Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #43

Another quick week. I feel like I got a ton of work done, both in the library and in writing, and I had an awesome weekend celebrating my BFF’s 30th birthday.  A whirlwind week to be sure.

Last Week:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
  • Read a short story

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope.
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
    • Yes! And then some. More on that below.
  • Read a short stor
    • Yep. I read a few out of Kameron Hurley’s new collection before I had to return it.

Weekly Word Count: 119

That’s more words than I expected since I was editing, but I feel good about the changes made. So good, in fact, that I kept revising until suddenly there were no chapters left to edit. I submitted the story to my preferred market for it last night!

Social activities took up the bulk of my weekend, which for once was exactly what I wanted. We sang karaoke, went to a pumpkin patch, and played video games with friends. It was a nice, relaxing fall weekend.

I’m not reading as much as I ought to these days, but I’ve been playing some video games and catching up on Letterkenny and the Great British Bake Off.

But, the big news, the news I’ve been skirting around this whole blog post is… The Cost of Rain has been ACCEPTED! I’ve signed the contract so now it’s just a waiting game until it’s published. I’ll have more details the closer we get to the publication date, I pinky promise.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Begin outlining/brainstorming for Nanowrimo
  • Read something!

Keeping it simple this week. I’m ahead of my goals for this month, writing-wise, so I have every excuse to take it a little easier this week. Besides, I can use this “down-time” to let my Nano project marinate and start coming together. I’ve built the playlist, which is always a great first step. Now to see where that takes me.

I read a graphic novel last night, and have two more I’m in various stages with. I’d like to get them each done this week, plus start my book club book and read at least one short story. I’m WAY behind on my reading goal, but that’s no excuse not to read as much as I can.

I’m battling some serious Dragon Age cravings right now, which is why I’m reading the graphic novels and eyeballing the novel tie-ins right now. I think another announcement about the next game will be coming out in the next month or so and I am so freaking excited it’s ridiculous. So I read things and wildly theorize and wait.

So, you know. Reading, writing, gaming, lather. rinse. repeat. I don’t know if I’ll be back on the blog this week. I don’t have a book review for you, but if I think of anything else to chat about, I’ll be here.

Til then, Bloggos.

 

BZ

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Goals Summary 2019 – Wk# 42

After, like, two months of inconsistent output and an inability to do much of anything in a timely manner, last week felt like coming back to the gym. Harder than it should be, but oh so wonderful once I actually got to work.

(Full Disclosure: I rarely go to the gym and never feel good about it upon any sort of return. I used the metaphor because I figured it was relatable, not because it was something I ever actually experienced.)

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise one chapter of Exodus: Descent
  • Read one short story
  • Finish reading The First Wife’s Secret

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog postsVicious
  • Revise one chapter of Exodus: Descent
  • Yes! It was easier than expected and I’m happy with how it turned out.
  • Read one short story
    • No. The weekend was a lot busier than I expected.
  • Finish reading The First Wife’s Secret
    • Yes. Through sheer force of will.

Weekly Word Count: 0

Again, it always feel shitty when the word count says zero, even when that was the plan. But, this was actually a really productive week. I did my editing, I read a book, I wrote a few blog posts, and went to a totally awesome library conference and even managed to sneak in some time to see some whales in the sunrise. I have zero complaints.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, cloud, outdoor, nature and water
Oregon is so freaking gorgeous.

The revision of Exodus is off to a great start. Chapter one required some obvious cleaning up (mostly those pesky dialogue tags I seem to love in my earliest drafts) but nothing that broke my brain. Hopefully this will be the case for the entire project.

I’m thinking about what to write for Nanowrimo and I think I’m going to work on the sequel to Exodus. I had a spark of an idea today while I was driving home so we’ll see if it develops into anything actionable by November.

I should write a review for The First Wife’s Secret, but I’m kinda afraid to. I hated it. Like, the worst Goodreads rating I’ve ever given, hated it. And I’m not sure what the point of a review like that would be. It’s liable to turn into something pretty ugly and I don’t want that. Regardless of how I feel about it, the author put a lot of time and effort into her work and I don’t want to be a jerk about it. I don’t trust myself NOT to be a jerk about it, because I have a lot of feelings. So… there may not be a review this week, despite finishing the book.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
  • Read a short story

I sat here for a while struggling to come up with a fourth goal for the week, but figured if it was that hard to figure out, I probably didn’t really need to make it a goal. I sort of want to work on brainstorming and outlining the Exodus novella I want to write for Nano, but I really think I need to spend a bit more time back in the world first. Which editing will do nicely.

I have a bajillion books out from the library right now, one of which is Kameron Hurley’s new collection of short stories. Which I am DYING to read. So, yeah. I’m gonna read one of those ding dang stories this week. Pinky promise.

This weekend is my bestie’s thirtieth birthday, so I doubt I’ll be much use on Friday or Saturday. Thankfully Sundays seem to be my best day for writing work right now and I never have plans on Sundays. What a coincidence!

I may be back later this week with some news, which if you follow me on twitter or tumblr you already know about because I screamed it into the ether-net. But, I want to cool my jets a little and give this post its space before I share anything else.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

Book Review – Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab

This book has been in my TBR since it came out, I think. It’s been on my radar for far too long, and yet again I’m upset with myself for putting it off for so long.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

Vicious

Vicious is a tale of revenge, first and foremost. It does absolutely nothing to hide that fact. Victor Vale is a brilliant college student that has lived an extremely privileged yet neglected life. His parents are famous psychologists who write an obnoxious series of self-help books that Victor gleefully vandalizes in the name of art while they travel the world. His best friend and roommate is Eliot Cardale (aka Eli), and their penchant for science makes them hyper-competitive with one another.

When Eli comes up with an insane thesis about Extra Ordinaries (EOs for short) Victor is fascinated. EOs are just a rumor, a modern myth about people who have unnatural abilities. But Eli is convinced that they’re real, and he thinks he knows how to make himself one. But there’s a catch: You have to die and somehow be brought back to life. It’s madness, but Victor and Eli are used to playing intellectual chicken with one another, so when Victor suggests they try it out Eli can’t say no.

It’s a decision that changes their lives forever and destroys their friendship, leaving Victor with nothing more to live for than his need to destroy Eli at any cost.

What I loved:

  • The characters. Despite Schwab’s insistence that there are no good guys in this story, I couldn’t help but root for Victor, Mitch, and Sydney. I love them. I love how seemingly cold and calculating Victor is. How damaged. Every piece of him is sharp, and yet he isn’t inhuman no matter how much he argues and believes otherwise. In his own way he cares for Sydney and even Mitch, even as he uses them. I love that complexity.
  • The narrative. Schwab tells the story in leaps and bounds. One scene is from ten years in the past, then the very next is only two days ago. Then the present. Then the past again. I often enjoy non-linear storylines if they’re clear that’s what they’re doing. Schwab handled it beautifully. vicious 2
  • The plot! This book has an insane premise that is at once fantastical and utterly believable. Two young men, too thrilled with the concept of what they can do they never once doubt whether or not they should, get caught up in a decade long feud and a plot for revenge. Love. It.

What I didn’t:

  • Uhhhh. Well, this is awkward. I’m not sure there was anything I didn’t like about this book. I didn’t like Eli. Which I constantly wondered about. Why didn’t I like him? He’s no worse than Victor. Hell, in some ways he’s better!  He has a moral code, even if it is real freaking dubious. He wasn’t wrong in the earlier years of the story, but over time you see how he’s spiraling out of control. Meanwhile Victor, who was most definitely wrong in the earliest timeline has spent the last decade sharpening his ability, honing himself for one ultimate task. It’s just really interesting because the two characters aren’t really all that different, and yet they are utterly polarizing for me. I loved Victor and actively disliked Eli.

Vicious is the first book in a (currently) two book series. Vengeful is the next title, and though I have it on loan from the library I won’t be reading it right away. I have the Book Club book to read this weekend (it’s a struggle) and I just got Dark Age back so I’m sinking into that. I also have Kameron Hurley’s new short story collection and a couple novellas I want to read.

Basically, I’m swimming in books and running out of time to reach my Goodreads Challenge goal of 70 titles. I might not make it this year y’all.

I’m at a library conference today and tomorrow, so you won’t hear from me again until Monday when I take a look at the week and talk about goals.

Until then Bloggos!

 

BZ

Reading Round Up – September 2019

There wasn’t much reading in September, unfortunately, but I still ought to talk about what I did manage to read.

Title: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)our dark duet cover
Author(s): Victoria Schwab
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: This book took me entirely too long to read. It had everything to do with my own personal and professional turmoil and utterly nothing to do with the book. I love the characters and the world and the crazy way music is intertwined through the whole thing. It’s very artfully done and sets a really high bar for YA fiction. As far as I’m concerned, Victoria (V.E.) Schwab is one of the best writers around and a new favorite. Read my full review for more details.
Recommend: Yes!

Title: The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited (The Adventure Zone #2)TAZ v2
Author(s): Clint, Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy and Carey Pietsch
Format: Trade Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: I love The Adventure Zone podcast and I particularly love these characters. Listening to the podcast was wonderful, but the beauty and wonder of the graphic novel adaptations is that it does that thing we all wish we could do with every piece of media we love: it lets you experience the content as if it were the very first time. Add that the artwork is fantastic and you really can’t go wrong with these adaptations.
Recommend: Absolutely! Gotta have my good, good boys!

Title: X-Men Season Onexmen season one
Author(s): Dennis Hopeless and Jamie McKelvie
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
Thoughts: Hmmm… I don’t have a lot of thoughts on this. It’s a short look at when Jean Grey came to the X-Men. Cyclops, Archangel, Beast, and Ice Man are the main characters which I enjoyed. I didn’t love Jean’s characterization and I hated that she was the only girl in the whole book. The whole “two boys like me, oh noes” plot was irritating. I liked the art though!
Recommend: Meh. If you’re a big X-Men buff and want to read about some early school days stuff, why not?

That’s all I got in the month of September. October is already off to a better start so there should be much more to talk about in the next Round Up. I’ll be back this week with a book review for Vicious and then quiet through the weekend while I attend a library conference!

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #41

Oh, Blogland…

Remember that time when I thought I was back and then I wasn’t?  Oops.

Last Week…?

Weekly Word Count: 746

Well, there wasn’t a last week’s goals because I haven’t been holding myself accountable pretty much since June. I did do a bit of reading last week, which felt really good, so at least there’s that. AND I finished The Lament of Kivu Lacus! I knew I was close to the end, but didn’t think I’d manage to finish it in one morning writing session. Go me!

Let’s move on to the goals for this week!

 What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise one chapter of Exodus: Descent
  • Read one short story
  • Finish reading The First Wife’s SecretImage result for the first wife's secret

Not anything too taxing here. I should be blogging quite a bit this week because I have the September Reading Round Up and a book review to share. I got a collection of short stories from the library so I ought to be able to read one of those no problem. I’m out of town this weekend for a work conference (which I’m very excited to attend!) so should have downtime in the hotel to finish reading this book club book before our Monday meeting next week.

The hardest bullet point here is the editing. You know how it goes. Editing blows. BUT, I do really want to get this project done and submitted so I think I’ll manage to make time for it Sunday morning.

Now that my BFF is back in town and managing Starbucks stores, I’m spending my Sunday mornings holed up with some coffee, headphones, and writing projects. Just like the old days. Thanks to my job’s early wake up call during the week, sleeping in isn’t as easy as it used to be. But, the husbando NEEDS his beauty sleep, so I get up and have some me time. Reading, writing, that sort of thing. It’s been quite the indulgence and exactly what I need to reset and prepare for the week ahead.

So, that’s where I’m at. Nothing too daunting for my first week back in the writing saddle. I’m feeling good about it, all things considered. I’ll be back soon Bloggarts to talk about all the reading I did in September.

Til then,

 

BZ

 

The Recap – September 2019

Better late than never, right?

September Goals

  • Finish The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Finish The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • No. But I did write a little bit (800ish words) which, given the last few months, feels like a win.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Stories are out.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yes, kinda? I read three titles in September which is better than August’s zero. I’ll take it.

 Monthly Word Count: 750

September feels like fog. The first half in particular. The new job has been all-consuming and the only way to turn my brain off has been television and movies. Somewhere in the middle things in my brain calmed down enough that I started reading again which felt like coming home. I really don’t function on all cylinders without a book in hand. And with reading came the itch to write. It wasn’t much of an itch at first, I’ll admit. It was more of a fleeting idea, a thought there and gone again before I could latch on and do anything about it. But I was thinking about my writing again, and that meant everything.

October Goals

  • Finish The Lament of Kivu Lacus rough draft
  • Revise and polish Exodus: Descent
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

I’m really close to finishing this short story. I’m working on the final scene today, though I think it may take multiple sessions to get down. It’s very heavy, depressing stuff and the story is dictating the pace. Which was actually a bit of a relief. Usually, when my routine has been gutted and I’m reeling, I’m avoiding my writing and wracking up the guilt. This time the story was nowhere to be found. It didn’t want me to work on it, it didn’t call for me and make demands. What a nice change of pace.

Exodus has been neglected long enough. It needs some tweaks and polishing and then I want to submit it. As a novella, finding markets for it is challenging, but my dream market for it is open right now so I REALLY need to get on this project. Luckily the writing is clean, it just needs a little work streamlining it to be the best it can be.

As ever, short story submissions will continue until there’s nothing left to submit. It’s nice always having this bullet-point completed.

My reading habits are back. I finished reading Vicious on Friday and I’m almost done with The Last Tsar’s Dragons. I expect I’ll finish it tonight. My TBR pile from the library is absolutely out of control and I’m sure I’ll have to return some things because of holds, etc. I also have about two hours of reading left in our book club book and plan to finish that while I’m at a library conference next weekend.

There is no shortage of books in my life. Hallelujah!

Hiking season, while technically still possible, has come to a mutually decided halt. We’re hermit-ing up, longing for hot chocolates, hot toddies, and all things fall. It’s my favorite time of year and I’m excited to share it with all my favorites.

With some luck and a lot of self-discipline, I should be around the blog a lot this week. I need to do a Reading Round-Up and get back on track with my weekly goals. There’s also the matter of the book review of Vicious. So, yeah, expect to see me a bit this week.

Until then Bloggos!

 

BZ

 

Book Review – Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

It took me a really long time to read this book. It had nothing to do with the story, and everything to do with my tumultuous summer, which I should have planned for. I always have a tumultuous summer. There’s no escaping them, apparently.

But, once I finally focused and spent some time in these pages, I remembered why I refused to return the book to the library despite my lack of reading. If you haven’t read my review for This Savage Song, now would be a good time.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

our dark duet cover

After This Savage Song, Kate Harker fled her hometown of Verity, and left more than just her demons behind. She thought she left monsters, bad and good, but it turns out monster-hunting is a profession just about anywhere these days. She’s made some friends, computer nerds mostly, and together they are the Wardens, unofficial protectors of the city.

Meanwhile, back in Verity, August had very big, soulless shoes to fill. Leo may be gone, but he haunts August’s every step as the Sunai tries to be the leader, and monster, he was meant to be. It’s destroying him, but it’s the cost of success for the FTF. He’s determined to pay it.

But when a new kind of monster, one that feeds on violence and fear, climbs into Kate’s head and learns about the brutality of every day life in Verity, there’s only one course of action to take. Kate abandons her new life, risking the trip back into the city she left behind in order to warn August and help save Verity, even as it tries to kill them both.

What I loved:

  • The characters. I loved Kate and August in the first book and though there is a lot of tension between them in this book (which hurt to read) they were still utterly fantastic. I will love that violin wielding boy, forever and ever, amen.our dark duet cover 2.jpg
  • The stakes. The plot was a little slow to start, but once August and Kate got on the same page again it was nonstop. Lives are at stake, the city is at stake, and their relationship is at stake. It’s all so freaking good and pulls on every heartstring. Muah!
  • The writing. Victoria Schwab (aka V.E. Schwab) is a FANTASTIC writer. I adored her Shade of Magic Series, which led me to this duology and I couldn’t be happier. She really flexed her writing muscle with these books and I was torn between speed reading to find out what happened next and pausing to appreciate the music that echoed off the page.

What I didn’t:

  • Um… That there’s only two of them? I don’t know. The ending was perfect and inevitable. It was a tiny bit predictable, but I think knowing how it HAD to end actually upped the emotional stakes. It was sad and beautiful and perfect. But it was still sad. So I guess I didn’t(?) like that.

I feel sort of rusty at these book reviews right now. I’m out of practice in so many aspects of my reading and writing life right now. But, it’s like riding a a bike, right? Writing a bike?

Something like that.

I have a ton of reading lined up for the rest of the fall, so expect to see some more regular book reviews from here on out.

See you then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ