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 #10: Squirrels & Dragons

WoRd PoW #10: Squirrels & Dragons

It’s been a pretty average week.

 

aid596842-728px-outline-a-novel-step-7-version-2WRITING: I’ve been very busy outlining my new WIP. I’ve got the first couple chapters planned out in pretty good detail. Now I just have to decide which way I want the main conflict to go. I’ve got the set up and I know how I want it to end but there are a lot of ways to get from point A to point Z.

 

READING: Soooo… I kind of lost my book for like a week. It ended up behind the couch and I only found it yesterday. Thus, no reading has happened. I’ll finish Vicious this week.

 

DOING: Honestly, not much has been going on this week. Even though we had a three day weekend because of Labor Day, we just stayed home and chilled.

On Saturday we did take the boys to see their first movie in the theater, Pete’s Dragon…(see the WATCHING section)

 

PLAYING: I finished a big project on Minecraft. Over on Bruno’s Realm on the white listed Nether Ender Server, I previously built my self an acorn house. I’ve now put a gigantic squirrel on top of it.complete-squirrel

It took a few days total to come up with and finalize the design. After playing around in creative for a while, I got it how I wanted it and then I spent a couple hours graphing out every layer on graph paper.

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Layers 1-6

 

It was totally worth the effort because I was able to build it in survival in a few hours.

Definitely the coolest thing I’ve built in Minecraft. πŸ™‚

 

WATCHING: I’ve only ever seen bits and pieces of the original, animated Pete’s Dragon and it was a rough movie. But this new one is fantastic!

636062680454150595-reel-1ab-grd057-0019558The whole family enjoyed it. The little boy who played Pete was great and Elliot the dragon looks amazing. He’s basically a big green dog with wings.

The beginning of the movie is very sad, William, who’s six, was pretty upset at first. SPOILER! (highlight if you want to see it) Pete and his parents get in a car wreck and his parents die. That’s how he ends up lost and alone in the woods. I had to reassure William that everything would be OK, because look! Now Pete has a dragon for a best friend.

The only other slightly negative thing is that the antagonist seems almost over the top. Like he’s riding that line between being a normal Disney villain and a Disney Channel Original Movie villain, if you know what I mean.

Beyond those two things, this movie was great and the boys really enjoyed it. In fact Jacob got upset when we came home because we don’t already own the movie for him to watch again.

 

So that’s been my week. What have you been Writing, Reading, Doing, Playing or Watching? Tell me in the comments! Thanks for dropping by!

WoRd PoW #9: Staying Organized & Finally Able to Stream

WoRd PoW #9: Staying Organized & Finally Able to Stream

See, told you guys I’d get back on track here. πŸ™‚

 

WRITING: I’m still working on that new story idea I mentioned last time. When I’m jotting down notes I don’t count the words. There has been a fair amount of doodling this time as I’ve sketched out rough maps and stuff. Since this is a fantasy that takes place in a totally different world I get to design how it looks. Really, really wish I could draw because the dragons I’m picturing in my head are pretty darn awesome. πŸ™‚

 

13638125READING: So Jacob has started this thing where he asks to go to the library every Monday after school. It’s impossible to say no to that. This week I picked up Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I read her most recent book A Darker Shade of Magic a couple weeks ago and enjoyed it so I’m excited for this book too.

 

DOING: I recently learned about this new (to me at least) form of staying organized called a Bullet Journal. I’ve been experimenting with it this month and so far I like it. If you want to learn more about it I’ll link to the videos I found on YouTube that taught me about them. 20160831_091057This is mine so far. I’m using this small journal because it’s what I had on hand and I like how portable it is. I found that I’ve done similar types of organizing in the past without realizing it was a thing. But this is a little more formatted. I’m not perfect with it, but I do think it’s helped.

20160831_091205I like having it for tracking my word counts and what days I do write. And the simple weekly planner is perfect for me and my sometimes busy, sometimes easy weeks. The rest of the pages I use to make notes, reminders or just get thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

20160831_091131You can find a ton of ideas on Pinterest, and don’t be discouraged by what you see. Some people get really, Really, artsy fartsy with their’s, and that is not a requirement. You can keep it simple or go all out, whatever works for you.

 

PLAYING: I’ve been doing something new with Hearthstone this week. Blizzard has announced that you can now easily live stream their games (Hearthstone, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, etc) using Facebook Live. I’ve tried it out and it works okay with my crappy computer! The video quality isn’t amazing and I can only do it for about 30 minutes before my processor starts to freak out on me. But hey, it’s streaming and that’s what all the cool kids are doing now. πŸ˜‰

If you’re interested you can follow my gaming persona, KorkySquirrel on Facebook, Twitter,Β and YouTube. I post all the streams on YouTube after the stream is over. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a decent computer early next year, but we’ll see. Being a responsible adult with kids cost money.

 

dpligcj0WATCHING: There aren’t any TV shows or movies I’ve seen recently so I’ll share one of my favorite YouTubers. I don’t watch many vlogs in general and I’m real picky about Mommy Vlogs, the only exception is Linz DeFranco over at TheDeFrancoFam. She is the wife of my #1 YouTuber, Philip DeFranco and they have an adorable 2 year old son. I love how real she is in her vlogs about her struggles with being a mom and having depression and anxiety. She’s not afraid to curse or show her kid throwing a tantrum. She also doesn’t let the vlog rule her life. She vlogs 3 times a week but she’s honest when there are times that she just can’t post because life just gets overwhelming. I love how imperfect she is and normal, just like the rest of us. If you like mommy vlogs you should totally check her out.

 

As always, thanks for dropping by! Be sure to like, comment, share and follow if you haven’t already!

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.

 

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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™‚