Posted in Challenges, monthly goals

December Goals

1) Get to my yearly stretch goal and figure out a goal for the New Year

I’d love to make it to 75 books January 1st. I’d also love for my book goal next year to be 100. Not sure if I can make it, but I think I’m going to aim high.

2) Have 500 views a month.

I surprised myself by getting over 450 views on the blog last month, so I’m shooting for my next goal.

3) Get ready and host my Christmas meme/challenge

It’s the same one I did last year, but I’ve read a lot more this year, plus I’ve grown as a blogger. I’m also going to look around for any good holiday challenges to participate in.

4) Try to get ahead on my posts

Just in case I have to do anything medical for my pain I’d like to just have some stuff in place to fall back on.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Posted in monthly goals

November Wrap Up

Blog more!

This part definitely worked out more, I blogged almost every day of November and my numbers were through the roof.

Read more

I haven’t been reading as much this month as I’d liked to. So far I only hit 5 books, I think October was rare in the fact that I got 12 out of it. But I still think with the fact that I’m at 68, I’m going to be able to get 75 before January 1st.

Finish up Challenges and get ready for the ones at the end of the year.

While I’m not finished with my Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, I passed the first level which was the original goal I set for myself. I’m also working on IndiAThon, trying to read as many books by Indigenous authors as I can in November, I think that’s going to go into December. Finally I’m getting ready to set up my Christmas challenges.

Try to start looking at the technical side of blogging.

I think this needs to be my goal in the new year right now my focus seems to be own posting every day.

Image by Егор Камелев from Pixabay

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

Weekly Review

This week was a pretty good week. I felt a bit better and have some medical tests coming up so that good at least. Being sick in November slowed down my reading a bit I only finished five books.

Read

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Plus an ARC I can’t talk about/show till closer till its release. As for what I’m currently reading and will hopefully finish before the end of the month.

Reading

Soulswift by [Megan Bannen]

Other than that I’m just working on going after the dragons on Dragon Age, getting ready for my Christmas challenge and Blogmas, and just keeping on posting every day.

Posted in Author Recommendations, Yallfest

Worlds from Words, the Art (and Science?) of Worldbuilding

This was a great panel and one of the more useful ones for me. The panel was moderated by Veronica Roth who is most famous for her Divergent series, Jennifer L Armentrout, who is famous for her Lux Series along with many other paranormal romances. Traci Chee, who is famous for her The Reader series. Somaiya Daud who is famous for her Mirage series. Jordan Ifueko who is famous for her breakout hit Raybearer and Samantha Shannon who is famous for her The Bone Season series.

When asked how much research they do Traci Chee noted she did the least work possible for her fantasy books such as the Reader. But that she was more detailed and exact with her books like We are Not Free, because she was dealing with real people’s lives and experiences.

Jordan Ifueko said she started with myths and lore because that informs who a culture is. She notes that she starts with mythology she finds it easier to find out how characters would react once you know what they believe.

Somaiya Daud, says she likes to get into the weeds of history on Scrivener, she says she likes to save her worldbuilding knowing she isn’t going to use it in the story. She pointed out she had a two thousand year time line where only two events appear in the story and that she’s big on historiography. She said she had an inner Toliken in her head.

Jordan Ifueko talked about how Raybearer was coded as real world cultures, but where the power struggles didn’t come from issues of European colonization like they did in the ‘real’ world.

Somaiya Doud also talked about how she based a lot of her stuff is how folktales are told in Morocco. vs how North African women actually are. She talked about having familiar cultural markers then making up stuff around it so people from that culture see the familiar marker in story. Doud also talked about adding information the same way Dragon Age does via like a codex system.

The whole panel agreed that the one religion fantasy trope was unbelievable. Because the one thing people fight about in the real world more than anything is religion. So it would totally happen in a fantasy world.

Image by ejaugsburg from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Yallfest

Dark Stories Shine Bright

This panel was great moderated by Marie Lu most famous for her LEGEND series with Kalynn Bayron, who is famous for her book Cinderella is Dead. Z Brewer who is famous for their newest book Into the Real, Jay Kristoff who is know for many projects such as the The Illuminae Files he worked on with Amie Kaufman, finally Adam Sass we had famous for Surrender Your Sons.

Marie Lu asked about what they were currently working on,

Z Brewer is apparently doing some video game type stuff at the moment which sounded super interesting.

Adam Sass is working on a rom-com and a story on teen fugitives.

Kalynn Bayron is working on an MG paranormal project.

They all agreed that dark stories were a good place to work through your own issues or larger issues like the patriarchy.

They had some thoughts on how to build a villain. The panel noted that you should be able to see the story from the villain point of view. Think about villainy itself, why are women always the villains. Also think about morally grey characters. Are there villains’ who are being evil for evil’s sake?

Heros in dark stories deserve agency and demand to be respected, survival in a dark story is not enough.

Z Brewer or Adam Sass said queer people often process trauma through humor which I thought was just an interesting note from the panel.

When writing dark stories you need to remind yourself your characters will have some kick ass scenes beating the villains’ at the end even if they are in a dark place at the moment.

Z Brewer also noted that self care during/after writing the book was important.

Kalynn Bayron pointed out the importance of thearpy.

Finally when asked about the MG/YA line for dark stories, the authors agreed that for MG it can’t feel as personal, there needs to be some sort of shield mechanism either through point of view or the way the story is framed. They all agreed that MG can have the same themes just make them more I hate to say softer but assessable.

Image by LUM3N from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Giveaway

Unlocked Giveaway

So through my own faulty book ordering I got two copies of Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 8.5: Unlocked. So I’m doing a giveaway.

Rules:

You need to be 18+, if your younger someone enter for you.

US only, sorry all my international friends, I just can’t pay shipping.

Follow my blog for an entry, if you are already following have friend/followers follow the blog and mention your name, they get an entry plus you get an entry.

Want extra entries follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

The contest will be up till December tenth when I decide a winner through a random generator.

Posted in IndigAThon2020

IndigAThon Update

I read 6 books for Indigathon, most of them were picture books because honestly I couldn’t find that many stories about Indigenous people that were actually written by Indigenous people. This is all the more reason I’m looking forward to The Fire Keepers Daughter because I can wait to see more #OwnVoice middle grade and YA fiction. Another part of what I had available to read was the pandemic, some things I wanted to get like Indian No More, weren’t available as eBooks and I don’t have a way to get to the library. Reviews of what I did get a chance to read as well as me looking out for more Indigenous content will be soon to follow this post.

Something I also noticed when reading books that while the authors were Indigenous the illustrators weren’t. I’d love to see more work from Indigenous illustrators, I’ll have to look around on Twitter for picture book illustrators.

Image by vek0 from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Yallfest

Queering Everything

This panel was made up of some big names in the LGBTQIA+ YA fiction world. We had Patrice Caldwell who is releasing her book in 2020 it’s called A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope, and is very queer. Corinne Duyvis whose The Art of Saving the World includes an asexual lesbian her other works have include dynamic genders as well. Mark Oshiro, their newest work is Each of Us a Desert, about two women falling in love against a harsh fantasy desert background, Adam Silvera whose most recent work is Infinity Son about two brothers who get powers and this time the gay one does. Finally we have Aiden Thomas they are responsible for the mega hit Cemetery Boys.

The panel spent a lot of time talking about how to approach gay origin tales from a structural level. Like making the myths queer. They also examined why the use of modern terms feels weird in a fantasy setting is it just something we’re trained that feel contemporary?

A couple of the books they suggested for reading were (and I agree)

Cinderella is Dead by Kaylynn Bayron

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

They also talked about the great variety of queer fiction available for young adults today and how they can’t wait to see what growth in the genre brings (since it’s already brought such good things).

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay

Posted in Author Recommendations, Yallfest

How to Plan a Series

Moderated again by the wonderful Brendan Reichs. This panel was filled with some big names such as Stephanie Garber who is most famous for her Caraval series. Marie Lu who is famous for her LEGEND series, though I’m currently enjoying her Skyhunter series as well. There was Tochi Onyebuchi is famous for his War Girls duology. Finally we had Garth Nix, a fantasy name whose been working for years and basically has too much work to pick from, but is probably most famous for things like Sabriel.

The panelists were talking about how subconsciously they will know its series even if they don’t know consciously yet.

Onyebuchi talked about how if he still had really cool content that didn’t fit into book one that meant that there needed to be a book two.

Reichs asked them how they kept track of details.

Garber said she kept notes.

Onyebuchi praised the features of Scrivener when when writing characters and linking all character details

And Marie Lu pointed out she never reread her old stuff, which became an issue sometimes when she was writing books related to her universe she created. She also asked the others if they ever had a character who just wouldn’t go away, she pointed out Thomas from Legend as one who was supposed to be a throwaway character.

Garber talked about a character she wrote for book to for the Caraval series who ended up taking over the book, and how she ended up having to pull back and make him a minor character.

Garber asked the other panelists if they ever cheated with their work, ie. brought someone back who should by their universes rules be dead, mess with details a bit?

Lu said she tried to keep it solid eariler in the series but felt like it was okay to mess with it later in the series.

Onyebuchi compared it to Marvel ret-con and didn’t see a problem with it.

Someone I don’t remember who, said to avoid the sagging middle you beat the characters up in the middle.

Lu also said readers expect different things from different books in the series, with the first book, they want a fun fast read, with the 2nd they want more of the characters and more emotional arcs, and with the 3rd they wand a resolution.

Reichs asked about how do you deal with the fanbase hating your ending, the consensus was that you can only make yourself happy. You can’t make all your fans happy no matter what you write and that you can only hate something that you love.

Finally some last advice on writing a series was to put breadcrumbs you can follow if you want to revisit the book, nothing huge the fans would see but enough you can pick up on and link another book off of. Marie Lu also suggested something called an ID pass where you put as many of your favorite tropes that make you happy in the book and do a pass looking to see where you can fit those. The main idea of the panel seemed to be put everything you love into the book or books that you are writing.

Posted in Challenges, Memes

Would you Rather Tag

I was tagged by Jenny at JenJenReviews

The Rules

  • Answer the questions given to you by your nominator 
  • Make your own questions and tag others

My Questions

1)Would you rather have a giant personal library in your house or own a bookstore?

As tempting as owning a bookstore is, I’ve worked in a bookstore and it’s not as fun as it seems, so I’m going with personal library on this one.

2)Would you rather drink one beverage for the rest of your life or eat the same meal for the rest of your life?

I could deal with just water for the rest of my life and be okay. I think I need a little more food variety. Would you rather only be able to read during the day or only be able to read at night?

3)Would you rather only be able to read during the day or only be able to read at night?

I read most of my books at night so I’d probably be okay with only reading at night.

4)Would you rather have every book you rate 5 stars spontaneously combust after you read it, or never read a 4/5 star book again?

This is a tough one! I think the books would have to spontaneously combust. I can’t imagine reading only three star books for the rest of my life.

5)Would you rather meet your favorite author or meet your favorite actor?

Author, though then I’d have to narrow down who my true favorite is

6)Would you rather be an author or be an editor (assuming you can’t be both)?

Author definitely.

7)Would you rather be banned from all your local libraries or be banned from all your local bookstores?

Bookstores, I can’t afford most hardbacks anyway.

8)Would you rather read a book where the villain wins or read a book where the hero dies?

A book where the hero dies, I can deal with a heroic death but not a villain winning

9)Would you rather only be able to read the first half of every book or the second half of every book?

The first half, then I can at least imagine how it ended.

10)Would you rather read a trilogy or a series of 20+ books (assuming they’re both good)?

Series of 20+ books I love a long series!

My Questions

  1. Would you rather have a five star book with a cliffhanger, or a three star book that resolves everything?
  2. Would you rather go to the future or the past to grab a book for your collection?
  3. Would you rather have a sympathetic villain one that is evil for evil’s sake?
  4. Would you rather have a perfect Instagram setup or enough posts for another platform (blog, Twitter, etc.) you never have to worry?
  5. Would you rather be limited to your favorite genre or banned from your favorite genre (and allowed to read everything else)?
  6. Would you rather be stuck with only digital or only physical books?
  7. Would you rather give up your favorite food for a year, or be able to read/listen at double speed?
  8. Would you rather see an aspect of yourself that hasn’t been published much in print or be the one to write the novel that focuses on that subject?
  9. Would you rather build a magical world from scratch or write a contemporary novel?
  10. Would you prefer to read only Middle Grade or only YA?

I’m tagging

Helen at Crispy Confessions

Twisted in Pages

Intisar at Intisar Speaks

Simone at Leafing Through Time

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay