A Good Weekend

Presents are done!  They are in my car ready to go.  I’m looking forward to giving them but I’m sad to be losing such good workers.

I’ve finished rereading the last two Wayfarer novels.  The last one needs a complete edit.  By the time I was done, I added over 10K words and a dozen new scenes.  When I finished reading it – it felt right, like it was where it needed to be.

Now I’m turning my attention to the new stories I’ve been working on.  Friday I crocheted until 11 and then I wanted to write a scene.  I had this scene I knew needed to go in Wayfarer Resolve.  I wrote it.  Then I continued to work on it until 2:45 in the morning.  Reluctantly, I went to bed but in reality, I wanted to keep working.  I had a hard time getting to sleep.

Saturday, we went to Olbrich Gardens.  They were lovely and I have a bunch of pictures from there.  It was inexpensive and we wandered around.  I took a lot of pictures which I’m sharing a few of here.

We had lunch in Madison before heading for home.  Vicki and I ran some errands before returning home.  Ken made a start on painting the one wall in our living room.  He stayed home so worked around the house.  By the end of the weekend, he had the wall yellow, the picture I wanted hung on the wall.  I LOVE how it turned out.  The picture the girls got for me really looks great on the wall.  The whole thing makes me happy.

We’ve been talking about what we’re doing on the backyard this spring /summer.  We are putting in a patio which will hold our three grills and a table for the “kitchen” area.  Then on the opposite side, we’re putting our big table with all the chairs and the umbrella.  On the deck, we’re going to put Vicki’s patio furniture with a sail to provide shade.

The deck needs painting so it will be power washed, scraped and repainted.  Next weekend we’re going to buy the supplies for the patio and Ken will start on it.  It is probably going to take a few weekends.  This is probably the big project for the summer but there are all sorts of little projects which need to get done.

I read two books and am almost done with a third.  I was looking for another series which I’m part way through and found this one.  They have been amusing and sexy.  The writing and the story is all right but a little repetitive.  They are almost more long short stories than full novels.  I’m also not sure the over arching plot will be finished by the end of the three so that is a bit annoying.

It was a good weekend.  We were busy but not too busy.  We got a lot done and we had some down time.  Now I’m off to write.  I have my 11:00 pm alarm set and I’ll try to remember to not turn it off.

Where did the week go?

This week sleep has been interrupted – I sleep for two hours and wake up; but writing has been fast and furious all week.  Starting last Friday, Ken and I have been busy.  We drove to Indiana to visit Vicki.  We spent Saturday with her and in the evening we drove home.

We got home about 11:30 and my legs were tired.  Sunday I meant to work on the craft room but my legs were still hurting.  I spent the day crocheting – finishing a scarf for Vicki and catching up on the shows we missed all week.  It was good to finish the project and worked on an afghan.

Sunday night I started writing on Wayfarer 11.  Since then, I’ve been writing every night this week.  I’ve added nearly 20,000 words to the novel and finished it off.  It is now out to my test readers which means, I sit back and wait for the feedback from them.

This novel will sit for at least a week so I can let go of the story enough to do the editing.  Meanwhile, I have to decide what’s next.  I have an article I proposed and need to write it.  However, I still have to finish the craft room, crochet a skirt and an afghan.  I’ve started reading this new book which has enthralled me.  So many possibilities – I just need to narrow it down and prioritize the list.  Really it’s a matter of what I feel like working on most when I sit down with some free time.

On the good news front, I had an article accepted and a layout copy sent to me.  It was a rush to see.  I always forget how exciting it is to see my work in print.  It’s more positive reinforcement for me to keep writing.

Overloaded and Overwhelmed

Things are speeding up at my day job which is putting a stress on my writing and crocheting because I have so much I want to get done but I’m tired when I get home.  My pain level isn’t helping but I’m hoping for milder weather in March.

Mentally I have a long list of things to get done editing, writing, brief descriptions, press releases, production for the manuscripts and that is just the general list off the top of my head.  I still have a gift to make and a few other things.  My daughter is grumbling about people being put before her afghan so I need to focus on her project.

I have a LONG LONG list of to read books.  So many I can’t even begin to say.  I can’t seem to make myself read Cast in Peril.  I guess I’ll go back to making myself listen to one chapter (at least) before I start the next JD Robb.  I’m on book 15 of the JD Robb series.  I want to get all the way through them and move on to other series.

The nice thing about crocheting is that I can listen to books and crochet so I’m doing two things I love at once.  Unfortunately when I write, it is the only thing I can do.  Tonight I worked on two stories and considered the start to another one.  I want to finish the final Defenders book.  I need some quiet weekends to be able to do it though.  I’m in the middle of writing a battle – a turning point in the book.  It takes my revolutionaries from thugs to respectable people attempting to change the rules of a society.  It’s turning out good for now but I need some quiet time to focus on it and think about where I am with all my large cast of characters and where I need to be and how I’m getting there.

I probably wrote about 3000 words tonight, maybe more.  Not bad considering I’m tired and cranky.  I’ve got too much in my head to not write and too much in my head to write and get the stories down.  It’s a matter of whittling away at my to do list.

Tomorrow promises to be another busy day.  We are coming up on advising followed inevitably by registration.  I’m sure it will be no worse or no better than other semester but just long days spent trouble shooting why people can’t register.  I managed to get a variety of tasks off my desk today and that felt good.  I like being busy while I’m accomplishing things.

This weekend is busy, very busy.  I’ve got things scheduled for most of the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I’m hoping I can get some down time with my feet up during all the chaos but we will see.

I made a call to one of my student loan places today.  I was supposed to get a tax form.  I didn’t and called them about ten days ago.  They said they would mail me one and still haven’t gotten it.  I called back today and got someone who was very helpful and got my form.  It was the largest chunk of the interest I paid so it was an important document to have so I can do our taxes.  I’m going to have to try to fit them in some time soon.  Normally I like to have them done by this time but with the schedule I’ve had and the missing document it was difficult.

With all this stuff in my head, I just need to make a comprehensive list and start working on it.  Part of the reason I haven’t is I don’t want to overwhelm myself with the list.  I have too many projects going right now and I need to finish a couple off.

Tonight – I’m going for an early night (for me) and hopefully a little more sleep than I’ve been getting.  Hopefully that will lower my pain level and keep me moving forward with my long list of things to do.

Beware the Exploding Head

I spent my night reading a manuscript and editing it.  I see the weaknesses in it and know where I need to improve the story.  I did some minor edits but I’m at a stage where I need to do my searches and print it for a thorough editing. 

I have no name for the book.  When I started writing it, I just called it murder.  Now I want to think about the story and what I want to call it.  My test readers have suggested it would be good to be part of a series.  I don’t know.  I’m not confident in the murder mystery arena. 

I could not face my books last night.  I needed to work on editing / writing things.  I am still working on that scarf for Vicki.  I just made a list of the things I need to make over the next semester for student workers who are leaving me (sadly).  When they grarduate, I make them something.  I have four who are leaving, this makes a lot of crocheting for the next semester.  I got one done already but I still have three more to do. 

Plus I have three afghans on my to do list already.  It’s a good thing I have audio books galore to read.  I can crochet while I listen to all the books Vicki’s been telling me to read.  I’m going to have to juggle my time and energy. 

Part of the problem I am having is I need to write.  If I’m not writing, I get grumpy.  There are times I take a break from it to give my brain a break but they are few and far between.  I will have to balance out what I want to do.  This is an ongoing struggle for me – balancing out all the aspects of my life.

I guess for this it will be a matter of prioritizing and scheduling so I get everything done in time.  I already have the yarn for two of the three student worker gifts.  I also have a baby gift to make.  I have some of the yarn for that and if I go to my stash I probably have the yarn needed for the blanket I want to make.  I have a ripple book that would take stripes. I could make something nice from that. 

Ideas are just flooding my head.  I may have to write them down so I don’t forget.  That way it is just a matter of grabbing the material and getting to work. 

My Atlanta girls have requested coasters so that is my next project.  I have a LOT to get done before Ken flies out and can take them all their goodies.  That will be next week and I have until the 29th to get the stuff done.  Once I’m done with their stuff, I’ll turn towards these other projects. 

Plus I have three afghans on my list for family members.  I have the yarn for two of them.  I just have to make the time.  It will be an interesting spring while I juggle all these different projects with my writing projects.  Let’s hope my head doesn’t explode with all that I have going on. 

Reading to be a Better Writer

Love scenes can either be done wonderfully or horribly with a lot of mediocre in between.  I read The Twilight Before Christmas by Christina Feehan last night and was enthralled with the book.  I could not put the book down.  Feehan’s love scenes were sensual, enthralling, and steamy. 

She included words I would not have thought would be good in a love scene but they completely work in hers.  I’ll be studying her scenes.  The entire book kept me enthralled for the whole night.  Her pacing was non-stop, she went from one crisis to another without giving the reader a chance to catch their breath – in the best possible way.  Her women are strong, feminine, and sexy.  Her men are strong, respectful, loving and sexy.  It is the perfect combination. 

As a reader, I enjoyed reading the book and can’t wait to start the next one in the series.  As a writer, her writing excites me and I am going to study her techniques. 

One of the things I heard in most of my classes was to find an author who writes in the genre you want to write in and study their work.  Mostly they were talking about classical writers like Mark Twain and other people most non-writers don’t like to read.  In rediscovering my love of the reading, I’m finding myself inspired by the stories but even more by the techniques I’m finding in the books that keep me riveted. 

Even though I’m enthralled in the story, in the back of my mind my writer persona is taking notes.  I find myself occasionally saying – oohh I like how this worked or I like the way this was said or I like how this phrase was turned.  In describing the heat of the moment, instead of saying something spread like wild fire the author used a different term (can’t think of it right now off the top of my head) and it worked so much better.  It took away the cliche of the phrase we all know but got the same results of the cliched phrase.

My first novel is a culmination of ten years of writing, getting a story down on and developing characters, plot, and technique.  As I read it now, I see some things I have changed in how I write; I also see some really good techniques. 

I’ve had writers tell me how to write.  I take in their advise but know for me in the rough draft I can’t do it that way (at least not right now).  I can incorporate some of the ideas in my editing process.  I know I’m evolving as a writer and in another ten years I’ll probably look at my first books and see things I’d do differently.  It is sort of like hair styles of old pictures – we look back and sometimes think – what were we thinking, and other times – that was good I should do it again. 

Juggling Life

Finished the Fablehaven series last night at 2:00 am.  I should have put the book up but I just couldn’t.  It means I’ll be tired today.  I have to figure out what book I’ll be reading next.  I know it may seem strange but I usually have a book on my kindle, one on my fire, and sometimes a physical book all going at once. 

I’ve got one audio book going in the car.  I find myself looking forward to it everytime I head to my car.  I have some extra driving to do today which means extra time in the car.  This also means I’ll likely be hearing more of the story as well since I won’t have any passengers with me. 

I’m going to shift though from reading non-stop to working on writing again.  My todo list has gotten much longer while I’ve been off in other books.  I have managed to check off some things from this list.  I corrected an error in my front and back material in all my books; made the final decision on the cover for the next poetry book; submitted some articles and a variety of other things. 

I can tell I’ve not worked on writing items for a while, I’m starting to get antsy about them.  I feel like I’m behind schedule but I keep reminding myself it is my own schedule.  However, this is a pay weekend so we have errands to run and Sunday we have friends coming over.  I’m looking forward to having them come – it reminds me to keep that balance in my life.

In between all of these, I have to put a bunch of manuscripts away (they are edited versions of a story) and clear off some space on my desk so I can work at it.  Ken got the furniture organized in my craft room which means I need to go in and organize the room.  Right now I have containers of crafts sitting around which annoys me.

I need to find a balance of getting all this done.  Some of it I can do in my recliner with my feet up so I will save those tasks for when my legs hurt and I can’t do the other stuff.  The craft stuff I will try to start first thing in the morning so my legs are in good shape but this means I need a non-pay weekend to do them.  Hopefully next weekend I’ll be able to work on both the craft room and the office. 

My biggest problem when I’m working on the office is I get into decision overload.  I’m cleaning and organizing which means making tons of decisions of where and how things are going to be organized.  I get to the point where I can’t figure out the best place for one more thing. This means I don’t quite finish the room.  Life happens and things get put here and there and suddenly my office is a mess again. 

My second biggest problem with the office is I’d rather be writing and working on submissions than doing the cleaning and organizing.  I can spend hours at my computer working on a story, submitting work, researching and so on.  I get lost in what I am doing and forget that I was going to organize the room instead.  I just need to stay on track. 

Escape with a Good Book

I’m still on a reading spurt.  I am reading the Fablehaven series.  It is a good series for young adults full of adventure, magic, fairies, and fun.  The roles are a bit traditional for my tastes but I freely admit this is my own hang up. 

Writing tasks are screaming at me while I spend my evenings immersed in this lovely world created by Brandon Mull.  It is a fun distraction but soon I’ll be turning my focus back to writing and reading a bit less.

Over the weekend I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (again).  Rowling created quite the world.  I’ve read these book many times and returning to them is like visiting an old friend.

I’ve also started Magic in the Wind by Christine Feehan.  It is a romance novel with a supernatural bent.  Seven sisters with power to help them as they discover love and more.  Magic in the Wind is the first in series of seven.  I’m listening to this one in the van as I drive to and from work. 

When I was in school it was all I could do to keep up with the technical reading I had to do.  Reading fun books that inspire, amuse, entertain – that was impossible for me to do except during my down times like holiday breaks.  Even then I was usually too busy to pick up a book for enjoyment. 

Last night after Ken went to bed I opened up the fourth book in the Fablehaven series and fell into it.  I lost more than two hours while I followed Kendra and Seth adventuring in the Dragon Sanctuary.  It was exciting and pleasant.  I looked up at 9:30 and said – where did the time go? 

At 10:00 I finished the book and my immediate question was – Do I start the fifth book or put it away?  The danger of course being that I will read too late and get up grumpy the next day.  I checked my emails which took all of ten minutes (most of that time spent waiting for the netbook to boot up).  Of course I started the next book and of course I stayed up too late.  Though I did force myself to stop reading at 12:30. 

This is what a good story should do.  It should suck you in and keep you wanting more – keep you turning pages.  If it doesn’t do that, what is the point? 

It may be summer and you may have a lot of other activities you are doing but I say grab a good book and curl up somewhere to be transported somewhere different.

Here are my books:

Secret Past

Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy

Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moon-affirmations-eileen-troemel/1119387496?ean=2940045859738

Moments in Nature

Available at Barnes & Nobles:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moments-in-nature-eileen-troemel/1119566668?ean=2940045940085
Available at:
Available on Amazon:

Perfect Weather

Yesterday and today – no air conditioning on.  This is highly unusual for me as I can’t handle the heat and humidity.  It has been pleasant to have the fresh air and cooler temperatures.  The weather is almost idyllic

I finally finished the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows in the car.  Now I have to figure out what I want to listen to next in the car. I have a 25 minute drive to and from work and I enjoy listening to a book while I drive.  It relaxes me and helps me let go of my day (or preps me for the day) while I drive.

I’m working on the second Fablehaven book and enjoying reading for fun.  It is a joy to just listen to music and read a book.  I lose time. I’ll pick up the book and start reading and suddenly it is hours later and I’ve been in a completely different place.

Smashwords.com has a huge sale going on and my books are all 25% off.  It is a great time to make the purchase!

Reading for Pleasure

With being in school for the last couple of years, I’ve not done a lot of reading for pleasure.  Mostly it was text books.  Prior to going back to school, I was doing a lot of book reviews.  This led me to getting tired of reading as I was usually under a deadline and reading material I didn’t necessarily like.  To some degree I’d forgotten how good it was to sit and read for hours on end.

Two nights ago I started a fiction book – Fablehaven.  I’ve read part of this series before but I couldn’t remember much about it.  I remember enjoying what I read.  I started it and enjoyed the book though the main character Kendra was somewhat whimpy. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like whimpy female characters unless they show development and growth.  I feel that role is a cliche perpetuated by male writers.  Kendra is a bit of a whimp.  She doesn’t like to break the rules and she is afraid to explore.  Seth her brother is exactly the opposite.  To me this is very cliched.  However, the author did something smart.  Even though Seth is daring and reckless, the author shows that Seth also experiences fear and Kendra does daring things in small portions. 

As the novel progresses, Kendra learns to be a bit more daring and Seth a tiny bit more cautious (though not much).  In the end Kendra has to overcome her fears, find her courage in order to rescue her family. 

Last night I couldn’t put the book down.  At 9:00, I said to myself I was only going to read until 10:00 or 10:30 and then put the book up.  That didn’t happen.  I looked up at one point from the book I was thoroughly enthralled in and realized it was nearly 11:00.  I just finished the book. 

I loved getting lost in the book.  Even though I remember some parts of this book, I didn’t remember all of it.  The adventure the author wove around his character kept me entranced until I finished the story.  This is what a good story is supposed to do – keep you turning the page to read the next line, paragraph, chapter without thought of anything else. 

There is a second book in the series and I was going to start it but it was already after 11:30.  I was good and opted not to start the next book – I’ll do that at some point today.  Here is another good thing the author did – he created such a good story, I want more so I’ll be returning to his world and reading the next installment sooner rather than later.

In addition to all the other stuff I have going on, I am going to try to read a book a week.  Right now I’m reading two books – one in my car as I drive and one on one of my kindles.  I’ll finish the one in the car today and then I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to listen to in the car. 

As a writer reading is two fold.  I’m reading for pleasure but the author in me is also reading for analysis.  What did the author do to draw in the reader?  How did the author develop the characters, the tension, the plot and so on?  This is a hazard of being a writer.  What is wonderful to me is when I read a book and at some point I’m so interested in the story that I stop analyzing the story. 

I’d recommend the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull especially if you like stories on fairies, magic, and tales of good / evil. 

If you are looking for something else – my books are on sale at Smashwords.com.  There is a code on the page for each book on the right.  Get 25% off any of my books.  All of them can be found on my page, just follow the link below.  If you know which one you want to purchase, I’ve provided a link for each book below as well.

My page:
Moments in Nature:
Moon Affirmations:
Secret Past:

Catch Up

My semester started with a visit from Stephanie, two new classes, and lots of work.  It has been a crazy three weeks.  I have a grammar class and publication development class.  I like both of them and they are almost completely opposite. 
The grammar class is very structured, with deadlines, quizzes, and dates for everything.  The publication development class is not.  We spend our class times discussing articles, current events, and how all this relates to writing and publications.  I love them both.
My daughter very kindly reminded me as I was telling her about one assignment that I was 30 years older than my class mates.  She was right but it was one of those moments where I gave myself a mental shake of holy shit I’m getting old. 
Stephanie is back for another visit – flying as she has another wedding to attend.  We will get her for a bit on Sunday and Monday.  She hung out with me Friday morning and we went to lunch with Beth.  We are grabbing snatches of time where we can. 
I finally finished a scarf that I was working on.  It was a simple design and turned out beautifully but every time I worked on it I would fall asleep.  Last night I finished it though and now I’m moving on to the next thing.
This weekend I’m swamped with homework, time with Stephanie and errands.  The weather has turned a bit cooler – nicely nippy fall weather.  This is good for breathing but it makes my arthritis complain. 

I have thirteen more weeks to go and I’ll be done with my second degree!!  I cannot wait.  I have a long list of things I want to do once I’m done with school – crocheting, writing, reading… First though I have to get through the next thirteen weeks.