Monday, May 11, 2015

In Which I'm On Hiatus

Hey pals!

I'm deep into some deadlines, which means no posts this week.

And next week I'm on a much needed staycation to do fun things like fix my house, which means no posts next week either.

Have a great couple of weeks and I'll see you on the flip side!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Fun

Well, well, well. What's today ape-friends? What's that? It's Friday?


WOOOOO!! Well then you know what that means? Time for some fun!!

We're all gonna die







Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

First Wednesday of the month which means it's time for IWSG

co-hosts this month are:  Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp

First off, congrats to everyone who made it through the A to Z challenge. You guys are bamfs.

On to insecurity. I'm both so happy and so terrified that we've made it into May. Happy because the end of May marks the end of this semester (which is bittersweet, because that means I'm closer to school being done forever (sad) but also, this semester was super, super busy) and also I have a good, long, well-deserved vacay in May.

But also, I'm still working towards a deadline on Book 2 for ASSASSIN'S HEART and I know that vacay will interfere with my progress.

Which means that I can't slow down at all, and probably I should pick up the pace some. I'm already putting in 1400-2000 words a day (4x a week) on book 2, so probably it means that I need at least 2K a day, and I should probably start trying to get some writing in on Sundays too (which is hard, though, because I tend to do a lot of stuff on Sundays, including meeting up with different writer pals)

So, yeah. May. More than anything I wish I was further into Book 2. The first 80 pages slowed  me a down a lot because they were not good. At all. But then I finally sat down and fixed things and it's ben going a lot better now, but I know I need to go back and redo those first 80 pages.

Also, writing two books at a time (Book 2 and my MG fantasy for school) is not something I would willingly choose for myself again in the future.

But, on the plus side, May means we're closer to fun things with ASSASSIN'S HEART. Like arcs, and cover reveals (tee hee! Maaaaaaybe I've already seen the cover and maaaaaaybe I kind of love it hardcore) and all that fun stuff that just makes all of this seem more real.

Anyway, May is here to stay and I know, as always, the best way out is through, so back to work I go.

How are things going for you?

Monday, May 4, 2015

In Which We Feast Like Hobbits

I've been planning to write this post for months, now, and I just kept forgetting or getting sidetracked by other, more timely, posts.

But, here were are, finally, where I got to talk about the wonderful terribleness that is a HOBBIT FEAST.

What's a Hobbit Feast, you ask?

A Hobbit Feast is where you eat all the typical meals of a hobbit (First Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, Supper, Dessert)(period appropriate food, too, of course) while watching a marathon of the extended LoTR movies.

My brave family and I decided to give this a try, and what better time and place to do so than winter, up at our cabin!

We split up the meals, so no one had to do too much cooking. The recipes all came from a middle earth database of middle earth dishes. And here is photo documentation of all of the food that was consumed.

FIRST BREAKFAST: Beorn's Honeynut Cake--made by Twin

The cake was okay. We felt with Twin's baking skills, she could have made something better

SECOND BREAKFAST: Strawberry French toast, Bangers and Bacon--made by my dad

Delicious. Also of note, the banger sausages were made by myself, Twin and Brother, since we have a killer banger recipe

ELEVENSES: Lembas Bread and Merry's Mulled Cider--made by Twin

The Lembas bread really had no flavor, though the texture was good. Another one we thought we could do better ourselves

LUNCHEON: Po-tay-to Soup--made by my mom

Really frickin good. One of the best courses

AFTERNOON TEA: Bilbo's Tea Cake, Lemon Muffin, Tea--made by Twin and myself

Another disappointment of baked goods. Especially since we have a killer lemon muffin recipe

DINNER: Balin's Spiced Beef--Made by my brother

Delicious. You can't really go wrong with a roast beef

SUPPER: Mrs. Maggot's Cottage Pie--made by me

Also delicious. Like the roast beef, you can't really go wrong with a shepherd's pie

DESSERT: Ten Cup Ranger Cookies--made by my brother.

Not bad, but again, we have better cookie recipes we could have gone with

Pretty much every two hours you eat another meal. They're really just tasting portions, so you're not eating a lot with each meal.

Honestly, the hardest part was sitting there, watching the movies all day long. It's a long marathon. By then end we were exhausted and we decided that if we would do the feast again, that we would allow activities while the movies are playing (i.e., board games or something). Overall, the entire feast and movies lasted 11 hours and 45 minutes.

The meals themselves were hit and miss. Any sort of baked goods were pretty much a failure and if we were to go it again in the future we would follow our own, much better, recipes. But the other meals were good.

Now, whether or not we'll do this again this winter, I don't know. I'm sure distance will make us grow fond again, but I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Fun

It's Friday, Friday, Friday!!!

Time to get off the rug and have some fun!

Ape-friends, we've made it through another, entire week! Which means it's time now for some fun!








Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday Weird: The Codex Gigas

The largest known ancient manuscript is the Codex Gigas, more famously called “the Devil’s Bible” due to a full-page illustration of the Devil himself and the legends that swirl around the book.

The book is made of more than 160 animal skins and is so huge that it takes 2 people to lift it. It was written in the 13th century A.D., and it currently resides in the National Library in Stockholm, Sweden.

Legend has it that the Codex Gigas was written by a monk. The monk supposedly made a deal with the Devil after being sentenced to death by being walled in alive. The monk wrote the book in a single night (and, of course, the portrait was painted by the Devil himself).

In actuality, though, it would take five years of nonstop labor to write so much and most scholars think it took closer to 30 years.

The contents of the book are as strange as the book itself. It has a full Latin Vulgate Bible, interspaced with several other books, including Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, a collection of medical works by Hippocrates and Theophilus, The Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas of Prague, the Encyclopedia Etymologiae by Isidore of Seville, and other, smaller texts. It also has a text on exorcism, magical formulas, and an illustration of the heavenly city.

No one really knows who wrote the book, or where it came from.

Thoughts or theories?

Monday, April 27, 2015

In Which I Attended AWP

AWP (Association of Writer's Programs) is an annual conference that roams around the country, landing in a new city each year. And this year it was at Minneapolis, so I registered to go.
Also, since I was a student, my registration cost was vastly cheaper than if I wasn't a student, so that was awesome.

AWP was a three day event, running from nine in the morning until after midnight. I'm not even kidding. There was a party on the schedule every night at the hotel that didn't even start until 10.
I, though, am an old person and so I didn't stay out later than 9pm.

The schedule had like 15-20 panels every hour, so sometimes picking what to go see was a bit of give and take. A couple of my MFA friends were there, though, and some of my MN KidLit peeps, too, so there were times when we were sort of able to split up and then reconvene with stories of what we missed.

Going in, I knew that there would be a lot of great panels by the MN KidLit peeps and the Hamline MFAC peeps. On day one I was torn, did I want to go see the panels my friends and teachers were on? Or, because I see them at school, and locally, did I want to take the opportunity to go see panels I couldn't usually see?

Logic won out and I decided on the latter.

That only lasted for one day.

None of the other panels were as good. And I wasn't the only who thought so. Time and again I heard the same story from others, and as the days went on, the Hamline MFA booth at the book fair got busier and busier as more and more people saw the Hamline panels and then decided to check out the program. Which is awesome. The program is amazing and I would love to see more people apply.

But the other panels. I would be so excited about them. They had titles like "What I Wish I'd Known Before My First Book Came Out" (this is timely and relevant to me, since my book will be out in less than a year) or "Women Writing Darkness: Violence, Villains and Unhappy Endings" (I write a ton of violence and I was so excited to see what other women had to say)

The Women Writing Darkness panel was packed. This photo was before it even filled up.
I did come away with this gem of a quite from Kate Acculia:
"No one ever questioned if Walter White should be respected."

But I would get to the panels and they would fail to deliver on the topic at hand. Women Writing Darkness was less a conversation about the problems we face in regards to publishing (women are "supposed" to write "likeable" characters, whereas men can pretty much write whatever they want) and instead was a panel where the panelists just read parts of their books. Which, I mean, I came away wanting to buy their books (which I'm sure is a bonus for them) but with no greater knowledge or understanding of the topic.

And for the first book, panel. Two of the panelists were poets with small houses, which didn't really help me much, and the one novelist on the panel's first book came out in 1979. I wasn't even born, and to say that publishing has changed a bit since then is just a tiny understatement. Also, none of them actually addressed what they wished they'd known, other than "Have a writing group before you submit anything", which, for those of us who had already sold a book (and the panelists took a poll beforehand. There was a large chunk of us) knew, or complaints about how much social media has to do with marketing now.

Anyway, for the TL;DR crowd (and sorry, this post ran longer than I planned) my MN KidLit and Hamline MFA peeps were the highlight of the conference. By the end of the week their panels were standing room only, something I hope the conference organizers took note of.

AWP may come back in 2020, and if it does, I'm going to try to put on my big girl pants and get on a panel or two myself. Because more than once I was a spectator in the audience wishing I had been on the panel because I had things to say regarding the topic at hand.

How about you? What kind of panels do you like to attend when you hit a conference? Something unexpected? Or the tried, yet true, panels of your colleagues?
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