Touching base: writing update, audiobooks, and everyday stuff

by , under books and reading, depression, family, the kids, time, writing

Just checking in on my blog/website for a little while this evening — after months of neglect — and found this paragraph on the “About” page:

Although the book I published is a poetry collection, I’ve turned my attention to fiction, and have spent much of 2015 working on my first novel — specifically, a romance novel. My primary goal for 2016 is to finish and publish it.

Soooo… oops? Life has a way of interrupting writing plans. I’ve tweaked that bit so it’s now accurate. As far as the status of that novel, it is much closer to being a complete first draft. Thanks to several weekend Write-In sessions at my local library, with other members of the area’s National Novel Writing Month group (who write and/or edit all year, not only in November), I’ve made solid progress in June and July. I’ve done minor revising of some scenes, major rewrites of other scenes, and have written a few new ones as well. I still have a few gaps in the story that require new scenes, and I’m not sure if my current “black moment” is serious enough. To top it off, I still need to decide how to resolve the main conflict and bring my couple together at the end. It sounds like a lot, now that I’ve spelled it out here, but I’m sitting at about 54,000 words now, and I feel really good about the revisions I’ve made and the parts I’ve added. Overall, it’s a higher-quality draft than I had three months ago. I just need to make some plot and character decisions, write out the results of those decisions, and find me an editor.

What else? I’m going through an audiobook phase at the moment, because once in a while, I can’t decide if I want a writing and/or publishing podcast, a book discussion podcast, or a political podcast. (I’ve also started tapering one of my two antidepressant meds, so that could be messing with my mood sometimes. Yeah, it probably is.) Anyway, way back when I found audiobooks, one of my earliest favorite narrators was Davina Porter. I listened to several mysteries just because she narrated them. Well, I’ve now listened to my first Agatha Raisin mystery by M. C. Beaton: Hiss and Hers. It was a pleasure from start to finish, not only because Davina Porter is a masterful reader (as expected), but because Agatha Raisin is a character you can’t help rooting for even as she drives people nuts. I understand now why Simon Savidge (UK blogger & bookish bloke, and co-host of The Readers podcast) loves this mystery series.

I finished the M. C. Beaton last weekend, and started my next audiobook two days ago. It’s a historical romance by Tessa Dare, called Romancing the Duke. I don’t remember the reader’s name off the top of my head, but she’s doing a really good job. It’s between eight and nine hours, and I’m about halfway through. It. Is. Awesome. I’m planning to listen to the rest of it on Sunday while I do housecleaning. Sunday is my birthday, and we’ll have family over that evening for my birthday supper, but I don’t mind spending a good chunk of the morning and early afternoon cleaning if I can listen to this wonderful and entertaining story with minimal interruptions from other humans (and also pets).

Most evenings, in recent months, I spend too much time watching news programs and/or reading news online, often with Twitter open on the phone I’m holding. I can’t believe we have a narcissistic dumbass in the White House. I think I appreciate journalists and TV news reporters more now, and in the last six months, than I ever have before in my life.

My younger son made the freshman baseball team this past spring, and then he played with his regular team from late May until this year’s last tournament, two weeks ago near Norman, Oklahoma. (They finished fourth of fourteen teams in that tourney — not too shabby.) Then, the coach wrote to us three days ago to say that his kid has another opportunity for next year, and a few other kids are looking at other options for next year, so obviously he won’t be coaching, and basically we don’t have a team. Jeff is a little stressed because instead of being all set for baseball next year, we suddenly have no plan, and Ryan might need to try out for other teams in the very near future. I’m disappointed, because I loved this team, and really felt it was where we belonged, but as far as what happens now… that’s just not my department.

Work is mostly the same, and keeps me busy and tired. (The Oklahoma trip was the closest we got to a vacation this year, with two days off before, then Monday off to recover back at home, after not getting home until very late Sunday night.) I’m taking a day off this coming week to get the boys registered for school, and hopefully do a little more writing or revising. Then, only a couple weeks until they go back to school. The roller coaster might slow down a little, once in a while, but it never stops.

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