Sunday, October 30, 2022

Weekly Goals 31-10-22

 Summer feels like it might finally be on its way so this week my goal is to start biking to work again.  Ideally I can do this Monday, Wednesday and Friday which are the days I don't go to the gym in the mornings, but that's obviously weather dependent.  I'm going to ride today anyway.

I'm hoping things will quiet down a little at work from this week and I can start focusing on some of the reports I'm supposed to be writing.  It's really not that long before the end of the year!

Had a lovely weekend away and the weather didn't stop us from doing anything we wanted to do, even if it wasn't perfect.  Had some fantastic food and wine and enjoyed some sleeping in for once!

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Celebrate the Small Things 28-10-22


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

My partner and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary this weekend by going away for a couple of nights.  I booked a pretty little tiny house in a gorgeous little town a couple of hours away, but stupidly, I only booked for one night, not two by accident.  And I only realized this when the final receipt came through.  Which lead to some scrambling as I tried to find somewhere for us to stay for the second night where I have a dinner booked at a very nice restaurant over there.

Luckily I managed to find a motel that had a room free.  You can call me an idiot now....

Unfortunately the weather isn't looking so hot for the weekend, so I'm not sure what we're going to do.  We had planned to go bike riding and hiking and other outdoors stuff, but that may not be on the cards.  I guess we'll find out when we get there.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Books I've Read: The Feeling of Falling in Love


I read Mason Deaver's first book and quite enjoyed it, so when I saw this at the library (and the cover attracted my attention before anything else - kind of love the image of the dumpster fire) I grabbed it.

The book follows trans-kid Neil as he sets up an elaborate fake-dating scheme after his best friend and fuck-buddy freaks him out by declaring he's in love with him.  As you will probably guess, the fake-dating turns into real feelings and the path of true romance does not run smoothly.

Neil is the wealthy son of a hotelier in Los Angeles and has never had to worry about money.  Wyatt, his boarding school roommate and fake-date for his brother's wedding, comes from a less privileged background and is somewhat uncomfortable with the ostentatious display of wealth he sees when dealing with Neil's family.

I don't know if it's just me, but once again, I found the main character in this book really annoying and did not like him at all.  He takes his privilege so much for granted and treats his family with such disrespect and disdain, I found him very difficult to relate to.  His family are not the greatest, but they aren't the worst either.  His grandparents are still struggling to understand and accept his transition which must be hard for him, but the way he speaks about and to them shows that he's not at all willing to be flexible or understanding about their struggle.  Which he probably shouldn't have to, but we're all human and make mistakes.

He also treats both Josh - the boy who professes to love him at the beginning of the book - and Wyatt really badly.  He's incredibly self-centered and doesn't take responsibility or even acknowledge that his actions might hurt people around him.  Ostensibly he does this to keep himself from getting hurt, but I don't believe that someone who has been wounded as badly as he seems to think he has been would treat others so callously.  But maybe that's just me...

Overall, this wasn't a terrible book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped to.

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

From the bestselling author of I Wish You All the Best, comes a new kind of love story, about the bad decisions we sometimes make... and the people who help get us back on the right path.

Perfect for fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and What If It's Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.

Just days before spring break, Neil Kearney is set to fly across the country with his childhood friend (and current friend-with-benefits) Josh, to attend his brother's wedding—until Josh tells Neil that he's in love with him and Neil doesn't return the sentiment.

With Josh still attending the wedding, Neil needs to find a new date to bring along. And, almost against his will, roommate Wyatt is drafted.

At first, Wyatt (correctly) thinks Neil is acting like a jerk. But when they get to LA, Wyatt sees a little more of where it's coming from. Slowly, Neil and Wyatt begin to understand one another… and maybe, just maybe, fall in love for the first time

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Weekly Goals 24-10-22

 The Jazz Festival finished last night, so this week will be all about doing the wrap up and trying to get all the information together to start writing reports on the Festival for all the different organizations that helped to fund it.  

It was a good festival, I think, with some really good crowds and the entire city seemed to be buzzing.  I was too busy working at the venue for the main headliner acts to get to many of the smaller shows, but I did get out on Saturday night, and everywhere I went seemed to be humming and there were musicians with instruments everywhere, looking for a jam.

It's a short week this week, with today being Labour Day and I'm taking Thursday off to make up for working all those nights and weekend hours.  I'm hoping to do some writing work on Thursday, but I'm not sure how much time I'll have because I'm also doing some hair modeling for a hairdresser training for a competition.  She needs a short hair model, so I volunteered.  

And then this weekend my partner and I are going away for a couple of nights to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  I can't quite believe that it's been so long, but apparently it has.  So we're off to the Wairarapa to eat great food, visit vineyards and hopefully enjoy some good weather outdoors.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Celebrate the Small Things 21-10-22


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

I think I mentioned a few weeks back that I had a story accepted into an anthology?  Well, the agreement has now been signed and it seems to be really happening.  Book will be coming out sometime in early 2023.  I will keep you posted as I learn more.  It's kind of exciting!  I've had stories in multiple anthologies before, but this is the first one that feels like it might actually have some real impact on my writing career.  And not just because I'm getting paid for the story for a change.

Jazz Festival started on Wednesday, so I'm working all weekend.  Luckily it's a holiday on Monday so I have a day off to recover once it's over.  And the weather is supposed to be nice on Monday too.

And that's about it from me.  What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Books I've Read: I Kissed Alice


I picked this one up at the library because it sounded like it might be a fun read and I needed something light this weekend.  It was light, but not that much fun, I'm afraid.

Set in a special arts school, the book deals with friendship, fandom and the razor-thin line between love and hate.

Iliana and Sarah have been best friends since childhood, but since Sarah moved into the dorms on campus at the arts school where she won a scholarship, she's become besties with her roommate, Rhodes.  Iliana can't stand Rhodes and the feeling is mutual.

The hatred between these two grows more intense when the two girls find themselves competing against each other for the coveted Capstone prize.  Rhodes is struggling to create anything n the face of intense pressure from her overbearing mother and living up to her family's expectations of her.

Iliana has no problem with creating and is determined to work her ass off to win the prize after losing a much-needed college scholarship as a result of a disciplinary matter partially the fault of Rhodes.

To escape the growing pressures facing them at school, both Rhodes and Iliana turn to an online fan site where they unknowingly pair up to create an Alice in Wonderland comic set in space.  While Rhodes and Iliana hate each other in real life, their online alter-egos, I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire grow closer and closer.

With the competition date rapidly closing in, and the truth about their secret identities uncovered,  it's only a matter of time before these two enemies destroy each others' futures.

The main problem I had with this book was how unlikable all the characters were.  The only person I felt even a small amount of sympathy for was Rhodes' brother, Griffin.  And he didn't play a huge role int he story.  All the main characters were awful.  Sarah, the friend Rhodes and Iliana fought over, was the worst kind of passive yet manipulative character and allowed herself to be railroaded by both the other girls over and over.  I almost cheered for her when she finally got some backbone and dumped both of them.

Rhode is a spoiled princess, so used to getting everything she wants without working for it she crumbles at the first sign of pressure.  But what do you expect from someone brought up by a mother whose solution to any problem is to throw money at it?

And Iliana is so self-centered she doesn't even notice that she's walking all over the people who supposedly care about her.  She's so ambitious she doesn't care who she hurts on the way to getting to her goal.

So I didn't enjoy this one as much as I'd hoped I would.  But if you like reading about bitchy girls treating each other badly, this might be for you.

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

For fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and Fangirl, I Kissed Alice is a romantic comedy about enemies, lovers, and everything in between.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn't be more different, but that's not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator's block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other...a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other's future?

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Weekly Goals 17-10-22

 It's a festival week so work is going to be crazy busy with shows every night from Wednesday and two a day over the weekend.  So I am not expecting to get a lot done outside of work.  Which is a shame because I got my first notes back from one of my readers and now want to dig back into my book and stand revisions.

But I'll wait until I get the notes back from the other two readers and I have some clear time to devote to the book before I do that.  November will be the time to do it.  Instead of writing something new during NaNo, I'll revise this, my 2020 NaNo book.

But my main goal for this week is to get through the Jazz Festival without getting sick.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, October 14, 2022

Celebrate the Small Things 14-10-22


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!

It's been a long and busy week at work and I've been fighting off some kind of bug which hasn't made me sick enough to take a day off, but has certainly sapped my energy.  So this weekend is going to be about resting a lot because next week is going to be super busy with the Jazz Festival starting on Wednesday.

So I've stocked up on books to read and plan to do a lot of reading this weekend and not much else.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Books I've Read: The Whistleblower


NetGalley was kind enough to let me read this one, so thanks!

New Adult never really became the thing it as supposed to be which is kind of a shame because there is definitely space for books that go beyond YA, but aren't quite adult yet.  This is one of those books and feels especially relevant in the current climate of #metoo and the war on women's rights.

Laurel is a college student studying journalism and working on her school paper.  When she stumbles across a shocking and juicy story about the college's revered football coach, she knows she has to tell the story.

But as she digs deeper into what becomes an increasingly complex and terrifying pattern of fraud and sexual abuse going back years, the repercussions of exposing such an heroic public figure become clear.  Not just in her professional life, but in her personal life too.

Especially since one of her primary sources is the team's star quarterback, Bodie, and she just can't seem to stop running into him.  During the course of the investigation, Laurel realises that it's not just her career on the line, but Bodie's too.

And with her feelings for Bodie changing and growing, Laurel needs to decide how far she's willing to go to uncover the truth.

I enjoyed this one.  There was romance, but not as much as there tends to be in books professing to be New Adult.  For a while there I decided NA was basically YA with more graphic sex.  While Lauren's relationship with Bodie was important to the story, it wasn't the main focus of the book which was firmly centered on the investigation and the repercussions facing both Lauren and her editor if the story was made public.

I imagine there are stories like this everywhere, and the bravery it takes to expose someone as powerful and influential as a successful coach is immense.  I liked that Laurel was a fairly chaotic person in most of her life, and that she had doubts and fears about what she was doing.  Her relationship with Bodie grew naturally, and he genuinely seemed like a good guy, unlike so many sportsmen who get treated like gods because they have the ability to throw a ball or run fast or both.

So I'd recommend this one.  It does deal with sexual abuse and harassment, so if you find these things triggering, maybe give it a miss...

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

When Laurel Cates uncovers a shocking story about Garland’s football coach, it takes all of her courage to publish the story in the school’s paper. And when it reverberates around the country, the ramifications are both personal and professional. But nowhere are the repercussions stronger than in Laurel’s everyday life as she can’t seem to avoid Bodie St. James, the star quarterback, whose own career now hangs on the brink as a result of her article…

Monday, October 10, 2022

Weekly Goals 11-10-22

 I know.  I'm a day late with this post.  Somehow yesterday got away from me!

Not much in the way of goals this week.  We're a week out from the Jazz Festival, so work is pretty crazy.  And because I'll be working nights and the weekend next week, I want to relax as much as possible this week.  I'm fighting off some kind of bug, and I want to get 100% better before I head into the full on week of the festival.

Of course this is always the time I get inspired to write something and a new book idea has crawled into my brain.  I'm not 100% sure if this is a book I'll write just for myself, or if it might end up being something more, but it's something I would like to experiment with - it's a re-telling of a book I really loved as a kid from the POV of one of the other characters.  So we'll see if that idea still appeals to me in a couple of weeks when I have time to think more about it.

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

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Celebrate the Small Things 7-10-22


It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend!  And I don't have a whole lot to do!

The weather has been dreadful all week so I'm hoping the sun might make an appearance this weekend.  I've been fighting off a cold (successfully, I might add), but feel like some sun and warmth would do me the world of good.  Do you ever feel that way after a long, dreary winter?

Been super busy at work with the Jazz Festival only 2 weeks away, so nothing much else has had a chance to get brainspace - learning new systems and a new world at the same time is more challenging than I thought it would be - so I haven't had a chance to even look at my writing.  Good thing my book is out with readers at the moment and I don't need to!

Looking forward to doing some resting over the weekend.  I'm looking forward to doing some reading, if nothing else.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

IWSG - October

 It's the first Wednesday in October so it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group!

The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!

This month's question:

What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

My genre of choice is YA contemporary and the best thing about it is how diverse it is as a genre.  There are no limits to the stories that can be told in this space, from sweet, fluffy romance to dark and dirty stories about abuse and addiction.  The characters can come from any culture, and sexual orientation and their problems can be as small or as large as a writer is willing to imagine.

And the books can be written in any style the writer wishes to write - first person present tense, third person past tense or even second person!  They can be books in verse or told through letters or even text messages!  

I like the way characters in this age group are doing things for the first time and that they are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want in life.  Often this changes through the course the book as the character learns things about the world and themselves.  I don't often see such big character arcs in adult novels I read because adults tend to be more settled into their beliefs about themselves and their world.

What is the best thing about your favorite genre?

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Weekly Goals 3-10-22

 I can't quite believe it's already the first week of October.  This year seems to have flown by!  

With only a couple of weeks before the Jazz Festival, I'm going to be super busy at work until the end of the month, so I don't think I'll have much time or energy to write, unfortunately.  

I had a novel entered into a contest that was supposed to be informing the winner in September, and since I was not informed, I'm assuming I didn't win.  So over the next few weeks I'm going to start submitting it to other publishers.  Which means doing a bit of research into which publishers might be a good fit.

What are your goals this week?