Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Writing

Plans for the Rest of 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

I am making some plans for the remainder of 2018, and I really need your help to follow through with some of them…well, one in particular. So thanks for reading this post, and as a warning, it may get a little ramble-filled. We’ll see.

Anyway, my first planning category is obviously reading. My current Goodreads Reading Challenge goal is 100 books, but seeing as how I have finished 93 books already this year, I’m thinking I’ll need to increase this goal a little bit. I’m going to be a little conservative, and probably bump my goal up to 120 books.

Next up for my plans over the next few months is blogging, naturally. I’m doing pretty good with having my Wrap-Up/TBR post each month, as well as my Calendar Girls post each month, so those are definitely sticking around. I also plan to continue with my What I’m Reading posts each Wednesday. They are pretty easy to put together little by little through the week. Since I’m still reading quite a few volumes of manga, it is likely that I will be able to continue with my Manga Monday reviews (with the exception of the first Monday of each month, which is the Calendar Girls post day). What I hope to do is to also have one other post each week, whether that is a review or a book tag or something. Most likely reviews, because those are really starting to pile up on me.

Finally…here is the part where I need your help. Writing. I used to write all the time, working on drafting novels and then edit them, with the hope of publishing. I have been in a pretty big writer’s block for the past couple years, at least when it comes to creative writing. The truth is that I really miss writing. But now that I’ve spent so long not writing regularly, I’m struggling to get back into it. I just stare at my notebooks or my word document on my computer…and nothing happens.

So my plan is to spend the next six weeks trying to do some planning and preparation. Maybe some writing exercises to try to get used to creative writing again. Then, in November, I will participate in NaNoWriMo again. The last couple years I have still completed the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November, but a lot of it has been forcing out words that honestly end up being 90% garbage.

That’s where I need your help. I need people to keep me accountable for my writing. People who will bug me in comments here on the blog and/or on social media. I need people to ask how my writing is going, and to keep asking me.

What I’d like to do is to start writing this novel I’ve been dreaming of for a little over a year now. Ideally I would write at least 50,000 words in November and then keep writing in December and on until I finish the novel.

I’ll probably try to do a couple writing posts between now and the start of NaNoWriMo (with some more random writing posts throughout this writing process). One of those posts will likely be some vague chatter about this novel that I plan on writing with a reader survey included.

So, can you help me out, my lovely online book friends?

Thanks for reading, everyone, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish content.

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Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Sunshine Blogger Award (5)

Hey all, Dani here.

Once again, I feel so honored to have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This time my nomination comes from Finding French Charming, so thank you so much. Also, I haven’t really been doing any tags lately on my blog, as I’ve been trying to catch up on my reviews and all of that. I promise you that I do have around 10 or so tags to do at some point.

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As always, let’s start by quickly getting the rules of the tag/award out of the way.

The rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Display one of the Sunshine Blogger Award logos
  3. Nominate 11 (or however many you want) bloggers to receive the award and write 11 questions for them to answer

Now, moving on to the questions I was given to answer.

1. What movie would you consider closest to your own life story?

If you had asked me this question a year ago, I might have answered with The 40 Year Old Virgin, but now, I don’t know…I am failing at thinking of awesome nerdy romance type movies. Okay, this is sort of a cop out because it is technically a web-series, but I think more people should watch it, and the two seasons together are pretty much the length of a standard movie, so LARPs the Series. Go check it out.

2.  What accent do you find the sexiest when you hear someone speak?

Now why do you have to ask this question? Okay, so when I was around 5 years old I really loved the Cajun accent (blame Gambit. I loved the animated X-Men TV series when I was a kid). I am totally a sucker for an Irish or Scottish accent, as well as an Australian accent. Of course, a good ole’ Southern drawl is nice as well.

3.  What is the most attractive quality in a potential (or current) partner?  Examples: Humor, Romance, Intelligence, or a physical quality?

My fiance is a wonderful, caring, supportive, creative, goofy nerd. It was his creativity that snagged my interest initially, and then talking to him/texting him over the following weeks helped me get to know him, and it made me fall in love with him. Oh, and he’s really nice to cuddle up with on the couch while we watch shows or read (separate books) together.

4.  Go to beverage or comfort food after a hard day?

My go-to beverage is usually sweet tea, and my comfort food is absolutely macaroni and cheese…though I do have a soft spot for tacos as well.

5.  What is your favorite thing to spend money on, more than you should at times?

Is this supposed to be a trick question? –Books– Well, okay, I also spend a lot of money on D&D accessories.

6. Super Hero or Vampire?  Which would you be and why?

Superhero. Interesting costume, witty one-liners, and hopefully some sort of superpower…it all sounds pretty cool to me. Honestly the idea of living forever at the expense of drinking blood just doesn’t sound appealing to me.

7.  What movie could you watch 100 times?  Every time you come across it on TV you watch it even if you come in somewhere in the middle?

A League of Their Own, The Shawshank Redemption, LOTR/The Hobbit, pretty much any superhero movie… this list could probably go on for a while but I’ll stop now.

8.  What was the best “come back” line you’ve ever had?  (Ex. for me, I was fighting with a boyfriend and my friend asked if I had ever read “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”.  I replied “It won’t help, he’s from Uranus”)

I honestly can’t think of any good “come back” lines I’ve had right now.

9.  What is your signature scent?

I like beach/ocean scents or rain.

10.  What is one piece of advice you hand out the most?

I think most of the advice I give out has to do with book/movie/TV/game recommendations, or writing advice during NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo.

11.  What is the most bizarre gift you ever received?

Okay, so for my graduation party from grad school once I had earned my Master’s degree, one of my parents friends gave me a plastic baggie with a napkin and some money in it. The napkin had a note written on it that basically said that he thought about getting me a card, but then he figured I would have more use for the money, so he included an extra $3 to cover the cost of the card he didn’t get me. I thought it was a pretty nice gesture.


My nominees for this wonderful award are:

I am awful at doing these nominations you guys. I think all of you are great, and you should all be nominated, so if you are reading this, then consider yourself TAGGED!


Finally, my questions for you lovely people: I actually really enjoyed the questions I was asked, so I’m just going to repeat them.

1. What movie would you consider closest to your own life story?

2.  What accent do you find the sexiest when you hear someone speak?

3.  What is the most attractive quality in a potential (or current) partner?  Examples: Humor, Romance, Intelligence, or a physical quality?

4.  Go to beverage or comfort food after a hard day?

5.  What is your favorite thing to spend money on, more than you should at times?

6. Super Hero or Vampire?  Which would you be and why?

7.  What movie could you watch 100 times?  Every time you come across it on TV you watch it even if you come in somewhere in the middle?

8.  What was the best “come back” line you’ve ever had?  (Ex. for me, I was fighting with a boyfriend and my friend asked if I had ever read “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”.  I replied “It won’t help, he’s from Uranus”)

9.  What is your signature scent?

10.  What is one piece of advice you hand out the most?

11.  What is the most bizarre gift you ever received?


Well, that’s it for today, and I’ll be back soon (possibly tomorrow) with more bookish posts.

Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Bookshelf Tour

Hey all, Dani here.

I said I would be getting a library tour post up as soon as I had everything ready, and I’m nearly there. However, at the moment we have a lot of our office supply boxes and such sort of haphazardly placed all over the library.

So I went with the next best option…a bookshelf tour. Now, as soon as we get the room itself tidied up and I get some comfy reading seats in, I’ll have another post where I show off the overall library/office space. But for now I figured this would be better than nothing.

Let’s just jump into this.

Right now I have seven bookcases up in the library. This collection does not include my comics, graphic novels, or manga. When we get those all organized and up in a bookcase or something, I’ll be sure to show those off as well.

Bookcase #1

This first bookcase starts off my short hardcover collection. It goes from Ahdieh to Riordan, with everything in alphabetical order. I never used to like varying my shelves with some books horizontal, but I came to realize that it actually gives me a little more room, which is great when I don’t have the space to continuously add more bookcases.

Bookcase #2

This second bookcase finishes up my short hardcovers and then has all of my taller floppier paperbacks. I like these when it comes to epic fantasy reads because you don’t really break the binding as much while reading. The bottom couple of shelves on this particular bookcase hold a lot of my ARCs and then a number of the books I’ve picked up from authors at comic conventions. Honestly those last two shelves aren’t really in any particular order yet.

Bookcase #3

Now we are on to all of my mass market paperbacks. Obviously this bookcase holds more shelves than the others because the books are shorter. And this is the bookcase with the most free space, which is why that huge ream of printer paper is hanging out there. This bookcase is the one I’m most likely to condense when my tall hardcovers need more space to expand (which is pretty soon honestly).

Bookcase #4

Here we go with my tall hardcovers. Obviously right now I only actually have space for a few more of these before I end up needing more space for them.

Bookcase #5

The rest of my bookcases house my trade paperback or oddball paperback collection. Seriously, paperbacks come in like four different standard sizes, so if you’re trying to organize them by height, this is the area that will always mess with you. Anyway, for the most part these ones are my favorite types to read, just because they are fairly easy to haul around and not as heavy as hardcovers.

Bookcase #6

This particular bookcase houses my UK paperbacks of the Harry Potter series, as well as the UK paperbacks of Brandon Sanderson’s books. I love how the UK covers look for the Mistborn books as well as the Stormlight Archive (especially because they divide each book in the Stormlight Archive into two books–they are so much easier to carry around). That’s why I have the UK paperbacks for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series as well. I like the simple design on the cover and I think the format holds up really well for reading without breaking the binding.

Bookcase #7

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The final bookcase is the smaller sized Billy Bookcase from IKEA. Originally I was going to use it as a corner bookcase and do the setup that wraps your bookcases around the corner, but the spacing didn’t quite work in the library. Oh well. I still have the brackets so I can try again when we move into a house in the future. The top shelf of this one is set up to hold my Illustrated Harry Potter books, and then I also tossed some of my small hardcover geeky non-fiction books there as well. Then I finish off my trade paperback collection, and there is another shelf left over for me to expand the paperbacks just a little bit.

So there you have it, a look at the books I have in my library. Yes, I could have done like some BookTubers out there and rattled off every title and author for every book I have, but I really don’t think you guys want to read a list of every book I own. I think that would make for a boring blog post. That sort of thing only really works in a video.

I do believe that is all I have for you all today. I’m off to do some more reading (and some adulting–I need to do dishes…and maybe laundry). So hopefully I’ll have more reviews and such ready to go for next week.

Book Review, Books!, Diverse December, Inspiration, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Hey all, Dani here.

So the book I’m reviewing today is one I read back in December as part of Diverse December, and it was such a powerful read, especially as it is a true story. I was sold on the book based on the title, then the cover, and finally the summary. Because it is so easy to get me to read books if it is about libraries or bookstores, etc.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

As I mentioned before, the title of this book caught my interest, and the summary drew me in even more. I appreciate stories like this, and getting to learn more about some of the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust is something I consider to be important.

To read about Dita, who risked her life to protect just a few well used and battered books was nothing short of inspirational to me. It is also worthwhile to note that the author of this book actually had the opportunity to sit down with the real Dita and hear her tell her story, and to get details to help expand the story that he was writing. I appreciate that there was so much attention to detail, and I honestly feel like I am getting a story that is more like a biography in a partially fictional format.

Honestly the only reason I marked the rating down a little bit is because I think the book’s writing felt a bit distanced, but that is likely because it is a translated text. It is still a worthwhile read, and I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy historical reads as well as those who appreciate books about books.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Sunshine Blogger Award (4)

Hey all, Dani here.

I was also lucky enough to be tagged by the wonderful Claire over at Cup of Books for the Sunshine Blogger Award, so thank you so much to Claire for nominating me and giving some pretty great questions. Go over and check out her blog because she is awesome.

Anyway, you guys know the drill on this one, so I’m going to rattle off the rules pretty quickly and then just jump into the questions. Let’s do this.

sunshine-blogger-award-logo

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?
-Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
-Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

Claire’s Questions for Me

  1. What do you love most about blogging?
    What I love most about blogging is not only having an outlet for all of my bookish fangirling and thoughts, but also being able to talk about books with so many other awesome readers out there.
  2. What’s your story behind your blog name?
    I have answered this a few times before, and it is totally also available in my About page, but I named Mousai Books after the sorority Signy and I tried to start when we met in college. Mousai means muse, and though we were not successful in forming the group on campus, the bonds of sisterhood were solidified. It just felt right to honor that when coming up with this blog. Plus the muses are about the arts and creativity, and that just seems perfect for a book blog.
  3. What’s one of your favourite quotes?
    “Whatever you think you are, you are more than that.” — Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo
  4. Which book/series makes you happy?
    There are so many possible answers for this one. I guess I’ll go with the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.
  5. What distracts you most from reading?
    YouTube, blogging, TV, video games, my fiance…oh, and work definitely distracts me from reading, but it’s necessary so I can keep buying books.
  6. What five things are you grateful for?
    My fiance, my mom, books, D&D, and friends.
  7. Which author would you ask to write your biography?
    Umm….Felicia Day would be a good choice for a geeky biography of my life.
  8. What is your favourite sound?
    I love listening to rain fall on a tin roof.
  9. Which (if any) book series have you DNF’d?
    I don’t typically DNF books or series, but I definitely gave up on the Red Queen series about halfway through King’s Cage. And I guess I read Tempest by Julie Cross, but never read more in the series.
  10. Are there any movie adaptations you prefer more than the book?
    The Maze Runner movies. I only read the first book and I had to force my way through it because it just wasn’t holding my interest. But I enjoyed the movies.
  11. If your life, as it is up to this point, was made into a film what song would be playing during the end credits?
    I think the end credit songs would be “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, and “Shut Up and Raid” by The Library Bards.

My nominees:

In an effort to spread the love around, I’m going to name off some of my other book blogger friends that I don’t think I’ve tagged in a while.

Ashley B at Writer’s Lifestyle

Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts

Holly at Dressed to Read

Em at A Pretty Lil Book Blog

Dawlyn and Krista at Little Blind Book Finds

Jenna at J.K. I’m Exploring

Naty at Naty’s Bookshelf

Brittany at Perfectly Tolerable

YOU!

Now for my questions for all you lovely nominees:

  1. What book to movie adaptation are you most looking forward to seeing in 2018?
  2. What is your favorite childhood book/series?
  3. Do you prefer standalones, duologies, trilogies, or series?
  4. Is there a genre you’d like to try more of in 2018?
  5. If you had to pick a favorite literary quote, what would it be?
  6. Do you DNF books?
  7. What is your favorite type of food?
  8. Do you have a favorite season? Why?
  9. What is your dream job?
  10. What are you currently reading?
  11. Are you having a good start to 2018?

Well, that’s all for today. I’ll be back with more posts soon. I’m trying to spend a couple hours doing post prep today so I can have another full week of blogging.

Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Signal Boost

Sunshine Blogger Award (3)

Hey all, Dani here.

I feel so honored to have been selected for the Sunshine Blogger Award again, this time by Amanda over at Peaks and Pages. Honestly what is awesome about this tag is that you can do it multiple times because the questions change each time. Also, go check out Amanda’s blog because she is wonderful and has some awesome posts.

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What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
This award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?
-Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
-Answer 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
-Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your blog.

1. What were your favorite books growing up?

Oh man, that is a tough question. I read soooo many books when I was growing up, and I’m sad that I can’t remember them all because I didn’t have something like Goodreads to keep track of my reading progress. I wish I had filled a notebook with what I read, but I didn’t think about wanting a record of everything I’d read.

Anyway, I absolutely was obsessed with the Animorphs series, and I still own every single one of them. Obviously Harry Potter was a staple of my time in high school-college. There are probably so many more answers that I’m just not thinking of right now, so I’m going to stop with those.
2. Where is your favorite place to read?

I suppose right now my favorite place to read is on my couch, all curled up with a blanket, with a drink and maybe some snacks on the side table.
3. Which genres do you read the most?

Fantasy is still my favorite genre, though paranormal and sci-fi are also good. I guess lately I’ve also been reading more contemporary than I used to.
4. Who is your favorite author?

Y’all know I don’t like picking favorites. There are so many amazing authors I love. Just to name some of my faves: Rachel E. Kelly, Jim C. Hines, Brandon Sanderson, Richelle Mead, Morgan Rhodes, Adam Silvera, Renee Ahdieh…the list could go on and on.
5. What’s a trope or cliché that you’re tired of seeing?

I’m tired of seeing love triangles, which mostly seem to consist of one person who can’t decide which of two others they like. How about more books that focus on strong relationships that don’t have the drama of one possibly cheating on the other? You can find the excitement/drama in other aspects of the story.
6. Who is your OTP?

Hmm…most of the time I’m good with who characters choose to partner with in stories, but I guess I’ll say that I’ve always wished that Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood had ended up together.
7. What is your favorite book-to-screen adaptation?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I suppose is the one I’ll say for this question. You don’t get a better adaptation than one that was written and directed by the book’s author.
8. What is your reading beverage of choice?

I really like drinking a good sweet tea. Though a nice caramel cappuccino (hot or frappuccino) is also good.
9. What’s the most disappointing book you’ve read this year?

Well, this year just started, so I haven’t really had any disappointing reads yet, but the lowest rated reads for me so far have been Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking, and The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, both of which I gave 4 stars to, so by no means disappointing.
10. What is a sequel you’re highly anticipating?

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco, More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer, Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz, The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead, Access Restricted by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, The Towering Sky by Katharine McGee, and The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden, just to name a few.
11. What are some diverse books you’ve read and loved?

Why don’t you go check out my Diverse Reads recommendations post for the answer to that question. Of course, I can now absolutely add Love, Hate & Other Filters to that list.


My nominations

Okay, well now I’m supposed to nominate 11 people. Oh boy–I don’t think I’ll be able to rattle off that many right now. I guess here we go:


I guess that just leaves the 11 questions for me to ask you.

  1. What is a bookish goal you have for 2018?
  2. If you could have any 2018 ARC in your hands right now, what would you want most?
  3. What are your favorite kinds of posts to write?
  4. Do you plan out what posts you want to write in a particular week/month/etc or do you just write them up when you get an idea?
  5. How long have you been book blogging?
  6. How do you balance work/school/etc with reading and blogging?
  7. What is your favorite book to TV series adaptation?
  8. How often do you try and read?
  9. What is your reading and reviewing process like?
  10. I know it’s still really early in the year, but what has been your favorite read of 2018 so far?
  11. What are some books you want more people to read? (Give me your book recommendations!)

All right, well that’s all for today, and I’ll see you guys soon (hopefully) for another post.

Book Tag, Books!, Inspiration, Reading Challenge, Signal Boost

Name in Books Tag–Take Two

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, so about a month ago, I did this tag after seeing it over at my book blogger buddy Amber’s blog. And I had a rather fun time searching through my library to find the books to complete my name, choosing books that started with each letter in my name. Of course, this made me realize that I probably had enough books to at least do my name one more time.

After admitting that in a comment response to Amber, she actually did challenge me to do it again, so here we are now and I’m pleased to say that I was successful once more.

Well, okay, I gave myself an additional challenge and I didn’t quite succeed on that one, but I was very close. I wanted to see if I could spell my whole name using just books from my mass market paperback shelf.

So, anyway, let’s just jump into this.

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D: Dark Heir by Faith Hunter

A: Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby

N: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I: Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead

E: Eric by Terry Pratchett

L: (The) Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

L: Lost Soul by Adam Wright

E: Elephants in Our Bedroom by Michael Czyzniejewski

—–As you can see, I had to go with a couple different sized paperbacks.

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T: Thin Air by Rachel Caine

H: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

A: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

M: My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster

A: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

S: Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind

A: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet


This is my second/bonus time of doing this tag, and again, I had a fun time browsing through my bookshelves trying to find titles to match the letters of my name. I’m not going to tag anybody this time around, but if you’d like to try this, then by all means, consider yourself tagged.

And if I’m being honest, I think I could maybe do this tag one more time from the books I have in my library currently.

Anyway, have a lovely day everyone and I’ll have another post up again soon.

Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Readathon, Signal Boost, Writing

Goals for 2018

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, here we are, a whole week into the new year already, and I am just now getting a post up where I talk about my goals for the year. Normally I would have had the post up already, but with the schedule I had figured out a month or so ago, this was the best I could do.

Last year I had a similar post, but I called it my 2017 Bookish Resolutions. So it seems fitting that I just continue that trend and talk about things I want to continue doing or improve on over the next twelve months.

First up: Reading. Obviously this is a big and important part of my life each and every year, which is probably why I list it first. Typically I started my reading goal at 75 books, but the past few years I have always increased the goal a couple times or so after reaching it with months left in the year. I still think this is a very doable goal, and I look forward to sharing my reading experiences with all of you. And part of sticking to this goal will be doing readathons. Right now I am already doing the Manga Madness Readathon, which is happening this week. I also plan to keep an eye out for 24 Hour Readathons from both Zoe Herdt (@readbyzoe on Twitter and YouTube), and @24Hourathon on Twitter. Then, of course, there is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon in both April and October.

Second: Blogging. Another big part of my life the past couple of years is this blog. 2016 may not have been a super popular year for my blog, but I felt like I grew a lot in 2017 and I started posting a lot more and interacting even more than that. So I look forward to seeing what is to come in 2018. I’m working on creating a book tag, and I hope you will all enjoy that. Plus, I am continuing my weekly recommendation posts, and as always, throw out more suggestions for themes/topics/etc for these posts. Also, I have a nice backlog of book tags and other post ideas that I’m hoping to get to, so I’m hoping to continue having lots of nice content on here for all of you.

The third item on my list of goals is: Writing. This has been the hardest resolution or goal to stick to the past couple years. Yes, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo and continued to win, but I know I could and should be doing more. There is a book inside of me that I’ve been wanting to get out for the past year, so I’m honestly hoping I can get a decent draft of it finished in 2018. I’ll keep you guys posted on how I’m doing though. And honestly, a little motivation could help me out too. So, if you think about it randomly throughout the year, ask how the writing is going for me in the comments. I used to do some of my most regular writing back when I posted it online chapter by chapter using fictionpress. And it goes without saying, though I will say it now anyway, that I will definitely be participating in NaNoWriMo again this year.

Finally: Bookstagram. I only posted to Instagram a handful of times in 2017, and I feel really bad about that. Taking photos, particularly of books, is something I have enjoyed, so I need to try and get back into that again. Though, I suppose part of that would include bringing some of my Bookstagram photo props to my apartment instead of abandoning them at my mom’s house. I will start to post more on there; I promise. You can find me @danielle.thamasa on Instagram.

Okay, okay, so I guess technically I have a fifth category and that is goals for my non-bookish life. Because, let’s be honest, 2017 was a pretty good year for me away from this blog as well. My guy and I met, started dating, and moved in together. Now we are making more and more plans for the future, and it is kind of awesome. Right now we are definitely planning to attend all four days of Gen Con in August 2018, so that will be fun (it will also be my 30th birthday weekend so yay!), and we may even be going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this fall. We have to see if it will fit in the budget. So I am looking forward to a year of more board games, anime, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, and just cuddling up on the couch with my favorite guy.

I know there’s not a whole lot of concrete goals for this post. I’m not saying that I’m going to post a certain number of times each week, or that I’m going to write a certain number of words or for a certain length of time each day for my novels. I’ve been doing pretty good at having around 5 posts each week on the blog, but there could be times when work or life keep me from posting that much. At the very least I know that I will have a post or two up each week, but as much as possible I’m going to try and maintain my current posting schedule. Hopefully. And for my writing, I think it’s enough to say that I would like to have a whole draft finished for the book I’ve been wanting to write. It doesn’t set me up with a word count goal, but I still have a general idea of how much work I need to put in to achieve it.

What about you guys? What goals do you have for 2018? I would love to hear all about them in the comments, or even a link back to your own post (if you’ve already written one up).

Book Releases, Books!, Diverse December, Inspiration, Signal Boost, Writing

Guest Post: FADVERSITY – Diversity as a Genre by Hannah Carmack

Hey all, Dani here.

 

Okay so today I am excited to bring to you a guest post by an author I’ve been speaking with recently. I shall also have a review up for her newest release within the next week based on my currently scheduled posts.

But I’ll start off with giving you some details about Hannah’s book.

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In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.

But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

You can snag a copy of this book right now from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

And now I’m going to pass this post over to Hannah. Enjoy.


I’m going to open right away by saying these are some deep waters. In no world is a 300-500 word post going to cover the intricate details of the recent viralization of #ownvoice/Diverse Voices manuscripts. I’m coming at this simply as a debut-author publishing through a niche, #ownvoices dedicated press.

To say that navigating what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable in the genrefication of diversity is difficult is an understatement. From MSWL to Twitter Pitch Scandal, there’s no right way to talk about it. The only thing we can know for certain is although diversity shouldn’t be a fad, it is.

In a perfect world, diversity is just a way of life. Our world is diverse, so our fiction is. Currently, there is a push for more diverse book, which I think is good! More marginalized voices are being heard. I would have never found my publisher and gotten SEVEN-SIDED SPY published if not for the active search for LGBTQIA+ voices.

That said, there’s also anxiety in the publishing world that sometime soon diversity is going to go out of style. I was at a literary conference not too long ago. While there I was able to grab lunch with some fairly reputable authors, all of whom were talking about when the “vampire bubble” burst. You know, that sweet spot in literary history where the vampire boom from Twilight was finally over. A lot of authors, and readers rejoiced (As someone who loved Vampire’s Assistant I was –slightly- bummed). But, there’s no denying that for a while it seemed like you couldn’t pick up a YA book without a bloodsucker jumping out of the pages at you, and then just as sudden as it started, it was gone.

The conversation seemed normal, until everyone then transitioned into talking about “the diversity bubble.” In which case, all the wheels in my mind came to a screeching halt. I want to say that there will be no end to #ownvoices. That in this good perfect world our books will always be as diverse as our world. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think they were right.

“Trends” in literature come and go. For a while it was vampires, then it was zombies, currently, it feels like we’re in the ending days of dystopia, and soon we’ll be ushering in an era of #ownvoices. It’s no secret that one of these things is not like the other. Diversity shouldn’t be shelved alongside “dystopia” and “paranormal romance,” but it very well could be if we don’t keep speaking up and demanding our voices be heard.

The authors at that conference were right. We’re in a “diversity as a trend” bubble. Which has its pros –easier to find books featuring different races, religions, abilities, genders, ect, ect- and cons- trivialization of serious topics, problematic representation. It seems like the best thing we can do at the moment, is keep writing. Don’t shy away from your all-queer cast or your genderfluid track star or your coming of age about a girl with an ileostomy. Keep writing and keep reading books that speak to cultures that aren’t your own, the unconventional, the often shyed away from. There is a “trendification” of diversity going on. It’s up to readers and writers, to make sure it lasts even if this “bubble” bursts.


All right, Dani again. So tomorrow I’ll have two posts up: one on my underwhelming reads of 2017 and one for my top reads of 2017 (the July-December edition).

Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Writing

NaNoWriMo Update

Hey all, Dani here.

Perhaps this should be titled something more appropriate…like “I’m Completely Failing at NaNo This Year” or “How to Catch Up When You’re Behind.” Basically, I am really really behind on my word count this year.

To put this in perspective…I finally started working on my novel yesterday, so my word count is nothing too exciting.

In comparison, I have written 12,432 words on this blog so far this month. Oh, and that does not include the words written on today’s post.

Now, you may be wondering what my NaNoWriMo word count is. I’ll tell you, but you have been warned that it is low. My current word total is barely 1000 words. Yep, that’s right. I still haven’t even reached the goal for day one yet.

What that means is that I have a lot of catching up to do. But I know I can do it. I’ve been this far behind before, in several sessions of NaNo actually. In a majority of the last few years I have written 20-30K words in the final three or four days of the month. In my past 11 years of NaNo participation, I can honestly say that I have had several days where I wrote anywhere from 10-14K in a single day.

So, while catching up could be difficult, I also know that it is possible. I suppose what I mean this to highlight for any of you falling behind on your word count is that you are not alone, and you can still come out victorious by the end of the month.

Today I’m going to share just a few online writing tools that can help you increase your writing productivity.

First up: 750 words. This is a helpful site for year round writing. It technically has a site wide goal of writing 750 words each day, but I still find the reward system to be helpful for NaNo. Basically there is a scoring system based on bowling. For each day you achieve the goal of 750 words you earn a strike for the day, and for every day where you write something but don’t reach 750 words, you earn a spare. But more than that you can earn badges for writing several days in a row, for writing in the morning or the evening, for writing without stopping, and more. Sometimes working to earn badges can keep you motivated.

Next is for people who like positive reinforcement and rewards. Try Written? Kitten!  Don’t let the super simple site design scare you off. This can be a super helpful resource. Okay so you set a goal of 100, 200, 500, or 1000 words, and every time you hit that goal amount, you are rewarded with a picture of a cute little animal. The site has options for kittens, puppies, or bunnies, but there are also directions if you would like to choose a different animal.

Finally, for those of you who need that little jolt of panicked adrenaline if you stop writing, my favorite writing resource is Write or Die. I can’t even say how many words I’ve written because of this site. Actually, using this site was what started getting me in the habit of writing 10,000+ words in a day. I have purchased the desktop versions for the original Write or Die and Write or Die 2, and apparently Write or Die 3 is out now. But for the people who don’t want to pay like $10 for the desktop app, you can use the web version for free any time. Write or Die lets you set up either a time limit or a word goal, and also a grace period before any consequences begin. You can set it for annoying sounds, having your screen turn red, or even a mode that starts randomly deleting vowels (at least those were options with version 2). Write or Die 2 also saw the release for reward based writing instead of just consequence based, but I like that the negative reinforcement of the red screen or the nails on a chalkboard sound effects to keep me writing. Simply put, I don’t want to see or hear those things and so I just write and write and write until I’ve reached my goal.

So can I reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of November? Well there’s only one way to find out. I need to get a lot more writing in. So I’m off to put in a few sessions on Write or Die. Hopefully I can start catching up now that I’m finally ready to write.