07 March 2018

Securely Insecure (or Insecurely Secure?)

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

It happened again! I went a whole month without a blog post! Bad! I haven't even been reading other people's blogs. Double bad! I don't even really have a good excuse besides laziness (or maybe just being tired).

At the very least, I thought I'd write a post just to brag about how I managed to see all nine Best Picture nominees before the Oscars this past Sunday. Well, I guess I'm bragging about it now! It helps that I live above a movie theater and my husband's friend is in SAG and lent us some screeners (shhhhh just don't tell anyone). I really liked all nine, which is unexpected. But they were all good and deserved the nomination in my opinion. Just don't ask me to rank them! You can probably guess my heavily biased I've read the book like three or four times favorite...if you pay attention to my usual nonsense 'round here.

Anyway, I'm rambling again. On to the insecurity!

Actually, you know what? I'm not really feeling that insecure lately (besides the not blogging thing). Well, I'm not fully secure either. At last month's post time, I was still stuck on Chapter 13 of my third draft. It was definitely grueling, but I got through it! In the last draft, this chapter was 3 1/2 pages. Now it's 8 1/3! I think it came out so much better than before.

And guess what happened after that? I FINISHED CHAPTER 14, TOO!

Ok, so this isn't happening at the speed of light, but it's much faster than my usual pace. So now I'm on Chapter 15, which I haven't looked at in a couple days but once I actually sit down and do it, shouldn't take too long (yeah, yeah, we've heard that before, Sarah). I'm actually surprised at how much I've had to change as I'm writing this draft. It's a lot of new stuff.

What I am a bit insecure about is that the closer I get to the last third of the book, the more work will be needed. I basically have to completely rewrite that last third, minus a couple scenes (maybe just one, actually). I thought editing the first two thirds would be easy, and I was so, so wrong. I already know that last third will be difficult, so it'll probably turn out to be impossible. Or maybe it'll be the opposite and be surprisingly easy. I can dream, right?

Does editing ever turn out to be harder (or easier) than you expected? Did you see any of the Best Picture nominees?

07 February 2018

Fizzling Out

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Somehow it's February already. And despite all the motivation I had at the beginning the year, I don't really feel like I've accomplished much. It seems all that motivation fizzled out rather quickly, and I'm trying to find ways to get back on track.

So how did January go? Well, so so, I guess. I started off strong with social media, taking part in challenges on both Twitter and Instagram. About halfway through the month, I pretty much gave up on the Instagram ones. I knew I would skip days here and there if I didn't have things to post for those particular days, but at a certain point I just stopped doing it. I think it was equal parts not having good ideas for the posts and just not having the motivation to do it.

I did, however, stick with #WIPjoy on Twitter right until the end, so that was great! I've always wanted to do it and it was a lot of fun. I probably won't do it again with the same WIP, but definitely with a different one.

Reading has also been so so. I'm a little behind on keeping up with my yearly goal of 100 books. I only read 4 books in January, and only two of those books were from my "Clear the Bookshelf" theme. So, the bookshelf is still pretty full. I did finish another book today and am close to finishing my 6th, but I haven't started my February romance books yet. However! I'm at 5 books which is waaaaaaaaay ahead of any previous year's reading. I probably haven't finished 1 book in the past few Januarys, so I'll count that as a win (sort of).

Writing? Hahahahaaha. Yeah, bit of an epic fail there. I haven't gotten anything done. I still haven't finished my Chapter 13 edit. It's just turned out to be so much more complicated than I thought it would be. Which will be great once it's done. It'll be a really interesting and complex chapter, where I thought it was super simple to begin with. But...I have to actually finish it first.

The good news? I have the next four days off from work (I have waaaaay too many PTO hours and we can max out so I have to use them!) so that means lots of time for writing and reading!! Let's just hope I actually do it.

15 January 2018

The Amazingly Difficult Chapter

Have you ever had a chapter surprise you? I've been avoiding my Chapter 13 edit for quite some time, not really knowing why. I thought it had to do with setting, one of the aspects of this book I have the most trouble with. Whenever my characters actually leave the safety of their own homes and venture out into the world, I always wonder if I'm getting it right. If mentioning locations and landmarks feels real or forced. If it would seem accurate to someone who actually lives there.

But what if that wasn't the real reason I was avoiding it? What if I didn't actually know the reason, but when I figured it out, was actually blown away? Even though it was even more difficult than I anticipated, it turned out to be a good thing.

The more I work on this story, the more I find hiding under the surface. On the surface, this chapter seems pretty basic--my characters are going on their first real "date," which ends up being at a museum. Underneath, however, are about a million different layers that I didn't even know or intend to be there. But I knew that this chapter needed even more work than I thought it did. So maybe on some subconscious level, this was why I was avoiding it.

I always knew there was a lot of symbolism in this chapter, but it seems to be even more complicated than I initially thought. This is the first real time my two characters journey out into the real world together, so there's a lot going on both internally and externally. I had to think about how they would act differently when surrounded by dozens, even hundreds of other people, when they are so used to just being by themselves. Every setting change offered different opportunities to examine that--waiting for the subway, on the train, on the street, in the museum lobby, in the Greek and Roman section, then with the European paintings, back to the street, and then back at one character's apartment at the end, to where they are once again safe. While they are awkward and silent on the subway, on the street the mood changes and they are able to talk, actually examining their past relationships with their mothers and places they've both gone with them, then by the end of the museum trip, one character has a moment of vulnerability and lets something slip that he probably shouldn't have. It's a journey that takes so many different turns that I wasn't expecting.

What I realized was that this chapter wasn't difficult--it was amazing! Well, ok, still difficult, because there is a lot to put in there. I really just thought there were only a few things to examine, but there was so much more. I found myself weaving in subplot, hinting at back story that will come into play in the next few chapters, finding ways for my characters to figure each other out.

There was so much to add in that wasn't there in the first two drafts, so I'm still working on it, of course. But I think this chapter is heading in the right direction now.

10 January 2018

Productive! (but not actually writing...)

So one of my resolutions was to get back to blogging once a week, and well, I didn't blog on Monday like I usually would do. But hey, it's still the second week so it doesn't really matter which day I blog, now does it?

Anyway, I feel somewhat productive so far. I have been reading more than usual, just not as fast as I'd like. I picked my first book off the shelf for my Clear the Bookshelf! themed month (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black), and I'm also reading The Weekend Novelist for the IWSG book club. I kinda hoped I'd be done with both by now and onto a few new books. Plus I promised myself I could reread Call Me By Your Name once I did (been dying to since I saw the movie a few weeks ago), but it hasn't happened. Plus there's that sexuality in Ancient Greece book I still need to look through. And I can't exactly clear the bookshelf by only reading one book that was waiting on the shelf. I'm not a crazy person or anything.

Social media! This is where I've been doing my best. I've been taking part in two (and a half-ish) challenges on Twitter and Instagram. #WIPjoy on Twitter which I've always wanted to do, but I've been very nervous about. It can be scary to share stuff about your WIP, especially when my book idea is controversial. But like I said on day one of the challenge, this is the year where I say screw it! It's fun to share different aspects about my book and to see people actually respond to it.

One of the most fun things was creating an aesthetic for Uneven Lines, which I've never done (and I've been working on it for almost 7 years!). I made it for Day 6 for WIPjoy and I'm using it again today on Instagram for #Storymakers18. It was really tricky to decide on images (plus finding free ones that I thought fit my story) but it was so much fun and I luuuuuuuuuurve it.

Now, here's the problem: I HAVEN'T DONE ANY WRITING. Oh sure, I'm spending lots of time thinking about my book, finding pictures for it, searching it for lines to share. But I haven't written a single word. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I could have edited three chapters by now! It's probably because I'm too busy doing all the other stuff. 

I think there's an upside to this. At least I'm thinking about the book all the time. I actually fell asleep last night thinking about the next scene I have to edit. So I hope if I keep it up this will lead to actual writing/editing. If I just sit my butt down with my laptop and actually start doing it. We'll see...

03 January 2018

2018 Goals & Chrys Fey's Flaming Crimes Blogfest

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Ok, so I don't really like making resolutions, but I just can't help myself. I suppose I would like making them if I actually accomplished them. But they tend to fizzle out. But like every year, I've made a list again of what I'd like to get done this year!

1. Write, dammit! So the real goal is to finally finish the third draft of Uneven Lines. But first, I just have to actually write. And keep writing. This book ain't gonna write itself, otherwise it'd be long done by now.

2. Read, dammit! I once again have made it a goal to read 100 books this year. I really just want to do it once and then I will never try it again, I swear. Hopefully my monthly themes will help me get this done.

3. Be more active on social media. I feel like I haven't been doing a lot lately, and that includes blogging. I want to blog once a week and post more often on Twitter and Instagram. I'm already doing some challenges this month to help me out with this.

4. Watch 100 movies I've never seen before. I can't believe I didn't get this done in 2017! But I did get closer than ever before with 87 movies. I was purging my Netflix list at the end of the year because a lot of the movies were leaving but I still didn't make it to 100. I know I can actually do this one if I just try!

And now for something completely different...

What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

Well, my cat is ridiculous, but it certainly wouldn't be ridiculous to save him! XD

Ok, so I approached this question this way: after my husband and cat are ok, and I have my wedding rings, important papers, & my flash drive (all my writings!)...what would I grab next? What's not quite so important but I still wouldn't want to leave behind?

My Playbill binder!

This has the playbill for every musical and play I've ever been to. From My Fair Lady (first live musical ever!)...

...to Hamilton!

And I probably won't be adding to it for a while because I do not have theater money right now. Is this something I couldn't live without? No. But it's not something I'd really want to lose, either! I love musicals too much!

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304 
Digital Price: 4.99 
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 


BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could've been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they're trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:

18 December 2017

My 2018 Reading Challenge

Man, I've been really bad at this whole blogging thing lately. I've been doing just one or two posts per month for a while now. Something I'd like to work on in the new year (also something I say every year), among other things. But something I'm really, really bad at doing is keeping up with my reading goals.

Every year I make it a goal to read 100 books. Every year I fail miserably. I know I should set my goal lower, but I would just like to actually be able to do it once, and then I could be more realistic in the future. So! I came up with an idea to help motivate me to read more.

For 2018, each month of the year will have a different theme for the books I plan on reading. There have been some books I've been wanting to read, and others I've wanted to reread for a while. So I decided to devote each month to either a certain series or a theme, which will make a whole lot more sense once I list them.

My plan for reading in 2018:

January: Clear the bookshelf!

To start off the year, I'm going to read as many books as I can that have been sitting on my bookshelf for months or even years.

February: Romance

Perfect month for it, right? I actually have no idea what books I'll read yet, but I've got a good amount of time to figure it out. Suggestions are welcome.

March: Books made into movies

The rule for this is that it has to be a movie I've already seen, but a book I haven't read.

April: Poetry

National Poetry Month! I have 6 unread poetry books already to read and will possibly buy more to bring my goal up.

May: Books made into TV shows

Pretty much the same as movie month, but with TV shows, obviously.

June: LGBT books

Pride Month! See, I thought these things out. And I've already made a deal with myself that it cannot just be the G. Stop being so predictable, self.

July: Harry Potter (reread)

I've been watching the movies way too much whenever they're on TV lately and I realized it's been quite a while since I've read the books. Been wanting to give them another read for a while now.

August: Blogger buddies' books!

Because Friendship Day is on the first Sunday of August, I'll be reading all of the books that I've bought/won from all my blogger buddies. I really have a lot of them. Some of them are really short, too. I should be able to bust out a lot this month. Yay!

September: Banned books

Banned Books Week is in September, so I thought I'd devote the whole month to banned books! Only books I haven't read before.

October & November: The Vampire Chronicles (reread)

Ok, this one needed two months because I am just not a very fast reader. I got Prince Lestat as a Christmas present I think three years ago and never read it because it had been so long since I had read the other books in the series. Since then, another book (Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis) has also been released. It's 12 books altogether, and they're not short, so I'll be taking two months to tackle this goal. I was super into Anne Rice as a teenager so it should be fun to revisit her work.

December: Classics

I actually have a bunch of classic novels I've never read! But I'll probably wait to decide on all of them because I have plenty of time.

So there you have it! For most months, my goal is at least 8 books. I think August will be a lot higher to help make up for the rest of the numbers. Hopefully I can stick with it and make it to 100 books!

But first, I have some monstrous wrap up goals for December. Including:

- Finishing the books I'm already reading. THIS includes:

 - The behemoth that is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I'm on page 310 of 818. (Everyone wish me their best King George "Good luck!")
- Another behemoth because I'm a lunatic, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I was about 50% through this 760 page book when my Kindle decided to have a stroke and die, and I'm still waiting for my new one to arrive.
- The collected poems of Dylan Thomas. I'm about 3/4 through this and this is probably the only book I'll actually finish.

- I would also really like to reread Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman because I will hopefully be seeing the movie this upcoming weekend (the first showing around here is this Thursday and it sold out before I could buy tickets. I didn't cry or anything). I adore this book and it'll be my fourth read, but I can definitely bust it out in a day or two. Plus it'll probably get me writing again (bonus!).

- I would also like to peruse (probably not finish) this book I have on sexuality in Ancient Greece to help me with some symbolism in my novel. For one scene. That's commitment, people. I think.

I swear I'm done now.

What are your reading goals for 2018? Do you think I can finish all my December books? Any book suggestions for my different thems? What are your favorites?

06 December 2017

The Year of Not a Whole Lot

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I almost forgot to write this post! That's what I get for procrastinating. Luckily the IWSG provides an optional monthly question we can answer, which is always great when I'm in a rush and can't think of an idea. This month's question is:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

Speaking of procrastination...

I did not get a lot done this year. Definitely not as much as I'd hoped. I really wanted to finish the third draft of Uneven Lines, actually much earlier in the year. But it looks like it's not going to happen again. There's just still so much work to do and not enough time to do it. 

I made some good progress in the beginning of the year. Not fantastic, but at least I had a steady pace going. I haven't had a good momentum since the end of July. I've only finished two chapter edits since then. There's just always something getting in the way - work, vacations, errands, a sick cat. And usually after all that I'm too tired to do much writing. 

I also just tend to avoid editing if I know it's going to be hard. I put it off. I know I just need to tackle it but it's hard to motivate myself. 

On the other hand, this novel has always been a bit of a slow process, but with some good results. It's extremely complicated and I've needed the time to figure things out. I also don't think I'd have the same story if I had gotten it done years ago when I first thought of it. I do think all the changes will make it a better story.

But still, I just want the damn thing done! I feel depressed sometimes that I'm not working on it, but then it's hard to work on it because I'm depressed and...it's a vicious cycle. 

I think if I can finish the current chapter I'm on I can bust through at least 3 or 4 more before getting to some really difficult editing. But usually even when I think a chapter will be easy, it turns out to need more work than I imagined. 

I think for next year I'd just like to do more. I'd like to spend less time doing nothing. If I can say I worked on writing every day, even if it's just for a few minutes, I'd take that as an accomplishment.