November 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop me and my sister, Erin Funk, created to connect writers. With that aim in mind, we encourage all participants to stop by other WUW blogs, get to know some of the writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, be sure to leave the 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 a WUW button. We really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we use:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


WHAT I'M READING
This was an interesting week for reading, that's for sure. I finally finished ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein and was captivated by Rose's story as a prisoner in Ravensbrück. I have to say, while I thought CODE NAME VERITY was great, this one was more gripping, likely because of the setting/situation. If you haven't yet read this companion to CNV, you should!

Between the snow, the frigid temps, and the heaviness of my last read, I was craving something Christmassy, so I picked up Debbie Macomber's THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS. It was cute albeit predictable--which I was fine with--until the end when it dinged the bell at the top of the Cheese-O-Meter with gusto. But hey, every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings, right? (NB: My cheese tolerance is astonishingly high. I devour Hallmark/Lifetime/ABC Family Christmas movies like Toblerones.)

I also listened to a Christmas audiobook and was 3/4 through when I discovered something that turned my stomach worse than rancid eggnog: The author was Anne Perry, who I didn't realize was a convicted murderer writing murder mysteries. Ew, ew, ew. I just can't stomach reading stories by someone who brutally murdered another human being.* Call me crazy.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Not much, unfortunately. I spent time with my outline again this week, adding more meat to it based on the conversation I had with my sister last week. This story is starting to take shape and I'm eager to get writing it. The problem is, I've been lacking motivation and discipline big time. Week after week it's the same sorry tune. I really need to stop making excuses.

SO, my goal for this coming week is to FINALLY write some words. Do a little bit of drafting and see where it takes me.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Having to come up with something to put under the What I'm Writing heading pushes me to actually get something writing-related done. This accountability keeps me tethered in some way to my WiP when motivation is lacking. Which is why I'd like to take more of a goal-oriented approach to WUW. What do you think? Would you like to include a writing goal for the week in your post? The original intent of WUW was to touch base with other writers, but specifically to provide encouragement and accountability. Goal-setting and reporting both feel like a big part of that equation, don't you think?

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• Somehow I've become a member of a bowling league and will soon have my own bowling shoes. How did this happen?
• I put up the tree last night only to discover that NONE of my stupid Christmas lights actually work. This makes me crazy.
• I've been watching every lame Christmas movie on Netflix. Christmas Bounty wins the award for pure cinematic crud.**
• I'm in full-on Christmas mode now. (Big surprise, right?) I'd been fighting it since Halloween, but caved not long after.
• I'm on the hunt for some new Christmas music, so if you have any suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. Thanks!
• I tried the world's worst chocolate "treat". Russell Stover's little balls of red velvet gag-me-with-a-spork are truly gross.

Well, that's enough babble from me.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


* If you've ever heard of the movie Heavenly Creatures (1994) then you might know the murder case I'm talking about.
** It was put out by WWE Studios, so it was cast primarily with wrestlers. No Oscar-worthy performances here. #shocking 


November 12, 2014

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 encourage all participants to stop by other WUW blogs, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. But before you go, be sure to leave the 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 a WUW button. We really appreciate it!** For those of you who are new to What's Up Wednesday, here are the headings we are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW



WHAT I'M READING
I'm currently reading ROSE UNDER FIRE, the companion novel to CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. For whatever reason, it's taking me foooooorever to get into this one. I think it might have to do with the fact that the narrator kind of spoils what was was, to me, something that would have created huge suspense and would have kept me flipping pages to find out what happens. Knowing the outcome less than 100 pages in isn't propelling me forward. Not giving up yet, though.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still in the planning stages on this WiP, but had a MAJOR breakthrough plot-wise all thanks to a super productive Skype session with my sis/CP. (Thanks again, Erin! :D) This story has suddenly taken a different turn than originally anticipated, and now I'm even more excited to get working on it. I actually talked about it a bit in a writing-related post I did Monday.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Sharing my words and ideas.
While it's certainly difficult for me to put myself out there and share snippets of what I've written or to even just talk about my WiP, the outcome is always beneficial to my writing process. It's been said that writing is a solitary pursuit, often lonely in nature, so there's nothing quite like getting a boost--big or small--from someone actually enjoying your words or ideas. When I start losing steam, sharing what I'm working on powers me back up again in a way that nothing else does.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
Yesterday was Remembrance Day here in Canada, so my pipe band was very busy. We played at three venues, including the main Remembrance service with armed forces, cadets, RCMP, vets, and so on. It was very chilly (-15C), so kilts and knee socks were less than ideal, but it was such an important day and I felt honoured to be part of it. A fun highlight: a 93-year-old WWII vet at our local Legion gave me a shoulder massage lol. He and his wife of sixty-seven years were so inspiring.

The hubs and I went to see INTERSTELLAR at the theatre on Monday. It was completely awesome, though I did leave feeling a good deal dumber than going in. Quantum physics and the like confound me. Even so, that didn't affect my enjoyment of a truly stellar (hardy har) movie. (But really, was there any question? It's a Christopher Nolan film, folks.)

After puttering around with various Christmas photo card sites (Shutterfly, Walmart, Snapfish, Mixbook...) and not loving the choices or the ridiculous prices, I finally decided to make my own on picmonkey.com. Below on the left is what I came up with and I'm pretty happy with the outcome. It's a 5x7 card, so it's super easy to get printed off at any photo place.


Remembrance poppy (#LestWeForget), my wool band socks were long enough to pull up over my knees (thank goodness!), and our Christmas card.

Well, that's it for me, folks.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


November 10, 2014

I've Been Tagged! (And So Have You!)

I've been tagged by Tabitha Martin for the Liebster Blog Award. I haven't done one of these things in ages! The questions Tabitha picked are super fun, so I'm going to give it a whirl again. Thanks for the tag, Tabitha! (I'm awful at tagging, so consider yourself tagged with these great questions.)

1. BEST WRITING SPACE?
The best writing space for me is in my office with my patootie
parked at my (clutter-free) desk, a mug of tea within easy reach.

2. IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANY AUTHOR, 
ALIVE OR DECEASED, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Tough question! Too many to choose from. Right now, I would love to sit down with the always awesome Susan Dennard. You guys, this lady is one of the most friendly and encouraging authors ever and she shares super helpful writing tips and advice. If you're a writer and haven't yet checked out her blog and/or newsletter, you really should get on that ASAP.

3. FAVOURITE WAY TO PROCRASTINATE WHEN YOU SHOULD BE WRITING?
Let me count the ways... Curling up with a good book usually comes first, followed closely by curling up with a good TV show or movie marathon, often via Netflix. There is most likely a vast quantity of tea involved, along with a cozy blanket and a lap kitty. Sometimes a knitting project factors into the mix, depending on how serious I am about procrastinating.
→ This happens WAY too often, as I'm sure you can probably tell.

4. IN LESS THAN 20 WORDS, DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT WIP.
I'm hoping EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING, my YA Contemporary/Historical* will be kind of like: “OUTLANDER meets REVOLUTION, set in both present-day and WWI-era France, but primarily during the battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.”
(Some visual inspiration for my WiP.)

5. IF YOUR FAVOURITE WRITING GENRE DIDN'T EXIST (GASP), WHAT WOULD YOU WRITE INSTEAD?
I really don't have a favourite writing genre, to be honest. Actually, I kind of want to write ALL the genres anyway, so this wouldn't really upset me too horribly much. I can tell you what I don't want to write, though: Horror. So not my thing.

6. FAVOURITE BAND TO LISTEN TO WHILE WRITING?
I'm going to go with fave soundtrack instead because I listen to songs here and there from all kinds of bands. I love, love, love listening to the Ender's Game soundtrack by Steve Jablonsky while I'm writing. He makes great use of the strings, particularly the cello, in this score. It's flipping amazing and inspiring and gets me super pumped to work on writing.

7. MORNING WRITING OR NIGHT OWL SCRIBBLER?
I get the most accomplished writing-wise if I can get my heinie in the chair, my hands on the keyboard first thing in the morning. Though, lately I've been using time in the afternoons as well. I am absolutely not productive in the evening.

8. FAVOURITE FRIENDSHIP IN A PUBLISHED BOOK?
Apart from the obvious Harry/Ron/Hermione friendship (duh), I love me some Blue + the Raven Boys.

9. IF YOU COULD WRITE A BOOK TO CAPTURE THE HEART OF A SONG YOU LOVE, THE SONG IS?
I've always thought Taylor Swift's "All Too Well" or "Begin Again" would make great YA stories. Basically, just about anything by T-Swift begs to be written as a YA novel, don't you think?

10. WHEN THE MOVIE OF YOUR BOOK GETS MADE, WHO'S THE DREAM CAST?
Oh, gosh. This story isn't even at the drafting stage yet, so that's hard to even picture right now. I do, however, have a photo of a real WWI soldier that is serving as the visual inspiration for my WiP's love interest. The soldier in the photo to the left is British Second Lieutenant F. C. Aulagnier. As for my MC, I just found a random stock photo model who looks how I picture her.


You're up next! Feel free to answer these questions or those of your own choosing.


* I honestly have no clue how to categorize this WiP right now. It's historical (the WWI parts), sci-fi (because there's a time travel element), contemporary (but not exactly since "present day" is actually 2017), and possibly magical realism (though I still have no idea what that really is).

November 5, 2014

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 encourage all participants to stop by other WUW blogs, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. But before you go, be sure to leave the 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 a WUW button. We really appreciate it!** For those of you who are new to What's Up Wednesday, here are the headings we are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


WHAT I'M READING
I finally finished up my reread of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS via audiobook. Still just as good as the first time. I'm continuing another reread with Cassandra Clare's CITY OF ASHES, which I'll finish today. I forgot how much I enjoyed the first books in this series when I read them before. After Book 3, everything will be new because I haven't ever read Books 4-6. I need to pick up my reading pace as I've somehow fallen two books behind on my Goodreads Challenge.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Well, I have a loose outline typed up now, but it's not what I'd call adequate by any means. For some reason, I'm struggling to formulate a detailed plot for this WiP, and it's making me crazy. The last couple of projects I started, I jumped in with half-baked outlines and this caused me nothing but headaches and roadblocks while drafting. I'm hoping that spending more time on other aspects of the planning process--research, character development, and so on--will yield more plot details that are eluding me. I wanted to be drafting by now, but I refuse to rush and ruin the story because I was impatient.

My goal for this week→ Add more meat to my story outline, get to know my characters better, and chill the heck out.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
An uncluttered workspace.
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but clutter is Public Enemy #1 to my creativity. My office has become a dumping ground lately and it's making me want to give it a wide berth. Which is why when I'm done writing this post, I'm going to tackle the clutter. I had good reason to clear my desk up this week when I got a new all-in-one desktop computer! Woohoo! Not only does this thing have only one cord coming from it (I detest the mess of cords and cables normally found around computers), but it has a touchscreen as well, which is really kind of cool. It's making me want to get working on my WiP!


(I have a laptop, but I'm more likely to park myself where I'm going to be distracted, like the couch in the living room. It all spirals downward from there with the remote and Netflix only an arm's reach away. Discipline: I have none whatsoever.)

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
I've been taking part in a number of remembrance-related events over the past couple of weeks. I already mentioned the Flags of Remembrance event my pipe band participated in last week. As part of this initiative, Todd and I were honoured to sponsor a flag on behalf of Master Corporal Kristal Giesebrecht, a Canadian medic who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

On Sunday night, the pipe band played in a Musical Remembrance concert at the local college. I had to lead everyone on stage in single file and completely botched it up. For some odd reason I couldn't figure out what to do with my feet and ended up doing this weird hop/shuffle combo in trying to correct my march. So flipping embarrassing, but I'm over it now.

I've been watching Call the Midwife on Netflix and loving it. My initial thought was, "Do I really want to watch a TV series about midwives, nuns, and childbirth?", but it's so much more than that and really, really enjoyable. Oh, and I ♥ Chummy!

Well, that's it for me, folks.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


October 29, 2014

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 encourage all participants to stop by other WUW blogs, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. But before you go, be sure to leave the 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 a WUW button. We really appreciate it!** For those of you who are new, here are the headings we use:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW



In an effort to at least attempt to finish an outline for my WiP by the end of the month (Friday...eek!), I'm skipping What's Up Wednesday today. I've been somewhat of a slacker all week, did absolutely nothing writing-related, and am in danger of not meeting this goal that I set for myself. To be fair, I've been preoccupied with real life stuff--an interview with the local newspaper about our battlefield tour, taking on a bigger role with my pipe band, following the coverage of recent tragic events here in Canada, and participating in a remembrance service for our fallen soldiers--so I'm not beating myself up over it. All that aside, I'm itching to get moving on this writing project before my interest in it wanes.

With any luck, I'm hoping to be back with a completed WiP outline in hand next week. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

[My pipe band participated in the Flags of Remembrance event this past Saturday. There are 116 Canadian flags
lining the highway in memory of the 116,000 Canadian soldiers who have fallen since WWI. #CanadaStrong]