NaNoWriMo 2017: Conclusion

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You, guys. YOU. GUYS. It’s done! I know it’s been a couple days now, but NaNoWriMo is officially at its end, can you believe it? After all the late-night writing binges, after consuming more caffeinated beverages than anything of actual nutritional value, and after writing our little hearts out all last month, it is finally OVER!

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We did it, guys! We weathered the storm. If you participated, I’d love to hear how you did. Hopefully everyone got a great experience out of it. 🙂 I think the whole challenge is a positive thing no matter the word count you end with because it is a valuable learning tool as a writer. So, no matter the outcome, congrats on another NaNoWriMo battle fought and survived (and maybe even vanquished!)

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I spent the last couple weeks of November sick, but determined not to give up. Hence why I wound up going on a brief hiatus and have been a no-show around here lately. (Can you tell I started to feel the pressure when I wound up a bit shy of my intended word count by the halfway mark?) 😛 Well, the near-maddening level of work I put into it paid off and I DID cross the finish line. Not in a smooth, effortless gazelle-level-of-grace sort of way, but in more of a frothing-at-the-mouth, crashing through the wall and skidding to a bloody stop sort of way.

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So, that said, by the end of November I finished the challenge by the skin of my teeth with . . . dun dun dunnnnn . . . 50,246 words. I wrote my little heart out. Some of it is pretty rough, but they call it a “rough draft” for a reason, no? 😉 There’s plenty more to keep writing for this story, but I’ve got a lot of that figured out already, too. I tend to be a project hopper, always bouncing from idea to idea, but I’m really enjoying writing these characters and their world right now, which leads me into another big announcement as the start of the new year draws ever nearer. It’s something I’m pretty excited about. 😀

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I’m one of those people who always does the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. For a long time I was ALSO one of those people who made the goals and forgot all about them a month or two into the new year. Last year was different, though. I made a lot of resolutions aimed toward improving myself and I actually did accomplish a lot of them, which was an amazing feeling. I’ll do a whole post about my goals for the upcoming year as January gets closer, but for now, while we’re on the topic of my current writing project, I want to announce that one of those goals is to (by the end of 2018) have a finalized draft of my novel to start submitting to publishers.

NaNoWriMo was a major step in this, but only the first of many that I’ll have to take to make these goal happen. I’m looking forward to the journey though, no matter how stressful it might just end up being. Along the way I may even finally work up the nerve to talk a bit about what it is I’m actually working on. I’m neurotic about only letting people see my stuff when it’s DONE but maybe I’ll lighten up a bit on that. Maybe. lol It’s hard for me to let people see the rough, WIP versions of things I’m making, so we’ll see. Are any of you guys like that, too? I always see people sharing the things they’re working on and I love to see it, just for some reason I’ve always had a hard time showing things until they’re finished. Maybe that is something I should work on, too. 😛

Alright, time to catch up on everyone’s blogs! I’ve missed popping into WP since I was finishing my writing binge and dealing with a very busy last few days. It’ll be nice to see what you’ve all been up to. 🙂

 

 

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My Name in TBR Books Tag

This tag seemed so cute and fun when I saw thebookcorps do it. I haven’t done a book tag in a wee bit so I figured I’d take a stab at it! 😉 I’ll be using my blogging name instead of my real name just as my own personal preference, but if this looks fun to you, do it whichever way you like. 🙂 I’m also going by alphabetizing rules that would dictate you drop the first word in the title if it is something like “The” or “a”. 😛 That said, let’s get this tag underway!

I – The Ice Dragon

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Although George RR Martin’s other stories featuring dragons (cough cough, you know, those books in that little series known as A Song of Ice and Fire) are full of violence, incest, foul language and other adult themes, The Ice Dragon is actually one intended for younger readers. I’ve heard it is enjoyable for all age groups, though, and would love to read it.

G – Gather the Daughters

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I’ve had several friends read this recently, including fellow blogger and my personal BFF Cupcakes & Machetes who posted a review about this horrific dystopian read. I’ve heard it’s the sort of read that you won’t soon forget after reading it.

N – Night of Cake & Puppets

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A novella linked to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. ‘Nuff said.

I – In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

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After seeing Yeonmi Park’s moving speech regarding life in North Korea and what it took to escape it, I had to add her story to my TBR list.

T – Tin Stars (Descender, Vol. 1)

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I actually picked this one up recently from my local comic shop, but have yet to read it. I’ve heard marvelous things about it, though. It’s supposed to be a really good science fiction read.

E – An Ember in the Ashes

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Another book I’ve been hearing wonderful things about. I feel like this would wind up being one of those reads that winds up being devoured.

D – A Darker Shade of Magic

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I’ve heard this author specializes in good, dark reads. Sign. Me. UP.

M – A Monster Calls

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I suspect this book will make me cry my eyes out, but I hear it’s amazing. I hear the story itself and the illustrations blend this book into a memorable read that will definitely give you the feels.

O – Odd & True

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A blend of historical fiction and paranormal fantasy that I’ve seen several of you review favorably.

T – Traitor to the Throne

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Okay, I’m cheating with this one because I don’t have a whole lot of books starting with ‘T’ in my TBR list, and this is the second book in a series I really want to read as a whole, Rebel of the Sands. But, hey, it’s my blog and I can cheat if I want to! 😛

H – Hemlock Grove

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I (mostly) enjoyed the Netflix series of the same name, so I’ve been wanting to check out the book for a while now to see how they compare. 🙂

So, there we have it, guys! This was actually pretty neat to do since it made me have to reexamine my TBR list. Some of these titles have been on there a long time. As for tagging, it’s no pressure here as per usual. If this looks fun to you, have at it! Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! ❤

Nimona (No-Spoiler) Review

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I’d heard good things regarding the graphic novel Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and I did not feel let down one bit upon reading it. The story was so sassy, cute and fun. I really enjoyed the characters, and how the story developed from humble beginnings to an increasingly dramatic plot with ever-growing stakes.

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Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

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I think this story would definitely be of interest to people who enjoyed the cartoon Adventure Time. It has that same sort of charm in my opinion, all while doing its own thing. Definitely worth checking out, in my opinion!

Giant Days, Vol. 3 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Giant Days is, as I’ve seen it described before, “a slice of life” sort of comic following a group of friends as they navigate their first semester at university. It’s honestly quite charming in my opinion, and one of those feel-good sorts of easy reading. Not to say it doesn’t have the occasional sad or angering moment thrown in as well, but overall it’s got fun and silly humor and good female characters/friendships. Good male characters, too. Just good, human characters all around it would seem. (Maybe even a good pigeon character as well.)

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Being a young adult makes for stressful and odd times, and the events that have transpired over the first three volumes of Giant Days do not shy away from that. In fact, GD fully embraces it with a running start and tackle-hugs it to the ground. This volume in particular covers topics ranging from bedtime romps and heartache to student elections and the terror that is camping.

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My boyfriend and I have been reading through this series together and our personal reviews on this volume were mixed. We both liked volume 1 the best so far, but he wound up enjoying 2 more than 3, and I on the other hand enjoyed this volume more than I did with volume 2. We both agree we’re definitely going to continue reading the series though with volume 4 at some point. 🙂 The series just has some sort of comfy cozy vibe that keeps me coming back for more if that makes any sense. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the characters so much, even when they’re doing normal everyday stuff.

So, how about you guys? Reading anything good right about now? Do you have any go-to feel-good reads you enjoy like this one?

NaNoWriMo 2017: Let’s Do This!

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It’s that time of year again, guys! As many of you know, November 1st marks Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, aka: National Novel Writing Month. (Otherwise known as that 30 day span of time where you never see your writer friends because they’ve gone into that annual highly caffeinated full-blown hermit mode to reach that 50,000 word count.)

Last year was my first stab at NaNoWriMo, and I can honestly say that I went into it all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Something like this:

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And then when it came toward the end of November I suddenly found myself feeling more like THIS:

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Needless to say, things did not go exactly as I had planned. BUT, quite possibly the best thing about not succeeding is learning from your mistakes you made the first go around. That’s why I chalk my first attempt at NaNoWriMo as a valuable learning experience and not a “failure”. As long as you pick up on what hindered your goal and keep at it, it isn’t really a failure anyway. 🙂

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I know that my number one NaNoWriMo nemesis is that damned backspace key. I am a compulsive nut about re-wording things over and over again to make them sound “just so”. (Not a good habit to have when working on first drafts.) Thankfully, I don’t have this habit while blogging. I just wing it and keep going. I’m really going to try to avoid deleting things at all costs. Just keep pushing forward. That’s the goal.

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50,000 words in 30 days is the mission. It can be done. It isn’t easy by any means, but I’m really planning on passing that finish line this go around. Some of you might remember when I decided to challenge myself to a similar goal I dubbed the “Necro Rhino” since my boyfriend and I call NaNoWriMo “Nano Rhino” and this was me resurrecting the challenge in a different month after my little nano rhino bit the dust well below the planned word count. I may have not made it during 2016’s NaNoWriMo, but I did during the Necro Rhino challenge I set for myself, so now that I know I am capable of doing it, I am hoping to go for the gold this time around! 😀

Another useful tool? Those heavenly caffeinated beverages. Coffee? Sure! Red Bull? You betcha! I can sleep in December when NaNoWriMo is over. 😛

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Good luck to all of you who are participating in this month’s dash to reach at least 50,000 words! I saw a lot of people make, and even surpass, that goal last year, so don’t get discouraged. We’ve got this, people! ❤

Happy Halloween!

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Let the festivities officially begin because Halloween is upon us! (Although I’ve been trying to squeeze in Halloween hijinks throughout the whole month.) 😛

It’s pretty dang cold here in Michigan right now, but that’s okay. I’m soaking up all this fall weather while I can. This past weekend I got to head out of town to spend it with my #1 partner in crime, Cupcakes and Machetes. She was hosting our book club’s October meeting and threw a lovely get-together with delicious fall goodies and an awesome tour of the old cemetery behind her house. I stayed the night and we wound up carving pumpkins and watching the first 2 episodes of the latest season of Stranger Things. (I can’t wait to see the rest of it!) It was a great way to spend the weekend before Halloween, not to mention how gorgeous all the trees were on the drive! 🙂

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I can’t wait to see all the costumes everyone wears at work today. I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’m a program instructor at a day program for adults with special needs and we’re having a big Halloween party with a costume contest, creepy sensory bins, spooky decorations, and room-to-room trick or treating. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun. 😀

One of the major reasons I’m in the job field I am is my big brother. He has autism, OCD, and epilepsy. For a long time he wasn’t really into doing holiday-related activities. (In fact, for years my parents couldn’t put up a Christmas tree because in his opinion, that tree simply did not belong in the living room so it was coming down one way or another.) He’s come around though in recent years and even helped decorate the tree last year which was really nice. 🙂 Well, he’s embraced Halloween now, too, it seems. We got to decorate pumpkins together. I carved mine and he decorated his with paint and face stickers. He did such a great job and it was really cool getting to do that with him.

My pumpkin was supposed to be a pug face. Hopefully it looks sorta kinda like one. 😛 Anywhoooo, I hope you guys all have a fantastic Halloween! Are you doing anything fun today? What were your favorite Halloween activities you got to do this year?

Wytches, Vol. 1 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Happy October, everybody!! ❤ This is my favorite time of the year, so expect plenty of horror and Halloween related posts this month. To kick things off, I figured we’d start with a review of the first volume of Wytches. I’d heard some really good things about this comic and it did not let me down. In fact, it wound up being even cooler than I expected, with some really interesting twists on the conventional “witches” of some of our darker fairy tales of old.

The way this story beautifully unfolds the further you get into it kind of makes it hard to gush about without spoiling anything, but I’ll do my best. Although this is definitely a gritty horror story, the heart of it revolves around family, specifically the bond between a father and his daughter. It’s great because it doesn’t try to present a “perfect family”, but rather one with flaws but where there is genuine love. They definitely have their ups and downs. It made the characters and the world they live in feel more genuine, despite the supernatural hellish nightmare going on all around them.

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This is, in my opinion, a really creative spin on witches (or “wytches” as they are called in the story) and witch hunting. It isn’t just a “burn the witch!” sort of thing, with the story even addressing some of the all-too-real witch hysteria that plagued our own history. The way these ancient wytches have managed to survive all these years was pretty interesting, too. You can tell Scott Snyder put a lot of thought into this when coming up with and writing the story. I want so badly to go into all the little details that I enjoyed, but I feel it’s better for people to learn them as they go along. I’m just a sucker for all those cool little tidbits authors come up with when worldbuilding.

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All in all, volume 1 was a great introduction to the story and I really wish there was already a volume 2 out so I could read that as well. This was a solid horror comic and one I look forward to reading more of one day. 🙂

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Looking forward to sharing lots of horror/Halloween posts with you guys this month, and talking about tons of beasties and things that go bump in the night! 😀