NaNoWriMo Restart- 8 Days In

I’m writing this on the 8th of November when I’m 11689 words in to my novel. Unfortunately it’s a novel I hate. I hate my characters. I hate the story. I dread sitting down at the end of the night once everything is finally done for the day to try and write 1667 words.

I write just for myself and maybe my husband. I write things that are funny and make me laugh while I’m working. I write ridiculous things like ninjas bursting in to rooms for battle while they’re cutting the wedding cake or a super hero with magic virginity taking abilities (yes I seriously wrote that for nanowrimo 2010).

And I assumed that’s the sort of silliness would follow me in to this novel as well. But it didn’t. I kept worrying that if I jumped in to the action (epic battles with assassins) too soon I would run out of content before I reached my 50,000 words so I kept dealing with the tiny details of my main character’s day. And OMG was I bored.

I was still pushing myself and making my word counts, but I couldn’t wait to reach 1667 each day so I could be done and not just because I was exhausted being up past my bedtime to write.

What was supposed to be a ridiculous story written just to entertain myself turned in to some kind of book I would almost certainly never read. A romantic suspense is the closest description I can come up with.

So while telling my husband I wanted to quit we started talking about why I was writing this novel. Why was I sacrificing sleep and quality time with my kiddo, and time to read? Because I like the challenge and wanted to have fun. I was not having fun.

What could we do to make it fun again? The more I thought about it the more excited I got. Currently where I am in my novel, my female main character has just texted the male main character that someone is trying to break in to her apartment.

It’s about to get ridiculous up in here. A clown with the ability to make my main character burp chocolate bubbles?Or maybe the male main character shows up with the traveling shovel of death to save her?Or a ninja that cartwheels in only to keep going and end up falling from the third story building after smashing through the full length windows across the room? Or maybe Mr Ian Woon, a magician, pulls plot bunnies from his hat faster than I can type?

I don’t know yet, I’ll find out when I get back to typing in another hour when my daughter goes to bed and the house is finally quiet.

For now I’ve turned all except my last sentence white. I’ll continue the story from where I am, but it will take on a whole new direction in a way that would make me set down any book I was reading that did such a thing. I may have two different stories after nano is over. Or I may end up throwing out the whole beginning and going with what comes from today on. Or I still may not look at this novel ever again after I order my winner’s shirt. But at least I’ll have fun writing for another 22 days.

How is your nanowrimo novel going?

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The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy-My Thoughts

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

This book was my most anticipated book of the year. I read the first book in the series in November 2017 and it was immediately my favorite book ever. I have been slowly picking my way through a reread since. Rereads never end up being my top priority though so I’ve still only read the first book once.

I began this book as soon as I had my fingers on it from the library. I told my husband on the way home that I was so excited I wasn’t sure I could read it. But obviously I did. I started it in the car on the way home and instantly loved being back in the company of Felicity and then Henry and Percy as well. I also love our new characters, especially Sim.

I was laughing before I finished reading the notes on the map at the front of the book, but my first real thought about the book was confusion. Perhaps I read the ending of the first book a bit too quickly, or was just too caught up in Henry and Percy to pay Felicity any proper attention, but I thought she had left to work on a pirate ship in the end of the first book. I was surprised to find her working in a bakery at the beginning of this one. It was certainly not what I expected.

I enjoyed Felicity’s character more in this book, perhaps just because she was the focus now. I appreciated her tenacity and levelheadedness. But also her excitement at the prospect of doing things like sewing up a finger tip that has been severed and pulling glass out of an arm. Her obvious joy from doing something so disgusting made it possible for me to keep reading through the more bloody bits.

Once I reached the point with about 100 pages left to go it felt like there was so much more story left to figure out and not nearly enough pages to do so. I felt satisfied with the ending though and can’t wait to see more of where Felicity and Sim end up on their adventures together.

I loved following on this adventure of three kickass girls/women. I appreciated how they were angry about having to follow the rules and still found a way to make them fit their needs and desires anyway when there wasn’t much they could change in a situation except their attitudes about it. And I especially loved that they were all changing their dreams to fit their new perspectives on the world and themselves.

I was also thrilled to see our glimpses of Monty and Percy and my heart still flutters every time we see them together. They are also incredibly funny. The whole book is. The humor and the characters play equal parts in my wanting to read more and more about them.

I keep turning to the last page again to read the final few lines of Felicity’s letter. It speaks to me so profoundly that I tear up each time I read it.

I’m learning there is no one way for life to be lived, no one way to be strong or brave or kind or good. Rather there are many people doing the best they can with the heart they are given and the hand they are dealt. Our best is all we can do, and all we can hold on to is each other.

And, zounds, that is more than enough.

This book certainly didn’t disappoint. I gave it ✰5✰ and I’m already planning a reread with highlighter in hand.

I hope you and I can live our lives as bravely and determinedly as Felicity does.

Kindergarten Homeschool Update

At the time of writing this we’re nine weeks in to the school year. And we’re about three weeks behind in most of our subjects.

Things started out amazingly well. If you don’t know, my kindergartener is three and half years old, we did preschool at home starting at age two due to her own leading and we just moved her up to the next level of her subjects in August when she asked to start Kindergarten early. So we’re not terribly stressed about being behind. She wouldn’t be allowed to start public school here until September 2020 anyway, so even if we did nothing else this year we would still be way ahead of her peers.

Because she is so young, I don’t push very much. If she wants to do kindergarten that day we do and the past few weeks she mostly hasn’t. The first three weeks of so of the new year she woke up and asked to do school every single morning, even on weekends. We didn’t miss a day for fifteen days straight.

And then the arguing started. We would do everything except math and then she would throw tantrums to not have to do math. We did that for a few days and then we tried moving math to the beginning of the day. That worked for a day or two and then we just didn’t end up doing any school at all because she refused to do math and I didn’t let her do other things until we did that first. We were both unhappy so we just left it as a vacation for a week.

When we tried again she was no less stubborn so we have mostly been picking a subject and working on that as long as she has the attention span and desire to do so and we’re making some progress. The biggest issue with this has been that by the time we make it to music, for example, she has forgotten her notes again and we spend the first ten minutes or so relearning them.

As for a more specific update:

Readalouds: We are right on schedule with our poetry book and have also read the first 40 or so pages of What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know which has all been poems so far. We have also read 6 chapter books. Five of which were on our list and one was a requested addition from my daughter. We’re currently reading another additional book at her request.

Art: We are three weeks behind in this. My daughter loves the painting and doesn’t much care about the art appreciation aspects of the curriculum.

Handwriting: This is one of the subjects we’re pretty far ahead in. The beginning pages were far too simple for her. We should be on page 34 if we were on the same scheduled day as everything else, but she’s on page 56.

History: We are the same three weeks behind in this as everything else. She enjoys the readaloud portion, but doesn’t have much patience for the coloring pages. I usually let her draw or explore the map for the chapter.

Geography: This is my daughter’s favorite subject. She has found a love of maps and loves to see globes and maps anywhere she can find them. If I pulled these books out today she would probably finish them all in one go. I might need to look for more geography resources for her soon.

Phonics and Creative Writing: We are about three weeks behind in all of these. She tolerates the explode the code, but hates having to form her letters. She is not enjoying her Plaid phonics either at this time and we may look for something else, but money is not really available to purchase anything else right now. I think this one might just be far too easy for her. The four squares are a favorite of hers and she lets her sass come out in them on the regular.

Science: Same three weeks behind here too. She likes these books a lot. We got her to cut and lick squash which is a huge deal in our house. She also loves her lifesize body picture that she adds body parts to each week.

Music: This was going great. She immediately loved the first book because it has stickers and she picked everything up way faster than I did. She even figured out how to play Mary had a Little Lamb and Hot Cross Buns in the first week using letters written on her keyboard and on the note sheet. Then we didn’t really do music for a couple weeks and we’re relearning the names and counts for whole, half, and quarter note.

Chess: She picked this up instantly too. I had coloring sheets and was hoping she would learn a few of the names for pieces on the first lesson, but she got them all after one time through and then asked to play so we started learning how the pieces move and she loves it. She doesn’t have strategy yet or know the difference between winning and losing, but she loves to play anyway.

Scissor Skills: This is another favorite. She likes to have extra practice in this so we do printables of fun holiday themed pages.

Money: We haven’t started this yet, it will be an end of year project. The last few months of kindergarten.

Math: This is the biggest issue we have. According to my plans we should have been 30 lessons in to the Horizons Math Grade 1 curriculum. We are actually on lesson 107 of the Kindergarten curriculum. She is amazing at math and we started the kindergarten level in her preschool year of homeschool. But we never finished so it feels like we’re playing major catch up. However, she’s actually ahead for her age so I just let her take it at her speed. We just started subtraction this week and she can add double digit numbers on her own as long as she doesn’t have to carry over yet. I am crazy proud of her. So we just keep plugging along.

Overall, not too bad. We’re making progress in everything, though slower than planned and she doesn’t hate school yet so I must be doing something right.

Maybe we’ll catch up before my next check in, but maybe we won’t. And she’s so little it doesn’t quite matter yet. She loves to learn and she knows how to ask questions to find the answers that matter to her. That and her absolute love of reading everything and anything she can get her hands on our my most important goals in teaching her so I’m calling our first couple of months a success.

How is your homeschool year going?

Booktube Watching Tag

I’m not a Booktuber, but I watch a lot of it. I don’t think I could make a video of myself or I would already have started a Booktube channel. This blog is as close as I’m going to get. So as a Booktube lover, I thought I would answer the questions from this tag. There are 10. It was originally created by Harriet Rosie.

 

1. How many channels are you subscribed to?

I am subscribed to 301 channels right now. It fluctuates a bit. Not all 300 of them are book related. I originally found Youtube a little over four years ago when I was pregnant and not sleeping much. I had used Youtube when it came up in search engines for tutorials and stuff before that, but had never watched regularly or even knew how to subscribe to someone. I started out watching budgeting videos, Dave Ramsey followers specifically. Since then I’ve cycled through channels as my interests changed. Bullet journal and planning channels, mommy lifestyle channels, minimalism, homeschool, writing and NaNoWriMo, various celebrities like Ellen and Jimmy Fallon, etc. It would take way too much effort to count how many of the channels I subscribe to now are book related, but I’ll estimate half or a little more.

2. When do you normally watch booktube?

Throughout the day, whenever I can I’m watching Youtube. I can do most of my work split screen so the other half of my computer monitor is often Youtube when I’m doing something that doesn’t require full attention to do well.

3. How do you balance booktube watching, reading, and making your own videos?

I don’t because I don’t make videos, but if you take out making videos and put in writing blog posts I will say, not terribly well. I watch Booktube the most because it’s fun and mostly mindless. I can often watch while doing something else. I plan, write, edit, and post my blog posts whenever I have a few minutes of quiet with no work to do. I have recently added a blog instagram too and that is taking a lot more time than I expected. I was an instagram newbie and I’ve learned a lot in the six weeks I’ve been on there. Reading fits in between all of those things, work, and taking care of the house and family. So, I don’t read as often as I would like, but I do read far more than anyone I know in my real life.

I do read book blogs too, but that’s mostly something I end up doing on my phone while out and about so it’s not too regular yet. Booktube requires less concentration on my part.

4. Is there a difference between videos you like watching and videos you like making?

I don’t make any videos, so, yes. I love to watch anything creatively done.

5. Who is the first booktuber you subscribed to and do you still watch them?

Probably Little Book Owl, but I’ve been subscribed and unsubscribed to her over the years. Or it might have been BooksandLala. I adore her channel. I want half of her creativity!

6. Who is the most recent booktuber you subscribed to?

The most recent subscription for bookish content is Tired Mama Tries to Read. The channel name alone has me hooked. I can so relate.

7. Share an old favorite booktuber!

I’m not sure how long she’s been making videos, but my favorite Booktuber, period, is Shannon Ridler. I immediately click her videos every time she posts something new about books. She always makes me smile and gives me new books to look for at the library. I love love love her videos.

8. Share a new favorite booktuber

A new favorite Booktuber is Beards & Books. I haven’t been subscribed very long, a month or so, but I have enjoyed every video he has posted since I found him. I especially enjoy his Stephen King instagram posts and Youtube videos.

9. What is one of your booktube pet peeves?

Not leaving things in the information box that you say you will. Tag questions or links to videos or products. I always look for them excitedly and when I find nothing I feel a bit lied too.

10. What have you learned from watching other booktubers?

That there are people that love books as much as I do. I was always the weird bookish one growing up and I had no idea that there were other people that regularly talk about books and read 100 or more books a year. I feel not so alone.

 

Are you a big Youtube watcher? Which book related channels should I check out?

Baby Steps with the Debt Free Community Tag

Today I will be answering questions from the Baby Steps with the Debt Free Community Tag. I saw this tag as a video on Wendy Valencia’s Youtube channel. There are five questions.

1) How did you originally hear about Dave Ramsey and what was your initial thoughts on him?

We first heard about Dave Ramsey from my father in law. He jumps in to new things whole heartedly and tells everyone he knows about them. The church he plays organ for hosted a Financial Peace University Course and he attended and loved it. He paid for us to go to the course the next round. I thought that everything sounded logical and having financial peace sounded great. My husband and I immediately started to implement the steps and saw great things happen to us financially.

2) What is the craziest financial advice someone ever gave you that you had to shrug/laugh off?

That being debt free is impossible. My husband and I have been debt free nearly our whole relationship. There was a hospital visit that occurred when we had no insurance that we also couldn’t afford to pay. It was sent to collections and forgotten about. We paid it off shortly after starting the baby steps. Otherwise we’ve always been of the mind set that if we don’t have the money we don’t buy it. The only thing I can imagine us having a debt for again is when we’re ready to buy a home.

3) What is the hardest place you had to give up shopping or eating at?

We didn’t really have to give anything up when we started the baby steps except that we were more conscious of our eating out. At one point when we had no children and were both working full time we ate out daily. Once we started watching our money and making a budget we clamped down on eating out fairly tightly.

The time that we’ve had to give up shopping the most has been this past nearly seven months my husband has been out of work. There has been zero eating out and zero and extra spending. That means I had to give up book shopping and sticker shopping. Those have been hard.

4) What baby step are you on and how long have you been there?

We are on baby step 1 again as we don’t have $1000 in the bank. As soon as we make it dollar 1001 we’ll be jumping back to baby step 3 again.

5) What is something you want to do when you are on baby step 7?

Baby step 7 is the dream I’ve had since we first learned of Dave Ramsey in 2013. The story he tells of anonymously paying the electric bill for a year for a single mother at church makes me tear up every time I think of it. I can’t wait to do things like that. I want to pay bills for struggling people and do as many random acts of kindness as I can fit in my budget. I can’t wait to start giving money away in ways that make big differences for people.

 

What do you want to do in baby step seven?

November 2017 Haul Revisit

November 2017 was the first time I tracked the books I bought or received. I’ve been wanting to do a haul revisit to see how I did with reading the books I acquired since before I started tracking them so this is a post a long time coming.

In November 2017 I bought 19 books.

  1. Luka and the Fire of Life by Salaman Rushdie
  2. The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman
  3. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  4. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark
  5. The Silver Star By Jeannette Walls
  6. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  7. Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
  8. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
  9. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
  10. The Library Card by Jerry Spinelli
  11. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  12. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
  13. Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert
  14. Red Eggs and Good Luck by Angela Lam
  15. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  16. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
  17. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
  18. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
  19. Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Of these 19 books:

I have read 3. Heartbeat ✰4✰, Ginger Pye ✰2✰ and The Library Card ✰2✰.

I have started 1 Storm Front

I have unhauled 1. Red Eggs and Good Luck

I have 2 more on a current TBR. The Silver Star and Anne of Green Gables

That leaves 12 books I haven’t picked up since I bought them a year ago. Not off to great start on these haul revisits. The current plan to add one of the untouched books to a must be read list for November. I am going to choose Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. My goal is to read this book this month.

What is a book you are planning to read this month?

A to Z Bookish Survey Book Tag

This tag was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner. I wasn’t tagged, but wanted to answer the questions any way.

1. A is for author you’ve read the most- This would probably be Stephen King. I read most of his books as a teenager and have revisited some in my later years.
2. B is for best sequel ever- This is a really hard one. I would probably choose The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. The first book in the series is my favorite book ever and I couldn’t imagine loving the sequel near as much, but it’s fantastic so far. I’m currently a little over half way through.
3. C is for currently reading- Too many things to name them all. At last check my goodreads currently reading shelf was at 29 books.
4. D is for drink of choice while reading- Iced coffee. Always iced coffee.
5. E is for e-book or physical book- Both. I like them both for different things or at different times. I like to have physical books especially for nonfiction because I like to highlight and write and in the margins. I like ebooks for convenience and for long fiction that I don’t plan to read more than once.
6. F is for a fictional character you would probably have dated in high school-Honestly I wouldn’t have dated in highschool and didn’t. My first date was when I was 23 and it was with the man that became my husband. I can’t think of any character I would have had an interest in.
7. G is for glad you gave this book a chance-The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I assumed I would never read anything by this author again after I outgrew thew Twilight books. But I gave The Host a try and it was fantastic. I have since also read The Chemist and really enjoyed that one as well.
8. H is for hidden gem book- For this I think I’ll pick Space Team by Barry J. Hutchison. This was a free ebook I found in one of the free ebook emails I get daily. It was hysterical and I loved every ridiculous second of reading it. I haven’t found money in the budget to get the rest of the series yet, but I plan to at some point.
9. I is for important moment in your reading life-I’ve been reading as long as I can remember so I don’t have anything I can think of from my childhood. I suppose the only thing I can think of is when my daughter started playing on her own more and I had time to start reading again. I went from a handful of books read in 2015 and 2015, to 63 books read in 2017, and  well over 100 books read in 2018. It’s good to be back to my pre-motherhood reading levels.

10. J. is for just finished-At the time of writing this the last book I finished was Herding Cats by Sarah Anderson.
11. K is for kinds of books you won’t read-I don’t have any hard and fast limits for this except for books that have terrible things happen to children on the page. I can deal with it if something happens off page and is talked about briefly later, but if I have to have all the details in my head about something that happened to a child I can’t handle it. I get sick to my stomach and have nightmares.
12. L is for the longest book you’ve read-I only have stats from 2017 and 2018 and the longest book I read during that time period was The Stand by Stephen King at 1348 pages according to Goodreads.

13. M is for major book hangover because…-I can’t think of an instance where I had a book hangover. The closest would be years ago when I read a book by Ellen Hopkins called Burned and I cried so hard and so long at the ending that my husband thought I must have gotten a phone call saying that family member had died. Ellen Hopkins is a favorite author, but I just can’t read her works any more (at least for the past several years) because they affect me too much.

14. N is for number of bookcases you own-Five! We have two tall bookshelves with five levels, and three small bookshelves with three levels. One small shelf is for cookbooks in the kitchen, one is for some of my daughter’s books, and the other small shelf houses her homeschool supplies. The two tall shelves are a mix of my and my husbands books. We need far more bookshelves. The two biggest shelves in our linen closet are stacked with books too!
15. O is for one book you’ve read multiple times- The book I can think of right now that I’ve read multiple times over my life and recently is On Writing by Stephen King. It is the most inspiring writing book I’ve read and I read it every few years at a minimum to re-motivate myself to keep writing. In my most recent reread I’m annotating it for the first time.
16. P is for preferred place to read- My favorite place to read is anywhere quiet. That’s hard to come by in our apartment. If I could choose anywhere to read at home it would probably be on the recliner when everyone else is still asleep and can afford to take a little bit of time off of work.
17. Q is for a quote that inspired you from a book that you’ve read-A quote I love is “Lower your expectations from ‘best-seller’ to ‘would not make someone vomit”. It’s from No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty.

18. R is for reading regret-The only regret in regards to reading that I have is not tracking my reading sooner. I only have data on my reads from 2017 on and I wish I could remember when I read a certain book or how often I read something.

19. S is for a series that you’ve started that you need to finish -and all of the books are out right now-I can’t think of series that is finished being published that I’ve not finished reading.

20. T is for three of your all-time favorite books-I tried to choose three I haven’t talked about in this post yet. You can see My 5 Favorite Books here though.

  1. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

21. U is for unapologetic fan girl for…-I am a huge fan girl for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Favorite book ever!

22. V is for very excited for this release-The only releases I was very excited about this year were The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee and Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

23. W is for worst bookish habit-My worst bookish habit is starting too many books at once. I am currently in the middle of 29. Eep.

24. X is for X Marks the Spot (start at the top left of your -bookshelf and pick the 27th book)-The 27th book is Zen In The Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.

25. Y is for your latest book purchase-My latest book purchase is my own copy of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee and Rasing My Rainbow my Lori Duron.

26. Z is for Z snatcher or the last book that kept you up way late-The only sleep stealer in my house is my three year old who still doesn’t make it through the night on occasion. I like sleep and don’t get nearly enough of it. The only book in recent memory that I can remember staying awake to read until bedtime was Heat (Dragon’s Destiny: Fated Mates #1) by Wolf Specter