off the shelf: binge-reading

The last week and a half have involved a lot of reading and resting to get my head back in a good place. I give you the fruits of my (non)labor (with epic hair flip!).

What have you been reading? Any recommendations? 🙂

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the view from Sunday (night): getting the words flowing

Better late than never, right?

Spent the weekend working on the first round of changes to the draft (based on my own review and beta feedback). This method is working really well given the current state of it, and it keeps me from getting stuck on the details rather than the story. Basically, I’m jumping from beginning to end and back again, before I turn to the messy middle. So far, so good, and it’s helping me get a better grasp on character motivation and development, but I’ll share details later.

The morning started with chai…
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and some inspirational scents. New infuser works beautifully and no cat attacks yet.
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Between breaks, I did some reading…
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Truthwitch was just pure fun and adventure, but now I have to wait for the sequel. boo.

Meanwhile, after years (YEARS) of having it on my wishlist, I finally picked up the Magician books by PC Wrede. Love her. Love the book so far. ’nuff said.

Then the boy showed up, and everything went off the rails. TTFN.

off the shelf: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

I was a little lax on posting this weekend, but I did record two videos 🙂

This time, I’ve been reading and loving Sarah Beth Durst’s The Queen of Blood, first in the new Queens of Renthia series, an adult epic fantasy that takes place in a world where nature is deadly and only those who are chosen to be queen can keep it in check.

This review is based on an ARC that I picked up at ALA. The book is available for pre-order and will be published on September 20, 2016.

preorder: https://amzn.com/0062413341

Don’t miss Friday’s video, the first in my minimalism (my way) series.

off the shelf: latest reads

I read books and they were good. Flash review of Cursed ChildImprudence, and The Scottish Prisoner. I also just finished Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty (mentioned in the video) and am experiencing serious book hangover. Check out the video for more.

This will probably be the last video in the bedroom, because the lighting is just insane.

off the shelf: Finding Fraser by kc dyer

Feeling Outlander withdrawal? Check out kc dyer’s Finding Fraser, one girl’s quest to find a highlander of her own, one mishap at a time.

 photo findingfraser_zpsapadsnfm.jpgFinding Fraser is a quick, light read. It’s a contemporary romance, along the lines of all those finding Mr. Darcy style books, with an Outlander twist. It’s a little slow to start (at least for me), but the story picks up. There are moments when Emma, the protagonist, is more than a little exasperating, but I didn’t expect much going in, just a fluffy, summer read.

 

MENTIONED

Finding Fraser by kc dyer: https://amzn.com/0399584366

Lady of the Glen by Jennifer Roberson: https://amzn.com/B00D2XJJP4

off the shelf: Newt’s Emerald

I love Garth Nix and I love a little magic with my Regencies; when I discovered that Garth Nix had done just that, I knew I had to read it. Newt’s Emerald is just the right balance of historical fantasy and fun YA. Perfect for summer reading.

off the shelf: Re-reading Emma

The “boy” recently upgraded my Nook from an old Color to a lovely (and super light) Glowlight. That said, I have a habit of downloading ebooks and never getting around to reading them (bad TBR habits also translate to digital), so I told myself to start using it or else!

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But which book to read first? The struggle is real (booknerds know what I mean). After some thought, I picked Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s been well over 10 years since I first read Emma and, of all the Austens, it’s only one of two that I’ve never reread (the other being Mansfield Park).

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Credit: A solitary elegance, C.E. Brock illustrations

I’d forgotten what a delight it is to read, with all Emma’s schemes and misconceptions. It’s such a modern story. Emma’s views on life and love (and her meddling) can be applied to any modern romcom situation and still be relevant 200 years later. There’s also something to be said for revisiting a classic after so long—my own perception of the story has changed, making for a much more pleasurable experience. Emma is a silly book, but it’s also a deep one, filled with plots and ironies. I’m enjoying it in a way that differs greatly from my enjoyment of Pride and Prejudice, or even Persuasion (my favorite).

 

wrapping up October

on writing

It’s been a little over a year since I last participated in a proper NaNoWriMo challenge and the thought of trying to write 50k words is definitely intimidating at the moment. My calendar for the next month is already filled with things to do: the boy’s birthday, a library conference, holiday parties at work and at home, and other little time commitments scattered throughout November. Plus, I’ve been in rewriting/revising mode for so long (between Cassiel and Anuna, it feels like all I’ve done in the last three years is rewrite and revise), I’m anxious about delving into a whole new story, setting, cast of characters, etc. I’m excited, but scared… and not sure I’ll get to 50, even if I squeeze in every free minute I can. My schedule has changed so much since the last time I participated in NaNo, I’ll be happy if I get close.

on life

It’s been nearly three months since I took in Caramelito, my half-blind rescue kitty, and we’re finally making progress. He’s no longer running scared when a new person comes for a visit, and (after much trial and error) I think he’s finally adjusting to my sleeping schedule and knows that I’ll be back to play in the morning. There have been LOTS of sleepless nights in the last two months, but the last two nights have been blissful. In my desperation, I purchased a cheap, disposable cat cube that is providing hours of entertainment, and a short scratching post thing with bouncy balls hanging off the ends, so he can bat at them to his heart’s content. It feels like he’s been here longer than three months; I’ve been so wrapped up in figuring out how to make the house friendly to a young cat. He requires lots of energy, but getting to know all his little quirks and habits has made for a nice change, and a good distraction after losing Didymus.

on books

After finishing the latest draft of Anuna, I decided to focus on reading, especially genre reads. Some of the latest include:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – an original, post-apocalyptic/sci-fi style take on vampire YA.

Evernight by Kristen Callihan – the 5th book in the Darkest London series, Victorian paranormal romance (these are naughty fun).

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision not to have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum – a series of essays on choosing to remain childless. Definitely resonated.

and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – still reading it, not sure how I feel about it, but interesting.

welcome fall… though the heat is still on

on writing

It’s September! And with it comes the pressing need to get things done before the dark days arrive. Making slow and steady progress with my new writing schedule. I started tracking my word counts sometime in mid-July and have found myself looking forward to writing on the weekends, rather than rushing home to squeeze in a few mediocre pages between dinner, washing up, and bedtime. Since I started tracking, I’ve (re)written a total of 17427 words (the draft now stands at a little over 70k words). There are two and a half more chapters to get through, though I’ve worked past the toughest sections, so the rest should be more manageable. This is the third draft (second major rewrite); I’m going to let it rest a bit and work on some scenes that I need to refine before I try to recruit CPs.

I’ve learned a lot about how I write while working on this draft. Despite all the advice out there, I do believe that we each come to writing in our own way. For me, this means finding what works best for my health and well-being. I’m a fast writer, but if my mind’s not in it, there’s no amount of self-flagellation that will get me to write something worth reading. While there’s something to be said for writing everyday to establish a flow, that method hasn’t worked for me in the last year and a half. I need blocks of time in which to write. I can do that well enough on weekends, but my schedule just doesn’t allow for it on most weekdays anymore (part of the trade-off I made when taking a job with a longer commute but more opportunities for professional growth). Come November, I’ll fast draft (I will NaNo this year); for now, I take the long road.

on reading

A lot of books were read in July. I swept through my bookshelf and got rid of about two bag’s worth of books that I will never read, am just not interested in anymore, or tried a few chapters and didn’t like the style. Among these, were three Georgette Heyers that failed to capture my interest. Given my genre preferences, I really wanted to like Heyer, but after two attempts, I just had to give up. Can’t like them all. I did, however, fall for the new Poldark series, which led me right to the books. So there we are.

on life

New semester, new students, new job roles, lots of stuff to oversee and get done.

I’m on day 20 of a 30 yoga challenge (missed a few days, but I’m back on track now), and trying to get back into my old walking/running habit. My energy has improved somewhat, but there are days when everything just aches and I just want to sleep all day; doing yoga really helps, particularly after sitting at my desk for hours. I haven’t seen any major changes since I started the FitGirls challenge back in April, but I’m definitely more toned and flexible now that I’m concentrating on yoga rather than circuit training.

My hair has also reached a new milestone and is now just grazing the base of my neck… still dull and awful though. I’m seriously considering giving up on this experiment and trimming it back to my usual bob in lieu of a pixie. Ugh, I’m in a style rut and I hate it. I’m going to try a henna dye this weekend to darken it up.

wrapping up, July

on life

It’s been a miserably hot month, but I’ve managed to stick to my workout schedule despite the unrelenting heat and humidity. Speaking of miserable heat, a couple of weeks ago I had a thought regarding my lack of energy during the last few months… I was refilling my weekly pill-box and noticed that the bottle of Synthroid was surprisingly warm. Now, it’s been hot year-round, but especially since my last refill. I decided to test my theory by finding a different place to store my meds, and I think it’s panning out, as I’ve started noticing some real changes in my mood and energy levels. I never really gave it any thought when I lived at my mom’s place, since the house was generally cool, but my apartment features wall A/C units that I only run while at home, so the place warms up during the day, especially during the summer months. Given the extreme temps this year, there hasn’t been  a cool day since winter. If the heat altered my meds, it would explain why I’ve been so drained for the last few months. Some days it’s been nearly impossible to work up the desire to do more than the minimum, which has really put a damper on my writing and exercise routines. I’m not entirely back to normal; I feel the way I felt when they were first trying to get my thyroid to normal levels, but I do feel better. Tired rather than bone-weary on most days. I hope this means that my energy be back to normal after a few more weeks, but I’m trudging along for now.

on writing

Day 100 has come and gone and with it two more chapters revised. All in all, some good work this month. Once the words started flowing, the words started flowing. I wanted to get a third chapter finished before the end of July, but that’s likely not going to happen until I can sit at my computer for an all day writing marathon on Saturday.

The book is out and an article I co-wrote with some of my fellow library gals is in pre-pub, so all is well in the world of academia.

on books

I’ve been in a trashy romance sort of mood. After reading the Grisha trilogy, I had a hard time finding anything that really sparked my interest, so I started making my way through the adult manga section of the library and weeding my way through my TBR shelf. I found a few gems and some fun reads, and then I picked up a used copy of Teresa Medeiros’s Yours Until Dawn that I purchased at some long ago library friends’ sale and was instantly hooked. Thus began my foray into romance novel binge reading as I devoured several more of her books. Sometimes I just need some sexy fluff in my life. I’m cool with that.