#WritingGoals, #AmWatching, and Fireworks

Last Monday, I set a goal for adding 3K words to my WIP.  I’m excited to say I exceeded that goal!  I’m not in a writing group, so I think being accountable to you guys gives me that push I need.  This week I’ll add 500 words to my goal and we’ll see how it goes.  I have another five scenes in mind, and I had an epiphany last week while putting on makeup (that seems to be when they occur) about something that needs to occur.  Other things need to be put in place first, but I’m really excited to write that scene.

A couple weeks ago, hubby and I watched My Spy on Amazon Prime.  After Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m a Dave Bautista fan and with the sparse selection of new material out there, we took a chance of this one.  Yes, it’s predictable (tough guy CIA agent meets smart, cute kid) and inspires eyerolls in some parts, but it also has some sweet and laughable moments.  The young actress is a scene stealer and holds her own against Bautista, and their developing friendship is adorable and fun to watch.

Hope everyone had a fabulous and safe Fourth of July.  We spent the day with friends hanging out by their pool drinking margaritas and eating burgers.  When we got home that evening, we drug chairs into the backyard and watched fireworks.  Plenty of neighbors were setting them off, so we had quite a colorful show.  The cat wasn’t as crazy about them, so he stayed under the bed until the wee hours of the morning when all was quiet – then jumped into bed and slept on my head the rest of the night.

Have a great week and stay healthy!


#AuthorLife, Moving, and #WritingGoals

Not much going on around here.  Last week was a blur of unpacking from vacation, washing clothes, apartment hunting (more on that below) and trying to sneak in some reading and writing time.  With all of my scheduled author events cancelled, I’ve been working on some new Canva and Bookbrush images to try and sell some books.  The good thing is that my fall writing retreat is still on – yay!

Looks like hubby and I have two moves coming up later in July.  The oldest son is moving into a different apartment along with starting his new job.  This one includes a small office, which will be perfect since he’ll be working remotely.  His cat, Sora, will be thrilled with all the windows and a balcony where she can go outside – assuming she’s smart enough not to try jumping.  The youngest son and two friends have been searching for a new apartment before the fall semester, but they haven’t had much luck.  His current lease expires at the end of July, so time is running out.  We’re just hoping the new apartment isn’t on the third floor (like his current one) and it’s not a thousand degrees outside with 100% humidity the day we move him (like it was last summer).  Good times.

An author friend has inspired me to make some weekly writing goals (thanks, Staci!).  My goal this week is to add at least 3K words to my WIP.  I think that’s pretty doable and I’m hoping to exceed that number.  I have about four scenes planned out in my head – I’ll update you next Monday.

Have a great week and stay healthy!

Vacation and the Griswolds

I’m back from vacation!  Polen family vacations have a semi-disastrous history.  Trust me – you don’t want to travel with us.  The first cruise we took resulted in a hurricane.  Then there was the time we were stuck in an airport for hours because as near as the airline could tell, someone from California cancelled our flight reservations – we didn’t even know anyone from CA.  But what about that memorable week we spent in Hawaii for our honeymoon with temps in the low 50s and nearly constant rain which, of course, led to the roads flooding on the day we were headed to the airport to leave.  Those are just the highlights that come to mind right now.  We’ve concluded we must be related to the Griswold family.  After years of just talking about it, we’d finally made a decision to go to Italy in the fall and had just received a tentative itinerary from our travel agent in early March, so we’re halfway convinced we might have had something to do with the coronavirus.

So why should last week be any different?  While it was wonderful to spend time with our family and have both sons with us, the beach was cold and rainy every day except one – the last one.  We were able to get on the beach for a couple hours one day, but the last day was mostly sunny at least.  It was also the only day I even put on a swimsuit.  Other days, we played board games, went to an escape room, and I read two books.  We’ve also had our share of vacations with glorious weather, along with wearing heavy coats and gloves in Florida, but the important thing is that we spent time together, and that’s always a plus.  Here’s a pic of a gorgeous sunrise – the morning we were leaving.

As far as restaurants, with the exception of one, all staff wore masks and gloves and tables were spaced far apart.  Folks on the beach also kept their distance for the most part, but the majority of people we encountered at grocery stores and tourist attractions didn’t wear masks.  Here in KY, our numbers are going down, so I’m hoping people don’t get too comfortable and let guidelines fall to the wayside.

Update time – several weeks back, I mentioned my oldest son had been interviewing for new jobs after losing his due to COVID.  I’m thrilled to say he accepted one last week which doesn’t require him to move and is completely remote.  Thanks so much for all your positive thoughts, vibes, and encouragement sent his way!

Have a great week and stay healthy!


#AmWriting, #AmWatching, and Vacation

Last Monday I mentioned the final planning and plotting had commenced on the sequel to Subject A36.  This past week, I finally started writing.  I set a timer for thirty minutes and just took off.  Maybe it was a fluke, but writing in thirty minute segments worked for me.  I didn’t worry about editing, word echoes, choosing the perfect word, etc – I just typed.  My word count wasn’t in the stellar range (not C.S. Boyack level, lol), but I was happy with my progress, and I’ll use the same technique this week.

A friend recently loaned us the Band of Brothers series.  We’d never seen it before, but I remembered it winning several awards.  We were hooked from the first episode.  And what a cast!  Many of them weren’t well known or known at all when it was released in 2001, but you’d recognize several now.  We reached the last episode, eager to see what happened to these characters and their lives – and the disc hung up.  I tried another DVD player – no luck.  Tried going straight to the scene – nope.  I checked Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu – all were a bust with streaming unless we wanted to pay.  Our only option is to get the last disc from Netflix.  Instant gratification has totally spoiled us.

I won’t be online much next week, other than the two book reviews I have scheduled to post.  Hubby and I are taking a vacation and maybe the planets aligned or our horoscopes were good that day, but both sons can go with us, and we’re really looking forward to it.  I’ll be in my happy place on a beach with my umbrella and books (social distancing from folks at neighboring umbrellas), hopefully getting caught up on some reading.  Restaurants there still aren’t at full capacity, and that’s fine with us.  We have reservations with a couple of favorites, but also plan to take advantage of local seafood markets.  Masks will be packed along with the books!

Stay safe and healthy and have a great week!

#BookConline, #AmWriting, and #TenetTrailer

Over the weekend, I spent Saturday and Sunday watching several author panels at BookConline.  I’ve never been to BookCon in NYC (but it ranks right up there with ComicCon in places I’d love to go), so it was a treat to see so many YA authors together.  World-building, fantasy, epic YA, paranormal – I watched all of them and more.  There were plenty of ARC giveaways, but I figured the odds of me winning were slim, and I’ve got enough to keep me busy for quite a while anyway.

The writing has commenced!  I’ve been working on the sequel to Subject A36 – finally.  Right now I’m putting together character arcs and figuring out some plot points.  The number of POVs may be a challenge – everyone wants to talk, but some of them will just have to settle for letting their story be told through the eyes of another character.  Breaking the news won’t be pretty, I’m thinking.

Have you guys seen the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet?  Inception (one of my favorite movies) was mind-bending and Memento wickedly twisted.  And his Dark Knight series?  You get what I’m saying.  When I first saw the preview for this movie months ago, I had no idea what it was actually about and honestly didn’t care.  It was a Nolan movie.  This new, second trailer goes into more detail and I’m stupid excited to see it in July.  Assuming the theaters are open.  Keeping fingers crossed!

Take care and stay healthy!

Dinner, #SubjectA36, and #AmWatching

Here in KY, our restaurants opened to limited capacity indoor dining on Friday, and hubby and I had dinner out for the first time in three months!  There were several restrictions in place for everyone’s safety – reservations only, 33% capacity, hand sanitizing stations, disposable menus, and employees wore gloves and masks.  We went to one of our favorite local restaurants and enjoyed an evening of fantastic food (no cooking for me!), a familiar, friendly staff, and an appreciation of a common activity we’d previously taken for granted.  Judging by other parking lots, plenty of folks showed up to support their local eateries.

I had a suprise from my publisher last week – Subject A36 now has an audiobook!  Sarah is also on audio, but I avoid listening to my books.  I can’t imagine anyone will sound like the characters who live in my mind, so I prefer my perceptions untainted, if that makes sense.  But if you’re an avid listener, click HERE for Amazon.

Has anyone watched the new Snowpiercer series?  The original sci-fi/dystopian movie was released in 2013 (you can watch it on Netflix) and was directed by Bong Joon-ho, the Oscar-winning director of Parasite.  Anyhoo, I watched the first episode last week, and I couldn’t look away.  Awesome cast, awesome premise.  If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a brief description.  It’s a must watch for sci-fi fans.

Survivors of Earth’s second Ice Age live out their days on a luxury train that ploughs through snow and ice. The train’s poorest residents, who live in the squalid caboose, plan to improve their lot by taking over the engine room.

Have a great week and stay healthy!

#Graduation, #AmWatching, and Appreciation

Indulge me a moment while I play the role of proud mom.  My oldest son, while working full time for most of the past two years, earned his master’s degree.  The program was online and wasn’t without its difficulties.  Some of the professors were more responsive and organized than others.  This last one had issues with time management, so the window for receiving thesis feedback and making changes was much smaller than initially stated.  But he finished!  Like millions of people, he was laid off from his job a couple months ago, but has thankfully had some promising interviews over the past few weeks.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Has anyone watched Locke and Key on Netflix?  It’s an adaptation of a series of graphic novels by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.  A Facebook friend mentioned it and the description sounded right up my alley – a family moving to their deceased father’s childhood home in a small coastal town, mysterious goings on and plenty of secrets in said house, and keys with some freaky powers.  It completely captivated me, and I flew through all ten episodes.  The young actors do a fantastic job, and it’s already been renewed for a second season.  Recommend!

Hubby and I watched The Wrong Missy on Netflix over the weekend.  I think Rotten Tomatoes score of 33% was generous.  Not one I’d recommend unless you’ve binged everything else and you’re at the bottom of the barrel for choices.

Shout out to all the healthcare folks and essential workers for everything you do to keep this country going.  We appreciate you!


#BookClub, Salons, and #Gardening

My book club met through Zoom again last week – fourteen of us!  The theme for this month was YA historical fiction.  I don’t play in that sandbox very often, but the second book of the Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation series, Deathless Divide, was available on audio.  It’s set during the Civil War era, so that counts.  That it contains zombies just makes it more interesting for me.  Next month’s theme was scheduled to be YA books involving mental health, but that’s just a bit too heavy for now, so by unanimous decision, we changed it to reading something that makes us happy.

Here in KY, our governor is gradually opening up some businesses, and salons are on the schedule for the last week of May.  I started growing out my bangs in December – couldn’t have planned the timing any better, lol – but I still need a trim.  Appointments open up tomorrow, but I figure they’ll be booked solid for at least a couple weeks.

Other than planning some scenes that need to happen, I didn’t get much done on the WIP last week.  Much of it was spent planting flowers and herbs.  I grow basil every summer (nothing beats fresh basil on grilled flatbread pizzas), but this summer I also added Greek oregano (which was fantastic in Greek chicken last week) and rosemary.  Last summer I gave cilantro a second try, but it again failed to survive.  I set the pot aside and didn’t give it a second thought, then was surprised a few days ago to see it had sprung up from seed.  Now I’m afraid to do anything to it because I’ve read it’s difficult to grow, but I’d sure love to have it for some summer salsa recipes.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Take care and stay healthy, friends!



#AmWriting (Finally) and #Legos

Well – it’s Monday again.  Seems like it just was, but that could be due to most days blurring together.  I’m still trying to knock some jobs off the to-do list around the house.  I even washed blinds last week – I’m embarrassed to tell you how long it’s been since they were last cleaned.  Let’s just say there were mini funnel clouds and a lot of sneezing going on.

I finally opened the file of the sequel to Subject A36.  I hadn’t looked at it since NaNo in November, at first due to promoting the new release, then mostly because I haven’t felt like writing with everything going on in the world.  But it was time.  After setting aside a couple of hours yesterday to dive back in, I was excited.  I still need to go over notes, pull everything together, and make my roadmap (my loose version of an outline).  There’s a lot of work to do – guess it’s a good thing I’ve got some extra time, right?

I’m a Lego fan.  After giving my six-year-old niece a Disney Princess set for her birthday last summer then helping her put it together, she declared me a Lego Master.  It all started with my youngest son’s love of them.  We spent hours building things together, including Hogwarts castle, which was thousands of pieces.  While building, my mind was focused completely on the project, and it gave the rest of my brain a break.  Months ago, a couple of friends and I had planned a Lego and wine night.  For whatever reason, we never got it on the calendar, but I still had my kit – Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.  Several days ago, I took it out, turned on my audiobook, and spent a very happy couple of hours snapping pieces together and applying decals.  How do you like it?  Sorry the pic’s not better.  Hubby got me a Star Wars collection for Christmas, so that’s on the agenda for this week.

Take care and stay healthy!

Easter, Surprises, and #Yoga

How was your Easter?  Like most folks, ours was quiet.  Our youngest son was here for dinner and we watched Stepbrothers (always good for laughs).  That morning we streamed our church service.  The Easter Bunny, his helpers, and some firefighter friends with their truck drove through our neighborhood Saturday throwing out candy.  It was a beautiful day and fun to see the excited kids standing at the end of their driveways waving – adults, too.

A local author friend surprised me and ran this ad in our newspaper yesterday.  What a generous thing to do!  Many people here are probably unaware Bowling Green is home to several authors – one of those names was even new to me.  It may or may not sell books, but who knows what might come from it down the road when life is closer to normal again.


Want to relieve some stress and quiet your mind?  I think that’s an opporunity we’d all jump at right now.  Try yoga.  I’ve been practicing for around 20 years.  With the class schedule at my gym occasionally inconsistent, I had to look for alternatives.  A few years ago, I stumbled across Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.  She offers tons of videos ranging from beginner to advanced lasting from ten minutes to an hour, with many of them focusing on specific areas of the body.  Last week when I woke, my neck felt like it had been twisted in inhuman ways.  I did Adriene’s Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Relief and it helped – the next day, the pain was completely gone.  If you regularly practice yoga and miss your class or have been thinking about trying it, here’s your chance – and you can practice in the privacy of your own home.  Adriene’s got a great sense of humor, and her dog, Benji, usually sits in (or lays in) on the classes.

Take care and stay healthy!