January In A Nutshell

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     Ah, January – I had so many grand plans for you!  What a beautiful, lovely, schedule I had worked up!  I was raring to go, and then – of course – the unexpected happened, and life threw an obstacle my way.
     I got sick…for the first week and a half of January I did little else but blow my nose and read.  I was eventually able to appreciate some of the humor of the situation.  I had been quite puffed up and proud of myself, thinking about everything I was going to get done in 2017 and then, right off the bat, I was sent one of life’s banana peels.  It was appropriate for such an impatient person to be reminded on New Years Day that I do not control what happens in my life, God is the one who makes people’s plans succeed.  It was little more than a tap on the shoulder, a friendly reminder; and hopefully the lesson will stick.
     Snow day!  If we get snow, it’s usually in January – and we weren’t disappointed this year!  Unfortunately, I was sick so I couldn’t go out.  I desperately wanted to round up my siblings (and some air soft rifles) and re-enact the battle of Hoth, or just make dozens of snow angels and roll around in the snow like a puppy, but – unfortunately – I was forced to restrain myself.
     Another book haul.  I went ballistic AGAIN and bought far more books than I could afford to buy.  It wasn’t enough that I had to buy $130.00 worth of books in December, I spent another $80.00 in January.  Hey, at least I’m cutting back…maybe by April I will actually be staying within the confines of my monthly book fund – $10.00.  Maybe.
     I’m particularly excited about this lovely edition of ‘The Art of War’….I am head over heels for this gorgeous cover and book design.  It’s definitely the kind of book that I just want to hold and stroke….
     In honor of my twin’s ‘Bean Day’ (she found the bean in the cake during our Epiphany celebration) we went to an Australian bakery and I got to sample some genuine Australian dishes.  The bakery appeared to be run and staffed by two Australian gentleman so I assume they didn’t change anything for American palates and served us accurate fare.
To be honest, the only thing I liked was the Anzac ‘biscuits’ – which were delicious – and the candy I picked up at the checkout – Chewits.  This candy is from the UK, so I’m not sure I can count that, but the black currant flavor is definitely unusual for American palettes – I loved it!
And then of course, we have that adorable little ‘Monster Muncher’ on the front of the package!   Isn’t he cute?
     Afterwards, we did some window shopping and I dragged my siblings into a toy store….HAPPINESS!  Definitely a dream job.  There was all kinds of wonderful toys and products to….ahem…test (had to make sure the stuffed animals were soft, had to ensure that all the sounds on interactive toys were loud enough, had to verify that the balls were bouncy).  They even had children’s music playing the whole time…..The Nutcracker Suite, ‘Following the Leader’ from Disney’s Peter Pan….  I could have happily spent hours in that store.   Though it wasn’t much larger than a master suite, it had a lot of ‘magic’ packed into it.  Who knew they had COLORED bubbles?  They even had Squishables!  Yes, I want one of these; and if anyone can think of a good name for a stuffed cupcake, I would love to hear about it in the comments!
       Afterwards, we went to the local park.  There ARE some advantages to being short….I still fit on all the kiddie stuff!
        Swinging is my favorite outdoor activity, though I can guarantee that I was the only person on that swing set wearing a dress, knee boots, silk scarf and sunglasses…  I may be weird, but I can at least be stylish about it.
Also made the interesting discovery that I can chew gum and swing at the same time; until I spat my gum out at my brother – he was throwing sticks at me and trying to pull my scarf off while I was swinging – he didn’t believe my warnings that I would spit my gum out at him if he didn’t stop.  He knows better now…
    My siblings and I played yet ANOTHER round in our endless Star Wars campaign….I played the Empire again….and was voted ‘Most Entertaining Imperial Ever’….  Hey, I don’t just perform and goof off for you guys…I’ve had years of practice with my family.
     I beta read three stories for three different friends.  I had such a wonderful time joining the ranks of beta-reads.  I learned so much from this experience and it was a blast to be able to help – and learn from – my fellow writers.

     Wrote my very first short story, ‘The Key to the Chains’.  I had no idea that I was even capable of writing a short story (I usually write massive tomes) and it was nice to have such a manageable story on my hands – for once.   I am very excited about this story and have high hopes for it.   ‘The Key to the Chains’ will be available on Amazon in mid February – also hopefully.

My beta-readers grew from 1 to 4:  You know who you are – thank you so much for reading my stories and polishing them till they sparkle!  You guys are AMAZING!!!

After setting the goal of reading 64 books in 2017 – I read 31 books – IN A MONTH!  I FINISHED ALMOST HALF OF MY READING CHALLENGE IN A SINGLE MONTH.  I also completed several other special reading challenges.   Am I bragging?  Yes – but I promise, it will just be this one paragraph and this one gif and then I won’t mention it again.
      I READ 31 BOOKS IN JANUARY! 

     I reached 9 subscribers on my YouTube channel and 14 subscribers on my blog:  Interestingly enough, I got three new people on the blog and my YouTube channel since December.  I got a kick out of the fact that both of them received identical ‘growth’.

And now….  What I DIDN’T get done in January – but meant to.

1.  Create a more professional looking newsletter.   No, I didn’t.  I’m sorry!   I’m really frustrated by the amount of ‘tech’, that I am having to learn lately….
 2.  Due to minor insomnia, I am not getting up at the earlier hour that I had planned….or would like/need to.
3.  I was supposed to write the second draft of my NaNo mess and edit it.  Eeeh….Nope – it didn’t happen.
4.  Returning to my exercise ‘regime’.   Uh…no….  I was too busy with ‘work’.
      And I think I’ll stop there, before this gets depressing….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            – Hopes and Plans for February –

 1.    I have decided to move from eight blog posts a month – to five.  I simply cannot keep up with my regular writing and maintain such an intense blogging schedule.  I tried it and failed; all I did was push my stress levels from ‘bearable’ to ‘maximum’.

2.    For all those wonderful people on Goodreads…I am not going to be spending quite as much time with you as I was in January.  This month was a blast, but the axe will fall in February.  It’s back to work, I’ve got to cut back on some of the chitchat and show some social media restrain…at least as much restrain as a social creature such as myself is capable of having.

3.   Publish the Reluctant Godfather.  Because of personal reasons, I set off the publication of TRG till February first.

4.  Publish ‘The Key to the Chains’ on Amazon.

5.  Return to writing schedule – ideally 2,000 words a day.

6.  Get back to my art.  I’m working on some designs for the Zazzle ‘store’ I am hoping to open something in February or possibly March.

7.  Get interviewed on ‘Out of the Ordinary’.  My friend, Kate Willis has graciously invited me to an interview and I am so excited about it!

8.  Join Homeschooled Authors.  This has been a dream for a long, long time.  I can’t wait!

9.  Read.  I’ve got a lot of books that I cannot wait to start….wait for me books!  I’m coming!

    So how was your January, dear readers?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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4 Responses

  1. Sarah Grace
    | Reply

    Great post! And LOOK AT ALL THOSE PRETTY BOOKS!!!! 😀 Please please please read the rest of the Restorer books next??? 😉
    Oh. My. GOODNESS! Your brother at the park . . . I literally laughed out loud, as that is TOTALLY something my brother Isaiah would do. XD I can so relate!!!
    January seemed to fly by so quickly, yet at the same time it seemed to drag. The thing I am most excited about that I accomplished this month was finishing the sound design for the audio drama I am working in! I am so trilled to have finally finished after 6 months of working on it. 🙂 The other thing is probably getting to interview Tricia Mingerink . . . that was a blast! 🙂
    Here’s to a new month with fresh starts! Let’s go get ’em Alli! 🙂

  2. Allison
    | Reply

    I KNOW! Pretty, pretty books – Mary Horton is right – we should have book ‘petting zoos’! 
    I WANT to – I really, really do! Soon!
    Haha! That is so funny! It’s just a sister/brother thing! 🙂
    Congratulations on finishing the sound design for your audio drama – I’m so excited for you – and it’s so cool that you got to interview, Tricia! That is fantastic!
    YES – a new month ‘without mistakes in it’! ‘high fives’ Let’s do it, Sarah Grace!

  3. Lydia
    | Reply

    YES! The stuffed cupcake was the thing to grab my attention the most in this post. Plus swinging. YAY for swinging. I swing regularly. (Like, I used to do it for hours each day….)
    I hope that February is a much more healthy month for you and you’re able to accomplish your goals.

  4. Allison
    | Reply

    Hi Lydia! ‘grins’ Well, who WOULDN’T like a big stuffed cupcake? Yes, hooray for swinging! It is a highly underrated pastime in our society…
    Thank you so much, Lydia!

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