Big News

Hey all!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted, and that’s okay.  That was needed.  Here’s the story.

You know two posts ago, when I said I was writing again and that I was going to start posting on the blog regularly again?  And that I had some writing news that I would share when I could?

Here’s that news: I was going to start an MFA program last fall.  I’d applied and had gotten in, and my husband and I were discussing it.  I was excited to take that step.

And then I learned that my position at the job that I loved was being terminated for budget reasons.

Ughh.  Even writing that now makes me so sad, and it was almost six months ago.

Chris and I talked for a long time about my options, and we decided – with much difficulty – that the MFA program would have to wait.  He’s in grad school and working (almost) full time; I was going to have to find a new job and wasn’t sure how long that was going to take.  It just wasn’t the right time.

So I started the job search and withdrew my application on the same day, and both things broke my heart.

Fast forward six months, though, to present day:

I’ve been at my new job (which I like but don’t LOVE – it’s not a forever-deal) for 4 months now.  We adopted two kittens around the first of the year (totally unrelated, but I couldn’t NOT mention it).  I’ve continued writing and am feeling SO good about it.  And having found some stability once again, I reached out to the MFA program about possibly reapplying.

And friends – time for the GOOD NEWS.

I’ll be starting the MFA in Creative Writing program at Concordia University, St. Paul in May!!  We’re doing this thing, kids.

I want to blog again, and the same deal goes that I promised last time – about once a week, reviewing some books and talking about writing, but also highlighting authors that I love and my new program and probably some pictures of my cats, because you’d love that, too, right?

Going back to school is scary and exciting and risky and worth it, I think, and I’m excited to share more with all of you.

I’ll be posting a couple of book reviews soon and maybe a post about what I’ve been writing.

Wish me luck, y’all.  I’m doing the same for you.

Oh, and meet Finnegan and Jinora.  You’ll be seeing more of them.  Promise.

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Happy November!

I may be a day late, but I have good reason, I promise.  It’s November, and you know what that means… it’s NaNoWriMo!

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Yup, I’m participating again this year in another crazy flurry of word slinging, trying to write 50,000 words during the month of November.  I got off to a great start yesterday starting BOOK FOUR of The Storytellers of Menn series.

To be honest, I haven’t written book three yet, but I’ve outlined it, and it’s basically a prequel, so I feel fine about skipping it for now.  I’ll come back to it soon.

Anyway, back to novel-writing!

Exciting, Non-Review Things

Hey all!

My blog has been incredibly review-heavy this year, which has been (mostly) intentional.  But I wanted to give you a little teaser about some non-review posts that’ll be coming up, because in the next few weeks, my life will be full of fun things that aren’t (only) reading related!

 

  • Today (and yesterday and tomorrow), I’m attending my very first convention.  My awesome husband bought me two memberships to Minicon52, and I plan on telling you allllll about it in a post this coming week.
  • I’m currently participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again!  I’ve been pretty low-key about this so far, because I’ve a longer-than-planned break from writing*, so I’m using the month of April to get back to writing regularly by revising my first draft of The Legend of Elliot Major.  I’ll be posting soon to let you know how that goes!
  • That asterisk in the previous bullet point is there because I haven’t taken a total break from writing the past few months.  I’ve written a few short stories, one of which I’m currently pretty obsessed with.  So much so, that I’ve sent it out to a few literary journals to see what happens.  I’d love to share what that process has been like with you all, so expect a post on that soon.
  • And as usual, I’m filling up as much of my time as I can with reading, so be looking for these reviews in the coming days/weeks:
    • Clariel by Garth Nix
    • Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
    • It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig
    • The Big Time by Fritz Lieber
    • Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
    • …and more, I’m sure 🙂

There’s so much happening, and I’m excited to share it with you all!

Here We Go! Back to Revising…

Happy December 22, y’all.

Today is an important day for three reasons:

  1. The Winter Solstice has passed which means the days are getting longer again.  YES.
  2. My birthday is one month away!  YES.
  3. I’ve started the revision process on The Legend of Elliot Major.

After taking three weeks off post-NaNoWriMo for some much needed rest, I’m back in the saddle.  For the next few days, I’ll be reading through Elliot Major and making notes on my rough draft.

I’ll keep you updated on the process: how it’s going, what I’m doing, what’s working and what’s not.  I’m mostly excited, though this feels a little daunting – especially since I spent the majority of 2016 revising Bombshell.

It’ll be worth it, though.  I’m sure.

Novodah’s Myth

Hey all!

Like I reported in my previous post, I’m currently working on writing Novodah’s Myth, the sequel to the novel I’m also currently revising, The Legend of Elliot Major.  (I’ve yet to decide which I’m going to spend the majority of my time doing – I want to avoid half-assing both of them.  But I do know that these two novels will likely take up the majority of 2017.)

Anyway, I wanted to give you some details about this lovely sequel.  IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS FOR THE LEGEND OF ELLIOT MAJOR THEN YOU BETTER STOP READING RIGHT NOW.  Per usual, I’ll do my best to keep spoilers at a minimum, but it’s a sequel – even just seeing some of the characters, you’ll realize that so-and-so didn’t die, what’s-his-name isn’t mentioned, oh-my-gosh-they-… I had to stop because I almost spoiled something specific.

So: read no further if you want to go into Elliot Major completely cold.

 

Ok.

Novodah’s Myth picks up just a couple weeks after The Legend of Elliot Major left off.  Jaina, a Dianian medic at Outpost #4 on the icy planet, Tabor, has been sent a new patient: one whose Memory Guard Chip has malfunctioned.  MGC cases are rare, and Jaina’s no expert, but she’s determined to do all that she can for the soldier.

Jaina has her own mess of problems, though.  Every winter, many of the humans on Tabor are afflicted by a flu-like virus, and this year’s seems to be the worst in the history of the colony.  The medical outpost is overwhelmed with patients with little that they can do for most of them.

In the midst of all this, Novodah – Jaina’s half-Dianian, half-human daughter – shows up after not having spoken to her mother in three years.  Dianians aren’t raised by their biological parents, so Jaina has no idea what she’s doing, but she desperately tries to mend that relationship after years of heartache.

While she fights to balance it all, the situation takes an unexpected turn.  The soldier she’s working with doesn’t seem to have random memory loss at all – his inaccessible memories seem to follow a very specific pattern.  Did someone make his MGC malfunction on purpose?  But if it supposedly happened when he crash-landed on an abandoned colony with a bizarre electromagnetic field, was his crash intentional?  And was it only for MGC care that he was sent to Tabor, where humans are falling to the disease left and right and none of the medicines seem to be working?

Is the Accord of Menn really the benevolent intergalactic organization that it seems to be?

 

I still have a good chunk of it to write; I’m probably two-thirds done.  But I’m loving it so far!

Have you ever written a sequel?  What was that like for you?

NaNoWriMo 2016 Recap

(Deeeeep breaaaath)

Ok.  It’s been a loooong time since I’ve written a blog post which kind of bums me out.  When I warned you that my posts would be less frequent, I wasn’t meaning that I’d be silent for 3.5 weeks.  But alas, that’s what happened.

I’m back, though, and I’m excited to get back to posting regularly.

So, let me tell you what I’ve been up to lately: working, having post-election conversations, reading for fun, decorating for Christmas, reading about writing, and writing (almost a whole) novel for NaNoWriMo 2016!  While I’m sure you’d find all of those things riveting, I’d really like to tell you about the last one.

If you’ve not heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it involves an online community of writers attempting to each write 50,000 words in a month.  This is my fifth years participating, and (SPOILER) this was my third year “winning”, or reaching 50,000 words in the month.

I think I announced this in a previous blog post, but this November, I was working on Novodah’s Myth, the sequel to The Legend of Elliot Major.  This is the first time I’ve ever written a sequel, and while some aspects were easier (a lot of my worldbuilding was already taken care of), some were harder (I felt constrained to the big story arc of the series).

I started the month off strong, quickly getting ahead because I knew later in the month would be busy.  However, I was side-tracked by the election, work, Thanksgiving, etc, so those extra words early on really paid off.  On November 29, I reached my 50,000-word goal after a flurry of writing over 3000 words in one day.  My husband was by my side, cheering me on when I crossed the finish line… or at least the temporary finish line.

I managed to eek out another 200 words on November 30 to clock in at 50,201 words for the month.  I’m pleased, but I have a lot more story to go – some major things are happening, and I’m excited to keep going.  I think – and this could change – that this might be the best rough draft I’ve ever written.  I’m loving the plot, the themes, and the characters.  I’m sure, as always, that I won’t be impressed when I got back and read it again, but for now, I’m loving it.

So, the big question for me is what’s next.  Do I finish writing Novodah’s Myth – likely another 25,000 or so words?  Or do I start revising Elliot Major?  I haven’t decided yet, and I’m open to either one of those – maybe even a combination.  For the past three days, I’ve been resting (slightly side-lined by a cold) and reading.

And you know what that means?  More books reviews coming soon!  Here are some titles that I’ll be reviewing for you in the near future:

  • Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
  • A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling and Jack Thorne
  • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

And of course, I’ll keep you posted on my writing endeavors 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2016 Starts Tomorrow!

I can barely contain my excitement, friends!  National Novel Writing Month kicks off tomorrow, and I have been counting down the days.  Now it’s just hours.

As I’ve shared before, I’ll be working on the sequel to The Legend of Elliot Major – which by the way, I JUST finished a week ago.  I mean, I just finished the first draft.  So, there’s a lot of work ahead of me…  but still.

In the past week, I’ve been brainstorming and outlining the sequel, Novodah’s Myth, AND THE REST OF THE SERIES.  There are at least two more books in this series, and while I won’t be writing them this month, I fully plan on it in the future.  AHH!

Due to NaNoWriMo, I’ll be reading a bit less and blogging a bit less.  I plan to give you 3-4 updates throughout the month on how NaNo is going, and you can be looking for a book review or four (including Cindy Koepp’s blog tour – I’ll be reviewing Remnant in the Stars and The Loudest Actions on November 9).

Other than that, I’ll just be writing away!  Wish me luck and lots of words!