October 22, 2014

#CanadaStrong




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 are using:
WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


WHAT I'M READING
I'm still reading my sister's manuscript ENGRAVE before going through it a second time to critique it. It's pretty awesome! I'm getting very close to the end of my reread of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, at which time, the hubs and I will watch the movie again. We've been working our way through them as I reread each book. (He finished his reread ages ago.)

Up next: THE EXPLOSIONIST by Jenny Davidson, an alternate history set in 1930s Edinburgh.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still at the planning and researching point in this WiP, but I'm feeling a bit better about the progress I'm making. I had a really productive Skype session with Erin this past week, and took some great notes as ideas cropped up. Through the course of our conversation, I also decided that I'm going to make a concerted effort to hammer out an outline before the end of the month. NaNo's not really for me, but I do like to ride the wave of accountability, focus, and discipline that the month provides. NaNo on the fringes, in a way. Soooo, I'd like to be ready to draft this story by November 1st. We shall see.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Naming my WiP.
I have the worst time working on an unnamed project. In fact, it has been driving me nuts that my current WiP has been nameless until this past week. Now that I have a title, this story feels more real and more deserving of my time. Does that make sense? Last week I mentioned reading WWI poetry, on the hunt for a possible title. Well, I found a line that I like and plan to use for my story: EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING. It's a line from (British) Lieutenant William Noel Hodgson's poem "Before Action", penned only a couple of days before he was killed at the Somme in 1916. The poem and this line are perfect.
Look at the pretty!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
Not much, really. I've been knitting like crazy (with pretty new wooden needles) while binge-watching Murdoch Mysteries, Elementary, and Friends. I baked an apple pie with Mackintosh toffee in it, hoping for a caramel apple effect. It ended up tasting like...apple pie. Unfortunately, you couldn't taste the toffee. Still: pie. #yum 

The mountain ash tree in our yard dropped some gorgeous orange and almost burgundy leaves. Todd and I took pictures together, amateurs that we are, with our camera. We had a lot of fun and ended up taking goofy ones too when the timer caught us unprepared. They're not perfect--there's a chain link fence in the background--but I like them. ♥
These leaves are EVERYWHERE, but I don't have the heart to rake them up yet.






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




P. S. I'm subbing all day, so I will be around to visit your blogs in the evening. Hope you have a great Wednesday!




October 15, 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 I'VE BEEN UP TO


WHAT I'M READING
I finished LETTERS FROM SKYE by Jessica Brockmole, which was more enjoyable than expected. There were unanswered questions that left me guessing until the end, interspersed with fascinating WWI and WWII details. After that I moved on to Caroline B. Cooney's BOTH SIDES OF TIME because it has a similar element to the WiP I'm planning. It’s…interesting, I suppose. You know, once you strip away the serious cheese, the mid-1990s feel, and the raging case of InstaLove. Even so, I want to know how it will play out, so for now I'm going to keep reading. And I'm still working my way through HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS via audiobook while doing dishes, baking, whatever. It's at the really good part now.

I'm also reading my sister’s YA sci-fi manuscript, ENGRAVE, for the first time. The plan is to perform my CP duties on the second read-through. Ten chapters in and, no big surprise, I'm loving it already. Hope you all get to read her books one day!

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still researching. I’ve been taking copious notes on Canada’s role in WWI, in particular at Vimy Ridge in France. I knew a bit about this battle already, but I’m learning so much more through all this research. Another addition to the What I'm Reading section: I just finished up a book of Canadian and British poetry from soldiers who were killed in the Great War*. So many great pieces of poetry and war art in this one. I hope to find a title for my WiP in one of these gripping poems.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Immersion.
I like to immerse myself in all things WiP-related. In this instance, watching movies about WWI or set somewhere around this time period. My reading material--for entertainment or research purposes--is often in the same genre, about similar subject matter, or employs similar elements. I've already mentioned creating a mood board (that I turned into wallpaper for my computer) and music (YouTube videos included) that I like to listen to while I work on my WiP. Since I visited WWI battlefields and monuments recently, I frequently flip through those photos and souvenirs. (And hey, what better form of immersion is there than actually visiting your story's setting? Not always possible, but awesome if you can swing it.) I guess it's a bit like being a method actor in some respects. For me, immersion leads to inspiration.

WHAT ELSE I'M UP TO
A little bit of this. A little bit of that.


• This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada, so I made up another pumpkin streusel pie for my in-laws. Yum!
• Because I don't have enough projects already on the go (ha!), I started knitting a sweater for my friends' baby (due soon).
• Have you seen the new HARRY POTTER covers? They're AWESOME. The hubs and I are gradually collecting all of them.
• I'm kittysitting for my parents. This little girl, Katniss, is the quintessential Halloween kitty, and she has thumbs!**


IN FLANDERS FIELDS: AND OTHER POEMS OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR, edited by Brian Busby.
** She's a polydactyl cat, which means that she has extra toes on her paws. Her little paws look like mitts. ♥


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


October 8, 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!** Those of you who are new, here are the headings we are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO


WHAT I'M READING
I finished SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE by Jennifer Robson and for the most part, I really liked this WWI romance. The MC was a touch too naïve at times to be believable, but this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. Some reviewers complained that it was far heavier on the romance than the historical elements, but I didn't feel that the latter suffered in any way because of this. It was plain that the author did extensive research, and she was able to weave this in seamlessly. 

Continuing in the same vein, I'm currently reading Jessica Brockmole's LETTERS FROM SKYE, an epistolary novel set during WWI and WWII. Normally, I shy away from epistolary novels (not usually my thing), but this one is holding my attention.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still working on research, though not nearly as much as I should be. Earlier this week, I sat down and started working on character sketches. It never fails to amaze me how previously unplanned traits and plot details emerge simply by trying to get to know your characters better on paper. This time I spent time getting to know Averie, my new WiP's MC. I've noticed I have a tendency to fall into the same character type in all of my WiPs--snarcastic--so I'm trying my darnedest to steer clear of that this time around. I kind of wonder if writing in third versus first person would help combat this problem???

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I like to come up with a playlist of tunes to listen to while I'm working on a given story. This is usually a mix of songs with relevant lyrics and songs that simply make me feel a particular way (sad, swoony, fired up, whatever). Because the story I'm working on right now is split between modern day and 1917, I anticipate a fairly eclectic music mix. In my web wanderings I actually found a virtual gramophone with a handful of songs from WWI, which is kind of neat. I also stumbled across a haunting ballad/video composed by a fellow Albertan, Lizzy Hoyt, appropriately named "Vimy Ridge" (where my WiP is set in both the past and present). Here are a couple stanzas from it:

"Early in the morning, the cold snow falling down, Easter of 1917.
My love climbed out from the tunnels underground
and stepped to no-man's land in between.

His last night was spent in the ground of the French land;
with thousands of men he did wait. He laid down his head
upon the barrel of his gun, a dark and cruel symbol of his fate.

Oh, my love can’t touch you now or calm the fear that’s
building deep within. Oh, the terror you must have felt,
waiting below the hill at Vimy Ridge..."

(from "Vimy Ridge" by Lizzy Hoyt)


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
This and that...


• We went grocery shopping, saw the big bins of pumpkins, and couldn't resist buying one. I also picked up some wee ones.
• Our Alberta "Support Our Troops" license plate arrived in the mail. Can't wait to get it registered and put it on our vehicle.
• Todd and I went to see GONE GIRL and it was every bit as bananas as the book. We both enjoyed this trip to Crazy Town.
• My parents came for dinner and I made a pumpkin pie with a hint of maple and a nutty streusel topping. So very tasty!
• I've been buying yarn, dreaming of all kinds of knitting projects. The site ravelry.com has so many awesome free patterns.

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


October 1, 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 are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO


WHAT I'M READING
I'm just about done SABRIEL by Garth Nix, and I'm only so-so on it, unfortunately. I've heard so many people raving about this series, but so far it's not really my cup of tea. Such is life, right? Next up is Jennifer Robson's SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE, an adult historical romance set during WWI, and I'm really excited about this one. The cover blurb says "fans of Downton Abbey will devour this novel", so between that and the fact that I'm currently plotting a WWI story of my own, I'm hooked!

WHAT I'M WRITING
Not writing, researching. Research, research, and more research. Like I mentioned, I'm planning a WWI story, so getting the historical details right is hugely important. It's amazing just how much there is to learn and how incredibly interesting it all is. That said, there's an abundance of WWII resources and a good deal less about WWI, which means this will require some digging. The WWI battle at Vimy Ridge is of particular significance to Canadians, so I want to do this story justice.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I'm sure this isn't a novel idea for most of you, but I've found creating a mood board for this story has been all kinds of inspiring. Yes, I'm on Pinterest. Yes, I have secret boards for my WiPs. Which is great, but mood boards are even better because they take those inspiration pics and cluster them together into one giant picture/collage. I'm using my mood board as the desktop wallpaper on my computer right now. That way every time I turn the thing on or use it throughout the day, I'm reminded, "Hey there, you should be working on your story" and I'm (not always, but usually) inspired to do exactly that thanks to the mood board pics. I wanted it to look a bit like a stack of photos tossed haphazardly on a table, which I think it sort of accomplishes, so YAY!


WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
• trekking to the library to sign out and/or pick up books on the First World War
• watching period TV dramas like Endeavour (UK) and Murdoch Mysteries (CAN)
• knitting the sweater to the right from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits book
• attending a Dessert Gala in support of the pediatrics wing of the local hospital
• laughing myself silly at the cheesy and cliché magician* at this Dessert Gala
• substitute teaching and getting stung by a nasty wasp while on the job (OUCH!)
• drinking cup after cup of tea, eating ginger crinkle cookies, enjoying autumn
• seeing THE MAZE RUNNER movie, disliking the excessive shaky cam technique

* Purple shirt/vest combo, zipper/buckle pants, and lame tricks to a soundtrack of "The Final Countdown". Oh, the snickers and snorts.


WELL, THAT'S IT FOR ME, FOLKS. SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?