Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #29

Well. This is awkward.

I ghosted on the blog last week. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but I didn’t post a single thing last week. And that’s because I didn’t do a single writing related thing in the last couple of weeks. It feels… bad. But also, okay. The summer is my traditional season of unpredictability. There’s almost always a slump of some kind, though I thought I might have finally broken that habit.

Then I was laid off from the library, a job I absolutely loved. Talk about getting derailed.

trainwreck gif.gif
I’ve tried to keep my days productive with household chores, and while lots of work is getting done around the house, I’m also bingeing a lot of movies and television I wouldn’t normally have time for. Working on creative endeavors right now seems utterly exhausting. I have no motivation whatsoever, so I’m not forcing the issue for now. I know I’ll come back to it, because I always do.

I did get some good news, though. I was offered a position as the Library Media Assistant at Stayton High School! It doesn’t start until mid-August, so there’s still a bit of downtime ahead of me, but I’m using the time to read up on running a school library and gather resources and ideas for my first year on the job. It’s going to be a very big change, with lots of learning opportunities, which has me beyond excited.

That excitement has also taken over any energy I might have for writing related work. This is a nice reminder that I cannot control everything, and I have to work within my means without feeling guilty. It’s a lesson I still struggle with.

Now then, what was I supposed to do two weeks ago?

Last Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus: Descent
  • Read two short stories
  • Write 1k on Whales

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes! There were three posts that week thanks to the busyness inherent in the early days of the month.
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus: Descent
    • No. I did revise one chapter though, so not a total loss.
  • Read two short stories
    • Nope. Lots of other reading, but no short stories.
  • Write 1k on Whales
    • Nope. I had some great progress the week before, but it came to a halt pretty quickly.

Weekly Word Count: 0

Other than interviewing and finding out I had a new job, I don’t really know what I did that week. Read and watch Veronica Mars, I think. And chores.

Last Week

  • Nothing. There were no goals, nothing to strive toward. I read and watched TV and cooked and cleaned. I have become utterly domestic in my joblessness. I didn’t even go on any hikes! Yikes…

Weekly Word Count: 0

So yeah… not super productive. I mean, I read like three books in the last two weeks and have three GoogleDocs for work related resources, display ideas, and passive programs. So, I was busy-ish, just not with anything tangible for the blog. OH! I did read a single submission for The Audient Void, so there! I did one tangible writing related thing! HOORAY!

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Work on Whales
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus: Descent

That’s it. That’s all I want. A little bit of writing, a little bit of editing. We have our Bend trip to celebrate our anniversary this weekend, which I can’t believe is finally here, so I have five days to do some work…

And to binge the entire new season of Veronica Mars!

Someone send help.

It’s going to be August before we know it, and then it’s only 12 days before I start at my new job! Have I mentioned that I’m excited?

See you soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

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Reading Round Up – June 2019

June was a tumultuous month for me. My reading, much like my writing, came and went. I was distracted and had trouble committing to much of anything. That being said, I read more than I thought I did! Hurray!

Title: In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4)in an absent dream
Author: Seanan McGuire
Format: Trade Paperback ARC
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: I had low expectations for this book, since I wasn’t overly fond of the third one, but I LOVED this book. It tells Lundy’s story, of how her door opened and her time in the Goblin Market. I found it to be a perfect blend of cynicism and whimsy that really captured my attention.
Recommend: Yes, though you’ll want to have read at least the first book, preferably all of them first.

Title: Knight’s Shadow (Greatcoats #2)knight's shadow
Author: Sebastien De Castell
Format: Digital Audiobook
Narrator(s): Joe Jameson
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: This story is much darker than the first, and let’s be real the first book had five days of torture and a weeklong Purge scenario. I really liked this book, but less for the actual plot and more because I love the Greatcoats (especially Kest and Brasti) and Joe Jameson’s narration is fantastic. I love listening to Falcio talk, which is fitting, seeing as he does so damn much of it. See my full review for more details.
Recommend: Yes. Just buckle up and prepare yourself for some discomfort and some irritation.

Title: Revenger (Revenger #1)revenger
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Format: Trade Paperback
Goodreads Rating: N/A – Did Not Finish
Thoughts: This book struggled from page one. I’m hesitant anytime I read a story with a teenage girl protagonist written by a middle-aged man, but I also like to give it a fair shot. I made it about 80 pages before I finally had to call it. The plot was slow to build, the characters were either unlikable or pretty cliched. There were a lot of cool concepts, but the writing and characters weren’t compelling enough to convince me to do the work to read it. When I have a TBR that’s literally overflowing I don’t have time for bad books. Sorry, not sorry.
Recommend: No.

Title: The October Man (Rivers of London 7.5)the october man
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thoughts: I’m usually pretty ambivalent about the Rivers of London novellas, but this one was really good! It was fast paced, introduced all new and likable characters, and had a really intriguing plot. It also made me want to visit Trier really badly. I liked Tobias, although his narration wasn’t super different from Peter’s, just with a lot less humor and geekery.
Recommend: If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll like this installment.

Title: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)this savage song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Format: Trade Paperback, Hardback
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
Thoughts: This book surprised me, which is silly since it’s by Victoria (aka V.E.) Schwab. She absolutely blew my mind with the Shades of Magic books, and after this book I think I’ll trust her with just about any book she wants to give me. Verity is a post-apocalyptic (sorta) version of the Midwest. In this world, literal monsters are born from violence. There’s the Corsai, made of shadows and teeth, the Malchai, which seem to be even creepier vampires, and the Sunai, which eat the souls of sinners with a song. It’s incredibly imaginative with wonderful characters yet again. I did give it four stars because it was a little slow to start and felt a little bit… tropey. Like, it very much felt like a typical YA book until about page 100. Not that that’s inherently bad, but it’s not my fave. Pretty much everything after that was spectacular though! Find out more in my full review!
Recommend: Yep! Treat it with patience until around page 100 though.

Title: “Where Monsters Dance”A. Merc Rustad
Author: A. Merc Rustad (now Merc Fenn Wolfmoor)
Format: Trade Paperback
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Editor(s): K.M. Szpara
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: This story is… weird. In a really good way. An imaginary friend turns out not to be so imaginary, and the main character has to save them in a hidden dimension of benevolent monsters. I really liked the blend of reality and imagination.
Recommend: Yep. This is a visceral and whimsical tale well worth the read.

Title: “Be Not Unequally Yoked”Alexis A. Hunter
Author: Alexis A. Hunter
Format: Trade Paperback
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Editor(s): K.M. Szpara
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: I loved this story. It was so unbelievably up my alley. A young Amish man lives with a terrible secret: sometimes, he turns into a horse. The lines are blurring between him and the mare he becomes, until finally they are no longer separate identities. This story accomplishes so much. It’s a trans story, it’s a coming out story, it’s a first love story, it’s a story about religion and family and finding your place in a world you don’t really fit into. It does all of that with beauty and grace and ethereal quality that kept me hooked.
Recommend: Yes! I think there’s something here for just about anyone.

Title: “The Thing on the Cheerleading Squad”molly tanzer
Author: Molly Tanzer
Format: Trade Paperback
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Editor(s): K.M. Szpara
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: I liked this. It’s more straightforward than a lot of the other stories in this collection, and it’s Weird Fiction, which I read a lot of. The plot was a little predictable, but I liked it nonetheless. A tale of body-snatching, dark rituals, and how fear and hate can have unexpected consequences.
Recommend: Sure! It was a fun story.

Title: “Kin, Painted”benjanun
Author: Penny Stirling
Format: Trade Paperback
Collection: Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
Goodreads Rating: N/A
Thoughts: I had to take some time to really marinate on this story. It’s very quiet, with not much action at all. A nameless character struggles to find their “paint” in a family full of artists. The art in this story is more than expression, it is identity. What I really liked was that, while the character struggled and experimented, the family members never once judged or condemned. They support the main character and treat them with kindness and patience. I loved that. It was a lovely and hopeful note to end the collection on.
Recommend: Yes. Honestly, I recommend the entire collection.

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #27

Week one of unemployment in the books. What did I do with all this free time? Let’s find out!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Start Exodus: Descent revisions
  • Write 1k on Whales (new short story)
  • Read a short story

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Actually three last week, including a book review!
  • Start Exodus: Descent revisions
    • Eh… Kinda? I started reading chapter one, and have it all printed out and ready to go. But, there’s no quantifiable progress yet.
  • Write 1k on Whales (new short story)
    • Yes! It’s another risky story for me. I’m trying really hard to push my boundaries and see what I’m capable of. We’ll see how it goes.
  • Read a short story
    • No… I meant to, but I got a little carried away with my rewatch of Veronica Mars.

Weekly Word Count: 1,387

This week was… long? I’ll admit I spent the majority of my time doing housework and bingeing Veronica Mars. I’ve been a huge fan of the show since I was about 16, so the revival coming later this month has me pretty hyped. I didn’t do much reading because I was either watching the show or reading fanfic. So, yeah, I’m back on my old shit. Like, my really old shit.

But, when I wasn’t taking a trip down nostalgia lane, I did get a bit done. There was a bit of activity on the blog and a healthy amount of writing. There was also a bit of unemployment stuff that took up a chunk of time.

Also, I went on a hike on Saturday to Cape Perpetua where we explored tide pools and saw Thor’s Well. Over all, aside from the joblessness, it was a good week.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus: Descent
  • Read two short stories
  • Write 1k on Whales

There should be a bit of activity on the blog this week. Including the Reading Recap and the Six Month update. The revision process on Exodus shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s a clean draft, I just need to tighten some language and change one plot/character element. It’s more a matter of sitting down to do it.

I have Transcendent 2 from the library and need to get reading, so I’ll be spending some time with it this week. I’ll also be reading the Veronica Mars book over the next couple of weeks to get all caught up on the canon before the new season launches on Hulu.

The new short story is… weird. It came from a SUPER nebulous concept. I knew I had a married couple in an isolated SF setting trying to resolve their marital issues. That’s it. That’s all I knew. So when I set out writing it was truly exploratory. Who are these people? What do they want? What’s keeping them from it? I wrote over 1k words just exploring character and narration before I landed on what I think will be the final version. I’ll talk about it a bit more when I think it’s done.

There should be another hike this weekend, though I don’t have any idea where yet. Keep an eye out for photos.

Until next time, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

The Recap – June 2019

What a rollercoaster month June was. Full of writing, editing, hiking, sudden and utterly unexpected unemployment, reading, and binge-watching uplifting television to turn off my brain.

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There’s nothing that Aziraphale and Crowley can’t fix! Well, besides Armageddon, that is.

June Goals

  • Finish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read one short story a week
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Finish In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Sorta. It’s close. I thought it was done, sent it a couple places, but now think it still needs some tweaks. So, I don’t know. It came a super long way and I’m proud of my output on this project during the month, but the story isn’t quite there yet. Also, it’s now called A Lullaby for Mattie Barker.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep. Three stories are still out. These markets all have longer average wait times, so it’ll probably be awhile before I hear anything back from them.
  • Read one short story a week
    • Yes? I read them all in like, a week. But I read four of them, so that still counts. Right?
  • Keep reading!
    • Yes. Though not as much as I would have liked. I read five titles this month, counting Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, which I really read over the course of the first half of the year, but finally finished in June. I’m still two book ahead on my Goodreads Challenge, which is a pleasant surprise since I feel like I haven’t been reading nearly enough lately.

Monthly Word Count: 6,298

I should feel pretty good. My monthly goals on my whiteboard are all in black. That means they’re done. I should get a cookie or something. I also finally got that last trophy in Detroit: Become Human, so I am obviously super cool and not a nerd at all.

As for hikes, there were only two this month because of various goings on in my life as well as a trip out of town for my hiking buddy. But, we still managed to hike both Marion Lake and Cape Meares this month, which were both stunning and quite challenging. I can tell that my cardio is improving (easily done seeing as my cardio is notoriously bad) and my legs are building up muscle. I’ve also found that hiking really helps settle my mind and get me focused for the week ahead. I’m still loving these Pacific Northwest adventures. Marion Lake

We also spent a healthy amount of time clearing out our horribly overgrown backyard. It was nice to be out in the warm weather, but man I super-di-duper hate yard work. But, the hard part is all done now, and we can spend the month of July getting it perfected. We’re even considering building in a fire pit! Fancy.

Writing-wise this was a very straightforward month. I worked on A Lullaby for Mattie Barker pretty much exclusively, except for a couple of tumblr fanfic prompts. I wish I had more enthusiastic news about the writing process, but this story is a weird one. It’s hard to classify and I took some narrative risks with it that were relatively new to me. I don’t know if it’s successful, or if it even can be successful. But I like it. I’m proud of what it is so far. I just think there’s still something not quite right about it.

Pretty sure it’s the ending. I just don’t know how to fix it. Yet.Three Arch Rock

I did start working on a new short story, though I feel a little disingenuous saying so. This story is incredibly vague for me still. I know so little about the plot and the characters that really I’m just writing to get to know them all, and eventually I’ll have enough to shape it into something like a story. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Oh yeah, there was a migraine in there too. And an eye appointment (I’m getting prescription sunglasses!) and a massage. Self-care and all that.

July Goals

  • Polish Exodus: Descent
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read one short story a week
  • Finish Whale Song rough draft
  • Keep reading!

A little more ambitious this month, but I’m also not working right now. I have more time, even as I’m applying for jobs and catching up on housework. I ought to get as much writing work done as possible, right?

I have a couple hikes lined up for this month, three I think. But, I also have a lot of socializing this month what with a good friend’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. That’s all stuff to look forward to, though. It’s going to be a really good, really weird month.

I’ll keep saying that until it comes true.

Talk soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #26

Blogland. I don’t have much to say this morning. No quip about the weather or complaints about how fast last week went by. There’s just me, a laptop, and you. Let’s just get to it.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Read something!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Not a lot of substance, because it’s been a hard week, but they’re there.
  • Finish In Great Need of Ghoststhis savage song
    • Yes? I thought I did, and sent it out. Got rejected. Then I got some feedback from a friend and made some changes last night. And by some changes, I mean largely rewrote it. So… Yeah. I’m not really sure where it is at this moment. Also, it’s been retitled A Lullaby for Mattie Barker.
  • Read something!
    • Yes! I finally finished This Savage Song.

Weekly Word Count: 1,111

Man. This has been a week. I did some errands on Wednesday and felt great most of the day, but Thursday, Friday, and particularly yesterday were all very hard for me. But, I feel like a broken record about this. So, let me say it for the last time.

LOSING A JOB YOU LOVE IS FUCKING HARD.

There. I’m done with that now. Moving on.

Writing-wise this week was pretty non-eventful. I edited and tweaked Lullaby, wrote a little bit for a new short story that’s still very nebulous, and then feverishly made a bunch of changes to Lullaby. I haven’t looked at them yet to see if they make sense or are in anyway better, but I felt inspired last night, so hopefully it was the right decision.

I didn’t go hiking last weekend, but spent the day with family and had some really good food at a new New Orleans inspired place in town. I finally earned the last trophy for Detroit: Become Human, so I can finally say I beat that game! And we watched lots of The Great British Bake Off.

Basically, I tried my best to do things that were mind-numbing/relaxing. If I thought too much then I felt wildly out of control which is a 100% guaranteed way to spike my anxiety. So I did things to feel in control. Yard work. Paint my nails. Clean my office. Play video games. It would have been nice if it weren’t for the need for literal escapism.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Start Exodus: Descent revisions
  • Write 1k on Whales (new short story)
  • Read a short story

I actually have quite a bit of blogging to do this week. The monthly update, a book review, and maybe even a six month review of the blog and my writing in 2019 so far. There’s also the reading round up for June, but I wouldn’t expect that until next week at least. So, lots of action on the blog in the coming weeks.

I’ll talk more about my goals for Exodus: Descent in tonight’s Monthly Recap, but I need to include it in this week’s goals if I want to get started on that project.

IMG_20180825_171815 (1)The new short story is… weird. It doesn’t know what it is yet, or what it wants to accomplish. I’m just writing until things gel together, and then I’ll see what I can make out of it. It’s SF and very character driven, at least so far. It was inspired by a card from a board(?) game called Mysterium. The story has grown since then and the card doesn’t really reflect it anymore, but that’s where the kernel came from.

I haven’t read a short story in a while, so I wanted to make a point of it this week. That will be in addition to the reading and listening I’ll be doing anyway. I’m still (slowly) listening to Saint’s Blood and just started reading Our Dark Duet, the sequel to This Savage Song, last night. I expect my reading will be much improved this month, what with my sudden free time.

But, that’s all the blog and writing goals. I don’t have answers for what comes next beyond those. I have a list of jobs to apply for, have just applied for unemployment (that’s a first!), and have a list of chores to get done each day.

I don’t sit still well and I don’t want to wallow, so I’m keeping myself busy. Which reminds me, I think it’s time to talk the dog for a walk.

Later, Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #25

Hiya Bloggos!

Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. A phone interview, prepping for an in-person interview, a hike, yard work, and a migraine meant there just wasn’t a whole lot of writing time.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Sorry about that.
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Yes! A got another revision done, and think I made some critical changes to help with pacing.
  • Work on something fun!
    • Not really? With all the resume building and interview prep, revising Ghosts was my fun work.

Weekly Word Count: 0

I hate writing that. Even when word count wasn’t a big goal, it feels bad to say I wrote nothing in a whole week. But I was busy, and very very distracted. I could very well be unemployed at the end of this week, so you know. I’ve got a lot going on in my brain right now.

One thing that helped with that was a hike at Cape Meares. Two weeks off from my weekend hikes had me winded for most of the morning, and was a harsh reminder that it’s so easy to lose forward momentum when it comes to fitness.

Another thing that helped was bingeing The Great British Bake Off and Good Omens. I love them both and found them so uplifting when my world was very suddenly dark.

Revisions on the short story continue. I think I fixed the big problem and from here I think it’ll be about streamlining the story, cutting, and making the words sing. I think placing it will be tricky. It’s a quiet story that doesn’t really fit into any one genre. But that’s okay. I believe that writing stories for ourselves is the most important thing. I wrote a story that I wanted to tell, and either I’ll find an editor that loves it like I do, or I won’t. And that’s okay.

These past couple weeks have been a big lesson in accepting the things I cannot change. You’d think, having grown up at AA meetings, I’d know how to do that already, but it’s been difficult. I like having control (who doesn’t) and when life gets out of control, I tend to panic. I’m doing a lot of deep breathing these days.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Read something!

That’s it. I want to keep it simple this week. Read something, edit a bit, talk on the blog. Pretty much just get out of my head and onto the page. I’ll be waiting for news about an interview this week, and if I don’t do something escapist I will go insane. I’d really prefer not to.

That’s it Bloggarts. This is all I’ve got for you. The adrenaline of this morning’s interview is ebbing and I am so very tired now. I’ll be around.

 

BZ

 

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #24

This week felt really long, Bloggos. And not in the best way. I got some pretty bad (and unexpected) news on Friday, and while I spent the weekend recuperating (I replayed Detroit Become Human ALL DAY Saturday) it’s safe to stay I’m still reeling a bit.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yarp. You can read my review of Knight’s Shadow now!
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Nope. Still waiting on some feedback and giving the story some distance.
  • Work on something fun!
    • Yes! I wrote some tumblr prompts and worked a tiny bit on my giant fanfic series. It felt really good to come back to it after all this time.

Weekly Word Count: 1,178

I’m a little distracted today. I have a phone interview for a job I really want, and I’m trying to distract myself with writing this post. It isn’t really working. I read things, wrote some things, and played video games. That’s it.

Next.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

I think a week off is enough for me to return to this story with fresh eyes and try to iron out what the hell is wrong with it. The problem is that I like a lot of the story, so the problem areas aren’t super clear. That’s why I’ve been waiting for feedback. Maybe new eyes can enlighten me.

Sorry for the brief post. It’s really all I can manage at the moment. I’ll be back later this week, one way or another.

 

BZ