Time Flies!: August 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.

I’m starting this post with a confession: While I’ve managed to keep up with my own blog-writing, I’ve been so burnt out from the past month’s busyness that I’m struggling to keep up with reading other blogs or replying to comments. I’ve also been dealing with stress from (without going into too much detail) expected and unexpected sources. Some days were great, but others… Yeah.

Bilbo faints

I hope this is temporary, though, since I still have one big event around the corner: My friend’s wedding (the one where I’m a bridesmaid) is this coming Saturday. Maybe once things calm down and I have some time to rest and regroup, I’ll feel some semblance of my normal self. But I just wanted to let readers know what’s going on, since you guys deserve my honesty.

But I really can’t complain. August was an awesome month on its best days, and it ends with much that I’m grateful for. This will make more sense as this post goes along, so let’s start with…

This Month’s Posts

Interviews, Guest Blogs, and Columns

Site Updates

What I’ve Been Doing Offline

First of all, the Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan concert. Oh. My. Goodness. One my favorite concerts ever. Josh was wonderful once again, with his incredible voice and goofy humor. He performed a great mix of original songs and covers from his Broadway tribute album Stages. Sarah’s set, on the other hand, was like a trip down memory lane. She played many of her ’90s hits (and some newer songs, too), and she performed them alone on piano or acoustic guitar. Hearing stripped-down versions of “Possession,” “Adia,” “Building a Mystery,” and “World On Fire” highlighted her songwriting, and they were all magical.

Josh and Sarah also performed her biggest hit “Angel” as a duet! I knew they’d done this years ago, but it was lovely to hear it in person. I’ve included a YouTube video that another fan filmed during the Boston show, so you can watch and listen to it, too.


Then came Writer’s Digest Conference 2016 – and it was AMAZING. Even more so than last year’s edition, to be honest. I met more writers (including more of my awesome colleagues from the DIY MFA staff), reunited with friends I’d made last year, learned more about writing and the publishing industry, and came home with more books and ideas for the future. I’m planning to do a one-off post about WDC here in September, once I’ve had some time to organize my notes and other lingering thoughts.

I didn't need to buy more books this month... Yet I did. (*blushes*) Have you read any of these?

I didn’t need to buy more books this month… Yet I did. (*blushes*) Have you read these?

What else happened in August? Well, I visited my family on Cape Cod again and went to my first Cape Cod Baseball League game to root on the home team, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. (Also, congrats to Y-D on winning the CCBL championship for the third year in a row!) I also went to a family birthday party for my cousin’s 9-year-old son and brought a homemade blueberry jello mold for it. I meant to take a photo of the blueberry jello mold for you… But it slipped my mind. (*oops*)

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

I’m now on Chapter 24 of The Keeper’s Curse, which means I’m beyond the 60% mark for Draft 3! More details will come in my Chronicling the Craft posts on Tuesday, September 6th (progress report and novel playlist) and Thursday, September 8th (tips).

What I’ve Been Watching

No new movies or TV shows, but I watched the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio quite a bit! It was so exciting to watch so many talented athletes, witness their emotions, and learn some of their amazing stories. And I don’t know if other Americans feel the same way, but the Olympics were a welcome reprieve from the (disgusting) presidential election coverage. It’s wonderful to see people from all around the world come together for goodwill as well as friendly competition.

Did anyone else watch the Olympics? What were some of your favorite moments from this year’s Games? Mine was watching Aly Raisman’s and Simone Biles’s back-to-back floor exercise routines that earned them gold and silver in the women’s gymnastics all-around event. Seeing Aly cry when she finished, and then how both girls hugged and celebrated together when the results came in… What camaraderie.  🙂

What I’ve Been Listening To

One of the biggest surprises of the Josh Groban / Sarah McLachlan concert was their opening act. Foy Vance is a pop/rock singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland – and WOW. His set was only him on acoustic guitar or keyboards and a drummer, but the “stripped-down” versions of his songs still exuded so much emotion. And what a voice. Raspy yet powerful and soulful. So now I want to get his new album The Wild Swan (which features “Ziggy Looked Me In The Eye,” my favorite song from his concert set). My friends and I might be seeing one of his local shows in October, too.

What I’ve Been Sipping: Meditative Mind White Tea from Spice Merchants 

Meditative Mind Spice MerchantsOne of my favorite “tea discoveries” this year has been anything with rosebuds. I love how they give a heady, romantic scent yet a subtle floral flavor to a brew. So, imagine my joy when I found rosebuds blended with jasmine, my other favorite floral tea!

Which leads to this month’s tea highlight. Meditative Mind from Spice Merchants blends Chinese white tea, jasmine green tea pearls, and rosebuds for an aromatic, sensual, and positively divine cup. It’s gorgeous to look at in its dry form, too, with its brilliant contrasts of pink and green. But the point, of course, is to drink Meditative Mind; and with its rosy-tinged golden color, hypnotic and soothing fragrance, and lush yet delicate flavor profile, it’s hard to not fall in love with it. This is a wonderful tea companion for reading, writing, or relaxing after a long, stressful day.

Curious about Meditative Mind? Click here to read about it at Spice Merchants.

How Quickly Does Time Fly?

The next Time Flies is scheduled for Thursday, September 29th. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer (or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere)!

25 thoughts on “Time Flies!: August 2016

  1. I hope everything settles down quickly so you can return to normalcy as soon as possible!
    I’d love to read about your experience at the WD conference. Reading all your tweets from there has made me excited to know about all your learnings, put across in the clear manner which you do so very well. 🙂
    I haven’t read even a single book on the list, but the ‘Court of Fives’ caught my eye. I will probably check them all out on Goodreads.
    Oh, and I’m about 23% done with the DIY MFA book and I’ve loved it so far! 🙂 I’m planning to finish it soon so I can feature it in the September Reading Month feature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Thanks, Nandini. I’m going to take some time tonight to simply “be.” No writing / editing or Internet; instead, yoga, music, and mandala-coloring will be in order. And I’ll do my best to take it easy the rest of this week.

      I’m working on a WDC recap post as my energy allows. Hoping to have that ready for the middle of this month. 😉

      Oooh, glad to know you’re enjoying the DIY MFA book!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First off, I’m so sorry that you’ve been dealing with stress. Don’t worry about other blogs or comments—we all understand and want you to do what’s best for you. I’m praying for you. ❤

    And second, the Josh Groban concert and Writer's Digest Conference sound amazing. I'm so glad you could go to those! And I was at Cape Cod for part of the summer, too! My grandparents live there, and I loved being there again.

    Also, the Olympics were wonderful. Aly's and Simone's floor exercises were also some of my favorite parts of it—I loved seeing them hold hands and hug each other. There were some awesome swimming moments, too. And I got to watch rugby for the first time and really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Abby. 🙂

      Isn’t Cape Cod magical? In a very peaceful, refreshing sort of way, I mean. What are some of your favorite places there?

      And yes to the swimming moments! I’d forgotten how exciting that sport can be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My goodness – WHAT a lot you’ve packed into this month. On alllll fronts! No wonder you’re buckling a bit *hugs*. If you possibly can give yourself some TLC, do so… I thoroughly envy you the Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan concert – particularly hearing Sarah sing live. I LOVE her voice and have several of her songs. The WD Conference was also an amazing experience – but I know only too well how draining those events can be! I also loved the Olympics – watching Nick Skelton at 58 get his first gold individual medal in the show-jumping was my highlight, but was thrilled to see Team GB do so well. It’s frankly an achievement that you managed to go forward with your editing and blogging at all, given all the other stuff going on. Take care during September and hope the wedding is a lovely, happy day with not TOO much extra nervous tension expended:))

    Liked by 1 person

    • *hugs back* Thanks, Sarah. I think a “disconnect” night is in order. No Internet or writing / editing; just yoga, music, and maybe some mandala coloring.

      The concert was amazing. I don’t think I can describe it much more than I did in the post. If you have a chance to see either Josh or Sarah live, grab it while you can. 😉

      “The WD Conference was also an amazing experience – but I know only too well how draining those events can be!”

      Oh YAH. I was absolutely exhausted the day after I came home from WDC. I think the term for it should be “conference hangover.” *lol*

      I’m not sure what kept me going, really. Maybe sheer willpower and determination… I don’t know. I’ll have to see how I’m feeling after the wedding, but I’ll do my best to take things easy, especially over the next few days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope things settle down for you soon, Sara. Remember to take time for yourself. The blog universe will always be here waiting. You need to take care of you 🙂
    Such an exciting month it seems. I feel like I’m always busy with things, but not in such amazing ways as you.
    I would love to make it to a Writer’s Digest Conference one year. I’m glad to hear that it was such a wonderful experience for you.
    It really does sound like it was the most stunning concert ever! I’m glad that it helped you discover Foy Vance. He’s such a talented artist!
    And those books! I’ve made copious notes for them. The only one I’m remotely aware of is Clariel. I finally bought Sabriel and hope to get to it before the end of the year…if only I can fit it somewhere within my rather large and imposing TBR!
    Wow, this was a long comment. ;P
    Wishing you a beautiful and safe September ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Faith. 🙂 It’s funny, because I know I’ve passed that same advice onto other bloggers (“Take care of yourself; we’ll be here whenever you post.”). I guess I’m not very good at following my own advice…

      You can say that against about TBR piles. Mine doesn’t stop growing, either! *lol* :s

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow it seems you had a really fun but busy month! That tea sounds scrumptious! So cool that you got to go to a Josh Groban concert! 😀


    Liked by 1 person

    • Meditative Mind is absolutely exquisite. And intoxicating in fragrance, too. I had a cup last night while I was editing TKC and had brewed some extra loose rosebuds with it. Mmmmmmmmmm. 🙂

      If you ever have a chance to see Josh Groban in concert, take it. His voice is just as good live as it is on CD, and he has a wonderful stage presence. And he’ll make you laugh a lot, too. 😉

      Thanks as always for commenting, Tori!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That clip with Bilbo, yep, I know the feeling, (me during all of August too.)
    I hope the causes of stress for you fade away soon, so you can get the rest you need and enjoy September. Take your time, take care of “you”.
    I’m glad WDC was amazing, and I can’t wait to hear more about it! Great new pile of books you brought back too! The titles look intriguing. I haven’t read any of those ones, so I’ll be eager to read your reviews of them.
    And congrats on getting more than halfway through TKC! *cheers!*
    That Meditative Mind tea looks so delicious, I wish I had a cup to try right now! Though I should probably drink the teas I do have and finish those first before buying new, haha. 🙂 This looks like a good white tea to add to my to-buy list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, E. I’m feeling a lot better now that all the busyness has past and the stress has dissipated for the most part. I basically relaxed most of yesterday and Sunday afternoon / evening after I got home from my friend’s wedding, and now I feel the most alert and clear-headed I’ve felt in about 5 weeks.

      Meditative Mind is absolutely lovely. Definitely order some when you have a chance – and when you think your tea stash is more manageable. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I admire that you’ve managed to keep on writing even in such a busy month (with, from what I read, some unexpected stress), so you shouldn’t feel guilty on slipping on visiting others’ blogs. It’s not like they’re going away, so you can always catch up later if you feel like it.
    I also envy you the conference. I’ve never been to one and it seems like it’s been a great experience. Looking forward to your post about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right. I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. I know I often have high expectations for myself, so I really need to learn to relax them at times like this.

      I think Writer’s Digest is putting on a West Coast version of its conference this fall, specifically on novel-writing…? It’s being held in California this fall, but that’s all I remember. (I’m sure there’s more about it at WD’s website.) Maybe that might be a possibility for you?

      Thanks as always for your comments, Joanna. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s always a struggle, isn’t it? To balance our own expectations (which after all keep us going and strive to be better) and time for relax and recharging.
        As for conferences, I have no chances of going to one this year. I’m still stuck in the bureaucratic abyss (aka “waiting for them to finalize things”), so I can’t even get a driving license yet. But maybe next year? Who knows? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: More Changes Are Coming to the Blog (Plus, Why I’m Excited About the “New” Direction) | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

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