Friday, December 30, 2011

See You Next Year!

The year is winding down...only today and tomorrow left, and 2011 will be making way for 2012. This is also my 100th post, which is crazy and awesome all at once. I'll be putting together a contest and/or blogfest, to launch Monday. I feel like it's a nice way to kick off the new year, don't you? :D

Rather than do a "best of" post, which, let's face it, is overdone already, I've decided to just do a quick post on how 2011 has changed me. I did a lot of growing this year. I grew creatively, both in writing and in other creative pursuits. I learned I can make a lot of different things, and make them well, if I set my mind to it. See my wedding photos for examples. :P I got back into writing again after a two-year hiatus, thanks to my ever-encouraging husband, and learned that I'm better at it than I thought.

Speaking of my husband, I grew in my relationship. I became a wife, which is a huge blessing but also a huge responsibility. I'm loving every moment of it (except for those ones, you know the ones, where we argue over pointless things and then realize how stupid we were being), and I look forward to growing even more in my marriage.

I grew as a reader. I learned what elements work in books, and what elements flop, and I learned not to waste my time with books that don't make me happy. I learned how to manage my time, so that I could fit reading and writing and being a wife and nanny all into one day. I learned how to fail, and how to file that failure away as a lesson rather than let it hold me back. I learned what it means to be a good blogger, thanks to Rachael Harrie's Platform-Building Campaign, and I've gained a lot of new friends as a result.

2011 has been full of big changes and lots of growth. 2012 will probably have just as much, if not more. Thank you so much to all of you who have read my words, supported me, and encouraged me this year. I look forward to spending 2012 with you! Happy New Year! :D


Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Playlist for Thursday (7)

Thank you all for your words of encouragement yesterday! :) I took Bug and Bean to the zoo this morning, which, considering everyone is on Christmas break and vacationing in Arizona, could have been a lot worse than it was. Luckily, we got there ridiculously early this morning, and the crowds didn't show up until we were leaving. *sigh of relief*

How much have you guys missed our regular Thursday programming? I've been listening to tons of great music, but I haven't had the time to share it. To get back into the swing of things, I'm giving you 4 songs by Stars. I know I usually give you 4 different artists, but these guys are so talented, and I've had their albums on repeat for a while, that I thought I'd share. :)

Dead Hearts

Your Ex-Lover is Dead

Elevator Love Letter

Bitches in Tokyo

Happy listening!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Getting Back into the Groove of Things

I was all set to do Road Trip Wednesday today, like I did every Wednesday for a few months before my wedding, but I looked at today's question and realized I didn't want to answer it. The question for today asks Road Trippers to name their 5 favorite books of 2011, which I could do quite easily. But I'm pretty sure my favorites will be the same as numerous other people's favorites. The top slot goes to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, hands down, but I've already told you why I love it. I also really enjoyed Divergent and Luminous, but you could look up my thoughts on those as well, if you wanted to troll the archives. It just seemed like a pointless question for me, so I'm not submitting an official response to it.

I will tell you that I'm finding it difficult to get back into my pre-wedding routine. Things are so different now, and it's not so much that my life with C is different. We still live together and do a lot of the same things we used to, but...for reasons I can't explain, it feels different. I'm a wife now, and even though we share responsibilities the same way we always have, something about me feels new and strange. I'm far more interested in our home and making it awesome, and I've discovered a new love of DIY and sewing. I spend less time on the computer and more time playing board games with my husband or working on projects. It's hard for me to think about blogging the same way I did a month and a half ago.

I'm sure that once the New Year starts and all the holiday craziness goes away, when our boxes are unpacked and pictures are hung on the walls, things will start to go back to the way they were. But then again, maybe things can never go back to exactly the way they were. Isn't that the way life happens? Things change, and in this case it was a change for the better, so do I really want to go back? Maybe I just need to find a new routine, and incorporate some of my old blogging habits into this new way of being.

I think I'll figure that out as I go. :)

What are you struggling with as this year draws to a close?


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Now That I'm Out of My Food Coma...

BLOGGER! *tackle hug* I haven't been around here in forEVER! How are you guys? I realize that I've totally dropped off the face of the earth for a few weeks, so the number of people who stop by on a regular basis might be considerably smaller. Regardless, I'm back! And probably on a more permanent basis (as long as nothing else major pops up). :)

Anyway, how was your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa celebration? C and I made out like bandits this Christmas, what with all the tools and cookbooks and a bread machine and a sewing machine and electronic goodies Santa delivered. My favorite present by far was the painting C did for me though. It's the second installment in his brilliant Hippo Potter series (which is exactly as it sounds...Harry Potter with hippos. My two favorite things :P). The first painting can be found here, and I'll work on uploading the one from this year. You know...once our printer is set up and I can actually scan things.

We're finally starting to feel settled in. There are just a few more boxes to unpack in the office/library, and our kitchen table needs to be fixed, but after that we're done! Our new home is amazing, and we can't get over how much space we have here. It's incredibly different to go from a 10x10 bedroom in a house to a 1200 square foot apartment, and we're loving it. :) Our dog spends most of her time running from room to room, which is pretty hilarious if I do say so myself.

As far as writing goes, I have a couple of goals for this next year. First, I'm going to have 100 posts by the end of this year! There may have to be a contest of some kind. :) Second, I haven't touched my WIP in months (due to weddings and moves and holidays). I want to get back to it...I'm aching to get back to it, really. But I'm not quite ready yet. There are still some things around the apartment that need to be finished first (I can't really do anything if there's clutter nearby). But I am planning to start writing again on the first of January. Hopefully 2012 is the year I finish my novel (edits and all). :D

What are your goals for this last week of 2011 and beyond?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Have This Problem with Free Time...

...apparently, I don't like it. I can't even think of the last time I had a minute to just do nothing, but it hasn't been for a while now. Some updates? You're dying to know what's going on over here, I'm sure... :P

C and I are moving in 3 (ish) more days, which is the most exciting thing that's happened since our wedding. We were able to actually walk through an apartment last week, and let me tell you, the place we're moving to is AMAZING! I'll be sure to post some photos as we move in and get settled, but be warned that you probably won't get much until the new year.

We've spent the last 5 days in a frenzy of boxes and packing tape. From a Navy brat, a woman who has spent her entire life moving (once a year for the last six, to show you recent frequency), a nomadic spirit who doesn't like to be tied down: packing is the pits. You never realize how much crap you have until you go to pack it all up. I think C and I have thrown out at least one garbage bag's worth of stuff (and by thrown out, I mean donated to friends or neighbors, or left in free boxes on the street for people to claim), and we're still not done packing. Then there's the UNpacking part of it, which will probably involve even more stuff to get rid of (because let's face it, there are some things you're on the fence about until you move, and you realize you really DON'T want to clutter up your new space with every knick-knack you've gotten since you were 5). Ugh. But at the end of all that, we'll have a home, so I suppose it's worth it. :)

Some other noteworthy happenings: I've decided that I've morphed into a crafting queen, and will never purchase things I could make myself again. For instance, I just taught myself how to make marble magnets (which, if you haven't made them before, are super fun). I'm moderately addicted to magnets, but it's difficult to find cute ones in colors I like. Solution? Make them! I made Christmas ones last night (pictures at a later date), and I have the materials to make others, and I can already tell it's going to be something I continue to do. I'm thinking of giving some as Christmas gifts this year. :) I also sewed my first-ever stuffed animal last night (seriously, I don't believe in free time anymore). It's a penguin, in case you were curious.

I'm attending a showing of The Nutcracker next week with my mother-in-law, which is going to be the highlight of my Christmas season. We also have tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 2 weeks (the in-laws, C, and me), which we're all really looking forward to. Next weekend we're headed to Flagstaff for a snow-filled Christmas weekend. I miss snow, and my in-laws try very hard to make Christmas special for me (it is my favorite holiday after all, and not at all because of presents), so this trip is our second annual frolic-in-the-snow-to-satisfy-J's-nostalgic-urges trip. I love it. :)

What have you all been up to?! I feel like we haven't talked in ages...


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

RTW: Running the Publishing Bases

And now, it's Road Trip time! This blog carnival is hosted by the lovely folks over at YA Highway, and if you haven't participated yet, you really should. All you have to do is pop over to their website, answer the prompt on your blog, and leave a link in the comments section of today's post. Easy peasy, right?

Today's question: How far would you go to get published? (The following image was included as reference)

 For me, the bases aren't really in the order of severity I would have chosen. Making minor revisions to sign with an agent is the least severe for me, so I would put that as first base, and be more than willing to run there. In my opinion, unless you self-publish, you're always going to have to make some minor changes in order to make your book more "accessible." It's not that big of a deal, as long as your story and characters remain true to your vision.

Switching to a well-selling genre would still be second base, and here's where it gets tricky. If this means switching to YA because YA is buzzing, then I'm fine with going there. I write YA anyway. But if it means switching to dystopian just because that's what's hot, then unfortunately, that's where I draw the line. I don't believe in following a trend just for the sake of making a buck (which is why jumping on the trend train would be my homerun, and I wouldn't go that far). I write because I love it, not because I want to get rich from it. I'm a nanny to make money. I'm a writer to make myself happy. Based on that, I'm not really sure if I'd even make it to second base. 
Third base, in my opinion, would be major revisions requested by an editor. If there were some scenes that needed to be added or deleted, fine. As long as my book remained true to itself and my vision for it, that's not a big deal. If the editor was suggesting a major plot overhaul or character shift, though, I don't think I could do it. 

Jumping on the trend train is a fate worse than death, so I know I wouldn't make it to a homerun. I guess after all is said and done, I'm not willing to let go of my creative freedom just for the sake of getting rich. Hopefully the publishing world will be kind to me and land me an agent and a publishing house that will respect my artistic vision. One can always hope, right? :)

How far would you go?