Goals for July 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve had monthly goals. Yes, I know we’re already a week into the month. We’re going to roll with this anyway.

Goals for July 2020 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | Business | RachelPoli.com

Creative Writing

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo this month and I have to admit I got a late start this time around. I always begin on day one (as you do) but I actually didn’t begin until the second day. Even then I didn’t meet the daily goal and just added what I wrote on day two to my word count on day three. I never do that, but whatever. It evens out in the end.

There are a lot of creative writing projects I want to work on that don’t necessarily mean writing. I seriously need to catch up with my Short Story Sunday posts. So, my Camp goal this month is 30,000 words instead of the usual 50,000 words. I did this so that I can get back into the swing of writing (roughly 1,000 words a day seems much more doable than 2,000 words a day) and also because I want to focus on my other projects which need more editing rather than writing.

Yes, you can create a Camp project to edit. You can track your progress y pages or hours instead of words, but I like sticking to the word count. It seems to work better for me.

Mostly, I’m trying to gather my thoughts with my creative writing and create a plan for the rest of 2020. I’ve put off my projects for far too long.

Reading

I was in a slump for well over a year in terms of reading and reviewing. I’m back in the swing of things and plan to begin writing reviews again. In fact, I wrote a book review yesterday.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted book reviews in a while is because I got so far behind that I was trying to slowly get back into my reading habit without having the actual reviewing part looming over my head. So, I’ve been reading and now I have a decent backlog to post reviews regularly again while keeping up with the actual reading part.

…I guess this part’s not really a goal, huh? I’ll just say my reading goal for July is to keep reading. Perfect.

Everything else

As ridiculous as this is going to sound, there’s a lot of other stuff I need to do. My goal for July is to play catch-up, get a little bit ahead, and keep up with everything I’ve been doing.

I’ve been getting better at this. 2020 has been a wild ride and even though I already worked from home I felt like I needed to get into a new routine. So, July is going to be me trying to stick with that routine.

We’ll see how it goes.

How’s July treating you so far? What are your goals for the month? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern [Book Review]

This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you buy from these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support.

I received a free ARC from the author. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Title: Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree
Author: David Ahern
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Thriller

Series: Madam Tulip, book 4
Publisher: Malin Press
Publication Date: March 14, 2020

Plot

I was eager to jump back into this series again. It was refreshing to go on another adventure with Derry, also known as Madam Tulip.

While the plot of this was is unique from the others, there is a pattern with the books. Derry gets an acting job and something goes wrong and she finds herself deep inside a murder investigation. This isn’t a complaint. I think the overall structure of each book and therefore the series as a whole is well done.

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree has a lot of twist and turns within its pages. It keeps you guessing until the very end.

Characters

As always, this book has a great case of characters. Derry is a fun protagonist along with her friend Bruce and her parents popping in from time to time.

I even enjoyed the side characters and the antagonists in this one. They’re all unique from one another and from the books before it. The development is well done.

Writing Style

This book is written in the third person which is how I personally prefer mystery stories to be. The author’s writing is easy to follow along with a good amount of well-done descriptions and funny quips within the dialogue.

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

I think this one was my favorite Madam Tulip book so far. The book is well-rounded in every aspect of writing a book, in my opinion. I would highly recommend this one.

5

Favorite Quote

The thing about issues is that as you get older, they become ever more dangerous.

David Ahern, Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree

About The Author

David Ahern, Author | RachelPoli.com

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland. He become a research psychologist in Scotland and the Netherlands, before inevitably his genes kicked in and he absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

After stints playing in great bands, all doomed to obscurity, and writing equally obscure plays, he took to novel-writing. He now creates the Madam Tulip mysteries, in part as a tribute to the way actors never give up dreaming, but mostly to make himself laugh and scratch his head. David Ahern loves pretending this is actual work.

David lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, a cat, a tame pheasant, a clan of badgers and a vegetable garden.

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Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it around. Also, you can take a look at more Book Reviews here.

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Short Story Sunday: “Coversation” [307]

Short Story Sunday 307: "Conversation" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Lyla asked. She picked up her hot coffee and drew it to her lips without taking a sip. It was still piping hot, the steam rising from the small slit in the cover.

Victor, sipping his coffee across the table, stared at her. He put the paper cup down on the table. “What do I think who are talking about?”

“Them,” Lyla said, turning her attention back to her friend, jerking her head to her left.

Victor looked to his right scanning the cafe. There was an empty table beside them but next to that one was another man and woman sitting together. They seemed to be deep in conversation, not taking their eyes off one another. The man sat back with one arm casually on the back of his chair and his other hand holding his hot beverage. The woman hunched forward with both hands cupping her hot drink.

“Why are you curious about what they’re talking about?” Victor asked turning his attention back to Lyla.

Lyla stared at the couple once more. “I can’t get a read on them.”

“Why do you need to get a read on them?”

“Why do you have to question everything I do?”

“Because I think you’re crazy.”

Lyla snorted through a smile. It wasn’t the first time someone called her crazy and she knew it wouldn’t be the last. In fact, she knew she was a bit crazy. She was too nosy for her own good, but these were strangers. There was no harm in wondering what they’re lives were like today. Lyla brought her drink back up to her mouth and took the tiniest of sips. It was still hot but at least she didn’t burn her tongue this time.

“Okay, let me ask you this,” Victor said, “What do you think they’re talking about?”

Lyla shrugged. “That’s why I asked you.”

“You’re the nosiest person I know and you eavesdrop all the time. I’m sure you’ve heard bits and pieces here and there in their conversation,” Victor stated.

Lyla frowned. “I tried, but it’s too loud in here and they’re two tables away.”

Victor laughed. He took another sip of his drink and looked back over at the couple two tables over. They hadn’t moved their positions, but they were still talking, staring deeply into one another’s eyes.

“It seems to me,” Victor began, “the woman is trying to have a serious conversation and the man doesn’t seem to care.”

“That’s what you get out of that?” Lyla asked in surprise.

“Body language says a lot.”

“But you make it sound like the man isn’t serious at all. The woman is trying to convince him of something and he’s brushing her off,” Lyla countered.

Victor shook his head. “I didn’t say the man was never serious. I meant this particular conversation isn’t interesting to him. Or maybe the woman is making a big deal out of nothing and that’s why she’s stressed out and he’s not.”

Lyla pressed her lips together in a smirk.

Victor narrowed his eyes. “What?”

“You’re just as nosy as I am.”

“I am not.”

“You are,” Lyla said with a chuckle. “You have this all thought out. You thought of two scenarios.”

Victor waved her off. “Oh, forget it.” He took another sip.

There was a moment of silence as the two old friends sipped on their own coffee. Lyla and Victor met up once a week at the cafe to catch up with one another and have a relaxing time after a long week. They had been doing this for years, ever since they graduated high school and they went to different colleges. They wanted to keep in touch and going to a cafe for about an hour a week was the only time they were able to make. Even when college was over and they both had full-time jobs this was the only time they could make. Life was always so hectic and on-the-go. Lyla enjoyed that they were able to take this time out of their week and keep in touch with each other.

“Why do you care so much?” Victor broke the silence.

“About what?”

“About what those people are talking about. You ask me that just about every time we come here.”

Lyla shrugged. “I’m curious about what’s going on in other people’s lives. I think it’s cool that other people live like we do.”

Victor raised an eyebrow. He wasn’t too sure how to respond to that one. Of course other people had lives. Everyone went to school or work, they hung out with friends. Everyone had feelings and their own worries and doubts about things. Someone somewhere was receiving good news while another person somewhere was receiving bad news. It was the way life worked.

“I mean, I know other people have lives, of course.” Lyla attempted to defend herself. “But it’s interesting to know how similar or different strangers are to us. We get so wrapped up in living our own lives, thinking, and worrying, and all that jazz that we forget there are other people around us possibly going through the same thing.”

Victor nodded his head. She made sense. He had some interesting customers at his work all the time and he often pretended they were having a bad day so Victor tried to remain as calm and nice as he possibly could.

“It’s true,” he said, adding his two cents. “Everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. I still don’t see why you need to eavesdrop on conversations in the cafe though.” He smirked.

Lyla laughed. “This place is filled with interesting people. It’s the perfect place to people watch.”

Victor smiled and raised his cup. “I can’t argue with that.”

*

“You don’t need to keep whispering. They can’t hear us.” The man two tables over took a lazy sip from his drink.

The woman, still hunched over the table, stared at him. “I know, but I don’t want them to see that we’ve been looking over at them.”

“Then don’t look at them. I don’t know why you always feel the need to know what other people are talking about whenever we step foot inside a busy public place.”

“You’re not the least bit curious about what’s going on in their lives?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not crazy.”

*

Victor nodded his head to two tables over and Lyla casually gazed over acting as though she was looking at something else.

“What about them?” she asked.

“I changed my mind,” he said. “I think they’re arguing.”

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 014 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast with Julie Valerie | Creative Writing | Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 014: Do you write your novels linearly or jump around?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I are joined by our friend and fellow author, Julie Valerie. We discuss writing our novels in order or jumping around plus tips to stay on track with or without outlines. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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About Kerri Davidson

Julie Valerie, Author | The Merry Writer Podcast | RachelPoli.com

Julie Valerie lives and writes from Virginia, where she is at work developing the Village of Primm series. Enjoy Holly Banks Full of Angst (2019) and The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks (2020), both by Lake Union Publishing.

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Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 013 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 013 | Do you add yourself into your writing? | Creative Writing | Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 013: Do you add yourself into your writing?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I discuss our thoughts on authors writing themselves into their books. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

Podbean | Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube | PodLink

What are your thoughts on authors needing a website? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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