Posted in Life, Writing

Scheduling My Life

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Via Pinterest

Summer is (unfortunately) coming to a close. School is going to start back up whether we like it or not; which means I’m going to have to go back to work.

I love my job; I love the kids and my co-workers. The hours are ideal even though the pay could be better (isn’t that like every other job?).

Despite that, I have to admit that I’m dreading going back to work. I’ve gotten a lot done this summer when it comes to my blog, my writing, and even reading. I’ve had a good system going and I’m afraid that all of that is going to be–for lack of a better word–ruined once work starts back up.

I work Monday through Friday for six and half hours each day. I’m also going to be babysitting three afternoons a week right after work. That’s a new family, too. I’m sure I’ll be babysitting for the other family as well, so it’s possible I may be babysitting four or five days a week.

Plus, Sunday school is going to start up as well. So that’s another thing on my to-do list.

My biggest concern is that I’m not going to be able to keep up with my writing. I love teaching, but writing is what I really want to do for a career. It’s hard to balance starting that while needing to have a day job–plus more.

I decided a schedule for myself about a month ago. I kept to it for about a week and then I went on vacation; twice. So I never really got a chance to test it out.

I don’t start back to work until the second week of September. So until then I’m going to try out this schedule and see how it goes. That way I can get as much done as I can before work starts and also–hopefully–be able to ease the two schedules together when the time comes.

Sunday: Sunday school plans; I want to write my lesson plans well in advance. That way I can leave Sundays open. I can write, blog, do extra Sunday school things, or relax and have a day off.

Monday-Thursday & Saturday: Write; Before or after work/babysitting, I want to get at least one or two hours of writing or editing done. For Saturdays, Kris and I will hopefully still have the opportunity to go to Barnes & Noble and write. That will give me a good couple of hours to get some things done.

Friday: Blog; My posts for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are the only posts that are not planned and not written in advance. All the other days are planned and written ahead of time so I just have to hit the “publish” button on WordPress and be on my merry way. I hope to spend an hour or two on Fridays working on blog posts. That way I can have a few weeks done in advance.

Balancing writing with a day job and life in general is tough; especially when you have a lot on your plate and many ambitions like I do.

How do you schedule your writing to fit in with your day job?

 

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Posted in Book Reviews

Paper Towns by John Green

2015-07-02 20.23.13

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Genre: Young adult
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Amazon):

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

My Review (May contain spoilers!):

I’ve heard many great things about John Green and one of them was that once you start reading his books, you can’t put it down until you finish. Well, I certainly understand what those fans mean now.

I read Paper Towns in a day. The mystery of the plot was such a page-turner that I just couldn’t put the book down.

The first part of the book followed the two main characters, Quentin and Margo, as they embarked on an all-night adventure to wrong some rights and right some wrongs–as explained by Margo. Margo drags Quentin along as a getaway driver as they play harmless revenge tricks on a few of her friends and ex-boyfriend after finding out he had been cheating on her.

I absolutely loved that part of the book. The chemistry between Quentin and Margo was awesome, Margo’s personality was fun and energetic, and Quentin tried to be the voice of reason, but adrenaline took over–and maybe also the fact that he was head over heels for Margo.

The second part of the book is after that fun night. Quentin goes to school exhausted, but Margo is gone. She ran away and no one knows where she is. She’s done this before, so her parents have given up. Quentin finds clues left by Margo for him to track her down. With the help of his awesome friends, Quentin embarks on another journey to search for Margo.

Overall, the book was fun and suspenseful, but not in a scary way. There were many outcomes that you just didn’t know which direction the characters would take you. All the characters were easy to read and fun to get along with. Plus, there was plenty of comic relief.

I would highly recommend this novel.

Paper Towns by John Green gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“I mean, at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.” –John Green, Paper Towns

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

Posted in Book Reviews

Warriors: Power of Three Books 1 and 2

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

There will be three, kin of your kin . . .

The wild cats have flourished in their new home on the banks of the lake for several seasons, and the Clans are growing strong and healthy with new kits. The time has come for three kits of ThunderClan to become apprentices.

Hollypaw, Jaypaw, and Lionpaw spring from a strong legacy: children of Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw, two of the noblest ThunderClan warriors, and grandchildren of the great leader Firestar himself. All three young cats possess unusual power and talent and seem certain to provide strength to the Clan for the next generation.

But there are dark secrets around the three, and a mysterious prophecy hints at trouble to come. An undercurrent of rage is rising against those who are not Clanborn, and the warrior code is in danger of being washed away by a river of blood. All the young cats’ strength will be needed if the Clans are to survive.

. . . who hold the power of the stars in their paws.

If anyone has read the Warriors series then you will know that this is in fact the first book of the third series. In other words, this is the 13th book.

Firestar was the main character who started this series for all of us, so this series focuses on his grandchildren: Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Jaypaw.

The book follows their struggle as they try to find a place within their clan. Lionpaw wants to be a warrior, but Hollypaw would rather be a medicine cat while Jaypaw wants to be a warrior as well. However, destiny says otherwise.

Due to Jaypaw’s blindness, it’s hard for everyone else to believe that he’ll make a strong warrior. However, Jaypaw is able to “see” through scent and touch. It’s not until Jaypaw dreams of StarClan, their ancestors, that he realizes he’s not blind in his dreams and he was walks into other cats’ dreams. That alone proves Jaypaw is the rightful medicine cat.

This book follows mostly Jaypaw as he learns to deal with his blindness and how he can effectively serve his Clan and learn how to “see” everything.

The Sight by Erin Hunter gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“You drift around the camp like a little dark cloud looking for someone to rain on.” –Erin Hunter, The Sight

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

The three children of Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw, grandchildren of the great leader Firestar, have thrived in their apprenticeships: Lionpaw’s strength and energy serve him well as a warrior in training, Hollypaw hones her understanding of the warrior code, and Jaypaw explores his mysterious powers and connection to StarClan as the medicine cat apprentice.

With more experience comes both power and danger: Lionpaw makes a friendship–and a discovery–that must be kept hidden; Jaypaw learns a secret that could benefit ThunderClan by damaging others; and Hollypaw knows something that could avert a battle, if she could convince the rest of her Clan.

The three are torn apart as each discovers darkness: in themselves, in the Clans, and in the past. And, as conflict begins over what it means to be a warrior, rising tensions threaten to overflow, washing away the peace that has existed for many moons.

The second book in the third series follows mostly Hollypaw and Lionpaw now. Lionpaw betrays his Clan by sneaking out at night to meet a WindClan apprentice, Heatherpaw.

They’re friends, not harming anyone. However, staying up all night takes a toll on Lionpaw when he is unable to train properly due to lack of sleep. His clanmates are getting suspicious and Hollypaw already knows and isn’t too happy with him.

Meanwhile, to help with his training, Lionpaw receives lessons from Tigerstar and Hawkfrost, his deceased kin. They will him to the dark side, but Lionpaw has yet to see that.

Heatherpaw discovers underground tunnels where she and Lionpaw can meet in peace. It isn’t until much later that Jaypaw discovers some ancestors are in those underground tunnels because they died in there.

Hollypaw tries to keep the peace between all the Clans; especially when three WindClan kits go missing. WindClan automatically assumes the worst believing one of the Clans has kidnapped them. Hollypaw is determined to find the kits before a battle breaks out.

Hollypaw, Jaypaw, Lionpaw, and Heatherpaw, with the help of another WindClan apprentice, Breezepaw, track the kits down in the underground tunnel before the rain floods it.

Warriors: Dark River by Erin Hunter gets 4 out of 4 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“I am no warrior, but I am a ThunderClan cat. I stay in the nursery rather than hunt and fight because that is what I do best. I care for our young as though they were my own. This is my gift to the Clan, but I do it in my own chosen name.” –Erin Hunter, Dark River

Posted in Book Reviews

Genre Bingo

Yesterday I talked about finding your genre when it comes to writing.

One of the points I made was to practice with all genres; whether it’s reading different genres or trying to write in different genres.

I love a good reading challenge whether it’s Goodreads yearly Reading Challenge, a Bingo board, a deadline for a book review, or even just a book recommendation.

With that being said, I decided to make my own Bingo board. I have a few, but this one I made is plain and simple. It’s Genre Bingo.

If you heed my advice about reading in different genres, this will be a great way to keep track.

The bingo board includes 24 genres plus the lovely free space that everyone adores. It also has a reading list at the bottom so you can write down which books you read for which genre. I don’t know about you, but I like keeping track of the books I read for which square whenever I do a reading bingo. So I thought I would throw that in there.

Anyway, you can download the Genre Bingo here.

I hope you guys enjoy it! I’m sure I’ll be doing the challenge soon enough.

Posted in Book Reviews

TTFN & L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads):

After everything they’ve been through together, Angela, Maddie, and Zoe know they’ll be friends till the end–but sometimes the fates (or parents) have other plans.
With sophomore year and its troubles behind them, the winsome threesome is on cruise control, enjoying the well-earned perks of being sixteen. But then Angela (SnowAngel) gets some seriously bad family news 😥 that threatens to change her life forever. On top of that, Maddie (mad maddie) decides to let loose her wild side 😛 and Zoe (zoegirl) struggles to keep a big secret from Angela :O. Will junior year pull the girls apart just when they need each other most? Only their instant messages reveal the full story…

I have to say that I enjoyed TTFN more than I enjoyed the first book, TTYL.

I was used to how the three main girls acted and I also felt as though the troubles they faced this time around were more realistic.

One of the main girls moves far, far away and of course it’s a big deal. Who would want to leave in the middle of their junior year of high school across the country leaving their hometown and best friends? The worst part was that the move was due to her father losing his job. So the move just added on more stress.

This was a great tale of how the three girls stuck together even though they were so far away from each other. There were great lessons to be learned as they were all still there for each other miles away.

TTFN by Lauren Myracle gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“mad maddie: on every single sitcom in the world, this is how problems start. some idiot plays dumb and doesn’t tell someone else what’s really going on, and then there’s mass confusion and mistaken assumptions and everything ends in chaos.” –Lauren Myracle, TTFN

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads):

Angela, Zoe and Maddie are finally seniors and ready for the great year they deserve. After two years of fighting, experimentation and some hilarious stories, they are prepared to enjoy the fruits of seniority – even though being top dogs at school means thinking about college, sex and even the impending end of their inseparable trio.

This is the third book in the Internet Girls series and I have to say that it hit home for me.

Angela, Zoe, and Maddie are seniors in high school and are dealing with the stresses of applying to colleges, getting accepted, and–the worst part–being apart from each other in different states.

One thing I didn’t enjoy in the book was that the three girls were at “war” with a girl named Jana in their class. They play pranks on her and she retaliates for most of their senior year. It took bullying to a whole new level and I felt like seniors shouldn’t be acting like that.

They also deal with what most 18-year-olds deal with: relationships. Zoe finds true love, Maddie stumbles upon it, and Angela realizes she doesn’t need a man to complete… someday her prince will come.

Ultimately, this book dealt with friendship and how truly important it is.

L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“we’re our own destiny, that’s all. and 1 day we WILL be gone, so we better appreciate life while we can.” –Lauren Myracle, l8r, g8r

Check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!

Posted in Book Reviews

Diagrams for Book Lovers

A few days ago I was looking through my Twitter and I came across Goodreads’ latest tweet:

Curiosity bit me so I clicked on the link and an article titled 15 Insanely Useful Diagrams for Book Lovers came up.

The article is full of flowcharts about reading and books. I thought it would be something cool to share with you guys because I enjoyed looking through them.

Many of you may have already seen some of the charts; especially if you’re on Pinterest. There were a few that I have never even seen before and they were all interesting and useful in their own way.

My favorite charts were…

6 — which I’ve seen before
8 — this one had interesting facts about authors
11 — as a teacher, this one is useful
13 — this had more interesting facts about characters in books
15 — this one is just plain adorable

So go check out the charts. I promise it won’t be a time-waster. If anything, you’ll add new books to your to-be-read list.

Posted in Book Reviews

Reading Books May Contain Spoilers

I’m sorry to say that there is no book review today (I’m off to a great start this month!) due to recovery from surgery last week, finishing up my school semester, and getting back to work. Next week I’ll clump the two book reviews together; especially since they’re part of a series.

In other news, I had to share this with you guys…

I went to the bookstore last night and while I was browsing a young girl–who looked to be about 10- or maybe 11-years-old–and her mother were in the same aisle as me. We were in the young adult section and the young girl picked up a book and held it in front of her mother’s face.

Mother: Oh, did you want to get that?
Girl: Yeah, I think the book sounds pretty good.
Mother: But honey… if you read the book, then you’ll spoil the movie for yourself.

I had to walk into a different section because I didn’t know whether to laugh or to be horrified. I mean, who says that?

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

The mother should be encouraging her child to read. She should be using the movie as a treat for finishing the book so they can discuss the differences between the two, which one they liked better, etc. The movie is rarely anything like the book, anyway.

Education aside, why were they in the bookstore in the first place? If she wasn’t planning on buying any books–because apparently books have “spoiler alert” written all over it–why were they browsing?

There is a media section that sells music and movies downstairs, so were they lost? I don’t know.

Am I thinking too much into this? Yeah, probably; especially since it’s none of my business. I was just baffled, I guess.

I saw the mother and daughter leave the store and they were carrying a bag, so maybe the daughter was able to get the book after all. I hope she did and I hope she enjoys it a lot.

Posted in Writing

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!