40 Before 40 – Update the Seventh

I’m not really sure where I’ll end up with this list in five months. I don’t so much care. I’m not giving up – certainly not! But I am learning to let go of arbitrary goals if they don’t make me happy.

That being said, let’s see where I’m at.

Things that are done!

  1. Attend the ballet – May (I attended a concert…)
  2. Go to the opera – June
  3. Sing a new song at karaoke – May
  4. Take a barre class – September
  5. Take a cooking class – August
  6. TEMPORARY funky hair color- June
  7. Try hot yoga – April
  8. Volunteer – I volunteered at a cider event in June & will volunteer with SOLVE in September
  9. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation- August
  10. Host a wine tasting – July
  11. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday – May
  12. Develop a habit of meditation – September (I’ve meditated almost every day for the last couple of weeks)
  13. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne – March & June
  14. Get a stamp in my passport – August

For being halfway done with the year, that’s not looking so good, is it?

Let’s see what I know I’ll get done…

  1. Go to the local nude beach – TOMORROW!
  2. Whale watching – just working out the dates
  3. [Redacted] – I just need more practice
  4. Get back into my DIY habits –
  5. Take a good photo and pay to have it framed – the photo is picked out; I just need to pull the trigger
  6. Try a new (to me) cheese each month – yeah, not worried about this one
  7. Give a $100 tip on an inexpensive meal – once I’m re-employed!
  8. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. – I’m one for three right now. I’m still counting on my PSM and then need one more person to wander through Portland!
  9. Publish my first book – the wheels are in motion!

The things I can get done…if I work at it 

  1. Go ice skating
  2. Go to a book signing
  3. Do a boudoir photo session
  4. Become passable in Swedish
  5. Perfect the homemade pie crust. (Find volunteers to eat and critique all the pies.)
  6. Read one prize-winning (any major prize) book each month
  7. Feel good about my fitness level and appearance
  8. Get better at self care. That means eating regularly; exercising regularly; sleeping regularly.

 

And lastly, the things I don’t care so much about at all…

  1. Climb a tree
  2. Take a dancing class
  3. Throw pottery (on a wheel)- I’m having trouble finding a way to do this that isn’t committing to a few hundred dollars and several classes…I just want to try it one time. 
  4. Try a pole dancing class at the studio down the street.
  5. Take the Bean fishing
  6. Become a proficient knife thrower (i.e. hit the target more often than not)
  7. Learn 100 ASL signs
  8. Run a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon.  – I’ll definitely get the 5K done, but I don’t need longer…
  9. Write 150 blog posts – Unless I start posting multiple posts/day, this will be impossible…

 

This has been such a huge year for me, and even if I don’t finish all the items on my list, I’ve done the ones that meant the most to me. I got that passport stamp and I will publish my first novel. Probably no one will buy it, and it will be a business loss, but that’s really okay. I got to drink my celebratory champagne and I’m not longer being bothered by a job I don’t like. I’m working on my health and fitness. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of good, quality time with my Alvie Bean, the Beer Guy, and with my very good friends. I’ve got five months left to hit a lot of the remaining items on my list, but no matter what, I have already won at being 39.

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Three Things Thursday: Autumn Edition

Autumn is the best season. There is actually no way to argue this statement without sounding ridiculous. STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE!*

The three best things about autumn, in no particular order:

  1. Halloween. Obviously.

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I’m having trouble deciding what to be this year. The last couple years, I’ve gone as a battle goddess/psychopomp, but I’m running out of interest in the this theme without resorting to cultural appropriation. (I think I’m out of passes on that, since I dressed as an American Indian for Halloween at least once as a child.)

Sexy grim reaper did come up as an idea yesterday, and really, who can say no to boob skulls? But I’m not sure that’s where I want to go…*sigh*

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  1. Sweaters and hoodies and leggings and unicorn onesies.1918100_10154192460434410_6324118669962194983_n
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  2. Dark beer and fun hats and cribbage (I don’t know why it feels like a winter game to me, but it does).

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It’s not quite cold enough yet – highs in the low 70s still – but my writing cave is a frigid 60 degrees, so I sit down here in my hoodie with the space heater on and pretend. Now if someone would just bring me a porter, life would be pretty damn good. (A porter and my cribbage opponent would tip the scales towards perfect.)

*Possibly. I don’t know. But I wrote it in all caps, so it must be true. Caps-yelling=fact, doncha know.

Book Review: Devils and Details (Ordinary Magic 2) by Devon Monk

I first encountered Devon Monk through her House Immortal series. When I saw  the first Ordinary Magic book recommended by a friend earlier this year, I snapped it right up. And then didn’t read it until the end of July. This was another of those books that pulled me in with a fun story and some interesting world building, and I was pretty excited to find out that the second in the series was being released in September. One-click preorder!

The Premise

Ordinary Oregon is home to a lot of interesting residents. Supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, a Valkyrie, et cetera, as well as vacationing gods. The gods must give up their god powers and become mortal for the duration of their stay, but that doesn’t mean they give up their personalities…and they are still gods.

Keeping the town in line is the Reed family. One member of the family serves as the guardian – the one responsible for making sure the god powers are safe while the gods reside in Ordinary. Currently that person is Delaney Reed, police chief of Ordinary. Her sisters – also officers – assist with keeping the peace.

The Blurb

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

Police Chief Delaney Reed is good at keeping secrets for the beach town of Ordinary Oregon–just ask the vacationing gods or supernatural creatures who live there.

But with the first annual Cake and Skate fundraiser coming up, the only secret Delaney really wants to know is how to stop the unseasonable rain storms. When all the god powers are stolen, a vampire is murdered, and her childhood crush turns out to be keeping deadly secrets of his own, rainy days are the least of her worries.

Hunting a murderer, outsmarting a know-it-all god, and uncovering an ancient vampire’s terrifying past isn’t how she planned to spend her summer. But then again, neither is falling back in love with the one man she should never trust.

The Cover

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The Review

This series is fun. The writing is good, the world building is good, the chemistry between Delaney and Ryder is good. I liked the first in the series a little better, but this still got four fun stars in my book.

Delaney does drive me a little crazy, though. I know she’s new to being both the police chief and the guardian of the god powers, but sometimes she makes very dumb decisions. She’s nowhere near approaching TSTL (too stupid to live, a common problem in a lot of fantasy novels), but would it kill her to lock her door? NO! It would not.

For someone who is supposed to be a strong female character, she is very easily manipulated and slow to see the truth of things, even when they’re pointed out by other characters. Since most of my issues with her as a character also seem to bug her sisters and other close associates, I’m not sure why they’re necessary to her. I get wanting to have some flaws in your lead, but I will never understand taking unnecessary risks (at least not more than once) and ridiculous secrecy.

All that being said, I really did enjoy the story. I like the history that’s coming out regarding the vampire clan (Old Rossi might be one of my favorite vamps ever – a thousand year old blood-sucking hippy nudist yoga teacher?). I am (of course) exceptionally fond of Bertie – the Valkyrie who organizes all the town festivals and strong-arms everyone into volunteering.

This was a fun, easy read and I will definitely be picking up the next in the series when it’s released next year!

The Quote

I am enjoying the relationship between Ryder and Delaney, even if I want to lock them in a room tied up with Wonder Woman’s lasso so they just fucking tell each other the truth and stop hiding information for the good of the other person, etc.

Yes, I’d caught that Ryder almost said “love” when he was offering to keep our secrets secret. I shoved that way, way back in my brain so I could think about it later. But I could already tell my heart was drawing little swirls and flowers and smoochy faces around that faltering admission.

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Bonus quote because it made me laugh:

That sounded like hippy-dippy stuff, or maybe vampy-wampy stuff.

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The Verdict

My issues with the book were slight enough to not be real issues at all. It was an enjoyable read. After all, who doesn’t want to spend time on the Oregon Coast with Odin (who is a terrible chainsaw sculptor) and Thanatos (who tends towards ridiculous shirts, and runs a kite shop with a questionable font choice that brands it “Happy Kills”)?

Definitely a solid choice for some fun reading.

Writing and Reading and Running (oh my?)

Thursday afternoon, I typed “The End” on my latest novel. That makes the fourth book I’ve finished in the last < 3 years. I also sent my first Eleanor Morgan novel to an editor and it should be edited and ready for prime time by the end of the calendar year, provided I can keep on top my end of the bargain. I hired a cover artist as well. Shit is starting to get real!

Friday, I dropped the Beer Guy off at the airport for his 2nd of three trips to Europe in three months. Let’s all take a minute to feel really, really bad for him as he languishes away in Germany during Oktoberfest.

Dramatic re-enactment of drinking German beer (I assume...) except in this scenario, I'm present.

Dramatic re-enactment of drinking German beer (I assume…) except in this scenario, I’m present.

I spent the rest of the day alternately cursing at my new phone and story boarding the next two books I’m going to write. I’m starting Eleanor Morgan’s fourth book today and am going to write the 2nd book in my 2nd series. I’m contemplating whether or not I want to write them simultaneously and drive myself completely mad or consecutively and lose some of my Iceland momentum that will fuel the 13th century century novel about Kristina Nilsdotter. I am planning on writing an average of ~3400 words each weekday between now and 11/30 which should result in almost two (more) complete novels.

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I’m going to start editing Eleanor #2 for my beta readers this afternoon.

I’ve been running twice in the last week, and it’s been wonderful, so I’m hoping to keep that up.

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In addition, I am trying to catch up with my reading. I’ll have another book review for you tomorrow! Stay tuned for a review of the second in Devon Monk’s Ordinary Magic series. (If you or someone you know has an upcoming fantasy release, let me know! I’m trying to do a review a week.)

 

Three Things Thursday – Unemployment Plans Edition

Yesterday was the first day where I officially felt unemployed. I had friends in town through mid-day Tuesday, so Monday and Tuesday felt more like “I took some time off to hang out” days. Yesterday, the only thing that I had to do was to get Bean to preschool.

So, other than lounge around in a robe and eat bon bons and watch soap operas, what am I going to do with my time?

  1. Work out. A lot. I’ve lost a lot of fitness in the last year, and my clothes (and me) are feeling it. When I get back into the work force, I want to do it comfortably in clothes I already own.
    Yesterday I ran in Forest Park (love you, trail running!) in the morning and then hit up a Power Barre class in the evening, because I do not dive into things half-assed. Whole ass or nothing is my motto. (Right after my newly adopted motto of “Taco Bell tacos are the same as salad.” Hat tip to Mel for that one.) Today is an easy day – just some yoga, but I’m going forward with five days/week starting yesterday!
  2. Write. A lot. I hit my 2K word count goal yesterday, and am going to go for 4K or “The End” on my WIP, whichever comes first. There’s 1.5 scenes that are unwritten yet in my WIP because they needed a bit more research, but it will essentially be finished no later than tomorrow.
  3. Edit. A lot. I need to get through the first edits of my Eleanor book #2. I’ve also hired an editor to prep my Eleanor book #1 for publication (we’re doing three rounds there). My plan is to write in the morning, edit in the afternoon, job hunt in between.

I’m ambitious – but you knew that. I’m grateful for this opportunity to do what I love in between jobs. As I was telling a friend (Alisha, who very generously agreed to go to the Barre class with me last night), I am happier than I’ve been in longer than I can remember. I am living the good life.

Where the magic happens.

Where the magic happens.