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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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Bad mental health = bad writing month. Year. This is an ongoing thing I fight.

Current active projects include:

The UK Horror Series isn’t off this list because it’s complete, unfortunately, but because my cowriter needed to take a break.

Stand Alones
Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress.

Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural mystery. Werewolves, murders, and teen witches. Status: Outline in progress, first draft in progress.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Race the Drums
Young adult contemporary. Marching band can save a life, if he lets it.

Essays
Nothing currently in draft form, but I’m starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
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Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click the link, I receive a small benefit without any additional cost to you.


BOOKS

Still reading WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND by Robin Talley and just started TOUCHED by Michelle Sagara, which is the sequel to SILENCE, which I loved. (Review here.)

MOVIES

Had a mini-reunion with some of my law school bffs over the Fourth, and we went to see Magic Mike XXL. I haven't watched the first one, but XXL is ridiculous amounts of fun. Watching it brought more joy than any other movie I've watched this year, despite my love of the Marvel cinematic universe and Jurassic Park series. Surprised the hell out of me that it was one of the most body positive movies I've seen lately, too.

TELEVISION

Pretty Little Liars: I'm racing through season five. Each time I sit down, I plan to watch one episode during lunch, and then I end up watching two or three in a row. I don't even care where this story is going (well, more or less), I love the ride. The second half of the season has me filled with chosen family feelings. I love how those girls love each other and the people important to them. (Except for Ezra. Ezra can disappear any time.)

MUSIC

The road trip home from Chicago was basically All Covers All the Time because I found out J had never heard any of the "Radioactive" covers, so I played them, and then of course my second favorite song to be covered, "Bad Moon Rising." (My favorite is "Carol of the Bells" but I didn't have any on my device.)

Radioactive: Imagine Dragons, Pentatonix and Lindsey Stirling cover, and the Dirty Tees mix.

Bad Moon Rising: Mourning Ritual and Thea Gilmore.

GAMES

No time to play because of Chicago road trip + reunion, but we finally got the band back together for some Rock Band, so that was pretty epic.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
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Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click the link, I receive a small benefit without any additional cost to you.


silence cover


Book: SILENCE by Michelle Sagara
Genre: YA paranormal
Series: Queen of the Dead series book 1
USA Release Date: Currently available
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommended?: Highly recommended, particularly for people who love ghost stories, strong friendships, and human-shaped monsters.

Summary:
"It began in the graveyard... "

Ever since her boyfriend Nathan had died in a tragic accident, Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that's all it was. For Emma, life had stopped with Nathan's death. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there--Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death....

Emma was not quite like others teenagers. It was true that other girls had experienced grief. Other girls had also lost their fathers, or had their boyfriends die in a senseless accident. But though she hadn't known it till that night in the graveyard, unlike those other girls, she could see, touch, and speak with the dead. In fact, Emma could draw upon the essence of the dead to work magic. That was what Necromancers did. But Emma had no desire to be a Necromancer. She just wanted to help the ghosts who walked the streets of Toronto, unable to escape from the land of the living. And that was just as well, because had she chosen the path of the Necromancer, Eric would have had to kill her.

Instead, Eric and his fellow Necromancer hunter Chase found themselves violating every rule they were sworn to follow, becoming part of Emma's group, helping her to stand against those who preyed upon the dead. But whether Emma and her friends could survive such a battle was anyone's guess. And whether Emma could learn to use the magic of the dead against her enemies without herself falling victim to the lure of such power remained to be seen. Eric seemed to think she could, and her living friends would never abandon her. But only time would tell what Emma's true destiny was....


Review:

Our main character, Emma, spends part of her nights walking her dog Petal (a delightfully sweet and funny Rottweiler) to the cemetery so she can sit in silence by her boyfriend's grave. The night the book opens, Emma actually sees someone she knows, new boy Eric.

Eric isn't alone; he's with an old woman who gives Emma the lantern she carries, along with a disturbing kiss, after she realizes Emma can see her. This unwelcome touch brings unfortunate side effects: excruciating headaches, lots of nausea, and, suddenly, Emma can see and hear things no one else can.

At the heart of it, this is a pretty straightforward story: Emma can see the dead, talk to them, use them to gain power. She's tempted by the power, mostly because she sees the ways she could use it to do good, to help the ghosts, to solve the mystery surrounding what happens to them after they die.

There are other people like her in the world, necromancers who have no qualms about taking the power for their own needs, and Eric, his pseudo-brother Chase, and the old man who trains them (plus others) hunt down necromancers and kill them.

Emma is an excellent main character and narrator. She's loving, loyal to family and friends, and driven by her desire to do good in the world. I particularly love her friendships; this is no lone girl, different from all the other girls (ignore that bit in the description). She is different than most people because she sees ghosts, but she participates in her life, even as she mourns her father and her boyfriend. She is close with her mother, she has dear friends, and those two things are such a nice change. Female friendships forever.

Also wonderful is the lack of a love triangle, which can be done well, but so often isn't. Here, Emma is still in love with her boyfriend, and so desperately mourning him, there is no real room in her life for a new romance. It's not that she'll never love again, but it would have weakened the story for her to start out mourning him, and then immediately enter into a love triangle with Eric and Chase. The way the guys are introduced could lead to that, and I braced myself, but was happily surprised when it didn't happen. Emma convinces the boys not to kill her not because they're flirting with her, but because of how much she loves her friends, her family, and how much she tries to do good for the ghosts.

For the most part, I enjoyed the Sagara's writing style, but there were a couple times that the narrative became far too talky in the middle of an action scene, including one of the last big scenes at the climax. That's not the time I should be flipping ahead, hoping for something to happen, but that's what I did.

Emma's group of friends are pretty wonderful (I particularly love her best friend, Allison, who is smart and funny and sweet, and the token mean girl who is actually friendly and loyal and snarky), but there are some issues surrounding Michael, who is autistic. I'm neurotypical, and would be speaking from a place of privilege, so I'm going to link instead to Ada Hoffman's review at Disability in Kidlit, which hits the things that pinged for me, and then goes into more depth with them: Ada Hoffman's review of SILENCE.

Quote:
This is where a lot of my misgivings about the book come from, and is complicated to talk about. I don’t want to suggest that it is somehow bad or undesirable to provide clueful help to a disabled person. Yet I think a lot of us with disabilities will feel a familiar wince at the idea of being a charity case – of being valuable, not for ourselves, but so that someone else can earn goodness points by helping us.

I really love Michael's character, particularly the way he is with child ghosts (oh, man, could be creepy because CHILD GHOSTS, ends up surprisingly sweet), but Hoffman has an excellent discussion of his purpose in the story.

In the end, I really enjoyed SILENCE, loved the characters, and immediately purchased the next book in the series. I can't wait to see what happens next, and to explore more of this delightfully developed world.

(Originally posted at www.carlamlee.com.)
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It has been particularly hard to write lately. Hard to do anything. I'm in the middle of a pretty nasty bipolar cycle, and I am not doing very well. I haven't been doing well for a long, long time, though.

Current active projects include:

The UK Horror Series isn't off this list because it's complete, unfortunately, but because my cowriter needed to take a break.

Stand Alones


Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress.

Monsters & Music
Young adult supernatural mystery. Werewolves, murders, and teen witches. Status: Outline in progress, first draft in progress.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Race the Drums
Young adult contemporary. Marching band can save a life, if he lets it.

Essays


Nothing currently in draft form, but I'm starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.
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I’m feeling disheartened with writing lately, unable to focus on one project at a time, and frustrated with lack of progress with the cowriting. So that’s fun. Trying to work through it all.

Current active projects include:

UK Horror Series
(This series cowritten with Sarah.)

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, vampires, killers, oh my. Status: Second draft complete and with early readers. Outline for the third draft completed, rewrite well under way.

2: Monsters & Magic
Young adult supernatural adventures. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Status: Second draft outlined, on hold until draft three of Talking Dead is complete. Also retitled, because music is no longer an applicable word.

3: Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventures. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Editing.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Witches, dude. Always with the witches. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. The world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

Stand Alones

Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress. I’ve been struggling with writing lately, it feels like I’ve forgotten how to tell a story, so I went back to an outline I finished a few years ago, and started a draft from it. If I lose the thread of the story, the outline is already there.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Monsters in the Trees
Young adult horror. Friends, makeouts, and monsters in an isolated cabin. Status: Brainstorming.

Essays
Nothing currently in draft form, but I’m starting to make notes about a series of essays about my experiences with bipolar.
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The Three Ks have a different sort of fashion emergency. The Three Ks have a different sort of fashion emergency.



Show: Wolfblood
Source: online streaming
Show summary: Fourteen year old Maddy Smith has a secret: she and her family are all wolfbloods – people that transform into wolves. Her ancestors have lived in the town Stoneybridge for centuries, disguising their heightened ability of hearing and smell from the rest of the world and living as normal humans. But with a new wolfblood in the Smiths’ territory, and Maddy’s best friend suddenly obsessed with the thought that there is a beast out on the moors, the quiet little town Stoneybridge isn’t so quiet anymore.

Episode: Season 1, episode 3 “Family Ties”
Episode summary: A school art exhibit with the theme of family brights out discussions about several strained relationships -- and ends in the exhibit being vandalized.

Recap

Roll Call!

Main:
Maddy Smith (Aimee Kelly): Our introduction to this world, and a delightful, tough, smart wolf girl.
Tom Okinawe (Kedar Williams-Stirling): One of Maddy’s BFFs, photographer, footballer, and all around delight.
Shannon Kelly (Louisa Connolly-Burnham): Maddy’s other BFF, photographer, obsessed with finding the thing howling on the moors and leaving pawprints, and, again, all around delight.
Rhydian Morris (Bobby Lockwood): New kid, the wolfblood trying, and failing, to be a lone wolf.

Supporting:
Emma Smith (Angela Lonsdale): Maddy’s mother, overprotective, cheesy funny.
The Three Ks: Kay (Shorelle Hepkin), Kara (Rachel Teate), and Katrina (Gabrielle Green) are the requisite popular (usually mean) girls.
Jimi Chen (Jonathan Raggett): Footballer, popular boy, jackass. Jimi runs around with two other friends whose names I never hear. They mostly echo Jimi, so not really important anyway.
Mr Jeffries (Mark Fleischmann): School administrator, tough on the students.

read more )
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Rhydian and Shannon have a moment in the woods. Rhydian and Shannon have a moment in the woods.


Show: Wolfblood
Source: online streaming
Show summary: Fourteen year old Maddy Smith has a secret: she and her family are all wolfbloods – people that transform into wolves. Her ancestors have lived in the town Stoneybridge for centuries, disguising their heightened ability of hearing and smell from the rest of the world and living as normal humans. But with a new wolfblood in the Smiths’ territory, and Maddy’s best friend suddenly obsessed with the thought that there is a beast out on the moors, the quiet little town Stoneybridge isn’t so quiet anymore.

Episode: Season 1, episode 2 “Mysterious Developments”
Episode summary: Determined to find proof of wolfbloods, Tom and Shannon go on a best hunt, just as Rhydian and Maddy learn there are wolfbloods who roam wild.

Recap

Roll Call!

Main:
Maddy Smith (Aimee Kelly): Our introduction to this world, and a delightful, tough, smart wolf girl.
Tom Okinawe (Kedar Williams-Stirling): One of Maddy’s BFFs, photographer, footballer, and all around delight.
Shannon Kelly (Louisa Connolly-Burnham): Maddy’s other BFF, photographer, obsessed with finding the thing howling on the moors and leaving pawprints, and, again, all around delight.
Rhydian Morris (Bobby Lockwood): Decidedly not Welsh new kid in town who is our titular lone wolf.

Supporting:
Emma Smith (Angela Lonsdale): Maddy’s mother, overprotective, cheesy funny.
Daniel Smith (Marcus Garvey): Maddy’s father, friendly and fun, very punny.
The Three Ks: Kay (Shorelle Hepkin), Kara (Rachel Teate), and Katrina (Gabrielle Green) are the requisite popular (usually mean) girls.
Jimi Chen (Jonathan Raggett): Footballer, popular boy, jackass. Jimi runs around with two other friends whose names I never hear. They mostly echo Jimi, so not really important anyway.

read more )
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wolf blood cover


Show: Wolfblood
Source: online streaming
Show summary: Fourteen year old Maddy Smith has a secret: she and her family are all wolfbloods – people that transform into wolves. Her ancestors have lived in the town Stoneybridge for centuries, disguising their heightened ability of hearing and smell from the rest of the world and living as normal humans. But with a new wolfblood in the Smiths’ territory, and Maddy’s best friend suddenly obsessed with the thought that there is a beast out on the moors, the quiet little town Stoneybridge isn’t so quiet anymore.

Episode: Season 1, episode 1 “Lone Wolf”
Episode summary: Maddy has a secret: she can transform into a wolf. But her world gets even stranger when a boy with the same ability moves into her neighborhood.

Trailer





I think this is the actual trailer (I saw the same version a few different places), but can’t guarantee it. Whether it is or not, it’s cheesy as hell. I’m glad I watched the first episode before watching it, because the first episode, and these characters, absolutely captured my heart.

Initial Thoughts

I don’t remember hearing anything about this show, though it’s been on my queue for awhile now. There are three seasons currently available, and apparently a fourth season has been approved, so there’s plenty for me to watch. I’m intrigued; I love werewolves, I love teen stories, and I love monsters on the moors, so this has a lot going for it already.

Based on this first episode, I am THRILLED. I fell in love with Maddy within the first minute.

Recap

Roll call!

Main:
Maddy Smith (Aimee Kelly): Our introduction to this world, and a delightful, tough, smart wolf girl.
Tom Okinawe (Kedar Williams-Stirling): One of Maddy’s BFFs, photographer, footballer, and all around delight.
Shannon Kelly (Louisa Connolly-Burnham): Maddy’s other BFF, photographer, obsessed with finding the thing howling on the moors and leaving pawprints, and, again, all around delight.
Rhydian Morris (Bobby Lockwood): Decidedly not Welsh new kid in town who is our titular lone wolf.

Supporting:
Emma Smith (Angela Lonsdale): Maddy’s mother, brief appearance, snarky wolf mom.
Daniel Smith (Marcus Garvey): Maddy’s father, brief appearance, fun wolf dad.
The Three Ks: Kay (Shorelle Hepkin), Kara (Rachel Teate), and Katrina (Gabrielle Green) are the requisite popular girls intrigued by new boy Rhydian.
Jimi Chen (Jonathan Raggett): Footballer, popular boy, jackass.
Miss Parrish (Clara Onyemere): Teacher, obsessed with badgers, and listed because I find her charming, though she doesn’t do much this episode.

Welcome to Stoneyridge, where werewolves run amock.

Read More )
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hexed cover


Book: HEXED by Michelle Krys
Genre: YA paranormal
Series: The Witch Hunters book 1
USA Release Date: Currently available
Source: Won this in a giveaway from The Hanging Garden.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Recommended?: Not really. I'm tempted to try the next book in the series, but I was highly disappointed by this one, and am not sure whether I'll stick with it due to pacing issues and a horrible love interest treated as the Greatest Thing Ever.

Summary:

A spellbinding witchy series debut.

A stolen book. A deadly plan. A destiny discovered.

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns that her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn't get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that's seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she's a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie is about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.


Review:

I really wanted to love this book. I love witches and witch stories, and all the buzz about this debut was amazing. Witches! Cheerleaders! Secret wars! Teenagers trying to save the world! This is going to be awesome!

It wasn't awesome. The pacing was weird, uneven, and did not do the rest of the book justice, because there is some interesting world building here, even if it sometimes strained my suspension of disbelief, and the potential for an exciting, wonderful story about a girl trying to save her mother and embrace her secret powers. And there are good things here, but the story kept kicking me out of my reading because the pacing was so uneven and awkward.

There are things I loved: Namely, Indie, our snarky, angry, sometimes whiny main character, who is annoying and obnoxious and obsessed with things I found completely unimportant in high school and absolutely wonderful. Her voice is the best part of the book by far; I am very interested in her story, and I want more, though I'm not sure I can ignore the problems I had with the book in order to read the next.

The world building is pretty awesome at times. Like I said, I love witches, and the magical world here is very interesting. Centuries old war, rules, powers that come and go -- I'm a fan. Unfortunately, the weird pacing buries the world building a lot of the time.

Some of the characters are fantastic. Indie, of course, but also her two girl friends, Bianca and Paige, are really interesting in very different ways. The villains are creepy and dangerous (if sometimes in ridiculous, over the top ways). Again, there's potential for so much more, and I want to keep going with the series to see more of this, except.

Except for the things I loathed:

There's a ton of body shame and girl hate between Indie and her friends, as well as Indie and her allies. That sucks.

The pacing, as I've already mentioned.

But besides the pacing, the biggest issue I had was with Bishop, who is one of the worst love interests I've seen in a long time. He's supposed to be this intriguing, dangerous, mysterious bad boy, but what he comes across as is a controlling asshole who needs to fuck off into the sea. His teasing comes across as cruel rather than fun and romantic, and he's basically a jerk at every turn. Ditch him, Indie. You deserve better.
seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
Ever since February 2014, I could say, oh, yeah, I saw Sarah and Craig this year, just a few months ago, beginning of the year, and now I can't. Yes, I know it's April, but still, for a long time, I was able to say I'd seen my bff and her husband more recently than, oh, about a decade ago. Now it's been more than a year, and this is sad.

What is not sad is this text exchange we had yesterday, in which Craig is telling me about a new restaurant he wants to take us to when Jake and I visit. (Clearly this is on hold until I get the job situation worked out, but it's our turn to fly to them.)

Craig: ...all you can eat Mongolian stir fry cooked fresh in front of you. With flames.
Sarah: I bet Carla's sold. Give the girl fire and she's delighted.
Carla: Fiiiiiiiiiiiire.

So much truth right there. I do love fire.

That happy little text reminded me of a happy moment from, oh, I guess January 2014. My younger brother and I have birthdays a week apart, and we tend to get together sometime around then and go to dinner to celebrate. Now that I'm writing this, I'm no longer certain this trip was to celebrate our birthdays, but I think it was. It doesn't really matter, I suppose.

The important part is that we went to a Brazilian steakhouse, and for dessert I had creme brulee, and the wonderful waiter allowed me to use the little torch to heat the top. I had the power of fire and it was wonderful. I couldn't stop smiling.
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nearly gone cover


Book: NEARLY GONE by Elle Cosimano
Genre: YA thriller
Series: Nearly series book 1.
USA Release Date: Currently available.
Source: Won this in a giveaway from The Hanging Garden.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommended?: Yes, particularly if you love smart, flawed girls, math and science riddles, and serial killer stories. It's a wonderful book with amazing characters, and I can't wait for the next in the series.

Summary:

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school--a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon--she'll be next.


Review:

I loved this book. I had no idea people were calling it Bones meets Fringe when I read it, but that comparison really captures how I feel about NEARLY GONE. I love Bones, I love Fringe, and the combination here is fun and absolutely entertaining.

Nearly Boswell is a delight. Yes, there's some idiot ball holding, or rather, she rushes headfirst into situations without giving it enough thought, but that worked for me. She's book smart, she's driven, and she's lonely; it makes sense to me that she's tempestuous and headstrong and a little bit naive about her invincibility. Not a superhero invincibility, but the way some teenagers can feel untouchable, even when they've already experienced pain and loss. Nearly chases a missing father, obsesses over cryptic clues in personal ads, and feels lost as she makes her way through high school, but she is wonderful, flawed and smart and strong, and I loved reading her story.

If anything, I wanted more of Nearly, especially her ability to taste emotions when she brushes against skin. That little fringe science twist to her abilities intrigued me, and I would love to see her use of that developed further. (Since there is a sequel, I hold out hope.)

The only thing that fell a little flat for me was the romance with Reece, the reformed bad boy working undercover. Something about the dynamic between them felt unbalanced, probably that whole undercover thing, though I did love the other people working with him. I hope I grow to like Reece more in the next book, because my guess is that he'll continue to be her love interest.

I loved the way Cosimano wove the clues through the personal ads, mixing science and math and riddles in wonderful ways. Between the clues and Nearly herself, I was sucked into this book, and could not put it down until I'd devoured it all. Seriously cannot wait for the next book, and Cosimano is going on my auto-buy author list.
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As I've talked about before, Izzy is not a huge fan of other dogs. (Well, that's not entirely true; she was fine with other dogs at the off-leash dog parks in Kansas City, as long as she was off leash. Once she was leashed, while we arrived or left, she was as barky as ever. And she likes my dad's dog.) We're still working on getting her used to individual dogs. Since we moved, there's not as many dogs out and about on the street for her to deal with, even though the neighborhood is full of dogs. (There is a dog in the house behind this one. She doesn't bark at it, even when it yips and yaps all day, but she does growl sometimes when it's getting loud.)

This morning, we had a visit from a dog right in our backyard. It's not fully fenced, there's an open spot near the driveway, but Izzy doesn't run off, so as long as I'm sitting in the front living room, which J gave me for my space, she can go in and out the open sliding door. She started acting weird and stalked outside, but no barking and no attacking anything. Still, her behavior was strange enough I went to check on her, and found a big male dog just hanging out. Izzy didn't attack him, didn't even really bark at him until I brought her inside, but she did not want to let him near the house or me. She did come straight back to me when I called, which I wasn't sure she'd do faced with an actual threat.

Though he was collared (it looked like one of the jump rings had broken, letting him off a yard chain), he didn't have any sort of identification. I tried to get a leash on him, but he thought it was a big game, and he took off before I could get close enough to touch.

So, Izzy protected the house without attacking another dog, and came back as soon as she was called, even though she was face to face with a threat. I'm so proud of her! (It's a good thing she didn't attack, too; she probably could have won the fight, but he was a big, heavy dog, and he could have done serious damage.)

Of course, when we went for a ride this afternoon, she freaked out over a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man, so.

Niece is supposed to move in this summer with her dog, so we'll see how that socialization goes.
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Current active projects include:

UK Horror Series
(This series cowritten with Sarah.)

1: Talking Dead
Young adult supernatural adventure. Ghosts, vampires, killers, oh my. Status: Second draft complete and with early readers. Outline for the third draft completed, rewrite well under way. Sarah and I spent awhile struggling with a new chapter from a new POV, but we finally finished it this weekend. Here's hoping the next few chapters go much faster.

2: Monsters & Magic
Young adult supernatural adventures. Flirtatious werewolves and incorporeal monsters. Status: Second draft outlined, on hold until draft three of Talking Dead is complete. Also retitled, because music is no longer an applicable word.

3: Supernatural Slumber Party
Young adult supernatural adventures. It’s a slumber party of supernaturals, see? Status: First draft complete. Editing.

4: Wicked Witches
Young adult supernatural adventures. Witches, dude. Always with the witches. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

5: The Monster Mash
Young adult supernatural adventures. The world goes BOOM. Status: First draft complete. Editing.

Stand Alones
Werewolves in Love
New adult romance. Werewolves, murders, and the constant sea. Status: Outline complete, first draft in progress. I've been struggling with writing lately, it feels like I've forgotten how to tell a story, so I went back to an outline I finished a few years ago, and started a draft from it. If I lose the thread of the story, the outline is already there.

Love in the Time of Percussion
New adult romance. Marching bands, rock bands, and snarky flirtations. Status: Outline in progress.

Sex, Love & Drums
Young adult contemporary romance. Status: Outline in progress.

Chase the Sun
Young adult contemporary. Sisters on a road trip. Status: Outline in progress.

Essays
Still working on figuring out this whole pitching thing. It is not going well, but I will keep trying.
seeksadventure: (Default)
Had to take a couple days off for health reasons, but I'm back with the next step of the Lover's Chain. Still following Seanan McGuire's Lover's Chain tutorial. The tenth step is the decalet, which at first glance looks like hell in poem form. I am writing a love poem to a monstrous final girl.

The decalet is a ten line poem made up of two five-line stanzas. It has both internal and external rhyme schemes (WHAT?!), and is a counted syllable poem, ten syllables per line. I'm ready to throw up my hands and quit. This was not the poem to come back to after a break.

The external rhyme scheme is ABCDE EDCBA, and the internal rhyme scheme is EDCBA ABCDE. (WHAT WHAT?!) Yeah, okay, I am terrified.

A = blood, buds, flood (mud, flood, bud)
B = kiss, hiss, remiss (hiss, miss, dis, bliss, amiss, abyss, remiss)
C = bright, light, quite, right (bite, might, fight, sleight, quite, right)
D = mine, treeline, fine (fine, design, align, line, nine, dine, wine)
E = death, breath

1EA My bringer of death, dressed in tulle and blood,
2DB touched your lips to mine, peace in your sweet kiss.
3CC The moon, full and bright -- we bathed in its light,
4BD ignored the soft hiss, wind through the treeline,
5AE and the pale white buds floating on a breath.

6AE Remember my flood of fear for you, Beth--
7BD no, that'd be remiss -- fear of you is fine
8CC when you are not quite the girl I loved right
9DB off. Our hands align, return back from the abyss,
10EA of my fear of death buried in the mud.

Dear god, that's a hell of a form poem. That last line isn't working for me; I'm running short on the "eath" rhyme, and I think I'm going to have to force a rhyme there, because the repetition of death isn't working for me, even though I'm trying to tie it into her fear of Beth, the final girl, the killer, the salvation.

6AE Remember the mud of fear for you, Beth--

10EA my fear, dying 'neath the trees in the mud.

Lover’s Chain

1
The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.

2
Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.

3
You wore a dress I love, bell skirt swinging;
we danced beneath the bright moonlight.
Kiss me, you said, and I obeyed — left us breathless, joyful, clinging.

4
Behind us, woods, empty and dark.
Silent, but for the crunch of broken leaves.
“Wait,” I said, chilled and leery.
You kissed me, you smiled — I’ll be right back.

5
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin,
branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
It crashes through the brush nearby, big, furred — my breath goes thin.
Branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin.

6
I froze, terrified, face to face with a beast.
It opened its long muzzle wide, flashed sharp, shiny teeth.
You were safe, my love, I thought, at least, at least.

Then you appeared, one hand on my arm, dragging me away beneath
the lowest branches, silver at your fingers, brow creased.
My hero, but you left me, fear holding me still, in the broken heath.

7
You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight.
Darted through brush, over fallen branches,
until the monster, heavy, furred, rose on its haunches,
and you leaped, silver knife carving the night.

You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight,
straight into the monster’s reach.
Knife flashed, blood, and with a howl-like scream, it launched into the fight.

8

Teeth, claws, weight — it tore into you, until
you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free-
falling backward, knife, tangled hair, fallen and still.
Teeth, claws, weight — it tore into you, until
you punched up, knife flashing, fisted, iron-will
stronger than I’d ever seen, my gorgeous girl, wild, gutsy.
Teeth, claws, weight, it tore into you until
you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free.

9

I am not the damsel in distress;
you are no shining armor knight.
You came to me, blood-soaked, and I confess
in that moment under the pale moon light

I was scared.

Your lip curled, flashed teeth, that grin.
I gathered myself, reached out
and you settled into my arms, warm as sin,
Touching you, I almost forgot my doubt.

10

My bringer of death, dressed in tulle and blood,
touched your lips to mine, peace in your sweet kiss.
The moon, full and bright -- we bathed in its light,
ignored the soft hiss, wind through the treeline,
and the pale white buds floating on a breath.

Remember, like mud, my fear for you, Beth --
no, that'd be remiss -- fear of you is fine
when you are not quite the girl I loved right
off. Our hands align, back from the abyss,
and I see your wealth, strength like a flood.
seeksadventure: (Default)
Still following Seanan McGuire's Lover's Chain tutorial. The ninth step is the novet. It is two quatrains with a single line between them, and the standard rhyme scheme is ABAB C DEDE. Seanan's has the same meter for each line, but she doesn't say that's required, and I can't find anything elsewhere about the novet, so I'm just ignoring that part. (This is why I'm not great at form poetry. I start ignoring the parts I don't like. Except the damn rhyme, apparently.) I am writing a love poem to a monstrous final girl.

1A I am not the damsel in distress;
2B you are no shining armor knight.
3A You came to me, blood-soaked, and I confess
4B in that moment under the pale moon light

5C I was scared.

6D Your lip curled, flashed teeth, that grin.
7E I gathered myself, reached out
8D and you settled into my arms, warm as sin,
9E I remembered what our love was all about.

I'm not pleased with the last line, so it will need some tweaking. Though it's very different from the thought I started writing, I think I'm going for doubt instead.

9E Touching you, I almost forgot my doubt.

Lover’s Chain

1
The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.

2
Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.

3
You wore a dress I love, bell skirt swinging;
we danced beneath the bright moonlight.
Kiss me, you said, and I obeyed — left us breathless, joyful, clinging.

4
Behind us, woods, empty and dark.
Silent, but for the crunch of broken leaves.
“Wait,” I said, chilled and leery.
You kissed me, you smiled — I’ll be right back.

5
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin,
branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
It crashes through the brush nearby, big, furred — my breath goes thin.
Branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin.

6
I froze, terrified, face to face with a beast.
It opened its long muzzle wide, flashed sharp, shiny teeth.
You were safe, my love, I thought, at least, at least.

Then you appeared, one hand on my arm, dragging me away beneath
the lowest branches, silver at your fingers, brow creased.
My hero, but you left me, fear holding me still, in the broken heath.

7
You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight.
Darted through brush, over fallen branches,
until the monster, heavy, furred, rose on its haunches,
and you leaped, silver knife carving the night.

You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight,
straight into the monster’s reach.
Knife flashed, blood, and with a howl-like scream, it launched into the fight.

8

Teeth, claws, weight — it tore into you, until
you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free-
falling backward, knife, tangled hair, fallen and still.
Teeth, claws, weight — it tore into you, until
you punched up, knife flashing, fisted, iron-will
stronger than I’d ever seen, my gorgeous girl, wild, gutsy.
Teeth, claws, weight, it tore into you until
you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free.

9

I am not the damsel in distress;
you are no shining armor knight.
You came to me, blood-soaked, and I confess
in that moment under the pale moon light

I was scared.

Your lip curled, flashed teeth, that grin.
I gathered myself, reached out
and you settled into my arms, warm as sin,
Touching you, I almost forgot my doubt.
seeksadventure: (Default)
Still following Seanan McGuire's Lover's Chain tutorial. The eighth step is a triolet, an eight lined rhymed poem with repeating lines. It has an ABAAABAB rhyme scheme. I am writing a love poem to a monstrous final girl.

I love triolets because of the repeating lines, but I am not fantastic at them because of the rhyming. I think the first two lines are the most important, because the first repeats so often and because the second ends the poem. I want a strong ending, a strong final line for my final girl.

1A Teeth, claws, weight -- it tore into you, until
2B you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free-
3A falling backward, knife, tangled hair, fallen and still.
1A Teeth, claws, weight -- it tore into you, until
4A you punched up, knife flashing, fisted, iron-will
5B stronger than I'd ever seen, my gorgeous girl, wild, gutsy.
1A Teeth, claws, weight, it tore into you until
2B you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free.

Lover’s Chain

1
The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.

2
Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.

3
You wore a dress I love, bell skirt swinging;
we danced beneath the bright moonlight.
Kiss me, you said, and I obeyed — left us breathless, joyful, clinging.

4
Behind us, woods, empty and dark.
Silent, but for the crunch of broken leaves.
“Wait,” I said, chilled and leery.
You kissed me, you smiled — I’ll be right back.

5
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin,
branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
It crashes through the brush nearby, big, furred — my breath goes thin.
Branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin.

6
I froze, terrified, face to face with a beast.
It opened its long muzzle wide, flashed sharp, shiny teeth.
You were safe, my love, I thought, at least, at least.

Then you appeared, one hand on my arm, dragging me away beneath
the lowest branches, silver at your fingers, brow creased.
My hero, but you left me, fear holding me still, in the broken heath.

7
You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight.
Darted through brush, over fallen branches,
until the monster, heavy, furred, rose on its haunches,
and you leaped, silver knife carving the night.

You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight,
straight into the monster’s reach.
Knife flashed, blood, and with a howl-like scream, it launched into the fight.

8

Teeth, claws, weight -- it tore into you, until
you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free-
falling backward, knife, tangled hair, fallen and still.
Teeth, claws, weight -- it tore into you, until
you punched up, knife flashing, fisted, iron-will
stronger than I'd ever seen, my gorgeous girl, wild, gutsy.
Teeth, claws, weight, it tore into you until
you stood above the fallen monster, bloody and free.
seeksadventure: (Default)
Still following Seanan McGuire's Lover's Chain tutorial. The seventh step is the hexadine, a two stanza, seven line poem. The first stanza is four lines, ABBA rhyme scheme, and the second stanza is three lines, ACA rhyme scheme. The first line of each stanza is the same. I am writing a love poem to a monstrous final girl.

Because the first line of each stanza is the same, I'll start there, using it as an anchor line.

You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight.

(It is also at this point that I realized I switched tenses on step five. Each poem is separate, so I am debating as to whether I can let that remain or rewrite it to make it all match.)

1A You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight.
2B Darted through brush, over fallen branches,
3B until the monster, heavy, and wide and furred, rose on its haunches,
4A and you leaped, silver knife carving the night.

Yeah, I realize that B rhyme is pretty forced, but I wanted haunches anyway.

1A You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight,
2C straight into the monster's reach.
3A Knife flashed, blood, and with a howl-like scream, it launched into the fight.



Lover’s Chain

1
The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.

2
Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.

3
You wore a dress I love, bell skirt swinging;
we danced beneath the bright moonlight.
Kiss me, you said, and I obeyed — left us breathless, joyful, clinging.

4
Behind us, woods, empty and dark.
Silent, but for the crunch of broken leaves.
“Wait,” I said, chilled and leery.
You kissed me, you smiled — I’ll be right back.

5
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin,
branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
It crashes through the brush nearby, big, furred — my breath goes thin.
Branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin.

6
I froze, terrified, face to face with a beast.
It opened its long muzzle wide, flashed sharp, shiny teeth.
You were safe, my love, I thought, at least, at least.

Then you appeared, one hand on my arm, dragging me away beneath
the lowest branches, silver at your fingers, brow creased.
My hero, but you left me, fear holding me still, in the broken heath.

7
You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight.
Darted through brush, over fallen branches,
until the monster, heavy, furred, rose on its haunches,
and you leaped, silver knife carving the night.

You ran, dress red-black as blood in the moonlight,
straight into the monster's reach.
Knife flashed, blood, and with a howl-like scream, it launched into the fight.
seeksadventure: (Default)
Still following Seanan McGuire’s Lover’s Chain tutorial. The sixth step is the triat, a six line poem made up of two three-line verses. Again, it rhymes, and has an ABA BAB scheme, but no fixed syllable count or scansion pattern. I am writing a love poem to a monstrous final girl.

I froze, scared, terrified, faced face to face with a beast.
It opened its long muzzle wide, flashed sharp, shiny teeth.
You were safe, my love, I thought, at least, at least.

There Then you were thereappeared, one hand on my arm, dragging me away beneath
the lowest branches, silver at your fingers, brow creased.
My hero, but you left me, fear holding me still, in the broken heath.

I like it, but I want some stronger images, so I’ll play with the word choice.

Lover’s Chain

1
The moon rises, bright and full, and with it comes peace.

2
Bloody, bruised, you escape death;
Come, darling, rest, catch your breath.

3
You wore a dress I love, bell skirt swinging;
we danced beneath the bright moonlight.
Kiss me, you said, and I obeyed — left us breathless, joyful, clinging.

4
Behind us, woods, empty and dark.
Silent, but for the crunch of broken leaves.
“Wait,” I said, chilled and leery.
You kissed me, you smiled — I’ll be right back.

5
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin,
branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
It crashes through the brush nearby, big, furred — my breath goes thin.
Branches tremble in the wind, drop leaves.
I shiver, cold damp air on bare skin.

6
I froze, terrified, face to face with a beast.
It opened its long muzzle wide, flashed sharp, shiny teeth.
You were safe, my love, I thought, at least, at least.

Then you appeared, one hand on my arm, dragging me away beneath
the lowest branches, silver at your fingers, brow creased.
My hero, but you left me, fear holding me still, in the broken heath.
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