WoRd PoW! #12: Words, Meetings, Colors, Cards & Movies

WoRd PoW! #12: Words, Meetings, Colors, Cards & Movies

Well, I meant to update this every week in November, but as per usual, that didn’t happen. But, hey, we’re here now, so let’s talk about the things we love! πŸ™‚

 

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantWRITING: NaNo was good this year. I didn’t make it to 50,000 words but I did get 29,116. That’s more than half and better than I’ve done in previous years. But really, the take away from this was that I still really love my story and there was no way I was going to be able to write the entire thing in a month, much less in 50,000 words. With all the words I did write, I’m not even half way through the story. I have no idea how long this is going to be, but it was liberating to just write.

I’ve had problems in the past where I over think every word choice and every scene. But I feel I truly let go of that this month. I just wrote whatever came to mind, even if I cringed while I wrote it and knew I’d have to change it, or kill the words, later. It didn’t matter, November was all about getting the words out of my head and onto the page.

That was a lot easier to do with my handy dandy AlphaSmart. I love this thing. *Hugs little keyboard*

 

READING: Two notable things here: 1) I finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I think this was one of my favorites of his. I’ve mentioned this before in my other reviews of Gaiman’s work, but sometimes I feel really disconnected from his characters and stories. It’s not always a bad feeling, but I’m used to being very sucked in to a story and sometimes reading Gaiman feels like a short drug trip that leaves me bewildered by the end.

Well, that wasn’t a problem with Neverwhere. This was pretty solid for me and the characters and world felt real and interesting. I enjoyed it a lot.

And the other cool reading thing is that I got to meet Brandon Sanderson last week! img_6870Β  I love his books, I love his writing style, world building, characters, everything. He’s a genius and I just want to crawl around in his head and figure out how he does it so well.

Anyway, I got to meet him and get a few books of his signed. I brought along my copy of MistbornΒ and ended up buying two new books. The one he was touring to promote Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection and an older one I’ve been meaning to read (an am currently devouring) Warbreaker. Sanderson is such a cool and nice guy. I ended up being near the end of the line and it was close to 11:30 by the time I got to him but he still smiled and talked to me even though he must have been exhausted.

I told him he was a big inspiration for me and then mentioned that I should be finishing up my NaNo. He said he needed to finish his too and then told me to go back to writing. πŸ˜€ I walked out of there glowing. πŸ˜€ Now one of the major things on my Bucket List, after getting published, is to become well known enough that I can be actual friends with the man. *sigh* A girl can dream. πŸ˜‰

 

DOING: Well besides the usual Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas stuff, I found this fun little app called Colorify. It’s basically a digital adult coloring book with tons of different designs, patterns and mandalas. Here’s some of my better ones.

It’s really relaxing and a little easier than actual coloring with pencils and paper, since I can do it while laying in bed.

 

PLAYING: Hearthstone came out with a new expansion last week called Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. I’ve been playing a lot over the last few days. It’s a fun expansion with over 130 cards. I don’t have many yet since I only had the gold I’ve been hoarding over the last month. But I managed to get two dozen packs the first day and enough dust to craft a few extra cards.logo

This expansion introduces a few new card mechanics and combos, like being able to buff minions while they’re still in your hand, or summon a small minion that gets bigger every time it’s summoned, or being able to create your own spells. It’s very fun to play around with.

 

WATCHING: I recently discovered that my local library actually has a decent selection of DVD’s available. I picked up a few the other day, including Jane Got A Gun and Tales of Earthsea.

220px-gedo6snJane Got A GunΒ was fantastic. A tiny bit slow at times, but totally worth it in the end.

Tales of EarthseaΒ was beautiful. Of course, it’s Studio Ghibli, they can’t do ugly. But, I felt like there’s a lot of the story I was missing. It made me desperate to read the book so I could understand it all. Earthsea has been on my To Read list for a long time. I’ll put it at the top now and find it after I finish Warbreaker.

 

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks. What have you been, or will be, Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing or Watching? Leave a comment so we can squeal about the things we love! Thanks for dropping by!

WoRd PoW! #11: It’s That Time Again

WoRd PoW! #11: It’s That Time Again

 

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WRITING: Well, as you might have noticed I didn’t do my October writing challenge. But have no fear! Nano is here! I’ve been doing this 50,000 words in 30 days challenge off and on for 6 years. Only won once, back in 2013, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

20161031_125751I feel really good about this year. I have this new dragon project I’m really excited about and, with both kids in school, I have a couple hours every morning to write. At my best I can do about 1000 words/minute.

 

 

Tiny confession, I may, or may not, have started writing this novel a week ago. And I may or may not include those words into my Nano total. I’m pretty sure I can do the 50k in 30 days but I’ve got a little buffer if I fall behind. πŸ˜‰

 

READING: So I’ve read a couple books this last month. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve read and my star rating:

13638125Β 5 Stars Β 18739426Β 5 Stars Β 20764879Β 5 Stars

Currently I’m reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. And up next I’ve got Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson and Lindsey Stirling’s memoir The Only Pirate at the Party. I’ll do my usual full review of those in the coming weeks. If you want a full review of the 3 books I missed, leave a comment to let me know. πŸ™‚

 

14568122_10101485182619388_5090967211692125511_nDOING: Well it is Halloween and it’s been a fun weekend. We made the boy’s costumes because what the boys wanted was pretty specific. William is a Wither Boss from Minecraft and Jacob is a spinosaurus. Not exactly costumes that you can find at Wal-Mart. We like using cardboard, duck tape and felt.

We also went to our church trunk-or-treat Saturday night and Daniel decked his, already, Jurassic Park themed car to look like an open dinosaur mouth, complete with roaring dinosaur noises. Excuse me while I brag a moment, but we all got awards. Jacob got Scariest Costume, William was Best Overall and Daniel’s bug got Best Trunk. Daniel deserves all the credit, he’s the one that put everything together.

 

thrall319PLAYING: Well of course I’m still playing far too much Hearthstone. I’ve been working hard to build the good decks that can compete in Ranked mode. The highest I’ve gotten is 13th with 2 out of 4 stars. That’s out of 25 levels, by the way. It’s tough because I’m still missing one card in my top deck.

I haven’t played Minecraft in over a month. But I’m excited for the 1.11 update to come out. The new hostile mobs and the llamas sound awesome.

 

love_26_friendship_posterWATCHING: I’ve been in a period piece mood lately, so I checked out the Amazon Original Love & Friendship. It’s based off a Jane Austen novella and it was great fun. All the characters are so ridiculous and crazy, but, as is typical with all of Austen’s work, everyone gets their happy ending. It was an enjoyable little movie to watch.

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to this last month. I will be updating this once a week throughout November so you can have updates on my Nano progress. If you want more day-to-day updates you should follow me on Twitter (link).

What have you been Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing and/or Watching? Leave a comment and let’s share the things we love! Thanks for dropping by!

WoRd PoW #8: Dragons, Spaceships, Dogs, Cards & Aliens

WoRd PoW #8: Dragons, Spaceships, Dogs, Cards & Aliens

Ok, so it’s been over a month, but you know me, I always come back. πŸ™‚ I’ve been busy, as this post will show.

 

WRITING: My creative juices dried up over the last few months. It’s been a struggle to write, even this blog (i.e. 6 weeks between posts). But this last week the juices have been roaring through my veins and it feels great! While I haven’t been working on my current Crow novel, I have come up with a new story idea and have been world building. Lots of notes written down and research done. I’m pretty excited about this idea because there’s dragons and I LOVE dragons. The basic premise is like How To Train Your Dragon but with a female lead and the dragons are a lot smarter. There are other major differences but I’ll get into that in another post.

Anyway, writing is happening and that makes me insanely happy. πŸ™‚

 

16278318READING: I’ve read a few books over the last 6 weeks, I’ll list them with a simple star review for now, if you want a fuller review just ask for it in the comments. πŸ™‚

Fortunately, the Milk: 5 stars

Inkheart (re-read): 4 stars

The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus, and Get More Done: 5 stars

A Darker Shade of Magic: 5 stars

Just this week I read Armada by Ernest Cline, the same guy who wrote Ready Player One (no, I have not read that one).

Overall I give it 4 stars. It’s a good story and the characters and their reactions to this crazy situation are all very believable. The one gripe I have, and the reason I haven’t read Ready Player One was all the sci-fi/pop culture references*. I got most of them, but there were a few that went over my head. Fortunately, even if you’re a sci-fi noob you’ll understand the story. Most of the references are *Star Wars* based anyway. So if you like gaming and science fiction in all forms you’ll enjoy this book.

 

DOING: A lot has been going on this month. Both of my boy’s started school. William is in first grade and Jacob is in pre-school for half the day. Which means I get about 2.5 hours Every Weekday All To My SELF! Woohoo! It’s been a beautiful thing.

13908865_10101384549503958_1448679658704517337_o
Rascal & Happy begging for treats πŸ™‚

Also, a month ago we got a second dog. This is Rascal, he’s a beagle mix. We got him from Foothills Animal Shelter (same place we got Happy about 6 years ago). It’s been different having a larger dog. He’s able to grab food off the table and counters and it’s a lot more annoying when he jumps and barks compared to little Happy. He doesn’t bark at everything but he greets everyone with a trumpeting beagle howl when they come home. He’s super, almost aggressively, affectionate and has a lot of energy. We love him, he’s a great addition to our family. πŸ™‚

 

 

nexus2cee_one-night-in-karazhan-trailer-details-optimalPLAYING: My addiction to Hearthstone is still strong. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but I have spent about $60 on this game over the last few months. I’ve bought the adventure packs. The adventures are single player games where you follow a story line and and defeat different bosses. As you defeat the bosses you get new cards that can only be had by plying said adventure. Each adventure rewards you with about 45 new cards total. I’ve played and/or currently playing all of them and it’s totally worth it. The bosses are challenging and fun and the cards you get are super useful. There’s no way I could beat most other players without these cards. Also, I’d rather pay $20 for a fun gaming experience and knowing what cards I’ll get in the end, rather than for just a bunch of random cards.

I’ll do a more in depth review of the newly released adventure, One Night in Karazhan, when I finish it next week.

 

fho3g9oowqh1rw7fcdoiWATCHING: So a couple weeks ago I binged watched Defiance. It’s a show from Syfy that’s already ended 😦 but it was so good. The production value is amazing with great graphics and a lot of cool makeup and costumes (which is part of the reason they canceled the show, it gets expensive covering people in white or purple body paint). I enjoyed every minute of watching it. The story is non-stop, with a large cast of characters, most of them not human. They do a great job of showing you these different alien cultures and how weird Earth is now, without bogging down the story. Defiance - Season 1The characters are all awesome. Lots of strong female characters of different types and wonderfully flawed, yet lovable male leads. You know a story is good when it makes me love the main bad guy and cry when he is being slowly put to death. Like seriously Datak Tarr and Stahma Tarr are some of the most well written/acted antagonist, even characters, I’ve ever seen.

If you haven’t seen it, the whole series is available on Amazon Prime.

 

So that’s what’s been going on for the last 6 weeks. Now that I have this dedicated alone time every day, I should be able to update this on a weekly basis like I always intend to.

Thanks for dropping by! Be sure to like, comment and/or share!

 

 

 

*I’ve heard RPO is full of 80’s and 90’s pop culture references and while I was born in the late 80’s and grew up through the 90’s and into the 00’s, I didn’t get a lot of expose to pop culture at the time because my parents never had cable, TV was only hooked up the antenna half the time and I spent a lot of my childhood listening to oldies music and reading about unicorns. Sooo, I’m pretty sure a lot of things in RPO would go Β over my head.

WoRd PoW #7: Queens, Castles, Monsters & A Gate

WoRd PoW #7: Queens, Castles, Monsters & A Gate

Did you miss me? I missed you, honest. πŸ™‚ I meant to post this yesterday or Wednesday but I got sick and then Jacob got sick. We’re all better now so let’s nerd out.

 

Writing: …. πŸ˜„ It’s been a busy couple weeks so… yeah.

 

51ymuhjx4ql-_sx330_bo1204203200_Reading: I know I talked about this last time but I did finish The Hollow Queen. I give it 3 stars. It wasn’t awful, it was better than The Merchant Emperor, but it still wasn’t good. It was real rough in the first few chapters, but I plowed through.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

The thing that makes Queen better than Merchant is that stuff actually happens in Queen. There’s a war going on so there’s battles and stuff. The pacing is better in Queen, but the parts that drag really drag. Haydon has been insanely wordy these last two books. Taking time to give us unnecessary back story about horses and anti-rape devices.

What I did like is how bad ass Rhapsody was. I know it’s because she gave up part of her soul to protect her child, but it was refreshing to see her take charge with out being apologetic. I liked her “get shit done” attitude. Of course, everything with Achmed was great, except the very beginning when the characters are dealing with the aftermath of Achmed killing Tristan. He was too chatty and it just did not feel like him at all. It got better as the book went along.

Surprisingly, I did not hate Ashe in this book. While some of his parts were the slower bits, when he’s walking through the ocean and stuff, we did get to see new places and meet new people through him. Plus he wasn’t obsessing over Rhapsody as much as he did in the last book.

88a8166de4352d16677890d175f07c70Anborn’s death made me cry. He was one of my favorite characters, he ranks above Ashe by a lot.

Two big gripes that I had was the Dragon Ex Machina near the end and the god-moding baby. Addressing the dragon first, Ashe comes across the dragon Elynsynos at the bottom of the ocean and she makes it very clear that she’s not interested in helping him fight a war. Then, near the end, after Ashe get all ragey and sends a tsunami across the world, she just pops up and offers to help, and there’s no good explanation for it. It feels very much like Haydon just wanted a quick and easy way to end the war.

The second thing, the god-moding baby. I’ve always felt that Rhapsody was a Mary Sue Special Snowflake of epic proportions. So if Rhapsody is a Mary Sue then her baby is f*ing God. In previous books he’s put himself back inside his mother’s body after being born for crying out loud. So of course, when Grunther is injured beyond Rhapsody’s amazing ability to heal, only the god baby can fix him.

As horrible as this sounds, I almost would prefer that Grunther had died. It would have felt more real.

In conclusion, I like Queen better than the last one, but that’s not saying much. And yes I will read the final book, I need to get this story out of my system.

 

20160709_124150
This is Bishop’s Castle. It’s got a crazy history, check out their site.Β 

Doing: As I said last time, my parents were here for the 4th of July weekend. We had a blast, so much so that I forgot to take hardly any pictures. Then this last weekend we went to southern Colorado to visit one of Daniel’s cousins. It was a blast and we ran the boys to exhaustion with hiking, playing in streams and visiting a weird, not entirely safe, “castle”.

 

Screenshot_2016-07-15-17-21-56
Some of my Pokemon. Go Team Instinct!

Playing: Like the rest of the world, I’ve been playing Pokemon Go this week. I’m only a level 6 right now because I haven’t been able to get out much this week, what with me and one kid being sick. I tried a gym this morning and got my butt whopped, I’ve done some research, so I think I’ll do better next time.

I haven’t touched Minecraft in about two weeks now, it feels weird and I’m itching to get back.

 

d16fb346b905a0e7d0b1edea39215ebd
Yes please! πŸ˜‰

Watching: I’m still watching Stargate: Atlantis. I just started the 5th and final season. It’s fun to watch when I’m having a hard time sleeping.

 

So there you have it, my WoRd PoW for the last couple weeks. What have you been Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing and/or Watching lately? Leave a comment and share!

Thanks for dropping by! πŸ™‚

WoRd PoW! #5

WoRd PoW! #5

Hey look! WoRd PoW! is actually on a Wednesday, like I always intend it to be. πŸ˜‰ Let’s get started shall we?

Writing: My word count for this last week is 1822. I didn’t write everyday, but on the days I did write I wrote a lot. My daily goal is to write at least 500 words. I tend to either not write at all in a day or I write way more than 500 words.

I haven’t been working on my WIP, not sure what’s holding me back. I have it all planned out, even spent a lot of time a couple weeks ago planning out the next couple scenes in more detail. I’ve just been avoiding writing, like I’m scared of it or something. I don’t know, my brain is weird.

 

51isww2rpol-_sy344_bo1204203200_Reading: I started reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo this week and I’m about half way through. I’ve not read any of her books before, but I like her a lot so far. She’s on my growing list of new (to me) authors to check out.

The book is really fascinating. It’s classified as Young Adult but the characters feel so mature despite most of them being 16 or 17. I guess it’s because of the darker tone of the book and the characters tragic back stories.

There’s six main characters and Bardugo is great at letting the reader get to know each character. She head hops to a different person every chapter, giving everyone a different voice. I’m really enjoying this story and I’m eager to read the rest of Bardugo’s work, which is set in the same world as Six of Crows.

 

fabulousDoing: So, as you might already know, or have guessed, I’m a master procrastinator. I’m very good at spending my time doing a lot of nothing. I have a hard time getting motivated and doing the things I don’t want to do *coughdishescough*. In an effort to stop wasting my time so much I came across this app called Fabulous. It’s a motivational app that helps you break down your to do list, get stuff done and feel good about your self for every little accomplishment.

I’ve been using this app for almost a week now and I’ve already seen a big improvement. I feel more motivation to do the things I normally avoid, like cleaning. I don’t get as overwhelmed by a large task; and it feels good to have a little computer voice say, “Good job, Kristen!”

 

kindle-fire-hd-6-kids-edition-reviewPlaying: As I said last time, I’ve been curbing my gaming habit, but we did just buy a Kindle Fire for the boys to use. We had one a couple years ago that William loved to play with. It was through all the kid friendly, educational apps that Amazon has that taught William the alphabet and counting before he went into preschool.

My old Fire broke, or something, and we haven’t used it in a long time. But I saw that Amazon has this deal for $100 that includes a Kindle Fire, kid proof case and a year subscription to their Amazon FreeTime Unlimited program, which basically gives you countless books, apps and videos that are all kid friendly and free.

The other cool thing I discovered with this program is it allows you to set time limits for any one activity, or just for how long a kid can play with the Kindle in general. There’s also a feature that makes it so the kids have to read or doing something educational for a set amount of time before they can play with the just for fun stuff. Summer learning for the win!*

 

Watching: I am so late to the party on this but, I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy the other night. I knew it would be a good movie, but I kind of had my expectations low because I am so done with superhero movies. I’m at the point where if a movie is part of Marvel** or DC I just don’t even care. But Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t feel like a superhero movie, it felt like a good science fiction/action flick. In fact, it reminded me of Firefly in a lot of ways, and Firefly is pretty much perfect in my eyes.

The humor was spot on. Rocket and Groot are perfect in every way. I’d totally watch a movie based on them alone. The #1 best moment for me was this post-58050-i-am-groot-smiling-gif-imgur-aubg. I mean look at that face! He’s just so gosh darn happy about brutally killing a bunch of bad guys. Tree people, no matter what story they come from, are always the best and should not be messed with.

 

What have you been Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing and/or Watching this week? Leave a comment so we can all share the things we love!

 

*Side note: I am not the kind of mom who thinks “screen time” is a horrible evil thing.

**Side note: Marvel and X-Men FTW!