A To Z April Blogging Challenge Theme

The Challenge

I’ve signed up for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. This means I’ll be blogging 26 days in April. Every day except Sundays. Eeps. Challenge is right. But I have a theme and a plan and good intentions. If all else fails hopefully I’ll be too stubborn to quit.

2016 Blogging Theme

The Romance Genre: As A Writer and Reader

This year’s theme is my perspective on the romance genre as a writer and a reader. My take on some of my favourite topics like heroes, heroines, and villains. A peek at my bookshelf. Thoughts on diversity. A look at the different sub-genres of romance. That kind of thing.

The Alphabet

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to travel around the blogosphere seeing what other bloggers are sharing.

Now might be a good time to share some of favourite blogs. They appeal to me for a variety of reasons. Romance Novels For Feminists is written by Jackie C. Horne who provides book reviews and a smart take on the good and the not so good things and important things happening in romance novels. Momastery written by Glennon Doyle Melton, an author, speaker, and activist. She never fails to inspire me. Terribleminds penned by Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. Lots about writing and pop culture  with A LOT of f-bombs tossed in. The Minimalst Baker by Dana and John, a couple out of Portand, Oregon. 10 or less ingredients and one bowl. Delicious!

Books, life, writing, and food!

Otherwise I’m busy rewriting the last third of Grace and Mike’s story. This last part is very bare bones. Lots of dialogue and people turning here and there so there is serious sweaty work needed to get it into half decent shape.

Have a favourite blog to share?

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Why My To-Be-Read Pile Is Smallish

Is Your To-Be-Read Pile Manageable?

An interesting question was posed on Facebook the other day: Is owning books as good as reading them?

Say what now?

Because why would you own a book you weren’t planning on reading? That’s like…I don’t know what it’s like exactly. I mean I have books on my shelves I haven’t read, not because I don’t plan on it. I want to read them, I just haven’t. Yet. Pride and Prejudice I’m looking at you. But good intentions matter, right?

Jane Austen

Then I remembered being invited to dinner years ago. I immediately gravitated to her lovely bookshelf. I’m always interested in a person’s book collections. I remarked on how careful she was with her books and asked how she’d like a particular one. Her response? She’d bought it figuring it would look good on her shelf. She was right. It did. It fit right in with the other books she had no intention of reading. And since she was and still is a lovely person we laughed about it. I mean not everyone is a reading nerd and that’s okay.

And books are beautiful. Check out any number of book related hashtags on Instagram: #bookstagram #booklover #bookporn #bookphotography, to see why others think so too.

All this love for books is heartwarming! Really it is. Buy books! Lots and LOTS of books. Buy my books. If you read them even better. Reading rocks! But I’ve heard of people who have downloaded hundreds and hundreds of books thanks to the wide range of free books, 99 cent books and the like. So again…

Is Owning Books As Good As Reading Them?

Who am I to tell people what they should or should not be doing? Some might be comforted by the all the possibilities. The reasons people buy books is as varied as the people themselves. For myself, I can’t face a toppling to-be-read pile. Knowing all those books are there waiting is to much pressure. As it is I’m freaking out because I’ve been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert for months. I love it but non-fiction doesn’t sweep me away like my preferred fiction does, and these last few months I’ve needed the escape.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

This lovely book, The Lake House by Kate Morton, is one of the few books on my TBR pile. On my ereader waits Norah Wilson’s The Standish Clan trilogy which is set in the fictional small town of Harkness, New Brunswick. In Norah’s words these stories are sweet, sexy and romantic. And this trilogy is just the first of many series to come under the Hearts of Harkness banner!

The+Standish+Clan+Trilogy

There are a couple of other books waiting in wings. But right now I’m reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah for book club. And listening to Better When He’s Bold by Jay Crownover in Audible when I’m on the treadmill.

There are books I want to read but haven’t purchased. Books I’m considering purchasing. And release dates for books by authors I’m waiting for. But all in all, I like to keep my pile manageable. Otherwise I’d never get anything done.

Because I’d rather be reading.

What’s in your to-be-read pile? Is it toppling? A neat stack? Nonexistent? Come on, ‘fess up!

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Five Things I’m Doing To Rejuvenate My Life!

We all need a reboot every once. Traditionally holidays are a time to regroup. Time away to Rest, Relax, Rejuvenate. Those three peaceful R’s. It’s been my experience that vacations, especially family vacations – the ones involving children – do not provide ample opportunity for any of the 3 R’s. Case in point – DisneyWorld. Tons of fun! Recovery time required when it’s done. Oh look, more R’s.

But what if you need more than a couple of weeks away to fix what’s ailing you? When you know there are steps that can be taken to improve your quality of life. Or maintain your sanity. And a juice cleanse it’s going to cut it. It probably won’t hurt, but it’s not the whole answer.

That’s the place I’m in because I’m feeling kind of…old. That’s a very alien feeling for me. I guess what I’m really feeling is tired. Maybe a little worn down. Along with overweight and out of shape.

Clearly, a plan of action was required. But did I attack the problem? No. Tired, remember. So, I did one thing. I got the ball rolling. Now it’s picking up speed. I have momentum.

Five Things I’m Doing To Rejuvenate 

  • Restorative Yoga
  • Solo Holidays
  • Controlling My Self-Talk
  • Changing My Diet
  • Exercise

Restorative Yoga: Remember nap time in Kindergarten? That’s kind of what it is. Only better. It’s about aligning your physical self and your mental self by practicing stillness in supported gentle for extended periods of time. There are a lot of props, blankets, and soft lighting. I’ve begun doing an at home version too.

reclined cobler pose

Solo Holidays: I took my first solo holiday, as in by myself, in the fall. I went to Toronto to visit my sister and her family. For those of you who don’t know I have a special needs daughter. We spend a lot of time together and are incredibly close. I feel guilty when I leave her behind. Because my girl? She would vacation 12 months a year, if she could. But alone time was just what the doctor ordered. I had a wonderful, worry-free time. More of this in my future.

Riverdale, Toronto

Controlling My Self-Talk: My doctor recommended an online course offered by our local university after I mentioned that I was not doing as well as I should be mentally. Turns out there were a numbers of reasons why I was feeling shitty. Because, hello Depression. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is very helpful in terms of practical solutions and steps to overcoming a number of things. Turns out healthy thoughts = healthy feelings.

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps the person to change unhelpful or unhealthy habits of thinking, feeling and behaving.

Changing My Diet: TMI ALERT My gut was very unhappy. I was bloated. Irritable. Imodium dependent. And operating in a fog. I’ve cut out gluten, dairy and eventually plan to cut out sugar. Happy to say I’m feeling much better. Like MUCH better. I don’t know if it’s because I’m eating less, healthier, or differently, and I don’t much care. It’s working. The photo is my version of Danielle Walker‘s Chicken Cobb Salad found in her Against All Grain cookbook.

Chicken Cobb Salad

Exercise: I’m learning to hate it less. Self-talk, remember? And with this goal? It was go big or fail miserably. I needed some serious motivation to commit. To that end, I registered to walk a half-marathon in September. I cannot begin to explain how terrifying it is for me to even type that out in a sentence. My goal? Four hours to walk 21.1 kilometres. Treadmill. Every. Day. Because right now, I can probably do 4 kilometres.

Queen City Half Marathon

What do you do to replenish, relax, and restore your mind and body?

The following is an article written by Will Wheaton, who I adore on The Big Bang Theory. Seven things he did to reboot his life and why he did them. It’s a great read because, among other things, he’s a talented writer

Seven Things I Did To Reboot My Life

 

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