Category: Books/Writing

Oct 10

NaNoWriMo 2017

Books/Writing 5

Yessssssss my friends, it is here again!! Last year, instead of stressing myself out trying to finish a 50K word novel, my goal was to completely plot my novel (in case you’re not familiar, check out National Novel Writing Month 2017). AND I SUCCEEDED. There was SUCH a happy dance! So naturally, I’m doing it again this year! If you have already decided or are on the fence, check out the main page and then hop over and add me as a writing buddy!

I did not, however, succeed at finishing said novel this year. Currently “Rising of the Sun” sits at 18,598 words, according to my Scrivener file. Just a leeeeetle bit short of my goal of 120K. But, not to be deterred, today I sat down to figure out my goals and plans for NaNoWriMo 2017. First up was reading over my (FINISHED! I just have to keep pointing that out, I’m so proud of myself) outline.

And this was my face, because I seriously HAVE NO MEMORY of writing some of this stuff. Like where TF did this come from? Did this actually come out of my brain? I mean, it must have…right?

Well, regardless – my goal for NaNo this year is to add 50,000 words to my novel. Based on the size of my outline, I would say the finished word count goal of 120K is probably a gross UNDERestimate, haha. For this month of #Preptober my plan is:

  • Re-read outline in entirety
  • Read already written 18,000 words – DO NOT EDIT! Inner editor, now is not your time…
  • Fill in major character sketches for both MCs
  • Fill in major character sketches for 4 other characters
  • Fill in DETAILED plot outline for next 3 chapters
  • Find or put together writing playlists (Apple Music? Spotify?)

Do you have plans for NaNoWriMo 2017? Have you participated before? Do you think it helps you as a writer? What are you doing for #Preptober?

Links to Help Prep for NaNoWriMo 2017:

 

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Oct 08

Halloween Read-A-Thon 2017

Books/Writing 9

It’s that time of year again, everyone!!! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays!  Wonderless Reviews is hosting the Halloween Read-A-Thon over on her blog again this year. If you haven’t seen it already go over, check it out, and sign up! This year she’s offering a giveaway and I’ve decided to contribute as well (if you’re in a hurry, scroll to the bottom of this post for details). My TBR this year is mostly encapsulated in this picture.

  • Girl of Nightmares, by Kendare Blake – I read Anna Dressed in Blood last year for the read-a-thon
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss – I meant to read this a couple of months ago, but it didn’t happen.
  • Hunting Price Dracula, by Kerri Maniscalco – Another sequel, look at me go! I read the first book in this series for the Halloween Read-A-Thon last year as well…I sense a trend.
  • The Diabolic, by S.J. Kincaid – This has been out for ages and now the sequel to IT is about to be released, so it’s about time!

I’m not sure what else if anything I will get to this month, so I’m going to leave it there for now. And now for…*drumroll please*

I’m giving away a Halloween book sleeve (yes, made by yours truly)! I took pre-orders for these but they are no longer available in the store, so you’ll be getting the only one I have left!

I’m totally stealing rules from Lauren here:

  • The giveaway opens NOW and closes on the 30th October. You can enter anytime between those dates. The winner will be announced on the 31st October (or as soon as I can get to it).
  • The giveaway is international – I really hate leaving folks out, so even though shipping is outrageous I’m spreading the love!
  • You don’t have to complete the challenges to be eligible for the giveaway. You DO have to have signed up on Lauren’s Halloween Read-A-Thon announcement post (yes, I *will* check).
  • 18+ or a parent/guardian’s permission. Sorry, folks.
  • I accept no responsibility for lost or damaged packages.
  • Enter the Rafflecopter below! Or click the picture above. 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading, everyone!! And a happy, spooky October to you. 😉 😀

Follow me on social media!

  

GoodReads

 

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Sep 28

How to Get Over a Reading Slump

Books/Writing 6

Granted, this title is super pretentious, because no matter how many strategies you have to get over your reading slump – they happen. We’ve all been there. I think a big part of the key is to not FREAK OUT when they happen, because there are a lot of things we can do to ride it out and get back to the books we know we love! Slumps happen for a lot of reasons. You may be completely blindsided by your sudden lack of interest in (or just inability to concentrate on) that book you’ve been anticipating for months, or you may know exactly what is bothering you. Through the years I’ve become a lot better at pinpointing the cause of my slumps, but I still find myself in the depths of book despair at times. Regardless of the reasons for your reading slump, here are some ideas to help you break out of it!

1.  Re-read your favorite books. My go-to re-reads of late have been the Harry Potter series. I’m on #4. There’s something very comforting and reassuring about re-reads. Whether you like HEA endings or something else, re-read a book that left you satisfied and proud to have on your shelf.

2.  Listen to audiobooks. There’s something about the change in format that really helps my brain. I’m actually combining these first two for my Harry Potter re-read. I love the narrator (Jim Dale), his voices for the different characters are AMAZING!

3.  Go to the library. Libraries help assuage my need to BUY ALL THE BOOKS that kicks into overdrive when I go to an actual bookstore. I can walk out with an entire armful JUST BECAUSE THEY LOOK PRETTY, with no guilt at all over whether or not I read them. I can take them home if I want to. I can read them (or not) if I want to. And then, for the love of all that’s sacred, return them.

4.  Organize (re-organize) your bookshelves. Or stacks. Obviously, if you don’t own physical books, this might not help. But I’ve found many times that going through all my books I inevitably find one that piques my interest – either by re-reading it (please tell me I’m not the only one who occasionally finds a book that I know I have read but can’t remember a thing about it upon seeing it again) or being motivated to finally read it.

5.  Give some books away! Share the love. Introduce a child to the wonderful world of books! Or, simply remove them from your virtual TBR. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by that towering TBR and just need some space. If you have stacks of physical unread books, go through them and be honest – are you actually still interested in that book, or do you just feel guilty when you look at it? If all you feel is guilt – GET RID OF IT! Donate it to a library, a thrift store, or to someone you know who might enjoy it. Go through your GoodReads TBR and kick off books that you don’t remember or that don’t interest you anymore. It’s very freeing.

These are just a few things that have helped me through reading slumps. I still sort of feel like I’m in one now, but I am still reading (albeit slowly) by using some of these ideas. What are ways you break out of your reading slump? Book hangovers?

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Sep 15

Presenting: Bent Needle Designs BOOK SLEEVES!

Books/Writing, Crafting 6

book sleeves

Makers and dreamers. Readers and artists. So often we are one and the same. People who read, dream. And people who dream usually have one or more creative outlets.

Introducing my creative outlet: Bent Needle Designs Etsy store! I started off making organizer and project bags for OTHER makers, but recently expanded into making the ever-so-popular book sleeves! I’m very proud of these and after using them myself for several weeks think any on-the-go reader will love them as well. The books I’ve been dragging around with me during my reading slump are still in pristine condition, no bumped edges or bent pages. It really is the best thing I’ve done for myself and the condition of my library in ages, haha.

I am especially excited about these Halloween themed prints! Some of you might remember from last year’s Halloween Read-a-thon, I LOVE HALLOWEEN.

Right now there are both hardcover and paperback sleeves in stock, so check it out and see what you think! More will be listed this weekend, in the gorgeous Rifle Paper Company fabrics. 🙂

There is also a special, instant coupon when you subscribe to the shop newsletter, so definitely sign up – not only will you get the coupon, but advance notice of sales, new designs, etc.

Don’t worry, I won’t be turning this into a sales blog – but I did have to share and will post new bookish stuffs every now and then. Happy reading!

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Sep 11

Down the TBR Hole #24

Books/Writing 3

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story (who has, somehow, already made it completely through his own TBR)!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. I’m now up to 636 (life of a bookworm, haha), but I’m still making progress!

Title/Author: The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon

Date Added: June 14, 2015

Thoughts: This sounds interesting but not at the same time.

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone #1), by Leigh Bardugo

Date Added: June 14, 2015

Thoughts: Still sounds cool, still want to read at some point!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Into the Wilderness (Wilderness #1), by Sara Donati

Date Added: June 18, 2015

Thoughts: Sounds a lot like Outlander…and funny enough, has an endorsement from Gabaldon on the cover!

Judgment: Keep!

Title/Author: The Deerslayer, by James Fenimore Cooper

Date Added: June 18, 2015

Thoughts: This is one of those classic works I feel obligated to read. Sometime.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper

Date Added: June 18, 2015

Thoughts: This is what I actually wanted to read, but since it’s the sequel to the one above I put them both on the list.

Judgment: Go, since I really feel like I need to read the first one before…

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2/5 this week! Not too bad. Just 5 this week – hopefully more interesting things later this week!

 

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Sep 10

Sunday Post #4 – The Miracle Morning and Getting Back to Myself

Book Reviews, Books/Writing, Life 2 ★★★★★

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

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Bear with me folks, this post is part weekly update and part book review! This week I focused really hard on something I’ve been lacking a lot of lately – taking care of myself. I am always taking care of other people. At work, I not only take care of patients, I take care of co-workers that work under me or are less experienced. I also seem to attract anyone with problems and everyone likes to talk to me – which I find very ironic, since I am generally very quiet and keep to myself. At home, I take care of my husband – which is, of course, a mutual thing, but I still feel like I need to make sure he is happy and not starving, etc. etc. I do things for myself, of course, but I never completely immerse myself in any of them. I always have one eye and ear out on the people around me (even when I try my hardest to at least APPEAR like I am ignoring them in hopes I won’t be interrupted).

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Sunday Post #4 – The Miracle Morning and Getting Back to MyselfThe Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod
Published by Hal Elrod on December 7th 2012
Pages: 140
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreads five-stars

What if you could miraculously wake up tomorrow and any-or every area of your life was transformed? What would be different? Would you be happier? Healthier? More successful? In better shape? Would you have more energy? Less Stress? More Money? Better relationships? Which of your problems would be solved? What if I told you that there is a "not-so-obvious" secret that is guaranteed to transform any-or literally every area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible? What if I told you it would only take 6 minutes a day? Enter The Miracle Morning. What's now being practiced by thousands of people around the world could perhaps be the simplest approach to creating the life you've always wanted. It's been right there in front of us, but this book has finally brought it to life. Are you ready? The next chapter of your life-the most extraordinary life you've ever imagined-is about to begin. IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP TO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL...

Last weekend, I read The Miracle Morning after hearing it much raved about, particularly by Kara over at Boho Berry. I was dubious, not going to lie. I already get up super early in the morning and the idea of voluntarily getting up even earlier wasn’t very appealing. However, I decided to give Mr. Elrod and his S.A.V.E.R.S. (Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing) a try. The book in and of itself was inspiring, with all kinds of motivating quotes.

I’m on my sixth day of The Miracle Morning, and while I’m not sure my actual productivity has increased or anything like that – I feel better. I feel better about myself, more motivated, more relaxed, more confident. I can’t recommend this book enough, and for EVERYONE – students, entrepeneurs, professionals – wherever you are, the principles in this book are applicable. Are they new? No. But, if you’re like me, maybe it had never occurred to you how to string all these things together for your own maximum benefit. Hal also has a way of writing that just makes you want to GO DO THINGS and also makes you think you can conquer the world – all very invigorating.

I want to point out that I was initially rather sketch on this whole idea, because I thought for sure it would be a gimmick to get you to buy more of Hal’s products. Actually, anything he references in the book as far as handouts, online community, etc – is FREE. I was very pleasantly surprised. I joined the Miracle Morning FB group, but haven’t really participated as to be honest I really prefer the bullet journal-centric Boho Berry Tribe group! It seems to have a lot of the same vibe – positive, energetic, uplifting, motivating – all while being just as obsessed with bullet journals and art stuff as I am. Haha.

Let me know if you read and give this a try! I’d love to hear how it works out for you. Or if you’ve already tried it, I’d love to hear about that too!

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With all that said, I am still trying to find a schedule that really works for me. Getting up early and having some “me time” has definitely helped, but I am still struggling to balance writing, work, and family commitments. I’ll figure it out eventually. In the meantime…

Next Week on the Blog:

Down the TBR Hole #25
A Super Almost-Secret Squirrel Announcement
Maybe a book review?

Yeah, see. Not so organized. But still here, and feeling hopeful and like I might actually start swimming soon, as opposed to just treading water!

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five-stars

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Sep 05

Down the TBR Hole #23

Books/Writing 0

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story (who has, somehow, already made it completely through his own TBR)!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. Last week I made quite a bit of progress through sheer organization, and I this week I haven’t added that many so I am at 638. Off we go again!

Title/Author: Marley & Me, by John Grogan

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Because of course I want to bawl my eyes out on a dog book.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Hands of Light, by Barbara Ann Brennan

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Still not sure what I think of this subject, but am particularly intrigued by this book because the author is a physicist by profession.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Recommended by a good friend. Bought a copy. Unread on the shelf because I’m afraid of finding out more about myself.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Essential Reiki, by Diane Stein

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: I actually ended up taking a class on Reiki.

Judgment: Go.

  

Title/Author: Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four (Divergent series), by Veronica Roth

Date Added: June 11, 2015

Thoughts: Despite having the end of the series MASSIVELY SPOILED for me after I read the first one, I’d still like to finish it at some point.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Inceptio, by Alison Morton

Date Added: June 11, 2015

Thoughts: I have no memory AT ALL of this, and no one I know how read it…where did this come from?

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Shadow Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond #2), by Kathryn Lasky

Date Added: June 13, 2015

Thoughts: Yes, at some point I want to finish reading this adorable little series…I read the first one but never picked up the rest!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1), by Jim Butcher

Date Added: June 14, 2015

Thoughts: I pre-ordered this book. HOW HAVE I NOT READ IT YET??

Judgment: Keep. Obviously.

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Well, down by 2 this week. Not great, but better than none. Now if I could just read more! Until next time…

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Sep 05

Repost from Word Wonders

Books/Writing 0

Check out Fadwa’s blog!

This was a super interesting read and brought up ideas and points about representation that I had never, ever thought of. Definitely worth the time to read and consider – I’m always trying to expand my horizons and see outside the box of my own experiences. I hope maybe at some point Fadwa puts out a list of her recommendations for books with this kind of rep!

Maybe I’m just technically challenged, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the actual “reblog” function to work to THIS site (it kept sending to my old wordpress.com hosted site), so I did it this way.

 

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Sep 04

August Recap

Books/Writing 0

august recap

Happy Labor Day, fellow bookworms! I am thoroughly enjoying my long weekend. In lieu of the Sunday Post this week you are getting my August recap! Pretty short this time…I have been reading some – not a lot, but some, which is a huge improvement over most of last month. However, August did see the return of my reading mojo, to some extent. Still not up to where it was this time a year ago, but it’s progress. I’ve had a ton of other stuff going on in the last few months so I’m just grateful to be able to read and enjoy at all! I’ve ALSO been working on a new project near and dear to my heart…which I’ll be sharing with you guys later this week. If I can wait that long. 😉

Read:

  

Generally speaking, I suck at reading sequels so I was super proud of myself for finishing Silver Stars…which I thought was the end of a duology but naturally turned out to be the 2nd of a trilogy. Oops. But I’m super excited for the next one, Purple Hearts, which (also naturally) won’t be out until January 2018. *eyeroll* Because of course. In the meantime you can read my review of the FIRST book in this series, Front Lines – and hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I’ll have a Silver Stars review up!

I enjoyed RoseBlood much more than I thought I would after reading some super scathing reviews! I was so happy because I had high hopes and I feel like A.G. Howard really delivered. More on that later as well!

The book on Rottweilers was because we are looking into obtaining one as a service dog for my husband. It was very informative and the authors obviously had a lot of experience. No plans to review this one!

Reviewed:

 

You can read Night Swimming here, and Hyperbole and a Half here! Obviously I am a bit behind and have slowed waaaaay down on reviewing…I’m hoping to get caught up eventually. I might do a mini-review post of several recent books…we shall see!

Currently Reading:

Because when you’re in a bit of a reading slump, you (obviously) start multiple books in a effort to see what speaks to your inner bookworm (like a muse, but for readers, courtesy of my friend Anne). Also you read self-improvement books because my life is going to be a ROLLERCOASTER for the next several months and I want to swim, not just tread water.

  

How about you? Was August a good reading month for you? What’s on your radar for September?

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Aug 31

Down the TBR Hole #22

Books/Writing 2

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story (who has, somehow, already made it completely through his own TBR)!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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It’s a little past Monday (my usual day for DtTH), but better late than never! So here we go. When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. As of today, I have…652. It keeps going up! Eeeeek!  As usual covers link to GoodReads. 🙂

Title/Author: And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily #1), by Tasha Alexander

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: Historical, looks well researched, and a mystery. Yes please! Now how about a clone of me that can just read all day every day…

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Point of Honor, by Madeleine E. Robins

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: Eh, what? Where did this come from?

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: The Summer Queen, by Elizabeth Chadwick

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: This is yet another author I’ve long wanted to try but still haven’t gotten around to! Shame on me.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: The Constant Princess (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #6), by Philippa Gregory

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: Oops? I haven’t read any of this series and while I do mean to read another of Gregory’s books at some point, I wouldn’t start with this one.

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, by Ann B. Ross

Date Added: May 26, 2015

Thoughts: This is another one of those…where did this come from??

Judgment: Go.

There were 9 books on PTSD that I had on the list at this point, that I moved to their own list, because I was keeping them as a reference more than anything else at the moment…not going through them all here, but that dropped my number some more!

Title/Author: The Buried Giant, by Kazoo Ishiguro

Date Added: June 5, 2015

Thoughts: Interesting enough concept, but based on reviews I don’t think I would make it through the entire book.

Judgment: Go.

Title/Author: Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3), by Jacqueline Winspear

Date Added: June 1, 2015

Thoughts: I really suck at reading sequels…and this one is even on my actual shelf!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Redwall (Redwall #1), by Brian Jacques

Date Added: June 5, 2015

Thoughts: I have no idea how I didn’t read this series when I was younger, but I simply MUST.

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: Wildwood (Wildwood #1), by Colin Meloy

Date Added: June 5, 2015

Thoughts: This still intrigues me to no end, and I love kids’ books!

Judgment: Keep.

Title/Author: All Dogs Go to Kevin, by Jessica Vogelsang

Date Added: June 9, 2015

Thoughts: Because I love dogs, and we all need a good dog story now and then.

Judgment: Keep.

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Well, with the additional sorting of the PTSD books this week, I went from 652 books to 639. AWESOME SAUCE. Phew! That felt good. Until next week!

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