What Are You Reading Monday?

It’s been a long, strange year. Very little writing has occurred but I’ve read a ton. So today, I thought I would revisit

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Besure to check out the Book Date blog!

Basically for this post I tell you what I just read, what I’m reading now, and what’s up next. Easy Peasy.

Last week I read…

 

The Alcatraz Rose: A Lawrence Kingston Mystery

The Alcatraz Rose by Anthony Eglin

This is the second or third book I’ve read by Anthony Eglin in the Lawrence Kingston Mystery Series. Lawrence is a retired Botanist (I think?) who solves crimes on the side. This one surrounds a young mother who disappeared 10 years ago and the recent discovery of an extinct English rose on the grounds of Alcatraz.

It’s a short book and an enjoyable read. There were plenty of red herrings and a tangled web of gardening fanatics and criminals. Not to mention a decades old truck robbery that was never solved.  Lovely cover as well.

What I’m reading now…

I picked up this book at the used book store because I’ve never read a John LeCarre book. He’s supposed to be one of the best suspense/mystery writers around. We shall see. I’m only 60 pages in at the moment. From Goodreads:

 

A Most Wanted Man

“A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse around his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa.” “Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation, Soon her client’s survival becomes more important to her than her own career – or safety. In pursuit of Issa’s mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Freres, a failing British bank based in Hamburg.” Annabel, Issa and Brue form an unlikely alliance and a triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the “War on Terror,” the rival spies of Germany. England and America converge upon the innocents.

What’s up next…

Next, I will read a book by a local author.

Shades of BlueShades of Blue By Joyce Scarbrough

This small volume has been on my shelf for far too long. I believe it’s a YA romance. Joyce is a wonderful author and if you haven’t read one of hers, pick one up.

 

 

There you go. These are just a few of the books sitting on my TBR chair.

What are you reading?

-CK

 

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Road Trip

I love a good road trip. Heck, I love a bad road trip.

Old school map.

I have fond memories from childhood of being stuffed in a car with my family, driving insane distances to view something amazing, and then stop at every odd road side attraction. So of course I wish to pass that on to my kids. But you first must prepare for a road trip. You can’t just hop in the car and go– that causes chaos.

Everyone knows to grab a map, cash, and clothes. But there are other things that are just as important for a long trek in the car. So he goes,

Road Trip Packing List

  • Popcorn– That’s right you heard me, popcorn. Not the store bought stuff on the chip aisle. Don’t get the microwave kind either unless you have a fancy SUV that comes with its own tiny microwave.  I’m talking about that really good popcorn at the local gourmet shop. Now, hold on. Here you can buy 2lbs of buttered popped corn for $10. 2Lbs of popcorn is the size of a toddler. That’s a lot of popcorn. It will last my family of four through an entire one week road trip. Granted when you get home you’ll be finding popcorn for weeks but it’s worth it.
  • Paper towels– You should know this. If you spend 6 hours or more in a car you will need paper towels. Especially if you have popcorn.
  • Red solo cups– They don’t have to be red. Solo cups make the perfect holder for popcorn. It allows you to eat it without getting your hands dirty. Genius! It also makes a great holder for small treasures you find along the way like shells, rocks, and gold doubloons.
  • Playlist/tunes– Every trips deserves its own playlist. I still take a few CDs’s along but most of the time I play mp3’s.  My favorite playlists for traveling are: Spring Break, Summer, and Road Trip. They have tunes specific for the season or long driving sessions. Yes, Radar Love is included. 🙂 Sometime I will make a list geared to the city. New Orleans would have a totally different list of music than Memphis.

    How am I old enough for a teen driver?

  • Reading material– I love to read so I take 2 or 3 paperbacks as well as my kindle. Hubby claims the kindle causes a glare 😦 I also tailor my reading to the trip. This last trip was to North Carolina so I had a handful of mysteries set in the Outer Banks.
  • Toys– That’s right. Take toys. I have teenagers but I still take playing cards, coloring books, and crosswords along for the ride. The girls each took books to read and have a phone but you never know…
  • Towels– It dosesn’t matter where you go. Take a towel. I have one kid who will “accidentally” fall in any bit of water they find. It pays to be prepared.
  • First-aid kit– Again, I have that one child who always needs a bandage or an x-ray.
  • Kites– This is specific to the trip we took. But if you are heading to the beach or an area with open spaces a kite is fun and relaxing. It ended up being too windy to fly our kites but we had them.

Make new friends.

 

Road trips are a great way to bond with the wee ones. It’s an adventure where all sorts of things can go wrong 🙂

What do you take on a road trip?

-CK

 

2017 Goals Revisited

The goals for 2017 were short and simple.

Yet, I still managed to fail miserably at them.

2017

  • Write 200,000 words.- I wrote 38,145 new words.
  • Edit 600 pages.- I edited 449 pages.
  • Walk 2,600,000 steps. Really who knows. I gave up in February.
  • Read 80 books. My only real success. I read 96 books.
  • Find the shipwreck at Ft. Morgan. My wrist surgery kept me from the beach. I even failed at this. 🙂
  • Complete devotional. I did complete a devotional just not the one I intended to read.

2017 was not a good year for these goals.

Goals in themselves are of no value. To me, the value of goals is to see why or why not you succeeded. You learn something about yourself. I learn from my mistakes. Sad fact.

I learned I hate exercise. I knew this already. But I have no internal motivation to exercise. I just don’t have it. I’m not even sure what it would take to make me exercise on a regular basis. It’s not going to happen.

I’m also a creature of habit. If I’m going to do anything on a regular basis I must make it a scheduled event until it is habit. If I can write between 25,000 – 50,000 words in November why can’t I do that in January? Is it the little tracker I have marking the words? Is it the winner T-shirt? What is it? Or is it knowing that millions of people around the globe are like me and trying to write the novel in a month. It’s possible I’ve done it before.

The difference. I made it a priority. I sat down every day no  matter what and I wrote. In preparation for NaNo I spent October editing another story. So it wouldn’t sit on my desk staring at me. I edited over 80 pages that month.

So what do I do?

That’s the million dollar question isn’t it.

It boils down to priorities and motivation. I allow my family to take precedence over my writing. That’s not going to change. Family first. I also allow household issues to overshadow writing time. My house is old. It needs lots of work. At the moment we are working on the kitchen. At some point in the next millinia, we will be finished with that. But it takes time, money, and brain power from writing. Wrist surgery also kept me away from writing.

I’ve never treated my writing as a job. It’s a dream. A hobby. A desire. But in honesty I’ve never let my job overshadow my family life and responsibilities. I’ve alwasy been family first.

As I sit down and think about what I want to accomplish in 2018 the one thing I don’t want to do is let the fire for writing be smothered by the feeling of failure because I didn’t reach my goals. I knew when I made them that they were lofty goals.

Am I disappointed when I look over the numbers from last year? Yes I am. But I did make strides. I did make certain accomplishments. I know have two stories that need polishing before submitting. I’m happy with that.

Over the next few days I will be assesingmy goals before i comit to anything.

Happy New Year,

-CK

NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 1

Week 1 of NaNoWriMo has been tough. The world has tried it’s best to keep me from writing. We’ve had car trouble, illness, and other issues pulling my attention away. Today I woke sick– again. I’m really tired of allergies. I can’t wait for the weather to turn cold and kill whatever is producing this pollen.

I am starting to feel like I am in the groove. The words are coming easier. Thanks to my handy dandy outline keeping me on track. I will say that this week’s daily goal of 2500 words is hard! Next week my goal is 3000 words. Yikes.

I may have to steal an hour this weekend to get a little work done.

 

In other news, I just completed the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge for 2017. We’ll need to make a few adjustments for next year. Some of these topics were rough. If you would like to see the 2017 list, click here.

That’s it for now. My fingers are tired and I need a nap.

How’s your week?

-CK

NaNoWriMo Prep 3

NaNoWriMo 2017 Participant Flair

It is official I am participating in NaNoWriMo 2017. I say it’s official because I finally signed up at NaNoWriMo. I also bought the t-shirt. Not the winner shirt. I usually buy the winner shirt in advance but last year I didn’t finish. Not even close. So now when I wear the shirt I feel guilty.

Goals from last week:

  • complete character inventory sheet/backstory Done. I think most of the character work on the four most important characters is complete. I know I will continue to add to them as I plan but the hard work is finished.
  • Sign up on NaNo website Done. I just need a title now.
  • Work harder on finishing Origins. It’s not finished but it is close. There’s probably less than 20 pages left to edit.
  • Think about the major plot points for NaNo. I have a few plot cards.
  • Finish setting out Ghost rules (from last week)

I consider last week a success even though I did not finish everything. This week is plot and research.

Goals for week 3 Preptober:

  • Make a list of “locations” and describe- these are the main locations where the story takes place: MC apartment, where she works, and the cemetery. Yes, every ghost story needs a cemetery.
  • Begin assembling a list of minor characters- just the few that I know I need. Most will be added as I write.
  • Plot, Plot, Plot
  • If possible visit local history library for research- there’s a few things I need to research for my story
  • create a list of synonyms for walk- don’t laugh, this will make my life so much easier

That’s pretty much it. More than enough to keep me busy.

What are you working on this week?

-CK

NaNoWriMo Prep 2

 

 

 

 

Last week was horrible. Between kid activities and the hurricane, I’ve accomplished next to nothing. I’m still working on Origins. I had hoped to have this round of edits finished before NaNo, but I’m not so sure that will happen. I’m 3/4 of the way through, but I have to change POV. I’m going from 3rd person to 1st. It’s tedious to say the least. But it works much better this way. A quick shout out to K. Nebity, she recommended I read The Phantom Tollbooth. I did. I enjoyed it but not as much as I would have if I had read it as a kid. Thanks for the recommendation.

NaNoWriMo 2017

October is Perptober. I didn’t know it had an actual name:)

I have the main idea of the story (spark) and the two main characters. I still need to finish fleshing these characters out and finish with the ghost rules.

This week goals:

  • complete character inventory sheet/back story- I like to delve deep into my main characters. So this is a must this week.
  • Sign up on NaNo website- I need to do this. I did buy this year’s t-shirt. And it’s already arrived 😉
  • Work harder on finishing Origins.
  • Think about the major plot points for NaNo. It’s a ghost/mystery story. I want this started soon because I will need to do a little research at the library later.
  • Finish setting out Ghost rules (from last week)

If you are going to participate in NaNo this year, Click here to read more information and sign up. There are also Twitter sprints that take place once NaNo starts. I love those. Sprints really make you write. There are also other groups on different social media sites.

A few sites with NaNoWriMo Prep ideas:

Boho Berry has printables and links. She has a beautiful NaNo bullet journal. Yes, I’m jealous.

Storyist has an in-depth page on NaNo prep. It would work for starting a novel at any time.

Better Novel Project has an outline.

Here is an October schedule for NaNo.

There you go. A few resaurces to help you along.

How is your planning going?

-CK

NaNoWriMo Prep 1

I know it kind of slipped up on me too. But November is just around the corner, like 29 days away. That’s right. It’s time to get your little monsters in a row.

I sat down this morning with my calendar and came up with a weekly goal to help me prepare for NaNo. I know from experience, the more prepared I am the better chance I have of winning. Meaning completing a 50,000 word novel.  Along with the regular prep work, I have a novella I am halfway through editing. I need to finish that. It’s hard to concentrate on NaNo with other projects looming. I still hear the aching call of last years unfinished NaNo novel. Poor thing.

Week 1 Tasks:

  1. Find that spark– The idea that is big enough to spark your creative juices to write a full length novel. I have mine. One that has been itching on the edge of my brain for months. But an idea is not a story. Nor is it a plot. It’s just an idea.
  2. Decide on main characters– I have two characters already. I’ve started fleshing them out, learning about their back story. I hope from this I will know where to go with the story. I’m not too concerned with the minor characters at the moment. Those can come later. Is it novel worth or just a short story idea, the characters will tell me.
  3. Location– This is the hard part. I know where the story takes place but I think it will be in two time periods. Possibly now and the 40s.
  4. Rules– It’s a ghost story. So I need to cement the “rules” for ghosts. What they can and can’t do. Who becomes a ghost? Things like that. I’ve got it started and once I get to work on the plot I’ll make addictions or changes.

Those are the 4 things I need to accomplish this week. Anything else will be brownie points.

Are joining NaNoWriMo?

-CK