Category Archives: Wednesday Randomness

Wednesday Randomness – Writing Pet Peeves

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Writing pet peeves is the topic for this week. What annoys us? What makes us want to tear our hair out?

Where do I start?

There are so many things, big and small.

This is a weirdly specific one, but I absolutely hate it when people use the phrase, “It’s like deja vu all over again.” That phrase just doesn’t even make sense to me. What is the point of it?

Difficult to pronounce names for places, or people. There’s a series I really like and in it is a prep school with a name that I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to pronounce. I stumble over it in my head every time I come across it and it instantly pulls me out of the story. Someone has even told me how to say it a couple of times and I still can’t get it right. I get wanting to use things that are unique and different, but you can do that and still make them something that a reader can pronounce.

I have another pet peeves with names, certain names in general just annoy the ever-living hell out of me. As soon as I see them, I just want to stop reading. Names like Cash, or Tristan. For some reason, all bad boys are named Tristan. And on the subject of bad boys, why do authors  (often YA) always put bad boys in black jeans? I don’t ever actually see anyone in real life wearing black jeans, but in books, all the bad boys wear them. I’m sure they all shop at the only store that sells them, too.

“There are simply too many notes!” In other words, trying to stuff everything imaginable into one story. Let’s put in werewolves, vampires, witches, ghosts, psychics, and time travel all into one book! There is such a thing as too many elements in one story.

Insta-love. I know sometimes it’s the norm for certain genres, but unless it’s done REALLY well, just no.

And on the subject of love, love triangles. Are they ever necessary? There are so many more interesting ways to create conflict, either within the romance or not.

I could go on and on, but I think those are the important ones.

What pet peeves do the other bloggers have? Click the links below to find out:

Bronwyn
Jessica
Kris
Kellie
Gwen
Jess

 

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Wednesday Randomness – Best Memories of 2015

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This week we’re talking about our best memories from 2015.

Winter is pretty lame around here, mostly because I work non-stop through January and February, so I’m going to blow right past those and start with March.

Puppy Thor turned one (and yes I’m a huge dork).

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In June, B and I went to a wedding in Traverse City. It was awesome. The wedding was small, maybe 30-40 people, and was at Mission Table on the Old Mission Peninsula. The place was absolutely gorgeous, I’d never even heard of it before. The ceremony was outside with the lake as a backdrop and the dinner was in a private dining room with a cut stone fireplace.

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The day after the wedding, the bride and groom paid for the guests to go on a wine tasting tour to three of their favorite places, which is how I discovered my new favorite place, Tandem Ciders.

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Me and B

A couple of weeks after the wedding, I headed farther north for my annual writer’s retreat with some of my friends. We stay at a cabin/house on Lake Superior for a week and write, eat, talk, laugh (a ton), and have basically an amazing time.

On the way up, we had a major tire blow out. That was not awesome, but Bronwyn’s driving was so we survived the horror.

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Later on during the drive we saw a rainbow, so that helped cheer us up. And then Jenny Trout found a newspaper with an article about a festival for her people.

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We got to spend a little bit of time at the Lake (it’s always super cold in June still). All in all, we had a great time.

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This September, I went to my first ever Renaissance Fair. I have Bronwyn to thank for this experience. I didn’t even know this thing existed in Holly, MI (because I’m so out of the loop in the world) but she goes every year with her family, so this year B and I tagged along. There was jousting, actual jousting.

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There was also a dog wearing a knight.

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I will definitely be going back to the fair next year, we had a great time. I might even be in costume next time.

In October, B and I went to another wedding. This one took me to UP again, but I was happy to make the trip for one of my very closest friends. It was an amazing party, she married the man of her dreams, and looked beautiful the whole time.

Since a lot of us had to travel for the wedding, we had the shower and bachelorette party the night before.

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(All wedding photos by Elizabeth Dahlstrom and Captured Blessings Photography)

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Also in October was the celebration for B’s Uncle Jim and his husband Al. They married in June after the Supreme Court passed the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. They have been together since 1978 so it was great that there finally able to marry.

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The end of the year consisted of holidays and normal family get togethers. Not that they weren’t a great time, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary that happened this year. Except I actually made it to midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s unusual. There were a lot of great things that happened in 2015, obviously. But at the same time, I’m happy to move into 2016. There are a few things I want to a make a new start on. So, I guess the last thing I have to say about 2015 is…

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Check out the other blogs to see what good times everyone had in 2015:
Jess
Bronwyn
Jessica
Paige
Kellie
Gwen
Kris

 

 

Wednesday Randomness – Goals for 2016

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It’s that time of the year, to set goals for the next year. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Finish the first draft of the novel I started this year.
  • Blog at least twice a month (which will beat my average for this year).
  • Craft more. This one is kind of generic because I’m still searching for my perfect craft. I keep trying different things but I haven’t found something that totally fits yet…I’m going to keep looking though.
  • Read 52 books. This one is completely overly-ambitious. There are times during the year when I’m too busy at work to read much, but I’m going to give it hell.
  • Stick to the at-home exercise plan I’ve developed.

 

Check out the blogs below to see what all the goals set for 2016:

Bronwyn
Jessica
Paige
Kris
Jess

 

 

Wednesday Randomness – Mistakes from My First Manuscript

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This week’s Wednesday topic is mistakes from my first manuscript and how I’ve grown as a writer. Well, I’ve only ever made it through one full novel-length draft, so I guess this will be mistakes from my one and only manuscript. And boy did I make them. 

The first thing that comes to mind is using people’s names too much in conversation, kind of like I do when I’ve had a bit too much to drink. So it made it sound like a bunch of teenagers were constantly tipsy. “Gwen, let me tell something, let me tell you Gwen, I have something to tell you…” It wasn’t pretty.

And then of course there was the word repetition. There are only so many words for boardwalk and pier, and that leads to another mistake. One of the characters kept telling one of the other characters that he should do this one particular thing while he was in town, over and over again she kept bringing it up. Well, he finally did and it was completely anticlimactic. The whole thing was a waste of word count and had no point in the story. The town where the book takes place is real and I felt I had to work in all the known landmarks come hell or high water.  

I also, in a couple of circumstances, decided to cover important scenes in two sentence summaries and instead spend my word count on less important scenes that didn’t move the plot forward. They were still interesting, in my mind, but maybe not as integral to the plot points. 

There were countless other mistakes, but those are the big ones that come to mind. In the writing I’ve done since then, I’ve tried to keep these issues in mind so I can either avoid them as much as possible or at least make more conscious choices about them. I like to think I’ve improved since I finished that first manuscript, at least a bit. 

Check out the links below to see how the other bloggers have come along in their writing:
Jess
Bronwyn
Jessica
Gwen
Kris

Wednesday Randomness – A-Z Recipes

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Believe it or not, I actually completed both blog topics this week. Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years!

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This week’s Wednesday topic is A-Z Recipes, either ones we love to make or want to try making. I had to make up or alter names for a few of them so they would fit certain letters, but I made it work! I didn’t include the recipes or link to them because most of them or either in books or in my head, but if you’re interested in one, let me know and I can write it out in the comments.

A – Asparagus and Broccoli Chicken Stir Fry (totally takes the place of wanting to order Chinese take-out)

B – Basil Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

C – Chicken Fricassee (one of the first “real recipes” I ever tried cooking)

D – Dad’s Chili (I’m very picky about chili, not too tomato-y, although I do make a few changes from his recipe)

E – Edamame Chicken Pot Pie (it’s just Chicken Pot Pie with Edamame in it, but I really like it and it worked for “E”)

F – Fried Chicken (never made it but my Southern roots make me feel like I should try it)

G – Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Panini

H – Homemade Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies (these are beyond sinful, I usually only make these at Christmas because they are kind of labor intensive and have ridiculous amounts of butter in them)

I – Invisible Parrot (2 parts Sprite or 7UP with 1 part Malibu Rum and a slice of lime – delicious)

J – Jones’ Family Famous Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (actually my husband’s recipe)

K – Kayleigh’s Signature Chocolate and Butterscotch Chip Cookies

L – Lasagna (I love my mom’s lasagna recipe, I’m not big on sauce on hers is not saucy at all)

M – My Grandpa’s Parmesan Chicken (it could be in any Italian restaurant it’s that good, if he would just give me the recipe)

N – Not Your Mom’s Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs (it involves ground chicken meatballs with Chinese Five Spice, pea pods, and sesame oil on the noodles)

O – Orange Tempeh Vegetable Stir Fry

P – Pesto Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage

Q – Quiche (never made one, only had it for the first time this summer but I really liked it)

R – Redskin Garlic Mashed potatoes (simple but I love them)

S – Skinny Burrito Bowl (so good!)

T – Thanksgiving Squash Casserole (it’s really just a squash casserole, but I only make it on Thanksgiving)

U – Utterly Delicious Apple Pie Rolls (I just saw these on Pinterest, you use Crescent rolls and put a slice of apple in each one along with spices and nuts, then roll them up and bake them; I can’t wait to try them this fall)

V – Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

W – Walnut Oatmeal Banana Bread

X – Xasperating Pumpkin Roll Cake (it’s so good but very tricky, again a Thanksgiving only recipe)

Y – Yummy Summer Apple Salad (apple, pineapple, butterscotch pudding mix, and whip cream; very easy and tastes like caramel apples)

Z – Zucchini Taco Boats

Check out the links below to see what the other bloggers love to make (or want to try making):

Bronwyn
Jessica
Paige
Gwen
Kellie

Wordless Wednesday – On My Bookshelf

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IMG_1229 IMG_1228  IMG_1225  IMG_1221 IMG_1215 IMG_1220 IMG_1218 IMG_1216 IMG_1217Click the links below to see what the other bloggers have on their bookshelves:
Bronwyn
Jessica
Gwen
Jess

Wednesday Randomness – A Few of My Favorite Things: Music (Artists/Groups)

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This week’s blog post is another favorite things topic, this time focusing on music.

I listen to music constantly, while I’m working, writing, driving, reading, cleaning, doing anything really. It helps me focus, in a way. Like there’s a part of my brain that wanders but if I have music playing, that part of my brain has something to focus on. And since music plays such a large part in my day, what I listen to is pretty important.

My husband would say I’m stuck in the 90’s. I might agree with that, to an extent. I do like a certain amount of music from that era, but who doesn’t like to listen to what they did in high school? So yes, I totally still have Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting Crows, and Better Than Ezra in constant rotation. I even saw TTWS and Counting Crows in concert last summer and my little Doc Marten wearing heart soared. Here’s a big throwback to the 90’s…the original Mr. Jones video. Oh my god, I feel so old right now.

I love U2. I know a lot of people don’t like Bono, but I don’t care. I love their music. I gravitate towards the Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby albums, but I also really love All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Thought I’d throw in a little 80’s U2 for your viewing pleasure, I still love this video.

What else? I’ve always loved “oldies,” Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is one of my favorites. I’ve been listening to Simon and Garfunkel since I was in the womb.

I know there are so many more I’m missing, but this gives you a taste of my favorite music. I listen to a wider variety than is represented here, but I definitely lean towards a certain type as my “core” music, I guess.

Check out the links below to see who the other ladies are listening to:
Jess
Bronwyn
Gwen
Jessica
Kris