September 3, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to 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. ***And please remember to link back to our host blogs and/or use one of the WUW buttons provided. We really appreciate it!***

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

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
I just finished reading THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black. I'm still not 100% sure what I think of it. The writing was pretty darn great, but story-wise, I was only so-so. I'm not super into overly descriptive/gory vampire stories (which is why I liked TWILIGHT and its sparkly, "veggie" vamps back in the day), so it wasn't really my cup of tea, but the quality of writing made it worth the read. This time of year I tend to crave anything fantastical or paranormal in the lead-up to Halloween, so it certainly fit that bill nicely. Bonus Points: It's what you might call a fresh take on vampires.

I picked up THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson next, and I'm super excited about reading it. I've heard nothing but good things about this book. And, not gonna lie, I can't help pre-judging this YA fantasy by its totally gorgeous cover.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Nothing at present, but I hope plan to get back into the swing of things this week. BICHOK, baby.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
The start of another school year, even if I'm not actively part of the school scene. (Though, depending on the number of sub shifts I'm able to snag this year, that might not be accurate.) There's something about it that just feels like turning a new page, more so than the actual January 1st New Year ever does. New notebooks, new pencils, new binders...new. So, I'm hoping to embrace this feeling and use it to my advantage both as a writer and as a gal who (yet again) feels like she needs some (drastic-ish) change in her life. We'll see how that all plays out, but I anticipate increased productivity!

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Reacquainting myself with my everyday life. I set up camp in the post-vacation Pits of Despair for some time after our Europe trip, but I think I've mostly clawed my way back out again. Honestly, I blame the autumn weather we've been having for reminding me daily that not only is our trip done, but apparently so is summer. Don't get me wrong, I love autumn so, so much—Tea! Scarves! Fall fashion! Pumpkin-y treats!—but I could have used just a teensy bit more summer.

Uploading, labelling, and tagging over 400 trip photos on my Facebook page. It was wonderful to revisit everything we saw and did in photo form. I hope to one day return to most of these places in person as well. I've been racking my brain for some kind of story idea in all of these awesome and unforgettable experiences, but so far nothing has emerged. (Yet!) For now, here are some more photos. (I promise these are the last ones I'm posting here on my blog. Cross my heart.):

Ladurée macarons on the Champs-Élysées. (My first ever macarons. No big surprise, they were AMAZING!)
The golden gates of the Chateâu de Versailles. (The extreme opulence here was almost overwhelming.)
Beautiful cliffs and the equally beautiful English Channel off the coast of Dieppe, France.
(If you ever get the opportunity to visit the Normandy region, seize it with both hands!)
Gorgeous sculptures atop the pylons of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial (WWI) in France.
(This memorial and the battle at Vimy Ridge are such a huge part of Canada's national identity.) 
Our pipe band at St. Juliaan Canadian Memorial in Belgium. (I messed around with photo-editing software...) 

So that was then, this is now → Write. Exercise. Read. Eat better. Breathe. Etc. Etc. Etc. Onward and upward, right?


So, tell me...
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?



34 comments:

  1. I want to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I'm in a darker/gory YA mood lately. I love your pictures. I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Leslie Ann!
      If you're in the mood for darker/gory YA, then you should definitely read COLDTOWN. It sounds like it's exactly what you're looking for. :-)

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing the fantastic photos.

    Good luck with the increased productivity and I hope you can get back to writing asap :D

    I love autumn, too, but it seems summer is having its last hurrah this week. September can be a very unpredictable weather month here.

    Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cole! I need all the luck I can get right now lol. Thankfully, this time of year always feels like a good time to accomplish things. ;-) I wish summer would have its last hurrah here too. It's chilly and rainy again today. Ah well. I think I might just have to embrace it and go full pumpkin/tea/scarf/boots/etc. :D

      Delete
  3. More gorgeous photos! I haven't eaten breakfast yet, so I especially enjoyed the food shot ;)

    I know how you feel about the beginning of the school year - I always want to buy notebooks and new pens/pencils and work on creative stuff.

    I think I've got THE COLDEST GIRL on my eReader - I also crave paranormal type books in the fall. It's usually the only time of year I might dare to pick up a horror book, too, since I can justify scaring myself for Halloween :)

    Hope you have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I wouldn't mind having more macarons, that's for sure. ;-) I had to resist buying a whole pile of school supplies today, and it was HARD. I should just become a career student and call it a day. I still have Book 7 to go in my Harry Potter reread, so I think I'm going to have to do that ASAP. It feels perfectly autumnish. Have a wonderful week! :D

      Delete
  4. First, your trip photos make my mouth water — and not just the macaroon pic! I will have to peruse your Facebook too. I actually really liked THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN mainly because it was a sexier, edgier vampire romance. Plus, bloody. But I see how if that is not your thing, then that book would not be your favorite.

    I love fall too, but we haven't actually entered fall in Texas. It's still in the upper 90s most days. :( I will trade you some of my prolonged summer, for your early fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rebekah! I could go for a macaron right now. :-) Especially a coconut one because they are to die for. As for COLDTOWN, I'm starting to think that maybe I'm just not all that into vampires? Not sure. There are so many things that affect whether I love a book or am only 'eh' about it. Often it's all about timing, which is kind of unfair to the books. Whatever the case, there's no denying that Holly Black has some serious writing ability. I kind of want to study her third person technique.

      I don't know how well I'd handle upper 90s lol. I'm thinking I might just need to suck it up and embrace the early fall weather. I'll start with a cup of tea as soon as I'm done responding to comments. ;-) Have a wonderful week!

      Delete
  5. Gorgeous photos, Jaime! I've loved following along with your trip, and I can only imagine the post-vacation funk you must've been feeling after getting back home. Looked like an amazing time! Best of luck getting back into your writing. I'm rooting for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Katy! It was so much fun taking decent photos on a decent camera finally. I would love to take some photography classes and really learn how to take great pics. :-) I think it's perfect that our trip fell at the end of the summer. This whole early fall thing is making that urge to be productive kick in, which is really good coming after a trip like this and the whole post-vacation doldrums thing. Now I just need to stop making excuses and actually get some writing done!

      Delete
  6. I love those photos! You've got such a talent for photography. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emma! The hubs and I shared photo duty, so I can't take all of the credit. Mostly, it's just having a decent camera. I would love to take some photography classes, though. :-)

      Delete
  7. I have mixed feelings about COLDTOWN - the writing is amazing, but I didn't really like the characters.

    I'm using the "new school year" as an excuse to kick my writing goals into gear, too. Summer's over too quickly!

    Love the photos! Have a fantastic week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emma! I'm glad we got a decent camera before our trip so we could capture these experiences.

      I think you nailed it right on the head with COLDTOWN. I wasn't crazy about the characters either, which did affect my interest level in the overall story. Holly Black writes really well, though, so I was able to appreciate that aspect of it. Good luck kicking your writing goals into gear! I'm hoping to do the same thing. :-)

      Delete
  8. LOVE your photos- don't stop posting them! If I can't make that kind of trip, I can live vicariously through your pictures. ;) One of these days I'm going to try some macarons too!
    I love fall fashion (scarves and boots and sweaters) and the colors of the leaves changing, but I hate that we're losing the warm summer weather, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Melanie! :-) We took so many photos and I would love to share them all, but I think I might get voted off the blogs lol. If you ever get a chance to try Laduree macarons, I strongly suggest you do. We tried other macarons on our trip and they were nowhere near as good. I'm totally into fall fashion myself, but I really would have liked to squeeze a little bit more warm weather out of the summer. Ah well.

      Delete
  9. there really is a post vacation depression phase, isn't there? Especially after such a fun vacation like yours! I'm pretty inspired by the new school year as well, and setting new goals! I've been meaning to read The Coldest Girl because I adore Holly Black, and I don't mind the gore so much so hopefully I'll love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Post-vacation doldrums are the worst. :-/ At least I have that urge to be productive thanks to this fall weather. That's a great way to bounce back after a trip. You should definitely give COLDTOWN a read if you're into that sort of thing. It was really well written for sure!

      Delete
  10. I agree about the school year being the real "new season" start. It does feel like the proper place to make a change, after the carefree days of summer are over.

    Beautiful pictures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess when you're in school for years and years, it's only natural to see the fall as the start of the year. We tend to flee indoors when the weather turns, so it's no small wonder I turn to projects, particularly of the writing variety. Have a wonderful week! :D

      Delete
  11. I love all your photos from your trip! It looks like you had an amazing time. :)

    I can't wait to hear what you think about KISS OF DECEPTION. It's on my list of books I want to buy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kaitlin! We really did have an amazing time. So many great memories were made. :-) I'm thoroughly enjoying KISS OF DECEPTION, and judging by your taste in books, I think you'll love it too.

      Delete
  12. Beautiful photos. You're a great photographer. Geesh, I want to go back to France so bad. Sooo bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jessie! :-) The hubs is responsible for a bunch of the photos, though I did take some myself. I so badly want to go back to France. Heck, I'd move to the Normandy region in a heartbeat if I could. I guess I'll just have to settle on dreaming about going back.

      Delete
  13. I love the picots! Gorgeous! I'm dying to read Kiss of Deception. It sounds like my favorite sort of book. I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a while back and my opinion is exactly like yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah! :-)
      I'm really enjoying KISS OF DECEPTION so far. It's really holding my attention, so that's good. I think there are lots of people who feel like we did about COLDTOWN. The writing was great, but content-wise I was only 'eh'.

      Delete
  14. I loved seeing all your France photos on Instagram, it looked like an amazing trip. I'm getting back to writing this week too (and blogging), hopefully next week we will both be posting word counts :D Good Luck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :-) I always worry that I'm bombarding people with vacation stuff and not sure whether it's annoying or not lol. It was a truly amazing trip and I wish everyone could experience something like this. I'd go back in a heartbeat. It's tough getting back into writing and blogging, but I'm just sort of easing myself in. Hope you have a great week, Alexa!

      Delete
  15. Onward and upward. Yes. I'm with you. This time of year feels full of opportunity for fresh starts, and that's exciting, but it's also hard to get back in the swing of things after the loose days of summer. And especially after a trip which was as awesome as yours was. Give yourself time. It will come back.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing! Pictures are a great way to linger in the vacation for a little longer, but I'm also so lazy about posting and tagging them. So good job on getting that done!

    Also glad to hear that you liked Coldest Girl, despite it not being your cup of tea. It's not really a plot-book, but like you said, the writing is fantastic and I am always in awe of Black's seamless world-building. Kiss of Deception is high on my TBR list too! It sounds so intriguing, and I loved Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox. So I'm curious what she'll do with a fantasy!

    Good luck getting back into the swing of these (I need that too)! I wish I could send you a bit more of summer from California! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hah! Post vacation "Pit of Despair". I know the feeling. Great Princess Bride reference FTW. ;)

    Your vacation photos are so lovely. I dragged my sister to France last summer. (Gotta love flight benefits) So all of your photos are giving me happy flashbacks. Though after a while we just couldn't look at any more gold filigree or art so we had to book it to the country to get a fix of green. :)

    I'm sorry your Summer is ending too quickly, but hopefully all the pumpkin treats and hot tea will make up for it. If not, you can always come down here and enjoy our eternal summer.

    Hope you have a spectacular week filled with lovely things and the last rays of summer sun!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Macarons in Paris- could it get any more perfect? And that pic of the golden fence is amazing. Like frame worthy!

    ReplyDelete

I ♥ comments. They make me smile.☺