Category Archives: Writing

Books…

Books and more books!

This is the month of books.  So far I have read/listened to five books so far this month and it’s only the 9th.  I have two other books started right now, with several more to get to by the end of the month.  I figured this would be a good time to tell you about them because that’s pretty much what I’m focusing on this month.

I actually like focusing on books.  I love reading; I’m finally figuring out what I like outside of paranormal.  It also gives me something else to focus on besides working and the house.  I can be positive about books.  I can be passionate about books.  I can actually talk about books and the characters, the writing styles and what I like (or hated).  As a writer, that’s super important to me.  If I know the style I like to read, I can write that way too.

This month, I’m doing the Tome Topple challenge (books over 500 pages) and Read-A-Thin (thinning out your To-Be Read list).  There are also books outside of those two challenges that I am reading/listening to.  Here are the video links to my complete TBR lists for all three sets of books.

August TBR: Read-a-thin Challenge– https://youtu.be/zK8rskow3BY
August TBR: Tome Topple– https://youtu.be/U0hWaQBLk_A
August TBR: Other books– https://youtu.be/lvI5ZxrG_g8

Overall, there were 18 books.  Now, there are 20 because I added a buddy read book that I wasn’t expecting and one of my Overdrive holds became available.

That’s what’s going on my life right now.

Listening to:  Eclectic Reads’ Coffee Book Tag

Reading:  Physical book–Shadow the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (great book!) and Audiobook—Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Quote of the Day:  “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” ― Frank Lloyd Wright

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Question Day

I’ve been working on my vlogs for BookTube and my various stories.  I haven’t made much headway with either (although I’m already at eight vlogs for the month out of fourteen).  Those are fairly easy to record, mostly since they are about books.

Since I have been focusing on everything else, I figured today would be a good question day.

#70.  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

This one is hard because there is a lot of things I would do if I knew no one would judge me.  I figured this would be a good list answer.

  • Audition for a role in a play. There is a production company that isn’t that far from my house and they are holding auditions for “Into the Woods.”  Outside of timing, my criticisms of myself and comments on my singing keeps me from auditioning right now.  I did save their page so I can try auditioning for a different play they are doing later in the year.
  • Sing in public. I have songs on my playlist that I love and sometimes the need to belt out the lyrics is strong.  When I’m in my car, I do; out in public, I don’t.  I don’t want to be judged.
  • Dance in public. Same as singing.
  • Do an open mic night. I think I’m funny and I think I have funny stories to share.  I would love to have the balls to get in front of crowd and through some jokes around to make people laugh.  We could all use a good laugh right now and I have a really great skit revolving around Uber.
  • Not stay at my desk all day. People judge when you aren’t sitting at your desk looking busy.  This drives me crazy.  I want to go sit in a conference room or go for really long walks or just go outside and enjoy that day.  Can’t do it a lot unless the bosses aren’t here.  While the cat’s away and all that jazz.
  • Read more. Same as desk duty.
  • Spend everything I make on non-bills. Bills and adulting are two things that go hand in hand these days.  I hate it and would much rather spend my money on other things like travel and family things.  Sadly, without bills and adulting, there wouldn’t be anything (material or human) to come home to after traveling or having fun.
  • Take a break. Along the lines of adulting, I would love to take a break from my job and find something else to do.  Judgmental me is against it because people would talk and then realize that you aren’t needed in your job anymore so why do you even still work for the company?  On the other hand, a break to do something meaningful with my life like volunteer, travel, or go to school full-time would be phenomenal.
  • Apply for non-public sector jobs. I started looking for non-government positions.  The current political climate has me wanting to get out while I can and go just about anywhere right now.  If I didn’t think I would be judged for looking outside of my agency and knew I could have a back-up plan for coming back to the government, I would apply elsewhere.
  • Write more. This goes back to my perfectionism and my anxiety.  If I mentally could wrap my brain around the story not having to be perfect up front or that people don’t care some much about what I say at first and I can always clean it up, I’d write more things.  As it stands, my need for everything to be perfect sucks and stifles my motivation.  I want to put out good works of art at the first attempt, not the third or fourth try.

Ten things.

Ten judgmental, self-esteem reducing things that I really would love to try.  Where to start with getting past them?  I’ll let you know later.

 

Listening to:  Hozier

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.”  ― Roopleen

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Writings Part 2

Back in January, I wrote a post about the stories I had written but needed to work on.  Since then, The Universal Remote has been self-published (March) and I’ve started a BookTube channel (June).  What I haven’t done is much writing.

Yesterday, to sort of help break out of the downward spiral of not writing, I had a friend pick a number between one and ten.  I really thought I only had ten stories I had started and needed to work on.  Turns out there are actually eleven storylines written down and one more floating around in my head.

She picked number eight, which is Drifter.  This story hasn’t seen the light of a computer screen in a while.  I wrote it because I was stuck between two guys when I was younger and there was the really bad snow storm in D.C.  Needless to say, it was also the story that had someone telling me that I wrote at a sophomoric level and that my story essentially sucked.  I listened to him and stopped writing for a while.

Drifter was never meant to be more than a short story about a woman who couldn’t face rejection and realizes too late that no one saves anyone but themselves.  I was really in a dark place in my life then.  I’m not in that place anymore but the story is still around.

Since the story is supposed to be short, I needed to check the word count rules.  According to The Daring Novelist, these are the word count lengths used by The Science Fiction Writers of America:

  • Short fiction: under 7,500 words
  • Novelette: 7,500-17,500 words
  • Novella: 17,500-40,000 words
  • Novel: 40,000 words and up

The comments on her blog post has some really good information as well.

So now that I have a word count goal, I guess it’s time to get to writing, right?  Can’t procrastinate forever.

Have a great day.

Listening to:  Amazon’s Long Weekend: Rock playlist

Reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Quote of the Day:  “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” ― Khalil Gibran

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Books, books, …

And more books.

So I was watching YouTube videos the other day because I was looking for something.  I follow the Super Carlin Brothers; they do a lot of Disney and Harry Potter videos.  One of the videos Jay did was in defense of Slytherin, which if I haven’t said it before, is my Hogwarts House.

YouTube recommended a video by A Clockwork Reader with five book recommendations with Slytherin characters.  She kept talking about BookTube.  I watched a few of her videos and wanted to find out more about BookTube and maybe even becoming one.

Yesterday, I started doing research on how to do a BookTube Channel and have been looking at other people’s BookTube channels.  So far, it’s been Emmmabooks, Little Book Owl, Peter Likes Books, PeruseProject, and ProblemsofaBookNerd.  I don’t know where to start but there were SO MANY books!

Speaking of books…

I’m still on the fence about which story I really need to focus on.  There’s no real reason for being on the fence and there’s really no reason for me not writing, outside of I have little to no motivation.  I started writing a travel story and I may switch up to making it a short story and moving past writing it.  There’s a beginning, a direction, and an ending.  Like other stories of mine, there is research involved and I keep making excuses to not write the story.  Procrastination is the name of my game right now.  I know I’m terrible.

Music has been pulling me in different directions too.  “Mad World” has me going in the direction of office worker looking for a way out.  “Monochromatic” by Mary Lambert had be thinking about an old story I had started about what at the time, was going to be a guy that was subdued in growing up.  He grows up in a house void of color, but there’s a girl who is bright but is sent away before his world go gray.  Listening to that song made me realize a few things about that story that makes me want to go back, change a few things, and finish it, even if it’s just a novella.

Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend.  We’re headed to Pride this weekend.

Listening to:  ProblemsofaBookNerd’s Another Big Unhaul

Reading: I’m in-between books right now but starting the Saga Series as soon as I get home tonight.

Quote of the day:  “There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.” ― Zayn Malik 

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Research

Most times, I would use that word for writing papers, not necessarily for writing stories.  Right now, though, I’m working on a few stories that I can’t really use personal experience with.  I can’t take a year off from my life and travel around the country, and I haven’t had any luck winning the lottery.  So research becomes a writer’s best trick to writing a believable story.

The Plot Thickens…

The book I’m working on now is about a woman who quits her job, gives away her things, visits her parents and stays there for a week before realizing the lottery ticket she’d picked up on her way out of town was a winning ticket.  Beyond that, she had quit to write and travel.  She just didn’t know what part of traveling she wanted to.  Along the way, she realizes a few truths she had ignored before.  The man she really liked was getting married, the man she hadn’t seen waiting for her in the background was falling in love with her story, and the people she had met along the way in various forms and capacities made her realize how much she had missed that was right in front of her.

Then Research Ensues…

This is where the research comes in because this is where I’m stuck.  There are so many cities to pick from that would be awesome to write about, so many things to do in those cities, and so many ways to write about her journey.  I had thought about doing a foodie trip before, using the mock road-trip schedule I had made a few years ago as places to start with for things like “Diners, Drives, and Dives” and “Man vs. Food”.  While I was trying to come up with that list, I remembered looking through “1000 Places to See before You Die in the U.S.”  Fast-forward and these are the things I’m starting with to help move the story along.

And Things Move Along.

Along with the travel, the main character has goals she wants to do along the way.  One of the guys will find a way to join her in some of her adventures, and the other is only briefly at the parameter of the story.  Research also helps me figure out which goals she can accomplish where.

Whether you are working on a story that you’re stuck on or are trying to figure out that goal you’ve wanted to do for a while, research can be your best friend or your worst enemy, as there is such a thing as too much research.

Sometimes, getting out from behind the computer screen and just doing something is the only research you need.

Good luck out there!

Listening to:  The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

Reading:  Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Quote of the Day:

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
― Chad SuggMonsters Under Your Head

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Time Sucks

Today is a question day.

Question #18: Which activities make you lose track of time?

  • Writing.  I can easily lose track of time when I’m typing away at a scene I really like.  I just keep going until I think of something else for another part of the story, questions I want to answer within that chapter, or the scene plays out to the end.
  • Cross-stitching. Going through the thread and the patterns help me get lost when I need something patient to do.  I will admit that it takes a while to complete because I find myself stopping every so often and putting to the side, especially when I’m in school.
  • Reading.  Books are my best friend when I’m on the train or stuck in traffic.  Some books pull me in and I want to keep going until I done with them.  Other books take a while to get through, not because the story is bad, but that I find other things to do with my time other than read them.  American Gods or Eat Pray Love are a few of those books for me.  American Gods because it makes you think about what immigrants brought to the new world as far as their beliefs and superstitions.  Eat Pray Love was because I didn’t want to have to sort through my feelings like Liz did.  Now, I don’t have to sort through them as much because I’m in a different “place” in my life.
  • Binge Watching. Since Netflix started doing streaming and I found some shows that I used to watch and loved, binge watching while cross-stitching is a thing now.  I haven’t watched Netflix in while because of work, school, and training.  I do remember I’m almost done with Ghost Whisperer and Once Upon a Time.  I finally finished watching Haven.  Out of all of series I’ve seen, there have only been two series I’ve watched with really satisfying endings:  Haven and Lost Girl.  Neither left me wanting more so if you need recommendations for binge-worthy shows, check them out.  I’m waiting to see what happens with Grimm  Good thing I’m almost ready to start a new cross-stitch pattern now that I’ve sorted through the books to donate, sell, and read.
  • Ubering.  I’m adding this to the list because I can easily spend ten plus hours driving people around over the weekend.  I’ll tell Ray I’ll stop work at a certain time and then I look up after a few trips and it’s closer to that time than I would have liked.  Nights where I’m up almost 22 hours straight mean I’m stopping somewhere on the way home to nap.  I don’t often do it over the week because when I do lose track of time, I suffer the next day.  Getting up at 4:30 a.m. after you get home at 11 p.m./12 a.m. isn’t as easy as it used to be.
  • Social Media. This is another one that’s easy to lose time with.  Pick a reason for any of the time sucks like Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest, and you’ll hit the nail on the head.  I use YouTube for music and following a few different vloggers, among the “how-to” videos and the Super Carlin Brothers.

I should probably mention I used to be a gamer and that helped me lose track of time.  I haven’t played a game in a while.  After about an hour of playing, I would quit.  Might need to do a game run though just to get rid of some frustration waiting for softball to start.

What are some things you do that make you lose track of time?  Let me know because I could always use new ideas and things to check out.

Listening to: Beauty and the Beast Broadway Soundtrack.

Reading:  Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ― Maya Angelou

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Finally…

I finally hit the publish button on one of my book, The Universal Remote.

This fall would have made four years since I started writing the story.  I have stories older than that but that’s the first story I had taken to the finishing point.

Like most things, this started out as a nightmare turned into a full story.  I finally had to come to the conclusion that the first draft wasn’t supposed to be perfect and there would be times when I hated the story.  I hated writing it because it wasn’t perfect or made any sense whatsoever.  But it got me writing and then finishing it.

Now I have to finish my other stories too.  I actually started in on Shadows again over the weekend.  That story has been around since I was 15 in various formats.  I need to gather up all the different to that storyline that seems to be everywhere and condense it to one document.

But first… Here are the links to The Universal Remote, along with the description.  If you read it, please leave a review.

Description:  Would you want to know the future if you could?

Chelsea was getting married when she asks for a sign of when the love of her life would leave her.  The Universe answered in an interesting way.  On her one-year wedding anniversary, she received an unmarked package with a remote. 

Set in Tuscany and mixed with glimpses into the future while also set in the past, Chelsea sees her life unfold over ten episodes while dealing with life changing events in her present.

By the end, she is left with more questions than answers and gets answers to some of the questions she hadn’t thought to ask along with a few heartbreaking secrets.  Knowing what she does brings up one major question, though:  Will knowing what happens in the future change anything in the present?

Links: 

If you are looking for self-publishing information, check out Derek Murphy’s website and YouTube channel.  He has some good tips and tricks for those looking to self-publish.

Happy Monday!

Listening to:  My Writing playlist on Amazon.

Reading:  Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day:  “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” ― Robert H. Schuller

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