Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's up Wednesday and Ready. Set. Write! Update


I am sorry to have fallen out of the loop these last weeks, friends. I am still very much in the throes of finishing the things I need to finish before the baby arrives, which could be any time in the next month. 

Ahhh, it's overwhelming but by taking a break from blogging I have managed to get a lot done. 



 What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Join by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

What I'm Reading
Still reading Lies my teacher told me. It's good, but it's not a page turner. I continue to work through it slowly. 

Also started Finnikin of the Rock by the masterful Marchetta, until my husband stole it right from under my nose! He's entranced and is almost done. I will get it back next. 

After seeing a cover story on author Hugh Howey in my college alum magazine and realizing we were in school together around the same time and hung out at the same places  (though I don't remember him), I decided to pick up WOOL. 
Wool is, if you don't know, a much-buzzed indie book that gained an enormous following and is now a huge bestseller. Oh my goodness! It's published serially and at the time I got the first installment for free from Amazon. I read it within an hour. 
I totally understand why people LOVE these books. I then ordered the omnibus (all the serialized bits of the first full book, WOOL). I am telling you, if you haven't read it yet-- do. 
It is a truly compelling story with thorough world building, fascinating characters, beautiful use of language and so much intrigue I can't tell what will happen next. I highly recommend it. 

Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson. A story about a girl who needs a heart transplant, but really about a great deal more. I don't want to give too much away, but I loved the way the author wove together the stories and lives of so many people. I enjoyed it thoroughly.  

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. Not my favorite Dessen of all time, but I enjoyed it. She is a dependable, solid writer who I always enjoy. It's not that I didn't like the book-- it just wasn't my fave by her. I loved the kooky musician boyfriend, but Remy was tough to get behind at times. I think I'm too much of a sucker for a likable lead. But don't get me wrong, it's still Dessen (read: excellent).

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. Her madcap characters and the ridiculous situations they get themselves into always make me smile. She also tends to write really charming and swoon-worthy male leads. A good read.

Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs. In this book Jacobs spends over two years trying out various methods in a quest to become the healthiest man alive. Whether exploring noise pollution or caveman exercise routines, Jacobs' approach to health is interesting and multi-faceted. Jacobs is a genuinely funny writer, and I loved reading about all the health fads... though the take home message seems to be most of them don't work.  

Finally, still working through Goblet of Fire with the boys. Good times.

What I'm Writing/ Ready. Set. Write!
Update
Tenure packet (95% complete). I am editing the whole document, waiting for a few last letters to include and have some final organizing to do... then I hope to turn it in. 
Mina Takes the Sky (100% complete). Sent off for another round of feedback. 

Not even attempting to work on these last two right now. They're not on the back burner. They're not even in the kitchen. 
Thirst (9% complete). 
Stung (12% complete)

Where I was at last report:
Tenure packet (71% complete). I feel like I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
Mina Takes the Sky (9% complete)
Thirst (9% complete)
Stung (12% complete)

So, things are where they need to be... but the tenure packet feels at times like it will NEVER be complete. I think this last 5% may drag on for weeks. I'm now in the stage where I'm waiting for input and getting it on any kind of schedule is completely beyond my control. Mental health wise, it's not the greatest feeling, especially with the huge unknown of when the baby might arrive. 

But, I keep telling myself it's not "due" until mid-September, and it will all be sorted out by then. It has to be, no matter when the new baby appears. And I've been taking walks and doing some deep breathing. Let's hope it helps. 

What Inspires Me Right Now
We had an awesome birthday party for the boys this weekend, on the theme of SCIENCE. It was so flipping fun. We did some fun experiments, ate great food, and got to spend time with several friends we don't see enough. At the end of the night James said, "that was the best birthday party EVER!" which made me feel all kinds of wonderful. 

And now--  what's up with you?

37 comments:

  1. WOW!!!! I can see why you have been "out of the loop." Lots of wonderful things going on. Congrats on the imminent arrival! And on almost finishing the tenure packet! And on the completion of your story! And it sounds like you are the coolest mom ever - can you organize my kids bday parties?! That one sounds FUN.

    Also, love this: "They're not on the back burner. They're not even in the kitchen." LOL

    Take care of yourself, woman! And have a wonderful week!

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    1. YAY Alison, nice to "see" you! I miss all my bloggy friends. :0) My sister did a Science birthday for her son this year and it got RAVE reviews. We didn't even do a friend party last year for the kids, so I felt like we needed to make this one special! You have a great week, too!

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  2. I felt the same way about THIS LULLABY. I liked it--especially Dexter and the band!--but had some issues with Remy's likability. I think my fave Dessen book is JUST LISTEN.

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    1. Okay-- glad to hear it's not just me. I so respect what Dessen was doing there in making Remy a kind of prickly character, but it just wasn't my favorite. I loved Just Listen. I think that may have been the first I read by her-- that or Lock and Key, and I loved both. I also thought Dreamland was perfection.

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  3. Congrats on being close to done with the tenure packet, and 100% with MINA TAKES THE SKY (love that title, by the way!) I love that the science birthday party was such a hit. :)
    And what Alison said: take care of yourself, and have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Rebecca-- it has been a busy in the good way kind of month. But I'm looking forward to having a baby and some relative down time! :0)

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  4. Aww...I love the idea of a science-themed birthday party, that sounds so fun.

    That 5% left in your tenure packet? That's nothing! Think about all the work you've already finished for it. You kick butt!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer-- I needed to hear that! You're so right. I'm focusing on that 5%, and I should be high five-ing myself on that 95%. :0) The science b-day was the absolute BEST. So much fun!

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  5. A science theme party - such a cool idea. Wonder if my girls would trade their usual butterfly and sparkly parties for science?

    Huh, now I'm really intrigued by WOOL. And Finnikin too. And with all those reads, sounds like you made excellent progress on your writing and packet too.

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    1. The experiments made the party, Margo-- we did baking soda and vinegar in test tubes with food coloring, then the kids starting putting the caps on the test tubes and shaking them-- shooting the caps across the yard. My quiet science experiment went crazy and they LOVED it. They were all re-charging their test tubes and shooting their caps again and again. It made me wish the favors were safety glasses, but everyone had fun! :0)

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  6. This Lullaby is one of the only Sarah Dessen books I've never read. I think I tried to read it once but gave up after a couple of pages - maybe I should try again sometime.

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    1. Reading is so subjective, Laura, but if it were the only one I'd tried and I couldn't finish it-- I would definitely pick up another. She is an incredible writer. Funnily enough I read that This Lullaby was her favorite of the books she had written, and I'm sure many of her fans love it, too. She's wonderful-- read something by her, definitely. :0)

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  7. I don't think I read This Lullaby either; I love her characters, but the writing frustrates me a bit. I'm also intrigued by Wool but the author made some potentially offensive comments online which worsened when he got defensive instead of just apologizing. Sigh. It's hard sometimes to separate the art from the artist--where do you draw the line? It just goes to show that bad online behavior can affect book sales; even if he's doing well (really well) there are people now who won't buy his books.

    But enough on not good things--tenure packet sounds exciting! Maybe a bit like refinancing a mortgage with all the paperwork, but in the end, reward! I read your About Me page, your work sounds so interesting.

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    1. Thanks Stephsco-- had not heard about any author controversy. I tried to google it, but just got a post on his blog with an apology and a comment about removing another post. Sorry to hear it. I have no idea about the nature of the offense, but now I'm very curious. I can say the book is excellent. Also, I sent him an email earlier in the summer b/c we had some people/places in common in Charleston and he wrote me back and was very kind. So, speaking from my own VERY limited experience, he seems like a nice guy.

      In general, I don't know how to separate the art from the artist. I have been thinking about that a lot lately with the Ender's Game movie coming out. I loved the book so much, but the more I read about the author and his very overt politics the less I want to see or read anything by him.

      I agree-- enough on not good things. :0)

      Yes, I imagine the tenure is like refinancing a mortgage-- lots of paperwork and stress. :0) Have a great writing week!!!

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  8. That's a lot of reading you've been doing recently, Kat. I'm glad it's been enjoyable for the most part. And it sounds like the tenure packet is coming along. It's frustrating when you do all you can, but can't complete because you're waiting on things beyond your control. And to have two things (completing the packet and the baby)--arggh!

    I hope you have a productive week!

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    1. You hit the nail on the head, Colin. I don't do well with "things beyond [my] control" anyway... and you're right-- here are two major things I can't control in the least. :0) Thanks for the support, though, because it does help!
      Have a great writing week!!

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  9. Way to go on your tenure packet and MINA. It sounds like you really have gotten tons done! I love that your husband stole FINNIKIN from you -- just make sure you get it back because that book is amazing. One of the best books I've read so far this year (the whole trilogy, really, is incredible). Happy birthday to your boys, and what a cool theme for a party. I noticed some of the ideas you pinned, and they looked very cool.

    Hope you're feeling good, and that baby makes an appearance soon. I'm so excited for you, Kat!

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    1. Thanks, Katy! He finished it last night and we've already ordered the next two. :0) I read about a quarter of Finnikin and loved it so, and I'm not usually a fantasy reader. Just goes to show the power of Marchetta. I love everything she does!
      I wish I'd taken more pics at the party-- to busy having fun. The experiments were great. Hope your week is great!

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  10. Good luck with finishing the tenure packet. That sounds like it takes precedence over any other writing. And might I add, it's so refreshing to encounter someone who doesn't have an induction date scheduled like so many other expectant mothers these days. Babies come when they're ready, even if it might be inconvenient to not know exactly when.

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    1. Thanks Carrie-Anne! Yes, tenure definitely comes first. I have my complaints, as I would with any job after many years, but I'd definitely like the security of tenure. :0) Yes, I'm a big believer in just letting the baby come when it will. It's not fun to be uncomfortably pregnant, but waiting for labor to start on its own has worked for me twice before. :0)

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  11. A science birthday party sounds so cool. Good luck with the tenure packet. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks Amy-- the experiments made the party. The kids loved them, and several of the grownups, too. :0)
      I hope your writing week is very productive!

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  12. Wow! Just the sound of tenure packet is intimidating. I hope you get it finished soon.

    I can't wait to hear the news (and see the photos) of your new baby. Congratulations!!

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    1. Yes-- tenure is intimidating. I keep thinking, "just break it into manageable chunks." That's kind of my mantra.
      Aww thanks about the baby! We are SO EXCITED. Thrilled to be having a girl and we're all wondering what she'll be like! We can't wait. I'll definitely post photos here. :0)

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  13. I almost fell out of my chair when I thought you'd gone from 9% complete to 100% complete on your MS during the same week that you read eight books. Then I saw it had been about a month since you last did a WUW. Doing all this in a month is still very impresses, but I may at least still believe that you're human, maybe. Congrats on accomplishing so much, and good luck with what ever comes next. I know you can do it.

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    1. Funny, Kate-- no, not the case at all. It has been a month at LEAST. :0) And it was edits (not even the first round of edits) on the MS-- not the initial writing phase, which also makes a difference. Thanks for all the encouragement!

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  14. That's hilarious (and also kind of awesome) that your husband stole FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK from you. I mean, not cool that you didn't get to finish it because he stole it, but you know what I mean. :-) I really enjoyed that one! Good job finishing up MINA TAKES THE SKY! That's awesome progress since you checked in last. It sounds like you've been crazy busy, but doing wonderful things, so that's good. Hope the tenure packet works itself out before Baby gets here. :-)

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    1. I know-- I made him read Jellicoe Road and he's now a Marchetta fan. He finished Finnikin last night, so I hope to start it soon!
      I am also hoping the tenure packet gets done before the baby arrives. It's so unpredictable... but that's just the nature of it. :0)

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  15. Aww, a science party sounds fun! Congrats on finishing your revision and being almost done with your tenure packet. I say, relax and enjoy these last few weeks of summer and your time before the baby arrives! Everything will work itself out.

    Meanwhile, I'm impressed by how much you've been reading!

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    1. Ghenet! So nice to "see" you! The science party was super fun. The boys loved it. And you are right... now is the time to relax. I hope that this tenure thing wraps up soon. Then I can feel like I can truly relax. :0)

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  16. I'm always blown away by how much you read, and the quality of the books you read. I'd never heard of Hugh Howey before today. Perhaps I've been living under a rock. It's amazing that someone can make that kind of money self publishing.

    And go you with the science birthday party! How cool. Wish I'd thought of that when my boys were young. Our best was a pirate party complete with a treasure hunt in the basement, with rhyming clues I wrote myself.

    Deep breaths and walking are both wonderful for you right now. Stay cool.

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    1. Thanks Joanne-- a pirate party sounds super awesome! Love the idea of a rhyming treasure hunt-- how cool!

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  17. I just nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogger Award on my Screwing Up Time blog.

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  18. You've made good progress on the writing projects! Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Nina-- feeling great about everything I've done this summer. :0)

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