February 26, 2015

MORE THAN COMICS by Elizabeth Briggs

I’ve thrown on one of my many geek tees to write up my review of Elizabeth Briggs’ MORE THAN COMICS, just released this week! (hint, hint, hint) It seemed only right to get my geek on since this book is set at Comic-Con, folks! I have never had the privilege of attending, but man, would I love to. Of course, this book only further solidifies that and leads to daydreams of cosplay, camping outside Hall H, and all that fun stuff. For now, I've got this book to transport me. So, let's get started!

For those of you who have already read Liz’s debut, MORE THAN MUSIC—If not, what are you waiting for?—I can assure you that this sequel won't disappoint because guess what? We get to hang out with Jared, Maddie, Kyle and the rest of the gang from Book 1 all over again! (The sequel picks up one week after the events of the first story.) And these characters don’t just show up in some itty bitty cameo either; they’re woven all throughout Hector and Tara’s story. This is absolutely one of my favourite aspects of MORE THAN COMICS. Revisiting a great cast of characters from another angle (secondary characters becoming primary characters) makes me pretty darn happy. * I’m not sure why authors don’t do this more, to be honest.

So let’s talk about Tara and Hector. These two had great chemistry and not just the steamy kind. (Though there was plenty of steam. Much more than Book 1.) From the very beginning we learn that Tara and Hector have already established a solid friendship through an equally solid working relationship thanks to their joint efforts on a graphic novel--Tara writes and Hector illustrates. They have already spent time getting to know each other in every way but in person, so the shift from friends to more than friends is only natural. The events of the novel take place over four days, so thanks to their shared history, their romance doesn’t feel rushed or unbelievable. There are roadblocks in the way of their romance, which comes as no surprise, but I never felt as though these issues were unrealistic or easily solved. Sure, certain things could have been resolved through open and clear channels of communication, but that isn’t the way things happen all the time in real life either. Both Hector and Tara had (mostly) valid reasons for holding back, real concerns. We also can’t discount the impact of past experiences on their present decisions. Exes hovering, huge choices to make about life direction, crossing that line from friendship to more and everything that entails, family dynamics and personal history that have played a part in shaping the characters… All of these things are valid, all of them legit challenges on the way to reaching a happy ending.

In order to fully experience both Tara’s and Hector’s sides of the story, we are presented with a dual point of view. I am happy to report that this was done particularly well. One of my greatest pet peeves as a reader is having to flip back to the start of a chapter to find out whose perspective I’m getting thanks to a marked lack of differentiation between voices. This is not at all the case with MORE THAN COMICS. When Tara is narrating, we always know it is her speaking and likewise with Hector’s point of view. I want to cheer when an author does this well, so kudos to Elizabeth Briggs for pulling this off.

But back to that Comic-Con setting for a moment… Like I said earlier, I’ve never been but have always wanted to go. It was clear that the author has been to Comic-Con through the myriad little details that only someone who has attended this event would be able to relate. The cosplay moments were particularly great and, of course, the mentions here and there of superhero tees and the like. Without going into details, the campout outside Hall H was especially memorable because, well, steamy reasons(!) and I’ll just leave it at that. Overall, this was a great choice of setting for Tara and Hector's story, one that will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to attend or anyone who has been to Comic-Con or other cons like it.

If you like romance with loads of swoon and steam with a good dose of geekery tossed in, then you’ll want to give MORE THAN COMICS a read. You don't need to read MORE THAN MUSIC first, but why would you deny yourself that privilege?


* Up next, I believe we’re getting Julie’s story in BEHIND THE SEAMS. Can’t wait to read this one because it involves fashion! You can also check out MORE THAN EXES, a standalone novella about Villain Complex's bad boy keyboardist, Kyle.


MORE THAN COMICS (Chasing The Dream, #2)
Release Date: February 23, 2015

They're friends online - but can they be more in real life?

Writer Tara McFadden has been friends with artist and drummer Hector Fernandez for years, long before his band became famous on reality TV – yet they’ve never met in person. They finally have a chance to connect offline when they’re both sent to Comic-Con to promote the graphic novel they collaborated on.

Hector's secretly been in love with Tara for as long as he can remember, and once they meet, she sees him in a new light. All the years of longing lead to an incredible night of passion after one of his concerts, but neither is sure if their online relationship can translate into a real life romance – or if this will ruin their friendship forever.

Over four crazy days at Comic-Con, Hector and Tara must decide if they want a future together. But when their story seems to be over, it’s up to Hector’s entire band to make sure he and Tara get their happy ending.   [Add it on GOODREADS.]


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.

Where to find Liz:

February 25, 2015

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 would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a 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 one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*You can grab one of our Winter 2015 buttons under the WUW tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
(Book titles are linked to Goodreads.)
I finished my reread of RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier. (Next month we're reading the sequel, SAPPHIRE BLUE. Feel free to join in!) I also read Heather Demetrios' I'LL MEET YOU THERE (great book) and Liz Briggs' super steamy MORE THAN COMICS (review to come). I finally started reading BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater mainly because I've been dodging spoilers all over the interwebz for far too long and it's exhausting. Thinking of changing my name to the Artful Dodger. :P

WHAT I'M WRITING
Well, last week I fell short of my #WriterRecharge goal by a lot. (I wrote 3500 words of my 6000 word goal.) That was kind of a bummer, but I more than made up for it by adding 2500 words in one day. That's halfway to my goal of 5000 words for the week with only one day under my belt. I'm hoping to blow that goal out of the water, finish off strong, and surpass my overarching goal of getting 1/3 of this draft completed by the end of February. I'm feeling pretty good about my chances.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Word sprints, a shiny planner, and stars.
I haven't been into word sprints much in the past, but this week they really seem to be working well for me. On Monday, I joined some other writers for a few word sprints, which helped me get those 2500 words written. Thanks, ladies! The same day, my shiny new Erin Condren planner arrived, and I set to work filling in tasks and reminders and adding stickers and washi to make it pretty. I also decided to give the stars for words thing a whirl because it's really nice to see my writing progress, and because in a way it feels like I'm rewarding myself.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• Like I mentioned, my shiny new planner arrived. Loving this thing already!
• I've been finding so many good things to toss into my Rememberlutions Jar.
• The weather has been gorgeous lately, which makes it feel like spring here.
• Haven't been knitting lately, which means my Etsy shop won't open 'til fall.
• Discovered there are no macaron shops around here. Going to make my own!
• Hubs ordered me the LadurĂ©e macaron book complete with original recipes!



That's my week in a nutshell.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


February 23, 2015

Writer Recharge: Week Three

It's Monday, which means it's Writer Recharge check-in time again!
Here's how I did and what I hope to accomplish in the coming week:


WRITE/REWRITE
My goal for the month of February is to have 1/3 to 1/2 of my WiP drafted. This past week, I set a goal of adding 6000 new words to my WiP. I didn't meet my goal this week. I managed to write 3500 words, so it wasn't a total bust. This week was weirdly busy, so it was a challenge to find time to sit and write. I could have skipped the Oscars and worked on writing, but I was just tired and unmotivated.
This week → Add 5000 more new words to my WiP. 


READ/REREAD
I finished the entire BURN FOR BURN trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian this week. Loved these books--the writing, the characters, the plot, the setting--right up until the epilogue. Won't say anything further to avoid spoilers, but ughhhh about sums it up. I've also been continuing my reread of RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier and am getting very close to the end.

STRETCH
I wanted to shut off the TV two nights this week and do something else instead, but failed again. I am officially giving up on this goal for the duration of Writer Recharge. To be honest, I'm more concerned about my writing goal than anything.

SELF
My goal was to eat fruits + veggies daily and exercise at least once (increasing this to twice, then three times, etc.). I went for a walk with my husband once this week and went bowling as well, but I don't know if that even qualifies as exercise. I have been struggling with the fruits + veggies thing, mainly because I really need to go grocery shopping and pick some up.
This week → Eat more fruits + veggies and exercise at least once or twice. Keeping it simple.

CONNECT
I managed to do a teeny tiny writing sprint via Twitter earlier in the week, but got called away earlier than anticipated. I still managed to squeeze in 600 words in that 1/2 hour, so I was happy with that. Going to keep popping in and checking Twitter for others who are writing when I'm sitting down to write. Turns out there are lots of day writers like me, so yay!

FUN
I didn't get around to knitting this week. I plan on finally doing that this week, even if I have to schedule it in my planner.


So, #WriterRecharge peeps, how did you do this week?


February 18, 2015

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 would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a 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 one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*You can grab one of our Winter 2015 buttons under the WUW tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING 
(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)
Well, I finished both FIRE WITH FIRE and ASHES TO ASHES by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian this week. The books in this series were well-written and unputdownable--especially FWF--and I just really needed to know how everything wrapped up. I have capital T thoughts on the ending, but I won't spoil anything here.* Next, I'm going to start I'LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather Demetrios, which I've heard only great things about. I'm still rereading Kerstin Gier's RUBY RED as well.

* I did post my thoughts on Goodreads. (HERE) Note: they are hidden due to series-wide spoilers, so proceed with caution.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still making good on my #WriterRecharge goals, meeting and/or surpassing them two weeks in a row. Since the beginning of February, I have added 11,500+ new words to my WiP, so I'm pretty happy with that. I'm hoping to meet my Week 3 goal of 6000 words. We'll see how it goes, but I can say for certain that taking part in Writer Recharge is giving me a boost.
Writing goal for the week → Add another 6000+ new words to EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Not wanting to be a poser.
Not even kidding. Prior to Writer Recharge, so many weeks of What's Up Wednesday went by with me talking about how I was doing little to no writing, making excuses, feeling sorry for myself, feeling like a giant fraud. Writers write...and I wasn't writing. I think Writer Recharge came along at a good time, because suddenly I'm setting challenging goals for myself and I'm actually meeting them for the first time in a long time. Between WR and WUW, I just really don't want to look like a poser by reporting excuses and failures week in and week out. I really hope I can keep this up in the coming days/weeks.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• I played with my pipe band at a Valentine's Ceilidh this past Saturday. I didn't want to go, but it ended up being fun!
• I started watching Parenthood again on Netflix. I like it, but have to admit many of the Bravermans drive me bonkers.
• I'm kitty-sitting for my parents, so between my cats and theirs it's a zoo around here. Can't wait to have my house back.
• I am eagerly awaiting my new Erin Condren planner and a bunch of stickers and doodads. I ♥ being organized so much!

Katniss being a cutie; ready for the Valentine's Ceilidh; mind-boggled by this book; I've been Tumbling(?) a lot; tasty butter tarts.


Well, that was my week, folks.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?



February 16, 2015

Writer Recharge: Week Two

It's Monday, which means it's Writer Recharge check-in time again!

Here's how I did and what I hope to accomplish in the coming week:


WRITE/REWRITE
My overarching goal for the month of February is to have 1/3 to 1/2 of my WiP drafted. This past week, I set a goal of adding 6000 new words to my WiP, EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING. I met my goal, coming in at just over 6000 words written! This week was busy, so I'm pretty proud.

This week → Add 6000 more new words to my WiP. 

READ/REREAD
I finished FIRE WITH FIRE by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian. (My goal is to read the whole BURN FOR BURN trilogy.) I liked the first book, but holy cannoli, book two was SO good. Now, I'm about to eagerly dive into ASHES TO ASHES and would like to finish it this week. I'm also continuing my reread of RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier.

STRETCH
I wanted to shut off the TV two nights this week and do something else (read, write, whatever), but failed again. Beginning to think this is a goal I should just give up on. I mean, I like TV and I can knit while watching great shows, right? Right?

SELF
My goal was to eat fruits + veggies daily and exercise at least once (increasing this to twice, then three times, etc.). I didn't eat enough fruits + veggies, and I only went for one piddly walk that barely qualifies as exercise. I would like to go for more walks this week and maybe for longer. It has been so mild lately, so it's perfect walking weather. Also, more fruits + veggies.

CONNECT
I'm kind of giving up on the writing sprints thing unless they are happening when I'm sitting down to write. I'll check in on Twitter and see if anyone else is writing, but if not, I'm okay with that. I have been connecting more with writer friends via social media, so that's something that makes me very, very happy. I feel like I've been lazy about that in recent months.

FUN
I didn't get around to knitting this past week. Part of that was because I was waiting on new circular needles. (A lot of my patterns called for them.) SO, the plan is to get knitting and purling this week. I have something Austen-inspired in mind.

Check out these pretties. ♥ Can't wait to work with them!


So, #WriterRecharge peeps, how did you do this week?


February 11, 2015

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 would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a 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 one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*You can grab one of our Winter 2015 buttons under the WUW tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
I finished BURN FOR BURN by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian and started the next book, FIRE WITH FIRE. I liked Book 1, but so far I'm enjoying Book 2 quite a bit more. Can't wait to see how this whole thing shakes out. I'm about to dive into RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier for the third or fourth time as part of a RUBY RED Reread that I'm doing this month with Sara Biren, Rebekah Faubion, and Tracey Neithercott. You should join us! We'll be (re)reading this trilogy over the next three months.

WHAT I'M WRITING
I mentioned last week that I am taking part in #WriterRecharge. Last week's goal was to add 5000 new words to my WiP. I ended up surpassing my goal and coming in at 5500 words! What a great feeling. This week I'm aiming for 6000 new words.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Challenging myself.
My sister and I had one of our epic Skype conversations the other day and she pointed out something that hadn't occurred to me before: I've been setting small word count goals for so long, telling myself that the smaller the goal, the better. Well, turns out that hasn't been working. By setting a goal of, say, 1000 words/week, it was allowing me to put it off and put it off because, "I can write 1000 words whenever. No problem." But before I knew it, the week was over and I had written zilch. By challenging myself to a larger word count goal this past week, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to park my butt in my chair many times over the course of the week to meet the goal. Well, what do you know? It worked.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
• We saw Jupiter Ascending yesterday, and going in with rock bottom low expectations meant I actually (mostly) enjoyed it.
• I ordered more wooden knitting needles this week, and this makes me almost as happy as buying new books. Almost.
• I've gotten hooked on The 100. Definitely gets much better after Season 1 Episode 4. It's not without issues, but I like it.
• I've been playing around with Tumblr again lately. (It's been a while.) Here's where I am on Tumblr. Let's be friends! :D


That's my week in a nutshell.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


**FRIENDLY REMINDER: What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop, which implies hopping around to other participants' posts to say 'hi' and spread some encouragement. We're all busy because LIFE, but the aim of WUW has always been to connect with other writers. We're not asking you to visit every single post each week, but please try to hop around to even just a few other blogs when you take part. Erin and I really appreciate all of you joining us when you can on Wednesdays. Thanks!**

February 8, 2015

Writer Recharge: Week One

{See Sara's, Katy's, Alison's, Liz's, or Elodie's blogs for details.}
It's Monday, which means it's Writer Recharge check-in time. Woo!

Here's how I did and what I hope to accomplish in the coming week:

WRITE/REWRITE
My overarching goal for February was/is to have 1/3 to 1/2 of my WiP drafted. This past week, I set a goal of adding 5000 new words to my WiP, EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING. Well, I not only met my goal, I surpassed it, coming in at 5500 words written! I'm proud of myself. J

This week → Add 6000 new words to my WiP. I know I can do it!


READ/REREAD
I planned on reading Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian's BURN FOR BURN trilogy over the course of the month, and so far I've managed to finish the first book and move on to FIRE WITH FIRE. I'm enjoying the series, so that's a plus. I'm also going to add "RUBY RED Reread with Sara, Tracey, and Rebekah" to this section. Should be tons of fun, and you're invited to join us!

STRETCH
I wanted to shut off the TV two nights this past week and do something else (read, write, whatever), but failed miserably at this. What can I say? I'm hooked on The 100 and other great shows. BUT, this week I do want to make good on this goal.

SELF
My goal was to eat fruits + veggies daily and exercise at least once (increasing this to twice, then three times, etc.). Most days I was successful in adding more fruits + veggies to my meals, but I didn't squeeze in any exercise time, so boo to that. This week → fruits + veggies + exercise twice

CONNECT
"On the nights when the TV is turned off, I'm going to make an effort to take part in writing sprints with writers online." Ditto for this week, even though I failed to follow through this past week.

FUN
I'm amending my goal of "whipping up some knit goods so I can open my Etsy shop by the end of the month". I've come to realize this week that when I'm pouring my energy into one creative venture, it takes (loads of) time away from other creative ventures.* Going forward, my goal will still be to whip up some literary-themed knit goods, but not with the added stress of opening up the shop this month. There is no rush, and it's no fun to break my neck trying to do this. Right now I'm just capital T thrilled to be writing somewhat regularly again. THAT should be my primary creative focus this month.

* Um...duh.

So, #WriterRecharge peeps, how did you do this week?


February 4, 2015

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 would like to encourage participants to swing by other WUW blog posts, get to know other writers taking part, and spread some writerly encouragement around. Before you go, make sure to leave a 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 one of the fancy schmancy WUW buttons provided. We'd really appreciate it! For those of you who are new to WUW, these are the headings we have been using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING (+ WRITING GOAL) 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE IS NEW


*We have three new Winter 2015 buttons under the WUW tab above!*
WHAT I'M READING
Finally finished THIS SHATTERED WORLD, which was good but not as great as THESE BROKEN STARS, in my opinion. I found it a bit tough to get into and wasn't completely gripped by the story or the characters. I also continued reading NORTHANGER ABBEY for my Chapter a Day Classic and read POINTE by Brandy Colbert. I just finished this one yesterday and I'm not sure what I think of it. I'm looking forward to starting BURN FOR BURN by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian next.

WHAT I'M WRITING
This was a crummy week for writing...until yesterday when I managed to write over 1000 words in one sitting. It's not a lot, but for me it sure feels like it. I've been struggling to make any headway on my WiP, EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING, so I'm hoping this is the first step toward much more progress. Writing goal for the week → see next category for details

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
Jumping in on #WriterRecharge for the month of February seems to be doing the trick. (You can see my goal-setting post here and find further details about this writing "jump start" here.) Speaking specifically about writing, I set a goal of adding 5000 new words to my current WiP. With only one day under my belt, I'm already on my way to reaching it. My overall writing goal for the month is to get 1/3 to 1/2 of my WiP drafted. This should be doable with a little effort and a good deal less laziness on my part. And it's about time.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
Not much, to be honest. I have been watching too much Grey's Anatomy (not helping the anxiety situation), hanging out with the hubs, I went to Book Club last Friday night, I babysat my friend's super cute two-month-old, and that's about it.

Oh, what an exciting life I lead.

But mostly I'm just excited that I'm writing again. Finally.



Well, that's it for my week.
WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?



February 2, 2015

Writer Recharge 2015: Goal-Setting

It's February, and I've already started 2015 off on the wrong foot by not writing nearly enough and making tons of excuses! 
It's February, and it's too darn early in the year to be this unproductive, this unmotivated, and this uninspired! 
It’s February, which means it’s time for Writer Recharge! 

Well, thank goodness for that. 

Once again hosted by Sara BirenKaty Upperman, Alison Miller, LizParker, and Elodie Nowodazkij, "Writer Recharge is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter. Set goals for yourself, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers. This year, we’ve come up with a few categories you might want to consider when making your goals. You can choose a goal (or goals) for one or some or all." (For more details about these goals and other Writer Recharge details, visit any of the host blogs.)


The ladies have provided us with SIX categories and my plan is to set one goal under each. Because I'm quite clearly crazy:

WRITE/REWRITE
I've been struggling to make any kind of progress on my current WiP, EVERY SAD & LOVELY THING, so I would really like to have anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of it drafted by the end of February. It will be tough, but I need to start pushing myself.

  • February 2nd - 8th → Write 5000 words (starting off a bit smaller, hoping to increase word count each week)

READ/REREAD
My TBR shelf is sagging with need-to-read books, but since I've heard so many good things about Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian's BURN FOR BURN trilogy, I'm going to try to read all of them this month. I have the first two already and the third is on its way.

STRETCH
I spend far too much time in front of the TV every evening but this month I would like to spend two nights a week doing something other than watching TV. I've listed reading and writing goals already, so it makes sense to use that time to do both of these things.

SELF
Diet: Eat fruits and veggies at least once per day. (I'm embarrassed that I need to set this goal, but there it is.)
Exercise: WEEK ONE exercise 1x, WEEK TWO exercise 2x, WEEK THREE exercise 3x, WEEK FOUR exercise 4x (form a habit)

CONNECT
On the nights when the TV is turned off, I'm going to make an effort to take part in writing sprints with writers online.

FUN
I'm not sure if this 100% qualifies as fun, but I'd like to a) knit some literary-themed accessories so I can b) finally get my Etsy Shop (Lit & Purl) up and running by the end of the month (while it's still chilly and there's still snow on the ground).

I'm so looking forward to this extra push to get some serious writing done this month! You should think about joining us!