2019

You know what bugs me? That October is the 10th month, and not the 8th. The other ones not so much, but yeah. This is to the point where I confuse August and October when writing down the date. Just thought you all should know that.  Alas, we are not even there yet. First month of the year! Six days in. And I have already read two books. Sometimes you just need that break in your life. I went from nothing in November/December, and now I am hoping to get through four, maybe even five books this month.

Recently, I just finished The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. It was wonderful. I love that other cultures are entering the sci-fi/fantasy realm. There are so many creatures and stories around the world, and yet the genre seems to stick to the same old stuff a lot of the time. I tore through this book in two days, and am happy to hear I did it at a good time– the second book in the trilogy comes out this month. And it has been motivating toward my writing. Reading is honestly the best cure for writers block. Not a block in the sense of what to write, but more where to start fixing things in my draft. Or how to better approach the scenes I have been wanting to work on (exposition will be the death of me).

I also acquired the Alice Network by Kate Quinn on audiobook from the library. Depending on timing, I may have to return to that one at a later date, as I now have two books being released this month I desperately want to read. But so far I am really enjoying it. Trying really hard to jam in all the reading/writing/running I can into this month. February is looking, torturous. For my work-life balance that is. So right now I am sucking up as much life as humanly possible. Hopefully a vacation is on the horizon for early March. A little sun, wine, books, and Mom. A recipe for happiness.

It Was a Rebuilding Year

My Dad taught me this saying when I brought up how bad the Buffalo Bills were doing (I’m a Patriots fan. Yes, I know, you hate the Patriots). But I thought the saying really fit 2018 for me. perspective is everything and really, it wasn’t that bad of a year, it just left a lot to be desired. And for some people very close to me it was a bad year, and that clouds my judgement. I also have been pretty lucky to have some much more exiting years precede this one, so yeah, 2018. Bye. *Cough* Thank you, next *cough*

Honestly, it is already 2019 in my books. Christmas is over. All that excitement and movement, and now it is all done. Which I am okay with. I feel refreshed now. Did some cleaning, started my first book of next years goodreads goal, and planned out a few pages in my notebook/wannabe bullet journal. I am starting this year off the same way I did last year- with a depressing novel set during the Japanese occupation of Korea in WWII. Last year it was Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, which I LOVED, and hated, but loved. So sad. But this one may top it sadness wise. I am reading White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lin Bracht. Told from the perspective of two sisters, one who is trapped by their body, and the other by their mind. So far I am really enjoying it. Ashamedly, this was not a party of history I really knew anything about. There is a lot about the worlds’ history I don’t know though.

2019 is going to be full of changes. This is not me being all resolution-y. A lot is going on with my job, not bad, but, ehhhhhh, not really good. For me. For the company it is good I’m sure.  I just Googled quotes about change. I really wanted to put something super inspirational here. If I was feeling smarter I would write my own. Then I found this. I’ve never heard of its author, but man, does she hit home.

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” – C. Joybell C.

People make fun of resolutions. I personally am a fan. The key is, to make a bunch of them, and the one is bound to come through, right? And you know what? So what if you don’t follow through. You tried. That is a step in the right direction. And maybe you will try again. And again. And one day, one day it will stick.  Like writing. Maybe, if I keep trying, it will stick 😛

 

Whooo Boy

What a week. What a month. So much has happened and none of it is the most exciting of things. Bus broke down on a NYC trip. Got a wisdom tooth out. Had a cold that turned into a sinus infection after said extraction. That turned into a three day migraine. But we are here, and for the most part healthy. At least I can finally think. That’s what I hate most about migraines, the fog. I can get some minor tasks done, and usually push myself through work. But that’s it. No reading and definitely no writing. And I can only really watch things I have seen before because I go in and out of focus.

I feel like I wasted a whole week, but I try not to meditate on that. Here, let’s have a throw back to my trip down to the city.

Some delicious coffee and hotteok (Korean doughnut/pancake full of wonderment). This was from Grace Street Cafe. I had wanted to venture there for a while now for this doughnut-like treat, but every time I am in the city it is usually such a rush. This time, all we did was eat. Had some delicious fried chicken, some traditional doughnuts, french fries, yakitori, dumplings, you name it. We also ventured down to The Strand, a pretty famous bookstore to boasts 18 miles of books. It is a fun place to get lost in. I didn’t buy anything, but a few special editions caught my eye.  Oh, can’t forget the Whopper Jr. I had at the rest stop while we waited for a new bus. I regretted that one as you can imagine.

The year is coming to a close, and I don’t know about you, but I can feel it. There is a lot of potential change on my horizon and I have my fingers crossed that it all works out (good changes!). I think the break from writing was needed, I am feeling super motivated, and hope a can get some work done tomorrow morning. I also have added a few books to my next years Goodreads challenge. I have pre-ordered the Wicked King by Holly Black, because she is one of my first loves, and I read everything by her. I also want to read the Alice Network by Kate Quinn and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Those two have a lot of buzz going on about them, and though they wouldn’t be typical picks of mine, I will take their great reviews for something. It is also good to branch out into other genres. I did borrow Artemis by Andy Weir from the library, but, I don’t have much expectations for any finished books for the rest of 2018. Who knows, maybe I will surprise myself.

A Song or Twenty

This past weekend was my Dad’s birthday. Normally, I really struggle with what to get him. This year though, I had just the thing. A songbook/sheet music to Matchbox Twenty’s first album, Yourself or Someone Like You. As I said before, I am a huge fan. It is something unique I share in common with both my Mom and Dad, who are two very, very, different people. And I am not quite sure where it came from. The soft rock genre doesn’t do much for me. But here I am, letting MB20 commandeer a blog post finally.

My Dad plays the guitar and can sing pretty good for someone who has never had any formal vocal lessons. I, on the other hand, have no musical aptitude. That skipped me and went to the next child in the birth order. But we both have an appreciation for words, and the feelings that they convey. My Mom too. Maybe that’s why we have MB20 in common. I have mentioned the song Rest Stop before. It is one of the most powerful, sad songs I know. It was the song Dad and I talked about the other night. I had debated between either the book for the first album or the second, but went with the first since the latter is much darker. We could both quote the lyrics.

“She said, while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you’re dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn’t care”

I don’t have to describe the feeling. You either know it or you don’t. Don’t get me wrong, they have plenty of other songs vying for ‘saddest’, but I think this one takes the cake.

In other, happier news, I started two new books. Mystery by Peter Straub and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Both were recommended to me by family members. I am very determined to get through Mystery. I have yet to finish a book suggested by my Mom, which greatly shows my inexperience with reading. I am finally getting to a point where I can push through uninteresting sections in stories, where before I would just quit. They are both supposed to be twisty books, so I am excited to see them through.

And in writing news, I finally finished that outline. Did I mention how important those were to keep up with? I did? Well, it would have saved me a lot of time if I just listened to my own advice. I plan on doing NaNoWriMo next month, but I am not sure if I should do it with my current WIP, or the other one I have. The problem with doing it on my current WIP is that I already have about 60k typed, and it would be hard to gauge what is new. Sigh. I am sure I can figure it out. Just making excuses here. I don’t have enough experience to work fully on two stories at once. Hopefully one day I will get there.

 

Time to wake up

The last day of September. Man that flew by. But I say that every month. I set some pretty loft goals this month, and I didn’t reach a single one of them. That’s okay. I made progress on all three, and that’s what matters in the end. Between a vacation,  a long longggggg drive to go see BTS in concert, and birthdays (so many birthdays), I was quite busy. Not to mention the welcomed change in season, that despite loving, causes my migraines to come out in full bloom. Just a lot going on. But now it is time for all things apple cider and spiced wine, and I am okay with that.

I did manage to read a whole book this week, well, Tuesday. I read it all Tuesday. I took the day off in case we wanted to stop somewhere on our way back from the concert, but we didn’t, and it just so happened to be the day V.E. Schwab’s Vengeful came out. I blew through that book in less than 24 hours. It was even better than the first, Vicious. It was full of fast paced action and interesting characters, and a couple of twists. I really like how Schwab works with morally grey characters. How she can make the reader have feelings for them. How you can think someone is a bad guy, but then you put them next to someone worse, and all of a sudden you don’t know what to think. I am really in love with books that don’t try to tell you what is right and wrong, but rather show you how it is not so black and white. And that ending. It was perfect. So creative.

Still working on a few other books, but the new Haruki Murakami book comes out in a couple a weeks, and a don’t know if I will be able to resist. I am waiting for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle at the library right now as well. Maybe it will just be a Murakami month. I have way less to do, and blackout dates at my job will ensure no wandering off (one way of looking at it, right?). I didn’t get a full finished draft yet, but I did make progress. It doesn’t help that I just keep coming up with new ideas. Whoever said your story will not look like your first draft in the end is totally right. I mean, the characters and overall plot have stayed the same, but other than that, nope. Completely different. Better. Hopefully.

Chapter 10, Again

Is it possible to be both productive, and counter productive? Because if so, I walk that fine line well. My vacation is over. In fact, I need to leave for work in 15 minutes, so I better make this quick. I am behind in my running, currently at 13 miles total for the month. Running in Florida was a struggle for me, bless you who do. It was hot hot hot. My Husband and I leave Saturday for a concert, so I am not sure where the other 17 will fit in. Nevertheless, I will try.

I finished Bloody Rose, and am now onto The Obelisk Gate. It is good so far, but a little confusing. I might have waited to long between it and the first book. But speaking of books, I cam home to this– My pre-order gift for V. E. Schwab’s Vengeful. It cDnKrR4WUYAEslSAomes out in October and I am excited to read it. Also pictured, vicious Titan who decided to wake me up three times this morning. Yay for first day back to work in a week. And boy it will be a busy one. Dinner tonight, a class tomorrow, a hair appointment Wednesday (thinking of chopping it all off, not that I will go through with that). The list goes on.

As for writing. Aye. That is all I can say. I sat in bed Thursday night, unable to sleep. This turned into a double epiphany. The first one was with a part of my current novel I have written a few times (looking at you chapter 10). World building has been a struggle, but I think I am finally get close to where the story needs to be. Of course that means I now have to rewrite a bunch of things I had already worked on this past week. Oh well. Part of the process right? The next idea I had was for a whole separate story. It just came to me, all neatly packaged, characters, setting, plot and all. Tempting. I know the package is a lie, but still I wrote some of it down just to get it out of my head. And so I could go to sleep.

Well back to the grind. Hope everyone has a nice work week. I will update after the concert 🙂

Dancing in September

Or rather, wake me up when September ends. A little of both. This is going to be a rough, but fun month. Despite whatever is going on in the background, I have goals. Lofty ones might I add.

30 miles for 30 years. Yep, that’s right, turning the big three-oh! So in celebration (or masochistic intent, you choose) I will be running 30 miles this month. This is not too much of a reach for me, I already run. But with an upcoming vacation to Florida and plans every weekend, it wont be the easiest. I say I will run while in the sunshine state, but my melting point is low 80s so there’s that.

Finish 3 books. Right now I am working my way through Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames, which I am absolutely enjoying. I love protagonists who are not ‘kick-ass’ in the traditional sense. As someone who jumps when the toast pops (yes, every time) I find it hard to relate to sexy sword-bearing females.  The other two I have planned are the remainder of the Broken Earth Trilogy, or one of those and 1000 Years of Solitude that I have yet to really get into. Those could change though. I might go on vacation and decide I need a sappy YA contemporary. Which sounds pretty amazing right now.

Lastly, have a full first draft. A ‘finished’ story. I keep going over my strongest sections, and I need to write past that. I changed a few things, which has been mentally frustrating, because it makes me feel like I will never get to the end. Just the other night I diverged from the story-line to write a kissing scene, and as I debated where it fit in, I had a whole new idea on how that part of the book should go. Aye. I hope that is all part of the process, and I hope that I will just keep getting better at it.

It is going to be a busy month. Birthdays galore. A vacation. A concert. Fixing some things. Changing others. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Save Ferris.

Out of Office

You know you are a skilled procrastinator when you procrastinate your procrastination blog… procastception. I have always been that way, even as a wee lad, doing my homework on the bus to school, or even sometimes the period before. I am the queen of unfinished projects, handed down to me from my Mother. (Sorry Mom! You know it is true though :D) One of the only things I ever kept up with was training for a half marathon, and that was because I signed up for it before I had even completed a 5k. It was either keep training, or eat that $85. That is was I need. The subtle threat of a deadline. Or maybe less subtle.

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-17,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

My office today. Yes, I did put my fancy new Starbucks cup on top of my laptop so I could get it in the picture. It has a bunny! And don’t worry. There was SPF 80 on those pale legs of mine. That is also not my pool– though it was home to a porcupine briefly the other night. The real question, did I get any work done? Ha. Kind of. Right now I am working through my second draft, and we use that term loosely. Second draft of my unfinished first draft which is really just a rewrite. Hey whatever help me sleep at night, right? So I did do a little writing, and then came across a section that could be copied and pasted since it still worked well. Bam. A few hundred words down. All work and no play this girl is.

Overall I was quite productive. The perks of dog/house sitting other than doggies and a pool? Access to a washer and dryer.  My husband has more clothes than Carrie Bradshaw. Yeesh. I should know, I steal them all the time. If I could live in joggers and t-shirts, I would. Then I cleaned out a significant portion of our spare room, aka the storage unit, aka my office. A room where dirty socks and magic cards go to die. I really wanted it cleaned so I would have room to start my sewing project. What is that saying? Creativity breeds creativity. What it really means is procrastinate your current creative project with a new one.

Speaking of subtlety (something I do not posses), I started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by  Mark Manson. Does anyone else pronounce it sub-tle when reading it? Like archive. I totally still say ar-chive in my head. Anyway, so far the book exceeds my expectations. Hoping to finish it this week. And, I finally saw Ready Player One. I must have missed the memo because I kept saying, ‘this was not how it happened in the book…’, which was fine by me, I am hardly any kind of book purist. It just took me pleasantly by surprise. Though I did read the book over a year ago so I could have forgotten a bunch of stuff too. A blissfully short memory. Both a blessing and a curse.

 

Decisions

The hardest thing I had to do today, was chose between which tote bag I wanted for the Vengeful pre-order. Well I wish that was the hardest thing. Anyway, they are both pretty great. I am a huge fan of V. E. Schwab, and I loved the first book in the series, Vicious. Which is really surprising. Actually, if you look at a lot of my favorite authors, you would think I am some kind of, morbid? Person. Not sure what would be the correct word there. But morbid is pretty much the opposite of me. I had to skim some parts (I don’t do drowning- you can thank Mario 64 for that), and in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods I had a small panic attack during the morgue scene. Yet I continue to read these things.

On a lighter note, I read my first romance novel, ever. It was so cute! It is called the Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. It is about an autistic woman who hires an escort to teach her the, uh, finer parts of a relationship. If you catch my drift here. It did reaffirm the reason I read mostly sci-fi and fantasy though. I despise when conflict arises from lack of communication. Now with this genre, you just can’t get around it, and I will say the author did an awesome job of working that into the story line. The characters were well defined and very relatable, making it a fun read.

So. The whole reason for my blog. My writing. I really struggled last month. That is okay, life happens. This month I am coming in strong though. I went back to the beginning at started there. Did some editing, threw some new stuff in there as well. I have been experimenting with some shorter chapters among the longer ones. I like it- not sure if the people I share my work with will, but hey, it is all about finding what is right. With multiple points of view, sometimes I just want to show a snippet of someone, rather than a whole multi-scene spread. And if it is getting me to write, why not? The rule is, there are no rules. Someone said that. Or my Mother told me that, I don’t know. But that, and ‘work harder’ are my mantras for this month.

A Spice Named Variety

For someone who appreciates routine, some may call me fickle. I prefer capricious– just because it sounds cooler. I just finished another book last night, bring my YTD count to 20. I keep track on Goodreads. It has really encouraged me to read more than ever, which in turn I think will help me write better. I pretty much stopped reading after high school except for the occasional fling.

My most recently read was American Panda by Gloria Chao. I still really enjoy YA, there is just something so simple and heartwarming about the genre. This was about a Taiwanese-American girl whose parents had planned out the rest of her life, resulting in a premed track at MIT for a germaphobe. Not to mention the love interest is not Taiwanese, which is a problem. I think the author wrote the MC’s struggle between following her families wishes and her own very well. It was cute and a quick read.

So back to spice. Or rather, herbs. Not sure if it was the beautiful weather, or my form of procrastinating more, but I started a garden this weekend. Boy was it hard work. I am still sore! And this was all after I ran around the park a few times. My Husband and I rent, but there is a small garden plot in front of our place. It was very overgrown and neglected, so I had to remove pretty much everything in it. I ended up planting lavender, basil, peppermint, sage, rosemary, and I think parsley. I lost the tag to that one. My choices worked out well, hopefully, since both rabbits and deer don’t like smelly plants. We have a lot of wild animals around our place. I name all of them. Bernadette and Bernard are the bunnies, Clyde and Claudette are the geese. The woodpecker is Woodrow. And then there is Frank, the groundhog.

I will have to crack the proverbial whip on writing. I had to talk out some ideas for the scenes I am stuck on this week, but that went really well. Now I feel refreshed. I have been bad this month. Only the first few days did I write anything. I have that log to prove it :/. Today, I must celebrate all things Mom, but hopefully the rest of the week will bring progress.