11 December 2011

Things I've learned

It's been an interesting weekend.  And it doesn't feel much like Christmas is only two weeks away with the warm weather we're having in mid-Missouri right now.  Not that I'm complaining ... well, okay, I'm sort of complaining because I'd really like to have a white Christmas.  I miss the days when it used to snow at Thanksgiving - not a lot, but just enough to put you in the mood for Christmas.  I used to love driving back to college after Thanksgiving knowing that we'd be putting up the lights in our dorm room and listening to Christmas music.   

Anyway, I spent the weekend trying to write a review and Christmas shopping among other things and I discovered a couple of things:

1.  Writing reviews is a lot harder than I thought.  Well, writing good reviews is harder.  Not that I expected  to be able to sit down and crank out a review in five minutes because if they were that easy to write then everyone would be writing them.  But I didn't expect to have this much trouble.

2.  Christmas shopping isn't as fun as it used to be and shoppers are more disrespectful the closer it gets to Christmas.  Case in point: at Eddie Bauer yesterday I had not one, but two people cut in front of me in line.  I thought I was quite obviously waiting in line to check out - I was standing in front of one of the two registers with my arms full of items to purchase - but apparently I wasn't as obvious as I'd thought.  Either that or I was wearing my invisibility cloak and had forgotten that I put it on.  Both people looked at me and then blatantly stepped up to the register before I could.  I thought about saying something but I was too shocked at their audacity to be coherent.  Why people feel the need to be so rude is beyond me.  I mean, really, what good does it to anyone?  *sigh*

On the bright side, I downloaded Forget The Night Ahead by The Twilight Sad from iTunes on Friday night and spent most of yesterday listening to it.  Between this album and Frightened Rabbit I just might be able to survive the holiday season.

08 December 2011

Reading and goals

I made a goal on Goodreads to read 125 books in 2011.  I'm currently four books away from meeting my goal.  This is due, in part, to the fact that I've been reading almost a book a day for the past couple of weeks.  I don't know what's come over me ... I've always been a prolific reader but this is a LOT of reading even for me.

So with all of the books read, I've been thinking that maybe I should start trying my hand at writing reviews.  I do write some reviews on Goodreads, but I don't normally put much thought into them so they're not that great.  Only problem with that is that I usually read so fast that I sometimes have trouble retaining what it is that I've read.  So I can say things like "I loved this book. You should definitely read it."  But when people ask me why I liked it, or why I think they should read it, I can't put those reasons into words.  (The caveat to that is if I absolutely positively LOVED the book so much that I can't stop gushing about it, I'll be able to tell you all the reasons I liked the book and why everyone should read it.)

But maybe, just maybe, if I make a goal to review some of the books that I read - and I mean REALLY review them - on my blog maybe that will force me to slow down and retain what I'm reading.  Even if no one but me reads the reviews that's ok.  It's all about making me a better reader and if I'm a better reader then that might just translate into being a better writer.  So it's a win-win all around, right?  Right.

With that said, I think I will try my hand at a "real" review when I finish the book I'm currently reading.

05 December 2011

Huh ... So this is what my blog looks like

It has been forever (was my last post really in 2008??) since I've been here.  I created this blog to have somewhere to babble on about books I like and Nano and somewhere along the way I kind of ... well, forgot about it, I guess.

Nano 2009 and Nano 2010 were both successful even though, like all Nano novels, neither went exactly the way I had planned.  Nano 2011 was most definitely NOT successful.  Oh, I finished, er, well, I reached 50,000 words (just, my actual word count was 50,025) but the novel was - in a word - horrible.  I just couldn't seem to get into the story this year.  I had all of these random things going on and every time I tried to pull them together it just got worse.  I went days without writing a single word - almost a whole week once - and couldn't seem to care.  Finally, I decided that in order to finish I was going to have to turn the whole darn thing into a dream.  With a big last weekend push - and a LOT of repetition (because of course my FMC had to explain what happened in the dream to the MMC) - I was finally done.

I really want to revisit the novel - once I get some distance from it - and see if I can't figure out where it went wrong and fix it.  I did a lot of preparation this year in contrast to previous years when I didn't do much at all so maybe that's what went wrong.  At any rate, I really liked my characters this year and even kind of liked the plot I had and I feel like I let them down.  Not a good feeling.  But it's over and done with and next year will be better.

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter which, now that I think about it, may have contributed to my novelizing woes this year.  Hmm.  I'm following a lot of authors (I still have that OMG moment when I get a response from an author) and book bloggers (reviewers) as well as hockey peeps and friends.  So yeah, I've had a lot of fun on Twitter (though that's mostly thanks to two fictitious characters who have their own Twitter accounts. :) )

In fact it was through Twitter and the YA crush tourney hosted by The YA Sisterhood that I discovered The SHADE series by Jeri Smith-Ready, which is an incredible series.  The first two books are out now.  SHINE is due next year and I can't wait!  The YA Sisterhood is holding another tourney right now only this time it's the heroines' turn.  Two of my favorite heroines (Kaylee from the Soul Screamers series and Aura from the SHADE series) are up against each other in the first round.

At the beginning of October I was lucky enough to get to go to Seattle for the Northwest Book Festival and see so many incredible authors who were part of that stop on the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour.  I think that was the highlight of my year honestly.  So many authors all in one room = AWESOME!

I seem to be on a huge, and I mean HUGE, young adult reading spree.  I just absolutely love the book that are out now for young adults/teens and there are a LOT of them.  I think in the last week alone I've added at least 10 books to my TBR pile on Goodreads.  I blame this on Twitter.

So yeah ... I'll stop babbling now.  Anyway, I'm going to try to be better about updating.  We'll see how successful I am.