Things I’m Loving Lately.

“All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight.”
~Clay Jannon, via Robin Sloane in Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

Hi, friends! I’m popping in from Revision Land – started the third round of edits on Watercolors this week and am somehow still enjoying the process immensely! – to say hello and see what everyone’s up to. Can we talk about the fact that it’s already mid-August? I seriously don’t understand how that’s possible. Where has the summer gone? It always seems to fly by, but this year … I don’t know, I feel like it should still be June. I wish we could slow down time, but since that’s not a possibility, I hope you all are taking a moment to enjoy these hazy, lazy (or often not-so-lazy) days and the warm sunshine. Here are a few things I’ve been loving lately:

– A weekend getaway to Lancaster, PA. We went to see the show Ballroom With a Twist, which featured performances from Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol finalists. It was such a great combination – featuring one of my favorite SYTYCDers from all the seasons! – and was so fun to see the routines in person.

Ballroom With a Twist

– The duck pond at the hotel where we stayed. There were dozens of ducks in and around the water. How adorable are these babies?

Baby ducks

– The summer scents from Bath & Body Works. Honolulu Sun, Cool Coconut Surf, and Hello Sunshine are my new favorites and will have me dreaming of the beach even when the weather turns cool.

– The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I don’t watch regularly – I’m usually asleep by the time it comes on – but I had the chance to go to a taping of the show last week and had a blast. It was so cool to see all the behind-the-scenes details and to experience such a unique kind of energy. Helen Mirren was my favorite of the guests. Added bonus: we got off the subway directly below the Simon & Schuster building and got to walk through the lobby on our way outside. This writing and reading fanatic was most excited.

Jimmy Fallon tickets

– Wawa’s banana cream smoothie. They have so many good flavors, but this one just might be the most delicious. It’s fruity and sweet, the perfect summer treat.

– Winning at miniature golf not once, but twice, and getting two holes-in-one in the same game. For someone who almost always loses, this was a pretty awesome triumph. I may or may not have done a victory dance.

Mini golf

– Animal rescue and adoption centers. I’ve been thinking about adopting a bunny for awhile now and have fallen in love with some on the centers’ websites. Hopefully I’ll get to make a furry friend part of the family soon.

– Flowers like this. The world is so pretty when its colors are bold and bright.

Flowers

– Unique, original stories. I just finished MR. PENUMBRA’S 24 HOUR BOOKSTORE and really enjoyed it. It’s different from the kinds of books I normally read, but different is good sometimes.

– Working on this book baby of mine. I so love seeing it grow with each round of revisions – and shrink, too! The final draft of this will end up being my shortest ever, and for anyone who knows the way I write, you’ll understand why I’m so proud of that.

What are you all loving lately?

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A Confessionary Tale.


“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I confess that: although I’ve been working feverishly on WATERCOLORS and have been looking forward to some downtime for the past few weeks, now that the first draft is officially finished (!) and I’m not at my writing desk this morning, I already miss my characters.

I confess that: I didn’t think I’d be much of an audiobook person, but thanks to an awesome app for the iPod, I’ve become a huge fan and now love listening to books as much as reading them.

I confess that: I’m super disappointed today, because instead of visiting my friend and her sweet daughters, I’m stuck at home with what seems to be the beginning of a sinus infection. Really bad timing, body.

I confess that: I’ve become totally addicted to Shark Tank this season and would happily watch it all day if possible.

I confess that: everything else fell by the wayside when I was in my must-finish-this-draft frenzy, so now my non-writing to-do list is about seventeen miles long.

I confess that: I check the long-range weather forecast every morning, hoping to finally see some 70s, and am crossing my fingers because it looks like Friday might be the time.

I confess that: I click on over to my inbox way too many times per day.

I confess that: Rita’s Water Ice has only been open for a month and a half and I’ve already been there five times. Oops?

I confess that: I recently bought myself a new beaded bracelet from Emme Rylan’s etsy shop and an awesome purple purse. Because sometimes we have to treat ourselves, right?

I confess that: I’m jealous of everyone going to Washington DC this week, since last year’s Cherry Blossom Festival didn’t actually have many blossoms.

Your turn! What do you confess?

Five.


“Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.”
~W. Earl Hall

The always awesome Megan tagged me for the “five things that make you happy meme,” so I figured I’d take a break from the writewritewritewrite frenzy to share some of what’s currently putting a smile on my face.

1. My WIP: Okay, so maybe this isn’t much of a break from it after all. It’s certainly no secret how much I’ve adored writing this book. In fact, you’re all probably getting quite tired of hearing me blab on and on about it. Don’t worry. There’s only three chapters to go, so after next week you won’t be subjected to my incessant ramblings. It’s just … I can’t necessarily explain it, but there’s something about this project that has instilled a permanent ‘writer’s high’ in me. I work on it until my eyes scream and my head aches, and then I keep thinking about the characters even when I’ve left the computer behind. Something about this story is resonating with me in a way that transcends words. Will it do the same for anyone else? Who knows? Even if it doesn’t, this will forever be a writing experience filled with joy.

2. The prospect of sand, sea, boardwalk, and books: After spending the past four months writing about both Nantucket and Atlantic City, I can’t wait to escape to the shore for a few days later this month. It will forever be my happy place, and I’m counting down until the moment when I’m sitting on the beach with a book in hand and the sound of tumbling waves whispering in my ear.

3. The weather: After a cool and damp start to the season, followed by a spike in temperatures to something more reminiscent of August, springtime has finally set up shop here in Pennsylvania. Yesterday could not have been more beautiful: cloudless cornflower blue sky, temperatures in the mid-70s, and air that smelled sweet as honeysuckle. Today promises to be a repeat and I can’t wait to get outside for another long walk to the pond. This picture is from April, so the trees are much fuller now … and while the view of the water isn’t as clear, that makes it more special to see the spray arcing up into the air, soaring skywards like a beacon of hope.

Pond

4. ‘Jessie’s Girl’: Pretty sure this song has been stuck in my head ever since Rick Springfield sang it on General Hospital during April’s Nurses’ Ball. It has one of those melodies that just worms its way into your thoughts and refuses to leave. Give it a listen and you too will be tapping your feet to the beat.

5. Water ice: How better to celebrate the warmer weather? Icy foods have sometimes been challenging to eat since I began using Invisalign back in January, but I always make an exception for this. With a Rita’s just minutes away – offering flavors such as fudge brownie, red velvet cake, and s’mores – how can I not?

Your turn: what’s one thing making you happy this week?

Things I’ve learned this week:


“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”
~Sarah Caldwell

1. Spending countless hours working on a laptop can eventually cause your neck muscles to become inflamed. Dominant side (right, in my case) + unwittingly tilting your head at a certain angle while on the computer x many years = lopsided muscles (aka, one side is thicker than the other). My doctor recommended physical therapy for it, so fingers crossed that works. And who says writers don’t incur occupational hazards? ;-)

2. Yogurtland is amazing not only because they have white chocolate Ghirardelli chips as a topping, but also because they have the best flavor ever: Peppermint Hot Cocoa. If you have a Yogurtland anywhere near you, go try this fabulousness. You’ll be glad you did.

3. It is impossible to put eye drops in your own eyes – at least if you’re as squeamish about that kind of thing as I am. Thank goodness for people who offer to help.

4. Wrapping holiday gifts while listening to festive music never gets old. Ever. Cannot wait for the start of Hanukkah tomorrow night and for all the warmth, light, and joy it sends twinkling through the air.

5. Knowing that you’re going to exceed a goal is an incredible feeling. When I first began editing Mine to Love, I hoped to get the manuscript under 110,000 words. With six and a half chapters left to revise, I’m only a few hundred words away. For the first time ever, I’m going to have a book that’s shorter than the goal. This excites me more than it probably should.

How about you? What’s one thing you’ve learned this week?