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

 

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