January 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. With that aim in mind, we would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. Also, please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*We have three new Winter 2015 buttons under the What's Up Wednesday tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
I am still reading THIS SHATTERED WORLD. Still. And I'm not all that far into it. I need a reading day big time. I'm also partway into NORTHANGER ABBEY and already loving it. Jane Austen has such a fun sense of humour and it shines here. I've been doing some WWI WiP research as well, and I'm finding VIMY by Pierre Berton to be most helpful in this process.*

* Weirdest combo of books ever.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Not nearly enough. I didn't meet my drafting goal, and I'll leave it at that. Did some research and did some outline bulking.
Writing goal for the week → Continue to bulk up my outline, research Vimy Ridge, and actually get some writing done.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
1) When writer friends share their awesome news  Tracey Neithercott got an agent this week! Seeing other writers realize their goals is a motivator for me. It makes me want to finish something already and maybe, just maybe, find a home for it.

2) A post by Chuck Wendig  Arting Hard Like An Artful MoFo*: 25 Ways to Be a Bad-Ass Maker Who Makes Bad-Ass Stuff. Great article as usual, but fair warning in his own words, "he uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL." Read it!
* Title tweak is my doing in order to keep my blog SFW. ;-)

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
My week in cartoony turd emojis and a frilly border.

This week has been a wee bit trying, not gonna lie. At the risk of being all TMI, I'll just say I'm taking meds that have all kinds of (lame) side effects and these side effects are causing all kinds of anxiety, which means more (lame) meds. Fun. Hard to accomplish much of anything when you're fretting and feeling like your own body can't stand you.

But enough about all that. Bleh.



This past Saturday, my pipe band hosted our annual Robbie Burns Dinner in honour of Scotland's national poet. It's always a fun-filled night of poetry, pipes and drums, Highland dancing, and other Scottish goodness. We feasted on haggis, neeps, and tatties, and the pipe band played the best it has in a long time. I was supposed to emcee but I totally chickened out. :P

I've been puttering away at knitting with the aim of opening my own Etsy shop.* You know, just in time for spring. Haha!
Not the best timing considering people aren't exactly thinking about purchasing knit goods when the weather gets nicer, but it's still something I'm going to pursue. Because let's face it: Winter Is Always Coming (at some point down the road).
The plan is to make knit goods with a literary theme and to donate a portion of the proceeds to literacy campaigns!

* Hee! Not open just yet. Soon, though. ;-)


Well, that's it for my week.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?



January 21, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. With that aim in mind, we would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. Also, please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*We have three new Winter 2015 buttons under the WUW tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
Still working my way (slowly but surely) through THIS SHATTERED WORLD by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I also finished beta reading a very well-written YA contemporary, so now I just need to compile my thoughts and send them off.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I met my goal by spending the bulk of my week on my outline. It has a lot more meat to it now, which is already helping me on the drafting front. I didn't draft as much as I would have liked, but I'm satisfied with what I did manage to get done.
Writing goal for the week → Continue to outline and research. Write for an hour minimum at least three days this week.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Calendars.
Not the day timer kind, though that really does work for me too. I'm talking about using calendars as a WiP timeline tool. My first WiP had a countdown angle, so plotting everything out on calendars was pretty necessary. The historical aspects of my current WiP take place from December 1916 to April 1917 and encompass actual WWI events, so using calendars is an absolute must to keep everything straight. During my planning sessions this week, I was able to use these in conjunction with my more detailed outline and was then able to plot scenes around these pivotal historical moments. So, so helpful!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
My week in photos...
(Clockwise from top left) This little twit ate a ribbon, so I spent the next three days waiting for it to reappear. *sigh*/
I dumped 
my WiP outline into a Word table which was VERY helpful when it came time to bulk it up and plot scenes. /
Another day, another knitting 
project with beautiful grey-blue yarn and gorgeous birch needles (a gift from the hubs). /
We made a trip to our local Chapters, and I bought this 
pretty Kate Spade journal. Love the Oscar Wilde quote so much! /
I was feeling the urge to bake, so I fell back on a personal fave: Banana cranberry chocolate chip loaf. Yum sums it up. /
Another #candyminimal photo using Pixlr Express: 
The Alberta Prairies, just east of here, in the summer of 2013. /
Another Chapters purchase and my first 2015 release, Jennifer Niven's ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES. Can't wait to read it!

Oh, and I finally saw Into the Woods in the theatre and was completely underwhelmed by it. About fifteen minutes in, I was already sort of wishing it was over. I do get the impression the stage play would be so much better, though. And I will say I was highly amused by Chris Pine as Cinderella's prince. So cheesy and funny. Emily Blunt also continues to amaze me.


Well, that's it for my week.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


January 14, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. With that aim in mind, we would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. Also, please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*We have three new Winter 2015 buttons under the What's Up Wednesday tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
I reread Tamora Pierce's IN THE HAND OF THE GODDESS and was about to dive into THIS SHATTERED WORLD when I remembered that there was a novella--THIS NIGHT SO DARK--bridging Book 1 and 2. I was under the impression that it was a must-read before starting Book 2.^ Nope. And about 60% of the e-novella was chapters from Books 1 and 2. Blurgh. :-/

After avoiding WAR AND PEACE for months upon months, I've finally parted ways with this epically boring behemoth. To be honest, I was only reading it to prove that I could get through it. But life is too darn short and this book is too darn long. So, for my new Chapter A Day Classic, I've chosen Jane Austen's NORTHANGER ABBEY. Nice and short and wonderfully silly.

Now, I'm beta-reading the lovely Becky Barrow's manuscript! I've only just started, but I can tell that I'm going to love it.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Well, at the time that I'm drafting this post (Tuesday morning), I'm not going to meet my goal. I managed to park my butt in my chair and do some writing for at least an hour three days this week. And it was hard. Like pulling big, snaggly teeth. Which only confirms what I've suspected: My outline needs more work, greater detail. Because right now I'm floundering.
Writing goal for the week → Add a lot more detail to my outline. Write for an hour minimum at least two days this week.

#sorrynotsorry
WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Serendipity. (See also: "serendipiosity" and "serendipatiousness".)
There's nothing quite like stumbling across WiP-related discoveries entirely by accident. This has happened to me with different WiPs, and every single time it inspires me to keep on going. A reminder that this is clearly the right project for me in this moment.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• My Christmas tree is still up because I'm (obviously) failing at life right now. Ha! Ugh.
• I had my first bagpipe lesson this week. Well, just chanter for now, but still. It's tough!
• I've jumped in on Megan Whitmer's #Vlogagram challenge. I'm all kinds of awkward.
• Thanks to Katy, I've been tweaking photos and doing the #CandyMinimal thing on IG.
  (Here's one of my contributions → a cotton candy dandelion.)


Well, that's it for my week.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?






^ Some thoughts about novellas: I think they're fantastic for further exploring characters or for sharing tidbits that will enhance a reader's enjoyment of the overall series. That said, I don't love when novellas need to be read to "get" subsequent books or to actually "get" a character. (*cough* Warner *cough*) This is just a personal opinion, but it seems to me that novellas shouldn't take the place of character development and worldbuilding that should be in place in the actual books.
(Obviously, this wasn't the case with THIS NIGHT SO DARK. It's merely extras.) Anybody else feel the same about novellas?

January 7, 2015

What's Up Wednesday: Welcome to 2015!

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help writers connect. With that aim in mind, we would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blogs, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a link to your post in the widget at the end of this post. Please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use one of our WUW buttons. We really appreciate it! For new participants, these are the headings we've been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW



WHAT I'M READING
Since we last did WUW, I finished reading MAYBE SOMEDAY by Colleen Hoover. I really liked this NA romance, particularly the fascinating and ultra-charming love interest as well as the musical component. As an added bonus, there is an online soundtrack of original songs that was created to go with the book. Now I'm rereading Tamora Pierce's SONG OF THE LIONESS quartet and am currently on Book 2, IN THE HAND OF THE GODDESS. It's mostly for research purposes. #vague


WHAT I'M WRITING
Short answer: nothing for a while. (I blame Christmas.) But I intend to jump back in this week now that the holidays are over. I was lucky enough to have my sister here for a week, so we got to talk about our WiPs and whatnot. Erin even read some of my not-at-all-revised pages and gave me great feedback and encouragement. I feel ready to tackle this thing now.
Writing goal for the week → Spend at least 1 hour a day writing, at least 5 days this week. (Incorporate planning + research)

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Erin and I are trying something new that I hope works for both of us. (I'll report back on its success, you can count on it.) For years now, we've been sending each other fun care packages, dating back to when I was a freshman in college and dinos roamed the earth. We've decided that for every week we meet our writing goal, we'll throw something fun (but inexpensive) into a care package to be sent out every few months. So at the end of the three or so months, I'll get a super fun care package from Erin and she'll get one from me. Everyone loves getting fun mail, am I right?

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• As I mentioned, Erin was here with her family for a whole week of good times. It feels quiet and boring with them gone.
• I'm starting bagpipe lessons this month! Next time my neighbours keep me up all night, there will be piping at dawn.^
• Erin and I made Rememberlutions Jars. In a nutshell, they're jars to collect snippets of stuff that makes us smile in 2015.
• I was tagged in the Terrible Titles blog hop and posted 8 Totally Terrible Titles for my WiP, IN THE END. So much fun!

^ Mwahaha! (*twirls mustache*)

And finally...
There are TONS of awesome YA books coming out in 2015, so I decided to compile them in a list HERE on my blog. Releases are broken down by month/day, linked to Goodreads, and colour-coded by genre. As I'm sure will come as no surprise, this list isn't exhaustive, but I think it's still somewhat extensive. It's kind of fascinating to spot this year's trends and to see the way particular genres appear to be releasing in clusters. Sadly, there seems to be a marked lack of releases in certain genres. (I'm looking at you, Historical Fiction. #lame) From time to time, I will add to the list as I come across more new releases, and I'm totally open to any suggestions for additions. May this be a great year of reading, and may your wallets not be totally empty as a result. ;-)


January 5, 2015

Most Anticipated 2015 YA Releases (With Links! And Colour-Coding By Genre!)

Okay, folks. I did my best to come up with a list of 2015 releases--some are debuts, some are sequels--but I'm sure I missed a bunch. This list is comprised mostly of books that caught my eye, so I apologize if there are any books absent from the list that you've got a serious case of grabby hands over. But hey, let me know which books you're eagerly anticipating in 2015!

(**As always, all books are linked directly to their respective Goodreads pages.**)

Genre Colour Key:
Thriller/International Thriller/Mystery/Suspense
Contemporary/Contemporary Romance
Horror/Zombies/Etc.
Historical Fiction/Steampunk
Science Fiction/Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Time Travel
Fantasy/UF/Fairy Tale/Faerie Stories/Magical Realism
Paranormal
(This is an imperfect system, but I think it mostly works.)

JANUARY
06                   
13
20
27

FEBRUARY
03                   
Love this cover, especially the font.
(Release date: May 26th)
10                    
12                   
17                    

24                    

MARCH
This one definitely catches my eye.
(Release date: April 28th)
01

03                   
10                    
17                    
24                    
This cover is just as awesome as its
predecessor, CRUEL BEAUTY.
(Release date: May 5th)
30                   
31                    

APRIL
07                    
14                    
20                   
21                    
28                   

MAY
01                    
05                    
12                    
19                    
26                    
           
JUNE
02                  
09                   
16                    
The monarch butterfly really catches
my eye. (Release date: May 19th)
23                    
30                   
??                    

JULY
04                   
07                    
21                    

AUGUST
04                   
11                     
18                    
25                    
??                    

SEPTEMBER
01                    
10                    
15                    
17                    
23                    
??                    

OCTOBER
06                   
  • Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) – Leigh Bardugo
  • Carry On – Rainbow Rowell (This one is about Simon Snow, the fictional Harry Potter-like character that Cath fangirled over in FANGIRL. How fun is that?)
  • Dreamstrider - Lindsay Smith (A fantasy thriller pitched as Graceling meets Inception.)
    Looks like an adult cover, which I kind
    of like. (Release date: February 17th)

NOVEMBER
17                    
24                    

DECEMBER
??                    

Unknown Publication Date
When I Wake – Elizabeth Norris
A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnston
The Third Twin – C. J. Omulolu
The Fixer (The Fixer #1) – Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Described as Veronica Mars meets Scandal. Huzzah!)
Hunger, Heart, Fuel, Nation – Tessa Elwood (I...hate the title (lol), but it's described as Game of Thrones in space (!!!).
For the Record – Charlotte Huang
Any Way You Slice It – Kristine Carlson Asselin
A Million Times Goodnight – Kristina McBride (Basically contemporary with a Sliding Doors concept.)
Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) - Susan Dennard

There are sooooo many good books coming out this year. I don't know about you, but I suspect I'm going to go broke!


Happy Reading in 2015, friends!