May Goals

May 2015 Goals

April has come and gone and boy, did it go by fast. Spring is officially here (let’s hope the weather stays nice) and school is officially over for me which means that I’m going to have more time on my hands. More reading, more writing, more blogging.

That being said, I decided to set monthly goals for myself to get myself into a better routine. I’ll still be spending six hours of my day at work, but that’s all scheduled so it’s easy to set goals.

Reading:

With five Saturdays in May, that means five book reviews. These books may change depending on my mood, but as of right now here’s what I’m thinking of reading:

1. TTFN by Lauren Myracle
2. L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle
3. The Sight by Erin Hunter
4. Dark River by Erin Hunter
5. Outcast by Erin Hunter

The Lauren Myracle books are books two and three of the Internet Girls series. I already read and reviewed book one, TTYL.

The three Erin Hunter novels are the first three novels of six in the third Warriors series. I haven’t read that series in a while so I decided to get back into them.

As stated, those books may change. Books may also be added depending on how quickly I can get through those five novels.

With that being said, my Reading List was updated with April’s books.

Writing:

For my writing group I need to edit parts two and three of the first George Florence novel. I need to look at part two and the critiques I get on that and then look at part three to send in by the 15. Then I have a meet with the group on the 30 so I also need to critique their pieces by then.

I have to type up the next draft of George Florence 2 and take a closer look at that and the first novel. That way my next edits can possibly be the last.

I plan to write one Short Story Sunday a day giving me 31 short stories by the end of the month.

I’m going to start querying my children’s book. I’ve been slowly gathering information on different agents over the past few weeks, so I think it’s time to get rolling on that.

I also may or may not try to find some contests and magazines to submit to depending on if I have time to write submissions or if I already have something to submit.

Kris and I are also going to start working on a big project–not a book, but it’s writing related. There will be more on that much later, though.

So, there’s a lot of editing and querying to do this month and only a little bit of writing. I have too many manuscripts written, but not edited. I may or may not leave the writing to NaNo months for the time being. We’ll see.

Blogging:

Nothing has changed on the blog. I’m just going to continue posting every day hoping each post is better than the last.

Overall, May is going to be a super busy month. Between reading, writing, blogging, and work, I have my plate full. At least I don’t have to worry about school anymore… I can’t wait for my diploma to arrive in the mail!

Camp NaNo: The End

Stats

It’s the last day of Camp NaNo. For some–depending on where you live–it’s already over. Did you hit your word goal and validate it? Did you go above and beyond? Did you finish your novel and are you satisfied with it?

Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’m going to take a break from my NaNo project. I thought the story was ready to be told, but I guess I got ahead of myself.

With that being said, I’ll be focusing on a few other projects that I’ll explain in another post.

Even though my novel didn’t go over as well as I thought it would, the main goal was to get the idea down on paper. I hit my 50k word goal.

My cabin, filled with 12 people total, had an overall goal of 600k.

Cabin Stats

As you can see, we rocked it!

For one person to hit 600k in 30 days, they would have to write 20k a day. Can you imagine? I’ve written 10k in a day before, but I think 20k is a bit much; especially if you have to do it for 30 days straight. It would certainly be an interesting challenge.

One of these days I would love to have my word count goal be 100k. I think that’s much more doable.

I hope you all had a wonderful April and you all won your Camp NaNo challenge!

Camp NaNo: Last Two Days

Camp-Winner-2015-Web-Banner

There are two more days left of Camp NaNoWriMo. This is the final stretch. How are your novels coming along?

I hit my 50k word goal about a week ago, but the story is not yet complete. I wrote the ending, but there are a lot of scenes missing in the middle. I don’t know how many more scenes, but I do know the story is no where near complete.

Despite middle scenes missing, I know that a few of the middle scenes that are there shouldn’t exist. It got to the point that I was writing for the sake of my word count.

Anonymous Tip is the third novel in my George Florence series. The first two novels are one case with two sub-cases. This third novel is the beginning of another huge case. Same main characters, different minor characters, different plot, different cases… it’s a brand new adventure for George and Lilah.

While writing this case I realized that it might be better for me to completely edit the first two novels first. Then I’ll start working on the third novel.

So, I’m not going to finish the novel completely yet. I have a head start with 50k words (that’s decent, anyway) and I’ll get back to it when I finish the first two books.

George and Lilah can handle only so much at a time. Apparently so can I.

Camp NaNo: Week Four Recap

Novel Stats

The last week of Camp NaNoWriMo has come and gone. Did you beat your word goal?

Daily Word Count:
Day 22: 5,018
Day 23: 5,196
Day 24: 0
Day 25: 0
Day 26: 0
Day 27: 0
Day 28: 0

Week four total: 10,214
Overall total: 50,251

Technically, there are still two days left of Camp. So, there’s still sometime to boost your word count a little further.

I aimed to finish by the 24 of April because I got my wisdom teeth that day. Fortunately, I was able to stay focused and write the last 10k words of my story in two days.

My daily word count is zero after that due to recovery. I’ve been lying on the couch watching TV and playing video games for the past four days straight. I’m just starting to eat regular food again… kind of.

Normally, I would be trying to reach higher than 50k, but I think I’m all done. My novel wasn’t going where I wanted it to go anyway.

How’s your novel? Did you win, yet?

Short Story Sunday #54

OFFICE

            Everyone in the office turned and stared. Of course, he didn’t really understand why. Sure, he was a bit late for work and sure, he was still wearing his pajama bottoms, but was that such a bad thing? He was going to be sitting at a desk all day. Clients would only be able to see his shirt, which was a clean work shirt.

A few of the girls at the office were snickering as he walked by. A few of the men were shaking their head in disgust. However, some men were shaking their head as though they felt sorry for him.

He was carrying a small box tucked underneath his arm. It was all that he could grab at the moment and he was so upset that he didn’t want to leave it in the car. He wanted it to stay right next to him at his desk.

“Charlie, what happened?”

Charlie sat down at his desk and immediately his work friend was peeking over his cubicle shaking his head and staring down at Charlie as though he was in trouble.

“I really screwed up this time, Fred.” Charlie sighed. He gazed into the box that had a few of his belongings. “This was all I could grab this morning before she really lost her temper with me. I have to go home after work and grab the rest of my things… if she doesn’t throw them out for me or something…”

“You know, I feel bad for you, but I’m angry at myself for feeling bad for you.” Fred shook his head in disgust at himself. He ducked away and walked around coming inside Charlie’s cubicle.

“What did I tell you about having a mistress? If you don’t love your wife anymore, then you should have come clean and told her. You shouldn’t have been snooping around her back. You and Marcy are my best friends. I can’t imagine how she must be feeling right now.” Fred scolded him.

“It’s not that I don’t love Marcy anymore. I do love her. I really do.” Charlie looked Fred in the eyes. “It’s just that I met Linda and… we sort of clicked. I don’t really know how that sort of thing happens. We just met a couple of times as friends and then it eventually escalated. I didn’t mean for it to get out of control.”

“If you were just friends in the beginning, then why didn’t you tell Marcy where you were going for lunch every Friday?” Fred glared at him.

“Huh?”

“Marcy called me to talk and ask if I say anything at our weekly lunch dates. I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I told her that you and I never have lunch together on Fridays because you,” Fred pointed to Charlie, “told me that you always went home to have lunch with your wife!”

Charlie buried his face in his hands.

“If you’re going to use me in a lie, at least tell me about it. I hate lying to Marcy, but that was a stupid move on your part.” Fred stated.

“You know, I’m not the only victim here.” Charlie growled.

“Really? Because where I stand, your wife was the one who was cheated on. Not you.” Fred retorted.

“No, I was cheated on too!” Charlie growled standing up. “Linda’s married. I can’t believe she would do such a thing!”

“I cannot believe what you just said…” Fred’s jaw dropped. “So it’s okay for you to cheat on your wife with another woman, but it’s not okay for someone else to cheat on their significant other with someone else? That’s basically what you’re saying.”

“No, I just mean…”

“No, you’re pissed at Linda because she chose you as the ‘other man’ when you were using Linda as the ‘other woman’. I can’t believe you!” Fred’s voice escalated.

A large man stormed down the hallway and turned into Charlie’s cubicle. He was glaring at Fred and Charlie.

“What is going on here?” he growled. “I can hear Fred all the way down at my office. Charlie, why are you not dressed? Why were you late today?”

Fred took a step back not wanting to get into a tiff with his boss.

“Sorry, Charlie and I were just sorting something out. I’ll get back to work.” He stated and walked away.

Charlie turned on his computer and didn’t say a word to his boss. He just pretended that he was wearing h full work suit and that he had all ready been at work for the past two hours like he was supposed to be.

“Charlie, what happened?” his boss asked.

“My wife kicked me out of the house. That’s why I was late because I was trying to get back into my own home. That’s why I’m not fully dressed because she kicked me out before I was able to finish getting dressed.” Charlie explained.

His boss stared at him as though he knew exactly why Charlie had gotten kicked out of his house.

“I heard your conversation with Fred from my office. I know what happened.” He said quietly.

“Yeah, well I’m not really in the mood for any sympathy at the moment. I’ll just get back to work.” Charlie said arrogantly.

“Sympathy?” his boss glared at him. “I don’t give sympathy to anyone who cheats on their wife; especially when they cheat on their wife with my wife!”

Charlie stopped typing on the computer and looked up spacing out with wide eyes.

Oops.

TTYL by Lauren Myracle

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest
Summary (from Goodreads):

Far from being precious, the format proves perfect for accurately capturing the sweet histrionics and intimate intricacies of teenage girls. Grownups (and even teenage boys) might feel as if they’ve intercepted a raw feed from Girl Secret Headquarters, as the book’s three protagonists–identified by their screen names “SnowAngel,” “zoegirl,” and “mad maddie”–tough their way through a rough-and-tumble time in high school. Conversations range from the predictable (clothes, the delicate high-school popularity ecosystem, boys, boys in French class, boys in Old Navy commercials, etc.) to the the jarringly explicit (the girls discuss female ejaculation: “some girls really do, tho. i read it in our bodies, ourselves”) and the unintentionally hilarious (Maddie’s IM reduction of the Christian poem “Footprints”–“oh, no, my son. no, no, no. i was carrying u, don’t u c?”).

But Myracle’s triumph in ttyl comes in leveraging the language-stretching idiom of e-mail, text messaging, and IM. Reaching to express themselves, the girls communicate almost as much through punctuation and syntactical quirks as with words: “SnowAngel: ‘cuz–drumroll, please–ROB TYLER is in my french class!!! *breathes deeply, with hand to throbbing bosom* on friday we have to do “une dialogue” together. i get to ask for a bite of his hot dog.'”

TTYL was published way back in 2004. I remember reading it back then and thinking the book was amazing. This book is written in IM messages. I used to be on the computer nearly 24/7 chatting with my friends through AIM, so this book was right up my alley.

I was only about 11 or 12 when I read the book and the characters are 15 and 16. Upon reading the book now I realized just how much went over my head the first time I read it.

I loved the characters, I loved the IM format, I loved the drama of it all. I would have given that book five stars ten years ago after reading. Now? Not so much.

The concept of the IM format is great and the story is told really well from the three female protagonists gossiping to one another. The girls themselves–Zoe, Angela, and Maddie–are so different from each other. Zoe is the brains of the group. She always does well in school and never does too much to get herself into trouble. Angela is the princess. She’s always talking about boys, clothes, and make-up. Meanwhile, Maddie is the risk-taker. She’s blunt and sarcastic.

This book goes through the beginning of their sophomore year at school. Zoe finds herself involved with a teacher when he hits on her, Maddie gets into the wrong crowd of friends, and Angela has boy troubles. Typical teenager stuff, right?

Yeah, but some of the things that happen to them just seem unrealistic to me. Plus, all three girls were whiny and very immature. This is a dirty book–something that went over my head when I read it the first time a few years ago. That being said, it just made me have a love/hate relationship with the girls. If I can’t relate to the characters, then that’s a problem.

Overall, the book did tackle real-life high school problems. Hanging out with the wrong crowd of kids, finding and keeping a boyfriend, and just trying to stick together with your best friends. In that sense, it was good because I think most–if not all–teenagers go through that.

TTYL by Lauren Myracle gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“it’s funny how some things r easier to talk about over the computer, isn’t it?” –Lauren Myracle, TTYL

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!

April: My Creation

For this April’s #YearOfHappy project the goal was to create something. It could be anything whether it’s something that will stay forever, like a scrapbook or something that will only stay for a day, like a cake.

I was thinking about using one of my novels as my creation, but I talk about my books on here all the time. Plus, I write all the time, too. They’re special, but I wanted to do something different. Something I don’t normally do.

Well, I’ve always wanted to be good at drawing. Kris was born with that natural talent like some people are. She is very good at drawing and I’ve always envied that. I try to draw and I know the more you practice, the easier it will become. However, it’s not a big enough priority for me, so I never practice. I just stick to my writing.

We do like to go to Paint Nite, though. That’s where you go someplace and there’s an instructor that shows you step-by-step how to create a certain painting. You always think it’s going to look like crap, but it never does. With the proper tools and right help, anyone can be a painter. Yours always looks different from everyone else’s (including the original), but they’re all the same picture and all look beautiful.

I went to one with Kris and our friend a few months ago and we had a blast. We decided to go again and brought my other sister along since she’s never gone before.

Here is what the original painting looked like:

2015-04-13 18.54.57

That picture was taken at the Paint Nite with the painting on a high stand, so that’s why it’s kind of far away (I’m short) and baseball is on a TV in the background (we were at a sports bar for this event). This is called Sunset Swim.

The difficulty rating for this painting was easy which was a factor as to why we decided to do this particular one.

The background was easy; the sunset and the pinkish-purple water. The foreground is when I mess everything up. However, my mountains came out pretty good and did my ducks… they look like baby dinosaurs, but they’re still cute.

The ripples and waves… well, that’s where I had trouble. My painting still looks good (if I do say so myself), but I did re-name my painting from Sunset Swim to Sunset Party because the ripples came out looking like confetti.

Here’s mine:

2015-04-13 21.46.56

And there you have it. That’s my beautiful creation for April. I hope you all made something lovely at some point this month as well.

Camp NaNo: Week Four

Wow. April has flown by, hasn’t it?

There’s only a week left for Camp NaNoWriMo. I hope everyone is on par for their word counts. Hopefully you guys are even a little bit ahead of the game.

Winning started on April 20, which was two days ago. So even though it’s not the end of the month yet, make sure you validate you word count (if you’re done, that is).

If you’ve hit your goal and still want to see how many more words you can get, more power to you. Just don’t forget to validate by the end of my month.

The very first time I participated in NaNo (back in 2008) I didn’t realize you had to validate your novel. I won, but it didn’t count because I didn’t validate. Lesson learned.

So, now that we only have a few days left…

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Camp NaNo: Week Three Recap

April 21 2015

Three weeks down, one more to go….

Daily Word Count:
Day 15: 2,385
Day 16: 0
Day 17: 0
Day 18: 5,514
Day 19: 0
Day 20: 0
Day 21: 2,023

Week three total: 9,922
Overall total: 40,037

Wow, I skipped a lot of days this week. I think this week was the “week two slump” for me even though it’s the end of week three. I guess I was a bit late on that front… at least I’m not behind in my word count, though.

My novel is starting to stray a bit. I had a little bit of an outline at the beginning and then decided to outline as I went on. I stopped outlining as I wrote and now I don’t know where I am.

I am coming up with new ideas for the novel, but a lot of the scenes I’m writing now I know are going to end up deleted in the editing process. The characters seem to be having fun, though.

The thing is, I finally introduced George’s mother and now I’m not so sure if it was the right time to bring her into the story.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how everything plays out.

How is your novel coming along?

Vacation

Friday: It was my last day of work for a week. This week is April vacation, so I get to sleep in all week! Also, I get six and a half hours more for each day. That’s super exciting for me! It was also my dad’s birthday so we went out to eat and had cake, you know usual birthday stuff. It was low-key, but nice.

Saturday: Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble in the morning where I wrote 5,514 words of my Camp NaNo novel. Kris had to bring her notebook because her laptop gave her the blue screen of death. She wrote a lot for it being handwritten, though. We only stayed for a few hours before going back home because my dad’s siblings came over for lunch for his birthday. We rarely see them throughout the year (mainly just for Christmas) so it was a fun time.

Sunday: I was lazy. I’ll admit it. I didn’t get any writing done, I didn’t try to get a head start on my homework like I planned… I just went to church and then sat on the couch. Kris and I did take Chip out for a walk around the local pond, so that was at least something. We were all tired after that. It’s a 45-minute walk and for Chip to be so small, it was a lot for her. But she made it!

This Week: Since I don’t have work this week, I have a lot more free time to do things I want to do. My homework is already just about done (it’s the second to last week, so we barely have any assignments) so I just want to focus on my writing and editing and reading and anything else I need to do this week. Kris and I are going to Barnes and Noble again this morning when it opens. It’s always a treat when we can go there a couple times a week.

My week is cut short, though. I’m getting my wisdom teeth out on Friday so that will slow me down for a few days. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the posts will be the same–a writing quote, a book review, and a Short Story Sunday. They’re all written, so that’s fine. Monday will probably be another quote or something. I most likely won’t be responding to comments right away or commenting on other blogs. I’ll be out of commission for the weekend. Lucky me.

How was your weekend?

Short Story Sunday #53

KNOW-IT-ALL

            He just wouldn’t shut up. Everyone in the class was getting super annoyed with him. The professor was even getting frustrated with him as well. No matter what anyone said or did, this kid had something to say. He always had to have the last word.

He was older than myself and the rest of the kids in my class. I wasn’t sure how old he was, but he had to at least be in his 40s or 50s. I didn’t understand why he was back in school; or still in school. Of course, he was coming back to school to learn something new or to prepare for a new career, than more power to him. However, in order to learn in class you need to keep your mouth shut and listen to what the professor was saying.

Every time the professor began a lecture, he would raise his hand and interrupt without waiting for her to call on him. It always related to what we were learning in class, but he always had something to say. Whether it was a statement or a question, he had to let everyone know that he knew exactly what was going on and that he was… well, smarter than everyone else.

I wasn’t sure if he was trying to be a know-it-all or if that was just his personality. However, he was giving the professor and the rest of my classmates the wrong impression. Every time his hand rose into the air, everyone rolled their eyes. Every time he opened his mouth and began to speak, people groaned.

Most of the time he was asking questions as though he was trying to challenge the professor. It was almost as if he didn’t believe anything she was saying to us about the subject matter and he was trying to prove her wrong. I wasn’t sure if he knew what he was talking about or not, but he certainly acted as though he knew everything. The professor felt the same way, I think.

Whenever this man raised his hand and began to speak, she would glare at him. Professors are supposed to want their students to be engaged in a discussion about the subject matter and ask questions. However, that was just not the case for this guy. She knew that he was trying to be a know-it-all. She knew that he was trying to challenge her and question her knowledge about the subject matter.

I wasn’t sure if he was just trying to learn more about the subject matter and the only way he felt he could do that was to be difficult and challenge the professor or if he was just trying to be mean and rude. I wondered if he felt as though the professor didn’t know what she was talking about so he just kind of tried to take over the class.

The problem was, if he did say anything useful to myself and the other students, we would never know. Once we hear his voice, we just end up tuning him out until we hear the professor get back on track about what we were talking about before.

Some of the questions he ask are probably useful information that we need to know or we’ll need to know eventually. He might bring up some pretty good points that the professor needs to explain further and none of us know what those points are because we don’t pay any attention to when he speaks. He might even end up teaching the professor something and none of us would ever know.

The class is an hour long, so it’s tough because I end up having to listen to my classmate for about 45 minutes of the time while I only get to listen to my professor for about 15 minutes of the time. Since he talks so much and the professor speaks to little because of him, you wouldn’t think that we would be learning much in class. You would think that the entire class time is wasted by listening to the old man ramble on about everything that the professor was supposed to be teaching us. Sometimes I wondered if the professor and my classmate should switch spots for a day… he would teach and she would be one of the students. I wondered if that ever happened, how much would we learn? If we paid any attention to his monotone voice, that is. How much would the professor learn? Would we learn more from him or more from the professor herself? I wondered just how much this guy really knew. According to him, he seemed to know a lot.

I went home from class that night and began to study for the final exam that was going to happen in two days. It was a lot of material to study and I hoped that the professor was able to talk to us enough without being interrupted that she was actually able to teach us something. I flipped through all my notes from her lectures and from my textbook. I re-read the chapters in the textbook. There were many things from my notes and from my textbook that I couldn’t remember actually going over in class. I grunted to myself because I figured that was probably because I had to keep tuning out my classmate because he was probably busy distracting the professor from explaining more as he wasted all our time.

It was a lot of study and it was a tough exam, but I managed to get through it. In two days, I went into class and took the final feeling a little confident, but also feeling a little nervous that I didn’t know enough. The test was easy enough as it was only 100 multiple choice questions. Multiple choice is easy because you can easily narrow down your answer and also see the correct one; even if you don’t know what it is. Something, though, by seeing the right answer it comes back to you.

I passed, but barely. The rest of the class barely passed as well. Mr. Know-It-All had a perfect score.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Written in beautiful prose, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir. Woodson describes her life from the moment she was born and beyond in free verse.

We get a closer look at her life, the ups and downs, the special moments and the not so special moments. We follow her as she moves from one place to another, the relationship between her and her family is uncanny.

Woodson was very observant as a young girl and learned a lot from her family and the world around her. She makes a big point to mention that she’s black, as is basically stated in the title, and how she lived in the era where black people were fighting for their own rights.

There is so much love and hate in this story and so much history behind it all. We’re not just learning about Woodson’s childhood, but we’re also learning a little bit about the world in 1963.

I would highly recommend reading this novel to anyone. It’s quick, beautifully written, and teaches us a lot. I even had a hard time picking a favorite quote for this one and ended up going with one of the Haikus in the story.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.”
–Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

Be sure to check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!