Crazy Teen Dating Drama Pt. 2 & Laziness

I am supposed to be working on my last big round of edits. I’ve managed to get the first half done and was just starting on the second half on Friday when I got a rather distressing text from BG saying that she needs to talk to me about something really important, that she is probably going to be in trouble and I’m most likely going to get a call from the school. This from the girl that is obsessiveness about following rules and doing the right thing. Both her and MC are straight A students and just NEVER get into any trouble. The most I’ve had to do is yell at them for pestering each other. To say I was stunned is a massive understatement.

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*Sigh* Again, Muse?!

Between working on my edits and dealing with both myself and MC being sick, the last several days have been… fun. The whole not feeling great thing had me taking meds that wouldn’t let me sleep. As is so typical for me, my brain simply would NOT shut up in that situation. So, sitting there at 3 or 4 am wanting desperately to sleep, my crazy Muse pops her head up and points out that BG’s point costume this year (a romantic length for the first time ever instead of a stiff, flat tutu design) would make a stunning cake.

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Back to Crazy

As has been the pattern since I started my book project, everything is hitting all at once again. I got my final round of edits back from my editor the night before a family outing to celebrate MC’s birthday (not on the actual day). I still have the actual day to work on, which means making a batch of Death By Chocolate, again, along with fixing a massive pile of chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. That pretty much wipes out any time I’d have to work on edits that day. I also have  MC’s appointment to get stitches out and his post-surgery check up later in the week along with a couple of other appointments.

So, I’m over the moon excited about getting my edits back, but beyond frustrated that I’m going to have very little time to actually sit down and work on them this week. I WILL make time to work on them though because this pushes me really close to being ready to work on the cover design and being done. I’m so close!

I’m trying really hard to stay focused on those things and not the fact that this is birthday #17 for MC. When the hell did that happen?! Or the fact that I’ll be adding another year to my age only a week later. But hey! Great birthday present, though!

 

 

Christmas Program Week

This weekend kicked off Christmas Program week for BG at dance, starting with ballet. It is crowded and sometimes not easy to see because of that, but I love these programs. They are smaller and more intimate than the huge end of year recital. This year was even more interesting as BG had her boyfriend show up which made her a bit of a nervous wreck. We spent nearly the entire program, BG and I, making eye contact and faces at each other. Me, mostly to help her relax and have fun. There were a couple of times where the expression on her face was priceless as she was trying so damn hard not to laugh. It was perfect and she was beautiful as always.

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Book Editing – Revisions Part 1.5

I just finished up the final edits from my editor for this round. I still have another full read through I need to do to make sure all my changes work and that I didn’t break anything. I’m still feeling a little iffy at the moment because this ended up being such a choppy, broken up process with some rather big time gaps between when I was able to sit down and work that I’m not sure it all works like I think it should. At one point, I started second guessing the way I was writing certain things (more of a stylistic thing than anything), even going so far as to change how I was doing it, only to realize I was being stupid and had to go back and fix it.

There were so many parts moved around, added and removed that I’m worried I missed something and broke something in the timeline (a huge peeve of mine is to have those kinds of things messed up even if it is a tiny little element). That is one of my biggest reasons for the additional read through, but I’m worried that I’ve looked at this so much that I’ll still miss something. It is a little frustrating because I was so incredibly conscious of this as I was writing originally, I KNOW I didn’t miss anything. Now, I’m just not sure. Hopefully my read through will make me feel better about it.

Hubby is on standby ready to do yet another read for me. Can I just say how crazy awesome he is that he is willing to do this for me even though he kinda hates to read? I’m even more grateful because he is most likely going to be the only one putting eyes on this besides me before it goes back to my editor this time since my other beta reader is in no position to be able to read again with her still unable to return to her home after the fires. It makes me nervous, but I have to work with what I have.

Once I do finish and Hubby has added his dime to the mix, it goes back for another round, so I’ve still got lots of work ahead, but I’m almost over this bump.

Furry Chair Thief & Revisions Update

The kids are FINALLY back to school today after an extended Thanksgiving break thanks to a couple of snow days. Yay, right? Nope. They still get out early because that is what was already scheduled. Don’t get me wrong. I love having my kids home. It was especially nice because Hubby worked from home as well. The problem is that Hubby worked from home as well.

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Hanging In There

My maple is hanging in there, still full of leaves and color, with the core still being pretty green. I’m expecting that to change rapidly over the next few days with the crazy cold heading our way. One of the things I love about this tree is the range of colors we get from it throughout the season. Bright, vivid reds, deeper burgundies, oranges, all set against the darker looking branches and the central green (at least for a chunk of the time until we hit complete color). Maples are one of my top favorites for that very reason.

I didn’t get a chance to work on my revisions yesterday, but I spent close to 9 hours working on Monday and only got through the first two chapters. I’m not even completely certain I’m done with those. It isn’t flowing like it did when I sat down the first time to write. Or even when I did my first round of my own edits before sending it off. I’m still hoping that changes some when I get a little deeper into it, but I’m not expecting it to be easy. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m slowly chipping away at it. Progress, that is what’s important.

Book Editing – Revisions Part 1

I had a nearly three hour call with my editor last week. It was majorly productive, but it left me at a point where I have a LOT of work ahead of me. I’m grateful because I know that this process will make this better when it is all said and done, but… it is still a lot. It’s a little ridiculous how not prepared for that I was. I KNOW on every level that this isn’t an easy process just from what I’ve read about it from authors I read, but it still came as a surprise just how much work I have left to do.

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Aftermath

Today is insane. I had a nearly 3 hour call with my editor (notes on that to come). Now I have to deal with the aftermath of having a haunted garage for Halloween and still wanting to put the cars in after it is all over (and that is only a small portion of what I still have to pack up). Having spent 2 days going in and out, then up and down on a ladder, my body is trying to revolt, but I still have to get everything packed up. So… I’m off to get busy. Then crash.

Book Editing – Round One

I am almost always an emotional person first. My initial reactions to things come from an emotional point rather than a logical one. I am also very logical, but that isn’t usually the basis for my reactions unless whatever situation is in play isn’t an emotional one for me. So, having my initial reaction to the first round of feedback I got from my editor be very emotional should have been expected. It still kinda wasn’t and, for a little bit, I felt a wave of not so great things.

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More Chaos? Sure, Why Not?

And again, everything seems to be hitting at once. At least this time it is all good stuff. Mostly. Hubby’s annual bake sale at work is coming up so I am starting on all the baking for that today. I don’t think I’m doing anything new this time, but I’ll be sure to repost any recipes.

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Picking Pumpkins

We went over the weekend to get our pumpkins. It was kind of a perfect day for it. Even though the kids are in their teens, they both still love doing this, which makes me incredibly happy. Hell, I’m in my 40’s and I STILL love doing this. Sadly, I have zero clue what I’m carving this year.

It is going to be an insane next couple of weeks as Hubby’s annual bake sale is coming up, so I’ll be baking for that. The kids have things going on. I have a B-Day dinner to fix and then we have to carve those pumpkins followed by Halloween. Oh, and those edits are supposed to show up at any time. So, yeah, bring on the crazy times!

Now That I Am Someone Else: Carol Paxman

Author: Carol Paxman
Book Name: Now That I Am Someone Else
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Family Drama
Rating:  Didn’t Like

2+stars

Blurb:

Who am I now that I’m not who I thought I was? This is the question Cindy asks herself.

Cindy’s life was a fairy tale.
A beautiful home, three amazing daughters and married to the man of her dreams.

When Cindy’s very own Prince Charming decides he’s had enough of the fairy tale, and takes off with her friend. Where does that leave her?

Now Cindy has to figure out who she is now that she is no longer who she thought she was.

Note to self… Double, triple and quadruple check book length BEFORE getting a book. The title of this is almost longer than the book itself. This doesn’t even qualify for novella status. It is a short story at best, but more a long essay.

Because of how ridiculously short this is there is no story or character development. The story comes across as simplistic, choppy, and unfinished with major gaps in events along the way and is presented almost entirely within the main character’s head and thoughts.

Seriously. The story covers about a 6 month period of time in 41 pages. How much actual story can you get in that space? There is 6 months worth of time to work with an you only have 41 pages?! There is truly no point to reading anything this short because you do not have enough room to go anywhere unless you are writing about a single, very brief moment in time. It is kind of like reading the diary of a bitter woman’s emotional dumping ground during a divorce, but that woman only writes in said dairy sporadically and only writes about her feelings and very little about actual events.

I won’t go into the problematic formatting or editing mistakes or the extremely unrealistic time frame, which is normally a whole lot longer than that 6 months. The pretty cover art is completely wasted on this.

And yes, I probably spent more time writing this review than I did reading the damn thing in the first place.

 

Book Update: October 2018

It looks as though my editor has started work on my manuscript. Yes, I got kinda stupid and giddy there when I first found out. It will probably still be a few weeks before I get the first round of feedback from him, so I have spent some time working to get some random To Do list things taken care of. I now have a Twitter account (@TJFoxAuthor), though I will most likely just post from here to that account.

All the other stuff was just some long overdue background things that needed to get done with my hosting service for my other domains. I’m hoping to get my Shades site up in a different format and intend to use it more as a portfolio site as opposed to a shop. At least for now. If I decide to do any kind of selling again, I’ll figure something out then. That is the next big project on my To Do list but has to wait until all my stuff gets moved around and that is on my host, thank goodness!

So, big steps, slow steps and baby steps. I can’t start cover work until the editing is done so that one is hanging out in limbo at the moment, but I’m still crazy excited that things are moving.

Buying the Farm: Kimberly Conn

Author: Kimberly Conn
Book Name: Buying the Farm
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Literature/Family Drama
Rating:  Really Good

4+stars

Blurb: Missi Jennings has no family, with the exception of her cold, critical mother, who makes her feel like a perpetual disappointment. She muddles through life in Washington, D.C. despondent, yet unmotivated to do anything about it. When a horrific accident on a Downtown street leaves Missi shaken, numb, and wealthy beyond her wildest imagination, it also becomes a catalyst for unthinkable change, launching her on a journey to a place completely foreign to her—rural Mississippi. The cynical, solitary city girl must confront a lifetime of lies created by the woman she always knew to be her mother and contend with a large, loud, extended family she had no idea existed. Missi’s fortitude is tested by strange new surroundings and a cantankerous grandfather, but it is a child-like woman with Down syndrome, with whom Missi shares an unbreakable bond, who changes her the most. Buying the Farm is a poignant story about loss, gain, and both the joy and pain that come from being a part of a family.

This was a truly heartwarming kind of book that had a wonderful balance of emotional responses, which is one of my favorite kinds. If you can evoke laughter and tears, both happy and sad, all rolled into a single story then you have done an awesome job as an author.

The one thing that kept me from rating this higher was how nearly every single character in this book fawned over Missi as though she was some sort of perfect paragon deserving adoration just because she exists, even those she just met 2 seconds ago. There are a few exceptions. Her boss, but he is such a tiny, minor character as to not make a difference. Nina, one of the few people that SHOULD have treated her that way, but again, still kind of at a periphery level. And her grandfather who is the only major character to kind of go the opposite direction. The near hero worship from so many characters nearly became too much and lessened some of her realism for me.

I did love the family story here and the various turns this took. It made the story feel very unique and atypical, which I loved. And the emotional touches were incredibly well done.

Slowly Moving Forward

I sent off my manuscript to my editor over the weekend and got confirmation that we are about 3 weeks out from getting started on it. I’m pretty sure I’ve found who I want to work with on my cover design as well after confirming they will work with my photo. It is all kind of terrifying and nerve wracking, but it is forward movement.

The Last Time I Was Me: Cathy Lamb

Author: Cathy Lamb
Book Name: The Last Time I Was Me
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Good
3+stars


Blurb: I wrapped up my grandmother’s tea cup collection and my mother’s china, then grabbed a violin I’d hidden way back in my closet that made me cry, a gold necklace with a dolphin that my father gave me two weeks before he died of a heart attack when I was twelve and, at midnight, with that moon as bright as the blazes, I left Chicago.

When Jeanne Stewart stops at The Opera Man’s Cafe in Weltana, Oregon, to eat pancakes for the first time in twelve years, she has no idea she’s also about to order up a whole new future. It’s been barely a week since she succumbed to a spectacularly public nervous breakdown in front of hundreds of the nation’s most important advertising and PR people. Jeanne certainly had her reasons–her mother’s recent death, the discovery that her boyfriend had been sleeping with a dozen other women, and the assault charges that resulted when Jeanne retaliated in a creative way against him, involving condoms and peanut oil.

Now, en route to her brother’s house in Portland, Jeanne impulsively decides to spend some time in picturesque Weltana. Staying at a B&B run by the eccentric, endearing Rosvita, she meets a circle of quirky new friends at her court-ordered Anger Management classes. Like Jeanne, all of them are trying to become better, braver versions of themselves. Yet the most surprising discoveries are still to come–a good man who steadily makes his way into her heart and a dilapidated house that with love and care might be transformed into something wholly her own, just like the new life she is slowly building, piece by piece.

The good: I liked most of this author’s style. The books was funny in a lot of spots, which I often find hard to pull off. The humor being snarky and so “wish I could come up with those lines on the spot when I really need them” kind of things. Jeanne was a character that you could easily empathize with on most levels.

The not so good: I just could not get past how over the top crazy Jeanne got at times and got away with it. Yes, you can totally empathize with her. You can even understand her and why she does the things she does. It was the absolutely unbelievable level of “she is so cute and adorable in her snarkiness and everyone loves her so everyone just lets her do whatever she wants” kind of thing that forced me to drop my rating on this. Sure, this is fiction. It is not real life. But… I have to believe in the situations and the characters. There is absolutely zero real consequence for her actions going on here and it just made it all too much and negated all the things that made her feel human and relatable.

I also got sick of the regular future sneak peaks the reader was given as to what was going to happen later in the book. One or two of those might have been okay, but they happened a few too many times and made the story feel a bit jumpy because of it.

I’m really torn about those “not so good” parts because I really did enjoy this book otherwise.