January round-up!

The new year means resolutions, cold weather, and the daylight hours slowly getting longer. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for being on-task for my resolutions so far. But first…

Magic Runs Deep is up on Riptide’s site, available for preorder!! It’s coming in April (SO FAR AWAY)!

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.
However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.
I’m really grateful to the artist who made this lovely cover after I gave…less than stellar feedback on what I was looking for.
January has also witnessed me get my first 10k written for 2018, which also matched up with me finishing my current WIP The Miracle Man. This book’s idea started several years ago, as a jotted opening in a notebook that sat unused in my bedside table for several years. Then during a writing slump, I said Well, why not write this, it’s utter bollox, and then everything started flowing. And now it’s done! Er, well, the firs step is. 
I’ve also spent January revising my one manuscript, and I have about 30 pages to go. It’s a contemporary (maybe even a rom-com) with a sexy tattooed biker and his not-as-straitlaced-as-his-parents-think boyfriend. It has playful banter during sex and puns. And a shower scene…
Anyway. I’ve also been reading! (You know…that 1 book a month goal.) I’m on-goal to finish What-the-Dickens by the end of January. It’s not captivating me, but it’s cute. 

New Year, New Resolutions

Last year, my goals were:

I want to keep being better at my fitness ‘program’ and eating habits.
I want to write 10K a month every month.
I’d like to get three things published this year.

I…didn’t do awesome. In fact, I forgot about the first goal completely (or at least I didn’t try harder than I normally do).

I hit 10K roughly ever month. If I add up the months and average them out, it’s about 10,900 words a month.

Three things published? Er. Well…I didn’t think this one through. I submitted three pieces to publishers, and two were accepted. One got feedback, one came out a few weeks ago, and one comes out in April. So I think that counts as a success, even if I didn’t publish three things this year.

And this year?

My goals this year are similar to last year with some additions (and maybe some follow through :D)

1. Write 10K a month. I was originally thinking of upping it to 15K, but after November and December this year, I decided to focus on another resolution:

2. Revise a book a month. Writing is only worthwhile if I actually revise and submit books for publishing. Last year I focused on publishing books, but I think it was too abstract (and much of it out of my control), so this time I want to focus on taking steps to submit books–aka, revise the stuff I write and move it along on the path of publishing!

3. Read at least 12 books. This obviously doesn’t count work stuff, and last year I only squeaked by via manga (specifically What Did You Eat Yesterday?), which isn’t bad but wasn’t what I had in mind. This year I’m picking 12 books from my pile and want to read them:

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, 10 lb Penalty by Dick Francis, The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan, The Innocence of Father Brown by GK Chesterton, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Black Book of Secrets by FE Higgins, and What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire

I figure some might get replaced by manga, some might get replaced by library books or new finds, but these are some titles on my shelves that seem like I should read or at least might be interesting. I tried for a variety so I wouldn’t get bored or burned out.

(If you’re interested in reading along with me when I start a book, let me know, I’m always looking for reading buddies, and I’m not a fast-paced reader…)

First up will be What the Dickens.

Good luck on your New Year’s Resolutions!

End of the Year Book Reading Round-up

I spend all day reading, which is awesome. Unfortunately, it also means I don’t read a lot outside of work, so this list is going to be Riptide titles that I read over this past year that stuck out to me (and I’ll give reasons why). I can’t list ALL the ones I love, but here’s a sampling (12, so one for each month…sorta):

Midlife Crisis by Audra North – This book made me have so many emotions. It was really tough at times, but seeing Cam’s life unfold was really breathtaking and uplifting.

Sons of Devils / Angels of Istanbul by Alex Beecroft – This is a heavy pair of books but if you’re committed, you’ll find yourself taken on a fantastic adventure. It’s vampires as the truly horrific monsters they were originally meant to be–which makes the potential for a horrible ending all the more likely…

Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer – I’m not a huge fan of sports romance, or rather I’d never really read any that grabbed me. This was the first that made me go “Oh” and I was hooked all the way through. It’s a sweet struggle as the boys come to terms with themselves and each other.

Citywide by Santino Hassell – I loved the menage story, and not because of all the hot sex. But Chris’s thinking about relationships and being the third and preferring triads is just amazing and it really pinged something in my head.

Infamous by Jenny Holiday – There’s something about this friends-to-lovers tale that just carried me along. It was just a lovely read that gave me everything I wanted out of it.

Rogue Magic by Kit Brisby – In many ways this is your standard magic-in-the-real-world story, but the character growth and the story that comes to life really pulled me along through the story so I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Wanted, a Gentleman by KJ Charles – This is a playful historical, which was a delight to read. It’s covering some serious, dramatic topics, but it doesn’t bog the reader down.

Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn – A May/December, learning-to-be-an-adult story, this one surprised me with how much I liked it. The characters come alive on the page and that’s what makes this one so great.

In His Majesty’s Service by Jenny Urban and Elizabeth Silver – sci-fi romance with some action and political intrigue, it never takes the politics so seriously that it makes the story drag. A good balance of all the elements, this one had me reading as fast as I could to find out what happened.

Finding Home by Garrett Leigh – I mean, I love most of Garrett’s books, but this one is special with the heart-wrenching tale it tells, but also the hope and inspiration it gives.

Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn – I think this was the second sports book I read that made me interested–not in the sport, but in the story. I loathed who I was meant to loathe and loved who I was meant to love. The support and love in this book was heart-warming, and the sex was steamy.

I hope you check these titles out and find them as enjoyable as I did!

Happy New Year!

Once More Unto the Edits

Please remind me to never do my edits on paper again.

BaW and I have had a long, long relationship. I wrote it *muffled noise* years ago, submitted it, was rejected (but given feedback). And then proceeded to get distracted. Go figure.

Then I started working on it, in spurts and fits. I gave it to beta readers for feedback, added pieces to the end. Read a book about plotting. Considered reworking it completely. Re-read it. Removed and reorganized pieces, but left it mostly as it was. Printed it out and did edits by hand.

I just finished entering in those changes. And I don’t think I can read this story again with anything near clear vision.

So I need a beta reader again. Anyone interested can drop me a line (alexdwhitehall at gmail). It’s possibly the softest, most mellow apocalypse you will ever read.

In other news, I’ve been hitting my word goals (somehow), and my reading goals (go me!), and am looking forward to spring.

In February I read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It’s done in illustrated/comic form and while it was good, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I found the beginning to be too disjointed and often vague. I had trouble following some plots–or else being completely lost as to why this information was being shared. I struggled through that part, and it could be that as a child, we were shown things like a child would share things, but it didn’t work for me. I didn’t connect with the main character and, in fact, I was generally kind of annoyed with her a fair amount of time.

In contrast, as she aged, I found her more likable. While she was a trouble maker and cause stress for her family, everything felt realistic and more alive. Her struggle felt more real and as a person she blossomed into a real being rather than…whatever it was that was on the page before. I liked the change and while I was still annoyed with her at moments, it was in the way that I’m generally annoyed with people doing stupid things. But the circumstances and her life seemed more real.

I don’t regret reading this (it was a gift from a friend), but I doubt I’ll return to it again.

And since I read that super quickly, I read volume 2 of Crimson Spell.

And for March, I’m reading Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. This is a collection of essays, but also also an interesting thing he hasn’t done before where he writes at essay from a kooky perspective. It’s been a while since I’ve read his other stuff, but I think this is my favorite of his books so far (not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy the other stuff). This one just resonates with me more, for some reason.

The essays that are biographical are also entertaining, though they feel more hit or miss to me. But as with any time you’re trying something new, that’s the risk. I haven’t quite finished it yet (four or five stories to go, I believe), but I’d recommend picking this one up.

And that about catches me up, book and editing wise. Writing…well, I was going to continue working on one of my old pieces, and actually wrote 900 words. And then…something happened. The file was…damaged. All the writing I did (and edits earlier in the piece) were gone. I plan that I was saving directly to the flash drive on my Mac using Office Libre. I’m not sure which one is to blame, so they each get one third.

So I lost motivation for that piece and instead decided to start writing one of those post-it note stories that I’ve had hanging around. So now I’m working on trans cowboy story, which I have sort of plotted out and as long as I can get over the next hump, I think will be pretty awesome.

Spring is coming soon!!!

Updates, now with pictures!

January, like every other month, flies by. I’ve been keeping busy with the writing (hit my word count goal!), making submissions, making freebies, and then looking at my spreadsheet and crying quietly 😛

My 5,000 words for January mostly went into finishing the BDSM short and writing a new ending for BAW (just finished that this morning). The short needs to sit, because I feel like it’s, well, too short. I’m sure when I return to it with fresh eyes I’ll find five a few thousand more words to add. For BAW, I need to start at the beginning and do some serious chopping out of unnecessary scenes tightening all the bits into a good story. So that will be my new week-day project.

On the weekends, when I actually can write (because I haven’t found a good way to get my brain to write during the weekdays), I’ll be rewriting a story I wrote a long time ago. I love the story and the setting and the concept, but I have a fight scene that takes four lines at one point. It’s one of those things that just needs to be trashed and re-written, although much of it will remain the same.

And I have my trust ol’ writing mug with me, of course.

You can see it, because it’s imprinted, but it says “fresh-brewed inspiration for the day ahead.” And this technically has hot chocolate in it. Don’t judge.

The book I read in January was Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin, which was amusing and had moments that were laugh-out loud, but didn’t blow me off my feet, either. It was playful and cute and I could see the moments where events in the ‘original’ were turned on their head and mocked, but it also didn’t rely upon having read the source material. Which is good, because I only got about halfway through the first before I returned it to the library.

That said, people who read the books (painfully) might enjoy this more. It was a quick read, too, which mean I was able to fit in another short book (book 1 of The Crimson Spell), which I’ve read before but am trying to read the whole series now that they are actually being translated.

Artwork by DA ID Hinata141

While it’s sort of porny, especially in the beginning, the art is gorgeous (if you like the detailed style), and from what I remember of the story, the plot begins to pick up as the story continues. Also, the one main character turns into a hot demon covered in black markings. Mmm.

The story is focused on a young prince who takes up a cursed sword in order to save his people from invading demons, but now he’s, well, cursed. He travels afar to a wizard who promises to help him break the spell, and thus their journeys together begin! The prince only turns into a demon sometimes (mostly at night?) and the wizard finds ways to…restrain him. And…keep him distracted.

If you know what I mean.

Now to spend the rest of the weekend being productive!

Right?

Links and lalala

I went to West Chester today to visit the tattoo shop. The guy was very nice (though my friend was worried b/c he has a teardrop tattoo–a sign of killing someone in prison?) and gave us estimates and we made appointments for Saturday.

(I didn’t meditate today, but I’ll do it tomorrow. Just too hectic and buzzy today, which one could argue is when I should meditate the most. Maybe I’ll do it before bed.)

On our way into town, my friend played me The Rake by The Decemberists. It’s pretty messed up, but kind of a catchy tune. If you like children you may not want to listen.

Still reading Wishing on a Blue Star, which is good, just not something I can power through, unlike Tigers and Devils, which I read yesterday (when everyone else was watching the Super Bowl). Also still working on You Better Not Cry, which is good, if not sad. Possibly more sad than Wishing on a Blue Star, which is about someone with terminal cancer. I guess You Better Not Cry is more lonely sad, while WBS is just achingly sad.

Need to text my brother to see if he wants to get together for lunch. I don’t think either of us have time.

Not What I Expected

Hello all.

Or just YOU.

You may have noticed I haven’t posted much of anything recently, either here or on my reviewing blog. The reason? My computer decided to start the new year with a bang. Thankfully not literally, but it’s doing its best.

Last Sunday I started getting an error message and some popups when browsing the web, so I did a virus scan (didn’t help) and then a boot up virus scan (which didn’t help and may have caused later problems). I downloaded another virus software and did a scan with that too (just to be sure). They all found plenty of viruses, but none deleted the one causing the problem. In addition, one of them (most likely the boot scan) resulted in me deleting a file that probably caused other problems with my system. Or it may be the virus, there is no way of knowing.

So my desktop is currently about as worthless as a brick at the moment, and my netbook is in repairs with my very (awesome) (bestest) computer friend, since it’s been long suffering of “I don’t feel like working.” Which leaves me on my 10-year old laptop who somehow can still connect to the internet and let me edit my novel (which I have to be done editing by end of February *gulp*).

Much of my free time has been spent rebooting my desktop computer, so the amount of reading I’ve done is minimal, and when I had free time, I was so stressed that I didn’t think it was safe to read something new and be pissed at it. I did read one story, which was wonderful and will get a review up, hopefully by the end of the week.

This was not exactly how I planned on spending the beginning of my year, but there is very little to be done about that.