Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday, Welcome Back Edition

"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*






Ah, it's been a while - Good to be back! 

What I'm Reading 

Read John Green's Paper Towns on an airplane. Waiting for a new box of books to arrive on my doorstep any moment now.  

What I'm Writing 

A new historic, magically realistic MG, along with my ghost story MG, which was stalled a bit. But I figured out a few of the problems while on hiatus. Hopefully I'll have two sparkly new manuscripts by the end of the year.  

What Inspires Me Right Now 

Coffee. Cold weather. A fresh sheet of paper and a new bolt of fabric. It's my favorite time of year, and colder than average too, which I LOVE. 


What Else I'm Up To

Well, I spent the last almost two weeks of August here: 

Hello Kona! 

I spent my birthday in a volcano, snorkeled on a coral reef, fed a wild sea turtle, visited a beach made of gemstones, and slept in a room where dolphins woke us up each morning outside the window. Yeah, can't complain. 

Our lodgings.

Mr. Cate making a new friend at the cafe. 

Cate Junior on the beach at Anaeho'omalu Bay 

And now that we're home - Big art show this weekend! This will be my second year in a row at the Art Farm in Holy Hill. Last year was fantastic. I can't wait for some live music, fresh local food, sunny late summer weather and meeting up with all the fantastic artists I met last year at the Farm. But that means that this week is sewing and prepping time. Next week will be diving back into writing time. 

I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend lined up! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Love September

Love it. This just might be the best month of the year. Seriously.
Around here we celebrate the little guy's birthday, and the big kids' anniversary (#12). In September the weather starts to change, sometimes not until the very end, sometimes right at the beginning, like this year, although it was my favorite kind of summer - cold.
Today I did two of my favorite non writing things. After the school bus left, Mr. Cate and I went back to our dark, quiet bed and fell back asleep for a few more hours, while it rained outside. After I finally had to get up and participate in the day, I put on my slippers for the first time since last spring.
Slippers, coffee, and a new manuscript. It rarely gets better than that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*







Happy Wednesday! I managed to get here a little earlier this week. 

What I'm Reading 

Still reading Zadie Smith's NW. There hasn't been a lot of reading time this week. 

What I'm Writing 

Finished the latest revision of my MG manuscript! Huzzah! This was a reconstruction round. There will be a lot of cleaning and polishing to do on the next round, but for a few days, at least, I am letting that one simmer. Which means I spent yesterday outlining a new project, of course. It's actually a manuscript I started last year, that is still a collection of ideas and a few rough chapters. Now that it's all sorted out, it's time to jump in and turn it into something. 

What Inspires Me Right Now 

Open windows! We have pretty extreme seasons here, normally. Shockingly cold winters, brutally hot and sticky summers. But this year has been cool and breezy. Lots of sunny days with all the windows in the house open, enjoying the scents of the flowers under the living room windows, the sounds of birds and kids and puppy dogs in the neighborhood. Usually we have to wait until fall to get perfect weather like this. 


What Else I'm Up To

Making sea slugs to send to France! Never thought I'd get to use all those words together in a sentence! 
One of my favorite things to make for my little Etsy shop are nudibranches, or sea slugs, though they're not entirely slugs. They live everywhere, they are shockingly colorful, and they are surprisingly fun to make into plushies.  And the people who are in the market for sea slug plush are a very fun bunch to know. Divers, sailors, museum curators, little kids with big vocabularies, and my most plentiful customer - boyfriends of marine biologists. Happy to help, guys ;) 
This is a real animal, Felimare californiensis. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*







Happy Wednesday! Let's jump right in, shall we? 


What I'm Reading 

NW by Zadie Smith. I read On Beauty last year, and loved it. Just started NW, but so far, it's the same kind of wonderful. There is a lot of experimental formatting in this one, but Smith is the kind of writer who crafts sentences, and makes you want to note the construction, so she gets a pass. Otherwise, that kind of thing can get a book permanently stuck at the bottom of my TBR pile.  

What I'm Writing 

Last 10k of my MG revisions. I've been attempting to set deadlines on finishing this, but I finally realized that self constructed deadlines don't work for me. I don't need motivation to sit down and write. I love writing. And this revision has been pretty intensive. It's not just clean up or line edits. There has been a fair bit of rewriting, and brand new chapters. So far out of the original 60k, I've cut at least 5500 words, and added back 7500. There is no need to rush, and I'm liking the result, so while I'd like to have it "done by x date", if it doesn't happen, there's no need to panic.  

What Inspires Me Right Now 

Livin' the dream. No, things aren't perfect.  But when it comes to the average day in the life, I really couldn't have it any better. Cute house, adorable son, gorgeous and talented husband, sunshine, flowers outside my window, books to read, books to write. Cat on my lap while I work on my manuscript. Playing video games with the kid in the morning, doing some gardening with him in the afternoon. Glass of wine and a movie with the husband at night. I am completely spoiled. 

What Else I'm Up To


Being the hipsters that we are, we made homemade marshmallows. Chocolate, mint and lemon flavors. I am the queen of screwing up recipes, but these basically me-proof. Turned out great. You do need a candy thermometer, and it does make a hell of a sticky mess, but it all cleans with warm water. And if you are a peeps fan like myself, and miss the peppermint stars that are only out for Christmas, then homemade minty marshmallows are for you.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*







Happy Wednesday! Already! Again!
See, this is how I end up missing a week or so. It's summer, and days of the week are fairly meaningless around here, and I just sat down for some legit writing time when the computer clock happened to note that it was, in fact, Wednesday again. Thank you, computer clock. 

What I'm Reading 

Did some beta reading for a critique buddy, on a very early draft of a very fun story. 

What I'm Writing 

The MG revision is humming along. Really, really happy with it so far, even the middle chapter that had me running in circles for two straight days. It's much better now.

What Inspires Me Right Now 

Polar Vortex Summer. Seriously. It's been cool and rainy here, where summer is normally a scorching wasteland. So kid is happy inside reading books with me, and I don't feel tremendous mom guilt that I'm not making every summer day some kind of pinterest wonderland for my precious angel. (Which you shouldn't feel guilty about ever anyway, but I know moms, and any time you think you *should* be spending time with your kid - even if the kid doesn't even want to - feels like some kind of motherly betrayal. We should all work on that.)


What Else I'm Up To

I moved into my "new" office, which is the spare bedroom in our house, and is now my writing room and etsy store headquarters. I even have my own bathroom, which I have to share with the cats, but hey, most offices have co-workers after all. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Night with the Cool Kids

That's right. You know who you are, staying up late to read blogs. You like to live dangerously, just like me.
For instance, I was just sitting down with a fresh cup of home brewed hazelnut coffee. That's right. Coffee at nearly 10:30 pm Central Time. I made that coffee in a purple Soviet era economy class coffee maker, that was probably marketed for girls' dorm rooms, based on the aforementioned color and that it was a billion percent off at the Gordman's.

 We have well water here, of a tart and hearty stock that seems to take special pride in annihilating coffee makers, toilet tanks, and any light colored clothing that dares breach its foul depths. We blow through four or five coffee makers a year. So I buy the cheap ones, and when they burn out, I shed not a tear. I simply put another notch in the Well Water vs Coffee Maker tally column, say the traditional rites over the garbage can, and consign the poor sacrificial device to ye old local landfill. (only the non recyclable parts, of course)

Our previous machine, Mr. Coffee - he preferred to be addressed by is professional name - got an extra two months of life with the cunning use of pouring near-boiling water over the grounds manually. But alas, eventually that too ended, when the glass cracked, and the carafe began hemorrhaging all over the counters and down the side of the cabinet.

It was only after assassinating twenty or thirty odd mechanical coffee makers (30 Odd Mechanical Coffee Makers - the original name of Russell Crowe's band?) that it occurred to me that perhaps my hipster brother was on to something, and there was more purpose to the old fashioned french press style coffee maker than simply looking very pretentious while using it.So I set out to find one. Though many were available online, for a house that drinks two pots of coffee a day minimum, the waiting time, even with overnight shipping, simply would not do. The french presses I found in store were lovely, and either the size of a thimble, or three times the price of the lowly purple machine on infinite clearance in the back of the third store in which I attempted to procure my new machine. So Violet Beauregard (stage name) came home with us. Which is fitting, as we have a purple kitchen.

So, where am I going with this? Well, I just now sat down with my laptop, my mug of coffee (with a big L for My Mug, Not Yours stamped in the very earthenware of the vessel) prepared to spend a few hours of my quiet evening revising my current manuscript, and feeling quite content indeed, when the thunderstorm began. Driving, pounding rain, with a customary howling wind and rumbling thunder, which was all fine until I remembered The Umbrella.

We have the cutest patio umbrella. It's rainbow. It's got a little scalloped edge. And it loves to escape and roam the neighborhood. Especially in wind storms.
Mr. is not home. He's still on his way back from Chicago, where he was shooting a spot for Pop Tarts or something, and I am alone, listening to soothing summer rain and realizing that I will have to go out in it to close the damn umbrella before it launches itself to freedom and does some legitimate damage to the house. Or someone else's house.

But all is well. The umbrella is safely closed and secured. I just spent five minutes wrestling with a metal pole in the middle of my yard in a lightning storm, but, like one glorious Gloria Gaynor, I have survived. As I said at the beginning, I like to live dangerously. Happy Saturday Night, you wild and crazy kids.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday - Welcome Back

"What's Up Wednesday" is run by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk, and is an awesome weekly bloghop that gives readers and writers a great venue to keep in touch through the magical world of blogs. Come hop with us!*







Happy Wednesday! 
I've missed a few, and there's a lot of catching up to do! 

What I'm Reading 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Love the pace. It does have one element that always throws me, and it's the Immortal Figure that Looks Like a Teenager But is Really Much Older But Falls in Love with a Human Teenager Anyway. I enjoy a good paranormal romance, but as a person in my mid thirties, who remembers very well being a teenager,  I cannot imagine dating someone who's 16 or 17 at my age, let alone when I'm 50, or 150, or 500, even if I still looked 17 on the outside. No thank you. (although my dear husband has plenty of friends who won't date anyone less than 10 years younger than them, so I don't think it works both ways) I also don't recall thinking of way older guys in a romantic manner at that age. That always kind of lingers in the back of my head when I'm reading these kinds of romances. Falling in love with a vampire, swamp beast or ghost seems more plausible than a 100 year old soul having a romantic connection to a 16 year old soul, and making that work at all. Still a very fun book. 


What I'm Writing 

My MG adventure story is almost, ALMOST complete. Yesterday I had a blissful 8 hours of writing time. With a few more days like this, I should be able to complete this pass by the end of the week. YAY! And then it can go back to Fabulous Agent. 

What Inspires Me Right Now 

Momentum. I made some really solid progress on the WIP this week, and with a few days of writing time still reserved ahead of me, I'm ready to keep right on rolling and see this to the end. It's the middle of a long jog, and I've got the heart rate up, and the pace is comfortable and even, and it's now one smooth flat grade to the finish line. 


What Else I'm Up To

Oh boy. Well, it's not entirely what I've been up to, but more what's been going on around me since the start of summer.  
- my brother co-wrote on a song that is featured in the new Transformers movie.
- my cousin was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the NFL draft, and he is likely to be a starter next year. (Still hoping he ends up in Green Bay someday!)
- my husband's short film screens this weekend in Chicago. Yay! One of his feature length films is in consideration to be an art installation at a major museum. Fingers crossed.  And another film he edited is about to make its film festival debut. 
- my etsy shop had its best non-holiday month ever in June, and July is looking to be even better. Which is fantastic and nerve wracking, because last year August-March were BUSY and if it's even more this year, I might have a hard time keeping up. But I welcome the challenge!   
- my son made it out of third grade, and this summer he's started going running with me. We're scouting for a fun 5k to do as a family in the fall. Right now he's on a road trip with his brave grandpa and cousin. Just Papa and the boys :) 
And there were other less fun happenings as well, but why drag those out, right? This is about inspiration, motivation and fun. So, what fun things has summer brought your way so far?