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I keep referencing this list, but hadn't posted it anywhere, though I have posted pieces of it as I add them. Because of [profile] abenn's encouragement, I am posting it now and will keep it at the top of my LJ for future reference.

Suggestions always welcome, by the way.

Life To Do List )
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(
Originally posted at carlamlee.com.
)

Pursuant to my goal to blog (somewhat) more regularly, I have decided to start doing a monthly review post, in which I plan to (briefly) discuss the highs and lows of that month.

Writing

High: Sarah and I sent The Talking Dead to first readers, and we're looking forward to feedback. We figured out what was wrong with Monsters & Music and redid the outline.

Also, Sarah left on her trip, and Intern immediately promoted himself from Intern to Manager. This is hilarious.

Low: Because of her wedding trip, we haven't managed to do a ton of writing on Monsters & Music, despite being eager to do so.

Reading

High: Sarah gave me UK versions of three books by Jaclyn Moriarty: Feeling Sorry for Celia, Finding Cassie Crazy (aka The Year of Secret Assignments), and Becoming Bindy Mackenzie (aka The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie and aka The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie). Awhile ago, we were talking about whether it was possible to write engaging, detailed, and entertaining books all in correspondence, and these were Sarah's examples. I read all three during the wedding trip.

I've actually read the second one before, as The Year of Secret Assignments, and liked it well enough, but it was a lot more enjoyable reading it in order. (I didn't even know it was part of a series.) Feeling Sorry for Celia is definitely the strongest of the books, and Becoming Bindy Mackenzie is at times unbelievably ridiculous, but I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in different ways.

I then picked up the fourth book, Dreaming of Amelia (aka The Ghosts of Ashbury High), as an ebook to read while traveling home.

Low: Though I really enjoyed the series (I've not quite finished book four), I am frustrated and exhausted by the use of "crazy" as a pejorative, especially in book four, which contains dangerous crazy people with their being crazy and therefore dangerous and hacking people to bits because they are crazy. Fuck that noise.

Wrestling

High: The Elimination Chamber PPV was AWESOME. So much love for the Usos (who are my favorites and who deserve to be tag team champions) and the Shield. Plus, this was my first time watching wrestling in person with anyone else (Sarah, Craig, and I caught up on the regular episodes prior to the PPV, and of course watched the PPV together). We went to a public viewing of it, and it was amazing to be in a crowd of wrestling fans all cheering on the show.

Low: Punk still has not returned. Woe. The Usos didn't win the tag team belts. Woe. But really, not really any low points this month.

Social

High: Best part, of course, was getting to spend time in person with Sarah and Craig. We haven't been in the same place at the same time since 2005, and this trip was even better. This time, Jake went with me, and so they all met for the first time, and got along really well. That was a delight.

There were many amazing parts to the trip and hanging out with them, but one of the best was that they took me to see Meat Loaf. I love Meat Loaf, and have never seen him life, and this was a pretty intimate venue with music and storytelling, and it was lovely.

Low: Saying good-bye to Sarah and Craig. We have to do another holiday together sooner rather than later.
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(Originally posted at carlamlee.com.)


Oh yeah, 2014 is definitely a busy year. Of course, February brings some excitement, because Sarah's getting married next week here in the U.S. It will be the first time we've been in the same place since 2005, which is far too long between visits. Good thing we got a lot of work done before she headed out, because we likely won't get a lot done until March.

Writing Projects February 2014 )
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Originally posted at carlamlee.com.)


Apparently, I've been forgetting to crosspost. The other one I post-dated was Project List, January 2014.

Pursuant to my goal to blog (somewhat) more regularly, I have decided to start doing a monthly review post, in which I plan to (briefly) discuss the highs and lows of that month.

Awesome and useful high: It’s awards season, and some authors I love are posting information about which books of theirs are eligible for which awards. I find this incredibly useful, because I want to nominate, but don’t always know what is and is not eligible off the top of my head.

Here are some links:

Karen Healey’s When We Wake is eligible for The Sir Julius Vogel Awards, The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, and The Hugo Awards – Best Novel.

Seanan McGuire has a lot of eligible works for 2013. I love her Incryptid series more than I can say.

Monthly Review, January 2014 )
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Last project list of 2013. This year has simultaneously gone by terribly quickly and amazingly slow. It's been a strange, difficult year, and one of the best parts of it has been all the writing Sarah and I have been able to do. I'm so grateful for the writing, and for her friendship, and for the technology that allows us to so easily work together from separate countries.

My current active projects include:

Project List, December 2013 )
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Because of my kind prompting, Sarah has blogged about her top three favorite "old school" young adult series from her youth: Young Adult: Old School by Sarah Canfield. In response, I am doing my top three five (I couldn't stop at three) beloved young adult authors who are currently publishing books.

Tamora Pierce



Tamora Pierce is an author of young adult swords and sorcery fantasy absolutely full of amazing, smart, funny, creative, angry, determined, strong, gentle, fabulous female characters. (I could go on with the list of descriptors, but you get what I'm saying.) I've been reading her since I was young, starting with her Song of the Lioness quartet, but my absolute favorite of all her series is the Protector of the Small quartet.

The quartet follows the first known girl trying for her shield in more than a century, Kel, who has no magic (unlike the heroes of most of the other series), but is determined to win her shield and become a knight. Kel is amazing. She is protective and smart and determined, she works hard physically and mentally, she wants things to be fair, she pushes for change in a society that is often unjust -- she is my hero. I love Kel so, so much, and of all the stories Tammy Pierce has told that I have enjoyed (and there have been a lot), Kel's story is my absolute favorite.

Karen Healey



Karen Healey is an author of young adult novels and short stories in different genres. Her latest, When We Wake is a sci-fi Sleeping Beauty story, and it is fantastic, as is the forthcoming sequel, While We Run, but my absolute favorite of her books is The Shattering.

If you want to find out who murdered your brother, come with me.

Summerton is perfect. A town in the isolated and stunning West Coast region of New Zealand, it is blessed with gorgeous weather and hordes of tourists.

But Keri is immune to her hometown’s charms. Her older brother has just killed himself, without warning or explanation, and left Keri shattered with grief and too many unanswered questions. So when her childhood friend Janna and tourist Sione offer answers, Keri is keen to listen.

Janna and Sione’s own older brothers died in suspicious circumstances. Sunny Summerton has dark secrets. And as they investigate, the answers to their questions become more bizarre. Shattering the secrecy of Summerton may open the trio to dangers they never knew were possible.

Can they save Summerton’s next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?


Keri, one of the main characters of The Shattering, is the character of my heart. I love Keri and all that she is, obsessive and anxious and athletic and driven and just all over fantastic. It's a great story, filled with memorable and amazing characters, and I really, really love it. All of Karen's work is terrific, but this one is my favorite. I love the diversity of Karen's characters, and I strongly relate to Keri.

(Karen and I are friends, we're part of the same writing group, and The Shattering is dedicated to me, but I swear, I wouldn't list her in my top three young adult authors if I didn't absolutely love her work.)

Julie Anne Peters



Julie Anne Peters is the author of young adult contemporary novels mostly with QUILTBAG characters and stories. My favorite is Keeping You a Secret, but her characters always capture my heart. I love reading about character with whom I can relate, characters who are like my friends and me in different ways.

First time I saw her was in the mirror on my locker door. I'd kicked my swim gear onto the bottom shelf and was reaching to the top for my calc book when she opened her locker across the hall. She had a streaked blond ponytail dangling out the back of her baseball cap.... We slammed our lockers in unison and turned. Her eyes met mine. "Hi," she said, smiling. My stomach fluttered. "Hi," I answered automatically. She was new. Had to be. I would've noticed her. She sauntered away, but not before I caught a glimpse of her T-shirt. It said: IMRU? Am I what?


Love the characters and the romance in Keeping You a Secret so much.

Mayra Lazara Dole



Mayra Lazara Dole is the author of Latino/Hispanic/Mexican young adult and children's novels. My favorite is Down to the Bone.

What if you don't follow the rules and it radically alters the course of your life?

What if you get kicked out of the house and lose all your friends and everyone you love?

Will you turn the corner into a world filled with unusual friends and create a new kind of family or self-destruct?


Down to the Bone has so many things I love: queer characters, characters of color, created family, snarky girls, and romance I can relate to. It does have some biphobia and transphobia that I wish wasn't there, but I still love the story and reread it often and give it as gifts to my friends.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes



Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the author of young adult novels in a number of genres, but my favorites are her Raised by Wolves series about a human girl raised by werewolves. Raised by Wolves, Trial by Fire, and Taken by Storm are some of my favorite werewolf stories, ever, and I wish there was more to this series. Pack politics, awesome characters, werewolves who are fantastic and heartbreaking and wonderful -- such a great set of books.

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.


I also really enjoy her The Squad series (Perfect Cover and Killer Spirit), a set of books about cheerleader spies that is full of awesome, fun adventures. (I like to call it D.E.B.S. plus cheerleading, but sadly minus the awesome queer characters.)

Bayport High operates like any other high school - jocks at the top, outsiders at the bottom, and everyone else in between. Bayport's varsity cheer squad is made up of the hottest of the hot. But this A-list is dangerous in more ways than one. The Squad is actually a cover for the most highly trained group of underage government operatives the United States has ever assembled.


So there you have it, five young adult authors whose stories I love.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
(Cross-posted to CarlaMLee.com and SarahCanfield.net.)


What was your first exposure to horror?



Carla: Dirty.

Sarah: Dirty Dancing?  Truly horrific?

Carla: I hate you. My first horror movie was The Howling. I don’t remember how old I was, but I was under 10, I think. I spent part of every summer on the road with my dad, who was a long-haul trucker, and one night at a truck stop, I saw The Howling in the trucker’s lounge. It was amazing, and I have loved werewolves and horror ever since.

(We were never allowed to watch horror growing up, mostly because just the sound of horror movies scared my mom. I used to read a lot of horror, though. Dracula was the first horror book I remember reading.)

Sarah: The first horror movie I saw was Gremlins.  I was probably about six at the time, and we lived in an old farmhouse and none of the carpets fitted right.  Mine bulged in weird places, and I spent at least a year convinced that gremlins were hatching under there (slow hatching, admittedly, but damnit, they were coming for me!) … it just occurs to me that we can probably trace my insomnia back to that time.

Carla: Ouch, that sucks.

Sarah: Fuck that, insomnia is a life saver when it comes to Freddy Krueger.

Carla: I’ve never been so glad that sleep and I broke up.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
(Cross posted from carlamlee.com and sarahcanfield.net.)

Admin note: Sarah posted this to her blog, and I thought it would make an excellent guest post. Plus she's far more clever and hilarious than me.

Writing Process: Outline, Guest Post by Sarah Canfield



So, a bit of backstory on who I am, who Carla is, and things like that.

Carla and I met online back in the days when everyone had a GeoCities site, and those sites were divided into districts, depending on the topic of your site – for example, hers was in Hollywood because it was about a movie.  Her nephew/our intern/bossy guy who keeps us from slacking off is actually the same age as our friendship (referred to as Intern).

I sent her a gushing email telling her she was awesome and I was going to stalk her until we were best friends, and I can’t remember exactly what she said in return, but it was very friendly and encouraging.  Then we bumped into each other on a mailing list.  She seemed pleased to see me, despite the threat of stalkage.  Since then we’ve followed each other to various places online (due to my stalking her to LiveJournal, I met my soon-to-be-hubby, but that’s another story).  We started co-writing back in 2001, and despite our very obvious differences (she’s American, she’s all about threatening atmosphere, delicious description and a ruthless addiction to plotting and outlines; I’m English, and into dialogue, strange characters, and a slap-dash approach to writing, which is basically: type something, see where it takes you), we seemed to click writing-wise.  Even back then, if you ignore the English/US spellings, it’s actually hard to see who wrote which chapter.

Carla has worked her tail off trying to get me to be a more functional writer.  After thirteen years, we’re at the point where she has got me as addicted to outlines as she is.

Our writing process for the outline is this:

  • Open a new doc in GoogleDrive.

  • Argue over what to call it.

  • Wait patiently while I format the document to my liking.

  • Waste ten minutes while I whine that “keep with next” is not an option in GoogleDrive.

  • Briefly outline that A plot, B plot and, if necessary, C plot.  Waste 60 minute coming up with wrestling metaphors for our plots/discuss the merits of Paul Heyman.  Get side-tracked for a further 30 minutes by either complaining about how Cena is booked, or speculating on what will happen next with The Shield (the wrestling stable, not the TV show).

  • Decide on POV characters.

  • Type the words “Chapter One”.  Then bold them.

  • Discuss wrestling until one of us reminds the other that we’re supposed to be writing.  This goes a lot faster if Intern is in the background, he will then set his timer for 30 minutes and want to know how many words/chapters we’ve done during this time.

  • Get chapter one done in a flurry of activity.  Until one of us mentions the wrestling.

  • Speculate on which wrestlers might not be opposed to being in the movie of our book.  Which we are currently not outlining.

  • Get stuck on chapter two or three.  Bitch about it.  A lot.

  • Revise chapter one, until two and three behave.

  • Suddenly get excited over the book, and outline 15 chapters.

  • Realise Character X has a different motivation.  Amend previous chapters accordingly.  Put notes in previous book outlines that this will require tweaking.

  • Sit back, all satisfied and check Ringside Confessions.  Discuss the contents from every conceivable angle.  Once more fangirl over the sheer presence and charisma of Paul Heyman.

  • Repeat as necessary.


I love the outlining process.  I get the same amount of satisfaction on a completed outline as I do on a completed book.

Carla and I are trying something new at the moment.  We are trying to outline an entire series (the UK horror series) before working on the books.  Books 1 and 2 are already written, but need revising drastically, given that we wrote them as stand-alones separately (Book 1 is mine, Book 2 is hers), before deciding they could work in the same universe.  With that in mind, we started outlining the whole series, so we couldn’t be blind-sided by later plots that develop that we didn’t see coming and should have seen – and more importantly, should have foreshadowed.  It’s an awesome process watching our world come together.

As an update on my last post, we have now finished the outline for Book 3, and have started 4.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
Life has been good, but busy. New dog, my beloved Izzy; new furniture, my beloved red leather sectional; new kitchen supplies, including a gorgeous dishware set; and lots of work and writing. Clearly, I'm not going to be able to always post this on the same day of the month, but I'll aim for the 15th and get as close as I can.

Project List August 2013 )

Sarah has finally convinced me to start watching WWE. Her reasons: (1) one of our projects is inspired by pro wrestling and I probably need to have a better understanding of it (True); and (2) the Usos are hot (VERY VERY TRUE). (To be fair, Craig was the one who actually decided the Usos would be able to tempt me into watching, and he was correct.) They watch all the pay-per-views, and the past couple, we've watched the free pre-show together over Skype. It's a lot of fun. I still find a lot of it super cheesy, but in an entertaining way. And I love analyzing the storylines and trying to break down why they're doing what they're doing. (The writing project side of watching.) But as Sarah has been pointing out for years, it's actually pretty shocking that I didn't watch it sooner, because I love big guys hitting each other. Unf.

Despite being seriously sick today, life is pretty good.
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I've updated my Life To Do list: Dreamwidth | Livejournal. It has some new goals as well as a few things I've finished since the last time I updated it. Biggest thing completed recently is getting a dog, of course.

Suggestions always welcome.

Adopting Izzy was the best decision in the world. When I come home from work, we cuddle, because she's missed me so much, and then we play fetch until she's worn out. Then she sleeps against me while I work (either more legal work or writing). We're still working on the housebreaking issue, but she's still the most delightful dog ever.

Unexpectedly, Kitty and the Underworld, Carrie Vaughn's latest Kitty Norville book, showed up today. I wasn't expecting it to arrive so soon, I'd gone to the office thinking a package of cleaning supplies had shown up, but instead, a book I really want to read. Alas, I need to get through this week before I do so. (Yes, yes, I know, book buying ban, but I made an exception for one of my favorite werewolf series.)

Finally bought living room furniture. Pictures of that later.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
Friday, I picked up my first grocery order. It's a little bit of a pain to drive to the store, but being able to order online and just pick it up when I get there was more than worth it. (If I can work out a way to be at home during the delivery hours, I may switch to delivery, but until they have weekend delivery hours, that's probably not going to happen.) I hate grocery shopping SO MUCH that a little extra money and drive time is more than worth not having to do it myself.

Niece H, my youngest niece (at the moment) had her fourth birthday party Saturday afternoon in Columbia, so I happily rearranged my normal Saturday schedule. Izzy and I went out for our walk at 4 a.m., and then Sarah and I had a few hours of writing time (we're working on our second novel, because the first one is with our first readers right now) before I had to take Iz to the vet. (Nothing was wrong, I just had to establish treatment with a vet per the adoption agreement.) She did really well with all the people, and absolutely charmed the staff. Vet started talking about how smart she is approximately thirty seconds after meeting her, and agreed that obedience training and then therapy training would be a good idea. I'm going to have to set aside some money for private obedience classes, because Iz still cannot stand other dogs.

I cleaned up the kitchen a little in preparation for cooking this week (originally, I planned to do it Sunday, but plans changed), and then Iz and I hit the road for Columbia, which is about two hours away. I love road trips, Iz loves road trips, it's a good combination. We found the park pretty easily, and Iz had her first experience at a park. She loved it -- until other people showed up walking their dogs. Oh, Iz.

Still, I was more worried about how she would do with Niece H, who is the first kid she's spent time with. (Nephew C, my oldest nephew, is a teen, and is the closest person to a kid she's met so far.) She did great with Niece H, who absolutely adored petting her and booping her on the nose. Iz also loved all the adults, and she was pretty good about not begging for food. (She doesn't get people food because it made her sick the one time we tried.) (Well, no, she does get peanut butter and Vet said I need to feed her some eggs, because she's underweight, but most people food is off limits.) I hadn't seen my youngest brother, Thomas, his girlfriend, Sarah, or Niece H since Christmas, so it was great to see them, meet some of their friends, and see their new place. Niece H was SO EXCITED that we showed up (Kris and Neal also drove up from Springfield), and we had a blast. Thomas grilled delicious burgers and hot dogs, and Youngest Niece picked out an adorable sugary ice cream cake. (I skipped that part, but it looked awesome. I'm not a huge fan of white cake or ice cream cake.) There was a unicorn piñata, and Niece H had a great time trying to break it. In the end, Thomas had to hit it, and he decapitated it, but still didn't break it open, so they ended up tearing it apart to get to the candy. I died laughing, and am so glad I recorded it, because it is adorable.

Kris and Neal came back to Kansas City with me, we dropped Iz off at home, and then went to iHop for a late dinner and a lot of talking. I haven't gotten to see them as much as we'd planned this summer, because Neal ended up getting this awesome job doing exactly what he wants to do, which is fantastic, but definitely cut into their trips up here. We had a great time hanging out, came home and talked more, and finally crashed in the wee hours of the morning.

Kris joined me on Iz's morning walk, I had a super short call with Sarah, and then we headed out to Bob Evans for brunch. The food was good, but the service was horrible; at one point, we were left for nearly a half an hour without being checked on, no drink refills, nothing. It ended up being really disappointing.

We showed Neal Lilo & Stitch for the first time (how MY brother-in-law managed to go this long without me forcing him to watch it, I have no idea), and he seemed to like it. He certainly laughed a lot. We grabbed bbq for dinner out at my favorite cheap and cheerful bbq joint, Rosedale BBQ (which I just learned has online ordering, SCORE), and then grabbed dessert from Culvers.

Back home, Kris and I did some SECRET PROJECT planning (more on this soon), and then we apparently taught Iz to play, finally, specifically to play fetch with one of her squeaky toys. She played again tonight when I got home from work, and I'm so thrilled. We have fun together.

After they left, I did some work, took Iz out for her nightly walk, and then we cuddled and read for awhile.

Tonight, I'm cooking and moving stuff around for my furniture delivery this week. Finally I'll have my gorgeous red leather sectional. I'm super excited, and will post pictures once it's here. I think Izzy will like it, too; she loves cuddling up against me while I work, and she can't do that right now unless we're at Jake's. I think we might have played too hard earlier, because Iz is sort of drooping around. I'll take her for a short walk right before bed, and let her relax quite a bit while I cook and clean.

(Right now I have apples baking and they smell delicious.)
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So, last Thursday, an unplanned, but completely adored roommate moved in with me.

Pictures )

This is Izzy, dizzy Izzy because she runs in circles a lot. She's a three year old beagle and Australian cattle dog mix, and she is the sweetest, most cuddly, delightful dog ever. Which is good, because she's a rescue, and has separation anxiety and hasn't quite been house broken yet and isn't really sure what to think about other dogs. Mostly, I'm pretty sure she thinks they're going to attack me and she needs to protect me, which isn't true. She likes almost all people she meets, though there have been one or two where she reacts like she does to dogs, loudly and straining to get at them.

(Her belief that dogs are out to get us probably wasn't helped when a bulldog attacked us Sunday night as we were coming home. His owner didn't have him on a leash, just loosely held his collar while he was talking to some friends outside the apartment building. I took Izzy in a door on the other side, because I was carrying some bags from the weekend and didn't want to deal with it. That freaking bulldog not only broke away from his owner and came all the way over to that door, but he pushed it back open as it closed and attacked on the stairs. I really love bulldogs, but if I could have gotten to him without falling, I probably would have drop kicked him down the stairs. His owner was apologetic, all "oh, he's so fast," which yeah, but dude, PUT HIM ON A FUCKING LEASH. No damage to Iz, thankfully.)

Despite the house breaking issues, Izzy is really, really smart, though she doesn't know how to play. We're working on that too. Her separation anxiety is getting better, too; when I got up in the middle of the night last night to go to the bathroom, she actually stayed in bed instead of following me.

Getting her was seriously the best decision I've made in years. Already I feel steadier and more balanced and healthier mentally (and physically, from all the walking, I guess). She's a dear, and I love her. Everyone else who's met her does too, particularly Oldest Nephew. (In fact, he gave me such a guilt trip when I left on Sunday, obviously bringing Izzy with me. First he gave me all these reasons I should leave her with him for the week, including that with her ears he could teach her to fly, then he was heartbroken that I won't be down next weekend, and finally he gave me this sad look and said, "Fine, take away my best friend." OUCH, Oldest Nephew. OUCH. He's thirteen and ridiculously fun and such a cool dude.)

I won't be getting back my pet deposit, but she's totally worth it. We'll get this whole training thing worked out.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
I am absolutely delighted to find Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Netflix. I used to love this show, particularly when I lived somewhere I didn't have much of a local queer community. Some of the episodes still really touch my heart; there's this one with a guy who wants to propose, and they really set up a fantastic night for him and his girlfriend, and he was precious, and he tried so hard, and I was just delighted. I love the combo of this and Clean House. (I also love that I really don't need cable television. Yay streaming shows.)

This weekend was really super productive. Saturday, like I said, Sarah and I finished our current edit of Woods. We're now working on the final few scenes we decided it needed, and I'm doing one more polish edit this week, and then the goal is to send it to first readers Sunday or Monday. I am surprisingly nervous about this; it's been such a long time since I finished anything and sent it off to be workshopped. (I mean, besides legal writing. I'm fab at taking criticism of legal writing, mostly because of all the time I spent having my creative writing critiqued.)

Then Sunday, we finished the outline of our second project, Horror on Holiday, and split up the scenes so we can start writing it. We've given ourselves a fairly tight goal to get it finished (not as fast as we wrote Woods, which was in less than four weeks, but still pretty fast), with the caveat that if either of us feel too pressured, we will push back our goal date. (My sister, Kris, pulled Sarah in to help keep me from working myself into another breakdown, and Sarah is taking this responsibility very seriously. You should be super proud of her and Craig, Kris.) We also started the outline of our third project, which requires some serious, complicated, complex worldbuilding. I never expected to be writing something like this, despite the fact that the initial spark of an idea came from my idea file, but I am very excited.

I also did a lot of home organizing this weekend, craft and art supplies, dvds, and books. I have definitely put a restriction on buying new books until I read some of the ones I have sitting around on my To Read Bookcases. I now also have a pile of dvds that need to be watched.

Finally, I cooked an amazing roast in the crockpot last night, and a chicken casserole that has tortillas and peppers and cheese and salsa verde and corn and all sorts of deliciousness. I took some for lunch today, and it was fantastic. Didn't get to try the roast until dinner, but it was also amazing. (A little too salty for my taste, but most things are, and I think that may be the soup base used in it. Next time I'll try to find a low sodium version and see if that helps. I hate the taste of salt.) Kris put together a meal plan for me awhile back, as part of her work as my personal assistant this summer, and I appreciate all the time and effort she put into so much. I love not having to think about it, just grab the shopping list for the week, shop one day, cook the next. It makes life so much easier.

I updated my 2013 reading list yesterday, and I really need to make a book post soon. I have read some awesome books and short stories lately, and I want to share them with you all.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
I have been trying to post more regularly, though it is hit or miss.

Last weekend, Jake came up to spend the weekend with me. It was the first time he's stayed in my new (but not actually new) place. Usually, if we spend the weekend together, it's down at his house, because Dad's down there and Jake's siblings and Oldest Nephew and our friends and often Kris and Neal are in town. Plus the Hawaiian restaurant we love (Island Style) is nearby. We've been hitting it up for great food, excellent company (the family that owns it has basically adopted us all, and they are delightful), and karaoke. Occasionally, I even sing, though mostly I just record and cheer on the others. (Oldest Nephew is freaking amazing. None of us had any idea he could sing like that.)

Anyway, Jake came up here. Sarah and I had a Skype session and writing time scheduled, as we almost always do on Saturdays, and while we worked, he organized my apartment for me. It was AWESOME. He sorted out the boxes, put away the ones I want to keep, took the rest out to be picked up, moved stuff around, set up my kitchen, including my new blender, repotted plants, but in new daylight LED bulbs where I read and write, helped me unload my car -- all in all, just made the apartment cozier. Plus awhile back, Kris picked up a bunch of art supplies and storage for me, and I finally sorted everything into the boxes and have all that set up. I still haven't purchased my living room seating, but the apartment is coming together nicely.

One of the things he did was move these two small bookcases I have. I was using one for my Get Rid Of Somehow Books. Now I'm starting to fill that one a second time, and the other one is being used as my To Read bookcase. I, uh, have more books to read than I thought. There was a point in time when I'd read every book I owned. Not anymore. I need to put some sort of limit on my book buying until I read some of them. At least the physical copies.

I'm up to more than 100 days of consecutive writing. I've also given up soda, and have replaced the fizzy drink with sparkling mineral water (sometimes mixed with flavored tea).

Apart from the organizing and writing, we had some good meals, bought a ton of groceries for me, and went to see Pacific Rim at my new favorite theater. (It has a bar! And red leather recliners! And is generally AWESOME.) I enjoyed the movie a lot, actually, though I would have rather it not been such a white guy movie. I wish some of the characters had been swapped out for men and women of color. It was a fun summer blockbuster full of explosions and pretty monsters and I absolutely loved both Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi. Charlie Hunnam was fun too, though he was fairly Jax-like to me in the role.

I have managed to do some reading lately, and I should do a post in the near future over books I've read and really enjoyed, because there have been quite a few.

Today I had a Skype session with Sarah, during which we finished our current edit of Woods. Now we each have a few more scenes to write, and I am still working on some of the description. It's almost ready to go out to first readers, though. Exciting. Tomorrow we're going to have another call. We may finish the outline for our next project then, so we can get started on writing something new soon. I then finished organizing art supplies, did some more sorting of books, and am sitting down to do more writing. I was going to cook a roast later, using a Kris recipe, but I'm still full from brunch (biscuits and gravy for the win!) and will probably just eat some fruit later. Tomorrow I'll make a roast, though. And some sort of chicken casserole thing.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
I've been thinking about what sort of goals I would like to set in 2014 (after pretty much failing to set any for 2013 because of how awful the end of 2012 was, but also after stumbling onto some goals as the year has progressed; for example, I've written for more than 100 consecutive days, and apparently I've given up soda, and now I'm working on the whole vitamin intake), and one of those things is attending conventions. I'm just not sure which ones.

So I turn to you, delightful people, for recommendations. I've only ever been to three (Wiscon a few years, Writercon once, and some local gaming conventions for one of my jobs at the time), but I'd like to do more.

Wiscon is absolutely on my list for 2014, though that's a hard time of year for me to travel, and I'm not sure how it will work out. I hope it does, though, because I loved Wiscon the times I went, and some of my favorite people are usually there, and I'd love to meet more people.

Other than that, I have no idea.

Dragon Con and SDCC are out of the picture for 2014. They are just too big for me. Someday, I want to attend each of them (in different years), but 2013 has been hard enough that I'm not going to risk pushing my people anxiety by trying to attend one of those two.

Recommendations? Thoughts? What are your favorite conventions?
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire and my love of her monthly "Current Project" posts, I have decided to start doing my own again, this time on or around the 15th of the month (with the hopes that seeing her posts will remind me to do mine).

Project List July 2013 )