Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Review: Awake by Natasha Preston

I rated it 2 out of 5 stars.


Overview: Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it...because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.

And they want her back.

Review: First off, thanks so much to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for giving me an ARC (advanced reader's copy), in exchange for feedback and an honest review. The pub date for Awake is scheduled for August 4, 2015.

Can I just say the cover art is beautiful? It's something that would've caught my eye and would have made me pick it up to read the blurb. Not many cult books out right now, so it definitely has that 'different' appeal, but that's where all the appeal ends.

Right off the bat, Preston begins with an insta-love relationship. The two main characters seriously fall for each other within two chapters. Frankly, the whole thing is kind of unbelievable. Not only because the romance was flat, but because the characters themselves were pretty flat. Next was the forced dialogue. It didn't flow at times, and kind of made me cringed. I felt the writing style took away from the book, rather than supplementing it. Perhaps the stilted writing was supposed to illuminate the creepy aspect of the story, but it just didn't register for me. Also the ending was just a bit too perfect, 'everything falling into place' sort of thing. Combine everything I've mentioned and it rendered the whole story unrealistic.

I really wanted to like this story and I think the message about perception, beliefs, and how our environment or society plays a role in it is a very powerful one indeed. But the way it came off the page did not do the message justice. Add a little more depth, emotion, but less angst in the characters, then a dash of complexity and then I think Preston has something. It just has to be more convincing for a higher rating. Unfortunately, I gave it two stars out of five.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

Overview: Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds... two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Review: I finished this book two weeks ago, and yet I still can't stop thinking about it. When I picked up the book at the bookstore, I instantly fell for the cover. But you know what they say, you can't judge a book by its cover, so I put it back down. But then I saw 'Stardust meets The Fault in Our Stars,' two books that I absolutely love! So I took the chance, bought the hardcover and took it home.

When I finished, all I could do is sit and think, this is why I read YA. This is why I want to write YA. It was that good.

It beautifully combines science fiction with magical realism, and a tiny bit of historical aspect, yet grounds it in reality. Because Headley's able to pull that off, it blew me away. Yes, it was similar to Stardust and The Fault in Our Stars in some way, but it was able to hold its own in originality and prose. The characters are genuine and flawed at the same time, making them dynamic and believable. I'll admit in the first few chapters I didn't particularly like Aza's voice, but it wasn't awful that I couldn't get past it. And as I went along, I began to sympathize with her and could understand her mild ranting.

The book as a whole, however, was charming, elegant, and captivating. At times it touched my heart. I teared up twice surprisingly. But it kept me surprised throughout and did a great job with pacing. Towards the end, I kind of guessed what would happen, but it didn't take away from the emotional appeal to finish. As a beginning of a series, it was strong, well thought out, with beautiful imagery that leaves an impression upon the mind.

Now do yourself a favor and read this book. Not because it's my new favorite YA, but because I know you'll love it too.

I know everyone has dreams of flying, but this isn’t a dream of flying. It’s a dream of floating, and the ocean is not water but wind.
I call it a dream, but it feels realer than my life.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend: Staycation

Michael and I had this running joke that we were doing a 'staycation' for Memorial Day Weekend. His family was out of town, and it seemed like all of our friends were out as well. Staycation's are kind of nice though, it allows you to relax in the comfort of your own home, and gives time to get those pesky chores, like laundry or grocery shopping for the week, out of the way.

Saturday night, after a chill day of writing (for me) and working (for him), we made it out to Ballard for our date night. Since we hadn't gone to Walrus and Carpenter since the end of last summer, we decided to revisit and then go out for drinks at Bastille.

Walrus and Carpenter has the best oysters in Seattle. If oysters are what you want, this is the place to go.

They also have really good garden, seafood, and meat plates too, but we decided to go all seafood buy getting friend oysters (not pictured), grilled octopus, and sardines. Sardines were definitely a standout and flavor packed.

They also have THE BEST DESSERT! If you know me well, you know I love desserts and the bread putting is to die for and the best dessert you'll fine in Seattle. It's hot, cool, sweet, salty, creamy, all wrapped in one.

After that we got sparkling rose at Bastille before heading home.

Sunday was low key as we made a home cooked meal together and spent the day drinking rose. I got a little bit tipsy while writing which was good and bad at the same time because it really sparked my creativity, but then reached a certain point, getting tired after a glass or two. Still no regrets. I'm making immense progress with the WIP. Cannot wait until it's done!

Today, I felt a bit under the weather. I think it's the grey getting to me. It's so cloudy here that I don't think I've seen the sun since Thursday. Internally, I'm also feeling a bit unbalanced and could use another day off, but maybe getting back into routine will help too.

By the way, we also saw 'Ex Machina' today. It was so trippy. If you're into light sci-fi films, I recommend it.

Hope you all had a good three day weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Weekly Writing Progress Report - M4 Week 5

Hi All--

Today is the last day of week five! Whooo! So even though it's only 2:36 p.m. as I write this, I am turning off my computer for the rest of the day (after I right this post) to enjoy the start of memorial day weekend!

Week 5
Project: M4 YA Fantasy
First Draft

Word count this week: 13,271
Total word count to date: 53,551

This week in writing:

I am shocked at the words I've churned out this week. Work has been so busy that I've really started to feel like 'blah,' all week. I still forced myself to get moving and work out (albeit very short work outs), but I've also been snacking way too much and eating too much chocolate. I guess you could say I stress eat :( This is basically what I looked like all week (with Blaire as my model):

crawling under desk at work

sleep after snacking too much

what am I to do with this? exercise?

Thank goodness for this three day weekend. Hopefully I'll rest up and be back to normal. Whatever that is.

What was critical this week for writing was being prepared when I met the page. Needed to increase that productivity, yo! So word sprints all the time and checking my lists (of scenes to write). I also bribed myself with food. 1,000 words and then I could have a piece of chocolate -_-. I know, I really am horrible this week on my diet. But what didn't pay off on the scale paid off on my word count. Less than 20,000 words to my 70,000 word goal! *Throws Confetti* But as I'm nearing the end, with six chapters left to write, I'm thinking I'll be going a little over the word count I've expected. Which is pretty cool. So now I'm not focusing solely on word count anymore, I just really need to push myself and finish this thing in the next two weeks. I do have an upcoming trip to Vegas next weekend, so hopefully that doesn't distract/deter me that much. But if so, c'est la vie.

Interesting tidbits about the manuscript:
  • I currently average 3,000 words per chapter / 9-10 pages per chapter
  • From what I've written so far and what I've planned out for the next couple of scenes, I guesstimate I'll have 24 chapters total.
  • My chapter titles are mostly one word, with a couple that are two. I like trigger words that give me a gist of what I've written without having to delve back into the pages. Take a look into my scrivener file! 

  • I still have no idea what the working title is.
  • According to Scrivener, I've written 153 pages. Not bad for a vomit draft :P
Getting past the dreaded middle, while eyeing that ending:

  • Trust and allow yourself some freedom - Last week I had a difficult time with the middle trying to bridge what was currently going on in the story with where I wanted to end up. This week, I was still in the middle phase, but what really helped me was having a plan, but also allowing some leeway for my character to guide me to the next step. So though I never planned for Captain Cavanaugh in this story, he appeared to me like a chance meeting. Because for my main character, it was a chance meeting. Ha! Now I'm smitten with him, so he'll definitely be a minor character in the following books in the series. So yeah, let yourself and your character explore, because you never know where you'll end up or who'll you meet. Captain Cavanaugh just ended up being the answer to a plot solution I needed. Know that it's okay to deviate from the outline once and awhile.
  • Treat yourself - Yes, I've been snacking like crazy, but I think it's really important to treat yourself while writing as a way to applaud yourself and keep your stamina up. Back in college I used to run half-marathon's and I would always eat sports jelly beans to give myself a boost at the six mile mark. Same concept. You need fuel to write. For me, that consisted of tea, a good breakfast, and a bubble bath (not pictured).

batter: banana, egg, oatmeal, and chia seeds
topping: blueberries agave and two slices of bacon.

  • Look forward - Keep in mind what you're working towards. That beautiful ending you've had since you started writing chapter one. It is coming, you will get there. Keep on keepin' on.
  • Take a break - If you've been working really hard and then one day you are just feeling so unmotivated. It means you're burnt out and need a break. Like, me, today. I wrote what I could, switched gears with this blog post, and then I'm gonna get dressed and go out with my main squeeze on a night on the town. Because you know what? We only get one life, and yeah we enjoy typing away and creating our stories, but we also need to live. That's something I always need to remind myself.

Hope all is well writing friends. Remember to live, and remember those who have served.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

I rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Overview: In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
Review: So, my rating may be a little biased because The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite YA series, nonetheless, I gave this a high rating because it was a great backstory into our villain.
Normally I don't read novellas or spinoffs in series because 1) they never interest me 2) I thought they didn't bring much to the over all series 3) they're always on the shorter side and thus never had quite the story arc.
Fairest nixed my three excuses completely. It was interesting because it answered the basic villain question: what happened to the villain that made them so, well, villainy? The story argued the 'why' pretty clearly and gave an understanding to Levana's history. To my second point, it brought a great deal to the story because we finally get more of a glimpse of the kingdom in the moon. We are finally off of Earth! So I really enjoyed the change in setting, it made me hungry for more. It also cleared up one of my questions: why does Levana have a step daughter, and how does she, Winter, fit into all of this? And to my third point, this wasn't a story arc type of novella, rather is was more of a character arc as we see Levana go from naïve girl to ruthless Queen. And you know what? I was okay with that because it was entertaining throughout.
Now, if only I could get an ARC of Winter, my life would be complete!
Big thanks to my friend Lisa for letting me borrow this one! Will return in perfect condition ;)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekly Writing Progress Report - M4 Week 4

Hi All--

Kudos to myself for actually posting my progress in a timely manner this week! I am now more than halfway done with the first draft of M4. Whooo! Onto the stats!

Week 4
Project: M4 YA Fantasy
First Draft

Word count this week: 10,252
Total word count to date: 40,280

This week in writing:

Another great week of writing! Week four had many ups and downs for me. Sometimes I'd want to write, and other times I really just wanted to stop, so I really had to force myself sometimes and get at least 1,000 words each day with an incentive to do some more so that I wouldn't have that word count staring down at me at the end of the week.

I had a huge moment of doubt thinking that I'd rush a scene too quickly and thought I should go back and fix it up, but remembering my promise to not go back and fix anything and just push on through, I did just that and ignored it. It made the road ahead a bit murky as I started to question the ending, the pacing, and possible plot holes. All this led to me being mentally unprepared on the page some days and making it difficult to write. By the end of the week after talking about it out loud with my boyfriend, I realized my scenes are starting to fall into place. I guess it just goes to show how much we shouldn't get too locked up in our minds.

How I kept up my motivation up during the dreaded middle:

Middles for me is the most difficult part of the story. It's like standing on a cliff and trying to build a bridge to the other side. You gotta make sure the middle is solid, otherwise you'll end up falling and never get to the ending. For M2 I really worked at the middle and things changed so much that my ending kept changing as well. Now when I go into a project I need to know what the ending is first, before I start writing.

  • Read, read, read. By reading good books, it really motivated me to write. It's kind of like a reminder of why I love books in the first place and why I want to write books. This week I set Seraphina aside (still not sure if I should quit it or not) and read some pretty freaking good books.

I love, love, love The Lunar Chronicles
so this one without a doubt was something I couldn't wait to finish.

Found this beauty at the book store this week. 
The cover was just so gorgeous and the book was marketed as a cross between 
Stardust and The Fault In Our Stars,
two of my favorite books, so this one must be good. 
Spoiler: it was!
It's now one of my favorite YA books!

Making time to read whether it was just an hour before bed 
or grabbing a glass of wine at the bar after work was a must.
Look forward to my book reviews this week!
  • Word lists. I've noticed that when I write I tend to used the same words over and over. So sometimes for fun I'll jot down words while reading that I don't often use in my own writing as a reminder to vary my word choice. 
  • Sprint. Not the running kind. But the word kind! Sometimes I'll sit my butt in my chair and write on a piece of scratch paper one hour increments. At the end of each hour I write down how much words I've written and how much words I still need before I can shut down the computer.
    • For example if you sit down for a word sprint for an hour at 1p.m. to 2 p.m. you have to keep writing during this hour. At the end you write down how many words you've written. The basic idea is similar to gym class and improving your mile. But in this case it's trying to improve your productivity per writing hour.
  • Don't make life all about writing. Do other stuff you like to do and take a break from your story. For me, that consisted of hanging out with these two cute fellas, double dates, cooking, and binge watching on t.v. (Like the season finale of Reign! That was so good, I can't even.)

  • Attend some bookish functions. This week I went to a book tour where I got to listen to a panel of debut YA writers talk about the release of their books. Granted I'd never read any of their books before, but I thought it'd be interesting so I decided to go. Notebook in hand, I jotted some inspiration and sage advice, and left buying one of the author's books and getting it signed. How fun!
  • Search hashtags for a boost. Sometimes when I need some inspiration, I look up my fellow writers by searching for #amwriting hashtags on twitter or Instagram. Seeing other people work at it, makes me want to work at it too.
As I head into week 5, I continue to hold my head up high. The finish line is getting so much closer! I am definitely proud of my progress. It's going far better than how M3 was going, which is really what I needed. I just needed to find my stride again and now I'm feeling like a writer (one who actively writes!). But, I am also looking forward to tacking 'The End' and giving myself a break before I start on revisions!

Thanks everyone for the continued support. Onwards to another great week of writing! Share your tricks to keeping yourself motivated in the comment box below.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review: Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho

I rate it 3.5 stars out of 5.


In his latest international bestseller, the celebrated author of The Alchemist addresses the fundamental questions asked by millions: What am I doing here today? and Why do I go on living?
Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, plenty of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.

The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before.

In Veronika Decides to Die, Paulo Coelho takes the reader on a distinctly modern quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine, and pervasive conformity. Based on events in Coelho's own life, Veronika Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Poignant and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.

Review: This year, I've been really bad at posting my book reviews soon after I've read them, so this one's been sitting in the draft pile for a while. To begin, I was never really interested in Coelho's books. My sister recommended I read The Alchemist, but somehow I couldn't bring myself to. One night I was flipping through movie trailers and I came upon the film adaption starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. I didn't watch the movie, but it did ignite my curiosity to read it. Never having read the back blurb or anything, I expected a psychological thriller.

It was not.

I figured that out pretty quickly in the first few chapters, but it still kept my interest. What drew me in was the characterization of Veronika and what drove the doctor to do what he did (sorry for the cryptic sentence, I don't want to spoil it!). Though this was a work of fiction it had a philosophical appeal to it, which I enjoyed. It also had an interesting commentary about society and the individual versus society. In short it's a book that makes you think a lot and contemplate about life and death. If you want something thought provoking then this is it. If you're looking for a plot packed story, this is not it. All in all, pretty quick read though sometime the pov switched which bogged me down at times, but over all worth the time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekly Writing Progress Report - M4 Week 3

Hi All--

Whoo! Getting a tad bit better at posting my reports earlier in the week. Maybe next week I'll actually post it on a Monday for once! Nonetheless, hoorah for week three being over, because it was a tough one. Now, onto the stats!

Week 3
Project: M4 Fantasy
First Draft

Word count this week: 11,794
Total word count to date: 30,028

This week in writing:
During my first two weeks, I was unable to get to that 10,000 word average per week so this week I knew was going to be heavy catch-up time. To get to the 30,000 mark I really had to up my daily word count to 2,000 words at times. As you can tell I got pretty burnt out by the end of the week and only wrote 374 words to get to 30,000. In order to put in more writing time I sacrificed gym time all week to fit in those words after work. As a result, I was totally winded yesterday when I resumed my workout :P
To give you an idea of what I looked like this week, Blaire has graciously volunteered to demonstrate (because face it, I'm sure you're all sick of my selfies ;)).

Droopy eyes, wanting to face plant into my keyboard, and sleep. Yeah, that sums it up. Thanks Blaire.

What I learned this week:
  •  Pounding out words is affected by your state of mind - I found that if I wasn't mentally prepared and immersed in the story then there was no way I was getting any work done. Before sitting down for a writing session, outline your goals and know what direction you are heading with the story. Then turn off distractions, visualize, and paint it with words. For example my awful 374 and 448 word day, I did not want to write at all. And I forced myself to just sit and get whatever words out yet that low word count took almost two hours. In contrast, my 2,687 word day only took 2.5 hours because I was focused and sat down to do two power hours of writing (with a 10 minute break in between) and then went back later at night for another half hour.
  • Middles are where it starts to get sloppy - I have an outline, but man is it kind of difficult to build that bridge to get to the other side. As I closed out on finishing the beginning (1st act) I really had to think about how I wanted to set up my middle. I had to make a big giant leap with one scene, but I'm hoping it'll work to amp up the tension for the middle.
  • When you think and write about it everyday it seeps into your dreams - Holding myself accountable for this first draft is really good for my progress. Down side, it's like all I think about that I even dream about it. But the dreams are too absurd to really put into the story. So in order to give a little distance to see the story clearly, I recommend distracting yourself too when it isn't writing time. For me that was TV time and reading. Any 'Revenge fans' out there? What a great way to end the Finale! So looking forward to the season finale of 'Reign'!
  • Surround yourself with encouragement - When I was starting to get tired and burnt out, I listened to writing podcasts and then went out to meet up with a writing friend this past Friday. When other people are doing the same thing and reaching for their dreams, it inspires you to keep going.
How has writing been for you this past week? Comment below! Happy writing :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Death is a very difficult thing.

Today I got a call from my sister. Her friend passed away today.

Our family has been very fortunate that we have not dealt with death of an immediate family member. My dog whom I had since childhood passed away a year and a half ago. That had been extremely difficult. I still feel the twinge in my chest just thinking about it.

When I started working for my current company, there were three deaths in the first five months. One who had been a coworker before I arrived, and two who had been spouses of my colleagues. Though it did not directly relate to me, I caught a glimpse of the anguish and suffering one goes through when dealing with a loss.

As I get older, I know that it's only a matter of time until death starts to hit closer to home. Already I worry about my grandparents getting older, which makes it extremely difficult considering their on a different continent. Sometimes I wonder if I've seen them for the last time, but at the same time I am hopeful I'll get another chance.

You never know what's going to happen. I've heard the saying that life is short, and it's only starting to sink in now. It's funny how one's death can bring on a wave of gratitude for the life we still have. It's all so bittersweet.

I write this post because I feel the need to remember this kind man who was my sister's friend.

He was tall and slender, with a jolly laugh that could be felt. Just being around him you caught his infectious positivity. I met him when I was twenty-two. He visited Seattle with my sister during my first trip to the city. Instantly he made you feel welcome. He made sure you were included, even if he had just met you. He didn't particularly like dancing, but he loved to talk, and always had a smile.

The last time I saw him was a month after that visit at my older sister's wedding. He was jubilant as ever, full of life as he went from one table to the next greeting all those he knew. He jested with me and my unmarried sisters that he would be at our own weddings too one day. Though he never meant it seriously, I now know that we would not.

I cannot imagine how my sister feels at the loss. Even more so, I cannot even fathom what his own family is going through. My heart goes out to them and all who knew him.

Though I didn't know him well, I am glad I got the chance to meet him. If there is a heaven, then I am comforted in the thought that he is there and no longer suffering.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Weekly Writing Progress Report - M4 Week 2

Hi All--

I'm a tad late posting my progress report. But alas, here it is!

Week 2
Project: M4 Fantasy
First Draft

Word count this week: 8,590
Total word count to date: 18,234

Not my best week as I didn't hit my weekly 10,000 word objective again, but I do have a good excuse! Some of my family came to visit this weekend so I just had to take a non writing day. I haven't posted about the weekend due to a secret I've been keeping, but hopefully I can reveal it soon! And as usual, when I'm with my family, somehow I always forget to take photos for my blog. Whenever I'm with them I am always in the moment--a good thing in a sense, but bad in terms of documentation!

Here was one photo I got from our dinner Saturday night though!

Since I am behind in my writing goals, you bet I've been sitting my hinny down and getting those word counts up. I'm fairly confident that by the end of week 3 I'll be at 30,000 words and I'll just give myself a clean slate after slacking these first two weeks.

Some things that I've learned
  • Keep notebook with me always! Normally I'm good at this, but I've caught myself coming into work without my writing notebook. As I was covering for the receptionist, the whole series arc just came to me and I didn't have it with me! I ended up scribbling it on scratch paper then stapling it into my writing book.
  • Keep the mentality that a first draft is just a first draft. At times when I'm pounding things out, in my head I'm thinking You go girl. You're so awesome! Look at you go! And then reading over what I wrote. What the f*** is this s***?! You're better than this! Takeaway is, I know my abilities well enough that the clay will be molded into the figurine that I want, but I have to wrestle with the clay first.
  • Talking about your story is motivating. This one we all should know, but I felt like I hyped myself up a bit too much with the completion of M2, and now I feel like I could make it better. So lesson learned. Don't toot your own horn too early. But when discussing the story with my sister the past weekend just in passing, she actually found it really interesting since I'm inserting folklore we grew up listening to but with a twist. I really, really, really, hope this one is hooky enough to draw some interest!
  • Make a list, but don't check it twice. Usually when I'm writing a scene another image pops into my head. Or sometimes my head is so chaotic that I need to organize my thoughts into what the reader knows up to a certain point, and what I still need to reveal. So to remedy the chaos in my brain, I put these items into lists and keep adding to them throughout the writing process. I try not to read over the list until I'm read to attack it. But for now it's jot them down, put it away, so as to not lose my current thought.
  • Sometimes when I write, I really think through all my scenes. What's the purpose of this one, how does it lead to the next and so on. It's been a really good way to plan out my past manuscripts, but M4 has a natural rhythm to it and cinematic appeal in my mind that the scenes are slowly forming without my help. I better not lose that during the middle manuscript blues though, because it's going to be difficult to trudge through without it.

In other news, Blaire has been sick this week :( He's been sneezing up a storm, which is odd because Blaire doesn't sneeze that much. But when he does, it's usually awww that was so cute. But this week it was one after the other. Sneeze attacks all day! Luckily he got over it in about two days so no need for a vet office visit. Turns out he just had a kitty cold (which is a surprise to me since I didn't know they could catch such a thing!).

How has your week in writing been? Comment below!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG: High Anxiety

When I'm stressed or I feel unbalanced, I suffer from high anxiety. So much that it can be crippling. My behavior becomes erratic and a sense of hopelessness consumes me. Cue sleeping problems.
I know myself enough that if I go without good sleep for a few days it'll start to become a problem. I'll want to sleep so bad, but the stress of trying to fall asleep will keep me up. In college when I dealt with a bout of depression, I used OTC sleeping pills to help me and along the way became addicted to them. After that I haven't touched them since.
I feel like this whole year so far has been a complete whirl wind. I can't seem to catch my breath. There's always something next to do. So these past two weeks (going on three), I've found myself in a rut of being unable to sleep. I'm not sure if it's the early rising sun in combination of not having blinds (manufacturer issues), but I was desperate. So I've been using melatonin this week and I think it's helping.
I cant wait until I am well rested again. I feel like focus and clarity is missing in my writing, so hopefully I can return back to normal.
How do you deal with stress?

This post is in participation of IWSG, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. And special thanks goes to this months amazing co-hosts,  Eva Solar Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

When love turns ugly.

Don't waste your breath explaining,
when it only falls on dead ears.
Don't waste any emotions feeling,
for no one will even care

the lament coming from your chest
the tears pooling around your eyes,
each an every stabbing wound
bringing truth to all the lies.

Love is a romanticized idea,
never a universal truth.
Just love, sex, and conquest-
activities for the uncouth.

And as another day passes
more stoic will you become;
because those that do not feel,
will never come undone.

'Guess you can say I'm bitter.
'Guess you can say I'm cruel.
One thing that I am not?
A love sick romantic fool.