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Writing Update: Summer Daze

Har-de-har. Daze. Days. I’m a goshdang master of words y’all.

It’s been a little while. I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on Booked All Night lately, as well as my job. I’ve since gotten a permanent position at a children’s department in a different branch, so it’s been kind of fun. The gremlins, I mean, children, are always a bundle of fun. My co-workers make it a wild ride.

I’ve put away the YA Queer Ex-Princess Fantasy I was working on. It was giving me a lot of grief and I need to step away from that world for a while. I picked up my YA Lesbian Pirate Mermaids (no actual mermaids in the draft… I should fix that) and finished the first draft. It’s only been several years. I wrote the first iteration of the story back during my undergrad sometime between 2014 and 2015. I lost access to the original file, since that was on my last laptop. And that laptop had a motherboard meltdown back in August 2018. Oops.

I’ve picked up and put down this piece maybe two or three times. It just goes to show that you never really know when it’s the right time for a story. Sometimes it just has to sit in a folder on your OneDrive for a couple of years after you nearly lost 1/3rd of it during a train trip because the cloud sync you had it set up on on Scrivener decided to be a pain and not work and delete the 10k+ words you’d written and give you a meltdown somewhere outside Toledo.

But you know. Creativity. Writing is a wild journey!

So I finished the draft at the back half of May, gave it a few weeks to sit and rest, and I’ve been slowly working through revisions.

Very. Slowly.

It’s been nearly two weeks and I’ve done six chapters.

I’m not great at this whole “consistent writing” business.

I’ve been slowly working my way through that as well as reading a bunch of arcs. So many of them are coming out this fall. It’s like an early birthday present for me!

Currently Reading

Currently Playing

Current WIP

Blogging

April Goals

It’s been a rough start to the year, y’all. I’m doing my damnedest to keep chugging along, but some days are worse than others and those days don’t tend to see much good. With spring here and warmer days coming, maybe I’ll be able to leave the house more often and get some work done.

I need to set some goals, something to strive for.

I want to hit 50k, at the very least, in my YA Queer Elven Ex-Princess manuscript. I’m sitting at 35k right now (what no, I’m not writing this post to procrastinate nope not I).

I’m doing Camp NaNo in April, so I’m hoping that puts a fire under my butt to keep going.

I definitely want to read more, since I’ve let that go since graduation as well.

Blogging

Checking In

Well, it’s been a while.

I’ve never claimed to be good at this whole “blogging” thing. I tend to spend most of my time over at Twitter I’m not writing or reading. I tend to let the blog go on the backburner for a while. As I’ve clearly proved time and time again.

I just don’t have the things to fill out an extensive blog. Most of my book reviews go up at Booked All Night and few things filter down to here.

So I guess a bit of a catch-up/check-in/update type post is in order, since we’ve solidly entered 2019 at this point.

I’ve completed my Master’s program!

That was a big thing that happened in 2018. I graduated as part of the first class in the Writing for Children & Young Adults from Sierra Nevada College in August. My final semester was stressful–I rewrote my thesis (from scratch!) three times over the course of a month and a half in order to get it as best as I could before my deadline. It was a rough series of months–both mentally, physically, emotionally, and as a writer. It tested my limits.

But I came out the other end and while I wouldn’t say I’m proud of the work I’ve done (it needs a lot of work, and it may not ever see the light of day), I’m proud of how far I’ve come as a writer.

I started a new job!

It was a strange series of events the day I got the job offer. It’s ten minutes before my workshop class was starting. I get a phone call from my local library–where I interviewed for a position about a week before flying out to school–and they offered me a position. It also happened to be the day where I had to defend my thesis before a panel of my professors. And I was the very first student in the entire graduating class to defend. Talk about setting a precedent!

But everything worked out great! I’ve been working at my local library (which is a dream come true!) and I’ve been considering going back to school for a degree in library science. (I won’t, because I’m broke and can’t afford more loans than I already have.)

I’ve been working on the story of my heart again.

I had to put away the YA fantasy I’ve been chipping away at for several years in order to work on my thesis, but I’ve finally been able to go back to it. I get to look at it with fresh eyes and a better understanding of the craft, and I’m not putting myself on any strict deadline to finish it. I’m taking it easy and writing as I can, when I can, however long I can.

I’m trying to hone in on my writing process. I’ve never been a Write Every Day type of writer. I reach burnout too quickly like that. I have days where I can write 7k words, and some days where I can only write 200 words. I’m learning to be okay with that.

Book Reviews · Reviews

Children of Blood and Bone ★★★★☆½

34728667.jpgI’ve been waiting for Children of Blood and Bone from the second it was announced. It’s popped up every so often in my Twitter feed and every single time, my hype for it grew. Maybe my hype overshot the book, but I loved this amazing story–pacing issues aside.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Tomi Adeyemi’s worldbuilding was one of the best I’d seen in a long time. I was immediately interested in her world; her worldbuilding is next to none. I was entranced by the magic–or lack thereof–and how it was treated by the people of Orïsha. I wanted to know more about the story and dig deep.

But then there was the pacing. JM Tuckerman and I talked about it on our Booked All Night podcast about the book a little while back and I still agree that the pacing was whiplash inducing. It felt like an entire trilogy was smushed into one 525 page book. So much happened and we never really got a chance to feel the tension or spend time with the characters. The POV jumped constantly and there were times when I felt we were getting the scene from the wrong character’s perspective. A lot of the time, I felt like we didn’t even need all of those POVs. There’s already so much information coming at us that throwing up to four perspectives really threw me out of the loop.

I wanted to spend time with all the different characters and really get to know them, but with the way the story was going, it was just too fast to wrap my head around.

Not to mention that I didn’t really feel like we hit the meat of the story until 3/4 of the way through, where Inan and Zélie have to work together. It felt like the first 75% of the story was just setup for that moment and that’s a lot to wade through.

But even with the pacing issues, I still enjoyed reading it. I still cried, and as everyone knows, any book that gets me to cry gets bumped up a star category (or is forever immortalized in my Hall of Favorite Books, which is really just a labyrinth). I’m excited for the movie to drop and to see how the world is portrayed on the big screen, and of course, I can’t wait for the sequel!

Book Reviews · Reviews

Granted ★★★★☆½

grantedI initially requested Granted by John David Anderson because my good friend JM Tuckerman loved the cute opening chapter. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with this book as hard as I did.

From the author of beloved novels Ms. Bixby’s Last Dayand Posted comes a hilarious, heartfelt, and unforgettable novel about a fairy-in-training.

Everyone who wishes upon a star, or a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for. But even so, there is someone out there who hears it.

In a magical land called the Haven lives a young fairy named Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets. Ophela is no ordinary fairy—she is a Granter: one of the select fairies whose job it is to venture out into the world and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day.

It’s the work of the Granters that generates the magic that allows the fairies to do what they do, and to keep the Haven hidden and safe. But with worldwide magic levels at an all-time low, this is not as easy as it sounds. On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of potential wishes gets granted.

Today, however, is anything but typical. Because today, Ophelia is going to get her very first wish-granting assignment.

And she’s about to discover that figuring out how to truly give someone what they want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.

I immediately fell in love with the voice. I loved Ophelia’s attitude and sass, and I loved how she did things because that’s how she was going to do them, thank-you-very-much. The puns and the light-hearted voice really made me see myself reading this book to a child during storytime.

It did get a little old pretty fast, but that could just be the way I as an adult was reading it. But seeing as Granted is a middle grade book, the tone was appropriate and fun.

I felt a little disheartened from reading just because Ophelia kept running into bad situation after bad situation; there was very little time for reflection or trying to recuperate to do better next time. But maybe it was that sort of constant negative situations that led me to cry at the end.

And the end, y’all. JM Tuckerman and I talked about it during our Booked All Night episode on Granted, but I cried. And any book that brings tears to my eyes immediately gets a bump up in the star rating.

All in all, it was a cute read and I highly recommend it to everyone!

Blogging

Writing Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about my writing life. So let’s go!

I recently submitted my second packet work to my mentor. It’s my final semester and I’m writing my thesis now. It’s a lot to think about, and the added pressure that this project is going to define me as I get my MFA is just an extra dollop of stress and anxiety on top of my usual anxiety.

I want to present my best work, I always want to be able to show people what my best work is, but I’ve come to a realization that this project will never be my best work.

I’m falling in and out of love with this piece on a near daily basis. Some days I like it and some days I think it needs to die in a trash fire. But this goes beyond the usual Writer Thing writers do. It’s a urban fantasy/fantasy fiction/paranormal type piece (I used to call it suburban fantasy but paranormal probably fits better). The problem with this piece is that it’s entirely too contemporary for me.

I’m a huge lover of fantasy and my writing voice reflects that. Contemporary is not even close to my favorite. It’s my least favorite genre, to be honest. But the story I’m trying to write goes beyond just the genre, since it’s a story about grief and accepting the loss of a loved one.

But all I want to do is write my queer elven princesses and lesbian mermaids.

It’s a struggle.

But sometimes the things you want to do aren’t the things you need to do. I know this project will be a good thing to have in my pocket, regardless of how I feel about it. Plenty of authors have written books they hated, but the point was that it was a book they wrote.

Something is better than nothing and I’m 50 pages deep into this project and I still have another 100 or so to go. Whether or not I complete this book when my semester is over is a totally different ball game.

Not that I know how to play sports anyway.