Weekend Writing Warriors: 1/13

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix packs up her backpack, and calls for the King Under the Mountain–a goblin appears in the circle and after she states her claim on her cousin, vanishes. I skipped over the goblin guards escorting her to the gate.

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Alix hesitated a moment, staring at the gate, then she clutched the straps of her backpack, and stepped forward. One step, and the stones loomed around her, the dark forest pressing in above, and then the next step she stood in completely different, sun-drenched area, sky stretching hotly blue from horizon to horizon, broken by the branches of an enormous cedar tree piercing the sky.

Behind her, the woman stepped from thin air, onto the beach. The man, Zimmah, stood a few feet away, arms folded, scowling in her general direction.

Suddenly too warm, she tugged off her sweater, folded it haphazardly, and stuffed it into her backpack.

Next to Alix, the woman cleared her throat, “Are you paying attention to me, human?”

“I’m listening,” Alix tore her gaze away from the improbable sea.

“There will be dangers on your path, and obstacles you must pass. Three obstacles, and three opportunities for help to get through these obstacles. You must keep your eyes open, for assistance does not always appear in a form that is easy to recognize, and if you pass it by, and you will likely fail in your rescue attempt.”

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They have just left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and are biking back to the dorms in the evening.

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2017 Books in Review

2017 was the year I decided to use a spreadsheet to track my reading. And I won’t be doing it again, because there was so much falling behind and catching up, and somehow, I lost 90 books along the way. (Goodreads recorded 390 books for the year, but I only got 347 on the spreadsheet.) Who knows how it happened.

Also, I found I didn’t want to do a lot of research on things. If it was clear an author was a POC, or LGBT, I noted it, but I left it blank if there wasn’t any information on Goodreads, and there often wasn’t. So take those stats as probably not correct.

Books recorded : 347

POC authors/artists: 62

POC main characters: 112

LGBT author/artists: 13

LGBT main characters: 65

That’s 64% female authors, a number arrived at by pure chance.

67% print, 30% digital, and 3% audio. Despite making some effort to listen to audio books, they’re still not really my thing. I don’t have the sort of life where they fit in easily. I’m surprised I don’t read more digital books, though, as they’re so easy to get from the library!

87% prose, 9% comics, 4% poetry. I really thought I read more graphic novels and comics than this! And I hardly read any poetry, which is surprising, considering how much I enjoy it.

76% US authors, 8% UK authors, 16% other nationalities. Considering I can only read one language, and get books from the library, I don’t feel I did too bad at this. It’s a decent chunk of authors from around the world, but I’m sure I can find even more this year.

87% fiction, 13 nonfiction. This is where my fondness for genre really shows through. Give me a good fantasy adventure, a spine-chilling ghost story, a science fiction romp… I’m likely to gravitate to that over a memoir or history. And that’s okay, as long as I keep an eye out for those other options.

Despite my efforts to read more diversely–and I definitely succeeded in the more part–it’s clear I still have a long way to go on most of these. I’m not going to try to change my habits drastically, though, as after all, I’m reading for enjoyment.

How did your 2017 in reading go? Did you read how you wished to?

Top Ten Tues: Meant to Read

Top Ten Tuesdays was created by The Broke and The Bookish (and is moving to That Artsy Reader Girl on January 16th) feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

January 9: Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018!!)

This list is almost impossible. My TBR is always a case of my wish list being bigger than I can handle, so here’s ten chosen fairly at random. Alphabetical as always.

  1. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Sherman Alexie.

2. The Only thing Worse than Me is You: Lily Anderson.

3. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Caitlin Doughty. One of many nonfiction books I mean to read.

4. Among Thieves: Douglas Hulick. A recommendation from a friend.

5. One Day We’ll all be Dead and None of this Will Matter; Saachi Koul.

6. Tash Hearts Tolstoy; Katie Ormsbee.

7. The Portable Dorothy Parker; Dorothy Parker. I’ve always meant to read more of her stuff.

8. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street; Natasha Pulley.

9. House of Purple Cedar; Tim Tingle.

10. American Street: Ibi Zoboi.

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 1/6

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix packs up her backpack, and calls for the King Under the Mountain–a goblin appears in the circle and asks what her claim is (on Stephanie), and when she tells him they exchanged a blood oath, he says “that’s most unfortunate.”

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“The path to return your cousin to your world is perilous,” the goblin continued. “Many who try fail, and some perish in the attempt. I would prefer to keep you here, and safe. But if I cannot talk you out of it…” he trailed off invitingly, then taking in the thunderous scowl on Alix’s face, shook his head.

Behind him, two new goblins appeared in the mushroom circle. A kind Alix had never seen before, surrounded by a halo of pale blue flames, they both bowed to the king under the mountain and stepped out of the circle.

“Be warned, human,” he said, drawing her attention back to him, “that you have a fortnight to bring your loved one home. If you fail in your task, she will become a goblin forever.”

Then he vanished without another word.

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They have just left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and are biking back to the dorms in the evening.

Top Ten Tues: New-To-Me 2017

Top Ten Tuesdays was created by The Broke and The Bookish (and is moving to That Artsy Reader Girl on January 16th) feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

January 2: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017.

In alphabetical order, as always.

  1. Ayobami Adebayo. I picked up a book with a tough subject (divorce, infertility, infidelity, death), but despite that I found it really engaging and tough to put down.

2. W. Kamau Bell. I’ve seen some of his work on tv, so I took the chance on his book, which is just as funny and insightful.

3. S.A. Chakraborty. Beautiful world building–can’t wait for the sequel!

4. Nicholas Eames. Highly recommended by a friend, who then gifted me a book. I’m definitely going to read the sequel.

5. Anne Fadiman. A well written collection about one of my favorite things–books. I would read more of her stuff.

6. Sarah Gailey. Picked up on a recommendation, and I plan to read the next book soon.

7. Insitar Khanani. I liked the first book so well, when I couldn’t get the second from the library, I bought it instead.

8. Siddhartha Murkherjee. Anyone who can balance informative and entertaining through that many pages is a good writer.

9. Penny Reid. I found the first of these cute romances as cheap ebooks, and have snapped up the rest on sale, too.

10. Glynn Stewart. Another recommendation where I could only find the first book at the library, but I have plans to buy the rest someday.

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 12/30

~~~~Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year! ~~~~

 

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, and Stephanie vanishes in a ring of toadstools. Alix packs up her backpack, and calls for the King Under the Mountain–a goblin appears in the circle and asks what her claim is (on Stephanie).

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“She’s my cousin,” Alix said.

“And?” he prompted.

“And we were raised like sisters,” Alix’s voice wavered, and cracked with emotion, “I love her.”

“And?” he repeated, unmoved.

“We did everything together! We swore a blood sister oath, and I promised I’d always be there for her, and you’re saying that—”

“You did what?” the king interrupted. “A blood oath–you made a promise in blood?”

“Cut our fingers and pressed them together, yeah,” Alix blinked at the sharpness in his tone, lifting her left hand to the light, where a faint scar bisected the fingerprint on her thumb.

“Ah,” his shoulders slumped, and for a moment, the coldness in his face vanished, replaced by a deep sadness, “That is most unfortunate.”

 

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They have just left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and are biking back to the dorms in the evening.

Read Harder Challenge 2017: December

And the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is done! There’s 24 prompts to encourage you to read harder, and I urge you to check it out if you want to get outside your comfort zone. You can always do it next year, as a retro challenge. 🙂

(Click the link to see the challenge, and to download a PDF of the challenge list.)

book riot

To quote the article: “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. […] We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try.

The last challenge item of the year!

  • Read a book from a micropress.

Where We Are Now; Carolyn Osborn.

A nicropress, if you’re wondering, is a small press (usually one person) who produces diverse authors. I went to a local independent bookstore, and they pointed me to Wings Press, which is one person working in a basement, who publishes several author’s work.

A collection of stories written over time, so there’s a little bit of a disconnect or repetition between them, but they still form a pretty cohesive whole. They are written by one person about one thing–her family–so that makes sense, but there’s a little more to it than that.

Like a lot of families, the stories are about secrets–the stories we tell, and how they’re changed. The silences we keep, and what they reveal. All the thousands of moments in a life, interwoven with each other. It stretches from the author’s childhood, to her adulthood, marriage, and her children growing up. It circles around to some themes, time and time again. And likely, the reader will recognize something of their family in these pages. Not, perhaps, in the finer details like setting, but in the broad strokes–the loner, the rebel, the one who holds it together. Life has a way of changing people, but where we were once shapes where we are now.

Top Ten Tues: Looking to 2018

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

Check out their blog for their top ten and lists by other bloggers!

December 26: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018 (These could be new releases, or books you resolve to read, ten debuts we are looking forward to, etc.)

These are all being released in 2018. I’m excited to read them all! In alphabetical order, as always. A few don’t have covers yet.

1. Magic Triumphs; Ilona Andrews. I love Kate Daniels and her world so much!

2. Burn Bright; Patricia Briggs. Bad@ss werewolf who still manages to be  quite nice.

3. Smoke and Iron; Rachel Caine. Magic and books, my favorite combination.

4. The Kingdom of Copper; S.A/ Chakraborty. The first book was an exciting mix of magic and politics, and I’m eager to see what happens next.

5. Sorcerer Royal; Zen Cho. A sequel to a great first book.

6. Obsidio; Amie Kaufman. I adore this epistolary style sci fi adventure series.

7. Night and Silence; Seanan McGuire. I’m always ready for more Toby and the gang.

8. Tempests and Slaughter; Tamora Pierce. This author has a way with world building, so I’m interested to see this revisiting of old characters.

9. Fierce like a Firestorm; Lana Popovic. The end of the last book surprised me, I’m curious what’s next.

10. The Prince and the Dressmaker; Jen Wang. The only book on this list by an author I haven’t read before, but it just looks so dang cute!

 

 

Weekend Writing Warriors: 12/23

~~~~Happy Holidays to everyone who celebrates! 🙂 ~~~~

*******Sorry I missed commenting back last week, it was unexpectedly crazy*****

 

This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a WIP from NaNoWriMo 2017, currently titled King Under the Mountain. Set in Casper, Wyoming, in a world where goblins trade in magical goods with humans, traveling from their world to ours through stone circle gates. But if humans aren’t wary in their dealings with goblins, they can find themselves stolen away!

Stephanie and Alix, cousins, are biking home from a party, a bit drunk, when Alix falls off her bike, throws up, and ends up chasing her cousin through the woods–in a clearing, Stephanie suddenly vanishes, the only thing there a ring of mushrooms. Alix loses it for a bit, then chains up the bikes, packs everything useful in a backpack, and returns to the clearing.

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All she had were rumors and stories to go on, but she could only hope the stories were true.

“King under the Mountain!” She called into the night, hands clenched in fists, glaring down at the toadstools. “You’ve taken my cousin, and I want her back!”

Nothing.

Feeling foolish, panic creeping in, Alix repeated herself, and halfway through the word ‘cousin,’ she suddenly realized that someone stood in the circle in front of her.

A goblin man, with long, straight charcoal gray hair gleaming in the moonlight, unconstrained except for a golden circlet of leaves on his head.

The words died in her mouth, in a sudden strangled squeak.

Smiling sardonically, the man swept a shallow bow, “I have answered your so polite summons, human. By what right do you lay claim to the one who stepped into this circle under the moonlight?”

*    *    *

I took inspiration from “The Ballad of Tam Lin,” and Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.” The idea of people being stolen away, and a loved one journeying to get them back (though Tam Lin was stolen by the Queen of the fairies), and the bustling goblin markets with their dangerous fruit from Rosetti’s poem sparked this adventure. Alix and Stephanie are college freshman, 18 and 19 respectively, and cousins sharing a dorm room. They have just left an off-campus party where they did some drinking, and are biking back to the dorms in the evening.

I Want to Give You: A Poem about Love

The holiday season is different for everyone. But for me, it’s a time to see as many of the people I care about as I can, and give them a little something. I try to keep them in mind throughout the year, and slowly collect just the right object–something that will be useful, or make them smile. And when they open that gift… if I got it right… it gives me a warm glow in my heart.

Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate!

I Want to Give You

A scarf that brings out the color in your eyes

to brighten up your day

A soft fuzzy blanket to keep you warm

and keep the cold winds at bay

Your favorite kind of candy

to sweeten a moment or three

A book you’ve wanted to read

to make you laugh and cry and see

A pin proclaiming your fandom

so everyone knows you’re a proud geek

A fragrant candle in your favorite scents

with light to make the nights less bleak

A gift to say I think of you

from time to time, day to day, throughout the year

A gift to say you’re loved and valued

and I’m glad you’re here