Woe! It’s Wednesday: Do you NaNo?

I’m deep in the throes of NaNoWriMo.

For those non-writers out there, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November. Writers join NaNoWriMo for accountability and fellowship. They each vow to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s an average of 1,667 words a day. Not impossible at all. At the end of the month, you should end up with a short, rough, dirty, ugly first draft of a novel.

I’ve attempted NaNo five times in the past and completed it four times. I then spend the better part of the next year rewriting and polishing that ugly thing into something a bit more presentable and suitable for public viewing.

One of the benefits of NaNo is that it gets you in the habit of writing every day. Or on the days you skip, you’re still thinking about your story and letting it percolate, so when you sit down to do twice as many words the next day, they should flow. In theory.

Typically I start strong, right on track for the first week. The middle two weeks are hit and miss. I’m usually seriously behind by at least 15,000 words coming into the final week. Then I put my head down and my fingers on the keyboard and type until the I hit 50,000, usually around 10 PM on November 30th.

In the weeks before November 1, forums and blogs and the Twitterverse are full of people talking about the outlines they’re making, the character sketches they’re completing and how they’re sharpening their pencils in anticipation of NaNo.

I, on the other hand, open a new document on November 1 and start writing the story that’s been brewing in my head for the last couple of months.

I’m writing this post before Wednesday. It’s actually still November 1. I wrote 1802 words today.

Writers love NaNo because it gets us back on track if we’ve strayed from a disciplined writing schedule. I love this quote from Nora Roberts: “You don’t find time to write. You make time to write.” NaNo helps me make time to write. I don’t have publisher deadlines or other exterior motivation. It has to come from within. My critique group is one exterior motivation I rely on. NaNo is the other.

Non-writers are not quite so enthusiastic. This is a real conversation in my house earlier tonight:

Me: Do you know what day it is?

Stud Muffin: … um … the first day of the rest of my life?

Me: Besides that.

SM: … um … November 1st?

Me: Yes. And November 1st is …?

SM: {blank look}

Me: The first day of … NaNoWriMo!

Sm: Oh. NO!

Yes, it’s November. That means Veterans Day, Thanksgiving (in the US) and NaNoWriMo. It’s a good month.

Book Talk Tuesday: For the Love

My last Book Talk Tuesday post I mentioned that I was in the middle of Jen Hatmaker’s latest, For the Love.

I’ve finished it and it’s on my desk waiting to be delivered to a friend who wants to read it.

FTLIt’s great. It’s full of Jen’s trademark humor and transparency. She’s all about urging us (women, in particular) to give ourselves (and each other) some grace. Your kids may say, “Give me a break.” Your husband may ask for a free pass for forgetting to pick up something on the way home. But they all mean the same thing: Give me some grace. Don’t make me meet some unrealistic standard set by our post-modern culture.

The chapters alternate randomly between pure hilarity and serious lessons, and even a few recipes that I’m dying to try.

In some ways, I equate For the Grace with Anne Lamott’s essays urging us to let go of the things in our head that tell us how we should be and just go fetch water for someone thirsty.

Because if you’re too worried about what someone will think of your thighs or your lipstick color, you need some grace. And if you’re looking at someone else’s underarm fat or hem length, you really need some grace.

For the Love would be a great place to find some everyday grace. I highly recommend it.


I did not receive a free copy of this book. I purchased it with my own money and I still gave it an honest review. ;-)

Media Monday: Final Just Fab post!

Well, it’s been a month since my Project Runway viewing party sponsored by JustFab and about three weeks since my products arrived for me to use and evaluate. JF1

I think it’s safe to say both are a hit.

The party turned out to be a blast! I sent out 96 invitations, which I know is crazy, but I also know you have to plan big to get a 12093760_438981109607373_2083831485_ngood turnout. We ended up with about 20 women here. In our 1200 square foot house. And it was a hoot. We were cozy, for sure, but there was still room to move around and in fact, the floor area in the living room was pretty much empty so we could have fit another five or six women easily. :-)

About a week later, my first products arrived. A purse and a pair of boots. I had also ordered a necklace and it was listed on the packing slip but it wasn’t in the box. It must have slipped through the cracks somewhere. But since these products were pretty much free (I did purchase a product at a discount offered to first time users of the website), I didn’t complain or request a new one. I may still order it in the future.

A few days later, my last product arrives, a pair of flats. I’ve worn the flats and the boots a couple of times each and I’ve been carrying the purse for about three weeks now.

I was surprised at how well the shoes fit. Both the flats and the boots. I have a hard enough time finding shoes that fit when I JustFabgo to a store and try them on, that I really didn’t expect mail order shoes to work the first time out of the box. But they did. They’re both very comfortable with minimal “break in” time. They felt good the first time I put them on.

The bag is big. Bigger than I usually carry. But I love the shape and the color. The quality of the leather and the hardware seems to be fine. Both are holding up to my everyday wear and tear without a problem.

So I’ve been a JustFab member for a little over a month now. I skipped a purchase in October since I had just ordered these at the end of September. I’m ready to try another product in November. Probably something from the jewelry line this time.

Stay posted for a review of that in a month or so.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Being Brave, part 2

Well, I did my second brave thing this week.

A question was asked on one of my writers’ online email loops. I wrote a response, prayed, and clicked send. Then the wifi connection dropped.


Then I had second thoughts.

I decided not to send it.

I went in to my email to delete it from the outbox.

And watched it sail away.

Oh well, I told myself. You were brave. That’s the main thing.

There have been a few comments that I’ve responded to off the loop. Then yesterday a message came through that the officers in charge of the loop were crafting a response to me.


I’m soooo not a pot stirrer. Not a drama addict. I’m a keep-the-peace-at-all-costs kind of girl.


I wailed to one of my besties, “WHAT HAVE I DONE??!!” She talked me off the ledge. She reminded me that I didn’t say anything inflammatory. What I said needed to be said and it needed to be heard.

So …

If i let myself wallow, I start to panic again. Will my hand get slapped? Will I be scolded? Then I climb back off the ledge and remember the important things:

I was brave.

I addressed something that needed to be addressed.

I was brave.

This stuff is harder than I thought it would be.

Book Talk Tuesday: My TBR Pile

A quick look at what’s coming up to the top of my To Be Read stack.

First up on my Kindle is Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid.

Comes highly recommended!
Comes highly recommended!

A couple of people have recommended this series quite highly and I’m looking forward to diving in.

I’ve just started another Susan Mallery, Only Yours, a Fool’s Gold book from a couple of years ago. I’m working through her older stuff and so far this is another winner.


Finally, I’m also reading Jen Hatmaker’s latest, For the Love. I’ll probably be reviewing this one next week. It’s full of wisdom, grace, encouragement, and a few recipes.FTL

Media Monday: Project Runway and JustFab wrapup

Well, it’s been a week and a half since my Project Runway viewing party sponsored by JustFab.

A fun time was had by all!

I sent out an evite to 93 people. That’s pretty much everyone I know who lives in a 50-mile radius and that I had an email address for. I do know a few more people, but if I didn’t have an email address, I couldn’t invite.

Stud Muffin freaked out a little when I told him I’d invited 93 women to our 1250 square foot house.

I did it for several reasons:

The swag JustFab sent. Sketch books, gift cards, favor bags, wine, catalogs!
  • JustFab committed to sending favors, buying us some food and drink, and supplying gifts. I owed it to them to make it the biggest bash I could.
  • My hostessing experience tells me that if about half to seventy-five percent of invitees actually attend, so my guesstimate was I’d have closer to 40 than 90 attendees.
  • My real life experience of living in the country has taught me that people think driving twenty extra minutes is no big deal until the time arrives for them to climb in the car and they change their minds. And it was short notice, so I knew a lot of people wouldn’t be able to make it and some would have something come up at the last minute. So I wanted to have some padding against the inevitable fallouts.
  • It promised to be a really fun evening and I wanted to share it with all my friends.

In the end, I had about twenty women come. We ate the food JustFab and a few of my friends provided. I set up chairs in the living room, dragged the dining table out of the way and we got cozy. I could have fit a few more on the floor in front of the television.

In all, it was the perfect viewing party. Even Stud Muffin ended up agreeing with me.

Studying the runway
Studying the runway

We watched the show. We chatted during the commercials about which designs we liked and why. Just like the judges, we were widely divergent on the runway designs. We agreed that the red dress was fabulous. We also loved Ashley’s motorcycle jacket.

That was beyond adorable.

We discussed if Tim would use his Tim Gunn save. We agreed that it depended on who was “out.”

Those of us who watch the show regularly knew that Laurie and Merline were on thin ice.

In the end, Laurie just couldn’t get past the double failure of her bottom finish the week before along with the JustFab challenge.

We agreed the judges made the right decision on who was out, but we weren’t unanimous on the winner. Some of us felt Ashley deserved another win. She completely recreated her look when Tim suggested the fabric suggested a hospital gown. She “made it work.”

A few more pictures of our evening:

12081283_1631875443738988_290324991_n copy 11326191_1683214605235572_1850365558_n

JustFab has sent me a few of their products to try out. And they sent some gift cards for three lucky attendees at my viewing.

Next week, I’ll talk about what I ordered and what I think of the products.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Being Brave

I finally figured out my word for 2015. Or more likely I guess, I already have my word for 2016.

I had decided on “Let it Go” for 2015. But as much as I liked it, it didn’t really resonate with me. I did work on letting things, not worrying and/or obsessing over what I can’t change. I think I’m better about that.

CatFantasizesatMirrorSo maybe Let it Go was not ambitious enough.

You know how things/phrases/people sometimes converge and you know you need to pay attention?

I’ve had that happen lately about being brave.

I read an amazing book recently. I’ll review it soon, I promise.

Then I heard a podcast sermon about Matthew 18. Closely followed by a podcast interview which cited the same passage. What I took away from both was that when someone has hurt you, the burden to set it right is on the person who was wronged. I think I had to hear two separate messages about this because the first one I pretty much ignored.

I saw a quote from Louis C.K. recently. He said, “When a person tell you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

I love this! For several reasons, but first of all because several years ago, I was hurt by someone. I told them I was hurt and was told I was in the wrong for being hurt. That festered for a long time. I did the right thing. I took it to that person in private and was completely shot down and ignored. That’s not a great way to heal a damaged relationship. Reading this quote was incredibly freeing. It validated everything I felt back then as well as the lingering vestiges of hurt that still try to derail me.

Then, as if I needed one last indication, an opportunity fell into my lap last week to say something to someone that needed to be said. Normally, I’d just pass it by and tell myself not to rock the boat, “let it go.” ;-)

But instead, I decided to be brave and speak up.

Guess what happened? The person heard me, apologized, and we moved on. It’s over.

All because I was brave.

So that’s why I’ve adopting it as my 2016 word. It’s kind of like the calendars that go on sale at this time of year. You know. They’re advertised as being 16-month calendars, to encourage you to buy now and use it for the rest of this year and all of next year. Except the extra four months from this year are all listed on one page. No pretty picture as a header. No space to write appointments. Basically, a bait and switch, in my not so humble opinion.

But I’m getting an early start on being brave and I plan to carry it from this year and throughout the next.

Have you started thinking about your word/phrase for next year yet? Or am I the only one?

Book Talk Tuesday: Marry Me at Christmas

If it’s fall, it must be time for a Fool’s Gold Christmas story from Susan Mallery.

I love these stories, for so many reasons.

They’re romances, hello!?!?!

Marry Me at Christmas
Marry Me at Christmas

They’re set in Fool’s Gold, the best fictional town in California.

They’re set at Christmas time, when we love to snuggle with a warm afghan, a cup of tea, and a good book.

The steamy love scenes of the other Fool’s Gold books don’t appear. I like my love scenes to be behind closed doors, and the Christmas books meet my criteria.

In MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS, we finally get to meet action movie star Jonny Blaze who’s been mentioned in the other 2015 Fool’s Gold books. Madeline Krug, part owner of the local wedding dress shop, is asked to plan Jonny’s sister’s wedding planned for the day after Christmas. Jonny has been her movie star crush and she’s intimidated by the thought of even meeting him, much less working with him.

Madeline manages to be professional and she and Jonny plan the wedding and attend some of Fool’s Gold’s local holiday festivities.

I love stories about two worlds colliding and I especially love stories about when a public life and a private life collide. Because at heart, we’re all just people swimming along in our lives, trying to work, love, and laugh and feel like we have a purpose. Whether our purpose is touching people’s lives through the arts or pouring coffee, we’re all happiest doing what we’re meant to do.

So all that combines to make MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS a great book, for winter, for Christmas, for anytime. I love it!


I received a free copy in return for an honest review.

Media Monday: Project Runway, Part 2

So, after my post about Project Runway a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by JustFab, the accessoreis sponsor for the show this season. They asked if I’d like to receive a couple of products for review and to giveaway to readers.

Um …Yes!

And would I like to host a viewing of the episode airing October 1 and JustFab would supply some fun giveaways.

Again … Yes!

Which is how I came to invite 94 of my closest friends and family to my 1200 square foot house this coming Thursday.

Basically, I invited everyone I have an email address for within a fifty mile radius.

Stud Muffin was a little freaked out at first. “You … do you know … where are you going to put everyone?”

Silly man.

Women watching fashion television don’t care about something as silly as having a seat.

I hope.

My party plan:

Invite a bunch of people.   ✔

Tell JustFab how many I expect. ✔

Order a couple of products from JustFab. ✔

Pick up the food JustFab is ordering for us.

Vacuum and dust.

Set out name tags. and a sign asking that gals in their 20s and 30s please sit on the floor. 40s and 50s get the dining room chairs and plastic patio chairs. 60s and 70s get the couch, love seat, and recliner.

Set out napkins, paper plates, plastic cups.

Watch a fun television show and party with all my friends.

There are a few things I love about this opportunity. And it’s not just the prospect of free stuff.

First, there’s going to be a great cross-section of my friends. Church friends, writer friends, family are all coming. Many have never met because my two worlds seldom intersect.

Also, I love that this is about accessories. I love that Ashley is doing such a great job with her designs. She’s proving that women of all sizes can enjoy fashion and looking good.

And of course, friends, food, fashion, all in one place, under one (fairly small) roof.