Oct 25, 2013

Writers Unite {and a bit about blogging}

I know I've already talked about doing NaNo, but I have to share this great group of bloggers who are also participating.  They've created this awesome little support group and little to-do's during the month.  I'm excited, and I hope I can keep up with at least one event.  It's going to be a CRAZY month.

So, for any newbies heading over from the link-up, I'll introduce myself.  I'm Jessica, and I wear many hats.  I'm a wife and mom, and I live overseas with my family.  I'm currently finishing up my degree and working on my first full manuscript.  I love reading and blogging, but I'd say that's pretty obvious.

As for my project, it is a Young Adult novel, let's say contemporary-ish.  The working title is The Hereafter, and it's a love story with a twist.

As I said a little earlier this week, my goal is to have the manuscript complete by the end of the year.

Wish me luck!

As for blogging.  It will unfortunately take a backseat to this project.  It's a matter of prioritizing, and somehow I have to find time to go to school full-time while completing the novel.  Therefore, seldom NaNo posts will probably be the sole content on the blog for the rest of the year.  I want to say that the book chat will be back every week, but I can't make promises right now.  Oh hey, did I mention Jeremy will be on a business trip for the entire month of November?  Yeah, his job and I have great timing.

So here's my offer...if you, my loyal and wonderful book chat friends, would like to take over the book chat for me until further notice, it is all yours.  Please just email me if you are interested and I'll explain it all.  If not, then we will probably pick back up in 2014.

We do still have a nonfiction book chat scheduled for Nov 7th with Daire, so please come back for that one!

Some NaNoWriMo geared blog posts you can look forward to in November...

  • My writing playlist
  • Writing spaces, habits and rituals
  • My favorite writing apps and reads
  • A few of my favorite writing buddies
  • ...and some basic progress updates.
If you are on NaNoWriMo, please look me up.  My username is Tangerine423.  Let me know if you add me as a buddy, so I can add you!

Oct 24, 2013

Literary Costume ideas {the.book.chat.}

This is my favorite book chat tradition, so I couldn't possibly miss this week.  I love the idea of literary-themed Halloween costumes.  You can see last years here.  And the year before's here.

I don't have a ton of time to work as many ideas as last year, but I was able to come up with this one.  I got very excited at the thought of The Night Circus costumes.  For more Celia Bowen inspiration, check out this search on Pinterest.  Mind blown.

The Night Circus

And just for fun...

Surely, you've seen this one by now.

Fifty Shades of Grey
I would add handcuffs or a tie to really send the message home, but I thought this was fun.

Have you ever dressed up as a literary character or you do you have any great ideas to share?

If so, please link up below!

Link Up  


1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.

The Book Chat link-up next week is cancelled.  We will pick back up in November!  Happy Halloween!!

Oct 22, 2013

Weekend Roadtrip: Wiesbaden & Heidelberg, Germany

Weekend road trips mean something entirely different when you live in Europe.  Sure, living abroad has it's challenges.  I don't get to watch those exciting season premieres with you all.  I can't get Netflix or Panera.  Don't even get me started on 3G.  But our weekend road trips totally make up for all of that.

With the military, trip planning six months ahead doesn't exactly work.  The Army doesn't care if you already have plane tickets, a hotel and an itinerary planned; if they have to go to the field, they have to go the field.  Cue the spontaneous weekend getaway!

If you know me, then you know that I'm not a spontaneous traveler.  I want lists.  Lots and lots of lists.  I write lists for the lists that I have to write.  True story.  But we're learning.  We try to remain flexible and in good spirits no matter what.  We may not always know exactly what we're doing each day or where we will eat, but that's okay.  It's an adventure.  Roll with the punches.  Even if the punches involve your three year old peeing through his last pair of clean pants.  Roll with it.

So, last weekend we decided to stick around Germany and head about three hours west to Wiesbaden.  This town is tremendously special to us because it was where we lived during our first tour in Germany.  It was Jeremy's first duty station in the Army.  It was our first home as man and wife. It was where Jonathan was born.  It holds a lot of special memories for us.  Our other motive for going to this city was to see a few friends we made in Alabama.  It was great to show our new friends around our old home.  Very full circle.

Wiesbaden has a beautiful, bustling downtown area.  It is one of the wealthiest cities in Germany and there are streets I can't even afford to walk down.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much the city had grown since we left.

The next day, we ventured to Heidelberg: another German city we love.  Heidelberg is a hidden gem.  If you find yourself in Germany, and you think Munich and Berlin are the only cities worth seeing, you're missing out.  Heidelberg is gorgeous.  It has one of the best castles (my personal favorite).  You can climb up into the castle, see the garden and one of the towers that fell like 500 years ago, but is still just hanging there.  It feels like a legit, knights and princesses castle.  Kids love it.  There's a university there so it's a bit of a college town, which we all know adds so much to a city.  Plus, the view.  Worth a trip, for sure.

Oct 19, 2013

The goings-on [categorized]

A little catch-up on the daily goings-on...


NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts in 11 days and I am so geared up this year.  I have all of the outline, character sketch, writing schedule business out of the way, so bring on the madness!  The goal for NaNo is 50k words, but I'm getting a 10k head start because I plan on this one being around 65k-ish.  All I can say about the project now is that it is YA.  It was a tough decision to make, and I really thought it through for a while.  I originally pinned this one for Mainstream, but decided that  it would really shine in YA.  I think this story has the heart that young adults will love.
Right now, the goal is to have it written in November, then revising and editing until January so it will be ready for submission in March.  Is it March yet?
Much, much more to come on the NaNo experience in these next few weeks.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo??


Have I ever once talked about health or exercise on my blog?  Uh...no.  But I have sort of fallen in love with my gym routine and it has just made every little aspect of my life better.  I started taking a spin class (so fun, crazy, right?) and I joined a weight loss group and [brace yourselves] I started running.  I have always been that "heaving after 1 minute of running" girl.  It was just not ever a thing I could do.  Not ever.  But I joined a group.  And I use the Couch to 5K app and get this...I can run for 8 minutes without dying.  Without dying!  It's a miracle.  The kicker is that I hurt my ankle pretty bad and I'm off the treadmill for about a week.  Still, I go to the gym every day and I get to see the same people and socialize with all of the super great ladies here and [even with a bum ankle] life is good.


Life in Germany is looking up.  I feel like we are sorta-kinda getting settled.  We have made the decision to search for a better space for us.  We love our quaint little apartment, and we were really psyched about living it up European-style, but in all practicality, it's not practical.  When I have to climb 30 steps to take the dog out and I have to put pants on to change the laundry, life is not convenient for Jessica.  It probably won't happen until early next year, but we are keeping our eyes peeled for now.


School is going well.  I only have three terms left and that sounds insane to say out loud. It's basically the reason I don't get to blog as much as I used to. 

So, that's about all of the good stuff I can think of to share.  What's new in your life?!

Oct 16, 2013

My First Loves {the.book.chat.}

This week's book chat topic was suggested by Danielle of This Picture Book Life.  I love this idea of sharing the books that started it all.  Thank you, Danielle, for the awesome topic idea!  Please go over and check out Danielle's blog and send her some love today.

The first books I loved...

That was fun.

What were some of your favorite firsts?

Link Up


1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.

Next week's topic: Literary character costumes!! (my favorite)

Oct 10, 2013

E-books v. Print Books {the.book.chat.}

Remember when eReaders first came out?  Was I the only one who thought they would never catch on?  I really thought they were just another gimmicky electronic device that we didn't need.  I held out for a long time before getting my Kindle, but now I don't know how I went so long without it.

I love my Kindle.  And here's why.

If I absolutely need a book (it happens), I always know without a doubt, that I can get it.  Recently I finished a book and wanted to read the sequel.  The library didn't have it.  The PX didn't have it.  What was I supposed to do?  Wait a week for it?   Psh.  No, within seconds, I had it.

Would I have preferred a physical copy to adorn my shelf?  Sure, but the point is that I have it and reading it.

I also love my Kindle because that is how I read all of my ARC's.  What a Godsend eBooks have been to publishing, in the case of getting reviews.  Instead of sending physical books out, which costs money, they can get each book into thousands of hands, instantly.  I love it.

So, as much as I love the feel of weighty paper in my hands, I can't lie that I love my Kindle.  I've even named her Jane, because I'm a dork and I name my electronics.  (My computer is Prudence and my phone is Roxy.  I'm a grown-up.)

I do have my qualms with eBooks on occasion.  First, why are they so expensive?  Perhaps you've been reading along with the Amazon, publishers, Apple battle going on.  Basically, Amazon has been fighting for the right to price eBooks as $9.99 but publishers don't like that so they've been going to Apple, but Apple's iBookstore sucks and Amazon got pissed and took away certain publishers "Buy" button from their page (which I thought was funny) and the Publishers freaked out and went back to Amazon and then Amazon caved (boo).  It's a long, ridiculous, drawn-out battle but I can see how the value of books is suffering because of the digital transition.  I'll admit, if it's over $10, I'm not buying.

So, where do you stand on the issue?  E-books v. Print books.  Share your thoughts.

Link Up


To join in...
1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.

Next week's topic: The first book you loved

Oct 7, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone {playlist}

I recently picked up Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.  Wow.  I love this novel!  It takes place in Prague and revolves around a blue-haired art student with a fantastical secret family of monsters.  She meets/almost-gets-killed-by a super hot angel and...hot damn!  The romance in this book is the one of the most potent, unique and just awesome relationships I've read in a long time.  There's magic, action, fantasy and romance.  Did I mention there's romance?

I opted out of a review-write for this one since I'm still on book two now, but rather, I'm going the playlist route.


Oct 3, 2013

Favorite Reading Spot & Book Store {the.book.chat.}

Where do you love to read?

I am mostly a bedtime reader.  However, there are rare little pieces of my day when I get the chance to read, sans homework and kiddo distractions.  They are rare little gems of time, but I love them.

When that happens, I like to sit in a quiet place with a mug of hot coffee (and maybe a cookie if I'm good) and just relax with my book.  I avoid reading in my bed because that turns into a nap real quick.

In our current home, my favorite place to read is our patio.  It's big and sunny and quiet and has a view to die for.

My own little heaven right there.  Unfortunately, it's getting a little too cold out for patio-sitting, but I have been seen bundling up with hat & gloves just to read out there.  It didn't last long though.

Your favorite book store...

The second part of our book chat topic today is about book stores.  The reason I asked this one was because I was able to see some amazing book stores in Paris.  Paris is such a literary-loving city; you have no idea.  I didn't know before going there either, but we passed a few, chain-like book stores and the people were going in/out in herds!  We thought...what's this?  Some big sale, or tourist trap?  Nope. Just a book store.  

My favorite bookstore was obviously Shakespeare & Co., which I shared a bit about last week, but I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase some independent bookstores you might know of.  They need and deserve as much as exposure as they can get.  I love B&N as much as the next person, but I hate to see these little establishments go under.

The little bookstore I want to share is one I found in Savannah, Georgia.  It's called The Book Lady and it's awesome.  It's a tiny little used bookstore downtown and it has to be breaking fire codes because you have to literally shimmy through.  Books line the stairs and overflow the shelves.  It smells like old books. 'nuff said.

If you are ever in or around Savannah, stop in The Book Lady after lunch at the Soho South Cafe (right down the street).  In fact, if you plan a trip to Savannah, let me know and I'll write out your itinerary for you.

Link Up

Where is your favorite place to read? and/or Share your favorite book store with us!


1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.

Next week's topic: E-books v. Print books!  
(this one gets crazy. I'm excited)