I Must Be Crazy – NaNoWriMo and Other Fall Things

We’re knee deep in autumn here in Middle Tennessee. Leaves are an impressive array of golds and reds and oranges, the breeze is a little cooler every day, and pumpkin has permeated everything from our porches to our coffee cups. Halloween has come and gone, ushering in what, for most of us, is the busiest season of the year. As the saying goes, the New Year will be here before we know it.

I Must Be Crazy: NaNoWriMo and Other Fall Things

So, November naturally serves as the perfect time to take on a massive new project, right? Along with several author friends, I have accepted the challenge to once again participate in National Novel Writer’s Month, referred to as NaNoWriMo, and write 50,000 words during the month of November. I must be crazy.

I do have my reasons (she said behind wide eyes and a racing heart). I’ve signed on the be part of a very exciting novella collection set to come out early next fall! I will join hands with five other Christian authors to bring you some unique stories sure to satisfy your love story cravings. I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon.

You won’t be surprised to know that I’ve not written steadily for quite some time. Book two of the Laurel Cove series is still in need of a lot of attention! But this novella has really inspired me and I’ve decided to let NaNoWriMo give me the chance to hammer out the first draft. If you’ve been with me for a long time, you may remember that the first draft of Someplace Familiar was written during NaNoWriMo way back in 2013! If I can stick with it, it’s a really fun and exhilarating experience.

The novella needs to be only about 25,000 words. So, book two might just get the chance to grow a little, as well. I toyed with the idea of cramming in a Christmas novella, like I’d announced I had plans for a while back. But I’ve learned the hard way recently that life sometimes throws wrenches into the mix. Back in September, my husband joined one of the national tours of Hamilton! We’re so thankful for the opportunity, but that leaves me flying solo at Fort Tysinger. Less time for myself and a few more responsibilities. The days feel shorter and to-do list longer.

Have I said how crazy it is to take on NaNoWriMo right now?

But, we serve a BIG God who somehow empowers us to do much bigger things that we consider ourselves capable of managing. Often times, it’s just saying “Yes, God” today, then tomorrow, then the next day. And having grace with ourselves on days we need to take a breather and rest in Him.

If you’re still hanging on, I’d sure appreciate your encouragement and prayers during this crazy month. How can I pray for you?

Back in the South Again

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve likely seen that my family and I recently made a big move. We packed up and left the summer furnace of Texas for the rolling warm hills of Nashville, Tennessee.

And my Southern-loving heart couldn’t be happier.

While a new job opportunity for me sparked the move, there is so much to be thankful for being back in the Southeast. Here are my top five reasons this relocation has me feeling all the feels…

  1. We’re closer to my family than we’ve been in 20 years. Ever since I left for college back in 1999 (gasp!), I’ve not lived closer than 8.5 hours to my parents. Now, they are a short and easy 2-hour drive straight down I-65! What’s better? My sister and nephew are not much farther, too! So long to the days of planning flights months in advance, boarding the dog, and TSA security lines just to hug their necks. We’ve already seen my folks several times and my mom is even here this week helping take our daughter to VBS while we work.
  2. I can now commune with my muse. (Wow, what a cheesy line. Sorry. LOL) My author tag line is “Charming Southern romance inspired by grace.” While many consider Texas to be a Southern state, it’s got nothing on the charm and small town culture of this region. Now, my office building is on historic Music Row near downtown Nashville, so I’m not claiming to be front porch rockin’ all day long. But the surrounding rolling hills, blue grass music, down home meat-and-three meals, and friendly hat-tipping are what the stories in my heart are made of. Can’t wait to see how this place inspires me to get back to regular writing.

    IMG_8040The gorgeous (and green) view from our new porch!

  3. The food scene is insane. Now, to be fair, we had zero complaints about the food in Fort Worth. No arguments from us that Texas knows how to do BBQ, Tex-Mex, and margaritas. But, Texas ain’t got nothing on Tennesee fried chicken, Southern sides, cobbler, and sweet tea. We lunched at the famous Puckett’s Grocery in downtown Franklin after church this past Sunday and might end up regulars. Don’t take my word for it, let the picture of my lunch prove it.

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    To top it off, you’re hard pressed to find an eating establishment in the area that doesn’t offer sensational live music. I mean, it’s “Music City” for a reason and everyone is good.

  4. We are within driving distance, once again, to some of our favorite places. When we lived in North Carolina, we were used to being able to drive a few hours and be in numerous different states, destinations, landscapes, etc. Then we moved to Texas and felt a tad land-locked. There were a lot of great places to see in Texas, but we love the ability to get in the car and take a day trip to some of our favorite places: Atlanta for a Brave’s game, Gatlinburg for fall festivities, Chattanooga for family fun, and just about any direction for some of the best outdoor exploring through hiking trails, waterfalls, scenic views, and more. We can’t wait to get out there again!
  5. The charming, small town culture warms my heart. Really similar to number two, this final reason to celebrate our new home really hones in on the sort of family experience I love. We’re settling in Franklin, a quaint but fast-growing town about 25 minutes outside of Nashville.

    Downtown Franklin Main Street_0Photo courtesy of tnvacation.com

    You may have heard of it as a top choice for celebrities looking for some anonymity to raise their families without being hounded by paparazzi. (I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Natalie Grant, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, or maybe Carrie Underwood and will report any sightings!) But, there’s a lot about Franklin I’ve wanted for my family for a long time…things like a mix of country/city, lots of festivals, steeped in American history, Saturday markets where folks stroll and engage in friendly catching up. I know Franklin doesn’t have the market on this sort of place — maybe your town is the same! But the DFW area of Texas was more metropolitan than I care for, and I’m excited to enjoy this new pace of life.

While I’ve got your attention, be sure to pop over to Faithfully Bookish where Beth is talking to one of my favorite authors, Courtney Walsh about her favorite book cover fonts. So excited and honored that Someplace Familiar made Courtney’s list! There’s some great other covers as well as a giveaway of Courtney’s latest release, Just Let Go.

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