Archive for September, 2021



I’ve been trying to find some fun things to do that aren’t story related (like reading or watching TV/movies) to give that part of my brain a break, so when I found some jigsaw puzzles on clearance, I bought a couple. I had images of cozy autumn and winter nights, sipping hot cocoa and listening to classical music with a scented candle burning nearby while I leisurely worked on a puzzle.

We used to work puzzles as a family when I was a kid. At Christmas, there was usually a “family” gift of a big puzzle, and then we’d set it up on the dining table (which we generally didn’t use except for special meals) after Christmas dinner, and we’d work on it off and on, whenever anyone wanted to look at it, until we finished it. But it had been a very long time since I’d worked a puzzle, so I thought I’d start with something a little simpler. I had a couple of old Star Wars puzzles I’d taken from my parents’ house when they were clearing out my old things, and I started with one that was aimed for kids, with only 140 pieces.

And I found myself utterly consumed for about an hour and a half as I worked it in one sitting. I was supposedly watching TV while working on it, but I didn’t remember anything I was watching and had to rewatch those episodes. I also could barely move when I went to stand up and had a sore neck. This should have been a warning.

The next puzzle up was 500 pieces, a more complex Star Wars puzzle for older kids. I started it one evening. It was too warm for the candle (candles don’t play well with ceiling fans) or the cocoa, but I did have the classical music playing. The first evening, I mostly tried to find the edge pieces, so it wasn’t too bad. The obsession kicked in the next day. I kept getting sidetracked when I passed the puzzle and paused to see if I could just find that one piece I needed to complete a certain section, only to realize an hour or so had gone by. I didn’t do my usual Friday-night movie because I wanted to finish that one section of the puzzle—and then a couple of hours later it was too late to start a movie. That repeated on Saturday. I dreamed about the puzzle on Saturday night, and the first thing I did the next morning was look at the puzzle. I nearly missed the beginning of online church because I started working on the puzzle. Then I paused by the puzzle on my way to get lunch. There was one piece I needed that I thought would pull a whole section together, and the shape and color should have made it obvious. There weren’t that many pieces left, so I should have been able to find it easily. It did tie it all together, and from there the rest of the puzzle fell into place. I was getting a bit lightheaded, then realized that two hours had passed.

So, I may have a wee bit of a puzzle problem. Thinking about it, I don’t like to have something unsolved, whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, a crossword puzzle, or even just an error in my knitting. I don’t like to put it down until I’ve figured it out. Puzzles tend to put me in a flow state, where I’m hyper alert but unaware of the passing of time. Up to a point, this can be a positive thing that’s good for the brain, but not when it keeps you from sleeping or doing anything else.

The reality of my puzzle evening is less like the relaxing time with cocoa and classical music and more like me sitting there, wild-eyed, at midnight, going, “I’ll just get that one piece and then I’ll go to bed. Okay, maybe one more piece. One more …”

I don’t know how the 1,000-piece puzzles I bought are going to go. I may have to wait until I have nothing else going on to work on them, or maybe I can cover them and try to put them out of sight and out of mind. Or I’ll set a timer so I don’t completely lose track of time and make myself take exercise breaks. It’s still something I enjoy, and it works a different part of my brain than writing does. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m not starting another puzzle until I have my time-sensitive projects done.

writing life

Sweater Weather

After giving myself Wednesday off to celebrate the arrival of fall, I got back to work yesterday, reading through the whole book in one day. That’s the best way to spot things like repetition (where a character says more or less the same thing multiple times or I use the same description repeatedly) or continuity errors and contradictions. But I did take advantage of our lovely weather by putting the manuscript on my tablet and sitting outside to read it.

I may want to tinker with the ending, but this book won’t require massive rewrites or revisions. I did have some repetition, with the same information conveyed multiple times. They’re talking to different people, so in reality might have told the same story more than once, but I can trim it or reword it so the reader won’t have to read it over and over again. There are also a couple of things I need to set up better. Otherwise, it’s mostly an issue of editing. I was weirdly sloppy in this book. Usually even my first drafts are pretty tight, without a lot of typos. But there are typos galore in this, as well as some repeated or skipped words. I guess I got excited and my brain was going too fast for my fingers. I also found at least one case where a character’s name that was changed didn’t get changed. I’d forgotten the original name, so in reading I had to wonder who that person was supposed to be before it finally dawned on me.

Now I’m doing my editing pass to tighten and polish the book. I’m still hoping to have it published before Halloween, since it’s kind of a Halloween book.

My “yay, I finished a draft” present to myself was a new hoodie. My fall “uniform” is generally a tank top and a hooded sweatshirt, but every year I find myself wishing I could find a lighter weight one, like maybe made of t-shirt material instead of fleece, so it’s just enough to cover my arms without adding a lot of weight but easier to take off when I get warm than if I actually wore a long-sleeved t-shirt. I’d done some searches at places I usually shop without finding anything and mentioned this on Twitter. Someone suggested a particular brand, and while they didn’t have anything, I tried a related brand and scored a jackpot. Even better, Amazon carried this item, and I have free shipping and a gift card, so it was essentially free. And it was in a local warehouse, so I got it the next day. It’s rather ridiculous how happy this one item has made me, but it’s perfect for a chilly morning out on the patio, then I can take it off when it gets warm. It’s actually a bit lighter and more open a weave than t-shirt material, which makes it perfect as a layering piece in semi-warm weather that changes a lot throughout the day.

We won’t get into how many hoodies I own now. And I’m trying to resist the temptation to get another one of these in a different color.


All Autumn in a Day

I finished the first draft of my book yesterday, and that happened to coincide with the arrival of a cold front, and now we have actual fall-like weather for the first day of fall, so it’s a nice day to give myself a break to enjoy it.

It’s the kind of day I joke is All Autumn in a Day in this part of the world, the first day it really feels like fall, and it’s such a relief after a long, hot summer that we tend to go all-out, doing All the Fall Things because it may be the only real fall day we get. You never know. It’s going to start warming up again later in the week and be back to “summer,” and there’s a chance it could stay that way until we get a drastic cold snap and it’s suddenly winter (that actually happened a couple of years ago, when summer lingered into October, and then we got a freeze right before Halloween). It reminds me of the Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day,” in which a girl who moved from earth to a colony on Venus misses the one afternoon in seven years when the sun comes out because her classmates, who had never seen the sun and didn’t realize what they were missing, locked her in a closet. Except here we do get it every year, but my favorite season still tends to be capricious and brief.

I’ve already had breakfast on the patio, actually wearing a sweatshirt! I have some baking planned for the afternoon, and I’m going to make soup for dinner. I’ll probably have some patio time, sipping cinnamon herbal tea, this evening. There will be a long walk to the library after I get this posted. I don’t drink coffee, so no pumpkin spice lattes for me, but otherwise I’m trying to cram in as much fall as possible, even though the trees are still green and it will be 90 degrees this weekend.

Really, in more temperate climates, our weather today wouldn’t even be considered fall. This is the way their summer is. I’ve been pondering whether I want to stay around here, for a number of reasons, and I’ve been monitoring the weather in some of the places I’ve imagined might be a good fit. This is the kind of weather they started having in August. I remember when we moved to Germany in August and had to go buy sweatshirts because the clothes we’d brought with us from summer in Oklahoma and then traveling to Louisiana and across the south to Charleston were way too light for the weather. There was a discussion on a friend’s Facebook page a few weeks ago when she mentioned looking forward to fall, and one of her friends talked about preferring summer, then listed their idea of summer activities — hiking, camping, going on picnics. Those of us who live in Texas said we liked those things, too, but they were fall activities. That’s why we were looking forward to fall. I think we shift our summer to fall. In a way, our summer is like winter elsewhere, a time we spend as little time as possible outdoors, so we react to fall the way northerners react to spring.

I’ve joked about finding a place where it’s fall most of the time, and that makes me wonder if that’s how a place like that would work for me. Would having weather I associate with early fall, followed by actual fall weather, feel like an extended autumn for me, or would I get used to it and think of it as summer, so it would stop feeling like fall?

Not that I’m planning to move anytime soon. I’d want to travel to a place before making any decisions, and that’s not happening during the pandemic, and I don’t have the money right now to pick up and move across the country. I’ll also need to keep monitoring the weather in other places during the winter. Temperatures in the 80s in August sound heavenly, but what will I think of the winter? I always spend the summer dreaming about being elsewhere, then forget about it in October.

In the meantime, I will enjoy my first day of fall, and then tomorrow get back to work, reading through this book to see if it makes sense. When I get this book totally done and ready to publish, I’m going to dial back for the rest of the year. I’ve got a project I want to develop, and that means a more flexible work schedule that can be done in a variety of locations, so when (if!) we get real fall, I’ll be able to take my work with me as I take walks, so I can sit in the woods or by a lake to work.


Tackling TBR Mountain

I’ve been trying to work my way through my to-be-read pile over the past few years. I did a big purge a few years ago, then reorganized the way I deal with unread books to make it more likely that I would read them. When I say “pile,” “mountain” is more accurate. I had a whole bookcase several rows deep full of unread books and also had unread books mixed in with the books on my regular bookcases. One of my friends referred to my to-be-read collection as “the strategic book reserve.”

I don’t have a bad book-buying habit, though. Most of these books were giveaways, so they’re not books I chose for myself, and that’s a large part of why they remained unread for so long. If I buy a book for myself, I usually read it right away. The exceptions are things like library book sales, where I just grab things that sound interesting. Even those tend to get read pretty quickly. But it’s the conference books that pile up. Publishers give books away at writing conferences, since writers talk about books a lot, and if you give a lot of writers a book, they can spread word of mouth about it well enough to make it a hit.

I used to be involved with the Romance Writers of America. When you checked in to the national conference, they’d give you a tote bag full of books, or else you’d get a ticket to a goodie room and get to go around picking books to put in your tote bag. Then the publishers would have booksignings during the conference where they just gave away the books. For books they really wanted to highlight, they’d put copies on each seat at luncheons. After a few years, I learned to be more selective and only pick up books I thought I might read instead of just going all grabby hands and “boooookkkss!” Still, after more than ten years of these conferences, that added up to a lot of books.

Then I started going to more science fiction events. There aren’t usually a lot of book giveaways at the more fan-oriented conventions, though sometimes there are books on the freebie tables. But you get the same kind of tote bag full of books at the Nebula Awards conference and at the World Fantasy Convention. I got a bunch of mysteries at a mystery convention I went to a couple of years ago.

There are also random things, like a bunch of gothics I got in a bag from my former boss’s wife when they were moving, books by people I know that I got when I went to their booksignings (I try to go to friends’ first booksignings, even if they aren’t something I normally read), books that were gifts, and those bargain books I bought on a whim.

The pile grew because I was afraid to get rid of anything, especially once when I’d attempted a purge but hadn’t gotten around to taking the ones selected for donation anywhere, then read something else by an author whose earlier book turned out to be in the donation bag. What if I gave away something I’d end up wanting?

But I was inspired by Marie Kondo to winnow down the collection to books I actually wanted. A lot of the romances got donated to the library book sale in the great purge when I admitted to myself that I don’t actually like most romances and was probably never going to read them. Getting rid of so many books made the stash less intimidating and made me more likely to read what I had left. I also took all the TBR books off that bookcase and put them in boxes so I could use that bookcase for books I want to keep. Then I filled the small bookcase in my bedroom from those boxes. Now those books are close to where I usually am when I need something to read, and that’s really helped me work through the stash. If I’m not enjoying a book, I let myself put it in the donation bag and move on to something else. When a slot is emptied after I read a book, I fill it with something from the boxes. I’ve emptied a whole box so far. This has allowed me to make more progress in reading through the stash than I’d made in the prior decades, but it does mean I’m getting around to reading a lot of those books that are first in a series that’s now hard to find, which is its own problem. I don’t know when I’ll manage to move out of this house, but I hope by then I’ll have considerably fewer books. A lot of these books aren’t something I’d want to pay to move.



I’ve run into a reading issue lately that’s beginning to bug me: the book I’m not really enjoying, but I want to know how it ends, so I keep reading, and then it ends on a cliffhanger, so to find out how it ends, I’d have to read the next book. But I was barely enjoying it enough to get to the end of one book and I’m not really up for reading another book.

This has made me realize that this makes a good rating system:

Wouldn’t read the next book if it was free

Might flip through the next one in the library or bookstore to find out what happens, but wouldn’t want to actually read it

Might get the next book from the library just to find out what happens but wouldn’t buy it

Might buy the next one at the used bookstore or library sale or get the e-book if it’s cheap enough, but wouldn’t pay full price for it.

Would pay full price for the next book

Where it gets frustrating is if the book is in the “might get the next book from the library” category but the library doesn’t have it. I’m curious enough to read it, but not enough to pay for the privilege, and I don’t know that I want to encourage the library to add it to their collection (I might suggest it if they have book 1 but not book 2, but not if I got book 1 some other way).

In my recent reading, I ran into a “wouldn’t read the next book if it was free.” It was one I checked out of the library because the description sounded similar to an idea I’ve been playing with and I wanted to see what the author did with it. It ended up being totally different from what I have in mind, and it was a frustrating book because it was supposedly an adult fantasy, but it read like all the clichés of YA fantasy. That’s probably actually a good strategy, since a lot of the YA fantasy readers are adults, and appealing to them is smart, but it isn’t to my taste. I was skimming through the book because I found the characters annoying, and fortunately I was also bored enough to flip ahead, so I found that the ending was a cliffhanger and there was a preview of book 2. I could see that it was going even further into something I wouldn’t like, so I stopped reading at a point where things were okay for the characters and didn’t get to the cliffhanger.

Then I pulled a book off my To-Be-Read shelf. I actually liked this one for most of the book. I liked the characters, and the worldbuilding was quite good. I was thinking about recommending it. Then it took a horrible turn near the end, going from fantasy to horror. It lost all the wit that had been in the first part of the book. Terrible things happened to the characters I liked, transforming them into something I didn’t like. And then it ended on a cliffhanger. The preview for book 2 suggested that it was going to continue like that. There’s a chance that in the rest of the series it might have ended up bringing the characters out of all that and re-transforming them into something better, but I’m not sure I want to go on that journey with them. I might have checked it out of the library and at least flipped through the book, but the library doesn’t have this series. I got the book at a conference more than ten years ago, so the print version is out of print (which means no requesting that the library add it to the collection). I’m not sure I’d even be able to get it at a used bookstore. And the e-books are ridiculously priced, as though they go with hardcovers instead of mass-market paperbacks (which this book was). That’ll teach me to let books sit on the TBR pile for too long. If I’d read it sooner, I might have been able to get the second book more easily. At least there was some resolution to the main plot before the cliffhanger that drives the story into the next book, unlike that other book, where the whole book was essentially setup for the cliffhanger.

Now that I think about it, earlier this year there was another one like this. It had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a decade or so. I kept slogging through it, only to find that the whole book was pretty much just setting up the sequel. The main plot didn’t even show up until near the end. I was curious enough that I might have read the next book if I’d found it in the library, but they didn’t have this series, the paperbacks seem to be out of print, the e-books are more than I want to pay just for curiosity, and the only book I’ve found used is the first in the series that I’ve already read. Fortunately, there’s a Wikipedia entry on this series that summarizes the plot, so I know what happened, and I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it much.

I don’t mind a cliffhanger, but I do like for each book in a series to have some kind of beginning, middle, and end, so that something is resolved even if something new comes up at the last minute to set up the sequel.


Escape to the Past

One of the things I did during my holiday was re-read one of my all-time favorite books, To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. This is a science fiction book about time travel and chaos theory, but in the form of a Victorian farce. It was the perfect escape, since the book is kind of about an escape.

In the not too distant future, time travel has been developed and is mostly used by historians to study the past. A wealthy woman is building a replica of the Coventry Cathedral destroyed during World War II, and since she’s funding the history program at Oxford, she’s using the historians to make sure every last detail is perfect. Her ancestor had a pivotal experience at that cathedral during the Victorian era, so this is personal. Our hero has been time traveling a lot back to the war to try to find one particular artifact that was part of the ancestor’s pivotal experience that should have been in the cathedral on the night of the air raid but that seems to have disappeared. He gets a bad case of time lag after making too many trips, and he can’t escape the wealthy donor, so they send him to the Victorian era to rest and recover. There’s just one task he needs to take care of. The problem is that he’s so time lagged that he never actually realizes what he’s supposed to be doing, and he lands in the wrong place, not near the other historian who’s there to try to learn about the ancestor.

What ensues is a sort of Victorian farce of mistaken identities and bad timing as all the efforts to correct one thing in the timeline end up causing more problems — or do they? There’s some mystery (finding out what happened with the ancestor, finding that missing artifact) and a dash of romance, with some bouncing around in time.

I love this book so much. I even took a trip to Oxford, where some of it is set, and found a lot of the locations mentioned in the book. Now I enjoy picturing those places as I read.

It dawned on me upon this read that the main character is Ned Henry, and the leading lady is Verity Kindle, but I honestly was not making a reference to this book when I named the characters in Rebel Mechanics. With Verity, I was using the meaning of her name, truth, and I figured that a professor would name his daughter something Latin. Lord Henry is actually named after my grandfather, whose middle name was Henry. It’s a name that can be upper-crust (all those English kings) and salt-of-the-earth. I’d forgotten the last name of the main character in this book, since it’s first-person narration and he’s usually called by his first name, so his last name doesn’t come up that often.

If you like A Room with a View but think it would have been better if time travelers from the future had shown up to make sure Lucy ended up with the right guy in order to prevent the Nazis from winning World War II and/or the collapse of the space-time continuum, this is the book for you.

TV, movies

The Mini-Break

That break was just what I needed. I didn’t do anything particularly exciting, but it was a nice little reset. I caught up on housework, did some cooking, took care of some shopping and errands, and otherwise I mostly rested. I didn’t set an alarm in the mornings, and although I didn’t sleep that much later than I usually do, it was nice sleeping that fifteen or so minutes later without guilt. I made a fancy “brunch” type breakfast on Saturday morning (though it got interrupted by a phone call). I did a lot of reading, did some knitting, and watched some movies/TV.

I’ve been watching the series Community, which I somehow missed while it was on. I know I was aware of it, but I’m not sure why I chose not to watch it. I think it must have been on at the same time as I had ballet class, and it didn’t sound like the sort of thing I was interested enough in to bother recording. Really, there’s no way to describe what this show is about or like that accurately reflects what it is. It’s sort of about life at a quirky community college, but that’s not really it. The inciting incident is that a hotshot (and kind of sleazy) lawyer gets disbarred when it turns out that he didn’t actually get a bachelor’s degree, so now he’s going back to community college to catch up so he can get his license back. He tries to hit on an attractive classmate, finds out she’s struggling in Spanish class, claims to be fluent, and offers to tutor her. She’s onto his ploy and foils it by inviting other members of the class to join in a study group. Even after his ruse is exposed, they decide to keep studying together. The series is about this study group as they become friends and deal with school.

But even that doesn’t describe what it’s really about. It’s this weird blend of snarky and sweet as this group of deeply flawed people gradually learns to be better, but somehow it never comes across as A Very Special Episode in which they learn A Valuable Lesson. As the series progresses, it becomes rather surreal, with the occasional realistic, relatable episode. There are pop-culture references, fantasy sequences, random musical numbers, epic paintball games that play out like popular movies, animated bits, and other weirdness. The characters who seem to have it all together turn out to be a mess, the characters who are a mess have their moments to save the day, and it’s all utterly addictive.

Traditionally, I celebrate Labor Day weekend with chick flicks. I wasn’t entirely in the mood for that, so I didn’t do any kind of marathon, but I did watch one when I discovered that one of my unsung favorites that was part of how this tradition kicked off was on Amazon Prime: I’m With Lucy. I like this one because it’s got an unconventional structure and is nonlinear. A woman on her way to her wedding is trying to convince her friend to let her introduce her to a guy at the reception. The friend says she doesn’t do setups. The bride says she spent a year accepting all the blind dates and setups she got, and that’s why she’s getting married now. We then see all those blind dates, but we don’t see them in order. We see bits of each and bounce around among them, with no idea which of these guys she’s going to end up with. The dates that start badly end up going well, and vice versa, which keeps you off-balance. Watching it this time around, I found myself surprised that it flew totally under the radar. I didn’t see it until it was on one of the cable channels on a Saturday afternoon. I never even heard of it when it was released (hmm, looks like it played at a film festival then went straight to video in the US), but it’s got a great cast and really good New York settings. It’s not quite on a par with When Harry Met Sally in quality, but it scratches the same itch.

I went back to work on Monday, doing some brainstorming to figure out what I need to revise for the book (but otherwise taking it easy), so I was eager to get going on Tuesday. The changes I’m making seem to be working. I’ve made it through most of the parts that needed to be revised, and now I’m moving forward with the new content.

I’ll have to finish this book before I get another good break. I’m planning to ease off during the fall as I focus on developing a new possible series, and I’ll give myself plenty of time to enjoy doing my favorite fall things.


A Classic Mystery

Although I’ve only recently begun writing mysteries (officially — the Enchanted, Inc. books seem to have fallen into that structure and a lot of people read them as mysteries), I’ve always been a big mystery reader. Still, there are classics I hadn’t yet read. One of them is The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, which is considered one of the early mystery novels. I’d read his The Woman in White when I was absorbing Victorian novels before writing Rebel Mechanics, but I hadn’t made it to this one.

It came up again when I was planning the current book, since my book is my own take on the English house party mystery — the kind of story in which you’ve got a bunch of guests at a country estate, and then there’s a crime. To look at some of the tropes and how I want to play with them, I looked up some examples of this sort of story, and this book came up. I found a miniseries adaptation on Amazon Prime Video and watched that, and that made me want to read the book. It’s not actually a great fit for the kind of house party story I’m thinking of in that the crime happens during the party, but the rest of the book, with the investigation and the resolution, happens at other times. It’s not one of those stories that takes place entirely at the remote estate where all the characters are stuck together.

Still, it has one of the great plot twists of all time, and I won’t even begin to hint at it lest I spoil it for someone who’s intrigued. Aside from that, I’m fascinated by the way the story is told. The framing story is that the person who wants the case solved has asked all the people who know anything about it to write out their own accounts of the events surrounding the crime and the aftermath. There’s a big chunk about the party from the perspective of the elderly steward at the estate. There’s another chunk by one of the party guests, a prim spinster relative. The person who wants the case solved has his own part, as do a lawyer and a doctor who help with the investigation. There are also letters from other people included. Everyone has their own perspectives and knowledge of one piece of the puzzle, and they also have very strong voices. The biases they bring to the situation come into play in what they notice and what they suspect. They do have a definitive solution, so you don’t have to do all the work yourself, but you do get to try to figure what the truth might be by putting together all the pieces of info.

This has made me consider how that could work in another genre, like maybe having chronicles of an event from the perspective of both sides. Could you tell a fantasy story in “found” materials, like letters, the histories each side writes, royal proclamations, etc.? That might be fun to play with.

The Moonstone is referred to a lot in Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog. It’s been way too long since I reread that, so I’m rereading it now that I can get all the jokes.


A Break Before Revision

I’ve been battling a book that I thought I had all planned out. There are scenes I’ve been imagining for ages, even before I decided I was going to use this plot for this series. But it’s been a bit of a struggle because there was something about it that just wasn’t working. I even got to a point where I couldn’t go forward because I had no idea what should happen next, so I tried something I’ve never done before and wrote scenes out of order. If there was a scene from later in the book that I thought I could write, I wrote it even if I didn’t know how I was going to get there. I wrote the “interview” scenes in which they talk to the suspects without knowing which order they were going to go in.

And the more I wrote, the more aware I became that there was a fundamental problem with the way I was handling this story, but I couldn’t think of how to solve it.

Monday night, I figured out exactly what that problem was and how to solve it — when I was less than 7,000 words away from my target word count (though a lot of those words aren’t going to end up in the book). It’s going to require some rewriting and restructuring, but the moment I changed that idea, the story fell together in my head. I tried writing one of the pivotal scenes in the way it would go with this new structure, and it was perfect. So, that’s what I’ll do.

The original plan was to finish the first draft this week, then take the long holiday weekend as a vacation of sorts, then after the holiday do the first round of revisions. With the revision I have in mind, there’s no point in making myself write to the end when the beginning is going to change, and I think a break before I start rewriting would be a good idea. So, I’m taking the rest of the week off as a bit of a holiday, and I’ll get back to work on Monday. The nice thing about working for yourself is that you get to decide when to take holidays. I don’t really like Monday holidays because they throw off my whole week. I’d rather start the weekend early, so that’s what I’m doing.

I don’t have big plans. I want to do some housework, sleep, read, and generally relax. I’ve been pushing through for the last month or so, telling myself I’d get a break after this draft, and I need that break. The next round of the book should be a lot easier. I hope!