How to Read a Diana Wynne Jones Book

In honor of March Magics*, I present you with the first in a set of two posts on The Diana Wynne Jones Experience, otherwise entitled: How to Read a Diana Wynne Jones Book and What Your Fantastic Journey Along the Way May Look Like.

*Previously known as Diana Wynne Jones March, March Magics is held each… March (who knew?) by Kristen @ We Be Reading, celebrating the works of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.


Part The First:

How To Read a Diana Wynne Jones Book


Step 1:

Find a book by Diana Wynne Jones.

This is, naturally, the only required step. And if you haven’t, you should do so at once.

Options include: finding it

  • at a library
  • at a bookshop
  • at a library sale
  • online
  • borrowing one from a friend

You should exercise discernment if you do the last one, for, depending on the friend, they may (a) be thrilled to lend you the book, since “EVERYONE IN THE WORLD MUST READ THIS BOOK OH MY WORD READ IIIIT!” or (b) it may be their Precious, a hard-won copy wrested from a dragon’s lair, and “NO ONE CAN TOUCH THIS BOOK IT IS THE PRECIOUS DON’T YOU DARE” or (c) a mix of both (which is obviously the most dangerous of all).

In the case of b or c, if you do manage to borrow it, you should be extremely grateful** cautious and return it to them promptly upon reading it, utterly undamaged, or your welfare may be threatened. Dragons hath no fury like a bookworm with damaged lent book that they value above all else, especially by this particular author…

Please also note that most fans of this author are FIERCELY LOYAL. I’ll just… you know… leave that note there in case you don’t “get” the books, to suggest caution in your dealings with said fans, especially if they lent you it. It’s basically the equivalent of lending someone your heart, so do be considerate.

If at this point I have left you with a vague and uneasy impression that DWJ fans are like rather cantankerous dragons who might spout fire at you if you look at them (or their books) the wrong way, then let me direct you toward the book “Dark Lord of Derkholm” which contains a strong-willed and rather grouchy but firm dragon known as Scales, and you will see that we have nothing on him, and therefore you are clearly quite safe.

**I won’t force the “grateful” on you, since I’ve read DWJ’s Eight Days of Luke and therefore know better. (The hero of that book was constantly being told by his nasty relatives that he should be grateful for them “looking after” him. Um… yeah, no.)

Step 2: (optional)

Look at the cover.

At this point, you will probably go: “Erm… that’s an… odd… cover… >.>” and be highly tempted to return the book and/or not get it and/or hide it among your stacks of books so no one can see that you have such a dubious-looking book.

Above all else, DO NOT YIELD TO THIS TEMPTATION.

I REPEAT: DO. NOT.

Do not be fooled. Cover artists notoriously have no clue how to illustrate real works of Fantasy Genius, especially when said books are by Diana Wynne Jones.

Press bravely on to what lies between the pages and your fortitude will be rewarded.

Note: This step is not always there. That is, you may look at the cover and be surprised to find it is an okay and/or beautiful one. This, however, is not as common as I would like, and you must count yourself a fortunate soul if it is the case for you.

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Step 3:

Read the book!***

Preferably in a single day.

(You complete this step, naturally, by opening to page one and reading the first sentence, followed by the next, etc., etc.)

Be warned, reader traveler! Once you embark upon this journey, you may not emerge until the final page falls . . . so see to it that you absolutely do NOT start reading it late/after dinner, especially if it’s one of the lengthier specimens, or you may be liable to be up in the wee hours of the night, not caring a smidgen if you have to get up in a few hours, because you simply must finish, at once!

Also, DO NOT STOP READING IN THE MIDDLE IF IT DOESN’T CATCH YOU RIGHT AWAY. These books can at times be a slow-burn type of adventure, which gets going a little slowly through the middle, and you think a lot of it isn’t related, until suddenly in the last third or so, everything starts coming together at once and HAPPENING. So. Press on! Give it a chance even if you feel like it’s not your thing. By the end, it will likely capture you.

***So, I lied; this is the other required step after Step 1.

This third step, the reading, is the most important, and consequently will be the longest step on this journey.

Which brings us to the second part of this two-post series, namely Part the Second: What Your Fantastic Journey Along the Way May Look Like. (Or, as I’m going to call it, The Diana Wynne Jones Experience, because title length, you know. *nods*)

I’ll be posting that next Monday, so stay tuned!

Feel free to wait on the edge of your seat if you like.

I was going to have it all one post, but I couldn’t help myself running away with this delightfully fun topic — surprise! — so I chopped it in half to spare you readers. 😉

(It’s going to be great fun, believe me. >:D)

Part 2: The Diana Wynne Jones Experience

Ishness of NaNo 2016

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November NaNoWriMo 2016

(What do you mean, the month is called November? Pssh. It’s obviously been wrongly informed on that count and has been renamed NaNoWriMo. *nods*)

Hello, Roadlings! It being December somehow (whaaat?) I’m thinking it’s about time for another post about all the ishness I got up to this November!

Instead of having a sub-division here called WRITING, let me just tell you all about my NaNo this month, because NOVEMBER IS ALL ABOUT THE WRITING.

There will be non-NaNo-related stuff (whaaat?? That happens?) afterwards later on in the post. ^_^

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So… the month started off on a slightly down note, when I ended up losing hundreds of words on the first day of NaNo due to my laptop getting unplugged and the fact that I was not yet acquainted with Scrivener’s backup systems. That was… a bit of a downer, I’ll admit. (I got a new battery that doesn’t die in five minutes, and a better power cable that didn’t fall out every two seconds, and started regularly backing up my novel after that. Highly recommended.)

But after that, other than the daily struggle to come up with exactly what to write (since other than a very rough outline/list of chapters, I was basically pantsing each chapter) and the occasional downs that come with a month full of busyness and having to write 50,000 words… it was really a great NaNo, overall!

I wrote 51,134 words of The Library in the Stars (the NaNo site says less than that, due to their different wordcounter, but pfft, I’m totally going with mine. ;)) and wrote 7589 words on November 27 (my personal record other than the last day of my first NaNo back in 2010, which was just over 8K) and FINISHED NANO. Three days early, at that.

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Bucky helped me to keep my wordcount on track. ^_^ Picture not mine: gorgeous Bucky art belongs to Svenja Gosen — check out her AMAZING wordcount spreadsheets with awesome fandom etc. art. ❤

I didn’t fall behind on my wordcount at all! This was my first time in seven years of NaNos to stay on track the entire month, and let me tell you, it. felt. good. I even got to take a few days off from writing in there, which was glorious. I’m very much of a sprint writer. I would much rather write 3K in a day and then skip the next day than have to write the necessary 1667 words every. single. day. Honestly, the idea of writing several days in a row exhausts me more than writing 3.5K two days and then 4K another day and getting to take off four days that week in amongst that (an actual example).

lscoverNumbers aside… it was fun to write this story! I mean, it was totally confusing too, and ended up nothing like I expected, but the characters were fun, and writing a sci-fi-ish story (admittedly a heavily fantasy version) and a bunch of different plot threads and dabbling slightly with time travel all presented very interesting challenges! It will be interesting to see how the rest of the story ends up and how edits will change it…

(Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Don’t worry, there will be snippets. Just… I have to find them first, so that might take awhile. Expect some hopefully next week, though! ^_^)

Scrivenerrrr ❤

I used Scrivener for the first time, to write my NaNo novel, and it’s officially my precioussss and I love it, and ended up getting the actual program with my NaNo coupon. I’m very very excited. Honestly, it was SO useful for setting daily goals (the little progress bar in the corner!) and for organizing my chapters to write, and being able to focus on one day’s writing at a time, or a chapter at a time, or looking at the whole thing. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUUUUCH. ❤

Wordsprints

Another life-saver was the group wordsprint feature the NaNo site debuted this year. I just loved being able to sprint with people in person or online (I used it at my write-ins with great success), and even if no one else was doing it, it was SO helpful for me. I loved being able to have the countdown open in one window and Scrivener in another (with my fast music, of course — a necessity) so that I could be typing and aware of how much time was left (and the wordcount at the bottom of Scrivener was helpful too, since I could make a new sub-document for a wordsprint and vaguely assess how far into the sprint I was).

That last day, I was writing 900 words in 20 minutes with the help of the NaNo wordsprint timer and Scrivener and my fast music.

Roadlings mine, I average 1K per hour.

I have NEVER in my LIFE written that much at once.

Seriously, this was just amazing. (I’m not trying to brag. I’m trying to express how mind-blown I am and how wonderful wordsprints and Scrivener and fast music are.)

Oh yeah, did I mention fast music? Skillet, Newsboys, Skyworld, and Colton Dixon helped me out with that. Never underestimate the help of such things for typing faster. 😛

Playlist for 2016 NaNo

(miscellaneous inspiring music or just what I felt like at the time)

  • Feel Invincible — Skillet
  • Stars — Skillet
  • I Want to Live — Skillet (Damian’s themesong)
  • That’s How You Change the World — Newsboys
  • Restart — Newsboys
  • Go Glow — Newsboys
  • In and Out of Time — Colton Dixon (essential for any time-travel novel)
  • Walk on the Waves — Colton Dixon
  • Limitless — Colton Dixon
  • Aurora — John McCutcheon (I have a character named this. ‘Nuff said.)
  • Skyworld — Two Steps From Hell (Strange band name, but this is my traditional wordwar melody ever since 2014)
  • Hard to Find — Skillet
  • Sleepsong — Secret Garden
  • Savin’ Me — Nickelback
  • Northern Lights — Gaelic Storm
  • This Time — Cara Dillon
  • Never in a Million Years — Cara Dillon
  • Tell Your Heart to Beat Again — Danny Gokey
  • Dream Song — Nordik Fire
  • Starkindler — Michael Card
  • Wintersong — John McCutcheon
  • Lord of the Dance soundtrack (particularly “Lament” and also “Warriors” and “Gypsy”)

Other NaNo/Life Things

I was also an ML for my region, on my own for the first time, and survived/stayed on top of that, which pleases me muchly. I had like six writing events so… I’m kind of amazed that I managed to stay on top of things. (This introvert doesn’t always get a lot done when having to go places…) So I organized a NaNo region, held writing meetings, ran a forum, and sent out weekly peptalks, all by myself, and lived. I’m very pleased and thankful on this count.

Speaking of meetings… I got to meet Claire Banschbach!! She’s awesome, FYI. ❤ And also hang out with a few other homeschooled authors, which was so fun. ^_^

Oh and I caught a cold! Right when I hit 50K, basically. So I spent the last three days of NaNo doing things like reading, Not Writing, and flipping through Howl’s Moving Castle for all the parts where Howl has a cold (not to mention other parts, because I’m easily distracted). Yes, this is a continual occurrence when I catch colds. I’m not even sorry.

BOOKS

Notice how I cleverly disguised this section as “Books” instead of “Reading”

  • A library sale happened, which was glorious as usual, and involved my snagging some fairytale retellings including some for Tam Lin and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, among other intriguing-looking books. …My to-read bookcase has become crammed to the point where I mayyy have to avoid library booksales until I read a lot more. (I never thought I’d say that.)
  • Book mail! I don’t know about you, but book mail is one of the joys of my life, rare though it may be. ❤ Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the copy of The Silent Songbird, and thanks to Jill Williamson for the copy of Project Gemini I won in her bimonthly giveaway on her website!

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I also actually (gasp!) managed to READ three books during November! :O What is this nonsense? Reading doesn’t happen during NaNo, does it?? Evidently it did this time, which makes me pretty pleased.

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  • The Silent Songbird  was delightful and I reviewed it (Little Mermaid retelling, huzzah!).
  • Crooked Kingdom… how am I conflicted about thee…? let me count the ways. Clever but dark and with Things I’m Very Displeased About, but I love the characters and writing and I’ll admit I really enjoyed it but I can’t/won’t recommend it to anybody… (I have no idea what to rate this thing somebody halp)
  • Ghostly Echoes… only one of my top anticipated reads of the year… and I still haven’t decided what I think of this one either. Wut.

Basically I read three books that came out very recently and have fairly confused feelings about two of them and what even is this reading life where I have to have concrete opinions on things.

But I’m so happy I got to read them, and not fall behind on NaNo in the process, so yay!

Blogging

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On my book blog:

Around here:

December Plans

Whenever December hits, I have this delusion that after my month-long writing journey of epicness and exhaustion, I should totally get to take a whole month to relax. I mean, it stands to reason, right?? But noooo, apparently life doesn’t work that way. (I want it to. Let me live in my delusions.)

I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-possibly-perhaps may have neglected many things during November (it happens, Roadlings), so I have much catching up to do, as well as Christmas things. Basically, this month I am ALL OF THE BUSY.

On top of which, I really should turn this month into NaBeReMo (National Beta-Reading Month) or something like that, with all the books I promised to read and haven’t yet. We’ll see how that goes. Wish me luck!

And, oh yes, I have a review for Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales coming to the blog later this week, and some snippets hopefully next week, and I’m finishing out the year with a couple more tags, so at least there are a few things going on around the blog — I can’t wait! And then it will be the new year (2017??) and WHAT EVEN IS TIME. *collapses*

Anyhoo, that’s what’s up with me. I’m off to go see about some of that busy-December stuff. *picks nervously at mile-long to-do list*

*I accidentally typed that as “mile-long suit.” Apparently I have Howl on my mind. Because of when Sophie accidentally made his suit too big:

“Oh dear!” said Michael. “Howl, it was my fault I–”

“Your fault? Garbage!” said Howl. “I can detect Sophie’s hand a mile off. And there are several miles of this suit.”

— Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

HMC

I will leave you with that. *proceeds with dignity to wade away wrapped in mile-long to-do list*

Return of the Ishness! {March 2016}

We will just ignore the fact that while I was trying to write this post I got distracted looking at Sherlock pins on Pinterest for far longer than I would care to admit. Yep. Because That Would Never Happen. John-est. Honest. Never.

Ahem.

Anyways, THAT was a sidetrack. But HI! Hello everyone! ^_^ I’m… trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s April? Say what?

I’ve also kind of… forgotten to post over here. *shifty eyes* I’ve been posting bookish things on my book blog, so it vaguely slipped my mind that I hadn’t posted here in awhile, what with not having life/writing things to say. But I am back! 🙂

And now that we’re a week into April *cough* it’s time to look at what happened in March…

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WRITING

R&RThe month started off with the Rooglewood Press announcements, putting a bookend on my first writing contest, which was definitely an interesting experience! I’m very glad I wrote The Rose and the Raven and glad I entered; and actually, now, glad I didn’t win. I’m not ready for that kind of pressure, that kind of being-edited, and it’s quite clear that my somewhat whimsical, more fantasy retelling would not have fitted with the selection that was finally made…

Anyways! I learned a lot about writing and cutting words and editing under a deadline and all that good stuff. 🙂

Now that this chapter of my writing is closed for now (I’ll likely go back to the story and re-edit/add some eventually but not right now), I feel ready to focus on something else! …What that something else will be remains to be seen, though. 😉

OHEcoverAs far as what I actually wrote in March, I wrote a bit of The Other Half of Everything for later on in the story (Teague and Meridian are so fun to write…).

I also finally edited the horrendous bits of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood that I wrote during NaNo (they were a mess) and wrote a bit more of that, officially finishing Part 1 of KW2! *confetti* (We’ll just ignore the fact that it’s passed 60k and only allegedly one-third done… *cough*) But that was a HUGE milestone for me! I’ve been trying to get to that point for a looong time. Very excited about that! Though… my characters are not. Ahem. Tare may or may not be verrry done with me right now. >.>

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I printed out Part 1 as a reward/incentive

And as per usual, there’s a lot of plotting of various books going on. I changed the title of my epic fantasy series from The Starrellian Saga to The Princes of Starrellia (because… er… there are many characters of a princely variety… And I like the sound of it). I’ve been working a bit on that.

I also have a new-ish book knocking at the back of my brain to be let in, which is actually a combination of several different ideas I’d had before (namely a sci-fi/mind thing, an alleged Doctor Who fanfic which I’m taking the germ of the story and just making it an original, as well as a steampunk time-travel thing, another time-travel thing involving books, and another vague idea featuring a very special library). This new/old story is called The Library in the Stars and it’s still in fledgling state, especially since I haven’t sorted out exactly how all the threads fit together, but I’m excited to see what happens with it.

libraryinthestars

So that’s what’s going on on the writing front for me! I’m still a bit writer’s-blocked and having a hard time focusing. I consequently decided to spend much of March reading instead.

Speaking of which . . .

READING

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Again, these are in reverse-order of when I read them, because it’s from my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

I read 13 books in March which is… a lot for me.

What a mix! Some Moomin books (a fun, hilarious children’s fantasy series originally written in Swedish); a couple of Regency books; two utterly different fantasy books set in modern-day Ireland (Blood Ties and Skulduggery Pleasant); a time-travel book; a collection of essays on writing; a splendid Beauty and the Beast retelling from Melanie Dickerson of which I got an ARC and hope to review soon; and another Diana Wynne Jones book, featuring centaurs and a Sci-fi/Fantasy Convention and tons of wackiness.

I will likely post a reading roundup on my book blog soonish… (I know, I know, I still haven’t posted my roundup for February. *cough* It will happen, it will…)

ON MY BOOK BLOG

I took part, slightly, in March Magics, which was quite fun, most notably listing the books by Diana Wynne Jones that I’ve read so far. Yay!

WATCHING

I got to see Thor: The Dark World again (yay!) and greatly enjoyed being able to actually see the faces and what was actually going on due to not having a bunch of fog between myself and the screen. Thor and Loki together are the BEST. 😄

I also finally saw The Guardians of the Galaxy, which everyone and their Groot have been telling me to watch ever since it came out, and found it extremely odd but quite fun and sometimes hilarious.

I also saw Megamind, which… again, quite weird but more fun than I’d expected.

(Are you noticing a trend? Lots of superhero movies…)

And I pretty much finished watching Jeeves & Wooster. SO fun!

But most of all, I saw the first season of an original fantasy webseries, Ren: The Girl with the Mark, by the people who made the Lord of the Rings fan-film prequel, Born of Hope, and I loved it! Now they just need to do a second season! O_O (Seriously though, they need to. NEED!!!) In case you are wondering, it was AMAZING and I have very definite opinions on if you should watch it or not. (Hint: YOU TOTALLY SHOULD.)

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MUSIC

Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that I got to see my favorite singer in concert this March for my birthday? Hearing Loreena McKennitt live on stage was MAGICAL. ❤ (If you’ve never heard her gorgeous Celtic music, you’re missing out.) Loreena herself was so lovely — charming, witty, insightful, and gracious. I just love her music so much, and it was so immersive live! So many emotions with that amazing music — one moment achingly beautiful, another hauntingly sad, and the next laughing at one of her jokes. It was so much fun, so gorgeous, and I was utterly enchanted. An incredible experience that I’m so thankful to have had the chance to have. ^_^

LIFE

‘Twas an interesting month, was March.

I kind of struggled through the Rooglewood announcements and other involved things (though I’m over that one now, thankfully! :)), Daylight Savings Time (argh! I still have not recovered. -_- *shakes clock because surely it must be incorrect*), a lot of various writing self-doubts (thanks very much for all the support on that! I love you guys! ❤ ), and a bout of writer’s block, which is lurking still, slightly…

But aside from that, the rest was really an amazing month. 🙂 I read a lot of fabulous birthday books (and a few review books), saw Loreena McKennitt, enjoyed my very first Twitter Party (for Diana Wynne Jones. It was SO FUN!) and generally… lived. Which is good, I guess. 😉

I’ve also gotten back into listening to Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor, since it’s handy to have something to listen to while exercising, and I had wanted to get back to listening but hadn’t found an excuse. So this is awesome and I’m very excited to get caught up on some of his awesome (free!) podcasts and lectures on Tolkien and Faerie & Fantasy and other works of literature. 🙂 Corey’s a really awesome guy, both funny and really interesting, to listen to. I always have great fun with his lectures! ^_^

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APRIL THINGS

*ignores fact that we’re already a week into the month* Dunno what my plans are for this month besides all the reading I need to do. I’ll (hopefully) have a few book reviews popping up over here soonish!

I am not, in fact, doing Camp NaNo, but for those of you who are, I wish you the best of luck, you awesome people! YOU’VE GOT THIS! I do however hope to figure out what writing projects to work on and get some writing done all the same… but we will see. *fingers crossed*

That was my March! How was yours? Any plans for April? I hope you’ll have a wonderful month! 🙂

Ishness!

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Happy February!

Wow, I haven’t done a real Ishness post in ages! So it’s time for another one. 🙂 Here’s a look at my January…

Writing

After the insane writing time that was November and December (which I now realize I have STILL to chronicle fully on the blog here…), I was pretty much burnt out on the writing front.

And by “pretty much” I mean “a completely blackened stub of candle-wick at the end of a very gone candle.” Ahem.

So I took a writing hiatus in January. Yup. The whole month off. Which may sound extreme to some, but I really needed it and found it super relaxing.

Obviously, I still blogged… a ton… largely due to said writing break. Because I always need to write SOMETHING, and when I “take off” it generally manifests itself in the form of fiendishly frequent blogging, and starting a book blog only amplified that…

I also cheated a liiittle bit and did writing in my writing journal/notebook, which is something I start every year and use to keep track of my miscellaneous writing ideas etc. So I wrote 25 pages in that. …Which is more than I usually do. Eheh.

OHEcollageAnd Teague and co. from The Other Half of Everything have been steadily bombarding me with ideas this last month, so I’ve been surreptitiously taking notes on that and may have kinda-sorta worked out a rough structure for the story. Which makes me happy.

So this is why I’m not entirely DYING to write just now, which is what usually happens after I take a break and starve myself on words. Instead of starving, I tried to just… cut back and give myself permission to not write. But I’m wonderfully refreshed after my writing hiatus and although I don’t know what I’m going to work on next — so many options! So many books! — I’m excited to return to it.

Oh! And I did write on my writing day. January 20th every year is designated my writing day, because a few years in a row I happened to write something on that day, so I turned it into a tradition. So I wrote a snippet of The Silver Forest. Because Taghdach demanded it. Because he was grouchy and wanted to blow up some diamond trees. So I let him and wrote it. Because I’m nice like that.

Some snippets from The Silver Forest (you’re welcome. XD)

SilverForestCoverFinalWithout warning, he swung round, his head jerking forward and down as if under a great weight, and he flung his arms out to both sides in a violent gesture which leveled the trees around them, at the same time that a howling wind seemed to spring inexplicably up around him, tossing his cloak wildly. At the movement of his arms and the power that brought the wind, every diamond tree within a few feet in a wide swathe around them seemed to constrict for a moment and then shattered, crashing to the forest floor in myriads of glittering, tinkling fragments.

***

His face was carefully sculpted, a cold marble statue under unforgiving moonlight on a frozen night, and no emotion could be found there. But his eyes burned a painful silver steel of starfire. Taghdach’s voice was as blank as his face as he spoke now. “He was my closest—and only—friend.” He looked unwaveringly straight into her eyes, his own like ice with not a trace of any thought readable within them, and finished, “And I killed him.”

Reading

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(I seem to be following a trend of reading books with blue-ish-grey-ish covers? Except for the white one, which is trying to shrink into the background because it’s nonfiction, which I rarely read. Also I feel the need to point out that these are listed in reverse order: I read Fire and Hemlock first and Half-Blood most recently… but Goodreads has these nicely listed — albeit backward — and I’m too lazy to go make a new image collection right now.)

I read 10 books in January. Which was nice, because in the previous four months, I read literally 6 books total and was starved for reading… (More about these books in my Reading Roundup over on my book blog if you’re interested in hearing further about ’em.)

Watching

I saw Sherlock: The Abominable Bride!

…Three times. *cough* (Once at a theater it was showing at, which was awesome — Sherlock on the big screen! — and twice afterward online. Because obviously I’m addicted.)

It was so awesome and I loved it. So many little (and not-so-little) nods to the original story and to the modern ones, all wrapped up in a clever plot. I just LOVE how clever the Sherlock episodes are. They make me happy, and this is definitely one of my favorites… And the setting! It was so awesome to see the beloved characters in that time period. All tidy and neat-looking in their clothes and combed hair etc. 😄 And so much humor. My goodness. So. Fun. I had a couple complaints (like the creepiness, but a lot of the original Holmes stories are creepy too…) but mostly just ignored those and had a blast. And the interaction and dialog and all the characters and Sherlock and John and Mycroft and Lestrade and Mary and just lskjflkjsdl SHERLOOOCK.

Basically, IT WAS AWESOME!!!

…Can you kinda tell I enjoyed a lot? 😉

Listening

January’s song-of-the-month for me was Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey… yes, I’m still listening to that. I discovered it at the beginning of the month, and it’s been constantly playing — if not actually, at least in my head. I love it so much and it’s sort of my “theme-song” for January that I associate with the month. 🙂

Life-ing

Humm… Not too much of interest going on here… I’ve been really busy (who knew that basically postponing your life for two months in favor of writing piles up??) but can’t think of anything specific of interest. I had a cold there at the end as I may have mentioned… And I’ve been trying to look after myself better, which has included trying to get outside more, which means that I’ve been actually noticing the weather. Which has been insane. Some days it’s freezing cold with a nasty wind and it’s all I can do not to run back inside to my heater instead of taking a little walk. Other times it’s been like 70 degrees, with a soft breeze and hot sunshine when I even *gasp* had to wear short sleeves.

Apparently our weather is confused about the fact that it was January…?

(Of course, one of those days taking a walk with short sleeves this last week, something — I suspect it was a wasp — decided to randomly sting me, so THAT was fun. I am reminded of why I actively try to avoid the outdoors. >.>)

February Plans

I still want to read. A lot. And I have plans of avoiding Goodreads so that I can focus on reading and writing (if you see me on there before March, feel free to yell at me. ;)), and of trying to consolidate my internet time. …We’ll see how that goes. *cough*

I still have a lot of life projects I’m behind on, so I hope to tackle those as well.

Now that I’m off writing hiatus, I hope to get back into writing again! Yay! …How exactly I’m going to do that, I have no idea, but pfft, details. 😉 There’s some Tare editing calling my name, and I’m throwing around the idea of working on a couple of different books, but haven’t officially decided what yet. Hopefully February will hold a wondrous return to the writing world, regardless of what exactly that entails!

I know that February’s going to be busy, but hey! At least we have an extra day this month, right? 😀

How was your January and what are your February plans? 🙂

Also, tomorrow’s Groundhog Day, and on behalf of groundhogs everywhere, I petition you: celebrate on this little-noticed holiday! (I don’t care how. Just celebrate. Because groundhogs. And spring(ish). And glorious things like that.)

Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)

dannygokey

I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!

2016

My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! 🙂

I’M EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR:

aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)

sherlockspecial

I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance

READING

66 Books

2015books

I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)

WATCHING

Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❤

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I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❤

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

BLOGGING

87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. 😄

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❤ You make my day every time. ^_^

WRITING

Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)

S&Scover4

OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.

starrellianicon

My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:

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***

PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. 🙂

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!