Writing Prompt #156: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter M)

The ABC Book Challenge - L


Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “M”:

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Macbeth

  • We studied Shakespeare in high school. This one was significant to me.

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Madame Bovary

  • I believe this was assigned reading when I was a senior in high school.

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The Man in the High Castle

  • I’d wanted to read this one for quite a while, and finally did in the summer of 2017. It sparked my interest in not only the author, but in alternate reality, as well.

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Mansfield Park

  • I need to re-read this, but I’ve read most everything that Jane Austen wrote.

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Misty of Chincoteague

  • I read this one several times as a kid. I live about three hours from Chincoteague!

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “M”:

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M. C. Higgins, the Great

  • I remember seeing this book in the school library, but I’ve never read it.

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The Minority Report

  • I knew this short story was adapted into a movie (2002) and a TV series (2015), but I didn’t know until much later that it was written by Philip K. Dick.

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Les Miserables

  •  Despite having seen the most recent movie adaptation (2012), I’ve never read the novel.

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Misery

  • I vaguely remember parts of this book, so I think it deserves a re-read.

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The Mosquito Coast

  • I’ve been interested in this novel since I heard about the movie adaptation (1986). I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I don’t plan to until I read the book.

What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter M? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #3: Finishing The First Draft of My 2012 WIP

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Image Credit: Cottonwood Creek

Welcome back! I haven’t posted any new Writing Adventures posts for several months, but I’m excited to get back to it now.

Here are the links to my previous posts:


I’m very excited to be *this close* to finishing my first draft of my 2012 Work in Progress (WIP). I set a goal earlier this year to finish the first draft before December 31, 2018. I’ve mentioned before that my best friend, Melissa, has offered to edit the first draft for me. But, I have to finish it first!

Reading the last two Writing Adventures posts made me so proud of myself. I’ve made so much progress on this piece just this year!

In June, right before the second Camp NaNoWriMo session of 2018, here were my observations about “Experiences From Camp”:

  • I started this during NaNoWriMo 2012, which was my first-ever NaNoWriMo. I wrote around 10,000 words by the end of that month.
  • In March, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for the very first time, thanks to Madi’s encouragement.
  • During Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018, I exceeded my goal and won Camp! My goal was 20,000 new words. On April 30th, I surpassed my goal with approximately 20,256 new words! Yippee!
  • June 2018 monthly goal: Write 1,000 new words.
  • Sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 before the end of the month.
  • Set my Camp NaNoWriMo goal before the end of the month.
  • Current word count: 34,130 words.

In August, I posted my Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 recap.

  • Before Camp started, my word count was 34,719 words.
  • In 31 days, I added 11,916 words.
  • I was so excited to add almost 12,000 new words!

Now, as of today, December 8th, here’s where I stand.

  • Current word count: 46,646 words.
  • Countdown to 50,000 words: 3,354 words.

I feel so confident that I will reach 50,000 words, or more, before the end of the month. I can feel it!

In fact, I think I’ll end this post now, so I can get back to it!


What about you? Are you writing anything special?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #67: The Christmas Tag

The Christmas Tag

Image Credit: The Bright Bookcase

I recently discovered Rose of The Bright Bookcase, and I’m loving her blog!

Here’s the link to her post:


The Rules

  1. You must thank the person who nominated you
  2. Link back to the original post (the one on this blog) and use the graphic provided.
  3. Answer the questions given.
  4. Nominate at least 3 people. (or more if your feeling like a nice person 😉 )
  5. Give the nominees 10 questions to answer (or use the ones previously given)
  6. HAVE FUN! 😀

The Questions

What is your favorite Christmas dessert?

Our traditional chocolate mousse!

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

When I was younger, I was allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, after we came home from church.

How do you decorate your house for Christmas?

Al and I set up our Christmas tree in our living room, with our pretty tree skirt and tons of ornaments. That’s pretty much it for us – No outside lights.

 

Have you ever built a snowman?

Absolutely! We typically don’t get a lot of snow here in southeastern Virginia, but when we have, it’s been a blast!

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Ours is fake, and pre-lit. My parents agreed to try a real tree a couple of times, but we quickly realized how hard it was to keep it watered and upright. The needle shedding was ridiculous, too. It smelled pretty, but that was about the only nice thing. My parents have a beautiful artificial tree that still looks great after more than 30 years!

 

What do you like to do on Christmas break?

Since I’m a working adult, I don’t have an official Christmas break anymore. However, with time off, we are planning to go to Al’s parents’ farm this year, which I love. As a kid, most of my Christmases were spent in Florida, since both sets of grandparents lived there. It was so much fun!

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

The Polar Express (2004). I grew up with the book, audio cassette, and the bell. When the movie was released, we went as a family and loved it. One of our family gifts was the DVD and soundtrack. Josh Groban’s “Believe” is one of my all-time favorite songs.

 

Where do you normally spend Christmas?

Since we married, we usually spend Christmas with one set of family. My parents are local, about 10 miles from our house. Al’s brother, our sister-in-law, and our niece live in Virginia Beach. His parents have a beautiful farm in Scottsburg, Virginia, about three hours due west of us.

What is your favorite Christmas song?

It’s so hard to pick just one! It’s cheesy, but I love “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey (1994). I always sing along and dance to it!

Be honest: Do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts? 

I love giving gifts. I have so much fun picking out things for my husband, family, and friends! Plus, this year I’m being a “Secret Santa” for three teenagers, and I’ve had such a blast shopping for them.


The Questions to My Nominees

  1. How do you celebrate Christmas?
  2. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol or hymn?
  3. Do you like snow?
  4. What is your favorite contemporary Christmas song?
  5. What does your Christmas dinner table look like?
  6. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
  7. If you could take a paid two-week break for Christmas this year, what would you do, and why?
  8. Do you have a favorite Christmas book / piece of literature?
  9. Is there a Christmas movie that you don’t like?
  10. Do you have a favorite Christmas special?

Tag! You’re It!


Happy Holidays!!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #80: “You have two ages, chronological and biological. Here’s why it matters”

Aging Quote

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

This article on CNN.com, posted on November 30th, immediately caught my eye.


Your chronological age is fairly self-explanatory – It’s based on your birthday.

Your biological age is a bit more complicated – It’s called someone’s phenotypic age.

Phenotypic: Relating to the observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

Remember biology class?

Long story short: Your biological age determines health and lifespan.

Morgan Levine, a professor and researcher at Yale Medical School, worked with her team to identify nine biomarkers in a simple blood test. Some of these biomarkers include blood sugar, kidney and liver measures, and immune and inflammatory measures.

The bottom line: People who have a lower biological age than their chronological age have a lower mortality risk.

What’s interesting about Levine and her team’s research is that your biological age is not permanent. It can be adjusted. Meaning, changing things like lifestyle, diet, exercise, and sleep habits can lower one’s mortality risk and improve one’s biological age.

Currently, Levine is working to provide access to the algorithm online so that anyone can calculate their biological age, and take further steps to improve it.


For more information:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #150: NaNoWriMo 2018 Recap

NaNoWriMo 2018

Image Credit: The Reedsy Blog

NaNoWriMo 2018 is in the books!

Here’s the link to my kick-off post:


Day 1

Today: 418
Total: 418

Not a bad start!

Day 2

Today: 199 + 880 = 1,079
Total: 1,497

Two writing sessions, on a Friday? Yes, please!

Day 3

Today: 741 + 1,364 = 2,105
Total: 3,572

Two more writing sessions today, both more successful than yesterday? I’ll take it!

Day 4

Today: 630
Total: 4,232

Not bad for a busy Sunday.

Day 5

Today: 934 + 780 = 1,714
Total: 5,946

Two productive writing sessions, and crushed the daily word count again!

Day 6

Today: 930 + 278 = 1,208
Total: 7,154

Continued productivity!

Day 7

Today: 602
Total: 7,756

Decent writing today, which I made time for the morning. I’m so glad I did – I got home around midnight after an AMAZING concert!

Day 8

Today: 128 + 163 + 967 = 1,258
Total: 9,014

A little bit of a midnight writing session before my laptop battery died. A few more minutes in the morning after a few hours of sleep. A much longer writing session after work. It feels good!

Day 9

Today: 731
Total: 9,745

I wasn’t able to do a writing session this morning, but I took some time this evening to get some more on the page.

Day 10

Today: 493
Total: 10,238

I plugged away after breakfast.

Day 11

Today: 141 + 882 = 1,023
Total: 11,261

I wrote a bit in the afternoon before headed to church for an afternoon workshop. After finishing dinner and Pitch Perfect 3, I got on a roll! I felt a bit of a slump earlier, but I got my mojo back!

Day 12

Today: 0
Total: 11,261

No writing for me today. Between getting back to the gym for the first time in two months, a full day of work, and my monthly P.E.O. meeting, I barely had time to breathe today.

Day 13

Today: 523
Total: 11,784

I took the opportunity to write in between dinner with Al and a church training session, so I was pleased.

Day 14

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Today was our third wedding anniversary, so no writing!

Day 15

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Nothing today.

Day 16

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Nothing today.

Day 17

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Nothing today.

Day 18

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Nothing today.

Day 19

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Nothing today.

Day 20

Today: 0
Total: 11,784

Nothing today.

Day 21

Today: 1,245
Total: 13,029

My writing slump is finally broken! I was able to come home early from work due to the Thanksgiving holiday. After I finished preparing the traditional chocolate mousse, I was able to knock out a solid writing session this afternoon. Hooray!

Day 22

Today: 0
Total: 13,029

Nothing today.

Day 23

Today: 0
Total: 13,029

Nothing today.

Day 24

Today: 0
Total: 13,029

Nothing today.

Day 25

Today: 0
Total: 13,029

Nothing today.

Day 26

Today: 1,692
Total: 14,721

I felt really good today! I feel like this final push will be awesome!

Day 27

Today: 0
Total: 14,721

Nothing today.

Day 28

Today: 0
Total: 14,721

Nothing today.

Day 29

Today: 0
Total: 14,721

Nothing today.

Day 30

Today: 1,357 + 403 = 1,760
Total: 16,481

I’m really happy, overall. I made a really good effort! Plus, I have 16,000 more words than I started with.


Final Thoughts

It’s a decent effort for a crazy, busy month! I’m thrilled to have finally gotten this story idea out of my head, and the beginnings of a good first draft!

I can’t wait to participate in the next Camp NaNoWriMo in 2019!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #155: The ABC Book Challenge (The Letter L)

The ABC Book Challenge - L

Here’s the link to Tiana’s post:


Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “L”:

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A Light in the Attic

  • Shel Silverstein is a household staple.

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Little House in the Big Woods (Little House #1)

  • I absolutely loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books when I was younger.

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Little Women

  • I had to read this for a project during my freshman year of high school, and ended up falling in love with it.

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Lock and Key

  • Each one of Sarah Dessen’s books has made an impact on me.

Looking for Alaska

  • I was introduced to John Green by way of this book, in my Young Adult Literature class in the spring of 2011. It’s one of my all-time favorite books.

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The Lorax


Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “L”:

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Life As We Knew It

  • I’ve read other books by Susan Beth Pfeffer, but not this one.

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Little Children

  • I want to read everything that Tom Perrotta has written.

Little & Lion

  • This book’s cover looks beautiful. Plus, I’m always interested in books that have mental health representation.

Little White Lies

  • Like Tiana, I don’t know much about debutantes, but I really want to read this book!

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Lolita

  • I’ve always wanted to read this!

 


What books have you read, or want to read, that start with the letter L? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #149: December Goals

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Image Credit:BeautyBeyondBones

Holy moly. It’s already December. December of 2018. This year absolutely FLEW BY!


Here are my goals for the month of December:

  1. Finally reach at least 50,000 words for my 2012 WIP.
  2. Finally send my 2012 WIP to my best friend for the first round of editing.
  3. Make an outline for the remainder of my 2013 WIP.
  4. Start planning next steps for my 2014 and 2018 WIPs.
  5. Decorate for Christmas.
  6. Read at least three books.
  7. Enjoy Al’s company holiday party.
  8. Seriously send some snail mail!
  9. Be a Secret Santa!
  10. Take donations to the library and thrift store.
  11. Make an “essentials only” spending list for 2019.
  12. Enjoy Christmas and New Year’s!

Here’s the breakdown:

Finally reach at least 50,000 words for my 2012 WIP.

  • I’m seriously *this close* (Imagine me making a small space between my thumb and index finger) to reaching 50,000 words!

Finally send my 2012 WIP to my best friend for the first round of editing.

  • Once I hit 50,000 words (or more), I’ll send the Word document off to Melissa! I’m so excited that she agreed to do the first round of editing!

Make an outline for the remainder of my 2013 WIP.

  • Doing all these writing projects and endeavors in 2018 is inspiring me to pick up my other WIPs. I really want to flesh out the rest of this one, tentatively titled “Specialton.”

Start planning next steps for my 2014 and 2018 WIPs.

  • Along the same lines, I want to set deadlines for outlines and fleshing out my 2014 WIP, tentatively titled “Discussion of Differences,” and my newest WIP, tentatively titled “Tunnel Vision.”

Decorate for Christmas.

  • We are going to decorate this weekend!

Read at least three books.

  • I’m nearly finished with my current book. I’m itching to finish it, and start on the next one. My nightstand stack needs to decrease!

Enjoy Al’s company holiday party.

  • I’m excited to attend the “Masquerade” on Friday, December 7th.

Seriously send some snail mail!

  • I’ve been a pen pal to an 8-year-old boy in another part of Virginia since the school year started. I can’t wait to send him a birthday card this month.
  • I also want to send some other mail to a few friends that I enjoy corresponding with throughout the year.

Be a Secret Santa!

  • I’m excited to be a “Secret Santa” to three teenagers this year!

Take donations to the library and thrift store.

  • This is self-explanatory. Clearing out the Lady Lounge and garages!

Make an “essentials only” spending list for 2019.

  • My savings account has been woefully depleted since the middle of 2017, due to high credit card bills. I’m determined to commit to saving as much money as humanly possible during 2019, so I want to make this list and stick to it.
  • A few examples: New glasses, new prescription sunglasses, a new pair of black flats/dress shoes.

Enjoy Christmas and New Year’s!

  • Both holidays will be here before we know it!

Do you have any goals for the month of December?

If so, I’d love to hear about them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂