Lifestyle, Uncategorized

July In A Nutshell

Why, hello there.



First of all, can I lodge an official protest that OVER HALF OF 2018 IS OVER AND I FEEL LIKE THE SUMMER JUST STARTED. #help



Ahem.  But I digress.  This is the monthly wrap up post where I reflect on what happened in the previous month and what I accomplished.  I got quite a bit done in July, in spite of everything!

Let’s take a look, shall we?


I shall refrain from going over everything I watched and just list my top favorites of July!


Search for Spock


The Search For Spock is my favorite Star Trek movie of all time. Every time I watch this gem, I tear up.  There’s more truthful emotions and beautiful relationships in Star Trek than a gazillion Hallmark movies put together!

Perfect movie making, incredible acting, dynamite pacing, heart-moving music (James Horner actually had the genius to use silence more than score in this movie) and themes of sacrifice and the love of family.





It’s one of the most emotional movies I have ever watched.  When I first watched it years ago, I burst into cheers and applause at the end (I was in my living room).  Anyone who hasn’t watched the Original Series though will not be able to appreciate the power and beauty of this chapter of our heroes journey.


The Patriot


I watched this one for the 4th of July and got to show it to my sister!  You can’t get much more patriotic than this.



The Patriot is a beautifully crafted film made by true artisans.  Unlike the desensitized, chaotic, senseless film-making of many modern films – The Patriot’s editing and pacing harks back to a better time of movie making.

Mel Gibson carries this movie with powerful acting and subtle skill and is the highlight of the cast.

My other favorite aspect of the film is that it focuses on a family – and how each member contributes in their own way based on their unique abilities.

Aside from its technical aspects, The Patriot is backed with beautiful themes – the best of them being that it is impossible to stay out of the fight.  There is no third option – it’s one side or the other.  Those that try to hide will find the battle follows them to their doorstep.


Crime Travelers (TV show)


This series is amazing!  The episodes are so mind-bending that there are still scenes and elements that I have yet to figure out.

This show was so good, that we literally re-watched the entire series a week later and I wouldn’t mind rewatching them again.  I hardly ever do that with a film or a show.

All six of my family members have diverse tastes, and it’s a rare show that can entrance all of us.



These two are the most adorable pair of buddies.  They complement each other perfectly.  Slade’s wild, impetuous personality and his ironic sense of humor plays off of Holly’s cerebral, by-the-book, intensity.



Oh my goodness, guys.  You know how picky I am – and YET I SHALL TELL YOU LOUD AND CLEAR – THIS PAIR IS ONE OF THE BEST!!!



And by the way, if you’re looking for a “strong female character” – Holly is a fantastic character without being an obnoxious teeth-kicking prima donna.  She’s a female mad scientist (since when do we see that?) with a Sherlock-esque mental intensity and focus that the actress portrays perfectly.


Ellery Queen (TV show)


Jim Hutton plays the eternally distracted but ever-pleasant Ellery to perfection, and his vague, kind personality is balanced wonderfully by David Wayne, who plays his practical, sharp-eyed and salty-tongued father.

Ellery Queen also features one of my favorite character actors of all time, John Hillerman, who is delightfully obnoxious in a British version of Crying Bryan Dern from Adventures in Odyssey.

Fun and engaging mysteries with a fantastic 1930s setting.  It also had a “Choose Your Own Adventure” vibe to it that makes it extra fun.  Watch it, and you’ll see what I mean.

– READ –



I only read 11 books for the month of July.  I had a lot of eyestrain in July so it really cut into my reading but on the plus side, I began listening to more audio books.

I’m an impatient reader, and I read so quickly I have a tendency to inhale a book to the point where my comprehension isn’t always as good as it should be.  When I started listening to more audio books last month, it forced me to slow down and to really live in the book.  It was an utterly immersive experience that overtook all my senses and I slipped effortless into the book.  I’m really enjoying it, even if I do sometimes miss the old binge-reading days.  😀



Camp Nano


My original goal for Camp Nano was 30,000 but, due to not feeling well in July, I had to cut it down to 20,000.  Come to think of it, the exact same goal and subsequent cut was actually made back in April’s Camp Nano for the exact same reason.



Eh, seriously – it’s okay.  Thing’s happens, and life’s banana peels give us invaluable experience in learning how to pick ourselves up again and persevere, no matter how small our steps.


My Camp Nano project was book three in the Tales of Ambia series, my retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.


^ Basically my experience thus far ^


Progress has been as slow and painful as extracting a molar – but I am slogging onward!  I like a few parts (I’ve already had tears running down my face because of Burndee’s pain in this book) but the rest of me feels like it’s the lousiest thing I’ve ever written.

Can I hear a “likewise” from the writers among us?

The really bad news for me (but hopefully good news for you?) is that it is becoming abundantly clear that Little Red Riding Hood will be much longer than The Reluctant Godfather or The Goose Girl and might be a full-length novel.



In other Camp Nano news, I started my own cozy little Camp Nano cabin, consisting of myself and five other girls.  I was utterly delighted to be cheer leading three lovely ladies who were attempting Camp Nano for the very first time!

They did a fabulous job and they did something incredible.  I was bursting with pride that I got to watch them dive into new territory and commit to the daily perseverance and consistency that Nano requires.  They were champions – not just for finishing but for DOING IT and sticking with it.  Call me sentimental, but I AM SO PROUD OF THEM.



Last of all for writing news, I started another Tales of Ambia short story (Eek!  I really like this one, you guys) and posted Chapter Three of Life at Hedgerose!



Moving / Building


More moving and purging chaos abounds in the Tebo stomping grounds!  Spines and tempers were tested as we shifted furniture and assembled four new bookcases!  My twin and I decided to swap out some hand-me-down bookcases for some lovely new white ones – and thanks to my family (especially my big bro – kissy, kissy!) who spent a day assembling these beauties.



The minute those bookcases were in place, I naturally started arranging books.  I can’t tell you what a happy glow it gives me to see these bookcases when I open my eyes every morning!

I also started sorting through my closet.  It’s not easy for a fashion diva to admit that she has to many clothes.  *coughs*


Character Art


I won a giveaway!  An event on Facebook featured about a dozen giveaways and I decided to randomly enter all of them.



A New Zealand artist had offered to draw a character portrait for one lucky winner – and I won!

And instantly panicked as I rampaged through Pinterest trying to find reference pictures for – you guessed it – Burndee.

I mean, who ELSE would I want to be drawn?



I can’t wait to see what the final artwork looks like!




I got my hair chopped off for the summer!  Sometimes I get to the point where I feel like shaving it, so I compromised and just got a pixie cut instead.  🙂

I also started highlighting it and I’m really loving the change.

(hey, I never said my life was exciting)


Blog Growth


Thanks to giveaways and a blog tour – there has been a plethora of new people following my blog and signing up for my author newsletter!



And I just want to say – welcome, welcome, welcome!  *beams at all the newcomers*  I’m so happy you’re here and I can’t wait to get to know you better!



Blog Tour


The amazing Kellyn Roth organized a two-week blog tour for The Reluctant Godfather’s re-release – and I couldn’t be happier.  She did a fantastic job and I highly recommend her services!


Signed Paperbacks of The Reluctant Godfather





Signed paperbacks of The Reluctant Godfather are for sale on my website for only $9.00!

Regarding the ebook edition, I wanted to set the price lower for the first month of its availability – since many of you might have the first edition already.

You can now snap up The Reluctant Godfather’s brand new, spanking second edition for only 0.99!




I posted to Youtube again!  After months of my silence, I’m finally posting monthly to my channel again!

This is a lovely old waltz composed in 1909 by the same duo that wrote the music for Let Me Call You Sweetheart.

And if you don’t know what that song is, HOKEY SMOKES, PEOPLE – YOU NEED TO.


I also did an alternate take of this song.  At the second refrain, I started looping my voice and playing around with the editing.  I had lots of fun.  What do you think?  Which version do you prefer?



Live Q&A Video


I went live on Facebook for a Q&A session and giveaway.  I had lots of fun, but I rambled a great deal and in my excitement I let slip spoilers for the future of The Tales of AmbiaCheck it out if you can!




So what about you my dear friends and my lovely new followers?  What was your July like?  Did you do Camp Nano?  What books did you read?  Did you go to Vulcan for vacation or what?  Tell me everything!




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8 thoughts on “July In A Nutshell

  1. Thank You for the wrap-up. The bookshelves are lovely. You have a lot of books. Enjoy them. We[my older and my twin sister]. have many books,too.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Marilyn!

      I think I own somewhere between 600 and 700 books – and it doesn’t feel like enough. 😛 I certainly enjoy them! XD

  2. Thanks SO MUCH for inviting me to your NaNo cabin and cheering me on. I had a wonderful time. You’re the best, Alli. <3 <3 <3 And awwwwwwwwww! It makes me happy to know you were proud of us!! *hugs*

    Dang . . . Crime Travelers looks pretty good!!!

    1. Thank YOU, Katie for being a part of the cabin! And yes, my friend, I am so proud of you! “hugs back”.

      I think you would enjoy Crime Travelers, Katie! And you would really like the main female character!! “whispers” Try one!!!! 😛

  3. 1.) Amazing GIFs. As always.
    2.) Congrats on relaunching TRG, Alli, it is GORGEOUS! I got my new copy (totally didn’t know you were doing signed paperbacks, so, oops!) today and was ooh-ing over it to my Mom! =D
    3.) Congrats on your Camp NaNo progress! I was wondering where you’d gone after you trudged out of the Chatterbox. *hug*
    4.) GIRL I GOT A HAIR CUT TOO! About shoulder length though. I hadn’t gotten one in YEARSSSS so. 😛
    5.) SO GLAD YOU HAD A GREAT MONTH! =D Mine was busy. Wrote 37k for Camp. Published The Thief, The Damsel, And The Dragon. And other stuff. 😛

    1. 1) Thanks, Angela! 😛
      2) Thank you!!! ACM, I’m so sorry! I shared the news on Goodreads and Facebook; so sorry you missed it! Thank you so much for your support!
      3) Thank you! Haha, “trudged” is the word. I wasn’t feeling well this July, and a smaller cabin and smaller goal worked better for me.
      4) I saw your new profile pic; so cute!!!
      5). Way to go on everything you got done this month, girl! You are amazing!!!

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