Books

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Eeek!

Hey guys! Sorry for no post last week. We are still self-isolating up here and while I'm used to staying in the house all day, I am not used to having my husband home all day. Thus, I've temporarily ended up changing the hours I spend awake and I'll be honest, its kinda weird. Nice to wake up in the AM, but that's about it. Fortunately, I've finally managed to change my sleep schedule somewhat. 

However, having my husband home all day means that I end up having no idea what day it is anymore. I'll try to do better next time.

As to what I've been doing, I've been working just a bit on writing, I've been spending half an hour or more trying to work on jewelry every day, and Hunting Fiends for the Ill-Equipped was finally released yesterday, so I spent most of the day reading that. I also made a point of baking some cookies to enjoy while I read. Aside from that, I've rediscovered my love for a little known game called Unholy Heights. The devil owns a condominium for monsters. Fight your way to world domination, while dealing with renters who refuse to pay their rent and must be evicted as well as defending your turf from adventurers set on taking your stuff. Its a great game. Simple, but hilarious. 

And that's about it. I'm signed up for camp Nanowrimo and set myself a goal for 50 hours. I'm at just over an hour now, but I'm enjoying the work. 

And that's about it. What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained?

Friday, March 27, 2020

Reading for the Self-Isolating

We're all finding ourselves with more time on our hands right now. But what to do while you're stuck inside self-isolating? The obvious answer is your favorite streaming service, but as a reader myself, I'm calling on all of you to try to read a little more. One of the benefits of reading in a situation like this is also that you won't feel quite as locked in your house. For a few hours a day, you'll feel like you're out of your home and in a completely different world. While I would love to hear that some of you are reading Hunter's Gambit, there are a lot of other great books out there for you to pick up. Many authors are discounting their ebooks specifically during the pandemic to give people something to do while they're stuck inside.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh is offering sales for physical books on her website and her books on Kindle are very cheap, as well. In particular, I can suggest her Kitsune series (Kitsune Tsuki & Kitsune Mochi) and her Shard of Elan series (Shard & Shield & Blood & Bond). The nice part about her Shard of Elan series is that the third book is coming out soon, so you'll have another out soon after you finish the first two.

Starla Huchton is offering most of her Kindle books for very good prices as well and I saw a post about her cutting three of those down to $0.99. In particular, I can suggest her Evolution series; think superheroes dealing with adult issues and throw in a bit of sex and romance. I found them very entertaining and like the way Starla writes her romances. Of those, I've read the first book of her Endure series, Maven and loved it as well.

Ana Johns's novel, The Woman in the White Kimono is also on sale in the Kindle store for under $5 and that was the best new book that I read last year. Consider it highly recommended by me.

As for what I'm reading right now, the book I'm reading from my 100 TBR list is Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra and so far, I'm rather enjoying it. Digitally, I'm reading The Hidden Princess by Georgina Makalani. As soon as I finish that book, I'll be reading my way through Annette Marie's Guild Codex: Demonized series; book 3, Hunting Fiends for the Feeble, is coming out on April 4th. For audiobooks, I'm currently listening to CE Murphy's Urban Shaman series, which is one of my favorites to date. I have also purchased and will be listening to Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs soon. This is the newest book in her award-winning Mercy Thompson series, another favorite of mine.

If you want to join me in reading any of these books, I am always looking to discuss books and share favorite quotes from them, so let me know if you decide to pick up any of these.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Taking a Week for me

This will be a very short post, so I'm apologizing in advance. My tendinitis snuck up on me this year and took me out this week. I'm under strict orders to rest my wrists, which means no writing or drawing for a few days. Which is sad, but since it happens at least once a year, I'm kinda used to it, even if I hate it. 

I will say that I and my family and friends are all okay and no one has caught Covid-19. My husband and I are self-isolating as much as we can. That means I'm staying at home and my husband (whose job is essential and therefore can't) goes to work and then comes straight back home.

I'll leave you with blessings that your family remains safe as well, remind you to isolate yourselves as well as you can, and I'm hoping that I'll be back, better than ever, next week. 

Personally, I suggest reading during your self-isolation to keep yourself entertained. It's about all I can do, since holding a mouse hurts too, which throws Don't Starve right out of the running. Oh, here's a WIP of my latest drawing. It isn't finished because of my wrist, so I'll post it again when it is done. There are a few things I still need to fix in the sketch (mainly connected to the head placement) and the colors aren't quite right yet. Aside from that, I quite like where it's going. What do you think?

Friday, March 13, 2020

Storytime - "We are smarter than I will ever be"

Okay guys, today we're talking writing, some storytime and how I fix my plots.

Research can be impossible sometimes. Normally for any rough draft, I'll find the information I need by doing a 5-click google search. This is something that was suggested by a Nanowrimo participant at one point. The general idea is as simple as it sounds. When you need to research something, you go to Google and put in your question. The catch is that you're only allowed 5 pages total. If you can't find what you need in those clicks, you put a little question mark on your page, describe what the heck you need to research and that's as good as it gets until you start editing.

Today, I hit a point where my research met my plot though, and I jumped into Google, trusting the 5-click google search to solve it. I needed, specifically, to know how people in the middle ages or Roman era would have tested the purity of water. Unfortunately, a 5-click search told me that they tested the purity of water by using sight, scent, taste, and temperature. However, beyond mentioning those things, they didn't explain it at all. And in my book, the thing they're looking for is tasteless, scentless and clear when dissolved in water.

I'm in a rough draft, which meant that I'd put in the earlier plot point, "test water". Unfortunately, I couldn't leave an entire chapter for editing that says "figure out how to test the water and show them testing it". This had now become a plot point. I needed to know this since it directly affects the plot. Unfortunately, partially because Google is a computer that does not know me and partially because I had a headache that was making it difficult to work (I can be honest) I couldn't find what I needed.
Obviously not a picture of me and my friend, but it works in this context. 
Then, while talking to a friend, it suddenly occurred to me that they might have the answer I needed. They are a chemist, by training and inclination and while I understand the basics of chemistry (that was a science I took in school and did reasonably well in), they naturally understood way more than I did. This all goes back to one of my favourite phrases on writing; "WE are smarter than I will ever be."

Of course, my friend didn't have the information right off the bat. I had to talk him through my problem, tell him why I couldn't use certain easier fixes and other ways to do it. But within about twenty minutes, we'd figured out what I needed and how to solve the mystery of my plot. I love the idea of what's going down, even if I still have to write it to figure out all of the exact ins and outs of how it starts happening.

It may be books away before you get to experience everything I'm working on, of course, but I can already tell that this information is going to make my book way better than what I could have come up with alone. And in the end, you getting the best book you can is the most important part, right?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Chibify Me!

Okay, I'm no longer in a decadent pool of laziness. Which honestly is good. I can only sit around doing nothing all day for a short time before I'm bored. Unless I'm playing Don't Starve. I have lost days to Don't Starve when I was working for the Co-operators and I was on a weeklong vacation. 

The Don't Starve binge itself only lasted a day or so past the last post. I am still being a bit lazy though... I'm only working on about 3 hours a day right now, but I am cleaning and doing everything else, so I'm calling it a good start. 

Most of my office is finished. I have a desk-full of odds and ends to find homes for, some art supplies to get rid of, and a stupidly large amount of card decks to find homes for (I buy them for the pictures and because I like playing solitaire and other card games). Also, I haven't even been able to start on my closet yet. That said, its really coming along. 

I started writing again a few days ago and have finished 3 chapters in Noble's Choice so far. I remember where the plot is going, have reworked things that weren't working well in my original draft and streamlined the plot. Originally one of the characters was supposed to be a very important villain, for example, and now he's just a distracting sub-villain. The story is coming together though, which I love. I want my rough draft finished before the end of March. 

I have also talked to my editor. She is expecting that it will probably take a month to get Lord's Curse back to me, so I'll be spending Camp Nanowrimo (April) making one last round of changes before we can start on the final proofreading edits. 

The other update I have is in my art. I jokingly mentioned that I wanted to draw a Chibi-Me and a Koi playing Don't Starve Together. While I had a picture of a koi, I didn't really have a chibi of me lying around. So I drew this one. 

I'm not 100% happy with it yet. There is something about the shape of the eyes that seems off to me and I want to work on the hair more. That said, I am very pleased with it. Its the level of detail I want and she is adorable AF. I dressed her in my favourite outfit, a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt. You can't see it, but she is totally wearing a comfy tank top under the sweater. Also, I had to give her ears and a tail. Because I can. 

What do you think of her? Have any of you ever drawn your own Chibi-Me? 

Friday, February 28, 2020

I'm Lost in a Decadent Pool of Boredom... and Loving It

No seriously. I spend an hour or two each evening cleaning my office and then I spend the rest of my evening writing. I have added about 2k on Noble's Choice and 1000 or so on the short story for my husband. I had to read through my last nine chapters of Noble's Choice. So far, I've figured out where the plot is going and discovered that a character I thought was pivotal, may be cut from the story. Fortunately, that is a decision for future-me, once the story is written. I'm just under 60k now and the rough draft may hit 40k if the story keeps bloating like it has been. Not that any of it is unnecessary... it's just a lot that needs to happen in the book. Fortunately, if my rough draft goes over its fine. I can then look at whether it's bloated or if I just need to pare down on the side quests in favor of the main story. 
Here is a picture I totally did not draw this week of a decadent fish also doing nothing. Maybe I'll dray him playing Don't Starve Together with me for next week. Oh! Or I can do it digitally! That would be awesome.
The only other thing I've been doing is playing Don't Starve. Its been glorious to have a few hours a day to devote to my video game. I usually get no more than an hour or two to myself to play. So, it has been decadent to play for nearly 5 hours once. It was glorious. I've also been reading and cutting down that TBR pile, I have. I'm on my second book and loving it. I'm also still reading my way through one of my favorite book series, Red Winter by Annette Marie. I've talked about it on the blog before, but again, if you haven't picked it up, find it, because it rocks. 

And that's about it for this week. Next week, hopefully, I'll have something of more substance to talk about... if I don't find anything, I may put out the next update on the Norin religion. What has been keeping you busy this week? And what are you reading right now?

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Plan for the Next Month or So

It took just a little over two months to complete, but I'm finally done. Lord's Curse has been set back to my editor with all the changes that needed to be made settled in and I have to say that I'm really pleased with the way the story is going now. I knew there was a problem with the beginning when I sent it to her, but I couldn't see where. Now, the story is a hell of a lot tighter and way more awesome. I don't know how long it will take her to edit it, but I am looking forward to the break in editing.

What am I doing in the meantime? Well, the first thing on my docket is also the least writerly. The last month I started dropping off cleaning my office and in the last two weeks stopped cleaning in favour of editing altogether, other than the small things that I needed to do to keep my house functional. The end result is that my office had turned into a pigs sty. I had no less than 7 totes of random stuff sitting stuffed around my office, all filled with junk that just needed to be out of the way right then and every single surface that I can put things on has been stacked and packed with no rhyme or reason. Add to that the fact that my office cleaning had been put off from last year when I first brought up the desk from downstairs to be my new art desk and you're most of the way there. 
Not my office... though the amount of books is nearly correct. 
At this rate, it will take a few days of going through everything, deciding what's staying and what's going before I everything is at the level I want it organized. Let me know if you want a walk-through after it's all done. I can totally do pictures and set that all up for you. 

Other than that, I have a few writing things I'm working on. I have a short story my hubby requested of me, about a villain getting betrayed by his evil friends. I have book four of the Kitsune-Ken series to finish. I probably won't finish that before I get my novel back. I'm expecting to finish it during the Camp Nano writer event in April. The other thing I'm doing is these blogs and the technical writing for the Lord's Curse. I need a back cover copy, a few different ways to write it for advertising and all that. If I manage to get on a roll and all of that gets finished, I'll start working on either editing my novelette I finished a year and a half ago. Or maybe start editing book 3 and planning book 5... It feels like those will be so far in the future that I don't want to spend too much time figuring out what's up. 

Besides which, all of it could change in just a few minutes as soon as I get my novel back. The important things are to have the back cover copy and a few of the adverts ready for when I get it back. As soon as Lord's Curse is back in my hands, this is the final edit aside from the proofreading one, so everything will get put aside for it again. 

Either way, I'll keep you updated on where I am with getting that book out to you.