What’s Up Wednesday

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you.

{Please make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, other participants can visit your blog and check out what you’ve been up to. In that same spirit, I urge you to visit as many new blogs as you can every Wednesday. The most awesome aspect of What’s Up Wednesday and Ready. Set. Write is that they include a built-in support system. Let’s make sure we’re rooting each other on and offering as much encouragement as we can. Who knows… You might make an awesome new writing buddy, or a find a fantastic beta reader, or hook up with an amazing critique partner!}

And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and felt sort of eh about it. I didn’t hate it, but I was unsatisfied with the ending. Still, the writing is beautiful, so it’s worth checking if you like literary fiction. I also finished Where the Stars Still Shine, which I absolutely LOVED. I’ll tell you more about it in a future Bookanista post, but I will say that I adored main character Callie, and I’m head-over-heels for Alex. *swoon* Now, I’m reading Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. I’ve yet to find a witch (or caster) story I really like, but so far I’m very much enjoying this one. Jessica’s writing is gorgeous, the alternate history is fascinating, and I’m digging spunky main character Cate. Can’t wait till I get to those steamy kisses I keep hearing about.

What I’m Writing: Still plugging away on my WiP! I’ve managed to keep up my 500-ish words-a-day average with a total of 3,084 words this week, just barely meeting my goal. I’ve surpassed the 16K word mark, which is exciting, and I’m starting to find a real groove with my characters. Knowing what they’d do and how they’d feel in a given situation is becoming more instinctual, and now that I’ve nailed down their backstories and motivations, their interactions are flowing quicker, and much more smoothly. I’m an edit-as-I-go first drafter and that’s slowing me down a bit, but I think that by the time I finish this sucker, it’ll be something I can work with. That’s about all we can ask of our first drafts, right?

I’m going to adjust my word count goal for this week. Instead of 3000 words, I’m going to shoot for a slightly more manageable 2000. We have family visiting and a busy weekend ahead, so my writing time is going to be limited. Still, I vow to hold on to the momentum I’ve found since starting Ready. Set. Write!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: As usual, things have been crazy around here…


I’ve been baking — surprise, surprise. I bought a package of Snickerdoodles for my daughter and her friend the other day. Of course I had to taste one, and it was so unsatisfying I decided to try my hand at baking some from scratch. I found a recipe at my favorite baking blog and whipped up a double batch. Oh my goodness… So yummy. And so much better than the store-bought variety!


Over the weekend, I took my cutie for a hair cut. When I asked her if she wanted her usual trim, she said, “Nope. I want my hair cut like Kit Kittredge‘s.” So that’s what we went for. While I think my girlie looks absolutely adorable, the mama in me is kind of freaking out. She also looks so much older. *sniffle*

  
On Sunday we went hiking deep in The Los Padres National Forest, which is so scenic. After our hike and a picnic, we searched for some hot springs we’d heard about and, after a treacherous sixty-minute drive down an isolated one-lane dirt road, we came across the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, a Buddhist monastery that has turned the hot springs into Japanese baths and welcomes both practicing Buddhists and paying guests. Rather than strip down and hop into the baths with a bunch of very rustic-looking strangers, we skipped the hot springs and toured the grounds instead. The monastery is beautiful, and so peaceful. I wouldn’t mind spending a few days there with my manuscript and my yoga mat.


We have family visiting! My husband’s sister, her husband, and their three kiddos drove all the way from Washington to Central California to see us, and we’re so happy! We’ve been having lots of fun checking out the sights (the other day we went to the Winchester Mystery House — totally bizarre), and just hanging out. My girlie is thrilled to spend so much time with her cousins!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Lots. My fellow Ready. Set. Write! participants and their stellar progress. The Twitter writing parties I’ve been participating in. The gorgeous summer scenery in our part of the country. I’m also feeling incredibly inspired by my recent read, Where the Stars Still Shine. It’s just the sort of book I long to write. Reading it made me want to work harder so one day, hopefully I can.

What’s up with you today?

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60 responses to “What’s Up Wednesday

  1. Snickerdoodles!!! Now, I’m inspired :)
    Love your daughter’s haircut. So cute. And congrats on hitting that word count goal. Sounds like you have a busy week ahead. Have fun!

    • Thanks, Tonja! You should definitely check out that Snickerdoodle recipe. I was worried I’d end up with flat, hard cookies, but they turned out perfectly… Yum!

  2. Baking and hiking is fun!! Your little girl is cute!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Awesome job on meeting your word count goal, Katy! And it is such an amazing place when our characters become so real that they are informing us as to their actions :) Aw, I love so much C’s haircut! E got one too this week, and she also wanted to go shorter. She is a huge fan of Kit Kittredge as well! So fun to have family in town, and absolutely loved hearing about your hiking adventure! There is something so fun about driving and driving (especially on a dirt road!) and not having a clue as to what neat things await :) Hope you have an amazing week, Katy <3

    • Tem, I hope that someday our girls will meet and have the opportunity to play. I think they would have such fun together! And yes, the writing is coming easier now and is much more fun now that I’ve got a handle on the characters. Here’s hoping the flow continues. :)

  4. katharineowens

    Lovely to see all of your adventures and catch up. I heard a podcast on the Winchester Mystery House from Stuff You Should Know. WOW. Fascinating. I have a chef friend who loved lemon cake, but I haven’t heard much from others about it. Where the Stars Still Shine sounds fab. Happy writing week!

    • Thanks, Kat! Yes, the Winchester Mystery House was really interesting. Mrs. Winchester seemed to be an eccentric kook, but her oddness sure produced a fascinating house. And yes, I can’t wait for EVERYONE to read WtSSS. It’s such a gorgeous story!

  5. I’d love to go to the Winchester Mystery House. I’ve heard so much about it from a number of the books I’ve read and programs I’ve seen on paranormal phenomena. That monastery also sounds awesome.

  6. Alison Miller

    Sooo…I think Alison just needs to break her budget and order WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE already. Also, YAY for achieving wc goals! Have I told you how anxious I am for you to finish so I can read it? :)

    Also, I LOVE the haircut! And that it was inspired by Kit Kittredge! Have a wonderful time with the family this week!

    • Well, you can wait until September to break your budget, since WtSSS isn’t out until then. But yes, it’s TOTALLY worth it. I thought SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL was amazing, but I loved WtSSS even more! Happy writing this week, friend!

  7. Glad you’re having good family time. I hope you can get in some time to write this week and meet your goals, but if not–I think that’s okay, too. If you are writing, please Tweet me, and I’ll see if I can join you!

    This time around I’m editing as I write, too, but I’m doing a rewrite, so I don’t know if it counts. :) Have a good week!

    • I’ll definitely let you know next time I’m writing, Liz. Our family takes off on Friday, so I will hopefully have some time then, and then later this weekend. Happy writing until then. :)

  8. Glad you’re reaching your writing goals! It’s always smart to be realistic and to adjust when you need to. :-)

    Um. Okay. So I have no idea what Snickerdoodles are? What are they? Are they, like, biscuits?

  9. Her hair does look just like Kit Kittredge – adorable!

    I’ve been dealing with the backstory/motivation issue, too – think I’ve almost got it figured out, though.

    Enjoy your family time and have a great weekend!

    • Glad you’re getting your story figured out, Jennifer. That backstory/motivation stuff is so rough for me in the beginning. Hopefully we’re both in the clear from here on out. :)

  10. Great job keeping up with your writing goals! I LOVED American Girl dolls growing up, your daughter looks adorable, the hair is just like Kit’s.

    Those snickerdoodles look delicious, I love baking and baking blogs so thanks for sharing this one…I think I’ll have to make some treats of my own this weekend :) Have a great week!

    • Thanks, Patrice! My daughter is obsessed with all things American Girl. I like that there are books associated with each doll because we have lots of fun reading them together. :)

      I highly recommend that Snickerdoodle recipe. I’d never made them before, but my cookies turned out perfectly. Pretty much every recipe on that blog is awesome.

  11. 16k is awesome! So great. And I can’t wait to read Where The Stars Still Shine. I thought Born Wicked was really well done, but didn’t fall head over heels in love, but the writing is great. Baking, yum, I gained 5 pounds just looking at the picture.

    • I’m excited to see how BORN WICKED pans out. I think Jessica’s writing is fantastic and I’m really liking Cate so far. And yes, if you like Snickerdoodles, that recipe is pretty much no-fail. Yum!

  12. Yay Katy! So happy for you on 16k (damn gurrrrl), and C’s new haircut. Kit is awesome (though my personal favorite is the sadly-discontinued Felicity! Love me some American Revolution history ;) ). I am sooo glad you are reading BORN WICKED and enjoying it. The second book is even better than the first. We MUST chat after you are done w/BW! Funny – I am about 10 pages into SEA OF TRANQUILITY – maybe we are channeling each other…
    Because of a cover reveal today, I am doing my Whats Up Wednesday post tomorrow. :) Have a good week and good luck continuing your kick butt writing goals :D

    • I liked Felicity too, Rachel, though Kirsten was my favorite. I recently read C MEET KIRSTEN and she really liked it. I’ll definitely let you know about BORN WICKED once I finish reading. I suspect I’m going to end up loving it. :) Happy writing!

  13. I have a love/hate relationship with books that make me want to write. I become full of self-doubt, but then I’m inspired to write also. :)

    • I often feel the same way, Jennie. Though, with this one, I really just felt motivated. The characters felt so real and their emotions were so authentic — I want to write like that too!

  14. Your blog is always full of tasty things! omg SNICKERDOODLES! So much love! <3

    Congratulations on hitting your targets. 16k is fantastic!

    What a beautiful place to go for a walk. Wow, what an inspiring landscape. Thanks for sharing.

    Have an awesome week!

  15. YUM YUM YUM! Snickerdoodles! Love those! The homemade ones are definitely the best and I´m sure yours would have me drool <3

    I can´t wait for WHEN THE STARS STILL SHINE to come out :D If it´s a Katy Book, it´s a book I need to read.

    Congrats on your progress Katy :D And cheering you on for next week!

    Enjoy the time with your family :D

  16. Yay for meeting your writing goal this week! And double yay for a double batch of snickerdoodles. YUM.

    Your daughter’s haircut looks so adorable, and your hiking adventures sound really fun! Enjoy your family time. :)

  17. Snickerdoodles are some of my faves. I used to go to the Union Square Green Market when I lived in New York, and one of the vendors had giant, soft, chewy snickerdoodles. Yummy heaven. We just said goodbye to out of town guests, as well. Also, good work on your word count progress!

  18. Congratulations in reaching you goal for the week, those 500 words a day really add up. I’m so pleased I signed up for Ready, Set, Write it’s great to see everyone making progress.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about Where the Stars still Shine, sounds great. I’ve heard many good things about Born Wicked, hope you’ve found a witch story you love.

    Your daughter looks adorable with her new hair cut.

    Good luck with the 2000 words this week and enjoy your visits.

    • Thanks so much, Alexa. :-) I’m so glad you signed up for Ready. Set. Write! too! It’s been so inspiring to see how everyone’s progressing and rooting for one another. :-)

  19. Yay for knowing your characters so well! I edit-as-I-go, too, but I occasionally have to keep myself from overdoing it. :P
    Those cookies look sooo good! Lol, I love that terrible store-bought cookies were your motivators. :)
    I hope you enjoy your time with your family–your pictures of the kiddos are lovely. It looks like they are great friends!
    Good luck with the writing!

    • Thank you, Rae! I have to silence my inner editor sometimes too, otherwise I’d spend months tinkering with my first chapter. Good luck with your writing as well!

  20. I love those books that make you want to be a better writer–even though they sometimes make me despair at how far away I am from where I want to be!

    • That happens to me sometimes too, Rebecca, though oddly enough, not so much with WtSSS. The characters felt so real and their emotions were so authentic — totally inspiring!

  21. That is adorable that your daughter wanted Kit Kittridge hair. I love it! I am kind of a sucker for chatty little girls.
    Great idea to modify your writing goals for Life stuff. I think that’s a hard thing to grasp sometimes, and we feel like a failure (we meaning ME) if we don’t get as much done because of family, friends, other stuff. Planning around that ahead of time is super helpful, I am learning.
    Lastly, I love snickerdoodles. Have a wonderful week!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! Definitely try that cookie recipe if you like Snickerdoodles — so yummy! And yes, I think it’s necessary to adjust goals to take life into account. I don’t want to knowingly set myself up for failure.

      I hope you have an awesome writing week!

  22. Great work on writing goals and baking! I’m glad you mentioned motivation and backstory; I’m realizing that I need to slow down and build some of that for my supporting characters. I’ve made some discoveries about them as I go along that need to be consolidated. Do you have particular exercises you use to develop that kind of thing, or do you just make notes for yourself?

    • I wish I did, but not really. I do some preliminary character worksheets and such, which are helpful, but mostly it takes me just jumping into the story and getting to really know the characters. Do you have any tips for me? :-)

  23. I love that your daughter wanted Kit Kittredge hair. So cute!
    I felt similarly eh about LEMON CAKE. Great language, great writing, but ultimately I expected more from it.

    • I remember your review of LEMON CAKE, Rebecca. The premise is so intriguing, so when I saw it at the library the other day, I couldn’t pass it up. I’m glad I read it, but yeah… Not a favorite.

  24. Awesome pictures as always, Katy! And your daughter’s haircut is so cute! I totally get the weepiness that comes with those milestones. My son is now officially taller than me. Sniff. (not that it’s hard since I’m short, but still) I’m so envious of all the amazing places you have to hike in your area! I think I’d be out walking a lot more if we had such scenic spots to visit here.

    You’re doing so great on your WIP! Good luck on this week’s goals and have fun visiting your family!

    • Thanks so much, Erin! You’ll have to visit central California one of these days. It’s beautiful, and very inspirational. You’ll be able to get lots of hiking in. :-)

  25. Mmm…cookies…

    Those pictures of your hike look so amazing. I’m glad you all had such a great time together.

    Man, my envy about people who have already read Trish Dollar’s book knows no bounds! I am so anxious to get my hands on it.

    Congrats on your writing goals! Good luck this week.

  26. Congrats on hitting the 16K mark! You’re coming along nicely. And good luck hitting you goals for the coming week. We definitely need to have some writing session—those are basically the reason I’m moving so fast through this draft!

    And I’m interested to see what you think of BORN WICKED. I really enjoyed it (Cate’s first kiss with the boy–I won’t say which–is great) so I’m curious whether it will put witch books back in your good graces. :)

    • I have a feeling BORN WICKED is going to change my opinion of witch books. I’m halfway through and digging it. Also, Cate’s first kiss BETTER be with Finn. He’s adorable!

      And yes, Twitter writing sessions… It’s a date!

  27. I’m an edit as you go writer as well. I wish I wasn’t but I can’t help it! Those snickerdoodles look so good. I’ll most definitely have to try that recipe. Good luck in hitting 2000 words. Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks so much, Amy! Why is it so hard to quiet our inner editors? Mostly I think editing as I go is a good thing, but there are times I’d rather just find a groove and fall into it, without worrying about trying to make everything perfect.

      And yes… Totally try that Snickerdoodle recipe. :)

  28. Your girlie looks so ADORABLE with her Kit Kittredge, Girl Reporter haircut! She looks just like her. I heard the incredibly sad news today that Molly is going away.

    Umm, so yeah, I’m a bit of an American Girls fan (the historical ones).

    Your snickerdoodles look amazing!

    Enjoy your weekend!

    • Thanks, Sara! I’m totally an American Girl fan too, even more so now that my daughter is so into them. I grew up reading the historical books and I’m trying to push my love of Kirsten on my daughter. I really wish they weren’t retiring all of the classic girls. Boo.

      Definitely try that Snickerdoodle recipe if you’re a fan. :)

  29. Snickerdoodles! Best cookie ever. Sounds like things are great for you on the writing front! I hope it only gets better for you this week.

  30. Kit was my favorite American girl! Although my favorite up until she was added was Samantha, because even back then I loved all things Victorian, apparently.

    I TRY to spew all my words onto the page and then edit later, but it never works out that way. Especially with my new WIP, when I was feeling so unmotivated I decided to send it to a couple CPs, and there was no way I was sending them the incoherent mess I had. Whatever gets the thing written…

    Good luck getting your writing in this week, and have fun with your family! :)

  31. Those snickerdoodles look yummy! My doodles never come out as soft as I want it to be. I bake a lot of cookies but they’re never as chewy as I imagine they will be. Is it the butter vs. Crisco? Do I over bake? Hmm.

    Great job meeting your goals this week! And your little princess is a doll! She really looks like KK in that picture! <3. I love American Girl, I think as much as my daughter does. We only have one doll. I mean, *she* only has one doll, but we have a blast taking her around with us. :)

    • I prefer butter to Crisco, and I line my sheets with foil. I’ve found that it helps to give the cookies their intended texture. The link I provided with my Snickerdoodle photo seems to be no-fail. If you try it, let me know. :-)

      My girlie and I have lots of fun playing American Girls too. It’s fun to dress them up and do their hair… My daughter loves it (and I do too!).

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