Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What's Up Wednesday


In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Also, please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons. Thanks!

What I’m Reading:

This is the first time in a while that I’ve gobbled up a book so quickly. It was a little too easy to put down the last several novels I’ve read, but If I Lie by Corrine Jackson kept me up way past my already late bedtime. I had to find out if Quinn would be vindicated in the end. The characters in If I Lie were real and frustrating and often cruel. Quinn was a strong mc trying to maintain her integrity in an incredibly tough situation. She actually has a couple big things in common with my own mc, which could be partly why I liked her so much. While this book wasn’t the type to be tied up perfectly with a bow, I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it.

Now I’ve started Mystic City by Theo Lawrence.

What I’m Writing:

I got five scenes revised this week. Not bad, but I was hoping to get a bit more done. Things have been super busy around here though, plus it was a long weekend which meant more family time and less being glued to the laptop.

What Inspires Me Right Now:

Honestly? Being busy. When I’m up to my eyeballs in other tasks, I find myself craving time to write.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

Snackage while watching The Bletchley Circle:
French bread, brie, grapes, and dark chocolate
Okay, so I don’t talk about this much online, because people tend to act like we have leprosy when I do, but in case you were wondering what my day job is (and haven’t checked out my About Me page) I actually homeschool my son (For the record, we think teachers are great and schools are necessary, we believe in social skills, and our son has a choice in the matter). I won’t get into all our reasons for choosing an alternate form of education (there are many) but will mention that flexibility and more time for family and reading are big factors. So why did I bring this up now? Because I’ve been buried under an avalanche of curriculum planning and report writing lately. May is my busiest time of year, and this May has been especially insane. The fun part in all of this? Buying TONS of books, of course! We take a very eclectic approach to homeschooling and use all sorts of amazing resources rather than purchasing set curriculum. It’s a lot more work for me but definitely worth the effort. So when I’m not writing, this is what I spend much of my time on. In this house, LIFE = BOOKS.

As for the rest of my week, my hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a delicious Italian dinner, wine, and chocolate cheesecake. We also watched Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist this weekend (pretty darn funny) and discovered The Bletchley Circle, a fabulous British show about female code breakers post WWII that use their logic skills to solve crimes. If you haven’t seen it and like historical dramas, I highly recommend it.

Now that the weather is finally nice, I’ve been going for walks with my son and our dog, Holly, instead of trudging away on the treadmill. Must work off all the pasta, focaccia and French bread I scarfed down this weekend. I also Skyped with Jaime and did some sweater shopping, because a girl needs something pretty to wear with her nerd shirts, right?

So how are things with you lately?

50 comments:

  1. Good luck with all your homeschooling planning! I admire your dedication.

    Congrats for squeezing some writing into a busy week ^_^

    One of my great uncles worked at Bletchley Park... although we'll never know what he did there.

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    1. Thanks, it's a big commitment, but we wouldn't trade it. Wow, I can't believe your uncle worked at Bletchley Park! What they did there during WWII is so fascinating!

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  2. Good luck with your homeschooling planning. Like any teacher it is a ton of work with a hopefully great outcome (the kids learn something ;-) ). And good luck putting in some writing time. Don't discount those 5 scenes you worked on….that's great! I also loved IF I LIE -- I think it's one of those books that are underrated and with such a strong voice/character too. I wish more people read it.

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    1. Thanks! And yep, he's learning lots, so I guess it's been successful so far lol. I think the five scenes felt kind of meager this week because a few them were smaller and I'd planned (unrealistically) on getting a huge chunk done. I'm content with that though. I'd have to agree that IF I LIE is underrated. It kept me hooked right to the end and sometimes that's rare thing!

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  3. I loved IF I LIE. I usually stay away from books that deal with the military because it really bugs me when authors get their facts wrong, but I thought IF I LIE was very well done. I read SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL (another military book) around the same time, and it was excellent too. Best of luck with the homeschool planning (I am in awe of moms who homeschool!) and happy anniversary to you and your husband. Hope you have a great week, Erin, and have lots of time to revise. :-)

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    1. You know, I think it was your review of IF I LIE that prompted me to put it on my TBR list. I can imagine it would be frustrating to read inaccurate stories about military life when you're well acquainted with it. Just goes to show that writers need to do their research and know what they're talking about. And thanks for wishing me luck with the homeschooling plans. It's been a bit overwhelming lately but should let up soon. Hope you have a great weekend too! :)

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  4. Happy anniversary!

    I've never heard of The Bletchley Circle, but it sounds like something my older bro might enjoy, so I'll mention it to him.

    IF I LIE is on the list of books I made to try and read this summer and I hope I get around to it (my list is ridiculously long) because I've heard a lot of good things.

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    1. Thanks! It was a very happy anniversary!

      The Bletchley Circle is on Netflix right now and it's basically three mini series (I assume if we have it on Canadian Netflix you guys will have it too). It was really well done!

      I hope you enjoy IF I LIE as much as I did. My TBR list is ridiculously long too and it just keeps growing. :)

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  5. I'm so glad the weather's finally nice!

    Good luck with all your homeschooling planning and revisions! :)

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    1. This winter was never-ending, and our spring hasn't been very warm so far. Maybe now everything will green up a bit! And thanks! The curriculum planning is progressing well, even though it's a bit overwhelming, and revisions are moving along too. :)

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  6. We've been homeschooling our kids for about 15 years now (we have 6 kids). We started out trying to stick with set curricula, but over time moved to finding the resources that worked best with each child. It's more work, but that's one of the great things about homeschooling--you have the flexibility to use whatever connects with each child, recognizing that even within the same family, they don't all learn the same way.

    All the best with your schooling endeavors--may you find more time to write! :)

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    1. I've been homeschooling for ten years and only one kid, so I can't imagine what that must be like with six! I think it gets easier to tailor your resources to individual children once they move toward working more independently too. I have to say that finding good high school resources is tough though. It's taken a lot of research, but I'm finally happy with what I've put together. I agree that flexibility is one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling--both in moving at a child's pace and using whatever methods/resources work best for a particular child's learning style. We love it and wouldn't trade it!

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  7. Good luck with the homeschooling! It's something I've thought of doing with my kids, but I'd need to do a lot more research on it first. :)

    I've heard IF I LIE is a great book. Sounds like I need to add it to my TBR book list!

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    1. Thanks! Homeschooling is becoming a more popular option now and there are lots of great resources to get you started (and to use with your kids). We have a very supportive Board of Education where I live, so that's big help too.

      IF I LIE was on my TBR list for ages, and it was well worth finally getting around to!

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  8. I haven't yet read IF I LIE, but I just requested it from the library. I love a good unputdownable book! I have a copy of MYSTIC CITY as well, so you'll have to let me know how it is. It's one of my Chapters bargain shelf books. This week is pretty busy for me, for some odd reason, so I'm not sure how much reading I'm going to get in. Unfortunately.

    You know, I've almost watched THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE a couple of times, but never ended up following through. I'm happy to hear that it's good. I'll have to check it out next. I also stumbled across an international crime show with William Fichtner as the MC. It's called CROSSING LINES. I'm not sure if it's going to be any good, but it sounds interesting enough. And, I mean, it has William Fichtner in it. ;-)

    I'm really hoping that this nicer weather means a whole lot more getting outside and walking places. It's always nicer when Todd's home, because we naturally tend to get out walking more in the nice weather. I just found out that the Friday Farmer's Market moved this year to a block from our place, so that's pretty exciting! We'll have to do our Skype thing again soon, I'm free Friday through Monday if any of those days work for you. If not, we'll come up with another time. :D

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    1. The "lie" in IF I LIE is actually pretty easy to figure out, but that wasn't how the author maintained suspense in the book, which I thought was clever. Hope you like it! I've only just started MYSTIC CITY so the verdict is out on whether I'll like it or not. So far the world-building is interesting, but we'll see. It was one of my bargain books too and I'd had my eye on it for a while, so I thought it was a sweet deal. I haven't been getting nearly enough reading done lately with all curriculum planning and such.

      I think you'll really like THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE. We flew through both seasons, which is basically only 6 or 7 episodes but still. A crime show with William Fichtner in it? Must check that out! We're starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for shows now that summer is coming, so maybe that will be one we like. And if not, I can just stare at him on the screen.

      That's cool about the farmer's market! I've been trying to walk outside a bit more seeing as getting on the treadmill is such a chore. I'll let you know about Skype times. Hopefully things will settle down a bit more in the next while. :)

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  9. I'm surprised you get such a negative reaction about homeschooling from people. I suppose it's because I live in New England, but I don't think I've met anyone against homeschooling. It's a pretty incredible choice. My hat's off to you. It's a big sacrifice, even when you love it.

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    1. We've had everyone from total strangers to a pediatrician express their disagreement with our decision to homeschool. Usually they lay into us about socialization (as if we hadn't considered that). Some people, including our Board of Education, are very supportive though, so that's good. Thanks for your encouraging response! It's lots of work, but we wouldn't trade it! :)

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  10. I know what you mean about being busy, as soon as I have a bunch of other things to do I usually get loads of ideas for whatever I'm writing.

    Good luck with the homeschooling, and I hope you and your husband had a lovely anniversary - you can't go wrong with Italian!

    I've heard of The Bletchley Circle but never gotten around to watching it, I'll have to add it to my list. :) Have a great week!

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    1. Isn't that always the case? It's like there's some unspoken rule that you get writer's block when you have time to write and a flood of ideas and motivation when there's no time lol.

      And I agree that you can't go wrong with Italian. Always a romantic (and yummy) choice!

      You should definitely check out THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE if you're into mysteries. We were really impressed with it. Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  11. I've watched The Bletchley Circle, and really enjoyed it. I wish we'd see more U.S. shows that were period dramas. Most of the recent ones I can think of are British.

    Homeschooling is something that's crossed my mind, if I ever have kids (at least for the lower grades), but I have to admit I'm too lazy and low-maintenance to pull it off. Although there are certain things I wish I didn't have to think about any future kids being exposed to in public school, like history books that whitewash history and glorify villains like Christopher Columbus, and reciting a loyalty oath to the flag when no other country in the world does that.

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    1. Wasn't it good? I wish there were more episodes of it, because I'd watch them all. That really would be nice if there were more American period dramas. I'd like to see more Canadian ones too. British TV puts out some really excellent historical shows.

      It definitely takes a lot of discipline to homeschool. It's not unlike writing that way. And it's nice that you can choose what your kids learn and what resources you use.

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  12. I'll have to check out If I Lie!! I always seem to want to read and write when I'm busy, too.

    That's awesome about home schooling. I applaud moms who do that. I'm not sure I'd have the patience.

    Have a great week!!!

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    1. IF I LIE was on my TBR list for a long time, but I recently picked it up for cheap at the bookstore and couldn't resist reading it finally. I hope you enjoy it! And thanks for your encouraging words about homeschooling. It definitely requires a lot of patience. I'm not the most patient person in the world (not by a long shot) but I think I have the right kind of patience for it. Have a great week yourself! :)

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  13. Good luck with your homeschooling planning and happy anniversary. I've been having issues with finding books that are hard to put down. I've been reading on my nook a lot lately so that might be the problem. I love the feel of a book and turning pages. I missed that. Thanks for sharing! :D

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    1. Thanks on both! It had been a very long while since I'd read something I couldn't put down, so IF I LIE was a treat, although it's a fairly sad book. I love books with real pages too, and so I always forget about the ones sitting on my ereader.

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  14. I do not think you have leprosy! I was homeschooled for 6th & 7th grade, went to 8th grade and some of 9th (got in heaps of trouble and generally hated the public school system) so my mom homeschooled me the rest of high school. I definitely think it was the right choice for me at that time in my life. And I am absolutely well-adjusted (though, I'm a writer, so...) and loved working at my own pace and having more options.

    Glad your revising is going well and that your busy schedule is inspiring you! Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Ha ha! Well that's good! We've had so many negative responses (from total strangers to one very annoying pediatrician) that I always brace myself for less than stellar reactions. Usually people go off about socialization as though we'd never considered that issue before. I'm sure you've heard it all too. I'm thrilled to find out you were homeschooled as well. Honestly, I wouldn't trade it. We've been homeschooling for ten years (my son has never gone to public school) and I can't imagine it any other way. It suits my son and our family, and I'm really happy with the results, both academic and social.

      Hope you have a wonderful week as well, and thanks for sharing a bit about your homeschooling experience! :)

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  15. There's a ton of reasons to home school. Good for you! I'm sure it does keep you on your toes.
    Sounds like your revising is coming along well. And I totally agree with being busy as being an inspiration. After a few days of hectic life, that's when my word count really explodes.
    Congrats on your anniversary!

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    1. Thanks! Our family really enjoys it and wouldn't have it any other way. It definitely keeps me on my toes. In fact my toes are sore this week lol.

      Revising is moving along at a nice pace even if I wanted to get a wee bit more done lately. I can see why your word count would explode after being busy. Sometimes that's good for the clarity I think. Things fall into place after a little time away from a story. And thanks for the anniversary wishes!

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  16. Congratulations on your anniversary!
    I don't think there's anything wrong with home-schooling. Glad your revisions are coming along, good luck with the rest.

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    1. Thanks for the congratulations and wishing me luck on my revisions! And we love homeschooling, despite some of the negative responses we get. The results are in our son's work and his friendly attitude. :)

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  17. The Bletchley Circle sounds awesome! Is it on regular TV or are you Netflixing it?
    Homeschooling would be so tough. I've thought about it for my 4 kids but I know I could never do it. My kids wouldn't learn anything!

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    1. It's on Netflix right now. I'll warn you that the first season is about a serial killer so there are some disturbing elements. If you can stomach that and like mysteries, you'll probably enjoy it. Right now, I'm wishing there were more episodes because we burned through them all!

      Homeschooling is definitely tough but worth it. I only have one kid though. Four would be a ton of work. Mine is learning a lot, so that's good lol!

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  18. I love that you homeschool! I really admire that and honestly I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see how you do it (and your awesome-sounding curriculum) so I can know exactly what the process is and if it's something I'd like to do. I keep going back and forth about homeschooling for various reasons. Anytime you want to share your curriculum choices is A-Okay with me! ;) (Mostly because if I did start I'd have no clue how to and where to!) And happy anniversary!

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    1. Thanks, we love it too! Before I started homeschooling (10 years ago) I read some books about it and decided very quickly it was something I wanted to try. There are tons of resources out there, so choosing curriculum at an elementary school level is pretty easy. The hard part is narrowing down what you want to use! Where I live, we're required to teach Math, English, Science, and Social Studies, but what we do is up to us as long as we're covering an appropriate amount of material. We try to make sure we cover most of the topics in the public school curriculum but also a lot more on top of that because we can work at a quicker pace and there are certain things we're interested in studying. Choosing curriculum at the high school level (which is where we're at now--grade 9) is tougher, but with enough digging I've managed to find some excellent resources. Basically, it involves a lot of browsing shelves in bookstores and searching online. The nice thing about homeschooling is that you can either purchase curriculum or put together your own. You can tailor your resources specifically to your child's interests, strengths, and weaknesses. And much of the point is to develop an independent learner, so that eases the teaching responsibilities. We have a homeschooling monitor that works for our Board of Education and he assesses my son's work at the end of every year to make sure we're doing what we need to. If you're thinking of homeschooling, I'd talk to some other homeschooling families, read a few books on the topic, and check out the legal requirements in your state/province. Hope that helps! :)

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  19. I have several friends and family members who homeschool! I admire anyone who does it--such a great thing! I've thought about homeschooling my boys, but I don't think I have the patience!

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    1. Oh, that's cool! And thanks! It's nice to be admired lol. It definitely requires a lot of patience and discipline, but we wouldn't trade it. :)

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  20. I have the first episode of THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE on my computer. It was one of those free shows on iTunes. I really need to watch it. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Nice! I hope you enjoy it, although considering your interest in history, I'm sure you will! Hope you have a great weekend too!

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  21. My mouth totally watered when I saw that bread! It's getting late here which means the midnight munchies are setting in... =)

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    1. French bread is every bit as good as dessert, in my opinion. That loaf was still warm when we picked it up at the store and my husband wanted us to eat it in the car lol!

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  22. I read IF I LIE last year and really enjoyed it. Of course, now I'm having trouble remembering how it ended, which means I may need to re-read it someday! Good luck with your revisions, I hope you're able to get more in soon. But in the meantime, it sounds like you're making progress!

    I think it's great that you're so involved in your son's education. Good luck with everything this month. Yay books!

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    1. Not necessarily a bad thing when that happens! It's always nice to revisit books, especially if the ending is a surprise again. I've been making steady progress on my revisions, but I'd love to just plow ahead and finish off this round. Hopefully June will be slower!

      And thanks! I love teaching my son and learning along with him! :)

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  23. Ooh, IF I LIE looks really good - and what a review! I love it when you can't put a book down. :)

    Happy Anniversary! Sounds like a lovely celebration. And hurrah for books! I find it very admirable that you homeschool, and especially that you bring so much creativity to it! :)

    Have a great week, and best of luck with your revisions!

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    1. The funny thing about IF I LIE was that the "lie" wasn't the suspenseful part. It was pretty easy to guess and revealed early on in the book. There was something else that kept me hooked until the end. It was a bit of a tear jerker in parts too, so be forewarned!

      We had a very nice anniversary with far, far too much good food. And thank you, homeschooling is a challenge but one that I love. Balancing it with writing gets awfully tricky sometimes! Hope you have a great week too! :)

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  24. Thanks for visiting my blog during Blitz Day. Regarding homeschooling, my wife is a kindergarten teacher at a public school and from what she tells me it might be better keeping kids out of schools these days. The stories she tells. Granted that her school is in a lower class area, but if many students are like the ones she has to deal with then I fear for the future of this country. And she's teaching kindergarten mind you--very scary.

    Lee
    Why I love Wordpress bloggers
    Tossing It Out

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  25. Hi Erin, I'm back again!

    Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I nominated you and your blog for The Liebster Award. Check out my blog for details and you can decide if you wish to accept the award. :) Here's the link:
    http://swordsandstilettos.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-liebster-award.html?showComment=1401042143829#c2404633075548135520

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  26. Happy belated anniversary and that snack looks good. The reading, writing, and buying books are all great things. I believe I have If I Lie in my TBR pile.

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  27. Hi, Erin! I'm stopping by from Kristin Smith's Liebster post. I know a few bloggers who participate in What's up Wednesday. I'll have to remember it for when my blog, and life in general, settles down more. And I think it's great that you homeschool your son! I don't have any kids yet, but I plan on homeschooling when I do. :)

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