Tag Archives: dreamsters

Works-In-Progress (or maybe: Projects I *should* be working on)

It’s been a long time since I really talked about writing. I mean, sure, I’ve moaned about my lack of time for it and how creatively dead my brain has been, but when is the last time I really talked about the books themselves? I think it’s been ages, to be honest. Like, possibly years even. Perhaps you don’t even really know anything at all about my completed novel Dreamsters, except that it’s in the horror/thriller category. And so, with the help of some awesome art I commissioned artist and friend, Heather R. Holden, to do, I’m going to talk about my writing – what it’s about, what I’ve got, what I need, and where I’m going with it – and maybe it will not only intrigue you, but help me get back into, you know, actually working on them again. :)

 

 *Click the images to see them larger!*

 

Dreamsters (not an actual title – that is still undecided)

 

About: This story is about a creepy old lady, a girl with a nightmare curse, and a foolishly kind boy who feels compelled to get involved with them both. I consider this story a nod to one of my favorite horror films A Nightmare on Elm Street, though more thriller than horror, maybe. 😉

 

What I’ve Got: A completed manuscript at around 70K words.

 

What it Needs: A completed 2nd draft. I’d started on this a couple months after I finished the 1st draft last year, but there are still major portions of the book, particularly at the end, that need heavy rewriting to finalize a 2nd draft.

 

Where it’s Going: Publication? I hope. It was my intention to have this 2nd draft sharp enough to start looking for an agent this year, but so far this unfortunately hasn’t been the case.

 

2015_Commission_Dreamsters

 

Picture background: This comes from the end of Chapter 2. Milo’s stayed up late to get ahead on some homework and just before going to bed, glances out his window at Mrs. Womack’s house across the street. This is the scene he sees and the lines from the book look like this:

 

Illuminated by the street lamp is a girl in a red plaid, pleated skirt, with black tights and clunky boots, and a black leather jacket being destroyed by the rain. And a boy significantly shorter than her, holding her hand, in a hoodie and cargo pants that look too big for his small frame. Each of them carry just one bag, hardly large enough to hold any decent amount of personal possessions, and they stare at Mrs. Womack’s front door from her gate.

 

I don’t need to see their faces to know who they are.

 

 

Crack the Sky

 

About: I’ll let the main character tell you what Crack the Sky is about. 😉

 

My name is Tilian King and I found a girl in the woods one night. I sound like a fool for saying it, but I swear the lightning led the way.  She was covered in blood; I’m *practically* a saint for saving her. 

 

She claims she’s my guardian angel and that demons took her wings so she can’t protect me. From what, she won’t say.

 

She also claims my girlfriend and father are demons and that my dead mother is an angel like her. I asked her what that makes me, but again, she won’t say.

 

I think she’s f@$%ing insane. Escaped from the looney bin or some shit. It’s somehow both annoying and hilarious to me.

 

Still, and I’d never admit it out loud, it is sort of nice having someone to share the lonely mansion I call home with now, since my dad’s never around. Plus, who doesn’t love poking fun at naiveté? Leilani’s chock-full of it and I’m as rotten as they come.

 

If you’d like to see a few examples of scenes from Crack the Sky, I’d actually posted some when I started this book in 2011 for NanoWrimo. Click HERE! (Note: these scenes were roughly written and have since been polished so they aren’t the final product by any means.)

 

What I’ve Got: About 18K words, or just shy of 1/3 of the story.

 

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What it Needs: The rest? About 50K more words? No, in all seriousness, it needs the meat of the story. Crack the Sky is an intense sort of story, with a great deal of tough decisions and bloodshed. This first 18K has been the introductory phase, the buildup of backstory, and the planted seeds of character growth. Next, things get crazy. 😉

 

Where it’s Going: Oops, I think I sort of answered that above? I guess I could add that it’s not going to have a happy ending. Okay, so it won’t be super awful, but not the happily ever after type of ending that’s all too common these days because life doesn’t always work that way so why should make believe? 😉

 

Picture background: I’d told Heather that if this picture were titled I’d call it, “Torn,” because that’s the feeling I wanted to come across for Tilian. So that it’s not too spoilery, I won’t tell you much about what’s going on in it outside of TORN, but I will tell you who you’re looking at! (L) Mackenzie, Tilian’s Girlfriend (M) Tilian King, POV of the book (R) Leilani, Tilian’s Guardian Angel.

 

 

So, those are my current, big works-in-progress. I have another novel idea that springs up every summer, but never produces much words and another that I hope to eventually return to one day, as it was the first story I ever wanted to make into a novel, but both require a lot of world building and I’m just not sure I’m a good enough writer for that just yet.

 

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If you’ve enjoyed the art accompanying these descriptions and think you’d like some of your own, head on over to Heather’s site for commission guidelines and prices! Or if you’re just a fan of the art and don’t need any for yourself, give her web comic Echo Effect a shot. She’s an excellent storyteller, too!

 

2014 In Review: Writing

Oh, writing. :/

 

Work, both my real job and my side jobs, kept me so incredibly busy in 2014. So busy it hurt my brain. So busy that when I did have free time, work had sucked all my creative juices dry. That means this years word count is a sad number and there were no short stories this year, even though I had two I wanted to work on. I literally went months without writing a single word. MONTHS. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve written something new, I’m not even sure how to throw myself back into it. Like Victoria Schwab says, “I’ve forgotten how to book.” But I will figure it out again and soon, I promise you that.

 

And it’s not all sad news to report this year. Even though I’m disappointed in only writing 29,415 words this year, I can proudly say that I actually finished my first novel in 2014. And I don’t hate it. In fact, I like it so much I hope that 2015 is the year I shop it around and publishing becomes a real, achievable dream. Another thing worth noting is the writing workshop I attended this year. Even if I couldn’t be producing new words, I still made sure to finally start learning what it takes to be published. Prior to my novels completion, I’d sort of avoided it like the plague. You know, no sense in learning about a future that can’t even be a possibility without a finished manuscript. I’ll be facing 2015 with some valuable information now!

 

Last year, I only promised myself I’d write and that’s all well and good, but this year I really do hope to achieve more and so as a guideline or reminder when I’m starting to drift from it again, in 2015 I’d like to:

 

  • Start looking for an agent with a finalized version of Dreamsters
  • Write at least 1 short story
  • Move Crack the Sky towards completion 

 

If I try extra hard and track my progress with the sticker method, these could be feasible goals. Just so long as work doesn’t steal my life again. *Fingers Crossed*

 

Weekend Full of Awesome

Lately, I can’t always count on my weekends to be fun or productive or much more than just zoning out and regaining my sanity after an insane work week. Because it’s the only time I get to unwind and do more than just work, it depresses me when it’s over without anything worth noting.

 

The past few weekends have been like these uneventful, over-too-soon breaks in my work life. But not this weekend. No, this weekend was made of awesome.

 

It started Friday, by having off for Good Friday, which by itself felt like a much needed gift. I got nine hours of sleep for the first time in months, caught up on the internet a bit, and dove into a book for the first time since January. A book that totally rejuvenated my creative mind.

 

Saturday it took me a little while to get started and I worried I’d lost my prime morning productivity time, but I sat down with my nightmare novel Dreamsters just before noon, determined to finally reach it’s end and just over 2K later, I did! I FINISHED MY FIRST NOVEL! It’s probably not as exciting to most as it is to me, but I’ve been working on the same 4 novels for the last 5 years. For a while there I was starting to think I’d never reach the end. I’d never reached any of the ends of my scripts as a teen/young adult and while I have finished a handful of short stories, I was really worried I just didn’t have what it took to actually write a full novel. It feels incredible to have proved myself wrong. It’s was hours before I could get my heart to settle down over it so I set out to bake an Apple-Berry pie for Easter. I took photos of the process this time and posted the recipe in case you’d like to try it out.

 

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Click HERE for the recipe!

 

Today I had to be up early to help Mom at church all day for Easter breakfast/brunch. In the years past this has completely wiped me out and it definitely did this year, too, but it was somehow more fulfilling than in years past. More than 400 people showed up for service and there was a lot of great fellowship. I had intended on crashing when I got home, but I stopped by my Maw Maw’s and looked through old family photos (some of which I stole to scan for Throwback Thursday) and then headed home to do a little cleaning in the living room because I finally got a new bookcase! It’s not new as in freshly built from the store, but new to me. It still doesn’t house all of my books, but a heck of a a lot of them, freeing up the previously improper places for any new additions. The living room feels a little crowded now, but overall I’m happier with a proper home for my biggest collection.

 

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(New Bookcase all the way to the right!)

I’m yawning as a I write this and I’m not really ready to go back to work tomorrow, but for once I’m feeling really good about how I spent my weekend. And even though I know I’ll be sleepy tomorrow morning, I’ll be mentally sound and that’s worth a lot in my world.

 

How was your Easter weekend?

 

2013 In Review: Writing

Last year I resolved to finish a first draft of any of my novels. I even went as far to say that if I didn’t finish one, I’d throw in the towel.

 

It was a foolish resolution.

 

Not necessarily because it’s unachievable, because it could be, but to just give up writing altogether over not finishing a first draft in a year was just stupid of me to say. Writing will always be a part of me, no matter how long it takes me to produce a final product. And I shouldn’t put such ridiculous limitations on myself so that I feel like a failure when I don’t meet them.

 

I refuse to feel like a failure.

 

So, what did I achieve in 2013 writing wise, if I didn’t complete a first draft? Lots, actually.

 

First, I wrote two short stories this year, just like the year before. And I sort of like this “habit” of writing two a year. It’s a good way to remind myself that I can in fact close a story and in less words than feels necessary for a novel. If by some chance you missed those short stories this year, you can find them below.

 

In Pursuit of Jenna Mae 

 

The Christmas Ban 

 

Also, that last short story became a sequel to a short story I’d written back in 2010 and I’ve already got a third and final installment to this Christmas collection planned for next year. I might even try to publish them all together for real. I really might.

 

Overall, I wrote 51,798 words this year. That’s more than the last two years combined. This might not seem all that impressive to all those writers who can churn out 90K manuscripts a year, but it’s big for me, that I wrote so much more than I have in the past two years combined. That’s quality progress.

 

Also, about those 51,798 words, with the exception of the short stories, almost all of those words were for Dreamsters, which I had started in the beginning 2012 and sat aside for the rest of the year. This is the first year I’ve successfully overcome my seasonal writer status and worked every month of the year on the same project. I miss my other stories, I do, but Dreamsters will be the first one I actually finish. Now that I know I can stay focused on the same story, regardless of the weather, I refuse to stop working on this one until it’s finished now.

 

I owe a lot of my accomplishments to a writing group I’m a part of on Facebook – Grapemo – hosted by author Jeannine Garsee. Not only are the weekly check-in’s about our writing progress a motivator, but the Teaser Tuesday and Thursday Specials have really opened me up and encouraged me as a writer. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many like-minded folks.

 

I also gave Victoria Schwab’s star technique a shot towards the end of the year (and not just for writing) and found that seeing my daily success on a calendar really helped keep me focused. I plan to practice this again in 2014 for sure.

 

So my goals for 2014… well, I just hope to keep writing. I’d love to kick out another two short stories and I do have two ideas brewing, but I won’t punish myself if they don’t happen. That takes all the fun out of writing. And ideally it would be nice to finish Dreamsters in 2014 because technically I’ve already written more than half the book, but again I won’t punish myself if this doesn’t happen either.

 

I will write in 2014, that is all I’ll hope for. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll report an even more successful year to you next January.

 

 

When Music and Writing Collide

It probably isn’t a surprise that music plays a big part in the creation of my novels since I talk about the two constantly, but I’ve never really elaborated on exactly how music helps my books come alive.

Typically when I’m putting together a playlist for a book, I looks for songs that fit the mood of a scene or that come from a band my characters would likely listen to if they were real people. For example in Dreamsters, Harper’s favorite band is Mindless Self Indulgence, while Milo’s an all-out post-hardcore fan – there are a lot of both on the playlist as a result.

And while it is more common for my book playlists to have an eclectic mix of musical styling’s (much like my own taste in music), there are some books that have one particular sound throughout. Take Summer Novel for instance, it is strictly mellow, easy going, indie music.

More times than not, the songs on the playlist really have nothing to do with the actual story itself. So you might understand why it makes me crazy happy and excited to write ALL the words when I come across songs with lyrics so perfect, it’s like my characters whispered them to the band. For Dreamsters in particular (since it’s my current WIP), lyrics like:

I'm not scared, but this is happening.
I'm not afraid, but this is real (this is real).
It all comes at once; from every single direction.
This time I'm not (I’m not) sleeping at all.
How could this be real?
                    (A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine by Underoath)

How can I sleep, if I don’t have dreams, I just have nightmares?
                                        (Staying Up by The Neighbourhood)

When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might take my place.
When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might end up being me.
                                                (Afraid by The Neighbourhood)

I can’t help it.
I won’t let you bury yourself.
Bury yourself.
                                (Dancing on a Tightrope by I The Mighty)

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a song fits on entirely different books playlists, like there are quite a few of the same Underoath tracks on both Dreamsters and Crack the Sky, but they impact the story differently because of the way the character hears the tracks.

It’s also becoming common practice for me to use movie scores or other wordless tracks to write against, especially when I’m seeking a particular feeling that can’t be interrupted with lyrics. Since Dreamsters is a horror/thriller novel, I’ve used a lot of “spooky” tracks by Kevin MacLeod like Gloom Horizon to set the tone for the nightmares, but also to create just a general dreary or creepy demeanor in the day-to-day, tracks like Very Sick Girl from the movie Side Effects’ score or The Alchemist by Black Light Burns.

Funnily enough, there is even music that I can listen to no matter what I’m writing, but to date only one band has succeeded in this and I seriously have no idea what it is about them that makes them so universal. Wide Eyes, Sun Hands, Black Balloons, and Wooly Mammoth are all tracks by Local Natives that just make me want to write, write, write, no matter what it is.

So writerly people, do you listen to music while you write? Does it matter what you’re listening to? Does the music bring your story alive? I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. All track titles are clickable! :)

What are Nightmares made of?

You may or may not know already that my current work-in-progress is a horror/thriller novel temporarily being called Dreamsters (that title is far too fluffy for the nature of this story so it will absolutely change). In the book, nightmares are a reoccurring thing.

I’ve personally faced graphic, realistic nightmares since I was a very small child (ask my mom, she can attest to this) so it’s pretty easy for me to pull ideas from my own history on this matter. But I realize that some of the scariest things to me might not be scary at all to someone else. For example, some of my scariest dreams don’t always have a frightening plot, the scariest part about them is that I can’t scream for help (like my mouth is sewn shut) or I can’t open my eyes wide enough to properly see the thing creating so much panic in me.

So, in an effort to make sure I cover all aspects of fear factor with these nightmares, I thought it would be wise to find out what others are afraid of; what nightmares they consider the most frightening and why.

Tell me about your scariest nightmare! What keeps you up at night?

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February: In Review

February has been interesting as far as life achievements go. Well, maybe interesting is the wrong word to describe it. It was a sort of lopsided month, but for once this also doesn’t disappoint me all that much.

Reading:

Unfortunately I only read one & half books this month. I wrapped up Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it finally and while I think it was very informative, it wasn’t as useful to me as I’d hoped it’d be. I use different editing software so basically everything I read on that was useless to me and while I have equipment, I don’t have nearly as much as I’d need to completely recreate the book’s shots. Still, I think it will come in handy later down the road, the further into this photography thing I get. I also read Brenna Yovanoff’s Paper Valentine. You can click that title to see my review.

Writing:

I can hardly contain my excitement where writing is concerned these days.

First, I posted a short story for Valentine’s Day. If you missed it, click HERE to read In Pursuit of Jenna Mae.

Second, you may remember me saying I’d be participating in GRAPEMO this month and that my goal was to add 5K to Dreamsters. Well, not only did I meet that goal, I tripled it. It has been too long since I’ve had such a successful writing month and I can’t really even explain how excited it makes me that Dreamsters has grown from this baby of a project to a meaty 19K thing now.

As part of GRAPEMO, we were allowed to post teasers every Tuesday and Thursday. I didn’t participate in every opportunity, but I did post three snippets. You can check them out by clicking the following links: SNIPPET #1, SNIPPET #2, and SNIPPET #3. (Look for my LJ name and the title Dreamsters on the page and I’d suggest reading them in order.)

In addition to working on Dreamsters, I started a short story for St. Patrick’s day that I’m not really sure I’ll finish in time now, but we’ll see. :)

Total February Word Count: 15,842

Photography:

I didn’t get to use my camera nearly as much as I’d hoped to this month, but the pictures I did capture were adorable. At the start of the month my sister made Gideon this awesome Sock Monkey hat (I swear she’s a crocheting genius, she doesn’t even use patterns, just wings it when she gets an idea). Anyway, about this time last year, we had done a photo shoot of Gideon with his Sock Monkey doll (Click HERE to refresh your memory) so it seemed fitting to do something similar with this hat a year later. I swear my nephew is going to be such a little heartbreaker. Here’s the BEST OF:

IMG_0404 [50%]_edit [50%] IMG_0635 [50%]_edit [50%] Gideon/Sock Monkey 2013

So that was my month. For as fast as it moved, it wasn’t all that bad. How about your February?

P.S. Reminder: If you are looking for February music, click HERE!

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October: In Review

For the first time this year, I’m not actually surprised that October was over in a flash. In fact, I’ll be surprised if the next two months don’t pass by just as quickly, if not faster. It’s just the nature of holiday season. This sucks for me since the beginning of fall marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year, but I try to not waste time moping about its fast nature and just soak up as much of it as I can while it’s here.

Writing: Even if the weather wasn’t an indicator of the changing season, I’d be able to tell it’s definitely fall because the writing bug is alive and well within me. Thank you, Autumn!

The month started off with me completing my Halloween short story. If you missed it, click HERE to read Intrusion! I’m rather fond of it and mostly because it came from a dream and while I often draw inspiration from dreams, stories rarely ever present themselves from start to finish the way this one did.

Since I finished my short story earlier than expected, I got to working on Dreamsters. After outlining the better part of the book I decided that the first two chapters I had written just didn't work so I deleted over 4K words. I haven’t added them all back yet, but I’m working on it.

Towards the end of the month we were hit with Hurricane Sandy, which left us without power for 48 hours. I used some of this powerless time to finally read my printed Crack the Sky manuscript (27 chapters worth) and see where I needed to pick it back up. It’s been a while since I read/wrote anything for Crack the Sky (like since March O_O), so I definitely needed a full read through before I could move forward. I was surprised to find that there was little to nothing I wanted to change at all, in fact I found myself captivated by the story which I hope can only be a good thing. But as I reached chapter 25, I shook my head in disturbed amusement over the remaining chapters. It is obvious to me that I must have written them when I still drank because they were horrible. The idea is there, but the execution is laughable. Needless to say, I’ve decided to can the last three chapters (3K words) and try again, not intoxicated.

So, where does that leave me for overall word count for the month? 3,895 words for October. Maybe you’re not completely wowed by that number, but I’m pretty okay with it considering it’s more than the month before. Plus, I’m hopeful that November will be even better.

Reading: For the most part I read the books I’d hoped to read this month. I am still in the middle of one unfortunately because it’s not really that good. Luckily I was smart enough not to let it keep me from other books and was able to read 7 books this month as a result! The titles of each below the picture are links to my Goodreads reviews on each book, if you’re interested.  

October Reads (Smaller)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Gatekeepers (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 3) by Robert Liparulo
Timescape (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 4) by Robert Liparulo
Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 5) by Robert Liparulo
Frenzy (Dreamhouse Kings, Book 6) by Robert Liparulo
Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino

Photography: I tried to take pictures of more than just Gideon this month. It’s fall, after all, which in my opinion is the prettiest time of the year. Because of this, I have lots to share this month! 

Gideon Pumpkin Patch
Gideon at the Pumpkin Patch

Milburn Orchard
Milburn Orchard

The Huff's
The Huff Family

Hurricane Sandy
Flooding in my walkway during Hurricane Sandy

If you’re wondering why there aren’t pictures of Gideon on Halloween, the reason is sad. As Hurricane Sandy struck Maryland, Gideon was rushed to the hospital with a 104 degree temperature and a potential meningitis scare. After several tests (including the all-painful spinal tap) they discovered an infectious sac in his neck obstructing his breathing and mobility. They decided to transfer him to the University of Maryland’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and attempt aggressive antibiotics before deciding if he needed surgery or not. Luckily, the antibiotics seem to be working, however he is still in PICU. This situation made the hurricane even worse than it already was. Halloween was nearly forgotten in the grand scheme of things, not that we could have celebrated it the way we’d intended to anyway. 

Music: It seems strange to say I don’t really have a lot to report in this area this month, but it’s sort of true. It doesn’t mean that music didn’t make me happy and that it wasn’t played non-stop like usual, it’s just that I spent more time listening to things I’ve already posted before than anything new, and mostly because Dreamsters playlist lived on repeat A LOT! But the one band I did listen to TONS was Relief in Sleep. And you’ll never believe what characters they woke up from a year long nap: The Cleaphytes. 😀

Relief in Sleep – “Collide”

Misc. Other: For anyone following my weight loss journey, I’m now officially in a smaller size of pants and at a total weight loss of 18 lbs. It’s a slow journey, I realize, but I didn’t gain the weight overnight and I won’t lose it that way either – at least not if I plan to keep it off (which I do). I’m impressed mostly in this past month to have still maintained a successful loss despite my seasonal favorite – pumpkin – being in everything. I even baked every weekend this month, but felt no obligation to keep the baked goods and found more reward in sharing them with others. I’m feeling rather proud of myself for this.

So, what kind of accomplishments did you have in October? What do you hope to achieve in November? Sound off in the comments!

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February: In Review

For as short as February is, I had a pretty successful month. I worked really hard at time management this month, and the effort paid off. It’s a very gratifying feeling. With that being said, I have lots to report. :) 

 

Reading

Since I tried to focus more on writing than reading this month, I was only able to squeeze in three books. But they were great reads, all of which you can see my opinion on by clicking the links below the picture! 

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth, Book 2) by Stacey Kade, and Vanish (Firelight, Book 2) by Sophie Jordan

Writing

 At the start of the month, I found myself rather addicted to the site Polyvore. After pinning (on Pinterest) a variety of outfits people had created that I felt represented my style I started thinking that creating outfits for my characters might be an awesome way to keep them visually in my head. See, often times when I’m writing I can usually associate an actor or actress who might play that character should the book ever be a movie, but with the two books I’m currently writing, I have no celeb faces to attach to the people in my head. Creating outfits based on their style though has really kept them alive this month.

 

For those curious this is what the Dreamsters cast “looks like” – 

And this is what the Crack the Sky cast “looks like” – 

I truly dedicated my weekends to writing this month and as a result wrote a total of 15,518 words (13,448 of which belong to Crack to the Sky (which, btw, is now 20,519 words long!) and 2,070 of which belong to Dreamsters). Admittedly, I’m excited about this because I’m pretty sure the last time I wrote so much in one month was probably late 2010. If I can keep up this weekend pattern of 4K+ words, there should be no reason I can’t actually finish a book this year. I really hope this wasn't a fluke and March is equally as generous to me.

 

 

Music: On Repeat

It’s been another strange month when it comes to music for me. Some days I couldn't get enough (sometimes listening to just the same song over and over again relentlessly), and then other days I preferred silence. And despite listening to a lot of new* music, I found myself craving some of the older stuff I've loved for a long time, too. Because of this, the top three played songs are sort of a happy mixture of old and new.  

*new = new to me, not necessarily new to the world

Hurt – “Rapture” 

This is a band  actually introduced me to last year (you may remember “Overdose”?), but I’m just now getting to enjoy a whole album. This song will be featured on Crack the Sky’s playlist and because of that, it got played on a loop while writing this month.

Shearwater – “Breaking the Yearling” 

Currently the most played track of the year so far with 220 plays, credit can go to for this track. While I’m still not sure how I feel about the rest of Shearwater’s music, I know I love this track without question!

Underoath – “A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine” 

This one snuck in towards the end of February. I woke up one day craving a band I’ve loved for quite some time now and once satisfying my craving, realized so many of their songs were perfect for my books. This song, in particular, got over 150 plays already while working on Crack the Sky. No doubt the play count will continue to climb until this books complete. 

**Obviously, the latest Arctic Monkeys track, "R U Mine?" has already been played equally as many times as the tracks listed above, but since I just posted it two days ago here, I didn't see a need for re-posting it. 

Photography

No, I’m not a professional, but I have been spending a great deal of time researching and learning new techniques to take my nephew’s pictures every week. Like the effort I put into writing this month, I think the effort I’m putting into being a better photographer is paying off, too. Check out the ‘Best Of’ from February of Gideon!

And that’s all from me! I can only hope to have an equally, if not more successful month in March. *fingers crossed*

How did you fare in February, friends? Anything exciting to report? 

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January: In Review

It’s February already? How the heck did that happen? I guess 2012 will be no different than 2011 in the way that time slips by far too fast for my taste. Because of its quick nature, it doesn’t really feel like I did anything very notable in January, but according to my “lists” (I am forever making lists), I have a few things worth reporting.

Reading

I read six books in the first two weeks of January. Six! I don’t think I was really trying to; I just got lucky that the books I chose to read were so good it made them easy to blow through quickly. 

Starstruck by Cyn Balog, Winter Town by Stephen Emond, Dull Boy by Sarah Cross, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)

*The titles of the books above are links to my ratings & thoughts on each over at Goodreads.

Writing

I took a break from reading after the first two weeks of January and tried to channel my Crack the Sky cast to catch up on some much overdue writing. That, however, did not happen. What did happen was the attack of a new plot bunny (oh, joy, right?). 

While I was intrigued by the plot idea and cast (who, oddly enough, came toting names already which almost never happens for me), I was not interested in giving this book a shot at the moment because I do not write multiple books at the same time and I really want to finish Crack the Sky. New plot bunny didn’t care about what I wanted though and by the end of January I found myself listening to the first song(s) to make the playlist on repeat and writing a little over 2,000 words of what I’m currently calling, Dreamsters.

So I guess I am going to be working on two books side by side this year? Lord, help me.

Music: On Repeat

Music was on and off for me this month. Some days I couldn’t get enough of it, others I never even turned it on. The few songs that currently hold play counts wildly higher than the other songs that graced my ears this month include:

White Rabbits – “Heavy Metal”

Back in December I got a chance to see White Rabbits live and it was extra awesome because they played a bunch of new, unreleased tracks, all slated to be released this March on their next album, Milk Famous. This month they offered one of those new songs as a free download and not only was I quick to snatch it up, I loved it enough to let it live on repeat more than 100 times. Can’t wait for March!

*I find it sort of funny that my “on repeat” list for both this year and last starts with a White Rabbits track.

Closure in Moscow – “The Impeccable Beast”

Closure in Moscow is a band I just recently fell in-love with in the end of 2011. While I’m still enjoying their previous albums tons, I will be blessed with a new album this year too! In anticipation of the next album, they released a new single this month for free download and like the White Rabbits freebie, I just had to take advantage of this opportunity. And good thing, too, because I loved it so much I listened to nothing else but it for several days! So pumped for more!

Mindless Self Indulgence – “Tornado”

The only song of this bunch that’s definitely not new (to me or otherwise). This is the first song the Dreamsters cast claimed as their own and with claiming it, they became impossible to avoid. I have loved this song since I first heard it over 8 years ago now, but outside of my enjoyment it never had a purpose. Now it belongs to an intense and action packed scene that I can’t wait to write!

*In addition to this song, “Diabolical” from the same album was also played ad nauseam.

Photography

This isn’t usually something I boast about because Lord knows I’m no professional photographer, but I do have a fancy camera and I practice lots with it, especially on my nephew Gideon. Every week since his birth I’ve done little photo sessions with him and because of this regularity he is already very aware of the camera, almost as if he knows to pose for it. This month we had one of the best photo sessions in the seven months of his life. Not only is he such an adorable ham for the camera, the lighting and coloring were really good too making the pictures extra crisp. I’ve been researching shooting babies in particular and watching little tutorials. I think I’m getting better as a result! :)

*Click the image above to see more photos from this session

That’s pretty much it on the excitement factor for my month. I realize this is the first post of the 2012 here and I apologize for that. I’m still in that deciding phase, not sure where I should be blogging full time. I will say that I’ve been super active on Tumblr if you’re interested in more day-to-day updates from me until I figure out where I’ll blog like this more frequently. I’ll try to pop in here more often this month too.

What notable things do you have to report for January? 

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