Category: Bookish

NaNoWriMo: Priorities

NaNoWriMo for me this year is much different than the last time I did it in 2012. Not only have I changed my ‘rules’ for this year but I’m also taking this month as an opportunity to train myself into being a writer worthy of the career I hope to have one day. To do that, I’ve made myself a list of my priorities, not just for this month but for the foreseeable future.

  1. My Marriage – My #1 priority is always my marriage. I’m lucky that we don’t tend to have many issues or disagreements but I definitely do have to work hard to not take what we have for granted. My husband is my biggest fan and supporter and comfort in this world and he deserves more time and effort than anything else in my life.
  2. My Mental Health – Like so many I struggle with my mental health. I have bouts of depression, compulsive tendencies, and severe anxiety. But those are things I can work through, push through. They cannot control my life and I have to take care of myself if I’m going to reach my goals.
  3. My Writing Career – This is a big focus for me, especially in the month of November. I’m working to better my writing ability, upkeep this blog, grow a platform, and dedicate myself to making this far off dream a reality.
  4. My Social Life – My friends understand how important my marriage and my writing are to me. They also understand the mental health struggles I have and help push me to overcome them and live my life. I’ll admit, likely because friends fall as my #3 priority, I don’t have many, but the ones I do have are the most kind, caring, inspiring people I know.
  5. My Retail Career – While I wait for my writing career to take off, I’m working in a department store and I absolutely love it. I love customer service and I love visual merchandising. This job pays the bills and, though I don’t enjoy it as much as writing, offers me the opportunity for advancement with the company.

All of my priorities are somewhat reliant on each other. Striving to build a writing career helps with my mental health, keeping my mental health in check makes my marriage more successful, my friends encourage me stick to all my other priorities, and my retail career funds my ability to prioritize the others.

For me, setting these priorities and writing them down in my writing journal has really helped me focus on what’s important. It’s helped me see that if I want to have all the things I dream of, I have to push myself and limit my extra curriculars.

What are your top priorities and how do you remind yourself of them daily?

NaNoWriMo: Plans Change

November is here, it’s time to write, and yet here I sit staring at the screen wondering where to go from here. Sometimes plans change, and sometimes that’s alright.

As I mentioned in my first NaNo post of the year, this year I was intending to write the first draft of the second book/companion novel to the book I finished for NaNo in 2012. But I also took on the challenge of rewriting that first book. And now, on November 1st, 2016, I’ve sat down at my bar in my new apartment ready to put the story I’ve been lovingly developing, literally, for years in my head into words on the screen and I ca’t seem to get it started.

Beginnings are usually my favorite to write. The first chapter is one of my favorite things to write. It’s a lot of world building and a lot of internal dialog (for this series) and It’s so much fun for me to get to explain bits and pieces. Especially with this new character I’m working with. She’s quirky and in the process of becoming her own person and understanding herself and I love her. But I can’t seem to let her sister go.

The first book, as I’ve nicknamed LiS, was just that, my very first book. It holds a very special place in my heart, being the first thing I’ve ever finished and loved and thrown my whole heart and soul into. It’s a mess, the first draft is sitting in a box printed and beautiful but covered in the pink and purple inks I use for editing. It’s a damn mess, but it’s my baby. And now that baby is sitting in a file on my computer, partially rewritten and begging for my attention.

On the other hand, LiS #2 is sitting in my head ready to come out into the world and grow.

But rewriting my baby.

But creating a new baby.

But rewriting.

But creating.


So here I am, with a blank document and a document with 18,249 words sitting open on my computer, knowing which is the technical “correct” one to choose for NaNo but unable to do it. So plans change. My new goal for NaNo is to write 1,667 words each day. Most of those I plan to add to the 18,249 words of LiS #1, but if one day the juices are flowing and LiS #2 is calling my name, maybe she’ll get my 1,667 words.

I’m breaking all the NaNo rules, changing my plans, and making November my own personal writing month, to be the writer I want to be.

We’ll see how this goes.

Do you strictly follow NaNo rules? Or do you make November your own?

My Bookish Wishlist

Nowadays, I do the vast majority of my reading on my beloved Kindle. There was one short time of about 3 days when I poor kindle was drying out after an unfortunate happenstance with the bathtub, but other than that I am definitely an ebook girl. And because of this, I don’t really develop a TBR of books I already own and plan to read. Instead, I have a never ending Amazon wishlist full of my TBR.


Note that this wishlist is FOUR PAGES long! So this will be a significant post without any pictures below here. I’m bolding all the titles to make them easier to skim if you’re looking for recommendations or to get a general idea of what I like to read!

  • Map of Fates by Maggie Hill
  • Lolita by Valdimir Naboko
  • The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
  • What Happenes Next by Colleen Clayton
  • One Day by David Nicholls
  • Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and Davis Levithan
  • A World of Itself by Jonathan Clark
  • Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Salves by Sarah Pomeroy
  • Battling the Gods by Tim Whitmarsh
  • Ancient Greece by Paul Cartledge
  • How To Be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman
  • How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman
  • Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
  • SPQR by Mary Beard
  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
  • Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
  • Nobel Savages by Napoleon A. Chagnon
  • From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender
  • 20 Something, 20 Everything by Christine Hassler
  • The Unconquered by Scott Wallace
  • Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
  • The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by John Baxer
  • Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky
  • The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
  • The Lotus Still Blooms by Joan Gattuso
  • Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James
  • La Distance Astronomique Entre Toi et Moi – Jennifer E. Smith
  • La Femme sand Peur by Jean-Phillipe Touzeau
  • Espionne Malgre Moi by Ally Carter
  • New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd
  • Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo
  • Style A to Zoe by Rachel Zoe and Rose Apodaca
  • Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth
  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  • Always a Witch – Carolyn MacCullough
  • Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  • The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • A is for Australia by Thomas Ap Dewi
  • A Year Without Make-Up by Stephanie Yoder
  • Londoners by Craig Taylor
  • The Lost Girls by Jennifer Bagget, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner
  • The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman
  • The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Famous Last Words by Katie Alender
  • Educating Alice by Alice Steinbach
  • Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
  • Mrs. Hemingway by Maoni wood
  • Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
  • Ruined by Paula Morris
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • What Would Audrey Do? by Pamela Keogh
  • Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman
  • Peasants Come Last by J. Larry Brown
  • When the World Calls by Stanley Meisler
  • Ponds of Kalambayi by Mike Tidwell

How do you keep up with your TBRs?

NaNoWriMo: A Poor Decision

I have, perhaps, made a very poor decision. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen the link to said poor decision, but if not, let me inform you now. I have signed up to take part in NaNoWriMo 2016… Oops?

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. There are a few other lose “rules” but that’s the gist of it. 1,667 words every day for the 30 days of November.

Now, that’s a big chunk of writing, but I’ve done it before. In November 2012, I wrote 51,046 words of a novel that is still very close to my heart. So, you may be thinking, attempting NaNo this year isn’t such an extreme or poor decision since I’ve tried and succeeded in the past. But you would be wrong.

Just before the beginning of this month, I decided it was time to take my writing seriously again. I pulled out that old novel from 2012 NaNo and began the process of revising. That revising has developed into basically a complete rewrite. I am now about 9,000 words into the, hopefully, 80,000 word rewrite and I’ve just signed up to write the second book in the series next month.

I make very poor decisions indeed.

I suppose we’ll see what happens? I’m going to continue with this rewrite throughout this month and, hopefully, by November I’ll have a pretty decent chunk of it done. Then I can work on the second book’s first draft in November, finish the first book’s second draft in the beginning of December, and then maybe I won’t wait another 4 years to revise/complete this year’s NaNo project. Maybe?

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, what’s your #1 NaNo tip?

Poison or Protect: A [Novella] Review


Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger
Published: 2016
Format: Ebook
Source: Amazon/B&N/Gumroad

Poison or Protect is the first novella in Gail Carriger’s Delightfully Deadly novella series. The series is a spin off of her YA Finishing School series. This story follows one of Madame Geraldine’s girls, Preshea Villentia (Buss), as she is pursuing her life in espionage after finishing at Madame Geraldine’s.

After school Preshea has found herself a four-time widow with a title, considerable wealth, and a nickname, the Mourning Star. Now the Mourning Star has another mission. This mission will require her to attend a multi-week house party in the country side. Enter Captain Ruthven, a handsome, gentle Scotsman blocking her path. Now the true test is if Preshea is willing to risk her heart or the job.

Gail Carriger has quickly become one of my all time favorite authors. Her stories are all compelling, her characters are memorable and relatable, and her world is engrossing. I’m absolutely in love with her frank writing style and her dedication to the fashion and customs in her stories.

This story definitely does not stray from all that I expect a Gail Carriger story to be and I’m so glad. It’s a pretty quick read, which can be a nice change of pace. I often find longer books, Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, to leave me with a difficulty remembering how we got from beginning to end (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing). This was a refreshingly short story that still managed to tell and entire story.

The cast of characters, old and new, were definitely great in their diversity and their comedy. The story itself was perfect, not drawn out longer than needed but not rushed to fit the “novella” restraints. If you like Carriger and/or liked the Finishing School Series, take a moment to catch back up with Preshea and you will not regret it!

5/5 stars!