Dec 30, 2015

New Year, New Plans!


Writing:
Like with the last two years, I don’t plan on setting a specific word count goal (I don’t plan on pushing myself to write 1 million words in 12 months ever again). I’m just hoping to be better than last year. If I do that, awesome! If health issues arise that make it so I can’t…. I guess I won’t get there.

Publishing:
I have 8 books* planned for release this year. I might do more… I might do less. I guess it all depends. I’m on track for the first and third planned publications… but am a little behind on the second. So it’s going to be getting a lot more attention this first week of the year than other projects are.
* “Books” is the general term I use to encompass Novels, Novellas, Novelettes, and short stories/collections. At the moment, the break down is 3 novels and 5 novellas. I haven’t planned for any short stories—though I have one or two that might make an appearance depending on my editing time.

Reading:
I’m going back in for—hopefully—another “100 books read” year. I’ve got a MASSIVE to-read pile (it’s getting dangerous. And I want to experience the stories that I’ve been toying with reading but haven’t made time for yet.
As I’ve said before, I read EVERYTHING. Seriously, go look at my GoodReads list if you don’t believe me. But I tend to get into genre binges. I’m hoping to make sure this year’s 100 books bounce around in the different genres.

Editing:
Have I mentioned I’m still digging my way out of that million words from 2013? That pile is nowhere near as high as my TBR pile, but I definitely need to make time to clear up those books and consider what I’m going to do with them all.

Blogging:
I’m really happy with where I’ve been blogging wise for the second half of this year, and my hope is to keep it up. We’ll see if I manage it. After all, it’s the lowest priority most days, but I figure if I can keep ahead and get posts sorted out when I have spare moments, I’ll be good. Fingers crossed.

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Dec 23, 2015

Let’s talk about my favorite books read in 2015

I’m going with what I’ve marked as 5-stars on GoodReads. Largely because with my memory issues after the two seizures this summer/fall, I’m not sure I can trust my memory well enough to say otherwise. And I plan to read one more in the last week of this year, but no promises (though I have been assured I’m going to love it, it’s one of my mom’s absolute favorites from recent years.)

5-star | 8 books
4-star | 21 books
3-star | 8 books
2-star | 6 books
1-star | 3 books
0-star | 10 books *

As you’ll see with these five, I’m not lying when I say I read EVERYTHING, there’s paranormal, SciFi, a YA Thriller, a graphic novel, steampunk and contemporary romance in here.

Patricia BriggsNight Broken (Book 8, Mercy Thompson)
I’m going to admit. I really dislike when you have x number ofo books in one format and then suddenly start releasing them in a different format (in this case, mass market paperback and then hard cover). With this book, it just meant that I had to wait a year to read it, and I know that’s on the Publisher, not on the book, or Ms. Briggs.

Gail CarrigerPrudence (Book 1, the Custard Protocol) & Manners & Mutiny (Book 4, Finishing School)
Books by Gail almost seem like cheats. I adore the whimsy of her writing style, so I’m willing to overlook some things that might ruin another book for me. But that’s what’s great about the subjectivity of reading and reviews, also a testament to the fact that little things build up, and when there’s nothing wonderful to cover them, they can ruin a book.
I rearranged travel plans in March since I was going to be in Portland briefly anyway so I could attend her signing at Powells for Prudence, and it was wonderful, although I may have had some panicky moments there as well. And it’s great to have gotten the start of one series, in the same year as the end of one that’s been so absurdly fun.

Jason HoughZero World
I was lucky enough to snatch up an ARC of this one (and give one away as well) at PHX ComiCon this summer, and It was awesome. It might be the only SF title in this list, but it definitely makes up for the lack of others of its genre. This book is big, in your face, and takes you on a non-stop thrill ride. And Jason’s a pretty alright guy too.

Courtney MilanTrade Me (Book 1, Cyclone)
Having been introduced to Ms. Milan’s writing through her historical romance, I was excited, but hesitant to pick this book up. I should have been the former, but not the latter. She doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fast read that I’ve revisited this year while in waiting rooms and I’m waiting patiently for the rest of the series.

Cherie PriestI am Princess X
Cherie was another of the authors at ComiCon who left a strong and wonderful impression. I’d read some of her books before meeting her, but between talking about random things, and especially her dog, and having a five minute conversation with Jason Hough about how awesome this book was, I wound up grabbing it the next time I was in Changing Hands. It was not over sold (and with the way Jason pitched it, I was worried that it might have been). A mix of YA Sleuth novel and Fantasy Graphic novel, this book is just utterly amazing.

Katee RobertFalling for His Best Friend (Book 2, Out of Uniform)
I’ve been waiting for this book for a while (get your stuff together Katee! Kidding). And it didn’t disappoint – not that I was expecting it to. I don’t review the romance novels I read on this site because I don’t necessarily feel like it would be helpful to the audience I’m currently working with. If you want that to change, let me know.

Brian K Vaughn & Fiona StaplesSaga Vol 5
At this point in the series, it’s getting hard to actually review these. Usually, I’m good for about one line. It’s the sort of thing where, the continuing story is amazing, but distilled into its individual parts, it’s sort of difficult to keep track of why it’s so awesome.


*I don’t rate my own books on GoodReads

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Dec 21, 2015

7 Things You Can Get Your Author For Christmas


Have an author in your life you want to get something for? This is a list of things you can get before time runs out:

Review their book –
Word of mouth sells books. If you’ve already got their book and are willing to spare 5 minutes of your time, reviewing it could be the way to make their day! It’s a free gesture that can mean the world to us.

Buy their book (and then review it) –
If you don’t have their book, consider buying it. You like them, don’t you? If you want to show them that, grab a copy of their book, read it, and talk to them about it. I love this more than I’d ever appreciate a box of chocolates (and I LOVE chocolate).

Buy them books as distractions –
Most of the authors I know are in this business because they LOVE books. They read as constantly as they write. And this is a good thing. Believe me, anyone who loves books always wants more books, no matter how many they have stacked in a to-be-read pile.
Don’t know what to get them? Buy a gift card to their local indie bookstore!

Fancy Pens –
Pens are super helpful. Typing up a book is all well and good, but I go through pens like nobody’s business. Pens are helpful in plotting out your book, they’re great for making an itemized list of how you’re going to get that book finished. Bright and colorful ones help when editing that book and tearing a first (or fifth) draft to shreds. The world may be full of technological advances, but handwritten notes are still one of the best ways to get your thoughts out of your head and organized!

Coffee/Tea–
I go through more tea in a month than is probably healthy.  I’ve yet to meet an author who doesn’t spend most mornings and some afternoons chugging down a caffeinated beverage to get through their day/word count. Another instance where you can buy them gift cards if you’re clueless about what they drink. If you don’t want to take too much time and you know they’re a coffee drinker, grab them a card from starbucks, if they drink tea, consider adagio.com. But! If you’re getting them something new and fun, make sure you know what they’re allergic to/can’t drink. (I think bergamot tastes like soap)

Food –
It’s a pretty common occurrence that I’ll be working on something that has so enveloped my attention that I forget to pay attention to silly things like my grumbling tummy. I’m not sure I’ve eaten 3 full meals on a Saturday or Sunday  in the last 3 months. Even besides that though, food is awesome. Especially tasty things like cookies and pies. Seriously, bring on the pies. I’ll run off the calories later. The way to an author’s heart is through their stomach (and through book reviews). But seriously, anyone bearing gifts that are meant to go straight to my stomach then thighs is awesome in my book.  I mean, I’ll be disappointed in the whole thigh-thing later, but you’ll probably be gone by then.

A Therapist –
Okay, so you probably shouldn’t actually do this. It’s a bit presumptive. But I think that, if your author is anything like me. It’s sometimes nice to have someone to talk to who can help sort out what’s real and what’s not. It’s always nice to know that even though you’ve methodically planned out the perfect murder… that you haven’t actually followed through. Not that I’m saying I’ve ever been worried about that [insert uncomfortable laugh here]. Even outside spending a majority of our time with people who don’t exist, the publishing industry is a harsh and fickle mistress. Stress and self-doubt are pretty much guaranteed.  So while maybe the header of this isn’t accurate. Keep in mind that we’re dealing with more than just one life at a time and if we are forgetful or lost in thought… give us a break.


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Dec 16, 2015

Opinion: Why Jessica Jones Is My Favorite Thing Marvel Has Done To-Date

I watched Jessica Jones the week it came out on Netflix. My husband and I binged it in two days. This is your “fair warning” for the spoilers that are about to come your way.

I don’t really know what I was expecting when we sat down for the show, but marvel’s been doing amazingly with their different offshoots (let’s all pretend F4 is a bad dream). And with Krystin Ritter, David Tennant, Carrie-Anne Moss and Rachael Taylor among the top-billed cast, I knew the likelihood of amazing acting was bound to come my way. I was not wrong.

Jessica’s character is the kind of “gifted” individual I have always thought made more sense. The world is not a kind place to people who are different, and just because you have some super strength and the ability to sort-of fly, doesn’t mean that you’ll be okay with the mental and verbal abuse that’s likely to go hand in hand with coming clean about who and what you are. Time does not heal all wounds. She’s been traumatized by the bad there is in this world. With what Killgrave put her through, it’s no wonder she pulled back into her shell and tried to hide from the world. It’s probably what I would do.

Killgrave is possibly one of the most terrifying villains I’ve encountered. Being killed has to be a better option than having your will taken from you. A person who can make you do horrible things, who can make you think it’s what you want to do is utterly horrific.

The noir feel of the series probably helped push it to the top of the long list of Marvel movies and shows that have come up in the last ten years. I love the old school PI style of everything from the plots of each episode to the set dressings of the building, to the crooked lawyer who’s technically on Jessica’s side. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of the situations Jessica is thrown into. Let’s be honest, real life is not clean.

It’s also nice to see a “super hero” who doesn’t have a fancy apartment, an awesome job and kick ass car.

Among the things with the plot that I really appreciated was the final show-down between Jessica and Killgrave. I appreciated that it wasn’t so much about her strength, but about her observations. The fact that she knew to use his hubris against him and from that knowledge, she was able to get him close enough to do what she needed to do. It was a clean break. And while I know that Killgrave technically monologued (seriously villains, when are you going to realize that’s an asinine thing to do?) it didn’t feel like one as much as others have. Perhaps because it wasn’t used as time for Jessica to break free of her bindings. Perhaps it was because David Tennant delivered it marvelously. Either way, it was a beautiful stab to the story’s gut.

I’m still mad Killgrave didn’t actually turn purple.

I’ve seen a few dissections of the show that are disappointed in the lack of connection between this show and Daredevil. But as someone who’s had it “on the list to watch” for so long, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to watch it, it was nice to not feel like I was missing something. Sure, there’s a character from the other show in this one, but it’s not something that bashes you over the head while demanding to know why you haven’t watched Netflix’s other Marvel property. I don’t think you should have to watch one to watch the other.

But honestly, one of the main reasons I love this show is that it’s a female lead.

What the hell, Marvel? It’s been 12 years since this whole MCU started (yes I do count the Eric Bana Hulk) and you still haven’t put out a Movie with a female superhero as the lead/title role? Why do we have to wait until 2017? Why hasn’t Black Widow gotten her own movie, and yet we’ve somehow wound up with Ant-Man? Have you looked at the demographic of your fan base lately?

Not that they care what I think. But seriously, Jessica Jones is awesome. We need more Superheroines, and we need them now.


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Dec 4, 2015

How Epilepsy Has Effected My Writing

Feeling like crap is a major factor in my ability to write. Having severe memory issues as well as suffering the effects of temporal seizures has meant that this year’s writing has been pretty sucky.

One of the things that keep me motivated with writing is my love of spreadsheets and my own self competitive nature.

I set goals (sometimes unrealistic) and I keep track of all sorts of writing metrics. The most simple of these two things relate to word count.

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that in 2013, I set out to write 1 million words between January 1 and November 30 (I’m rubbish at writing in December – there’s too much else going on!). I met that goal and am still sorting through the pile of edits it left me with.

But since 2013, I’ve been keeping detailed accounts of my daily writing. 2013 is also the year when I started having my partial seizures (or at least when I noticed them).

Now, as far as I know… the partial seizures don’t affect my writing too much. In some cases, they’ve provided some interesting writing tangents. But when I look at the period of time from when I had my first grand mal… to when I received my diagnosis and wound up on ALL THE MEDICATION IN THE WORLD, it’s a pretty depressing bar graph.

 


So, yes. Epilepsy has effected my writing. If nothing else, it’s effected my productivity.

But I’m lucky. It’s something that is treatable. And since getting medicated, I’ve gotten back to a seemingly normal output.  Let’s just hope there aren’t any setbacks.

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