Yes, you read that right. I’ve been busy. REALLY busy. Like, surprise-round-of-edits-a-month-early busy. Like, it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted on here and I feel like it was only a week!
I’d totally meant to drop in and let you know that my blog was going on “Christmas vacation” for a week or two. Well…a week or two turned into more, thanks to those edits and a scuffle with the flu.
I’m back now, just when you were about to forget about me, and this month’s “I’ve Been…” post couldn’t have come at a better time. So, go–grab yourself a cup of tea and settle in to hear just what I’ve been up to this past month.
Last week I…
Was last week really only New Year’s Day? Oy. The holidays already feel like they were a lifetime ago! Maybe because I spent the last week of the season snuffling around, fighting the flu, or maybe it’s due to the fact that I’ve been frantically editing my right-now-unnamed sequel to Porch Swing Girl. I have a February deadline, but I’m taking a week off at the end of January to do something special. (More on that in a minute.)
I also wrote a few guest blog posts and read some AMAZING books. Plus, I joined in the #WIPjoy challenge on Instagram. If you don’t already follow me on there, hop on over and check out my latest posts. Each day, I’m revealing a little snippet of info about Porch Swing Girl.
AND…then there was the secret project that I started working on with my writing pal, Naomi Downing. It’s been so much fun and I’m super excited to–oops. That’s right. It’s a secret! But not for too much longer…
This all sounds incredibly dull and vague, but really it was a pretty mellow week, since I was still getting over the flu.
Let’s get into some specifics. (They’re much more interesting, I promise!)
I’ve been reading…
Thanks to some extra-amazing Christmas gifts from my Mom, I’m doing things a little differently in regards to my reading this year–I’m actually keeping a reading journal. So far, it’s been a really neat experience, as it encourages me to really ponder the book I’m reading and the effect it has on me. So far, in 2018, I’ve read three-ish books:
- To Get to You, by Joanne Bischof. And OH MY GOODNESS it was sooo good. Not that I’m surprised, really. Joanne writes exactly the kind of books I love. They’re always different than any other book out there, and the writing is so delicately, heartachingly beautiful that it always amazes me. When I finished this book, I truly felt I’d lived it–like I’d spent the last few days riding along in an old VW bus with Riley and his dad!
- Surprise Endings (Christy Miller Book #4), by Robin Jones Gunn. Yes! I FINALLY started reading the Christy Miller series! I have been meaning to read these books for ages (pretty much ever since I learned that Robin Jones Gunn lives in Hawaii…) and I got the first volume for Christmas. I promptly devoured it and used a gift card from my grandmother to buy the next two volumes 🙂
- Island Dreamer (Christy Miller Book #5), by…Robin Jones Gunn, of course! This was my FAVORITE Christy book to date, because most of it took place on my favorite island in the world…Maui! This is where I chose to set Porch Swing Girl, and it totally made my day to find Christy in my chosen vacation destination of Lahaina. She even visited some of my favorite restaurants and I *think* she might even have stayed at the same condo as I do when I vacation there. All in all, it was a great read and it made me terribly homesick for Hawaii. (But I shouldn’t be homesick for long…more details on that later…)
And then…I was about to start reading A Heart Full of Hope, which is Christy’s next adventure, BUT something showed up on my front porch–the Ellie Sweet series!! This duology by Stephanie Morrill (who is actually ENDORSING MY BOOK!!!!!) has been on my TBR for ages and, since I’ve dubbed 2018 to be the year of conquering the TBR, I had to get them. And once I got them…I couldn’t resist. The covers are gorgeous, and the back cover copy totally drew me in. Resistance was futile.
I can’t believe how much I’m loving the first book, The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. It is an absolute masterpiece and…I’m going to stop talking NOW because I’m sure I’ll want to gush about this even more when I’m done. And I’m not usually the gushy type, if that gives you any idea how much I am in LOVE with this book.
I’m listening to…
This is an easy question to answer, since I’ve actually started a 2018 playlist to keep track of all of the new songs I’ve found. It’s small right now, so I’m on the hunt for music…
- Chloe Kohanski. Have you heard this girl SING?!? She won the latest season of the Voice and…wow. Her voice is so uniquely amazing and she spent the season covering some of the best classic rock songs out there. I love classic rock, and she even sang “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac (one of my favorites!) so… <3
- “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. Actually, I’ve been listening to covers of it, and I can’t decide which version I like better, so my playlist is currently clogged with country music. Eek.
- A certain breed of lazy, quirky guitar music that inspired me while I wrote Porch Swing Girl. I built a Spotify playlist of instrumental songs that evoke a similar mood as my novel, and It’ll be going public here soon… (More on that in a bit.)
My family and I went out to my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant, Los Dos Amigos, last night, and I stuffed myself full of some of the best chicken fajitas this side of the Mexico border. Plus tons of house-made chips and extra-spicy salsa. Yum! The best part? Gargantuan portions–and lots of leftovers. Muy Bueno!
I’m Looking Forward to…
- Seeing the cover of Porch Swing Girl! My publisher told me that the cover design team will start working on it TOMORROW. I’m anxiously awaiting the finished product. And, of course, I can hardly wait to share it with you. (Hint: Newsletter subscribers will see it first! Subscribe here…)
- Sharing more about my book here on the blog. Stay tuned–starting next week, I’m going to be running a blog series of special sneak peeks. I’ll be unveiling my until-now-a-secret Pinterest board, Porch Swing Girl playlist, and more. There might even be a book trailer coming soon…
- THE BAHAMAS!!! On January 20th, I’ll be taking off across the country for a week of cruising. AND it’s not just any cruise. It’s a Royal Caribbean cruise. And that isn’t all…it’s the KLOVE cruise, so I’ll get to spend the week hanging out with amazing singers like Danny Gokey, We Are Messengers (wait. what? my favorite band?!?! eek!!!), Plumb, Crowder, and so many more…it’s going to be amazing!
- Reading and reviewing an ARC of my friend Kimberly Rose Johnson’s latest book, the Reluctant Groom. It’s set in Seattle, one of my favorite cities, so I’m super excited to dive in and start reading!
- Recording a podcast episode over at Ideas to Books…it’s only my second podcast, so I’m eager to see how this one goes.
- Telling you all about the secret project I mentioned above. Here’s a hint: Check back here on Wednesday for a surprise update 🙂
So…talk to me! What have YOU been up to? What are you looking forward to in 2018?