pirates instead of teenage angst, apparently

Remember how I was so ready to write the Pen boys, and nothing was going to stand in my way?

[ Ma Costa's Ship - gypsies, protecting Lyra and Pantalaimon ]

SIGH.

Let’s not lie, we all knew this was going to happen.

And let’s get one thing straight: I am not abandoning the Pen boys.  Theirs is a story that I really want to write, and it will happen someday.  But something happened when the original Saints idea was created, something bigger than I ever imagined, and it’s not a world I’m ready to leave anytime soon.  I really can’t explain what it is about the Saintsverse, why it’s holding onto me so fiercely.  It can’t be the characters.  Landon’s story is done, and I’m really confident that I’ve let him go.  Yes, he’s going to be in the first one or two chapters of Saints at sea, but that’s it.  And while I am bringing Henry and some other Saints characters with us (spoilers), it’s really not them I’m excited about.

Like, who said this was okay?

NOT ME ALRIGHT

My plan was to take a nice month-long break full of reading after I finished editing Saints 2, go to the beach with Erin a couple of times, and then dig back into the Pen boys.  It’ll be exactly one year since I first thought of them in one week.  The first time I ever drew cards for them was on 5/4, and that was the beginning of a wild summer.  I really thought that was where I was returning.  I thought it was time.

Three Rivers Deep | elemental book series "A two-souled girl begins a journey of self-discovery..." READ MORE @ http://threeriversdeep.wordpress.com/three-rivers-deep-book-one-overview/I really don’t know how to explain it, why the Saintsverse pulls at me so strongly.  These eight new characters?  HOLY, I’m ready for them.  I’m ready to be at sea with them.  I’m ready to figure out how the heck to pretend I know how to sail a ship just for them.  I’m ready for adventures and pirates and dangerous artifacts and spoilers and all of the wild, insane, amazing things they’re going to do.  I’m ready to dig into Julian’s backstory, to probably fall in love with Brennen like I did with Ezra, to laugh over Pippa’s antics and give Mila & Nathalie wickedly funny lines and to giggle while I write about Elijah never wearing a shirt and to figure out how the heck Nasir & Cyris fit into all of it.  I’m so ready for these new characters, for this new adventure, for the Asheerah to become something incredible and strange that people love just like they loved Obera.  I’m ready.  I didn’t mean to be, but the second I started to feel like I wanted to write again last week, this was what my brain did.  A few days ago, I just started doing rough sketches of Julian and his crew, just wanted to figure out exactly who everyone was.  I’d already pinned most of them (linked there because I love looking at it), but I wanted to give them names and histories because eventually I was going to write about them.

I really did only plan to do a little rough sketching.  Yesterday, I sketched out most of everyone, but I hadn’t done Nasir and Cyrus yet, so I went back today to finish that up, decided what POVs I was going to do, and was halfway into outlining the plot before I realized what was going on.

Someone said to me recently that when the muse calls, you have to listen to Her.  It’s not something a writer should ignore.  Yes, I want to write the Pen boys, and yes, my heart and soul are in it, but there’s a stronger pull to Saints at sea right now, and it’s looking like that’s my next project.  And you know what?  I’m okay with that.  If that’s where my words want to go, then I’m here for it.

Time for some pirates.

siege and storm

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read the words, don’t write them

It’s officially been a week since I wrapped on Saints 2.  And I’m going to level with you, it’s been tough not having them.  There’s been a few times in this last week that I honestly almost just threw all my plans to the wind and started in on Saints at sea.

If you follow me on social media, you’ve kind of been seen everything unfold, and I did post a little last week about what’s been going on.  Last week, I was ready to move home, and I was starting to feel better.  I lost four lbs in a week, which I think is about 75% due to stress.  Even though I’ve still been eating well and sleeping kind of okay, every second of every day has been just full of awfulness.  But then, I decided I was just going to give up on the search for roommates and apartment and move home.  Of course, the universe is a tricky little thing, and likes to mess with us sometimes.

I’ve been listening, loud and clear, to the universe lately, and it’s been shouting at me.  Mostly good things, though.  Every time all the bad shit crashes down around me, the universe decides to throw multiple opportunities at me.  A few weeks ago, I was meeting a potential roommate in a coffee shop, and while that didn’t pan out, you know what did?  I met three new people, all artists of some form, who invited me to come hang out after work at Jaho whenever they were there.  It was wild.

It hasn’t just been that, either.  Every day, it feels like there’s something else calling down to me.  I was upset that things weren’t working out, so I went down to the Empowerment Studio and danced my butt off.  In the middle of child’s pose, a realtor called me.  I decided to give up and move home, and last Friday, I went to see Escape the Fate, Nothing More, and Papa Roach at the State Theatre in Portland, ME.  While I was waiting in the crowd for Escape to come on, I check my email, and there’s a freaking response for an ad I responded to about an apartment in Salem that’s looking for a roommate.  WHAT.  I had no service, and I couldn’t look at the pictures she’d sent or even respond, but okay, universe, I hear you!  I looked forward to that concert all week.  I need to just release and let go and scream it all out.  And I did that.  My sore neck all weekend proves that I did that.  I just let loose the entire night, and was on a high when I was walking out.  I even met this really nice guy to talk to between sets!  When I got home, I looked at the pictures (wow), emailed the girl, and said I’d love to see it the next day if possible.  My parents came with me after my nephew’s birthday party, and it was just incredible.  The girl was amazing.  The apartment was amazing.  Everything seemed perfect.

On Sunday, before my Barefoot meeting, I asked my parents if they wanted to go to Home Goods.  I wanted to finish birthday shopping for Erin, and possibly see if they had any desks or dressers that I could buy for my potential new place.  I was so happy.  I’d had free lobster that day (thank you, Jen!), it was gloomy out (my favorite kind of weather), and I was feeling pretty confident about the yoga photoshoot later.

Suffice to say, I didn’t get the apartment, and I was pretty devastated.  I’d let my hopes skyrocket, and thought maybe I was going to actually figure this out, that maybe getting that email during the night of release was a divine sign, that it was the universe saying, alright you’ve had enough.

I was in public, so I didn’t want to cry even though I really wanted to, and after emotionally purchasing five candles, I did my photoshoot at Barefoot, went home, and continued packing.  It was starting to get late, and I was still angry, so I got into bed with my girls and Siege and Storm, and I just read.

I was so done.  I didn’t want to be put through this anymore.  I didn’t want to have to feel like I was being displaced, or that I didn’t have a home (I know I do, and I’m eternally grateful to my parents for taking me in again).  I just wanted all of it to be over.  I wanted to not be in a room with blank walls and empty bookshelves and a hollow feeling.  I wanted to have my books back around me and my girls feeling safe and characters at my fingertips.  Oh, I wanted to write.  I wanted to write in a kind of way I’ve never felt before.

In Seige and Storm, there’s this moment where the main character wants to get over her heartache by kissing someone, possibly even more.  I’ve read of this situation a lot before–using someone else to ignore your pain.  I’ve never really experienced that before, but Sunday night?  Yeah.  It didn’t help matters that a good portion of Seige and Storm takes place on a ship, too.  Like, hell, I was craving words and Henry and the sea like never before.

Monday and Tuesday were no better.  I finished reading the book, and all I could think about were the adventures Henry and Co. were going to have on the Vast Sea.  I wanted to write so bad that I had to trick myself into not doing it by creating a new Pinterest board for an old children’s idea that I have.

Today is better.  I finished Seige and Storm, and I think I’m going to avoid books at sea for a tiny bit.  Why?  Why not just write Saints at sea?  It’s not ready, and it’s not going to be for a long time, and if I start writing it, it’s going to turn into a mess.  I want to write the Pen boys, and the only reason I’m craving Saints is because it’s still familiar, and everything else in my life is upside down.

So, I’m going to keep taking deep breaths, keep reading instead of writing, and just keep on keeping on.  I’m going to keep moving back toward my boys, and Saturday afternoon, when I’m offically all moved in, I’m going to sit back and just let out a big sigh of relief.  I’ve got this.  And in a few weeks, I’ll be back.

Saints 2 is done! + life updates & what’s next

Sometimes, I get into these moods where I’m like YES. PEN BOYS. TEEN ANGST. BOYYYYYS. OLIVER I MISS YOU. And then I listen to Ghost on the Shore by Lord Huron, and I’m transported back into my love of Henry and I want to write Saints at sea RIGHT NOW.

Most of the time right now, I want to write the new draft for the Pen boys. After spending my birthday weekend with Erin, I was even more invigorated to write it. I wanted to write it before, but not in the same all-consuming way that I felt the first time, or even while writing Saints. But then, my life kind of turned upside down, and the thought of starting a new project in the middle of everything else felt like the worst possible idea, so I set my sights back on Saints 2.

I’ll be honest, these last two weeks have been hard.  In the span of a few days, I found out that I was no longer going to be able to live in my apartment, and that I needed to be moved out by the end of May.  I might have been able to handle that like a rational human being if the month of April wasn’t also one of my busiest months.  I’ve finally started getting students at my new studio, The Empowerment Studio, in the Lemon Tree Counseling & Wellness Center, so now I really am teaching six times a week on top of my full-time job.  I also got certified in kids yoga on 4/8, I’m seeing Papa Roach & Escape the Fate (OH MY GOD) on 4/13, my favorite little nephew has a birthday party the day after, I have a Barefoot meeting and an event on 4/15, a Lemon Tree meeting on 4/21 after my two morning classes, my reiki 1 certification on 4/28, and two doctor’s appointments for blood work and my physical worked into that.  And on top of all that, I’m still planning Erin’s bridal shower and bachelorette party.  I was prepared for this month to be busy.  I knew I was going to be tired at the end of it.  But throw needing to move into a new place on top of that?

I kind of fell apart.  I posted a couple days ago about how overwhelmed I was, how I couldn’t keep track of everything, how I felt uprooted and disconnected.  My stress levels are so high that my shoulders and my neck hurt every day.  I keep waking up with headaches.  I’m home past 9PM every night, and I just can’t do it.  So, last night, I made the decision that I was going to move home, regroup, and start fresh after the summer is over.  Take some time to save up a little, find roommates, and try again.  It’s not a failure.  It’s going to be okay.

Now, during all of this, I was in the middle of editing Saints 2 and subsequently falling behind on my reading for my Goodreads challenge.  These two things are not at all something that should affect anything because they are so minor compared to everything else, but these two things became the only thing that I could fix, so I put my head to the ground and edited something like 50-100 pages a day.  I’m still behind on my Goodreads goal, and that bums me out, but now that Saints 2 edits are done, I’m going to read like a maniac.

And really, finishing edits for Saints 2 was kind of what helped me figure out where I was going in life.  It wasn’t like I finished it and went, ah ha!  I’ve figured out my life!  No, it was more–well, I did it.  I wrote a series of books, I edited both of them, and they’re done.

Saints is done.

And so it begins. 💀 . Burning some incense and drinking the last of my winter forest black tea from @plumdeluxe in the most badass mug ever from @jennamartorana. 🖤 And yes, that is a brand new smoky quartz point that I bought this weekend and am...

The whole thing.  Which, it’s only two books, but it’s done.  I spent 12 years working on Ronan, and never even got close to finishing.  But between October and yesterday, I wrote, edited, and completed two full books that are the main series in the Saintsverse.  There will be spin-offs (Saints at sea is still plaguing my every thought), and I’ll see these characters again, but I’m done.

I’m done.

I can’t quite believe it.  I did it.  I don’t think it’s sinking in.  I keep saying it out loud, but that’s it.  I just keep saying it out loud.  It’s really done.

This time around, it was a little different.  I had a set word count in mind.  I wanted to surpass the first one, which was around 135k, and hit the 150k mark.  Let me tell you, I just barely got there, but it happened.  The first draft of Saints 2 was 152k, and after edits, I actually only added 530 words, coming out at 153,426 words.  Damn.  I’m really proud of the fact that I added under 1k words.  I feel like that means it was pretty solid the first time around, though if I’m being honest, that probably also had to do with the fact that I heavily edited parts one and two as soon as they were done.

When I set out to write Saints 2, I told myself that I wanted to have it done by the end of March, written and edited.  As I was starting to get through part three, I was feeling like this might be impossible because the story was dragging ass.  It just was not coming.  And when I finally admitted that it probably wouldn’t be done until the end of April, it was like my brain just did a big old NOPE and gave me all the words.  The writing was actually completed before the end of March, and I’m pretty pleased with my timeline for editing.

It’s weird.  I’ve been saying in every blog that I don’t want to let Landon go, that I’m not ready, that I’m going to miss him so much, but now that it’s done?  I’m ready to let him go.  Those last few chapters with him are so good.  He’s so happy.  He’s in love.  He’s ready to be let go of.  And that feels really, really damn good.  It feels complete.  Alex is probably never going to feel complete because I’m never going to want to let go of him or even be ready to, and the Pen boys are just in constant limbo that I feel like I’m going to be with them for awhile, and who the hell knows about Ronan and Mason, but Saints is done.  Landon is done.  And I’m happy.

So, that leaves the question: what’s next?

A heck of a lot of things.  I’m going to be sending Saints 2 to Alex very soon (heyyyyy).  My other readers are all busy with other things, and while normally I would wait for them to read the first one, it really, honestly feels solid enough to go out now.  So I’m sending it out.  And you guys get to come along this time!  Last time was with Mason, and this blog was still private, but now, you get to see my insane, color-coded spreadsheet for literary agents.  Eventually, my goal is to move onto Saints at sea, but I don’t expect that to happen until after the summer, at the very, very earliest.  What’s the summer for, you ask?

In this moment, we were infinite..

I’m coming home.

It’s back to Penhallam with my knuckleheads.  While Erin was here, I figured out a lot.  Things are changing, and I’m really excited about all of it, and holy magic, I miss my Olly.  I’ve been listening to Setting Out by Citizen of the World on repeat for the last few days, and I’m so ready to be back in his sad, brilliant little mind.

I’m going to take a little break before then because I do still have to move home and figure out my life, and I’d like to take a few weeks, maybe a full month, to just read and release.  I’m officially two books behind on my Goodreads challenge (jfc), and I’ve read all of one book in the first eleven freaking days of April, so I need to get my butt in gear.  I’m also (drumroll, please) finally FINALLY buying the Ikea Billy bookshelves.  I always told myself that the next time I moved, no matter where it was, I was finally going to invest in them.  It’s going to set me back a little over $300, but I’ll probably have these for the rest of my life, and I’m so excited.  I’ve wanted them for so long, so get ready for some amazing aesthetic pictures when that finally happens.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve written and completed a series of books, that I’ve finished a story.  Wow.

I think I deserve some yoga tonight.

March Reads

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

Image result for merry unbirthday gif

This has been a month, guys.  I’ve been doing a lot of things–a lot of yoga, a lot of writing, a lot of reading, a lot of fitness, just a lot.  All the things.  And amidst all those things, I forgot to post this in a timely manner!  I think this is the first time I’ve actually done that, so I’m pretty proud that it hasn’t happened before.  I picked up Erin on Friday, and we had a hellishly good weekend.  Friday was mostly a travel day, but Lemon Tree’s open house was in the afternoon, and then it was Olive Garden and BOOKS.  Yes, I bought more books.  Yes, my TBR shelf hates me.  Yes, I am insane.

Saturday, we did high tea and the ballet (Romeo & Juliet this time).  Sunday was beach with the coats on, don’t worry, we just wanted to look at it.  It was also the boys boys boys day because YES, it’s official, Pen boys draft two is coming next.  And today was the oh boy we did a lot let’s just hang out day (which somehow meant walking through Crane Estate in Ipswich through the snow), plus more travel.  Now, I’m back in my bed with my girls, I’ve got Saints 2 ready for edits, incense burning, and tea in my super cool new Aries mug.

Anyway, enough of all that, enjoy March’s books!


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What: Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza
When: 2/27-3/2
Rating: ★★★
Review: I’ll be honest: I was super hyped about this book.  I read and loved Empress of a Thousand Skies (my review for it can be found here), and I preordered this as soon as it went up on Amazon.  And while it was good, it was a bit of a letdown.  But first, what is this about?  Empress follows Rhiannon on her journey to uncovering a nefarious plot to assassinate her entire family and take over the throne, as well as Alyosha’s life in exile after the universe is unfairly turned against him.  Blood follows these same two characters, as well as adding in a third, Jocelyn.  Rhiannon has taken the throne, and is trying to establish peace.  Alyosha isn’t really on the run anymore since his name was cleared, but he still is since he’s trying to keep Jocelyn safe.  And Jocelyn just wants the universe to leave her alone.

This was good.  It was.  It just wasn’t great.  It needed so many more pages, and it needed to slow down.  One chapter, we’d be on a planet with Aly and Joss, and the next, we’d be on a different planet, but also weeks in the future, and not knowing what Aly and Joss were up to since we were following Rhee around.  The three stories did weave together nicely, and ended up coming together toward the end.  Like the first book, there wasn’t a ton of romance going on, and while I appreciated it in the first book, I definitely did not in this one.  The relationship between Aly and Joss had already been established, and I wanted to see just a little more of them while they weren’t fighting for their lives.  Just one or two quiet scenes to make me really believe that they were falling in love rather than just being told they were.  And oh, Rhee and Dahlen.  I was fine that nothing happened between them (even though otp 5eva over here for this series with them), but I wanted to see just a little more of Rhee’s thoughts about Dahlen.  She was very obviously feeling something, but it wasn’t explored at all.

My previous issue with the first book stands for why I docked this a star.  Again, there wasn’t a whole lot of description, and we’d just be dumped on planets and expect to know where they were in relation to everyone else and what the environment looked like.  Overall, the pacing and the lack of descriptions knocked this down a little for me, but I did still really enjoy it, and I spent a furious last hour reading the ending because it was so big and wild.

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What: Sparrow by Sarah Moon
When: 3/3-3/6
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: This was a book that pulled at my heart strings.  It was so soft and understated.  It follows Sparrow, a young teenager who was discovered standing at the edge of the roof of her school and is now in therapy because they think she was suicidal.  Little does anyone know that she was just flying with the birds.

Everything about this is beautiful.  The music, the language, the story itself, the characters, that cover.  It did a really lovely job with handling the mental health aspects within, both with Sparrow and with her mom, her friends, and her therapist.  There were so many levels to Sparrow, too, that were very slowly uncovered, and watching her grow throughout different events felt like something I had earned as the reader.  All of the secondary characters in this had really strong personalities and places in the story.  Everything combined just made this a truly beautiful story.

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What: Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
When: 3/6-3/8
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: YOU GUYS.  I think I had already read Rebel & Traitor before I started posting reviews, so you never got to witness the absolute meltdown that was me reading these books, so here, have this:

Yes, this is how I read the last 20 pages of #traitortothethrone. JUST YANK MY HEART STRAIGHT OUT OF MY BODY, WHY DON’T YOU. 😩 Man, that was an emotional rollercoaster, AND I FREAKING LOVED IT. What a wild ride. This was such an amazing sequel to...

That’s me, circa April 2017, absolutely losing my mind reading Traitor to the Throne.  When I tell you these books will dismantle all of your abilities to function as a normal human being, I’m not lying.

This is the third, and final (I’m so sad), installment in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, and it was a WILD RIDE, LET ME TELL YOU.  In the first one, we meet Amani, who is just a nobody girl from a nobody town, who, in the course of one book, accidentally joins a rebel army fighting against the entire freaking country, basically becomes one of the Rebel Prince’s most trusted advisors, discovers that not only is she a badass with a gun, but she also has magic powers passed down from a Djinn, and oops, oh wait, is probably going to save the world.  And that’s just Rebel.  Clearly ^^^ Traitor was similarly ridiculous and all things amazing, so when Hero was coming out, I preordered a copy for myself and one for my roommate so that we could read it at the same time, and spent three days in a reading coma.

THIS WAS SO GOOD.  This was honestly the most perfect ending to this trilogy ever.  I’m not going to spoil it, but wow, you guys.  If you liked Rebel, YES.  YES, THIS WAS EVERYTHING.  If Rebel sounds good to you, READ IT.  Do yourself this favor.  This trilogy is just action, romance, magic, plot twists, gorgeous language, HOLY MOLY the descriptions, did I mention romance because hold up, it’s great, and it will leave you wanting so much more right up until you get to those last few chapters and PRAISE ALWYN.  She ended it the way I ended Saints 2, and that’s with a few chapters of wrapping everything up in a nice, tidy bow so that we know just how exactly the characters lived happily ever after, and I’m so thankful for that.  Ugh, this book.

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What: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
When: 3/9-3/13
Rating: ★★★★
Review: I went into this with unrealistic expectations.  This is the first of a prequel trilogy to Six of Crows, and by prequel trilogy, I really just mean set in the same world and in a previous time period, but with different characters, so you don’t have to read one to read the other.  Now, if you remember my four paragraph review of Six of Crows where I basically pledged my undying allegiance to Kaz Brekker, you can imagine how amped I was about finally starting this.  And it did not disappoint!  That was all very misleading.  I did give it only four stars because the writing was a little less than it was with Six of Crows, but Bardugo wrote this before that duology, so that’s to be expected.

Shadow and Bone follows the story of Alina Starkov, which we meet briefly in the Crows duology, and her journey to discovering that she is actually Grisha (a human born with magic) and her whole life has been a lie.  Oh man, guys.  The world.  The world.  This is the one thing I’m always going to just rave about when it comes to Bardugo’s novels.  Her world is so vast and well-developed and incredible.  I just want to live in it.  In all parts of it.  I hope that someday I can create a world that’s as intricate and gorgeous as hers.  The characters in this were phenomenal, too, and I distinctly remember texting my friend, Alex, that I was Team Darkling all the way, and her just going, oh just wait.  Admittedly, I’m still a little Team Darkling because I love myself a good villain, but damn, that hurt my soul a little.  This was lovely.  It really, really was, and I can’t wait to read the next one.

What: The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg
When: 3/14-3/15
Rating: ★★★★
Review: I unexpectedly loved this!  I don’t know why I thought I wasn’t going to, but I kept avoiding picking it up off my TBR shelf, and now, I’m definitely going to read the rest of the books in the series.  This follows Ceony on her adventures of learning the art of magic via paper.  Once you bind to an element, that is the only one you can ever work with, and Ceony is less than pleased that she’s been chosen to work with paper.  Not only that, but her tutor is rather odd and she doesn’t think this form of magic is going to get her anywhere special.

Going into this, I didn’t expect a whole ton.  It’s only about 225 pages, and the beginning was a little slow, but damn, when this kicks off, it really moves fast.  So much happened in so little pages, and it was so well done.  This was really just such a lovely little book.  It was charming and a little bit adorable, and I really enjoyed it.

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What: The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
When: 3/16-3/21
Rating: ★★★
Review: Alright.  I’ve talked about Walton’s other book before, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.  It was, hands down, my favorite book of 2016, and might be one of my top favorite books of all time.  Because of that, this book was probably one of my most anticipated of 2018, and while I enjoyed it, I was pretty disappointed.  Price Guide follows Nor Blackburn, a witch from an infamous family who is just trying to live a normal life and be as unremarkable as possible.  However, when a book is released, The Price Guide to the Occult, it’s with spells and secrets from Nor’s first ancestor, Rona Blackburn, that should have died with her.

First things first.  The plot is excellent.  Walton crafted a really interesting and unexpected story all over again.  This is not something I think I’ve read in the witch world before, and it was very intriguing.  The characters are excellent.  Each one stands out from the others, and it was very easy to follow along with each of them.  I was concerned about all of their well-beings, and was very eager to follow their stories.  The setting is excellent.  An island was a neat little place to play out this story, and the way the island reacts to Nor was just lovely.  It was, in the end, the execution that disappointed me.  While the plot is great, the story jumps around constantly.  An entire year happens throughout the course of this novel, and while that’s fine, it was unbelievable.  One moment, Nor will be describing the island withering and dying, and it really does look like something terrible is coming, but then two months go by, and I just found myself not at all believing that they would have continued living on the island with what was going on.  While the characters were great, sometimes I didn’t quite understand what and why they were doing certain things.  This was mostly with Gabe, who kept switching between being outright awful and suddenly very sweet?  I also kept expecting Reed to turn against Nor because he was just so understanding when anyone else would have run for the hills because Nor literally tells him nothing until the last possible moment.  I was also just constantly disappointed by Nor’s mother, Fern.  She was expected, and her ending was stretched out so long before it was just over with no warning.

Overall, I did like this book, but not nearly as much as I had hoped.

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What: Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare
When: 3/22-4/1
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: I was a little wary about this book when I first started it because it’s got steampunk elements to it, and I’ve never been super into that, but oh boy, this was amazing.  This reminded me a lot of the Into the Dim series by Janet B Taylor in all the best ways, and I am so excited for a potential sequel.  This just came out in February, though, so I have no idea if there will be a sequel, but it’s definitely setup for one, and I’m hoping for it.  Ink, Iron, and Glass dives into a world where writing other worlds into existence is possible.  Elsa is from Veldana, a world scribed into existence by Charles Montaigne.  When Elsa’s mother is abducted and brought to Earth, she follows via a portal, and ends up tangled in a political war where she is unknowingly the most dangerous opponent.

This had so many good elements in it!  The steampunk ones weren’t overwhelming, and were actually a pretty cool part of it.  All of the scifi bits (portal travel, the “madness” that shows itself in genius intelligence with alchemy, mechanical, or scriptology) were so well done, and didn’t leave little old me, who is often unsure of scifi, feeling confused.  The characters were brilliant, and that plot twist at the end–I didn’t see that coming at all.  Overall, this was a really fun read, and I can’t wait for news about the second one.


And that’s March!  I didn’t read a lot because I was writing the last bits of Saints 2, which I promise I will be blogging about soon, and so Goodreads has let me know that I’m no longer ahead of my goal, but, tragically, behind one book.  However, now that I’m done with Saints 2 and probably taking a small break before beginning edits, I expect to read a ton more this month.  Looking back at my goal for March, I only managed to read 3 out of 5, though I did start one of the fourth (astronaut bio), I just didn’t get very far at all.  Thus, one of those 5 is on my TBR for April:

  1. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
  2. Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  3. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle
  4. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (reread)
  5. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (reread)

Again, the first one is the very last one of my YA from 2017, the second two are the second books in those trilogies, I’m back to my TMI reread, and I’ve been craving Inkheart for reasons unknown.  Hopefully, this month I’ll actually be able to finish everything on my list with a few more added in.  My goal is ten this month, so fingers crossed!

the end is coming

I’m freaking out just a teeny, tiny bit.

Okay, a lot of bits.

All the bits.

I’m freaking out.

SAINTS 2 IS ALMOST DONE!

I had this moment of absolute panic yesterday.  I finished writing up a Wesley chapter, and I went through my usual process at the end of a chapter:

  • Add the word & page count to my ongoing chart
  • Create a new Word doc for the next chapter
  • Type, in bold/centered, the chapter # and POV
  • Realize it’s a Landon chapter, and RUN AWAY

This actually does happen quite a bit with Landon’s chapters, but that’s usually because his are when things get done.  In this particular instance, the things that are getting done are, you know, the end of the freaking book.  I had his new chapter open, and I tabbed back over to my chart that has each chapter’s word count, page count, and POV, and I realized, well holy hell, this is the end of the book.  THIS IS THE END OF THE BOOK.  You know how authors like to start their books not at the end, but 100 pages beforehand?  It’s super annoying, and it works really well because then you’re on edge for 100 pages and by the time the end actually comes, you’re like, WOW OKAY DEEP BREATHS I MADE IT.  Well, yeah, I’m at that point.  Realistically, this is not going to take 100 pages, though I probably have a little under that left to write, but these are the last chapters of all the big stuff.  Part four is mostly just wrapping up, here’s where everyone is after a few months have passed and whatnot, here’s a quick spoiler that’ll make you want to read the heck out of Saints at sea, and okay bye then everybody.  But the last probably seven-eight chapters of part three is just go go go, here’s the end, oh my gosh.  And then we get to the last Landon chapter of part three (not ever, don’t worry), and it’s like?  Here’s the final battle at the cathedral?  It’s all or nothing right now?

AH OKAY RUN AWAY

The panic was real, guys.  I honest to goodness did literally anything else beside start writing that chapter.  I read a few chapters of the book I’m reading, I played on Tumblr for a little bit, I surfed my social medias, I walked around, I just absolutely did not start that chapter.  And not because I have writer’s block or because I’m not sure about it, but because it’s the end.  It’s really, really the end.  I’m never going to write about Landon as a main character again.  He’ll show up at the beginning of Saints at sea because I’m greedy and I never want to let him go, but this is it for him.  This is it for Ezra, too, and Miles and Madison and Vivian.  This is it for Wesley and Riley and Bellows.  And while I am sad about all of those, it’s Landon that’s holding me back.  I don’t want to leave him.  I don’t want to say goodbye.  I know that he’s going to be okay in the end, and he may even actually be happy, which is just groundbreaking if you know Landon, but I’m going to be sad.  I don’t want this to end.

I was saying this to Jen yesterday, and she said, “It’s like procrastinating the end of a book.  You don’t want to leave the world.  But you can always come back to it.  It’ll be there waiting for you.”  And, you know what, she’s right.  It will.  And if ever I really, truly need to play with Landon again, I can write for me, and not for the series.  I already have a few bonus scenes that I want to write, and heck, maybe I’ll add a few in there for him just so I can see him again someday.

I’m sad, but it’s not the end.  Not really.

As I write this, I’ve started and finished Landon’s chapter, and now I’m onto an Ezra one, possibly the last one of the novel, which is honestly just as sad now that I think about it, so damn, I need to make this one count, and then–well, and then it really is almost the end.  One more Madison chapter for this part, and the final battle at the cathedral is over.  That’s it.  Two more chapters, and this story has come to an end.

Alright.

I got this.

Let’s go kill some people.

Pinterest: @Corkyporky24 ♓ http://abnb.me/e/1Bw4yfnlSC

Never mind, I don’t have writer’s block anymore

So, in an effort to remain transparent about my writing process, this is where I’m at today, as opposed to three days ago:

Yup.

Image result for writing is hard gifThree days ago, I talked about how every single word that I’d written for this novel so far had been like pulling teeth, and then I decided to write a little over 10k and plot out the last six chapters of part three.  So that’s a thing that happened that I am completely baffled by.  Like, why can’t writing just make sense?  Sometimes?  Maybe just once?  Because then it would be easy, and that would be no fun.  Ha.

This novel is going to actually be the death of me, what the heck, but like, not in a bad way?  I’m really enjoying it, but at the same time, a part of me wants to light it on fire?  I honestly have no idea what’s going on anymore, but the words are happening, and the story makes sense, so I guess that’s a good thing.  Have you ever kind of blacked out a tiny bit while writing?  Not even blacked out, but just–spaced out for an hour, and when you came back, there were a bunch of words on your screen that you didn’t remember writing, but that actually made sense?

Anyway.  The end of Saints 2 is in sight!  I’ve got six chapters left of part three, I think, and if I want to reach my goal of 40k, each one has to be at least 5k.  This will actually not be a problem at all considering there’s a Landon and Ezra chapter that’s going to be pretty much the entirety of the final battle, so they’ll both be much longer than 5k.  This is particularly awesome considering there’s a super secret chapter at the end of part three that I don’t see being anywhere near 5k (who knows, it might be, anything could happen), and that’s literally all I’m going to say about it, ha!

Guys, I’m planting so many seeds for Saints at sea in this novel, it’s great.

I also hit 100k!  I was pretty close in my last blog, but it’s always nice to finally reach that mark, and now I’m just flying straight into the sun with these last chapters.  I honestly feel like the last six of three are going to happen pretty fast, and that four is going to be just a breeze, and then I’m just going to be standing around like what do I do now?  I don’t even know what I’m doing now, let’s be real.  I am actually listening to the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack, that wasn’t just me being dramatic.

You know what I hate?  Big battles.  They’re, like, the scene in the story, you know.  Everything has been leading up to it, and it’s this great, big event, but most of the time, it’s done and over in a couple chapters.  I wish there was a way to stretch them out, to make them feel like they had enough space to exist after all that build-up, but the truth is that battles never take as long as the journey because they’re the end of the journey, so it really is okay for them to only be a couple chapters long, but I just feel like I’m jipping my reader a little.  Hey, here’s this crazy ass novel that’s hella long, but the climax of the story only takes, like, 5%, of the total words.

I think I need to go back and see how many chapters the Battle of Hogwarts was, just to remind myself that it took seven books for this one battle.  (I know there were climaxes in each book, calm down.)

Alright, enough procrastinating, and back to the words.  I’m going to finish this goddamn novel before the end of April, guys.

Part 2 (of 4) is done!

It has been an honest struggle getting to this point.  For some reason, a whole lot of the 93k words in the first two parts of Saints 2 was a fight.  They just did not want to come out.  It was weird, too, because normally when the writing isn’t coming, I just abandon it and go read for a few weeks, but I wanted to write.  I had every urge, but when I sat down to do the thing, it wasn’t happening.

I think I’m slowly figuring out this is because I miss my Pen boys something fierce, and while I thought I was going to write Saints at sea next, it’s starting to look more likely that I’ll be writing the third draft of the first Pen boys novel.  Because man, these Saints are exhausting.  They’re a little bit older than the Pen boys (most of the main characters are somewhere between 18-21), and their lives are just so much darker.  There’s so much at stake, like actually life and death stuff.  Whereas, with Pen boys, it’s just teenage drama and boys falling in love and okay, sure, there’s a demon summoned and all this crazy stuff going on, but not nearly as dire as in Saints.

So while I do love these characters, and I’m going to be endlessly sad to leave Landon behind after this book is done, I honestly can’t wait for it to be over.

What does part two being done mean, though?  Well.  Not a whole lot, as it turns out.  There were only three parts in the first Saints, but there are four in Saints 2.  There’s a lot more that I wanted to do, and more natural endings to different arcs than there was in the first one.  Part one ends in the same kind of fashion: our Saints are going off on a journey.  Part two, even, ends similarly: someone has been wounded.  But there’s still so much going on at this point than there was in the first Saints.  Which I guess is how it works, but with that being said, I’m only about halfway through the novel.  Maybe a little more.  I’ll be honest, part four is a lot of fluff, post-war type of stuff.  Last scenes with the characters, the city kind of recovering after what’s happened, that sort of stuff.  Part three will be intense from beginning to end, and I’m hoping (send me good vibes that this happens, please) it will be at least 30k, though I’m rooting for 40k.  Now before you think I’m crazy, know that part one is 47k, and part two is 41k.  Part three has less things that need to happen, though, so if I get 40k, that’ll officially put me at around where the first Saints ended, and then part four will push me past the mark.  I can do this, guys.  It’s gonna be okay.

But Mary!  Quality, not quantity.  Oh, shut up.  I know that.  The words are going to be good, and I’m not going to put anything unnecessary in there just to give myself more words.  But I do want Saints 2 to be a wee bit longer than the first Saints since it is a sequel, so I’m aiming to both kick ass in part three and reach a certain word count.

Which, doing some math (oi), means I’m a little more than halfway there.  If I’m estimating correctly, I’d like Saints 2 to be 150k, which is about 15k longer than the first one.  In a crazy awesome world, it would be somewhere closer to 160k, which is totally possible considering how much I love a good ending.  But we’ll see.  Anything can happen between now and the end.

And hey, maybe my original goal of writing this in the same timeline as the first Saints is possible.  I wanted to have it finished by the end of March, and I’ve only got a little over 65k to go before I reach that wild 160k mark.

Or, you know, considering two weeks are already gone in March, I’ll just not be a crazy person and finish it by the end of April.  I am going to finish it, though.  This book is happening.  I’m starting to see the end, and I can see the shape the rest of the story is going to take.  I have some trying chapters ahead of me filled with emotion and lore, and I’m excited to see how it all unfolds.

For now, though, I’m happy that I’ve finally finished part two, and now it’s back to reading.  Hope you’re having a warm, snuggly snow day!