Reading

Everything Update

Writing: Not a lot to update here. However, I’m finally thinking like a writer again after all this medical BS I’ve gone through. I went to a hematologist yesterday (more on that below) and while waiting on results I found myself noticing the multicolored floor tiles in my room didn’t have a real pattern. I pulled out my notebook and wrote down my thoughts on it:

What’s under the floor? Is there a combination lock hidden in the lack of pattern? What are they hiding?

Maybe a little silly but there could be a good story percolating in those questions. A month ago I would have stared at the floor in a doctor’s office and zone out or gotten stressed about whatever the hell might be wrong with me. I see my ridiculous questions as progress back to being myself again.

I also keep thinking about my ghost story. I made a storyboard for it months ago, wrote a few scenes and some notes but haven’t touched it since, mostly because I thought I should work on a different story, the fantasy one. I haven’t been able to concentrate on said fantasy tale for a while so I don’t think it will hurt me now to work on something, anything for crying out loud! I stare at the storyboard and all I can think is the first act and half of the second are really a prologue or something to be brought up later. The story really starts in the middle of act two. So I got some poster board and I’ll move my index cards I from the first half to it and figure out how to change the middle. I’m super excited about it because it’s writing. I’m not staring at it thinking I just can’t deal with it now (like I have been since my appendix adventure).

I’m also going to try to get back into the class I’m taking. Thankfully it’s a work at your own pace kind of thing. Lesson 27 came out today and I believe I’m on lesson 15 or so. I don’t have to do everything in the class at my desk. My nice sturdy clipboard, my spiral and a pencil work well if I have to lay down.

No flash fiction lately but there is one mapped out and ready to be written. I keep changing my mind about the POV so I think I’ll write it from both options and see which I like better than flip-flopping and not working on it.

Medical: I got a second round of injections in my back today. It was so weird! Last time, in the middle of July, went so differently than today. In July, whatever they gave me that supposedly has a calming effect didn’t work, at all. This time, well let’s just say I didn’t really care how many needles they stuck in me lol. I didn’t exactly feel good, but nothing fazed me either.

I’m all healed up from the appendectomy. There is still a bit of soreness from the incision at my belly button but only if I press on it, which I don’t, or if the dogs jump up on me, which they are getting better about. It didn’t hurt me to lay on my stomach for the injections though. I still have a mega bruise near that incision but I’ve always bruised easily and kept bruises longer than most.

As for the hematology appointment. It was the most frustrating visit to a doctor I’ve had in this 3 or 4 month span of junk. The man was clearly knowledgeable but he spent more time making sure I knew how much he knew than telling me what I needed to know. It was like reading Michael Crichton! He would explain for a while about what could be wrong with me, then spend some time explaining how he thought none of the things he listed were actually wrong then ask me what I thought. Rinse and repeat for thirty minutes. He then said we probably didn’t need to do any really ‘big’ tests like a bone marrow test and he wanted to check my blood sample for 7 or 8 different things. After listing these off he said we should schedule the bone marrow test and we could cancel it if the blood tests indicated we didn’t need it. Huh? Oh did I mention that he only backtracked on the test when he brought up insurance and the costs adding up. I said “Oh I know all about it adding up, by Monday I will have seen my 8th doctor in four months.” Suddenly it was well maybe we’ll do the test and let me check your blood some more first. To be honest I don’t know what the hell is going on at this point. He said he originally thought my issue had to do with smoking but I quit almost five years ago so he discounted that. He didn’t seem to think it was anemia, which is what I was hoping for since it’s the easiest to fix. I didn’t come away from that appointment with any idea of what it could be really. He said he was checking for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and a bunch of other things I can’t remember.

I should get a call from his nurse soon. At this point I don’t know if she’s calling to schedule the bone marrow thing or give me results or both. I do know I won’t make the appointment until after the results come back.

Photography: I wish I had more to say on this. I did take over 100 pictures while in New Jersey but around 20 of them were of one sunset and the rest were around my in-laws’ property while I was making myself ‘ambulate’ a few days after surgery. There were a couple of great dragonfly pictures, cool looking moss and some plant ones. I didn’t get to go to the abandoned summer camp I planned to visit or to any rivers or lakes or anything else. Maybe next year.

Reading: I’m still working on the various Shannara books. I enjoy them because I like adventure tales with magic, deception, battles and some coming of age stuff thrown in. However, as much as I like these books I can easily pick out the flaws now. I’m thrilled they are making these books into a TV show. I think it’s a better medium for this type of story. The show will be better than the books.

Personal: There is a comic-con in my city this weekend and I’m hoping I can go. It starts tonight but I’m not pushing my luck going so quickly after needles in the back. We can’t go tomorrow because my husband works, so the plan is to go on Sunday. I won’t know until that morning if I can go or not. Maybe I won’t be too sore or it may be a dumb idea to even try. We’ll see. I’m leaning towards being dumb of course. This is first comic-con we’ve had here and while I think it will be a little dinky, I don’t want to pass up the chance. I could be broke afterwards but I think it will be worth it. Oh and I don’t cosplay but I can’t wait to see all the people who do! I’ll let you all know how it goes.

This is silly but I got the email revealing the theme of Loot Crate for September and I can’t wait! It’s Summon. The art in the email showed some World of Warcraft stuff, Supernatural, Pokemon, maybe Starcraft, maybe Final Fantasy, and weirdly Homer Simpson. I’m a WoW and Supernatural fan. I’m not into Pokemon but my middle son is. My husband likes Starcraft and we’ll see about the rest. This is the crate I’ve been more excited about. I was thinking about cancelling my subscription soon but not anymore!

That’s all for now. Next week will be full of writing updates (fingers crossed)!

Everything Update

Medical: I went to the pain management doctor last Tuesday for a consultation. He immediately scheduled me for epidural injections on Friday. I was relieved and terrified. Not really knowing what to expect I imagined giant needles (which they were) and extra pain for a few days (which happened). I also was hopeful these injections would give me temporary pain relief.

My sister-in-law gave a fair description of what it would be like. She said it would feel like there was a brick in my back and the pain would be worse for a 24-48 hours but then the stuff they put in there would spread out and I would feel better. The first part of her description is completely accurate. The pain was massive and there was new pain since the nerves were being pressed. The doctor knew I was going on vacation at the end of the month so he added ‘extra’ steroids. I could be wrong but I think it’s why now, three days later I’m still in pain from it all.

It sounds strange but I can only say I think it’s getting better. The burning spreading out to the sides of my spine is lessened and getting out of bed wasn’t as difficult. The problem is I’m a big baby when it comes to pain so the overriding thing in my head is it still hurts, a lot. So it’s hard to really gauge how much the giant needles jabbed into my back helped. I do have high hopes though.

Personal: I think the real test of how much the procedure will help comes at the end of the month when I go on vacation. We’ll be driving halfway across the country. This is our regularly scheduled trip to visit my husband’s family. Google maps says it’s close to a thirty hour drive. We’ve done it in two days but it will be almost three full days this time. I won’t be doing any of the driving so I’m hoping to get some writing done along the way. We are going to the beach (although since it’s in New Jersey I should be saying the shore). I have an interesting relationship with the shore. I live in west Texas in the middle of the plains so going to the ocean is really cool. I am also a redhead with the requisite pale skin and freckles so in a way sitting outside on the sand in the sun is terrible. Add in these stupid back troubles and I have no clue what to expect this time. I know I’ll get my yearly quota of vitamin D (not really a go outside for recreation kind of person here).

Writing: That brings me to my writing goals for vacation. Since I physically can’t sit on the beach all day, every day for a week but my husband and my in-laws can, I plan to get a lot of writing time in. I’ll have to bully my husband (I know you’re reading this) into staying out when I have to go back indoors, since it’s hard for me to write when he’s around, when anyone else is around actually, but if I don’t make this a working vacation I’ll be bored for most of the week.

I’m in the process of trying to decide what I’ll work on. Part of me says I should stick with my WIP — my fantasy trilogy. Another part of me says nope, need a break from that one. Right now I’m listening to the latter. I’m leaning towards a ghost story that’s been percolating in my head for a while. I plotted it out and have part of a synopsis. I also have written several scenes as they’ve come to me on and off for months. It has a younger protagonist but I’m not sure yet if I would call it YA.

If not that story then there is another which has tried to work its way to the front of the line for a while I could do. It’s a female vigilante story with not one ounce of fantasy or science fiction in it. Years ago I wrote about three-quarters of a suspense novel (that I will finish someday) and I’ve done several flash fiction length short stories not genre based but normally I stick with magic, dragons, quests, good & evil. Branching out into something more mainstream is a little scary. This one is more of a thriller and scares me at times, but it will be written. I’ve also plotted this one out, but I’m not happy with the end of the second act going into the third. Maybe I’ll figure it out during my trip.

I can’t guarantee I’ll want to work on either book so my backup plan is flash fiction — about anything that inspires me. I will be working on my classwork as well so I don’t know how often I’ll be posting on the blog while I’m out of town.

Photography: I do plan to take ridiculous amounts of pictures on the drive so maybe I’ll over post those. Living in an area renowned for being flat, I can’t really pass up the opportunity to take photos in different locations. Mountains, ocean, beach sunsets, forests and hills for crying out loud! We always pass by hundreds of abandoned barns along our route and I want to get closer to a few. My in-laws live in the middle of a forest and we’re going to their house during the second week of our trip so there will be some opportunities there. I’ve heard a bear hanging out near their yard so most of my pictures will be from inside the house once we get there! My husband promised to take me to some interesting locations around the area too so I can’t wait.

Reading: It’s all about Shannara. After watching the first look sneak peek video of the new TV show The Chronicles of Shannara, which almost made me cry, I decided a reread of the novels was necessary. I skipped The Sword of Shannara, because it’s terrible, and opened The Elfstones of Shannara. This is probably the tenth reread so I know what I’m doing. I then read the third book of the trilogy and have started book one of the quad set three hundred years later. I’ll be honest, after a while each trilogy that follows is basically the same story with new characters but I love them anyway. There is always something new or different and it’s a good old-fashioned fantasy adventure, coming of age, good vs. evil, magic tale. I truly hope the new TV series makes it at least through the second set of books.

I downloaded the first book of The Outlander series and Half a King by Joe Abercrombe on my tablet for vacation. Maybe I’ll write some reviews soon.

For the next ten days or so I’ll spend more time organizing and packing than anything else. I have to make up some freezer meals for the rest of the family since they aren’t going with us on vacation. They can fend for themselves but I’d rather they eat more than ramen and chili while I’m gone. Catching up on laundry is a thing (when isn’t it?), and locating things like beach towels not seen in a year and my good travel first aid kit are priorities. I want to squeeze in some writing but don’t know if I can. I might be posting some flash this week. I’m almost finished revising one of the five I wrote recently.

This is random but I tried new Oreo Thins and I might have found my new addiction!

Sidenote: WordPress tells me I’ve used too many passive sentences but since this post is three times the length I meant for it to be I’m leaving it alone!

Writing & Personal Update

Writing: I finished the five flash fiction stories I’ve been working on. They need some editing but the words are finally out of my head! This was both a win and a fail but in the end not really a fail. Confused? It’s a win because I set out to write the five pieces following the How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck course. I did this. It’s a fail because each story was supposed to be under 500 words and only one of them was.

I decided this wasn’t really a fail because most of the stories are fantasy. While I am capable of writing a 500 word fantasy piece, when I have I haven’t been as happy with them. For me fantasy needs more words. On four of the stories I stayed under a thousand words but on one of them I ended up with 1034. I haven’t edited it yet but I think I can get it down to 1000 or less.

Another one, the last one I wrote came in at 573. It needs some minor fixing but I don’t believe I’ll be able to get it under 500 and still make sense. I’m okay with this.

What I’m walking away with is a great way to make myself come up with ideas. I will probably use the method again but only through the first part: idea generation and writing the first part of each story. After that I’m letting my muse do what it wants. I felt a little restricted by not letting myself finish a story until I’d written all the middles. In defense of the course though, I did get the stories completed. I can’t stay it didn’t work. However, there is nothing wrong with me modifying the tool to suit me better.

Mainly I’m thrilled I wrote any flash at all, it’s been so long. I was also happy when I ended up writing a couple of things that aren’t really in my wheelhouse. The first one is only barely fantasy. Another one, while from the perspective of a horse, isn’t really fantasy at all. I wrote three that amused me. Only my husband has read them so far and he said they are funny. He swears he’s not just being nice. After I finish editing I plan on posting at least one of the humorous ones and one of the more serious ones. I’m undecided on which at this point.

Honestly, it’s been so long since I wrote flash when I started this thing I didn’t expect to end up with five stories I really liked. I would have been content with two or three. I don’t know if I should be patting myself on the back or thanking my muse for the bonus (and begging for more).

Also on the subject of writing I hope to do some more catching up on my big class this week. I’ll finish one lesson today and start the next. I don’t know how long it will take for that one. I am trying my hardest not to rush through. I’m super glad I’m not as behind as I was.

Personal: Physical therapy was a bust. That’s not entirely accurate. I definitely “strengthened my core.” I can’t complain about that. Unfortunately it couldn’t do much for the real problem with my back. Someone finally called from my doctor’s office and all they had to say was I’m being referred to a neurosurgeon. Since I’ve watched my mother go through four back surgeries and I’ve got almost exactly the same issues I knew exactly what that meant. 😦

I also go to a pain doctor next week. My brother’s fiance’ gave me a graphic explanation of what it feels like to get injections in the back. All I can say to that is…well I try not to curse too much so never mind. At least I know a little of what to expect though. If I’m lucky they can do something for me before I go on a very long (30 hours one way) road trip next month.

On the plus side I’ll have many photo opportunities along the way. I can’t do the actual driving for long periods of time so I will have time to work on writing in the car too.

Well that’s all for now. I’ll post one of the new stories soon!

Update

I have almost completed five flash fiction stories. I’m writing them using a method I am unaccustomed to so it’s taking longer than I normally would. I’m not sure how I feel about this approach but I’m determined to stick with it for at least these five pieces. It’s from a free flash fiction course called How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck.

The process is to write them a piece at a time, as in write the beginning of each, then the middle of each, then the endings. Seems straightforward enough and since I write flash fiction from beginning to end I figured this would work for me. It does, however I don’t think I’ll do any other stories this way.

The problem for me is once I’ve written the beginning of one, I want to keep going until I’m finished with the entire story. Stopping after a couple of paragraphs is hard if I already know what I want for the ending.

The good thing about this method is when I started it I had no idea what I would be writing about. I came up with my five ideas, carefully following the listed steps. I wrote the beginnings and for two of the pieces I had no idea where they were going so I stuck to the plan and eventually came up with and wrote the middles of each. For the first three I desperately wanted to get on with it as quickly as possible. I knew what I wanted to write and the drive to do so was strong. But, the last two were a mystery to me so I didn’t veer off course.

I’ll be working on the endings today. The three I know what to do with will be easy and completed. The others I simply do not know. I believe they will be good in the end but trying to keep five different stories in my head while slowly putting them to paper is making it difficult.

I think from now on I need to work on one at a time. Coming up with several ideas at once and writing down notes on them is all well and good but working on all five a bit a time isn’t for me. It was a great way to come up with five completely different stories because I had to write all the ideas on one page. If one was too similar to another I took one out and came up with something new. In that respect I’m glad I did this. A couple of these new stories will probably be posted soon. The others I’m saving for a different project.

As for my WIP, I have done some work on it as well. I had an awesome ‘what if’ moment a couple of days ago and I’m going with the new idea. Lucky for me I won’t have to change much of what I’ve already written. I will have to add a prologue (probably) but I’m okay with it. Basically someone who was super important and absolutely couldn’t die is going to do just that. My main characters and their friends won’t know it until the end of book one. Their entire goal is to stop the soon to be dead person from escaping her prison and destroying the world. My muse decided this character wasn’t the ‘ultimate big bad.’ Now my poor ensemble cast has no clue who or what they are contending with. I fought against it a bit but I see how it’s a good thing now. Thanks muse!

Reading update: I am rereading The Aurian Saga. It’s not well-known, nor particularly popular but I love it. It’s a four book series and I’m on the last one. They have their flaws but are still favorites. These are novels I’ve reread so often it’s time to replace them. Pages are trying to fall out. The cover of one is mostly destroyed, which really ticked me off but probably happened in a move so I calmed down. The spines are in bad shape and one has a mystery spill on it. I want to be mad about that but I’m the only one in my family that touches these books so whatever is on it (tea maybe) is my fault. I read the first three novels in a couple of days. It was pretty easy because I was sick and in bed for most of two days.

I feel much better today so I’m determined to do more than just read. My plan is to finish the flash fiction or at least three of them. I also want to keep working on catching up on the big class I’m taking. I have physical therapy today so I probably won’t want to move very much by the time I get home but sitting at the computer doesn’t require a whole lot of range of motion. I’ll be miserable but I’ll try to work through it. I think the therapy is helping but I’m a big baby when it comes to pain so it’s hard for me to say if I’m in less pain than when I started it.

Writing this post was a nice warm up so I’m off to write some fiction!


Oh and I thought about doing Camp Nanowrimo this month but due to a human glitch I can’t see official notifications in my region’s nano Facebook group (the people in this region never look at the nano website). Hopefully this will be fixed by November because even though I think I shouldn’t, I probably will do Nanowrimo at that time. For now I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add something else on top of all the other things I have to do anyway. Are any of you doing camp this month?


Guilty Pleasures

There is one thing I despise above all others: crying. Yet I found myself watching “surprise” videos on YouTube this morning, bawling like a baby each time the surprised person/people cried. I do this on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of my weird guilty pleasures. While emptying my full trashcan of Kleenex I started thinking about other guilty pleasures, and since I need to write, I made a list. I don’t actually feel guilty about most of these, but some I think are strange and some I don’t do around anyone else.

  1. Obviously the surprise videos. It can be anything from announcements to proposals, to military homecomings. If someone is going to cry happy tears, I’m there.
  2. Reality competition shows. Not all of them, but I will watch any singing contest (minus America’s Got Talent) and I love So You Think You Can Dance. I do not watch Dancing With The Stars. I do like Project Runway (because I can’t do that stuff), some seasons of Survivor and Faceoff is a new love. I’ll confess to watching America’s Next Top Model occasionally but the super doses of drama always drive me away at some point. I was really into Hell’s Kitchen but not so much anymore, but Masterchef is required watching. Top Chef can go either way for me. I do not watch the Bachelor or Bachelorette. The Biggest Loser makes me cry so it’s on the list. I do not watch lifestyle reality shows or whatever you would call the Kardashian nonsense. I have been known to temporarily get addicted to American Pickers and whatever the gold rush thing in Alaska is called in August when we visit my husband’s parents in New Jersey every year, since his dad watching that stuff.
  3. I have a new appreciation for Canadian sci-fi shows. Luckily I have Netflix to feed this emerging addiction. If you haven’t seen Continuum you’re missing out.
  4. Easy Cheese. I know, but I can’t help myself. Also Oscar Meyer Ham & Cheese loaf lunch meat.
  5. 80’s music. Not all of it, and not very often but I love to sing along (when no one is around) and I already know all the words to every song from that decade anyway, so I might as well enjoy it.
  6. I like weird cute socks.
  7. Candy. Specifically Pixy Stix, Smarties, Lemon Drops, Lemonheads and cherry Twizzlers.
  8. Old X-men, Thundercats, Danny Phantom and Sailor Moon cartoons.
  9. The Fifth Element. I watch this a couple of times a year.
  10. Starship Troopers. I have no explanation for this. Also Dirty Dancing, even though it’s not an action movie.
  11. Catchy songs that will remain unnamed. I DO have a reputation to maintain! Lucky for me I have teenage daughters who I occasionally give control of the radio to. It’s not really my fault if I accidentally learn the words to the stuff they listen to over and over.
  12. Chips. I’m seriously trying to get over this one but I don’t want to! I gave up smoking, giving up chips is ten times harder! Plus chicken strips. This will be the last unhealthy food I give up.
  13. Snyder of Hanover’s Salted Caramel pretzel pieces, and English Breakfast hot tea.
  14. Mints, most flavors. This probably stems from the quitting smoking thing.
  15. Cracked.com. No one can read/watch just one. Same with Buzzfeed.com.
  16. Lootcrate.
  17. Online games, specifically World of Warcraft.
  18. Buying office supplies. I can never have too many pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Especially pens!
  19. I will admit to marathoning Buffy, Charmed, Smallville (surprised me too), Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, All the Stargate shows, Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Arrow, Chuck, Continuum, Highlander, Alias, Firefly, Grimm, John Doe (so before it’s time!), All Star Treks, and occasionally Hercules and Xena. If you consider that I’m a fantasy writer, this is all research! I can neither confirm nor deny owning most of these.
  20. My last and best guilty pleasure is rereading certain Fantasy series every year. In no way do I feel guilty about this though. Certain books are meant to be cherished and enjoyed forever. Nothing heavy allowed on my reread list. I don’t do Lord of the Rings, but I do read Harry Potter every year. No literary fiction but Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey and Brandon Sanderson make the cut, plus many more. I read fast so the list is necessarily long.

What about you? Any guilty pleasure you want to share? I’m sure I’ve left some off the list.

Writing/Organizing Update

I cleaned off my a third of my desk. Kindly accept this was a monumental task and be proud of me. I have this awful habit of making piles of paper, spirals, notebooks, etc. I also have an unfortunate tendency to want everything I might need easy to see and reach. This makes for a full, confused and jumbled work area.

I have an L-shaped desk with a four-foot table added, making a comfy U-shaped nest to write in. As I look around, and I see three pen holders (each different and holding many writing utensils), three pairs of scissors, a stapler, battery operated pencil sharpener (that sucks), lens and screen cleaner, a random fingernail polish (I rarely use), lip balm, two separate containers holding paper flags, Aleve, liquid paper (both liquid and the strip kind), a flashlight, cough drops, candy, two types of tea, several types of sticky notes, many notebooks, notepads and spirals, a timer, two glasses cases (only one has  glasses in it), paper clips, and a tray that is meant for drawer organization (no drawers on my glass desk, what a mistake!). I am only mentioning the most obvious things.

I left out the three shelves on one wall, the bookcase behind me and the rolling cart with ten small drawers in it. I have plenty of places to put away almost all the above list. I will put it all up at some point but I will hate it. I despise the clutter but some part of me must need it because every time I ‘organize’ the desk, the stuff piles back up. The problem is my need to have it all ON the desk. It’s ridiculous.

So today is going to be an organizing day. As stated previously, I managed to clean off part of the nest, but that was the easy part since it was the table and where I do every bit of hand writing and where I do worksheets for my writing class. Next I’ll tackle the part of the desk that has my monitor on it. Did you hear the groan? It will not be fun, but most of the items there can and should go in drawers. I can be pretty forgetful (possibly the root of this issue) so I will have to label the drawers, but I have chalkboard stickers so no problem. The drawers are black so it might even look cute, except my horrid handwriting! I will simply have to bully myself into actually placing the items into the drawers.

The other third of the desk isn’t too bad of a problem. It holds my laptop, a mouse for it and mouse pad, a coffee mug full of Pixy Stix, a small container of Smarties, a box of colored index cards (that have a home and just need to be put up), a stack of spirals, legal pads and a magazine, and a coaster. The paper products need to go to their respective homes (wherever that ends up being) and everything else stays.

You might think that I should get rid of a lot of this stuff, but that is not something I’m ready for. As you probably figured out, I’m somewhat of a pack rat. The idea of throwing out perfectly useable office supplies (shudder) is unthinkable! Maybe someday I’ll get to that point, but not today. Thankfully, my desk and dresser (also full of office paraphernalia) are the only areas I have major chaos issues with.

So, what does this have to do with a writing update? I’m distracted by the clutter. If it goes away, hopefully I’ll get more writing done. I have written but not as much as I would like. I’m almost caught up on my class. I would be already but I’m spending a lot of time on one lesson because it’s about my main characters and I’m learning a lot about them I didn’t know before, or knew but hadn’t put into words. I think that is an acceptable reason to be a little behind.

I feel like I’ve started my story over in a way. I haven’t lost a lot of material because most of what I’ve written is in the beginning and middle of the story and still useable. I need to add more than take away. I lost some scenes toward the end but I wasn’t happy with them anyway so it didn’t make me sad. I plan to heavily revise the opening scene, adding more description and changing a couple of minor characters. I also have to fix the fight part because it’s too telly and needs to be more showy. I need to convey how badly injured my main character gets in this altercation.

If you read this blog often you’ve seen that I managed to write some flash fiction. Yay me! Hopefully I can do some more soon, on a clean desk!

Random photography update: It’s going well and I’m learning a lot. I’m going to get out a couple of times this week and try to get some non-nature photos.

I’m off to organize. If you don’t hear from me for a while, I probably got swallowed up by my nest of I’m in the corner crying about losing office junk. I’ll be back eventually.

Books I Should Have Already Read – Hounded by Kevin Hearne

I bought Hounded, book one of The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne some time last year based on the blurb. I’m not really into Urban Fantasy (at least not often) but something in the description pulled at me. I didn’t begin reading it right away for two reasons. One: at the same time I bought book three of another series I was really into. Two: Nanowrimo.

Sometime after that crazy November I picked it up again, turned to chapter one, read the first few lines and my heart sank. First person. My least favorite type of novel. I put the book down until last month. I shouldn’t have touched it at that point, since I was in the middle of another book I promised to review.

Denying Hounded was impossible. It was on the top of my ‘books I should have already read’ pile staring at me. Somehow I knew it would be good and I would be able to get past the POV thing. Everywhere I turned someone was posting on social media about how great it was. Kevin Hearne was tempting me into reader infidelity and I succumbed. Click here for that tale.

I’m truly glad I did. It’s funny, there is adventure, danger, craziness, a talking dog and magic. How could I not love it? It held my attention firmly, unlike some other books I keep trying to finish (pardon the snark). I finished it in two days and was angry at myself for it because I hadn’t already purchased the next book.

I want this review is spoiler free so the details will be a bit sparse.

Pros:

  • Almost all the characters are interesting.
  • The mix of the modern world and the distant past is intriguing.
  • The dialogue is fun.
  • The main character can be an arrogant ass but it works for him.
  • Also the main character is a ginger, but I’m biased.

Cons:

  • I didn’t really care for the antagonist.
  • You really must read the pronunciation guide.
  • Not a lot of depth.

Personally I’d give it 4 and a half stars based on the type of story it is, I don’t only want to read super complex novels. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, easy read then you’ll love this book.

DSC_0034


I apologize for this review being so late, as it should have been posted by the end of April. I’m not committing to a specific book for this month in case I want to switch in the middle again. I will manage to get the next review out on time though.

I Committed Reader Infidelity

Okay, I admit it. I cheated on a book. I didn’t mean for it to happen, I resisted for as long as I could. I was reading the novel I meant to review this month, The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One by Joe Abercrombie, but another kept catching my eye.

Joe’s book is good, but I was having a bit of trouble getting through it. It’s on the grim side. So was the book from last month, and the one before. That was the problem. Too much of the same thing wears thin, eventually. It got to the point where I was plodding through instead of enjoying myself.

Not helping matters, book one of The Iron Druid Chronicles — Hounded by Kevin Hearne was sitting on the shelf, metaphorically showing me leg. I don’t even know what made me do it, hell I don’t normally like first person narrative! There was just something about the book I couldn’t resist. So I gave in to temptation and read it.

At first I felt guilty putting Joe Abercrombie to the side, but not for long. The first line of Kevin Hearne’s book took away all remorse. Before long I didn’t consider it an indiscretion, it was more of a needed separation. Plus I loved Hounded so much, I am unable to regret reading it. The review will be posted soon.

Now I can go back to Joe with a more open mind and lighter heart. Sure I’ll be reading grim stuff again but it won’t feel like I’m reading the same old, same old anymore. I can give him my undivided attention and the appreciation he needs.

Oh look, Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law is sitting on the shelf winking at me.


Sidenote: I will be buying the rest of the novels in The Iron Druid Chronicles, so there might be more posts like this forthcoming.

Books I Should Have Already Read – The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

This month’s book is The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham. I’ll start with the good. The prologue was amazing. It pulled me in quickly and didn’t let me go. The last line got me super excited about the book. The world in this novel is fascinating. It is set after the fall of the dragons, which I certainly want to know more about! There are many races of humans and a lot of political intrigue. The settings are vivid and clear. The book is bursting with potential.

Unfortunately I don’t feel like that potential was realized. Five hundred fifty-five pages is too long for a prologue, which is what the entire book came across as. It seemed more to hint at the plot than reveal it. I understand that this is merely book one of four, but I wanted more. Instead of making me desperately want to read book two, it made me disappointed that I wasn’t as drawn in as I should have been.

There were several things that caused this. First and foremost, I didn’t like most of the characters and I should have. I couldn’t really relate. I apologize for the vagueness that will follow but I want this review to be spoiler free.

  • Cithrin – Orphan, ward of the bank. I had trouble seeing any depth in this character, although I hope that changes in the next book. It sounds horrible to say but I find that I want something terrible to happen to her so that she’s forced to evolve.
  • Marcus – Ex-military type with a sad past. I don’t dislike this guy but I didn’t love him either. He’s a little too broody and always seems to be right, even if he doesn’t always act on it. In short he’s the most predictable character of them all and I could be wrong but I think I’m supposed to like him best at this point
  • Geder – I felt sorry for this guy, until I didn’t. This is the guy that gets used by everyone, all the time, even when he thinks he’s in control. There was no real growth. However, there were hints of it for the rest of the books.
  • Dawson – The only things I can really tell you about him is that I like one of his sons and his wife, and he’s kind of an elitist jerk, but means well.
  • The Apostate – Seems good, at least wants to be good. He’s pretty interesting.

This is about all I have to say about the characters because I don’t know them better, and I wish I did. I suspect they will each become utterly fascinating, as I’ve heard the story picks up in the next two books but I want to be intrigued now.

I want to go back to some back-story here. There are a lot of different races in this world, although they all started from firstbloods, aka human. They were changed by the long dead dragons. I would describe them for you here, but I can’t. There was little description and nothing really stood out to me. I feel like this is a missed opportunity. I would love to know more about each race. Why were they changed? How? When? Was each race considered a success?

Another thing I want to know is what happened to the dragons. This is also something only hinted at, which is good in this case. I do hope to learn more though.

Earlier I mentioned political intrigue. The Dragon’s Path has plenty of that. The only problem is I didn’t care who came out on top. From all the scenes dealing with that, the only thing that stood out to me was a creepy banker guy. Now that is one character that is well written. He’s meant to be mysterious and scary and he is!

Overall I thought the book dragged on a bit. It wasn’t uninteresting, but it wasn’t compelling.

Does this review seem a little all over the place? That’s how the book was for me, so it seems appropriate. I guess this boils down to a question. Will I buy the next book and see if the story picks up? Probably. I am curious to see what happens. Book two will help me decide if I’m curious enough to see how it ends. I would give it 3 out of 5 stars.

In all fairness we need a little disclosure here. I am more into books with a lot of action, epic battles, magic, and emotional intensity. Since this is a series, it could end up with all of those things. I’ll let you know.


Next month’s book will be: Joe Abercrombie – The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One


For the full list of books I intend to read and review for this series, and my reasons for wanting to, click here.


Don’t forget to like my new Facebook page. Thanks!

Sidenote: I’m sorry for this review being so late. I hope to have the next one ready for the middle of next month. However my priority needs to be on my own writing so I’ll also apologize in advance if the next one is late too!

One more sidenote: I bought The Dragon’s Path used from Amazon early last year but didn’t get to read it until this month. To my surprise and disgust, when I started reading it, in the first 25 pages, every time the word blood appeared (about 10 times), the previous owner literally covered the word with what looked like blood. GROSS!

Only Important To Me Update

I recently got three new bookshelves. As I’m sure most of you will understand, this only partially fixed the problem. I will still have to double stack but I won’t have to have two rows and two columns on every shelf (only half of them). Knowing myself well, I can tell you this post will not be accurate after six months or so. There are worse vices.