Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Writing

What I’m Reading (38)

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, it’s Wednesday again already. Awesome. Welcome back to me talking about my reading for the last week…which is probably not going to be the most exciting post, because I don’t think that I have a whole lot to talk about.

What I do want to talk about first is all the lovely people who made comments on my NaNoWriMo update from a few days ago. Thank you all so much for caring and encouraging me. I’ve been away from creative writing for a little longer than I would like to admit, and it was so great to have so many of you help motivate me. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

At the time this post goes live, I will just be getting off work, and then I have to go home and pack up all of my writing gear so I can go to Panera for a local write-in.

But first let’s talk about the little bit I have read in the last week. Well, I have read about another 20 pages of Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. And then I managed to get to around the 200 page mark with Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Mansicalco.

For right now, I don’t think I’m going to make plans for books I want to start in the next week. I still have some NaNoWriMo writing to catch up on, and I think these books are going to occupy me for a little bit longer.

How is your week going? Let me know in the comments. I will be back soon with more bookish content.

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Books!, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Signal Boost, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2018 Update 1

Hey all, Dani here.

So am I just going to keep doing NaNoWriMo posts on Sundays? Well, yes, I suppose I am. They may not always be 500+ word posts, because obviously it is November and I need to be focusing my words on my novel, but I also need the accountability of talking about my progress.

Today is the fourth day of November, which means that going by the NaNoWriMo goal of writing 1,667 words per day, I should be at a total of 6,668 words by the end of the day. But since this post will be going up in the morning, to be on track so far this month, I need to be at 5,001 words right now.

Let’s talk about how I’ve done so far this month with my writing.

Day 1 – November 1 – Well, I woke up at 4:30 am to get ready for work, and then I worked from 5:30 am until 4:00 pm. Oh, and it rained all day. It has actually been raining for most of the last few days. Did I mention that rain has a tendency to make me sleepy? So by the time I got home, made dinner, and then settled down to write, I was pretty darn tired. I think I wrote a grand total of 142 words. So, not the best start to NaNoWriMo, but not the worst either.

Day 2 – November 2 – I woke up at 7:00 am, because I get 3 day weekends every week, so Friday is not a work day. Oh, yeah, and the continued rain let me sleep for pretty much 8 hours, which doesn’t happen all that often. I’m still looking for my story notebook. It has my list of the scenes I need to write to finally finish one of my books, and I decided to work on that before focusing on my new writing project. But after cleaning the apartment yesterday, not everything is where I remember it. So yeah, I need to find this notebook so I can get writing.

End of day update…still no luck finding the notebook. Oh, and there was that five hour chunk of time where we went to our local nerd store to run our bi-weekly D&D sessions.

Day 3 – November 3 – Woke up around 6:30 am today. Still no notebook, but there is blog prep work to do, so let’s get to writing some of those. If only I could count blog words towards my monthly total. My November Calendar Girls post is well over 1000 words. Sadly I can’t do that.

The other bi-weekly D&D session we are in is today, and one of our fellow players likes to come over two hours before the session begins. So, he’s here at like 10:30 am. He and one other player stay after the session to just talk and stuff too. They don’t leave until 8:30 pm. That is a huge chunk of my day gone, especially since the sessions are supposed to be from noon to maybe 5:30/6:00 pm.

Still no actual novel writing accomplished. Three days in and I have 142 words. This is really starting to suck. I think this may be my worst start for NaNoWriMo…and this is my 13th year doing it.

Day 4 – November 4 – Again, I wake up at 6:30 am. Well the clock says 6:30, but we just did the whole Daylight Savings thing, so the clocks fell back an hour at like 2:00 am, so really, my body feels like it is 7:30 am.

For the record, my Calendar Girls post stands currently at 1355 words. Yeah, that is almost what I would need for one day’s worth of writing.

Okay, we went to my mom’s house and I managed to find a backup notebook with my outline so I think I can finally get into writing. I have a lot of catching up to do. It’s time to get writing.

Books!, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo Midpoint Check-in

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow…we are seriously already halfway through the month of July. Time is just flying by and I don’t know that I like it that much.

Anyway, today I’m here to give a little insight as to how my Camp NaNoWriMo experience is going so far. And by that, I mean, talk about how I have been in a writing slump for months now and sometimes it is hard to break out of that.

I’m just having issues focusing when I actually sit down to write…and it doesn’t matter if I’m sitting at a computer or just scribbling in a notebook. I may write a few sentences but then my mind wanders. Now I realize this seems silly when I’m clearly able to focus on reading, but each task is just a bit different. Plus, I suppose my reasoning is that I have a large stack of ARCs that I really should read and review before their release dates, whereas my writing can be put on the backburner.

That’s a horrible way to think of it considering how little writing I’ve managed the past couple years, but sadly that is just how things are working out for me at this point and time.

So basically I’ve maybe written a thousand words towards my original goal of 15,000. Now I’ve been farther behind than this during several sessions of NaNoWriMo and I still manage to reach the finish line just in time.

Perhaps I need to try moving ahead to a different scene or chapter and come back to the opening scene later. I know the basics of what I want to happen but the words just aren’t coming.

I will start another scene and see what happens. Hopefully I can get myself out of this no writing rut I’m in. Because I actually do want to write this story. Yes it is something that will be quite a bit different from my other stories, but sometimes change can be good.

If you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo right now, let me know how you’re doing in the comments. We have two more weeks left in this session, so there’s plenty of time to catch up and/or race towards our goals. Good luck everyone!

Books!, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017 Session

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow…that’s kind of a dull post title. I’ll just say that I’m saving my creative thoughts for my upcoming writing project. Right? That sounds reasonable.

Anyway, I am preparing for yet another session of this wonderful event. I really need to get back into a rhythm with my writing; I haven’t managed to accomplish much on that front this year and it makes me a bit sad.

But I think I have an idea for a story I want to write, and it’s actually a bit of a deviation from the normal stuff I come up with. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you may have realized that I really like fantasy and paranormal stories. Those are primarily what I write and I enjoy doing that.

However, the current story that is in my mind and my heart is a contemporary romance. I have no idea how well I’ll do with this, but I’m willing to give it my best shot. I really like the story and the characters that I’ve developed so far. This might partly be on account of this story being loosely based on real events.

I don’t want to say too much about it because I’m trying to see if I can actually write more if I don’t just tell everyone most everything about what I’m doing or plan to be doing. All I can say is that it will hopefully be a cute nerdy romance story. Plus a lot of my friends from Dungeons & Dragons have been gracious enough to let me use them and/or their characters as inspiration for characters in my novel. So that’s great.

So far I’ve managed to come up with a number of possible chapter titles, so that will make parts of the writing process easier. What I’m still missing is the novel title. For now I have it saved as ‘Untitled Nerd Romance,’ which is not an inspiring title at all…kind of like the title of this post. They let you know what the following text is about but they don’t really make you really want to dive into what follows.

Anyway, for those who aren’t aware, Camp NaNoWriMo is a branch of big sister event NaNoWriMo which takes place every November. Camp takes place twice a year, typically in April and July. But Camp takes a slightly different path than NaNo, making it a more flexible event.

For NaNoWriMo the challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Camp allows you to write and/or edit. And you aren’t bound to a set 50K word goal. No, you can set your goal for a word count of your choosing, or even a goal of so many hours of editing, or so many pages written if you’re working on a play, or even so many lines written if poetry is more your thing.

Also instead of being in regional groups you are placed in smaller cabins where you and up to 11 other writers will get to chat and support each other through the month. Your cabin mates can be randomly assigned based on age and/or genre criteria, or you can create a private cabin and invite your closest writer pals to join in.

I myself am a fan of the private cabin, but since many of my friends opt out of one or both Camp sessions, I often find myself with a few open slots. So, if you think Camp NaNoWriMo sounds interesting, or if you’re already signed up as a Camper and are looking for a cabin, I have some open bunks. Let me know a bit about you and your writing project in the comments (including your username) and I’ll send you an invitation to the cabin.

Let’s have a wonderful month of writing (or editing, if that’s your focus) in July. It’s going to be a fun time.

Books!, NaNoWriMo, Reading Challenge, Writing

April Update

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, I have been absolutely awful about writing up blog posts this month. I am so sorry. All I can say is that real life got in the way, but not in the normal “oh, something bad or sad happened and now I’m wallowing so I can’t do anything.” No, this time life interfered in the “I am completely blissfully happy and just enjoying living in the real world” kind of way.

Basically it all boils down to my new boyfriend. I have been spending a lot of time with him and doing nerdy things (D&D, board games, movie marathons, etc). It has been quite some time since I’ve dated, and this particular relationship is like no other one I’ve had before. I feel like I am living in a romance novel, and it’s wonderful.

So, I haven’t been reading as much as normal. I think I’ve read about two books or so this month, which is a somewhat low number for me, but due to changes in my work schedule, I think I’ll be able to increase that total by the time I write up my April Wrap-Up.

Speaking of changes in work schedule, my job has declared that Saturday, April 29th will be a mandatory work day. What sucks is that I had planned on participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon that day. I WILL still be reading, just not as much as I originally planned. The job I’m on right now gives me a decent amount of reading time. So you’ll still be able to follow my reading progress by following my Instagram, or you can wait until my Readathon Wrap Up post on Monday May 1.

I guess that also leads into the other activity for the month of April that I have majorly slacked on…Camp NaNoWriMo. My creative drive is coming back, and a lot of that really has to do with the boyfriend too. He inspires me, and listening to him talk about how he wants to try to get back into writing is really helping me want to sit down and write some more as well.

So, as of right now, my Camp NaNoWriMo word count is at roughly 5,000 words…out of my goal of 25,000 words. Clearly I’m a bit behind where I need to be since we’re in the final third of the month. But it will be okay. I was mainly using this month to try and wake up my creativity and that is certainly happening.

Basically I just need to figure out a new work/life/relationship balance. I will need to create a schedule for reading time, writing time, and of course boyfriend time. It will take a little bit of an adjustment, but I’ll get there. So, I thank you for your patience and understanding.

I am currently reading a couple of ARCs thanks to NetGalley, and should have those reviews up next week. For now I may be scaling back to one blog post a week, but whenever possible I’ll try to get a second post up.

I hope you all are having a lovely April. I’m going to get back to reading, at least until the boyfriend finishes with his gym time for the day.

Books!, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep

Hey all, Dani here.

I have seriously missed creative writing. I mean, I love reading and then writing up reviews or other bookish posts here on the blog, but I really enjoy writing novels. Sadly I have not been able to do much writing since NaNoWriMo ended last year. There has been a lot going on at home and I’m afraid the stress has been messing with my ability to put the right words down on the page.

That really needs to stop. So I am super glad that the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo is coming.

I’m also glad that I live in a great region, with writers who want to meet up throughout the year. So even though Camp NaNoWriMo is sort of NaNo lite, we still pretty much treat it the same. I still act like a Municipal Liaison, and I’ll plan prep sessions in the month leading up to NaNo/Camp and I’ll have write-ins and such throughout the actual month of the event.

This is basically where we’re at now. We are planning once a week meet ups for the next few weeks, so that should be quite helpful.

Oh, and I’ve decided to do something else different this time around. Normally I talk about which novel I’m working on and I’ll talk in vague specifics on characters, plot, etc. Not this time. I’m going to keep my writing project to myself. I mean, I’ll still give word count updates and general feelings towards my progress, but that’s it.

All I’ll really say is that it is a story I started a while ago, and I really loved working on it. The plot and the characters were so intriguing to me, and I rather enjoyed following their journeys. But I reached a part in the story–fairly close to the end–and the characters revealed details about themselves and their lives and relationships, that changed a number of earlier plot points.

So this session of Camp NaNoWriMo is partly rewriting and editing, and partly finishing the novel. I have my goal set for 25,000 words, which is half of the standard NaNo, but considering my writing dry spell, and what I actually need to get accomplished with this project, I feel good about my decision.

My goal for the time leading up to April is to read through everything I had written, take down notes on characters and plots, and be sure that I know exactly what I need to do for this upcoming Camp experience.

Okay, so for anyone who is feeling a little clueless in regards to this post…NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It was started in 1999, when it was held in July. The next year it was changed to November and it has continued to grow each year since. The basic idea for NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and I have found that surprisingly focusing on a daily goal of 1667 words can produce decent quality writing too.

I have participated in NaNoWriMo since 2006, and have been a Municipal Liaison in charge of a region since 2008. I can also proudly say that I was a founding donor for Camp NaNoWriMo.

Camp is a tiny bit different. There are two sessions held in April and July each year. Instead of regions, writers are placed into cabins which hold 12 people. Also, you can set your word count goal for the month. And there’s the fact that Camp even has criteria for editing: for each hour you spend editing, it equals 1000 words…so if you are at the editing phase of your current writing project, you can still totally participate.

At the moment I have six campers in my cabin. If you’d like to join in on the fun, head on over to the Camp website and create your writing project. Then just let me know your NaNo/Camp username, and I’ll send you an invite. I’d love to write with you.

Book Releases, Book Tag, Books!, Conventions, Cover Reveal, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Reading Challenge, Self-Published Books, Signal Boost, Writing

2017 Bookish Resolutions

Hey all, Dani here.

The tradition this time of year is to make a whole bunch of resolutions for your life, and with a large number of the resolutions we all only make it a couple weeks before we slack or just stop all together. That’s actually why I stopped making lifestyle resolutions like eating better, exercising more, or losing weight.

But making book related resolutions typically works out quite a bit better for me, so I’m just going to run through a few of those I’ve made for myself in 2017.

First up: reading. My initial goal is to read 75 books. I know this is an easily achievable goal, but I also know that if I manage to devour a lot of books quickly I can always increase my goal number. I’ve changed my goal the past several years. In 2016 my goal went from 75 to 100 to 130. More than that, though, I plan to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon in both April and October, because I really enjoyed my experience with the readathon in 2016.

Second: blogging. I will have at least one book related blog up each week. Right now I have several bonus posts figured out thanks to some of my egalleys and ARCs, but I am really going to work to make sure that I maintain my posting schedule.

Third: vlogging. I have been watching BookTube for a while now and have thought that is something I could do myself. I love talking about books with other people. This is going to be the most difficult resolution for me though, because I am so nervous about this. Taking pictures or video of myself has never felt natural or comfortable to me, but I’m going to work through those feelings. With a bit of repetition and practice, I’m sure I’ll start getting used to filming and editing videos. So I’m going to start…soon.

Fourth: writing. This is actually an area where I really did slack in 2016. I did write on a few different things, but I didn’t finish a project or release one to the world. This needs to stop. Writing needs to be a priority in my life too. So, I will get Project Death: Revelation finished and released in the next couple of months. Then I need to get my focus onto the third book in the series. I’d like to have both Revelation and Redemption out in 2017. I guess this is also the area where I mention that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, and NaNoWriMo in November.

Fifth: Bookstagram. I loved being an active part of the book community on Instagram in 2016, and I’d like to keep building on that. Book photography is actually pretty relaxing and fun. So in 2017 I’d like to keep building my account, participate in at least a few monthly photo challenges, and just enjoy connecting with all my new book friends.

Sixth: Conventions. For this year I plan to be at a brand new local author event being held by my public library in March. I also am really hoping to make it to BEA and/or BookCon this year. As always, I’ll be attending Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, where I’m looking forward to seeing which authors show up, because I usually come home with a nice haul. And for right now my only author appearance at a convention will be Cincinnati Comic Expo in September; Mousai Books will be teaming up with Colorworld Books and it should be a lot of fun.

Well, I think that’s it for my bookish resolutions. That’s quite a hefty list when you look at it all together. Thanks for being a part of the first year of this blog, and I look forward to talking about bookish and nerdy things with all of you throughout 2017. It’s going to be a great year.