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2018 Newsletter #5

Here’s seven updates as to what’s been going on in my life over the past week.

Estimated reading time: < 7 minutes.

I’ve been…

Watching: Million Dollar Menu, a show on Netflix about investing in the restaurant business. It has more of a discussion on the financials than Kitchen Nightmares, a bit like if that show had a crossover with Shark Tank. Not much time for TV this week but what I’ve seen of the show so far, I like.

Reading: I’m working my way this month through several entries from a literary agent I’m working with. While I can’t give specifics, I am really enjoying the process and drawing on my background as a writer and as a book reviewer to help me try to make educated, helpful critiques.

Eating: Vegetarian! Trying out new things on the menu this week, including a really good creamy spinach soup with roasted carrots, onions, bowtie pasta, and of course, spinach. And on my “must-try-at-home” list, a grilled cheese from one of my favorite local restaurants (whole wheat bread with white cheddar, mozzarella and Fuji apple slices). Absolutely incredible!

Visiting: my sister’s gardens. A vegetable patch voluntarily sprouted up from a compost heap and the squash are getting enormous! Actually, everything is large there from the delphinium stalks (pretty please flower soon?) to the firework bursts of the blooming cleome.

InstaBrowsing: Gorgeous wallpaper that runs something like $100-$200.00 a roll. I can’t imagine who would actually spend that much money on wallpaper. Sometimes, I get curious as to the cost of things, look it up, and rue my own curiosity.

App Downloading: Bible Lens. It’s a photo editor program that works with the Bible app, your camera roll, and Facebook to scan photos, look for appropriate Bible verse options and allows you to save or share them on social media. With the plethora of high quality royalty-free photos out there now, you can find a great shot, save it to your phone, open it in the app, match it to a verse, and presto! You’re insta-ready! Thank you to reader (and bestie) Peggy W. for sharing this great app with me.

Practicing: Patience! Persistence! Hope! Grace!

2018 Newsletter #4

Here’s seven updates as to what’s been going on in my life over the past week.

Estimated reading time: < 7 minutes.

I’ve been…

Watching: Agatha Christie’s Crooked House. Wow. My husband predicted the killer in the first 15 minutes maybe? I was still guessing right up until the very end. I guess that means I need to brush up my perception skills. This has made me really want to sit down and actually read her mysteries when I’ve got the time. One of these days…

Listening to: Lauren Daigle again (what can I say? I get into moods…) If you know of any Christian artists similar to her, hook a girl up please!

Eating: homemade candies, a surprise from my mum on a recent visit, and scotchies. I love a great oatmeal-butterscotch cookie.

Visiting: the family farm. It’s mid-August and the grasses are dry from drought but there’s nothing like watching hummingbirds feed, or a groundhog rooting about in the brush, or a young fawn, ears alert, crossing a road.

InstaBrowsing: Catholic posts. Especially about recent news, which I’m not going to comment on except to say that I’m continuing to pray for the Church as a whole, especially for justice, and for healing.

App Downloading: Fantastic Beasts: Cases From the Wizarding World. This free game (with optional in-app purchases) builds itself on the premise that you’ve graduated from Hogwarts and gotten a job working for the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

This is your classic hidden objects game with some puzzle elements added, with a social feature (if you connect to Facebook) of trying to outrank your friends as the best detectives. Naturally, to fully immerse, I am the same character for both this, as well as my other HP-themed game, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery. My time-turner is getting a workout as I travel back and forth in history — after all, I can’t let Merula and Ismelda lead Slytherin to a House Cup victory.

Link of the week: The Microscopic Structures of Dried Human Tears. This is fascinating and further proof (to me) of intelligent design by a Creator who sees every tear, as it says in the Psalms, “my wanderings you have noted; are my tears not stored in your flask, recorded in your book?” (Psalm 56:9, MAB). Absolutely lovely.

Entries Close on 1764 Debut Issue

Hey guys and gals, as you may recall, I launched a literary journal (announcement) with the St. Louis Writers Guild and July 31st was the deadline for entries.

Over the past week, I’ve organized all of the qualifying entries by category and submitted them to the selection committee for consideration. Now begins the process of reading the entries and finding the best fits for our debut publication.

As a reader, what I’ll be looking for is quality writing, original voices, writing that struck an emotional chord in me (because hopefully it’ll do the same for our readers). And if it has a chunkier word count, so much the better. We have a literary journal to fill!

Thank you in advance to everyone who submitted for our debut issue (if you’re reading this post). Keep an eye on this space for more updates. For more information on 1764, see our website at www.stlwritersguild.org.

2018 Newsletter #3

Here’s seven updates as to what’s been going on in my life over the past week.

Estimated reading time: < 7 minutes.

I’ve been…

Watching: Luke Cage SS02. I liked it better than its first season, and better than The Defenders or Iron Fist. I still think that Jessica Jones and Daredevil have stronger antagonists.

Listening to: Lauren Daigle’s new hit single, “You Say”. I love how real Daigle gets with her lyrics. She just launched the lyric video this week too so if you’re a mega-fan, you can begin memorizing the lines (lyric video here).

Eating: the most amazing British confection I’ve never heard of before — a Victoria sandwich (for the uninitiated like me, it’s buttercream frosting and strawberry preserves sandwiched between layers of sponge cake). Next time, I’ll take photos to share.

Visiting: a British-themed tea house that serves you generous portions (see above comment about food) and tea by the pot. I want to go back next time on a rainy day, snag a seat by a window early, and bring a book. Doesn’t that just sound cozy? (Link here)

InstaBrowsing: photos of my nieces and nephews. What can I say? I miss my fam. They’re growing up so fast and I don’t see them as often as I’d like but at least with Insta, I can see those small moments of ice cream smiles, muddy feet, and messy crafts that make up a young child’s summer days.

App Download: I was planning this week on downloading a new app that would allow me to write text on images (like the featured photo of this post) and then discovered that iPhone has a built in feature that already allows you to do that. It’s called “Markup” and it’s buried in the Photo Editor. Expect to see me playing with text on graphics here in the future.

Practicing: Accountability. I’ve joined a local small group and we meet weekly with God, and each other, to share what we’re taking away from the Bible. It’s a relatively close-knit circle and learning from each other has been awesome. It’s also a good way to talk about our struggles and I’ve found this particularly helpful this week. Honesty matters.

So that’s a peek at my week, and I’ll be posting soon about how the literary journal is going, the one I blogged about earlier this summer. Stay tuned and keep reaching higher!

2018 Newsletter #2

Here’s seven updates as to what’s been going on in my life over the past week.

Estimated reading time: < 7 minutes.

I’ve been…

Watching: Probably more Netflix than I ought. I need to spend more time reading.

Listening to: I’ve started listening to Podcasts on my phone. I’ve found several great lectures online by Fr. Timothy Gallagher (I’ve blogged about him here before), and it’s nice to see what else he’s been working on.

Eating: the most amazing confection I’ve never heard of before, a Victoria sandwich; and scones the size of a hamburger!!! Both available from a little tea shop (British-themed) in our part of the city. The tea was quite good too. I’m looking forward to going back.

Visiting: A new (to me) park down by the riverfront. We went for an evening event but I’d love to go back and stroll along the riverside paths. The haze around the river valley is lovely to behold.

InstaBrowsing: Feminine Reverence, and similar. I also have been looking at Pinterest for ideas on making a homemade shrine or crèche.

App Download: Magnificat. For the month of August, I’m experimenting with reading the morning prayers from the app instead of the book we get in the mail. I’m hoping to free up the physical copy to share it more easily with other members of our household.

Practicing: Developing patience and slowly building up my pain tolerance threshold. Too personal to share more details right now.

Announcing Issue #85

in-places-hidden-tracie-petersonI’m delighted to announce that the August 2018 reviews for The Historical Novel Society are now available online. Check out the full reviews (and great articles) at: The Historical Novel Society. You can find the print views in Issue #85 of the Historical Novel Review (HNR).

For this issue of HNR, I have one review appearing in print and online, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson.  This is my first time reading Ms. Peterson’s work and I really liked this new series she’s releasing.

I hope you enjoy my review of her work and the many other fine reviews available. May you find plenty of new favorites! Remember to please support authors by buying authorized print and digital versions of their books.

2018 Newsletter #1

Thanks for checking out my blog today. It’s often easier to write than it is to phone or email friends, family and followers individually, so… here’s my attempt at keeping in touch despite the vagaries of life.

Mississippi River Bluffs, Carondelet. Private album.

To that end, here’s seven updates as to what’s been going on in my life over the past week.

Estimated reading time: < 7 minutes.

I’ve been…

Watching: Good Morning Call SS01 and SS02; Nailed It; Sugar Rush; Real Genius (for the nostalgia); Ready Player One.

Japanese soaps are one of my favorite things to watch on Netflix because I like the formality of the culture and some of the relationship values which feel lost in Western culture (I.e. it’s clean because good girls don’t fornicate, to put it bluntly). With this manga-based soap in particular, the romance was sweet and clean, both of which I appreciate.

I also enjoy cooking competitions. Neither of these two really captured the human element in the way that MasterChef or The Great British Baking Show does.

Listening to: Lauren Daigle’s new single, “You Say”; Sensus Fidelium on YouTube.

I am about the furthest thing from being boho, like Lauren Daigle, but I do like her sound which is sort of deep like Adele and soulful and honest.

Fr. Ripperger on Sensus Fidelium (amongst other priests) has great audio lectures that I tend to transcribe for my personal spiritual growth. Can’t recommend the channel highly enough really.

Eating: Chocolate chip cookie dough from The Cookie Dough Cafe (product in stores); Carondelet Diner.

All I can say is wow…do they do cookie dough house deliveries?

Visiting: the Sunken Cities exhibit (see my review here). Short story is, it was great. I recommend it.

InstaBrowsing: antique finds; British cottages; ocean sunsets; vintage typewriters.

As I get older, I’m learning that humans are paradoxical and that’s okay. I may never be a vintage typewriter collector like Tom Hanks is, but I do really like his app, Hanx, which leads me into my next point.

App download: Hanx Writer, which lets you pretend you’ve got a stylish old typewriter that works.

Free to download and certain brands of typewriter upgrades are available, for $$$. I started my first MS on a typewriter so I’ll always have a fondness for the stubborn things.

Practicing: a new spiritual exercise called ‘lectio divina’; and I got enrolled in the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel.

I want to develop a more contemplative, simplistic life so I’m trying to learn about new-to-me techniques that Catholics have had available to them for (in some cases) centuries. Eventually this may also mean less time with technology but we’ll see where the Lord leads.

So there you have it, 7 days, 7 updates, and in less than 7 minutes. Comments always welcomed below. Let me know if you are fast readers and I’ll try to expound more on each point next week. God bless, have a great week ahead, and remember, keep reaching higher.