April 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday: Total Eclipse of the Moon Edition

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you'd like to join us, we encourage you to visit other WUW blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post.

For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we use:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Welcome, and thank you for joining us!




WHAT I'M READING
Still plugging away at THE ORENDA (for book club) and making attempts to read a bit of WAR AND PEACE here and there (for my Chapter A Day Classics personal challenge). I've been reading DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS by Laini Taylor for the better part of a week and I wish I could say I'm finding it unputdownable. Alas, it's been way too easy to put down or not pick up at all. The prose is beautiful--no surprises there--but it could really use some tightening up. Things that could and probably should be said in a single sentence go on for pages. I'm finding this a little frustrating. That said, I'm eager to see how this series wraps up.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I'm starting to feel like a broken record, but I didn't write as much as I would have liked to this week. I managed to revise a couple of chapters and make some changes to a few things elsewhere in the story. As always, I'm constantly brainstorming and mulling over issues in my story while doing other things. Now just to transfer these ideas to actual revisions. Taking it bird by bird. Still. 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
The total lunar eclipse and Mars close approach that took place extremely early Tuesday morning. My YA sci-fi WiP has to do with Mars, so needless to say, this was pretty exciting for me. When the clouds started rolling in, I was worried we'd miss this somewhat rare event. Thankfully, the cloud cover was intermittent, allowing us to catch most of the eclipse as it was happening and the spectacular "blood moon" that was the result. Our camera is less than stellar, so sadly we weren't able to capture it in photo form. Toward the end, the clouds won and we couldn't see much anymore. What we did catch was, in a word, AWESOME. Anything space-related simultaneously fascinates and frightens me, but it was so inspiring and wonderful to witness this event.



I've had "Total Eclipse of the Heart" stuck in my head ever since. So, you know, that's fantastic. #not

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
I took my first ever substitute teaching shift in a grade 6 French immersion classroom this past Friday. Given the fact that it was my first time back in the classroom in five years, their second day with a sub, and a Friday to boot, I think it went rather well. It was so nice breaking my teaching dry spell with a great experience. I'm looking forward to subbing again soon and, if I'm lucky, finding a full-time teaching gig for the 2014/2015 school year. I thought I was done with teaching, but maybe I'm not after all. 

And...to increase my appeal as a job-hunting teacher, I'm brushing the dust off my French skills and taking university-level courses at a distance (as part of a French language certificate program) starting May. I've missed being a student, so I'm thrilled about this. Anything to help me reach fluency once and for all. Plus, it'll be handy when we're in France + Belgium this summer.

And we bought a new car! Todd and I have never owned a brand new vehicle, so we're both super psyched. We bought a 2014 Ford Escape in "Deep Impact Blue"* and we're both over the moon in love with it. You know what this means, right? I no longer have an excuse not to get my license. To which I say: BRING IT. (Maybe if I act like it doesn't totally freak me out, it won't. Hmm.)




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


*  I sincerely hope this won't make it a target for comets or asteroids. That would be so not cool. Or hail. Hail sucks big time.


38 comments:

  1. Well, you already know I agree with you about DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS. I really hope the pacing picks up in the second half, because I want to love the ending. We'll see I guess.

    Unfortunately, it was too cloudy here for us to see the blood moon. We were totally bummed about it. Ah well. Liam got to have hot chocolate and a Mars bar at 1:00 in the morning, so that's something anyway.

    I'm glad your sub shift went well, and I love the colour of your new car. Blue is my favourite, and that's an especially nice shade. Keep plugging away at those revisions! :)

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    1. I just really wish someone had said, "Hmm, this book weighs in at fifty million pounds. Where can we hack some of it away?" I love beautiful prose as much as the next person, but that's not what's taking up valuable real estate in GODS & MONSTERS. I sincerely hope it picks up soon, because at this rate I'm only going to get through one book in April. O_o

      You know, it was cloudy all throughout central Alberta too, but for whatever reason the patch directly around the moon (and Mars) stayed clear for most of the eclipse. You could see the clouds all around it, and occasionally they'd drift in front of the moon, but for the most part the view was unobstructed. It was seriously cool, and I actually had a moment there where I wished I could see it much, much closer (which is crazy considering how much space freaks me out). I'm sort of envious of future generations who might get the opportunity to see it close-up...and I can't even believe I'm saying that.

      I knew you'd love the car colour. ;-) We went in wanting black or dark blue, saw that colour, and both decided it was exactly what we wanted. Lo and behold, they had pretty well the exact car we wanted in that colour on the lot with only 77km on it. Awesome! I'm sort of excited about learning to drive it. As for revisions, I won't be getting to them at all this week. We're picking Mom up today and she's staying until Monday, so no revisions for me for a while. Ah well. We'll have to talk again soon after that!

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  2. Oooooh shiny car! So pretty!

    Glad to hear the teaching went so well. I hope you can find a job you love. Enjoy brushing up on your French :D

    Hooray for moon-spiration!

    Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Cole! Now I get to learn to drive it. Can't wait! (It's currently covered in snow because we got snowed on again last night. Boo.)

      I was pleasantly surprised that subbing went as well as it did. After being away from teaching for five years, I was plenty paranoid going in. So nice that it turned out all right. I'm really looking forward to the prospect of doing it again. :-)

      Hope you're having an awesome week!

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    2. Snow?!? Yikes! And yes, definitely learn how to drive. Once you start, you'll neeeever want to stop.

      I'm so glad you're enjoying teaching. I hope you get the perfect class if you do get a full time job.

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  3. Love the car :) Very nice. We couldn't see the eclipse here at my house, it was to cloudy but my mother in law whose 15 mins away by car could. It's pretty cool that we here in Australia could see the eclipse at the same time that you could :)

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    1. Thanks, Angel! :-) Can't wait to learn how to drive it!
      We were very lucky with the lunar eclipse considering it was cloudy everywhere including here. For whatever reason, the patch around the moon (and Mars) stayed mostly clear for almost the entire eclipse. I feel fortunate to have seen it. And it's VERY cool that you folks in Australia got to see it the same way we did. :-)

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  4. Oh dear, it's always a shame when you book you want to love disappoints you a little. I hope Dreams of Gods and Monsters picks up for you soon!

    Good luck with your revisions! :) It's never a nice feeling when you feel like you haven't written enough, but so long as you're always thinking about your revisions then you haven't abandoned your WIP.

    It's great to hear your substitute teaching went well. :) Good luck brushing up on your French! (Though I'm sure you won't need it, I feel the need to wish anyone luck who tackles another language because I'm absolutely rubbish at languages)

    Have a lovely week!

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    1. I really hope DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS picks up too. I really want to love it, so I'm crossing my fingers. I've had too many series I started out liking finish really not all that well, so I'm hoping this doesn't fall into that category.

      This will be another week with little to no revisions, unfortunately. My mom is coming for five days, so I'll be spending my time hanging out with her. Tons of fun, but not exactly the best time for writing. That's all right, though. I'll get back to it when I get back to it. :-)

      I always loved learning French during my years of taking it, so I'm really excited about brushing up on it and getting even better. It really is one of those things that is so much easier to pick up when you're younger. I'm thankful it was mandatory where I grew up. Hope you're having a wonderful week, Jess!

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  5. Gorgeous car! I'm sure you'll love to drive to school in that one :)

    Revisions can be daunting. Don't worry about not getting tons done. I've found these kind of things go in spurts, and when the right spurt comes: world watch out!

    Great about your teaching again. Hope those kids are nice to you!

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    1. Right now I'm loving that whole new car smell inside lol. Can't wait to learn how to drive it, too!

      This will be another little to no revisions week. My mom is coming to visit for the next five days, so I'll be spending my time hanging out with her. That's all right, though. I'll get back to revisions when I have some spare time again.

      Hope you're having a great week, Tonja! :-)

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  6. Cloud cover and the very late/eary hour (close to 4am for us!) prevented us from appreciating the blood moon, which was a bit of a disappointment. I'm glad you got to take it in, though. And I like the car--very nice!

    All the best with your teaching endeavors, Jaime, and finding that elusive full-time teaching post. With job hunting, French courses, and wanting to get your driving license, you've got a lot going on. May you find lots of novel-writing inspiration in the midst of everything. :)

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    1. Yeah, 4 am might have been a no-go for me if that's when it happened here. Staying up until 2 am was bad enough, especially with having to get up early the next morning. Eek. It was so worth it, though. We were very fortunate to have a patch of clear sky just around the moon and Mars. Everywhere around that was seriously cloudy.

      I definitely have a lot of things going on right now, but they're all good, so I'm happy about that. Though, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to death of getting behind the wheel. O_o Hope you're having an awesome week, Colin!

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  7. I'm like you, translating all that thinking and writing I do in my head into ink and paper is like the world's slowest magic trick. (Right now it feels like teasing out a knot in a giant ball of yarn.)

    How cool that you got to see the blood moon! I'm ashamed to admit that I crashed after kayaking all day. We totally intended to stay up and I think I was flat out by nine. ;) And just knowing that your book has elements relating to Mars makes me want to read it even MORE. :)

    And congrats on buying a new car! Had to laugh at your reference to comets and/or asteroids and/or hail. I think hail's probably the most likely of those three. ;) (says the girl who's been struck by lightning) (twice)

    Also, once you get your license you'll wonder why you were so worried about it. It's the stress of anticipation that gets you, more than the actual thing. You're going to be a brilliant driver in your brilliant blue car. (Key words here: You & Brilliant)

    Hope you have a glorious week!

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    1. I really didn't think we were going to be able to see the eclipse what with all of the cloud cover across the province. For whatever reason, the patch just around the moon and Mars stayed clear for most of the eclipse, while everywhere around that was really cloudy. It was really a site to see, and I'm so glad I was able to catch it. As someone who is terrified of space, I was surprised at how fascinating it was. I actually kind of wanted to see it up close, which is just bonkers!

      Funny (or not) hail story: We bought a very nice car from my parents, and on the way home with it, we hit the worst hail storm I've ever encountered. It completely destroyed the body of the car and it ended up getting written off. Worst. Luck. Ever. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this one doesn't meet the same end. O_o Also, I will never stop being amazed by the fact that you've been struck by lightning not once, but twice. Yikes!

      I've done my driver's test before and failed it miserably. I'm really hoping I can overcome the paranoia I have of driving, because it has gotten really inconvenient not having a license. I feel a bit more ready to tackle it now, so that's good. Hope you're having a wonderful week, Kris! :D

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  8. Good luck with the revisions and the French lessons! I do miss being a student, so I'll probably take classes in languages again at some point.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Emma! I was in school in some facet (student and teacher) for most of my life, so these past five years not being in a classroom have made me miss school so, so much. I really can't wait to take this French course! Hope you're having a great week, Emma!

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  9. YES! Get your license! I love to drive so I can't imagine living without my drivers license. (My husband couldn't imagine it either because he hates to drive.)
    French lessons, that's so cool! I took French Immersion all through school until I moved to the States, but I've lost most of it now which is so sad.
    Keep going, bird by bird. :)

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    1. I tried to get my license (driver's ed, driver's test, etc.) about ten years ago and failed miserably, so I've been dreading it ever since. But things have gotten really inconvenient without a license, so I really need to get one. Fortunately, I'm excited about the new car, so that's great incentive.

      I really wish I'd been put in French Immersion, because I did really well in the 12+ years of FSL courses that I took. Hindsight, right? I just need to get a bit more comfortable speaking it (my written and comprehension are both really good), and then hopefully fluency won't be far off. Can't wait! Hope you're having a great week, Melanie!

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  10. You are so brave to dive back into teaching by subbing. I have several friends who do it, but just the thought of it stresses me out. Most of my classroom management was built on routines, expectations, and getting to know the kids so I could head off problems before they started. All that's kind of out the window when you sub. So were you a fun sub or a strict one?

    And, your new car is beautiful! I love the blue. :)

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    1. It's funny, but I had never actually subbed before. All of the teaching I'd done previously was on contract. Of course, you hear all those nightmare stories of what it's like to sub, so I was pleasantly surprised when it went really well. I have to say, it was nice to just walk in there, get to know the kids a little (I was both fun and strict) , and then leave at the end of the day without all of the marking, prepping, calling parents...that really bogs a teacher down. The teacher had everything laid out really well for me and the kids all had set routines laid out for them, so it was a pretty smooth process. Not a bad way to try subbing. :-)

      Hope you're having a wonderful week, Laurie!

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  11. I'm so glad you got to see the eclipse, Jaime. I did not stay up (or wake up early) to see it, but it sounds like it was pretty incredible. Big congrats on your new subbing position, and on your new car! It's beautiful. Now you MUST get your license! Have a great week, lady!

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    1. I was so worried we were going to miss it what with all of the cloud cover across the province. We got so lucky, because it was cloudy here, too. The patch around the moon and Mars stayed clear for most of the eclipse, so that was fantastic.

      The sub shift was only a one-day thing. I can accept sub positions any time, but they're actually kind of hard to come by, unfortunately. I'm really hoping an actual position opens up for the 2014/2015 school year. As much as it will be hard going back to work full-time, I think I kind of need to. And you're so right: I definitely need to get my license. It's always been a bit of a pain not having one, but now it has gotten really inconvenient. At least I have great incentive now, right? Hope you're having a wonderful week, Katy! :-)

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  12. Congrats on the car and the new subbing position. My fingers are crossed for you with a teaching position soon. :) I have to say - i really agree with your assessment of Laini Taylor's 3rd book...this is how I felt with her first and I ended up quitting halfway/the series. Sometimes I find myself not loving a book everybody else does. Oh well....... I am on vacation at home for the Jewish holiday of Passover and our computer stinks - is very slow and won't let me post to blogger so I guess I'm skipping out on this week's WUW. :)
    I am rereading IF I STAY because the trailer is so gorgeous, and i just read BLEED LIKE ME by Christa Desir. Intense but important book.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel! The sub shift was only a one-day thing, though. I can accept sub shifts when they come up, but they don't come up all that often and get snatched up when they do. Here's hoping a position opens up!

      As far as Laini Taylor's series goes, I really enjoyed Book 1, liked Book 2 a bit less, and so far I'm struggling to get into Book 3. I love her prose so much (it honestly makes me feel like a hack), but it really doesn't feel like much of anything is happening. There's the potential for stuff to happen (based on events that are taking place), but it's taking forever to get there. Hope it picks up!

      Hope Passover is going well and you're enjoying the time with your family (even if the computer is slow). I'm in a very small minority of people who didn't love IF I STAY, I think. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't love it the way everyone else did. I also don't feel great about Chloë Grace Moretz being in it. She had some not overly kind things to say about YA as a whole that bothered me. I hope for all the fans' sake that the movie is great. Have a great week, Rachel!

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    2. Okay, just watched the IF I STAY movie trailer and it looks fantastic! I might have to read the book again to see if I like it more this time around. It looks like they've done a phenomenal job with the movie.

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  13. That's so cool you were able to see the blood moon! I considered staying up to watch it, but I need my sleep, and then it started raining in our area anyway. Oh well...

    Your new car looks so nice! Good luck with your job-hunting and your writing/revising this week. :)

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    1. The thought of staying up until 2 am really didn't appeal to me, especially when I had to get up about 5 hours later. It was so worth it, though. I'm just fortunate I was able to see it given the extreme cloud cover across most of the province. Where we are, there was this pocket of clear sky around the moon and Mars, allowing us to catch the majority of the eclipse, which was spectacular. Others were not so fortunate, I hear.

      The new car is definitely great incentive to finally get my license. Can't wait to drive it! Have a great week, Ghenet!

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  14. I hope you find a job you love :) What is making you want to go back into teaching after not being in the classroom for five years?

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    1. Me too. :-) I haven't taught for five years because of lack of jobs, moving around, and pursuing other avenues. The thought of teaching again just didn't seem possible given all of that. So now that I've gotten my feet wet again, I feel like this is something I might be able to do again. We'll see, right?

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  15. Ooo shiny car.
    Sometimes writing goal are hard to keep up with. Especially when life gets pretty hectic. Good luck with everything this week. And I seriously love the car.

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    1. Thanks! We're pretty happy with it. :-)
      Writing goals are hard to keep up with, aren't they? This week will be no better since my Mom is coming to stay with me and I'll be hanging out with her. I'm hoping to get back on track next week, though. Have a great week!

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  16. CONGRATS on the new car!! Taylor's books are HIGH in my TBR pile. I read the first, but saved the second until the third came out. I love her prose, but sometimes (even in book one) it pulled me from the action. STILL. I love the characters and the world, so I'm STOKED!

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    1. Thank you! We're pretty happy with the new wheels. :-)
      I love the characters in Laini Taylor's books, too. They're all pretty great. I love the prose too, but sometimes a story could use a wee bit of tightening. I have a feeling that things are probably going to pick up very soon. Can't wait!

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    2. So much great stuff for you: a good return to teaching, a new car, taking classes! Go you!

      The eclipse was very cool. I'm excited to get to Laini Taylor's book, but I have to read at least 1 of my (many) library books first. Hopefully, soon! I get what you mean though about sometimes the plot needs some tightening. At least the writing is beautiful! ;)

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  17. Oooh, look at that pretty, shiny car! :) I've only ever once owned a brand new car - when I was young-ish and I needed to have something reliable because I don't know anything about fixing cars and I could afford the payment more than I could afford to pay for things to get fixed on it. Then I met my motor-head husband and we NEVER buy anything new because he can fix anything that goes wrong on the cars. Which is good, I guess. But I never get to have a new car! Boo. Oh well. Someday, maybe. Enjoy that pretty thing and get your license so you can drive it! :)

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  18. New car! Yay!
    We bought our very first new car a year ago. I was used to getting beaters and driving them into the ground, but hubby wanted something new even though he wouldn't admit it, so I talked him into getting a new car for himself. It is absolutely nothing fancy, but it's still super fun to have something built in the last decade :D

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