Time Flies!: June 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

It feels right to start off this month’s Time Flies with a big “thank-you” hug for everyone’s support recently. You were right: I didn’t need to worry about how downsizing my blogging schedule would affect things here. Plus, I feel more relaxed now that I’ve accepted my new time limitations and am focusing on quality and enjoyment instead of quantity and pace. This was the right choice, and I thank you all so much for encouraging me to do what was best for me.

Stitch hug

Speaking of change, I’ve altered the format of Time Flies this month. It’s not too different from what it was before, but you’ll see what I mean as this post goes on. So, let’s get to it!

Oh – and I’m still looking for questions for the upcoming blogoversary interview! Read here to learn how you can submit them. The deadline is Tuesday, July 5th! 😉

This Month’s Posts

Interviews, Guest Blogs, and Columns

Site Updates

What I’ve Been Doing Offline

June was the first relaxing month I’ve had in a while. Nothing exciting or stressful happened… which was strange, given how busy 2016 has been so far. That’s a good thing, though. The craziness will come back in August and September, with a trip to Writer’s Digest Conference and then my friend’s wedding (the one where I’ll be a bridesmaid) 3 weeks later. So, right now I’m savoring and taking advantage of this quiet span.

I visited my parents on Cape Cod for two weekends. Two of my Maine aunts also came one weekend, and we took them to some local gift shops, ate a lot of food (*lol*), and played a couple rounds of Clue, which I hadn’t played in ages! (Thus the animated GIF below.) The other visit was during my dad’s birthday weekend, and we celebrated by visiting Heritage Gardens & Museums in Sandwich and then lunch at the Dolphin Restaurant in Barnstable. I highly recommend their crab melt sandwich. Mmmmmmm.

Apparently there's a "Clue" movie. I MUST FIND THIS.

Apparently there’s a “Clue” movie. I MUST FIND THIS.

Also, remember the tea-blending project inspired by my WIP? I’m finally back on it. It’s not quite done yet, but it’s close. I’m satisfied with blends for two more characters (Vandar and Doni) and still have three more to figure out. Hopefully last month’s package of Adagio samples will finish things up, so I might be able to give away more samples in the future.

Heritage 062516_01

One of the photos I took at Heritage Museums & Gardens last weekend

By the way, if anyone is wondering why I haven’t shared any photos here in the past couple months… The camera I got as a gift this past Christmas stopped working back in May. Good news, though: Since the camera was still under warranty, I took a chance and sent it back to the manufacturer – and IT WORKS AGAIN! 😀  Turns out the main control board had died, so Nikon replaced it, and now it’s as good as new. So now I can share pictures of my “Cape-scapades” and other things again here and on Twitter.

What I’ve Been Writing (a.k.a. TKC Update)

As of last night, I’ve finished editing Chapter 13 of The Keeper’s Curse and have read through Chapter 14. This puts me at roughly 38% through Draft #3, so watch for new Chronicling The Craft posts for the 40% milestone in July! I’ll also have EXCITING news about Draft #3’s progress – and that’s all I’ll say for now. 😉

What I’ve Been Watching

I haven’t gone to the movies lately, so all I’ve watched recently has been…

Orphan Black. The show’s fourth season ended 2 weeks ago, and… Gosh, I’m still REELING from it. I always knew the executive-clone Rachel was ruthless, but now she’s taken it to a whole new level – and I was NOT expecting that. 😮  And thanks to her character, I might be in #CloneClub therapy until next season. If you’re a fellow fan, feel free to join me. I could use the company.

Speaking of next season: BBC America has announced that Orphan Black has been renewed for a fifth and final season in 2017. Apparently a five-season run was the showrunners’ original vision, so it’s great that we’ll get to see this crazy genre-mashup show wrap up naturally. But it’s also sad to know the end is near. If you haven’t started watching Orphan Black yet, now is a great time to catch up on Seasons 1 through 4.

And what about Game of Thrones? Holy… I… can’t… even. Last weekend’s season finale was a monster, in the most positive sense of that word. It was beautiful, suspenseful, horrifying, and full of revelations. (Especially the BIG ONE, if you know what I mean.) An incredible end to an overall amazing season, with some of the best acting we’ve seen so far on the show. Not to mention my mind is already on overdrive, just by thinking about where everyone’s storylines will go from here.

If I have any critiques for Season 6 of GoT, it would be the inconsistent timing between events. Sometimes characters traveled from Point A to Point B a lot faster than possible, or the passage of time between scenes or episodes didn’t make sense. I hope the showrunners can rectify that in Season 7… but overall, this was a WOW of a season, and it’s hard to believe we may be down to the last season or two. Then again, with the way this finale ended, it’s clear that The End is in sight.

As always, I’m happy to chat about Orphan Black or Game of Thrones with other fans, here or on Twitter. Please remember, though: No spoilers, in case other people haven’t watched them yet!

What I’ve Been Listening To

I’ve been on a Katatonia kick lately, thanks to their new album The Fall of Hearts. The best way to describe this Swedish band’s music is gothic rock/metal with progressive influences. It’s melodic, nuanced, full of contrasts, and surprisingly catchy in spots; and while their lyrics focus on loss, alienation, and loneliness, there’s also a sense of transcending those feelings to find something better. “Old Heart Falls” is one of the best examples of this from the new CD.

The best part about my Katatonia phase, apart from enjoying their new songs? Their music reminds me of Nomaro, one of the protagonists in a novella I’m planning to write. So, I feel like listening to The Fall of Hearts is psyching me up for that story. Yay! 🙂

I also dug out my two Sarah McLachlan albums recently. She’s the opening act for Josh Groban’s summer tour, and I’m going to their Boston show next month with my mother and a couple friends. (OH YAH – I’m seeing Josh Groban in concert AGAIN! 😀 ) It’s been nice to revisit Afterglow and Surfacing. I’d forgotten how much I liked songs like “Building a Mystery” (above), “Adia,” “World On Fire,” and “Angel.” The only problem? I don’t have any of her more recent CDs – and I’m sure she’ll play songs from them during her set! Does anyone have recommendations?

What I’ve Been Sipping: Relax and Renew Herbal Tea from Soluna Garden Farms 

Photo courtesy of Soluna Garden Farms

Photo courtesy of Soluna Garden Farms

I’m getting ready to post my last tea review for A Bibliophile’s Reverie (*sniffle*); and since many readers here enjoy tea, I thought this might be a good spot to give a monthly tea recommendation. 🙂

This month, I’ve chosen Relax and Renew from Soluna Garden Farms in Winchester, Massachusetts. This herbal tisane blends savory rosemary and cloves with lavender, spearmint, and chamomile. Sure, it sounds like an odd combination, but it doesn’t smell or taste that way. Each brew is bright and refreshing, highlighted by a sweet, herbaceous fragrance, a smooth texture, and a floral, minty profile ending in a clean, lightly spicy aftertaste. This is a delightfully harmonious tea that can soothe you after a long, stressful day at work or cheer you up in the middle of the day.

Think you might like Relax and Renew? Check it out here at Soluna Garden Farms’ website.

How Quickly Does Time Fly?

The next Time Flies will post on Thursday, July 28th. It’s a few days earlier than usual, but with my new blogging schedule it will be the last time I post something that month.

Stay cool and be safe now that summer’s here! 🙂

38 thoughts on “Time Flies!: June 2016

  1. So glad that you are getting a chance to relax a bit more – and that your readers are staying loyal (why wouldn’t they? All the same, you aren’t exactly proning around doing nothing, are you? Glad the camera has been fixed – it certainly sounds like there was a fundimental fault with it. I LOVE the Sarah McLachlan track – I do have a couple of her albums, but I haven’t got that particular offering and I definitely want it! Hope you have a lovely July – our dire political situation is being mirrored by the atrocious weather at present, but I keep telling myself it’s got to get better – right??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sarah. 🙂 And that’s a good point. It’s not as though I’ve gone away altogether.

      You have no idea how relieved I am about getting the camera fixed. It just… stopped working – it wouldn’t turn on, even with new batteries. So I’m glad I took advantage of Nikon’s 1 year warranty and was able to get it fixed. I used it for its first “big outing” last weekend at Heritage Museums & Gardens with my parents, and I can’t believe how good the photos came out.

      “Surfacing” is my favorite of the two Sarah McLachlan albums I currently own, so I definitely recommend it. It has some of Sarah’s biggest hits like “Angel,” “Sweet Surrender,” and “Adia,” so it’s definitely one to collect. I’m planning to buy her newest album “Shine,” since she’ll probably play a number of songs from it at her Josh Groban show.

      I’ve been meaning to ask you your thoughts on the Brexit situation… Politics isn’t one of my strengths, but I’m aware of the effects it’s had on the world economy, and how people are still divided on whether it was a good decision. It reminds me a little of America’s current political circus (that’s the only appropriate word to describe it right now), and I’m a little nervous about where things may be heading here…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always read your monthly recaps and then feel as if everything I’ve done the previous month has been put to shame X’D So busy! But I’m so glad you’ve had time to relax and that things haven’t been so crazy. I’m so excited for you to reach the 40% mark on TKC; rooting for you like always! And, well . . . the plus side about my writing is that I HAVE finally gotten some new content written on MAGPIES. Unfortunately, I’ve been combing through those same 1 k words over and over again, because while it’s where I want to start this draft, I haven’t been able to go on to the next scene; luckily I think my mistake was that I’d left a character out. Hopefully, I can move on soon O_O

    Anyway, good luck with the upcoming month, and have fun with your summer! And thanks for the music; I definitely think I’ll be looking into more of Katatonia’s music. It has an amazing sound *o*

    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* Semi-crazy is going to be my norm for a while, I think. Especially now that, for the most part, I won’t be home every other weekend. I’m afraid to think about mid-August through Labor Day weekend, though. Between Writer’s Digest Conference and my friend’s wedding, it’s going to be nuts!

      That’s tough when you’re stuck on a scene (especially a new one you’re adding to a WIP) and not sure where to go or how to transition to the older material after that. But it sounds like you might have a solution. Keep pushing forward, and don’t lose faith, Rae.

      Yay for Katatonia! 🙂 If you’re looking for recommendations, I love their new album The Fall of Hearts as well as their past two CDs (Dead End Kings and Night Is the New Day). The last one has the strongest, truest metal feel to it, but I love the atmospheres of certain songs. Speaking of songs, here are some of my favorites (if that might help):
      – The Fall of Hearts: “Old Heart Falls,” “Residual,” “Takeover,” “Serein,” “Last Song Before the Fade”
      – Dead End Kings: “Ambitions,” “The Parting,” “Dead Letters,” “Buildings,” “First Prayer”
      – Night Is The New Day: “Forsaker,” “Onward Into Battle,””The Promise of Deceit,” “Day and Then the Shade”

      As you can see, I have trouble limiting myself to just a few songs. XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I looked over the photos on Twitter and that have turned out really well. 🙂 I’m glad your camera got fixed. This reminds me to buy new batteries for my old one which has been gathering dust since more than a year.
    Congrats on the progress of TKC’s third draft! I wonder what that big announcement is all about… 😉
    I love going through your posts, as always, and don’t mind the reduction. Especially the advice on writing, which are extremely helpful.
    About the sixth season of GoT (and since you have a ‘no spoilers’ rule), I thought the finale started with some amazing music! 😀
    You seem to have some busy months ahead, so good luck with all your WIP goals and blogging goals too. Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nandini! I’m really glad (and thankful) about the camera working again. And I agree, the photos from last weekend turned out fantastic. I’m not an expert photographer, though; the camera deserves most of the credit.

      *lol* I’d love to say TKC is being published, but it’s way, WAY too soon for something like that. This has more to do with a goal I was hoping to accomplish for this draft.

      Re: the reduced blogging schedule, thanks for understanding. 🙂 I feel a lot more relaxed and comfortable about things here, and having a more focused “niche” (for lack of a better word) helps as well.

      And I agree with you about the music for the GoT finale’s opening scene. It set the perfect tone for what was about to happen. Chills-inducing, really.

      I just remembered your recent blogging “hiatus,” btw. Are you back now because you have a new computer?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I’m no expert on photography either. But since I’m in my final of bachelor’s degree and I may be moving out of my house by next year, I’m experimenting a lot with cooking in this break. I’d like to document that with some nice photos, which is why I need to get that camera up and running.
        Yes, I will be keeping to my posting schedule from July religiously. It’s such a delight to finally catch up on all my favourite blogs. I’m seriously behind on commenting. I feel bad about neglecting that, but there was nothing I could do for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great idea! Are you planning to try dishes that are new to you for the most part? Or some old favorites or family recipes as well?

        It’s good to see you back then. 🙂 And it must feel like a relief, too. Having no computer (and/or Internet) for any length of time can make you feel cut off from the rest of the world. Take your time catching up with things.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A bit of both because I’ll miss home food if I get my own place, but I love trying out new things. I know quite a bit of South Indian recipes by now, so it’ll mostly be other cuisines I’m interested in. It’s very hard to find vegetarian recipes to try out though. :/
        Yes, it’s a huge relief. My July schedule is still going to be very hectic, so I need to do some planning (I was just making a to-do list actually) to get all of it done. I don’t know how successful I’ll be in the catching up process since I have all this new stuff to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve got to get on the Orphan Black bandwagon…now that the series is ending I feel a binge watch is the best way to go. And yay for relaxing! Glad you’re not as stressed out about writing and blogging. That can definitely take a toll on your mental well being:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like it’s been a super busy month. I wasn’t able to get Orphan Black in Canada, sadly, but hopefully it’ll show up on a streaming service somewhere eventually.

    For the first time in over 10 months yesterday, I sat down and WROTE. For my WIP, not my blog. It was so liberating, and I think my slump is nearly over! Woohoo!! I just have to watch my wrists, as they weren’t prepared for that much keyboard time. 😛

    Those zodiac files look super interesting. I’ll have to check them out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It didn’t feel that busy, though. Probably because the previous months had been a whirlwind. But this is my new normal, now that I’m Cape-bound every 2 or 3 weekends, and I’m OK with that.

      Good for you on the writing! 😀 Are you figuring out your new routine now that you’re getting settled in Canada?

      Like

  6. So much to comment on!
    It sounds like you had a really beautiful month! It’s important to find time to relax and spend time with family.
    I still have to watch the fourth season of Orphan Black and the sixth season finale of GoT! I’ll be hopefully catching up on those in July!
    You’re so lucky to be going to a concert with Sarah McLachlan AND Josh Groban! I also only have her Surfacing and Afterglow albums and the songs on them are just beautiful! I hope you enjoy it when you go!
    Hopefully July will be just as wonderful as June!
    Stay well ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhhh, you’ve got so much to catch up on with both shows! Let me know when you’ve had a chance to finish either season.

      Doesn’t that sound like a lovely concert lineup? 🙂 This will be my fifth time seeing Josh Groban live, and it never gets old. But it’ll be my first time seeing Sarah McLachlan live – which reminds me. I need to get her latest album so I can get familiar with it before the show!

      Have a great July too, Faith. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I keep holding back on the GOT finale, because I don’t want the season to be over 😛 But once I watch it, I’ll let you know!
        It’s the best concert line up! Have fun catching up on her newest material. Let me know how you feel it compares
        Take care ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad to hear you’ve had a relaxing month! Those are nice every now and then.

    OH MY GOD GOT!!! I LOVED the final two episodes. They were so epic. And I know what you mean about the random timing of travel. I’m hoping that a reasonable amount of time passed and they just failed to indicate how long it actually took.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I need to watch Orphan Black!! I just finished Jessica Jones (which was amazing, in my humble and very picky opinion), and I want to move on to something with a similar tone. It’s going to be either Daredevil or Orphan Black… but which to choose first?? Hmm…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad this month was much more relaxing for you, Sara. I can’t wait to hear what the exciting news about TKC is! I also like your new addition of tea reviews here: recommending your favorite of the month. 🙂
    And now I must hurry and write up my June summary post before I procrastinate with it any longer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, E. 🙂 You’ll find out the “exciting news” for TKC (it’s nothing earth-shattering, really, but it’s good news about one of my goals for Draft #3) on Tuesday 7/19. That’s when the next Chronicling The Craft post is scheduled to post. 😉

      I’m glad you like the new tea section! It seemed like a good spot for it.

      *lol* Go go go!

      Liked by 1 person

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