June Ishness 2019!

June 2019

Oh, hey, look who’s getting an Ishness post up only a week late instead of waiting for several months! *gasp*

I kind of consider June and July one really long Junely “J” month, but anyway, June was pretty cool and I’m here to recap it!

WRITING: Plots + Wordwars!

I’ve been brainstorming The Skythief and the Secret Tower and KW2.5/Mixup at Kedran’s Wood (which I introduced last week HERE) and making a little progress on those, which is exciting!

I managed to write just short of 6K words of KW2.5 in June, largely thanks to wordwarring with my awesome wordwar buddy, Claire Banschbach (who has a book coming out this month, Oath of the Outcast, one of my favorite recent reads, and it’s Celtic-esque and features outlaws and brothers and my favorite smol floof of anger management issues and is basically AWESOME, so go check it out!)!

Er . . . that was a slight sidetrack. But a necessary one. 😉 Because you need Rhys the Mountain Baron in your life.

Anyway.

I’m nearly 10K into my Kedran’s Wood novella and having a blast writing it! 😀

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping up with blogging (aside from last week because Independence Day *cough*) and trying to prep for Realm Makers, both of which I can count as writing-related, right? 😉

READING: Delicious Fantasy!

It was another good reading month! I don’t know why but seeing these books together makes me happy. 😀

I’ll post brief thoughts about all of them in a Book Ishness post on my other blog later this week, but highlights:

  • The Wolf Prince – Claire M. Banschbach — Brothers + faeries + Rangers + snark + wolves = SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS EPIC STORY!
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — Regency Fantasy + hilarity + adorable dragons + faery curses + piglets + true love = YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. (One of my faves so far this year; I read it twice!) Review coming to the book blog tomorrow!
  • Deadwood – Kyle Robert Shultz — Fantasy Western + Todd Crane + Julio the dragon + creepy Pinocchio twist + I edited it = yay, more Afterverse! (It just released and you need this in your life too, and, no, I’m not biased. ;))
  • Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones — Chrestomanci re-reads are always awesome! ❤ Where my Chrestomanci fans at?

WATCHING: Holmes + NCIS + Bolt!

  • I haven’t seen many new things lately, though I re-watched a few old favorites like Prince of Persia and Batman Begins. 😀
  • I did see a couple of new-to-me Sherlock Holmes episodes (starring Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone, respectively) which was fun. I’m always up for some Holmes of any type!
  • I watched Bolt, which was SO ADORABLE! ❤ The dog and the cat and the hamster. XD I loved it! ^_^
  • Also still occasionally working my way through the early seasons of NCIS — just started season 5 and things have been Going Down. O_O (I watch it for the characters and they’re just so much fun. :D)

LISTENING: Cress!

I finally got back to listening to Cress and I’m about 3/4 done now and I’m having SUCH a blast! It’s been keeping me to a semi-regular exercise routine (unless I’m too busy or sick or something). It’s so motivational since I get to find out what happens next while I’m exercising, and I’ve also been bribing myself with a daily chapter of a Chrestomanci book if I get it done. XD

Anyway, Cress and her friends are doooomed but I’m having a blast and I love all of them so much! Especially Thorne because he’s hilarious, and Jacin because he’s verrry intriguing, and Cinder because Cinder, and Wolf because sad puppy, and… well… you get the picture. I LOVE THEM ALLLL. The humor and snark is my favorite, and the retelling aspect is fun too. 😀

BLOGGING: Success! + Blogging Hacks

Since my plan was to actually blog consistently again this month, and I actually DID, I wanted to share this little success with you guys. 😀 And share my blogging calendar hack.

I write blog post ideas on sticky notes (color coded for the different blogs: yellow for this one, pink for my book blog, blue for guest posts etc.) and that way if I need to move them around, I can do that without having to scribble stuff out. And since it’s a physical calendar that I keep around, I’m more likely to look at it than at a digital calendar. I can also see at a glance how often I’m posting on my different blogs.

Anyway, it works for me and I LOVE it, and it usually looks like this (minus being crossed out) at the beginning of a month but is usually too ambitious to manage. XD But I did in June!

Reviews

Regular Posts

Guest Post

INSTAGRAM: Daily Posts + Almost One Year!

I had a personal challenge to post on Instagram every day in June, and I succeeded! You can check out my bookish photos here if you like. It was loads of fun. *grins*

Later this week will mark the one-year anniversary of when I first started Instagramming! So that’s exciting. ^_^

LIFE: Editing + Rain + Colds

Nothing particularly striking to report in the life category — just, well, Life, you know. 😉

I’ve been:

  • scheming about costumes and in other ways prepping for Realm Makers
  • editing
  • enjoying the rain (which is somehow keeping the three-digit Texas summer weather at bay temporarily)
  • seeing friends
  • and wrestling off a random and very-unwelcome summer cold. 😛

JULY PLANS: Realm Makers! (+ No Camp NaNo)

I’m not doing Camp NaNo WHICH MAKES ME SAD. But I figure I can’t wrangle that on top of Realm Makers so I won’t try. XD

So that’s going to be the biggest thing for me this month: final preparations for Realm Makers, a roadtrip, and attending the Realm Makers speculative fiction writers conference in St. Louis! I’M VERY EXCITED.

This is my second year going, and since it will be farther afield next year I probably won’t go that time, so I was determined to make it this year again if possible, and I’m so thankful it’s working out!

If you’ll be there, leave a comment and let me know! I’m SO excited to see so many friends, meet new people and authors, find some new books, learn more about writing, and make connections. ❤

(And no, I’m not ready at all, so excuse me while I panic and disappear for a week to frantically get ready for this. XD)

If you’re going to Realm Makers: check out Christine Smith’s fabulous post about getting the most out of this conference!

If you’re NOT going to Realm Makers but wish you were: check out Christine’s amazing post about that.

(Am I redirecting you to her posts instead of saying them myself? Yes. Yes I am. She does an incredible job of saying all of those things far better than I could, and you need those posts in your life.)

I also won’t be blogging or online as much in the next week or two, so . . . just so you know!

St. Louis Book Festival at Realm Makers

Also, if you’re in the St. Louis area on July 20th, you should make sure to swing by the Book Festival that’s open to the public and taking place at the Realm Makers conference! You can check out all the details here but tons of authors will be there signing books, including Terry Brooks, C.J. Redwine, Morgan Busse, and Bryan Davis!

And there we are! How was your June? Read or watched anything good lately? Are you doing Camp NaNo? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a splendid July! ^_^

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I’m Guest-Posting About Editing at Phoenix Fiction Writers!

Hey guys! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m guest-posting about editing, over on the Phoenix Fiction Writers blog!

The Phoenix Fiction Writers are a collection of speculative fiction authors who banded together under the banner of a phoenix, representing the transformative power of story.

They include such fabulous authors as Kyle Robert Shultz, E.B. Dawson, Nate Philbrick, and several others.

Their blog consistently features helpful and delightful posts for readers and writers, and I’m honored to be joining them there this week!

Editing is one of my passions, and technically my job, so I have 8 Editing Tips for Authors to share with you, and I’d love it if you check it out and let me know what you think! Thanks! ^_^

8 Editing Tips for Authors

Spring Ishness 2019 (The End, Merlin, & Camp NaNo!)

Oh, hi! I live! *gasps of shock*

In this edition of Ishness (which accidentally became quarterly instead of monthly this time), I:

  • finished writing a book (!!)
  • survived Camp NaNo
  • saw several delightful films (including How to Train Your Dragon 3, Endgame, and BBC’s Merlin)
  • read some lovely books
  • and met some famous people! (Kinda.)
  • Also, lots of pictures at a book fair or two.

Shall we dive in? 😀

March, April, and May Ishnesses, all squished into one! (Yes, the last time I did one was for February. *cough*)

Writing

March: #WIPobsessed

I had mentioned joining in on the #WIPobsessed challenge (which is actually the latest non-review post on here; oh help), but I neglected to report back on the results of that on here. (Whoops!)

I’m excited to say that I completed my challenge of writing three hours in three days — in fact I wrote 4.5 hours/3.5K words — on KW2! It was rather fabulous and I’m so glad I hopped aboard, and grateful to Liv K. Fisher for hosting! It was also good practice for . . .

April: Camp NaNo

I participated in and won Camp NaNo! Huzzah!

I set a 10-hour goal (since I didn’t know how much I had left to write, and thought that I might finish and go on to do plotting for a different book the rest of the month — HAHAHA).

About halfway in, things weren’t looking so well . . .

But I rallied and pulled a 4+ hour day, got over 3K words in, and finished up the climactic ending chapter of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood!

Which just left a wrapup chapter or two, which is how I occupied the rest of the month . . .

I hit my 10-hour goal with about 10K words, with a couple of days to spare, and then I just kept on writing — I wrote nearly 7K over the course of the last two days and SOMETHING REALLY COOL HAPPENED.

I FINISHED KW2!

Sometime in the area of 2:30 a.m. on the night of April 30/May 1st, I finished writing The Secret of Kedran’s Wood, which is book 2 in my contemporary fantasy series and a book I’ve been working on for OVER FIVE YEARS.

So. Yeah. That was pretty momentous. 😀

The end is a bit messy, but first drafts, you know. (We just won’t discuss the fact that it’s currently a 145K word monster. *cough*)

So then I stayed up past 3 a.m. because I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited. XD

ANYWAY. It was a lovely end to Camp NaNo, which I ended with 17K words and one completed book. ^_^

May – June: What now?

I may have also started working on a new, smaller Kedran’s Wood story and I’m doing some plotting for another book, so I totally plan to do a WIP update post and talk about my writing projects, soon! Maybe I’ll also share some snippets. 😀

Writing Totals

I wrote just shy of 25,000 words over the course of three months! Which may not sound like much to many prolific writers out there, but I’d been majorly stuck ever since NaNo ended, so it felt amazing to write so much, particularly finishing a story and starting another! (Which are the best things. ;))

Nearly all of that was Kedran’s Wood stuff, which makes me and my character Tare happy. 😀 (I mean, as much as he’s capable of being happy. You didn’t hear it from him. >.>)

I’m basically a happy writer right now!

Life Highlights

In March, for my birthday, I got to go to a homeschool convention where I got the chance to see a talk on C.S. Lewis by Douglas Gresham (and he signed my copy of The Horse and His Boy!). So that was cool, to hear Mr. Gresham give actual personal recollections on Lewis and his life!

The best part of the day was getting to visit with author friends Claire Banschbach, Mollie E. Reeder, and Gillian Bronte Adams and hang out at the Realm Makers Mobile Bookstore run by the inimitable Scott and Becky Minor. It. Was. The. Best!

*pic dump*

Realm Makers Bookstore! They travel to different events, and even have an online store.

Gillian Bronte Adams!

Busy! Friends! Books!

Becky Minor and the beautiful sign she made!

The Wingfeather mini-film is SO CUTE. I need to finish reading the series…

The Rabbit Room was there too!

Can you tell I like chocolate? *cough*

In April, I got to attend two absolutely fabulous talks by author Bryan Davis, about writing and the Hero’s Journey, and hang out with the delightful people of Lorehaven Magazine!

Bryan Davis!

E. Stephen Burnett, Lacy Rhiannon Burnett, and Marian Jacobs at the Lorehaven table!

How about Lacy’s FABULOUS hat? 😉

I got this magazine, featuring Morgan L. Busse (author of Flight of the Raven which I just reviewed)! You can sign up for the e-magazine list at Lorehaven.com for free! They have book reviews and all kinds of speculative fiction awesomeness!

Throw in get-togethers with some other dear writer friends of times past and it’s been a happy few months. ^_^

Between March Magics, Camp NaNo in April, and a social media hiatus in May, during which I stepped back to catch up on some things like review books and my editing job, it’s been quite a time!

Watching

I actually saw four new movies in theaters over the course of three months, and that’s not something I do . . . ever. XD But it was fun!

  • How to Train Your Dragon 3 — IT WAS SO PRECIOUS. The first movie is my favorite animated one of all time, so I was really excited and nervous about this one. It was GORGEOUS and I loved it! Especially Toothless and the Light Fury, and the Hidden World, and the end. So much laughing! So many tears! But I loved it SO, SO MUCH. ❤ (Even if I kind of don’t remember/care about the actual plot part involving a villain or whatever happened. I was just here for the gorgeousness and the epic music and the CHARACTERS like the dragons and Hiccup and Astrid. But I’m that way about a lot of things. XD) TOOTHLESS IS THE BEST. It made me so happy. ^_^
  • Captain Marvel — I’d heard totally conflicting views on this, both that it was awful and that it was the best thing ever. XD So I guess it’s no surprise that it’s simply a fun movie. It’s not my favorite ever, but I quite enjoyed myself watching it, and there were a few really fun moments, particularly with young Nick Fury, and Coulson briefly, and the cat. 😛 (I knew most of the spoilers before seeing it, sadly, but it was still fun.) I liked Captain Marvel herself much more in this one than in Endgame for some reason. Also the villain was neat. And it was really weird having it set in the ’90s. Like. ’80s and ’90s are historical fiction settings now? IT’S SO WEIRD.

  • Endgame — No spoilers, don’t worry! But I actually really enjoyed this one, and aside from a few quibbles (like how one character was treated and a few plot things that I didn’t like or think are stupid), I thought it was super epic. 😀 I ADORED the time-travel and the characters and I laughed a lot and cried a bunch near the end but also less than I thought based on how some people had acted. XD I did see a fair handful of spoilers online before though, so . . . meh.
  • Tolkien — I was actually determined NOT to see this one, on principle, since I was sure Tolkien would hate it. >.> But I caved and went after all. I haven’t actually sorted all my thoughts on it. I think I enjoyed it as a movie, but can’t quite reconcile it to being about my favorite author as a person. I’m a super-huge Tolkien fan and just from that and reading his works, including his letters, I feel like a lot of it just didn’t get him right. I don’t know as much about that time of his life as I could, so I can’t back up all my doubts with fact, and they did stick to the big points in his life that I did know about, but . . . I don’t know. I have really mixed thoughts. I went “really?” a lot, but I did laugh too (the spears moment. XD I really liked the actor who played his younger-younger self), and there were some good moments. Just . . . I don’t feel like it was quite right. Very gorgeous movie, though, and I loved the shadow credits at the end. (Also, for anyone who’s seen it and/or has read The Beast of Talesend: there was a TOTAL Cordelia moment! It was probably out of character but it totally made me think of Cordelia. XD)

I also saw a few other movies and shows, but the highlights were definitely:

  • Christopher Robin — I adored this one! It was the best. ^_^ I mean, it was sort of like Mary Poppins Returns, plot-wise, but better! And so funny too. XD (Also, Mycroft is the villain. XD) I loved Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin, and how Pooh and the others from the Hundred Acre Wood felt and looked a bit more like their real selves from the original books, which I grew up on. It just made me happy. ❤
  • The Incredibles 2 — Yes, I finally saw this one! At last I have seen the Incredibles movies and caught up on the hype. XD But it was so much fun and I had a blast watching it. 😀 I just love them! Especially Dash. XD And baby Jack-Jack and the racoon! *dies laughing*

And for shows . . .

  • Merlin

I at long last started watching BBC’s Merlin! Yes, I know, I’m only a century late on this one. *cough* But since March I plowed through four whole seasons, and since I’ve heard from reliable sources that the final season gets sad, I miiight call it quits there, at least for now.

SO YES. I’ve now seen Merlin and enjoyed it tons! XD It’s not my favorite thing ever, and there were definite missed potential things, but it’s just absolute loads of fun and a total blast! 😀 Merlin and Arthur are so much fun, and Gwaine is the BEST.

Absolute best bit = the donkey ears. XD

Reading

March

March Magics was a bit slower of a reading month than I wanted it to be, but I still found time to read a handful of delightful Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones books!

And there are the rest of my March reads, all quite good. You can read more about all of these in this Book Ishness post!

April

April was a very interesting month of reading, since I read some nonfiction, a bunch of delightful sci-fi short stories, and re-read some old favorites, as well as reading a couple of new-to-me Sleeping Beauty stories. XD You can read more about these in another Book Ishness post.

May

In May, since I was on internet hiatus, I actually focused more on reading than usual, and plowed through the rest of my review books, as well as a couple for-fun reads, and managed to read 8 novels and 2 novellas. IT FELT AMAZING. I haven’t read so much in a very long time and it was a blast! And I caught up on review books (for the moment) which was also a glorious moment. 😀

These were all excellent as well, and you can read more about them here — which is also my 200th post on my book blog!

All in all, I’ve had a very delightful last few months of reading! And I also hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 50 books for the year, so that happened. 😛 (A lot of them are short stories, I promise. XD)

Listening

In audiobook news, I started Cress and then promptly derailed myself on that one by listening to The Electrical Menagerie audiobook, in full, and enjoyed myself to no end! (Read my audiobook review here.)

I’m getting back to Cress this month, though!

I also re-discovered the band Red and have been listening to them ever since. 😀 I hadn’t really paid attention to them back before I started enjoying Christian Rock, but I’m really enjoying their music now! (Some songs are too metal for me, but for the most part = delightful! I may have listened to their calm, melancholy song Hymn for the Missing 876384768 times in the last few months and have zero regrets.)

May Hiatus

I neglected to share about it on this blog (whoops) but I went on a blogging and social media hiatus in May. I pulled back from the internet somewhat and focused on catching up on my editing job, beta-reading, review books, and a few blog posts ahead! It was delightful and so refreshing, as well as productive, so I feel really good about it! (I also felt like I was barely home in May so it’s just as well I didn’t need to be online much. XD)

Now that I’m back, I’m honestly a little overwhelmed but I’m trying to make it through each day. (Doesn’t help that I’m fighting off a cold as I write this.)

June Plans

  • I’m back to blogging! Hurrah! (I know I’ve only been gone for . . . forever. *cough* I’m so sorry! I’ve just been terribly busy!) I have a few posts in the works so I’m hoping to get back on something of a schedule again on both my blogs. I’m so excited!
  • It also happens to be five-ish weeks until the Realm Makers writers conference in July, and just typing that is making me hyperventilate because I’m laughably unready. *nervous laughter* But I’m so excited for it, too! So I’ll be trying to gear up for that!
  • Otherwise, June is looking to shape up to be a busy one (and is somehow already a third finished?) but hopefully will contain lots of books, blogging, editing, and maybe a smidge of writing thrown in if my characters cooperate. 😉
  • Also, I’m trying to post every day on Instagram this month! Just because. XD So check out my account if you like. Aaall the books.
  • I’ll have to work on that writing WIP update post to introduce you guys to my next couple of works in progress!

WHEW. If you read all that, you deserve a medal, or at least a virtual cupcake. *offers you one* How’ve you been? I’ve missed you guys! Let me know what you’ve been up to in a comment — or share your thoughts on any of those movies I mentioned, or whatever strikes your fancy! Thanks for reading. ❤

Snippets + Snow + Superheroes: Feb. Ishness!

Oh, hi! It seems to be March.

. . .

Yeah, no clue how that happened.

Anyway, for once I have an Ishness concerning the month, so let’s see what I was up to in February, shall we?

WRITING

I unfortunately still seem to be in a huge writing slump, which I’ve been stuck in since NaNo ended . . . But I’ve also been very busy, so oh well.

I did manage to scribble an odd thousand words this last month, still limping along with KW2 and trying to finish, and random Sky Voyages series snippets.

Speaking of which, I’ve been doing some plotting for the sequel to The Siren and the Skyship, so that’s fun. 😀 I’ll chat about that in another post.

So yep, not a lot going on in the writing arena. Essentially, I’m busy, Tare is stalling (or I’m stalling him; honestly not sure which right now), and Keller of S&S2 is all “Well, if no one else is going to then I may as well take center stage HI!”

March looks exhaustingly busy so we’ll see what writing or lack thereof occurs. But I may have to take Drastic Measures if writing doesn’t happen soon.

SNIPPETS

Oh, hey! I haven’t shared any snippets in awhile. 😀 So here, have a few.

“Stay out of my head,” Tare snarled.

[spoiler redacted]’s eyes were cold in his carven face. “Make me.

***

(This snippet is actually from book 3 but I’m not supposed to be there yet. XD)

Rook sighed. “We all make mistakes. Both of us have done things we can’t take back, but we can’t run forever.”

“Maybe you can’t. I’ll do what I need to do. I betrayed everything I believed in.”

“So did I,” Rook said harshly. “You can’t even begin to know—” He broke off.

***

(I’m enjoying Meridian interacting with Teague’s brother Ivan. XD)

“When you get out, tell Teague to take Lulin and get out of here.”

I snorted. “He won’t do it.”

“Why not? He’d be an idiot not to.”

“Because he cares about you, you great lump!”

Ivan gave a little humorless bark of laughter. “You don’t know anything.”

“I know more than you two do! And you care about him too—admit it.”

Ivan mutinously tilted his nose off toward a corner. “No. Nothing of the sort.”

“Honestly!” I threw up my hands. “You are impossible. Both of you!”

READING

(In reverse order, from my Goodreads Reading Challenge)

So, I love how I’ve got these sweeping gorgeous covers with somber tones and then suddenly . . . Fortunately, the Milk. XD

Anyway, these were all varying levels of fun! (Except for The Gilded Wolves which Disappointed Me. I gave it one star. *shifty eyes*)

My absolute favorite was Beneath the Haunting Sea — gorgeous! I first met it pitched as The Silmarillion meets Jane Austen and just . . . yep. It took me a little while to get into it and the beginning is super different than the rest, but once she got to the mysterious old house I was totally in! 😀

Smol (ish) reviews on Goodreads:

Speaking of reviews, here are a couple of reviews I shared on my book blog this last month, for books that make me happy! ^_^

I also lurk on Instagram a lot. XD

WATCHING

  • I finally saw The Incredibles! I know. I’m . . . a little late on that one. XD It was sooo much fun, and now I need to see the sequel.
  • Despicable Me 3 was okay; the second was the best. 😛
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas — Yep, finally saw this one too, despite the nonseasonalness of February. I vaguely suspect it was not historically accurate, but it was a lot of fun. Because writers. XD And A Christmas Carol. And yep.
  • Black Panther — I’m only centuries late on this one. XD Super enjoyable! (Though from all the hype I had expected more?) And yes, I liked his sis. 😛 Also, Bilbo and Gollum were great. XD
  • Antman and the Wasp — Also great fun! 😀

I also got to see a PLAY! Which was loads of fun. It was Peter and the Starcatcher (based on a book which I read ages ago and didn’t love due to its explaining-away-prequel-ness, but for some reason liked the play more). Aside from a few quibbles, I reeeally enjoyed it. 😀 Plays are just so much fun (this was only my second one ever!) and the actors did a fantastic job—particularly Peter’s, who was SO Peter-ish, and the villain, who was absolutely hilarious. XD

LISTENING

I was super happy to get back to listening to audiobooks. It’s a new thing I was trying and it’s working out SO splendidly. I’m so happy!

I finished listening to Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and had LOADS of fun—it’s like my daily half-hour TV show in my earbuds while I do exercising. There are parts of the book I don’t care for, naturally, but on the whole it was just so fun, and I quite enjoyed the narrator, and the snark and character stuff was gold. XD

I’m currently in withdrawal because I haven’t managed to get to the library for Cress so I’m missing Cinder and Thorne and everyone . . .

There has been a Suspicious Lack of Exercising ever since I ran out of Scarlet to listen to, which may be connected to the cold I caught at the same time, or may just be me missing my Lunar exercise buddies. ❤

***

I think there was also music consumed, but I don’t recall what any of it was. Probably more Tide Lines and definitely themesongs for my Siren and the Skyship sequel (which I really should introduce to y’all!).

LIFE

Life things included:

  • Going to a couple of writers workshops.
  • Starting a new schedule/routine which has been incredibly helpful for productivity and which I need to get back to. (As soon as I pick up Cress . . . *cough*)
  • Much copyediting/proofreading work has been keeping me busy and happy.
  • Caught a cold; yay. So lovely. At least it was minor?
  • A library sale also happened which makes up for the cold because BOOKS.
  • The weather has been INSANE, ranging from high-70s suitable for lounging in the grass and reading, to super-cold and we actually got SNOW. (Only a smidge and didn’t stick around very long but it was so awesome! And was in the same week as the super warm days. So. Yeah.) It can’t seem to make up its mind and is playing roller-coaster.

Snow and a snow-ish book! Which you should go read ASAP if you haven’t. ❤

MARCH PLANS

I have a lot of life projects piling up on me that I need to deal with so I’m currently panicking over here. *curls up in shock blanket* But hopefully I can still find time for reading and writing and blogging, since there are many of all such things I want to do. 😛

Still, there are also exciting things going on, what with it being my birthday month and especially with March Magics!

For those who don’t know, March Magics is a celebration, around the interwebs, of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett. The theme this time is re-reading old favorites (yesss!) and there’s also a readalong for The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, both of which I plan to join in on. 😀

I’ll be doing a post on my book blog about March Magics and other Book Ishness, but I’m waiting on a trip to the library to hopefully pick up a couple of books before I share my TBR stacks . . . (Wee Free Men and Cress, wait for meeee.)

Meanwhile, for more info, check out the host’s blog and feel free to join in around social media with the hashtags #MarchMagics and #DWJMarch — it’s going to be so much fun!

***

Whew! So that’s what I’ve been up to.

How about you? And are you ready for it to be March or at least spring? Also, thoughts on the snippets and books and films? And do you “read” audiobooks?

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a magical March! (See what I did there? *cough*)

Ishness! NaNo, Christmas, New Year

Oh, hi, my dear Roadlings! It’s been absolutely AGES since I did an Ishness (I think the last one was my Realm Makers Ishness?) — or, well, blogged in general (*cough* I’m sorry, guys!) — so it’s CLEARLY time to do so again!

November, December, and January are the three months which at the blink of an eye mysteriously vanish to wherever missing pens go. So obviously this whole not-blogging-much thing is not my fault. (I jest. It’s totally my fault. And the unreliable internet which has been victimizing me.)

I guess I’ve been busy living life instead of writing about it? And kind of unmotivated as far as blogging goes. Sometimes you just feel tired, you know? But I’ve missed you guys! And writing Ishness posts!

(I . . . er . . . accidentally wrote one after NaNo and then proceeded to get so busy that I never posted it! :O Whoops. So I will just squeeze two more months onto it. As you were.)

So I’m officially back, and I’m here with a recap of my 9th NaNoWriMo, December holidays, and New Year beginnings!

WRITING

November

Writing highlights include:

  • Winning NaNo for the 9th time!
  • Finishing The Siren and the Skyship!!! (Still in the clouds about this one.) *pretends that wasn’t a terrible pun* XD
  • Beating my personal record of words in a day and writing 8K words. 😛
  • Wordwars!! Wordsprinting with friends is one of my favorite things. It’s just so motivating and it’s fun hanging out online with people and getting to chat but also being productive. Seriously, surviving NaNo is so much easier with wordsprints!
  • Finishing NaNo on the 27th!
  • Staying up until midnight on November 30th writing until the very last moment, cheering on one of my bestest writing pals (who won with three minutes to spare).
  • Hitting 58K, my largest wordcount for a single month, ever! (Yay for more records! XD)
  • Staying on par the entire month! (A huge relief. I hate falling behind, and the first week or so it was a serious struggle to stay on that bar, but I managed it because I was determined not to fall behind!)
  • Getting soooo close to finishing KW2. Just two or three chapters from the end. I was super excited. (Plus, finishing “Part 2” of that book, which was a milestone I kept not being sure if I’d ever get to. XD)

It was tough sometimes, and I had my share of days when I just didn’t want to write, or had no clue where to go next in my stories. But I stayed on track, finished one book and nearly finished another, and it was an excellent NaNo on the whole!

December + January

I’m squishing these together because not a lot happened in them, writing-wise. *cough* I had big plans of finishing KW2 in December . . . and then in January . . . and neither really happened. 😛

I did write a couple thousand words across the two months, mostly on KW2. I also finished one writing journal and started another for the new year, did some plotting, and met up with various writer friends (!!) and went to a few writers workshops.

OH! And I did write on my “Writing Day” which happens every January 20th. Because every year on that day, I write something, even if it’s just a snippet, and since I first started in 2010, this was my tenth annual one. Every January 20th for a decade, I wrote on one of my stories, and that’s kind of special to me. 🙂

It was overall a very quiet couple of months on the writing front. I’m trying to forgive myself for that, given the busyness and tiredness and all of that. I did sort of write 58K in November, so a couple of quiet months to recover should be allowed. Maybe?

READING

November – December (in reverse order)

Highlights included Mark of the Raven, Falling Snow, fun Christmas-y stories, finishing my Dalemark re-read, and my new favorite, Echo North! (It’s like a month and a half since I’ve read Echo North and I still have a book hangover…)

January

I got off to a fun start for my reading this year. Highlights include The Fall of Gondolin and A Tale of Time City. You can check out mini-thoughts on each of these in my latest Book Ishness over on my book blog!

WATCHING

  • I saw Mortal Engines in the theater and it was SO MUCH FUN. XD I don’t know why I liked it but it was an absolute blast and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. (And now I want to read the book.)
  • I also saw Mary Poppins Returns, which was fairly enjoyable. I particularly liked the lamplighter dance scene!

Other notable things I saw in the last three months:

  • Despicable Me 2 (fun!).
  • Mowgli (. . . interesting).
  • Some Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes since I hadn’t seen any of those before!
  • A neat mystery called Ace Wonder which I really enjoyed!
  • I also finished the second season of NCIS and am NOT OKAY. *cough*
  • Re-watched It’s a Wonderful Life and A Muppet Christmas Carol for Christmas. 🙂
  • And I re-watched Captain America: Civil War (because Bucky!) and Snow White and the Huntsman (because Thor wasn’t in Captain America; KIDDING. XD).
  • And I finally saw The Secret World of Arrietty which is MY NEW FAVORITE THING. ❤ (I grew up reading the Borrowers books, and vaguely avoided the movie for years because I was terrified it would be dreadful. But I ADORED IT. And have a sudden need to re-watch it and Howl’s Moving Castle and go find more Studio Ghibli films since those are the only two I’ve seen.)

LISTENING

So, back in November, I started listening to Scarlet by Marissa Meyer on audiobook. I NEVER LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS. (Well. Almost never. Let’s just say it’s an Occasion. A small one, but still.) I was at a write-in and saw it at the library and couldn’t resist picking it up since I read Cinder not long before. This was a Terrible Idea because I was far too busy to finish it during NaNo and it had to go back to the library. However! I did enjoy myself and have picked it up again recently — but that’s probably part of some future February Ishness so HUSH. SPOILERS.

During Nano, I also did a ton of listening to the Piano Guys’ version of Rewrite the Stars, on repeat, during wordwars. XD

December brought Christmas music which I really enjoyed this year for some reason.

In January, I discovered some new music such as Celtic rock and Tide Lines (a new favorite band! This song has been stuck in my head nonstop and yes I am currently listening to it and regret nothing. XD) and some others. I must listen to more!

Continuing my audiobook obsession, I re-listened to The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame in January — it’s very short but HILARIOUS and absolutely awesome and I highly recommend reading it. ❤

LIFE

November

November was terribly busy. In a good way. But whew! I’m very much a homebody and I have no idea how people manage to write NaNo when they’re busy and juggling jobs/school/whatever. I salute you guys. But anyway…

Busy (but awesome) things included:

  • Hardly being home the first four days of NaNo and squeezing in writing here and there, in places like the car on the way to-and-from places.
  • An awesome library book-sale which always coincides nicely with NaNo when I should be writing. XD

 

  • My aunt and uncle visiting, which was so much fun! And taking them to the Magnolia Market/Silos etc. (If any of y’all come see it, let me know . . . 😉 I haven’t seen the show, but.)
  • I’m the ML — which stands for Municipal Liaison — for my NaNo region so I was quite busy organizing events, sending messages, and managing forums. One more crazy thing during NaNo. XD I’ve done it six years now, so I’m kind of used to it, but it’s still busy.

  • Having write-in events every weekend — there was much writing and hanging out with other Wrimos.
  • Which reminds me that some of the best moments were chatting with friends old and new — at home, at booksales, at a writer class, at write-ins, in line for a bookstore. I’m an introvert sometimes, but you know, people are awesome too. ❤

  • Thanksgiving. Food. Pies. Nom nom.

Standing in line getting some reading in!

  • Standing in line on Black Friday for the first time in my life, because a bookstore was having a special giveaway. Yes. This is the only thing that can tempt me to go shopping on such a day. Or… ever, in general. XD (Boooooks.) (Fortunately, the bookworm line was small and orderly and we had some lovely bookish chats.)
  • Spontaneously crocheting a pair of fingerless gloves instead of writing. They’ve been so handy!
  • Going for “like-a-quick-lady” walks and runs with my audiobook, and plot-walks with my sister. (Plot walks are magical and consist of talking out the problems in the plot so that I know what to write next.)

Found a cozy bench/garden to curl up with this book while at a fair. ❤

  • Sneaking in reading occasionally, like at a fair and in the car.
  • Some beta-reading and editing, which are of course the best jobs during an already bookish month. 😉
  • In fact, one of the things I beta-read during NaNo is coming out later this month! It’s an utterly charming retelling of The Bremen Town Musicians, called The Road to Bremen, and I adored it!

December Highlights

  • A post-NaNo celebration with cupcakes!

Otter!

  • A fun trip to the zoo with lovely writer friends!

  • Meeting up with some friends from Realm Makers and having a blast chatting over lunch!

  • Sending Christmas cards.
  • A few days of just relaxing and reading Diana Wynne Jones. I kind of needed that after all the crazy that was November.
  • Going to see Mortal Engines and Mary Poppins Returns with my siblings.
  • Peppermint shakes!

  • General quiet, cozy Christmas celebrations with family.

  • Curling up with Echo North and reading it in the cold near-end of the year! ❤

January Highlights

  • Ringing in the New Year watching some fireworks and seeing a shooting star.
  • Starting new journals! My favorite. 😀 Seriously, my writing journal and my bullet journal are super helpful and fun.
  • Some writers’ workshops.
  • Plot-walks with my sis.
  • Mail! Always makes my day. ❤

  • Started trying to make fingerless gloves again. XD
  • Working on some new habits and goals. I’m trying a new thing in my bullet-journal with a habit-tracker that I color in. It’s been fabulous so far!
  • Saw the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse! It was super cold out but so worth it.

February Plans

Things I’d love to get done this month:

  • Quite a bit more blogging (my poor abandoned blogs!)
  • Read some review books and review them
  • Read other things Because Reasons
  • Finish writing The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (I KNOW. I can’t believe I’m not done yet but I still want to do this! *collapses*)
  • Also, How to Train Your Dragon 3 is coming out this month and I AM NOT EMOTIONALLY PREPARED FOR THIS. SEND HELP.

Loved this display at the theater when I saw Mary Poppins Returns


Whew! If you made it through this you deserve a cupcake.

In brief:

I made it through my 9th NaNo and I’m super pleased with how it turned out! And so glad I decided to go Rebel and work on trying to finish two WIPs. 😀 There were some rough spots and it was one of my busiest NaNos, but overall it went amazingly and was an awesome month.

December was a mix of busyness and lovely relaxing, and much hanging out with awesome people and Christmas coziness. January was generally quietly starting out the year, with a mix of slumps and bright moments.

And now we’re well into February and EXCUSE ME, Mr. Time, but who gave you permission to run away like this? Ahem. If you need me, I’ll just be over here wrapped in a shock blanket, wondering how we’re this far into 2019 already. 😛

What have you been up to lately? How has your year started off? And have you missed the Ishnesses and should I bring ’em back? Speak to me in the comments! Thanks for reading! ❤