September 25, 2013

What's Up Wednesday: Granny Edition

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop with other folks on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you want to join us, we encourage you to visit a few other WUW blogs each week, get to know some other writers, and spread some writerly love around! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post.

WHAT I'M READING
Well, I finally finished A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and apart from being HORRIBLY depressing, it just confirmed why I mostly stick to YA. Not much else to say besides that. I'm still plugging away at War and Peace  and am about to start Book 4, roughly 1/5 of the way through this behemoth. Over the weekend, I started in on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, my favourite in the series. (This one doesn't seem like it's a popular one to love for some reason.) To me, it's a good blend of fun (the Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament) and dark/scary/serious/sad (the Dark Mark sighting, Voldemort + the Death Eaters, Cedric).


And this showed up yesterday morning, so I couldn't resist diving right in. (I mean, please.) ®

WHAT I'M WRITING
*crickets chirping*

BUT, I think this writing hiatus might be coming to an end soon. We'll see, but I'm starting to get the itch to write something again. It might have something to do with the cooler weather.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
Sitting down and writing a personal blog post about not writing and having so many people swing by and not only encourage me, but also remind me that I'm so not alone in this up and down experience of writing (or in my case, not writing for a bit now). THIS, folks, is why I blog. Why I started  blogging in the first place over two years ago. To make connections with all of you. So, thanks a lot for that, friends!

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
We've been watching a lot of hockey around here. (Go Oilers!) They are only pre-season games, but it's still hockey, so WOO! I've taken to knitting while we watch the games and am making good progress on a sweater. My hand muscles and joints aren't used to knitting anymore, so I can only do so much before I have to set it aside, but it's fun to get back into it again. I've also gone to a couple of quilting classes and now I'm about to start my own quilt. Basically, I've turned into a granny since the last time we spoke.

Oh, and reading. Lots and lots of reading. And consuming pumpkin-y treats by the truckload because YUM! (Fall's finally here!)

My new tea cup: A cup of tea may not actually  solve
everything, but it sure tastes good with ginger cookies!
I've been getting lots of cuddles from these little monkeys as well. (Pete is on the left, Puck is on the right.)

Well, that about wraps up the granniest post I think I've ever written. (Cats! Knitting! Quilting! Teacups! Aching joints!) Apologies.


SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


51 comments:

  1. Yay hockey! That makes up for the granny ;)
    Love the chirping crickets - one doesn't constantly have to write. I don't even think that's possible. I like to think of these pauses as time to recharge with ideas, energy, views. If we don't live, we can't write.

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    1. Our hockey team (the Oilers) have been doing really well so far in the pre-season. Here's hoping they carry that into the regular season! It's kind of a perfect set-up, knitting while watching hockey. I'm really enjoying it. As for writing, I have to agree with you. It'll happen soon, but for right now I'm getting a lot out of everything else. :-)

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  2. I go through stages like that too, where I just can't get up the urge to write. It drives me Insane, but it always passes eventually. I gave knitting a try once but was never very good at it. I've also done cross stitch, that went better, but am really jealous about you trying quilting. I've always wanted to give that a go and never gotten around to it. Maybe one day when I have a bit more free time. I might sign up to a class, who knows.
    I loved your post and hope you have a lovely day. :)

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    1. I think the not writing thing would bother me more if I wasn't filling my days with other things I love and never seem to make time for. For example, rediscovering the crafty things I always loved doing before. There just aren't enough hours in the day to squeeze it all in, unfortunately. Or I just need to get better at scheduling my day. Quilting is actually surprisingly easy if you're using a sewing machine to do it. I think it's cutting up all the pieces beforehand that's the most tedious. But really, it's lots of fun and not all that difficult. :-)

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  3. My wife has been quilting for some years now, and has produced a number of fine quilts. She's currently working on an oriental-themed quilt for SecondBorn (the Asiaphile). I hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as she does. If you knit while watching hockey, does the game affect your knitting? When the adrenaline's pumping, do you knit faster? Do the stitches become tighter?

    Enjoy your writing hiatus, Jaime. I'm sure the ideas that are urging you back to the keyboard will be worth waiting for!

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    1. I've taken a stab at quilting before, and a lot of what we learned in those classes wasn't new to me (I've been sewing for years), but it was still informative and fun. I have a bunch of fabric ready to go for my own quilt, so I'm eager to get going on it. I love doing all of these crafty things, as much as I mock myself a bit about it. Not writing for a bit has given me a bit more time to squeeze this stuff in, which is nice. Actually, I don't write in the evenings ever, so that would be the perfect time to knit or quilt. As for knitting during hockey, I think I'm pretty even keel where that goes. I only ever get really worked up during the playoffs. ;-)

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  4. Finally!! Enjoy The Dream Thieves! It was fantastic.

    And it's GOOD to take writing hiatuses. Ideas don't come from sitting down and staring at a laptop (I know, because I tried). In fact, sometimes I "quit" just so I can break off all the frustrations and insecurities and pick back up fresh again.

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    1. The first few chapters were a bit tough to get into, but I think that's mainly because Maggie Stiefvater writes so differently than a lot of other authors I read. You almost have to work your way into one of her books. I know I'll love it. I loved THE RAVEN BOYS, and I've heard nothing but awesome things about this one!

      This writing hiatus is helping me rediscover other things that I love, but that have been tossed to the side for years in some cases. Now I just need to get better at squeezing it all in when I get back to writing. :-)

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  5. You are SO not a granny! Knitting is fun and cats are the new black. (My cat told me that.) (He's black...so he can say that)

    And I say, rather than guilting yourself for not writing, enjoy the break and come back to it recharged. If you're not feeling it, don't force it.

    I really liked A Fine Balance, though I agree some parts were so very sad. It's the kind of book that makes you need to read Potter books just to get yourself our of the "oh my, the world is such a depressing place sometimes" mire. And hooray for the Dream Thieves!

    Hope you have a fantastic week, with lots and lots of pumpkin treats! :)

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    1. Cats are the new black! Ha! Love it! :-) I'm sure my cats would agree. I may joke about the granny stuff, but honestly, it's been GREAT. I used to sew, knit, crochet, quilt and then tossed it all aside for other things. It's wonderful to rediscover how much I loved doing that stuff. Yet another creative outlet. Now I just need to figure out a way to squeeze it all in when I get back to writing. Should be fun!

      I think with A FINE BALANCE I just found the content heavy and I don't usually read books like that. I tend to pick up books that I want to spend time with, and this one was difficult in that respect. I'm glad I finished it, but now I'm running straight back to books like Harry Potter for the exact reason you mention. (You're so right about that, by the way.) Have a wonderful week, Kris! :-)

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  6. GAH!!! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on THE DREAM THIEVES. This is one of those series where I kind of wish I hadn't discovered it until after all the books came out because NOW I HAVE TO WAIT A WHOLE YEAR for the next one!

    Anyway, I love the blogging community too. SO supportive and I just wish I could hang out with everyone IRL too!

    Have a great week! And yes - this fall weather is definitely inspiring. I'm ITCHING to get back to the WiP.

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    1. Waiting a whole year for sequels is the WORST. I'm sure I'll feel much the same way when I'm done THE DREAM THIEVES. I've been waiting for this one for so long, I had to refresh my memory on the first book. Thankfully, I found someone online who did a pretty good chapter by chapter summary.

      It would be wonderful to sit down and have coffee with people in the writing/blogging community in real life. I guess this is the downside of making friends all over the world. Still, I keep hoping one day it will happen. :-)

      Hope you have a great week, Alison! :-)

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  7. I'm right there with you in the granny department - if your cats had been in front of me, I would have pinched their adorable, little cheeks :)

    Ginger cookies...yummmm....

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    1. Sweet. We can be grannies together. I'm thoroughly enjoying rediscovering all of these things that I used to love doing (sewing, quilting, knitting...) but haven't made time for in years. And since I don't write in the evenings, I figure that might be a good time to squeeze all of that stuff in going forward, because I'm really, really having a good time with it.

      I'm sure my kitties would love having you pinch their cheeks. Especially the one on the right. Little did we know naming him Puck (as in Robin Goodfellow) would be so fitting. He's a ripsnort that one! (Like my granny lingo?) :-)

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  8. Um, don't you mean, GO FLAMES?! Ha, kidding.
    I just read your post about not writing and I totally get it. Both this past summer and the one before I took a break from writing so I could spend time with my kids and enjoy the summertime. I find that with those couple of months off, I'm rejuvenated enough to dive back in head first and since the start of September, I've been chugging out words like crazy. It definitely helps to have some time away.
    I can't wait for The Dream Thieves!!!

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    1. GO OILERS! Haha! ;-) My parents are Flames fans, so it's always kind of fun joking with them. (They live in Airdrie.)
      I think planning to take a hiatus is so much better than kind of falling into one. The latter route leaves you feeling guilty about not writing, while the former doesn't. Because I fell into the unplanned hiatus camp, I've been feeling guilty for the better part of the last two months. Not good. I think you're smart taking time off during the summer, especially since your kiddos are home from school and all. I think I would almost feel guiltier pounding away at the computer instead of spending time with them, you know? Such a great point about being rejuvenated. I hope that's what happens in my case. Awesome that you're getting so many words down! Go you!

      Have a wonderful week, Melanie! :-)

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  9. Ha! Granny activities! :) Totally made me laugh. (Your cats are soooo cute, by the way. And knitting is awesome.) I lived in B.C. for a summer when a big hockey match was on - a Canadian team versus a team from Boston, I think (?). Our housemates were sooo into it and it was really fun to get together with people for the games. Hockey is exciting!! :)

    Okay, I'm off to read that blog post you mentioned! Have a great week, Jaime! :)

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    1. That would have been the Vancouver Canucks versus the Boston Bruins, and I think that was the year they made it to the end of the playoffs, lost...and people rioted and made a big mess out of everything. O_o Crazy people. Hockey can definitely be exciting, especially during the playoffs! I suppose these granny activities might serve me well if we're ever living in a post-apocalyptic future, right? Hey, I can knit and sew. I can make my own clothes! :P Have a great week, Bridgid! :-)

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  10. I read your blog post from last week, and was so busy this weekend I couldn't get over to post a comment. I KEPT meaning to because I loved it and related and thought it was really brave to be so forthright. Anyway...good stuff.

    I can't decided if I should wait to buy The Dream Thieves at Austin Teen Book Fest or get it ahead of time, but I can't wait to read it! And I'm a fan of tea and cats, though I'm not coordinated enough to knit. Fall is upon us in Texas as well, though, that just means the morning are below 60 degrees and the high is under 95!

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    1. Thanks, Rebekah! I'm glad there are so many of us who can relate to each other in this whole writing thing. It makes me feel so much more normal. :-) I've only just started reading THE DREAM THIEVES, but I fully expect to love it as much as I loved THE RAVEN BOYS. I guess my question would be: How far off is the Austin Teen Book Fest? Can you wait that long??? ;-) I've been knitting off and on since I was kid, but I do remember struggling to keep the stitches on the needles and screwing up fairly often. Thank goodness my mom was around to help. Now when I screw up I'm screwed. We've been getting down below freezing during the nights here. It takes a bit for our place to warm up in the morning. I'm definitely ready for the chillier temperatures! Hope you've having a great week! :-)

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  11. Awww your kitties are so cute! And cuddly kitties are the best :) Loved your blog post from last week, just came around to read it this morning and I wanted to reach out through the internet and have a cup of coffee with you! Glad you´re finding activities to do around your place and meeting new people!

    How are you liking the DREAM THIEVES so far? I need to order it!

    Oh and your granny ways actually sound like fun! I used to know how to knit and I think it´s great! I´d love to learn how to quilt!

    Wishing you a great great week, Jaime!

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    1. I would love, love, love to sit down and have a coffee with you, Elodie. :-) It would be so wonderful to meet you in real life. As for cuddly kitties: I agree that they're the best. ♥ I just started THE DREAM THIEVES and the first few chapters were kind of tough to get into, but I think that's because Maggie Stiefvater's writing is just so different than other writers and for me it takes a bit to fully immerse myself in it. Plus, I was finding myself worried that I was forgetting important stuff from the first book. I plan on reading a bunch today and can't wait! I've really been enjoying the knitting and quilting. These are things I've always loved to do but haven't made time for in recent years. I need to figure out how to work all of this stuff in to my day. Have a wonderful week, Elodie! :-)

      P.S. I still owe you an email!

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  12. I had to laugh at your "I turned into a granny" line. Good luck getting back into writing. I think fall is definitely the time to do it. And eat punkiny goodies too.

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    1. I'm totally rocking the granny thing, I assure you. ;-) It's been pretty fun, and I've enjoyed rediscovering my love for these crafty things. Fall is the perfect time to buckle down and start writing again. I always feel inspired by October in so many ways. Maybe it's the pumpkin? ;-)

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  13. Oh, I love your teacup! *grabby hands* And your cats are so sweet, too! I haven't been checking in with any blogs for a while, so I didn't know about your writing hiatus. Don't worry, you'll get back into the swing of it when you're ready. Last year, I was pregnant with my second baby for most of the year, and I couldn't write anything the entire time. I don't know why. I think my brain just needed to readjust or something, but a few months after he was out in the world, I felt the itch and jumped back in. I've been writing ever since.

    Also knitting! I want to learn. I think granny activities are nice. (don't tell anyone I said that.) I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

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    1. As soon as I saw that teacup I had to have it. I have no impulse control when it comes to stuff like that. :P I've used it a ton of times already, so it was worth it! I think the shift in seasons will naturally help me to jump back into writing. I don't know, but I think the cooler temperatures make me want to be more productive inside and that definitely includes writing...and quilting and knitting and, and, and. Knitting is actually so much more simple than it might seem. It's really only two stitches (knit, purl) and what you do with those two stitches. There's definitely a learning curve, but it's not all that hard. And it's fun! Actually, baby stuff is the most fun to knit because it whips up so quickly and because it's just adorable. I promise I won't tell anyone that you're a closet granny. ;-) Have a great week, Jessica! :-)

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  14. :) Your "what inspires me right now" hit the nail on the head. That's why I started blogging. I get discouraged sometimes because there are lots of "how to get more traffic," "how to make connections," etc. posts out there, which are helpful -- but sometimes I just want to have a conversation! People are also fond of saying that the Internet drives people away from "real" connections and friendships, but for me at least, the Internet has been a way to affirm that I am not alone; nobody is alone.

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    1. I think a lot of us writers have felt this way or are currently feeling this way. It's nice to make this kind of connection with others and realize that we aren't alone. I got caught up for a while in the "get more traffic" thing mainly because I thought it looked good to agents. In the end, most of them say they really don't care about such things. Giveaways were a good way to gain followers, but I'm realizing that the people I want to make connections with are the ones who come by and converse with me, not just for the chance to win a book, you know? Anyway, I'm thankful for the encouragement and friendships I've found through this blog. :-)

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    2. Also, while it might be a stereotype, writers are often loners -- we have to spend a lot of time alone writing, so it makes sense that our more social selves are the ones we show on the Internet. If that makes sense.

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    3. That totally makes sense. In my life off the internet, hardly anybody understands this whole writing thing. I've had people finger quote "writer" like it's something I'm playing at that isn't to be taken seriously. And then there's the other end of the spectrum with people who think that getting published is just something you decide to do and it's a sure thing. And everyone in between who basically zones out the moment I mention what I'm up to. So, yeah. I think you're right about our social selves on the internet. That's where we find the people who really understand what this is all about.

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  15. I need to know where you got that cup. Like now. Right now.

    Glad to hear the hiatus approaches its end. Enjoy your new book :D

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    1. I got it from Chapters/Indigo in store, but it's available on their website: A Cup of Tea Solves Everything teacup. I was also thrilled to discover while searching for this link, that they also have this one: A Cup of Tea Just For Me teacup which I will be ordering promptly. They're perfect! :-)

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    2. Thank you so much for the link! :D

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  16. Ah, your cats are soooo cute! Also, I have finally posted your tea cup to my cup tumblr. Thanks again! Here's the link (http://cupsahoy.tumblr.com/). Okay, and don't feel like a granny. I wish I knew how to knit, especially since I love scarves and sweaters!

    I feel you on the not writing/writing thing. I'm going to hop over to read your post now. Also, YAY for Dream Thieves!! I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

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    1. Thanks, Alice. :-) They are pretty squishy and cuddly. I took a look at your tumblr page and followed it because I ♥ cute cups! Knitting is totally not as hard as it might seem. It's basically two different stitches used over and over in different combinations. I would teach you if we lived closer!

      I'm just about to go and dig in to more of THE DREAM THIEVES. I'll be sure to let you know how much I loved it when I'm done. :-)

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  17. I can't wait to read The Dream Thieves! Sometimes taking a break from writing can be a good thing, as it frees up your creativity (I should probably try it sometime... :P). Real life is important too!

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    1. I'm just about to sit down with THE DREAM THIEVES now. Can't wait! You're so right about freeing up your creativity. Perhaps that's why I've been so crafty lately. Now to find a way to squeeze everything in--writing, knitting, quilting... Doable, I'm sure. :-)

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  18. Funny you mention knitting. I just got back into crocheting this past weekend! I love crocheting while I sit and watch TV. It makes me feel at least a little productive! I'm attempting to make a hat, we'll see how it goes!

    And I'm loving your updates on your HP reread. I really can't pick a favorite of the seven (it seems to change with my mood), but Goblet of Fire is always high on my list! It's where everything shifts from light and fun to serious and dark. But it also has tons of humor. Yule Ball, anyone?

    Hope your writing hiatus comes to an end soon (when you're ready!). Sometimes it's better to wait until you're itching to write than to struggle through something you aren't passionate about. <3

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    1. I think it's the fall weather that get us all thinking about crocheting and knitting. Like: "It's chilly, I think I'll knit a sweater or crochet a hat." :-) You've hit the exact reason why I love GOBLET OF FIRE right on the head. And I totally forgot about the Yule Ball, though I don't know how I could have because I just read about Ron's hideous dress robes.

      I think October sounds like a good time to get started again on writing. That's less than a week away now! :-)

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  19. Oh look! It's my fuzzy niece and nephew! What a couple of cuties! And speaking of nephews, Liam says GOBLET OF FIRE is his favourite HP book too. Is it any wonder he'd like that one with the Quidditch World Cup in it? I haven't been catching any hockey with the boys, but man, poor Sam Gagner! I could've cried when I saw his face. I think him & Crosby MIGHT have a full set of teeth between the two of them now.

    I love that you're doing all these crafty things lately like knitting and quilting. I need to start celebrating autumn a bit more, especially seeing as the leaves are falling like crazy here now, and it's all rainy here today. The pumpkin chai just isn't enough. On the topic of fall, I wonder if after all those years in school (and teaching) you've trained yourself to "write" during the school year. Maybe that's why the cooler fall weather is prodding you towards writing again? Like I said on my blog, you and I really should plan a mini writers retreat on Google Hangouts sometime soon! :)

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    1. Puck and Pete send a request for squishes from their Auntie. ;-) I think the reason we both love GOBLET OF FIRE is because that's when things really start happening. It's just so jam packed full of stuff--good and bad--it's hard not to love it. Plus, it was the first jumbo-sized one of the lot. I like big books and I cannot lie.

      As for Gagner, it's really unfortunate. Todd said he could be out for up to two months. How awful that it happened outside of the regular season too. It almost doesn't feel worth it, you know? Hard to believe that a high stick could cause that kind of damage. I mean, with Crosby he took an actually flying puck in the beak. That I get. But a high stick? Yikes.

      I love the idea of a Google Hangouts mini writers retreat. We should definitely do that. I need to bounce some stuff off of you relating to WoN. And we can make Pumpkinpalooza as well! I think my need to be productive (in this case, write) has everything to do with the school year. To me, it feels more like the new year than January 1st does. Every year for how many years it was the start of a new year of school. It seems perfectly natural that I would still feel that way. Plus, with the cooler weather I start thinking about all of the things I can do indoors and writing is one of those things. :-)

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  20. I'm not a cat person at all, but those photos of your kitties are so sweet. They look so cuddly! I hope you enjoy THE DREAM THIEVES. It definitely lived up to my high expectations. And thank you again for your thoughtful and honest blog post about taking a break from writing and how that's okay. It was definitely something I needed to be reminded of, and it's always awesome to feel less alone in this crazy journey. Hope you have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. It's funny because my cats are not like other cats. They aren't standoffish at all, like to play fetch, and chase each other around. They're totally fun and cuddly. :-) I'm just about to sit down with THE DREAM THIEVES and a nice cup of tea (it's chilly here!). Can't wait to get further into it! I know I won't be disappointed because Maggie S is just awesome. "It's always awesome to feel less alone in this crazy journey." Yes! I feel the same way. Every time we all connect over something like that, it makes the world feel that much smaller, which is awesome. You have a wonderful week, too, Katy! :-)

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  21. I'm really impressed with your ability to read so many books at one time. I have a one-track mind. I'm really glad you linked to your other post. I'm a bit behind on my blog reading and missed it. I'm going to read it right after I post this. Oh, and I can't wait for you to read THE DREAM THIEVES. Oh how I love that book!

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    1. This reading multiple books at once thing is fairly new, and I'm actually surprised I can do it, too. I think it helps that the books are all so different than each other, you know? There's no confusion between plots and whatnot. I'm going to go and read more of THE DREAM THIEVES right now with a cup of tea. Can't wait! :-)

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  22. There have been many times when I said that I wanted to quit writing and I did and within days, weeks, I was back at the computer with a new idea writing. I think it's good to take a writing break. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Well, I don't think I could quit writing if I wanted to, but this break has sure been nice. Minus the guilt for not writing, of course. It's been about two months and I've really enjoyed stepping away. I do feel ready to get going on it again sometime soon, but for now I'm really into the knitting, quilting, reading, and everything else I'm filling my days with. :-)

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  23. Love your cat names! I'm also a Goblet of Fire fan- I mean, c'mon, dragons! What's not to love? =)

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  24. I think it's awesome what you said about writing a blog post. My blogging has sloughed off in the last year or so, merely out of not sure what I should be blogging about. But in the last month or two I've rekindled my love for blogging for the exact reason you mention, the support of community writers. It feels good to know we are not alone in this writing world. thanks for post this every week. It forces me to check in with the world and keep blogging on.

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  25. A cup of tea and ginger cookies and a good book sound like the perfect solution to everything to me! And I always feel more inspired with the cooler weather. Just another reason fall is my favorite season!

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  26. We've all been there with a writing hiatus. It really helps when you know how many other people go through the same thing and it's good that we have the internet to talk to others about any kind of creativity block. I think the best type of inspiration is when we know we're all in it together.

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