Week by numbers.

Where I have been?  Probably at the gym.  I finally reached my point of ‘girl, no’ and joined our local gym, which I’ve been fairly successful on going to on a daily basis.

  • 45,054, finished novella for 2019!  I’ll be interested to see if this turns into a book in later drafts.  I had a lot of fun with it.
  • 69,516, current length of The Heist project, and I assume the number count will drop further.
    • ~10,000 words cut yesterday (after editing them for a week).  I know it’s for the betterment of the book, but damn if it didn’t hurt.
    • ~20,000 words cut today.  The back stories I enjoyed really keep cluttering up my main storyline, so for now, they are out.  This brings the manuscript closer to novella length, instead of thriller – so I know some new scenes will need to be written.  Le sigh.
  • 1, foster kitten in the house.
    • 3.5 legs Smudge is in possession of.
    • All, the energy.
  • xx.x, kilograms for my weight (courtesy of our fancy new scale).  As mentioned above, I’ve reached ‘ATF’ (that’s all time fattest) and the change starts now.  Damn getting older and a slower metabolism.  Also, damn my life as a food writer…
  • 1, application to the TED Fellows 2020 program, submitted.  Trying my best to figure out how to get CSR of One more into the world.
  • 1, production I’m going to be a part of, filming at a very fancy location for a British show about luxury properties.  Lifestyles of the rich and famous…
  • 1, niece I can’t wait to meet!

How have you been?

Book Club Questions: Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.

In preparing for my book club this month, I realized there were almost no book club questions in place for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize Winner, Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.

So, in the spirit of our upcoming discussion, here are a few questions to consider.  I would love to hear additional suggestions!

  • Have you read any other Man Booker prize winners? What are your thoughts or comparisons to the 2019 selection?
  • Did you like any of the characters?  Was there anyone you identified with?
  • What do you think of the authors choice to include so many characters?  Did having so many people to keep track of enhance or hurt your appreciation of the novel?
  • Did you know about the Omani slave trade prior to reading this book?  How do you think it is presented?
  • Who would you recommend this book to?  Why?
  • What do you think of the first person narrative?  Is it used effectively?
  • Does Celestial Bodies represent what you thought of Oman?  Did you learn anything about the country?
  • What role does tradition play throughout the novel?  Which traditions did you find the most interesting?
  • How do feel about how the role of gender throughout the novel?  How did the expectations of gender and class play into the development of the characters?
  • Why do you think the author chose to conclude the book where she did?
  • What, if any, is the role of time in the novel?  Do you think a linear storyline would have changed the book?

Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Yes, it’s been a minute since I reviewed something, hasn’t it?

From the outset of Evvie Drake Starts Over, I couldn’t help but wish this had been published before I finished writing Life After Joe, as I know I would’ve been very positively influenced by Ms. Holmes’s novel.  Similar to my Joe, the book opens with the death of a husband (not a spoiler).  What follows is a wonderful story about Evvie and Dean, two well-developed and complicated characters.  Even Tim (the dead husband), who is ‘present’ throughout the book gets an excellent, believable backstory.  The chemistry felt natural, and I loved the supporting cast (just as realistic as the main characters).  Overall, I loved Ms. Holmes’s voice and would be happy to pick up her next novel.  The book brings up great questions, and yes, there is romance.  A weird sub-genre, but if reading about modern widows is something you’re interested in, then this is one to add to your list.  I have no doubt this will be optioned for film (maybe Hallmark, maybe someone bigger) by the end of the year.

I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley.  Opinions are my own!

Week by numbers.

It’s been a week somewhere, right?  My apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been fairly terrible at adulting, or, at least being an adult where my books are concerned.  I’m hoping that changes this week, as I have a conversation with my editor about my poor little Heist novel which has been in purgatory basically since I finished it.

  • 23,001, words on 20 Year Reunion. This poor forgotten manuscript… I keep trying to work on it, then am constantly am interrupted.  I’m giving my characters some blue balls by keeping them in check.
  • 1, podcast launched!  I’d love for you to subscribe and listen.
    • 3, episodes available.
    • 1, upcoming talk about it (that I need to finish preparing for)!
  • 1, car that needs to be sold.  Selling a car in the UAE is an extra special kind of hell, and I will be sad to say goodbye to the Yarari.
  • 1, upcoming trip booked to the States!
  • 1, week of a keto diet plan I’m going on next week.  Y’all, sometimes I pitch and never expect responses, and then I get responses and it’s weird.  It’s not that I’ve not done keto in the past, it’s just… Well, I hope some weight loss occurs!
  • A lot, of pitches sent in the past week.  Let’s hope some of them go somewhere!
  • 1, Pug named Lola we had for a few days last week.  Even though she was absolutely infatuated with me (and a sweetheart in general, minus the lack of house training), it made me realize I’m still not ready to adopt (or maybe, really, I’ll never be ready for a dog).  It’s not all sad, I think we would definitely continue to foster!