Recap and Stats

Hi Blogland,

I had some things I wanted to talk about, but tomorrow’s book review just isn’t the place.

First, I wanted to share some stats with everyone, mainly because I’m proud of them, and by talking about them I hope to keep the momentum going.

February was a record month for the blog. Over 300 views in one month is unheard of here, and I am blown away by it. So thank you, everyone who stopped in to read what I had to say. You’re awesome! Also, the blog has surpassed 400 followers, which is unfathomable to me. I hope you all enjoy what I write here, and I promise I’ll keep coming back, sharing my life story by story with you all as I take my own steps on the “writing journey”.

In January I started my writing journey anew. Now, if you haven’t been following me since the beginning, let me throw some history at you. I started this blog in September of 2011 after a professional writer visited my Planning and Structuring the Novel class at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Per his advice, I started my social media presence with a blog, followed by a dedicated Facebook page and twitter account.

I didn’t know the first thing about blogging. I probably still don’t, since my views don’t typically number in the thousands. But, I knew it needed to focus on writing and my experiences working toward fiction as a career. That’s all this has really ever been: a place for me to get the buzzing thoughts out in a constructive way, and to share these thoughts with like-minded folk.

Here we are in 2017 and the blog has become an inseparable part of me. I list everything I read, review books, as well as track my personal writing goals and learning experiences as I go through the steps of writing, editing, rewriting, and polishing manuscripts, as well as the editing and submission process for short fiction.

So, thanks again for following this page and hearing me out. It’s been amazing.

Another thing I wanted to mention was that I’m keeping much closer tabs on my word count accomplishments. I was tracking them weekly, and then including them in my weekly Goal Summary post, and I’m still going to do that, but now I will be tracking it monthly and setting monthly word counts.

So, how’ve I done so far?

January was my first month back in full writing mode. I used to write almost 9k words a week, back when I wrote five days a week.Before school and the the second job. Back when it was just me and Starbucks in a new town. I really want to get back to that, and I set a lofty goal for January because of it. I wanted to write 12k words, but came in at 5,134 instead.

For the first month back on a (somewhat) dedicated schedule, that’s not too bad. In fact, I feel pretty damn good about it. 5k words is more than I wrote in the six months prior to that, so I’m calling it a win.

Now, for February the plan was to start editing The Steel Armada, plus it’s a short month, so I knocked my goal down to 8k words. Honestly, still pretty intense seeing as I’m still working this writing muscle into shape.

But, I just tallied it all up, and I finished February with a total word count of 8,700!

That is insane to me. I can’t really believe it. I wrote 2.5 chapters this month, and outlined the manuscript through to the end. And I’m well on my way through the read through/initial edits of The Steel Armada. February was just a really great month for me, all around.

I’m hoping to keep the momentum going through March, but have dropped my word count goal again. Mass Effect Andromeda releases in less than three weeks, and once it’s in my hands I am at its mercy until who knows when. So, I’m shooting for 6k words this month and continuing edits. Also, if I can get the next book club title finished before the game releases, that’d be great.

So, that’s where I am here on March 1st. Things are going really well, and I’m making use of all this unwanted free time while I work part-time.

Also, if anyone is wondering, I’m getting used to this new laptop. I got a small wireless mouse, and disabled the touchpad, which helps tremendously. I no longer accidentally scroll the wrong way, or magnify or shrink things for no apparent reason. Plus, I wrote this blog, listened to music, opened multiple webpages, Scrivener, and  OneNote (and drew a stupid whale scene like the ones I did back in grade school) without the computer freezing and panicking and generally being a twit. Plus, being able to move windows with my fingers is pretty cool. Makes me feel like Iron Man.

I’m keeping it.

Anyway, that’s what I wanted to chat about. And I wanted to spend more time typing on this computer in preparation for tomorrow. Thursdays are always my big writing days, what with book reviews, fiction, and edits. I didn’t want to sit down tomorrow and feel intimidated or uncomfortable, so any excuse to get typing is a good one.

Thanks for getting this far, Blogland. I’ll see you all tomorrow when I finally get to talk about The Paper Magician!

 

BZ

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Goals Summary Wk 5

Well, I was hoping for an über productive day today. Get up early, drink coffee, have a small breakfast, maybe load the dishwasher, and then sit down at the desk and do all kinds of work.

It’s currently 11:30am, I am in pajamas, feeling the barest remnants of yesterday’s migraine, praying for the coffeemaker to hurry the hell up.

I’m scratching the kitchen off my to-do list today.

Last night, mid-migraine, I still found some energy to finish hole-punching the second draft of The Steel Armada, and to empty the recycling bin that was overflowing. Then I spent the remainder of the evening reading.

The goals for last week were:

  • Finish chapter 12 of From the Quorum
    • Done and done! Finally! It took an additional 1,924 words, but it’s done.
  • Read The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
    • Also done, and you can read the review here.
  • Publish two blog posts
    • Actually published three!
  • Print, read, and plan edits for The Steel Armada
    • This was a close one. I printed it, as previously mentioned, and did a rough outline of the editing schedule, but did not get a chance to read it.

So, I’d call last week a success. It feels good to keep meeting, or getting really damn close to meeting my goals each week. What’s the plan for this week?

  • Write the Interlude for From the Quorum
  • Read Beastly Bones and Ghostly Echoes, both by William Ritter
  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read and plan edits for The Steel Armada, ideally complete chapter 1

That’s the plan. The weather is shit today, and it hasn’t really stopped raining since mid-afternoon Saturday. Half the town is threatening to float away, and the dog is extra reluctant to go outdoors.

I have zero plans to leave the house today, or to change out of my pajamas. I might though, I have a terrible preference for jeans over all other pants. Plus, it’s just hard to feel productive in fuzzy grey snowflake pajamas.

Anyway, I look forward to chatting at you all later this week. I have a rough outline of an editing themed post for tomorrow, and of course there will be book reviews, as usual. So, a busy week ahead of me.

Now, where’s that coffee?

 

BZ

Goals Summary Wk…?

Hi Blogland.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I skipped last week. And I’m posting late this week.

Last week was one of immense upheaval. Trevor and I went to Bend to celebrate his birthday, and we had an awesome time. Some life altering stuff went down, which I can speak more about later.

The main reason I didn’t post at all last week is because of the following:

  1. N7 Day. This is the glorious day, November the seventh, in which Mass Effect nerds rejoice and celebrate the most wonderful game franchise ever created. This year’s N7 Day was bursting with new info about Mass Effect Andromeda, which is set to release sometime this coming Spring. Basically, I was freaking out every 10 minutes as stills, videos, and screenshots were released. Then, in a frenzy, I proceeded to start the entire franchise over again. Sorry, not sorry.
  2. Election Day. This was a horrible evening for my husband and I, and we spent it alternating panic attacks and inexplicable rage. While we’re not Hillary fans, we are Progressives, and we’re very concerned about the country right now.
  3. Promo Set at Starbucks. Wednesday I worked from 10am until after midnight, all so customers could enjoy the spirit of the holidays at their local chain coffee shop. Gag.
  4. I was off, and exhausted. I considered writing, briefly, and then opted to play more Mass Effect instead.
  5. Migraine. The whole weekend.

Basically, last week was hell, but kinda sorta good.

So, two Mondays ago, my goals were:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Beacon 23 Book Review
  • Read A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe
  • Write 500 words a day, 3k total.

So, how’d I do?

Not too shabby! I published my two posts, one of which was the Beacon 23 book review. I didn’t get around to A Borrowed Man, and instead started to read The Vagrant. It was super boring, and I gave up on it, instead reading 6 volumes of the Avatar the Last Airbender graphic novel series. I feel I should mention here that I am open to giving The Vagrant another shot, just not right now.

But, the most important thing is the word counts. I did it, guys. I wrote a total of 4,335 words that week. And only over four of the six days. So, I didn’t write every day, but I pumped out words HARD when I did write. And damn it felt good.

Then I ruined it by being a complete hermit last week. But, I maintain that my work/life turmoil makes it somewhat understandable.

Hopefully I can avoid real life by building my own world instead of indulging in BioWare’s. I’ve started reading fanfiction, and the official tie-in novels, so it’s looking grim…

But! Goals!

This week I want to:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading Mass Effect Revelation
  • Write a total of 4k words

So, a pretty simple jump back in. Bummed that I screwed the pooch last week, but I can only make up for it by moving forward. It’s time to put some words on the page!

Thanks for reading along, Blogland.

 

BZ

 

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.

audient-void-after-part-3

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!

 

BZ

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!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary Wk of 9/26

Hey Blogland,

So this last week’s goals were a little ambitious, because I wanted to make up for the previous week’s utter failure. Luckily I landed somewhere in the middle, and I feel pretty good about it.

So, goals were:

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • A Monster Calls book review
  • Golden Son book review
  • Morning Star book review
  • Finish chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

I completed the first three, and actually made a tiny bit of progress on the chapter. Some streamlining and outlining mostly. But, I have a much better idea of where the chapter is going and how it connects to the subsequent chapters that are already outlined.

So, overall, I feel good about this last week. Not writing the Morning Star book review is all right, mainly because I need time to absorb the material. I’m excited to talk to all of you about it, just as soon as I’ve come to terms with the fact that the series is over.

So, what’s on the docket for this week?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Morning Star book review
  • finish chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

I know, what a lax week. But, I feel good about the work load, and I need to be more realistic with my goals. Setting small, achievable goals is the key to growing success. Yes, I want to challenge myself, especially since I so desperately need and want to get back into my old writing habits, but if I keep falling short week after week, it’ll become discouraging.

So, let’s lower the bar a bit until I start consistently meeting and exceeding goals. I’m alright with that.

In other news, Trevor and I bought a dining set today. I’m in love with it, and can’t wait to actually have a meal we prepared at it. This house is coming together bit by bit, transforming into a home before our eyes. Sorry for the sap, but it’s true.

Also, if you haven’t checked out The Audient Void yet, now is the time. Issue #2 is right around the corner! Click here to visit the Facebook page!

And, just as an update, I’ve decided that I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ll be working on Jordinn’s Story, and though I don’t imagine I’ll win this year, it’ll be nice to get back to writing every single day. Even if it’s just 500 words over breakfast.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. Social activities are at a minimum this week. Yesterday was my mother-in-law’s birthday, so we had the folks over and made dinner. Saturday was my first day on my new schedule, which is working 10+ hours straight between the two jobs.

But, this week? We’ve got nothing planned. I’m pretty excited about it.

So, keep an eye out for the Morning Star book review sometime this week. I’m trying to read A Dance of Cloaks. I’m 45 pages in, and I have zero urge to get further. But I know better than to judge a fantasy book by its slow beginning. I’ll keep trucking on.

See you soon Blogland,

 

BZ

Goals Summary Wk of 9/19

Hi.

I’m sorry about the tardiness of this post. It should have happened on Monday, instead here we are, late Wednesday. But, let’s dig into it.

So… goals for last week weren’t terrible, and yet I achieved none of them.

  • Write A Monster Calls book review
  • 2 blog posts
  • Golden Son book review
  • Finish chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

Did literally none of those things.

Buuut…. My bookshelf is complete!bookshelf 1.jpg

After weeks and weeks of begging and pleading, and plenty of procrastination on both our parts, the shelf is installed, set, and loaded. What took so long was the sanding. Each board had to be sanded three times, top and bottom, in order for the stain to adhere properly, and for the boards to be the right texture for the polyurethane. That’s two+ hours of sanding for each board. Times five. 10-12 hours, just sanding.bookshelf 2.jpg

Then, each board needed to have five pocket holes, and four 1 1/8″ circles drilled into them. Then be wiped down with mineral spirits so that there wouldn’t be any debris or sawdust ruining the finish. Only then could we coat with stain, waiting at least an hour before we flipped the boards and stained the other side.

Trevor was a champ. He drilled all the pocket holes (for securing the boards to the studs) and all the circular holes for the pipes in one day. We also completed the staining process that same day. It was intense.

bookshelf 3.jpg
Then came the poly, which was my nemesis. Not because it was complicated or anything, but because it has to set for three days before you can subject the surface to normal use. AKA, I had to wait three days beyond installation just to put my books on the shelf! The agony!bookshelf-6

But, tonight was the night, and everything is in place. There’s have more room than I anticipated, which is nice. I’ve currently filled any gaping spots with knickknacks and non-fiction books. These things will be pulled in favor of new books as time goes on. For now they’re just pretty.

And it’s all I can think about. I just keep looking at them. Admiring the collection that has finally come home. Unpacking these books, touching them all again, and finally giving them the home I’ve dreamt of for months has been so… relaxing. It felt like stress cleaning. Like dusting cobwebs off my very soul.

I finally feel like I live here. Like my writing room isn’t just an over-glorified storage with a desk shoved in the corner. Now I can envision a daybed, with a rug and a small coffee table, artwork over it. A tall lamp in one corner by the bookcase. Maybe some auxiliary shelves surrounding the window across from that. All in good time. For now I’m just ecstatic to be looking at this every time I spin in my chair:bookshelf-8

But, enough about that, for now. Let’s talk about this week’s goals. Or at least, what ever’s left of them.

  • Write two blog posts
  • A Monster Calls book review
  • Golden Son book review
  • Morning Star book review
  • Finish chapter 7 of Jordinn’s Story

So basically, last week’s goal, but with a bonus book review. We’ll see if I finish Morning Star in time. If I do, the book review will probably be out late Saturday night or relatively early Sunday morning.

Also, it’s time to start thinking about NaNoWriMo. I’ve got a month to decide if I’m going to participate. Seeing as I’ve written a little over a thousand words in three weeks, it seems unlikely I’d win this year, but it’d be a really wonderful way to force myself back into the habit of writing. Plus, I haven’t participated in NaNo since 2011. I miss it.

So, that’s on the horizon. I have a million tiny things lurking around the house. Mostly just organizational things that are begging for my attention as we get used to our new space. I never thought it would take this long to feel settled. But it does. I’m still learning about this house, and discovering what the best uses for certain spaces are. It’s exhausting. And wonderful.

Anyway, you should see a bit from me in the next few days as I make a mad dash to make up for this past week. Thanks, as usual, for your patience Blogland. I appreciate you all immensely.

Talk at you soon,

 

BZ