June Wrap-Up

Reading Wrap

Total number of books read this month: 10

ARCs: 2. Illegal and Kill the Farm Boy.  I recommend both! Illegal is a graphic novel about immigrant siblings from Ghana. Kill the Farm Boy  is a zany adult fantasy which upends practically every fantasy trope in the book. Very enjoyable!

Number of people I purchased The Belles for this month: 2. Seriously. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out.

Audiobooks listened to this month: 7! And I wrote about favorite audiobook narrators here.

Best of the MonthWinter by Marissa Meyer (a satisfying end to the quartet of books) and The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, which I had never read. I’ll be checking out more of that series soon.

Writing Wrap-Up

Finished the edits and sent my dear little book along to my agent. Hoping to hear back notes soon, and in the meantime, working on essays and smaller stuff. This month I published a piece in Scary Mommy,  wrote an exasperated thing on my Medium , and finished edits for something forthcoming in Split Lip (can’t wait!)

Taking a social media hiatus in July to help get started on something new. Planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo!

On a less happy note, my computer crashed– blue-screened– and luckily I had backed things up recently. If you haven’t DO IT NOW. It could have been a real nightmare otherwise!

Life Wrap-Up

FullSizeRender (1)Average hours of sleep per night: 4.5

Guests in town this weekend: 14

Dairy products that I’ve had to give up to breastfeed this baby: 100%

Percentage of my diet that was cheese before I gave up dairy: 90%

Dairy free cheese products that taste good: 0%

Percentage worth it when the little guy gives me a grin: 110%


November Wrap-Up

Reading Life

  • Total books read: 10
  • Books read for 2017 so far:  144
  • Couldn’t stop listening to the audiobookRighteous by Joe Ide and a re-listen of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (and I haven’t reread a book in years– so glad I did.)
  • Nonfiction topics explored: insect sex in Sex on Six Legs by Marlene Zuk and US history and genocide in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • ARCs read: One, but it was a great one. Check out Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak. My review is here.
  • Books Purchased because of good deals: (number redacted for marital harmony purposes)
  • Best of the Monthi be, but i ain’t by Aziza Barnes (a powerful poetry collection) and Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler. If you haven’t checked out Butler’s Lilith’s Brood series, you’re missing out. Some extremely interesting sci-fi that delves into gender, family, and power.

Writing Life

won nano

I won NaNo.  (deep sigh of relief). This is a really big personal achievement for me and there is something euphoric about writing without filtering yourself at all out of necessity. Even after finishing three novels, I’ve never been able to commit to and win NaNo before (and I’ve tried at least seven times). If you didn’t win this year, try again because you never know!

Even better than finishing 50k in a month is falling knee-deep in a project that I can’t stop mentally plotting.

Next goals: finish draft one by the end of the year, which I can do if I write about 1k a day. Now that I’m in a daily writing habit again, anything feels possible.

Life, Etc

  • Research papers graded this month: 72
  • Number of kids in my house singing Jingle Bells non-stop since November 15: 2
  • Turkeys roasted, with all of the fixings: 1
  • Days of Turkey leftovers: Let’s not talk about it, okay? I’m not gobbling any more, but last week…

Real talk about turkey leftovers: these turkey enchiladas are my favorite thing to make… besides turkey sandwiches with leftover cranberry dressing.


One more month to go this year. Finish strong, my friends.

NaNoWriMo Check-In: Part II

Alright, friends. I’m back from my break with the internet and staying accountable with the goals I set, which were:

  1. Stay off of social media until Saturday this week: check
  2. Write 15,000 words of NaNo project from 11/16-11/24: almost, but not quite. broke the 12k mark and over 40k total on the novel!
  3. Grade 30 research papers: check!
  4. Finish reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States before Litsy Feminist Bookclub’s discussion on 11/25: So close, but yet so far. About 80 pages left and the discussion starts today. I’m ready for today’s question and should be finished before tomorrow’s. Phew.
  5. Eat, drink, and be merry with family: check, check, and check. Made my famous cranberry relish to accompany the traditional turkey and tried out a new dressing this year (I discovered too much sausage is a thing, apparently.) Good pie, great company, and lots of playtime with the kids
nano as of 11-25
progress as of 11/24 (haven’t written today yet)

I can feel the NaNo goal in sight and it feels very attainable. My goal after that is to push through December and finish the full first draft (really, it’s a draft zero for how messy it is) before the end of the year. Hints on the theme: on the side I’m reading books on Renaissance astrology and tarot cards, as well as boning up on my Shakespeare.  I’m having fun– I think I get why people do this. 🙂

Those NaNoing, whether you’re close to your goal or not, best of luck in this last week!

NaNo Check-In

Hi from the NaNoWriMo/research paper grading trenches that I’ve got set up. Notice the empty glasses of egg nog and crumpled bags of Chex Mix.

It’s fall break for me this week, and I’ve set some goals. To keep accountable, I posted them on Twitter and will repeat them here.

  1. Stay off of social media until Saturday this week (so far, so good).
  2. Write 15,000 words of NaNo project from 11/16-11/24
  3. Grade 30 research papers
  4. Finish reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States before Litsy Feminist Bookclub’s discussion on 11/25
  5. Eat, drink, and be merry with family

I’ll post at the end of the week with an update at how those goals went.

How are things going for you? If you’re NaNoing and need support, feel free to find me on the site. My user name is rmm.



October Wrap-Up

Reading Life

Total Books Read: 17*

*(please note some of these were middle-grade and one of them was a graphic novel. Still, pretty happy about making to-read stack progress this month.)

Scottish time-travel novels I finished reading that I have a lot of opinions on: 1 (if you want to hear them, I’d be more than happy to chat.)

Books about aliens that I read this monthThe Fifth Wave, Armada, Dawn. Out of the three, I highly recommend Dawn. Highly.

Debut novels read this month: 6

Total books this year so far: 134. Met/beat my challenge. Now trying to get to 150 before the end of the year.

Best of the Month: I have a lot of favorites. Marlena by Julie Buntin was a stunning book about toxic friendship and I could not put down Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. American War by Omar El Akkad (which I talk about here) was soul-shaking. Absolute favorite, though, was The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker. It will rank on my favorite list of the year, I can already tell.

Writing Life

wwBig article out this month from Electric Lit on Wonder Woman’s problematic past. I hope you’ll check it out, if you haven’t yet. It was my passion-project essay this summer, so I’m happy to see it in the world.

I had a big burst of productivity on a manuscript I’m abandoning for the time-being. It’s been abandoned before, poor thing. It’s my cicada novel, that re-emerges every two years in a slightly different form. I’ll let it settle a while again before I figure out what it’s meant to be.

INSTEAD, I’m planning on NaNo-ing, or at least trying to, with a shiny new idea that I’ve got outlined. With small kids and a job, it can be hard to keep up with the daily word count but I’m still giving it a shot. Even if I only get 500 words a day, that’s better than nothing! If you’re NaNo-ing, add me (rmm is my user name) and we can cheer each other on.

Life, Etc

Lots of sick kid cuddles this month, lots of grading, and lots of nail-biting and reading the news. Taking a bit of a social media fast in November to help focus on my work and family a bit more. It always helps me refocus.

Happy Halloween! Here was my costume this year, and if you don’t get it, you’re totally not fetch.

halloween 2017



Shiny New Things and Slumps

I got a project successfully off to prom and immediately spent the next week stewing and miserable. I stomped around the house and sighed a lot and refreshed my email like I was giving it rescue breaths. Yesterday, I started outlining something and felt that pressure ease almost immediately.

But I feel that slump sneaking up on me, and I still feel it at my shoulder, ready to strike if I let it. To combat this, I’ve set some daily word goals and will be doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Also, I just decided to let this project be a little zany. The real world provides enough stress without writing something too serious right now.

Hope all of your projects are going well!