Have You Hugged A Book Today?- June 2017

ReadingChallengeJune17

Whoops! I kind of… forgot about reading this month. I’ve been catching up on podcasts (Writing Excuses, The Creative Penn, and the Sell More Books Show to name a few) instead of doing audio books, and that’s really cut into my reading. Hopefully I’ll get caught up and be able to jump back into reading next month, but for now let me show you what I have been reading.

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson- Still working on this one. It’s dense!
    2. The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1: The Parker Luck by Dan Slott- I’m finally starting this storyline! I’ve had the first three of this books forever, but I haven’t had time to start them. Well now I’m making time! 😀 This is the beginning of the Spiderverse story, from which we get SPIDERGWEN! I’m really excited about that 🙂 Also, I really want to find and read all of Superior Spider-Man someday.
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2), by Naomi Novak- Four Stars
    2. Gwenpool, the Unbelievable, Vol. 1: Believe It, by Christopher Hastings- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so what saved this book for me was the pictures. I know a lot of people who read this on audio and I’d like to hear thoughts about that, because honestly, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much without the pictures to reference. But then again, the method of writing the book was most of the reason I wanted to read it in the first place, so that might have a lot to do with it ;P The plot was interesting, but I got a couple of the characters confused and something about the writing style didn’t sit well with me. It felt like it was trying too hard to be a YA book. Which it was, and I understand that, but it didn’t have to try so hard. I have no idea if that makes any sense.

Also, (and I think this is a pretty major spoiler so I’m putting it behind a spoiler tag, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK) (view spoiler)

Anyway, I really did enjoy the book for what it was, the creatures were creepy as all get out and I loved the different Peculiars. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel 🙂

View all my reviews

And that’s it, y’all! See you guys next month! 😀

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- May 2017

So, I’ve kind of failed at updating my Goodreads this past month. Sorry about that! I’ll try to do better going forward 🙂

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Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2) by Naomi Novik- I’m actually almost done with this and it is just as good as the first one! I really love this series, highly recommend it!
    2. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson- Still plugging away at this one, slowly but surely. I have not abandoned it, but it might take a while for me to get through.
    3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut- I abandoned this book last month. Because life’s too short to read books that aren’t interesting to you. I’m sure there is a powerful message in here somewhere, but I’m just not in the right state of mind to find it.
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Gotta Read It!- Five Simple Steps to a Fiction Pitch That Sells by Libbie Hawker- Four Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have no actual words for this book. But I can say it is worth your time. Just read it. Trust me.

View all my reviews

Sorry this is so short, guys! Hopefully next month I’ll have more to report 🙂

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- April 2017

 

ReadingChallengeApril17

Look at this, I’m actually on time with this blog post! Who knew? I certainly didn’t ;P Let’s get started before something terrible happens…

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne- I kind of forgot this was a thing I should be reading… whoops. I guess I’ll try again this month 🙂
    2. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson- This is one that at least one person I know is going to be excited I’m reading (hi, Elissa!). I happened to get it for free from Tor, and it’s pretty good. A little more involved than I was expecting (I now understand the jokes about Brandon’s writing style on the Writing Excuses podcast ;P), but I’m actually pretty intrigued by all the storylines that have been introduced so far. I’m confused as to how they all tie together, but I’m sure that will become apparent the farther along I get. I have faith in you, Sanderson, don’t let me down! ;P
    3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut- This is… weird. I’m enjoying it, but it’s not a book I can (or want) to read in long chunks. I have a feeling it might take me a while to get through, even though it’s short. Stay tuned!
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire, #1) by Naomi Novik- Five Stars
    2. Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4) by Jim Butcher- Four Stars
    3. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So good, so beautiful, so sad, so happy. Ugh. I can’t even. I don’t even have the words. Worth every bit of five stars 🙂

ETA: Okay, I think I have a few words now. The most beautiful part of this book was how incredibly real it felt, while at the same time feeling like one of those great myths that are told through the generations. It was romantic and funny and painful, all at the same time, and it felt like something that could happen to anyone. I was terribly afraid that it was going to turn Romeo and Juliet on me, but it didn’t. It never got stupid, despite the high school protagonists, it felt young and fresh and immediate, without feeling shallow or unimportant (whether it lasted or it didn’t). It was a beautifully written book, a very immersive experience, Ms. Rowell wins again 🙂

Highly recommend for everyone, especially children of the eighties and nineties for the references (which were super fun to catch, like Easter eggs in book form!).

View all my reviews

Ha! Look at me, winning at blogging today!

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I’m gonna go now, before this all goes horribly wrong 😀

The Quarterly Writing Round Up!- Q1, 2017

Reminder:  For the second year in a row (go me!) I have made a set of yearly goals I would like to accomplish, and I’m breaking them down by quarter for you guys, so you can see where I am. And also so can see where I am, because sometimes I forget? And I get distracted? So I need this reminder every few months, it’s hella important to me. I appreciate your time and attention as I reorient myself in my life 🙂

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Here’s a recap of my goals for the year, in case you don’t want to go back and read the original post:

Overall goals for the year: Edit and (Finished, Q1) Publish “The Stars Are Fire” (now titled “Doubt The Stars”); Write, Edit, and Post “Good Intentions”; Finish Writing “Double The Baggins, Twice The Took”; Finish Writing “Wonderland Reclaimed”; Write first draft of Tempest in Space novel (tentatively titled “Such Stuff As Dreams”)

Okay, so I finished, like half of a goal this quarter. But, hey! Progress! And I did make some progress toward most of the others too, so it wasn’t a total waste 🙂

Here’s my WordKeeper Alpha graph for the year so far!

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As you can see, I’ve spent the majority of my time and energy on the self-edit of my novel from November, “Doubt The Stars”, which I’m feeling pretty good about. DBTT is also coming along nicely, so that’s two of my goals I’ve made significant progress on. I wish I’d spent more time on my “Good Intentions” outline, but I am only human, after all.

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Here’s the month by month breakdown!

Quarter One, 2017- Review

JanuaryFirst month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months, focusing on revising and editing. TSAF- make character sketches, flesh out settings, build up the system of planets, research the tech, and figure out my themes. Dictate my brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT.

  • Um… Some of this happened. The posting of the chapters happened! The dictating experiment was a giant pile of fail.

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Apparently, I can’t words through my face, only through my fingers. I did a lot of wording with my fingers this month, so that was good. It was also the month that I admitted to myself that writing of the words was more important than the posting of the words and lowered my chapter goal from four to two. I also wasted a lot of time on a little story that no one cared about and I will probably never finish, but it was fun while it lasted 🙂

FebruarySecond month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?”. Self-edit TSAF. Continue to dictate brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT (possibly start dictating new words?).

  • Ugh. The self-edit. The self-edit that I thought was going to take a month and instead took over my life for the better part of two months.

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I still managed to write the words I needed and post the chapters I needed, so that was good, but I went through a pretty terrible episode in which I was almost convinced I was never going to be finished with this book. I got out of it, but it was tough.

MarchGive TSAF to a select number of readers for feedback. Translate my dictation brainstorming to a workable outline for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT and write 25,000 new words (possibly through dictation).

  • So, since I obviously wasn’t finished with edits by March, the giving to readers thing didn’t happen. I did manage to finish the edits, so I’m only a month behind where I wanted to be. The outline of “Good Intentions” happened in the most basic sense, and if you add it up, I actually wrote more than the 25,000 words I had planned to write in March. I just stretched it out over a three month period, which I am completely fine with!

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I wish that I was able to post chapters faster, but I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. I just need to focus and readjust my goals for the rest of the year. Yeah, things are… fine. They’re fine. o.O

Quarter Two, 2017- Goals

So, my plan for the year has (of course) been derailed already and we’re only three months in. But that’s okay! Trying to stay positive! I can do this!

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So, Quarter Two goals! Here we go:

April: Give “Doubt The Stars” to beta-readers. Write 50,000 words on “Good Intentions” for Camp NaNoWriMo. Post two chapters of “Double the Baggins, Twice the Took”.

May: Read the feedback from beta-readers, revise “Doubt The Stars”, send to editors for sample edits and decide on professional editor. Finish the first draft of “Good Intentions”, let rest for the rest of the month. Post two chapters of DBTT, write 10,000 new words.

June: Send “Doubt The Stars” to professional editor, begin search for cover designer, start working on back matter, dedications, acknowledgements, and links to include. “Good Intentions” pre-edit prep. Post two chapters of DBTT, write 10,000 new words.

Wow. That’s a lot of stuff. But actually, it all seems… very doable. Is that crazy? I feel like that’s crazy.

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Thanks, John Green 🙂 Alright, you guys, I’m gonna try to do better with keeping up with the blog from now on, so stay tuned! See ya!

 

 

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- March 2017

ReadingChallengeMarch17

I’m finally ahead on my reading challenge! 😀 That’s probably because I had twenty hours of driving I didn’t expect this month, but yay! I’m not failing at something!

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Anyway, I read a lot of pretty great books, let’s get started!

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne- This is one I’ve read before, but I thought it would be good to review considering I’m right in the middle of editing my novel. I haven’t made a lot of progress on it, because I’ve been so busy, but I’m hoping to get some more in the next month.
    2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- This book is super adorable and really touching so far. I’m excited to see what happens next!
    3. His Majesty’s Dragon(Temeraire, #1) by Naomi Novik- I just started this one, but it is already SO CUTE, I am dying inside! I honestly did not expect a book about dragons during the Napoleonic wars to have me squealing like a small child, but seriously, my heart can’t take much more of this…
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher- Four Stars
    2. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo- Five Stars
    3. Miles, Mutants and Microbes (Vorkosigan Omnibus, #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold- Five Stars
    4. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett- Five Stars
    5. Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker- Five Stars
    6. Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) by Jim Butcher- Five Stars
    7. Young Avengers, Vol 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen- Four Stars
    8. Young Avengers, Vol 2: Alternative Culture by Kieron Gillen- Five Stars
    9. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I haven’t already written a review of this book. It was so beautifully done, full of childish wonder and adorable creatures, while at the same time showing just how terrible the world can truly be. I loved the underlying themes of curiosity and the power of knowledge, encouraging you to question the world around you, not in a negative way, but just to understand how things work and why things are the way they are rather than accepting them blindly. I also loved how there were several moments in which the heroes of the story, the characters we are meant to look up to and trust, made mistakes in the name of maintaining the peace and order of their lives. Facing the truth is hard, but necessary, and making the choice to sweep things under the rug or pretend that they aren’t happening isn’t helping anyone. It will always come back around.
On the surface, the book is just a great read, full of humor and fantastical whimsy with plenty of surprising twists and turns. At no point was I ever bored or thinking about moving on to something else. I highly recommend this one.

View all my reviews

No Destructive Creativity Corner this month, I’ve been too busy with editing and family emergencies and generally feeling like a failure 🙂 We’ll try again next month! See you guys in April!

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- February 2017

A Brief Note: I wrote this post a week ago and then forgot to post it. I’m posting it as-is and backdating it, mostly because I’m in the midst of editing and don’t feel like rewriting the whole thing. I’ll try to do better next month, promise! ;D

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I read three books and I’m STILL two books behind! Argh! I need to read more comics, just so I can feel like I accomplished something…

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Miles, Mutants, and Microbes (Vorkosigan Omnibus #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold– I know it seems weird that I’m reading #5 after #6, but in the continuity of the series, it actually makes more sense. Also, I’m loving the Quaddies and I feel very strongly for them. They are all my precious children and I greatly desire their freedom from the evil Corporation…
    2. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher– Holy crap, this is leaps and bounds better than Storm Front! Not just the story, but the narration and production is infinitely better. I’m very excited and looking forward to the end 🙂
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1), by Jim Butcher- Three Stars
    2. Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus #6), by Lois McMaster Bujold- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
A Monster CallsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh this book… It was moving, and heartfelt, and most importantly it was just so REAL. I know it sounds strange to say that about a book with Monster in the title, but it really was all about speaking the truth. Even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to face it, even if it isn’t what you think it is. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Addendum (from one of my early notes during reading): “It’s not often that I’m sold on a book as early as the Author’s Note, but Mr. Ness, you had me at ‘So go. Run with it. Make trouble.’

View all my reviews

The Destructive Creativity Corner (Instagram, @fogisbeautiful)

I haven’t done much with my “F*nish Th*s B**k” this past month, but I do have one post I can share.

That’s all! See you guys in March!

The Yearly Writing Round-up!- 2016/2017

It’s that time of year again! Time to take a look back, see what I’ve accomplished this year, and lay out my tentative plan for 2017. This is going to basically be an elongated Quarterly Round-up post, so let’s start with a recap of the goals I had going into 2016.

Overall goals for the year: Finish Changing History rewrites DONE! (Q1, February), Finish first draft of Changing History: Entwives DONE! (Q3, July), Write the Worth Living For short that I’ve been planning for ages, DONE! (Q3, July) Edit and begin posting Clarity DONE! (Q2, June), Finish the first draft of all three parts of Wonderland Reclaimed.
Reward Project: If I finish Wonderland Reclaimed, I can write my Avengers: Age of Ultron fic for NaNoWriMo in November.

As I mentioned in my Q3 round up, I’m pretty happy with having completed 4 out of 5 of my goals for the year. Wonderland Reclaimed… well, it’s going to have to take a back burner for a while. I feel like I maybe could work through its issues eventually, but I’m going to be a little busy with The Stars Are Fire in the next year, and I already have plans for another book in that loosely connected universe, so… we’ll see how it goes 🙂

Other notable highlights from the year include:

  • March- Began posting Double The Baggins, Twice The Took (15 chapters posted, 2016)

This was an unexpected addition to my workload this year, but not entirely unwelcome. I’ve enjoyed working on this fic and it has taken the place of Changing History in my life quite nicely. Though I do hope it won’t take me 15 years to finish! ;P

  • July- Finished posting Clarity

I honestly did not expect to finish this story this year. I expected to still be posting it well into January. But it was so… easy. Really, this whole process flowed so smoothly (even if sometimes it didn’t feel like it was) that once it got down to posting, it was simple. It was a real encouragement, especially as I had so much trouble finishing Changing History this year.

  • October- Finished the Changing History saga

This was a bittersweet moment for me. One of those moments I thought would never come, and certainly never expected to come this year. 15 years of imagination and now, it’s over. I legit cried.

  • October/November- The Stars Are Fire original novel

This one truly came out of left field and I once again have to thank my writing group for making this possible. I’m hoping for this to be the book that I (finally) publish in 2017, and honestly, even as a rough draft that I know needs work, I’m really proud of it.

And a few stats, just for fun!

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  • New words written– 112,610 (across five stories)
  • Fanfiction chapters posted– 75 (across five stories)
  • Stories Completed– 4

What’s Coming Up in 2017

Overall goals for the year: Edit and Publish “The Stars Are Fire”; Write, Edit, and Post “Good Intentions”; Finish Writing “Double The Baggins, Twice The Took”; Finish Writing “Wonderland Reclaimed”; Write first draft of Tempest in Space novel (tentatively titled “Such Stuff As Dreams”)

So another five goals for 2017! These are a bit more ambitious, but based on what I was able to do in 2016, I think they are doable. I also have a non-quantitative goal of trying out dictation for my brainstorming and possibly even my first drafts. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things regarding dictation and writing productivity, so I thought I would give it a try and see if I can’t incorporate some more walking into my life. Healthier and more productive? Sign me up!

I loved doing the Quarterly Round-Ups last year, so I plan to continue the tradition into 2017! Here are my goals for the first quarter!

  • January– First month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months, focusing on revising and editing. TSAF- make character sketches, flesh out settings, build up the system of planets, research the tech, and figure out my themes. Dictate my brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT.
  • February– Second month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?”. Self-edit TSAF. Continue to dictate brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT (possibly start dictating new words?).
  • March– Give TSAF to a select number of readers for feedback. Translate my dictation brainstorming to a workable outline for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT and write 25,000 new words (possibly through dictation).

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous about this. A lot of it rides on my dictation experiment being a success. If not, I might have some trouble getting all of these things accomplished. But I’m going to try it, and if it doesn’t work, well, I’ll modify my goals for Q2! 😀

And our adorable animal to start out the new year!

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The capybara! The world’s largest rodent (and arguably the cutest as well):

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Babies!!!

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Look at him, he’s so chill! 😀

Happy New Year, everyone! See you guys in a month!