Friday, February 28, 2014

Best Book of February

I kinda bombed a little at #WriterRecharge this month, coming nowhere near close to my goal (although I did some). I did, however, read a lot in February.

No one could ever accuse me of not reading all different genres!
(Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Non Fic, Sci-Fi/Dystopian, UF)
Aside from Save the Cat which was a great non-fic book but I don't think really counts... I'd have to give my fave to Across A Star-Swept Sea. This book is a sequel (sort-of) to For Darkness Shows the Stars. The first book is a redux of Persuasion, this one is a redux of The Scarlet Pimpernel. It was sooo good. I'm not a big dystopian or sci-fi fan and I'd consider this book a mix of both, but the world she created is interesting and different but more important her characters jump off the page. I loved the MC Persis Blake- spoiled socialite who only cares about clothes on the outside hiding the brilliant and brave girl who is fighting to save her country. It was a great book and I really hope the author has a third planned. 
I'd give second place to Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney because I loved her concept of art coming to life and the beautiful love story going on. I will say that all of these books are really good- the only one I was not as into was Eldest because it was a reread and I felt a lot could have been cut out.
What did you read this month?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Revisions and Reading and Releases, Oh My!

What I'm Reading
I finished Across A Star-Swept Sea which I LOVED. I heart everything I've ever read by Diana Peterfreund. I also finished Save the Cat finally. Now I'm reading Transparent by Natalie Whipple, another UF similar to my WIP with great world building, and I'm starting Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.

What I'm Writing Revising
On Monday I did chapters 1-4 again- reading through and adding a few bits. Then on Tuesday I had a lot of revisions to do on chapters 4-7. Today, chapter 8, which will take awhile because I need to add a brand new scene which I'm not too sure on at the moment, I just know I need it there.

What Inspires Me Right Now
There's a few books coming out this year that I've had the privilege to read before they were actual books. I swear I'm probably as excited about these books getting published as I will be when one of my own gets there. Check out Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler and Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke on Goodreads. Also, my CP Michelle Merrill over at Perfecting the Craft is self-publishing her YA novel called Changing Fate about a girl with cystic fibrosis in May. I can't wait until these books come out!

What Else I've Been Up To
I forgot all about Valentine's Day in last weeks post even though I got my favoritest present ever- chocolate covered strawberries. Yum! The hubs and I also went out and saw The Monuments Men which was a great story even though it felt a bit choppy to me. Last week, I took the kids to my parents house so we could hang out with my mom before her hip surgery which was on Friday. It went well and she should be leaving the hospital today. Hopefully, this surgery will make the pain she has been suffering through for months finally go away.
Also, I finished season 4 of Downton Abbey and started a new show Star-Crossed because, yanno, the CW is like a drug to me. (Not gonna lie, I totally heard Edward Cullen's voice in my head right then. "The CW is like my own personal brand of heroine.") Also, Matt Lanter.
Enough said.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Writer Recharge Update: Week Three

I feel like I've failed this Writer Recharge thing. I forgot to check in last week, and I've barely got anything done. I'm nowhere near my goal of finishing this gigantic revision. I kinda figured I wouldn't and yet I thought I'd be a bit further along...

There's actually writing on these cards, even though you can't see it
As you can see, my first Act is set. It's the rest that needs work
I did get something done last week despite the fact that I was at my parents house from Sunday through Thursday. I beated out EPONINE using Save the Cat's 15 beats. And then on Friday I got me some index cards and tried to divide my scenes up into three acts (something new for me). I'm having problems with my middle and I was hoping this would help me to make connections between my characters and fill in my middle section. I *think* it worked. I have a plan anyway and now I'm going to continue on with the revisions- I think I'm on chapter 6. I still don't have the middle scenes laid out in detail, but at least I know what I want to happen now.

Here's hoping March is a much better month.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Not A Whole Lot

What I'm Reading
I just finished Cinderella Screwed Me Over which was such a fun chick lit read by Cindi Madsen. Now I'm reading Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund which I'm super excited about.

What I'm Writing Revising
I missed my weekly check-in for Writer Recharge on Monday because I'm at my parents house this week with the kids. Because of that, I haven't done much revising although while reading Save the Cat yesterday, I wrote out the 15 beats for EPONINE. I think this will help me figure out some of my problems with the middle.

What Inspires Me Right Now
The Olympics are still inspiring the heck out of me. I mean, how can they not? I'm still trying to find some Team Canada mittens though. I'm too lazy to drive into the big city to get them.

What Else I've Been Up To
I finished the last episode of the last season of Smallville last week and I really thought I'd go through withdrawals except I've had so much other stuff to watch that it didn't really happen. I'm back on Merlin- I've got two seasons of that left, and I'm also in the middle of Downton Abbey. British TV is the best, FYI.

What have you been up to this week?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Best Read of January

Happy Valentine's Day! To share the love, of books at least, I'm going to share the books I read in January and which one I think deserves the most honorable title of BEST. If I can pick one. Which I usually can't.
So, as usual, I can't pick just one. But I'm giving the honor of BEST to the entire RUBY RED trilogy by Kerstin Gier. I enjoyed rereading the first two books and the conclusion to the trilogy was excellent. Time travel, romance, great outfits, and some danger splashed in means these are exactly my kind of books.
I need to give an honorable mention to Vicious, just because V.E. Schwab does villains SO WELL.
What have you read lately?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Go Team Canada!

What I'm Reading
I finished reading White Cat by Holly Black which was a great YA Urban Fantasy. Then I read Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney. This book, which is probably Magical Realism, was all about art and love and I swooned over it. Then just last night I finished The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith which is a great contemp. Such a cute story. I would've liked a little more dialogue but I was totally into the story the whole way through. Up next- Cinderella Screwed Me Over by Cindi Madsen.

What I'm Writing Revising
I started my big changes on EPONINE. Did chapter one yesterday so I obviously have a long way to go. But I'm excited about the changes. It's gonna be goooood! (Hopefully)

What Inspires Me Right Now
The Olympics! Need I say more? Canada is rocking it. Usually, I don't watch much but I've found myself into it this year. It helps that my kids are into it too. In fact, it's on TV right now as I write this post. (Women's halfpipe)
I have Team Canada mitts from the Vancouver Olympics but I need to get me a new pair!
What Else I've Been Up To
I feel like I've been doing a lot of watching lately. Besides the Olympics, I'm almost done ALL seasons of Smallville which I've been watching while treadmilling- I only have two episodes left! (Boohoo.) I also finally got to see the movie Austenland which came out on DVD yesterday and I stayed up late to watch it. Such a cute and funny movie and I already want to watch it again. As I was watching, I couldn't help but think of the similarities between these two:

Are these guys brothers from another mother, or what?!
JJ Feild (from Austenland) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki. Duh)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Writer Recharge: Week One

I don't have much to update since I only decided to do Writer Recharge on Friday and then got NOTHING done over the weekend except a lot of Olympics watching (Go Team Canada!).

I've got a lot to figure out for my revisions. I wish I had some sort of organizational thing going on with this but I've yet to come up with a system for big revisions. Right now I've got to make backstory notes on some of my secondary characters so I can flesh them out some more, and write down notes on different ideas. Then I'm thinking index cards for each chapter. Hopefully that will help me figure out what ideas to add and where.

Ack. I hate being unorganized. Also, I'm already thinking I shouldn't have made this goal because it's going to be a busy month what with the Olympics and visiting my parents for a week. But I'll do the best that I can and we'll see what happens...

How is your recharge going?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Writer Recharge Challenge

On Wednesday, a lot of the WUW posters were talking about Writer Recharge, a thing happening over at Sara Biren's blog. It's about setting a goal for the month of February, linking up on Monday's to talk about progress, and hashtagging it out on Twitter for support.

I decided to join up because I'm in the middle of revisions anyway but could use that extra boost to keep me focused. So here's my goal for the month of February:

Finish revisions on Eponine.

But not really. I just finished going through my in-manuscript notes from two CPs and now I need to fix some big issues. I need to add more world-building, more with the secondary characters, I need to change up a lot of the middle and the end. I've got a lot of BIG things to fix. This is what I would like to get done by the end of the month. I say "not really" because once that's done, I'll do another revision/read thru on paper. But for now, I'm giving myself three weeks to do a lot of adding and fixing. I feel like this might be a bit lofty, but it's something to aim for, which is why I'm participating in Writer Recharge.

Head on over to to Sara's blog for more info or check out the hashtag #WriterRecharge if you want to participate.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Smarts and Opera

What I'm Reading
I finished Of Triton and then blew through Eldest by Christopher Paolini. It was a reread for me so I skimmed a lot of it because sheesh, it's way longer than it needs to be. One of these days I'll read the last two of the series but right now I'm reading White Cat by Holly Black. This book has been on my radar since I started plucking YA off the shelves a few years ago but I never got around to reading it. Then a CP recommended it to me for world building help, so yeah. This is me, diving in.

What I'm Writing Revising
I'm almost done my manuscript read-thru. I've got some ideas and I'm starting to get excited about these changes even though they're big ones. There's this tiny voice inside doubting it all (changing stuff will only bring new problems, the voice says) but I keep telling it to shush.

What Inspires Me Right Now
People who are smarter than me. No joke. Sometimes I feel like the biggest idiot who ever tried to string two words together on a page. (How does everyone else know the right thing to do and I keep missing the mark?) And yet, these people are kind enough to help a girl out, whether it's blog posts, critiques, books... and I couldn't do this thing without them. I would never get better, even if it feels like by inches sometimes, without them. So thank you!

What Else I've Been Up To
For some reason my computer won't take iTunes anymore. My hubs worked on it for hours and hours but to no avail. So he put iTunes on our very unused laptop. This is great and all, but it means I had to erase my playlists and start over from scratch on three devices since I apparently can't have iTunes on two different computers. So I've been listening to a lot of music trying to recreate my playlists. This has been going on for over a week and I'm still doing it. What can I say, I love my tunes. (Currently listening to some Italian opera)

What have you been up to?