Monday, November 28, 2011

Hey there sexy, have some updates

So while the rest of the American world was enjoying their Thanksgiving wonderfulness, I was sick. =[ Yeah, it kinda sucked. Especially because I was messing up everyone else's plans, and not just my own. And I didn't get to stuff myself stupid with turkey. But Phil was really awesome and gave me some of my Christmas presents early, which included two t-shirts from Woot and a book I wanted!

There are lots of things going on in book-brain right now. I'm still enjoying the "Shopping from the Bookshelf" method, and aside from The Emperor of all Maladies Phil gave me over the weekend (which is new) I started Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke last night. I only got a few pages into it but I think I'm going to stick with it. But of course, it's a huge hardcover, so when I was getting ready this morning I grabbed my paperback of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but was completely not interested in it. So I don't have anything to read on the train ride home (But you need to WRITE, Gina! WRITE on the train! DON'T read!) I want to read it eventually, but much more interested in JSMN. I'll listen to Deadline on the way home instead, which is really good. (Ginayou'reahorriblepersonyouneedtoWRIIIIIITE.)

As far as writing goes, I've been sick since Wednesday, and I haven't written anything since Wednesday. Awesome. I'm currently at 17.6k. I'm not even that upset about it, because the instant I start forcing myself to write when I'm sick it becomes the kind of work that isn't fun. And I want to keep writing fun. The hard part is getting back into the groove, of course. Actually, I need to stop thinking about wordcounts as a groove. I wrote so much this day, and so much this day. The fact that there was a week in between those two days is purely a mental block that I have to get over. As far as my story is concerned, I just took a really long time to finish that sentence. And once I do finish it, no one will know the difference. I need to pick up where I left off, start writing today like I start writing every other day, and read a few paragraphs back and then start typing when I get to the end.

Among other things, there is so much to do at home! The mountainous pile of laundry is still sitting there, and things like my dresser and desk just need to be cleaned off so the things that are supposed to go there actually can go there. Amazing how little it takes to mess the whole room up. And I still have to get my sewing machine working, I need to sew together two big pieces of fabric together for the backing of my blue quilt so I can quilt it Friday morning! Yay! My first fully completed quilt! (Almost.) LIFE IS SO BUSY.

Also, a rather large tidbit for you to absorb into your sponge-brain. 50 Thoughts on Writing by Seanan McGuire, in a handy list and expanded into a series of essays. I'll be reading this one for a while. Also, you should read Seanan McGuire. Specifically, you should read Feed and Deadline by Mira Grant, because they are the same person, and they are awesome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My NaNoWriMo story

With a bunch of goading (and some beer) I spilled the beans about what my story is about. I wasn't trying to keep it secret, but it's weird talking about it when it's not done yet, and I have a track record of not finishing. I phrased it really well last night, too. It won't sound as good this morning. But I think it will be good to have a synopsis, so here it is in it's unedited and virgin form...


Daisy's parents are archaeologists, and she travels the world with them to their locations and attends international schools by day and helps them out at night. But it's her senior year of high school, and she wants to stay in one place. No more moving every four months, no more "temporary friends." Plus, it'll be great practice for college when she has to stay in one place for four years. She goes to her aunt and uncle's house in upstate New York and attends the public school there.

But public school isn't what she expected, and it's hard. She goes to the lake deep in the woods behind the house and plays her violin there, in the solace and quiet of the woods. She thought she was through with independence, but turns out she still needs to get away from the crowds, a little bit of solo-time playing her violin to keep her sanity.

But there are creatures in the lake, and they want her music.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss

I just finished reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins last night. I got it from the library (lovin that library) and I read it in a few nights.

Firstly, this is a fluff book. In the fluffiest sense of the word. There isn't anything to the plot except does he like me/does he not, and other high school-y drama. Normally I wouldn't really be into this book, but it has been floating around the internet grabbing all kinds of good reviews so I gave it a chance.

And I have to say, it was very well written. Kudos to Stephanie. No, there isn't a the-world-is-going-to-die plot, or anything fantasy related, but it was a nice break. It was just a bunch of kids trying to get through high school. It was relaxing. And you can't help but fall in love with √Čtienne... =] This was exactly what I needed to read to de-stress myself.

My gripe was that it ended too early. The scenes themselves weren't rushed, but there was a lot of time passing between chapters and no real mention of it until suddenly, it's Thanksgiving, and the very next chapter, it's Christmas. And then all of a sudden, Bam it's the end of the year and their together. It all happened very quickly, and I would have like to see the characters fleshed out more, especially Anna. But alas, it's a teen book and has to be short. I'd be interested to know the word length of the book. And speaking of word length, this started out as a NaNoWriMo book! And, Laini Taylor is in her writing group! (Some folks have all the luck.)

I would definitely recommend this book. Even though nothing really goes on other than teen drama, it was very well written and a nice break from Real Life. I'm ranking this in Enjoyable. The not-a-sequel is out already, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and in 2012, Isla and the Happily Ever After. And the author has a day job, which makes me happy to see someone writing among Real Life.

Reading Next: I have no idea! I hate it when this happens! =/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Updates N Stuff

First of all, it has been confirmed that Nora Roberts is indeed awesome and shall not be lumped into the horrendous lump of romance writers we so often lump together. In other words: she's pretty badass, and I think I'll buy one of her books now.

Now onto the meat. I fell really behind over the weekend in my NaNoWriMo count (4-5k) and with Thanksgiving this week and our Black Friday anti-shopping at Capone's for a beer festival I'm going to need my ass in gear to catch up. I really want to catch up. It's a teen book, and I can't wait to finish the first draft to really start weaving in the subplots. I'm most excited for the subplots, actually. Is that a bad thing? I'm at the point where shit is going to start happening, and it's exciting. I don't really want to tell people that it's a typical teen book, mainly because I hate reading them, but I know that my book is AWESOME and I'm really enjoying the writing. Because I will finish the shit that I started, goddamnit. AND, speaking of teen books that I never read, I've been reading a teen loves me/loves me not book and I've actually been enjoying it! Go figure! Anna and the French Kiss. I'll probably finish it tonight because there's only a bit left, and a review will follow. It's been fascinating how you can appreciate something for being a fluff book when everything else in the world makes you just want some fluff, damnit. I need to stop bashing them on my blog.

In other news, my room is a mess, my laundry is a gigantic pile, and my sewing machine isn't working. A bottle of wine and compressed air to the rescue!

Friday, November 18, 2011

So scattered lately

...but still plugging away at my WIP! Currently at 15.2k, which is a little behind schedule but still in the game. 51% to goal, 60% to deadline. Some of the scenes are definitely meandering and have zero conflict but I'm just going with it. After November, I am going to set a goal for 24k in the month of December, and keep on plugging.

Writing at a fast pace is definitely helpful. it forces me to think about the scenes on hand, instead of the entire book. This may seem like a bad thing, but thinking about the entire book gets me thinking about alternate ways to do things, and then the book starts changing so much that I can't possibly write it fast enough. As soon as I start writing something, I think of another way to do it that makes it moot. I want to keep up this pace, and speed it up even more as much as possible.

In the middle of several books right now:
Deadline by Mira Grant (audio)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (reread)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough (mostly abandoned)
And I just bought A Flight of Angels graphic novel! It's sooo nice.

Hope life is treating you well, my wrimos!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things I'm Reading Today

Lots of cool things around the interwebs today, so I thought I'd post some links to share with everyone else!

Ghost Hedgehog by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, via
Review of Wintertide by Michael Sullivan, via BookwormBlues
25 Reasons Readers Keep Reading by Chuck Wendig
NaNo Excerpt from Susan Dennard - "Don't be afraid of all the FAIL that goes into creating the eventual WIN."
Four things for NaNo - Skyelyte

Also, listening to Mumford and Sons on Grooveshark. *g*

And now this post is turning to music I'm obsessing over: - Mumford and Sons - Thistles and Weeds - Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks - Christina Perri - Tragedy
And if anyone out there was in a marching band back in the day (NOT like me, no no) this will party rock your socks off (ha). - Ohio State Band - Party Rock Anthem

Update I got tired of looking at the huge gaudy windows on the blog so I removed the embedded videos. Tough love. Lef the links, don't know if they'll work. Search the songs. They rock, I swear.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nano Update #3

I went to my first write-in! And I was pretty close to chickening out but it was super cool. The people hosting it were really nice and it was awesome to meet quirky people who liked writing and were actually cool, unlike the snobs I had to deal with in my classes. It was four hours long and I was a little worried about being able to write that long, but let's be serious we were geeking out about Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings most of the time and then we would have a 15 minute word war and I would write more in those 15 minutes than I can usually get in an hour or two. These were my totals:
  1. Word War 1 = 489
  2. Word War 2 = 514
  3. Word War 3 = 597
  4. Word War 4 = 477
I got better and better each time, except for the last one where 1) I was starting to get tired, and 2) I was in a big section of dialogue and the formatting slowed me down.

And once again, OpenOffice was telling me one thing for word counts (11,187) but now that I'm on a different PC MS Word is telling me something else (10,938). This is soooo annoying! I know it's because I'm switching between different programs while I'm writing, but come on now, people, a word is a word! And that's a huge difference! But I'm going to go with what I had written down at the write-in, the 11,187. (Although I just cut and pasted the text into Notepad and back into the doc to strip the formatting and it still reads 10,938...)

Well anyway, I wrote 2610 words! That's a NEW personal best! (Twice in one week!) And those word wars really do work miracles, there's just something about wanting to get words down on the page because everyone else around you is doing the same thing that just makes you word-vomit into your keyboard. Pretty awesome! I'm going to say I'm 11k in so far until I can sort out the word count issues, which is all kinds of fun.

What I'm reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (again)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nano Update #2

First and foremost, I would just like to say I wrote 2155 words yesterday. HOLY CRAP. That's a new personal best. It was the best feeling, too, the words just flowing from my fingers. I wrote 1000 words just on the train ride home. It was awesome.

As of this morning, my word count is 5593. Keep in mind I am only shooting for 30k. That leaves me 19% to my goal and 23% to my deadline. I'm glad I'm working five days this week. It keeps my routine going for five days instead of four. Whenever I have off work, I do stuff like run errands and hang out with people and putz around and quilt. Those are my relax days. They are necessary. But work days are when shit gets done: writing, the gym, the laundry.

Writing on the train this morning was much slower, only 200 words. I went to bed so tired last night and had to drag my ass out this morning. Figure I need to refill a bit before I can hunker down to write again. My unrealistic goal for today is 2000, but I'll be happy around 1500. Hell, I'll be happy at 1100. To my fellow WriMo's: keep going! One word after the other. The second week is the hardest.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Irrepressible Library: Rereads Edition

I finally tackled my bookshelves! They've been accumulating books and papers and movies I grabbed from downstairs that aren't supposed to live on my bookshelves and I've been meaning to clean them for a long time. I have two bookshelves in my room, a tall wooden one that I LOVE and a short white one that I've had since I was a kid, and my brother used it for a while too before he bought a big one and this one ended up back in my room. Not complaining! I packed up two (smallish, but not really) boxes of books for the basement, and I have lots of room on the tall bookshelf (which has now been relegated to fiction) and no space (still) on the white bookshelf, which is nonfiction on the bottom and writing binders/WIPs/books on the top. If I'm feeling responsible later I'll post some pictures!

I'm still reading A Matter of Blood, but it's going to go much slower now because I'm focusing on writing for November. I plan to write on the train each way and a bit more at home (especially if I haven't reached my word count for the day) so reading won't happen until I'm all tucked into bed and cozy, which will give me approximately seven minutes to read until I fall asleep. I plan to finish AMoB, but after that I want to start rereading books. They've been piling up, and I need to give my Read pile a bit of attention. Plus, I've been trying to slow down on my book buying (and most of what I want is only in hardcover, which I try to avoid), so my TBR pile is mighty small. (That is, TBR of those I already own.)

 I really never do that, unless it is really really good. Sometimes if the second book is coming out in a series I'll read the first one. In both of these instances, I'm talking about The Name of the Wind. I can't help myself. I think it's reached Favorite Book of All Time status. I have a mass market, trade paper, and e-book versions. =] Oh Patrick Rothfuss, let me count the ways. I'll probably read this next. And also The Wise Man's Fear. Not as good as the first one, but still deserving of another read. I have this in hardcover and e-book, and will buy it when it's out in mass market also, but that's my favorite format. I CAN'T WAIT for the third book! I doubt there's even a date set yet, but I'm okay with that. Rothfuss can take as long as he needs, as long as it's before he and I both die. This is a series I'll probably read for the rest of my life.

The Warded Man and The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett. This is another great series. Again, the first one is better, but the second does not deserve to be shunned for a reread. Arlen is bad-ass and a must-read if you want to write heroic characters: he doesn't put up with anyone's shit. The setting is a unique take on the classic fantasy epic.

I really loved Among Others by Jo Walton. This is the teen book I could always read and not get sick of. (It's marketed for adults, which is probably why. None of the whiny emo-bullshit. Also, like Warded Man, a case of the only clear-thinker in a society.) I don't own this book, sadly, I'd read a library copy. I want to buy it though, once it's paperback/mass market. The best part about this book is the quiet magic system. You don't notice it at first, but then you realize it's driving the whole novel. It's epistolary, but it works oh so well.

Dune by Frank Herbert and the Revelation Space trilogy by Alastair Reynolds were the first sci-fi books I ever read, way back in the days of high school. (Dude, it's been FIVE YEARS. Wow.) I've been wanting to read both of these for a long time now. For the most part Dune went over my head, and I thought Revelation Space was just awesome. And I liked that Reynolds was an astrophysicist, which I eventually went to college for. I read a lot of mainstream middle grade and YA books, but when I started browsing the adults sections it was always sci-fi and fantasy. (So proud of myself!) I read a lot of Drizzt books in high school, too.

Ok, so The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson isn't a reread, but it comes out TOMORROW! I loved his Mistborn series, better than everything else he's written. (Elantris sucked, didn't read Warbreaker, and gave up on Way of Kings. I'll give it another chance when he's done being Robert Jordan.) Anyway, I'm pretty excited. And did you know you can read the Prologue through Chapter 6 for FREE? Check out Tor's website, and you can also download it for Nook at BN.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo Update #1

I had a post-op appointment today so I only worked a half day from home, leaving the afternoon wide and clear for writing and beering and eating!! (What a good day.) I'm sitting in a local bar right now, Isaac Newton's, feeling appropriately emo as I sit here with my computer and cheeseburger-to-die-for and Southern Tier Pumpking. I'm also mooching off someone's internet, which is even better. =] I wrote 450 words before I dug into my cheesburger, and it's been a good day. It's a lot more crowded than I thought (or hoped) it would be, but that's okay.

Anyway, some updates:
Three days into NaNoWriMo (I'm counting Monday 10/31, because an extra day can only help and mentally I like the starting-the-week-on-a-Monday thing) and I've written 2700 words. Pretty close to my goal of 3000. I want to use today to really catch up on word count and go 4000 and beyond. I do have quilting tonight and it's the awful Take-out Thrusday, but I'll make it happen. I could so totally get into this working from home thing... if only!

The coolest thing about this story is that I'm just writing. As in, not thinking about writing, or worrying about moving the plot, or making sure the characters are coming across well. It's a shitty book and hopefully my first completed book and I'm writing only to get the goal of the wordcount. I have the scene in my mind, and I work my way through it. It's really hard to explain, but there's no stress about writing this book, and it's making it easier. Write now, cut the shit later. Even if it's 80% of noodling and finding out the characters, that's fine. And having a deadline is helping. Not just saying "this much on this day," but having it engrained in my mind "I have a month to write this thing." It's because it's November. Everyone else is doing NaNoWriMo, striving to reach their goal by the end of the month, and even though I'm not officially signed up I'm doing the same. It feels good. I've sat down each night and written something, even if it wasn't a lot after what I got over train/lunch/train. But even sitting down for a half hour has led to a hundred words at least, and it all makes a difference!

Sorry folks, but I'm feeling mighty proud of myself these three days into NaNo. Here's my word count so far:
10/31     700
11/1      665
11/2      1351
That's with an official goal of 1000 words a day, and an unofficial goal of 1200 words a day to give me a day or so off on the weekends. And I know, 700 and 665 are not very high, but I'm still really proud of myself all the same so I'm going to swim in it and you can suck it up. =] (We may have reached the point where the beer is talking. I'm okay with that.) My cheeseburger with the mysterious pink sauce is delicious and the bartender keeps calling me by first name, which is a little weird but of course he knows it because I gave my credit card for the tab. And I've avoided getting pink sauce on my computer! Yay!

Still reading A Matter of Blood, little by little. It's really good. I don't really know how I can describe it other then the people are seriously fucked up and awesome. I'm in the beginning of the second third of the book, so everything is rolling but the "Holy fuck" moment hasn't happened yet. And did I mention how I love the people? I hope my characters are as good as that. I'm sure they aren't, but it's a goal.

I have The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms up next, but I can't stop thinking about The Name of the Wind. I really love that book. I gave it to a friend and he loved it too, which makes me happy. Good books for all! I'll probably end up reading it again before the end of the year, and just today I realized Jo Walton is doing one of her blog series on The Wise Man's Fear reread, which is the second one and I have to read that from the beginning. I really love Jo Walton, ever since I read her Among Others, which I highly recommened. That one may earn itself a reread, too. Actually, I just decided I'm going to do a Rereads edition of Irrespresible Library, because I don't rereads books most of the time, but there are a couple that are worth it and that I've been thinking of for a while.

Alright, peace out. Cheeseburger time.