Showing posts from 2013

My Christmas Movie Playlist

Today as I was browsing Facebook I was admiring one of my (much younger) cousin's lucky find at a church rummage sale: a beautiful artificial Christmas tree she got for free.  While she put it together, she mentioned that she had been watching her favorite Christmas movie.  I'd have to agree with her: this seems like the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit to me.  Putting up your tree, whether it's artificial or dropping sap and pine needles, with a Christmas movie playing in the background helps create a little holiday ambiance.

I love Christmas movies.  As we will be putting up our tree this weekend after a visit to the tree farm, I thought about the movies I have quick and easy access to in my DVD cupboard.  There are quite a few, and not all of them are enjoyed by the entire family. 
 My kids recently added this one to our DVR and we've already watched it.  I'm thinking that automatically disqualifies if from consideration, but they could surprise me.


Kindle Freebie Book Review

New Jersey's Famous Turnpike Witch by Brad Abruzzi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the premise of this book, but must admit there were times I felt my attention wandering. While I tend to attribute this inability to remain focused on the storytelling approach, I'm not sure that's entirely fair. There were some things to admire, things that other readers may find inspired, but I felt were slightly overdone.

First, this book is not afraid to skip around the timeline. Jumps forward, backward, and sideways occur with regularity.

The main character is majorly flawed. There's a reason she becomes known as the Turnpike Witch, which I refuse to put down here as I don't want to spoil anything for those who may chance to stumble across the review before reading the book for themselves. I hate spoilers, so I don't want to be guilty of springing them on anyone else.

In between all the anti-chronological viewpoint jumps, there was something very interesting going on wi…

NaNo 2013

I really thought I could do it this year.  I had the time and the desire.  I did a lot of pre-writing activities, like character building and plot development, months before the official start date.  I had notes on what had happened in book #1 and what I thought needed to happen in book #2.  I was prepared.

The beginning of NaNoWriMo 2013 went well enough.  I started out strong.  Unfortunately, my dedication waned after the first week.  I wrote fewer and fewer words, skipped a day here and there, and then would try to regroup and attack the blank page with a weekend writing marathon.   
It didn't work.  I came nowhere near 50,000 words. 
As of this moment, I have 20,460 words written. Given my double-spacing and fondness for Courier New's 12 point font, this brings me to page 97.  I've just started chapter eight, and I think what I have so far is a good, solid start for a first draft.  It's also 20,460 more words (or 97 pages, if you prefer) than I had on October 31st.…

Almost NaNo!

Midnight tomorrow.  That's when NaNoWriMo 2013 begins.  Of course, given the fact that I have to work the next morning, I'll be in bed sleeping instead of writing those first few lines of fiction.  The start to my NaNoWriMo journey will have to wait until either my lunch hour or, if that doesn't pan out, sometime after work. 
There's a chance that the hubby and my boys might be watching our local football team in their second playoff game, which would leave me with some quiet time at home.  Not that it matters.  Even if they're home with the television blaring, I will write.  I'll try to stay social, try to stay engaged with the family, but if it takes a little alone time to find the right words, then alone time I will find. 
As November 1st approaches I feel pretty confident in my ability to make some solid progress on the story. I've got EverNote documents of various sorts.  Organization, I hope, will help get me through the rough draft. 

Not that I have …

Getting Reacquainted with Creative Writing

This blog started out as a place for me to discuss my writing (mis)adventures.  It morphed into something else entirely, something that more closely resembles a mommy blog.  It became a place for me to record the mundane and the exceptional moments in our daily lives.  I've highlighted youth and school sports.  I uploaded vacation pictures.  I've droned on about books and school and whatever else I felt the need to discuss.  What soon became absent from the blog, though, was my writing, the very thing that prompted me to start blogging.  
This was mostly because I stopped writing and turned my attention to more immediate concerns, like work, family, and school.  I no longer frequented my writing groups - the online or the face-to-face communities.  I lost touch with the majority of my writing friends.  I opted out of writing challenges and focused my brain power on obtaining my degree.   
However, since graduating this summer, I've had writing on the brain.  I've been …

A Brief Update

I have no excuses for failing to keep up on my blog writing.  I'm lazy.  Really, that's all there is to it.

So, what's happened since I last posted on September 5th?  
I've been reading.  Slowly.  I finished House of Leaves, The Submission, and the first book in The Bio of a Space Tyrant series.  The theory texts have been temporarily set aside in favor of  this..

My fellow NaNo buddy and I are hoping it will help spark our creativity and get us amped up for November's writing marathon.

Oh, yes, I will not only be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I will be winning it.  I have no excuses this time around.  There will not be any mandatory reading assignments or term papers to write.  My children will be sports-free.  Barring some unforeseen emergency or family drama, this means the only distractions I will have to contend with will be of my own creation. Therefore, I will write the first 50 thousand words on book #2 in November.

If I start to lose pace, please…

A Little Bit of Theory, a Little Bit of Fun.

When I imagined finishing my last graduate course, I envisioned many hours of bubble gum reading.  I'd indulge in every genre imaginable.  I talked a bit about my intended reading lists here and here.   As I look at those old posts, I'm happy to see that at least a few of them have been read.

I still intend to make my way through those lists before the year's end.  Those and several more.  After all, I set myself a ridiculous reading goal this year: 100 books.  Right now, I've read a whopping 34 titles.  That only leaves...66 to go before December 31.  With approximately 15 weeks to go, that means I'll need to read four and a half books a week.  
Um. Yikes. 
That's a lot of books and not a lot of time.  Now, I'm not saying it's impossible because I could absolutely select books that are easily consumed in a day or two.  Skinny books with low page counts come immediately to mind.  Also, some genres read easier than others.  
Reading theory for fun, thoug…

The Badlands of South Dakota

This is it.  The last post on the big 2013 family vacation.

On our way home, we continued our small detour and ventured into the South Dakota Badlands.  We spent quite a few hours driving through the park, admiring bizarre landscape and its abundant wildlife. 

While most of the mountainous formations were a pale ash color, there were splashes of color.  These pink and yellow layers in the rock were very striking. Looking at these pictures now, it's easy to let the imagination run a little wild.  Could this be some alien landscape undergoing human terra-forming? Hmm. Story fodder for later, perhaps. 

They were so ready to go home and weren't quite as impressed as mom and dad at this point.  This changed, though, when the animals started to appear. 

We might not have spotted these bighorn sheep if some other tourists hadn't been out photographing them.  They were several ridges away and their coats and horns really didn't stand out in stark contrast against the backdrop …

Deadwood & Mt. Rushmore

In reviewing my previous posts, I realized I hadn't finished documenting our big family vacation this year.  I still had two more posts to go when I got sidetracked by school and all things shiny.  
First in line is Deadwood, South Dakota.  We didn't spend a lot of time here, just a couple of hours at most.  We were on a mission that day to get to Mt. Rushmore and, finally, the Badlands.  Deadwood was just one of those destinations that I really wanted to see just to say we had seen it.

It's just as touristy as I thought it would be.  They even have a street performance, which we glimpsed from our car windows as we pulled out of town. 

If we had had more time, I would have conned Ken into staying for the shows later that evening because that's just the kind of nerd I am.  Okay, and perhaps my overlong exposure to historical romance novels has somewhat romanticized the Wild West.  Add to that the HBO series and how could I resist?   

Unfortunately, we picked a rather ta…

Two Weeks

It's almost here.  Freedom.  Freedom to read and write whatever I want without having to worry about a deadline chiseled into a syllabus.  I am so looking forward to taking full advantage of that freedom because it's been fourteen years in the making.  Fourteen years.  That's how long I've been taking classes, working my way through my bachelor's and master's.  I can't say that enough.  Fourteen years.  Holy Cow.  No wonder I'm ready for a nice, long break!

I've got a few things lined up as a reward to myself for managing to stick with it for so long.  First among them, finish the book I'm currently reading for fun.

This is the second book in the series.  These are historical murder mysteries with three amateur sleuths investigating.  In this installment the hangman's daughter, the local medicus (physician), and the hangman himself are up against the Templars.  I'm just a little over 50% through the book right now.  With a 15-20 page fin…

Last Full Day at the Cabin

Our trip was coming to an end.  We had managed to visit the major attractions within the park, we had seen a wide variety of animals, and we had even made it through the Beartooth Pass.  It had been a full week at Yellowstone and the surrounding area, one that we spent mostly in the car.  Early Sunday morning we'd be packing up and getting on the road once more.  For this reason, we decided to spend most of Friday and Saturday at the cabin doing a whole lot of nothing.

The boys and Ken tried their luck at fishing once again.  We even visited the outrageously priced gift shop and travel store near the camp.  We also investigated horseback riding.  We were fortunate to find a place within a five minute drive of our cabin that had an opening on Saturday.  We quickly made our reservations.

The boys were so excited!  Okay, I was, too!

Geysers and Hot Springs - Our Last Day in Yellowstone

Oh, this day.  This is the one that I may never live down.

We were supposed to get an early start because Old Faithful, our ultimate destination on this particular day, was on the other side of the park, kitty-corner really, from where we would enter Yellowstone.  This meant many, many hours in the car.

Ken was up bright and early, ready to go.  My energy levels were not quite so high, but I, too, managed to get out of bed and into the shower.  When I was done in the bathroom, I went to get the boys up.  This is where the schedule went offline.  KC didn't feel good and didn't want to go.  Thinking about all the driving we had been doing, the motion sickness he had suffered the day before, I wondered if a few more hours sleep wouldn't be enough to reset his system.  
I'll admit I didn't want to miss Old Faithful.  It's one of the big geographical attractions of the park, after all, and how lame would we be if we had visited Yellowstone without making it to the m…