Thursday, October 22, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 23-10-20

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 a long weekend!  Yes, it's Labour Day here on Monday so we have a three-day weekend.  

And can I say it is much-needed?

I feel kind of bad about saying that because obviously things aren't as bad here as they are in the rest of the world.  We're not locked down.  We just re-elected Jacinda as our Prime Minister and her party won enough seats to govern without having to partner with other parties.  COVID-19 is well managed and there is little to no community transmission.

But I still feel like I need and deserve a long weekend.

I don't have any serious plans for said weekend.  My partner and older son are both working, so it will just be me and my younger son for most of it.  It's the last week of our annual burger festival so I'm planning to take my younger son out for lunch tomorrow to sample one of the burgers.  I also plan to go to the library to get some new books to read.  And after not having had a haircut for almost a year, I've made an appointment.

I also plan to do some writing stuff and some housework and gardening stuff - so long as the weather co-operates.   And that feels like enough.  Especially since NaNo starts next weekend and I'm going to be starting a new book.  Yikes!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Books I've Read: Juliet Takes a Breath


This was an interesting read about finding your identity and why it's sometimes better not to meet your heroes.

Juliet is a Puerto Rican who has grown up in Queens.  She's just finishing her first year in college and hasn't yet come out to her family despite having a girlfriend she thinks is pretty serious.  She's about to leave for the summer to intern with the feminist writer who has changed her outlook and decides to come out before she leaves. Her mother won't speak to her which isn't the best way to leave home for the first time, but Juliet feels like she's done the right thing by telling them and heads to Oregon.

As soon as she arrives she feels like a fish out of water.  Harlowe is an ethereal, weird hippie and the work she sets her intern is vague and unstructured.  And then there are all the complicated relationships in Harlowe's life that Juliet becomes entwined with.

As the summer continues, Juliet's eyes are opened in many different ways. Her heart is broken and she learns that nobody is perfect, even writers whose ideas challenged you to change your way of thinking.

I loved the way Juliet grew during the course of this book.  She started out so clueless, but ended up with strength and wisdom that would carry her through the rest of her life.  She began as a child and grew into a woman who, while not wholly confident, was way more sure of herself than she was at the start.

If you're looking for a book which asks some big questions about identity and race and your place in the world, this may just be the book for you.

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

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Weekly Goals 19-10-20

 This week my goals are pretty simple.

I aim to finish the MS critique I'm doing for a friend.  I got just past halfway over the weekend, so I figure I can do the rest this week.

I have sent out a second batch of queries for Standing Too Close.  I also got my first rejection.  Does anyone else find it really freaky when you send out a query and get a rejection within a couple of hours?  I always expect it to take a couple of months!

I signed the contract for the new book to be published, and it looks like it will release in February or March 2021.  More about that later.  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that edits won't come in until December so I can keep November free for NaNo.

I'm trying to work out my plan for NaNo.  I want to try and take a couple of days off work each week to work on it, but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to.  I guess if I can get even a single day some weeks, that will help.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Celebrate the Small Thins 16-10-20


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!

I know, I know...  I celebrate that every week.  But this week I feel like I need a weekend more than ever.  It's been one of those weeks where I've had so many things I want to do and so many things I've committed myself to, and work has just got in the way.  I wouldn't mind so much if I was busy at work, but it's actually been a fairly quiet week, so I've been more frustrated by it than usual.

But this weekend will be about getting all those things done that I haven't managed to do during the week.  I have great plans to be very productive, so we shall see how I get on with that.  The weather looks like it's going to be terrible, so at least I won't need to feel guilty about not working in my garden this week.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Books I've Read: Above All Else

I've never climbed Mount Everest.  I've never wanted to.  But I can understand wanting to push yourself to do something like that, something so extreme and so dangerous its more about proving to yourself you can do it than anything else.

Tate and Rose have spent their entire lives climbing together, encouraged by Rose's mother and Tate's father who are both keen climbers.  For years now, their focus has been on Everest and they have trained and fundraised and done everything they could to get there.

But now that the trip is actually happening, neither Tate nor Rose are as excited or as focused as they need to be to meet the challenge.  Rose's mother is ill and couldn't accompany them to Nepal, leaving Rose feeling like she's missing a limb or something, while Tate's hiding a new terror of climbing he's developed since a nasty fall a few months back and pushing back when his father nags at him about failing to live up to his expectations.

And to complicate things even further, it appears that after all these years of being just friends, their relationship is changing, moving toward being the romance their friends always assumed they were already embroiled in.

With the mountain's summit growing closer and the challenges of climbing it with limited oxygen become more apparent, each of these climbers is going to need to dig deep to find their own strength and reason to keep going.

I enjoyed this book because it really brought home just how dangerous and how difficult it is to climb Everest.  The characters were real and flawed and the romance between Tate and Rose felt like it grew organically.

I particularly liked the detail about climbing and the way you prepare for something like summiting Everest and the care and attention the Sherpas put into ensuring their climbers make it through the experience.

If you're interested in climbing, or maybe, like me, don't know much about it, this might just be the book for you.  Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read it in advance.

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

In a fictional tale as riveting, irresistible, and heartbreaking as Into Thin Air, teen climbing prodigies Rose and Tate attempt to summit—and survive—Mount Everest.

Rose Keller and Tate Russo have been climbing for years, training in harsh weather and traveling all over the world. The goal that kept them going: summiting Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. Accompanied by Tate’s dad, the two will finally make the ultimate climb at the end of their senior year. But neither Rose nor Tate are fully in the game—not only is there a simmering romance between them, but Rose can’t get her mind off her mother’s illness, while Tate constantly fails to live up to his ambitious father’s standards.

Everyone on their expedition has something to prove, it seems. And not everyone is making the best decisions while short on oxygen and physically and mentally exhausted. The farther up the mountain they go, the more their climbing plans unravel and the more isolated each team member becomes. Rose and Tate will have to dig deep within themselves to determine what—or who—they value above all else.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Weekly Goals 12-10-20

 I managed to fix my screw up with the word 'that' over the weekend and even sent out a few, first, tentative queries.  Terrifying!  I never thought I'd be doing that again, but here we are...

This week I need to write a synopsis since way more agents seem to want one now than they did the last time I queried.

I also have a beta read to do and a couple of other little bits and pieces of critique work.  I need to get all this done before November hits and all my spare time is taken up with NaNo.

I would also like to send out another small batch of queries this week.

So that's me.  What are your goals this week?

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 9-10-20


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 had another book accepted for publication.  I haven't received the contract yet, so I won't say anything more now, but will save that news for another day.

I did something monumentally stupid during one of my 5am writing sessions this week and somehow managed to replace every instance of the word 'that' in my MS with double spaces. And I didn't realize until I'd done a whole lot of other work on the book.  In an ideal world, this would be an easy fix - just do a find and replace of all those double spaces - but because I'm old-school and learned to type on a typewriter, I still use double spaces after punctuation, so there are a lot of double spaces that DON'T need to be replaced with 'that'.

I feel so dumb, because the reason I was searching for 'that' in the MS was to delete as many as I could.  Unfortunately a lot of sentences don't make a lot of sense if you take out 'that'...

So I'm a little behind with getting the MS ready to send out to agents as a result.  I'm hoping to get through all this miniscule editing work on Saturday so I can start putting together some queries on Sunday.  Although I feel like I may need to do another full read-through of the MS before I send it anywhere because if I made such a stupid mistake with 'that' who knows what I may have done with other filler/crutch words I was seeking out to replace or remove?

What are you celebrating this week?