Bouncing Around Projects (and #PonyFest16 is coming!)

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been about a month since I last posted, because we’re officially in the busy season at work (it’ll last until the end of December), and OMG I just realized that it’s almost #PonyFest time! (Like, I literally realized that as I wrote “December”). Last year’s #PonyFest was cancelled because of family health issues, so this year’s fest will be doubly fun!

Not sure what #PonyFest is? You can check out past contests here: Contests

I am so excited now! Compounding that excitement? I’ll be in the mountains of NC on a writing retreat with my BFF Juliana (and a bunch of other authors) when the #PonyFest announcement post goes live ^_^ I can’t wait for next weekend!

Last time we talked, I was still trying to decide between three different paths for Enfields, otherwise I was going to start working on Fie Eoin. Well, a fourth path sprang up and punched me in the face, and it’s so good I’m going with that one. But instead of actually working on it, I decided to work on Fie Eoin, and got a bunch of good feedback from some new readers. The first three chapters are too long, with too many characters, so I’m going to have to tear them apart and rewrite them again. This is the book that never ends. And I adore it <3

But I’ve put that aside as well, to work on creepy mermaids ^_^ This summer is just me bouncing between projects like a manic puppy.

As for reading, I’m still listening to EMPIRE ASCENDANT, and I finished reading A STRANGER IN OLANDRIA. It was so beautiful, and I especially loved the Jissavet parts. It was also way more literary than I’m used to, so I’m giving my brain a break with EMPIRE OF STORMS. I also bought A WORLD WITHOUT YOU, AS I DARKEN, A HALL OF KEYS AND NO DOORS, and LABYRINTH LOST (which I CPed last year, and let me tell you: you will love this book! Brujas and magical worlds!).

bookhaul

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans! I’ll see you next weekend for the official #PonyFest announcement!

Reading and Writing and Butchering Chickens (Oh My!)

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! How is it already Friday? I swear it was just Tuesday…of last week. I’ve been busy busy lately, first with work, then CPing, and now work again. Lots and lots of work. *breathes in the chemicals* The lab smelled like tomatoes this week and I wonder what kind of poison that is? Whatever it is, it made my face break out like crazy. Tomato chemical = acne.

As I said, I finished my CP project (and OMG I can’t wait for you guys to read it someday. It was so wonderful and tear-filled and just *le sigh*). I also finished listening to THE ROOK, listened to the entirety of THE IRON KING (ugh, Ash, go away), and started EMPIRE ASCENDANT. And I finally finished reading THE NAME OF THE WIND – it took me a little while to get into it, but once I did I loved it. It was bizarre and wonderful, and I can’t wait to read the second one (but I still have seven books to finish first). I started reading A STRANGER IN OLANDRIA, which has almost the same feel as NAME, but is completely different. It’s also extremely literary, which isn’t really my jam so it’s taking a while to read. I’m enjoying it though – the setting is beautifully described.

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Fox notebook to finish Enfields someday…

As for Enfields? I still don’t know which of the three paths to choose, so I’m still letting it simmer. I’m going to play WoW this weekend, and if no path asserts itself, I’ll start working on Fie Eoin, because I figured out what I’ve been doing wrong with Kaye. I mean, I’ve known for a while what I’ve been doing wrong with Kaye, but I finally figured out how to fix it.

 

In sad but delicious news: we finally butchered the Littles. Well, Hubs butchered the Littles because there was no way I could even look at them without crying. We ate the first one last weekend, and it was delicious. It tasted like no other chicken I’ve ever had, not even the super-organic, pasture-raised ones we buy at Whole Foods. And we’re using every little bit of them, from the meat to the intestines (tripe tacos, yum!).

littlesgrill

Hops the dog was so distraught over the Littles that she was depressed for the entire weekend ๐Ÿ™ We kept having to show her the Bigs and tell her that we aren’t going to eat them because they’re her pets (she absolutely thinks that the Ladies are her pets – she helps feed them and everything).

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

Glamping, the Monster Cold From Hell, and Camp NaNo Is Almost Over!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been nearly a month since I last posted, and boy has it ever been a month. I started out strong with Camp NaNo, doing writing sprints with my cabin and staying on top of transcribing my handwritten pages into the computer. I knew I’d be taking a week off from writing to go glamping, so I wanted to get ahead as much as possible in those early days.

And then…Hubs brought the Monster Cold From Hell home from Alabama. On his birthday. We had plans to visit his grandparents the day after his birthday to kick off our week-long vacation, but when he woke up sick we postponed the trip, then canceled the first half of our vacation (we didn’t want to get the grandfolks sick!). By Weds he was feeling much better, so we decided to keep our reservations in Asheville. We stayed at a nice hotel on Weds night, complete with complimentary bath salts to help cook the last of the sick out of his body.

On Thursday, we saw my BFF and CP: Juliana!!! It’s been over a year since I’ve seen her, so I was terribly excited. We hung out at a local Asheville brewery and talked over a couple beers. Then we made plans to meet up downtown the next day, and Hubs and I headed just north of Asheville to go “glamping“.

What’s “glamping”? It’s glamour camping! We stayed in a yurt that had an actual bed (with memory foam mattress) and a mini-fridge. There was a private, open-air shower with hot water, a spigot, and the cleanest port-a-potty I’ve ever been in. And a firepit, of course. (There was also a propane grill, but we cooked dinner in a skillet over the fire)

Totally awesome experience…until I woke up Friday morning with Hubs’ Monster Cold. Still, I wasn’t going to let that ruin my vacation, so I slept in a bit and then we met Juliana for early lunch before heading to the bookstores (because you can’t go to Asheville and not spend the day at Malaprops and Battery Park Book Exchange!).

On Saturday we were supposed to wake up early and head to Juliana’s to go white water rafting, but I woke up feeling so horribly sick that there was no way I could get out of bed, much less keep myself in a raft. So I canceled the rafting plans with Juliana and we decided we’d meet the next day for lunch. Hubs and I headed to Black Mountain instead, since we plan to eventually buy a bit of land out there and raise chickens (and mini-goats, although Hubs still says no to that. I have time to wear him down ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). It was a sweet little town with lots of shops and eateries, and a used bookstore. So you know what we did!

By Sunday I felt so sick I just wanted to get home, so unfortunately we didn’t see Juliana again ๐Ÿ™ I get to see her in two months for a writing retreat, but I was still super bummed the Monster Cold kept us from enjoying two days together! Stupid cold *kicks it* (Also: no proper bathroom when you have a cold is NOT FUN)

All last week I was fighting off that cold, and I didn’t get any writing done. So two weeks without writing for Camp has put me pretty far behind. I did hit the midpoint of Enfields this week, and I realized it’s actually a YA (goodbye sex scenes!), but now I have so many ideas for where to take it from here that I don’t know which to choose. It’s the opposite of writer’s block, but it still has me unable to move forward for the moment.

Which is fine, because I have a new project to CP ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to spend the next couple weeks working on that while I let Enfields simmer, and then it’s time to get back on the draft horse and finish that hot mess of a book. Then I’m heading back home to Fie Eoin <3

Have a lovely weekend Aledans, and stay away from the Monster Cold!

flower
These flowers were all over the campsite!

It's Time for Camp! (NaNo that is)

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! Today is the beginning of Camp NaNo: a month-long, set-your-own-goal writing challenge! It’s kind of like the original NaNo, but you don’t have to write 50k to “win”. I’ve set the goal of finishing the rough draft of Enfields, or at the very least writing as much of it as I can and plotting out the rest so I can keep up the momentum in August. Considering I still haven’t figured out my worldbuilding problem from last week’s update, AND realized the scenes I’m writing currently are in the wrong order, we’ll see how far I get in Camp…

I have my trusty CP Mike to help me with the plotting this weekend, and he’s a superstar, so I’m sure we’ll have it all figured out by Monday ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact, I may have figured out part of it on my drive in to work…or I may have screwed up the order of the scenes even worse. We’ll find out at lunch break.

I finished listening to ANCILLARY JUSTICE last weekend and LOVED IT! I loved it so much I re-listened to the last chapter the next day, and as soon as I get through some of the other books in my que I’ll be buying the rest of the series. Mostly so I can hear Seivarden say “Breq” in that annoyed-yet-amused way the narrator does it.

I’m still reading NAME OF THE WIND, and I finally got my B&N credit last week so I bought eight books (I also had a coupon!): SEA OF TRANQUILITY, THE GHOST BRIDE, A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA, HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, STORY FIX, THE CITY STAINED RED, A HARVEST OF RIPE FIGS, and BINTI. It’s going to take me the rest of the year to read them all! And I still have A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES from my last B&N shopping spree…

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and if you’re in the US have a wonderful Fourth of July!

thistle
This cardoon thistle looks like a firework!

 

Little Eggs and Worldbuilding Issues

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! Every time I jump back onto the blogging bandwagon life decides to smack me with the busy stick, so it’s been a few weeks. I’ve decided to change Science Tuesday to a monthly post, so most of June’s science news will be posted next Tuesday (the 28th). But I’ll still be posting custom ponies every Sunday when I can find them. I have one for you this weekend and it’s so beautiful!

Last we talked, I was in my reading cycle (I’m now in my video games/HGTV/recover cycle, which is kind of backwards from normal…but I’m not complaining because I’ve been playing WoW for the first time since the Panda expansion came out!). I finished TAMING OF THE QUEEN and HALF A WAR. I really enjoyed both of them, but TAMING was really really really good. It gave me nightmares about King Henry VIII, and even though I already knew the history and what would happen, I was seriously on the edge of my seat in places. That’s how well done that book was. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a female author (Katherine Parr was the first woman to publish under her own name in English). I’m now reading THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss and listening to ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie.

I’m about to roll into the writing cycle, and as I was trying to fall asleep two nights ago I realized the issue I was having with Enfields. I’ve got two MCs who’re trying to fight the big bad guy, but the big bad guy isn’t fighting back. The MCs are too small to really be much more than an annoyance to him – he’s focused on something else until the end of the book. So it’s time to restructure this sucker, rip apart the worldbuilding and stitch it back together, and get the big bad guy to see the MCs as a threat and actively work against them.

And I still need to find a place for that sex scene I already wrote…

I’ve joined Camp NaNo next month in hopes that my cabin-mates will help kickstart my brain and make the pieces fall together so I can finally make some headway on this book. I also picked up STORY FIX by Larry Brooks (you may have heard me praising STORY ENGINEERING in the past, which I’ll also be re-reading with an eye towards Enfields).

LittleEgg

Last but not least: the Littles have become Ladies! They started laying eggs this weekend! Little eggs, because they’re still half the size of Mona ๐Ÿ˜›

<–Look how teeny the eggs are!

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans! I’ll see you on Sunday for Custom of the Week ๐Ÿ™‚

#TeamRocks and a Not-So-Likable MC

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! If you missed it, I started posting Custom of the Week and Science Tuesday again this week, so make sure you check those out. I’ll have another custom this weekend, but family is arriving today so I’ll be offline for the most part until Tuesday (and next week’s Science Tuesday may be a little late).

I spent the long weekend cleaning the house since it was raining and family was coming, but in between scrubbing the bathroom and moping the floor, I got to know my new agent siblings, who are all wonderful <3 They set up a Facebook group for support and silliness, and we spent the weekend trolling our agent with subtweets and cheering each other on our various projects. It’s amazing to be a part of such a supportive group of people going through the same process I am. #TeamRocks

Last week I finished the CP project for my agent and started another, and I’ve plotted out Enfields for the next several chapters. Then things become fuzzy again, but I’m sure I’ll figure out what happens by the time I write all the scenes that need to be written (I write by hand, so it’s a lot slower to write out the scenes and type them up than it is to storyline them). My MC has taken a turn for the not-so-likable, but it works so well that I’m really excited for it. I had no idea she was such a bad person. She comes across as such a nice, quiet soul.

I’m going to have a lot of fun with her >:)

As for reading, I finished THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE and loved it! I gave it to my boss, and he also loved it, as did his wife. Now another coworker has it and I’m willing to bet she’s loving it (but she’s on vacation this week so I can’t ask her). I’ve started reading THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Phillipa Gregory (gosh I love her Tudor books!), and I’m nearly done listening to HALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie.

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

Nailed It!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I’ve had a big, busy week since last I saw you – but the biggest news is that I NAILED MY EDITS! Woot! The “training manual” sections worked, making Finn less douchy while still keeping him in character worked, the sweeter sex scenes worked (and now I get to go back through and turn the heat up again ;P), and all the other little tweaks and edits worked. I’m so relieved! This was my first round of edits with an agent, so I’m really glad to hear my changes worked ๐Ÿ˜€

We go on sub next week! Eeeep!

Now I’m CPing for my agent, which is super fun. And I love the book, it’s very much in line with StO, but without mermaids.

Last week I finished listening to THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley and started HALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie, but I haven’t been able to listen to much of it lately because I haven’t been doing the test that allows for audiobooks in the past week (those samples don’t come in often, but when they do come in it’s all at once). I finally started reading THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE yesterday at lunch, and I’m only 30 pages from finishing, so I’ll be finishing at lunch! That’s how good this book is! And it’s not even fantasy. I don’t always read Contemporary YA, but when I do apparently the MC must be mute and I’ll adore it (remember me raving about SEA OF TRANQUILITY? I still think about that book *often*).

Once I finish THANKS, I’m jumping back on the writing train to finish Enfields. I finally figured out what needs to happen next (thank goodness! I was stuck for MONTHS!), and it’s going to be very exciting and a little depressing. My favorite combo ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and if you need a little pick-me-up, have some chocolate:

(This is seriously my favorite thing today)

A Partial Hiatus

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! You may have missed my announcement on Twitter and G+, but for the time being Science Tuesday is on hiatus (not because science isnโ€™t happening, just because Iโ€™m too busy to gather all the links). Custom Pony of the Week may or may not be on hiatus as well (when I can find them, Iโ€™ll post them). These Thursday update posts may become a bit more sporadic, too, and I wonโ€™t be as accessible online for a while.

Which is probably good, because I still havenโ€™t typed up The Fair Man, and Iโ€™ve fallen behind on transcribing (and drafting) Enfields. I did, however, finish a CP project yesterday, and I adored it! I canโ€™t wait until itโ€™s on shelves so I can bug you all to buy a million copies. It was funny and twisty and sweet and I know youโ€™ll all love it as much as I do!

My next CP project is full of science, so Iโ€™m excited to get started on that. Iโ€™m also reading THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, which is so good. The first page blew me away and I read it twice before I continued on.

Have a great weekend, Aledans, and Iโ€™ll talk to you when I can!

chickenbutt
See ya later! (I love poofy chicken butts! So adorable)

Eggs, Eggs Everywhere! And The Fair Man is Done!

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! Ripley the hen started laying on Sunday! Her eggs are green easter eggs, so the carton in our fridge is now multi-colored! Wheee!

eggs
Ripley’s “green” egg and Mononoke’s brown egg.

I told the dogs and cats it’s time to step up their game ๐Ÿ˜‰

In other exciting news: I finished the first (really rough) draft of The Fair Man, which needs a new name. And by “finished” I mean I got to the end, but realized I have to add a second POV to the first half of the book, so I’ll have to draft that next. Well, not next, since I’ve switched gears back to Enfields. I’m working on the worldbuilding right now, then plan to finish the first draft before I go back to FM. After the banter and dark violence of FM it’s a bit strange to be working on the more light-hearted (and silent, because Shandi is mute) Enfields, but I’m liking the change. I can only stay in Regina’s head for so long before I start to emulate her less-positive qualities (which are all of them. She has very few positive qualities).

FMend
The end of The Fair Man, with some added shiny.

On Tuesday, STAKED by Kevin Hearne came out, so I’ve been reading that this week. Of course I love it: it has two talking doggies! And a few awesome Druids, and several pantheons of gods. What’s not to like?

I’ll be back on Sunday with another awesome custom pony, and on Tuesday with all the science news from this week. Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

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The aftermath of the eggs – they were soooooo good!

#NaNoWriMo Day 30: Oops

Happy Monday, Aledan Merfolk! Today’s the final day of NaNoWriMo 2015, and I have not only failed to reach my own personal goal of 30k for the month, I quit writing Enfields altogether. Not forever (I hope), but I definitely need to do a bit more world-building before I can continue.ย  Instead I started working on this:

GoodManTweet

So yeah, I’m rewriting a very old story as a SciFi! I love these characters, and I’ve really missed working with them. And the MC is an anti-heroine, which is SO MUCH FUN to write. I loved writing Finn in StO because I got to take off all my filters and say whatever I wanted, and now I get to do that PLUS be violent! It’s a nice stress reliever ๐Ÿ™‚

This may have all been brought about by the Star Wars re-watch Hubs and I just completed. But I’ve been on a Sci-Fi kick all year, ever since I read THE MARTIAN in January. So it can’t all be blamed by Star Wars (but OMG I’m so geeked for the new Star Wars!).

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, Aledans. I plan to have a links-only Science Tuesday tomorrow for all the science news I missed in November.