SOL Tuesday – Books, Challenges, Obsessions


Today is time to share our Slices of Life – the weekly writing challenge at “Two Writing Teachers”.


I am in an enviable position – being retired and being able to read as much as I want – finally. I have always loved to read and tried to find time to read during my years of raising children and teaching full-time. I usually had a half hour after supper when the children knew not to disturb me, when I could savour a cup of tea and read – usually a magazine.

But now I can indulge myself and I do. Last year I set a goal of reading 350 books on Goodreads and I exceeded it by 8. Now mind you, these included picture books, MG to YA, non-fiction, romance, scifi – so a range of books.

I set the same goal this year and so far, I have read at least a book a day. I am reading more from the library and the free books through free book services for the kindle (certainly saves money and keeps books off my overflowing bookcases!)

Last year I did not keep shelves on Goodreads, so unless I count, I don’t know how many of each genre I read. This year, I am using the shelves and it will help track what kinds of books I am reading as well.

Last year I discovered an obsession with fantasy/paranormal – immortal highlanders, shapeshifters, dragons – and it still continues. I have also been obsessed with reading series by author Susan Mallery.

Reading from many genres is hopefully helping my writing, as I write in several different genres (pix books, MG and romance).

I am also taking part in several reading challenges. They provide a different focus and a new community of readers. (check page above for my list of challenges and books read)

What books, challenges and obsessions are you looking to read this year??

ROW 80 Sunday Check-In



Time for our ROW 80 Sunday Check-in. Accountability with a supportive community makes ROW80 a way to move forward with my writing. Each day gets a little easier.

I continue to write every day. I have blog posts and journal writing that helps get me motivated to write. I have been rereading several stories and trying to brainstorm possible scenes. (#1)

My  new holiday novel is slowing being plotted  – still need many more scenes.(#4)

I read the first chapter of “Save the Cat” and took part in the discussion for it in book study group “Word by Word” on facebook. (#8)

I am reading a novel for a critique partner and got a few more chapters critiqued. (#10)

I am creating every day and enjoying a new Project 366 – making tags from scrap papers. There are several other challenges I am participating as well. Check here to see my Art on Friday summary. (Art #1)

So I have deviated somewhat from my no gluten diet, but not been too estravagant. I have lost 3 pounds since I began and hope to be back on track tomorrow. I hope to add walking on the treadmill this week.

Step by step, progress is made. Be sure to check here to see how other ROWers have been working on their goals.


Mid-Week Check-In for ROW80


This is our second Wednesday check-in for this first round of ROW80 in 2016 and I have been working more on organizing my stories, files and projects. I’m also beginning to feel more attuned to my writing – that I want to write, that I have something to say.

I have been writing every day (#1)  and have actually written a couple of scenes for my newest holiday novel. (#4) I love it when I can daydream and a scene appears., I have also been writing blog posts, in my journal and getting ideas down.

I read the first chapter in “Save the Cat” this morning. Great advice – before diving into writing, write a logline for your novel. (#8)

I am reading a novel for a critique partner and got 6 more chapters critiqued. (#10) She sent a few more chapters of my novel and I hope to use this, as well as the critique I received from an auction I won to do a deep revision of this novel.(#7)

I am creating every day and enjoying a new Project 366 – making tags from scrap papers. (Art #1). I have also created my second journal spread for Colour me Positive as well as my third card for 52 Cards. (#2).

I also started a new round of ABC Wednesday, with a new art challenge for myself – to carve a stamp for the letter and then create a tag using it. Check here for my “ A”  entry. (#3)

Some progress so far. Be sure to check here to see how other ROWers have been working on their goals.

Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers. What a wonderful writing community it is.

When I heard yesterday that David Bowie had died, I was shocked. First that such a legend had died so young and then that he was only five years older than me.

Thirty years ago, 69 would have seemed old. Not it seems young to me. It is all perception.
It also got me thinking about perceptions about age that I have had throughout my life.
When I was in my teens, a 30 something neighbour seemed so sophisticated. She always dressed well and drew people to her. When I was in my 30s I wondered when I would be that sophisticated. I am still wondering.

At my 25th birthday, I admitted to a friend that I feared there wouldn’t be any more firsts. If I only knew then how many more firsts there would be. I look forward to many more.
At 43, I complained to my doctor about some aches and this 32 year old said what would I expect – I was getting older! No sympathy.

At 46, I was unhappy with my marriage and struggling with depression (I know that now – the emotional abuse didn’t help) Then the death of an older woman, an art gallery owner I had talked with only weeks later, made me realize it was never too late to grab our happiness and live the life we wanted. She did and died happy. I did not want to die unhappy. I separated and moved Although I said I would never remarry, I remarried at 50.

At 60, I insisted on taking a cruise to celebrate our birthdays rather than face a party. I felt time closing in and needed to do something crazy and different.

As I move through my 60s, I know age is but a number but my body is rebelling and there are some limitations. Inside I feel young. My mother had her first stroke at 68. My daughter is always after me to take better care of myself. And she is right. I need to.
Listening to the eulogies for David Bowie, one struck me deeply. Bowie had an incredible curiosity about people and the world. He worked on his passions right up until his death. He was always looking forward.
Thank you David Bowie for being such an inspiration – in so many ways.

It’s Monday – What are You Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

It has been a while since I participated in this weekly meme at Teach mentor Texts and I’ve decided for 2016 to start participating more frequently. It also means I am committed to reading more PB to Ya this year as well.

The first book I’ve read this month in this age grouping is:

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

elepahnt 11116349

This is an unusual tale from World War II and one that was inspired by two true events. It gives the reader a compelling story of survival, friendship and even hope.

I enjoyed this tale within a tale and the glimpse of life in Dresden before and after the terrible bombings that devastated the city. The elephant Marlene provides an interesting twist on the escape and survival of Lizzie, her brother, mother and Peter, the Canadian navigator.

A very enjoyable read,  especially for ages 9 -12.

Sunday ROW80 Check-In


A little bit late to the check-in – but getting the task done at least!


Round 1 of ROW80 has just begun so I have not made much progress on my goals so far.


I have written daily – altho most has been journaling, blog posts or small pieces. (#1, 9)

I am working with one of my critique partners and will soon work with my pix book group.(#10)

This week my goal is to get into a more consistent routine, with writing daily. I have several projects I need to organize and focus on.


With reading, I have read a book a day at the least (#3) (I have a page for books read and the challenges I am taking part in above.)


I have created art most days and taken part in several challenges.

Follow Healthy habits

I have been gluten and milk free since my birthday last week with no cheating. I have even lost 2 pounds.(#3)  I hope to add exercise this week.(#1)

Here’s a bit of inspiration I created last week for an art challenge (52 cards). This is my over-riding goal for the year.



write goal 001


Row80 First Mid-week Check-in



This is our first Wednesday check-in for this first round of ROW80 in 2016, so I haven’t too much to report.

I have been writing every day and while I haven’t worked on stories, I have been writing blog posts, in my journal and getting ideas down. An okay start. (#1)

An idea for a new holiday novel (#4) appeared last night and I had to get up at 2 am to jot down the first scene and some ideas for plotting. Yeah!

My copy of “Save the Cat” arrived today and I signed up to review one chapter for the book study group “Word by Word” on facebook. (#8)

I am reading a novel for a critique partner and got a couple more chapters critiqued. (#10)

I am creating every day and enjoying a new Project 366 – making tags from scrap papers.  (Art #1) As well I have completed my first journal page for the new challenge. (#2)


So,  no walking on the treadmill and snacking on stuff I shouldn’t the past 2 days but today was a better start. With my birthday tomorrow I really need to get on the “Be healthier” bandwagon.

Some progress so far. Be sure to check here to see how other ROWers have been working on their goals.

Slice of Life Tuesday – OLW


It is time for Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge at “Two Writing Teachers”

The first Tuesday of 2016 and the first SOL of the year as well It’s also the time of year to make resolutions, although I have found that finding and living my OLW (One Little Word) is much more effective for me.

My word of the year is SHINE and I hope it will lead me to shine in all areas., but especially in my writing. (I wrote here about choosing SHINE)

shine P1021901
I also created a winter dreamboard which highlighted the goals I hope to achieve in the next few months.

Yesterday, I laid out my writing goals for the ROW80 community. Having the accountability each week is a real boost to achieving them.

Last year I let myself down by not writing, not moving forward. This year I want to take the Leap and work on the craft of writing.

I have just begun a 10 day free mini course from DWYL – on LEAP (Love, energy, action, perseverance). Seems like a great way to jumpstart the year ahead.

Round 1 of ROW80 for 2016 Begins


Today we begin the first round of ROW80 – the writing community that offers support and accountability – for 2016.
I attempted Round 4 after stepping back from writing near the end of Round 2 and did not participate in Round 3. I have definitely missed the community and the accountability.
I need to get back into a writing routine and participating in ROW80 will help with that overriding goal for 2016..

Here are my goals for Round 1:
1. Write daily – at least 500 words daily.
2. Write first draft of middle grade novel.
3. Write at least one picture book a month
4. Outline a new holiday novel and start work on first draft.
5. Take online writing course.
6. Enter at least one writing contest and one twitter pitch party.
7. Revise at least one novel.
8. Take part in online study group of “Save the Cat”
9. . Write at least 2 other posts weekly on writing blogbesides ROW80 posts.
10. Continue to work with critique partners.

1. Read several picture books for study purpose each week

2. Read 3 books on writing as well as articles

3. Read often for pleasure.

1. Create daily
2. Take part in “Colour Me Positive” – weekly journal challenge.
3. Continue with weekly ABC Challenge as well as other creative challenges

Follow Healthy Habits:
1. walk or dance 3x a week
2. Do strength training 2 or 3 x a week
3. Eat gluten/dairy free
4. Drink 6 – 8 glasses of water a day


Check here to visit other writers and take part in this amazing community.

Reading Challenges for 2016

Wishing everyone a very Happy and healthy New Year!

A New year and new challenges ahead!



My overall goal is to read 350 books in 2016. I will keep a running total here as well as on Goodreads.(In 2015, I listed the books on Goodreads but did not keep up here. I resolve to do better! But I surpassed my goal of 350 books in 2015 – by 8))


Here are the challenges I am joining for 2016

  1.  Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge


Hosted by Modern Mrs Darcy

12 categories, 12 books


2.  PopSugar’s 2016 Ultimate Reading Challenge

 This is a new one for me. I hope to read all 40 books from a diverse list of categories.

Check here for the categories.


3.  Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Mount TBR 2016

I have attempted this the past few years but my TBR pile never seems to decrease! If I stopped buying books it would help I am sure.

My goal is to read at least 2 TBR books a month so I plan to climb Mt. Blanc!

Check here for details.


4.  2016 I Love Picture Books Reading Challenge


My goal is to read 100 picture books next year (including non-fiction picture books as well.)

This challenge is hosted at Bea’s Booknook – check out the details here.


5.  Diversity on the Shelf 2016

diversity 2016glishist1

The challenge states:   Any book (by any author) with a main character that is a person of colour qualifies for this reading challenge, as well as any book written by an author of color

My goal is to read 24 books which is the 4th Shelf level ( Read 19 -24 books)

Check here for details.


6.  Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge


This challenge is to read one  book for each letter of the alphabet – each book has a title that starts with every letter of the alphabet.

Check here for more details.