Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #20

Helloooooooo Blogland!

It was another amorphous, intangible sort of week. The sun rose, rain fell, and the sun eventually set. Work was done, or not, and I floated through time and space ignoring it all.

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post 2 videos
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priory
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
    • Nope. I did brainstorm some titles, but still did not land on one. I wrote a (very) rough draft of my query letter, which was a fun exercise. So… progress?
  • Post 2 videos
    • Yep!
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priorynetwork effect
    • … No. However. I did read Network Effect front to back in about 24 hours. So, I’m calling that a win.
  • Write 800+ words
    • No.

Weekly Word Count: 324

There’s been an article floating around the internet explaining that COVID-19 closures have put us all into a state of grief. I read the article early into the lockdown and thought, “well that makes sense”. I didn’t particularly feel as if I was grieving, I was just a weird combo of bored and frustrated and vaguely anxious. But the last couple of weeks have been different.

First I was very restless, then I got some news that ratcheted my anxiety WAY up. Add that to all the people protesting to reopen and the general lack of consideration shown in public spaces and well… I was angry. I didn’t realize I was angry until a fairly routine Friday night conversation with my husband spiraled out into a mutual bitch session about the state of the world. I realized that this feeling, this anger and growing ennui was what my husband had been feeling for weeks (he has a public facing job and it sapped his limited optimism quite quickly). It made me feel bad for him, and for not recognizing it sooner, but it also made us both feel better, because we were finally on the same page.

We were in the same stages of grief.

The weekend was much better. I finished my second watch of Schitt’s Creek, read a book, made yummy food and helped bake cookies. I even snuck in a workout! It was very relaxing.

So, today I’m feeling better. Not 100%. I don’t think I’ll be 100% again until we’re back to “normal” — whatever that looks like in the post-COVID era.

So, What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

Obviously I’ve fallen WAY behind on my proposed revision schedule. The good news is, I planned for this, and I still have time to get this rough draft wrapped by the end of the month. I only have 11 chapters to go and only 2 of those need major rewriting. If I can get back to my ~3 chapters a day routine, I’ll be done this week! And even if I don’t get back to that routine, I still have two weeks to do 11 chapters. Totally doable.

Wednesday morning are my video making time, and for once I actually have an idea of what I want to talk about! WHAT?! That never happens!

I picked up Priory again after I finished Network Effect last night. It reminded me that, while I love Epic Fantasy, it is such a different animal than the books I’ve been reading lately. I’m enjoying Priory so far; the prose is lovely, the characters and world are interesting, and I’m hooked into the political intrigue so far. But, man, there is so much foundational work that HAS to be done in the front half of books like this. No matter how much I want to read it, or how “fast” I read, it still feels slow. Not in a boring way, either. I’m still here, ready and willing to read, but the pacing is intentionally slow because there’s simply SO. MUCH. to talk about. The opposite of the Murderbot books in almost every possible way.

Writing is still slow. I’m wondering if that’s because I haven’t been playing Dragon Age… With this franchise, being distant from the original work doesn’t really matter for me. I’m pretty well immersed in it no matter what. I’ve spent too much time in the world to be anything else. But the motivation is… lacking at the moment. I’m avoiding some big feelings on the fictional horizon and I don’t think being mid-COVID is helping that.

Which is fine. Revisions need to be the focus right now anyway. Speaking of, I have shit to do.

Talk soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Reading Round Up – May 2019

I feel like I didn’t read much this month, but that’s mostly because the first two weeks of the month were spent non-stop writing. With that in mind, I suppose I didn’t do half bad. Actually, now that I have it all gathered in one place, turns out I read quite a bit!

Title: Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1)every heart a doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: I didn’t know anything about this series beyond the cover copy, so my expectations were basically non-existent. I really liked the characters, especially Jack and Christopher. I think it was a fun story that’s really inventive. Worth the afternoon to read it.
Recommend: Sure. It’s a fun, quick story that leaves you wanting more.

Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2)down among the sticks and bones
Author: Seanan McGuire
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: This is the story of Jack and Jill and their time in the Moors! Yes! I loved it. I ached for the twins when they were forced into roles and thoughts that were never their own. I really enjoy how McGuire can narrate such mundane moments with fairytale words. It weaves a spell over the whole story and I desperately want to emulate it.
Recommend: If you liked the first one, absolutely! There’s even more to love in this one.

Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)beneath a sugar sky
Author: Seanan McGuire
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: This was my least favorite of the three so far. I wasn’t very attached to Sumi and I didn’t much care for her daughter. I also didn’t feel much for Cora either, even though we share a lot of similarities. But, Kade and Christopher are back and I LOVE them, so it worked out. The Wayward Children venture into Confection to bring Sumi back to life so that her daughter can be born and the world saved from the false Queen. A really interesting plot, but I found Confection really frustrating. Nonesense worlds are not for me.
Recommend: Yep. Still totally worth an afternoon to read, and makes you a little warm and fuzzy inside at parts.

Title: Deadpool: Secret Agent Deadpoolsecret agent deadpool
Author(s): Chris Hastings and Salva Espin
Format: Graphic Novel
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: This comic book is absolutely ridiculous, and I mean that as a compliment. It’s basically Archer, but with Deadpool playing the title role after he mistakenly kills a secret agent and takes his place in the agency. The Merc with a Mouth gets to put his very specific set of skills to good use for once in this wild ride of a comic series.
Recommend: It’s Deadpool. If you like vulgarity, blood and gore, and absolutely insane plots, then you’re gonna love this volume.

Title: All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)all systems red
Author: Martha Wells
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: This is another novella series that I knew nothing about before I dove into it. I just read the blurb that said “anti-social AI” and knew I should give it a try. Turns out, I too love Murderbot. I inhaled this novella and would happily read it again. The first person perspective is witty, casual, and hilarious. I laughed out loud frequently. The action sequences are incredibly well done and often awesome. Seriously, this is a great little book.
Recommend: Yes! I promise, if you don’t mind some F bombs here and there, you will love Murderbot too!

Title: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)artificial condition
Author: Martha Wells
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: I loved this, and the only reason it didn’t get five stars is because I thought it could have been longer and a little more fleshed out. I also felt that Murderbot’s quest to figure out what happened before it had its memory purged was over too quickly, though I liked that it wasn’t a neat resolution. I also loved ART and hope it makes a comeback soon.
Recommend: Yep. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one.

Title: Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3)rogue protocol
Author: Martha Wells
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: I think this is the story where Murderbot really hits its stride. This was a gripping action story with way more emotion than I was prepared for. I still laughed a bunch, don’t you worry, but I also cried a little too. Yet again, it’s Murderbot’s connections with other AI that really standout, this time with Miki, a “pet robot” that surprises Murderbot with how deeply it cares for the people around it. And how much those people care for it.
Recommend: Absolutely. Even if you weren’t in love with Artificial Condition, give this one a shot because it’s a return to form.

Title: The Wicked + the Divine vol. 8wicdiv 8
Author(s): Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson
Format: Graphic Novel
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: While this isn’t a continuation of the story so far, it is a super fun collection of side stories and prequels that give a little more context for the world and story. There are some really funny spoofs included as well, such as the Scooby Doo AU (that’s “Alternate Universe”) that had me cackling in bed and waking my husband repeatedly.
Recommend: If you’ve read the rest of the series so far, you should absolutely read this.

Title: Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4)exit strategy
Author: Martha Wells
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: Holy hell. This book was tense. Nonstop action throughout and a return to Dr. Mensah and her team. I loved every moment of this story, though my fingernails probably hated it since they were chewed to the point of bleeding I was so stressed. Also, yes, I did cry at the end.
Recommend: Yes. You have to read this book, and if you haven’t yet, please read this series!

Title: Evil Eyeevil eye
Author: Madhuri Shekar
Format: Digital Audiobook
Narrator(s): Harsh Nayyar, Annapurna Sriram, Bernard White, Nick Choski, and Rita Wolf
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: This wasn’t on my radar at all but I was a little listless after finishing Murderbot and wanted to listen to something while I did chores. Since it was only a couple hours long I thought, why not? Turns out, this was a really impressive story I would have never tried without my Audible subscription. I loved the narrations, and though the story was a might predictable, I still really enjoyed it. The climax scene was incredibly intense to listen to and it definitely had me sweating.
Recommend: Yes! If you have an Audible subscription, this was one of the Audible Originals for May. I think you can still get it though. It’s only a couple hours long and totally worth it. It was a great way to power through some chores.

Title: “Splitskin”E. Catherine Tobler
Author: E. Catherine Tobler
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Editor: K.M. Szpara
Format: Trade Paperback
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: I won’t lie, I don’t think I understood half of what happened in this story, but it was so beautiful, so lyrical and poetic and utterly fascinating that I didn’t really care. I just wanted to languish in the language for a little bit longer. This is definitely one I would reread, in hopes of better comprehension and because the words were just that wonderful.
Recommend: Yes, but only if you can enjoy a story for the craft alone. I won’t guarantee that you like what it has to say, or even understand what it has to say. But if you likes words and how people string them together, you’ll like this story.

Title: “A Salt and Sterling Tongue”Emma Osborne
Author: Emma Osborne
Collection: N/A
Editor(s): N/A
Original Publication: Uncanny Magazine, Issue 28
Format: Digital Publication
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: I loved this story. It’s very poetic with a rhythm that hints to the sea. It’s a heartbreaking story, so be prepared for that, but it’s really quite beautiful too. I think it’s worth a re-read sometime soon.
Recommend: Yes. It’s a little bit longer than I normally like, but it shouldn’t take long to actually read. It’s worth every moment.

Title: “The Need for Overwhelming Sensation”bogi takacs
Author: Bogi Takács
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Editor(s): K.M. Szpara
Format: Trade Paperback
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: This story is wild. A lot happens very quickly and I was left wondering what the hell was going on. I felt disoriented through it, but I’m not sure that wasn’t the point. There’s a very steep learning curve and you have to trust the story to give you context as you go. But, I ultimately liked the world building and the magic/science used to power lightspeed jumps. It was an extremely intriguing blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy that I admittedly loved. The plot was a little vague, even as so much was happening. I was never very certain about what the point of it all was. I still liked it.
Recommend: Sure! If nothing else, take a chance on it and see what you think.

Title: “The Librarian’s Dilemma”E. Saxey
Author: E. Saxey
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Editor(s): K.M. Szpara
Format: Trade Paperback
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: A very interesting story about a person who’s trying to modernize and digitize an academic library and encountering resistance from the head librarian. It’s shockingly pertinent to today’s slowly evolving libraries, but also asks a really important question: are there some writings that aren’t worth saving?
Recommend: Sure. If you have any experience with libraries I think this will be much more effective. I know I related to it because of that.

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #22

Hey, Bloggos.

Another week down and the weather finally broke, giving us more sunshine than I knew what to do with. A mighty sunburn and a bought of dehydration later, I’m ready to talk about the week and what comes after.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1k on In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Finish reading Murderbot books

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yarp.
  • Write 1k on In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Narp. Just over 700 words, so close but no cigar.
  • Finish reading Murderbot books
    • Yes! And then some!

Weekly Word Count: 713

I finally wrote up my thoughts in the aftermath of finishing the rough draft of my novel. I think I needed to do that to get the last dredges of the book out of my mind and actually move on to the next project. I hope that’s the case. I want to move on and really dig into the new short story, but things just aren’t gelling yet. I get snippets and flashes, but nothing coherent enough to turn into a story. Yet. Hence the low word count.

But, when the writing slows down the reading ratchets WAY up. Last week I finished Rogue Protocol and read Exit Strategy, WicDiv vol. 8, In an Absent Dream, one short story, and listened to Evil Eye.  So, lots of reading last week!

I also went on a ridiculously gorgeous hike, and nearly gave myself sun poisoning. Apparently this desert rat doesn’t know what to do with excess sunshine anymore. I felt shriveled all day Sunday, and no matter how much water I drank I couldn’t seem to get enough. Dehydration is no joke, kids. This is coming from someone who typically drinks 60+ ounces of water a day. Thankfully I’m feeling back to normal today.

Side Note: I had a (very mild) migraine this weekend as well, which did not help matters in the slightest.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1k on In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Finish listening to Knight’s Shadow
  • Start reading Revenger

So, lots of reading and writing this week. There’s no hike slated for this weekend because my hiking buddy is out of town. But, I’ve made plans to go to the Oregon Zoo and check out the Mikkeller Brewing pop-up in Portland this weekend. I won’t let a Saturday go to waste, especially not one that’s supposed to be so nice. Unfortunately that means the zoo will be crowded, but I can’t help that.

As I’m sitting here, writing this blog post, I keep getting little snippets of my newest story. I think the gears are finally turning up there in my head and I might finally make some progress on this story! I really like what it’s trying to do and be, so I’m feeling pretty hopeful and a little excited right now.

I finally broke down and paid for an Audible subscription. There’s just too many audiobooks I want to listen to that I can’t get (easily) through the library. One of those titles is Knight’s Shadow, the second book in the Greatcoats series. If you’ll recall, I listened to the first one at the end of last year, and tried to read the sequel in a hardback with little success. I shelved it for more pressing reads, but now I’m listening to it and loving it so far.

But, I still need a paper book to read, and Revenger by Alastair Reynolds is next on my TBR pile. I’ve read some pretty mixed reviews, but I’ve also never read anything by him before, so we’ll see how it goes.

I’ll talk at you soon with the Reading Round Up for May.

Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ