Weekend Wrap-Up #23

What I Read

Absolutely nothing.  Oops! It was my husband’s birthday this week!

Upcoming Reviews & Things

  • Monday, February 6 – Review: Bite of a Vampire
  • Wednesday, February 8 – Cerulean Series Giveaway!
  • Friday, February 10 – Free Fiction Friday #75
  • Sunday, February 12 – Weekend Wrap-Up #24
  • Monday, February 13 – Review: Intriguing Proposition
  • Wednesday, February 15 – Review: Cloud Cuckoo
  • Friday, February 17 – Free Fiction Friday #76
  • Sunday, February 19 – Weekend Wrap-Up #25
  • Monday, February 20 – Review: Legacy of Lies
  • Friday, February 24 – Free Fiction Friday #77
  • Sunday, February 26 – Weekend Wrap-Up #26
  • Monday, February 27 – Review: The Forgotten Girls
  • Friday, March 3 – Free Fiction Friday #78
  • Sunday, March 5 – Weekend Wrap-Up #27

What Was Posted

What I Did

It was a pretty busy week for me. It was my husband’s birthday on the second, so my whole schedule kind of went off kilter, and I didn’t get a lot of work done—but I’m so far ahead on my scheduled posts right now, that it didn’t really matter—and sometimes it’s nice to take a break!

Next Week

I need to get some books read! I’ve got a Cerulean Series Giveaway being posted on Wednesday (so keep your eye out!), and I’d like to get The Forgotten Girls read. My biggest problem with that is that the formatting kind of got messed up for me, so the book reads with four or five lines of numbers in between every half sentence on the actual page. It is super annoying to read right now, even though the book is really interesting. I just need to push through and try to ignore the formatting.

Weekend Wrap-Up #22

What I Read

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This week I finished up Cloud Cuckoo by R.E. Palmer – a YA Science Fiction Dystopian, which was a fantastic 2nd book in the Never Dawn series. My daughter and I have fallen head over in heals in love with this author and his series. I seriously cannot wait for book three in the trilogy! I also started to read The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen, which is a brand new Suspense/Mystery/Thriller. Although it isn’t a genre of book I usually spend a lot of time reading, I am enjoying it so far. Look forward to reviews of these two books in the near future!

Upcoming Reviews & Things

  • Monday, January 30 – Review: Tormented By Ghosts
  • Wednesday, February 1 – Review: My Fair Assassin
  • Friday, February 3 – Free Fiction Friday #74
  • Sunday, February 5 – Weekend Wrap-Up #23
  • Monday, February 6 – Review: Bite of a Vampire
  • Wednesday, February 8 – Cerulean Series Giveaway!
  • Friday, February 10 – Free Fiction Friday #75
  • Sunday, February 12 – Weekend Wrap-Up #24
  • Monday, February 13 – Review: Intriguing Proposition
  • Wednesday, February 15 – Review: Cloud Cuckoo
  • Friday, February 17 – Free Fiction Friday #76
  • Sunday, February 19 – Weekend Wrap-Up #25
  • Monday, February 20 – Review: Legacy of Lies
  • Friday, February 24 – Free Fiction Friday #77
  • Sunday, February 26 – Weekend Wrap-Up #26
  • Monday, February 27 – Review: The Forgotten Girls

What Was Posted

What I Did

I honestly don’t know where this week went. Between chores, homeschooling my daughter, and getting ready to move in the near future, it seems like time just slipped by. To be honest, I hardly even remember this week! Luckily, I did get a bit of reading done, and caught back up on all the dishes that have been sitting around my house since the beginning of January due to being on bed rest. At least my back finally healed! I’m back to running around like a mad woman from room to room!

Next Week

More reading. Packing. Cleaning. Watching way too much YouTube and playing games. You know, the usual. I feel like I haven’t had much time to write in the last few weeks, and I’d certainly like to get more done on that, but right now packing up my house and cleaning has taken priority. Hopefully once I have my own office things will go a little smoother!

Weekend Wrap-Up #21

What I Read

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I read some excellent books this week that I am really excited to review for you guys. Legacy of Lies by Jillian David was a contemporary rancher-romance with a bit of a paranormal thriller undertone. The Never Dawn and Cloud Cuckoo by R.E. Palmer are books 1 & 2 in a Dystopian YA Science Fiction series, and I am seriously flabbergasted that this author has gone relatively unknown in the last few years. I’m only party way through the second book, and it’s already one of my favorite YA Dystopian series. I absolutely loved all of these books!

Upcoming Reviews & Things

  • Monday, January 23 – Review: Silver City Seductions
  • Wednesday, January 25 – Review: The Never Dawn
  • Friday, January 27 – Free Fiction Friday #73
  • Sunday, January 29 – Weekend Wrap-Up #22
  • Monday, January 30 – Review: Tormented By Ghosts
  • Friday, February 3 – Free Fiction Friday #74
  • Sunday, February 5 – Weekend Wrap-Up #23
  • Monday, February 6 – Review: Bite of a Vampire
  • Friday, February 10 – Free Fiction Friday #75
  • Sunday, February 12 – Weekend Wrap-Up #24
  • Monday, February 13 – Review: Intriguing Proposition
  • Friday, February 17 – Free Fiction Friday #76
  • Sunday, February 19 – Weekend Wrap-Up #25
  • Monday, February 20 – Review: Legacy of Lies
  • Friday, February 24 – Free Fiction Friday #77

What Was Posted

What I Did

Another short week, I spent most of my week reading, looking at houses, and hanging out with my family. We’re hoping to move in the next few months, and we’re finally looking into house listing—I am so excited and ready to be somewhere new after years of being in this house. It’s simply too small, too old, and frankly, falling apart around us. I can’t wait to have my own office, and a working washer/dryer/dishwasher again.

Next Week

I’m hoping to finish up Cloud Cuckoo by R.E. Palmer next week. I’ve been reading the series with my 13-year-old daughter, and we’re flying through the series. Other than that, I’d like to say things are getting back to a sort of normal. My back is almost all healed up, and I’m finding it easier to move around. I’d like to get some more work done on my outline for Book 3 of my Gilded Court series, but I don’t honestly know if I’ll get any work done on it next week—I just have so many other things to do (like clean my house… nothing got done while I was on bed rest).

Weekend Wrap-Up #13

What I Read

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I can admit it, I didn’t get a lot of reading done this past week. I don’t feel bad about it though—because I spent that time writing instead, and I got a lot done. I did find time, however, to pick up A SEAL’s Temptation by Tawny Weber, which was my monthly ARC read from The Naughty List ARC Club. Honestly, it was a nice change to read something kind of mindless. It was a pretty cute romance with lots of steamy bits, and what I like to refer to as “brain candy”.

Upcoming Book Reviews:

  • Monday, September 14 – Aisuru
  • Wednesday, September 16 – A Seal’s Temptation

What Was Posted

What I Did

Khet6Like last week, I spent most of my free time working on my outline for Khet (which still doesn’t have a real name). I added about 17k words and 27 scenes in that time, and lot a whole lot of sleep. It’s not much in comparison to how fast other’s write, but given that I’m in the process of figuring out the scenes and moving POV’s and characters/scenes around… I’m all right with that. Considering the book sat around with 9 chapters under it’s belt for the better part of two years, being 75% of the way into the outline doesn’t seem like a small task. I’m pretty proud to be this far in.

The next step, of course, is to finish up the last little bit of the outline, and then go back and start picking apart any chapters/characters/events that really don’t need to happen… getting things cleaned up for the initial draft. I’m hoping to have everything sorted out and ready to write by the end of the year (and I have every hope that I’ll be able to do so). Ultimately, I’d like to get it written, beta read, edited, and published a year from now. It’s time to stop procrastinating—and I think I’ve made a good start on that.

Other than writing, I didn’t get a lot done this week. I waited around for our lawn service to come and mow my grass so I could walk outside without having an allergic reaction…but of course, they never show up on time, and didn’t arrive. No big shocker there. My daughter is currently dealing with her first cold of the school year, which made our week pretty lax since she was running a fever. I took pity on her and had her watch cartoons for two days rather than attempt school work.

We also haven’t sent my computer back in yet, mostly because of time restraints. My husband’s been working out of town for his job (and for the next three weeks will continue to be out of town), so finding time to get to the post office, go grocery shopping, etc for the one day during the weekend that he’s here and the post office is actually open, is an exercise in madness. We only have one vehicle, and I don’t have it while he’s gone (not that I like to drive anyways), so getting my computer shipped out for repairs has been rather difficult. I’m hoping to get it sent out next week—but it’s not as urgent now that I have access to most of my files (my wonderful husband went and bought an external dock for my hard drive that we’re able to hook up to the laptop and access my files through—YAY!). It’s not perfect. I can’t play games and I don’t have most of my programs, but at least I can get to my e-book library again as well as my writing and blog files. Just being able to get to them is a huge relief!

Next Week

I don’t have a lot of plans for the upcoming week past general errands I have to do, and lots more writing. I need to get some reading done (before I run out of book reviews to schedule!), but honestly my heart isn’t in reading right now. It’s consumed with writing—and I can’t justify putting down the work I’ve tried so hard not to procrastinate on in order to fill blog posts. I desperately want to finish Khet’s outline, and I’m so close to the end that it’s hard to ignore the voice in my head that’s telling me to suck back copious amounts of coffee and just get the damned thing finished. I guess we’ll see what happens!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Weekend Wrap-Up #12

What I Read

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This week has been a bit of a slow one. Early on, my computer (once again) died, and so my ability to get to my reading library has been a bit hindered. It’s going to be a few weeks before I can get to my e-book library again, so I’m currently picking up some new books through Netgalley and various other ARC sites in the hopes of filling the time.

Luckily, I did get a chance to finish up Aisuru by Anma Natsu, and I’m happy to report that it was actually quite good—if a little cliché. If you’re an anime fan, this will probably be right up your alley. It does stick to a lot of the pretty standard Japanese anime/manga cliché’s, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. I really liked it, so keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming review.

Here’s the trouble with picking books up from Netgalley though. Unlike Amazon, it doesn’t have a preview button. I got approved for a copy of Shadows by Paula Weston and The Last of the FIreDrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy over the weekend, and so far, I’m not impressed.

Here’s the problem. The Last of the FIreDrakes has an interesting premise and a gorgeous cover…but the narrative is written like some teenager scrawled out the story in their boy band notebook. The editing is sloppy, the writing is terribly cliché and unbelievable, and the pace is ridiculously fast. I’m only 3 chapters in and I’m already over it. We’ll see if I can push any further.

Unfortunately, Shadows by Paula Weston has a different problem. The writing is spectacular. The story is gripping, and I’m engrossed…. but somewhere between the publisher, Netgalley, and my Kindle, every instance of “th” and “fi” “fs” “fr” “ff” (basically anything that has an F in it) has been replaced with a blank space. This leads to sentences like “It’s a  er work and I have  e track to myself.” Every single sentence is an exercise in deciphering what the author meant before it got butchered by the formatting somewhere. I really want to like this story, but it’s so hard to be patient with it when I have to continually stop to figure out what letters are missing. I’m going to continue to try to push through it, but it is rather exhausting.

Review Dates Coming Up:

  • Monday, September 14 – Aisuru
  • Wednesday, September 16 – Shadows
  • Monday, September 21 – The Last of the FIreDrakes

What Was Posted

What I Did

DSCN0485I’m actually quite proud of myself this week. After my computer died (yet again), I decided instead of whining about the fact that I’d literally just gotten my computer back only to have it throw a tantrum, I would use this downtime being relegated to the family laptop to work on my writing.

I’m happy to report that in the last two days alone I’ve added 8k words and 14 new scenes to the detailed outline I’ve been doing for Khet (currently still unnamed, so the main character’s name has been adapted as the working title). I know, I know. I’m 38k words into this outline and only just now more than halfway in, and I’m fully aware that it can hardly be labeled an outline at this point—but let me explain:

I don’t do bullet outlines. Okay… I just lied. See that notebook in the picture above? That’s my bullet outline for Khet. It takes up the entire notebook. When I initially wrote it, I didn’t stick to the main points of the story. I wrote in concepts and ideas and notes, and the feelings of the characters… backstories and genetic lines…. anything I thought might be pertinent to the story—and boy am I glad I did! I then went back and highlighted important bits, cut out scenes and characters that didn’t need to be there, and added sticky notes to further detail specific points or add in new scenes. It’s a mess, really.

What I’m doing now (here comes the detailed outline part) is taking that notebook, cleaning it up, and writing it into a Word document, complete with bulleted notes, a general run-through of each scene, who the viewpoint is for that scene, any information pertaining to the scene that I need to remember or keep track of, who’s in the scene, the setting… etc. It’s basically a shortened first-draft of the story without the actual dialogue and narrative (and without the chapter splits), but with the structure of the scenes explained out with all the information and important bits I need to keep the story on track. That’s why the outline is so large. To give you an example, here’s a piece of one scene to give you an idea of how my outline reads (you’re seeing real behind-the-scenes stuff right now):

SCENE ELEVEN

Setting: Khet’s family hut inside the river valley village, mid-morning, summer, hot and humid—but cooler indoors, and dark.

Characters: Khet, Safiya, Hala

POV: Khet

Khet removes her blind. Her elder sister, Safiya, is diligently finishing the last few bits of adornment on her ceremony outfit. When Khet enters, her sister scolds her for being late, and threatens that Khet is to pretend they aren’t related. She doesn’t want her association with the blind girl to ruin her last chance at marriage.

Their mother scolds Safiya for being cruel to her sister, but asks Khet to understand. Safiya has missed out on the ceremony once before and is nervous about doing so again. Khet shakes her head and says that Safiya is right. She has no intention of ruining Safiya’s day, and she certainly hopes she doesn’t find a groom herself. Her mother chastises her for wishing something so odd, but Khet explains her worst fears: that she will have to hide her secret for the rest of her life… and how would she explain to her husband if their children too had green eyes? The voiced fear makes her family’s activities come to a stop. She shrugs and says that she’d rather live the rest of her life alone than live with that fear.

Safiya tells Khet not to sulk, and now ready, leaves to join the ceremony. Khet’s mother tells her not to worry and helps her to quickly get ready.

  • Make Safiya’s dislike of her sister clear.
  • Show that although she puts on a brave front, Khet is frightened by what her future might entail, and though she says she hopes to never get married or have children, she secretly wants both… just not at the expense of freedom.
  • Khet at some point should ask about Ruwa… where she is, what she’s doing. (Ruwa remains unmarried). She is helping their grandmother set up.

When all this is done and cleaned up, I’ll then go back, do another look through for scenes that aren’t needed, cut it up into chapters, and start the first draft—which will be pretty easy to write out since I know exactly what my idea for each part of the story is. Basically, I’ve taken writer’s block out of the equation. Instead of starting the first draft and getting stuck by the finer details that aren’t figured out (I’ll just admit right now that I am terribly OCD), I’ve done all of that ahead of time, so that when I DO get to the writing, all I have to do is enjoy the actual language of the story. I know it seems like a lot of work, and it is up to a point, but it’s been a fun process, and it’s taken me from a very sloppy nine-chapter first draft (I scrapped it), to a fully fleshed out and plotted story that is much better organized and lacking of all loopholes. It’s been a really fun experience, and I’ve gotten a lot of work done, so I’m going to keep at it until I get this literary baby finished.

Next Week

Honestly, my plans are pretty much the same. Write until my fingers fall off, homeschool my daughter, drink lots of coffee… try to catch some naps. It’s not much of a plan, but it’s working so far, and I’m somewhat limited by my lack of access to the majority of my files and games. We’re hoping to send in my computer to be fixed/replaced this up coming week, so hopefully in another few weeks I’ll get something back that relatively resembles my computer (but hopefully it will actually work), and I can get back to… well, everything. I miss my e-book library like you wouldn’t believe.

I hope you all have a great week!

Weekend Wrap-Up #6

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to yet another Weekend Wrap-Up! Let’s get started!

What I Read

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I got a few more books under my belt this week, and ready for some upcoming reviews in June. I have to say, I’m proud of myself for keeping on track.

War Kids by H.J. Lawson was a bit of a disappointment. Both this book and the second series was sent to me by the author as part of a special readers program I’d signed up for, but after reading 13% into the book I realized there was no way in hell I was going to finish it. I originally thought this and the other books in the series were novellas—and I was wrong. The book turned out to be over 300 pages along, and I couldn’t stand it. I ended up DNFing it and unsubscribing from the reader program. There was just no way I was going to go on to read the second and third book in the series—especially not with a 1-2 week deadline. Nope, nope, nope.

Rebel Belle & Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins were spur of the moment additions to my TBR this week after picking up a recommendation from a few BookTube readers on Monday. The books sounded so interesting that I immediately picked up some copies and decided to give them a try—and boy am I glad! Rebel Belle was a fantastically hilarious read. Miss Mayhem was good, but not-as-good as the first book in the series, but I’m still glad I picked it up. You can look forward to some reviews for both of these books in the near future:

  • May 27 – War Kids
  • June 1 – Rebel Belle
  • June 10 – Miss Mayhem

What Was Posted

What I Did

cupcakesThis week was a slow one. I made cupcakes (Devilsfood + Cream Cheese Frosting.. YUM!)…. and that’s about it—other than reading. Okay, that’s not entirely true; I did discover BookLikes and sign up there as Author Unpublished (cause who doesn’t need more spots to advertise their blog?). I’m slowly working on getting my entire backlog of reviews scheduled and posted there—but it’s a bit of an exercise in patience because the site doesn’t work with my Windows Live Writer (which I use to publish here on WordPress). It’s all got to be done by hand, and requires quite a bit more work.

On a positive note, I’m over my tonsillitis (FINALLY) So I’m feeling much better, and spending less time napping. LOL

Next Week

I honestly don’t have a lot of plans schedule for next week. I’ll probably read, a lot… maybe get back to working on Khet for awhile, or revamping my novel ideas list (yes, I keep a list of novel ideas). I spent a good part of my morning today adding in ideas I’d jotted down on several sticky notes that had been floating around my desk the last week or two (it was getting ridiculous). My idea/plot list is up to about 70 now, but not all of them are completely plotted, so that’s something that needs to be hashed out at some point, and why not do it on a week I don’t have anything else scheduled? Otherwise… eh.  We’ll see what life throws my way come Monday.