Goals Summary Wk of 10/17

Hi Blogland!

Last week’s goals weren’t anything crazy, but they weren’t overly simplistic either.

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Publish the Hollow City book review
  • Finish chapter 7 of FtQ

So, I wrote three blog posts last week! So that’s awesome. And one of them was the Hollow City book review. There’s two down. Now, no huge shock, but I didn’t finish chapter 7 of From the Quorum.

But, I did write 532 words, creating the segue between scenes that was so intimidating to me!

That feels like success.

Also this last week was the release party for The Audient Void #2. Despite the looming threat of a migraine and the 12 hour work day that preceded it, I went to the after party that the Publisher, Obadaiah, hosted. And I had an awesome time! I may have drank a little too much, but I didn’t make a fool of myself and I needed it to calm the fuck down.

As previously discussed, anxiety is a bitch, and I don’t handle new social situations very well. I knew a few people there, but only insomuch as I’ve been in contact with them for The Audient Void. Plus, let me be honest in saying that my depth of knowledge in Weird Fiction is pretty topical in comparison to this crowd.

Myself, William F. Nolan, and Dan Clore

But, the highlight of the evening was spending a quality 30 minutes, possibly more, talking one-on-one with William F. Nolan, of Logan’s Run fame. He was eager to talk about all kinds of experiences, from poetry, fiction, to screenwriting and navigating the film industry. And he was just really kind and genuine. I’m really honored that I had the opportunity to chat with him.

Other notable guests included Dan Clore, Jason Brock, and Adam Bolivar, the last of whom introduced me to his handmade H.P Lovecraft marionette. Undeniably weird, but also incredibly cute and charming, as he walked H.P. over and allowed me to shake his hand, and agreed to pose for a photograph.20161022_234936

It was an odd, pretty surreal evening that was topped off with a Manhattan that threatened to knock me out cold from the fumes alone. Thanks a lot, Obadaiah!

After a shaky morning after, we played DnD until 11pm with a new group. It was awesome, and I’m really excited for this campaign! In case you’re wondering, I play a Halfling Rogue, named Renna. She’s charming and diplomatic as fuck, and pretty fierce with a spindle-disc. At least, so far.

Anyway, now that you’ve had a recap of my weekend, let’s take a look at what’s ahead!

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Library of Souls book review
  • Write 750 words of FtQ

I think that’s fair. I’d like to get another book review in, if possible, but I’ve got my reading stacked pretty high, plus upping the word count goal, and Halloween festivities this weekend. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

And after that comes NaNo! Yikes!!

Until next time Blogland!



Book Review – Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hi Blogland!

We’re here to discuss the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City. hollow-city

I enjoyed this installment, though it was a bit slower. At least, I felt bored a bit more than I recalled being in the first one. It just seems that Jacob and the children spend a lot of time arguing, and when they do get into bad situations they get saved by dumb luck a lot.

Not enough for me to really want to call Riggs out for making things easy, but enough that I was a little miffed when they kept getting missed by bombs dropped during a London air raid. The one person who did get hit happened to have a healing ability that would put Wade Wilson’s to shame. This girl barely batted an eye at the giant hole left in her torso from being impaled on a ruined beam (see cover).

And so it went.

The descriptions were wonderful. The setting in particular was of immense interest. This group of rag-tag children fleeing through a war torn London was really awesome. Frightening enough on its own that adding Hollows and Wights chasing them just made it even better!

St Paul.jpg
St. Paul’s Cathedral during the Blitz

And of course, I love these characters. Jacob has matured a lot, and his relationship with Emma has as well. Emma herself has grown on me. I remember not being too fond of her in book one. It seemed like she was using Jacob. That she just missed Abe so much that she would take Jacob as a consolation prize. But, by the end of this book, those fears and suspicions are laid to rest.

But, the other children really shine in this book. Horace, who was really just a side character in the first book, has a lot of wonderful, important moments. So does Hugh, Enoch, and Bronwyn. But, most of all, I really love Millard. He’s the invisible boy who has given his life to studying Peculiars. He’s got a smart mouth to  match that oversized brain of his. I like it.

Anyway, the children must find another ymbryne so that they can restore Miss Peregrine. On the way they meet a Peculiar Menagerie, complete with an emu-raffe, which is sort of like a bipedal donkey, and a talking, glasses wearing boxer named Addison. But, once they find Miss Wren, everything falls apart. The children are captured by an army of Wights, brought into the present, in which only Emma, Jacob, and Addison manage to escape.

Now they’re stranded in the present, unsure what to do and where to start looking. And if they don’t figure it out soon, Emma will age forward and die. And Miss Peregrine and her children will be lost to the Wights forever.

Overall this was a good book. Not a great one, but it had a bit to compare to. The first book was really good, and read so fast! This one took its time, exploring Peculiardom and fleshing out the kids a bit more. But, the ending springboards into the next book at high speed. libraryofsouls

I’m ready to dig into it!

Thanks for reading Blogland, I’ll talk at you soon!



Take the Advice You’re Given

So, this might come as a shock to some of you, but I’m pretty hard on myself. I know over the last two months I’ve come across as patient, honest, and forgiving when it comes to my constantly slipping achievements.

Except I’m not any of those things.

I can say all the right things, tell everyone how it’s just not reasonable to expect so much of myself, and my brain knows it’s all right. All true. But, that doesn’t keep the disappointment and irritation out of my heart. I’m angry. Frustrated. I have high standards for myself and when I fall short, there’s no forgiveness.

It’s buck up and do better.

And I’ve failed at that too.

I’ve been battling some major anxiety over how rusty I am when it comes to writing fiction. I know the only way to get better is to write more. The only way to shake off the rust is to get moving. But, I’m stuck. It’s like I’m asphyxiating every time I look at Scrivener.

And I’m really pissed off about it.

But, I’ve made an attempt to talk to others about it, since it seems that I am out of my element. My own counsel has brooked no progress. It’s time to talk to someone. Luckily I have a really amazing support system.

My husband, who’s just as driven as I am, though we have very different methods in chasing our dreams, said that I need to get writing. Even if it’s just a sentence at a time. He’s not wrong. When it comes to my writing he knows it’s all I’ve ever truly wanted to do, and he knows that every day that passes without words added to the page is killing me. So, he’s harsh in his delivery. Suck it up and sit down to write. Yeah, he’s not wrong.

But I’ve been telling myself that for months.

A friend of mine had some insight that really helped me though. He said, “How long have you been done with school?” I finished school August 9th. “It’s been two months.” He stared at me. “That’s not even a summer break!” I shrugged it off. I haven’t had a summer break in over two years, since I took classes each summer term. “If you’re not writing again by January 9th, be concerned,” he said.

When I asked why he basically spoke some logic at me. I’ve been giving 150% for the last two years. 45+ hour work weeks, school full time, reading constantly, and editing for The Audient Void. I even managed to do some writing projects, and graduate Magna Cum Laude. I’ve been hurtling through space and time, and suddenly I’ve stopped.

The adjustment is awful, but his point is that I need to establish a new normal. One where I sleep again. One where two venti iced coffees isn’t required to make me feel “normal”. One where sitting on the sofa reading isn’t a chore. And where playing video games isn’t a sin.

When Trevor and I spoke about my anxiety and frustration again, after absorbing my friend’s advice, it seemed Trevor had been thinking about it too.

He told me that my energy isn’t the same as his. It’s not this driven, powerhouse of determination and sheer will. I balked at first, but he continued. My energy, he said, is creative. It’s a well that has to be full and siphoned off of. And when it’s ready, I’ll crave it again. I’ll crave sitting for hours in front of screen, chasing the blinking cursor that promises something new with each letter.

And I knew he was right. Because I’ve felt the hints of it already. When I worked on my Novel Announcement for NaNo, I felt really excited for this book for the first time in years. Instead of just trepidation. Instead of intimidation. Instead of fear. When I listen to songs and hear characters in them, instead of just words.

It’s coming back to me. Trickle by trickle. Remember the Leaky Faucet Theory? Well, I’ve used every lost drop of myself these last two years. And to much success. I’m proud of my achievements, but it’s time I took the advice of the people around me. The people who are watching from the outside, and are starting to see the cracks in the mud. I’m drying out, and punishing myself for not writing will only make things worse.

So, I’m going to work really hard to ease up on myself. I’m still going to work on From the Quorum, and I can already feel the wheels turning in preparation for NaNo. There’s been a change in me, and it feels right. Here’s hoping it’s a flood gate. But, I will not hate myself for falling short. As I tried to reason to myself, writing is a muscle. Mine has atrophied over the last two years. It’s going to take time to get back to my dizzying pace from before school. I was writing 2k+ a day, sometimes five days a week! That’s insane for someone with a full time job. And I can’t get back to that overnight.

It’s time to take the advice around me, and treat myself with respect, patience, and understanding. I’ve worked hard, and if I hope to continue to do so, I need to take a breather without fear of retribution from anyone. Let alone myself.

Anyway, I really wanted to express my thanks to the people who keep me grounded in reality, but offer me solutions for chasing my dreams. You’re awesome. Thank you for always helping me, even when you don’t think you do. And because of you I’m really going to try and be kinder to myself. I’m not perfect, and I’ll probably have bad days, but I hear you.

I’m listening.



Goals Summary Wk of 10/10

Hello Blogland!

The weather here has finally succumbed to the season. We’ve had nonstop rainfall for about four days now, which is always good for writing. Not to make you think I’ve done any. I haven’t. But, I’m starting to feel like my brain is coming around to it.

Also, I’ve had a lot of conversations about my current panic over my lack of writing, and I’ve received a ton of great advice from the people around me. I’ll go over some of it in a post later this week. But, let’s just say I’m in a much better state of mind right now.

We’ll see how long it lasts.

Anyway, last week’s goals were:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • READ!
  • Finish Chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

So, I had a pretty OK week.  I published two blog posts, one of which was the unexpected book review for A Dance of Cloaks. I like telling my own timelines to suck it! It felt damn good. Obviously that means that my second goal, “READ!”, as it appears on the white board, was a success as well. I’m well into Hollow City at this point, and anticipate a mid-week completion.

The only thing I didn’t complete, again, was finishing chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story. But, I do have some news in that department.

Today I set up my NaNoWriMo for this year. What that means is I “announced” my novel. You give it a title, a synopsis, and include an excerpt, and if you want you can include some cover art. This allows other WriMos to see that you are participating this year. I also updated my Author Info and updated my location. Basically, I got my NaNoWriMo account all ready for my participation this November.

So, my goal for NaNo isn’t to win. Even at my writing height I never won, so it’d be insanity to put that kind of pressure on myself this year. No. Instead my goal is to write 500 words a day. That’s cake. I laugh at 500 words. I could write that in my sleep…

If I ever get my ass in the chair.

And that’s the point of this year’s participation. Build up the habits I used to have, and write every single day. Or damn well near. If I can do that I should hit about 15k words, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

What was really great about setting up the novel for NaNo was that I had to really think about it again in order to A: give it a title, and B: write a synopsis. I ended up doing a bit of worldbuilding, and realized just how much I still need to do.

So, that’s going to be one of my major focuses this November. I want to build this world. I have the government outlined and fleshed out a bit better already, and I’ve added a touch of depth to the two major religions. But there’s so much more opportunity. Right now Jordinn’s Story is a skeleton of character interactions with a thin skin of plot. It needs a lot more than that.

Oh! I will also no longer refer to the novel as Jordinn’s Story. It has a new name in honor of this fresh start. From the Quorum. I fully anticipate referring to it as FtQ in the future.

What do you guys think?

Anyway, I wrote a 400 word synopsis, so I feel like that’s a major step in that right direction.

What’s in store for this week?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Hollow City book review
  • Finish Chapter 7 of From the Quorum

Still a short list, but I need to keep it straightforward for a while. At least until I start building up steam.

I hope you all had good weekends! I’ll talk at you all soon.



Book Review- A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish

Hi Blogland!

I’m here ahead of schedule! After the few weeks I’ve had I can’t tell you how good this feels. There’s a weight that’s dissolving off my chest. I can breathe again. I’m just so relieved.

So, let’s talk about A Dance of Cloaks.a-dance-of-cloaks

This is the first of a six book series. I wish I could use that as an excuse for not enjoying it, but I can’t. Sometimes, the first book of a large series suffers because it’s busy setting up characters, plots, and settings for the remainder of the series. A Dance of Cloaks does all of this, but it definitely does some better than others.

I will say that the world-building, while generic, was thorough. I understood how the world functioned and what it looked like. But, it wasn’t very interesting. Generic fantasy city with medieval-esque technology. There wasn’t anything that really made Veldaren stand out in my memory.

The plotting was probably the strongest element of this book, which is what kept me reading. There are a lot of moving parts, with a multitude of characters all with their own goals. These intertwine nicely, and kept me just interested enough to see how it played out.

But, and this is a big but, the characters were flat. There are three major female protagonists, and really, they’re interchangeable. Kayla, a dagger throwing snitch for hire, has no personality qualities that separate her from Veliana, a cutthroat thief that’s the right hand woman for a local guildmaster. And, until the end of the book, Alyssa, daughter and heir of the Gemcroft estate, doesn’t really stand out either. How could this be? These three people are different in description, birth, and life choices, and yet nothing about their voices and interactions are different than the others.

It was boring.

All the while, the actual main character, Aaron, has no personality of his own. Which is acceptable because he’s a 13 year old who’s been groomed to be his father’s heir. He’s set to inherit the Spider Guild, the most powerful thieves guild in Veldaren. He’s had no childhood, very little affection, and has been cold and brutal since he murdered his own brother at 8 years old.

As the story goes on, Aaron’s infatuation with Kayla inspires him to create a new persona, Haern. Haern can have feelings. Haern can pray. Haern has individual thoughts not imprinted on him by his father. Haern can love.

Except, Haern still has no discernible personality traits that separate him from Aaron, other than the occasional flare up of rage.


Alternate Cover

The only characters that stood out were Thren (Aaron’s father), Senke (Thren’s right hand man), and Zusa. Zusa is a Faceless, which is a banished priestess that must forever cover herself in robes for her crimes against her god. There’s an interesting warring dynamic between the gods in this series that is promising, but doesn’t come to fruition in this first installment.

Anyway, all these characters have goals and ambitions, none of them terribly clear, and by the end of the book some of them achieve them. Others fail miserably, vowing to get their vengeance. And still others are dead by the end. The ending promises more to come, which a first book in the series should do. And I suppose, had I been remotely interested in the characters, I would have found the promise of more satisfactory.

As it was, I was just happy to close the book and turn it in. I have other things that need reading. Maybe, if I find myself with a lull, and someone convinces me that the subsequent books get better, I might pick up the second book. Maybe.

I feel I should be clear. I didn’t hate this book. But I didn’t like it. I have zero feelings about the book, and that’s bad. It’s a grey space in my head. No anger. No excitement. Nothing.

Let that be the endorsement I give, a mental shrug.

In other news, the second issue of The Audient Void is out now! Purchase your copy here. We’re having a release party on the 22nd, in case any of you readers are in the Salem area. Find more details at the link.

Also, I finally got around to hanging my degrees in the office!degrees

I felt good today. Some easy steps to success this week may really help me. I brought the goals way down, and I joined a new local writing group on Facebook. I engaged some NaNos on our chapter page, and had really great interactions. I’ll be signing up for this year’s NaNo after I finish this post. And I finished reading this boring book.

Small steps that really helped me feel good about today. Here’s looking forward to the rest of the week!

See you all soon, Blogland!



Goals Summary Wk of 10/3

Hello again Blogland!

This last week was a rough one for me, as mentioned in my previous post. Add a migraine to it today and I’m not surprised that I didn’t make my goals. But, I did well, and persevered  through my shitty feelings and doubts. I’ll take it.

So, last week I wanted to:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • post the Morning Star Book Review
  • Finish chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

I posted two blog posts, including the Morning Star book review. However, I did not make any headway on Jordinn’s Story. I know where the chapter needs to go, I just need to actually sit down and write it.

So, for this week:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Catch up on reading
  • Finish chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

This is a good set of goals for this week. I fell behind in my reading, mainly because A Dance of Cloaks isn’t that interesting so far. I’m halfway through it, and so far I don’t really care about any of the characters. The plot is interesting, but purely in a “I wonder how this all plays out” kind of way. I don’t really care who wins. Also, if I don’t finish listening to The Neverending Story this week, I’m calling it good. I can’t waste months of my time slogging through this boring mountain of text.

I’ve got books cued up for very nearly the end of the year. My next will probably be Hollow City and Library of Souls, so I can catch up on the Miss Peregrine’s books, then go see the film. Plus, they’re quick reads, so I should plow through both in about a week, week and a half.

Then it’s on to some Sci-Fi!

Anyway, that’s the goals for this week. If I finish A Dance of Cloaks I should have a book review out sometime this weekend. I won’t be doing a review for The Neverending Story. If you’ve been following the blog these last few months, you know how I feel about it.

Until then Blogland!




Book Review- Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Hi Blogland.

I’ve had a bit of a rough week. I’m exhausted. Overworked. I haven’t been reading as much as I should, and I didn’t write a single thing. And finally I knew I had to admit something to myself.

I have anxiety. Legitimately. There are behaviors that I’m used to, that I’ve always considered a part of me, that aren’t “normal”. My mind never stops, and I’m constantly second guessing myself in every action and thought. Simple interactions become critique sessions, usually ending with the conclusion that I am “weird” or “dumb” or some other adjective that isn’t very kind. I’d like to say that I know my anxiety could be worse. I don’t have it as bad as others I know, and I am so incredibly thankful for that.

But lately these thoughts have been out of control.

Every week that I don’t meet my goals adds to the weight on my mind. Every book that I don’t read. I’m being too hard on myself, and yet, these are simple goals. Why can’t I achieve them?

I don’t know what the next step is. I’m reading up on anxiety. What it looks like, how to combat it. I’ve also looked into how anxiety and ADHD interact, because I have both. But short of medication, which I’m not currently open to, there doesn’t seem to be many options.

Exercise and eat better. Ok, yeah. I could do that. But when? I already don’t have time or drive to do the things I really love, let alone something I hate. Like jogging. And for the most part I don’t eat terribly. I eat at home mostly. Fruits and veggies, homemade meals, and I don’t crave carbs as much as I used to. I don’t eat many sweets, and I drink water more than anything else… well, besides coffee.

I think I just need a vacation. But there’s no free time in sight.

Anyway, before I let this post spiral out into some depressing lament of my current state of mind, let’s talk about Morning Star.morning-star

I loved this book. Seriously. Every single page upped the ante in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Brown does a wonderful job of tying up all the pieces, leaving no story arc unfinished.

Roque? Dealt with. Cassius? Dealt with. Aja? Dealt with. The Sovereign and the Jackal? Oh, fucking dealt with. And every single one was unique and powerful. They all fit their characters. Darrow’s interactions and decisions were believable, and often poignant. Darrow, and in turn the reader, held so much love for these Golds, despite their betrayals. And in Aja, the Sovereign, and Jackal’s cases, so much hate. Brown did a really wonderful job of treating them all.break-the-chains

I will say that the ending was a little conflicting for me. On one hand, my critical reading/writing mind thought the ending was too tidy. Everything wraps up in this tidy, damn-near pleasant bow. But as a fan, and someone completely obsessed and madly in love with the world and the characters, it was perfect. I cried and cried afterward, because I was sad and happy all at once.

This book, this whole series has everything you could ever want. Intense one on one combat. Seiges, large scale battles, and space battles galore. There’s awesome technology that is at once fantastic and yet understandable and believable. It’s fast-paced, intricately plotted, and character driven. It’s brutal, gritty, and yet sometimes damn poetic.

I would call Morning Star a triumph. I consider it the best of the three, but each book really stood out and earned a place in my heart separately.

I still find myself in a bit of a Red Rising hangover. I’m listening to playlists constantly. Thinking about Sevro and Darrow and Mustang still. I was so immersed. So enraptured in the world and the relationships. It’s proving to be difficult to move on, which is making the next book on my list so much more difficult to get through.

Poor thing never stood a chance.

Anyway, I recommend the series to anyone with an interest in Science Fiction. It’s a fantastic series that never quite twists in the ways you’d expect, and hits hard in all the feels, all the time. A great series.red-rising-trilogy-by-pierce-brown.jpg

Until next time Blogland,