Archive | March, 2020

Challenge Update, February 2020

12 Mar

This is a bit late because of my vacation but it’s helping me fill in some posting time before I actually finish a book. That’s not going so well right now. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in February:

The Dutch House // Ann Patchett
Sarah’s Quilt // Nancy E. Turner
Finding Gobi // Dion Leonard
Wild Ink // Victoria Hanley
What the Eyes Don’t See // Mona Hanna Attisha

I’m actually caught up on reviews! This also means I haven’t finished a book in a while. But I’m going to look at it in a positive way.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

4/12
Still going strong! I was able to use The Dutch House to check off 1960-1979 and Sarah’s Quilt to get 1900-1919. What I’m reading now should get me at least one more so I’m sitting pretty in this challenge for a while.

Goodreads Challenge

9/55
Goodreads says I’m one behind. I’ll take it! I think I can catch up quickly, especially if I’m going to start tri training in the next month. That always gives me a lot of audiobook time while I’m on the bike.

Book of the Month

I’ve been dwelling on The Dutch House for a while since I finished it and I’m still in love with it. The characters were great and I had a blast doing a Buddy Read of it with my best friend.

Added to my TBR

I’m down to 62! Though I could be doing better if I wasn’t in book clubs. And my only add this month is because of book clubs.

  • A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold. I think this will be a really good book for discussion. Klebold’s son, Dylan, was one of the Columbine High School shooters. I’ve wondered how the parents of criminals deal with the crimes their children commit and this will be very insightful.

Personal Challenge

I’m gearing up again to track personal goals here. This is a great way to keep me accountable and to tell you about me outside the wide world of books.

  • Triathlon Age Group National Championships: I start training early next month. I’m still coming off some vacation lethargy but my goal is to get a few double days worked into my schedule so I’m ready for six 2-a-days per week when I start.
  • Submit my novel: I’ve submitted to five and been rejected by them all so far. Five more to go before I reevaluate what I’m submitting a bit.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for this year, it’s fun!

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!

WWW Wednesday, 11-March-2020

11 Mar

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 listened to very little of Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) while I was on vacation so I’m back at it now and I’m hopeful I can finish it this week. I’ve got some more running going on than normal which gives me a good chance to catch up and finish it up.
I read very little of White Oleander by Janet Fitch, too. Maybe a chapter? Maybe? I’ll hope to get back on this one now that I’m returning to work and quiet lunches.
I’m loving Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. There was already one huge twist that I adored and I think there will be at least one more coming. I’m about 250 pages in but took a pause to read a book club book.
The book club pick is August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones. I think it will be a quick read so I’m not too concerned about getting through it before the meeting.

Recently finished: Again, nothing. I had so much fun on vacation that I forgot to read much!

Reading Next: I plan to pick up Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago as soon as I find time for a print read. I’ve put my Spanish-language read for the year off for too long!
I’ll need an audiobook next and I’ve decided on a physical audiobook of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz. I may even start this one before I finish up with Galbraith since I usually run an eaudio along with a physical one to keep myself entertained on runs.

As a reminder, I’m out of the country on vacation. I will not be replying to comments this week in order to enjoy my vacation. I’ll check periodically to approve any new poster’s comments. All reading is suspect, this post is planned well in advance.


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!

Writing Check In- March 2020

10 Mar

I’ve been wanting to dedicate more time to writing. 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!

I didn’t make a lot of progress last month. I submitted to one more agency and I heard back from them late last week that they’re going to pass. So I’ve heard back from everywhere I’ve submitted to and they’ve all passed so far.

I’m trying to make a plan to move forward. I think I want to submit to ten agencies before I regroup and make some changes. I’m at five so far. So my goal for the next two months will be to submit to five more agencies. Once I’ve heard back from them all, I’ll see if I can workshop my pitch, cover letter, summary, sample pages, and anything else I’ve been asked for. Maybe I’m missing something obvious. For the record, my husband did read over it so I didn’t do this without any other eyes.

This is my last ‘calm’ month before triathlon training kicks into high gear. I know that will slow down my writing until August so these updates may become a bit shorter.

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 Club Reflection: What The Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

9 Mar

I’m glad to say we had a better discussion in our book club this month than we did last time. I think we all felt a lot more vested in this book than we have in some of our fiction books. With Flint being so close to home, most of us related to something in the book as a personal experience we’d shared or known someone who’d shared it.

Hanna picked a great title for her book. She’s talking about a lack of knowledge, not being able to ‘see’ something because you don’t know to look for it. But lead is also colorless, tasteless, and odorless, so it was something the eye couldn’t see. I wondered how much of the writing (and title) were her doing and how much assistance she might have gotten from a ghostwriter.

Hanna had to be very brave to do what she did. I think she was very lucky to have her brother prepare her for the personal attacks she received. We agreed she had a good network to support her when she spoke out. We had a member describe her as ‘hyper’ because she was doing so many things at the same time. One member spent time in medical school and felt that she was typical of many doctors. To get through school, they have to balance a lot of things in their lives and learn to function at a level like Hanna. She also felt that many doctors tend to lose their empathy because they’re dealing with illness and death so often. Hanna didn’t give that impression. She also came off as rather humble. We noticed she didn’t have Dr. or MD in her author byline.

None of us were aware that DC had a similar lead crisis. We were shocked, especially that more people didn’t suffer legal consequences. It seemed appropriate that some of the players in the Flint crisis faced criminal charges. Though we were surprised the governor didn’t. Snyder was so well-liked before this crisis and took a huge fall from grace. Many of us had the impression that he was more culpable than those who were charged. Many of them were likely following orders from higher up the food chain.

Some of the facts that hit us the hardest were about the developmental future of these children. Hanna talked about the PTSD that children can have from their environment and the toxic stress that their environment can create. It was devastating to hear about the home for neglected children with 5,000 ppb levels. With all the stressors in those children’s lives, they don’t have much of a chance.

I look forward to talking about this book with my other club in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see what a different group has to say about the same text.

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, 4-March-2020

4 Mar

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 still enjoying Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and am excited this is a long haul. I haven’t had a 20+ hour audiobook in a while and I’m happy this is the one. Strike and Robin make a great pair.
I’ve read a bit of White Oleander by Janet Fitch while I’m away. It’s nice to have a book on my phone to grab snippets of a story while waiting around. But mostly, it’s been good conversation with my mom and I’m loving that.
I dove into Fingersmith by Sarah Waters on the plane! No word yet on if I’ll finish it but I’ll take a sizeable bite out of it before we get back to the states.

Recently finished: Nothing this week and no reviews posted. More to come on that when I’m back home!

Reading Next: If I finish my current read before I get home, Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago will be my next read. It’s waiting for me at home and I’ll be excited to read in another language but I didn’t think I could handle it while in a foreign country. My brain has only so much space.

As a reminder, I’m out of the country on vacation. I will not be replying to comments this week in order to enjoy my vacation. I’ll check periodically to approve any new poster’s comments. All reading is suspect, this post is planned well in advance.


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!