Monday, December 31, 2012

My Year in Books

I've read 150 books/stories this year.  The stats are as follows:

Length
Long/Medium:  140
Short: 10

Format
Kindle/eBook:  68
Print:  82

Most Read Genre:  Historical Romance, specifically Regency-era.

Other Genres:  Contemporary romance, paranormal romance, fantasy, children's/YA, children's/Ya fantasy, 1 literary, cozy mysteries, and some nonfiction

Longest Book:  Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks (720 pages), Fantasy, excellent conclusion to NIGHT ANGEL

Favortie Books of the Year (In relative order of which I read them)
Candide by Voltaire
Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour
A Matter of Magic (Mairelon the Magician The Magician's Ward) by Patricia C. Wrede 
The Black Duke's Prize by Suzanne Enoch
A Garden Folly by Candice Hern
Her Scandalous Affair by Candice Hern
My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond
My Royal Pain Quest by Laura Lond
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
4 of the Cynsters (Devil's Bride, A Rake's Vow, A Secret Love, & All About Love) by Stephanie Laurens
The Fallen Blade novels:  Broken Blade, Bared Blade, Crossed Blades by Kelly McCullough
Savage Cinderella by PJ Sharon
Taming an Impossible Rogue by Suzanne Enoch
The Blacksmith's Son by Michael G. Manning
Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks

Repeat Favorite Authors:
Stephen R. Lawhead (The Spirit Well)
Victoria Alexander (What Happens at Christmas)
Lloyd Alexander (The Kestrel & The Beggar Queen)

And let's not forget all the Moliere plays and I did read finish Pride and Prejudice.  Oh yeah, and I managed As You Like It.

Pretty decent, I think.

Happy New Year's Eve.  May the books be with you.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Seamonkey Romance...Explained

When I mentioned My Sea-monkey Romance, my besties both said, "I was wondering about that."  So apparently, they do read my blog.  (Hi, guys!)  I talked about it with Lacey, since she's a writer and can understand writer- and Regency-speak.

It's weird talking about this story.  First of all, I didn't talk about it much before or during the writing or the researching.  All they knew was that it was a Regency romance.

I am a Regency-romance junkie.  This is relatively new, but it's there.  I thought, well, I read a bunch of Regencies, this ought to be a piece of cake.

WRONG!

I sat on the idea for several months.  Just a basic plot line sentence.  No setting, no character types.  Just a basic plot line sentence.

Hero finds Heroine's diary, reads it, falls in love.  That's it.  I sat on it for months.

I decided to use it for a Regency romance.  I wanted to write one and needed a plot.  Well, here was one.

And then things got sticky.  What kind of man reads a girl's diary?

A man (who perhaps drank too much) with a best friend saying, "What kind of chit leaves a diary in Hyde Park?  What kind of chit keeps a diary at all?  You intercepted a pair of spies' correspondence, it's all an act, blah blah blah."

I don't know how I feel about this story, honestly.  It's not, "Oh, look at my baby, it's so adorable."

It's, "Yeah, that's mine.  I don't know what happened."  Maybe I should say, "It's adopted."

Thus the nickname, "My Seamonkey Romance."

And "Seamonkey" is really supposed to be "Sea-Monkey" or "Sea Monkey."

So, the real title:  Just This Waltz

And it's about:  Verity and her sister have come to London for their Season.  On a stroll during the fashionable hour at Hyde Park, she sets her diary down, only to forget it there.  When she returns, it's gone.

Charles waited around for the book's owner to come back, but no one came, and it's going to rain.  But he doesn't want to leave it there...  So he takes it home.  His best friend notices it.  After a few too many drinks, he picks it up.  There's no name.  Oh wait, it's a diary!  He reads just enough to figure out who the diarist is.

But then he meets said diarist at a ball.  Curiosity piqued, he reads a little more as he's getting to know Verity.  He really should give it back.  But then, horrible secrets about her aunt's past comes to light, and they can ruin Verity and her sister's reputations and thus, the Season.

Obviously, there's going to be some waltzing.

Charles is a weird, forgetful male.
Verity is strange.

It's crazy, I know.  But I wrote it.  And you now understand why I'm reluctant to talk about it.

Also, I got a new Sea Monkey romance idea that I'll be using the code name for.  I haven't started it yet.  Probably won't until I daydream a little more of the story up, but I've already talked about it with Lacey.  It's not nearly as weird as Just This Waltz.

So there.  That's My Seamonkey Romance.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Writer's Block: Jadi Style

Technically, it's not a block.  It's more like, "I want to write this way, but the story's going that way, but I want to do it THIS way, but then I'd have to rewrite..."  And no writing gets done.

Two things happen here.

1)  I rewrite from the beginning.  Complete restart.  My first story, that got me writing?  STILL working on it.

OR

2)  I suck it up and continue to write, in the way the story is already going.  If I sit down long enough and pound keys, words will come.

This, at the moment, is about my first story.  One day, I will leave it on the shelf.  But it is not this day.  Meanwhile, so I can say I wrote, I'm blogging and trying to figure out a First Draft for another story.  I'm not restarting it.  That's going to have to be a suck it up.  First Story is the only one that gets re-starts and re-writes.  Which, since the main character, plot, and world building have all changed, calling it First Story is something of a misnomer.  I just used the same character names/personalities.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Book: To Win Her Heart
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Rating: 4/5 stars/kisses/roses

This book reminded me why I don't read a lot of Christian romance. Preachy clean, not very humorous, and NOT Regency England. (If I didn't know it did, I wouldn't think Christian Regency romance existed.)

However, Hero was a blacksmith. The book was free for Kindle. Eh, I'll give it a shot.

Goodreads synopsis:  Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?

Heroine:  Um, deluded, thinking education and refinement solves all brutish problems & pacifist.  As much as I pride myself on my intelligence, talking doesn't always work.  Otherwise, she's really nice.  Tender-hearted.  Learns quickly.  Smart.  Spunky.  Typical Miss living in a man's world.  Oh, and she's poison to flowers.  She makes a fine press, but she's not allowed around them when they're alive.

Hero:  Blacksmith.  Accidentally killed someone.  Spent time in prison for it.  Came back to Jesus like a prodigal.  Oh, and he has a lisp.  He has a great vocabulary so he can avoid s sounds.  Pretty likable even if he doesn't talk that much.

The Blow-Up*:  I cut my romance teeth on Victoria Alexander.  Her blow-ups are huge.  It always disappoints me when a romance book doesn't have a good one, if it has one at all.  In theory, you would think the blow-up would be when his secret past as a prizefighter comes to light.  While that does create a mini blow-up, it's not the blow-up.  I won't say what the blow-up is.

Overall:  Kinda cheesy, but romance is supposed to be.  Kinda preachy (okay, really preachy), but it's indicative of Christian fiction.  Hero met Heroine, they connect, and go through some stuff and then they go on to live happily ever after.

I've reviewed 2, maybe 3 books this year.  Why in the world did I take the time to review this?  

I liked it, would even recommend it.  It kept my attention and it didn't take me long to get through it.  Overall, I was pretty pleased with it.

*The Blow-Up is the part in a romance book or movie where you don't think the hero and heroine will wind up together.  It's also referred to as a Big Misunderstanding or The Big Fight, etc.  It's at the end right before the Big Reconciliation.

The Blacksmith Thing:  I have my own character who's vocation is smithing in my fantasy WiP.  I have a soft spot for smiths.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We're Different

I'm something between a sexist and a feminist.  I believe in equality and education for females.  I also believe in traditional gender roles.

Men, please be macho.  No wearing skinny jeans.  No wearing pink.  It's not manly, I don't care what anyone says.  When you find your feminine side, marry her.  She should be a person, who can train you properly.  Two flesh joined in one and all that.

Women, please be sweet and sensitive.  I don't think you should give up your 9-5 (I can't wait for mine) and stay barefoot and pregnant, but I don't think you should forget you're a woman.  You are the prettier, superior sex.  "God made man first, and then He had a better idea."  We were supposed to be Man's helper.  Help the poor idiots.

It takes both a man and woman to create a child.  Yes, I am aware of sperm banks, but a man's still needed for that, if only in the beginning.  Have they created artificial sperm yet?

"Girls have the same number of bones as boys, the same number of muscles, of vital organs. They sleep, breathe, eat, digest, grow, according to the same plan. So far there seems no reason why there should be any distinction of male and female. But as we come to study what is called special physiology we discover physical differences and reasons for their existence.
There are certain differences of form that are discernible at a glance. Men are usually larger than women. They have heavier bones and bigger muscles. They have broad shoulders and narrow hips, and have hair upon the face. Women have smooth faces, more rounded outlines, narrower shoulders and broader hips. In man the broadest part of the body is at the shoulders, in woman at the hips. This is significant of a great fact which will be manifest to you when you understand the functions of each sex. Although each has the same general plan of individual life, there are special functions which determine the trend of their lives. The man's broad shoulders are indicative that he is to bear the heavy burdens of life—struggles for material support—and woman's broad hips indicate that she is to bear the heavier burden of the race." 
Mary Wood-Allen, What a Young Woman Ought to Know (p. 79). Kindle Edition. (Public Domain Book)

The statements above are about 100 years old, maybe a little more.  Men and women are different.  But we need those differences.  We need each other.  We need manly men and girly girls.  We balance each other out.  Balance.  Remember that word?  What happens when you're unbalanced?  

You fall.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On a Brighter Note...

“If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.”
-Frank Zappa

I took my last final today.  I probably flunked it, but I don't care.  I know I passed the other one.  All I need is the one credit to graduate.

Now that I am done with college, at least for now, I am going to be totally honest.

I love learning.  I hate school.  I liked college, because it was new and shiny, but when the glitter wore off, it was just like high school all over again.  Except I wasn't the smartest in the class.  I didn't make any friends.  I didn't make any connections.  I just went to class everyday.

Not my smartest moves, but when I jumped off the deep end, I jumped pretty far.

So, now I'm left with the dreaded job hunt.  Still, an Associate's looks better than a High School diploma

College was starting to interfere with my education, I've said before.  Perhaps not here, but on other social medias.

Earlier this year, I read Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L'Amour.  He stressed the importance of his reading, but this man also traveled, worked all sorts of jobs, and even did a stint in the military.  He hiked across the desert.  Worked on boats.

And it was all part of his education.  I wish we still lived in that world.  But his world and the world I'm stuck in are two completely different worlds.

Few things sicken me more.  Education was good, but it wasn't everything.  And now, there's a more pressing need for experience.  Of which I have none.

Oh wait, this was supposed to be full of good news.

I've read 124 books this year!  That's good news right?  That's 24 more than last year, and 64 more than the year before. At least, I think it was 60 or so back in 2010.  Or was it 80?  Anyway, it's steadily grown.

I Hate This Part

Overall, I'd say the past 12-13 months were good for writing.

"Callis" (last late October-early November)
"The Traveling Companion" (last November to January, I think, maybe December)
 "My Fair Donor" (February, which later came out in May)
My Seamonkey Romance (October-November of this year).

Also, I got a draft of my First Story that stuck.  The file's creation date for Chapter 1 is September 20, 2012.  The file, I think, is a little older than that, but that's when it got moved to my jump drive.  So, September is when the draft actually stuck.

Here's how it played out.  I write short, which is not good for writing fantasy (or any other genre when you want to write novels).  On the one hand, I can tell a story in a few thousand words.  On the other, there's very little between short stories and novels.  Or there was when I first started writing in '05.

However, I'm stuck.

I've written about 60k for it.  30k for chapters 1-12, and the ending.  There's still some chapters in there that need writing between chapter 12 and the ending.  I have another 30k for backstory.  (Hey, it's fantasy; plenty span a few years.  Also, I'm still treating this story like a first draft.)  Some will go into the novel proper, the rest will go into a file so I can keep the story straight.

Okay, I won't lie, it's all getting stuck on there and I'll cut after I've written 80k for this story.  Maybe 90k.  Just so I can prove to myself I can do it.  Not in order perhaps, but I can write a full length novel amount of words in one draft.