January 8, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

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! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post.

For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we're using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING
WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO


Welcome, and thank you for joining us!



WHAT I'M READING
I'm re-reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns  before continuing on with the rest of the trilogy (which I haven't read yet). I'm loving it as much as the first time I read it. I've really been feeling like fantasy and sci-fi lately, so this is the perfect fix. At some point, I'm hoping to get back to my Harry Potter re-read (I'm on Half-Blood Prince) and War and Peace.

I just barely managed to meet my goal of 85 books for my 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge, so I decided to set a smaller goal of 60 books for 2014. I found that a higher goal kept me from picking up books that might take too long to read. While I like having a reading goal for the year, I don't like feeling limited by it. So, 60 books it is. 

WHAT I'M WRITING
Nothing yet, but I have been thinking about what I'd like to work on in the coming days. Maybe it's the dawning of a new year, but I've been seriously considering an entirely new project, which is not even in the brainstorming stage at this point. A fresh start is really appealing to me right now after all this time away. I think it's possible that the reason I haven't been itching to write is because I haven't found the right project yet. I'm not abandoning my other stories, but I'm open to working on something new.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
Newness, fresh starts, possibility, my plan to do things differently this year. I'm inspired by the new year ahead and the fact that I haven't had a chance to screw it up just yet lol. I'm looking forward to what I hope is going to be a good year. We'll see, right?



I'm also inspired by my favourite show on television, The Good Wife. As writers, we've heard time and time again that certain trends in YA are over, dead, not worth wasting your creative efforts on, really. I think The Good Wife is a prime example of how something that has been done countless times--in this case, the legal drama--can feel fresh and new. I used to be a Law & Order junkie and the one thing you could always count on was the formulaic nature of the show with very few deviations. The Good Wife, however, comes at the legal drama from all different directions, takes something that could feel 'been done' and breathes new life into it. It inspires me to follow suit and get more creative with my writing. The same old thing just isn't going to cut it anymore.

Challenge accepted.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Playing endless rounds of Settlers of Catan (the Cities & Knights expansion...in German as well as the Star Trek version) with my husband while drinking lots of slow cooker spiced apple cider. Reading great books. Re-watching the first four seasons of The Good Wife on Netflix. Oh, and I started babysitting an adorable one-year-old the other day, so I've been playing with Fisher Price little people and the Corn Popper (that everyone everywhere had when they were little). I'm hoping to get into some kind of routine that includes more exercise, reading, and writing and less time with the Corn Popper. I lead such an exciting life.



SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?

63 comments:

  1. Ah, Liam's corn popper. So glad that noisy sucker's at your house now instead of mine lol.

    I'm glad you're enjoying THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS again, and I can't wait to hear what you think of the rest of the trilogy. I need to see if Mom's copy finally arrived yet, you know, now that it's like two weeks after Christmas. I really need to be more on the ball with gifts next year.

    Couldn't agree with you more about THE GOOD WIFE. I think it's literally one of the best shows ever, and I love how you pointed out that it's a new take on something that's basically been done ad nauseum. The end of the last episode was a prime example of how they love to yank the carpet out from underneath their audience. Poor Eli. His job sucks.

    I'm eager to sit down and chat with you about writing projects for the coming year. We'll have to have a big planning session soon. :)

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    1. My copy of THE BITTER KINGDOM showed up the other day, so I'm pretty excited about the fact that I have the whole trilogy now. Mom called me because a copy of Book 2 showed up at their place from the Book Depository. She didn't realize it was part of her Christmas gift from you, so I have to explain lol.

      I've been binge watching THE GOOD WIFE and I honestly could start all over again for a third time and watch them again without being sick of them. And I remember so little (most the time nothing) about the cases they're handling, which is an added bonus. It's almost like watching them for the first time, really. It does create a pretty high bar for other shows, in my opinion. The writing in some of these other shows is just not up to par when held side by side with TGW.

      And as for a planning session, I'm pretty much free any evening after today, and some afternoons. (Babysitting will be Tuesday and Fridays, and then there's band on Tuesday nights.) We'll drink all the tea and discuss all the stories. ;-)

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  2. I've never watched The Good Wife - but you make me want to rent the first season :-) I can't wait to hear about your new project *hint hint*
    (this slow cooker spiced apple cider is something I really should try!)

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    1. It's such a good show. I'm not sure how legally sound it is, but the cases and the way they handle them are fascinating to me. Plus, I love the characters. The new project isn't even really thought up just yet. I just know I want to come up with a new idea (which shouldn't be too difficult) and get planning it. :-) My original plan was to continue revising WoN, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. We'll see, I guess. I feel like there are big problems with it that might not be possible to fix. Or I just don't know how to fix them right now. *sigh*

      The slow cooker apple cider is really just apple juice with stuff added to it (brown sugar, allspice, cloves). Despite it's simplicity, it sure is good! :-)

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  3. My brother said The Good Wife is really good, so when I find the time I may marathon it :D

    Good luck with the new project. I think the start of a new year is a great time for such an endeavour.

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    1. Your brother has good taste in TV. ;-) That's the best thing about trying a show out a handful of seasons in: Marathon sessions! It's in its 5th season, so that's a lot of watching if you like it.

      New project isn't even really thought up just yet, but I love the idea of starting something new. I think I haven't been diligent enough with other projects and properly planning them through and through, but with my next project I want to fix that. We'll see if it works! :-)

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  4. Warm cider... in a slow cooker? That's a thing that can be done? I'm highly intrigued! I've never thought of making warm cider that way. :O

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    1. It's just a super simple recipe. It's just unsweetened apple juice with a bit of brown sugar and then allspice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a tea ball or some kind of sack that steeps in the apple juice as it warms. It tastes really good, though! And it can sit there warm all day for you to enjoy as you wish. :-)

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  5. I agree, we need to be sure our reading goals give us enough room to tackle some of the denser works out there. Perhaps a better reading goal would be to pick particular books you want to read by the end of the year. For example, you might list WAR AND PEACE and the last couple of Harry Potter books among those you want to have read by year's end. I think many of us have found that it's hard to meet numeric reading goals when you're in the midst of a writing project. A few chapters a day may be all you can manage. The last thing you want when you're under the pressure to finish your WIP is the added pressure to get through another 10 books to meet your reading quota for the month. That's my 2c on that, anyway!

    All the best with your reading AND writing this year, Jaime! :)

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    1. I really do like setting a number goal, mainly because I love a gimmick like seeing the bar on my Goodreads widget creep higher. It works for me. That said, I don't want it to become so all-consuming that I pass up the chance to read heftier books. I hope it works! I just really need to get back to my chapter a day classic reading. That fell by the wayside during packing, moving, and unpacking. A lot of things did, actually. Thank goodness for new years and fresh starts, right?

      All the best to you, too, Colin! :-)

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    2. Same here about books. I don't want it to be all about quantity. I am planning to add in some classics this year partly inspired by your chapter a day plan (or chapter a week? Can't remember).

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    3. Oh you just said there chapter a day classics. I have Persuasion and Jane Eyre to read this year, already "in the queue."

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  6. I haven't read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS yet, but I've been on a little fantasy kick lately too, so it might be just the thing.

    We really liked The Good Wife. I think she's such an excellent actress! And I agree with you about taking something that's been done before and taking it in a whole new direction.

    And wow, the popcorn popper! I actually remember pushing mine around the house in jammies with feet.Talk about a blast from the past! :)

    Hope you have a great week!

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    1. You should definitely read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series. So far I've only read the first book 1.5 times, but I've heard from a number of people that the rest of the trilogy is awesome. And how great is it that the whole trilogy is out already and we don't have to wait?

      I just really like how different each episode of The Good Wife is. I mean, one whole episode was dedicated to whether or not they were actually going to take on a case, and the investigation they did into their potential client, the situation, etc. It just never feels formulaic to me, which I love.

      I fully anticipate regretting the decision to pull out the ole corn popper, but we'll see how it goes. I can always pull a bait and switch and make it disappear if it's making me crazy. ;-) Have a great week, Kris!

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  7. YAY! WUW is back! I missed you guys :)

    I absolutely love your Doing Things Differently post. I've had a similar realization that I need to refocus and start making healthier choices for myself (mentally, physically, emotionally). Good luck on the new project brainstorming, Jaime! I'm rooting for you :)

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    1. I missed you guys, too, but I did enjoy the break a bit lol. Plus, it allowed me to take part in the YA Superlatives Blogfest, so that's cool. :-)

      Thanks (about the post)! I suppose I should set more specific goals, but I mostly just wanted to put out there that I'm aware of the things that need to change. I think any progress is a good thing where these things are concerned, you know? As for the new project, I haven't really dreamed it up yet, but I'm excited about the prospect of starting something new and getting it right. Have a great week, Valerie!

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  8. I LOVED my corn popper when I was a kid! And Little People - I still have a few actually, the ones I decided looked like my family :)

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    1. I think I was probably fascinated with the corn popper, too. I don't think we had Little People when I was little. They only had the regular old Fisher Price people. Much less cute, if I remember correctly. (Like in this photo.) That's hilarious that you kept the ones that resembled family members. :P

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  9. The Good Wife is a show I've been meaning to watch forever--based on what you have to say about it, I think watching needs to be a priority!
    And thank you for reminding me about the Corn Popper. I might have to get one for my nephew . . .

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    1. I love The Good Wife so much. Each episode feels so different, completely non-formulaic. (Is that a word?) For me, it makes a lot of other TV shows pale in comparison writing-wise.

      As for the corn popper, I think it might drive me around the bend at some point, but it's so fun that I just can't not let her play with it! ;-)

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  10. Haha... My life's not much more exciting. :-) I'm thrilled for you concerning this new project you spoke of. I hope it's just the thing to help you dive back into writing again. I haven't read FIRE AND THORNS, though I've heard great things. I need to hunt down the library in this new town so I can check out some of the books I've missed out on over the last few years. Hope you have a wonderful week, Jaime!

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    1. Not exciting? What about the new kitty and the visiting puppy? ;-) And the big move seems like it might be a bit exciting? Can't wait to see more pics of your new surroundings. I loved seeing the Monterey area in your IG feed. I really hope a new project will get me excited about writing again. I want to build something from the ground up and do it right this time. We'll see how it goes... You should definitely read FIRE AND THORNS. I've heard such great things about the rest of the trilogy, and from what I gather, there's a good deal of swoon. (Just like in Sarah J. Maas' books.) I'm all about the swoon. ;-) Have a great week, Katy!

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  11. The last couple of years I made a goal of reading 100 books. I didn't reach the goal either year and found myself rushing through some books. So this past year I didn't make a goal at all. I ended up reading less than the past few years but I don't mind at all.
    I hate that Corn Popper! It's one of the most annoying toys ever. :p

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    1. I really do like having a goal and using the Goodreads widget, but I think setting a lower goal should work better for me. I know some people set a goal of 52 books, one book a week, and I was tempted to follow suit. 60 is just a bit more than that, so still doable.

      I fully expect the corn popper will drive me mad, but for now I think it'll be fun. I can always make it disappear at some point lol.

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  12. I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns - I need to read the rest of the trilogy!

    A new year is the perfect time for a new start. Loved your post on doing things differently, too. Here's to a great year! :)

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    1. I've heard only great things about the rest of the trilogy, so I'm eager to continue reading. THE BITTER KINGDOM just showed up in the mail the other day, so I'm set!

      Thanks (about the post)! I really hope I can actually make progress in some of the areas I mentioned. And I have to agree, a new year is a great time for a new start. In writing and in so many other areas of life. I'm excited about what this year might hold. Have a wonderful week, Emma! :-)

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  13. I've been wanting to read The Girl of Fire and Thorns! I've never watched the Good Wife... I might have to now. I like what you said about "breathing life" into things. I think The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was inspiring because (even though I didn't like it lol) it did just that. It took something that everyone said was over and made it new.
    Oh, and our corn popper somehow didn't make the last move :) Life is noisy enough without it!

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    1. I've heard only great things about THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy, so I'm excited about finally finishing it. I'm really in the mood for fantasy right now, so it's perfect. I haven't read THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, but I love the idea of a fresh spin. I'm starting to think that some of these genres are necessarily dead, they just need a new twist, or to be mashed up with another genre or something. It really gets me thinking and brainstorming, that's for sure!

      The corn popper will almost certainly drive me insane, but for now it's kind of fun. I can always make it go away at some point. ;-)

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  14. Good luck with your new project! I'm about to start work on some short stories for the same reason; something new. I'll be working on them alongside my NaNo edits :)

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    1. Thanks, Laura. :-) I haven't actually come up with the idea exactly, but I'm excited about being open to a new idea. Since I've been away from writing for so long, I think a new idea is just what I need to get me excited about it all again. We'll see, I guess. Good luck with your short stories and your NaNo edits!

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  15. I'm sad to admit that I haven't read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS yet, and I haven't watched The Good Wife *hides*

    I'm excited about the new year too! "I haven't had a chance to screw it up just yet" << exactly! lol

    Here's to a great new year and lots of great WUW! Cheers!

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    1. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is really good, and I've heard only awesome things about the rest of the trilogy. Apparently, there is a good deal of swoon. And I do love the swoon. ;-) I'm not the greatest at following through with resolutions, but I do hope that 2014 is different than last year, and that I put in a solid effort to make *some* changes at least. I hope you have a wonderful year and a wonderful week, Juliana!

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  16. The quote in this post is perfect for me right now. So, thank you for sharing it.

    I'm a bit torn between two manuscripts right now as well, so I kind of feel you on the new year, maybe a new direction thing. Good luck in this possible new idea! :)

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    1. You're welcome! :-) I've always loved the quote, because I've always loved ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. I think it's a great reminder to let yesterday go and look ahead. I need that.

      I have three different projects at various stages, but none of them are exciting me right now. I haven't written in months now, so I need something to light a fire under me again. Here's hoping a new project does just that! Have a great week, Jennie!

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  17. I LOVE The Good Wife! Hardly anyone I know watches it! I'm about a season behind (over here, anyway) but it's kind of better that way because I can get the boxset and binge now. I would kill for Alicia's wardrobe (and Kalinda's). I agree, it definitely manages to make the tired format feel fresh, and I love the way they have episode-long plots mixed with season-long storylines. I think you're going to kick writing's ass this year!

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    1. Yes! Another Good Wife lover! You've pretty much nailed what I love about the show. As I'm re-watching the first four seasons, I realize just how much I've forgotten about the show simply because it isn't formulaic. Normally, I'll turn on a show I've watched, and five minutes in I remember mostly everything that happens in it. Not so with The Good Wife. And binge watching it is so much fun!

      I really, sincerely hope I kick writing's ass. Like, a lot. We'll see, I guess. Have a wonderful week, Rebecca! :-)

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  18. I like the idea of a new story for a new year. I hope it takes you some place special, and that the rest of your 2014 is blessed along with it. I've never watched The Good Wife, but my husband loves detective shows so maybe I should add it to my netflix que too.

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    1. I'm not sure that The Good Wife is available on American Netflix. I think we checked and it was only on Canadian. Weird. I might check again. It's not so much a detective show as it is about lawyers, but it's pretty good! You should definitely check it out. :-)

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  19. I love the new start, blank slate feeling of a new year! I hope 2014 is a good one.

    I'm aiming for 50 books this year, 85 is very impressive. You read some great ones too :)

    Good luck with getting inspired for your new idea.

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    1. I love that feeling, too. Full of possibilities! I feel like 50-60 books read in a year is a good goal. Anything more than that and you sometimes feel a bit controlled by your goal. I may end up reading more than 60, but I don't want to feel like I passed over books because of my goal. I think once I'm done visiting WUW blogs I might sit down and do some story brainstorming. Can't wait! Have a great week, Alexa!

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  20. I didn't know that The Good Wife was on Netflix! I might need to block that info out of my brain because I can't afford to lose the next week of my life watching it obsessively like I did with Breaking Bad. But hey, I'm new to the What's Up Wednesday thing, and I am so excited to jump in. :)

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    1. I'm not 100% sure it's on American Netflix. It's on Canadian Netflix, but I think when we checked the other it wasn't there. So it might not be a distraction after all??? It's far too easy to sit down and binge watch WAY too many episodes of that episode. You know, speaking from experience. I'm so happy you decided to join us today! :-)

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  21. I've also been inspired by the newness of things! I read the girl of fire and thorns and enjoyed it, I have yet to read the sequels, I'll have to add them to my list. I haven't watched The Good Wife but have heard countless good things about it and really to need to pick it up. But i agree with you on putting a new spin on something that's been done before.

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    1. I've heard only awesome things about the sequels, so I'm pretty excited to get reading them. I'm so in the mood for fantasy right now. I look forward to The Good Wife every single week. I can honestly say that it's the only show that I *have* to watch. There are others that I really like, but I love this one.

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  22. I really need to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. It sounds so good and I keep meaning to, but I just haven't yet. Is the whole series done with? Because that always inspires me to read a series. I was also a HUGE Law & Order junkie, but after McCoy got promoted the show kind of fell apart. The Good Wife is a killer show though. I love the way you described it. I've never thought about how inspiring it could be. But you're right: ignore the talk about this and that being too hard to sell in YA, just write what you want to write. The Good Wife is proof that something that's been done countless times can be done again even better than before :)

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    1. If you like fantasy you should definitely give this series a shot. I've only read the first book, but everyone seems to love the rest of the trilogy. The whole series is out, so you can totally just plow through them if you want. I'm pretty excited about that fact myself. I loved Law & Order, but it really did start to fall apart, didn't it? I think I kind of got tired of how predictable it felt, too. Not so with The Good Wife. I got my husband hooked on it as well. It really makes me want to write something *good*, something that feels original even if it isn't completely new.

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  23. I almost made my 50 books read goal for 2013, so I'm going to keep it for 2014. The reading slump in November and December just killed it for me, haha. I hope to get back to writing soon again as well.

    Sounds like you've been having a nice, relaxing time. I played Settlers this past weekend for the first time in forever. It was so fun (even if I was terrible at it, haha).

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    1. 50 books is a good goal. That's just about one book a week. October through December were tough reading months for me mainly because we moved and then the holidays rolled in. Too many other things going on. This has definitely been a relaxing few weeks, so I feel ready to tackle things like writing again. Isn't Settlers fun? The hubby and I had such a fun time playing it over Christmas. I hope this is something we continue to do throughout the rest of year. :-)

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  24. I loved GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS - all three books. Enjoy! Happy New Year!

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    1. I can't wait to get reading the sequels. Happy New Year to you, too! :-)

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  25. Did you know that the corn popper has become a board game?

    http://www.toysrus.com/buy/board-games/fisher-price-corn-popper-game-30574-23198606

    I...have no idea.

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    1. I did not know that. And honestly, after looking at it, I have no idea how that would even work. Too weird! Maybe it's so that parents are never ever able to escape from the crazy-making sounds of the corn popper. It follows them into their children's post-toddler years. O_o

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  26. Okay, I have no idea why my name came up as "Whooshing Deadlines" above... or, actually, I kind of do. Way back when I first started my blog, I was going to do something in the title with that quote from Douglas Adams: "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sounds they make as they fly by." So somehow that ended up in my WP profile. But it's never come up as my name before! Technology!

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    1. That's so bizarre! I wonder if it's because Blogger has kind of changed up the whole comment box thing. I can't tell you how many times I've hit the "Sign out" button meaning to hit "Publish". I think it's possible the Publish button was on the right at some point. I can't remember, though. :-)

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  27. Good luck with finding a new project that calls to you. It's been ages since I created a brand new cast of characters and storylines, let alone wrote something set before the 20th century. The right project will come to you at the right time.

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    1. I sure hope so. I'm excited at the prospect of it happening, though. :-)

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  28. I lowered my reading goal this year for the same reason. Good luck deciding what you'd like to work on next.

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    1. I really do like having a goal of some kind, mainly because I think it's kind of fun, but also because I like looking back on the year and knowing exactly what I read. I do like the idea of not having to be so choosy this time around, though.

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  29. We're seriously in the same place with our writing! I'm also about to start something brand new. The WIP I was working on last year wasn't working, and I finally figured out a new direction for it. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that involves starting over. But I'm excited to start the new year with something fresh. I hope you find the right project!

    I haven't seen The Good Wife yet but now I really want to! I have Netflix so maybe after I finish catching up on old Mad Men episodes, I'll check out TGW. :)

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  30. I just told a writer friend about Settlers when she was looking for a family game (her kids are teenagers). They spent all day Christmas playing. I don't even own the game myself and I am always recommending! Over New Year's Eve I played Dominion which is cards only but similar themes and strategy to Catan. My husband swears he doesn't like board games, but he just meant mainstream ones; he loves nerd games so now I am creating a gamer out of him. Well, a board-gamer.

    I still have not watched The Good Wife! I hear such good things. If it was on Netlfix instant play, I would be all over it. We are going to catch up on Hannibal on Netflix (disc)before season 2 starts. Just watched all of Grimm to get caught up.

    Happy New Year! I also set my book goal around 50 and then if I read more it's a double win :)

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  31. Sometimes you need a new project. After a while I know I need to work on something else instead of BI edits and in my experience it's really helped to let it sit and think about where you're going next while you work on something else. It just comes to you and you feel ready to go back on the old project. :)

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  32. Oh my gosh... isn't The Good Wife the BEST show on television right now??? I love it. The writers are amazing. It's never long enough!

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  33. Hah! I regularly say jammies, potty, and other such baby words So I get you on the exciting life thing. :)
    I agree that the new year is so inspiring and energizing. I don't know if I've ever felt quite this much before, but I've been so inspired and excited about a clean slate. Good luck!

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