Featured Poem: August

August by Lizette Woodworth Reese

No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon’s single cloud, white, glaring, still.

 

via Poets.org

Week in Review July 23rd-29th

Yep.

I skipped a week.

It was a good week, just too busy to write it all up.

This week was busy, too, that only reason this blog happened was because I went on a vacation!

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Well. A working vacation. Maybe I’ll get to take a real vacation before the year is over. Haha. Or maybe not. I’m just excited that on 21st of July, I took the whole day off. Whole day! Imagine that! My last day off was March 31st.

It’s the little things, guys.

Anyway. Really committed to trying to shorten up these week in review posts. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit a good stride with my content schedule for Minute Marketing. But my personal/author blog has definitely been left in the dust and it’s mostly because this blog takes forever to do.

So to make up for the lack of consistent posting, here’s a largish update on Shadow of the Magician:

Last time I mentioned I was a little more than halfway through the revision, word count wise. But I’ve definitely slowed down a lot and have been struggling lately. I’ve been super disappointed about that, wondering how I was going to get out of the doldrums of the middle of the book and also make this not terrible for anyone else to read. But I had a great talk with my writer’s group on Monday and I think I know how to fix it. Yay!

I’m always amazed at how my unconscious brain seems to know what’s wrong with the book before I consciously figure it out. Any other writers experience this? Anytime the writing feels hard, I invariably realize there’s something wrong with the plot in that area. Of course, it takes me days or weeks to realize exactly what part is the problem. But it’s really incredible how my unconscious brain doesn’t let me cruise on by and keep moving forward to the end. And it would be SO easy for that to happen.

I’m still really excited about how the book is coming together. Really excited about. So excited that I think I’ve all, but made up my mind that if I can’t sell this book, I’m going to publish it myself. I’ve worked on it for so long and at this point, I feel like so many people have become invested in seeing this book to the end, so many people know about it, that I have to put it out there one way or another. After six years, the least I can do is format it into an ebook and buy a nice pre-made cover for it. Even if I don’t sell more than a couple copies of it, at least all the people who want to read it will get to do so. Better than letting it languish on my hard drive.

This isn’t a light decision. Once you self-publish, it’s pretty hard to go the other way. But I think this book deserves better than to be put back in the drawer.

So here’s my plan for the next few months: hoping to finish these edits either this month or next (but I really hope it’s this month). Then I’m going to get my pitch materials together and if all goes well, start querying agents hopefully in October/November before they close up shop for the holidays. This is probably too ambitious of a timeline, but whatever. A goal is a goal.

If you’re excited about maybe someday actually getting to read Shadow of the Magician, leave me a comment below!

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July 23rd – 29th Week in Review:

Started off Monday at the barn with Miss Pia. Is there any better way to start the week than at one of your favorite places? I honestly doubt it. Ended up running back to Mary’s again to buy Pia a fly mask because I literally just gave hers to Escobar cause she’d been fine with the flies all summer…until Monday when one of her eyes was all irritated. Luckily, Mary’s had a cute grey and pink version – it even has ribbons on it because it’s for breast cancer awareness or something like that. Anyway, she looks really cute in it. No pictures though because I needed to get to work.

Monday I really tried to squeeze in a lot of work before writer’s group because I knew I was going away for a few days and wanted to do as much as I could before I left. Tried to go to the library, got annoyed with all the people in the library, went to Panera Bread, got annoyed with how much stuff costs, but at least they have A/C, electrical outlets, AND chocolate chip cookies. It’s not all bad, I guess.

Honestly, on Tuesday I was kind of a mess. Was twenty minutes late to my morning meeting because I made at least five wrong turns. Not even exaggerating. I just could not drive the right way to save my life. We were meeting at Holsem so I thought I’d make up time by paying to park in the garage rather than looking for free parking. Except right when I pulled up, the gate to open the garage stopped working and that was a whole production for the parking attendant. Luckily, when I came back later she gave me free parking. Which is great because I promptly went home and bought one of those holder things for the phone so I can see the map while I’m driving.

I stayed at Holsem until lunchtime. Holsem is actually not a bad place to work. I got a lot done there. Too bad it’s more than twenty minutes from my house. After I finished at Holsem, I walked over to Pigment because I was thinking of recording my Quick Tip Tuesday video for Minute Marketing in front of their fabulous pink wall. But I realized that a) I’m not ready to take a selfie video on a street full of people b) I forgot my sunglasses in the car and c) it was like 90 degrees out.

Ended up shooting the video in my car before my next meeting in Carmel Valley. Thanks everyone who told me I looked great in that video! You too can get the look – all you need is an iPhone and a Chevy Trax natural windshield light filter! Make sure you don’t wash your car for two months – those dirt spots give your face a natural glow!

Seriously, what did I do to deserve you all? Lol.

Wednesday I went back to the barn for my last ride on Pia for the week. We have the Regional Adult Amateur Championships (RAAC) show in two weeks so I’m starting to get nervous about that. Hoping it goes better than the Temecula show. And better than the last RAAC. Last RAAC, we came in dead last. I think any place that’s not last would be cool. See, not all my goals are lofty.

Wednesday was another power work day followed by a night of packing for my trip to Colorado and daydreaming about the cooler weather I was about to experience.

Thursday I got up to do some work before the airport and…(I swear it’s always like this) ended up with a bunch of last-minute work I needed to cram in before I left for the airport. Much stress. Do not like. Luckily, the airport process itself was a breeze which was great because I did not leave at the time I planned to.

I had set aside the plane time as time to work on my book. Which was awesome. Got into a great groove. Which meant the flight was not nearly long enough. It seriously felt like twenty minutes.

Had a pretty smooth landing into Denver which I was immensely grateful for. I get motion sick and I tend to end up flying to Colorado when the weather is craziest. Also, I just don’t like turbulence. At all.

Got home from the airport just in time to leave to go meet some of my friends for sushi. I was so grateful and surprised by how many of my friends were able to make time for dinner with me since they don’t live around Arvada anymore. It was such a great night and the food was good, too.

Friday I got up early to work for awhile before my mom and I drove up to Estes Park to see my dad at his horse show. We rent a cabin up there which is super fun. Forget a beach house, some day I want to have a cabin in the mountains as a vacation home/writing retreat! After connecting at the cabin, we had dinner at the Dunraven Inn, which is a great spot for Italian food, but it’s on the outside of town so you will need to drive to it. But worth the trip! Make sure to make a reservation though.

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Saturday morning we went to the horse show to watch my dad ride and then we had lunch in downtown Estes Park at The Grubsteak. The burgers were SO good. I was surprised and so happy because I was starving.

After lunch, we walked around downtown before we went back to the cabin and then had dinner on the lake. Squeezed in a little more writing time after dinner and some reading before bed. Yay!

Sunday morning we packed up to go back home. Watched my dad at the horse show before driving back to Arvada. Then I did a little work before I went to meet my friend for dinner in Loveland and repacked to fly back to California on Monday.

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What I’m Reading:

Deep Work by Cal Newport (Finished!)

One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology edited by Lisa Mangum

Warstorm by Victoria Aveyard

Educated by Tara Westover (almost done!)

How to Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards

What I’m Listening To:

My Shadow of the Magician playlist. I make a playlist for each book I write and I did so much writing this week, the songs are stuck in my head.

What I’m Watching:

Nothing – is anyone surprised by this anymore?

What I’m Loving:

Colorado ❤

 

 

 

The Most Anticipated Books of 2018 and Other Bookish News

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Enjoying this new series? I’ll be back next week with the latest rumblings in the literary world!

-Loving this roundup of the most anticipated books of the second half of 2018 on The Millions. What are you excited for?

-Check out this recent interview with Jeff VanderMeer in The Paris Review.

-Like scary stories? Check out this list of frightening books recommended by popular authors in The New York Times.

-More books picked by authors: Summer 2018 Reads. Check out Parts One and Two of this series in The Guardian.

-Black Panther fans! Shuri is getting her own comic book series! Check out the details here.

-The original map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood has set a world record for a book illustration sold at auction. See what it sold for here.

Week in Review: July 9th-15th

For years, I thought I was a solid introvert. I like reading, writing, and other solitary pursuits. As an only child, I was good at spending time alone and entertaining myself. And I actually liked it, too.

It was years before I realized what I actually was: an extroverted introvert. And while that tag of extroversion may on the surface seem like it makes things easier, I can assure you it doesn’t. Because what it really does is convince people you’re a full-blooded extrovert. And they miss seeing the introvert lurking underneath. So when you have an introverted day, people don’t understand because it seems like you’ve suddenly become withdrawn for no reason. When really, those tendencies were there all along. You’ve just been an introvert hiding in plain sight.

Being an extroverted introvert has been its own challenge on this journey of entrepreneurship. On the one hand, it allows me to put myself out there with little anxiety. Writing blogs like this, shooting videos, and meeting strangers are all in a day’s work. The extroverted side of myself can be depended upon to rise to challenges and meet them where they lie. But it’s the introverted side of myself that is a loose cannon. It always comes as a surprise when I wake up and suddenly my mind has declared that we are too over stimulated, we have been way too social lately, we need to pull back NOW and circle the wagons.

Working a normal job, you get a certain allowance for bad days I think. For days when you’re not “yourself”. Or not the self that other people see most often. But working for yourself is a new kind of challenge. There is an expectation that you are always “on”, always friendly, eager, and enthusiastic. Even on the days when you wish you could disappear to a cabin in the woods and chuck your phone into a lake.

I’m much too new at this to offer much helpful advice on being an extroverted introvert entrepreneur. But I am interested to know how you label yourself and what challenges and advantages you find this give you in your work, self-employed or not!

July 9th – 15th Week in Review:

I didn’t go ride on Monday the 9th because I had to go to a meeting in the morning in North Park. I like going to North Park so much better during the week. You get to enjoy all the same stuff, but it’s so much quieter and easier to park. 10/10 would recommend. If you work an abnormal schedule, I would definitely advise you to take advantage of most people being in the office and visit those areas like North Park, Hillcrest, and Normal Heights where parking is pretty impacted most of the time.

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Cute House in North Park

After my meeting I came home and did some work before I went to Del Mar in the afternoon to meet my new client. I’m very excited about this new project and looking forward to what we’re going to accomplish together.

Monday night, I had writer’s group again with more chapters of Shadow of the Magician up for review. There are two particularly thorny spots I had trouble writing in the book and tonight we discussed the first of them which, surprisingly to me, read much better than I had expected. I had expected comments like, “This is terrible. Just scrap this and start over.” So it was a relief that I did not get that. Still needs work, but it’s not beyond saving.

I switched my Monday riding day for Tuesday so Tuesday morning I went down and rode Pia first thing. After I was done at the barn, I had a little bit of time before I had to be at the dentist so I went to Mary’s Tack and Feed. If you’re a horse person, let me just explain that Mary’s is like Target. It’s utterly impossible to leave without spending at least $100 and buying at least one thing you don’t truly need. As such, I try to only go to Mary’s when I know I absolutely do need to get something. Those of you that saw my Instagram stories, thanks for playing along and indulging me! I had to go to Mary’s to pick up the metal nameplate I ordered for Pia’s new halter, buy a new pair of bell boots for Pia, and I needed to grab some more saddle pads because little girl is sweating through her pads on the regular. If you voted in my polls, I ended up getting the green AND the purple saddle pads. I tricked you. Bet you thought I was buying just one!

If you’re wondering why Escobar didn’t get any new gear it’s because they share a lot of things and in the case of something that they both need that needs replacing, Escobar gets to use it and I get a new one for Pia. Escobar is my delicate flower and I like to make sure he’s not going without. For example, I had two pairs of bell boots, but can only find one after the last show. So Escobar got to wear the remaining pair of bell boots because I am determined to prevent him from tearing his shoes off and hurting his feet. For you non-horse people, horses can accidentally step on the edge of their metal horseshoes and rip them off, which sometimes damages the hoof underneath and definitely leaves them vulnerable to other injuries. It’s like walking barefoot on rocks. Horses obviously can go barefoot and many do, but if they’re not used to it, it can be trouble.

Also for whatever reason, my old saddle pads don’t fit Pia. Same saddle, same pads, new horse, pads don’t fit. I dunno. And they didn’t shrink in the wash because this combination still fits Escobar (I checked). She’s narrower than Escobar so it really makes no sense to me. Anyway, despite me being a saddle pad hoarder, Pia has her own special pads.

After Mary’s I went to the dentist (good times). Took forever, but I got my filling and started the process to get a new mouthguard made.

By the time I was done at the dentist, it was already time for lunch. I went to Wich Which and then to the library because I needed to stay around UTC. Later that evening I went to Polite Provisions with my friend L. We got food at Soda & Swine and I met her new man so that was fun.

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Purple Haze at Polite Provisions

Wednesday morning I went out to the barn again and then home to work. At the beginning of the week I had decided this was going to be a major work day so I worked hard to make a dent in my to-do list. I was tired by day’s end, but I had made good progress in turning the tide.

Thursday was another big work day and I worked pretty much from the time I got up until late afternoon when I had to go meet a client in Carmel Valley. It was an evening appointment so I didn’t actually get home for dinner until pretty late.

Friday morning I went to the barn and then hurried to shower so I could go to Peet’s Coffee with my neighbor. Friday was kind of a scramble as I woke up and realized I instantly had issues with Instagram and it affected all of my clients. I skipped doing the Miracle Morning when I got up and instead did it when we got to Peet’s. 10/10 would recommend. I immediately felt more settled after taking time to do the ritual. So if you do the Miracle Morning, don’t skip it if you can’t do it when you wake up. Just do it later.

We got lunch at Chipotle on the way back from Peet’s and I did some work at home before I went to meet with a prospective client in Del Mar. Then back home to keep working.

Saturday morning I had planned to do some work on Shadow of the Magician. I did do that, but it was slow going. My brain felt kind of foggy. And when I switched over to client work, the feeling persisted. I was honestly so disappointed in how unproductive the day was. I was grateful when the boyfriend called me around 4:30 pm and asked me to meet him and some friends at Intergalactic. I was ready to be done with my crap work day.

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Ham Keeping Me Company

We then went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris. Now I know what you’re thinking, but the boyfriend and I have collected lots of restaurant gift cards over the years. Lots of gift cards. Case in point: we had $75 to Ruth’s Chris that we finally decided to cash in. I felt bad for the girl who waited on us though even though I felt some silent judging on her end. When we only ordered entrees, I’m sure her thoughts went something like, Man I am not getting a nice tip off this table. I couldn’t even interest them in a drink. LOL. We did tip though, even though she barely paid attention to us. And it was fun to go somewhere fancy that we ordinarily couldn’t afford!

Sunday I woke up, hoping it would be a better, more productive day than Saturday. But it wasn’t and my introverted feelings deepened. Nevertheless, I did go to work. Worked on Shadow of the Magician again in the morning and again had a difficult writing session. But I realized that, chapter-wise, I’m officially halfway through the revision. Wordcount-wise, I’m more than halfway. So yay for that!

Elliot got groomed Sunday morning too and then after lunch I went to Panera, hoping that the air conditioning would help me focus. It helped a little and I got some things done, though again, it was kind of a dismal work day. When the boyfriend got home from work, I got him to watch an episode of Black Mirror with me. Of course, I chose a scary one. Of course.

What I’m Reading:

DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson (Finished!)

One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology edited by Lisa Mangum

Warstorm by Victoria Aveyard

Deep Work by Cal Newport

S.H.E. by Shannon Hogan Cohen

What I’m Listening To:

It felt like I listened to a little bit of everything this week.

What I’m Watching:

Black Mirror

What I’m Loving:

Instagram Polls