It's hard to believe how fast the summer is flying by. We've been fortunate this year to mix in few long weekend trips with our annual beach vacation (next week, Hilton Head!) so we have been having a blast. We went camping as a family for the first time and biked half of the Virginia Creeper Trail, a truly majestic experience. Another weekend was spent in the picturesque mountains of the Asheville area, which was great because that is where my novel is set, so I was able to pick up a few details to add into the manuscript.
I've been picking up more work as a newspaper stringer and just turned in my latest batch of local magazine articles assigned to me over the past few months. Summer always proves to be a challenge in freelancing with the kids home a lot of the time, but summer camps and structured activities have helped me get things done for the most part. My new smartphone helps too, because I can stay connected whenever we venture out of the house.
We've experienced an unusually early heat wave in North Carolina, and I've used that time to catch up on some reading. Right now I'm working on "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy, which, of course, is fabulous. My eyes are tired from doing so much reading but I can't put it down!
And of course, the manuscript revisions. The book is complete and I love talking about it with other people. I can't get over how many friends and acquaintances want to go ahead and read it. I already informed my husband (who typically doesn't read long works of fiction) that he will be reading the book next week while we are on vacation, and I hope to get a rough outline of my next novel fleshed out in the next few weeks. Next up, compiling a list of agents to query. I'm thankful to have the 2010 edition of Writer's Market my shelf and every issue of Writer's Digest from the past few years to assist in my search.
I'm adding the blog "Ask Allison" to my blogroll, as I recently read all three of Allison Winn Scotch's novels this summer and like the advice she doles out to writes on her blog. I really enjoyed the one where she talked about the playlist for her latest novel "The One That I Want," because I've had an ever-evolving playlist I listen to whenever I work on my manuscript, too. I recently added singer/songwriter Greg Laswell (see photo above) to it. I saw him play at a local venue in Charlotte about a month ago and fell in love with his music, which I had already heard a few times on "Grey's Anatomy." He writes a lot about relationships, and so many of his songs tie in well with the themes in my book, especially the love story aspect. If you ever get a chance to see this guy live, I highly recommend it. He tends to play in intimate settings, and he's very funny and engaging with his audience. His latest album is "Take a Bow," and the whole album flows together seamlessly. I can't begin to tell you how much his music has been on repeat while I worked on latest revisions of the book.
This is an exciting time of my life. The kids are getting older and cuter by the day. I love my job, and am hopeful that my foray into fiction-writing will pay off in the long run. And it's almost vacation time!