Saturday Stuff

Ah, the weekend. Here it’s actually Rodeo weekend (that means there’s a rodeo happening—which is a big thing in my town) so things are crazy! The girls and I went to the parade this morning, though we didn’t stay through the whole thing. We only stayed long enough to watch J’s friend march with the high school band (she’s in the color guard). The friend has been staying with us while her parents are out of town (they’ll be back on Monday).

I’ve never been a parade loving person. To me, they’re hot and loud, and I always seem to sit near someone who is smoking—I don’t like that. I’m not a smoker, and I don’t want to breathe in other people’s smoke. And to make things even more fun, prolonged exposure to smoke usually triggers a migraine for me (even if it’s smoke from a forest fire).

I made sure no one around us was smoking before we sat down. But people kept showing up—like they wanted to watch the parade or something—and, sure enough, a man sat down behind us and started smoking (about three cigarettes in the hour and a half we were there). Thankfully, there was a breeze that helped blow the smoke away. I still have a bit of a headache, but it’s not bad so far, and I think I might have escaped triggering a migraine (oh, please let it be so).

But we survived and are back home for now. K has a birthday party to go to later this afternoon, and I need to get some fuel in my car so I’ll have to go back into the crazy traffic later today.

Oh, it’s been so long since I posted, I suppose I should catch you all up on a few things. First of all, I got a 2006 VW Beetle TDI (that means it uses diesel fuel). It’s green and we call it The Hulk. I even got a Hulk license plate for the front and some Hulk decals (one says “Hulk Smash Your Stick Family and has stick people trying to crawl out from under Hulk’s fists—I think it’s hilarious). But the main reason we got it is that it has amazing gas mileage—well that, and I always wanted one. Plus, the Expedition has some damage to the bumper from a lady smashing into the back of it while I was stopped at a light. That happened at the end of July. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor to help my neck and back since then (it kind of messed me up), but other than that, I’m okay.

Just after I got the Hulk, I drove to NM to visit the amazing Kimberley Griffiths Little and attend her book launch party for THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES (awesome book, by the way!!—review coming soon). It was so much fun! I also got to meet the incredible Nikki Loftin. I’d never read her work before, but I bought a few copies of her newest novel, NIGHTINGALE’S NEST, and had her sign them. Then I came home and read it (loved it!!—review of it coming soon, too). I intend to add her other books to my collection and can’t wait for her next release.

It was an amazing experience and so much fun to have lunch with these wonderfully generous and kind authors. And another great thing about the trip? I had free time to do some writing (the launch party was on Saturday so I drove down Friday night and stayed in a hotel). It put me that much closer to finishing my new middle grade novel—which is some more good news.

I finished it last Saturday! Hooray!! I sent it off to a few people for critiques and have made changes based on the feedback I received. Now I need to send it out for more feedback, and then there will be more changes—yeah, it’s a process—so even though I say I finished, it, it’s not really “finished” I suppose. So maybe I should have said it’s drafted. Whatever. It’s a huge thing for me and makes me feel better to say it’s finished. LOL

It’s been a long time since I actually finished a novel. Started many, though. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE this main character. She’s so much fun! Witty, smart, hilarious. And it made the story a joy—yes, a JOY to write. The words just flowed. I started writing it at the end of June—and even though it seems like it took a couple of months to write it, it really didn’t. I wasn’t writing every day or even every week. All total, it took me about three weeks of writing days to start and finish this novel. Amazing!

And even if nothing comes of this new work (though I’m cautiously optimistic), it helped bring back the thrill of writing for me—and got me to finish something. So it’s worth every second of the writing time.

So those are a few highlights since my last post.

How have things been out there for all of you?

Write on!

About Joan Stradling, Author

Joan Stradling is a middle grade and YA author of stories with magical elements. She loves painting, baking, crafting, pet wrangling, and anything else she can fit into her schedule. A passionate believer in the power of books, she still hopes to one day ride a dragon, meet a Hobbit, or discover new worlds by walking through a wardrobe. In the meantime, she imagines and writes about her own incredible worlds and characters–and continues to live vicariously through the adventures in other’s books. You can find her on Instagram (@JoanStradlingAuthor) or Twitter (@justJoanS) or FB (Joan Stradling aka Joan Stewart) Join me on Patreon:
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