I Have Returned.

I am Grand Admiral Thrawn. I have been away, but now I have returned. I know some of what has occurred. You will fill in the details of the rest when I come aboard. Rejoice, Captain, for the Empire will rise again.

–Grand Admiral Thrawn, from the story A Grand Admiral Returns

Yes, dear readers, it is true: I have returned. I’ve been away from blogging for a while—over a month, by my count—and I was questioning whether I wanted to continue writing this blog. You see, there have been certain events taking place in my life over the past month or so that really threw me for a loop. These events are ongoing, by the way, so unfortunately there is no resolution (yet). Due to this, I’ve been having trouble doing anything I enjoy lately, aside from reading.

Since I wasn’t doing other things I like—writing, knitting, playing violin—I’ve been reading. A lot. I’m on track to read over a hundred books this year. So much for getting a lot of writing done like I planned. To look on the bright side, though, I’ve had the chance to read a ton of random books I may not have picked up. I read a Star Wars trilogy, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d do! I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan—I’ve seen one of the movies, know the basic premise of a few others, and that’s about it. I do like science fiction a lot, though, so the books I read (Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy) were right up my alley and I enjoyed them immensely. I haven’t read the story from which I took the quote at the beginning of this post, though. I’d love to read it, but it’s a short story, not a novel, and I can’t seem to get my hands on the book in which it was published.

What else is new? I’ve been trying to study Russian more. I feel like I’ve gradually gotten away from Russian and I don’t want that to happen, so I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate more Russian into my life. (And just so you know, you can never have too much Russian in your life.) I’ve been listening to some audiobooks and knitting—doing two things at once is amazing, especially when they’re two things you like. And I’ve been going to work, of course, since I need money to fund my reading and knitting.

One thing I have not been doing is writing fiction. The certain events that are taking place made me so upset I couldn’t write. I became especially upset at the novel I was working on—I can’t even look at the thing right now. (To be fair, I had been getting rather frustrated with that book long before the events started taking place. I have a bit of a history with that manuscript and I’m beginning to think it’s time to just let that idea go and work on something else.) I’ve started brainstorming for a new book I’ve wanted to write for years. It’s historical fiction that takes place in Soviet Russia. I also have a manuscript I need to sit down and edit, but I haven’t done that yet, either.

I am back, though. I don’t want to give up blogging. I don’t want to give up Russian. I don’t want to give up writing fiction. I’ve missed having them in my life. It’s late enough right now that I’m going to bed soon—but I will work on some writing tomorrow, even if it’s just editing a few sentences in my manuscript for fifteen minutes.

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July 2017 Writing Report

Obligatory writing instrument.

July was a pretty good month for me, writing-wise. I wrote a total of 23,621 words, which is an average of 761 words per day. My novel is coming together pretty well, though I think the first act is going to be too long, which means I’ll have to cut chapters or move some stuff around (or both).

Anyway, my July word count is even better when you consider that only wrote for fifteen days in the month. What helped push it higher were some really high word counts. The highest number of words I wrote in one day was 4,049, which is a lot for me. I hope I can get some high word counts this month, too. I didn’t write during my vacation, so I’ve got some catching up to do! 🙂

June 2017 Writing Report

I don’t actually write with quills, thank goodness!

You guys, June was a really good month for writing. I got off to a bit of a rocky start because of the certification exam, but then I really took off and it was great. I’m really happy about this. I wrote a total of 19,918 words in June, which is an average of 663 words per day. That’s almost to my goal of 700 per day that I set for this year. I missed only 13 days of writing, which isn’t too bad. What really pushed me over the edge were a couple of 3,000 word days I had in there. Seriously, 3,000 words is a really good word count (for me) and I’m pleased I was able to do that twice. (Just so you know, I’ve already done it once in July, too!)

Oh, and I finished a draft of my science fiction book. This book has had many plot and character changes, so I think this was draft #4. I haven’t read over it yet and I’m sure it needs editing, but I really hope it doesn’t need another rewrite because a fifth rewrite sounds a bit ridiculous, even to me.

How’s your writing going?

A Weekend In Bullet Points

  • I got home early on Friday, which was glorious, but then the electricity went out less than an hour after I got home, which was not so glorious.
  • Since it went out due to a storm that blew in, a ton of people in the state were out, so it took a few hours for it to be fixed. I didn’t know when it was going to come back on, so I ended up going to Whole Foods for dinner. I actually hadn’t wanted to go out, but everything I had to make required electricity to make it. Some people were out for way longer than I was though, so I’m not complaining.
  • I shopped and read books on Saturday. Oh, and seven months after starting the draft of my novel, I finished it on Saturday night around ten pm. Of course, I immediately started on another book, the one I was outlining concurrently with writing the now-finished draft.
  • I wish I could stay home and write tomorrow. Why don’t we make random days writing days when we don’t have to go to work?!
  • On Friday I picked up a book of essays about the Russian revolution. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it because it looks really good.
  • I wrote so much last night and tonight that I think my June word count will be amazing based on that alone. I really need to throw in more 3,000-word days because those really have a way of upping the daily average! 😉

May 2017 Writing Report

This is going to be a short post because the less that is said about the May writing report, the better.

In May, I wrote a total of 5,068 words, which is an average of 163 words per day. That’s a rather dismal figure, I’m afraid. I spent most of May studying for my exam, which I passed, so it was definitely worth it. But still, I wish I’d had more time for writing.

The good news is that as of right now, I’ve written more this month than I did the entire month of May. Surely that’s a good thing, right?

April 2017 Writing Report

Obligatory writing instrument.

In the interest of not having a writing report almost an entire month after the month in question has ended (I have no idea if that sentence makes sense, but it happened with the February writing report this year), I wanted to post the April writing report this evening. You know the routine, dear readers. Here we go…

In April, I wrote a total of 17,296 words. That’s an average of 576 words per day. Not my goal of 700 per day, but better than last month’s daily average. I only missed ten days of writing, which isn’t too bad. The bad thing is a lot of those were Fridays and Saturdays, which in theory should be the days when I have more time to write.

The thing is, I’ve been a bit exhausted this March and April. (You’ll recall I had a dismal writing month in March.) The problem is a certain project at work. It’s kind of dreadful. It would be dreadful in the best of circumstances, but the circumstances are nowhere close to being the best right now. There aren’t enough people working on said project and the manager isn’t doing a very good job of managing it. As you can probably guess, these circumstances are a recipe for disaster. It also doesn’t help that I have a professional certification exam I really need to study for but haven’t been studying for due to the dreadful project (and yes, writing takes away from my study time too, but a person’s got to have some way to de-stress outside of work, don’t you think?!).

Anyway, fingers crossed that things get better soon… Overall, I am pleased with my writing progress in April. Here’s to a successful month in May!

My First Business Trip

Okay, the title of this post is a little bit misleading. This wasn’t my first business trip—the trip to New York in 2015 that I forgot to blog about was my first business trip—but this was my first trip with my current company.

The city by night after we arrived

Two of my coworkers and I went to a major city in the southeastern US. We ate some fabulous food, which was great. My prior company had a limit of what you could spend per day on meals. I think it was $25 or $35, which isn’t very much for a major city. My current company doesn’t have that. We are asked to “use judgment” when choosing where to eat, which I interpreted to mean that the five star restaurant I really wanted to go to was off-limits. Within reason, though, we could eat anything we wanted. Swiping the corporate card was very satisfying. 😉

However, the highlight of this trip was the hotel. We stayed in a Four Seasons, which was a first for me. I’ve wanted to stay in one for a while. Allow me to explain.

Several years ago, I started writing a crime thriller. In one of the scenes at the beginning, my intrepid protagonist gets to stay in a Four Seasons with her wealthy cousin (the cousin’s wealth greatly ties into the crime aspect of the book). I stopped working on the book for a while, then came back to it in 2015 and finished it. In preliminary edits, I ended up cutting the Four Seasons scenes—too much backstory—but those scenes still had been fun to write and I harbored a secret desire to stay in a Four Seasons. (Also, that book is one of my favorites that I’ve written so far, so I really need to go back and give it a proper editing and try to sell it to a publisher.)

Anyway, who would have guessed that years later, I would be able to stay in a Four Seasons? It was a very neat experience and I do have photographic evidence to share with you.

Here’s the hotel room: the first photo is at night after we arrived and the second is during the day.

The bathroom was quite luxurious, so I had to photograph that as well.

That’s a five-star toilet right there.

And that, my friends, was my experience at the Four Seasons. I ate the restaurant one morning for breakfast, which was decidedly lackluster, so I went to a local bakery the other mornings. Of course, the whole time I was there working and eating with my coworkers, I kept thinking of the book I wrote and how my trip wasn’t just an ordinary business trip. It doubled as book research, a fact I’m sure all my fellow fiction writers will appreciate.