November Has Arrived

Hello, hello!  I hope everyone had a delightfully scary Halloween!  It was pretty dreary around here, so we just sat in the house and waited to see if any trick-or-treaters were going to show up (only my four munchkins showed up).  Anyway, since it’s now the first (and apparently national author’s day), I thought I would post something writerly in celebration of the day.  Actually, it’s not so much writerly as it is something to hold me accountable to my writerly things.  I’m talking about goals.  It worked really well for me in September, so I’m posting them publicly again.

I got a rock
Rocks are nice, Charlie Brown.

1. Write 18,000+ words.  I know it’s not NaNoWriMo levels of writing (I like what little sanity I have left, so I don’t participate in that), but it’s something I can accomplish in a reasonable fashion without killing myself.  Plus, it leaves me with time to do the rest of the things I have to do each day.  But I wish everyone doing NaNoWriMo well.  I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines!

2. Read two and a half books.  I’m currently in the middle of The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle for my own amusement.  I’m supposed to read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate for the book club I’m in.  Then, I have an ARC (advanced reader copy) of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross, also by Tuttle, to review by the end of November.  Not to mention reading all the little things I have to keep up with.

51y1ZNO8aCL._SY445_QL70_
A little slow, but decent so far.

3. Revise and send a flash fiction piece out into the slush-void.  I got some wonderful feedback from my critique group on the piece I sent to them back in September.  They all insisted that I clean it up and send it out.  Some of them might flog me if I don’t, so here… it’s officially on my to-do list.

4. Submit a story to my critique group.  It’s just another flash piece that I forgot I wrote a long time ago.  It suddenly popped back into my head a few days ago.  So, after I find it and clean it up a little bit, I’ll send it their way.

5. Last, but not least, I want to write one new short story or flash fiction piece.  I know that I mainly want to work on my novel, but I haven’t written anything short in a long time.  I miss the feel of completing something in a few days instead of months.  I’m probably rusty, but I want to get back to the conciseness inherent in short stories.  I’m afraid I’ve grown too accustomed to writing longer pieces.  I don’t want to lose the ability to focus on something short.

VlQje

So yeah.  Those are my writerly goals for November.  What about you?  Is there anything specific you hope to accomplish this month?  Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?  Feel free to comment here or on my social media accounts!  Let’s hold each other accountable.

Thoughts On COURT OF TWILIGHT

Hello, hello!  It’s that time again, the last Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for a book review.  This month, I’ll be talking about Mareth Griffith’s Court of Twilight, which came out on October 17, 2017.  First and foremost, I have to thank NetGalley and the publisher, Parvus Press, for sending me an ARC (advanced reader copy) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the actual review.

35650131
It has a lovely cover.

I really wanted to like Court of Twilight by Mareth Griffith.  The basic premise is that fairies (or trows, as they’re called here) exist and once a year, the King who is chosen by lottery every April is killed by the Enemy the following March.  Ivy Gallagher, a seemingly normal human being, is dragged into this drama simply because she answered an ad that seemed too good to be true on Craigslist for a flatmate.  Sounds fun, right?  And it is to a point, but I had far too many issues with the story, so it was often hard to enjoy.

For example, Ivy was portrayed as your average twenty year old, but a lot of the time, she had about as much brain power as a box of rocks.  Especially when the secret of the trows was being revealed to her.  Even though the guy kept telling her that humans had a tendency to ignore the unusual, she couldn’t pick up on the blatantly obvious weirdness going on around her.  It was as if she was being willfully ignorant.  And she couldn’t remember names that she had heard in the last day or so, even though they were odd and important.  And when she finally remembered, it was like the biggest revelation ever.  Aha! moments are great, but not everything needs to be one.  Worst of all, she didn’t recognize her own mother whom she had lived with until she was twelve.  I understand they hadn’t seen each other in seven years, but she had pictures hanging on the fridge and everything.  How could she forget her mother?  Ivy was just too stupid for me a lot of the time.

MjAxNC1lNTM1NTc2NGYyN2Y3MzQy_53028754e707b
Rocks might even be smarter.

I wanted to blame all of her stupidity on the veil (the mechanism that keeps trows invisible to humans), but nothing in the book supported that hypothesis.  It made things invisible to the naked eye, but the book didn’t say anything about it messing with people’s memories.  Unfortunately, there’s a limit to how much I can buy into characters being idiots without a reasonable explanation.

Another thing that got to me was that throughout most of the book, Ivy had no love interest (which I was totally down for because not every book needs a romantic subplot), but at the end she suddenly has feelings for a trow she had spent the majority of the book wary of and occasionally downright hating.  Like, when did the whole love thing happen?  And why?  At least take the effort to thread it throughout the book.

I-Hate-So-Much-I-Love-You
Um… what?

Aside from that, the writing is fairly ramble-y and there’s too much filler.  I don’t really care about Ivy standing by the sink eating a pot of noodles unless I’m learning things while she’s doing it.  But at the same time, I’d rather see her eat noodles than have the same thought discussed in her head for an entire page or more.  I found myself constantly thinking “I understand that’s how she feels, now what’s she going to do about it?” for the first two thirds of the book.  I’m impatient, I know.  And when things finally started getting good and I wanted it to slow down, a couple of pages later, it was over.

Ultimately, it was left wide open with more unanswered questions than I’m usually comfortable with, so I’m kind of hoping for a sequel.  Even with all my issues, the premise was interesting enough that I would give a second book a shot.

starstarstar outlinestar outlinestar outline

I’d rate it 2 out of 5 stars as it is.  It had a lot of promise, and if a little more work had gone into it (on top of what I’m sure was already a ton of work), I think it could have been great.

Blah Days Binge Worthy Shows: Anime Edition

Hello, hello!  This week has been pretty blah so far.  Monday, I was the kind of sick where you feel mentally fine and physically okay for the most part, but you have to keep leaving the computer (or whatever you’re doing) because of reasons I won’t get into.  Needless to say, I wasn’t very productive that day, though I did finish reading a book (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  Message me on Facebook if you’ve read it and want to discuss).  As I’m writing this (it’s Tuesday), I woke up with the general blahs and am blaming ragweed and allergies for it.  Normally, I’d put off working in favor of binge watching something when I feel this cruddy, but I figured I should attempt a blog anyway.  So, here’s a list of five anime I’d rather be binge watching (again) than writing this!

maxresdefault

1. Fullmetal Alchemist or FMA: Brotherhood (whichever one I can find the dub of at the time).  I’ve seen both versions multiple times, but I still come back to it every couple of years.  The only problem with them is that I can only get through so many episodes before I hit the first one that turns me into a sobbing mess (if you’ve seen it, you know the one I mean).  Who wants to melt into a puddle of tears when they already feel like crap?  So, I usually save these two for when my nose isn’t already leaking like faucet.

Club_I_D_by_Ouran_HSHC_Directory

2. Ouran Highschool Host Club.  It’s stupid and hilarious and usually easily found on Netflix, so it’s perfect for when the blahs strike.  I know it’s full of typical shoujo goodness (commoner girl gets roped into spending her days with the hot rich guys and falls in love), but it totally makes fun of all the usual tropes along the way, which is why it’s awesome.  Granted, the ending was rushed because they decided not to do a second season, but you can always read the manga too if the blahs hold onto you for a few days.

tenor (2)

3. Yuri on Ice.  I actually only watched this for the first time a few months ago on a couple of my blah days.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a bunch of male figure skaters with vaguely yaoi undertones?  Okay, maybe just me.  But it was lovely and I really want to watch it again even though I saw it not too long ago (which is actually really weird for me).

CCSGaurdians1

4. Cardcaptor Sakura.  I’ll watch the whole thing, but I prefer the episodes after Yue shows up, especially when I feel blah.  I love the show, but it’s mostly on the list because Yue is my eye candy.  I know that’s not an appropriate reason to watch something, but I don’t really care.  Also, I can’t wait for the new CCS series coming out soon!

maxresdefault (1)

5. Sailor Moon.  Specifically, the Black Moon Clan arc.  Why?  Because even though he’s a villain and an idiot, Prince Demande/Demando/Diamond was my favorite bad guy (still is when it comes to SM).  I might have an eye candy problem when I feel blah.  I also just noticed that I apparently have a type.  I’m okay with this.

So, that’s one of my go-to lists for binge worthy shows when I’m not feeling 100%.  What about you?  Do you have any shows you go back to when you’re not feeling well and don’t feel like following new story lines?

The Problem With Privilege…

Howdy, howdy!  Any time something awful happens in the world, after the initial shock wears off, there seems to be an uptick in talk about “privilege” among my Interwebz friends.  I don’t know why.  Awful things happen because people suck, not because they’re privileged.  But still, the debates arise.  Normally, I avoid these conversations and keep my opinions to myself because, frankly, my opinion doesn’t really matter and doesn’t mesh with most of my friends’ opinions.  So, instead of joining the debates on Facebook and Twitter (which almost always devolve into name calling), I thought I would share my thoughts about privilege and my experience with it here.

gt036
I, in fact, do not like to live dangerously, but here it goes

I actually really hate it when people start throwing around the word “privilege.”  It’s not because I don’t believe it exists, but because I don’t believe it’s an insult to the people you’re calling privileged.  Nor is it something to be ashamed of.  A privilege is a good thing.  According to the OED, a privilege is “a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by an individual, corporation of individuals, etc., beyond the usual rights or advantages of others.”  Why would anyone in their right mind be ashamed of that?  Granted, not everyone has earned these benefits, but be honest… if you received some kind of special treatment from other people, would you feel guilty?  I don’t, and I get a lot of special treatment (cripple privilege is very much a thing).

The word “privilege” is, however, an insult to everyone you’re not including in it.  I’m white, which comes with its own set of privileges according to the people who bandy that word around.  I’m also female, crippled, and not entirely heterosexual.  All of which, according to these same people, make me somehow lesser in the eyes of others.  Don’t get me wrong, these people will tell me that I’m just as good as everyone else, just as good as a straight, white, able bodied male, then they turn around and say that the male has more privilege (read: is treated, and thus viewed as, better by others) because of the way he was born.  That’s a contradiction.  I’ve had this conversation before (oddly enough, never with the straight, white, able males because I’ve never met one with the gall to insinuate I’m lesser to my face) and I really want to tell people to make up their damn minds.  Are we equal or is he (the so-called privileged guy) better?  You can’t have it both ways.

75fad7b2eef950a7b3d35a5e30ef73eaa4e4f4c8ba4e5bdee8930d05d3502e6c

I also dislike calling people privileged just because they got certain genes, because it gives them a kind of power they don’t deserve.  Everyone deserves respect and courtesy, but that’s because we’re all humans.  Treat people the way you want to be treated until they give you a reason to treat them differently.  Don’t give them special treatment then call them privileged, because at that point they’re just accepting what others are offering them.  Now, if they demand to be treated better than everyone else, they’re entitled asshats.  Entitlement is different from privilege.  Entitlement means they’re assuming they’re special.  Privilege means you’re assuming they’re special.  At least, that’s how I feel about it.

1340967745945_1427049
This is what I think of when they talk about privilege.

I know this post will piss people off, but it’s just my own thoughts.  “Privilege” isn’t something we should feel bad about having.  It’s something that is given to us by other people and it can be taken away.  All the word really does is reinforce the idea that some of us are lesser because of genetics, which is stupid and hurtful.  I think a better phrase to describe people who think they’re privileged is to say they have an unhealthy “sense of entitlement.”  That’s all.

Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

Books Vs. eBooks

Hello, hello!  It’s October already, so I wanted to give you a quick update on my September goals before I get into this week’s ramblings.  I wrote about 19,000 words (huzzah!), finished reading two books and am working on a third (which is where this post is coming from), queried my 100th agent (the waiting continues), submitted a flash piece to my critique group, and messaged some different people (the conversations didn’t last long, but at least I tried).  In other words, September was super productive and I hope October will be as well!

Now, onto what this post is really about: books.  Pretty much everyone I know has strong opinions on whether regular old books or ebooks (Kindle, Nook, etc.) are better.  Here are my thoughts.

books-vs-ebooks
Book 1, eBook 0

First up are books.  Personally, I adore them.  The smell of an old book is basically the best thing ever.  The feel of a page against your hand is lovely.  And going into a library or bookstore (or our back bedroom) to peruse titles is one of the funnest activities in the world.  Or maybe it’s just a nice activity because it doesn’t usually have to involve other people (unless you’re me), which is a plus for introverts.  There’s also something about seeing book covers outside of a screen that’s awesome.  I bought one book online and had no idea its cover was shiny and metallic until it got here, which only made it cooler.  So yes, I love books.

On the other hand, books are a pain in the ass for me.  If they aren’t in a couple of very particular places, I can’t grab them by myself when I’m in the mood to read.  I know asking someone (read: Dad) to hand me a book isn’t a big deal, but it requires them to stop whatever they’re doing just for that.  It’s weird.  Plus, I sometimes have trouble opening/keeping a book open (especially when they’re new).  If you’ve ever had a book close itself and forgot what page you were on, you know how annoying it is.

Books-are-a-uniquely-portable-magic.

Next up are ebooks.  In my opinion, they aren’t nearly as magical as regular books.  No one can see the cool cover as you read or how far along you are, so they can’t really strike up a conversation about the book (but who really wants that when they’re reading?).  They don’t smell, they don’t have weird stains on the pages, they don’t have the right feel.  BUT!  They’re easier for me to use.  I can pull a book up on my phone or computer whenever I want.  I can browse for titles online without any help.  They’re just really convenient for people with a limited range of motion.  And that makes them awesome in their own special way.

62577fb9dd031506741285beac71dbf0
It’s true.

Ultimately, for me, both books and ebooks have their pluses (neither of the plurals for that word look right) and minuses.  If I love an author and can be reasonably sure I’ll like the book, I’ll automatically opt for a hardcopy.  If I don’t know the author or have doubts about whether I’ll enjoy a book, I automatically go the ebook route.  For everything in between, my choice usually boils down to how fast I want/need the book.

What about you?  Do you prefer one over the other?  Why or why not?  Feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!