I know, I know…

I said I wouldn’t be back. However, I have an announcement to make:

 

I FINISHED MY BOOK!!!!!

 

Here are a series of gifs that capture how today’s writing session (5,419 words) felt:

happy dance gif 2
Don’t stop, get it get it

 

so tired gif
My brain has melted!

happy dance gif
No, wait, SECOND WIND! I am unstoppable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so tired gif 2
I’m going to sleep for a million years now.

 

So yeah. The rough draft is done. I’m excited and so so tired. There’s still a mountain of work to do, but that’s for a future Brittany. Right Now Brittany is going to root herself in front of the PS4 and play Overcooked until she passes out.

See you on Monday.

 

BZ

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Write Here, Write Now 2019

Hey Bloggos,

Yesterday was Willamette Writers’ Write Here, Write Now event, where a slew of authors give 10 minute talks, followed by 45 minute writing blocks. Lunch was catered and each attendee had two 12 minute one-on-ones with an author. I had sessions with both Devon Monk and Diana Pharaoh Francis and it was awesome!

I don’t want to get into a play-by-play of the day, but just wanted to say that the event was 100% worth it. I wrote just over 3,800 words yesterday. I met authors and local writers and did a fantastic job of being myself. I can’t emphasize how difficult that is for me in a new social setting. But I was funny, unafraid to chat, and made some new writer contacts, so that’s a big win for me. Just as much a win as busting out all those words.

Speaking of, those words put me just slightly ahead of schedule for finishing my novel. I have an outlined one and a half chapters left, but I think there’s going to be more than that before everything is said and done. Which means this rough draft will be over 80k!

happy dance gif.gif

As usual, I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the week in depth.

Until then,

 

BZ

P.S. If you want my notes from the conference, check out my Patreon!

Reading Round Up – February 2019

Blogland,

I really liked last month’s Round Up. It was  nice to write up smaller thoughts and impressions of books I’d read, and it really streamlines my search for “what the heck I read last month” when I’m writing other posts or want to look at my reading to look for book recommendations at the library. Useful and convenient? Yes, please!

Title: Rivers of London vol. 4: Black Mould
black mould.jpgAuthor: Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, and Lee Sullivan
Format: Graphic Novel
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: This is a fun side story in the Rivers of London universe, following Peter and Guleed as they chase down a sentient, malicious, magical mold (mould if you’re British). What I really like about all of the graphic novels is that they give side characters a chance to shine. Guleed, Molly, and even Toby the Terrier get their time in the spotlight. The only reason I didn’t give this a 5 star rating is because they tend to be so fluffy. This are fun spin-offs and nothing more. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Recommend: Absolutely, for fans of the novels.

Title: Rivers of London vol. 5: Cry Foxcry fox.jpg
Author: Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, and Lee Sullivan
Format: Graphic Novel
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: Another good installment, although this one bummed me out a little. The character Renard was introduced in one of the later novels of the series, and I found his true neutral personality to be very intriguing. but in this story, Renard firmly plants himself in the realm of the baddies. *sigh* But, this was another example of side characters getting their time to shine. This issue featured Abigail and Guleed as unwilling players in a modern-day version of The Most Dangerous Game.
Recommend: Absolutely, if you liked the novels.

Title: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killeri'll be gone in the dark
Author: Michelle McNamara
Format: Digital Audiobook
Narrator(s): Gabra Zackman, Gillian Flynn – Introduction, Patton Oswalt – Afterword
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: Oh my god, where do I even start with this book? I loved everything about it. The prose, the narration, the details. McNamara did an amazing job of not shying away from the horror the Golden State Killer wrought across California, but painting it in an incredibly human light. She focused on the victims and how it felt to be one, or to know one, or to fear you might become one. She also did an incredible job of humanizing herself without making the book about her. She acknowledged the insanity of her obsession and the toll it had on her life and her relationships, without coming across as whiny or unaware of her own privilege. She was thoughtful and that showed in her narrative. The narrator did a fantastic job of bringing this book to life for me, and her voice could be so soft and quiet, and then so gravelly and terrifying. Her range astounded me. I even liked the introduction, afterword, and extras included at the end. A really wonderful book if you have even the slightest interest in true crime or serial killers.
Recommend: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Title: Firefly: Big Damn Herobig damn hero
Author: James Lovegrove (original idea by Nancy Holder)
Format: Hardback
My Goodreads Rating: 2/5 Stars
Thoughts:
 You know I hate giving low reviews, but this was an underwhelming and trope-filled adventure through the ‘Verse. There’s better fanfic available for free on the internet. See my full review for more details.
Recommend: Nah. There are better media tie-ins out there. Or better yet, just go back and watch the show. If you really have a hankering, you could always find some high quality fanfic to scratch that itch.

Title: Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7) 
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Format: Hardbacklies sleeping
My Goodreads Rating:
5/5 Stars
Thoughts: Aaronovitch is a really consistent author. I have a great time reading the Rivers of London series no matter which installment is currently in my hands. This latest novel is no exception. It was a little slow to start, but that is likely more my fault than the book’s. This book really picked up in the second half and even brought me to tears once. It’s at once fun, harrowing, and emotional. I really enjoyed my time with it. See my full review for more details.
Recommend:
Yep! But you’ll need to read all the others first. Oh no… more books to read!

Not too shabby for the shortest month of the year, and one with a major video game release. I’ll count this as a win, for sure. In March I’m reading a short story a day on top of my normal reading, so keep an eye on the What I’m Reading page for updates!

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #2

Bloggos,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! The husband and I have been binge-watching Letterkenny on Hulu and laughing way too hard because of it. That show has no business being as good as it is, and I cannot get enough of it.

wayne baby
Yes, that’s a grown man imitating a baby to illustrate how dumb they are. You seriously need to watch Letterkenny.

Aside from an unusual uptick in my television time, I also had a change in my schedule this week. After years of having Sundays off, I have now switched to Saturdays off and working Sundays at the library. I think it was a really good change for me, and it actually helped me achieve a better work/life balance. Such as it is. I look forward to adjusting to a little extra me time.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
    • Holy smokes yes! More on this in a bit.
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related
    • Yes! More than I anticipated, really.

Weekly Word Count: 7,693

Holy crow. That was a lot of writing last week. I don’t even necessarily feel like it either. I just sat down and did a couple sprints, and the words just kept coming, especially in the case of my novel. I crossed the 30k word mark on the manuscript and I’m still so excited about the project. It’s the first novel I’ve ever written that I truly felt led by the characters. Normally I have some vague idea or conceptualization fo the plot when I write a book or short story, but this time Tavi has control and I just go where she does.

For instance, last night she careened headfirst into feelings I didn’t think she was ready to handle, and we had a good cry about it. So that was fun, and I’m not being sarcastic. I love it when a project runs away with me. It’s exhilarating!

I also wrote a Santa Sarita related tumblr prompt, made a new playlist for the longfic I”m working on, and wrote over one thousand words on the newest chapter of Sanctuary.  It was a wildly successful writing week and I feel amazing because of it!

amy santiago.gif
Amy Santiago is my spirit animal.

I’m also awarding myself bonus points because I finished reading Zen in the Art of Writing. I’ll admit now that I wasn’t blown away by it. I enjoy Bradbury as much as the next guy, and maybe even a little bit more, but ultimately didn’t find too many revelations in the pages of this book. Either that means I’m learning my craft well and the nuggets of gold information are fewer and farther between, or it just wasn’t that great of a book. Guess I’ll find out with the next writing book on my docket: The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman.

I have unintentionally set up a lot of nonfiction books in my TBR pile for January. It wasn’t my goal to read/listen to a lot of writing and science books, but here we are. I’m still making slow progress on Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, and even though it’s written with the layman in mind, I am still woefully unprepared to understand this book. But, I’m trying. And Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s voice makes the audiobook bearable.

I also sent off an application for a scholarship to a writing conference this summer, and was notified that they received my app. I won’t hear back until late May, but at least that’s another thing done.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3,500 words on Tavi
  • Work on Santa Sarita

Last week was such a success, I’m hesitant to change the formula. I plan on finishing the Tyson audiobook this week, and hopefully will make a dent on Knight’s Shadow as well, though with such writing productivity it only tracks that the reading slows down. I’ve got a lot of writing books queued up the first part of the year, with a few standout novels sprinkled in.

I’m on track to meet my writing goal for the month, which feels great. I just have to keep this momentum going. Which isn’t always an easy thing, especially with some very long-awaited video game releases on the horizon.

Submissions continue to continue. I’m being patient. I repeat to myself, endlessly. I think I have a new short story in the wings, but it isn’t ready to write just yet. The nonfiction I’ve been listening to is actually related to this story idea I had last year, but I didn’t choose to read them as research or anything, it’s just where my interests led me. Which means this story is percolating and slowly forming into something like clay I can form into something like a story. But not right now. Tavi comes first, at least until the rough draft is done.

Which, let’s be honest, is probably how much time this story will need to climb out of the muck of my mind and proclaim itself writeable. Funny how these things work themselves out.

So, that’s the week. Write, write some more, and when I can’t write anymore, read about writing. Or maybe science. Whichever calls the loudest.

Until later Blogland,

 

BZ

The Recap – November 2018

Bloggos,

Video games are how I decompress, and apparently I really needed to decompress this weekend. I completely missed the fact that Saturday was the first of the month and spaced on writing up my usual monthly recap post! I’m so sorry for the delay.

November Goals

  • Write 800 words/dayLogo_of_National_Novel_Writing_Month
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep Reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 800 words/day
    • YES! This was a really big win for me and I am still doing (exhausted) happy dances.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Both Lifelike and That Which Illuminates Heaven were submitted to various magazines in November.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Um… Yes! I read four titles in November, more than I thought I did.

Total Monthly Word Count: 25,069

November was intentionally straightforward. Three bullet points are not remotely daunting, but the prospect of writing 25,000 words sure as hell is. I needed to keep the docket relatively clear in order to make time and mental space for the giant hurdle I’d set for myself.  And it worked.

Did you see that word count? Did ya? It’s the most I’ve written in a single month in all of 2018 and I am ecstatic about it. I worked hard, stayed up later than I should, drank a TON of coffee, and committed myself to making the time to make my goals, which is the entire point of National Novel Writing Month. So, that was a wild success!

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 12.37.27 PM

As for submissions, my stories continue to do well but not quite well enough. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with every email notification, but it’s getting easier. I think I’m becoming desensitized. Which, if that could hurry the eff up, that’d be great. The sooner I don’t feel the sting of rejection, the better.

And then there was the reading. Despite my four titles and my one book review, I don’t feel very successful on this front. I tried to read A Map of Days, and had to abandon it because I simply wasn’t motivated to pick it up. I am on the cusp of doing the same for Skyward, although I am motivated to read it, only too late. I’m out of time with it and there are a slew of holds on it. I’m going to move on to Lies Sleeping and buy Skyward so I can read it at my leisure.

Adding two books to my Did Not Finish pile in November does not feel good, but I’m not really surprised either. There’s simply too much going on in the month for me to feel accomplished at everything I wanted to achieve.

December Goals

  • Write 10k
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read three more titles!

Another straightforward month. It’s December, a busy time at Starbucks and in my personal life so I want to give myself some wiggle room. The holidays are stressful enough without adding my own unmet expectations into the mix. Besides, I want to end the year on a happy and accomplished note, so I can springboard into 2019 ready to shine!

I’m confident that I will make my reading goal for the year. I only have to read three more titles, and I think two of them are a shoe-in. I just have to pick a third book that will read quick.

Short story submissions will continue until each story finds a home. I am stubborn, infuriatingly tenacious, and there’s a steady supply of ice cream in my house. I will get these stories published!

The writing goal might be a close thing if I let video games get in the way. 10k feels like nothing after the blistering word count of November, but that’s kind of the point. I can’t write at that pace for two months in a row, at least not right now. I’ll just burn out if I try. So, I’m going to dial things back and write a little bit each week. Slow and steady wins the race or something.

Hopefully you’ll see some more book reviews this month, and I’ll get good news about one of my stories. Fingers crossed!

Until later, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 45

Oi, Bloggos!

This past week was oddly eventful, which of course means I didn’t get all that much done. At least, in my estimation. Let’s see what the blog has to say about it.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • Finish reading The Hanging Tree
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Not for the first time this year, but it has been a much rarer occasion than in previous years, so this is still a bummer.
  • Barker line edits
    • …No. BUT, I’ve got them downloaded and should be able to dedicate some serious reading time to them this week.
  • Finish reading The Hanging Treethe hanging tree.jpg
    • Yes! Finished it on Saturday.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! I’m writing pretty consistently, and while it isn’t happening every day, my word count average for November so far is 922. My goal is 800, so that’s rocking steady.

Weekly Word Count: 4,566

So, this last week was a bit of a wash. I got the “important” things done, but at the expense of the other goals. I’m pleased with my word count, although it is about 1k words shy of where I should be. Thank goodness for that 1,100 word cushion I came into Nano with, hehe.

As expected, my reading has slowed, which is unfortunate since there are so many good books out this month. I’ve got a copy of A Map of Days on my nightstand, a copy of Sanderson’s Skyward on the hold shelf waiting for me at the library, plus the next Peter Grant book is out this week and N.K. Jemisin’s short story collection comes out soon!

Yikes. That’s a lot of reading to get done before the end of the year. But, I only need to read three more titles in order to reach my goal of 65 books this year. I’m confident that I’ll pull it off.  Especially since I read The Hanging Tree, WicDiv vol. 7, and Saga vol. 9 this week.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • WRITE!

So, all in all, a pretty straightforward week. I’ve got the review for The Hanging Tree to post this week, so I should have no problem with that goal, and with nothing else but writing, I should FINALLY be able to get those line edits done for Obadiah. Then I can get back to reading The Audient Void submissions.

This is a good opportunity to remind you all that The A.V. is open for submissions through the 15th of November! There’s just a few days left to send your Weird/Dark Fantasy poems and short stories to us!

a map of days

I’d love to say I could finish reading A Map of Days this week, but it’s almost 500 pages long, and with my work schedule and Nano there’s just no way I can get it done in a week. But, if it’s anything like its predecessors, it will go fast for its size. Fingers crossed.

Until later Blogland,

 

BZ

NaNoWriMo 2018 – Prep

Bloggos,

I “won” National Novel Writing Month for the very first time last year thanks to The Charlatan and the Coinshot, my forthcoming fanart collaboration project. I went in with no plan, no outlines or ambitions other than to write as much as I could.

But this year, I’m taking steps to prepare myself for a hectic month of working full time (sometimes more) and writing a whole new, original novel. What does that preparation look like?

  • Research. Lots and lots of research. My Scrivener project for this novel is the most informed and resource heavy of any I’ve made so far.

    Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 12.07.50 PM.png
    My research files in Scrivener…
  • Outlining. Now, I’m not usually one to outline with any sort of detail, I’ll be the first to tell you that. And it’s still true. My outlines are purposefully vague, because I don’t really know what’s going to happen in any given scene, chapter, or story until it’s written. But, I made an effort to at least have a general idea of the first few chapters so that I’m not going in completely blind come November 1st.
  • Music. Each story I write has its own playlist in Spotify, and that’s what I listen to while I write. I made sure to spend some quality time building a diverse but thematically close playlist for this novel.
  • Pre-Writing. This goes along with research, but I sat down and sketched characters and settings. I gathered resources and images to refer to while writing so that I won’t have to leave the Scrivener project if I get stuck on something. And, I let myself write if the urge hit. I wrote about 1100 words of the prologue/opening scene, and I refuse to feel bad about it. And yes, I will count it toward my nano total word count, so there 😛

Typically, the goal for Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year I wrote just over 52k, which was no easy feat and I was working part time! Now I’m working full time, and sometimes more. I need to be realistic about my goals and my time this year. Otherwise I’ll only set myself up for failure.

NaNo 2018 Goal:

  • 800 words/day – 24k words for the month

I actually think I’ll be able to hit 25,000 words, maybe even more, but thought 800 words a day sounded doable. 1,000 seemed a little daunting, but 500 is basically nothing, so 800 it is. I also intend to go to a majority of my Nano Chapter’s events and write-ins, and I’m always game for a good Facebook sprint. With all the activity, 24k shouldn’t be a problem.

But, I really don’t believe I have the time to write 50,000 words this year. With two jobs, the Thanksgiving holiday and the various social obligations it comes with it, I just don’t see 50k happening. And I don’t want to set an unrealistic goal only to guilt trip myself into freezing up.

So that’s it. I still have a bit of research to do, and my outlines can always be more detailed, so I’ll be prepping right through to the start of National Novel Writing Month. If you want to be my Buddy on the Nanowrimo site, my username is HIMluv and I’ll be happy to add you!

I’ll talk to you all soon when I come back to talk about the month of October in the Monthly Recap.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ