NaNoWriMo: Day 16 (2019)

16 Nov

I know I didn’t post yesterday, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t write! I’m just forgetful and don’t want to write about writing when I’m done writing.

Today’s word count: 2,313
(Yesterday’s word count: 2,908)
Total word count: 26,767

Today could have been better, but it was good enough. I had a swim meet this morning and it left me physically exhausted and sore. I tried to balance relaxing, eating, and recovering with writing. I’d say it went OK. I hoped to go into the week ahead but maybe I’ll be able to do that tomorrow I’m optimistic.

I’m getting more and more nervous about having enough story to get to 50k. I keep writing more detail into my scenes and writing scenes I hadn’t planned on to stretch it out. It all comes out in editing, right? So I’ll put down now what I can. I’m sure I’ll find something I missed later that will need to come out.

I’ll try to split my writing tomorrow between some time before church, maybe a little after, and finishing up after my workout. I hope I get some help around the house so chores don’t eat into that too much. Fingers crossed.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: Day 14 (2019)

14 Nov

I don’t think I can keep playing catch up like this. I need a surge!

Today’s word count: 2,773
Total word count: 21,546

I got a lot more writing done than I had been and I’m really glad about that. I had free time this evening and I filled it with writing. There was a TV show I wanted to watch yesterday and couldn’t. I used that as a reward to myself for getting writing done. If I wrote for 30 minutes, I could watch for 30 minutes. It helped me write with focused energy for short times and I think I pushed through because of it.

I’m feeling down about my progress. This is the first day I’ve written where I didn’t catch back up to the daily target. I’m still almost 2,000 words shy of target and I’ll be even further behind tomorrow. I’m starting to wonder if I have the discipline to do this.

I’ll have time to write in the morning, which I’ve grown to really like. I have a conference all day tomorrow so I’ll have to do some work in the evening but I think I can still get words in. I’m hoping the morning is super productive to help me feel good for the day.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 13-November-2019

13 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I think Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine will be done by next week. I really enjoyed the first half of the novel but it’s slowed down for me a lot and I’m dragging a bit through the last 100 pages. I thought it would be done sooner but oh well.
I made a great surge with My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart. I had a slow conference with a lot of downtime to read a silly cookbook and this was perfect because the frequent interruptions weren’t a problem. I’m optimistic about getting this one finished this month.
With just one audiobook, I’m moving through The Mortifications by Derek Palacio pretty quickly. The audiobook is well done. I’m noticing a lot of subtle magical realism elements that are often found in Hispanic literature. It’s not a favorite of mine, but I’m still enjoying it and learning a lot about Cuban culture from it, too.

Recently finished: I loved Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie and I’m so glad there are more books in this series. I recommend this book series a lot because I think it deserves more attention than it’s gotten. It’s funny and well-plotted. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

I’ve only posted once since last week and thankfully it was a book review (as I’m growing behind on those). I posted my review of When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan on Thursday. I gave the book Three out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’m still reeling from all the free time I have to read what I want! I need to be ready with an audiobook and a physical book soon. For my audiobook, I think I’m going to listen to The Maximum Security Book Club by Mikita Brottman. I saw this one at Powell’s and talked myself out of buying it but still wanted to enjoy it eventually. It seems like now is a great time.
I’m also going to get ready with a physical book from the library. The next on my list is Not Without my Daughter by Betty Mahmoody. I’ve heard this is a crazy-true story and I look forward to enjoying it!


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: Day 11 (2019)

11 Nov

I’m taking this whole thing one day at a time. I wish I was looking ahead more, but it’s not looking good.

Today’s word count: 2 090
Total word count: 18,773

I got done what I needed to for the day, but I didn’t get ahead as I would have liked to. I’m just not feeling very motivated to get further ahead than the day requires to keep me on pace. I keep thinking an exciting scene will push me ahead, but it’s not doing it.

I’m still nervous about finishing the story before 50k. I think I’m rushing ahead too fast. I’m sure there are scenes that belong in the book that I’m missing but I don’t know what they are right now so they’re going to stay hidden. That’s what editing is for.

Tomorrow is going to be hard. I have a workout before work, I’m working late, and I have a meeting right after work. I doubt I get any writing done tomorrow. Maybe a few hundred words, but I’ll be behind by the end of tomorrow. I’m trying to be optimistic but it isn’t going well.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: Day 10 (2019)

10 Nov

Nothing ever works out the way you want it to, does it?

Today’s word count: 1,616
Total word count: 16,683

So I got less than the requisite 1,667 but I still hit the target for the day. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a few more words before bed, but I doubt it. I was exhausted today and I can’t point to a good reason. Maybe too much turkey last night? We had Friendsgiving and were out later than expected. Today I had a girls get-together which took away some writing time, too. I struggled with my exhaustion to even get this amount done.

I’m feeling OK about my story. My pacing is going pretty well. I’m at my first disaster scene and I’m about to really launch the story into motion so it’s exciting. I always try to stop in the middle of a scene so when I come back to the story, I’m excited about it and already have some momentum going. Hopefully, it gets me going quickly when I start again tomorrow.

I have a free evening tomorrow so I’ll try to get two chunks of writing done and I’ll make another attempt to build a buffer. This is getting hard but I’m glad I’m staying on pace. It’s good not to be behind.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: Day 9 (2019)

9 Nov

This daily posting thing isn’t going well, is it?

Today’s word count: 3,395
Yesterday’s word count: 0
Thursday’s word count: 1,578
Wednesday’s word count: 912
Total word count: 15,067

As you can see, it’s been a bit hit-or-miss. Today was a big hit! But that’s because yesterday was a huge miss. I left the house before 5AM and didn’t get home until after 9PM. Other days have been okay, but nothing super stand-out.

Today my husband has been a savior. He did a bunch of house chores so I could concentrate on writing. He’s at the grocery as I type this. I think I’ll get a big chunk done tomorrow, too, so I’ll be a bit less stressed moving into the week when I’m busy.

Last time I did NaNo, I was super ahead all of the time. I was really motivated, too. This year isn’t as great and I’m struggling with that. I hope I can have a few more good days like today so I can be comfortably ahead instead of struggling to stay on track. I’m hoping to get a template to use for these posts going forward so I can do them more regularly, too. I’m too overwhelmed with NaNo to do some traditional posts so these might be all you get for the rest of November.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullen (3/5)

7 Nov

McMullen taught creative writing at my university and I never took a class outside my major to learn from her. I figured that reading her book now might teach me something. That makes sense, right?

Cover image via Goodreads

When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullen

Summary from Goodreads:

Life as an O’Donnell is all twelve-year-old Addy knows, and life as an O’Donnell means trouble.
Tucked away in a gray patch of woods called No-Bob, the O’Donnell clan has nothing but a bad reputation. So when Addy’s mama abandons her on the afternoon of Mr. Frank Russell’s wedding celebration, nobody is very surprised. A reluctant Mr. Frank and his new wife take Addy in, and Addy does everything she can to prove that at least one O’Donnell has promise. But one day, Addy witnesses a terrible event that brings her old world crashing into the new.
As she finds herself being pulled back into No-Bob and the grips of her O’Donnell kin, Addy is faced with the biggest decision of her life. Can she somehow find the courage to do what’s right, even if it means betraying one of her own?

I haven’t read a middle-grade book in a while and it took me a little bit to get used to the writing in this category. It’s simplified from what you’d find in YA and there’s nothing wrong with that, just something to adjust to. I heard that this was the second book in a series and I think I may have missed out on some exposition because I read it first. I was a bit confused at the beginning about No-Bob and why the O’Donnell’s were so dispised. I was also a little confused about the relationships between the kids because they seemed to be fighting in one scene and friends in the next, but that’s very true of childhood in general so I shouldn’t have been so off-put. I thought the story touched on a lot of issues at the time and did it well. Overall, I didn’t have many complaints and it was a nice book to read during lunches because it moved quickly and was easy to jump in and out of.

There wasn’t a whole lot of character development in this one. Most of the characters were very one-sided with the exception of Addy. I didn’t have a problem with this because of the age target. Addy is a good character to show development. She becomes very strong over the course of the book and would be a good role model for girls reading this. She’s exposed to a lot of different opinions and types of people and learns for herself who is admirable and who isn’t. I thought this was well done over the course of the book and it got the slow burn it deserved.

Frank was a great character. He seemed a bit naive but he was a good husband and surrogate father. He was industrious and smart and showed Addy a lot of love she’d never had from a man before. She needed a father when she was taken in and there’s not a better man who could have done it.

Addy had to recognize racism and decide how she felt about it. I think that’s relatable for a lot of children growing up. I had a somewhat diverse community that I grew up in, but I was still part of a white majority. I remember learning about different races and recognizing that in my peers. Addy had a more abrupt lesson than I did but it’s a lesson everyone has to go through when growing up.

Margaret McMullen
Image via the University of Evansville

I liked the beginning of the book best; when Addy was learning from Frank about how to be more civilized. It was very sweet and the way she was acted around her new father made her grow on me. It made her a very likable character despite being very rough around the edges.

The time she spent living in the woods didn’t work for me. It felt skipped over and unimportant to the overall plot. I think there was a lot of good material in there and the book was strong enough without it.

Addy has to face a harsh decision between protecting her father and doing what’s right. She has been told how important blood and family are, but she doesn’t see that she’s being respected in the same way she’s being asked to respect others. It’s a tough call for her to make and I like that McMullen recognizes the struggle she has to make that decision. While blood is thicker than water, it’s still a liquid and sometimes needs to be washed away.

Writer’s Takeaway: Characters have to deal with tough issues. I’m glad I read this when I did because I’m writing about a character dealing with racism in my latest project. It’s interesting to see how McMullen handled it and think about what parts of that I’d like to emulate and which I want to be different from.

Overall, a solid book, but not a style I’m a huge fan of. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Spotlight On: Margaret McMullan- University of Evansville Professor, Author | Women’s Connections at Bamberger

WWW Wednesday, 6-November-2019

6 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m happy with how far I’ve come int Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine. The story is a little slow for me, but I’m still enjoying it. I like that Simon is living in Detroit during the 20s, definitely a setting for me!
I’ve slowed down a bit with My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart because I’m making work friends that I eat lunch with. It’s a balance between having people to talk to in the office and getting some reading done. I can go back to being anti-social once I have friends to talk to other times in the day.
I’m devouring Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie with my longer commute. I love this series and I’m looking forward to seeing how this one ends. I have a feeling there’s going to be a big twist! I’m counting on it actually.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished this week. I started doing NaNoWriMo on Friday so that’s taking up quite a bit of time. Reviews may be delayed as well, but WWW Wednesday will not falter! I love hosting this meme too much to let it drop.

Reading Next: I need to make a decision on this one. I think I’ll wait a little bit before pushing to finish my Historical Fiction challenge. I realized I’m done with book club meetings until January and I’ll take this time to tackle some that have been on my TBR for a while. My next audiobook will be The Mortifications by Derek Palacio. I met Palacio at the Midwest Literary Walk in 2017 so this has been here for a while.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NaNoWriMo: Day 5 (2019)

5 Nov

I’m going to try to post daily about my progress to keep myself honest and you all updated on how it’s going.

Today’s word count: 2,133
Total word count: 9,182

It’s not the day I was hoping for, but I’m still happy with it.

I didn’t make it to the write-in today. My husband got home later than planned and I made a big dinner so there was no way I was making it to the library by 7. I also had to cut my writing a little short this morning to get to the polls when they opened at 7 and vote before work. Though that did allow me to come straight home and get a little more writing done, so it’s not all bad.

I’m afraid I’m not pacing the story well. I’m moving forward pretty quickly and I’m not yet to my first plot disaster, but I’m getting close and I think it will move really fast from there and I’m worried about ending up short of 50k. I’m not sure what I’d do if that happened. Maybe write a sub-plot and not bother to integrate it into the story? Maybe write a short story that’s completely unrelated but gets me the word count? There are options.

I don’t think tomorrow will be as successful, but I should be optimistic, right?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Check In- November

5 Nov

One of my goals for this year was to write more. My husband had the suggestion of making a monthly feature to talk about my writing and how it’s going. It helps keep me honest(ish) and lets you all know when my masterpiece will be released to the world!

There’s good and bad news. The bad news is that even though it’s completely ready, I haven’t submitted my manuscript to an agent. I’m hung up on my hook and I don’t like it so I’ve been putting it off and waiting until ‘inspiration strikes’ to submit. I know that’s never going to happen but it’s what I tell myself while I work through it. I’m so close but emotionally distanced from finally hitting ‘Send.’

And now for the good news. I’m writing this ahead of time (31-Oct) but by the time you read this, I should be on day 5 of NaNoWriMo! I’ve decided to do it. I spent October outlining what I hope will be a fun period piece that I think will last at least 50,000 words and keep me engaged the whole time. I think my mistake with my last NaNo was not doing something I was excited about. This time, I’m pumped. I think this will be a blast of an adventure story.

So there are ups and downs. It seems like more downs than up right now, but I’m optimistic that my update to you for December will be ‘I’m a NaNo winner’ and that will be a very big ‘up!’

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!