The Recap – May/June 2020

All right. I’m not gonna waste time pretending I know what the hell happened in June. There were a couple of frantic work weeks and even more emotions. I numbed out with some serious video game bingeing and reading. So, instead of breaking down the goals from May, lemme just sum up where various projects are at.

  • Tavi is on pause. I have a lot to think about with this book. My mindset in regards to the entire project has done a 180 and I don’t really know what to do about that. So, until I’m feeling a little less shreddy toward it, I’m going to work on other things.
  • The Shadowboxer is back on the front burner. It’s an extremely ambitious story and it’s demanding a lot from me. I’ve maintained for a while now that every story requires something different from me, some more than others. This one wants me to basically re-invent the wheel when it comes to my “process” and I’m struggling with that. I’m going slow, climbing this story mountain one rock at a time and doing A LOT of outlining. The joys of non-linear narratives!
  • The Bahn Hexe has reappeared in my imagination, so maybe that will come next. I dunno and it’s silly to even think of “next” when I’m still hip deep in the rough draft of something else.
  • I also have a new novel idea (I may have mentioned that) and I think that will be my Nanowrimo project this year. It’s percolating.
  • Three short stories are currently out on submission. Fingers-crossed, as usual.
  • The Cost of Rain is OUT NOW at Corvid Queen! It’s a Speculative Western(ish) that has some serious Folklore vibes. I hope you like it!
  • I’m reading #aStoryaDay in July and tweeting about them as a little challenge to myself. If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments or @me on twitter.

The fact that I’m here, talking about projects and thinking about goals for July is a win in my book. This is the most work I’ve done since school “ended”, which I shouldn’t feel so bad about, considering it was only like two weeks of vacation. I seriously need to learn to chill.

But, since I obviously don’t know how to chill (yet), let’s talk about July!

July Goals

  • Write every day
  • Read a short story a day
  • Keep reading (novels)!

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. The Shadowboxer is my main focus this month. I’d love to get the rough draft finished before August, but I don’t feel very hopeful about that. I’m grappling with it a little too much at the moment to feel confident about a completion date. It’ll get done when it’s done and not a moment sooner.

I’m reading The Stolen Throne right now, but think I’m going to put it down in favor of the mountain of new books I got from curbside pickup at the library. There’s some really good titles in that stack that I’m much more interested in reading. Besides, The Stolen Throne is a reread and it did not age well.

I’ll be back on Monday to talk a little more formally about goals and progress. Until then, Bloggos.

 

BZ

The Recap – April 2020

March felt long, but April felt… like a single long day. Not actually that much time, and yet exhausting. I am an introvert. I enjoy my alone time and staying home. I read and play video games and entertain myself pretty well.

… I miss my, albeit small, social circle. Tomorrow would have been Cinco de Micro. We would have convened at the convention center and enjoyed sampling microbrews and listened to dubious cover bands and ate lots of tacos. We would laugh and joke and tell all kinds of stories. We would have had fun.

Instead, we’re home. Again. And I know why and I deeply believe in the need to stay home and save lives. But man. It isn’t easy. The only thing getting me through is my work.

April Goals

  • Submit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Begin Tavi revisions
  • Keep Reading!
  • Write 4000 words

How’d I do?

  • Submit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yes! I got some great feedback from my first round of readers and was able to make the final tweaks I felt it needed. It went out on Monday.
  • Begin Tavi revisions
    • YES! I did the read-through and note-taking and have now started really digging in and making changes. This meatier round of revisions is going well so far.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Oh yeah. I read another 6 titles in April, and a couple short story tie-ins. On a recent FaceTime chat with my dad I gave him a tour of my TBR piles, literally. There are PILES of books all over my house, waiting for me. There is no shortage of reading material here.
  • Write 4000 words
    • … No. But, I knew going into it that writing would be slow. Revision takes up parts of my brain that draft new content. My output is pretty much halved when I’m revising.

Total Word Count: 2,162

I don’t really know what else to say about April. I’ve been reading lots, making more videos, and working on my writing projects. I finally made some headway on my fanfic which accounts for the 2k words, and I’ve outlined subsequent stories through to where I’ve played the game so far. It’s looking good, and oh so close to the heartbreaking ending.

Which means I have an excuse to play more Dragon Age, haha! Like I need one.

Revisions are going very well. I’m really pleased with the direction I’m taking this book and the clarity of vision I have to guide my decisions. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m not daunted and I’m confident in the choices I’m making. That feels real freaking good, I tell ya what.

May Goals

  • Tavi Revision #1
  • Keep reading!
  • Write 4,000 words

I have 31 days to revise 20 more chapters. I’ve already revised the first six in the last two days. I’m feeling really good about my progress and my grip on the project. I’ve broken it down into Revision Phases, each with its own goal. I could probably write an entire blog post about that. Hmm…

Anyway, I know where I’m headed and what I want to accomplish and I’m really excited about that. It’s going well.

Again, there’s reading aplenty in this house. I started Destroy All Monsters last night and am in awe of it already. Yet again, Sam J. Miller proves he is a top-notch storyteller. I love his work.

We’ll see if there’s an uptick in writing this month. I’m feeling good about it, mainly because I got over a weird emotional hump in the story and now there’s just some fluff before the angst train comes barreling through. But, if revision continues at this pace, I might not have much gas in the writing tank. Which is fine. I’d much rather focus on the novel than the fanfic. Obviously.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’m working on. I hope you’re all doing well, keeping safe and sane, and finding a little bit of joy in your day-to-day. If not joy, maybe just peace.

I’ll be back on Monday to discuss the week. Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #12

Hi Bloggarts!

It’s a little weird jumping into the blog so late in the year, but late is better than never I suppose. By now you know that I’m not working (at least not in the same capacity) because of Covid-19 and this sudden addition of unstructured time has led me to re-examine my routines. Which reunited me with my trusty whiteboard…

Last Week

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus rough draft
  • Read Dragon Age: Tevinter NightsTEvinter Nights
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus rough draft
    • Yep. I’m sort of struggling with this one because I like it so much. I know better than to submit a story that hasn’t been extensively revised, but I don’t know what else to do to it…
  • Read Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights
  • Write 800+ words
    • Yep. Pretty much right away. Some things clicked into place and my writing brain kicked into gear.

Weekly Word Count: 1,618

So. Yeah. First week “back” and I accomplished all my goals… That’s weird. But, not only did I accomplish all my goals, but I started a new YouTube series for my students. I’m screaming about it here on the blog so I’m sure you’ve seen it. I won’t blather on here about, but I do recommend you check it out.

Beyond video-making and goal-reaching there really isn’t much going on. State Parks closed today so I’m feeling pretty down about that. The nice weather finally gave out and we’re back to cold rain and grey skies.

I’m still playing Dragon Age, because y’know, I’m obsessed. I’m still writing fanfic and working on original projects. I’m here. Home and working and trying not to wonder too much about the future.

So, What’s Next?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish listening to Tunnel of BonesTunnel of bones
  • Write 800+ words

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? Last week’s successes don’t need to be built upon just yet. I want to get into a rhythm and used to working again before I start getting ambitious. Besides, this week is officially Spring Break. There are no work expectations for me right now, but starting the 31st I’m expected to be available and may have work to do. I don’t want to plan goals based on my time constraints now only to have them change in a few days.

That’s about it, Bloggos. I’ve already made another video to share later this week. I’m still listening to Tunnel of Bones and reading Ashlords. I’m playing Dragon Age and pining for a hike, and seriously missing my bi-weekly karaoke sessions. Luckily our Dungeons and Dragons group has agreed to video conferencing our sessions so we don’t have to sacrifice that. A little normalcy will be nice.

I’ll be back later this week with another video! Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk# 48

Bloggos! Happy Thanksgiving! I know I’m a day early but I’m excited about it and this is my blog so I’m going to scream about the holiday. I have family in town from AZ, our house is super-duper clean, and I’m off work until Monday. So, you see, lots of reasons to be obnoxiously upbeat about the season.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Gideon the Ninthgideon the ninth
  • Write 3000 words

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Gideon the Ninth
    • Yes! That book was difficult to put down, I tell ya what.
  • Write 3000 words
    • YES! I finally just went where my interest was and wrote some Solavellan fanfic. Dragon 4ge day is December 4th (my birthday!) and there was a list of prompts for fanworks. I’ve been writing to a few of those prompts, with plans to share the oneshots throughout the day on Wednesday.

Weekly Word Count: 3,199

This week went by SO fast. I spent the majority of my time cleaning and mentally preparing for having visitors over. Plus a bit of writing and reading. So, a good week. I went to a party hosted by the Editor of The Audient Void which was specifically for creatives. I got to listen to some amazing poetry, see a woman play her custom harp (which was probably one of the most beautiful, bewitching things I have ever seen in my life), and even read my short story, The Cost of Rain. It was a fun night full of support and good vibes. Hopefully they’ll do it again sometime.

There was a Friendsgiving over the weekend, which was a blast as usual. So basically, lots of housework, reading, writing, and social activities.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Read 2 titles
  • Write 3,000 words

Keeping things simple this week. It’s the holiday, we’re hosting, and we have family from out of town. This is not the week to set lofty goals. I do plan to post the book review for Gideon the Ninth over the weekend, and I just finished reading a graphic novel last night. The big question mark for the week is the writing. I won’t have much time, just late friday and all day Saturday. But, I’ll be recovering from the holidays, so who knows what that time will actually look like.

So yeah, easy peasy lemon squeezy. Hopefully. I’ll be back later this week to talk about Gideon the Ninth.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

Book Review – City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab

Blogland! My reading is picking up as the year draws to a close, as is tradition. I’m too competitive not to make a mad dash for my Goodreads Challenge goal, no matter how far behind I am.

City of Ghosts was not on my radar at all until quite recently. I discovered V.E. Schwab this year when a migraine struck and I listened to the A Darker Shade of Magic audiobook. The next two weeks had me feverishly consuming the sequels and adding any and all of her books to my TBR. But somehow, this book got missed.

Then I saw it on the shelf of my school library’s YA section and had a minor heart attack. I bought the audiobook with an audible credit and listened to it in two sittings. I have zero regrets.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

city of ghosts

Cassidy Blake is eleven years old and like a lot of only children, she has an invisible friend. The difference is that Jacob is very, very real. He’s just a ghost! After she fell in an icy river and quite literally died, Jacob saved her and brought her back to the land of the living. They’ve been inseparable ever since, and Cassidy has been able to cross the “Veil” to the land of ghosts, where she explores and takes creepy photographs of the beyond.

It’s all innocent fun until her parents announce they’re starring in a new show, The Inspectres, where they travel the world and investigate haunted cities. The traveling bit sounds cool, but the haunted bits sound… problematic. Especially since, out of her whole family, she’s the only one who’s ever actually seen a ghost.

So off to Scotland they go, with Jacob and the cat, Grim, in tow.

What I loved:

  • I loved the characters. I know, what a surprise, right? But, man, Victoria Schwab writes people so so well. I loved Cassidy’s wry humor and her affection for Jacob. I love Jacob, his nervousness, his timidity, and his sarcastic banter with Cassidy. I loved that Cassidy has a good relationship with her parents and that they seem to really love one another. I thought the whole family dynamic was super believable, especially since I was an only child, at least until I was almost 16.
  • The setting! I’ve always entertained the idea of visiting Scotland, but don’t really know much about the country, or of Edinburgh. Schwab’s descriptions really struck me. I’d love to see the city and the castle and absorb the general vibes of the place. So, thanks for that Schwab.
  • The narration! Reba Buhr read the book and did a fantastic job. I’ve read enough of Schwab now to recognize her writing no matter who’s reading, but I liked the voices and accents she did. It really helped me get immersed in the story.

What I didn’t love:

  • Um… it was a bit lower level than I’m used to reading. That’s not really a problem with the book, it just left me wanting more. The plot was largely predictable, but still good. I just wasn’t as engaged with the material as I would have been with an older Teen or Adult story.
  • I didn’t super like Laura. She felt sort of forced and I can’t really say how or why. I kept waiting for her to be the bad guy, and she wasn’t, so maybe that had something to do with it.

I love Victoria (V.E.) Schwab and this book is no exception. Not necessarily her best, but I’m also not the target audience. For middle school-aged me, it would have been an instant favorite.

There is a sequel, which I’ve already downloaded on audible, but I’m… hesitant. Ok, really talk, the sequel is called Tunnel of Bones and is set in Paris. They are FOR SURE going into the catacombs and… I can’t. Like, just the idea of the catacombs makes my heart race. Creepy, underground tunnels are a major fear of mine. Dunno why but just thinking about them makes me break out in a nervous sweat.

So, yeah. Might have to take it slow with that one.

I finished Gideon the Ninth and started reading Vengeful tonight. Lots of reading and a little writing. Life is good.

Talk soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #47

The end of the year is creeping up. Does anyone else feel like they’re running out of time?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Gideon the Ninthgideon the ninth
  • Write 5000 words

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Gideon the Ninth
    • No. But, I read two graphic novels and finished an audiobook, so I’m not sad about it.
  • Write 5000 words
    • Hahahaha… No.

Weekly Word Count: 649

I hit a major inspiration block in writing this week. I don’t know if I’m just burned out, if work is too stressful, or if this just isn’t the right project for Nanowrimo, but I’m not being very productive this month. I keep bouncing between the novella and fanfic, and then bouncing between fanfic projects. Then, when I feel totally uninspired, I play video games instead.

I like the idea of writing, I feel that familiar mental swirl of a story taking form, but I lack the motivation to actually put ass to chair and make it happen. I’d rather read, play video games, or watch Disney+. It doesn’t help that my family will be here in a week and there’s still a lot of chorin’ to be done.

Let’s just blame it on stress and move on.

I finished playing Uncharted 4 and Beyond: Two Souls. I liked them both, a lot, and am glad to have played them. They were both right up my alley and long overdue.

I decided to withdraw Lifelike from a market that had it for over six months. The website hadn’t been updated since April and the email for the editor was no longer valid. I think it’s safe to say that wasn’t going to get picked up. Exodus: Descent was rejected today, but it was a personal rejection, which is always nice. Both stories will be submitted somewhere else by the end of the week.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Gideon the Ninth
  • Write 3000 words

Keeping it pretty straightforward again. I have no idea what writing project I’ll work on, and honestly, I don’t much care. I just want to write before the holiday sneaks up and steals all my time. We’ll see if anything demands my attention.

I’m just over halfway through with Gideon the Ninth now. I expect to have it done in the next couple of days. I finished listening to City of Ghosts and will have the book review up before the end of the work week. I want to start listening to the sequel, Tunnel of Bones sometime this week too.

So, yeah. Lots of reading, writing, cleaning, and working. We’ll see where that takes us before the holiday season swallows me whole.

Talk at you soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ