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How Was Your 2017?

20151206_170537I should be writing one of those Christmas letters – you know; the ones where I list my children’s accomplishments, our wonderful travel experiences, the glorious decorating job we did on the house, great tasks undertaken with marvelous success … etc. etc. It’s just this year’s been, well, one of those years. And I thought 2016 was bad…

20170118_121746 (2)Children’s accomplishments include their truly adult, generous and amazing help when our home flooded in January. They sliced and diced soggy carpet (plus, sometimes, hands and knees) to get it out the door. They carried tons of heavy furniture upstairs to the garage to dry out. And they assured me young muscles really aren’t that much better than older ones. Either that or our sons are rapidly ceasing to be young–not a thought I want to pursue.

20160806_173543 (2)2017’s travel experiences were very enjoyable. We had a great trip to England. Spent lots of time with family and friends, and visited Bath, Beachy Head, Bletchley Park, Cambridge, Chatham Dockyards (where Call the Midwife is filmed), Cleveleys (just me visiting Mum), the Devil’s Punchbowl (and the former A3), the Harry Potter studios, Manchester (just me, Mum and my brother), Rochester and Windsor. Took lots of photos… Later we had a week in DC visiting the nation’s capital with our oldest son. But now, as I sit writing this, we await my mum’s annual traveling achievement, her arrival from England… flight cancelled due to snow, flight rebooked, new flight delayed and connection missed, new flight rebooked, new connections, more connections, more time and more delay… She should arrive by midnight, maybe, we hope. And travel finds itself added to the list of this year’s disasters.

20170810_183141We are definitely enjoying our redecorated basement. It took two thirds of the year to get from bare walls and concrete floor to liveable rooms again. It took more visits from those generous sons to bring the furniture back down from the garage. Our cars finally reclaimed their domain in late October! And I can now sit on a chair at my computer to write blogposts … and Christmas letters?

51ryws67wolTasks undertaken included great joy at being part of the Oregon Historical Society’s  50th Holiday Cheer book-signing. It was a fantastic event, very well organized, well attended, and great fun (especially listening to the Dickens Singers). I felt less happy at selling only one book there, but I sold seven at our local craft bazaar, so I shouldn’t complain… In other achievements, I saw my third novel, Subtraction, come out from Indigo Sea Press, and Paul’s Purpose, my twelfth Five-Minute Bible Stories book, was released in print by Cape Arago Press. Plus our local writers’ group, the Writers’ Mill, released two new anthologies! That’s surely success, unless you ask about sales.

So… was it a bad year with some good points, or a good year with some bad points? I’m not sure just now. I’m probably stressed, still neurotically checking the internet for delays with Mum’s flight every five minutes. And perhaps I need to work on having a more positive point of view.

I should write that Christmas letter too, so thank you for inspiring me to try.

How was your year?

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How was your day?

“How was your day?” I ask as my husband returns from work. Sometimes he asks me the same question. Friends ask. Neighbors might ask. But what should I say? How was my day today? And what’s productive anyway?

  • Productive in washing, cleaning, tidying up…? It all has to be done again next week.
  • Productive in yardwork? Well, my herbs are still surviving and being eaten by husband, self and squirrels.
  • Productive in work that I actually get paid for? I don’t earn a lot, but I do get paid to edit novels sometimes, and I almost finished the final edit on one today. That’s a productive day.
  • Productive in editing my own work perhaps? I worked through the publisher file (from my publisher, Cape Arago Press) for Paul’s Purpose–number 12 of the Five-Minute Bible Story Series. That was productive, and depressing. You can find the e-book of Paul’s Purpose here, but maybe you should wait to buy it until I’ve worked through the the errors I found.
  • Productive in writing? I wish (from which you may deduce the answer is no). But I did log onto Amazon author central to see if I’d sold any of my Halloween short stories (Not the Night for Murder). They don’t list sales from the current week though, so the answer was no.81fqd96jwml
  • Productive in producing books? I finally released the Kindle version of an anthology (the Writers’ Mill Journal Volume 6) for our local writers’ group. If they paid me for this (minimum wage? how many hours?) I’d earn as much producing as I do editing. But they don’t. It’s my gift back to those who give me so much encouragement.51o8flzwugl
  • Productive in drawing? That’s what I do (on the computer) when my brain’s so fried I can’t see words anymore. It doesn’t count as work, I suppose, but it illustrates books sometimes for that writers’ group. There’ll be quite a few of my pictures in our next release–Carl and June: Tales of Two by Matthew McAyeal and the Writers’ Mill.Carl in spiderman pajamas 2
  • Productive in cooking? Nah, I had some good leftovers so we ate them. Really good was the leftover birthday cake from the Writers’ Group. If they pay me in cake I’ll be happy… so I’m happy.
  • Productive in shopping? I still can’t fathom how I fitted it in today, but yes; I bought gluten-free bread, real bread, fruit and vegetables, milk, beer and cheese–the essentials of life (except for chocolate, and I still have chocolate leftover from my own birthday–Yum!).
  • Productive in blogging? What do you think? I even sent out a newsletter earlier this week. Click here for my mail-chimp sign-up  if you’d like to receive it… please 🙂

So, “How was your day?”

Mine was productive it seems.

How Many Books Can You Fit In One Garage?

If you’ve followed my blog you’ll know our basement flooded six months ago. One month ago our kind and generous sons started moving our furniture back down to the newly refloored and redecorated rooms. Two weeks ago I started moving boxes of books. There were… er… rather a lot of boxes of books…

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Soon there were… er… rather a lot of books all over my floor…

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But look at it now!

20170810_183141My reading room/library is full to the brim with new friends and old, all waiting to be read and re-read. And my world is back to an even-better kind of normal.

But how many books are there? How many could you fit in your garage? And have you added Subtraction to your book collection yet?

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