Sometimes, Life Is . . .

Thank goodness it’s Wednesday!

I don’t say that often, but it’s been a crazy week so far; and knowing it’s Wednesday means I’m that much closer to the weekend.

The pace at work always picks up at this time of year; there’s a crunch of projects and tasks that must be done before the end of the year. Add to that the fact that a lot of my coworkers plan to take time off next week for Thanksgiving, and I have a recipe for long days and a lot of work.

There are a lot of things I planned to get done this week, but because of my work schedule, they’re now on hold.

Sometimes, life just isn’t one of these:

But the good thing is, I’m working through it! And as I come up for air from the pile of work that’s on my desk, I’m reminded that there’s still much to be thankful for:

I have a job I love, and coworkers I truly like and admire.

And I’m especially grateful that it’s Wednesday, and a quiet, restful weekend is only two days away!

Does Every Treat Have a Trick?

I’m going to tell you a true-life story. I hope you can relate to it.

About ten years ago, Prince Charming and I took a long-anticipated trip. We were both in high-stress jobs at the time, so this getaway was very important to us.

We planned every detail in advance, because we wanted to start our vacation stress-free, with no last-minute rushing about. We had a list of items to pack, which we dutifully checked off, one by one, as we put things in our suitcases.

We had a list of things to do, like holding our mail with the post office, and notifying our home security company of our trip, so they’d make extra rounds while we were away.

We even had a time table for the morning of our departure, starting with the time we wanted our alarm to go off, all the way up to the moment we checked our bags and entered the lines at airport security.

We had everything planned out, anticipated every problem, accounted for every contingency.

The big day arrived. When the alarm went off, we got up, dressed, and headed to the airport, right on time. We were happy. We were stress-free.

And we were proud of ourselves because all that pre-planning was paying off.

Then it happened. We were in the car, on the freeway, almost at the airport for our early-morning flight, when Prince turned to me and asked, “Did you remember to turn the coffee pot off before we left the house?”

So much for stress-free travel.

No, of course I could not remember turning it off, and my stress level immediately went from 2 on the scale to Red Alert level.

In those days, our coffee maker didn’t have an automatic turn-off mechanism. And since I couldn’t remember turning off the burner under the pot—and, incidentally, neither could Prince Charming, which was kind-a why he asked the question—I had an immediate vision in my head of the coffee maker melting down from its own heat and catching the house on fire. Prince had the same vision.

We immediately abandoned our beautifully orchestrated timetable and returned to the house. Prince kept the motor running, while I ran in, only to find one of us had turned the burner off under the pot, after all. So, it turned out, there was no need to rush; there was no reason to panic; there was no cause for worry.

We just had to get back on track and finish what we set out to do, and get that vacation started.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because I had a coffee pot moment not long ago; but this time, the thing that got off track wasn’t a vacation. It was a book.

Back in January I set a goal for myself to finish a novel I’d been working on. And guess what?

I did it!

I finished the novel and sent it off to a couple of beta readers and a proofreader.

Confident, I had a cover designed, wrote a book blurb, and set a date to publish my book in print and e-book formats.

And then I heard back from my readers. They all liked the overall story, loved the hero, and Miss Proofreader spotted only a couple of typos.

But they all agreed there was a problem with one of the subplots. And I had to admit, once they brought it to my attention, I saw the problem, too. But why had I not seen it before?

I was so busy concentrating on writing “The End” on the last page of my manuscript, and reveling in the feeling of having accomplished a major goal, that I didn’t see a hole in my plot.

And now I have to do some revisions throughout the story so that plot hole can be fixed.

So, the good news is, I did achieve one of my goals for the year. I finished writing my book. But the bad news (if you can call it that) is I still have some more work to do to on it.

So I’ve re-calibrated my timetable, and I’m now busy with rewrites.

And while I do that, I want to give a shout out to beta readers and proofreaders all over world.

Thank you! You help make dreams come true.

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Talked to Death

Am I the only one who wishes there were no such thing as political ads? They’re everywhere; I can’t escape them, but I dearly wish I could!

I think this 1873 Currier and Ives print sums up my feelings pretty well:

I’ve decided that until election day, my only form of entertainment will be reading.

No TV (unless I’ve recorded the program and can fast-forward through the commercials), no more radio. Just books.

Having made that decision, I now know why I have a To-Be-Read pile that’s taller than I am (times three); it’s for emergencies such as this.

So, a few minutes ago, I covered my eyes with one hand and poked the fingers of my other hand into my TBR shelf; here’s the book I randomly selected:

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

Doesn’t this look like  a fun book? It’s my first time reading this author and I’m looking forward to losing myself in her cowgirl world. And when I’ve finished this book, I’m going to select another; then another.

So good-bye horrible, screeching, misleading political ads. I’ll see you again in 2020.

Updates and My New WIP

It’s been a busy 2018 so far.

The good news is that all that busy-ness has produced some real results! Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last few months:

Isabella Alden Blog

I manage a website dedicated to sharing the life and written works of Christian author Isabella Alden. With weekly blog posts and daily updates on Facebook, it keeps me pretty busy!

But this year we (my techie friend Susan and I) made a few changes to the website we’re pretty proud of:

  1. We made Isabella’s website ad-free. No more distracting ads for heaven-knows-what kinds of products!
  2. We added a Privacy Policy page to the website, so visitors will know exactly how we do or do not collect or use their data when they explore the site.
  3. We arranged to publish Isabella’s Free Reads through BookFunnel. This is a big development for us. Every month we publish one of Isabella’s novels or short stories for free on the site; but in the past, we published those Free Reads only in Adobe PDF format. We now publish them in PDF, mobi, and e-pub formats, and distribute them through BookFunnel. It took a lot of work hours to get to this point, but we think it was worth it!

My WIP

I’ve been hard at work on my own novel, too!

Back in January I shared my “word of the year” with you . . .

Finish

. . . and pledged to finish at least one writing project of my own.

I’m pleased to report that it looks like I’m going to meet my goal!

My current work-in-progress is coming along nicely. So far, I’ve written

77,739 words!

That’s almost a complete book! Of course, I still have plenty of work to do to complete my novel, but I’m happy with my progress so far.

In my next post I’ll share my novel’s title and cover, so stay tuned!

All-in-all, 2018 is turning out to be a very productive year, and I couldn’t be happier.

How’s your year going so far?

 

A Free Read for Your Week

We’re expecting snow in Denver tonight. You may think that’s not a remarkable occurrence in Denver at this time of year, and normally I’d agree with you.

But this winter has been unusually dry for us. We’ve had precious little rain or snowfall, here in Denver and up in the high country where ski resorts rely on fresh snowfall.

It’s such an unusual weather pattern for us; in fact, I’ve been doing my daily walks in 60 to 70 degree weather . . . in March! It’s a little crazy!

Tonight we’re expecting snow, and tomorrow I intend to enjoy all the things that naturally go with a wintry day. I’ve already promised myself that if I’m good and get all my chores done (that includes writing at least 500 words on my current work-in-progress), I get to do what I love to do most on a snow day:

Curl up on the couch with a good book.

Pinterest

Sounds good, right? I’ve already got my afternoon planned, and I know what I’ll need:

  • A soft blanket to cover my legs
  • A freshly brewed cup of cinnamon apple spice tea
  • A dog or two to cuddle with
  • A great read

Pinterest 02

And I’ve already selected the book I’m going to read: Promise of Peppermint by Valerie Comer.

Valerie is one of my favorite authors; I never miss her books. If you haven’t read any of Valerie’s novels, you’re in luck, because right now you can read Promise of Peppermint for free!

Free Read

All you have to do is click here or on the pink graphic above to go to Valerie’s website. Just sign-up for her monthly newsletter, and you’ll get a link to download Promise of Peppermint.

It’s a great way to read one of Valerie’s books for free and decide if she’s an author you’d like to read in the future. And if you decide her style of writing isn’t for you, just unsubscribe from the newsletter.

Easy-peasy.

I hope your Monday is a great one. Stay warm . . . and enjoy the book!

(P. S. I’m a fan of Valerie’s Christian romances, but I don’t know Valerie and I don’t get any compensation for recommending her books. I just like sharing my favorite authors and books with you.)

 

Taking Control of Clutter . . . Again

In my spare time (IS there such a thing???) this week I’ve been cleaning up the clutter in my garage.

I’ve done it before (actually, I’ve done it several times before) but the clutter keeps coming back. It starts out small. Usually, when I’m in a hurry, I will set something down on the workbench “just until I have time to put it away.”

Garage clutter
I take comfort in knowing my garage does not look quite this bad. Still, it’s bad enough.

Of course, I never get around to putting the item where it belongs. And since it looks so lonely out of place by itself, I end up putting other things with it, until I have a jumbled pile of items begging for a home. Even worse, I’ve lost track of what’s in the pile.

Is it any wonder I can’t find what I’m looking for?

I’ve read enough about this syndrome to know I’m not alone. Clutter is rampant in American garages just like mine.

Einstein Quote

And it’s rampant on American desks, too. Desks like mine.

This is another area where I can show my true colors as a Pile Person. I have piles for everything on my desk, and each pile is important. At least, I think they’re all important. But since I haven’t looked through any of the piles in months, I can’t be sure, because I don’t remember what’s in those piles.

Here’s an example. One pile consists of ten 3.25″ disks. They’re all clearly labeled, so I know they contain information I’m going to need someday. Although neither my PC nor laptop read 3.25″ disks, I still hang on to them, even though the documents they contain are lost forever because I can’t access them because I can’t read the disks. It’s a vicious cycle.

Messy Desk in my Head

I don’t know why I tend to collect things in piles. I will probably have to invest in a minimum of seven to ten therapy sessions to figure it out.

But I can say that when I get the urge to go through my clutter—as I did this week in the garage—and sort and organize and discard, I feel great!

Clutter Fairy

In fact, I felt so great I immediately rewarded myself with a bowl of ice cream and the words, “You deserve it.”  Maybe ice cream and the chance to strut around the house like a winner is sufficient encouragement to make me tackle all that clutter on my desk.

Or maybe not.