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Sunday Summary: Busy Times

It’s been a busy week. Tuesday night we went out to see fireworks over the bay(on Lake Erie). Wednesday we actually didn’t do much because it was HOT, but my husband was home, so that threw my routine off a bit. Friday afternoon we get a call at 12;30 that someone wants to look at the house at 3. THE SAME DAY!!  Thankfully they rescheduled it for Saturday evening, so that gave us more time to get things picked up a bit. Friday night we went to the Gathering at French creek that they have in town every year. Ate crappy food(I mean it was good, but holy grease). The kids did some crafts and played some games. The boy danced(I got it on video, but I can’t post it straight from my phone here. I’ll try to get it up sometime this week). Then, there were fireworks. I was an anxious mess by the end of the night.

And I slept in until 7 Saturday morning(if you know me, you know this is a big deal). I still managed to get blog posts written and more cleaning done, then we went to my husband’s aunt’s for a picnic. He was working, but his mom took us over there. And after he got there, we went for a short ride on the motorcycle. After we were back, we ate more food. I got annoyed at how judgey his family is about other people and tried to distract myself by reading. Then, we watched more fireworks. And finally came home.

I may need a full week to recover from all the peopling this weekend. And of course next weekend is his family reunion, so I’ll have to do it all over again. Though without fireworks this time, so that will be something at least.

The girl and her dog cuddling

Color Code:

Goal Met

Progress Made

Set Aside

Not Done

Plotting: 

  • Primary: Heart to Heart – finish Story Toolkit
    • This Week: Character Arcs – Marshall & Natalie
  • Secondary: Heart to Heart – Outline Act 1, List rest of scenes
  • Tertiary: Nowhere to Run – Outline Act 2
  • Stretch: Neil & Lin(Rileys #2) – Brainstorm

Writing:

  • Primary: Nowhere to Run – Draft through Chapter 14/~25000 words – 6867/25000 words
    • This Week: Write 6 Scenes – Finished scene 8/6
  • Secondary: Side Projects – 5000 words – 1751/5000 words
    • This Week:
      • Arresting Callum – 500 words – 513/500 words
      • Hawk – 500 words – 661/500 words
      • Jacob & Matthew – 500 words – 577/500 words
  • Tertiary: Jonas & Isaac – 15 pages – 3/15 pages
    • This Week: 2.5 pages – 3/2.5 pages
  • Stretch: By the Gun – 4 Chapters
    • This Week: Chapter 1 – Finished scene 2/2, started Chapter 2

Editing:

  • Primary: Short Story Collection
    • This Week: Bree & Jenny – 1 scene
  • Secondary: Stained Blood – Beta Edits(as I get chapters back)
  • Tertiary: Flames of Renewal – Proofread(once I get it back from proofreader)
  • Stretch: Law of Choice – CP edits(if I get it back this month)

Publish:

  • Flames of Renewal

Reading:

  • Read: 20 books – 10/20 books
    • Prowl(Alexis Duran) – Started this Saturday night. Finished it Sunday afternoon.
    • Pounce(Alexis Duran) – Started this Sunday afternoon. Finished it Sunday evening.
    • Roam(Alexis Duran) – Started this Sunday evening. Finished it Sunday night.
    • The Last Single Girl(Bria Quinlan) – Read this Monday afternoon.
    • Glutton for Pleasure(Alisha Rai) Started this Monday afternoon. Finished it Monday night.
    • Just Juliet(Charlotte Raegen) – Started this Monday night. Finished it Wednesday morning.
    • Seared(Suleikha Snyder) – Started this Wednesday morning. Finished it Wednesday night.
    • Shot to Hell(Cynthia Rayne) – Started this Wednesday night. Finished it Thursday evening.
    • The Tiger’s Watch(Julia Ember) – Started this Thursday night. Finished it Friday afternoon.
    • Fighting Silence(Aly Martinez) – Started this Saturday afternoon. Finished it Saturday night.
  • Listen: 5 books – 6/5
    • Restore Me(Tahereh Mafi) – Started this Friday morning. Finished this Sunday morning.
    • Level Up(Cathy Yardley) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Monday afternoon.
    • One True Pairing(Cathy Yardley) – Started this Monday afternoon. Finished it Tuesday afternoon.
    • Hooked(Cathy Yardley) – Started this Tuesday afternoon. Finished it Tuesday night.
    • Burning Up(Jennifer Blackwood) – Started this Wednesday morning. Finished it Friday morning.
    • Autoboyography(Christina Lauren) – Started this Friday morning. Finished it Saturday morning.

Social Media:

  • Post 5 Regular Blog Posts – 6/21 posts
    • This Week:
      • Writing Wednesday
      • Fiction Friday
      • Stream of Consciousness Saturday
      • Weekend Writing Warriors
      • Sunday Summary
  • Post to Patreon 3 times – 0/3

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Cash

We have another busy weekend. Last night we had a motorcycle ride that raised money for the drug and alcohol coalition. Today we have another one that’s raising money for the oncology department at a local hospital. There’s another ride tomorrow, one we did last year, that’s sponsored by the Riders Advocating Against Child Abuse, but we’re not going on that one this year. Instead, we have a picnic hosted by the Moose club we belong to. I’m going to be very peopled out by the end of Sunday.

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Anyway, we’re here for Stream of Consciousness Saturday right now. I’ve been using these prompts to explore my characters from the WiP I’m currently plotting out. It’s book 3 in the series, and I’m just about finished up with book 2(I wrote the climax yesterday, so just need to wrap the rest up). I’ve been focusing on Xavier, since I was writing his back story. But, I’ve started Piers’, so may  be looking at things from his perspective now. *This does reference what happened during that climax of  book 2, but it’s not all too spoilery.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You ever going to cash in that favor I owe you?”

Piers glanced over at Declan, one eyebrow twitching up. “Favor? I don’t recall a favor.”

“I told you I owed you for what you did. I wouldn’t have gotten Eva out of there if it wasn’t for you. I told you, whatever you want, I’ll find a way to do it. You haven’t said a word about it in months, though.”

“You were high on pain medicine when you said that,” Piers said, keeping his gaze on his computer screen. “I would never hold you to it. And, I told you then, you owe me nothing.”

To his surprise, his old friend didn’t push it anymore. Then, Piers glanced up and saw who else had walked into the office. He closed his eyes and rubbed his fingers over them. Right. Declan knew all about that now. Or at least how Piers felt about it. He hadn’t meant to let it out. But, there was nothing he could do to take it back now. And he didn’t think Declan would say anything.

“What is it, Xavier?” Declan asked. Piers wasn’t even sure he could speak.

The other man’s eyes met his then darted away again. Well, at least one thing between them was mutual.

“Case and Alex want to see all of us. I said I’d get you.”

Xavier had gotten him at one time. Every single thing about him. Not so much anymore.

But, there wasn’t much he could do about that either. Except try to move on.

ListifyLife Challenge: Weird Things I Do

Okay, so the actual title of this week’s theme is “Things I Do that People Think Are Weird”, but that would make for an awfully long blog title. So, I adjusted. And I could pretty much sum this list up into one thing, but that would be kind of boring.

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  • Everything – Like I said, I could sum it up in one thing.
  • Fold Wrappers – Or at least my husband finds this odd. When we go out for fast food, I always fold my sandwich wrapper when I’m done eating. He just crumples his up. It’s not like I feel I have to fold it. it’s just what I do.
  • Think Out Loud – ok, so most people call this talking to myself. And, yeah, I get strange looks when I do it. Especially if I happen to be “thinking out loud” about one of my stories. Maybe a good thing I don’t go out in public often.

And one I forgot to add to my list

  • No hugs – I really don’t like being touched with a few exceptions. I really don’t like hugs. I can handle the one-armed side hug, but unless I know you really well(and sometimes even then), I’m very uncomfortable with anything more.

There’s probably more that people haven’t actually *told* me they find weird. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

Travel Tuesday: Kinzua

So, this is a feature I don’t usually have on here. That would mostly be because we don’t do a whole lot of traveling. And even this wasn’t too far. About an hour and a half drive away. So, it was a nice day trip.

Sunday we went with a couple friends to the Kinzua Bridge State Park, located in McKean County, PA. There used to be a railroad bridge there, stretching over the Kinzua gorge. It was originally built in the 1880s, made of iron. They replaced it with steel in the early 1900s, though. In 2003, a tornado went through and took down 11 of the towers. A skywalk was built on 6 of the remaining(now restored) towers. You can walk to the end of it(600 feet out…was originally over 2000 feet long) and look out over the gorge.

The boy was giving us a lesson on bridge construction..."and these are what keep the bridge up"

The boy was giving us a lesson on bridge construction…”and these are what keep the bridge up”

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Long way down

Long way down

some of the wreckage from the tornado(or "the damage" as the boy said)

some of the wreckage from the tornado(or “the damage” as the boy said)

old train tracks

old train tracks

 

The skywalk

The skywalk

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Checking out the museum

Checking out the museum

After we walked across the skywalk and came back, we decided to take the trail to the bottom of the gorge. Uh, yeah. Nearly 300 feet down. On very steep paths. Almost fell quite a few times. Then, we had to come back up those hills(which actually was slightly easier, at least for me even with my knees).

view from the bottom up

view from the bottom up

Closer up of the wreckage

Closer up of the wreckage

Once we finished the walk back up the trail, we went to the lake and had lunch and let the kids swim for a little bit. Then, we drove a little farther to the dam to check it out. Then, we came home. Left at seven in the morning(with a stop for breakfast) and were home just in time to get a fire started out in the yard for dinner. All in all a pretty perfect day trip.

ListifyLife Challenge: Favorite Places to Shop

I haven’t done one of these for a few weeks. Almost thought I’d skip this one, too. Me, shop? Not something I enjoy much. Then, I remembered the few places I do love to go into. I’m sure you all could figure out just what stores these are.

wp-1467057768924.pngSee? Is anyone really surprised? Books, books, and books.

Barnes and Noble is great for browsing. The girl and I usually go there if the boy’s been invited to a birthday party or something that we have to go to Erie for. And if we finish looking for books, we usually stop in the Starbucks upstairs and get a drink and share a big cookie.

Books a Million is in our mall. And I always like checking out their bargain section. I’ve found a couple good books there. Though the general selection is a lot smaller than Barnes & Noble.

And Werner Books may just be my favorite. It’s a used bookstore. The nice thing is when I can find the older books in a series that I’ve fallen behind on. Also, I’ll usually take a box of books in when we go up there. The books there are usually have the regular price. But, if you have an account, you can apply your balance to another half off of that. So, basically you get them for a quarter of the regular price. It’s the main reason I can’t seem to get under 20 books in my physical TBR pile.

ListifyLife Challenge: Top 3 Books in TBR Pile

I’m kind of cheating this week. Well, maybe not quite cheating, but I have two lists in one. Since I have a pile of physical books and a whole list of ebooks on my kindle. So, I did the top 3 from each of these.

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Physical:…

  • Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl – I’ve enjoyed the other books in this series and am really looking forward to getting to this one.
  • Wild Man by Kristen Ashley – it’s been a while since I read the first book in this series ;and  remember having issues with it, but I started reading another series of hers that has the characters from these ones showing up in it, so I figured I’d pick it back up.
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell – I loved both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl(as well as Carry On), so I’m hoping this one is good too.

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Ebook:

  • Shoulda Been a Cowboy – I’ve only read the first book in this series, but I believe this is a prequel novella(though I could be wrong about that. It’s been known to happen). But, cowboys? Yes, please.
  • Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey – Firefighters? Yes, please. That’s…really all I have to say. Firefighters are one of my weaknesses(could be why I married one)
  • I See London by Chanel Cleeton – I’ve had this one on my list for a while. Finally getting to it.

ListifyLife Challenge: Songs I Never Get Tired Of

Getting to today’s post a little later than planned. Just got back from taking both kids to the doctor for strep throat. Oh goody. Of course, we made it through the whole winter with barely more than a cold. It’s May now, and they both get strep. Pretty sure, I didn’t put that on any list of mine.

Anyway…this week’s theme is Songs I Never Get Tired Of. I probably could have made a much longer list, but these were the first that came to mind. And, yes, I’m a total country girl. Not going to apologize for it, either(and I do listen to other stuff, but like I said, these were the first that came to mind).

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  • Adalida  by George Strait – There’s a story behind why this makes the list. 10+ years ago this was my username on yahoo messenger(actually I think it was adalida17 or something like that). That was also around the same time I met my husband online. Obviously, I knew I had a catch when he knew the reference without me having to explain. 😉 And, yeah, he also teased me about having a crush on a singer who was old enough to be my dad.
  • I Cross My Heart by George Strait – Noticing a trend here? 😉 I’d always said I wanted this to be my 1st dance song at my wedding. And it was. The one song I can always get my husband to dance to.
  • Would You Go With Me by Josh Turner – This is another one from our wedding. My husband’s uncle learned the words and music and played it during the ceremony.
  • Die a Happy Man by Thomas Rhett – This is a newer one. But, it makes the list because it’s basically the underlying theme of every story I write(though in the case of Love Who You Love there was no man).

ListifyLife Challenge: Things I Collect

So, I’ve skipped the last few weeks of this. But, I’m back now. I’ve collected a lot of things over the years. Elephants(stuffed animals, banks, figurines, etc…not real ones obviously), toy horses, rocks. Probably some other things as well. Now, though:

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  • Books – You could say I’ve collected books for a long time. And there are certain ones(Louis L’Amour, Nora Roberts, and now all my Roni Loren ones) that I will not get rid of. But, I’ve found the joy of the used book store now. So, periodically, I take a box of books in there and come out, usually with close to the same amount I took in(or at least half as many as I took in). I just got 10 more books over the weekend(3 were for the kids), and it only cost about $18. I still buy new as well(can’t find all the books I want there), but I get mostly older ones in a series there.

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  • Bookmarks – I have a lot of these. And different kinds even. And still, sometimes, I end up using a piece of paper because I can’t find one. I now have them in one spot, so that shouldn’t be too difficult anymore.

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  • Pens – You can never have too many pens. Well, okay, maybe you can. But, I could use a different one every day for probably at least two weeks. It’s jut a matter of having room in my pen holder for them.

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  • Yarn – I don’t really plan to collect this. But, I’m always buying new yarn for knitting and crochet projects. And then I have some leftover. Not always enough to make anything else. Just enough for it to get tangled up with the other bits of yarn. Still haven’t found a good way of storing it without it getting all tangled up.

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A-Z Challenge: J is for Joel Holland

J

Joel Holland walked into the kitchen and wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist. She had both hands submerged in the soapy water, but she still turned her head and smiled at him. Sometimes it surprised him how easy things were even after more than twenty years of marriage. “Where are the boys?” he asked.

“Jeff had football practice, then he was going over to Greg’s house to sleep over. Jarrett’s in his room. Painting, I think.”

Joel couldn’t quite stop the twist of his mouth at that. He still hadn’t figured out how two of his sons had such an artistic streak. Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with that, he supposed. “Neither Susan or Doren are coming home this weekend?”

Diana shook her head. “Doren’s taking Amy out to dinner tonight after his game. We probably won’t see him until Thanksgiving.”

“That’s not far now.” Pride nearly swelled his chest to bursting for his oldest son. And not just because he’d practically been a star since he walked out on the football field in high school. And even if he didn’t understand why he was pursuing an art major in college.

His wife dried her hands before turning to him. “And Susan said Kendall was planning to go over to the campus to visit her this weekend.”

That had a grin spreading across his face. “Those girls. They always have been inseparable, haven’t they? At least Sue’s going to school closer than Doren.”

“Yeah. Joel, about Sue and Ken.” His eyes narrowed, and he wasn’t sure he liked the worried look in her eyes. But, before she could elaborate, the phone rang from the other end of the counter.

He brushed a kiss over her lips then moved away to answer it. “Hello.”

“Is this Joel Holland?”

Something cold slithered over him, and he didn’t understand it. Just a solicitor. It had to be just a solicitor. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“This is Candace at Lock Haven Hospital. Doren Holland was brought in earlier tonight. He has you as an emergency contact.”

Everything came crashing to a halt. No. No,no, no. That couldn’t be right. “You’re wrong,” he said. “He’s not. My son was taking his girlfriend out tonight. Why would he be there?”

“There was an accident, Mr. Holland. Your son-” But, he wasn’t listening anymore. He looked up at Diana, saw the fear reflected back in her eyes. “Get the boys, Diana. And call Susan. We have to go.”

“What’s going on?” Diana asked.

He hadn’t even waited for the woman on the other end to tell him. Now, he ran a hand through his red hair. The same red hair he’d passed down to his oldest son. “There was an accident,” he finally said. “Doren’s in the hospital.”

“No,” she gasped. “How…how bad?”

“I don’t know.” He didn’t even know if the woman had said. “But, we need to get there.” He could feel it. This was bad. Something that could possibly change their lives forever.

***

Joel stood outside the parking garage and stared up at the hospital. It was late, and the street was mostly quiet. Still, he couldn’t seem to make his feet move forward to cross it.

“Are we gonna go or not, Dad?”

Jeff. Always with the attitude. Sometimes he didn’t have any idea what to do with him. But, still, he’d seen the fear in Jeff’s eyes when they picked him up from Greg’s and told him Doren was in the hospital. He’d always looked up to his big brother.

“We’re going,” he said, but still his feet didn’t move.

Diana put a hand on his arm. “Come on,” she said. “Maybe it’s not as bad as you’re fearing. We need to go in and see.”

He nodded, but it still felt like his steps were weighed down. When they got inside, Diana did the talking and pulled him along, until they were in a waiting room. At the nurse’s station, they had said a doctor should be by to talk to them. But, that was it. No hint of what the damage was. Of if he was even still alive.

No. He put a stop to that thinking right now.

“Sit down, Joel, please,” Diana said. It was only then he even realized he’d been pacing. He dropped into a chair, but he couldn’t stay still. His foot tapped out a quick beat, his fingers drumming along on the arm of the chair. Even that wasn’t enough. He was just pushing up from the chair again when a doctor stepped into the room.

He looked around the room before his gaze settled on them. “You’re the Hollands?” he asked softly. Gently.

That practically knocked all the air from Joel’s chest. No, no, no. That was the word that had repeated so many times in his head tonight. Diana squeezed his arm and stepped forward. “We are. What’s going on? My son? How’s my son?”

“He’s come through the surgery,” the doctor said.

Joel still couldn’t draw in a full breath, but he forced himself to ask, “Surgery for what?”

The doctor’s eyes narrowed. “They didn’t tell you when you were notified?

“I…I don’t know,” Joel stammered.

The doctor smiled sympathetically as if he understood. Maybe he did, had seen this from patient’s families before. When he had to inform them…No! He’d said Doren came through surgery. That had to mean he was okay. “What happened?” he asked.

“Your son was in a car accident. His right leg was crushed. He had to be cut out of the vehicle.” Joel heard Diana gasp beside him, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. The doctor continued. “There were some other injuries, his seatbelt probably saved his life, but it also inflicted some damage. He has some head contusions as well.”

Joel didn’t even want to know what ‘some damage’ meant. “Can I see him?” It didn’t matter what the doctor said, he had to see Doren for himself.

“He won’t wake yet. His body took a lot of damage.”

“I don’t care. I need to see my son.”

The doctor nodded. “Someone will show you the way.”

Joel squeezed his wife’s hand then released it to hear down the hallway. He hesitated outside the door, suddenly unsure if he could handle seeing this. He knew he couldn’t once he stepped inside and saw his son laying on the hospital bed. His leg was elevated, looking like it was swollen nearly twice its normal size. Which was probably why it wasn’t in a cast. It looked a mess, even though the doctor said they’d repaired it. He hadn’t quite realized what crushed would mean. His face was bruised, and there was an ugly raw mark from the side of his neck down his chest, disappearing under the hospital gown he wore.

Joel dropped into the chair beside the bed and took his son’s hand. He had always fixed things: the front porch steps, Doren’s bike the first time he’d wrecked it, the little fights that cropped up between the children. He didn’t see any way he could fix this, though.

“Oh, God, Doren,” he cried, bending his head over his son’s hand. “God, I’m sorry.” His shoulders shook as he cried over his son’s broken body.

Note: In case anyone is too worried about Doren, he does get his own story about six years after this. Though, the fact Joel can’t fix this breaks something in their relationship for a while. But, it’s something they have to deal with in that story(which I’m hoping to have out either late this year or early next year), especially when his younger brother is in a similar position.

ListifyLife Challenge: Week 3 – Little Happy Things

Week 3 of the ListifyLife Challenge and still going strong. Today’s list is about the little things that make you happy. This took me a little bit of thinking. Not that I’m an unhappy person. After all, I surprised the nurses when I went in to have my daughter. Smiling when I was having contractions(that I couldn’t feel anyway). But, I like to think of myself as mostly content. Except for when I’m not(and that’s mostly when my anxiety is high).

But, there are a few things that raise my happiness level:

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  • New Books – I’d say this one is pretty obvious. And it’s not just brand new books. All new to me books make me happy. Which is why I love the used bookstore. This past weekend, I took a small box of books in and left with 14. For only $25. 4 of those were for the kids. Most of the ones I get there are from older series I’m trying to catch up on.
New books

New books

Not so new books

Not so new books

  • Coffee – Let’s just say this one makes those around me pretty happy, too.
  • The woods – We moved from our small town when I was 10, to a house outside of that town with trees on three sides of us. I figured out pretty quickly that this was one of my happy places. We don’t currently live in the woods, but sometimes my walks take me through a section of trees, and I still get that sense of peace from it.
  • Quiet house – People are always surprised when I tell them how early I get up. But, my kids are also early risers. So, getting up so early(usually around 4 a.m. is about the only way I can assure I get some quiet time in the morning. It’s also when my words seems to flow the best. I also get some quiet time when both kids are at school, but the boy is only there in the morning, so even that is limited.

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