Tag Archives | five things on Friday

Five on Friday: What’s Going On

Brown_pebbles_stone_251353_lWhat Who I'm in Love With: My new grandson, Owen Lewis Hopman, born October 13, thus becoming the 9th Libra among our extended family and friends.  He was two weeks overdue, and I'm convinced that he just wanted to make certain he had his very own birthday, rather than sharing it with a grandfather, grandmother, father or uncle (two of them), because he wasn't a big baby–7 pounds 6 ounces. 

What I'm Writing: My next novel, the one I started in France.  I'm the kind of writer who doesn't like to talk much about a book until it is done so I'll leave you guessing.  But I was struggling a little bit with the story, so this week I had a plot session with Cathy Yardley, in which she asked me a lot of questions about the story so far.  By the end of the hour, I had designated the inciting incident, plot points, pinch points, and my main character's goals, motivations and conflicts.  Since I no longer belong to a critique group, I really needed someone to bounce ideas off, and she delivered in a huge way.  Highly recommended.

What I'm Reading:  A silly Christmas/knitting novel set in a small English village, which I can't even remember the name of. It reads like a first draft, self published novel that has not been edited, and yet it was put out by a major house.  Of course, I'm still reading it–and I'm the queen of ditching books–so maybe that's why.  Up next is Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie by Beth Howard, (research!) and the sequel to Me Before You, the blockbuster-ish novel by Jojo Moyes, which I enjoyed a lot and we used as a teaching book in the 2014 France workshop.  And I still have the gazillion novels I downloaded on my Kindle before I went to France to read.

What I'm Obsessing About:  Knitting and needlework.  I just don't have enough time for all I want to do, possibly because I spend so much time drooling over blogs like Fringe Association, Mason-Dixon Knitting, Alabama Chanin, and Kate Davies, to name only a few. And let us not forget my Instagram feed which is crammed full of delightful feeds.

What's Going On:  You may have noticed that I've not been blogging as much lately.  I got out of the habit while in France and haven't recovered my momentum yet.  But I will.  This here blog has been around for eight years and counting, and its not going anywhere.  One of the problems is that I hate the current design, which looks the way it does only so it works on mobile devices.  Getting the design I want is going to require moving from Typepad to WordPress.  I've been twiddling my thumbs over what to do, mainly because of those eight years of content, which is a bit onerous to transfer from Typepad to WordPress.  But I think I'm coming up with some feasible solutions, so stay tuned.

What's Coming up:  Okay this makes Six Things on Friday, but oh well. We will be announcing the topic and location of our 2016 France workshop (hint: Ceret, Ceret, Ceret, my most favorite town in the south of France).  AND rumor has it there might be another European destination in the works for the spring.  I'll keep you posted!

Okay, that's it for me.  This weekend I'm going to finally finish setting up my office, which I moved from upstairs to downstairs right before I left for France, and catch up on work.  What's up for you these days?

Photo by Henkster.

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5 Things on Friday: August 21, 2015, Better Late Than Never Edition

Cat and puterHere it is Friday afternoon on a beautiful day in Portland.  And here, at last, are my five things for the week:

What I'm Reading: The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer.  I'm leading a discussion group on Singer's most popular book, The Untethered Soul, in October, which is why I got onto this title.  It is fascinating, all about how he essentially just said yes to whatever life put in front of him.  With fabulous results: he's build several multi-million dollar businesses, wrote a best-selling book, and still manages to maintain a rigorous twice daily meditation practice.

What I'm Writing: I'm kind of going back and forth between what I call prep work for my next novel and the actual writing of it. I was going great guns with the writing until I wasn't. As sometimes happens.  That is a sure sign one needs to go do some planning.  And it has paid off, as always happens.  I know a ton more about my character now.  (Don't forget I'm teaching my Get Your Novel Written Now Class in October.  Go here to learn more.)

What I'm Loving: My new computer.  I'm switching from a Mac to a PC, so there's a bit of a learning curve.  I was also using a version of Word from 2007 on my old computer, so, yeah. And don't throw things at me if you're a Mac lover but I'm thrilled to be back in PC land.  Sorry, but I kinda don't get what the mystique of the Mac is all about.  Anyway, my new baby is a Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 laptop with a touchscreen (and a stylus).  At 13", it is smaller than my old 15" version but I like that.

What I'm Grateful For: The neuro-prolo therapy that I got at my naturopath's office this week.  I've mentioned my problems with different length legs and the issues it was causing a few times in passing.  It was seriously cramping my style, most especially my love of walking.  But this new therapy is amazing!  Its not for the faint of heart, as it involves much injecting of solution into the body with tons of tiny needles, but I walked pain free for the first time in a couple of years yesterday.

What I'm Doing This Weekend: Moving furniture and boxes.  As you know, I've moved my office downstairs.  We accomplished that a couple weekends ago.  Much busy-ness ensued.  But now we have to deal with what we left behind–specifically my old office suite and, oh yeah, all those boxes of books and office supplies.

What is new with you? What are you doing this weekend?

*** My photo captioning is not working but in the above photo you can see that Lieutenant likes my new computer, too.

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Five Things on Friday: July 21, 2015

I'm late with this (and nearly everything else in my life at the moment) so I'll keep this edition brief.

Tinyhouses

What I'm Reading:  I finished Life As We Knew It, and have the other two in the series on hold at the library (along with half the catalog).  Still reading After Perfect by Christina McDowell, and also started Safekeeping by Karen Hesse, which is yet another in my current string of apocalyptic YA novels.  Main character Radley returns home from volunteering in Haiti to find an America transformed by the recent election of the American Political Party and the assassination of the president.  It is written in a very spare manner and is quite absorbing.  Also, two books on Tiny Houses that my son gave me as a belated birthday present.  I'm determined to build one!

Gp_portland_4

What I'm in Awe Of: The #ShellNo protestors who dangled from a Portland bridge for 40 hours earlier this week, in order to stop the passage of the Fennica out of dock to Alaska.  I'm also amazed at the courage of a hardy band of kayakers who paddled right in front of the ship to try to stop it. And I'm proud to live in a city where such protests are considered important, no matter how much traffic they disrupt.

Themometer

What I'm Complaining About: The heat.  Again.  It was 103 yesterday, and is forecast to be 102 today.  This is our second intense heat wave this summer and I'm tired of it.

ToshibaSatellite

What I'm Shopping For: A new computer.  Maybe this one. Mine is six years old and freezes all the time.  Plus it gets slow and balky as I'm working.  I'm going smaller and less complicated.  And, I'm also switching back from a Mac to a PC.  I know, gasp.  But I just can't see that spending good money on a Mac was worth it.

Sandbox-in-home-office-1

What I'm Doing This Weekend: Moving my office downstairs.  I have a lovely new desk and rug and curtains and I'm excited.  If I remember, I'll post photos when its done.  And no, I'm not adding a sandbox, as in the photo above, but I am going to the beach next week so I thought it appropriate. And kinda cute.

That's whats up with me this week.  What's going on with you?

 Images from commondreams.org, ronnieb, bitrebels.com, and some random computer shopping site.

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Five Things on Friday: July 24, 2015

AnotherReadThroughSignHere we go again.  It's still summer, still hot, but rain is forecast tomorrow.  Yay!

What I'm grateful for: Friends and family who turned out en masse last night to hear me read from The Bonne Chance Bakery manuscript, and to also hear Kayla Dawn Thomas read from her latest novel, Tackling Summer.  She and I are Twitter friends and since she lives in Washington and I live in Oregon we'd never met until last night.  So fun. She's awesome!  The bookstore where we read, Another Read Through, is awesome, too, and owner Elisa offers readings every Thursday night.  She's a huge supporter of local writers and a really cool person, too.

What I'm reading: The last two weeks I've been struggling through Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. She's a NYT bestselling author, but frankly, I was not overly impressed with her writing.  It was certainly serviceable enough, but the characters never grabbed or charmed me. I looked up the reviews on Amazon, and while many were over-the-top glowing, several agreed with me.  I also learned that she is known for her twists at the end, so I skimmed and skipped to find out what this one was.  And can I just say that if I'd bothered to read the whole thing I would have been furious? Like, throw-the-book-across-the-room, rip-it-into-shreds-even-though-it-was-a-library-book furious.  The twist was as hackneyed and stupid as the old it was all a dream schtick.  

Now I'm reading, sort of, Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I say sort of, because it's sort of depressing.  Not giving anything away here to tell you the premise, which is that the moon gets whacked out of orbit by an asteroid and terrible things happen on earth.  It's all written from a teenager's perspective.  It is compelling, but sometimes I just can't take apocalyptic fiction. Although, in looking for a link I've just discovered this book launched a whole series, so that's hopeful.  I also discovered that Pfeffer retired from writing books last year, which I just don't get. I want to write books until they shovel me into the ground, many years into the future.

I'm also reading After Perfect, a memoir by Christina McDowell, the story of a wealthy family losing everything.  Another cheery one.  But its good.

Where I've Been: Seattle, last weekend.  More to the point, the suburbs south of Seattle, near the Sea-Tac airport.  My cousin (and fifty million other cousins) lives up there in a house a few feet from Puget Sound.  Nice spot, to put it mildly.  We were celebrating the wedding of her youngest daughter, and even though I nearly got arrested (I'm exaggerating the tiniest bit) by an overly zealous traffic-type person who didn't want to let us cross a street where a parade was congregating, it was a lot of fun.  After all, few things are better in life than watching your three-year-old grandson entertain a roomful of people by dancing to Shut Up and Dance.

 

What I Need: A housecleaner.  Every time I gaze (in a writerly manner) in any direction in this house I see cobwebs. Sigh.  At least I'm making progress on sorting through files and books in my office, in advance of moving it back downstairs.  I WILL get this project done before I leave for Europe in September.

What I'm Reading Online: I read a lot of blogs and newsletters, but surprisingly, not a lot on writing.  Oh well, my tastes have always been eclectic.  For writing blogs, I recommend Writer Unboxed (I love Barbara O'Neal's posts there), Janice Hardy's Fiction University, and Shawn Coyne's work on Story Grid.  Oh, also Steven Pressfield.  

And now, here's my compendium of non-writing blogs and newsletters I follow: thekitchensgarden, where New Zealand transplant Cecilia writes every day about her "farmy" and also dispenses all manner of practical wisdom; Dispatch From La and Kelly Rae Roberts for visual inspiration, emails from Steve Chandler and Brian Johnson for kick-ass motivation, and Leonie Dawson for a combination of visual, crazy, and down-to-earth inspiration.  I know there are more, but these are enough for now.

And that's enough from me for now! What's going on with you as we cruise toward the end of July? I think we should all take a cue from Henry and get some dancing in this weekend!

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Five Things on Friday: July 17, 2015

Ngfood_ngobj_food_228316_lIt's another Five Things on Friday post.  Admit it, you woke up this morning just dying to hop on over here and read the latest one.  Well, here it is.

What I'm Reading:  Still working on a couple of books from last week, including Leaving Time. Don't tell them, but its due today at the library and its going to be late.  I would say it is pretty good, but I'm skimming a bit here and there in order to get through it.  I've been doing that with books more and more lately.  The impatience of old age (see below).  I'm also still working on Alexandra Fuller's  Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and I still haven't forgiven her for not having a website.   The lack of forward motion in that one has slowed me down.  I am, however, reading her most recent one, Leaving Before the Rains Come, which came in at the library and liking it better.  Because there's conflict aplenty, as in money trouble and divorce, and we all know that lots of conflict makes for great reading.

I'm also reading Stones of Consciousness, for research purposes, and Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach.  Yeah, I've got a million books going at once.  I see a book I want to read and put a hold on it at the library and then all the holds come in at once.  Haven't quite figured out how to get the flow working better.

What I'm Thinking About: My novel, The Bonne Chance Bakery, which is currently being considered by a list of 20 excellent publishers.  Think good thoughts!  And I'm pondering my next novel.  I finally, as of yesterday, figured out a loose outline of the first segment.  I've been writing and writing, wondering how it would all come together.  More like praying it would all come together.  This is a testament to the idea that you should just keep writing, because it does work eventually.

What I'm Watching: I bet you're expecting me to wax poetic about some golden age of television show.  Ha! Not a chance.  I'm currently totally into American Ninja Warrior and America's Got Talent.  Summer nights, I need something light and frothy.  I also have the Woody Allen movie Vicky Christina Barcelona in the queue because we will be in Barcelona in September for a few days.

What I'm Complaining About:  Well, nothing at the moment.  It's summer.  Life is good.  Okay, maybe I'll bitch about the fact that my son's dog, who is here for the day, barks at EVERYTHING OUTSIDE THAT MOVES. And maybe some things that don't.  This is a dog who barks at jet contrails, after all.

What I'm Celebrating:  My birthday.  It's today.  I'm old.  And I love it.  As I always say, the alternative, being 6 feet under, is worse.  I take issue with all those people who say aging is awful. Yeah, the body has its issues, but the mind and emotions are better than ever.   I intend to live to be 100 and love almost every minute of it.

 That's it.  That's all I've got.  What's going on with you this Friday?

Photo by ngould.

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