace. If I keep at it, the draft will be done by the end of the week (next week, if I rewrite the prologue now rather than later). I’m riding this wave to the end!

I’ve also made good progress on my Camp NaNo plan. I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, but I didn’t realize how long until I unearthed a brain-dump file dated July 2011(!). That’s well before I started working on my current project (which dates to 2012). The idea has definitely evolved since that early document, but the spark remains. I’m definitely eager to delve into this new world.

Next stage: beta readers and drafting!

life: headspace and budgets

Howdy y’all! So I’m in a weird headspace… literally. Feeling tired, wired, and spacey all at once. In short, I am a squirrel. Kind of manic, but lazy at the same time. Could be hormones, could be the weirdness that comes before a migraine… could be both (probably both). Anyhow, it’s going to be a week.

But back to real talk… I’ve been adulting. It’s been a while since I took a good, hard look at my finances and spending habits. I’ve gone through at least one raise and one rent hike, so it’s about time I take a good look at where my money is going. After several failed attempts at using a cash budget and an online tracker, I’ve decided to just keep a written log of my spending—keeping my receipts, tracking my purchases, and just reviewing where my $ is going at the end of the week, when I’ll pop it into a spreadsheet and tally up the amount. I tried tracking in my bullet journal, but that just didn’t work, so I’m using a dedicated notepad just for spending.

I’m fine when it comes to money, but I would like to scale back and take better control of my spending. Mostly impulse buys… and coffee. That’s kind of a problem, but one I hope to address by building better habits. We’ll see.

life: February updates and March goals

It’s been a month. Seriously.

So my Whole30 was an epic failure, but that’s ok. I realized half-way that it just wasn’t the right time. I wasn’t in the right mindset, and mindset is a HUGE part of that program. I will try again, but not right now. I’m just going to focus on eliminating the foods that make me feel sluggish, sick, or throw off my digestion. Focusing on health and feeling good, rather than restriction or program rules.

Yoga happened. Not every day, but it happened. Walking, not so much. There were migraines. Lots of them, and stretching and relaxing was my main priority.

On the upside, I finished my edits for the month! With time to spare! Yay!

Edit wordcount: 13531.

I call that a good run, so I decided to film an update video to pat myself on the back. Check it out 🙂

Goals for March:

  • Finish the draft! Do it!
  • Prepare for April NaNo experiment
  • Try to complete 30 Days of Yoga Camp, because I really enjoyed that series and feel ready for a repeat.