Time Flies!: July 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.

Ahhhhh. What a lovely month this has been. I sort of feel sad that July is almost over, because it’s the most relaxed I’ve been all year. (With the exception of a flat tire earlier this week. :/ ) So I want to savor that feeling a little longer.

Bilbo Rivendell_2

August is going to be super-busy, though. The Writer’s Digest Conference is in 2 weeks, and Doctor Friend’s wedding (the one where I’ll be a bridesmaid) is 3 weeks later. My head spins just thinking about those events… But I think I have almost  everything I need for both, so I’m not too stressed out. Well, not yet, anyway.

Ifyou’re wondering, I don’t anticipate taking a blogging hiatus next month. However, it may take me longer than usual to respond to comments, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me right away.

Now, let’s get to this month’s recap!

This Month’s Posts

Interviews, Guest Blogs, and Columns

**My review of Plum Deluxe’s Self-Care Herbal Tea is my final tea review for A Bibliophile’s Reverie.

Site Updates

  • The Protagonist-Antagonist Relationship Themes Worksheet is now available for download at Worksheets for Writers.

What I’ve Been Doing Offline

Like June, July was relatively calm. Apart from a concert this coming Saturday (see “What I’ve Been Listening To” to find out more!), most of my plans were laid-back. I had some friends over for dinner on a Friday night, and met another friend for dinner on the 4th of July. Otherwise, I’ve been home editing, relaxing, and staying in air conditioning. I like summer, but not when it gets too hot or humid (or worse, both).

Cape Cod July 2016 Collage

Click the collage to view it at full size.

I visited my parents on Cape Cod again, too. We had lunch at the Dunbar Tea Room in Sandwich (also an excellent spot for buying loose-leaf tea) and visited three of the local beaches. The above collage shows some of my favorite photos I took that weekend:

  • Top Row: Bass River Beach @ Yarmouth, MA. We went so I could see the dragon sand sculpture from last month’s annual Summer Celebration. Unfortunately the boy dragonrider’s head was gone (apparently because of vandals *grrrrrr*), but for being 4 weeks old, the sculpture was in amazing shape!
  • Middle Row: Breakwater Beach @ Brewster, MA. When it’s low tide at Breakwater Beach, the tide goes WAY out. You can walk almost 1 mile into Cape Cod Bay then, and find hermit crabs and snails in the sand. The clouds from an offshore thunderstorm that night made for some gorgeous pre-sunset photos, too.
  • Bottom Row: Mayflower Beach @ Dennis, MA. Taken the same evening as the Breakwater Beach photos, except during and right after sunset, and with the same storm clouds in the distance.

I also stopped at Market Street Bookshop, one of my favorite indie booksellers on Cape Cod. Not only is the staff friendly and knowledgeable, but the SF&F selection there (both YA and adult) is fantastic! Here’s a photo of my book haul from there.

MktStBks July 2016

My recent book haul from the Market Street Bookshop. Have you read any of these?

The cutest event of the month, though? I attended a baby shower for one of my college friends! She’s due in mid-September, and she and her husband have decided to wait until the baby’s born to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl. So, the function hall was decorated with neutral yellows and greens as well as blues and pinks. It was adorable, and Mom-to-Be’s mother and mother-in-law did a wonderful job planning the party, with lots of food, games, and prizes for guests. (I won a home pedicure kit!) It was also great to catch up with friends, since it had been a while since we last saw each other.

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

Chapter 18 of The Keeper’s Curse is done editing-wise, so I’m just over halfway through Draft #3 now. I’m expecting progress to slow a bit in August, with everything that will be going on then. But that doesn’t dampen how pleased I am with this draft so far. 🙂

What I’ve Been Watching

I saw Star Trek Beyond with my brother during my Cape trip. I’m not a huge fan of the Star Trek TV shows (not for a lack of trying, though), but I’m familiar enough with the franchise that I’ve enjoyed the reboot films. And Beyond was pretty good! I had some quibbles with how Spock’s and Captain Kirk’s internal struggles were downplayed for most of the film. But hey, it’s a fun space adventure, with aliens and lots of explosions, and a reminder of the power of teamwork. Plus, new character Jaylah kicks major butt, and Idris Elba is RULES, no matter if he plays a good guy or a villain.

What I’ve Been Listening To

Last month I mentioned that I wanted to buy new music by Sarah McLachlan to get into the spirit of her upcoming Boston show with Josh Groban. (It’s this Saturday night – yay!) I ended up getting 2014’s Shine On and 2010’s Laws of Illusion. (The above track, “Surrender and Certainty,” is from Shine On.) They’re pretty good, with more variety and less atmosphere than her older albums while retaining her thoughtful, folksy sound. I think Surfacing is still my favorite album by Sarah, but getting acquainted with her more recent material has been a delight.

And of course, I’ve been listening to Josh Groban because of his upcoming show! (Why wouldn’t I? *wink*) So, I’ll share a song of his that I hope he’ll perform that night. Here’s his amazing rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” from his latest album Stages.

What I’ve Been Sipping: Whispering Pines’s Golden Lily Oolong Tea

Photo courtesy of Whispering Pines

Photo courtesy of Whispering Pines

I love drinking oolong tea while writing or editing, especially when I’m home on weekends so I can resteep the leaves several times. One particular gem I’ve enjoyed lately is Golden Lily, a milky oolong from Whispering Pines Tea Company.

Never heard of a milky oolong before? It has a distinct, creamy texture that adds depth to this otherwise delicate tea. It also smells creamy, in a vanilla, coconut, and tropical fruit way. Flavor-wise, Golden Lily balances floral undertones with pineapple and mango notes, with a slight grassy taste in later steeps. If you’re looking for an aromatic, luxuriously smooth tea that’s perfect for meditating or reading, this is an exquisite choice.

Click here to learn more about or order Golden Lily Oolong from Whispering Pines. If it’s out of stock, you can sign up to receive email alerts when it and other WP teas are available again.

How Quickly Does Time Fly?

The next Time Flies will post on Tuesday, August 30th. Have a fun month, and stay cool!

47 thoughts on “Time Flies!: July 2016

  1. I’m so glad your month was relaxing! I have a crazy August coming up too. I just can’t believe summer is OVER. (My kids go back to school in 2 weeks so in my mind I’m already switching gears). I’m dying to see Star Trek, and I hope to go this weekend. And finally, I love your beach photos! You’re so lucky that your parents live in such a beautiful place:-) Have a wonderful month:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really? 😮 When does summer vacation begin for you? Sometime in May?

      Thanks for the beach photos comment. 🙂 I give a lot of credit to the camera, for being able to do the views justice. My parents still feel like they’re pinching themselves about living on the Cape. So I know they must feel very lucky to have a house down there now.

      Hope you had an awesome time at SDCC, btw! Are you planning to post something about it at your blog soon?


    • Thanks! I was looking for Red Rising the last time I went book-shopping, but that store only had the second and third books in the series – and I didn’t want to start there. So I was thrilled to find Red Rising this time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you’ve had a delightful and very full month. Which I can hardly believe is drawing to a close! I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find the calendar page turned back to the correct time. What a fun book haul – I’ve got The Star-Touched Queen in my bedside pile – maybe I’ll get to it in August. 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful month ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was, thank you, Deborah. 🙂 And like I said to Jeneca earlier: Yes! Isn’t it crazy that another month has gone by already?

      I’ve heard wonderful things about The Star-Touched Queen, and I’m hoping to get to it either in August or September. I hope you enjoy it, too!


  3. I think I have been to that beach! My mother-in-law lives on the cape near South Yarmouth and a few summers ago we went to visit her and went to a beach where there were all these amazing sand sculptures. That was probably Bass River, which sounds about right. It must have been right around the time of the event, and some of the pieces were really amazing and creative. Damn vandals, why would anyone do such a thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It might have been Bass River Beach, yeah. I’ve heard it’s one of the locations that “sponsors” the sand sculpture contest each year, which means they let the sculptors build there.

      About the vandals: I KNOW. Supposedly they were kids who were sighted inside the sculpture’s fence. Some just don’t know how to respect or appreciate other people’s art. *grrrr*


  4. Glad that July has been a relaxing one for you, Sara. The sand sculpture is fabulous – they do something similar in Weymouth – but I haven’t seen a dragon there. Your book haul has some tasty goodies in it – as well as Red Rising, I think you’re going to really enjoy The Star-Touched Queen and The Lies of Locke Lamora – I’ll be interested to get your take on The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I really enjoyed it, but I’m aware a number of folks didn’t… Love your musical selection (another awesome Sarah, I notice) and I hope that August isn’t too manic:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t the dragon beautiful? I’m sure it was more so when it was freshly sculpted a month ago, but I’m really glad I made time to see it.

      That’s what I’ve heard about The Slow Regard of Silent Things. But I picked it up with the knowledge that it’s about Auri and more of a character study than a story with a plot. (That’s what it is, right?) And since Patrick Rothfuss wrote it, I don’t want to miss it. 🙂

      And yay for the other three titles you mentioned! They’re books that were either already on my radar or recently recommended to me. So I’m looking forward to them all.

      Thanks as always for commenting, Sarah. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So many amazing things! I don’t even know where to begin! Those pictures are absolutely beautiful! Cape Cod is one of those places I would really love to visit.
    What a great book haul! I’ve had The Lies of Locke Lamora on my bookshelf for a while, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet. I just bought Sabriel last week — it’s one of those classic fantasies I know I need to read. And I bought Red Rising not long ago too because I keep hearing really great things about it. Happy Reading with all of them!
    I hope to get a chance to watch Star Trek Beyond next week. I don’t like going too soon with releases, because my family and I have had rather poor experiences in the past with people sitting on top of us, talking through the movie.
    I know you’ve already been to the concert and I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I would love a chance to see Josh and Sarah. And Foy Vance is a great artist.
    I hope that you enjoy your August, even if it is going to be busier than July! Take care, my dear ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* Thanks, Faith. I’m not sure how I’m going to summarize things in next month’s Time Flies, given how packed August will be. That post may have to be an exercise in brevity!

      I still can’t believe the Cape photos came out so well. (And I just remembered that I forgot to share the Mayflower Beach sunset photos on Twitter… Oops.) But all the credit goes to Mother Nature and my camera. I was merely clicking the button. 😉

      I read Sabriel earlier this year and really enjoyed it, which is why I bought Lirael. Hope you enjoy it, too!

      I don’t blame you for your feelings about over-talkative movie-goers. It’s very rude when they do that. Why would you go to the movies and not pay attention to the film you paid to see? It doesn’t make sense.

      Ha ha, you’ve seen my Tweets about the concert then. 😀 Yes, it was an excellent show, and I need to get a hold of Foy Vance’s new CD. A couple friends and I may be going to his show in Cambridge, MA this fall, so that should be neat.

      Oh, thank you, Faith. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll enjoy August. If you’re going to be busy, it’s best to have a good kind of busy, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sad that July had ended, it seems that you could use some more relaxation time ;). But what you have coming… I believe it’s going to be super-exciting and fill you with positive energy.
    Also – you took beautiful pictures! I love the colors and the composition.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ooh! Ooh! Love those two books you have on the top of the stack! Can’t wait for your reviews.

    And yeah, it’s August already, can you believe it? The summer is now officially going by too quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha! Well, you’re the one who recommended Elantris to me recently. 😉 So when I saw it, I knew I needed to pick it up!

      I’m not ready for August. I don’t care that it’s already August – I’m still not ready for it! XD

      How did Camp NaNo go for you, btw?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Elantris is definitely a good book to start with. You won’t regret it! And I’m all discombobulated, still behind on everything from July. Stress has a twisted way of progressively making anxiety multiply.

        Thanks for asking! I got through Camp by the skin of my teeth! (Blog posts, yet another thing I’m behind on!) First round of editing is done, and believe it or not, I’m giving Scrivener a try for the third time. I’m going it’ll make the edits a little easier? We’ll see! D:

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Those photos are beautiful. Cape Cod sounds so nice.
    It sure is a busy month for you but such great events. I love weddings (the cakes are always great) and baby showers are sweet. I guess that’s a busy month filled with ceremonies for new beginnings :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Zezee! And yes, I agree. It’s been a summer of new beginnings for a lot of people. Happy ones, and blessings, too. 🙂

      Speaking of wedding desserts: I’m just a teeny bit excited for the desserts at my friend’s wedding. I think she’s ordered a “cupcake” cake instead of a regular cake, and she also managed to negotiate part of the hotel’s chocolate buffet into her wedding, too. 😀


  9. I’m glad July was more relaxing for you. The photos are beautiful! And the dragon sculpture is amazing! Sad it was vandalized like the ones up here though.
    Have you begun reading any of the books in this photo yet? I’m curious to know more about The Lies of Locke Lamora.
    I hope this August has been good for you so far, even if busy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! And yeah, I was sad about the dragon sculpture, too. I would’ve liked to have seen it when it was in its full glory, so to speak… But it was still pretty remarkable to be in that good shape after 4 weeks!

      XD I have no idea when I’ll get to most of those books! The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi will be first, though, since it’s a brand new YA fantasy as of this year.

      August… has had its ups and downs. Right now I’m in NYC for Writer’s Digest Confernece (YAAAAAAAY!!!), but I’ve also been dealing with unexpected stress that’s not related to the conference or my friend’s upcoming wedding. I’m doing better now, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard good things about The Star-Touched Queen, so I’m curious to hear what you’ll think.
        Yay for WD Conference in NYC!!! Can’t wait to hear about all the things you learned and did!
        Ah, unexpected stress is harsh. I hope you’re feeling better, and are taking the time you need to feel better? I’ve been having a rough time before and after my trip from stress due to family matters.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Star-Touched Queen will be my next fun read, so depending on what I think of it, you might see a review of it next month. 😉

        I did take some time before my WDC / NYC trip to take care of the additional stress. So yes, I am feeling better, thank you. 🙂 And I hope you’re doing OK, too…?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Forgot to mention: I don’t know what I’ll be doing for WDC coverage this year. I didn’t volunteer to do anything at DIY MFA, because I don’t want to add the stress of additional projects on top of preparing for my friend’s wedding in 2 weeks. (And considering she’s asked for last-minute changes for my bridesmaid outfit – YES, I’m stressed about it. :S ) So I might just do a single post here at the blog… But we’ll see. My brain can only handle so much thinking when it’s exhausted. *lol*

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, that does sound like a lot to take on all at once! I think a single post would be just fine. Or you could wait, jot down notes, and later blog about WDC when the wedding is past and things have calmed down? Just an idea, if that’d be easier.
        Don’t overload your brain! TKC needs your brain intact! Would some of that Tropical Killer Cake be of help? I hear it does wonders for brain power. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I already have notes from all the sessions I attended at WDC (trust me, I’m a note-taker *wink*). But I’m not going to start anything for it until I finish the next Character Evolution File – which is scheduled for next Thursday, but might get pushed back to Saturday because I’m currently behind on it. :S

        Hahahahaha, yes, some Tropical Killer Cake would yummy right about now.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. So late to this, but … I’m glad you have a relaxing month. So many pretty beaches! And that sculpture is awesome despite those vandals. *shakes fist like an old person* And that tea sounds scrumptious. I haven’t had an oolong in a while. I need to steep one … I’m glad you’re getting some progress in Keeper’s Curse. Have a great August! Lots of exciting things!


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Get ready for comment spam, because I have ten or so of your posts open to read before work *evil laugh*

    Anyhow – your pictures are beautiful!! Though it’s a shame about the sculpture – I really don’t understand people sometimes . . .
    The tea sounds fabulous. As you know, I’m a big fan of Josh Groban, and I enjoy Sarah McLachlan’s music too (though I’m not as familiar with it). Her voice is incredible though!
    I’m happy to hear you had such a nice month. ❤ R

    Liked by 1 person

    • BAHAHAHAHAHA. XD XD I love it, Rebekah. Seriously. And I’ll see if I can keep up, especially with the “fatigue-befuddled” mind I have today. It’s like I haven’t been able to wake up all day…

      Thank you! Like I said to someone else, the credit really goes to the camera. I’m incredibly lucky to have it, and even more fortunate that I was able to get it fixed under warranty. And… yeah, some people.

      The Josh Groban / Sarah McLachlan concert was AMAZING! It’ll be covered in the August edition of Time Flies, which will come out next Tuesday. 😉

      So happy to see you back in the blogosphere. Have things calmed down for you yet? Or is life still really busy?

      Liked by 1 person

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