My January in Books

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. I totally loved this book! The world building and characterization were amazing, as well as the writing and just the vibe. Seraphina is a strong female character with just the right amount of self-doubt to make her lovable. Also, the dragons in this book are unlike any I’ve ever encountered. Hartman says a lot more about humankind through her dragons than the mythical dragons we are used to reading about. The romance in this book, though understated, is also really sweet. Thanks to my son for a great Christmas gift. He knows me well.

A Walk Across the SunA Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

So sad, but this book actually gives me hope that at least some of the victims of human trafficking will get help. The story shows the lives of 2 young, intelligent Indian girls who not only suffer the death of their entire family in the great tsunami, but are then taken into the world of sex and drug trafficking as a result. Alternate chapters follow a jaded lawyer who finds his calling in India working with an agency that targets traffickers and aims to rescue the victims. It’s an intense story but well worth the read.

Are U 4 Real?Are U 4 Real? by Sara Kadefors

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I accidentally bought this book thinking it was Who R U Really? but this book was still a fun read. According to the jacket, this book is Sweden’s all time bestselling YA novel. I do like how it is supportive of gays and a stereotype buster for teens. That said, it is definitely a heterosexual romance, and very realistic for modern teens.

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Creepy and unsettling ending, but a real page-turner in between. Can’t wait to see the movie.

Eye ContactEye Contact by Cammie McGovern

Quite an interesting murder mystery told through the eyes of mostly special needs children. A real page turner, but also enlightening when it comes to the lives of autistic children and their parents. Fascinating.

View all my reviews

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Goodbye 2016

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2016 was an intense year. My cat is still grumpy about having to move this year. While we are nicely settled into our new home, I’d say moving dominated the year. We had this little bird visiting the yard this morning, bringing another round of snow with him.

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I know 2017 is going to bring a lot of changes so here’s to hoping they are all for the best! I finished Nanowrimo and liked what I had written, but I haven’t touched it since December began. Nor have I blogged at all. I really hope to get blogging more regularly in 2017 and to finish the novel I started during November. Also, I may be changing jobs soon, too. I like my job, and love my coworkers, but the winds of change are blowing and I do have to say I hate my windowless little cave of an office.

What are your goals for 2017? Thoughts on 2016? I’d love to hear about it. Happy New Year and blessings!

 

The Importance of a Good Title

One thing about getting published by traditional publishers is that most authors don’t get to keep their original book’s title. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers sad about this, sentimentally holding on to their working title when a publisher changes it. Even self-published folks should consider their titles carefully, and here’s an example why.

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I was looking for a new show to watch recently when I came across a show called Lovesick on Netflix. That sounded like my kind of show. Then I realized that it had previously been called Scrotal Recall and I remembered seeing Netflix recommend it to me highly, but ignoring that. Scrotal Recall sounded like a show for 20 year old dudes, not me. But I freaking love the show. Turns out, with the original title the show flopped. Now it’s doing a lot better.

One of the novels I’ve written has a crap title, I’m realizing, and learning about how a title can really change peoples opinions about anything helps me to let go. I still have a ton to learn about picking a winning title, but letting go of a bad one is half the battle. What do you think? Any advice for picking winning titles?

I hope to blog more often now that Nanowrimo is over. It was a lot of fun and I’ve got a great start on my next novel. How did you do?

 

 

Nanowrimo: Keeping the Momentum Going

Well, we’re deep into week 2 of Nanowrimo and this can be a time when writing starts to get harder. The new shininess of the idea can start to fade around 20,000 words, and some folks are already feeling like their writing isn’t what they hoped it would be.

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One of my writing buddies emailed me saying he feels like his novel is lame and he wasn’t sure what to do. I know I’ve written about a day’s worth of words on a character that I will probably scrap in the end, but I’m keeping those words for now and just moving on. That’s the thing about Nanowrimo, you just have to keep looking forward, keep writing, and hopefully, unlock your inner magic. Worrying about what you’ve already written will only bog you down.

To be honest, my novel feels like it’s writing itself, and I’m loving the feeling of free drafting, but there will be edits. There will always be edits. That’s just life for a writer. So, to all of you out there who are feeling like your novel isn’t the shiny gem you hoped it would be, don’t lose hope now. If there is a place you feel your plot took a wrong turn, go back to that spot and change it, but don’t delete what you already wrote. Just re-write from that place where you went wrong and keep on going. You still wrote those words earlier this month, they still count, and maybe there are some hidden gems in there that will surprise you in December when you read through your November madness. Magic happens!

Good luck in the coming weeks. My blog has been a little more quiet than I’d like, but this is such a busy time of year with Nanowrimo and the holidays fast approaching. I will definitely be more active in December on the blog.

Another last tip for you Nano Novelists: If you’re feeling stuck, go outside and take a walk or a bike ride, or whatever. Nature is the best cure for writer’s block and exercise really gets the blood moving and back to your brain. You might just have an epiphany while out on the trail. I did yesterday, and it really helped.

Are you doing Nanowrimo? How’s it going?

The Cat in the Top Hat

Just thought I’d share a photo of the top hat I made for my familiar (a stuffed black cat) as part of my Halloween costume, but now belongs to my real cat. He’s so dapper and seemed to feel right at home in a top hat. It didn’t bother him at all. Such a gentleman. He always wears a white tie, so he’s ready for any occasion.

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It’s day 4 of Nanowrimo, and so far I’ve written just a smidge more than the required 1667 words per day. I have a big weekend planned, so I will probably fall behind, but I know I can catch up. Here is a tip for all of you participating in this crazy novel-writing adventure:

When you find yourself struggling to remember a character’s name, eye color, etc. or identify a place that needs research, just insert a symbol and a note there instead of letting these little details slow your writing down. It’s way easier to fix that stuff when you have time to edit than to go back to find the information, or to distract yourself by googling a detail and falling down that rabbit hole. Just keep writing! Edit in December 🙂

Have a great weekend, y’all!

More on my steampunk witch costume and some news

 

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Here is a photo of my witch’s hat and the start of my broom for my steampunk witch Halloween costume. The hat has copper wire sewn up in a spiral and a couple little keys on it. I hope to make my broom more steampunk by making it “do” something to simulate flight. We’ll see. The broom is made of alder twigs and a larger alder branch gathered near my home. Gotta love the windstorms this time of year!

As for my news, a story I wrote, Patched Up, is going to be featured on my coworker’s awesome Podcast for his Halloween edition. His Podcast, Friends of the Void, is a story-within-a-story with various author’s stories woven into a continuing thriller. Another of my ultra-creative coworkers also has a story in this episode, so it’s going to be totally awesome. Our episode drops on Saturday, but give the other episodes a listen because the main story is amazing. Also, Mat Hudson is a creative genius, so check out his website, too!