Wednesday, 10 July 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. WRITE!

Let’s kick off this post with something fun, shall we? The Ready. Set. WRITE! co-hosts are giving away a special writer’s care package to one lucky participant in our summer challenge. If you’ve been taking part in RSW and would like a chance to win some goodies to assist in your writing endeavors (like a journal, mug, tea, craft book and other fun tidbits), then enter on the rafflecopter at the bottom. The contest will be open until Tuesday, July 23 at 11:59 pm, and we’ll announce the winner in our What’s Up Wednesday posts on the 24th. Please note that this giveaway is international and is only open to those who have already been participating in RSW.

And without further ado…

What I’m Reading:

I’m about halfway through The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

What I’m Writing:

Writing was very steady this week. My goal was to finish three scenes, and I was able to check
six scenes off the list. That added up to about 7900 words, which is both good and bad. It’s good, because hey, that’s a lot of words! And it’s bad, because well…that’s a lot of words. My last manuscript required a major trim after the drafting stage, so this time I’ve been trying to rein in my word count. Yeah, that’s not working out so well. Sometimes it’s way too easy to get caught up in the story. My present self is quite enjoying that, but my future self is going to hate me when it comes time for revisions. I’m currently sticking my tongue out at future self.

The next three scenes in my WIP are crucial to the plot and will also be a bit longer, so I’m going to stick with the same goal this week.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Sweet boys. One in particular. My husband runs down by the river early in the morning, and this time of year there are always thistles blooming along the trails. Knowing I love all things Scottish, he picked one and brought it home for me. He did the same thing last summer and was waiting for them to blossom again this year. It’s funny because I don’t necessarily remember all the store bought flowers over the years, but the handpicked thistles will stick with me. So while I’ve been writing, I’ve had my thistle close by to brighten my workspace and remind me why all my stories have a nice dollop of romance.

Oddly enough, the other thing that’s inspiring me is Sarah MacLachlan’s rendition of “Song for a Winter’s Night.” A wee bit on the Christmassy side, but writing snowy scenes in July definitely requires some extra assistance. This song has a lovely bittersweet quality that’s perfect for the sad tone of the chapter I’m working on. I’ve been alternating between that and “Stubborn Love” by the Lumineers. Also perfect, and one I could listen to on repeat for hours.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Speaking of Christmassy things, yesterday I entered the Christmas in July pitch contest. There’s a stellar list of agents taking part, so I thought I’d toss my manuscript in and see how it does.

The peonies in my backyard have finally bloomed. I recently bought a pretty turquoise vase specifically for peony season (which lasts all of a week), so I’ve been enjoying those. Where did I buy the vase, you ask? Why at our bookstore, of course! Where else?

Since I’ve buckled down on writing, baking is one of the things that has gone by the wayside, but the other day I found the time to whip up a couple batches of mini loaves: strawberry cream cheese and cranberry white chocolate chip. The second was an experiment and our tummies were very happy with the result.


So how was your week? Feel free to share in the comments or on your own blog. You can sign up for WUW on Jaime Morrow’s site. And don’t forget to enter our RSW giveaway if you’ve been participating in our summer writing incentive!



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64 comments:

  1. Wow! You got a lot of writing done this week (don't worry about the revisions- they aren't going anywhere). Good for you for entering XMAS in July. I'll be crossing my fingers for you. And I love your thistle. Very pretty.

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    1. And my favorite part of Ready.Set.Write! Well... all of you!
      And that it helps me reach those goals ;)

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    2. It was a really productive week for me, and I'm hoping for another! Thanks for wishing me luck with the contest. I figured since I'm in the middle of querying anyway, what have I got to lose? And I'm so glad RSW is helping you reach your goals! :)

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  2. Congrats on writing so much this week, and good luck with the pitch contest!! Also, that is SO sweet of your husband. :)

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  3. Also, I listened to "Song for a winter's night" out of curiosity, and I am now suddenly, overwhelmingly winter-sick. *wants Christmas*

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    1. Thanks, Susan! And yep, my husband is a very sweet guy. I'm a lucky lady. I'm feeling wintery now too, which is funny because it's baking hot here today! :)

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  4. I entered that contest too! There are a lot of awesome agents on that list - good luck!!!

    And try to be nice to your future writing self. I do the same thing and I worry about those excessively long drafts, but while the cutting is painful, it is DOABLE. I took my last draft down from an original 138K. And my first project's first draft was 175K (and somebody requested it at that length - crazy!) but I brought it down to 100K. SO...just get it down on paper and worry about cutting later! You can do it!

    I hope you have another very productive week!

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    1. I'm not too terribly worried about it. I've been making note of what scenes have potential to be shortened or cut altogether as I write. So even if future self is face palming and cursing me, it should be manageable lol. Fortunately, I don't mind revising. Your first drafts sound like mine!

      Wasn't that a great list of agents? I just happened to stumble on the contest while I was doing agent research the other day. Good luck in the contest and with your writing this week!

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  5. Good luck with the pitch contest and I hope you're enjoying The 5th Wave as much as I did.

    I'm worried my wip might turn out to be too long, but it's better to overwrite, then underwrite. Don't worry too much about the future, just get the story out. I'll be rooting for you. :)

    And I'm convinced that your bookstore has just about everything. The flowers/vases are really pretty and those mini loaves make me wish I could eat my screen hehe.

    I hope you meet your goals this week!

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    1. I totally agree that it's better to overwrite than underwrite. Then you can pick and choose the best stuff later. In the meantime, I'm just going with the word flow!

      Our bookstore definitely has a creative selection of products other than books. I had my eye on this vase and finally buckled when they went on sale. And I just polished off a couple of the mini loaves for lunch. :)

      Good luck with your writing goals this week too!

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  6. "My present self is quite enjoying that, but my future self is going to hate me when it comes time for revisions."

    ^Hah, that is so me! My early drafts end up insanely long and during revisions, I get preoccupied with MUST CUT WORDS!

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    1. Cutting words ends up being my biggest challenge during revisions too. Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

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  7. The thistle is beautiful, and that is such a sweet thing for your husband to do!

    How are you enjoying The 5th Wave? I loved it.

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    1. He's a pretty awesome guy! So far I'm really enjoying THE 5TH WAVE. The voice in it is so well done!

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  8. Congrats on the big word count. I've got to say, I'm a bit jealous that you are an over-writer. I'm a total underwriter, and always have to add words not cut them when I revise. I feel like cutting would be easier, but probably not.

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    1. Cutting words is hard mostly because it's tough to part with things you want to keep but need to get rid of. I grumble about it during revisions, but all said and done it ends up being a big improvement. It's funny how everyone has a different approach and different challenges because of that. :)

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  9. Christmas/Winter music is great to listen to when you're into the second or third week of upper-80/low-90 degree weather (including daily thunderstorms to keep the air nice and humid). Of course, come winter we'll be listening to beach music... ;)

    And I'm the same way when I draft: more is better! I go by the theory that it's easier to take words out later than put them in. At least that's what Present-Drafting-Self tells Future-Editing-Self. I don't know that Future-Editing-Self is convinced... especially since I'm in editing mode at the moment! :)

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    1. It's sort of a mind-over-matter substitute for air conditioning. :)

      I figure if I overwrite, at least I got everything onto the page, and I can pick and choose the best stuff later. Parting with words I like is never fun though. Inevitably the ms is better off for it, and I wonder why on earth it was so tough for me to do. Good luck with your edits!

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  10. I've loved "Song For a Winter's Night" for so long. Every Christmas I listen to it on repeat over and over again lol! And "Stubborn Love" is one of my absolute favourite songs. I listen to that one on repeat too. We should just sit around and listen to those two songs for hours on end. :P

    I hear you on the crazy word count. I always end up with the same problem. It is reasonably easy to shed words, as you know, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Love the thistles and peonies. Those are two of my favourite flowers. :) And those loaves look seriously yummy!

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    1. My favourite rendition of "Song for a Winter's Night" is the one Theresa Sokyrka (from Saskatoon) performed on Canadian Idol a number of years ago. It had a slightly jazzy flare to it, which I loved. I don't know that she ever did an actual recording of it though. Bummer. "Stubborn Love" is my favourite Lumineers song and that's saying something because it's really hard to pick!

      As for the wordiness, you and I are very much the same that way. This time I've been making note of what scenes are good candidates for being shortened or cut altogether, so hopefully that will be helpful come time for revisions.

      I knew you'd love the thistle, of course. I found a few spiders in the peonies and you know how much I hate spiders. They're still one of my favourites too though. :)

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  11. Wow, those cakes look delicious. Very summery :D

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    1. Thank you! I was quite happy with how they turned out and polished a couple off for lunch today. :)

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  12. Those cakes look delicious, and your husband is so sweet to give you hand-picked flowers.

    Thanks for doing the giveaway, really enjoying Ready, Set, Write! Although this week has not been my most productive :-(

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    1. The cakes were definitely tasty! I ate a couple while blogging today. And I'm very lucky to have such a sweet hubby. :)

      I'm glad you're enjoying RSW! And don't worry too much about not having a productive week. It's bound to happen once in a while! Good luck in the giveaway!

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  13. My word count tends to be a bit high as well, I'm definitely an over-writer. If you love thistles, you should come to my house, they're everywhere! It's always nice to have sweet boys in our lives who do thoughtful things for us.

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    1. I figure if you overwrite there's bound to be some quality buried in all that quantity, right? I'm so envious that you have thistles growing everywhere near your house! And sweet thoughtful boys are the very best kind. :)

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  14. Congrats on writing so many words this week! And good luck with the pitch contest. Crossing my fingers for you!

    Your husband is sooo sweet. And your peonies look gorgeous! Those mini loaves look amazing too. :)

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    1. It was a really productive week although I was still a little surprised when I added up my word count since I didn't have any big bursts of words. It was more steady. Thanks for wishing me luck in the contest! I figure I'm querying anyway, so I might as well give it a shot! And yep, my husband is a real sweetie. I wish both the peonies and the mini loaves would last longer. :)

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  15. I love that your husband picked you thistles while on his morning run! Even more so, that he did it last year, and waited for them to bloom to pick you more. You're a luck Lady, Erin. So sweet.

    And almost 8,000 words? Holy crow, woman, you're on fire!!!! And even though Future Erin wants to cringe at your word count, just let the inspiration take you where it wants to go...having too many words is better than not having enough (my current predicament) - you never know what gems you'll find among all those words!

    Best of luck in the Christmas in July pitch contest - that one looks awesome!!! I'll make sure to stop by and cheer you on, too!

    Love the peonies and all the baking, too - feel free to send some of that on down to Seattle! Yum!!!

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    1. The thistle from last year dried really well, so I still have it too. It was very sweet, and I find it a little funny thinking of him running along the trail with this big flower in his hand. That must have looked so manly lol!

      Last week was crazy good for writing even though it didn't necessarily feel like it at the time. When I added up my word count I wasn't expecting that, to be honest. I guess slow and steady pays off! For now, I'm just going with the word flow, and Future Erin can deal with it later. I have a pretty good idea what will need to get tightened or cut in the revision stage, so that's a start.

      I actually stumbled on the Christmas in July pitch contest totally by mistake while I was doing agent research the other day. The list of agents was too good to resist! Since I'm in the middle of querying anyway, I figured I'd give it a shot. Thanks for wishing me luck! :)

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  16. Good luck in the Christmas in July pitch contest! I hope you're enjoying The 5th Wave. Congrats on checking things off on your list. I bet that feels awesome. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks! I'm sure the competition will be fierce seeing as the list of agents is so great. I figure it's worth a shot though! And THE 5TH WAVE is great so far! I'm loving the voice and finding it very suspenseful. Hope you have a great weekend too!

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  17. Mega word count adding there! Congrats! And aw. Sweet husbands are the best. Good luck w/ the pitch contest. Completely forgot about it!

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    1. My word count was a bit of a surprise when I tallied it up. It was a really steady week so I guess that paid off. Thanks for wishing me luck in the pitch contest! I just happened to come across it when I was doing agent research and thought I'd take my chances with it. :)

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  18. I love the thistle story. I wish you would write it as a story so I could read it and feel like I'm there. I am not hungry, or I keep telling myself I'm not —a lie from the pits of hell — but those cranberry muffin things look yum.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the thistle story. My husband knows the way to my heart is through books, tea, and handpicked flowers. Maybe someday I'll work it into a WIP or turn it into an actual short story. And the cranberry muffins turned out very tasty. I polished off a couple for lunch. I'd share some if I could! :)

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  19. Lovely photos! That is a beautiful thistle ^_^

    I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who struggles with writing out of season weather. If I want to write snow, I feel like I should sit in a walk-in freezer for a while to remember what winter's like.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them! Isn't it a perfect thistle? They dry really nicely too, so I can keep it. As for writing out of season, yikes! It's stifling hot here today, so I definitely need some help getting me in the right frame of mind for a winter scene. Ha ha, I'll have to take some freezer breaks when I write tonight and just stand there with the door open. :D

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  20. Congrats on your writing this week! That is awesome!

    And I've never met anyone else who likes thistles. I love them. They attract all sorts of cool insects too. I think my neighbors think I'm a bit strange for planting them in my wildflower patch though. :)

    And posting photos of gorgeous baked goods should probably be against the Geneva Convention. Those of us who are currently snackless and starving might pass out from just looking at those gorgeous little loaves. (swoon-worthy)

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    1. Thanks! I was surprised by my word count because the work felt steady, but nothing too outrageous.

      Both Jaime and I love thistles. That's partly due to our Scottish background, but also because they're just beautiful! I love that you actually planted some in your wildflower patch! Hmm, I should go dig up a bunch down by the river and transplant them...

      Sorry to hear you're currently snackless and for shamelessly taunting you with mini loaves. Hope you find something tasty to eat soon! :)

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  21. Your husband is so sweet, what a lovely thing to do.

    Congranulation s in all the writing. I think it's better to have things to trim :)

    Best of luck in the pitch contest, fingers crossed!

    Your cakes look fantastic! I'm missing baking, but we're currently in a furnished apartment and all my cake things are back home :( Still more time for writing.

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    1. I thought it was sweet of him too, especially since the flower is kind of on the prickly side and mustn't have been easy to carry while he was running. Thanks for wishing me luck in the contest and for your compliments on the cakes! That's too bad you can't bake much these days either, but like you say, more time for writing! :)

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  22. I'm a wordy first drafter too. I need all those words to build relationships and backstory. Even though I end up cutting lots of it later, it's a necessary step in the process for me. Personally, I think it's better to have to trim too much story than to have to add words and filler in later.

    How are you liking THE 5TH WAVE? I thought it was pretty darn excellent.

    I love the story you shared about your husband and the thistles. So sweet and meaningful. <3

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    1. I think that's exactly it. Especially when it comes to character development, and to a lesser degree world building, it feels necessary for me to really flesh things out, even if it means condensing or cutting later. I'm a big time planner and usually the wordiness means the creative process has taken over, which is a good thing!

      So far I'm really enjoying THE 5TH WAVE. There were a few similarities to my ms that made me cringe a bit (so tough when that happens, especially when the author is an amazing writer), but I'm loving the voice and I'm in suspense. Can't wait to find out how it ends!

      As for the thistle, there are few things sweeter than a single handpicked flower. :)

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  23. Awww, that's so sweet of your husband! That's awesome :) Your thistle and peonies and baked goods are all mighty lovely!

    And hey: way to go on all those words! You'll cut later. It's part of your process.

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    1. He's pretty much sweetness and awesomeness personified. :)

      The little editor in my head has been red flagging certain scenes for getting the ax or being condensed already, so that's good. It's nice to have an idea of which scenes are priority and which ones will only stick around if I have the room.

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  24. Congrats on your writing! I haven't done very much baking since I really started writing either. The breads sound delicious.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! It's good to hear I'm not the only one who puts things like baking on the back burner in favour of writing. :)

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  25. Those mini-loaves look awesome. Good luck with the pitching contest. Even if you don't make the final cut, there's always a chance an agent might make a behind-the-scenes request.

    I think I wrote around 12,000ish words this week. I'm dealing with no Internet at my new apartment yet, only the library, so I'm temporarily writing as I did 20 years ago, minus the constant distractions. That also means I can't conduct any historical research while writing if I'm at home, but at the moment, I can manage.

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    1. Thanks for wishing me luck! I figure I'm in the process of querying anyway, so it can't hurt to give it a shot.

      Hope your internet gets up and running soon! Research without it would certainly be tricky.

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  26. First, those strawberry white chocolate chip loaves look so yummy. Secondly, for some reason I was really drawn in by the way you wrote today's blog post. Not sure if I was just paying closer attention than usual or what, but this was a beautiful post. Maybe I just like seeing romance in real life, you know, in the little things. Good luck with your goals this week. :)

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    1. Wow, thanks Liz! I really appreciate that compliment! I love seeing romance in the little things too. I think those are the details that make me want write, and I hope they find their way into my stories. :)

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  27. Good luck with the contest! And that's such a thoughtful thing to bring someone handpicked flowers. :)

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    1. Thanks for wishing me luck! I thought the thistle was pretty thoughtful too. :)

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  28. Good luck with the Christmas in July contest. Your baked goods images always set my stomach to rumbling. So yummy looking.

    I hope you have a great week.

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    1. Thanks so much! I hope you have a great week too! :)

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  29. Regarding your future self...isn't that where the internal editor is supposed to stop talking/only be allowed to speak at some later date? :) I like to think that all writing is good for you, regardless of whether it ends up on the editing floor or not.
    I hope your next scenes go well!

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    1. My internal editor tends to be very noisy and insistent. :D

      I'd have to agree that even the words we cut are good practice. And they often help the story develop even if they don't have a place in the final draft. Hope your week goes well too!

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  30. How sweet is your husband!

    "...the handpicked thistles will stick with me." Made me smile. Love the pun!

    Strawberry cream cheese and cranberry white chocolate chip…YUM! The pic made me all snacky.

    Congrats on exceeding your writing goals for this week and good luck making it through the crucial plot points coming up!


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    1. Glad you caught the wordplay there! I actually poked my finger pretty good when I was putting the thistle in a vase. And thanks for wishing me luck on my goals! :)

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  31. I've heard The 5th Wave is amazing! And yay for contests! I always think it's a good thing to put ourselves (and our work) out there. And love these Wednesday updates, Erin. It's so fun to see how you're progressing!

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    1. I just finished THE 5TH WAVE and really enjoyed it. There were a couple similarities to my ms that made me cringe a bit, but the overall premise is different, so that's okay. I'm glad you're enjoying my Wednesday updates, Morgan! I'm always happy when you stop by! :)

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  32. Awwwww - your husband is a sweetheart!!! I remember when mine stopped on the side of the road in one of those places you can cut your own flowers and it totally made my heart melt (more than the roses he had bought in the store)...

    I think your writing well went amazing! And maybe your future self will actually want to give your present self a hug for powering through your draft <3

    Crossing my fingers for you for the contest!!!

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    1. Yes, he's very sweet, and it sounds like your hubby is too! I'm really hoping my future self will want to hug my present self instead of rolling her eyes and letting out a huge sigh lol. :D

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