Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Blog hiatus

It's that time in the summer where I'm taking a short break from blogging to enjoy the beach.

So until the 13th, keep yourselves safe and amuse each other...

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Checking in on 2019 Goals

Each year I write myself a letter outlining my goals for the year ahead.  Then sometime around the middle and at the end, I check in to see how I'm doing on achieving those goals.  So let's see how I did with my 2019 goals, ahead of setting some new ones for 2020.  The original letter is in black, my comments on how well I achieved those goals in purple.

Dear Me,

2018 was a crazy year and while I somehow managed to achieve most of what I set out to do, it feels like it was more by accident than by design.  So my first goal for 2019 is to plan ahead more.  Think about what might be coming up before committing to things and set aside time for the things I really want to do.

I didn't do this as well as I might have hoped.  I got better toward the end of the year, but I didn't start out that way and I think that's why I didn't do as well at achieving everything I wanted to during the year.

I have a book releasing on 1 February and I really want it to sell better than the last one.  So my first goal for the year is to figure out the best way to market this new book, and the other ones, to generate sales.  The subject matter for this one is less controversial than in Stumped, so hopefully that will help with sales, but getting reviews and getting them in the right places is crucial.

This one is a partial win.  Sales of The Sidewalk's Regrets aren't huge, but I have managed to get more reviews for it than for Stumped.  Unfortunately not all of them are as a positive as those for Stumped or An Unstill Life (which remains my most popular book for some reason), but negative reviews are just part and parcel of being a writer.  Overall though, the amount of work I had to put in to get those reviews was intense and I can't help feeling like the time I spent writing to book bloggers and reviewers, pitching my book, could have been better spent writing.

I would like to publish another book in 2019.  I have three that are very close to being ready to go, so I will endeavor to get at least one of these polished and ready to go out into the world.  And send it out.  If I'm lucky, I may even have all three ready to go out at some point during the year.

I didn't do this.  I have sent one book out to a new publisher, but am still waiting to hear back on that.  On the plus side, I now have more books near to being ready to send out.  I just have to decide what I really want to do with them as I really want to reach more readers than I'm currently able to reach.

I also have three or four manuscripts in various stages of completion that I would like to go back to and finish.  I'm not sure any of them are actually much good, but going back and re-reading them will let me know if there is anything worth salvaging in any of them.  And if there is, I will work to finish any of these I feel are worth the effort.

I have done this, and while I haven't got any of these 100% ready to go out yet, I have a priority list of MSs to work on in the New Year and notes from readers to work through on a couple of them to get them ready to go out.

At the moment I don't have any burning ideas for a new book, which is probably a good thing considering how many unfinished projects I have lying around.  But should something come up during the year, I will jump on that idea before it squirrels away again.  And I will write the hell out of that idea.

I did this during NaNo and while I haven't actually finished the book (I'm starting to sense a theme here) I did write 60K and figure there's only another 15K or so to write before I reach the end.  

I was pretty good with my exercising in 2018, so I want to keep that up.  And my weekday intermittent fasting too.  I even plan to buy some scales in the new year so I can keep track of my weight, rather than relying on how my clothes fit to tell me if I've gained or lost weight.  The goal is to lose at least 5kg by Easter.

I kept up with the exercising and fasting, but never lost that 5kg.  Or at least, I don't think I did.  I never bought any scales...  At this stage I feel like my body is just comfortable at this weight because it doesn't seem to matter what I do, I always end up one or two kilos either side of this weight.

And my final goal is to read more.  I'm not going to get my Goodreads reading goal in 2018, which tells me I'm not reading enough.  So I need to get on top of that.

I have done a lot of reading in 2019.  I'm struggling to reach the Goodreads goal, but am only a couple of books behind.  I figure if I do a lot of reading over the next couple of days I might get there...

So, there you have it.  My last year was a mixture of successes and failures in terms of my goals.  Tune in next week to see what my goals for 2020 might be...

Friday, December 27, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 27-12-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

Lots of things actually...

Christmas is over and we made it through the day without any major arguments or family feuds. Everyone seemed very happy with their gifts and even the younger kids didn't fight over presents.

On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) my partner and I went mountain biking and I somehow (don't ask me how) managed to ride off a small bridge onto some rocks.  I lost a bit of skin from my arm and have some spectacular bruises and a cracked rib or two, but it could have been a whole lot worse!  Just keeping my fingers crossed I've healed up enough to get back on my bike when we get to the beach house next week.

So while my various bruises heal, I'm taking time out to read and write.  I'm supposed to be deep cleaning the house, but I may have to take that in small chunks because it hurts to bend over or reach up too high...  All the more time for the things I really want to do.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Holidays!

As it's Christmas here today, I just wanted to wish you all the best for the holidays and hope you have a wonderful time wherever and however you choose to celebrate.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekly Goals 23-12-19

I'm on holiday so goals feel like something I shouldn't really have right now.  But because it's that time in the week, I'll play.

This week's goals are to relax and enjoy myself.  To read a lot.  Sleep a lot.  Eat good food.  Do some writing if I feel like it (and I'd better feel like it - I have a Jan 4 deadline for a story I'm writing for an anthology and I only started it on Thursday).

So that's my week planned out.  What are your goals for this week?

Friday, December 20, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 20-12-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?


Yes, I am now officially on holiday and have three long, blissful weeks in which I don't have to go to work.  I plan to do a lot of sleeping, eating, reading and writing.  And not a lot else.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, December 16, 2019

Books I've Read: Ship It

As I think I've mentioned before, fan fiction and the whole fan community thing is not something I'm really familiar with.  Although I think, if it had existed when I was growing up, I would have been right in there.  There's something about it that feels like it would have suited my slightly obsessive nature...

So I can't claim to be an expert on how these things work and how much of this book is real to that world and how much is fantasy or made up to make a more compelling story.  But I did enjoy reading this book, despite the main character, Claire, being kind of a pain in the ass.  She's an uber-fan of a TV show called Demon Heart and writes homo-erotic fan fiction about the two male leads.  Her fic is very popular within the Demon Heart fan community where there seem to be a lot of people willing to believe these two guys are only a wet-eyed glance away from falling into each other's arms (or beds).

Forest is the young actor who plays one half of the male duo Claire 'ships'.  Not a social media user, he's completely unaware there are people out there who are reading his character as anything other than 100% straight.  So when Claire brings up the question at a convention, he's flummoxed and reacts badly, lashing out at her for even bringing it up as a possibility.  

With a PR nightmare on their hands, the show's publicists leap into action to placate their small, but very important fan base.  And because Claire is an outspoken and popular member of the online fan community, she's selected to join the convention tour to try and win back the fan base that may have been lost by Forest's homophobic comments. Claire agrees, mainly because she's desperate to get to the show's creator, the only one who can make the fantasy she's spun about these characters a reality.

I liked that Claire was uncertain about her own sexuality throughout the book.  She meets a cute fan artist at the first convention and they keep meeting up.  Their attraction is mutual, but Tess is wholly comfortable with her sexuality and Claire still isn't sure where she sits on the spectrum.  This causes friction between them and more than a few misunderstandings.

Forest was an interesting character too as he learned about what it's like to be an actor on a popular show and have people making assumptions about you as a person based on a character you portray. His ineptitude with social media felt refreshing because it meant he was completely innocent of how the fans perceived him and his character.  Which lead to him making some big changes in himself, his plans for the future and the way he sees the world.

The lengths Claire is willing to go to to get what she wants are hilarious, and somewhat frightening.  Fandom can go too far, methinks...

I'd cautiously recommend this one.  I think if you're part of this community, you might find a lot wrong with the book and the way fandom is portrayed.  But not being part of the community, I didn't pick up on the inaccuracies (although bringing the cause of your PR nightmare on tour with you seems far-fetched to this marketing professional) and could just enjoy the ride.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

CLAIRE is a sixteen-year-old fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. FOREST is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it's a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire's assertion that his character is gay.

Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest's character and his male frenemy. She can't believe her hero turned out to be a closed-minded jerk. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Because he's not. Definitely not.

Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands. In order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community-as well as with their fans-they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colorful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into? Ship It is a funny, tender, and honest look at all the feels that come with being a fan.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Weekly Goals 16-12-19

Somehow the weekend got away from me and I didn't write anything.  I did read a bit, and do gardening and cleaning and various other chores, but no writing.  So I'm beginning to think this book is not going to get finished by Christmas the way I hoped it might.  But I'm going to try and find time to write this week, even a little bit.

It's my last week at work, and at this stage, I've finished all my major projects so this week is about tidying up and doing all those little admin things I've been putting off because I was too busy.

I haven't done all the Christmas stuff I need to do yet either, so this week I have to focus on that too.  I don't have a lot left to do, but I do have homemade gifts to make.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, December 13, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 13-12-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

There's only one more week of work before the holidays!

While on some levels that's actually quite terrifying, on others, it's fantastic.  I get three weeks off which is very much needed.  It has been a very long year and I really need a break to recharge for the year ahead.

I haven't done as much writing this week as I would have liked, but hopefully I'll get some done over the weekend.  I'm so close to the end of this book!

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Books I've Read: Without Merit

This was an interesting read for me.  Some of it I really loved, but other parts of it annoyed me a lot.

The main character, Merit, is an interesting one.  She's very flawed, mainly in that she has a fixed, unalterable worldview which makes her very judgmental, especially of her family.  Which is actually kind of justified, because her family are, in fact, pretty messed up.

Actually, even more messed up than Merit initially thinks. Over the course of a few weeks, and a lot of pretty terrible behavior, Merit discovers things about her family, and herself, she thought she understood, but really doesn't.

And in the middle of it all is the too-good-to-be-true boy who manages to see through Merit's facade and find someone worth loving behind it.

One of the things that annoyed me the most about this book was the character names.  They're all weird - Utah, Luck, Sagan, Moby.  I mean, who calls their kids things like that?  I'm not one to go for standard, ordinary names myself, but these were just absurd and I found myself focusing on them rather than the story several times.

The other thing that bugged me was how easily important things seemed to be brushed over.  Like the whole Syrian conflict that seemed to exist in the story solely so Sagan could have a tragic past and a cool line to use on Merit.  I find this kind of thing makes me really uncomfortable. I believe if you're going to use a complex political issue in your book, give it some context and explain it in a way the reader actually learns something about it and why it happened.  Don't use it as shorthand for character motivation.

That said, I did enjoy watching Merit's growing awareness of who she was and who her family members actually were outside her POV.  And Sagan was a sexy love interest, even if he seems, like so many other book boyfriends, too good to be true.  I mean, I want to meet one of these perfect, sensitive guys with wisdom, compassion, great smile and body to die for. 

So I would recommend this book, with a few reservations.  It was a quick, easy read, and enjoyable enough if you don't think too deeply about it.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Weekly Goals 9-12-19

I didn't get as much writing done over the weekend as I had hoped to, so this week it's all about writing the rest of this book.  I have a few things on this week (Christmas party season), so it's going to be a challenge to get enough time to write much, but I'll figure it out.

I also need to get myself organized for Christmas.  I haven't done anything much about it yet.  I need to get on that...

What are your goals this week?

Friday, December 6, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 6-12-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!

My elder son finished school for the year yesterday and won two awards.  He starts work today at 7am and will be working full time over the holidays.  He's going to be exhausted!  Especially since he decided to bike to and from work too.  But I'm super proud of him.

With Christmas looming, my other son and I are going to go into town today to do some Christmas shopping (and other shopping).  I've done most of what I need to do in terms of buying things, but I need to do my hand-made stuff which I give to most of my family because they don't really need things.

And I need to do some writing or this book won't be finished by Christmas as I'd hoped it would be.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

IWSG: December

It's the beginning of December (if you can believe it) so it's time for the Insecure Writers' Support Group to catch up ahead of the holidays.  And here's this month's question:

Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Having had a few days off from my day job recently to try and finish NaNo, I think I have a taste of what my life might be like if I had the financial freedom to be a full-time writer, rather than trying to squeeze my own work into pockets of time stolen from other parts of my life.  For me, this would be the dream.  The time to really live within my stories while I'm writing them.

On a regular day at the moment, I might get a couple of hours to write.  One in the morning and one or so in the evening.  And the evening one is often compromised by the exhaustion of the day that came before it.  Or, if I've had a big day of writing at work, I find I often don't have any words left for my own stuff at the end of the day.

Having a full day stretching ahead of me in which to write would be the real luxury. If this was my real life forever (or even for a year or six months) I'd get up just as early as I do now to get all the business side of writing done - replying to emails, blog posts, publicity stuff - before getting the kids up for school.  Then once I got the kids off to school,  I'd go to the gym and get my exercise in before sitting my butt down in my writing chair for the rest of the day.

Last week I did that for two days and wrote 11K.  Imagine how quickly I could finish drafting a book if every day could be spent like that...  I'd be done in just over two weeks.  And that's assuming I might have a few days that are a little less productive than others.

For me, that would be the dream.  To have those hours to immerse myself in my stories and characters and let them come to life on the page.

Unfortunately, I haven't won the lottery.  And the sales of my published books are not enough to allow me the luxury of not working a full-time day job yet.  If ever.  So for now, I have to just accept that my writing life needs to be shoehorned into the rest of my life somehow, and I'm not going to be writing multiple novels per year.  

What would your dream writing life look like?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Weekly Goals 2-12-19

Can you believe it's December already?  That's crazy!  One of my kids finishes school for the year on Friday...

This week's goal is to actually finish my NaNo book.  I'm close.  There are a few big scenes left, but I think I can probably finish it by the end of next weekend if I write as much as I have this last weekend.  But I won't have any full days to write this week like I have the last two weeks, unfortunately.

I suppose I had better start thinking about Christmas too...  It's coming pretty soon.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things: 29-11-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I won NaNo!

The book isn't finished yet, but I did manage to write over 50K in November.  And there's still another day left.  I don't think I'll make it to 60K, but I'll give it a shot.  I figure I have about another 15K to write before I can type 'the end'.

With November over, I only have another three weeks before the end of the working year.  I will have three weeks off work, half of which I'll spend at home getting the house tidy and clean for the new year, and the other half I'll spend at the beach house.  I can't wait!

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Books I've Read: 928 Miles From Home

This book turned out to be pitched much younger than most of the books I read, but I still enjoyed it to a degree.

Set in Nottingham, Calum lives on one of those grim English housing estates that are a staple in films by people like Ken Loach and Mike Leigh.  His dad is away a lot, doing something that sounds barely legal, leaving  Calum home alone for much of the week.  It's no wonder Calum has big dreams, ones that take him away from this drab, boring existence.  So when a local arts center offers a screenwriting contest, Calum is instantly intrigued.

But screenwriting isn't something Calum can talk about with his mates at school.  And keeping tight with these guys is becoming harder and harder as they bully anyone they see as different and spout loud opinions about outsiders and immigrants.

When Calum's dad moves his new Polish girlfriend and her son into the flat, everything changes for Calum.  Suddenly he's living with an immigrant, and outsider, and how is he going to explain that to his friends.  Especially since Sergei has been the focus of their bullying since he arrived at school.

But after Calum is the victim of a hit-and-run at the start of the summer holidays, he and Sergei find themselves thrown together and Calum, who was badly injured in the accident, is forced to rely on him.  As they begin to understand one another, a tentative friendship begins to grow.

Yet even as they begin to open up to one another, Calum can't help feeling like Sergei is keeping something from him.  And when he discovers Sergei's secret, it's something he would never have expected.

I liked how authentic this book felt in terms of the world Calum resides in and the struggle he has just to keep living.  Poverty and neglect aren't sexy and they are presented here in a really raw and realistic way.  Calum's loneliness and the way he keeps himself hidden so no one will discover how much time he spends alone is very true to kids who find themselves in this situation.  His resourcefulness when it comes to scrounging up food for himself once what his father left for him is gone also feels very real.

Throughout the book we get little snippets of screenplays he's writing, usually in head rather than on paper.  These are naive, but again feel real to Calum's experience (or lack of it) and the difficult lessons he's learning about life as he navigates his way through it.

But don't just listen to me.  here's the blurb:

Fourteen year old Calum Brooks has big dreams. One day, he’ll escape this boring life and write movies, proper ones, with massive budgets and A-list stars.

For now though, he’s stuck coping alone while his dad works away, writing scripts in his head and trying to stay ‘in’ with his gang of mates at school, who don’t like new kids, especially foreign ones.

But when his father invites his new Polish girlfriend and her son, Sergei, to move in, Calum’s life is turned upside down. He’s actually sharing a room with ‘the enemy’! How’s he going to explain that to his mates?

Yet when Calum is knocked down in a hit and run and badly injures his leg, everything changes. Trapped at home, Calum and Sergei slowly start to understand each other, and even work together to investigate a series of break-ins at the local community centre.

But Calum can’t help feeling like Sergei’s hiding something. Is he really trying to help, or cover up his own involvement in the crime?

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Weekly Goals 25-11-19

I had another good writing weekend this weekend, and am definitely on track to get through my NaNo words by the end of November.  Especially since I have a couple of days off again at the end of the week.  I'm at the really juicy part of the story now too, so I'm looking forward to writing these next bits, even if they do make me cry - which they might.

So this week is all about getting to that 50K.  And finishing the book, if possible.  Although that might take a few more days than there are left in November.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 22-11-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

A whole lot of writing!  I had two days off this week and spend both of them working on my NaNo project.  I got just shy of 11K written in those two days which puts me pretty much on track to finish on time.  And I have another two days off next week in which I hope to do the same amount, if possible.

Both the big projects I've been working on in my day job are now (almost) complete - all I have left to do is deliver the documents to the appropriate places when they get here from the printer.  This is a huge piece of work I've been doing since mid-June so getting it out the door is a huge relief.

And of course, the weekend is upon us.  And it looks like summer might be putting in an appearance this weekend.  I hope I get some time to sit out in the sun and read.  But writing has to come first.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Books I've Read: Ordinary Girls

I really enjoyed reading this book, but weirdly, when I was finished, I realized I couldn't tell you exactly what it was about.

It's the story of two sisters, Plum (short for Patience somehow) and Ginny.  They live a fairly chaotic life in a ramshackle house with their distracted, artistic mother.  The book follows Plum as she deals with her sister's increasing hysteria over getting into college and her own secret as she falls for a handsome jock.

It's written in a very humorous way and I enjoyed Plum's voice very much.  Much of what actually happens in the story is fairly absurd too, with the house they live in becoming as much a character as anyone else.

And to be honest, not much does actually happen.  But it doesn't matter because just being in Plum's company is enormous fun.  And seeing her world, through her eyes, is refreshing.  Just normal things like watching a basketball game on TV is different when seen through her unique lens.

So I'd recommend this to people who like quirky characters and amusing observations.  And probably to those who like classic literature too,  Both Ginny and Plum are big fans of those British classics and references to Jane Eyre and Jane Austen abound.  But that said, I don't think you would have to have read those books to understand this one, although I feel like you might enjoy it more...

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski, this heartfelt and humorous contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters—complete opposites—who discover the secrets they’ve been keeping make them more alike than they’d realized.

For two sisters as different as Plum and Ginny, getting on each other’s nerves is par for the course. But when the family’s finances hit a snag, sending chaos through the house in a way only characters from a Jane Austen novel could understand, the two drift apart like they never have before. Plum, a self-described social outcast, strikes up a secret friendship with the class jock, while Ginny’s usual high-strung nature escalates to pure hysterics.

But this has always been the sisters’ dynamic. So why does everything feel different this year? Maybe because Ginny is going to leave for college soon. Maybe because Plum finally has something that she doesn’t have to share with her self-involved older sister. Or maybe because the girls are forced to examine who they really are instead of who their late father said they were. And who each girl discovers—beneath the years of missing their dad—could either bring them closer together…or drive them further apart.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Weekly Goals 18-11-19

I'm surprised, but over the weekend I passed the 25K mark on my NaNo book.  Which means I'm pretty well on track for finishing on time.  Especially since I have two days this week and two days next week to write all day.

So obviously, this is my goal for the week: to write at least another 15K.

Which should be do-able.  And which will put me in a good position to finish the 50K by the end of November.  I don't think the book will be finished, but that's okay.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 15-11-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I am at the very last stages of the massive project I've been working on since June at work.  It should all be done and dusted by Friday next week.  And a second project I have been working on for several months is also just about at an end.

Which means I'm going to take some time off next week and the week after to write my NaNo book.  I was hoping to get a full week off, but because of meetings and various other things, I'm having to take two days each week instead.  But it still should work.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Books I've Read: Broken Beautiful Hearts

I enjoyed this book.  It dealt with something I haven't come across in a YA book before - possibly because I don't read a lot of sports books - and it's something I think should be spoken about more.  I won't say what it is here, because that will ruin part of the plot and I don't want to be one of those people.

When up and coming soccer star Peyton falls (or is pushed) down a flight of stairs at a party, she's terrified that her future is over.  With a cloud of suspicion hanging over her now ex-boyfriend's head, and even her best friend doubting her account of what happened that night, Peyton agrees to go an live with her uncle in the country while she recovers.

But there's drama even in the small town and Peyton soon finds herself in the middle of it, thanks to her twin cousins, heroes of the local football team.  And things get even more complicated when she meets Owen, a sweet, sexy guy whose dedication to his own sport is as great as her own.

I'm not particularly interested in sport, so it's unusual for me to pick up a book about sports.  But I do love passionate people who dedicate themselves to being the very best at what they do.  And this book is full of people who fit that profile.

Owen is a great love interest too, even if he does seem a little too good to be true.  But hey, it's fiction, and if you can't invent the absolutely perfect boyfriend in fiction, there's no point.  And as it turns out, Owen isn't quite as perfect as he seems...  Aren't all people like that?

It isn't a hard read, but it's an interesting one and the characters are fun to spend some time with.  There's enough tension and intrigue to keep one turning the pages without anything being too anxiety inducing.

So I'd recommend this one.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Her heart has to break before it can open.

When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him―and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee―and maybe her dream of going pro―is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.

He has to let someone in before it’s too late.

With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind―until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.

But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weekly Goals 11-11-19

I had another fairly productive weekend writing and added about 5K to my MS. I feel like a lot of what I'm writing is a little pointless and will probably get cut way down when I'm editing, but at least the story is getting onto the page.  I feel like I will be in good shape when I get to have my week off to write.  I was anticipating having to get through 30K that week, but it may only be 25K.

So my goal this week is to just keep going.   See how much more I can do during the week, and do as much as possible in the weekend.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 8, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 8-11-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

The usual things...  It's the weekend!

I have almost finished my giant project at work, so things should calm down a little by the end of the week.  And I hope to take the following week off to finish my NaNo book.  I am so looking forward to being able to immerse myself into my story for a week.

NaNo is going well so far.  I wrote 10K last weekend, and then have only managed another two since.  But I hope to get at least 5K in this weekend, if not more.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

IWSG - November

It's early November, so it must be time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  And this month's question is a good one:

What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

I've Googled some really odd things over time, and learned a lot from my research.  I often end up going down rabbit holes for hours on end, so if I have limited time, I tend to just leave myself a note if there is something I need to Google, and do it later.  But sometimes you just need to do that research because you can't move on with the story until you know that specific fact, or how that thing actually works.

I think the weirdest thing I ever Googled (and the thing that might get me in trouble if anyone ever needs to do deep forensics on my computer for some reason) was for Stumped. I was looking for clinical research or medical papers about amputees and sex so I could inform some of Ozzy's experiences better.

There are a lot of weird people out there, and some equally weird fetishes...  Who knew there were so many porn sites offering amputee sex?  It was quite disturbing, especially discovering there are people out there who fantasize about this stuff.  Maybe one day I'll use this knowledge in a character. But probably not...

What's the weirdest thing you've ever Googled?  Did you find what you were looking for?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Weekly Goals 4-11-19

So...  After saying I didn't think I'd get a lot of writing done this weekend, I actually wrote almost 10K.  I knew this story was just itching to come out.

So I'm feeling pretty good about that.

The goal is to try and write some words every day during the week, and then next weekend I will try to have another manic burst of activity.

After not really writing anything new all year, it's amazing how good it actually feels to just sit down and let the story pour out.  I know it's going to be garbage, but at least it's words on a page.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 1, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 1-1-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  And NaNo has begun!

My work week has been crazy and looks set to continue being crazy for another couple of weeks at least, so NaNo time is going to be limited.  I'm going to try not to freak out about that too much and just do what I can.  Then, once my big project is finished, I'm going to take a week off and just write.  I am determined to get this book written this month.  It's time.

But of course I didn't do anything smart like keep this weekend free so I can write.  No, that would have been way too sensible.  Instead, I have to do chores today because I'm going up the coast to a concert tomorrow.  And then it's dinner with my family.

So I'm not anticipating getting a huge amount written over the weekend.  But hopefully I can knock out a few thousand words.

My partner and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary on Halloween, so went out for dinner to celebrate.  The little Greek restaurant near our place is really very good.  Would heartily recommend!  We'd never been before, but we will be going back...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Books I've Read: Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

This is one of those books I really enjoyed reading, but certain things about it made me really uncomfortable.

Tiffany's mother has just died of cancer and just before she's about to leave her grandmother's house in Chicago to live with the father she's never met, another man shows up at her door claiming he's her father. Unable to deal with this new twist in her already chaotic life, Tiffany tells him to leave. But the seed of doubt is sown.

The doubt grows once she gets to California and discovers her father has four other daughters, a white wife, a religion Tiffany can't understand and a million seemingly arbitrary rules she will have to follow.

As Tiffany tries to settle in, she can't help wondering about the other man.  Especially once she reaches out to him and discovers they have more than a little in common.  With only seven days before he shows up demanding a paternity test, Tiffany is unsure how hard she should try and bond with her confusing new family.

Luckily there's an oasis of sanity across the street in the form of the strange Marcus McKinney and his two mothers who welcome Tiffany with open arms.  Unfortunately, Tiffany's father has an irrational hatred of these people and warns her not to associate with them.

I really enjoyed Tiffany's dilemma, being caught between two men who might be her father.  The more time she spent with Anthony and his family, the more I wished the other man's claim was true.  I also really enjoyed he struggle to settle with a family who were so completely different to the one she had grown up with.  And watching her try and bond with her new sisters was also and enjoyable part of the story.

What I found problematic was her father, Anthony.  His rules seemed arbitrary and overbearing.  The way he treated the youngest daughter who is autistic was also terrible, bordering on abusive.  I found his forcing of his religious beliefs on Tiffany was distasteful and his bigotry regarding the family across the the street was just the final straw.

And his wife let him get away with it?  I could almost understand her staying and not standing up to him if she was dependent on him, but she is the one with the wealth in the relationship.  She could have taken the kids and moved out any time. 

Overall, despite the issues I had with Anthony and his behavior, this is an interesting book and one I would cautiously recommend.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.

Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. The only thing that makes her new life even remotely bearable is the strange boy across the street. Marcus McKinney has had his own experiences with death, and the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them is the only thing that makes her feel grounded.

But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad—and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test and the truth comes out. With her life about to fall apart all over again, Tiffany finds herself discovering unexpected truths about her father, her mother and herself, and realizing that maybe family is in the bonds you make—and that life means sometimes taking risks.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Weekly Goals 28-10-19

Can you believe the end of October is rushing toward us?  What has happened to this year?

Obviously, the end of October marks the beginning go NaNo for those of us insane enough to try writing a novel in a month.  So this week my goals are to finish the word-cutting exercise I've been doing the past couple of weeks and send the damn manuscript off.

Then I'll be as ready for NaNo as I'm going to get.

I'm not going to freak out about word count on a daily basis because I know I'm probably not going to hit it most days.  But my plan is to take a week off work toward the end of November and spend that week writing 5-6 hours a day.  So I should make up the words I'm behind fairly easily that week.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 25, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 25-10-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's a long weekend!

Yes, Monday is our Labour Day, so we get a three-day weekend.  This is always the public holiday I look forward to most because it's been so long since the last one (Queen's Birthday in June).

So I'm looking forward to having a bit of extra rest this weekend.  I've been super busy at work again this week, and the next couple of weeks are likely to be even worse, so I am going to make the most of this weekend.  Even though I do have a bunch of work reading to do...  I will try to get that done all in one day so I still have two more days to enjoy.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Books I've Loved: Dig

I have been a longtime fan of A.S. King, and this book just proves why I'm right to rush out to read her new book as soon as it becomes available.

It's magnificent.

Like another book I loved this year (Bridge of Clay) it isn't the easiest book to read.  It's confusing to begin with, the characters not given names, but titles.  And then opening the book with a chapter about a pair of old people?

But as the book unfolds, the connections between these seemingly random strangers reveal themselves and the truths about why they are estranged from each other become clear.

I actually can't say a lot about the book here without ruining it for you.  It's a book I read in a single afternoon because once I started, I couldn't put it down.  It's about racism and tolerance, and family and the ways people divide and come together and misunderstandings that lead to a lifetime of isolation.  It's complex and honest and truthful.

It's one of the best books I've read all year.

So just read it, okay?

And while I've put the blurb here for you, I don't think you should read it.  I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't because the book was so much more of an adventure and a pleasure without having read it.

But it's your choice....

The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family's maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they've declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children.

"Because we want them to thrive," Marla always says.

What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby's drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamiaca between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest.

As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekly Goals 21-10-19

Once again I have a busy week at work ahead, so once again I am keeping my expectations of myself low.  I haven't finished my word cutting exercise yet, so I will keep going with that.  I'd like to get rid of another couple hundred if I can.

I signed up to do NaNo, but the book I signed up to write doesn't feel entirely ready in my head.  And another story has been haunting me for weeks.  So I may need to change that.  I guess I have a few more days before November 1 to figure it out.

And that's about it for me this week.

What are your goals?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 18-10-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!

I know, I celebrate that every week, but at the moment, my weeks are so crazy, having a couple of days off each week is definitely something to celebrate.  Especially weeks like this one where I don't actually have anything I have to do or anywhere I have to go.  Except cook Sunday dinner for the extended family, but that's most weeks, so I barely count it.  I like to cook anyway...

Fun fact you may not have known about me: I used to be a chef.

I paid my way through university as a chef (it paid way better than waitressing) and it has been one of those really useful skills I have been able to utilize at various other points in my career.  I also credit being a chef for the way I deal with stress and times when the workload becomes overwhelming.  Okay, in a restaurant you're only ever in the weeds for a few hours at a time, while in other businesses it can be weeks, but if you just focus on each task (or order) until it's done and you can send it out the door, eventually you reach the end.


So there's my profound wisdom for the week.

What are you celebrating?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Books I've Read: I Wish You All The Best

This was an enjoyable read.  Ben is close to finishing their senior year when they decide it's time to stop hiding the fact they're non-binary from their parents.  They're not entirely sure how they will take it, but don't expect to be kicked out of the house.

Ben finds themself on the street and is forced to call the sister they haven't spoken to in ten years.  A sister who also left home under a cloud of parental anger.

The rest of the book follows Ben as they navigate a new life with Hannah and her husband, Thomas.  They think they are going to be able to lie low at their new school, just make it through the rest of the year without any more drama.  They decide to keep their non-binary identity a secret from everyone except Hannah, Thomas and their therapist, not wanting any more chaos in their life.

But Ben doesn't figure on meeting Nathan, the charismatic boy who seems determined to be friends even when Ben deliberately tries to avoid it.  And the more time they spend together, the more certain it becomes that this friendship is moving toward something else.

I enjoyed this book.  Ben was an interesting narrator and their struggles were ones that will resonate with a lot of people, not only those struggling to find their place on the gender spectrum.  Their parents were really terrible and I found it difficult to believe that, having already lost their daughter, they wouldn't have tried a little harder with Ben to understand and to be supportive.  And not the kind of trying that involves demands and threats...

I liked the relationship between Ben and their sister and brother-in-law although it all seemed a little too easy for people who hadn't seen or spoken to each other for a decade.  And Ben would have been a little kid when Hannah left, so the fact they'd never spoken as grown-ups made the quick reconciliation and mutual understanding feel a little false.

Given the reason Ben was forced away from home was their non-binary identification, not a lot of time was spent on that.  I would have liked a little more about Ben's feelings about this, and how they came to the conclusion this was their reality.  There were a few places Ben became uncomfortable with people calling them 'son' or 'man' or using he/him pronouns, but it was never more than a passing thought that they didn't like it.

But apart from that, I found spending a few hours with these people to be a good time.  And Nathan was a worthy love interest.  I think every school has someone like him, one of those people who commands attention just by walking into a room.  Someone whose energy seems pitched just a little higher than everyone else's.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they're thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents' rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben's attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan's friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekly Goals 14-10-19

Once again I need to keep my goals limited because work is crazy.

I finished trying to cut 1,000 words from my story and managed to only get rid of about 350.  I need to go back and do another pass, this time being much more ruthless. So that's this week's task.

I've been giving serious thought to doing NaNo this year, just to try and get something new drafted.  But I'm not sure the book I want to write is ready to be written yet.  It's not fully formed in my head and a lot of the side characters are kind of hazy.

Plus, the usual lack of time and energy to write.  I was thinking I'd take a week off work to try and do the bulk of it, but I'm not sure I will be able to.  And if I do take a week off, would it be better to do it at the beginning of the month or the end?  I'm more likely to be able to take a week off at the end, but in reality, I feel like blasting through the words at the beginning of the month might be the way to go.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 11-10-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!

I've had another insanely busy week at work and am completely exhausted.  So this weekend is going to be a quiet one.  I have books to read and writing and editing I need to get on with.  I also feel like I should spend a little time with my kids considering it's the last weekend of their holidays and I've barely seen them the whole two weeks.

I've been really good and ridden my bike to and from work a few times this week.  Hopefully the weather will allow me to do it a few more times next week too.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Author Interview: Deidre Huesmann

I'm lucky enough to have fellow Evernight Teen author Deidre Huesmann visiting the blog today.  Deidre is the author of Burning Britely and its sequel, Yearning Young.

Welcome to Fiction and Film!

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?

Of my published works, probably Maya from the BURNING BRITELY duology. She seems like she likes her life, and has a solid friendship with the main character, Jeffrey. I also share a similar sense of humor as her (though she’s more boisterous), so it wouldn’t feel weird to do.

As for what I’d do… I’d have to mess with Jeff, of course! He’s such a stick-in-the-mud, how could I not? I’m sure Maya would approve.

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

For my YA contemporary, Jeff and Braeden’s stories are very close to things I experienced at their age – identifying myself as queer, unsure what to do about it, the military town life ensuring I keep my preferences to myself, the fear, the anxiety… I don’t see much of LGBTQ+ contemporary tackle military city life. Usually the bigotry comes from suburbs or out in the sticks.

In my YA fantasy stories I try to subvert expectations – and it’s getting harder to do in a crowded genre. The more comfortable I get writing LGBTQ+ characters, the more it seems to work. I think I’ll have some very interesting projects out there soon. More recently I’ve been working on incorporating food culture into my fantasies.

Something nobody can genuinely replicate are the senses of humor I instill in my characters. I’m terrible at being witty in person but give me some time and my characters are scathing.

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

YA contemporary isn’t my forte. In the case of BURNING BRITELY, it demanded to be written. I often find contemporary usually restrictive because of the real world, so playing by the rules can be a challenge for me. But the fun part was – and is – the characters. Jeff, Braeden, and Maya are so distinctive and play off each other in a way that I can’t help but smile at their interactions.

Which of your characters is most like you?

Probably Braeden Britely. I have a difficult time drawing myself out of toxic situations – especially at his age. I’m still working on bettering myself there. I also have a character named Natsuki in a WIP I’ve been working on for years, and her weirder sense of humor (especially as a defense mechanism) is definitely me.

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

With great power comes great responsibilities, and I think being a working mom is more than enough! But I guess I would find lack of sleep useful. I’d definitely get more done.

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)?

My sister and I already reenacted Beauty & the Beast (the Disney tower scene) as kids… and I think we could do better now! I’d have us try again. This time I’ll be nice and let her be Belle; she’s tinier than me anyway.

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

I have a knack for hurting myself in weird ways. I’ve stabbed myself trying to open a bottle of wine, broke off a toenail falling from a half-foot ladder, gashed my leg trying to shave with a cast on one arm, broken more dishes (and cut myself) trying to wash them than I care to admit, got whacked in the head with a live sandblast hose… I’ve got more but we’d be here all day.

I also have the honor of being the only woman in the family to experience typically genetic pregnancy difficulties. So that was an interesting one…

What other interests do you have outside of writing?

I love drawing! It’s a hobby I more recently got back into; I used to draw a lot in high school but picked it up again a few months ago. Also like playing video games (anything from Stardew Valley to Dragon Age – and I’m PSYCHED for the FF7 remake next year!).

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)

I don’t know if I have any nervous habits, but my husband says my face is scary when I get intensely into it.

About Deidre:

A military brat who lucked out and grew up mostly in the Pacific Northwest, Deidre has been reading for as long as she can remember, and writing since a teacher praised her story about a guinea pig in second grade. Now she's is the author of the Modern Greek Myth trilogy, the Secrets of the Sequoia trilogy, and the Burning Britely LGBTQ+ duology. While YA will always be the first love of her life, Deidre is most devoted to her kids, stepkids, and husband.


BURNING BRITELY is book one in an LGBTQ+ YA contemporary duology. Two young men in a military town struggling with their identities, what it means to be queer in a conservative area, and what they mean to each other.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Weekly Goals 7-10-19

I just realized I missed my Celebrate post on Friday.  How remiss of me...  I do apologize.  Last week was so crazy, I must have blanked on what day it was.

But onward, with goals for the week.

I already know it's going to be a really busy week at work, so one again I need to keep my expectations low as far as my own work goes.  So my goal is only to keep working on cutting words from my project.  Ideally I'd like to get through another ten chapters this week.

And apart from that, I'd like to be able to start riding my bike to work again now that it's light later in the evenings.  I had great plans to do it today, then realized I have a screening after work and it will be dark by the time that's finished.  So maybe Wednesday will work.  Fingers crossed the weather is good.

What are your goals this week?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG - October

It's the first Wednesday in October, so it's time for the IWSG.  This month's question is a good one and one I'm very passionate about, it turns out...

It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

I don't think you can be a writer if you don't read.  

Maybe you think your ideas are wholly original, but how do you know?  You may be writing exactly the same story thousands of other people have already written.  But equally, you may be writing something no one in the world would want to read.  Or your writing might turn out to be completely un-readable.

Reading not only teaches you what good writing and storytelling looks like, it also teaches you what bad writing and storytelling is.  Without reading yourself,  I don't understand how you would even understand how to write a book.  Or why you'd want to.  I mean, why put out a product you, yourself wouldn't even buy?

I guess the argument could be made that you can learn about storytelling through movies and television shows, but there is a big difference between writing a script (or watching a film) and writing a book.  Writing for film and television is a very different skill than writing novels or short stories and the storytelling onscreen is different to that in books.  The basic structure is similar, but the execution is different. Imagine trying to write a book by describing a film in detail, including the dialogue.  It might resemble a book, but it wouldn't be a book.

As for reading making you less original, yes, maybe a few words or phrases from another author's work might get stuck in your head and unconsciously be spat out on your page, but don't they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery?  And you will be using those words and phrases in a new context in a new story and you may not even have remembered them 100% accurately.

I strongly believe that in order to be a great writer, you must be a reader.  Everything I have learned about writing has come from reading and reading widely.  It's crucial you read within the genre you're writing so you can fully understand the rules and tropes and expectations of that genre.  You can then subvert those, but to do that successfully,  you need to understand them to begin with.

It's also crucial to read outside the genre you write to learn about other styles and tropes you could draw on to make your own work stronger.  You may even discover you want to write something quite different next time...  

So get out there and read a book.  You never know, you might even find you enjoy it!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Weekly Goals 30-9-19

This week is going to be crazy so I'm not going to put any pressure on myself to actually achieve anything major as far as writing goes.  I have a lot of revising to do after getting notes from beta readers, but until I've had time to think through how to make everything work, I'm not going to touch either of those projects.

So right now I'm working to cut 1,000 words out of another book so it fits the word limit for a particular publisher.  It's not difficult work, so it's something I can do while the back of my brain ticks along thinking about the other books and how they can be fixed.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 27-9-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!

And oh boy do I need it!

It has been an insane week.  And next week looks like it will be similar, with the addition of two days in Auckland at a conference.  Plus the kids are on vacation from school for two weeks.  I will have to try to take a couple of days off in that second week to hang out with them.

On the plus side, since the kids are on vacation, they can do all the housework for the next couple of weeks.  While I go to the movies or lounge in the sun with a book.  A girl can dream, right?

What are you celebrating this week?