Monday, July 30, 2018

Refreshed and Inspired and Raring to Go...

You might have noticed that I missed posting Friday's blog... I was at the lake having too much fun.

 The view of Lake Conroe from the back deck.

I had planned to post, but time got away from me. :0)

Spending four days with my dearest friends in such a lovely setting is a treat like no other.

Everyone got something done.

My WIP grew by 2K words and I realized how many scenes were missing from it--meaning more words to come. That's a good thing because it was shorter than I like my books to be. The transition from a man/woman romance to a man/man romance is pretty well complete. There are just a few phrases here and there I need to masculine up a bit, but I think I have all the pronouns straightened out.

I figured out how to use the second book still and fleshed out a third character for a possible third book. That's always exciting for me. I'm not the writer who always has a plethora of idea bubbling in my head.

In between sprints and meals and fun, we bonded. Our friendship collectively as well as individually has grown over the years, and we learn so much from each other. That's the real gift of the weekend. These women and the blessing of knowing them.

I have also been inspired to keep on keeping on, to continue on my journeys--the writing/publishing journey as well as the weight loss journey. When people tell you they're inspired by you, there's a pressure to stay the course and not back track. For me it's not a bad pressure, but rather a good one. Even when I'm tempted to be done with whole thing--I've reached my original goal after all--they keep me going. I don't want to let them down.

Hope you had a lovely weekend as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My latest cross stitch projects...

Yes, they're variations on a theme...but that's okay.

What have you been up to?

Monday, July 23, 2018

What is cereal coming to?

Maybe it's been like this for a while and I didn't notice since I don't really eat cereal anymore. I buy Cheerios for DH and otherwise don't look closely at what else is on offer because why torture myself?

Maybe it's always been like this, but I didn't notice because I consumed it and was deep in cereal love.

So I was grocery shopping yesterday morning, as I am wont to do, and saw these:

Dippin Dots are an ice cream generally found at ball parks and fairs and such. Now it's a cereal, at least for a limited time.
Now the cookie cereal isn't much of a surprise, because there's been a cookie cereal for quite some time. 
Now the Nilla Banana Pudding cereal really caught my attention because DH loves banana pudding. I was sorely tempted to buy it, but I didn't. He seemed interested in it when I showed him the picture, so I might surprise him with it next time I go shopping.

I do occasionally break down and have a bowl of Cheerios, because I deserve a treat sometimes or I just have no more willpower.

I mean I ate cereal everyday for breakfast pretty much my entire life. Once even, when my husband took the kids to visit his mom and I stayed behind, all I bought for me to eat while they were gone...three or for boxes of my favorite cereals.

My favorites include Frosted Mimi Wheats, Corn Pops, and Frosted Flakes. All are 1000% better with chocolate milk over white milk. That's my sweet tooth talking. :0)

No more cereal though as a general rule. It's not the greatest food for you, even the healthy stuff, for a variety of reasons, but it's full of BAD carbs/sugar and you know those are my mortal enemies.

Hope you had a cooler weekend than I did--111* on Saturday, blech, but we are down to 101* today, so WHEW.

Are you a fan of cereal? If so, what's your favorite?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Yippee Skippy!

I'm so excited. I'm finally making progress on a writing project. And decent progress at that. It feels good.

Of course, my newfound gumption comes right in the middle of editing and series guide projects for others, but I'm almost done with them. Then I can focus all my spare time and attention on my own stuff for awhile and how exciting is that?

Looking forward to hanging out with writer peeps tomorrow, too.

The heat wave lingers on and looks like the crazy hot temps are hanging around a few days longer. UGH. I'm going to start eating ice cream by the half gallon instead of the pint. :0)

Have a great weekend and STAY COOL!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's freaking hot...

I took this pic Monday at the gym...note the temps. This morning they were 108* and 109* across the board.

Yikes. I have given up my moratorium on carbs and have utilized the power of ice cream to keep cool.

I had to.

On another note, I finally got an official computer/desk chair for my home office.

I'm not sure what the urgency was, as I've been sitting on a sewing table stool for these many months since I got the PC in my office...

I mean, I borrowed Dan's office chair the other day--for the first time ever--and he was suddenly worried there was going to be a fight over it all the time. I don't even like his office chair. I just needed something cushy that one evening.

The next day (Tuesday morning) I was dragged off to Office Depot for a new chair. I'm not really complaining. I like the new chair. We had some extra funds. I needed one.

So anyway, how are you doing this fine summer day??

Monday, July 16, 2018

In the interest of reducing my carb intake... (again)

I've given up the protein bars I'd been eating and also bananas.

The protein shakes have few or no carbs--why do the bars have 18 to 20?? Ugh.

I've been eating bananas with the protein shakes, chocolate or caramel, and it's quite a delicious combo. Saturday, the banana was a tick to soft for eating so I blended it into the shake and whoa!! that was delicious.

A shame I've decided to switch fruits. On the other hand, berries have the fewest carbs of all fruits, so I bought blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries this weekend. It turns out that neither blackberries nor raspberries mixes quite as well with a caramel flavored shake as the bananas, so I'll have to consume separately, which isn't a big deal.

My first week back at the gym went better than I expected. I wasn't as sore as anticipated past the first day, but I didn't jump back in at all the same weight levels that I was at when I quit, not did I run through the full routine. I'm working my way back to that slowly.

The expending of energy has definitely made me sleep hard. It was relatively easy to get back into the early-to-bed routine--but then again, I'm not really a night owl and never stayed up more than and hour or hour and a half later, so... >>shrugs<<

I had a productive weekend and hope yours was good or enjoyable--whatever you needed it to be.

The dog days of summer have arrived here in Texas--stay cool and stay hydrated.

Friday, July 13, 2018

It's official...

I'm out of stuff to read.

Okay, not really, of course. But every fan fic in progress I've been following is complete, there's been nothing new that looks interesting when I search my various fandoms and pairings.

So the universe is telling me it's time to do other things.

Catch up on cross stitching and pattern-making.

Continue brainstorming the new series.

Continue to prepare for the October conference.

Prepare for a writers retreat happening two weeks from yesterday.

And the really important task: WRITE.

No pressure there.

Also, how did it get to be JULY already?

But, really, I should be writing.




In the absence of inspiration and plans for new words, I'll just have to edit something old...

Hope you're keeping cool and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

So I have a physical copy of my book in my hand... Wheeee!!!!!

This is the proof of book one on the Ten Rigs Texas series...

It definitely needs some tweaking, both the cover and the innards, but I was more excited about seeing it, warts and all, than I expected to be. The print proof of book two should land in my mailbox in the next few days.

As I've mentioned, I hadn't planned on offering print books before each book's 1st birthday, but because I went for supporting author status at the conference I'm going to in October, I have to have physical copies for at least a couple of books. I decided to start with two. If I can get them tweaked easily enough, then I might attempt getting book 3 and maybe 4 done as well. But we'll see. I also have to keep costs in mind...

Anyway--YAY--so cool!!

Monday, July 9, 2018

This and That...

Hard to believe that half the year is over... The last month has been busy, the last week has been busy.

Sooo...fireworks season wasn't a great as we'd hoped. We bought more fireworks than we probably should have and spent way more on advertising than we probably should have for a season with a burn ban in effect. The fireworks will keep for next season and the next, so that's not a major issue, but chances are that we'll stop with the advertising. We have no definitive way to know if we're getting the customers or if they're just being reminded to go buy some and hitting the closest-to-them stand.

But in better news, a book series I read ages and ages ago, and I mean ages ago, is finally in e-book format. I bought it and am looking forward to reading it again. It's also available in audio format and I might get that too...

I finally got around to formatting books one and two for print and got covers done and submitted to Kindle Direct Publishing. My print proofs, one for each title, are on the way for my review. I'm another step closer to being ready for my conference in October.

Speaking of October, despite SO MUCH HOCKEY in May and June, I miss it a little. The new season doesn't start until October, so I'm having to ease my withdrawal symptoms by watching World Cup soccer and baseball.

On the writing front, I'm no closer to finishing book seven than I was a month ago, but characters for my new series have been bubbling around in my noggin for a couple of weeks. Five of my six core characters have names and occupations; a handful of supporting characters also have names and jobs. A few characters have some backstory.

I haven't gotten to plot lines in more than vague idea terms, though. I really want to know these characters well and have their romance plot come from who they are and where they've come from. I also want their lives to be really intertwined so that readers will wonder whose book is next and be more invested in their story.

The last series didn't work that way and it was anybody's guess--even mine--as to who would show up in the next books. There was some crossover with a few characters, but no one a reader might look forward to seeing. I wanted to come at a series a different way this time around.

And now that the 4th of July has come and gone, it's time for life to return to some semblance of normalcy. It also means that Jen has gone back to the gym...starting this morning. Getting out of bed at the sphincter of dawn was tough, working out was tough. But it felt good too. My body had started to let me know that all that lying around was not kosher. My butt's going to be dragging for probably a good week, but maybe break I took will have set my body up for burning the fat.

Despite not going to the gym, I did do stuff here at home, mostly, and I counted calories and I didn't gain any weight back. But my tummy is still there and has maybe grown a little. So, yeah...

Hope you had a lovely holiday week!!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Do I Want More House...?

In the last couple of weeks, I have been a guest of friends with considerably larger homes than my own. In getting to these friend's homes, I had to drive past newer, larger, more expensive neighborhoods than the one I live and I wondered: if I could afford and upgrade, would I want it?

And the answer is, quite frankly, no.

The size of my house is perfect. Enough rooms for what we need and not so large that I can't clean it myself in a weekend if I were of a mind to. Which I'm not, but I could do it.

The yard is a decent size. We live in the middle of the block. And we don't currently have any overly-noisy neighbors.

DH is not especially fond of our house or the neighborhood we live in, but even when we get around to moving, I still don't want a bigger house. A little nicer one, for sure, but not much bigger. On the other hand, I'd love more property. I'd love to be out in the sticks where I can watch the weather roll across the countryside and see the crops growing. Maybe someday.

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Birthday America!!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Hello there!

Long time, no post... Okay, it's been a week, but it's been a busy week and I didn't plan well. I spent four days out of five down at the fireworks store and the one at the office trying to catch up on everything it was too difficult to do working remotely or that I just couldn't get to.


Weekend before this past weekend I was at a writers retreat I was going to tell y'all about, but it just didn't happen. It was a good time with a small group of writers, most of them from my actual writers group. Our hostess is always willing to share her knowledge and the things that have worked for her as well as answer questions. I'd heard most of her success-story before, but a refresher is never a bad thing. I gleaned a couple of tips and made some progress on a WIP, so a good weekend, all in all.

This recent past weekend, I got all caught up on household chores that had been neglected for the last couple of weeks in the run up to getting DH off to the fireworks store as well as being gone myself last week. Much as I hate chores, it felt good to get everything crossed off the list.

In addition to a copy editing job and updating a book series guide, I've also been trying to get books one and two formatted for printing. That's not the hard part although it is rather tedious and I'm having to create a how-to so they'll all be formatted identically when I get around to doing the other four books. The covers are the biggest challenge...but my hostess from the retreat had an answer for that as well, so I'll see how that turns out.

Summer arrived with a bang, didn't it?? Hope you're keeping cool.