May 31, 2013

The 5th Wave Giveaway

As I mentioned in this week's What's Up Wednesday post, I bought multiple copies of Rick Yancey's much talked about The 5th Wave and now have an extra to give away. The names of all those who commented on that post (unless you declared yourself exempt) were entered into Random.org.

So, without further blathering, the winner is:

RAVEN

Congrats, Raven! I've sent you an email requesting your mailing address, and as soon as I receive that from you, I'll get your copy sent off right away.


May 29, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up . Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!

WHAT I'M READING
I started my first ever Miranda Kenneally book, Catching Jordan, and so far I'm really enjoying it. I love the writing and the whole girl QB thing is pretty cool too. At times Jordan's inner monologue reads like the inside of a dude's head, but that actually only lends the story some humour, which is fun.

My Chapter A Day Classic is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I'm finally getting around to finishing it after starting it a year ago and getting sidetracked. There's just something about Dickens' writing that is so witty and fun. It never feels like a chore.


WHAT I'M WRITING

Still the same rewrite, but I've moved past frustration and into denial territory. But this seems to be working for me, so I'm embracing it. I've discovered that ignoring my word count (for now) is key in order to keep moving forward. To help, I've started writing scenes (that need to end up in the story) in a separate word doc so I don't have that ever increasing word count in the main doc staring me in the face. So helpful! I can always make friends with my delete key down the road, right? Right.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

I'm inspired by other writers who experience the same kinds of doubts and frustrations that I do, and yet manage to keep pushing on. Both of the posts below deal with this topic and are well worth the read:

On Insanity... by Katy Upperman
An honest conversation about the insanity that keeps pushing us forward in this goal of publication. The endless revisions, the chance to improve our craft, the neverending questions from family and friends—there's so much to relate to in Katy's post. 

You're (Not) Doing It Wrong by Rebecca Behrens

A thoughtful post about comparing our writing journeys to those of others, which is something we all deal with. Rebecca reminds us that we all have our own pace, our own struggles, and our own set of things that works for us individually. This is exactly what I needed to read right now.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
• Trying to prettify our not-so-pretty back deck with plants and flowers. We get full sun all spring and summer back there, so that kind of limits us in the plant department. But we're having all kinds of fun with it, and our deck, while still not pretty, looks loads better and cheerier. I've been spending a lot of time back there reading and enjoying the sun, which is fantastic!


{From left} A giant teacup and saucer flower pot I found {L♥VE!} that currently has marigolds in it; gorgeous yellow dahlias that are thriving and make me happy every time I look at them; strawberry plants that we're really hoping will yield some yummy berries; vibrant red geraniums {?} that are slowly taking over the deck {which I don't mind because they're so pretty}; and a tomato plant that hubby came home with one day. It already has teeny weeny tomatoes!

• Hubby and I attended his brother's birthday party on the weekend, and it was loads of fun. The theme was thrift store formal which, as I'm sure you can imagine, resulted in hilarity. Some of what showed up in all of its hideous (and not quite formal) glory: A denim one-piece shorts suit with rosettes and bedazzling, a sleeveless flower-printed (like a couch) corduroy jumpsuit topped off with a fanny pack, and a billowy chiffon jumpsuit with shiny gold buttons straight from the disco era.


• Not only am I creeping toward 200 squats a day in my 30-Day Squat Challenge, I've also added lunges to the mix. Yikes! 


• Annnnd, because I'm kind of a twit, I bought Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave twice. (Derp. Ordered one copy, forgot about it while it was en route, then bought another in-store. Can you tell I have a book buying problem?) I don't like returning books, so GIVEAWAY! This isn't a formal giveaway with a Rafflecopter widget or anything. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I'll toss your names into Random.org and choose a winner that way sometime during the day on Friday. Oh, and as always, this giveaway is open internationally, because you're all kind of special. ☺


SO, WHAT'S UP WITH YOU THIS WEEK?

May 22, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!

WHAT I'M READING

I FINALLY finished Wuthering Heights, and I have to say it ranks in the top five books I'm glad to be done with. It is my opinion that there is nothing even remotely romantic about this book. Unless you consider bat shiz obsession romantic. I don't. So not my favourite Brontë sister offering. (Charlotte gets my vote.) Anyway, I think I'll return to Dickens' Great Expectations and finally finish that one (almost a year after I started).


Feet...ewww.
I'm also reading The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott and it's all right so far. There's an abundance of 'said' tags and I have an overwhelming urge to shake the best friend, Brianna, but all that aside I'm finding it enjoyable. And the love interest is sweet so...

WHAT I'M WRITING

Speaking of overwhelming urges to shake someone/thing... If I'm being 100% honest, the deeper I get into this rewrite, the worse I feel about how it's going. I just keep adding more and more words (that I don't have room for) and still haven't addressed everything I want to. Not going to lie, it's beyond frustrating. Last week at this time was a high point. This week? Definitely a valley. :/



WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
My wonderful writer friends on Twitter. I mentioned my frustration with my rewrite and in under five minutes I had three people respond with encouragement and support. It's stuff like this that keeps me from going crazy or giving up altogether.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Besides being a Debbie Downer? Lots of fun stuff:

The 30-Day Squat Challenge! (I'm using 'fun' lightly here.) Special thanks goes out from my saddlebags to Katy Upperman for bringing this torturous delightful challenge to my attention. All jokes aside, it has actually gotten a lot easier, and I think I can see/feel a difference already. I'm at the 135 squats in one day benchmark, which I never thought I'd be able to do.


• I'm beta-reading another really great YA story. This one is absolutely hilarious and there have been many laugh out loud moments. Bonus points to this writer for a Menudo* reference that nearly made me spew coffee all over my computer.


• Trying to freshen up my home office with a new look. Turns out finding curtains in the pattern/colour scheme I want is next to impossible. I know what I'm looking for, but I'm starting to think it doesn't exist. Since I spend an awful lot of time in this room, I'd like it to be the kind of place that feels inviting and where creativity can thrive (as opposed to going to die).



So, what have you been up to lately?



* A Puerto Rican boy band that was first formed in the 1970s. A young Ricky Martin was a member at one point. My exposure to this band was through an episode of the 1980s sit-com Silver Spoons. And yes, I know I'm totally dating myself.

May 15, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!

What I'm Reading
While I was reading Seraphina last week, Katy Upperman was reading (and raving about) Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. I recently read Jellicoe Road and really enjoyed it, so Marchetta + fantasy + a Katy fave felt like exactly the kind of book I wanted to read next. So far I have not been disappointed.

...And I'm still slogging through Wuthering Heights. The good news: I only have ten more chapters to go. Done in ten days!



What I'm Writing

I'm about 2/3 of the way through this round of revisions. It's kind of nuts how making one big (or even kind of small) change unravels a bunch of other things in the story. I find myself having to flip back through and make all sorts of tweaks I hadn't anticipated just because of one alteration that I thought would be simple enough. It's really kind of crazy-making sometimes.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I'm inspired by the progress that I've made thus far on my rewrite. Does that sound weird? Self-centred? Hope not. When you look back and see where you came from and where you are now, that's great incentive to keep going, to push even harder toward the goal of finishing. I feel like the end is not so far off anymore, and that's a wonderful thing.

What Else I've Been Up To

Beta reading
This week I had the privilege of beta reading a YA contemporary for a friend, and aside from being completely and utterly enjoyable, it was a lesson in how to write well. The characters, the prose, the dialogue, the romance...it was all fantastic!

Remembrance
This past weekend my husband and I drove to a nearby lake town for the Veterans Voices of Canada exhibit. The pipe and drum band I joined was asked to play (I'm not playing publicly with them yet), so I wanted to check it out. Plus, we're both big supporters of the troops and vets. We got to speak with World War II, Korea, and Afghanistan vets and hear some of their stories which were fascinating, inspiring, and sometimes horrifying. One vet in particular, Master Corporal Paul Franklin, is a double amputee who lost his legs in a roadside bombing incident in Afghanistan. I'm fairly certain I have never met someone as upbeat and positive as this man. Truly an inspiration. We also got to meet a WWII vet who recently received all new medals when a group of Alberta junior high kids petitioned to have them replaced. (They'd been thrown out accidentally some time back.) Some of the kids and Mr. Pennington were in attendance, and hearing their story was so heartwarming.

{For Band of Brothers fans: Hubby and I managed to acquire photos of some of the Easy Company fellas, one of which had the actual Bill Guarnere's autograph on it. (Through the silent auction at the exhibit.) Very, very cool!}


It was a good week all around, made even better by the gorgeous weather we've been having. ☼



So, what have you been up to lately?

May 8, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!


What I'm Reading

I'm still reading the same two books I was reading last week at this time: Wuthering Heights and Seraphina. The former is starting to get a little crazy (and by crazy, I mean What the heck is wrong with these people?) and the latter took some time to get into. Now that I'm invested in the story, I'm enjoying the world, the characters, and everything that makes this book so different from other books I've read. 

What I'm Writing

No big surprises here → I'm still in the middle of a rewrite. One of the flaws in my story before the rewrite was the central romance. It (unfortunately) turned into an InstaLove kind of situation, which was never my intention. It always bothered me, but I failed to address the problem and it got out of hand, dominating everything. The central romance was too central to the story. Gah! Anyway, I'm fixing the problem and the slow burn romance that is emerging is SO much better than that InstaLove crap that weaselled its way in. There are sparks a-plenty now, good and bad.

What Inspires Me Right Now

This quote might be familiar to some of you. It comes from one of the greatest movies of all-time, Dead Poets Society:



Kinda makes you want to carpe diem, "gather ye rosebuds while ye may", and do something big with your writing, doesn't it?


What Else I've Been Up To

I'm enjoying the gorgeous weather we've been having. Yesterday it was 28C (82F), which is just bonkers for the month of May where I live. While I was sitting outside reading Wuthering Heights in the blazing hot sun, it occurred to me that in the last year we've only had two seasons: winter and summer. Fall was non-existent—summer bled into winter with the arrival of snow in October (and lingered for 6+ months). The trees are still sporting dead crunchy leaves that never ended up falling. And Spring up and decided to play hooky while Summer arrived with bells on. I do miss those transitional seasons, though.

I've also been taking part in the May Photo A Day Challenge, which is tons of fun. Last month I totally tanked, so I'm hoping May is better. Yesterday's topic was "something beginning with F". This was the photo I used with its caption:



Fun Fact: My married name is Fink, which is kind of
funny when you consider my sister married a Funk.
#somethingbeginningwithF #FMSPhotoADay


May 1, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of this post. We really hope you will take part!

What I'm Reading
I'm partway into Wuthering Heights, my Chapter A Day classic, and I'm surprised that I don't hate it just yet. Colour me shocked. That could change, but so far, so good.

I'm also just about to start reading Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, which I'm kind of excited about. I've heard only good things, so that's always a major plus when starting a book.



What I'm Writing
I've made some really good strides with my rewrite, so that's certainly a plus. I'm discovering how fun it can be to rework what I've got. Really, it's kind of like a giant patchwork quilt made up of stuff I already had, new material I'm sewing in, and parts that have been snipped apart, switched around, and stitched back together again. It's exciting to watch this thing evolve.

What Inspires Me Right Now
This "practice makes perfect" notion that has been pounded into our brains since infancy actually might have merit. I've given up on a good many things in my life because I wasn't seeing progress quickly enough. There are two things in recent months that I haven't ditched—learning to drum and writing—and, lo and behold, I've gotten much, much better. The progression to this point is noticeable. I remember thinking I was never going to get the hang of drumming, but I've somehow managed it. The same goes with writing. Who knew I'd be able to write a whole book? But I did. Two, actually. I thought my writing would be complete crap. It (mostly) isn't. It still needs work, sure, but knowing that I'm improving is all the inspiration I need to keep at it. Practice makes progress and eventually proficiency. (Because perfection is one of those unattainable goals.)

What Else I've Been Up To
• I've been watching Battlestar Galactica with my husband, trying to get all the way through to the end this time around. We've always enjoyed it, but for whatever reason we got sidetracked and never finished the series.

• I'm no longer just practising the side drum on a drum pad, I've moved on to playing on the real deal. Holy cannoli, is that thing loud. Seriously, my ears ring forever after playing it, especially when you throw the bagpipes into the mix at practice. Oh, and it weighs 20 lbs. It's kind of a workout wearing that thing strapped to your chest and concentrating on playing it right.

• Speaking of workouts...After a long winter of sitting on my butt (reading and writing, of course), I thought it was high time I got some exercise. I've started using the treadmill for 42 minutes a day → the exact amount of time it takes to watch a Veronica Mars episode. That's right, I'm getting my marshmallow on while becoming a little less marshmallow-y.


So what have you been up to lately?