Ishness of a February Variety

ishness

Good day! Time for another round of Ishness… ๐Ÿ™‚

LIFE

I’ll get to the writing/reading/etc. categories in a little while, but first, I actually had quite a lot going on the “life” front during February, which is odd for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The main thing that happened was halfway through the month I injured my back, which has accounted for my trying to be on the computer/internet less since it seems to do better when I’m not doing that. If I’ve been somewhat less active on the interwebs of late, that would be why.

It’s funny how we take things like moving for granted! I’m very thankful now to be able to move. For a couple of days there I could hardly get around at all and hobbled around with a cane and everything — I felt exactly like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, suddenly old! XD (Howl’s Moving Castle makes everything better, including hurt backs and colds. ;)) So if you can move around, remember what a blessing it is, okay? I’m already forgetting and need to try to remember. It’s so good to be able to move! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been a very interesting experience, and made me slow down and think, which is always a good thing in this hectic life we lead, always dashing about with to-do lists and not stopping to breathe.

But it’s made me realize I need to re-prioritize my life and put health/exercise/looking after myself first. I can’t just live on my computer, apparently, since that’s largely what made me hurt my back.

I’ve been reading some books by a fellow named Pete Egoscue, on using certain stretches and exercises to end chronic pain without drugs or surgery and fix the musculoskeletal system. He makes a very compelling case for many of the health problems and chronic pain going on today being due to a sort of alignment dysfunction of the human body brought on by a lack of varied motion, in this “civilized” world that doesn’t require us to move. It may sound odd but it makes a TON of sense.

I’m still reading through them, but I can’t recommend his books highly enough. Pete Egoscue is AMAZING. The exercises in his book Pain Free got me back on my feet quickly, and I only had a couple of days of extreme pain. Between his books and exercises, prayer, and an amazing family looking after me, as well as a good deal of patience (NOT my strong point… it’s been interesting) I’m happy to say I’m nearly normal again. Yay!

I don’t usually talk about “real”, “important” subjects on my blog, like health and opinions and things, striving usually to just stay on the happy/safe end of the spectrum with things like books and writing and music and movies. But pain is a serious thing, a serious motivator, and I’m quite blown away by Pete Egoscue’s books and simply had to tell the world about them. I’m still doing the exercises for my back, but hope to eventually move on to ones that are supposed to “fix” the structural alignment and help provide a life of motion to prevent future injuries/chronic pain of this kind.

It’s going to be a journey, and one that I know many people (including myself) feel they don’t have time for. But I don’t have time to stop my life for a week due to pain, either. I may say more on this in the future, but in the meantime, I highly recommend his books Pain Free (which I haven’t finished reading), and Pain Free at Your PC (which I read in its entirety since, after all, for a couple days there I couldn’t do much besides lie in bed and read… my back was helpful like that. ;)).

But it wasn’t all bad, this month of February! I also managed to do some fun things, even after the whole back fiasco, which I’m super thankful for being better enough to do.

For one thing, I made it to a library booksale, which is always fun, and found a smallish stack of books.

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And I had the chance to go to a writer’s workshop held by Christian YA Fantasy/Thriller author Jamie Foley, speaking on writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. It was extremely fascinating and Jamie herself was super sweet, funny, and informative.

WRITING

KW2coverPI was supposed to get back into writing during February, after my month off from writing in January… But this month arrived and I realized I had no idea where to START. I was trying to decide what story to work on and consequently got hardly anything done, just editing a couple chapters of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

Then with the whole back thing and suddenly spending a bare minimum of time on the computer, writing just suddenly wasn’t a priority anymore, and I gave myself permission to relax on that front as well.

OHEcoverWith the consequence that, since computer time was precious, I actually got around to starting The Other Half of Everything! I’ve written snippets before (over 6K words of them…) but hadn’t officially “started” it with an opening and everything. So I did that. Which is most exciting! Even if it was only 400 words, at least I “started” it! ^_^

But what with everything else going on, a couple of edited chapters and a page of OHE is something to be proud of, so I’m pretty happy with the pitifully small amount of writing I got done in February. ๐Ÿ˜›

INTERVIEWED

The last day of February (I told you it was for leaping!) I was interviewed by Heidi Peterson! Some fascinating questions there that I had a ton of fun answering — check it out if you haven’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

READING

feb2016read

I read 12 books in February… quite an odd bunch, as you can see!

I was thrilled to find the Jackaby books at my library, and read them both, plus the free Kindle novella, all in a week… I’m rather addicted, and very excited about the next book, coming in August — which just had the cover revealed! *flails*

Also, can I take a moment to say: R. F. Jackaby himself TALKED TO ME ON TWITTER. *dies of fangirl feels overload* (Yes, he’s on Twitter. Yes, this is the coolest thing I’ve heard in a long time.)

jackabytweet

It was the best thing EVER.

I also took part in the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge held by Grace Mullins @ Fictionally (and she just won a place in the Five Magic Spindles collection! Yay! :)) so it was fun to read some more fantasy for a change, even if I didn’t get to everything I planned to read.

And, as I mentioned, Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue, which is amazing.

I should have another Reading Roundup over on my book blog soonish, talking about all the books… Speaking of which…

ON MY BOOK BLOG IN FEBRUARY

LISTENING TO…

Blessings” by Laura Story. (And, to be honest, still Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey. What can I say. The obsession runs deep. I adore it. <3) Both have been apt for this chapter in my life. Sometimes life has clouds and it’s hard to keep going when it’s hard to remember that there are sunbeams… somewhere…

(There were also large amounts of Silly Wizard music consumed and re-consumed on Youtube, but that’s not unusual…)

WATCHING

Occasional episodes of Jeeves & Wooster, since I found a few at the library sale. So much fun! (I still love P.G. Wodehouse’s books better, but the episodes are quite different and still hilarious, in a different sort of way.) Bertie and Jeeves are a great pair and their actors are just perfectly hilarious together.

AROUND THE INTERNET

I haven’t had this category before, and I don’t know how good I’ll be at keeping up with it in the future, but here are a few things that went on or are going on around the internet recently or soonish.

MARCH PLANS

I… don’t really know what my March plans are. Aside from a few books to read for beta or review, which looks to keep me busy, nothing else is set in stone… I hope to do some writing of some kind, but we’ll see what happens. I’d love to read some Diana Wynne Jones books but might be too busy… I may try to keep my computer time down, and I’ll be trying to figure out a new outlook on life involving exercise and actually taking care of myself — novel concept, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll also be attempting to survive Daylight Savings Time this week. …Ahem.

How was your February and what are your March plans? ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll just leave you with this. XD

Ishness!

ishness

Happy February!

Wow, I haven’t done a real Ishness post in ages! So it’s time for another one. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. โ€œHe was my closestโ€”and onlyโ€”friend.โ€ He looked unwaveringly straight into her eyes, his own like ice with not a trace of any thought readable within them, and finished, โ€œAnd I killed him.โ€

Reading

january2016read

(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. XD 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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? ๐Ÿ˜€

How was your January and what are your February plans? ๐Ÿ™‚

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)

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. โค

ezra

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!!! โค

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. XD

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. โค 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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