November 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop me and my sister, Erin Funk, created to connect writers. With that aim in mind, we encourage all participants to stop by other WUW blogs, get to know some of the writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, be sure to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. Please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use a WUW button. We really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we use:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


WHAT I'M READING
This was an interesting week for reading, that's for sure. I finally finished ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein and was captivated by Rose's story as a prisoner in Ravensbrück. I have to say, while I thought CODE NAME VERITY was great, this one was more gripping, likely because of the setting/situation. If you haven't yet read this companion to CNV, you should!

Between the snow, the frigid temps, and the heaviness of my last read, I was craving something Christmassy, so I picked up Debbie Macomber's THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS. It was cute albeit predictable--which I was fine with--until the end when it dinged the bell at the top of the Cheese-O-Meter with gusto. But hey, every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings, right? (NB: My cheese tolerance is astonishingly high. I devour Hallmark/Lifetime/ABC Family Christmas movies like Toblerones.)

I also listened to a Christmas audiobook and was 3/4 through when I discovered something that turned my stomach worse than rancid eggnog: The author was Anne Perry, who I didn't realize was a convicted murderer writing murder mysteries. Ew, ew, ew. I just can't stomach reading stories by someone who brutally murdered another human being.* Call me crazy.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Not much, unfortunately. I spent time with my outline again this week, adding more meat to it based on the conversation I had with my sister last week. This story is starting to take shape and I'm eager to get writing it. The problem is, I've been lacking motivation and discipline big time. Week after week it's the same sorry tune. I really need to stop making excuses.

SO, my goal for this coming week is to FINALLY write some words. Do a little bit of drafting and see where it takes me.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Having to come up with something to put under the What I'm Writing heading pushes me to actually get something writing-related done. This accountability keeps me tethered in some way to my WiP when motivation is lacking. Which is why I'd like to take more of a goal-oriented approach to WUW. What do you think? Would you like to include a writing goal for the week in your post? The original intent of WUW was to touch base with other writers, but specifically to provide encouragement and accountability. Goal-setting and reporting both feel like a big part of that equation, don't you think?

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• Somehow I've become a member of a bowling league and will soon have my own bowling shoes. How did this happen?
• I put up the tree last night only to discover that NONE of my stupid Christmas lights actually work. This makes me crazy.
• I've been watching every lame Christmas movie on Netflix. Christmas Bounty wins the award for pure cinematic crud.**
• I'm in full-on Christmas mode now. (Big surprise, right?) I'd been fighting it since Halloween, but caved not long after.
• I'm on the hunt for some new Christmas music, so if you have any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. Thanks!
• I tried the world's worst chocolate "treat". Russell Stover's little balls of red velvet gag-me-with-a-spork are truly gross.

Well, that's enough babble from me.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


* If you've ever heard of the movie Heavenly Creatures (1994) then you might know the murder case I'm talking about.
** It was put out by WWE Studios, so it was cast primarily with wrestlers. No Oscar-worthy performances here. #shocking 


51 comments:

  1. Oi - Anne Perry gives me the heebie-jeebies, for real.

    I love the idea of incorporating goal setting into WuW! I could really use a bit more accountability.

    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Couldn't agree more about Anne Perry. I don't know, I think it's mainly because she writes murder mysteries. That just feels so tacky to me. It's not like I would read anything else she publishes, but that just really clinches it.

      Erin and I both feel that goal-setting would be a great addition to WUW. And it doesn't have to be anything major or overly specific either. Sometimes just putting it out there what you would like to accomplish in a given week is enough to keep you on track. It's worth a shot, right? Have a great week, Sarah! :D

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  2. Okay, I'm laughing like an idiot at that "every time a bell rings" comment. I was just thinking about IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE actually because they're putting it on at Persephone this Christmas. It's a musical though, and after that LITTLE WOMEN musical travesty we saw there, I'm not sure that's a good idea. Too bad. Seriously, I might have to start calling you Buddy because you're so into all things Christmas. You didn't have spaghetti with maple syrup for supper, did you? ;)

    Honestly, I think adding weekly goals to WUW is something we should've done ages ago. I know I could really benefit from setting some goals to get me back on track. I'm excited that you're hoping to start drafting this week! Looking forward to hammering out some goals with you and to seeing where this story takes you! :)

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    1. Seriously, Erin, the ending in this book was cheesier than fully loaded nachos. I have a high cheese tolerance, but this was groaner territory. It's too bad, because it was completely unnecessary. It could have been cute without the heaping helping of cheese. But apparently "cozy Christmas" is synonymous with "cheesy Christmas" when it comes to book descriptions.

      I totally laughed when I read what you said about Persephone and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Is it weird that I'm morbidly curious about how terrible it might be? LOL That said, I would hate for yet another thing we like to be crapped on by the folks at Persephone. (I'm still cringing over LITTLE WOMEN. Seriously.) Also laughed about the Buddy comment because no doubt. It's a sickness. When you end up resorting to Christmas movies starring WWE wrestlers you might need an intervention. (What would you call that exactly? A TINSELvention? hardy har) I gag at the thought of maple syrup on spaghetti. Does that make me a bad Canadian?

      We could even just add a line at the end of the What I'm Writing section with our goal for the week. As vague or as specific as people need. I think putting it out there into the interwebz makes it a little more likely that I'm going to at least make an attempt to meet the goal. There's a bit of an embarrassment factor when you continually poop the bed when it comes to your goals, am I right? (Wow. Pooping and gagging. Most of the ingredients for a successful kids' movie lol.) I really hope I can buckle down and start drafting this week. Even just a bit to get me hooked on writing this thing. At the planning stage it only feels like this nebulous idea, so I need to make it real now. Can't wait to Skype again! :D

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  3. Is it possible planning is getting in the way of writing? Scribble something down and you never know what you might find ^_^

    I'm definitely up for sharing writing goals ^_^

    Have a great week and enjoy that Christmas spirit ;)

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    1. It's beginning to feel that way. Not gonna lie. I've just jumped into projects in recent months where I didn't do sufficient planning and then everything fell apart. So the attempt was to avoid that, but now I think I've reached that point where it's necessary to jump right on in. We'll see how it goes! I think setting goals will definitely help with this. Glad you're on board! :D Have a great week, Cole!

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  4. I have never read any of Anne Perry's books for this exact reason. I saw a documentary about her a few years ago and it was so chilling. I think including some goals is a great idea - I am always looking for motivation! I force my family to listen to A Star Wars Christmas (including such classics as 'What do you get a Wookie for Christmas when he already owns a Comb?'), but I'm not sure if I'd actually recommend it to others since words like 'torture' are bandied about whenever they see the CD :)

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    1. I would never in a million years have listened to this audiobook had I known her sordid past. I might have been able to look past it (probably not) had it not been a murder mystery. I mean, really? That feels like the epitome of tacky and inappropriate. How does this not bother people? Ugh.

      I think the addition of goal-setting might be that little extra bit of accountability that I (and others like me) need to give us a boost. I'm glad you're on board!

      I've never even heard of A Star Wars Christmas, but now I'm totally going to check it out. I mean, that Wookie song title made me snort, so it's worth a listen for sure! Hope you have a wonderful week, Carrie! :D

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  5. Hi, Jaime. I'm in Christmas mode too! I love this time of year. :) Good luck with your writing. Be tough, you can get that draft started!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. Hard not to be in Christmas mode when there's been snow on the ground for a while lol. Plus, we have Thanksgiving in October here in Canada, so there's not really anything between Halloween and Christmas. (Besides Remembrance Day and that's more of an observance than a holiday.) It will be difficult to stay disciplined with writing now that it's the Christmas season, but I'm going to try really hard! Have a great week, Laura! :D

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  6. Ah! I'm glad you are reading ROSE UNDER FIRE. And that you love if. Each time I see it I keep saying I should get it. I really want to read it.

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    1. I had a tough time getting into ROSE UNDER FIRE, but I'm really glad I stuck with it. Such a good book! You should definitely read it. :-)

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  7. You may not feel like you are getting much writing done, but your blog posts always make me happy. I am absolutely not in Christmas mode, and I really, really should be. So thank you for sparking my interest. Bowling league sounds fun...

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    1. Aw, thanks, Melanie! That makes me happy. :-) I feel a little bit more pumped to get started on this story now that I've solidified my outline a bit. Can't wait to get drafting this week! We have snow where I live, so it's pretty easy to get into Christmas mode (whether you want to or not) between that and all of the Christmas stuff everywhere you go. Hope you have a wonderful week! :D

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  8. You had me at "WWE Studios." I pretty much feel obligated to watch now :) I LOVE Christmas movies, the cheesier the better.

    I've got a GIANT Christmas playlist. I'll throw out a few at random - hit me up on Twitter if you want more.

    Slower tempo: Love is Christmas by Sara Bareilles, The Heartache Can Wait by Brandi Carlile, Tinsel and Lights by Tracey Thorn, and River by Joni Mitchell (which is one of my fave Xmas songs ever),

    Upbeat: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen (also Santa Claus is Coming to Town by him), Step Into Christmas by Elton John, Twelve Days of Christmas by John Denver and The Muppets (about the only version of the song I can stand).

    I'm totally down with having an accountability goal on WUW.

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    1. Hahah, I just clicked the Christmas Bounty link and realized I'd already seen it.

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    2. That's hilarious that you've already seen it! LOL I love cheesy Christmas movies too. Though, usually when I'm watching them by myself. If someone else is in the room, I'm all embarrassed of the GLARING instances of cheese, you know? Sometimes that can be fun too. ;-) Thanks for all of the music recs! I'll definitely be checking out all of them. I've kind of worn out most of my music selection in recent years, so I'm always looking for something fresh-ish. Have a great week, Jennifer! :D

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  9. I admit I enjoy Anne Perry's books, and I too learned about her murky past after I started reading the first of her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels. Not for one moment would I condone what she and her friend did, but they stood trial, were convicted, and served time. As far as I know, while she writes under a pseudonym, presumably to distance herself from that past incident, she has never denied what happened. Indeed, it appears she has been on TV talking about that incident, and was accepted for membership in the LDS church which, no doubt, must have considered her past. So, as hideous a crime as it was, I'm willing to believe the course of law was followed against her, and she has repented of what she did. Who am I to hold it against her?

    I was about to get all uppity about your neglect of Thanksgiving when I remembered Canadian Thanksgiving was back in October. *oops!* Enjoy your Christmas preparations, Jaime! :)

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    1. The funny thing is, I wasn't even enjoying this Anne Perry Christmas story, which is why I went on Goodreads and ended up finding out about her past. (I was reading reviews to see if people felt the same way I did about the book and stumbled across something about the whole murder thing.) I *might* be able to set aside my thoughts about reading a book by a murderer if it wasn't for the fact that she actually writes murder mysteries. That really clinches things for me. It just feels so totally wrong. Eek! She paid her time, so to speak, but then five years hardly seems like paying one's time for murder, in my opinion. That's a whole different conversation, though...lol. Either way, I wasn't a fan of the audiobook (it was really boring), so I wouldn't be reading any of her other works anyway.

      Yeah, we're long done with Thanksgiving at this point lol. More than a month past, actually. The whole Christmas thing goes bananas the second Halloween is done with in these parts. Which is good and bad, I suppose. It only adds to the Christmas mood when we've got snow at the same time. Hope you have a wonderful week, Colin! It's great to "see" you again! :D

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  10. I really want to read Code Name Verity - it's been on my TBR for a while now!

    Ah, I'm so jealous, I wish my parents would put our tree up. As far as I'm concerned it's Christmas as soon as November 1st rolls around, and I'm dying to deck the house out!

    Wow, I'd never even heard of Anne Perry. I just read up about her and I'll definitely be staying away from her books! What a horrid person. :\

    Have a lovely week!

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    1. I really liked CODE NAME VERITY, but I liked this one more. I know some people were put off by all of the airplane talk in CNV, so RUF might appeal to those people. (It has much less discussion of airplanes.) You should check them out!

      We have Thanksgiving mid-October here in Canada, so with the exception of Remembrance Day (which is an observance not a holiday), there's nothing between Halloween and Christmas. When November 1st rolls around, I'm totally in Christmas mode. The snow definitely helps too! Now to tackle the lights on the tree...

      As for Anne Perry, I just can't fathom how someone who was convicted for murder would think it's okay or appropriate to write murder mysteries. So, so tacky and wrong. Needless to say, I won't be picking up anything else she's written. (Not to mention the book was just plain boring.) Hope you have a great week, Jess! :D

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  11. Ahaha, being home now means I've been watching, like, every made-for-tv Christmas movie there is on Netflix, regardless of how bad they are!

    Also, I had no idea about Anne Perry's history...that is just crazy!

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    1. I think us Canadians have a hard time reining in the Christmas stuff once Halloween is over and done with lol. I totally do that with Netflix too. Oh, and I have a movie collection of all kinds of Christmas movies as well.

      As for Anne Perry, I was unpleasantly surprised to find that out about her. I mean, the book was boring to begin with, but that just ensured I would never ever pick up another book she's written.

      Have a great week, Mere! :D

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  12. I was about to say…Christmas before Thanksgiving and then realized you are Canadian so you already had Thanksgiving. HA!!!! Sorry about the no-lights working on the Christmas tree situation. Hope that gets figured out soon. Good luck with your outline - you got this Jaime!!! :)

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    1. Yep! Thanksgiving has been over and done with for over a month now, so we're in full-on Christmas mode in these parts lol. I've replaced the lights, so now I just need to get them on the tree, which is always an ordeal in and of itself. Here's hoping this thing is decorated before the week is out. Have a great week, Rachel! :D

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  13. I really like the idea of sharing goals - accountability is great! Best of luck getting back to the writing! :)

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    1. Well, it kind of feels like WUW needs to be a bit more relevant to us as writers, you know? I know my posts always end up having too much in the What Else Is New section and way too little in the What I'm Writing section. Maybe this way we can bring it back to writing a little bit more. Plus, I always need the accountability! Have a great week, Emma! :D

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  14. A movie cast with wrestlers! LOL!
    I always force myself to wait until November first and then Christmas starts a-comin' around this house. I have most of my decorations up but not the tree, which the kids are begging and begging for. I've also started holiday movie watching with Holiday Inn- a classic!
    My new Christmas music purchase this year was Idina Menzel's CD. It's really good. She sings mostly classics and her voice is, of course, incredible.

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    1. I know, right? So ridiculous, I tell ya. (I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little bit entertaining for that reason alone.)
      I think those of us in Canada have a hard time not feeling Christmasy once Halloween is over and done with. Besides Remembrance Day (which is an observance not a holiday), there's nothing until Christmas, so it's only normal, right? My tree is sitting in the living naked right now. I need to get the replacement lights on it and then decorate it so I can get all the other junk out of the living room.

      I checked out Idina Menzel's CD and am considering buying it. She does have a phenomenal voice. Have a great week, Melanie! :D

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  15. Uh, I had NOT heard of Heavenly Creatures, but now I want to watch it. Sounds captivating. But yeah, I wouldn't want to read about murders written by a murderer. To creepy. I am all for sharing writing goals in the "What I'm Writing" section of WUW. I already do that sometimes anyway, and I definitely think it'd be awesome for accountability. I *hope* you're able to start drafting this week, Jaime. It is so scary for me to put words on that first blank page (because I know they will be as lovely as what's in my head), but sometimes just diving in is what I need to do to get a handle on the story. Anyway, good luck, friend! <3

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    1. I wish I'd known all of this about Anne Perry, because I would never in a million years have picked up one of her books. You're right: too creepy. Erin and I were thinking it would be nice to make WUW a little more relevant to writers. Goal-setting seems like a great way to up the accountability factor with our writer friends. Like you say, some people are already doing it, so it feels like a natural addition. The plan is to start drafting this week, so I'm hoping I don't let other distractions get in the way. Again. (Like my naked Christmas tree sitting in the living room waiting for decorations.) Getting words on that first page is always hard for me too, but it's high time I got started. Have a wonderful week, Katy! :D

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  16. OMG, Christmas Bounty sounds amazing(ly terrible)! I've been reined in by a combination of busyness, tradition, and a husband who grumbles at all things Christmas until at least the day after our Thanksgiving, but we are on our second snow day in a row today and I just want to listen to carols and drink cocoa!

    So far, my actual NaNo goal (as in, the one I can actually reasonably achieve) has been to add SOMETHING every day. There are days when that has meant fifty or a hundred words, but at least the document is still open, I'm still thinking about it, and there's the possibility that I will get sucked in and write more. But there's no pressure so if I only have five minutes, then I write for five minutes.

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    1. Doesn't it sound completely ridiculous?! Hey, if you're looking for a laugh and a completely implausible plot, now you know where to look. ;-) Todd used to complain about anything Christmas before December 1st, but now that he's away from home so often, he's actually kind of asking for it sooner. That said, Christmas music can wait a wee bit longer, in his opinion. Second snow day in a row? I had heard that parts of your area were getting dumped on, some places especially bad. Stay warm!

      That's awesome that you're get words down, no matter how few or how many. That's a bunch more words than I currently have! I'm hoping to change that this week, though. Fingers crossed. Have an awesome week, Jess! :D

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  17. I'd definitely be soured off a writer too if I found out s/he were a murderer. That's even worse than finding out a writer might be a racist, anti-Semite, homophobe, etc.

    I also like the idea of weekly writing goals, though my goals would probably usually only be general.

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    1. You know, I was thinking this very same thing. There are authors "behaving badly" all the time, but this just feels SO much worse to me. Especially since they're murder mysteries penned by a murderer. Not cool.

      I think weekly writing goals--big or small, vague or specific--are always helpful. For me, anyway. Glad you're on board! Have a great week, Carrie-Anne! :D

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  18. I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble motivating. I can so relate! I was stuck for months this summer before I finally kickstarted myself again. Perhaps that is just the nature of this book writing thing. It waxes and wanes a bit. Here's to hoping you find your waxing phase soon!

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    1. This lack of motivation has been going on for way too long now. Though, if I'm being honest, it all boils down to a lack of discipline. I've just been lazy about the whole thing, and that's not cool. I really hope I can change that this week. This time of year is always the worst with all of the super fun holidays and distractions, so it will definitely be challenging. I'm ready for a change though. Have a great week, Laurel! :D

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  19. Good luck with your new bowling league! And good luck meeting your writing goals next week too. I agree, accountability is very important. It is way to easy to let life take over and forget about writing.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Kate! It's five pin bowling, which I'm not very good at, but it's still fun. (My muscles definitely ache from the first week, though.) I really hope I can find the discipline to get some words down this week. Maybe the fact that I've actually stated publicly that I want to do it will make it more likely??? Hope so. Have a wonderful week, Kate! :D

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  20. I need accountability! I would be down for word count goals each week!

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    1. Me too! I've been slacking so hard for so long. I think I'd just get something done to avoid public embarrassment lol. Have a great week, Niki! :D

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  21. Oohhh, I really need to read ROSE UNDER FIRE, especially if it's better than CODE NAME VERITY!

    Also, mmm, Toblerones.

    I'm liking the goal-orientated idea for WUW -- that sounds really good! I usually mention my goals in the 'What I'm Writing' bit already, but I like the idea of highlighting it more and adding more accountability.

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    1. Forgot to say -- can the goals be more flexible than just word count? The longest part of my process is heavy revisions and editing (I use page goals there mostly, and usually percentages just because it makes progress clear, sometimes chapters too).

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    2. It wasn't going to be a word count goal, just a goal in general. That way people can make it as vague or as specific as they'd like. Word count goals don't work for a lot of people. And, like you say, those people in revisions can tailor their goal to those revisions. I'm glad so many people are on board with this accountability thing via goal-setting. I think that will help make WUW more relevant for writers, you know?

      I know some people were put off CODE NAME VERITY because of all of the airplane talk among other things, so ROSE UNDER FIRE will probably appeal to those people. There's some plane talk up front (Rose is a pilot), but it thins out once the setting shifts to Ravensbrück. Definitely worth a read!
      Hope you have a wonderful week, Emma! :D

      P. S. Now I'm craving Toblerones too...lol.

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  22. You're making me want to check Rose Under Fire from the library to finish it. I'm going to have to put a hold on it. I can't wait for the ABC Family movies to start airing. The Hallmark channels are already showing movies and I've already started watching them. Ha. I'm trying to wait to read My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins when it got closer to Christmas. Have a great week!

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  23. I've heard of so many people already putting up Christmas trees. Maybe I need to get on that with mine. :)

    And I hear you on the writing front. I am there with revising. Hopefully we'll both be more productive in the coming week!

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  24. Wow, I had never heard that Anne Perry story. Fascinating and creepy.
    Congrats on the bowling team. :-) Maybe that will be the thing you never knew you loved! Ha!
    I having been fighting Christmas mode, too, but slowly giving in. I have been listening to Christmas music on Pandora for a few days. I'm itching to get out the decorations, though! Have a great week.

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  25. Hah! "fighting off Christmas since Halloween..." I think we are twins. Guess how many secret Pinterest boards I have now with Christmas decorations involving moss and twigs. Wait, don't guess the number is suitably embarrassing. (Also, half-tempted to post links to my X-mas music playlists) *sits on hands* *watches Love Actually again instead*

    And I think WUW does a great job of motivating everyone. Not having anything to put in that "What I'm Writing" section, makes me get my butt in that chair more times than you'll know. And even though I've been neglecting my WiP lately in a terrible way...Thank You both for hosting WUW!!! Seriously, you guys are awesome.

    And a Bowling League? How do you accidentally join a Bowling League? You are going to Rock those bowling shoes though. :)

    Hope you have a wonderful week filled with knitting and firelight and Christmas lights that actually work. :)

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  26. Good luck getting the words flowing again, Jaime! Get that timer out, I promise you it works! I think adding a writing goal to the WUW headings is a great idea, too. Hope you enjoy the rest of your week and Happy Bowling! :)

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  27. =) Relax and the words will come, eventually. You can't push it.

    I totally hear you about the Christmas lights. We just moved and shortly after they started building our house (which we commissioned in January), we found out we were expecting, so now we're trying to figure out how to juggle paying for this baby and doing things like, oh, buying Christmas lights for this house that is SO much bigger than our last one. Ah, life and challenges, eh?

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

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  28. Wow. I didn't know that about Anne Perry. Chilling. I can see why it bothered you! Good luck with finishing your outline and starting your writing!

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