Jan 30, 2015

What I'm Reading

I am by no means a professional book reviewer, so don't expect to find a well-thought out, profession review here. What I will be giving is my opinion, more or less. And as such, I will only be reviewing books that I have enjoyed. As a writer myself I see no need to trash someone else's work at great length. And also, as a writer, I have writing friends. So I may also shamelessly plug one of their books from time to time. It's my blog and I'll plug if I want to. :-D

Welcome to my first monthly book review. As you can see, I'm not off to an auspicious start, being late with this post, but I'm here now, so that's something anyway. The idea behind these reviews is to encourage me to finish at least one book a month, and to keep up with Goodreads. I really need to get into the habit of adding books to Goodreads as I finish them and leaving a note or two on whether I liked them or not.

I'd like to take a moment to encourage everyone to leave even a sentence or two on Amazon, or Goodreads, or wherever the book you just finished can be found. Show some love to the authors who've worked so hard for your enjoyment. Especially if it's an indie author (self-published), or lesser known author. Reviews can translate into sales, which translates into more of the books you enjoy.

On to the good stuff!

I'd like to start with a shameless plug for a book that's just been released today by my writing buddy Jamie DeBree. The book is Flame and Stone, and it's awesome! And I'm not just saying that because Jamie is my friend. It's her first paranormal romance and I hope it'll be far from her last. Just go buy a copy, you won't be sorry!

It takes a lot of heat to melt a heart of stone…

Flames once put the heartbroken Thomas Grady under the ancient curse of an old manor house. Two hundred years later, fire fueled by an unholy passion drives Katie Watson to the same manor for protection. Assigned as her guardian under duress, Thomas just wants to do his job and go back to his perch at the top of the manor.

Katie falls hard for her new protector, even as they’re planning an intervention for her nemesis. Now that she’s found him, she refuses to give him up – even if that means she has to travel through both time and space to make it happen…

Read an excerpt from this book on Jamie's webiste
Or better yet, just go get your copy right now!
Barnes and Noble
All Romance

Despite having read all those Nora Roberts books at the beginning of the month, the book I chose to review today is Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle.

Before she had even taken the job, Cadence Drake, a professional finder of lost things, regains consciousness to discover herself in a sealed space station locker, her sole companion the corpse of a stranger.

But Cadence has a personality problem: she's stubborn. Trying to scare her off was the worst thing the mystery perps could have done.

Now she and her friend and partner Badger are in the employ of an ultra-rich manufacturer of top-of-the-line starships, seeking a stolen spaceship - the Corrigan's Blood, a hypership with almost supernatural capabilities. And the trail they follow, which began with the dead woman in the locker, throws Cadence into the path of smugglers, thieves, and killers, and leads to the one place in the universe that she doesn't dare go.


This book was science fiction at its best. There was adventure and amazing technology and more twists and turns than a roller coaster. I loved the character of Cadence Drake - that girl could really take a licking and keep on ticking. And even when she knows that doing the right thing could lead to tragedy, she does it anyway, because it's the right thing to do. She and her partner Badger are bound by more than bonds of friendship. Although they are not lovers, they were once, and you can't help rooting for them to get back together. Her mother goes beyond cold-hearted. The things she's done, and is still doing . . . I don't want to give out any spoilers, but there's a twist to this novel that shouldn't work, but it does. The ending does not wrap things up neatly, there are still battles to be fought, wounds to heal, and it will leave you wishing for more, but you won't begrudge Cadence some time to have a rest. She's earned it.

Jan 28, 2015

On Being a Pack Rat . . .

I touched on this a couple of weeks ago, the fact that I'm a bit of a pack rat. Specifically I mentioned my collection of PENS. You may also recall when I started working on my book nook I posted a couple of pictures of my books and office supplies. And I have to confess, that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as my compulsive collecting of "stuff".

And you know me, I couldn't just leave it at the fact that I'm a pack rat. I had to do a Google search to learn where the expression came from. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that pack rats are a real thing!

Isn't he cute? It's also called a woodrat. They live in nests called middens and are usually found in the southwest or the west coast. According to Wikipedia: A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, for example a piece of cactus, and "trade" it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. These two traits have inspired an anecdote about a man finding his dime replaced by two nickels. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

Along with pens, books, and office supplies, I also collect fairies, dragons, unicorns, and windchimes. The fairy collection is small and is displayed neatly on a single shelf in my office. The dragons and unicorns are pretty much spread throughout the house, as are my windchimes. I have a beautiful carved wooden trunk in my office that I use for my sentimental collection - pictures, invitations, cards, etc.

Further research reveals that there's a fine line between being a pack rat and being a hoarder. Pack rats love to collect things. But it's the nature of the items collected, the meaning attached to the items and the way collecting affects their lives that makes the difference between being an avid collector and being a hoarder.

If your collection has sentimental value, is displayed efficiently, without creating clutter in your house or chaos in your life, chances are your an avid collector, or pack rat. But if your collecting has left your life in shambles and you're navigating along narrow passages through your collection, then you, my friend, are a hoarder.

Hoarding is a serious condition that goes far beyond being a pack rat. The hoarder takes collecting to the extreme where it interferes with their lives. They keep collecting things that they have no use for and no space to display them. They often become secretive, refusing to allow visitors in to witness how extreme their collection has become.

I think it's the inability to get rid of items that truly separates the pack rat from the hoarder. The pack rat can see the necessity of weeding out their collection periodically, if only to make room for newer items. The hoarder doesn't.

So by that definition I am definitely a pack rat. While I may be sentimentally attached to my "stuff", and I have several different collections, I have been known to thin out my collections every once in awhile. I'm not saying it's easy, and occasionally I regret getting rid of certain items, but there's always more to take their place.

Jan 26, 2015

Maieutics Monday

maieutics ~ midwifery

I kind of thought this week's M word was appropriate, considering my big news for the week is that I'm officially a grandma! :-D

If you're a regular reader of this blog then it shouldn't come as a surprise to you. I've been talking about this for a while now. Her name is Eleanor Catherine Anne and she was 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and 20 inches long. And I'll let the picture speak for itself on how beautiful she is:

The new mom's doing well, despite the fact that she went into the hospital Wednesday morning, had the baby by C-section, and was released Friday afternoon. It still boggles my mind. In my day I was in there for seven days and I would have stayed long if they'd have let me!

Remember how I mentioned last week that I normally write these Monday posts late Sunday nights? Well . . . not this week. I was so sick last night that although I started this post, I just didn't have the energy to finish. It kind of hit without warning and I really don't know what brought it on - I think it was something I ate, or a combination of somethings 'cause the hubby's okay and I seem to be better this morning. But it made me miss part of Lost Girl and all of Broadchurch last night. :-D

One of the more interesting things I did last week was a thrift store run - which is like a treasure hunt 'cause you never know what you might uncover. This time I uncovered three books for myself, and eighteen story books for my new granddaughter - can't wait until I can start reading them to her!

Got some reading and some writing in last week, although not as much crocheting as I'd have liked. I'm very close to being finished the draft of Earth. Close enough, in fact I should easily finish it this week. *knock on wood*

This week should be more of the same - reading, writing, crocheting, repeat as necessary. Maybe with a little editing thrown in. :-D

Have a good week everyone!

Jan 23, 2015

What I'm Reading

I have admit, I didn't get a whole lot of reading in this past week. Well, actually, that's not entirely true. I finished my Nora Roberts reading binge on the weekend, and then I didn't get a whole lot of reading in after that. But I have a very good reason why not. My very first grandchild was born on Wednesday:

Isn't she beautiful? And look at all that hair! Her name is Eleanor Catherine Anne. I can't wait to start reading to her. :-D

Electronic Books

So, a funny thing happened on the way to reading more electronic books . . . I, uh, didn't. Yeah, I'm pretty much a lazy bones at heart, so I haven't made it back on the exercise bike or the treadmill yet. Maybe this week.

Tree Books

I'm just over the halfway point in Horns, by Joe Hill. I'm still not sure how I feel about the main character, Ig, but I am curious to see if we ever find out where the horns came from. There's a lot of flashing back in this story, and we finally learn what happened (from Ig's point of view) the night Merrin was killed. According to Terry, Ig's brother (and who was under the strange spell that compels people to tell all their secrets), it was Ig's friend Lee who raped and killed her. So now Ig is off to confront Lee.

After reading Blue Dahlia, by Nora Roberts, followed by Black Rose, and then Red Lily, my hunger for Nora Roberts was pretty much satisfied. Which, honestly, is fine by me. While I enjoyed the books a great deal, by the third one I was getting kind of annoyed at this group of women for whom things always seemed to work out.

When all is said and done, I found the most appealing character to be Amelia, the ghost, whose story is a thread throughout all three books. Though she got to where she was in life through her own ambition, she didn't deserve what was done to her, and you have to wonder if she might have turned her life around in some way (despite her plans for the future). Her madness and subsequent death were heartbreaking.


So . . . since my reading glut seems to be over, I pretty much stopped reading Captivated by Nora Roberts, book one of the Donovan Legacy. And if I'm honest, I'll probably just put it back on the shelf where it belongs. I think I'm pretty much done with Ms. Roberts for now. :-)

I do like to have an anthology on the go, so I picked up an oldie but a goodie called The Fantastic Imagination II. This is an anthology of High Fantasy stories by the likes of Lord Dunsany, C.L. Moore, Lloyd Alexander, and Ursula K. Le Guin. And the best part is, enough time has passed since I read this that it's like reading it for the first time. :-D

With all those fantasy and science fiction books towering above me in my nook, it's hard not to start pulling them down and re-reading old favorites. But once I get my reference books moved to their new home, I can fix up my "to-be-read-bookcase" and you can see for yourselves why I'm manfully resisting.

Of course it doesn't help when I do a thrift store run and end up browsing through their books. You never know what treasures you'll find, and they're so much cheaper than a used book store! I found a hardback copy of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron for a quarter. Sure, I have it in paperback, but that's because I couldn't afford the hardback.

I also came away with 18 story books for my new granddaughter, but that's another story entirely. :-D

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?

Jan 19, 2015

Mopsical Monday

mopsical ~ short-sighted

So here's a funny thing . . . I forgot all about this post!

Usually I write my Monday post on Sunday, or more to the point late Sunday night, but yesterday it completely slipped my mind.

I really hope this doesn't set a tone for the week, I've got a lot on the go. Including the arrival of my very first grandbaby, who's due to make an appearance at 8 a.m., Wednesday, January 21.

Isn't modern medicine grand? An ultra sound showed the baby was in breech position with no possibility of turning, so it was just a matter of when they could fit my daughter into the OR schedule. Me? I had to go through X hours of labour before they decided the baby just didn't want to come out before I got my Caesarean section. At least my daughter will be spared the labour part.

So on the weekend I finished the curtains I was making for the baby's nursery, and now I need to go to town on the cat-ghan. I wasn't sure of the colours - I didn't really like the variegated with the solids, but it actually looks a lot nicer than I thought it would. But then it's for my grandbaby, so why wouldn't it? ;-)

I didn't get a lot of writing in last week, but I did get a bunch of reading in. Just one of those things. Hopefully the reading binge is out of my system and I can get my focus back.

I think I've mentioned before that I've written far enough ahead on Earth that I could easily take a month off and still not have to worry about a new installment to post. Not that I would do that of course. But it's made me realize that the way the story is going, the book itself won't be finished until late March.

Originally I'd kind of had visions of releasing Earth and Lucky Dog at the same time, but there's no point in making people wait for one while I work on the other. If I finish Earth by the end of March, that means it'll be late April when it's ready to be released.

Lucky Dog, on the other hand, just needs its major editing and then its polishing and it's done. Needs a cover too, but that's a whole other kettle of fish that I'm not going into right now. :-D

In any case, when I'm not admiring my new grandbaby this week, I'll be writing on Earth and editing Luck Dog. Maybe I'll even start moving some of my reference books upstairs to the pretty bookcase so I can spread the books I have in my office out a little more. Maybe I might even get at some of the other things I've been neglecting of late.

Now where'd I put that goals list . . .

Jan 16, 2015

What I'm Reading

A few of you out there might remember how in the late spring I had the bright idea of converting the closet in my office into a reading nook. I'd seen a picture of one on Facebook and thought it would be a perfect use for the space behind my desk. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, and it took forever to catalogue the science fiction and fantasy books I filled it with, but the nook is finally done. And man, was it ever worth the work!

It's even more comfy than it looks and I don't have to fight the cats for it any more - they don't like the extra cushion I have in it for my back. :-D

Electronic Books

Still nothing to report here, sad to say. However things should pick up this coming week because I plan to get back on the exercise bike. And while the hubby likes to listen to music while he rides, I much prefer reading. And my Kindle is much easier to hang onto than a tree book.

Tree Books

I'm not quite to the halfway point in Horns, by Joe Hill. And to be perfectly honest, my interest in it is waning. It's divided into sections - the first section had the main character, Ig, waking up with a hangover and the horns starting to grow out of his head, and then as he learns about the new powers these horns give him, we also get some back story about him and the death of this girlfriend. The second section was a flashback to when Ig was a boy and how he first met Merrin. I'll probably keep reading, if nothing else than to satisfy my curiosity. So far I have rather mixed feelings about it. The story definitely pulls you along, but I'm not sure how I feel about Ig, and the situation he's in has no explanation so far.

I may have ignored my writing yesterday in favour of reading Blue Dahlia, by Nora Roberts. Yes, the whole thing in one sitting. It's the first in the In the Garden trilogy. It centered around a woman named Stella, who loses her husband in an accident and now has to raise their two young sons alone. She ends up moving from Michigan to Tennessee to be closer to her father, and finds a job working in a garden center. Of course there's a lot more to it than that, like the fact that the woman she works for is a kindred spirit, there's a hunky co-worker whom she's attracted to but who irritates the crap out of her, and there's a ghost who's seriously attached to Stella's two boys. Obviously it was a great read, and I can't wait to start the next one.


I started reading Captivated by Nora Roberts, book one of the Donovan Legacy. I've read these books before, but after finishing Blood Magick, I was in the mood for more of her magical books, and this was the first one I laid my hands on. I haven't got very far in it though, I kind of got distracted by Blue Dahlia.

I finished reading The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine Volume 2. I think what I liked best about this anthology was the variety of stories. Unlike her Swords and Sorceress series, they didn't revolve around a central theme. Not that I didn't enjoy that series, but sometimes it's nice to have some variety.

Considering the size of my to-be-read pile - more like a bookcase - I really shouldn't be indulging in re-reads. But sometimes the brain wants what the brain wants.

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?

Jan 14, 2015

On Pens . . .

This post is brought to you courtesy of an email in which a friend confessed that she'd tossed a bunch of pens. And not only did she toss them, she tossed them without even checking to see if they worked. I confess, there was a part of me that cringed.

I love pens. I have ball point pens and felt tipped pens, gel pens and sparkly ink pens. Fine point, medium point, markers . . . And it doesn't matter if they come from the dollar store or a high end business depot. All pens are worthy in my eyes.

This is the mug of pens that sits on my desk. Though to be fair, there's also a few mechanical pencils in there, a couple of swizzle sticks, and an orange peeler. And you can see the sonic screwdriver front and center. :-D

When I was going through a few plastic bins in my office on the weekend (with an eye to getting rid of some of the clutter) I found one bin that was filled with stuff from my desk when it had the hutch with all its wonderful little cubby holes in it. One of the things in this bin was a glassful of pens.

Keeping my friend in mind, before incorporating them into my pen stash, I checked them out first to see if any of them worked. Two things to keep in mind here. First, they've been in that bin for more than five years. Probably closer to ten. And second, the bin itself was on the lower shelf of the bookcase right under my window, and right above the heat vent.

The pile on the left are the pens I *gulp* tossed because they no longer worked. Yes, even the bright blue one in the middle that had the laser pointer built in (the laser wasn't working either). The pen in the middle is a Pentel RSVP and it is still working. So if anyone out there wants to stock pile pens, that's the one to stock pile. They come in a variety of colours too. The pen on the right is my alien pen that lights up with a red light when you press down on it. It doesn't work but I'm keeping it anyway 'cause it's so cool. :-)

Now this next picture shows the leftover pens that don't fit in my goblin mug:

See that white and red ball point pen in the upper half? The white part is a light. You have to click it about three times to get the light to come on, but it's really cool. I should keep it upstairs on my nightstand for when I get ideas at night.

I got that pen from my hubby. He and his brother own their own business and they used to get a ton of free pen samples from different companies all wanting them to use their pens for advertising. To keep me from stealing their regular pens (not that it ever really worked) he'd bring some of them home for me.

Now these are the pens I keep hidden in my desk drawer so no one steals them:

Mostly highlighters and fine point markers that I use in editing, but there are a few with coloured ink for (theoretically) writing letters with. If you look carefully at the plastic baggie on the left, you can see my last remaining fountain pen (the big black pen).

I once had a love affair with fountain pens, back when I was a teenager. There was just something so romantic about them . . . My colour of choice was either peacock blue (which was hard to find) or green. And if you look in some of my really old files, like writing I did in highschool, you might even stumble across a draft or two that was written with a fountain pen.

But the problem with fountain pens, at least the ones I had access to, is the ink isn't waterproof. And trust me, there's nothing romantic about sweating over the draft of a story, only to have it disappear if you happen to be caught in the rain.

For a long time my favourite pen was a black fine point with a slim barrel. But I find as I'm getting older and it gets harder to hold onto a pen, I'm starting to like a wider barrel on my pen, like the Pentel RSVP in the picture. Gel pens . . . I have to be in the right mood for a gel pen, but I have three of them in some really unusual colours that I don't want to use for fear of using them up because they're from a discontinued line. And fine point markers are great for, well, marking things up.

So what about you? Do you have a favourite pen? Tell me all about it . . .

Jan 12, 2015

Muricate Monday

muricate ~ rough or warty with sharp points

Honestly, how do these Mondays keep creeping up on me without warning?

As has become my habit, I'm going to begin with the weather. Still cold, still windy, still gloomy. However, we do have a bit of snow on the ground finally. We got just barely enough to shovel.

I had said that since I didn't get snow for Christmas I should get snow for my birthday and I did - my birthday was on the weekend. :-)

The big news of the week will be to find out if my soon-to-be grandbaby is going to be a Capricorn like her gramie, or an Aquarius like her grampie. We know the daughter is going to be having a Caesarean section, but not what date. If it's before January 19, it'll be Capricorn, after that it's Aquarius. But it's safe to say she'll be born in the Chinese year of the horse - the Year of the Green Sheep doesn't start until late in February.

I didn't do very well in the craft department last week but that's going to have to change this week. I need to make the mattress for the bassinette my grandbaby will be sleeping in (it once held her mother but the old mattress, which I also made, needs to be replaced). And I also volunteered to help the daughter with the curtains for the baby's room and with the left-over foam from the mattress we'll be making cushions for her rocking chair. And by we, I mean me. ;-)

I also have the baby set to finish for my friend, and a cat-ghan to start for my grandbaby. Last week all I got done was a few rows on the baby set. But it's over the half-way mark so I should be able to finish it this week during the nightly TV viewing.

Did you notice? I got all my blog posts done last week and up on time. Will wonders never cease, eh?

The reading went really well - the only problem being I finished the book I'd started and now I want to read more of them. Only it was the last book in a trilogy, and I borrowed them from a friend. Otherwise I'd be reading them again.

Got plenty of writing done last week, including jotting down some ideas for additional books in a series I haven't written yet. LOL They were good ideas, otherwise I would have just told them to bugger off.

The great book migration is underway. I'm taking my time, which means I'm only plugging away at it when I've nothing better to do. So far I've moved my category romances (Harlequin Intrigue, Silhouette Shadows, Harlequin Blaze . . .) to the bookcases upstairs. I was hoping to repurpose one of my medium sized bookcases to hold my to-be-read books, but I don't think it will be big enough, even if I double them up. I have a few too many unread books. ;-)

Yikes! I was just re-reading my goals list from last week and realized I didn't do any editing (for myself) last week. Bad author/editor!

I think I need to print out my goals list and stick it on my cork board, just to keep myself honest. Well, and more importantly so I don't forget what they are. I missed out on the social network/promotion thing, the working on a story thing, and I only made one journal entry. Oops!

And so it begins. The year has just started and I'm already behind. LOL

Jan 9, 2015

What I'm Reading

Regular readers of this blog will know that I kind of slacked off in the reading department over the holidays. Sometimes it was just too hard to fit time to read in. Plus I had issues with tiredness, as in it was hard to keep my eyes open some nights.

But I'm back, and further more I've been getting some reading in. One of my resolutions was to read for an hour a day and so far I've been sticking to it. Not always all at once, mind you. Sometimes I spread the hour out in bits and pieces over the course of the day.

Previously I had a bunch of books I was pretty much neglecting, so I think in honour of the new year I'm going to start fresh and only discuss books I'm actually reading.

And as promised in my 'goals for the year' post, I'll be doing a book review once a month, probably at the end of the month.

Electronic Books

Poor George. He's been very neglected as of late. Part of the problem is that I have a lot of crap on George. In the beginning I went a little crazy downloading free books. Any and all free books. And it turns out that there's a reason most of those books were free.

And another problem is that when I open a book on George it's pretty much a crap shoot. There's no blurb on the back of the book to check, so you're pretty much judging a book by its cover. Unless you have a computer nearby so you can look the book up and then make an informed decision on whether you want to read it or not.

Now a smart person would take a day (or two, or a whole week) and go through the books they have stored, checking out whether they were really worth downloading, putting them in categories to make it easier to choose a book to fit their mood . . . But no one every accused me of being overly smart. Besides, I started moving the books I was keeping into categories as I finished reading them, just to keep them separate.

So in other words, I have not been reading much in the way of electronic books lately.

Tree Books

I've got two books on the go here. The first is Horns, by Joe Hill. There was a movie starring Daniel Radcliff made from this novel, which was what attracted me in the first place. So far it's a very strange story about Ignatius Perrish, a man who's girlfriend was raped and murdered about a year before the story takes place. Ig was suspected of the crime, but there wasn't enough proof to support the claim. The story begins the morning after a night of drunkenness when Ig wakes up with a horrific hangover and a set of horns beginning to grow out of his head. And then he discovers the people he encounters tell him exactly what's on their minds. If he touches them he can learn their deepest, darkest secrets. And if he tells them to do something, they do it.

The other book is Blood Magick, by Nora Roberts, Book Three of the Cousins O'Dwyer trilogy. I'm trying to make this book last, I really am, but it's not easy. It's warm and witchy and full of romance and suspense. A friend has been lending these books to me, but I just might have to break down and buy my own set, they're that good.


I finished reading Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle. This was an excellent book - science fiction at its best. It was fast paced and full of twists and turns. Cadence Drake is a character you can really root for, especially after all the obstacles she's forced to overcome. My only complaint is that it's not part of a series. I wanted the adventure to continue, even after the end.

I finished reading The Best of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine Volume 1 and now I'm working my way through Volume 2. The title is pretty self explanatory. Marion published her own fantasy magazine from 1988 through 2000, and these two collections of the best of that magazine.

And that's pretty much it for now. A small list compare to some of the ones last year, but I think I have a better chance of finishing what I start if I keep it short.

So . . . what about you? What have you been reading lately?

Jan 7, 2015

Of Closets and Nooks . . .

Once upon a time there was a writer who was dissatisfied with her writing space. For one thing, there wasn't enough room for all her stuff. And for another, there was no comfy place to sit and read.

First she tried moving her bookcase around, but that didn't exactly create more space, it just created more mess. So then she took a long look at her set-up and realized that her closet held a lot of wasted space.

Then she had the bright idea of converting her closet into a reading nook! She could line the closet with shelves and have a padded bench to sit on. What a great idea!

The first step was to empty out the closet and put up the strapping for the shelves:

Then it needed to be painted. A nice glossy black to match the desk and cabinets sounded just right:

Next were the shelves and bench. And wouldn't it be cool to be able to store stuff in the bench?

And what would a reading nook be without books?

All that was left was the cat's approval:

Just add cushions and we have the finished reading nook:

Jan 5, 2015

Mabsoot Monday

mabsoot ~ happy

I trust everyone had a good Christmas and New Year's . . . Mine was pretty good too, considering we had NO SNOW. In fact, the Saturday after Christmas I was up in Hamilton and my great-nephews were outside playing - without their coats, it was that warm.

This past weekend I swear the weather was deliberately teasing me. We got snow on Saturday, with enough accumulation to make it a bona fide snowfall. But then in the evening it began to warm up until the snow turned to rain. Sunday it rained most of the day and washed every trace of the snow away. Then, adding insult to injury, it turned cold again.

Despite the fact that I posted twice last week, I honestly did enjoy my blogging holiday. And I got most of the things done I'd hope to. I didn't get quite as much reading done as I would have liked, but I did get quite a bit of writing in. Cleaning up the craft closet was actually more time consuming that I expected, but it's nice and organized now and I can even fit my new sewing machine in it.

While cleaning up my office I came to an uncomfortable realization. I have a lot of stuff. And as much as it would have been nice to get rid of some of it, I just . . . couldn't. So instead I boxed some of it up and stuck it in the bench in my nook. Not exactly out of sight, out of mind, but at least I'm not tripping over it. :-)

The other thing I realized is that I'm a paper and pen packrat. I found a hidden stash of notebooks (all on the small side, but various sizes) and I kept finding pens! Not only is my troll mug full of pens, I have a box on my desk full too. AND I found a hidden stash of notes on multiple drafts of stories - some of which I've already written!

However. The extraneous 'stuff' littering my office is now tucked neatly in the storage space in my nook, and my desk, while still holding more knick knacks than it should, is cleaned off to the point where I can use it again. And did I mention I got the pillow for my back made so I can sit in my nook? I read a few chapters sitting in there Sunday afternoon and it's quite comfortable. The nook is officially done.

All righty then. As promised in Thursday's post, I said I'd go into more details on my goals for the new year, so without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):

Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading. Considering the amount of time I can waste on mindless computer games, half an hour reading should be a cake walk. I'll continue with my weekly reports on what I'm reading, and once a month I'll do a bona fide book review. I also want to keep up to date on Goodreads this year so I know how many books I've read.

Write 500 words a day. It seems like a small amount, especially considering lately I've been making it to the 1k mark or better, but I also have a lot of editing to do, so we'll see how time-consuming that is.

Five pages a day editing. I think my post on Thursday said ten pages, but I've knocked it down to five because I'm talking about personal editing here, that is to say, editing of my own work. I also edit for other people, so sometimes that's where my focus needs to be. And of course on those times when I'm between other authors' works I can spend more time editing my own stuff. So the five pages a day goal can be as flexible as I need it to be.

Work on and submit one short story/flash story a month. Last year's goal of submitting stories and poems on a regular basis was a little vague. This year I'd like to pick one story a month, polish it up, and send it out. And I'd like to put together a volume of poetry and if I have no luck finding a publisher, I'll self-publish.

My sister is going to love this one - write more letters. Kind of self-explanatory. ;-)

Organize my books. Ideally I'd like to catalogue them as I go along, but that's going to be something I plug away at when I'm bored and have nothing better to do. It's incredibly time consuming. However, last year's consolidating of my science fiction and fantasy into the nook has left a lot of space in various bookcases around the house. So this goal will be filling in those gaps.

Make better use of social media and spend thirty minutes a day on self promotion. These two kind of go hand in hand. I have no idea how I going to accomplish these, mind you, but it's definitely something I need to work on.

Journal on a regular basis. I was so proud of myself last year when I had to buy a new journal in the summer because I'd used up my old one already, and then my journal entries just kind of fizzled out. So if some future generation ever wants to do a biography of me using my journals, they're not going to know much of what happened in the latter half of 2014. ;-)

Give yoga a try. Yes, I'm still going to the gym and I have no intention of stopping, but I need something to get me moving in the middle of the day. I think yoga would do nicely. I like the meditation aspects of it as well as the stretching.

Spend one hour a day on crafts. I can't spend my whole day on the computer. Besides, I have to have something to keep me busy when I'm watching T.V. at night.

I've been paying attention to when seems to be the best time to get specific things done, and I've come up with a bit of a schedule too. I know I've tried schedules in the past, but this one is loose enough that I think I'll be able to stick with it. Mornings are for socializing and social media/promotion, afternoons are for writing and editing, and evenings are for reading and crafts. And I'm only going to work five days a week, like a normal person.

The above goals and schedule are subject to change once the grandbaby arrives at the end of the month. LOL

Jan 1, 2015

Hello 2015! Nice To See You . . .

Despite the dismal weather outside (grey, cold, and windy), I've had a pretty good day today. Call me superstitious, but I can't help but believe that it sets the tone for the whole year. And yeah, I know I'm supposed to be on a blogging break this week, but I couldn't do the recap post yesterday and not follow up with the goals post today. It just wouldn't be right. :-)

So I'm compromising. I'm going to make a list of my goals for the year, but I'm not going to go into any detail about them until Monday. So without further ado, in no particular order, here are my goals/resolutions for 2015:

30 minutes a day reading

500 words a day writing

10 pages a day editing

continue to de-clutter

work on and submit one short story/flash story a month

make better use of social media

spend 30 minutes a day on self promotion

journal on a regular basis

write more letters

give yoga a try

spend 1 hour a day on crafts

organize my books

This list is subject to change . . . you'll have to come back Monday to find out for sure. :-D