Thursday, October 29, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 30-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Halloween!  It's not a big thing in New Zealand, but I still love it.  I'm sitting here in my skull and bat dress, having just served these rather disgusting zombie finger cookies at my work morning tea.  I won the prize for the most disgusting dish.  And yes, I'm proud of that.  I wore my medal all day...
I got revision notes back from my CP and have been manically rewriting ever since.  I think I've finished one ending, but I'm going to try another direction and write a second ending to see if I like it better.  Or if my agent likes one better.  So that's my writing weekend.

I went to the bookstore at lunchtime and bought 3 new books.  I didn't mean to...  But on the plus side, I ONLY bought 3 books.  Unfortunately I have a bunch of work reading to do this weekend, so I may not get to any of them until next week.

And it's the weekend!  I'm not quite sure why these short weeks feel so long, but somehow they always feel as long, if not longer, than a regular 5 day week.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Books I've Loved: A Sense of the Infinite

After having bemoaned the lack of friendship books here a week or so ago, here is another beautiful book about girls' friendship.  It's a quiet book, or at least, it feels like a quiet book.  Yet there are a lot of things simmering under the surface - eating disorders, teen pregnancy, depression and bullying to name a few.

I read this in a single morning because once I started,  I couldn't stop reading.  Annabeth is an endearing narrator, a girl who has been all too happy to live in her friend Noe's shadow.  She is convinced the two of them will be friends forever.

But this is the year when their differences start to become more apparent.  Annabeth loves the outdoors; Noe prefers to practice gymnastics inside.  Annabeth joins the gym team even though she'd rather be hiking.  And this is just the beginning of those little differences that begin to fray the edges of a friendship.

It all felt so real to me.  By my final year at high school I was outgrowing my friends, and they were outgrowing me. It was painful, but now I recognise it as an important part of growing up.  This book beautifully captures the pain and exhilaration that comes when you break free of a friendship that is suffocating the real you despite the fact it's the friendship that has kept you going through years of shared experiences.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekly Goals 26-10-15

My goals are fairly straightforward this week.  I finished (or think I may have finished) a first draft of my revised last third of STUMPED.  Once I get feedback from my CP, I will polish that baby up and get it off to my agent.  Assuming, of course, my CP doesn't thnk it's a steaming pile of dogshit and I need to go back to square one and rewrite...  if that's the case, well, there may be some tears, hair-pulling and large quantities of wine.  Then once the tantrum is over, back to the drawing board.

Assuming things are all good in Ozzy's world, I am ready to dive back into The Sidewalk's Regrets to revise that again.  I spent the last two afternoons listening to the playlists I made for the novel, and I feel ready to get back into Sacha and Dylan's world.  I think I've even thought of a better ending too.  And by that I mean better than both the inconclusive original ending, and the sort of HEA ending that's on it now.  I think the new ending will be bittersweet, but hopefully will feel like the right place to leave this story.

I've had a very relaxing long weekend, and feel better than I have in a while about everything - getting some sleep does wonderful things.  Work is going to be busy, of course, with the short week, but I'm feeling much less overwhelmed and anxious about everything than I was two weeks ago.  So that has to be a good thing, right?

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 23-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

Long weekend!  Yes,it's Labour Day on Monday, so we get a three day weekend.  I am very excited even if I do have a lot of writing work to get done.  

Tonight I had a date night with my partner and we went out to an amazing Vietnamese/French restaurant for dinner then went to see a good friend of mine in a play.  It was a wonderful night, and Harriet was quite spectacular playing Janet Frame.

Tomorrow I'm getting a much-needed haircut, which I'm looking forward to.  Other than that, I have very little planned for the long weekend.  I hope to read a lot, write a lot and maybe go to the gym a few times,  I also hope to do some baking to undo whatever good the gym may do me.

I finished a first draft of one of my revisions and sent it off to my CP to make sure the general ide works before I go back to polish it up.  While I wait to get that back, I'll get starte on revising my other book, the one that's going to be a little harder to fix, I think...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Books I've Loved: The Diviners

I just started reading the sequel to this one, so I thought I'd post here about how much I loved the first book in the series.  First up, it's set in the 1920s which has to be my favorite era.  I love the freedom people had in that time (or thought they had) and how women blossomed with it. This book beautifully evokes the time with its slang and nightlife and obsessions with the occult.

It's also a great supernatural story with a spunky heroine at its center.  Surrounding her are a cast of beautifully drawn, unique characters each with their own story to explore.  Which is why, of course, the book is over 600 pages long.  But it doesn't feel long.  Every story and tangent has a point and a place in the narrative and the mystery and intrigue ramps up and up until the explosive finale that will leave you breathless.

It's really a very good book.  Fingers crossed the sequel proves as compelling.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Weekly Goals 19-10-15

After failing to do much of anything last week (except work), this week is all about revising.  I got a good afternoon's work in yesterday, and am confident I can finish my revision on STUMPED by the end of the week.  Then I can start on the other book next week, or possibly even over the long weekend.

I still have a lot to do at work, but at least there isn't any traveling in the near future and that makes things easier.

I will find time to go for my walking circuit at lunchtime at least 4 times this week. Or at least, I'll try to do that.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 16-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  I'm at home!

After being away at a conference last weekend, then traveling for work until Wednesday, I'm just happy to be at home and not at work.  

The ban on Into The River was lifted this week, so I'm feeling good about that. It's not even going to have to wear a parental warning sticker, or have an age restriction. I'm just nervous about what book those people are going to target next.

I haven't touched my revisions for over a week, but I'm looking forward to getting into them today.  After I clean the house and go to the gym and do all the other things I haven't done for over a week.  

What are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Weekly Goals 12-10-15

This is going to be a quick one because I have a super busy week ahead of me.

I was at a conference all weekend, and have three more days of traveling ahead of me to run test screenings, so there has not been any writing time.  To be honest, I doubt I'll get any done until Thursday or Friday this week because by the time I get home from all this, I'll be knackered.  Not to mention the amount of work I'll need to catch up on.

So this week is all about the day job.  Once all that is finished, then I can focus on my revisions again and clean the house.

At least all these flights are giving me time to read!

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 9-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I've been working on my revisions for my agent and they have been going well.  But late last night I had a revelation that changes everything so I think I'm going back to where I started at the beginning of the week.

I'm away for work from some horrible early hour tomorrow morning until Wednesday night, so no writing is going to get done.  I will have to work like a fiend if I'm going to get everything finished I want to get finished by the end of the month.  

My younger son has had a terrible cough for weeks now, and we finally took him to the doctor. Turns out it's an allergy and an inhaler and some anti-histamine should do the trick.  Fingers crossed, anyway.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Books I've Loved: Every Day

I just read the sequel to this one and remembered how startlingly original and amazing the first one was.  I didn't hate Another Day, but Every Day is something very special.  The protagonist is A, a person without a body who borrows a different one each day.

Basically this is a book about self and what makes a person him or herself.  Without the external trappings the rest of us carry around with us each day, A is the purest definition of a soul or personality.  A has thoughts and emotions and a moral code, but A doesn't have a gender or body image issue.  I found the concept fascinating and it was fun to see the way A managed each different body and tried to be respectful of it in the 24 hours of habitation.

In the sequel, the same story is told from the POV of Rhiannon, the girl A falls in love with in Every Day.  It's interesting as a companion piece, but really, the book doesn't have the same spark.  Stick with the original.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekly Goals 5-10-15

My revising slowed down a bit this week because I had to write a new chapter to make something more  dynamic and interesting.  Then I had to go through and make sure the ripple-on effect of that new chapter worked with everything else going forward.  So I'm a little behind where I had planned to be.

But it doesn't matter because I got some notes from my agents which mean I'm going to have to put this aside for a few weeks while I do some work on the two books they've had out on submission.  After getting feedback from editors, there are a few tweaks to be made.  So I'll do those, then get back to My Murder Year.  I figure both sets of revision shouldn't take more than a month or so.

But of course that takes NaNo out of the picture because I'll be behind schedule.  But no biggie.  I can always set myself a NaNo type goal in January or February when I have time to write that new book.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 2-10-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  I've had a crazy busy week at work so am looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  Although I'm not entirely sure how relaxing it will be.  I have a lot planned.

On Saturday afternoon I'm going to see a movie about the Berlin music scene in the 1980s.  A bunch of my friends from Berlin are apparently in it, so I'm excited.  Unfortunately I need to take my 8-year-old son with me because my partner's working.  I hope he isn't too bored, and the bribe of going out for pizza afterward is enough to keep him from ruining the experience for everyone.

On Sunday we're going up the coast to pick up my older son who has been staying out there with my friend.  Fingers crossed the weather improves a little so we can enjoy the beach.

What are you celebrating this week?