Tag Archives: Blogging Challenge

Book Blogger TMI Tag

6 Feb

How old are you?  
This month, or next month? Because I can give you a different answer for each.

What book are you reading?  Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn. I’m just over a third of the way through, and I’m really enjoying it! If you caught my Brisbane Bookfest post, you’ll know that I’ve been looking for this book for ages. It was one of those that I found randomly on Amazon, felt guilty about buying on Amazon when I worked at an independent bookstore, but for some reason couldn’t get through our distributors, then I moved to a new country where it wasn’t in stores and cost a fortune to ship from Amazon… but it must have been meant to be, because there it was hidden among a million books at bookfest, just ready to be snatched up.

 What are you wearing?  
Pajamas. Summery ones. Because I’m in Australia and it’s summer.

  I had to look up what this meant. At first I thought it was Other Than Pie, but that didn’t make much sense on a book blog survey. So then I thought maybe there was another o missing, because “Order the Phoenix” didn’t make much sense either. Then I looked it up and found it means “One True Pairing.” Are there rules for this? Are you supposed to pick characters that don’t end up together or characters that do? I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a relationship that I’m like “Grr, no, you belong with him!” Hasn’t the author already written pairings? Why would they be wrong? (Don’t even get me started on the Ron/Hermione thing going around. Seriously.)

I guess the relationship I like best is Will and Lyra from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. If you don’t know why, you should read the books, but here’s a taste. Let’s just say we used bits and pieces of this in our wedding vows:

“Oh, Will,” she said, “What can we do? Whatever can we do? I want to live with you forever. I want to kiss you and lie down with you and wake up with you every day of my life till I die, years and years and years away. I don’t want a memory, just a memory…”

“No,” he said. “Memory’s a poor thing to have. It’s your own real hair and mouth and arms and eyes and hands I want. I didn’t know I could ever love anything so much. Oh, Lyra, I wish this night would never end! If only we could stay here like this, and the world could stop turning, and everyone else could fall into a sleep…”

“Everyone except us! And you and I could live here forever and just love each other.”

“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again…”

“I’ll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you…We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pin trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams…And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…”

Blogger or WordPress?
  Wordpress. I was on Blogspot or wherever for a while before being converted over here. Let’s just say WordPress allows people to find my blog a lot more easily than Blogspot ever did!

Going outside being active or staying in and reading a book?  
Staying in and reading a book pretty much always, unless there’s adventure to be had.

What is the last book you read?  Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart (I know, I’m falling behind on my book reading goal! So much has been going on.)

What is the book you’re going to read next?
  One of my other Bookfest books, that’s for certain. I’m debating between Painting Mona Lisa and Set in Stone at the moment, but that could change.

Ebooks – yes or no?
  Ugh, okay, so here’s the deal. I am a book lover through and through. And by book, I mean print book. I railed against e-books for years. Then I decided I should actually try reading one, and I still didn’t like it. However, I do see their uses—I’m planning on getting my own e-reader rather than stealing my husband’s before we go to Europe, so that  I can have a few books without having them take up room in my backpack. Plus, I have absolutely been loving NetGalley and the ability to read books before they’re released, provide reviews, and help promote the books. But I will never ditch real books. A home is not complete without a library, and I don’t mean a little square electronic device.

Where do you prefer to read?  
At home, on the couch or in bed. I struggle to read in any public setting, whether it be on a bus, in a park, or even in a library. I get too distracted by people. I need a quiet space to read, without people intruding on my bubble.

Who is the last person you tweeted?  
I don’t tweet—well, my blog is hooked up to a twitter account, but it just posts my new blog posts automatically, I don’t actually tweet anyone.

Whose blog did you look at last?  Kathryn at Nine Pages, who tagged me in this survey!

 Who is your favorite blogger?  
You want me to choose?

Who is your favorite book-tuber?  
I’ve always thought about trying to become a booktuber but I never actually sit down and make videos. I don’t watch many either, that’s probably part of the problem. As such, I can’t say I have a “favorite” but I am intrigued by the whole concept!

What do you do when someone tells you reading is boring?  “You just haven’t found the right book yet!”

Who is the last author you spoke to?
  Actually spoke to? I can’t remember, probably someone who popped into the bookstore where I worked. But I’ve commented on Tamora Pierce’s facebook statuses much more recently than that!

Who is the last person you texted?  
Cal. He’s the only person I text.

Who is your all-time favorite book character?  
Oh goodness. I have a huge number of book crushes. There’s Numair from Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, Vidanric from Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, and Christopher Chant from Chronicles of Chrestomanci.

United Kingdom YA or United States YA?  I think it’s pretty evenly split now, but back in the day I leaned toward UK. There was J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Diana Wynne Jones, Anne McCaffrey (lived in Ireland anyway), Eva Ibbotson… probably others I can’t think of right now. Now, it’s pretty evenly split, but I have a soft spot for British YA.

What is your preferred drink whilst reading?
  Tea.  Any kind, though I particularly enjoy mint green tea.

If you hated reading, what would you be doing instead?  I wouldn’t hate reading. Problem solved.

How many bookshelves / bookcases do you have?  
We only have two huge ones that are built in. They span almost an entire room. I’m not sure if they’d hold all of my books if I brought them back from the US, but they serve us well at the moment.

If you had the choice to meet all of your favorite book bloggers or all of your favorite authors, which would you pick? You can only pick one.  
Authors! Most of the bloggers I follow are my real-life friends, and I see them often enough. 😉

Insta-love: yes or no?
  No. I prefer hate-then-love. It seems more believable that way. See: Meliara and Vidanric.

Favorite author?  
Tamora Pierce. I love more of her books than I love any other author’s books. Plus, she’s pretty darn funny.

What is the number-one book on your wishlist?
  Exile by Tamora Pierce. It isn’t finished yet. It’s about Numair, though, and I love Numair. I’ve been waiting for it since it was first listed on her website, back in… 2006? (!!!)

Do you prefer books with female or male protagonists?  
Female, hands down.  I have, of course, enjoyed some books with male protagonists—Harry Potter, anyone?—but of those, I tend to prefer male protagonists written by female writers.

Which is your favourite book-to-film adaption?  I live by the philosophy that the book is always better than the movie. I’ve been dithering over this question for a little while… I can remember a movie that I walked out of thinking, “Awesome! They used so many direct quotes from the book!” but for the life of me I can’t remember which one it was. So rather than take a stab in the dark, I’m going to go a different route entirely and say Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was pretty good, and I seem to remember liking The Thief Lord as well.

What is the last song you listened to?  Do you want to build a snowman? Or ride our bike around the halls? I think some company is over due, I’ve started talking to the pictures on the walls! Hang in there, Joan. We used to be best buddies and now we’re not…

Which do you enjoy reading more – negative reviews or positive reviews?  Honestly, I prefer critical reviews, whether they be negative or positive. I like knowing why someone thinks what they do. “THIS WAS THE BEST BOOK EVER” doesn’t tell me anything, and “THIS BOOK WAS SO AWFUL” doesn’t tell me anything either.

Who are you going to tag?
  So many people have already done this, so I’m going to take the easy way out and say, “Anyone who wants to do this survey!” I’d love to see your answers to these questions!


NaNoWriMo 2013: Day Six

6 Nov


Today was brilliant. Perhaps not in terms of word count, but in terms of getting things done. I wrote two articles again, totalling 2000 words (a bit over actually… they were both a bit long). The great thing about them today was that I was interested and there were some fantastic sources, which makes the writing go along superbly.

As such, I finished them by 3:00, allowing myself time to write NaNo–more than I’ve had in a while. Of course I distracted myself with chores, and then it was time to make dinner, then eat dinner, then shower so I didn’t have to do it tomorrow, and it was 8:30 by the time I actually sat down to write.

That said, I did a bit of outlining today as well, and as such I sat down to write an actual planned scene so I felt as though I had some more direction than in previous days. An excellent start. This weekend, I have literally nothing planned in terms of Going Out And Doing Stuff. So I’ll be dedicating my days to researching and outlining. Fingers crossed.

1. How many words did you write today?  1018 (are you sensing a trend?)
2. How long did it take you to write them? About an hour.
3. How many times did you use Write or Die? None.
4. What is the most interesting thing you researched for the sake of plot today? Were trenchers a 1700s thing? When did bowls come into play? (Trenchers: more medieval. See below for bowls.)
5. What didn’t you research today that you probably should have? Bowls, plates, forks, knives… when were they used? I just plopped them in pell-mell in this breakfast scene today. Who even knows.
6. What unexpected turn did your novel take today? It’s becoming more planned. That’s something.
7. Best/Funniest novel moment today? Mr. Ashley took Mr. Miller’s paper to read for himself. Mrs. Miller blew a gasket.
8. Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 7043
9. Words Remaining: 42,957
10. Days Left: 24
11. Today’s Excerpt:

Following our conversation that evening, Mr. Ashley could be found on the balcony overlooking the dining room during his meals. That is where Mary found him, sitting at a small table with a single chair that he had moved for the occasion, reading Mr. Miller’s paper. Even she had been too taken aback to say anything—dazed, perhaps, by his good looks or the dazzling smile he gave her in thanks for his tea and extra rasher of bacon.

            I was tending the porridge at the time, lifting the pot off the flames in the fireplace, when Mary bounced next to me, whispering excitedly, “Mrs. Miller’s going to be in such a tizzy! Reading Mr. Miller’s paper! And here she was hoping to hide him from the town for however long he’s here.” She pointed toward the rafters. “Well, that’s done now, isn’t it?”

            Shrugging, I set the pot down on the table and started doling the mush into bowls. “I don’t know, Mary. I think we ought not nose into Mr. Ashley’s business. Whatever he’s doing here, it isn’t good. We’d do best to keep our heads down and avoid his attention if you want my opinion.”

            “Your opinion,” Mary said, sticking her nose in the air, “is always the boring one.”

I’d love to hear about your NaNoWriMo journey! Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, or use this survey for your own blog and send me a link. I love following fellow Wrimos.

NaNoWriMo 2013: Day Five

5 Nov


Remember, remember the fifth of November… because you should be at 8,335 words!

Well, I’m not. Once again, the day did not go as planned. A trip I was expecting to take an hour, maybe two, ended up taking seven. The fortunate thing about this is that all the details will probably be excellent novel fodder one day. Getting lost in a foreign land, taking a chance by jumping on a passing cart, stopping by a pub that looked popular with the locals, counting and recounting your coins to make sure you have enough…

Okay, modernize that a bit but you get the gist.

Normally I’d be sweating it out about how far behind I am, but like I said, I’m really aiming for 30,000 words this month (and the next month… and the next month…) and as I’m a day ahead of THAT goal, I’m feeling pretty good. Well, except that I have no idea where my novel is going and I’m REALLY starting regret not putting more time and effort into the outline and research before this!

1. How many words did you write today?  1002
2. How long did it take you to write them? About an hour.
3. How many times did you use Write or Die? None.
4. What is the most interesting thing you researched for the sake of plot today? I didn’t research anything today… very rushed job.
5. What didn’t you research today that you probably should have? I used “tacks” as markers on a map hanging on a wall. Differently colored tacks. Yeah, I don’t know if tacks were even things back then, let alone with different colors. So… there’s that.
6. What unexpected turn did your novel take today? Mr. Ashley is a messy person. Who knew.
7. Best/Funniest novel moment today? Cora is astounded that Mr. Ashley is a messy person.
8. Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 6025
9. Words Remaining: 43,975
10. Days Left: 25
11. Today’s Excerpt:

According to Mrs. Miller, Mary lingered too long at the door of Mr. Ashley talking sweetly at the keyhole, so she sent me to take his dinner the next evening. I knocked softly and bent to set the tray on the floor, and was fully unprepared for the response that followed.

“Come in.”

I’d love to hear about your NaNoWriMo journey! Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, or use this survey for your own blog and send me a link. I love following fellow Wrimos.

NaNoWriMo 2013: Day Four

4 Nov


Well, today was a test. It was the first day of NaNo that I actually had a few articles to write as well. To stay on track, I had to finish two–that’s 2000 non-NaNo words. As I actually get paid to write these, they took precedence over anything else. I finished the first one with some time to spare but got caught up in YouTube (again) and only finished the last one around 9:30 this evening. Granted, I had a lot of cleaning and cat-tending and dinner-cooking in there as well. Ah, the distractions joys of working at home.

Nevertheless, I’m determined not to fall more than a day behind schedule. Therefore, I pushed past the sleepiness and threw something on to the paper. Mostly I’ve been fueled by half a chocolate bar and two cupcakes (having husband’s birthday in November was useful for something!) and I’m on a bit of a sugar high. It occurred to me that adulthood is a wonderful thing. You can stay awake however long you’d like by whatever means necessary, even if you might regret laying on the cream cheese frosting doubly thick later.

I’m honestly not even sure what I wrote today. My apologies.

1. How many words did you write today?  812
2. How long did it take you to write them? About an hour.
3. How many times did you use Write or Die? None.
4. What is the most interesting thing you researched for the sake of plot today? I didn’t research anything today, unless you count my articles! But somehow I don’t think United States massacres in 1968 and 1920 have much at all to do with the American Revolution.
5. What didn’t you research today that you probably should have? Would inns even have chicken coops?
6. What unexpected turn did your novel take today? If I knew what I was writing, I’d tell you.
7. Best/Funniest novel moment today? Throwing MC into a chicken coop which may or may not actually exist in later drafts.
8. Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 5023
9. Words Remaining: 44,977
10. Days Left: 26
11. Today’s Excerpt:

The man must have paid for a fair few nights, or perhaps Mrs. Miller simply didn’t want to confront him again. She walked around in a huff, snapping at bystanders for being idle—even those who didn’t work for her—and grumbling on about men who thought rather too much of themselves and never thanked her for her good cooking. I knew Mrs. Miller was well aware that a lack of compliments was the least of her worries, so I kept quiet.

I’d love to hear about your NaNoWriMo journey! Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, or use this survey for your own blog and send me a link! I love following fellow Wrimos.

NaNoWriMo 2013: Day Three

3 Nov


Today I realized I was putting too much emphasis on the words I’m writing being good and not enough emphasis on getting the words out. I think it was because this time around I’m focusing more on the end product and not treating NaNo as some 50,000 word writing exercise.

To combat this, I chose a scene more toward the middle of the story to write to give myself more momentum. I’m also struggling with the beginning because it feels like there’s so much information I need to convey and not a lot of time to convey it. I decided to reveal the main character’s back story much more slowly than I was going to initially. I’m not sure if the slow revelation is going to fly with readers or not–if I were submitting this to a creative writing class, I could see comments like “I’m confused” and “why is she there?” etc. But I’ve seen this sort of thing done right (in Jennifer Nielsen’ A False Prince, for example) so hopefully I can pull it off!

Oh! The other struggle I’ve been having is switching between first and third person. Ugh! I’m used to writing in first because I wrote my thesis in first, and I keep going back to it to do little edits every now and then. I’ve also been reading quite a few books written in first. I wanted this one to be in third, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Ah, well. But–that’s the explanation for Day One’s excerpt being in third and today’s being in first!

I started to catch up word count-wise after not writing yesterday, as you’ll see.

1. How many words did you write today?  2064
2. How long did it take you to write them? Many hours, with many breaks for a nap and to watch Dracula.
3. How many times did you use Write or Die? None.
4. What is the most interesting thing you researched for the sake of plot today? Men’s clothing styles in the 1770s. Also, different types of noses. (Because when people say “hawk nose” or “bulbous nose” what do they really mean? I found out!)
5. What didn’t you research today that you probably should have? The process Inns used to book rooms. Where did they keep their money? How much would a room cost? What kind of money were they using back then anyway?
6. What unexpected turn did your novel take today? Jumping ahead a bit, so now I have no idea how I’m going to introduce some information but… well, it’s NaNo!
7. Best/Funniest novel moment today? Being able to meet Mr. Ashley, the Academy representative. He’s lots of fun!
8. Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 4211
9. Words Remaining: 45,789
10. Days Left: 27
11. Today’s Excerpt:

It would have been one thing to poison his meal. I had the resources needed at hand. I could even make it look like an accident, and not the deliberate fault of whoever made the dinner that night. I had killed a man that way before. I had killed another with a knife through his heart, though that had been another situation entirely.

But what I hadn’t counted on—what the colonials undoubtedly hadn’t counted on—was Lord Ashley sending his young relative to root out the Millerstown Witch wherever she might be. Dead representatives meant a slow start to the war; a dead Mr. Ashley would speed that process along, and I wasn’t sure that the colonials were ready for such a thing. That said, a kidnapped Mr. Ashley might provide enough negotiating power to relieve us of a war and win the fight to find a cure for this illness that was sweeping through our towns. We wouldn’t have that opportunity if he was dead.

 Which meant I could not kill him immediately and slip away as planned. It was Mary who delivered his meal, untouched by me, while I offered to fetch water. After, I snuck into the stables with a short, prepared message of my own:

Ashley. Truthteller. Change?

The colonials would either order me to kill him or keep him. Either way, I would need to survive at least another day with a truthteller in my midst without betraying my true identity or allowing him to catch me lying. One lie led to another, after all, and if he was here to catch the Millerstown Witch he might very well think it was me he was looking for. And once he looked a bit more deeply, well—I’m not sure I would make it out of Millerstown alive.


I’d love to hear about your NaNoWriMo journey? Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, or use this survey for your own blog and send me a link! I love following fellow Wrimos.

NaNoWriMo 2013: Day Two

3 Nov

Well, I didn’t actually get anything written today. November 2 happens to be my husband’s birthday, and what a day it was. After he left for work in the morning I went out to get some food for the picnic he didn’t know we were going to have, including Red Velvet cupcake mix (his favorite!). Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the ingredients I needed to make the cupcakes, and it turns out we didn’t have any milk and our eggs were bad.

Why don’t I go get cupcakes from a cake shop? I said to myself. So, after a bit of research I found one that was more or less on the way to his work, where I was planning to show up to surprise him. The buses weren’t great to get there, so I decided to walk from a major bus hub–supposedly only about 20 minutes.

Let’s just say that I was walking for an hour before I wound up by the river having absolutely no idea where I was. Turns out the street I was meant to turn on hadn’t been marked. Rather, as I saw taking a bus back up the giant hill I’d gone down, it WAS marked, but only by a single sign pointing toward the bus on the way back up. That is, I wouldn’t have had a chance of seeing it walking the way I was walking.

So, I was too late for cupcakes. I was too late to meet Cal at work. I was hot, sweaty, tired (I’d carried all the picnic stuff that whole time, including a bottle of water and a bottle of wine). We ended up having a good time when we finally met up, but I was absolutely exhausted by the time we got home. Hashtag excuses?

I’m not too worried about it, though. I only need to write 30,000 words this month to meet my 85,000 word goal by the end of January, so if I don’t catch up to real NaNo word count I’m still on track for my personal goal! Hopefully our anniversary on the 24th doesn’t also get in the way.

I’ll post up Day 3 later, hopefully with some good progress to show after a hard day’s work.

NaNoWriMo 2013: Day One

1 Nov


As the first day of NaNo draws to a close, I can’t help but heave a huge sigh of relief. I don’t know what it was about this month, but I was nervous. I haven’t been nervous about NaNo since the first time I participated! I barely got any sleep last night mulling over what my first sentence would be. As you can imagine, I spent most of my morning attempting to think up that first scene and forming the right words to make it awesome. I don’t think I succeeded, but that’s what editing is for.

The morning was also a bit rough because I realized just how much I hadn’t researched. But researching and writing makes for slow going, so I had to develop a system that basically says to “go back later” and change. One of my friends (can’t remember who at the moment, I’m sorry!) told me a while ago to put a symbol that wouldn’t usually be used in the novel (I’m using ###) around areas you need to change or fix as a note to yourself. Then when you’re editing you can search for every instance of ### and figure out what to do about it without faltering in your writing pace.

Because I wasn’t getting much done, I went to my local writing being hosted at a coffee shop a short bus ride down the road. Write-ins are amazing things. I didn’t go to any last year because I was quite busy and it never seemed to work out. Honestly, my only experience with write-ins before this was at university, because the closest Michigan write-ins were always an hour and a half away. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect (university write-ins = all the friends, this write-in = all the strangers) but it was more or less the same. Loved being able to meet a few people since working from home is NOT conducive to finding new friends. There are going to be weekly write-ins (next one is on Sunday) and I’m hoping to go to a few and get to know some more writers.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with my opening scene. It then devolved into this massive, poorly written info-dump. I don’t even know where I was going with it. I’m trying to figure out how to put this information more fluidly into the story, which is something I always struggle with. I’ll figure something out I’m sure. In the meantime, it’s set the stage for what’s to come, so that’s something. On to the survey!

1. How many words did you write today?  2147
2. How long did it take you to write them? About two hours, or maybe three? That’s how long I was at the write-in.
3. How many times did you use Write or Die? None, surprisingly!
4. What is the most interesting thing you researched for the sake of plot today? “Did houses in the 1770s have cellars?” The answer is mostly no, except many buildings that housed slaves had “pit cellars” which would have served the purpose I was hoping it would, except there aren’t any slave dwellings at the inn.
5. What didn’t you research today that you probably should have? What DIDN’T I not research that I probably should have? Weather in Massachusetts in October, what people in the 1770s ate for breakfast, how fruit and vegetables are stored, when cabbages are harvested… I mean for real.
6. What unexpected turn did your novel take today? The opening scene now takes place in the stables because there weren’t any cellars in the 1770s. So… that was kind of unexpected.
7. Best/Funniest novel moment today? Figuring out what was going to happen first and finally getting started.
8. Total NaNoWriMo Word Count So Far: 2147
9. Words Remaining: 47853
10. Days Left: 29
11. Today’s Excerpt:

Cora Lyons did not receive post in the normal way. Her letters did not sit in a pile beside the safe box until Mrs. Miller parceled them out, wrapped up with notes from Mary’s admirers and Mr. Miller’s newspaper. She had never been handed a small wrapped package by a street urchin employed to deliver it for a few extra pennies. She had never shaken someone’s hand to find a bit of paper transferred into hers.

 It was just as well. As far as Mrs. Miller and the rest of the residents of the Millerstown Inn were concerned, Cora did not have anyone to write to her. They didn’t know about the slips of paper that found their way into the cracks and crevices of the stable stalls every Sunday, and she wanted to keep it that way. Which was why Cora could be found that chilly October night striding across the inn lawn, leaving footprints in the frost.

How was your first day of NaNoWriMo? Feel free to use this survey or let me know in the comments below!

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