Friday, January 16, 2015

Books? Who has time for books?

I don't have much time to read anymore. I ended my reading challenge of 100 books this year at about 60 so I was close! I purchased a home, I quit my job and went back to school, and most of all I've been doing a lot of writing.

My goal this year was to continue on, but let's see how long that lasts.

My first book a book that I have been super excited about now for a while. No body can do Fae Tales like Holly Black--no body, and ever since Tithe I've been desperate for something along those lines. So when I heard she was writing a book about a horned boy sleeping in a glass coffin in the middle of the woods? Oh I was so there.

So there. 

I am guessing he is the Alderking's kid…but we'll see! Watch the trailer below.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time Travel Is All The Rage Now

So I've been rather disappointed in most of the books I have read recently. Nothing really has stuck out as blog worthy, but perhaps I'm just getting old. I've been dealing with some pretty scary health concerns that seem to have finally taken a backseat so maybe I'll read something that will stick with me. However, I am prepping for NaNoWriMo this year and since I didn't make an offer on a house a month before starting I think I'll get it done!

This blog is going to go hand in hand with my last one about how I research so much, and since time travel is all the rage right now (all the cool kids are doing it) I thought I would share my favorite book on Elizabethan England thus far.

The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer

Haven't you wondered what the streets were like? What sites you might see on your way to London? Hell, Ian Mortimer even describes what the murky pits of sewer water would have smelled like and what sort of food you could find on Cheapside. What to know where the clothes itched the most? Or perhaps what sort of shampoo you use (if any at all). 

Honestly, for the better part of a year now I have been submerged in research of what life would have been like during this era, and this book has been my bible. 

I learned a long time ago that you can't trust Wikipedia…(Chuck Norris was listed as the Egyptian God of Awesome right under Ra) But it's so well organized. I like to check my facts so I use it as a starting point, but this book puts even that massive site to shame with it's reference list. Clearly Mr. Mortimer spent a great deal of his life researching and writing, and for that I'm thankful. 

I highly recommend it if you plan to write a book in this era because frankly The Tudors Tv Show just isn't enough. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Inspire Me Monday: Outlander

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Inspire Me Monday is a weekly blog hop brought to you by the fine folks of Create With Joy! Give them a buzz and see what all the fun is about!

I'm a little rusty at this, bare with me--but I have to say that my inspiration lately has come from a lot of new music. I'll save a few of them for Tune in Tuesday, but another art form that has brought me a good deal of inspiration is the new Starz series Outlander. And for once it's not because the guy is horribly beautiful (though he totally is). 
Just in the way the show is filmed absolutely moves my soul and rekindles in me a love of the Gaelic nations that died years ago. Every endless sky, open highlands, weather worn fabric, and even mucky stones absolutely just wakes up my soul. 
I'm reminded of a time when I had entertained the idea of working on set and film production. In high school I loved building and designing the sets, I loved working with the lights and sound, and whoever is behind the production of Outlander deserves every award given. 
Even in something as simple as getting dressed, the emotion is played well into the fixtures on the set. 
From the light in the window to the warmth of the fire, 
the dark object in the foreground 
gives you a depth that pulls you into the scene. 

I'm just so impressed not only by the story (which I can't believe I've been without so many years), but not only do the actors just kill it with their ability--the production crew deserves a big pat on the back. 

I mean would you look at that hunk of a man light!

So if you haven't been watching Outlander please consider it, even if it's just to escape for a little while in a beautiful scene, and see a production at it's finest. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Novel Writing: The Research and Outlining Tips

Tips on Organizing

Recently I pulled out my research for last year's NaNoWriMo and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick back up, and I figured I would share a few tips and tricks I use when organizing and outlining my novel. 

Under my belt I have three feature length novels, but nothing ready to publish. My husband asked me why I would want to do NaNoWriMo when I have to my name three finished works, but when I explained to him that I wasn't willing to let my 'baby' go into the wild without having at least something else out there first. 

I don't want the harsh criticism that will come with my finished work on something I have put years into. Why not do a quick little romance to have first? Perhaps it's wrong, but that is what is my train of thought. 

NaNoWriMo rolled around in 2013, and I was excited to start! I spent soccer practices working as well nearly all lunch hours. However, we also made an offer on a house that took nearly 6 months to close so my heart and soul quickly tucked away into that--and I packed it all away for next year. 

First, your story. Now, you have to have an idea as to what you want to write; or else turn away now. This isn't an entry on brainstorming, but it's how I organize my thoughts for each project. 


One of the best purchases I have made is a printer that will only print in black and white. In this I could print any internet research I found and tuck it away neatly in folders all pristine and highlighted in areas I liked the most, but one of the downfalls in researching on the net is sometimes people make it up…imagine that, not everything you read on the internet is true! So I purchased a few books that went along with my novel. 

Your local library has a lot of books, what??? Yes. So if you are like me and don't want to spend a great deal of money on the books, check them out. I did this so I knew what book to actually buy. I like to have the books close at hand at all time, especially when the internet isn't at my hands. I carried them around with me everywhere and always kept my post-its on hand to make sure I could mark my pages.

Now, once I found 'the one book to rule them all' I went through and organized it with flags and chapter notes.

In each section I would outline what the chapter was about for fast reference, and then mark parts I found interesting or with possible ideas.

This way I could get to it all fast if I had a question I needed answered or wanted the facts. Now, what I recently learned is that I have to be careful with historical items because as a history buff I wanted to keep true to a single year. 


I like to have a single notebook for each project, not multiple ones. I keep one notebook and call it my 'script' because from here I outline scenes and paste in bits of things I print. Castle outlines, character images, lyrics I liked, songs that inspired me, and just about everything else you could ever imagine. 

Here I printed a labeled picture of a violin because let's face it, I've never played one in my life and when I'm writing a character who has played since a child--I'm not going to write, "And he held the neck thing like a boss, and walked his fingers down the part where it connects to the bottom, bitch. And all the ladies loved him."

Sometimes, I keep a second notebook on hand for when I'm brainstorming, but when I'm finished all the ideas that I like go into that main notebook. It's my visual companion as well my sidekick.

I found that keeping it all in one notebook is best because it helps keep everything in one place, and later when I'm ready to start writing I'll have my script handy. I dedicate a page to everything, one for the character, one for the chapters, one for the 'plot bunnies', and so on. However, the one that I use the most is the 'scenes'. 


I'm pretty scatterbrained and it's hard to imagine that I am able to even write at all, but one thing that I have learned that no matter what order you write a scene in--just write it. Now this next part is a little complex, but I have found that it really helps, especially if you are ADHD like me. 

Post it notes, post it notes, post it notes.

You can never ever have too many post-it notes, and I will go through a stack at least every session. Before when I didn't have a house and didn't have my own office, I used a folder for my outline. On each note I would write a scene so that way when I was ready to write it I would pull the little thing out and paste it on my computer to remind me what I am doing. 

I write in Scrivener which has this same sort of thing, but for those of you that don't have that program or are like me and like to freehand scenes as well--this really helped keep me organized. 

I also had a page in my script where I put 'Random Scenes'; things that I really liked and wanted to add but they didn't have a place just yet in my story. I could move scenes around like this, and pretty much could story-board the whole thing. 

I use flags to mark scenes like fights and sex that way I could make sure they go in the write moment and are not over used. So each little green flag would be for a fight and the pink would be for sex. I don't want to ever over do it, and certainly am not writing smut. However, each book should be well rounded in both, and this way I could have a visual of how many times shit gets real. 

I have a free wall in my office which I know a few people who use this as their storyboard, but this way when I'm done with the storyboard I can fold it away and tuck it down in my bag. My daughter is almost 10 and though she's still pretty blind to what is going on in the world as far as romance goes, I'm pretty sure she's not ready to see this. Also, keeping it on the inside of a folder makes it easy to tote around. 

I keep all of this research in the same place, and in a bag that is devoted to my novel. Thirty-One Gifts made the best bag for this (in my opinion) called the All in One Utility Tote, and that way I can just up and go with it when the time comes to travel and write. 

I hope this helps, it sure has me!

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time, I had this amazing little blog where I enjoyed to write it in so often that I would brainstorm for hours what quick and witty things I would say next…


…And then I tried to buy a house. And in this house I finally am, and settled in rather well. I have a pretty little office with a pretty little puppy and pretty little roses all in a row.

It's time to dust this damn thing off and get back into the swing of writing. I'm going to attempt to NaNoWriMo one more time. Whose with me?

Also, have you read any good books lately?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tune In Tuesday

Tune In Tuesday Love Song Edition Part 2
Tune In Tuesday is a weekly feature in which bloggers get to showcase another one of their loves, music! This feature was originally created by Ginger over at GReads! but you can now find it here at Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands. If you would like to participate in this weekly feature, make a blog post showcasing a song (or a few!) and link up at the bottom of this post by clicking the cute blue guy! While you’re here make sure to check out all the other awesome blogs that have decided to participate!

Bastille Bad Blood (Lunice Remix)

Perhaps not the most traditional love song, but I certainly can relate. I'm sick of the wars, and sick of all the bad blood. Can't you just let it go and move on?
If you have not purchased Bastille's CD I highly recommend it, this version of 'Bad Blood' isn't available anywhere, but I heard it on Pandora and fell in love. If you find where I can buy the MP3 please let me know! 

Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

That is what I've felt like at least. I really need to get back to this thing, and from here on out I shall. It's been a wild emotional ride from almost homeownership to a struggle with infertility.

My personal life got in the way of many things, but as the winter around me starts to thaw away I too am ready to come back out of my shell. That is…after I put my Christmas Tree away. Yes…it is still up and glowing.

What are you reading? What has been going on in the world of books? Where am I?