Uncategorized,  Week in Review

Week in Review: January 15, 2017

We’ve spent the last 48 hours bracing for the ice storm. I bought plenty of groceries to hunker down for the long weekend. I prepared a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday so we could eat leftovers the remaining days, just in case we lost power.

As is typical with Kansas weather, the storm took a slightly different route. We were completely dry on Friday. Totally dry on Saturday. And barely a glaze on the road surface this morning. By this afternoon, temperatures will rise and all will turn to rain.

But I’m not complaining. Friday night’s dinner (with wine tasting) was delightful, and the dreary forecast provided the perfect excuse to stay inside to read and write for four straight days!

My Reading Week:

2017 is a good reading year so far, and I truly hope to keep this up. I have completed four books, am currently reading two more, and have a couple more waiting in line.

My first book of the year was To Capture What We Cannot See by Beatrice Colin. Starting the year with a Paris book is about as perfect as it gets. I enjoyed the evolving relationship between Caitriona Wallace, a young widowed chaperone to two wealthy teens, and Emile Nouguier, one of the architects of the Eiffel Tower. I liked the conflict created by social mores and class distinctions. But what I truly loved was witnessing the Iron Lady come to life. I will visit Paris in March, and I know I will not look at her the same way again.

The other books I read are research for my writing projects. Two are picture books that are similar to my MG historical fiction novel about the Impressionists.

  • The Come Look with Me series by Gladys S Blizzard is a delightful way to introduce art appreciation to children. I like this series because it is quite similar to what I envision for a non-fiction companion piece for my novel. The author includes a full-page color photograph of the painting… a brief biography of the artist… and then several questions for children to ponder while “studying” the art. LOVELY!
  • Pooch on the Loose: A Christmas Adventure by Steven Kroll is a clever way to introduce children to the sights and sounds of New York City. I like this book because in my novel I attempt to introduce the middle grade student to Paris by way of a runaway puppy. It’s nice to know my idea is not completely far fetched.

The final book is inspiration for a new MG historical fiction idea: the Totoro immigration story from Naples, Italy to New York City. I’m not sure what search term lead me to Steven Kroll’s When I Dream of America, but the timing was absolutely perfect. My recent visit to the Tenement Museum helped me to envision the setting of this story on the lower east side at the turn of the 20th century. And while I wasn’t keen on his primary storyline conflict, I thoroughly enjoyed the family dynamics and the description of life in that neighborhood.

So… I plan to read more historical fiction immigrant stories over the next few months – all in the name of research. I recently started When We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt, and am already drawn into the village of Opi and Irma’s desire to leave its confines for the promise of the American Dream.

I’ve heard The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani is another must read in this genre.

Do you have any recommendations?

My Writing Week:

LOTS of good stuff going on in 2017!

  1. I sent my MG novel, Ellie’s Paris Adventure, to an agent from the fall SCBWI convention, and I’m waiting patiently for him to reply. In the meantime, I’m putting the project on hold for a short while. I have several decisions to consider: do I want to revise before sending to other agents? do I want to self-publish as is? do I want to rewrite as a non-fiction piece? I’m still in-love with the project, but it needs to settle for a while.
  2. As I alluded to above… I have another idea for a MG historical fiction piece: Cora’s Voyage to America. This one takes me out of the world of art and into the world of immigration. My husband’s family is 100% Italian – both parents were first generation American. And his grandmother (a good family friend – no blood relation) was also first generation. I am researching her side of the family to try and discover her past. What I don’t learn from research, I will fill-in with fiction. My children adored Cora, and this will be my attempt to honor her memory for generations to come.
  3. I’ve been teaching a journaling class for about two years now, and I’ve finally decided to put that content into a book. So… this is my public announcement that on May 1, 2017 my Journaling Towards Wholeness book will be available to purchase (eek!!). I plan to take part in the A-Z Challenge in April again this year – focusing on journaling. Then I plan to release the book (hopefully kindle version as well as paperback) immediately afterwards. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime… I took a step on the wild side and created a YouTube video on Bullet Journaling. If interested, you can view this debut performance below (the verdict is still out whether I will attempt to make this a series).

Do you journal? Do you desire to journal but hesitate to start? If so, I’d love to hear any questions you may have, obstacles you see, or routines you follow. I strive to write a book that will help others begin the journaling habit in order to improve their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

18 Comments

  • The Intrepid Angeleno

    I watched your entire video and really appreciated seeing every single page, even if just briefly. That was very helpful!!! The biggest take away for me was when you talked about the gratitude page and how you only managed to keep it up for like 5 days and how that was ok you would simply TRY ANOTHER WAY. OMG such a simple thought but one I've never gotten until now. Not just for the gratitude page but any other page that one might get stuck on. Try another way. Thank you!

    It was also helpful to see the evolution of your weekly layouts. First you forgot the weather, then you added the weather, then you boxed in the weather, then you moved the weather. Trying other ways until it worked.

    And finally, I think your doodley icons are very cute and you should go ahead and use them and keep making them. I can't draw or doodle or anything either so I have the same hangups about them as you do. Only decorations in my journal are ones I've glued or taped into it.

    Thanks for creating this helpful video!

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    Thank you so much for your encouraging comments!
    My sole purpose for writing the book and creating the video(s) is to help others realize the benefits of journaling and erase the misconceptions they may have about journaling the "right" way – there is no one right way 🙂

  • Joy

    We didn't do too badly weather-wise in St. Louis. Friday was treacherous but the temperatures have been warmer than expected the rest of the weekend.

    I just requested the book set in Paris from the library — it looks wonderful!

  • Kay

    I loved your video!! I'm not a journal person. I've tried it and it wasn't a good match for me, but I know that it is very helpful to others. Confession: I did journal or pour out a bunch of inner turmoil in a journal a few years ago when my folks were so ill and then when my sister was getting cancer treatment. These were very, very negative thoughts. I shredded all that journal. Ripped it apart and shredded it. I've never regretted that. Think it was just something I had to do. Anyway, wanted to say that the part of the video where you talked about stapling the pages together and moving on and being so thrilled that you could do that – brought tears to my eyes. Molly, I think you have a gift here. Teaching about this. You may never know how many you will touch. I think you should definitely do more videos. Hugs! Glad you didn't get the ice storm. Take care!

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    I'd love to hear your review of the book, Joy!
    We are starting to warm up here – I anticipate all precipitation will be rain in the next few hours. I think our highs for the next several days are in the 40s and 50s (?!!)

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    Oh Kay – thank you so very much for your wise, insightful comments!
    I do teach that it is fine to shred, burn or whatever necessary 🙂 It is the act of releasing the emotions onto the page that is important – not holding onto the pages.

    I think I may do more videos. I just need to decide what journaling topics to explore.

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    Thank you so much for stopping by, Laura – and providing the fabulous link! I hope to immerse myself in Italian immigrant stories this first half of 2017.

    I'd love to know more about your first book – and your second 🙂 I am new to Italian genealogical research, and find it a little slow-going (SO many variations of how to spell a name!)

  • Bryan G. Robinson

    Thanksgiving dinner in January? Do you celebrate Thanksgiving diffferently thee in Kansas? 😉 Reading and writing, though, is good and glad you were able to enjoy. Looking forward to hearing about the response on your middle grade novel. I would like to journal, but my handwriting is just so horrible (as I mentioned on my blog today). If I can do it online, I'll be good.

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    We spent Thanksgiving with my son and daughter in Nashville. While we had the traditional turkey feast at that time, I didn't have leftovers (which is my favorite part of the meal). So this weekend we had the feast – then turkey sandwiches – and tonight I made turkey pot pie soup 🙂

    I think online journaling is a GREAT option, Bryan. As long as the thoughts get out of our heads (to make room for more creative thought) … that's what really counts.

  • JoAnn

    Molly – I just watched your entire video and I NEVER spend time watching YouTube videos! Even book tube videos seem too long for me. I'm also a perfectionist and have considered starting a bullet journal, but am afraid I wouldn't be able to 'get it right'. Your video has inspired me to go ahead and give it a try. Your evolving layout, stapled pages, and letting go of the gratitude page are inspiring. Guess it's finally time for me to start looking for a journal! I hope you decide to do another video. Thank you!

  • Cathy

    I loved hearing your voice in the video! My but you have been busy. Good luck on the forthcoming book(s).

    As to journaling in a hardcover book, oh, I want to do it, but it always frustrates the daylights out of me. So many starts and stops. So many sweet little (but unfilled) notebooks lying about. Instead, I use The Journal 7. It's on my computer, but I can create and organize it into as many sub-journal categories as I wish. The journals can be calendar based or simply like a notebook.

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    Thank you SO much for stopping, Cathy! I have thought of you often over these past several months.

    While I prefer hand journaling (and believe there are benefits to slowing down and using that kinesthetic method), I also teach journaling with computers. I've tried a number of online journals as well as apps, but I have not heard of The Journal 7 before. I will definitely check it out 🙂

  • My Cozy Book Nook

    Oh JoAnn… thank you SO much! I really hope you give bullet journaling a try… and if you do, please let me know how it goes 🙂

    I do have a few more videos planned. We'll see if I'm brave enough to get in front of the camera again

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