Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Round Up

As another year comes to a close, I figure it's time to dig out the letter I wrote myself at the beginning of the year to check how I did with achieving the goals I set for myself...  

Dear Me,

Before I go ahead and outline my plans for the year ahead, I feel like I need to look back on the year that has just been.  It felt like a hard year, and there was so much I didn’t enjoy about 2014, yet in many ways it has been the most successful year I’ve had in a long time.  I think my dissatisfaction was largely because I really didn’t enjoy the job I had for much of the year.  It was tiring and demanding and very unsatisfying and that left me so drained that it was hard to motivate myself to write at the end of every day.  So I haven’t produced the amount of work I’m used to producing in a year.

But at the same time, 2014 was the year my first novel was published and the year I got an agent.  And right at the end of the year, I got a new job that is already making me so much happier than my old one.

Going into 2015, I’m excited about my new job.  It’s going to be challenging, but I think I’m going to enjoy that.  I’ve been doing the same thing for so long, it’s refreshing to be going into a job where I’ll have new responsibilities and a variety of different people to work with throughout the year, as well as a variety of different tasks and responsibilities.

It sure has been challenging!  But I've loved it.  I've learned so much and done so many different things and worked with so many amazingly talented people.  There have been stressful times, and times I haven't enjoyed what I was doing, but overall, it has been a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I made the change and got out of the cinema management game.  I do miss it sometimes, but what I'm doing now is a lot more rewarding.

With weekends and evenings free (for the first time in 23 years), I plan to set myself a regular writing schedule, with enough flexibility that I can still go out every now and then without feeling guilty about missing a writing day.  I figure a 5-day a week schedule will work because at the speed I generally write, I can guarantee 7500 – 10 000 words a week while drafting.  Revising is usually a lot slower, but I still usually manage a chapter or two a night, depending on how much rewriting and adding new scenes is needed.

I haven't managed quite the schedule I planned.  My job involved more travel than I anticipated and I hadn't figured on being so exhausted by the end of each day.  I have tried hard to stick to the 5 day a week schedule, but it hasn't worked out every week...  I'm not unhappy with the work I have done though, so I guess that's a good thing.

I’m still drafting my NaNo novel, but it’s almost finished. It’s going to need a lot of revising because it’s really just a bare bones draft and so much of the story and characters have come into focus as I’ve written the book.  And the story has taken me in some interesting and unexpected directions as I’ve written it.  Once the draft is done, I’m going to leave it for a few weeks before diving into revisions.

Well, I did finish it.  I just ended up leaving it a lot longer before I started revising.  And then when I did, I got notes from my agent on 2 other projects that needed my attention, so the revision still isn't finished.

While I let the NaNo book settle, I plan to finish the NA I’ve been working on off and on for the last year or so.  It doesn’t need a ton of work since most of it is done, but it needs some polishing and my CP’s eagle eye over it before I will feel comfortable sending it out into the world.

My CP convinced me it wasn't good enough as it was, and I agree.  So one day, when I have a little time up my sleeve, I may go back and try to make it work as the dual POV YA I initially intended it to be.  Or I'll leave it in the trunk as something that was once a good idea and maybe isn't me anymore.  Who knows?

So the plan for this year is to finish the NA and this year’s NaNo book, plus I have another story idea I’m excited to write.  Once the other two are done, I’ll write this one (it’s also an NA story, I think…)

Not sure what that idea was, but the one I actually wrote wasn't NA, so I'm guessing that wasn't it....

Another reason my productivity has been low in 2014 is that I’ve had other things going on. An Unstill Life published in January and keeping up with publicizing it has taken up quite a bit of my already limited writing time.  I have also been doing revisions on another book so my agent can take it out on submission early this year. 

That happened.  And if you think querying is tough, try being on submission!  Ultimately this experience ended up with me doing more revising after almost all the responses cited the same issue with the story.  So I revised.  Again.  Maybe next year?

I’ve found switching focus between projects is challenging for me and I have trunked a novel this year because somehow, in between editing and publicity and revising other things, I lost what I was trying to do with the book.  I need to get over this problem because if I’m going to have a writing career, this is going to happen a lot.  There will always be times when a WIP has to be dropped for edits or revisions, and I need to be able to pick back up without feeling lost in my text.  I’m not sure quite how to do this….

I think I'm managing this better.  I don't know how or why, but I haven't had the same problem picking things back up as I had previously.  Maybe I just knew my stories better.

In 2014 I didn’t manage to be as present for my crit group as I wanted to be.  This year I will endeavor to be more regular with my critiques.  I love this group and they are a huge part of my writing journey, so I need to give them the same attention they give me.

Sadly, I didn't manage this one and I feel terrible about it.  One day I'm going to find a way to gain an hour or two a day so I have more time to do the things that are important to me.

I didn’t manage to lose any weight in 2014, so once again I’ll list it in my ‘to-dos’ for 2015.  I have a plan for regular trips to the gym and exercise during lunch-breaks, not to mention a diet plan I hope to have the will power to stick to.  I’ve managed to keep my weight the same over the last few years because my job has been quite physical, with a lot of time on my feet.  Now that my job is mostly sedentary, and the bus takes me pretty much right there, I need to really focus on diet and exercise if I don’t want to blow up like a balloon.

Thankfully I haven't blown up like a balloon.  But I don't think I lost any weight either (my scales broke and I don't want to buy more, although I should).

And that’s about it for 2015.  I’m sure things will come up that I’m not expecting, and some will be wonderful and others less so…  I’ll check in mid-year to see how things are tracking.

Love, Me.

And tune in tomorrow or the next day for my 2016 goals....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Books I've Loved and Books I Haven't Loved so Much

I've read a lot of books in 2015.  181 according to Goodreads.  Some have been fantastic.  Others good.  Some less than good.  But I don't regret reading a single one.  Sometimes you have to read something terrible to appreciate the good ones when you get to them.

So rather that reviewing a single book here for the last 'Books I've Loved' post, I thought I would share my year in books that Goodreads so kindly created for me.

You will find them all there.  The 5 star ones I probably gushed about here, and the others that I probably didn't.

And if I had to list a few that really stood out for me? Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz, Give Me The Sun by Jandy Nelson, All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, all the books by A. S. King that I read, and....  Well, the list goes on and on.

I'm about to go to the library to pick out some books to read on vacation next week.  Hopefully I'll find some good ones to share with you!

Happy reading!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you all have a magnificent day!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Books I've Loved: Mosquitoland

I read this over the weekend and loved it.

It's about a girl who is a little odd.  Her name is Mary Iris Malone, but everyone calls her Mim.  She runs away from her father and his new wife after overhearing a conversation that leads her to believe her mother is fighting an illness in the hometown her father has recently moved the family away from.

So Mim hops on a Greyhound bus and begins a journey across the States.

As you can probably imagine, things don't go as planned.  But what unfolds is a story about loyalty, misconceptions, misunderstandings and love.

Mim is a delightfully quirky narrator and I enjoyed my time in her company immensely.  I also enjoyed the ending which was full of surprises I never saw coming - well, most of them anyway.

I recommend this one very highly.  Once I picked it up, I really didn't want to put it down.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb: 

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Weekly Goals 21-12-15

Winding down toward the end of the year now...  Two more days at work (not that I'm counting...who am I kidding? I'm checking the time every 15 minutes) then almost 3 weeks of vacation.  I am SO looking forward to it.

So my goal this week is to get my little revision of STUMPED finished and sent off to my agent before Christmas.  It's not a big job, so I figure I can get it done quickly.

Then I'll have time to catch up on reviews for my critique group and reading and lounging on the beach.  I may do a little work on My Murder Year, but basically I'm cruising until January 11 when I get back from vacation.

I plan to read a lot of books.

What are your goals this week?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Deja Vu Blogfest

What a great idea!  A chance to re-post a favorite or under-seen blog post from earlier in the year.  So here you go...  One you may have missed during the A-Z challenge.

F is for Failure

The last few weeks I've been working on writing our company's new gender policy and as such, I've been doing a lot of reading about gender equality and initiatives similar businesses have made to address the under-representation of women in some areas of the film industry.

One of the more interesting things I came across was an article about how women deal differently with failure and self-expectation than men. Women generally won't apply for jobs unless they feel they're 100% qualified or fit all the criteria asked for. Men assume they can do it and apply anyway. Women rarely ask for pay rises, and when they do, they ask for far less than men do. Women often won't attempt a task unless they're certain they can do it.

Does this mean women set themselves up to fail? Or are they just more cautious? Is it because girls are told as children that being 'good' is more important than challenging themselves?

I don't have any answers. But I found the statistics about failure interesting. My sister doesn't deal with failure at all. She failed one test back when she was about nine and hated it so much, she basically resolved never to fail again. I feel like all her decisions from there on were based on whether she'd fail. She chose a sport very few people do so she could be among the best at it (she was). She chose subjects at school she knew she would excel at.

I've never had a problem with failure. I don't like it, of course. Who does? But I recognize that often you learn as much from failing as you do from being successful. And being able to deal with failure means you're more likely to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone. And putting your heart and soul into a manuscript and then sending it off for a bunch of strangers to read and reject is definitely a challenge.

So while I wrote six or seven novels and queried them without success, I don't consider any of those books a failure. An embarrassment in some cases, maybe, but never a failure…

How do you deal with failure?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 18-12-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

It's almost the end of the work year!  I have two and a half days to work next week, then I'm on holiday until January 10th.  I can't wait.  It has been a good year, but it has also been a very busy year.  I've learned a tremendous amount in my new job which is great, but it has also been a lot of hard work.  I'm looking forward to the break to relax a little and refresh myself for what already looks like a very busy 2016.

My kids finish school for the year today.  My oldest is leaving elementary school and moving to middle school.  We had his Year 6 graduation on Wednesday which was a rather over-the-top affair for a bunch of 11 year olds (if you ask me).  But he had a great time and we were very proud of him winning one of the teachers' special awards.  After the awards the parents had to leave while kids had dinner and  a dance.  My son even managed to work up the nerve to dance with the little girl he's had a crush on since they were in Year One.

I finished my revision on Sidewalks and turned it in to my agent.  Hitting send on that one was SUCH a relief!  The following day I heard back from her about my revision of STUMPED and she loves both the new endings!  But I have an idea how I can incorporate both into the final book, so that's my project over the next week.  And to make me feel even more positive, my agent also sent me a proposal for something she thinks might be a good fit for my out-of-print book!  All of a sudden I'm feeling more positive about this whole writing thing.

I've read some fantastic books this year, many of which I've talked about here on the blog.  If you want to take a look, Goodreads kindly assembled a list for me...

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Map of Fates

If you've already read The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, you probably don't need to be told that its gorgeous, thrilling, sexy-as-hell sequel, Map of Fates, releases in three months. What you do need is an Advance Readers Copy of it, and some signed swag, and this is where you can get it!
(Photo: Sofia Embid)
To get your hands on a beautiful ARC, signed postcard, signed bookmark, and tattoos, you have to make the same tough choice as every Conspiracy fan:

Team Jack?
Team Stellan?

Pick one of the below pictures (with thanks to creator Diana Sousa!) and share it – on Instagram and Twitter – with the hashtag #MapOfMates, and tell us where you’d want to be swept away on an all-expenses-paid trip!
On January 2, five ARC winners will be selected, and yes, the giveaway is international!
  • 1 #TeamJack from Instagram
  • 1 #TeamStellan from Instagram
  • 1 #TeamJack from Twitter
  • 1 #TeamStellan from Twitter
  • 1 from either team who has one of the pics as their Twitter avatar
Haven’t read The Conspiracy of Us yet? Buy it now, and/or enter to win it (until 12/17) here! (Prefer paperback? That releases on February 2nd!) (Whether you enter or not, please spread the word; Maggie’s an amazing, generous, and talented member of the YA community, and due to emergency circumstances, she's unable to promote her own books right now, so please give all the support you can!) (But, like, you should enter, because these books are pretty damn good.)
Winners will be notified on January 2, 2016. See you on #MapOfMates!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekly Goals 14-12-15

I know I've been saying it for weeks now, but I am going to finish the Sidewalks revision TODAY!  I am going to send it to my agent before I go to bed tonight so I don't have an urge to tinker any more with it.

So that's the main goal for this week.

Apart from that, it's going to be getting ready for Christmas and doing some long-overdue reviewing for my crit group.  Oh, and wrapping up the year at work.  I have a couple of quite big things I need to get through this week because a few big events in my work-world will happen while I'm away on holiday and I need to have everything set up so someone can just press a button and make things live on our website at the appropriate moment.

After the holidays I will get back into revising My Murder Year.  Or before if I can't bear to not write at all.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 11-12-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things.  Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

Only a week left at work before we go on break.  Well, a little over a week, but I doubt those last two days will be arduous....  We had our staff Xmas party last night and it was fun.  Much better than last year's party.

I'm very close to finally finishing my revision on Sidewalks.  I'm just going through now and trying to cut a few more words.  I've got it down to 86K now, which is much better than the 95K it had crept up to in an earlier draft.

AC/DC are playing in town tonight and I'm working the bar at the stadium again to fundraise for my son's Cub troop.  I imagine the bar will be much busier than it was for Elton John, but hopefully they will close us down just as early so I can go and rock out.

What are you celebrating this week?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

This fun new book is being released and I'm lucky enough to have its authors, Jess and Stephanie, here on the blog to answer a few questions.  Hi Jess! Hi Steph!

If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

Stephanie: Margo, Fairday’s little sister. As a toddler she sees the world with fresh eyes, and I would love to spend some time in her head.

Jess: Eldrich the gypsy, because she’s so mysterious. I would enchant everyone I meet.

• In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

Stephanie: Some of the clues like bagpipes and dried rose petals are things that don’t usually come up in other mysteries. Often the parents of characters are not involved or they aren’t paying attention to their child because they are too busy. Fairday’s parents keep tabs on her and are concerned when they think she is letting the ghost stories about the house get to her.

Jess: The original idea for Ruby Begonia’s high-heeled sneakers was given to me by my grandfather, John Haight. The story evolved from a rhyming children’s poem to a middle grade chapter book. Stephanie and I both love to read, write and be creative, so I would say the story is unique because it was born from our imaginations, and we wrote the story from our childhood experiences. Fairday and Lizzy’s friendship is very similar to our own. :)

• What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

Stephanie: I liked working on the scene with Marcus at recess. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was especially easy to picture the scene. The most challenging was working on our editing skills. Taking out unnecessary words can be tricky, but we are getting better all the time.

Jess: Our editor, Krista Vitola, was inspirational in helping us to craft clever ways to piece together the clues in the story, and working with Stephanie to reveal the secrets to the reader was extremely challenging and fun- I also love working on the spooky parts. :)

• Which of your characters is most like you?

Stephanie: No one! I am a combination of them, or they are a combination of me. I devour books, just like Fairday. I try to be positive and Lizzy is always looking on the brighter side of things. Marcus and I both love science and have great memories.

Jess: I am a 50/50 mix of Fairday and Lizzy. Fairday loves words and rhyming, which is a passion of mine, and Lizzy can’t resist sparkly things- neither can I!

• If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

Stephanie: There are so many powers I would like. But, based on how busy things are right now I would love to freeze time. I dream about that extra pocket of time I could get each day to catch up or take a nap.

Jess: I would want the power to fly, and that’s what I would use it for- to soar around and check everything out from above.

• If you could reenact a scene from any book (not necessarily your own), what would it be? Who would you choose for your scene partner(s)?

Stephanie and Jess: Without a doubt we would visit Hogsmeade together. It would be amazing to sit down with Ron, Harry, and Hermione at The Three Broomsticks and have a butterbeer.

• Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.

Stephanie: I can wiggle my ears.

Jess: I do not want or have a cell phone.

• What other interests do you have outside of writing?

Stephanie: Reading, traveling, and astronomy.

Jess: Drawing, collecting rocks, gardening and photography.

• Do you have a nervous habit when writing? A guilty pleasure when writing? (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write)

Stephanie: I always pour myself a nice cup of coffee when I start writing, but when I finish working I realize I only drank one sip. I guess once I get going I forget about the world around me.

Jess: The writing itself is the ritual. I tend to pick away at various chapters, and I can get lost doing that for hours.

Thanks so much for coming to visit me!  And after that, I bet you're dying to know more about the book....

Fear Not the Unexpected

Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom.

As if leaving Manhatten and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad, weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past.

Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where she finds an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a curious portrait of a red-haired lady. These seemingly unrelated items prove to be the first in a series of clues that takes Fairday, the visiting Lizzy, and their new squad member, Marcus, on an amazing adventure.

Can the members of the Detective Mystery Squad piece together the puzzle before it’s too late? Or will whatever’s causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first?

 And what about the authors?

Jessica Haight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts. Jessica lives in Connecticut with her charming fiancĂ©, James; dog, Jack; cat, Bill; and a very entitled bunny named Alice. 
Stephanie Robinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist. One of the many benefits of her job is that she learns something new every day. When Stephanie isn't working, she spends her time creating stories, getting lost in books, and traveling to new places. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Books I've Loved: I Crawl Through It

I read this over the weekend and finished it in about three hours.  At the end, I had no idea what I'd read, just that I loved it.

This has to be one of the weirdest books I've read in a long time.  The characters are odd.  Their situations are odd, yet underlying all that is a sense that reality is there, just a tiny bit off kilter.

All the characters are dealing with things bigger than they are and the odd ways they express themselves or show their damage (or hide it) are part of their ways of coping with these big, life-changing events.  They could be seen as metaphoric - I don't think China really turns herself inside out so she's nothing more than a walking anus - that's just how she feels at the time.

For much of the book I just read, riding the prose and waiting for a moment when everything became clear to me.  And that did happen.  Toward the end reality crashes in and it becomes clear what each of these characters has been through.  It's possible then to understand why they have chosen to react the way they do.

I think what I liked most about the book is that the characters are smart.  Unashamedly smart.  But they're not nerds or geeks the way smart kids are often portrayed in books.  They're normal, smart kids with problems.

This won't be for everyone.  It's twisted and strange and surreal, but if you're willing to go with it, I think you'll enjoy it.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving trauma, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults—and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them... until they learn the only way to escape reality is to fly right into it.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weekly Goals 7-12-15

It's pretty much business as usual over here.  My goal this week, as it has been every week for the last month or so, is to finish revising Sidewalks so I can send it back to my agent.

I did some major surgery on it over the weekend, but I'm not sure I fixed anything or made it worse.  We shall see...  I still need to go through and fix the ripple-downs that the changes have made, then I will read the whole thing through again to see if it works now.

I'm starting to kind of hate this book...

At work my goal is to finish the huge administrative task I took on.  At the time, I thought it would be a quick, easy thing I could knock out in an afternoon.  Um...  Not so much.

I also plan to keep up the pre-quiz night gym visit if possible.  It's only one extra time a week, but I'm sure it will make a difference.

What are your goals for the week?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 4-12-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain'sbloghop, Celebrate the Small Things(Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up!

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's almost the holidays!  The kids have 2 more weeks of school, and I have only a few days more than that left at work before we break for the year.  It feels like it's been a LOOOOONG time since I last had a holiday and I'm looking forward to the almost 3 weeks I get off from December 23.

It's a beautiful evening here in Wellington and the kids are going to their grandparents for the night while my partner and I head off to a BBQ at a friend's boatshed on the harbour.  It's going to be a perfect night for it,

I didn't get my book off to my agent this week as planned because I got feedback from my second reader that really resonated and I realized it's just not ready.  I think I need to do some heavy surgery to get it ready so am gearing up to try that.  I'm not sure it will help  much, but we'll see...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Books I've Loved....Cam Girl

I'm such a huge fan of Leah Raeder.  She writes so beautifully and her descriptions are always so spot on.  From the first page of this book, I was hooked.

The other thing I love about Raeder's books is that she isn't afraid to write unlikeable girls.  Her characters are never sweet people.  They are gritty and complicated and real.  Never more so than in this book.

Yet there is real romance here.  In between hurting each other (and themselves) Vada and Ellis have a touching and often heartbreaking love for one another.  Ellis knows what it is and is frustrated that Vada won't commit to her wholly and completely.

The book explores some interesting ideas about bisexuality and gender as a spectrum rather than an either/or, something I haven't seen presented so clearly or as well in any other book.  It also explores camming and the connections between viewers and the one on camera.

This is a book to savor.  You want to read it slowly so you can notice the beauty of the language, but you want to read it fast so you can find out what happens next.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb...

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that brings back a ghost from her past. Now Vada must confront the devastating secrets she's been running from—those of others, and those she's been keeping from herself...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weekly Goals 30-11-15

Having got notes back from one reader, but not the other, I'm making a few small adjustments to my MS before sending it back to my agent.  I should have it done and dusted by tomorrow night, which is the deadline I gave myself.

Once I get this book back off my plate, I can get back to revising the other one.  I'd like to have it finished by the time I go away to the beach on January 2, but I'm not entirely confident I can turn this revision around that fast because it' only a second draft and will require some bigger changes than the ones I've been doing on the older manuscripts I've been working on.

But even if I don't get finished, I can make some good progress.  Once I've finished that, I can write something new - the book I planned to write during NaNo.

Unless of course more revisions come in....

I figured out a genius way to get an extra gym session in during the week, so will see if I can make that work tomorrow night.  If I can go three times a week, I'll feel that much better about myself, especially going into the big eating and drinking season.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 27-11-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things(Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up!

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I just got my MS back from one of my readers and she doesn't seem to think there are any big issues.  I haven't finished reading through her notes yet, but it doesn't sound like there are going to be big things to fix.  Although I did have an idea last night about a section I can easily cut out now that I changed the ending.  It won't cut the word-count a lot, but it will trim a thousand or so words...

I have nothing planned for the weekend which makes a nice change.  Well, except for presenting a screening and moderating a Q & A with the filmmakers on Sunday night.  But that should be fun.

Can you believe it's almost December?  Only a few more weeks before we break for Christmas.  And boy am I looking forward to that!  I must remember to book a holiday mid-year next year.  It's been far too long since I had any time off and I need a break.

What are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekly Goals 23-11-15

I'm having a small break this week.

Last night I made the last little tweaks to my MS and sent it off to the two people who kindly agreed to be my fresh eyes.  I've asked them to get the book back to me by Friday if they can, so I'll have the weekend to make any changes that might come out of the feedback.  But until it comes back in, I'm going to take a break.

I do have other books to revise, but I'm in the headspace for this story right now, and moving on to another project will take me out of that headspace so I'll break instead of going back to My Murder Year.  It's only a few days.

After I've sent Sidewalks back to my agent, then I'll get on with finishing the revision on Murder.  Then I'll write the book I planned to write during NaNo.  Unless I get pole axed by another burning idea which often happens to me.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 20-11-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things(Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up!

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I finished my revision last night.  I think I still need to go through and make a few more tiny tweaks, but the bulk is done, I think.  I just really need a fresh set of eyes over it to be sure I've addressed all the problem areas.  I know November is the worst month to be asking this, but does anyone have time to do a full MS read before the end of the month?  I'm happy to read for you in return, now or any time in the future.

It's Friday!

I have a busy weekend ahead of me.  Tonight I'm going to a gig with a friend.  It's an old punk band from the '70s that I'm not a huge fan of, but she is.  It should be fun, even if I'm not in love with the band.  Then tomorrow I'm helping out my son's Scout troop by working the bar at the stadium during the Elton John concert.  Apparently that's how the Scouts fundraise....  When I volunteered I thought it would be a few hours, but it turns out it's a full 7 hour shift!  Goodbye Saturday.

And that's about it for this week.  Do let me know if you have time to read for me.  I'd REALLY appreciate it.  After so many rounds of revision, I'm not sure which parts really work and which I just think work because I know what was there three revision ago.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Books I've Loved: Just Visiting

I'm super excited to share this particular book I loved with you not just because it's by the wonderful Dahlia Adler, but also because it's the book's release day today!  Dahlia was kind enough to send me an advance copy and I've been waiting to share this with you ever since I finished it.  I'm so excited I'm putting up the post about 12 hours too early!  But I can't wait!

Thank you Dahlia!  And have the happiest of happy book birthdays!

I loved this book. I loved that it was about a friendship between two girls. And I loved that the friendship didn't get altered when they met boys. So often in YA books the protagonist's friends are only there for a shoulder to cry on or someone to gossip with. It's refreshing to read a book where the friendship was front and center. I'm probably not alone as someone whose friends were the center and lynchpin of my life as a teenager. This book reflected that kind of intense friendship so beautifully.

It also dealt with the fact those friendships change and what's right for one half of the friendship may not be right for the other. It's a painful thing to face, but it's a part of growing up, and learning that you don't have to be in each others pockets 24-7 to stay friends is an important lesson to learn.

So can I just say I loved this?

And in case that isn't enough endorsement, here's the blurb:

Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.

Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn't go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won't stand out for being Mexican.

One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective... only to learn she's set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants… only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they've sworn to leave.

As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don't know about each other's pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they'll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.

Weekly Goals 16-11-15

Once again, this week is all about revision.  I'm eleven chapters from the end in this round so I know I'll be through by the end of the week.  Then I'd really like someone who hasn't already read it to look it over with fresh eyes.

So I'm looking for volunteers.  I will have some very specific questions for you because this revision has been very focused on a couple of key things.  And you'll need to be able to read quickly.  I really want to be able to turn this back in to my agent by the end of the month.

If you're interested, and haven't already read an earlier draft of The Sidewalk's Regrets for me, leave a note in the comments or drop me an email (katelarkindale (at) gmail (dot) com).  I'd be happy to read for you in exchange, now or at some later date.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 13-11-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain'sbloghop, Celebrate the Small Things(Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up!

So, what am I celebrating this week?

My revisions are going well.  I'm not entirely sure I'm getting everything 100% right yet, but I figure I'll do another pass through once I finish this round.  I'm up around 92K in terms of words which is long for YA, so I'm going to need to find some places to slash words if possible.  Not sure if it will be possible though...

It's been a busy week at work.  I was at a course Monday and half of Tuesday, which was interesting, but of course the work piles up when you're out of the office.  We had a new person start on Monday which is going to take some of the pressure off the team, but of course we need to train her so she will be able to do all the things she needs to do.  But so far she seems to be working out well.

Looking forward to the weekend.  Tomorrow we are going up the coast to see my friend.  Hoping the weather improves because winter seems to have decided to make a reappearance which is not making me at all happy.  Would be nice if the sun came out so we can do some outdoor things while we're up at the beach.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Breaching His Defenses

Blitz Package Banner


TITLE – Breaching His Defenses SERIES – Love Hack AUTHOR – Allyson Lindt GENRE – Contemporary Romance PUBLICATION DATE – 2/16/2015 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 58000 words PUBLISHER – Acelette Press COVER ARTIST – Allyson Lindt


Breaching His Defenses - Cover
What happens in Vegas…Can break hearts and destroy careers.
Years ago, heartbreak corrupted Jared Tippins’s outlook on love. He spun the betrayal into a rapid climb up the corporate ladder, and swore off any relationship with a morning after. Luckily, the playful siren who rescues him from singing a duet alone in a karaoke bar doesn’t want anything long term.
If only he could stop fantasizing about ways to make her moan. Sure, she could’ve mentioned he works for the competition. At least she’s not behind the security concerns that have plagued his company for almost six months.
If she were, he’d be screwed on a whole new level.



Breaching His Defenses - Teaser
He laid a line of soft kisses along her neck, and then down her spine through her shirt. Hooking his thumbs into the elastic of her panties, he dragged them down her legs. “They are black. Lucky me.”
She let out a small laugh as she stepped out of the lingerie. “Glad I didn’t disappoint.” And there was her attitude. It made him as hard as the thought of burying himself inside her did. She spun to face him and plucked the panties from his hand, a teasing gleam in her eyes. She stepped close enough to rub her entire frame against him. Her hand slid along his waist, and she stuffed the lingerie in his pocket. “In case the memory of tonight isn’t enough of a souvenir for you.”
What made someone so tantalizingly bold? No, he didn’t need to know, as long as she didn’t stop. He tangled his fingers in her hair again, barely able to grasp the short strands. He pressed his forehead to hers, not able to keep the hunger from his voice. “Trust me, the memories are already enough to keep me company for a while. But when you walk out of here, at least I’ll know it’s without anything on under your skirt, the cool air brushing your skin, reminding you why you’re so wet.”
“Good thing I packed extra.” She tilted her head and nipped at his bottom lip before kissing him.


Author Photo - Allyson Lindt
Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.


This event has been organized & hosted by 33c16-mini2bbutton

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Books I've Loved: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

This is a great book about friendship, unrequited love and the secrets we can keep for the people we're close to.  It's also a book that has interesting dynamics between all the characters from the parents to the friends that surround Vera and Charlie.

It's also a beautifully economical book.  The relationship between Charlie and Vera is shown in a very complete way without too much use of flashback or memory.  Every scene works to either deepen our understanding of the relationship, or to drive the story forward.

I read it in a single afternoon and couldn't quite believe it when I'd finished.  Definitely recommended!

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping,
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekly Goals 9-11-15

Short and sweet this week: it's all about the revision.

I plan to get through at least another 10 chapters of revising this week - maybe more.  The changes I'm making are very small this time through, just the odd line here and there.  I've done the bigger stuff already, including writing the new ending, so I'm hoping this is just a finessing draft and one where I don't add too many new words.  This book is already too long!

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Celebrate the Small things 6-11-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up!

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  I think that's worth a celebration.

After an incredibly stressful weekend last week where my hard drive decided to die hours before I sent a revision to my agents, I'm looking forward to a rather more relaxing time this weekend.

Thankfully, I managed to retrieve (well, my partner actually did all the hard work) all my files and I didn't end up having to rewrite the 10K I'd done over the two days between my computer's last big back up and the crash.  So I was only 1 day late sending in my MS.

This week I've started work on the second revision for my agents and so far it's going well.  Although I keep adding words and it's already a long book for YA.  I foresee a round of rather ruthless cutting at the end of the revising process.  Although at this stage, I really don't know where I'll be able to cut 10-15K without losing some key story.

I'm going out with a friend from work tomorrow night.  We're having dinner, then going to a play and then to her friend's place to watch the big fireworks display for Guy Fawkes.  I'm looking forward to it because this friend is one of those magical people who instantly make anything more fun.  She's one of my favorite people to hang out with because anything we end up doing is an event.  Even just eating lunch together.

Do you have anyone in your life like that? 

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Books I've Loved: All the Bright Places

I just finished this book last night and had to write about it here today because it's the first time in a long time a book has surprised me this much in a long time.  Something happens about two-thirds of the way through that was, for me, totally unexpected.  I won't tell you what because that would ruin the book for you, but wow...

The characters are interesting and hyper-intelligent.  I know some people feel that this kind of teen is unrealistic, and yes, they probably are.  But they're so much fun to read.  I guess at heart I wish I could have been that smart and articulate as a teen (or now).  But here, the smart, quirky dialogue spouted by these characters actually masks the reality lurking underneath.

Both Finch and Violet are damaged.  They're both struggling through their own crises without any support or even recognition from the adults around them. Finch, especially.  I know a lot of people will dismiss this book because of this, feeling that the characters exist solely to represent depressed, mentally ill kids everywhere.

I disagree.  I feel this is a very accurate portrayal of mental illness in literature.  Especially teenage mental illness where the person suffering from it may not understand or recognize that what he or she is feeling is, in fact, an illness.  And at a time when kids and parents are growing increasing more separate, even attentive parents could miss the signs, let alone a struggling mother with two jobs and an absentee father with a second family and a history of violence.

Violet's parents are more present than Finch's, but having lost one daughter, they're struggling with their own demons and their instinct to be both over-protective of Violet and to not smother her with their fears.

I don't expect everyone to like this book.  It's heavy in many ways.  But boy is it good.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Weekly Goals 2-11-15

I am so close to finishing my alternate ending of STUMPED.  I had great plans of finishing it yesterday, but my computer decided to stop working.  Of course that created much panic and hair pulling, but luckily my partner is a whizz at computer fixing and after diagnosing a fried hard-drive (eek!), he managed to get everything back on an external drive.

Unfortunately it took him most of the afternoon and evening, so I couldn't finish what I was working on yesterday.

Fortunately I have a system I can work on until I can get a new hard drive.  So I will finish those chapters tonight and send them off.  Only a day late...

I think my computer dying was the universe's way of telling me I had to take a break to go and see my best friend play a gig last night.  So I did, and it was great!

Once I've sent these two versions of STUMPED to my agent, I have revisions to do on The Sidewalk's Regrets.  They're smaller revisions, but feel more difficult, although I have an idea about how to change the ending so it works.  And then I still have to finish revising My Murder Year.

So no NaNo for me this year.  Which is kind of a shame, because I have an idea for a story I wanted to write during NaNo.  But then I'll have another book to revise and I already have too much revision on my plate.  So this year instead of writing a novel during NaNo, I'm going to revise two.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 30-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Halloween!  It's not a big thing in New Zealand, but I still love it.  I'm sitting here in my skull and bat dress, having just served these rather disgusting zombie finger cookies at my work morning tea.  I won the prize for the most disgusting dish.  And yes, I'm proud of that.  I wore my medal all day...
I got revision notes back from my CP and have been manically rewriting ever since.  I think I've finished one ending, but I'm going to try another direction and write a second ending to see if I like it better.  Or if my agent likes one better.  So that's my writing weekend.

I went to the bookstore at lunchtime and bought 3 new books.  I didn't mean to...  But on the plus side, I ONLY bought 3 books.  Unfortunately I have a bunch of work reading to do this weekend, so I may not get to any of them until next week.

And it's the weekend!  I'm not quite sure why these short weeks feel so long, but somehow they always feel as long, if not longer, than a regular 5 day week.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Books I've Loved: A Sense of the Infinite

After having bemoaned the lack of friendship books here a week or so ago, here is another beautiful book about girls' friendship.  It's a quiet book, or at least, it feels like a quiet book.  Yet there are a lot of things simmering under the surface - eating disorders, teen pregnancy, depression and bullying to name a few.

I read this in a single morning because once I started,  I couldn't stop reading.  Annabeth is an endearing narrator, a girl who has been all too happy to live in her friend Noe's shadow.  She is convinced the two of them will be friends forever.

But this is the year when their differences start to become more apparent.  Annabeth loves the outdoors; Noe prefers to practice gymnastics inside.  Annabeth joins the gym team even though she'd rather be hiking.  And this is just the beginning of those little differences that begin to fray the edges of a friendship.

It all felt so real to me.  By my final year at high school I was outgrowing my friends, and they were outgrowing me. It was painful, but now I recognise it as an important part of growing up.  This book beautifully captures the pain and exhilaration that comes when you break free of a friendship that is suffocating the real you despite the fact it's the friendship that has kept you going through years of shared experiences.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekly Goals 26-10-15

My goals are fairly straightforward this week.  I finished (or think I may have finished) a first draft of my revised last third of STUMPED.  Once I get feedback from my CP, I will polish that baby up and get it off to my agent.  Assuming, of course, my CP doesn't thnk it's a steaming pile of dogshit and I need to go back to square one and rewrite...  if that's the case, well, there may be some tears, hair-pulling and large quantities of wine.  Then once the tantrum is over, back to the drawing board.

Assuming things are all good in Ozzy's world, I am ready to dive back into The Sidewalk's Regrets to revise that again.  I spent the last two afternoons listening to the playlists I made for the novel, and I feel ready to get back into Sacha and Dylan's world.  I think I've even thought of a better ending too.  And by that I mean better than both the inconclusive original ending, and the sort of HEA ending that's on it now.  I think the new ending will be bittersweet, but hopefully will feel like the right place to leave this story.

I've had a very relaxing long weekend, and feel better than I have in a while about everything - getting some sleep does wonderful things.  Work is going to be busy, of course, with the short week, but I'm feeling much less overwhelmed and anxious about everything than I was two weeks ago.  So that has to be a good thing, right?

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 23-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Long weekend!  Yes,it's Labour Day on Monday, so we get a three day weekend.  I am very excited even if I do have a lot of writing work to get done.  

Tonight I had a date night with my partner and we went out to an amazing Vietnamese/French restaurant for dinner then went to see a good friend of mine in a play.  It was a wonderful night, and Harriet was quite spectacular playing Janet Frame.

Tomorrow I'm getting a much-needed haircut, which I'm looking forward to.  Other than that, I have very little planned for the long weekend.  I hope to read a lot, write a lot and maybe go to the gym a few times,  I also hope to do some baking to undo whatever good the gym may do me.

I finished a first draft of one of my revisions and sent it off to my CP to make sure the general ide works before I go back to polish it up.  While I wait to get that back, I'll get starte on revising my other book, the one that's going to be a little harder to fix, I think...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Books I've Loved: The Diviners

I just started reading the sequel to this one, so I thought I'd post here about how much I loved the first book in the series.  First up, it's set in the 1920s which has to be my favorite era.  I love the freedom people had in that time (or thought they had) and how women blossomed with it. This book beautifully evokes the time with its slang and nightlife and obsessions with the occult.

It's also a great supernatural story with a spunky heroine at its center.  Surrounding her are a cast of beautifully drawn, unique characters each with their own story to explore.  Which is why, of course, the book is over 600 pages long.  But it doesn't feel long.  Every story and tangent has a point and a place in the narrative and the mystery and intrigue ramps up and up until the explosive finale that will leave you breathless.

It's really a very good book.  Fingers crossed the sequel proves as compelling.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Weekly Goals 19-10-15

After failing to do much of anything last week (except work), this week is all about revising.  I got a good afternoon's work in yesterday, and am confident I can finish my revision on STUMPED by the end of the week.  Then I can start on the other book next week, or possibly even over the long weekend.

I still have a lot to do at work, but at least there isn't any traveling in the near future and that makes things easier.

I will find time to go for my walking circuit at lunchtime at least 4 times this week. Or at least, I'll try to do that.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 16-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  I'm at home!

After being away at a conference last weekend, then traveling for work until Wednesday, I'm just happy to be at home and not at work.  

The ban on Into The River was lifted this week, so I'm feeling good about that. It's not even going to have to wear a parental warning sticker, or have an age restriction. I'm just nervous about what book those people are going to target next.

I haven't touched my revisions for over a week, but I'm looking forward to getting into them today.  After I clean the house and go to the gym and do all the other things I haven't done for over a week.  

What are you celebrating this week?