Sunday Update – May 21, 2017

21.05.2017

What a busy week around here! I think every day this past week had some sort of obligation that I normally don’t have to deal with. I’m glad my calendar looking forward this week is a lot lighter.

One of the things I decided this week was that I need to lighten my load a little bit. I decided to move a lot of my administrative things to the weekends so I can spend my weeks writing, and that I needed to cut back on some other things in order to free up time for de-stressing, like knitting or reading. I really work a lot, and sometimes it’s just too much. I need to take time for me.

I’ve decided to cut back on blogging unless I have a new release. I’ll update every week for the Sunday Updates (because I like doing them) and then also I will keep my monthly Book Chats, Monthly Goals, and I will blog about any Facebook Live Videos I end up doing. This is mostly because I have shifted a lot of my work to my newsletter where I’ll have some flash fiction soon! When I blog around my new releases, I plan on having posts about the books, anything Japanese cultural-related, and contests people can enter. So, yeah, I won’t be blogging as much but I will still be here!

After Mother’s Day, the week rolled right along. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were the busiest. Wednesday, I had my chiropractor appointment and a bunch of errands to run including dropping off old clothing to the donation drop boxes at my town’s recycling center. Thursday, I had a dentist appointment and I’m happy to report that this appointment went much better than the last one I had. My new hygienist was super nice and gentle, and she was left-handed! I’ve never had a left-handed hygienist before. Friday, my oldest kid had her spring band concert, which was a lot of fun to attend. I then ran errands afterward and the day just flew by into the late afternoon when we spent a scorching 90ºF day at the school carnival.

I’ve been doing well with my walking and the writing is coming along too. I’m ALMOST DONE with this darned book. It’s so hard to write the last third of every book I write, and this book is no different. I’m dying to be done with it. Yes, it’s the second of my new sci-fi spin-off series, Hikoboshi 2. I’m sure I’ll be done before the week ends and then I can take a break before coming back to edit the first book in the series.

What else happened this week?

Three posts about food! First, I tried this corn snack from my Bokksu subscription box and it was super yummy. I want more! Then I treated myself to some popcorn while sitting outside. And I indulged in some ice cream while the kids were at school. Shhh, don’t tell them.

I crossed a milestone on this book and I’m actually past 70k now!

My new computer setup is complete!

The Fourth Grade Car Wash was yesterday and my daughter’s class raised money for their class gift to the school!

And last night we enjoyed watching Mary Poppins together as a family. It was a nice way to end the week.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

The Results Of My Reader Survey

18.05.2017

Back in late April, I sent a readers survey out to my entire newsletter list, asking them to fill it out, so that I could get an idea of what they wanted or needed out of me for the future. This summer I’ll be switching over to a new newsletter service and I also wanted to make sure that I bring over the engaged and willing subscribers, plus I wanted to give them the ability to greater control when they get emails from me as well.

I took the survey results and I did a 40 minute Facebook Live video with them. I answered a lot of questions and expanded on some of the most popular answers of the survey. I know the video is long, but it’s pretty interesting to see all the results!

People who are new to my list continue to take this survey and I’m sure the results will skew a little bit over time, but this is a good starting point. I may have to do the survey again next year and see the difference!

Anyway, you can see the video now on YouTube and right here on the blog.

If you want me to answer any additional questions, you can put them in the comments below.

Sunday Update – May 14, 2017

14.05.2017

It’s Mother’s Day so Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and dad-moms in the house. I’ll keep this short because it’s my day to relax, so of course, I won’t be relaxing, I will be writing. Lol. I didn’t update on the blog here this week because I’ve been keeping to my goal of writing 1600 words per day minimum, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I’m averaging 1600. I really want to finish this book by June so that I can move onto the next Miso Cozy book (which I already have about 20k written).

I also dealt with computer troubles this week. I took my computer to the Genius Bar and they reinstalled OS X on it without blowing away all my data. That was a super huge relief. But I’m still having trouble with Time Machine backups. I may have to go back there for that.

Other than that, my husband had pneumonia so he was home sick all week, and I handled everything house and family wise. So I was pretty tapped out by the time Friday rolled around. He’s now on a second course of antibiotics for a sinus infection and will hopefully go back to work this week.

What else happened this week?

I needed a big drink the night before going to the Genius Bar.

The Genius Bar trip went well. The guy who helped me was impressed with all I had done before I showed up and we were able to get to the heart of the problem right away. He reinstalled my system files without blowing away my data, which was cool. I’m glad I didn’t have to do a reinstall from scratch.

Hit the car wash on the way home. My car was filthy with pollen and bird poop since I park under a tree in my driveway.

I hit a milestone in my WIP!

The turtles were out in my walk in the park. Look at the tiny one at the bottom!

I got a stand for my computer which I love and I’m trying out new keyboards that’ll allow me to type longer with less pain in my fingers. Alas, I did not like this silicon keyboard.

I got in some distraction free writing on the Alphasmart while my husband tried to fix my Time Machine. I like my Alphasmart but I wish the keys weren’t so stiff. Still I should use it more.

And look what I got for Mother’s Day! A monthly Japanese snack subscription from Bokksu!! Big thanks to my hubby for picking this one out for me. I love it!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I hope to be updating the blog more regularly come June, but I’ll always be here every Sunday for a weekly update. 🙂

Sunday Update – May 7, 2017

07.05.2017

Another week come and gone. It was busy around here as usual, which is always nice. I like it when I have plenty to do!

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, my husband had jury duty which means that he got home at a decent time each day! He came home in the late afternoons and worked on this project of his in the backyard, putting together a greenhouse space for our container plants. It has chicken wire underneath and chicken wire all around it to keeping all of our wildlife out of our plants. I spent the days working on writing and walking. Monday, we were able to chill after school and then Tuesday my oldest has her regular tutoring.

On Wednesday, my husband worked from home and we were able to go out for a lunch date together! We haven’t done that in a long time. We went to our local Thai place for lunch where the staff knows me by name now. Lol. We also ran into almost the entire staff of my chiropractor’s office while there. I love living in a small town. The kids had tennis in the afternoon and I worked on writing while I was there.

On Thursday, I lost momentum with writing. I was on my walk and I was doubting everything. I was sure my story was boring and I had gone in the wrong direction with it. I wondered if I had gone totally, irreversibly wrong. So I came home and I started reading. I read fast, skimming all the 45,000 words I had already written. That took the rest of Thursday and part of Friday before I decided that everything was fine and I could go back to my story. Sigh. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember what I wrote and if I’m servicing the story in the right way.

On Friday, it was raining super hard here. I decided to skip the gym since my shoulder was bothering me and just do Whole Foods for groceries and lunch. My Whole Foods is great but there was a river running through the parking lot and I got soaked on the way in and out. My husband came home from work that night and he just looked so spent and not at all with it. I had a feeling he was really sick, but we went to bed hoping the next day would be better.

Nope. On Saturday, he woke up and looked like death so I urged him to go to urgent care. Yep. He has pneumonia in both lungs. Poor guy. He’d been coughing for weeks, probably had walking pneumonia and couldn’t get better. The good news is that he’s been resting a lot and has antibiotics now. Hopefully, he’s on the mend.

I didn’t post this earlier today because I went to a Mother-Daughter Tea with my youngest and her Girl Scout troop. It was a lot of fun, and we got all dressed up for it. I love her Girl Scout troop and all the ladies involved. They’re all super nice.

What else happened this week?

I love being able to work outside.

Here’s the new outside greenhouse! I hope we’re able to grow vegetables all summer and keep out the wildlife.

Taco Tuesday was had.

I had one last long walk in my old walking shoes.

Right before my new ones showed up!

The turtles were out sunning themselves! And I even saw a deer (see image at the top of the post).

I’m getting in words where I can because I think I’ll have to reformat my drive this week. I spent all last night downloading app installers for all my apps and finding serial numbers.

And tea with scones was lovely this morning.

Coming up this week on the blog: not sure. I may be without my computer for a few days, so catch me over on Instagram!

These Shoes Were Made For Walking

04.05.2017

About a year ago, I purchased my second pair of Mizuno sneakers and decided that walking was going to be “my thing.” I loved yoga but I fell out of the practice of it pretty easily. I go to the gym but it takes up a lot of time to be there more than once per week. Hula hooping is fun but not for longer than a twenty minute stretch. But walking? Walking I could do, especially if I included time spent on my treadmill desk. Combine it with podcasts and audiobooks? I could walk for hours with no difficulty at all.

My shoes have seen a lot of ground. They’ve been to South Carolina, through New York City, and then, the coup de grâce of all trips, Japan. They’ve been on my treadmill and outside, to the gym and grocery shopping. They’ve walked a ton of miles. How many? Let’s go to Runkeeper!

In the past year, I’ve walked almost 1000 miles (which is actually my goal for 2017) and I’m going to say that 90% of those miles were in my purple Mizunos. So it’s just over 800 miles! Wow! And these shoes have seen all four seasons too. I walked when it was 95ºF. I walked when it was snowing. I crunched the fall leaves and dodged the geese poop. Lol.

But like all things that get a lot of wear, these shoes are at their end. The inside of the heels are worn through and the soles are thinning out. I’ve noticed they don’t have that bouncy step anymore, and my hips are sore after a walk instead of loose.

It’s hard to let them go, though! I think about walking the streets of Tokyo, through Asakusa to the giant lantern at Sensō-ji. Or up the mountainside to Ginkaku-ji, through the back alleys of Kyoto, and on the floor near the door of my hotel room in Nishi-Shinjuku. I don’t want to get rid of them. The sentimentality is strong with these shoes.

They’ve even been with me through several books now. Since I often walk at my treadmill desk and dictate at the same time, these shoes have seen a few cozy mysteries and the start of a new series for me. They’ve kept me healthy and sane so I can write and be present with my family and friends.

I know it’s strange to write a whole blog post about a pair of shoes, but I felt these walking shoes deserved their time in the spotlight. Tomorrow, a new pair of Mizunos arrives (my third pair!) and they’ll get their journey with lots of trips and miles ahead.

Purple Mizunos, thanks for all the great memories. You’ve been awesome.

Discussion Question: Where have you been in your shoes the last year? Do you have any walking goals for 2017?

May 2017 Goals

01.05.2017

Well, April did not turn out the way I thought it would. First I got sick, which maybe I had coming, seeing as I hadn’t been sick in over two years. Lol. Then we had Spring Break and we were away for a whole week. Then when we returned, I spent several days dealing with computer troubles. So three of the four weeks were pretty much shot. I’m hoping for much better this month!

What Happened With April’s Goals?

Keep writing. I would like 1000 words on each book, each day for April, which means another 30,000 on each book. This DID NOT HAPPEN. Not even close. I started April with Hikoboshi 2 at 14k and I only got to 40k with it, so that’s 26k. BUT, I stopped writing on Daydreamer 4 once I got the first act mostly down. So I didn’t really add to that book. Boo.

Get covers made for Hikoboshi 1 and 2. I got my cover for Hikoboshi 1 and I expect to have the cover for Hikoboshi 2 by the end of the first week in May.

Listen to and finish Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors Course. I have not finished this but I’m still making progress on it.

More audiobooks. I did listen to two this month but only one made it into the Book Chat due to timing.

More walking. I didn’t meet my miles goals this month, which is sad, but that’s what happens when you get sick. I’m about six miles short of my walking goal for the month. BUT I am still way ahead for the year. As of today, I’m 36% to my goal of 1000 Miles in 2017, and I need 336 miles, but I have 362!

My stats for the month! I’m about 8.2 miles short of my monthly goal of 84 miles.

But my progress for the year is still good! I’m way ahead due to front-loading my miles in the beginning of the year when I was healthy.

Start an herb garden. I didn’t do this. Instead I went back to knitting! Lol. Are you laughing? Because I am. I had that knitting goal set every month for the last year and didn’t meet it. I suddenly change my goal to herb gardening and I go back to knitting. joy

Read up on AppleScript. And didn’t even touch these books. Man. I really missed the mark this month. Boo! angry

Business Goals For May

Finish Hikoboshi 1. I need to work hard and finish this book before June. Basically, I have to pull a NaNoWriMo this month. I think I’ll set up my Scrivener to motivate me.

Finish the Mark Dawson course and set up my Facebook ads. Soon, I’ll be ready to move over to MailPoet and when I do, I want those Facebook leads to go to MailPoet, not MailChimp.

Personal Goals For May

The usual. More audiobooks, more walking.

Finish my knitting project. I’m actually in the last section of my knitting project. If I can get my writing done during the day, I can knit in the evening while my husband watches Breaking Bad.

Finish reading one ebook. It’s a low goal, but I think I can do it. wink

Sunday Update – April 30, 2017

30.04.2017

Finally, things were mostly back to normal this week, except for my husband staying home sick for two days. He was really down and out with a nasty cough that sapped all his energy. But by the end of the week, he was much better, so no worries. It was just some virus and I suspect this week he’ll be back to 100%.

I worked hard on trying to meet some writing goals this week. April pretty much sucked for meeting goals, but that was bound to happen eventually. I’m a human being, and I get sick or busy. But I made some good progress this week and I’m sure I know where I want to take this book and the whole series now. I’ve also returned to discovery writing instead of plotting everything, which is leading to discoveries about my characters I wasn’t expecting. I love it because it feels unexpected (one of my major goals as a writer). When I plot, my stories feel boring. When I just write and see what happens, my ideas are so much better. So even though it’s slower, this feels like it’s the better choice.

On Monday, we had time after school, so we picked up the house and then I treated the kids to frozen yogurt. On Tuesday, I concentrated on dictation and then writing in the afternoon while my kid had her tutoring. On Wednesday, I left my sick husband at home to rest, and I went to Panera for the day to hang with my buddy, Amy. Then in the evening we had tennis and the spring choral concert at school for my oldest kid. It was a lovely day, even though it was busy.

On Thursday, I concentrated on dictation and writing at home again, after going back to bed in the morning. I woke up that day and my entire right eye was bloodshot. Like blood red. Gross. Hello, Spring Allergies! So I hit the Visine and went back to bed. When I got up, I ate and got to work. I was off all day, but I made it through with some Benadryl at bedtime. On Friday, I dictated on the treadmill before heading out to the gym to lift weights and then Whole Foods for lunch. Then I worked in the afternoon outside, enjoying the spring weather, before taking my youngest to a birthday party.

Yesterday, I got a nice long walk in and then wrote in the afternoon outside. I was feeling a little lost in the story, so this morning, I plan to hit my notes in Evernote and go over what I’ve written and what should come next.

Tomorrow is May 1st! Which means I go over my goals from April and set goals for May. I’ll also be doing my first ever Facebook Live event and going over the results from my Readers Survey! So if you want to stop by and watch, I’ll be live on my page at 1PM EDT. Once it’s over, I plan to upload the video to my YouTube channel for others to watch.

What else happened this week?

I crossed the 30k mark on Hikoboshi 2.

I’m actually in the home stretch on this knitting project I’ve been working on for almost 3 years.

We saw two different houses in our neighborhood get flocked. This is some fundraising thing for the school.

Sitting outside amongst the pollen. It was too beautiful to be inside.

And spring is looking beautiful! New trees are blooming and old ones are dropping their petals. I love seeing everything green again!

Coming up this week on the blog: May Goals and a post about where my shoes have been this year.

Book Chat #32 – A Month Of Sci-fi From from Carysa Locke, Lindsay Buroker, & John Scalzi

27.04.2017

April was an interesting month for reading. I was sick in the earlier part of the month, and then came Spring Break which is always a time for picking up a good book.

What I read…

PIRATE NEMESIS by Carysa Locke

After scrolling through my kindle for an hour while I was running a fever, I alighted on this gem from Carysa Locke. I read the prequel to this last year and enjoyed it, but always felt like something was missing. THIS is what was missing. I was so enthralled by this story, by Mercy and her history, and the reason why these space pirates were the way they were. It was one of those rare times where I could see how the author was setting everything up, and I totally didn’t care. Huzzah! It thrilled my inner editor because it was done so well. I super enjoyed this, didn’t want to put it down, and was bummed when it ended. The next book will be out soon, and I will gobble it up like candy, for sure. Super love!

STAR NOMAD by Lindsay Buroker

Before picking up STAR NOMAD to read after reading PIRATE NEMESIS, I went through four different books that I just could not get into. It was so frustrating! Finally, I said, “Ugh. Just choose something from an author you know and like!” So I went with Lindsay Buroker. I loved STAR NOMAD! And I’m eager to read the rest of the series in the near future. I loved the adventure part of the book, the unknown world I was heading into. I’m curious about Leonidas, Alisa, Beck, Yumi, and what’s going on with Alisa’s daughter, Jelena, and what we can look forward to on Perun. There was a curious lack of contractions in the descriptive part of the story, which I now attribute to anyone who dictates. I often have to edit contractions back into my own work. I tried to just ignore my brain correcting them. Lol. This is a strong first book in a series, and perfect for those that are looking for something to binge read. The whole series is out with 9 books, and now there’s a spin-off series as well.

What I listened to…

THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE by John Scalzi

I ignored all of my podcasts so that I could just listen to this book in all my spare time. I had gone into the book knowing that Scalzi (who is one of my top favorite authors) borrowed on some of the themes in the Foundation series, another favorite of mine. But honestly, I barely saw the connection. I definitely see the influence of the themes of a large galactic empire on the verge of collapse, but that was about it. Scalzi took his own spin on everything with the usual delight. I loved that the travel system “The Flow” and how everything about The Flow was categorized by river or ocean terminology. It made it easy to understand and relate to. The system of families controlling everything was believable and rich for drama. I loved the creative cursing coming out of Wil Wheaton’s mouth. It delighted me to no end. Also, I’m tired of people who are angry with Scalzi for being “woke.” It’s the future. It’s totally believable to think that women and men are equal by then. If you can’t wrap your head around that, you need to have a seat. I’m looking forward to the next in this series.

And that’s it! I’m currently listening to a cozy mystery that I’m enjoying and I’m auditioning ebooks for my next read (they have to wow me before 10% or I move on.) We’ll see what I have next month!