Simply Saturday



Blogging every day in August helped me get back into the blogging habit. I’ll try to blog at least once a week – on Saturdays – to keep you guys up to date about what’s going on up here in The Forest.

We are FINALLY finished with our 507-day renovation!!!! Do you want to see some pictures or would that be TMI?

I am writing again like,…. well, like a madwoman. My health has been good this summer (last year it really sucked) and although I have have a bunch of tests and doctor visits later this month, I think it will be smooth sailing ahead. I’m hoping to give my new YA to my editor by Halloween and then, AND THEN I get to dive into the historical research for ASHES, which will be an absolute delight.

The thing about writing as intensely as I am right now (12-hour days are not uncommon) is that it makes me a fairly boring person. I’m not watching movies or following celebrity gossip. My fantasy football team is in order, however. A girl must have her priorities!

I make time to read, too. Right now I’m reading

a biography of David Foster Wallace, and

which is a fascinating book about slaveholder Francis Scott Key and the race riot of 1835 which took place in Washington DC, and

fiction about the Olympics and friendship and sacrifice.

Now that the renovation is over we are beginning to plan for winter, which means any day now a truck is going to drop off 30-cord of firewood. I wish you all lived close enough that you could help stack it.

What are you reading? Why are you enjoying it?


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  1. Nancy
    Posted September 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Not want to see pictures of RENOVATIONS????? Surely you jest. I for one want as many pictures (and in particular befores and afters) as you can stand to post.

  2. JReads
    Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I just read “Wintergirls”. To say it was a good book would be a vast understatement. Simply very profound and meaningful.
    I actually picked it up a couple of years ago but put it down because I felt it was “too close to home” or whatever…
    but I read it in the last 3 days and I had a different view of it. Very different from my experiences…but oh so so so so many of the same words, thoughts, situations…and basically the emptiness. The blackness.

    Hard to explain. But I just want to say great book. I don’t know how you “get ” it I like that because it is intense and so very real to what a person feels when in that deep dark (for whatever issue).

    I started my own project in that kind of territory a couple of years ago, but dropped it halfway through. Sometimes it can suck you under and make you blue again 馃檪
    Hence I am now dabbling in MG projects of humor and nonsense 馃檪
    (although I think my real voice and real worthy words would go into the former piece, I just can’t “go there”).

    On another note, holy cow, I just read your linked post to when you were sick…well, I’ve felt like that the last 2-3 years and I know that my adrenals, hormones, digestion has been major screwed up. I actually have lost all my energy (a former good good runner, now walking is a chore to me the last few years), not only that but I’m anemic, spaced out, easily distracted, anxious/depressed, unable to concentrate or focus on a project.
    I keep beating myself up over the last couple years becasue of my failure to produce writing like I wish I had/have. I’m not in my 20’s anymore and feel like I need to get more serious about all this.

    But , maybe I ought to ask my doc about that. Trouble is that my doc is not very good. And neither was the one before that and one before that, etc etc.
    And paying for testing is impossible in my situation.

    Anyway, GLAD you are feeling better. So good that you got your health under control. And makes me wonder if maybe I need to stop beating myself over the head and realize that without my health first, then I’ll never really tackle this writing quite right.
    The thing is that i”m sure my health recovery (what this is) is gonna take a long long time (I’m torn to pieces as it is), and I can’t wait to be 100%.
    I hope I can make writing major progress long before that .


    And great to see that you read while you write too 馃檪
    I have heard many writers say they don’t read while they write …and admittedly it does affect me (because then I get new ideas, and I start to slide into that “voice” of the author I’m reading, or if I’m writing humorous and reading dark, I lose it)…but I can’t seem to break the habit. I just always have to be reading SOMETHING.

    Sorry for the long comment. Felt compelled 馃檪

    • JReads
      Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Eep. Just re-read your former health post and now I’m paranoid about myself. Jeesh.
      The thing is docs think I’m fatigue and spacey cause I’m depressed and low weight. But I have been telling them the opposite. Cause vs. effect in this case. So I’m depressed and absolutely zero energy and stuff. I’m going to have to make a listing of those exact tests to do and demand them be done (and be in debt forever for the billing of it) because whenever I’ve asked for more testing they just wave their hands….(…”why not take an antidepressant”)…I swear the medical system has disheartened me on far too many occasions 馃檨

      • Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Tell your doc that you need to have your cortisol tested. It is an inexpensive blood test. The blood MUST be drawn around 8am or else the results are useless.

        Good news – if you have adrenal insufficiency (there are a couple different forms of it) the medicine that will make you feel better is super cheap and has few side effects.

        Insist on this blood test, please.

        • jreads
          Posted September 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          Oh gosh, I definitely will ask about this. Literally burnt out..and I’m a bundle of anxiety and depression. Have lost jobs and money and a whole lot of productivity and life over this. Did it mess up your body (i.e..ahem, bowels and tons of ibs like symptoms?)? Did you end up being low weight?
          Not sure how you run! I used to be an awesom runner, these last few years burnt out. To be very honest I’ve been feeling very low and regretful for refusing to take the antidepressants and antianxiety…my writing has been zero these last few years 馃檨
          Like I think I maybe should have taken them…but those meds always freak me out…seem so “not holistic”…but maybe I’d have been a better writer by now. Oh my.

          But I keep thinking that its something *more*…I will get the cortisol tested…is it low or high if adrenals insufficient? (I assume high)…I actually mentioned adrenal burn out to multiple docs before and they waved it away and said that was a “bogus” diagnosis…and then continued to tell me if have ibs, depression, anxiety, and need to “eat more to gain weight”…

          • Posted September 10, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            I have heard of people who have both adrenal insufficiency (low cortisol) AND IBS or Crohn’s disease. They may be linked, but treating one does not treat the other.

            If you have a diagnosis of IBS, then you need to deal with that by diet changes. Not getting the proper nutrition throws everything else out of whack.

            I haven’t been running the last year, but I’ve been walking. Moving your body makes your body and mind stronger.

            Some people function better with antidepressants. I wouldn’t worry if they are holistic or not. The point is to figure out what lifestyle, diet, meds are needed to allow you to live your life to the fullest.

            Good luck!

        • jreads
          Posted September 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          do you need to fast for it?

          • Posted September 10, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink
          • JReads
            Posted September 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            Thanks…yeah, I’ve been walking a lot too. But still always feel drained and can’t sleep.
            I’m gonna ask about that test…though the more research I do suggests that blood tests are not the right ways to find out, but rather a saliva cortisol test…but that’s likely expensive …

            I think I have a ton of regret now for not taking the antidepressants two years ago and ongoing (constantly urged to)…maybe it would have de-stressed me, brought down my cortisol , and make me a PRODUCTIVE writer that can hold attention and focus more….now I’m 31 …and now reluctant to take those meds because of their possible side effects and having to wait very long before they “kick in”…oye…I wonder if antianxiety meds would serve me better actually..
            I wish I knew which ones to discuss with him….he’s mentioned mirtazapine and lorazapam and they both kinda scare me…i wonder if there’s somethng safer and nicer …oyzers. Sorry, totally writing too much on your lovely blog. I will zip my lips now 馃檪

  3. Lu
    Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to hear you’re going to blog once a week. I was having withdrawl from the August blogs. I’m so glad you’re feeling better and able to write again. Twenty years! That’s a time for celebration. Blessings for you and your manuscript and future research.

  4. Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Some health issues have me slowed down right now. Spent most of the day lounging around so I finished off an ARC of THE DARK UNWINDING by Sharon Cameron. Great read!

    • Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      What a great way to spend your down time!

  5. Posted September 9, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on your twenty year writing anniversary! And I am so happy to hear that your health has been good, that you will be blogging once a week, and that you have been writing so much. My middle school English students would be especially thrilled to know that you will be diving in to research for ASHES soon.

    I teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade English, and my current seventh graders read CHAINS at the end of last year and will read FORGE this year. I’d like to wait to read FORGE with them until they are learning about the Revolutionary War in history class, but they might not let me wait until mid-year–a few of them have read it already because they just couldn’t resist and already can’t wait for ASHES. One of those students doesn’t typically enjoy reading, and his mother recently emailed me to say how much he loved CHAINS and FORGE. “He was effusive about them. It’s a miracle!” she wrote.

    Thank you for your books and your blog posts, and enjoy your renovated home!

  6. Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    A new YA novel and work on Ashes – both great news, as is the news that you are feeling better. I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and I started The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (YA).

    • JReads
      Posted September 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been wondering what The Land of Stories would be like. I’ve heard great things about Gone Girl too.

      I just finished Variant…great YA book. Reminded me of The Maze Runner meets The Lord of The Flies. Which probably makes no sense but that’s the way my mind works 馃檪

      My problem is I read and read and read and collect stories in my head and then get overwhelmed with which one to write. I also have the nasty habit of reading something, loving it, and suddenly “writing” in that author’s voice (I’m assuming thats revealing of my newbie ways and that my own voice will naturally break through at some point…I hope).

      I’ve heard many writers say they cut down on reading while writing, but I always have to be reading something. When I walk outside I walk with a book in my hand (until the winter anyway).

  7. Cathy B.
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Recently, I read EVERY DAY by David Levithan. Simply brilliant! I’ll look forward to reading your blog again; really enjoyed following you in August.

  8. Posted September 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    I just read the Dovekeepers. I loved the voices in the story and the different point of view it offered. Gone Girl is next on my list.
    I am happy to hear you have a new YA novel in the pipeline.
    I too, would be pleased to see renovation photos.

  9. Posted September 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I am reading the galley for Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott and it’s fantastic! It’s a Cinderella story set in ancient Japan where Cinderella can rescue herself…mostly! I’m reading it partly because my boss brought it to me from the ALA conference this summer and partly because I really like Zoe Marriott. The research this woman had to do is astounding (she’s not Japanese)…I am a librarian so I understand research! I also appreciate strong female characters who are allowed their flaws and triumph in spite or even because of them. I also like a little romance with my flaws. Makes for a blushingly fabulous read!

  10. Amy
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I am reading Songs Without Words by Ann Packer. I’m enjoying it because there’s something about the way she writes and also her characters that I can relate to.

  11. Lauren
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I just finished reading Fever 1793–it was so good! I teach 6th grade English, and I have a sign up in my room that always displays what I’m reading (I give a book talk when I’m done). I had started to re-read Catalyst last week, but it wasn’t quite 6th grade appropriate, so I switched over to Fever. My kids came in today, saw a new book name on my sign, and asked if I really finished a book that fast 馃檪 They are falling in love with reading, and I’m hoping to get them hooked to your historical fiction soon!
    Next up for me is another YA book, Underdogs by Mike Lupica. I’m not a sports person, but this one is for all my little football players in the sixth grade. I hope to read Chains or Ashes soon–I just need to read a few other books first!

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