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! ^_^

Ren: The Girl With the Mark – Season 2?

Friends, I’m excited to share some news with you!

The Indie-made fantasy show Ren: The Girl with the Mark is gearing up for a second season — but we need your help!

What is Ren?

If you haven’t heard about this original fantasy TV show (which has one season so far, consisting of five 10-minute episodes), and would like to know more, you can check out the official website or my post Ten Reasons Why Ren the Series is Awesome.

I stumbled across it years ago when it first released, since it was made by the same talented filmmakers who made the Lord of the Rings fan-film Born of Hope (about Aragorn’s parents). I adored the first season of Ren, and I’m excited to share the news with other fantasy fans!

Scary things going down in the woods . . .

I absolutely love the characters (Ren! Karn! Hunter!) and the acting, as well as the setting, look, and feel of it. The story kept me holding my breath. And the music! I love it so much that I had to buy the soundtrack — it’s good for listening to while writing exciting scenes. 😉 Ren is simply an excellently-made show and I need more of it in my life. ❤

Watch it Free!

You can watch the first season of Ren the Series on the website or Youtube!

Or, if you have Amazon Prime, the first season has been re-edited and put together there in one place! Seriously, go see it. (It’s a total of 45 minutes, so you really have no excuse not to! ;))

So check it out if you love fantasy! (And join me in waiting for a continuation of that explosive cliffhanger! XD)

Karn being mysterious and epic. He’s my favorite!

How You Can Help

If the Ren team can get enough sign-ups for their new newsletter, they’ll know they have enough support to launch a crowdfunding campaign for season two, and they’re over halfway to that goal!

So if you are an old or new fan of Ren, or just want to help out, be sure to spread the word and sign up to renew Ren for a second season!

Ren and Hunter, my other favorites!

Check out the latest update on Youtube!


Here’s some more information, taken from the official press release:

SECOND SEASON OF REN: THE GIRL WITH THE MARK IN THE WORKS

The team behind Ren: The Girl with the Mark, the ambitious short-form fantasy series about a young woman marked by an ancient spirit, is asking fans to support a second season.

The premiere episode has had over two million views to date, while the season as a whole has received over 40 award nominations from festivals around the world, and a dozen actual award wins.

Gongs collected include the Grand Jury Award at Melbourne International WebFest in Australia, and Best Series awards at GenCon and FilmQuest in the US and at Bilbao WebFest in Spain. Skelton’s performance was honoured at Hyperdrive Sci-Fi & Fantasy Festival in the UK, while director and co-creator Kate Madison took home a Best Director award from South Korea’s Seoul WebFest.

Fans will be delighted to hear that a second season is in the works. “I’ve just finished writing the last episode,” Madison reveals. “I won’t give you any spoilers, but you can expect a much bigger scope and scale to this season, as Ren and Hunter journey across Alathia to try to find the answers to some of Ren’s many questions.”

The first season was crewed by an army of volunteers – some from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands and even the US – who descended on the small English village of Caxton, Cambridgeshire to help build the set, make the costumes and appear as extras. Madison notes that “it was their talent and enthusiasm that allowed us to make an independent series of such a high quality that many viewers thought they were watching something from a major TV
studio.”

The community ethos is something she is keen to continue. Before launching a crowdfunding campaign, Madison and her team have challenged themselves to get 5,000 fans signed up to their new mailing list. “Social media is great,” says Madison, “but with the wealth of information out there things can be missed, and nothing beats getting something straight into your inbox.”

You can show your support for further adventures of Ren: The Girl with the Mark by heading to rentheseries.com/renew and signing up to the mailing list.


Have you seen Ren the Series yet? And what do you think? If you’re a fellow fan, are you just as ready for the next season as I am? Aaahh! I’m so excited to continue this journey! 😀

All images belong to Mythica Entertainment.

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*)

Fantasy Favorites Tag!

G’day, my Roadlings!

It’s the LAST day of February (say what? How did this happen?) so I’m squeezing in at the last second of February Fantasy Month to do this lovely tag that the hostess of this awesome event, Jenelle Schmidt, put together.

No, I’m not late—what gave you that idea?

Ahem. On with the tag, shall we? All of these questions are so hard! O_O

What is your favorite fantasy book?

(I lied. This question is super easy.)

The Lord of the Rings/The Silmarillion and Howl’s Moving Castle. I KNOW. SUCH A SHOCK. XD

(Okay, I know that’s not one. But. You know.)

Also, I’m looking forward to reading Howl’s Moving Castle for the sixth time (I think?) next month for March Magics since there’s going to be a readalong for it! 😀

What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?

At first I couldn’t think of any fantasy TV shows, which shows a definite problem somewhere . . . But I’m going to go with Ren: The Girl with the Mark, which I mentioned before, and if you haven’t checked it out, I totally recommend doing so!

I’m going to be posting about that soon, regarding a possible season 2 (!!) so stay tuned!

For movies:

(I need to see the new How to Train Your Dragon movie! Aaahh!)

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Prince of Persia

And if you haven’t seen Prince of Persia yet — what are you even doing with your life?

Prince Dastan can’t believe you haven’t watched it, either

Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?

I have SO MANY FAVORITE HEROES, I’m not even going to try listing anybody. My mind overwhelmed itself and short-circuited with the sheer amount and left me suddenly unable to recall anybody. I’ll regret it later but I’m going to skip that.

Instead, I’ll just do heroines, since that’s a much shorter list. 😉 Here are some:

  • Mina Klug (The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead)
  • Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings) and Luthien Tinuviel (The Silmarillion), both by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Eilonwy (The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander)
  • Ginny (Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal)
  • Cordelia Beaumont (The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz)
  • Echo (Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer)

It takes a LOT to write a heroine I really love and admire. I’m not sure exactly what quality these heroines share but they’re all fabulous! (You can read a post I wrote which in part concerned those first few heroines, if you like.)

Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?

Uuuurgh. Do you realize how difficult this question is? Do you realize how many amazing fantasy side-kicks there are? This is threatening to short-circuit my brain again.

*panics* *scrambles around* *grabs one name from the swirling mass and tosses it out*

CRISPIN BEASLEY HE’S JUST THE BEST OKAY BYE

*panting*

*thrusts The Beast of Talesend haphazardly in your face*

*hurries on*

Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)

For some reason all I can think of right now is the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. He’s just . . . really creepy. O_O

(I was tempted to list Carhartan from Orphan’s Song or Rupert de la Mare from Plenilune or the Keeper from Entwined but “most love to hate” might not apply; it’s more like I HAVE FEELINGS WHICH MAY BE HATE I DUNNO. I talk about villains here.)

I . . . don’t want to linger on this question; there’s a sort of chill in the air over here. I’ll just . . . Yeah, I’ll move on.

*sprints hastily to next question and locks door behind self*

What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?

*breathes sigh of relief* Much safer, cozier, warmer question. 🙂

Fairytale retellings, and steampunk-fantasy or Regency-fantasy! Those are ones I’ve been really into lately, anyway.

I love a good classic epic fantasy, too!

What is your favorite thing about fantasy?

The limitless possibilities and imagination and wonder. There’s just so MUCH that can happen! It also has great potential for my favorite sorts of character types, and of course fantastical creatures and settings! And . . . well . . . everything.

Fantasy is my home, and while I enjoy other genres from time to time (non-speculative fiction, and non-fiction occaaasionally), they just often seem . . . dry. They don’t have the wonder. I enjoy visiting them sometimes but Fantasy is where I live.

It has so much potential. I find I learn truths about life more deeply when I encounter them in fantasy.

Lloyd Alexander said it best.

What is your favorite fantasy realm?

Tolkien’s world, absolutely. I have recently been re-immersing myself in Middle-earth and particularly Beleriand and the other lands of The Silmarillion, reading Tolkien’s Book of Lost Tales and The Fall of Gondolin.

I “grew up” there, living and breathing the richness of his world and the far-reaching wonder of the ages of Middle-earth. I had no idea how much I missed it until I went back again and realized it was so natural to slip back into this world. I do need to give The Lord of the Rings a good re-read one of these days soon, but at the moment I’m enjoying going through the older drafts of what later became The Silmarillion and having a blast.

If you need me, I’ll be walking the shores of Valinor or visiting the hidden valley of the city of Gondolin between the mountains; treading under the trees of Doriath with Luthien and Beren or staring at the wide sea from the cliffs of Beleriand; visiting the Shire or the Lonely Mountain or Lothlorien or Minas Tirith; spending a couple of weeks by the fire in Rivendell with the music and the books, the food and the Elves; galloping the vast plains with the Rohirrim; or walking the woods of Ithilien with Faramir. Watch out; I may never come back. 😉

What is your favorite fantasy magic system?

I’m not sure! I don’t always pay that much attention to how the fantasticalness works in the fantasy I read? But I will say that I know I liked Spellsmith and Carver (where it was half like computer coding) and Beggar Magic (the “strains” sort of like music), both by H.L. Burke. And the Song from the Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams, and the aether gifts in the Sentinel Trilogy by Jamie Foley, are all coming to mind. So I guess I’ll go with some of those. XD In Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, I ADORED the book-mirrors where you can step into a story, so if that counts . . .

Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

Wellll. I have written a fantasy book, or several. But they’re not exactly available yet. XD *cough*

My latest is basically a Steampunk-Fantasy Little Mermaid. Except that the Little Mermaid is neither little nor Mer nor a maid — being a cloud-siren prince on a quest to find his father’s killer — and he gets mixed up with Princess Tasmania who is the captain of a skyship. Cloud cities, assassins, tea, love, and clockwork dragons ensue.

So yeah, that’s The Siren and the Skyship, currently in needs-to-be-edited limbo. I’m working on trying to figure out the plot for the sequel right now and it’s giving me headaches.

Maybe I’ll do an update post about how my writing is coming, since I haven’t talked about that or anything on here in awhile . . .

Actual book

In the meantime, how about a book that is actually finished! and published! and awesome!

I wanted to screech about Echo North or The Electrical Menagerie, but since y’all prooobably know by now how much I love those (given all the shrieking I’ve done. XD) and things like Howl’s Moving Castle, I think I’ll give a quick shout-out for a book I haven’t talked as much about for a little while! (But seriously, go check those out if you haven’t!! They make me happy!)

Blood Ties! By Hazel West!

Alternate modern Ireland! Warriors with swords and fast cars! Brothers by blood and by bond with great messy relationships I love! SNARK. Fighting. Epic characters! (I love them ALL! AWK!) Loyalty and goblins and castles and cell phones! (Those are good because they’re all together in one book, not because goblins or cell phones are necessarily inherently good in themselves.)

Did I mention Ireland? Because it’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day so you OBVIOUSLY need something to read for that.

I love it so much and I’ve been missing this series (the sequels are just as good if not better) and wanting book four BADLY. So go read this one if you haven’t. 😀

And look, I’m part of Ciran’s Company! And I have a real BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk) shamrock necklace I won from the author, so if any of you reading this are actually malevolent fae or goblins trying to convince people not to read this book, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Ciran and I are comin’ for you. And the rock band Swords and Shamrocks are going to write a ballad about it. So watch out.

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this fantasy tag and my answers — do feel free to steal the tag to use on your own blog, even if Fantasy Month is over. Because the time for fantasy is always!

What are some of YOUR fantasy favorites? Let me know in the comments!