Have You Hugged A Book Today?- March 2017

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I’m finally ahead on my reading challenge! 😀 That’s probably because I had twenty hours of driving I didn’t expect this month, but yay! I’m not failing at something!

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Anyway, I read a lot of pretty great books, let’s get started!

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header.

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne- This is one I’ve read before, but I thought it would be good to review considering I’m right in the middle of editing my novel. I haven’t made a lot of progress on it, because I’ve been so busy, but I’m hoping to get some more in the next month.
    2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- This book is super adorable and really touching so far. I’m excited to see what happens next!
    3. His Majesty’s Dragon(Temeraire, #1) by Naomi Novik- I just started this one, but it is already SO CUTE, I am dying inside! I honestly did not expect a book about dragons during the Napoleonic wars to have me squealing like a small child, but seriously, my heart can’t take much more of this…
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher- Four Stars
    2. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo- Five Stars
    3. Miles, Mutants and Microbes (Vorkosigan Omnibus, #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold- Five Stars
    4. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett- Five Stars
    5. Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker- Five Stars
    6. Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) by Jim Butcher- Five Stars
    7. Young Avengers, Vol 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen- Four Stars
    8. Young Avengers, Vol 2: Alternative Culture by Kieron Gillen- Five Stars
    9. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t believe I haven’t already written a review of this book. It was so beautifully done, full of childish wonder and adorable creatures, while at the same time showing just how terrible the world can truly be. I loved the underlying themes of curiosity and the power of knowledge, encouraging you to question the world around you, not in a negative way, but just to understand how things work and why things are the way they are rather than accepting them blindly. I also loved how there were several moments in which the heroes of the story, the characters we are meant to look up to and trust, made mistakes in the name of maintaining the peace and order of their lives. Facing the truth is hard, but necessary, and making the choice to sweep things under the rug or pretend that they aren’t happening isn’t helping anyone. It will always come back around.
On the surface, the book is just a great read, full of humor and fantastical whimsy with plenty of surprising twists and turns. At no point was I ever bored or thinking about moving on to something else. I highly recommend this one.

View all my reviews

No Destructive Creativity Corner this month, I’ve been too busy with editing and family emergencies and generally feeling like a failure 🙂 We’ll try again next month! See you guys in April!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- February 2017

Alright, I know I’m running behind this month, but my grandmother was in the hospital and that kind of stuff tends to sneak up on you. Try to forgive me? Let’s take a look at what I did in February!

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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This went surprisingly well! I was afraid that I was losing momentum on this story (horror of horrors!!!), but I think I’ve found my mojo again and I’m feeling really good about the things that are coming out of it. And my readers seem much happier with the results of my slightly slower posting, so that’s a great bonus!

  • The Stars Are Fire (now titled “Doubt Thou The Stars”) Revision- 21 scenes edited (first pass)

So, this didn’t go as well as I wanted it too. At all. I was really hoping to be completely finished with editing this book by the end of the month… Then, I was just really hoping to finish the first pass of the manuscript by the end of the month… Then, I was just hoping I would still want to look at these damn words by the end of the month. I did my best, but it was pretty pathetic. I’m still going, and I will not be defeated!

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Oh, and I had to make a title change. Because a pretty famous author has recently released a book with the title “The Stars Are Fire” and I just don’t feel like trying to compete with that, you know? So I’ve changed to “Doubt Thou The Stars”, which is basically the same line of the same poem, just shifted over a couple of words ;P I like it, hopefully I can keep it this time 🙂

  • Good Intentions outline- 1,174 words

Hey look, I started this! I haven’t done much, but I have thoughts and ideas. I just have to somehow get them to come together into a coherent whole. This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but I have high hopes! I’ve been looking forward to starting this for quite some time, I’m very excited!

What’s Coming Up in March

  • Finish Doubt Thou The Stars Revision

I am going to finish this month! I’m gonna do it! I am! Whatever otherworldly power that is trying to keep this from happening, clearly doesn’t understand who they’re dealing with here.

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That’s right, Rick Roll’d sucker! Take that!

  • Post two chapters of DBTT, Write 10,000 new words

You know that old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 😀 I think I might have finally found a monthly writing goal I can live with without feeling like I’m dying (or like I’m going to kill someone else ;P), and I see no reason to tempt fate. Well, any more than I already am.  I’m hoping I will only have to keep up the slow posting for a couple more months, maybe starting back to weekly in May. No promises though, I still have a lot of work to do before I can think about that.

  • Finish the outline for Good Intentions

I want this to be ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. That’s right, folks, it’s that time of year again! 😀 I’m gonna have to make some time to watch some movies which might feature heavily in the story. It’s gonna be fun! I’m really excited! 😀

And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

Behold!

Okay, so they aren’t actually tiny underwater hippos. They’re called flamboyant cuttlefish, or Metasepia pfefferi (don’t ask me to pronounce it. I’m not sure anyone can…)

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They are pretty, poisonous, and super weird! I need, like, twenty 🙂

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This month’s animal provided by my friend Sonja Little via Facebook! Thanks, Sonja! 😀

A Hobbit’s Walking Tale- February 2017

A Hobbit’s Walking Tale by fogisbeautiful

  • Miles Walked This Month (January 25th-February 26th):  64.5 miles
  • Total Miles Walked:  810.2 miles
  • Milestones Reached: The Enchanted River

“This was their state when one day they found their path blocked by a running water. It flowed fast and strong but not very wide right across the way, and it was black, or looked it in the gloom. (…) There had been a bridge of wood across, but it had rotted and fallen leaving only the broken posts near the bank.”

~The Hobbit, Chapter 8: Flies and Spiders

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I swore that I would not spend one more god forsaken month on that same Mirkwood path, and by god, I made it! I didn’t think I was going to, but I did! Take that! I mean, I’m still technically in Mirkwood, but at least I’m making progress! I’ll be kidnapped by Thranduil shortly (and I never thought I would type something like that with a hopeful attitude…) and then I’ll finally escape this awful place.

Onward! And don’t mind the hart…

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…I’m sure it wouldn’t make for very good eating anyway. ;P

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Have You Hugged A Book Today?- February 2017

A Brief Note: I wrote this post a week ago and then forgot to post it. I’m posting it as-is and backdating it, mostly because I’m in the midst of editing and don’t feel like rewriting the whole thing. I’ll try to do better next month, promise! ;D

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I read three books and I’m STILL two books behind! Argh! I need to read more comics, just so I can feel like I accomplished something…

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • Books I’m Currently Reading:
    1. Miles, Mutants, and Microbes (Vorkosigan Omnibus #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold– I know it seems weird that I’m reading #5 after #6, but in the continuity of the series, it actually makes more sense. Also, I’m loving the Quaddies and I feel very strongly for them. They are all my precious children and I greatly desire their freedom from the evil Corporation…
    2. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) by Jim Butcher– Holy crap, this is leaps and bounds better than Storm Front! Not just the story, but the narration and production is infinitely better. I’m very excited and looking forward to the end 🙂
  • Books I’ve Finished:
    1. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1), by Jim Butcher- Three Stars
    2. Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus #6), by Lois McMaster Bujold- Five Stars

Fog’s Book of the Month
A Monster CallsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh this book… It was moving, and heartfelt, and most importantly it was just so REAL. I know it sounds strange to say that about a book with Monster in the title, but it really was all about speaking the truth. Even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to face it, even if it isn’t what you think it is. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Addendum (from one of my early notes during reading): “It’s not often that I’m sold on a book as early as the Author’s Note, but Mr. Ness, you had me at ‘So go. Run with it. Make trouble.’

View all my reviews

The Destructive Creativity Corner (Instagram, @fogisbeautiful)

I haven’t done much with my “F*nish Th*s B**k” this past month, but I do have one post I can share.

That’s all! See you guys in March!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- January 2017

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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I realized about halfway through this month that I’m running out of chapters! When I started posting this fic last year, I started with a large cache of first draft chapters to work with, not to mention notes and scenes for many chapters after. So I got lazy. I stopped worrying about the writing, confident that I would have plenty of time to get more words down before it became a problem. Well, those days are now over. Time has run out. So I had to start writing this month, and I got a surprising amount of work done, for being so under prepared.

This isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense to you unless you follow me on Ravelry, a social knit and crochet site that I spend an inordinate amount of time on. On that site, there is a forum board called the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC for short) in which members are Sorted into the four Hogwarts Houses, and then compete for points by completing projects. It’s a lot cooler than it sounds ;P Anyway, part of the competition involves a bit of roleplay, and though I don’t normally get super in-depth with that part of the game, a particular prompt caught my eye this month and I’ve been compelled to write a story: a Sherlock/Harry Potter mashup with knitting. Basically, I’m knitting a pattern broken down into five parts, and I’m writing a five part story to correspond with each portion of the project I complete. It’s a mystery. There are fairies. And goblins. And Sherlock is a Squib who solves crime with his Muggle flatmate, and takes great pleasure in making Mycroft’s job as the Ministry of Magic liaison to the British government as difficult as possible.

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If anyone is interested in reading this silly little thing, but doesn’t particularly want to create a Ravelry account (understandable), let me know in the comments and I will make the parts available on AO3, complete with pictures 🙂

  • The Stars Are Fire Pre-Editing

Non-quantifiable, but I really did  work on the pre-editing phase for my novel. I have character sheets, world-building notes (hey, my planets have names and stuff!), some techie details that will hopefully get me through into beta-reading and outside editing. Speaking of which:

What’s Coming Up in February

  • The Stars Are Fire Revision

February is the major edit for “The Stars Are Fire”. I have 28 days to edit 53,000 words. God help me. In case anyone is curious, I use Holly Lisle’s One Pass Manuscript Revision method and it has literally changed the way I think about editing. It’s daunting, but once it’s done, I know it’s been done to the best of my ability. I’ve used this method with both of my Avengers fanfictions (“Worth Living For” and “Clarity“) and the results have been overwhelmingly positive, so I feel confident using it on my original work.

  • Post two chapters of DBTT, Write 10,000 new words

As previously stated, I’m running out of chapters. Which means I’ve started making mistakes. And that’s not acceptable. So I’ve decided to take a little bit of a break from posting DBTT, switching from weekly to twice a month, to give myself a little bit of breathing room. This will also give me more time to do the actual writing and give me the kind of distance I need to edit my chapters before they’re posted. I’m hoping I can write another 10k words this month, which should give me a good start.

  • Write two more parts of Magical 221B (~2,000 words)

This will put me on track to complete this story (and my knitting) right on schedule 🙂

  • Try again to start pre-writing for Good Intentions

This was a big ol’ failboat this month.

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I wanted to do it. Unfortunately, my big plans to use dictation to make it possible were derailed by a little thing we here in the States call Daylight Savings Time. Basically, it’s dark by the time I get home from work, and I am not going out walking and talking to myself in the dark. So, I’m going to try something different to get the ball rolling on this, I’ll let you know how it goes!

And now, (what I know you’ve all been waiting for) the cute animal of the month!

I present to you, the lykoi– also known as the Werewolf cat! And yes, it is a real thing 🙂

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Look at it! It’s so ugly it’s cute!

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I feel like this successfully encapsulates every sibling relationship ever…

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Day 47: Infiltration successful. The wooly ones have accepted me as one of their own…

So many thanks to Adan Ramie for bringing these adorable creatures into my life, I cannot possibly describe in words the depths of my gratitude… ;D

Until next month!

A Hobbit’s Walking Tale- January 2017

A Hobbit’s Walking Tale by fogisbeautiful

  • Miles Walked This Month (December 29th-January 25th):  48.9 miles
  • Total Miles Walked:  745.7 miles
  • Milestones Reached: none (78.7 miles into Mirkwood, halfway to the Enchanted River)

“It was not long before they grew to hate the forest as heartily as they had hated the tunnels of the goblins, and it seemed to offer even less hope of any ending. But they had to go on and on, long after they were sick for a sight of the sun, and of the sky, and longed for the feel of wind on their faces. There was no movement of air down under the forest-roof, and it was everlastingly still and dark and stuffy.”

~The Hobbit, Chapter 8: Flies and Spiders

 

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Oh I had such plans for this year… and then Mirkwood sucked the life out of me.

As I mentioned at the end of 2016, I had planned to start integrating walking into my writing routine through dictation this month. What I didn’t consider when I made this decision, was Daylight Savings Time. In my part of the world, its getting dark around 6 pm, and I don’t even get off work until 5:30. So I haven’t been able to take my writing “on the road” as it were, and have therefore lost all motivation for walking more. I’m attempting to come up with alternatives now, but so far, nothing. We’ll see how it goes next month I guess. Hopefully I can at least get to the Enchanted River…

Until next time!

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Have You Hugged A Book Today?- January 2017

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New Year, New Book Challenge! And I’m already behind, of course ;P As I said in my Conclusion to 2016, I’ve raised my goal to 55 books this year instead of my customary 50… Can I really call it ‘customary’ if I’ve only done it two years in row? Oh well, I’m using it! 😀

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • What I’m currently reading:
    1. Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus #6) by Lois McMaster Bujold– I haven’t finished anymore of this yet. I will. I just… haven’t. I have no excuse.
    2. Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer– If I haven’t made any progress on this by next month, I’m taking it off the list, because it’s depressing me. Audrey Hepburn is a lot of things, but ‘depressing’ should not be one of them.
    3. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher– I finally started the series! Yay! I’m a little disappointed by the narration, but I think that might have more to do with the production than with James Marsden (if that makes any sense?) and the story is pretty good. I think it’s about to get really good, and I’m told things really pick up around Book Three. I think I can stick it out until then. Also, Bob is the best. That is all.
  • Books I’ve Finished- None this month, mostly because I’m just failing at life a little bit. This also means that there’s no Book of the Month this month. Sorry, we’ll try again in February 🙂

However, I would like to go ahead and introduce a new segment this month:

The Destructive Creativity Corner

Basically, a lovely coworker got me a really neat book for Christmas this year, a book by the same author that created Wreck This Journal: F*nish Th*s B**k, by Keri Smith. The basic premise is that you have found a folder full of half-formed ideas, and now you have to complete the book using your creative intuition. I’ve been thinking about trying out a book like this for over a year now, so it just seems like fate that one has now fallen into my hands. I’m very excited!

Now, the instructions in the book say specifically that I shouldn’t share the results of this endeavor until specifically instructed to do so… but, I couldn’t resist leaking a picture of my gathered materials at least:

I’m really enjoying what I’ve done so far, I’ll post whatever pictures are “leaked” as they become available ;P If you’d like to follow my progress in real time, you can follow my Instagram, @fogisbeautiful.

That’s all! See you guys in February!

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