Friday, December 13, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 13-12-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

There's only one more week of work before the holidays!

While on some levels that's actually quite terrifying, on others, it's fantastic.  I get three weeks off which is very much needed.  It has been a very long year and I really need a break to recharge for the year ahead.

I haven't done as much writing this week as I would have liked, but hopefully I'll get some done over the weekend.  I'm so close to the end of this book!

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Books I've Read: Without Merit

This was an interesting read for me.  Some of it I really loved, but other parts of it annoyed me a lot.

The main character, Merit, is an interesting one.  She's very flawed, mainly in that she has a fixed, unalterable worldview which makes her very judgmental, especially of her family.  Which is actually kind of justified, because her family are, in fact, pretty messed up.

Actually, even more messed up than Merit initially thinks. Over the course of a few weeks, and a lot of pretty terrible behavior, Merit discovers things about her family, and herself, she thought she understood, but really doesn't.

And in the middle of it all is the too-good-to-be-true boy who manages to see through Merit's facade and find someone worth loving behind it.

One of the things that annoyed me the most about this book was the character names.  They're all weird - Utah, Luck, Sagan, Moby.  I mean, who calls their kids things like that?  I'm not one to go for standard, ordinary names myself, but these were just absurd and I found myself focusing on them rather than the story several times.

The other thing that bugged me was how easily important things seemed to be brushed over.  Like the whole Syrian conflict that seemed to exist in the story solely so Sagan could have a tragic past and a cool line to use on Merit.  I find this kind of thing makes me really uncomfortable. I believe if you're going to use a complex political issue in your book, give it some context and explain it in a way the reader actually learns something about it and why it happened.  Don't use it as shorthand for character motivation.

That said, I did enjoy watching Merit's growing awareness of who she was and who her family members actually were outside her POV.  And Sagan was a sexy love interest, even if he seems, like so many other book boyfriends, too good to be true.  I mean, I want to meet one of these perfect, sensitive guys with wisdom, compassion, great smile and body to die for. 

So I would recommend this book, with a few reservations.  It was a quick, easy read, and enjoyable enough if you don't think too deeply about it.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Weekly Goals 9-12-19

I didn't get as much writing done over the weekend as I had hoped to, so this week it's all about writing the rest of this book.  I have a few things on this week (Christmas party season), so it's going to be a challenge to get enough time to write much, but I'll figure it out.

I also need to get myself organized for Christmas.  I haven't done anything much about it yet.  I need to get on that...

What are your goals this week?

Friday, December 6, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things 6-12-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!

My elder son finished school for the year yesterday and won two awards.  He starts work today at 7am and will be working full time over the holidays.  He's going to be exhausted!  Especially since he decided to bike to and from work too.  But I'm super proud of him.

With Christmas looming, my other son and I are going to go into town today to do some Christmas shopping (and other shopping).  I've done most of what I need to do in terms of buying things, but I need to do my hand-made stuff which I give to most of my family because they don't really need things.

And I need to do some writing or this book won't be finished by Christmas as I'd hoped it would be.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

IWSG: December

It's the beginning of December (if you can believe it) so it's time for the Insecure Writers' Support Group to catch up ahead of the holidays.  And here's this month's question:

Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Having had a few days off from my day job recently to try and finish NaNo, I think I have a taste of what my life might be like if I had the financial freedom to be a full-time writer, rather than trying to squeeze my own work into pockets of time stolen from other parts of my life.  For me, this would be the dream.  The time to really live within my stories while I'm writing them.

On a regular day at the moment, I might get a couple of hours to write.  One in the morning and one or so in the evening.  And the evening one is often compromised by the exhaustion of the day that came before it.  Or, if I've had a big day of writing at work, I find I often don't have any words left for my own stuff at the end of the day.

Having a full day stretching ahead of me in which to write would be the real luxury. If this was my real life forever (or even for a year or six months) I'd get up just as early as I do now to get all the business side of writing done - replying to emails, blog posts, publicity stuff - before getting the kids up for school.  Then once I got the kids off to school,  I'd go to the gym and get my exercise in before sitting my butt down in my writing chair for the rest of the day.

Last week I did that for two days and wrote 11K.  Imagine how quickly I could finish drafting a book if every day could be spent like that...  I'd be done in just over two weeks.  And that's assuming I might have a few days that are a little less productive than others.

For me, that would be the dream.  To have those hours to immerse myself in my stories and characters and let them come to life on the page.

Unfortunately, I haven't won the lottery.  And the sales of my published books are not enough to allow me the luxury of not working a full-time day job yet.  If ever.  So for now, I have to just accept that my writing life needs to be shoehorned into the rest of my life somehow, and I'm not going to be writing multiple novels per year.  

What would your dream writing life look like?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Weekly Goals 2-12-19

Can you believe it's December already?  That's crazy!  One of my kids finishes school for the year on Friday...

This week's goal is to actually finish my NaNo book.  I'm close.  There are a few big scenes left, but I think I can probably finish it by the end of next weekend if I write as much as I have this last weekend.  But I won't have any full days to write this week like I have the last two weeks, unfortunately.

I suppose I had better start thinking about Christmas too...  It's coming pretty soon.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Celebrate the Small Things: 29-11-19

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the small things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I won NaNo!

The book isn't finished yet, but I did manage to write over 50K in November.  And there's still another day left.  I don't think I'll make it to 60K, but I'll give it a shot.  I figure I have about another 15K to write before I can type 'the end'.

With November over, I only have another three weeks before the end of the working year.  I will have three weeks off work, half of which I'll spend at home getting the house tidy and clean for the new year, and the other half I'll spend at the beach house.  I can't wait!

What are you celebrating this week?