June Wrap Up: Busted Goals and A New Dog

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This past month was good but full of stress and anxiety.

I did get some reading in, but got off track. I do plan/hope to get back to reading next week at some point.

Writing fiction was a total bust, but that’s ok. It happens. Writing here and my letters was so-so. I started out good but petered off when things got busy. I am looking forward to Camp Nano. Not sure how many of my 30 hour goal I will get in, but I will give it a good shot anyway.

When I said this month was full of stress, I meant good stress. Moving my salon was one of those things. We finished setting up shop and we will open for business come Monday. I am really looking forward to the next chapter in my career.

Hubby and I also welcomed a new addition into our home. We did something we had wanted to do for awhile.

We rescued a greyhound.

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Meet our girl, Foxy.

Her race name was Foxberry so we decided to go with Foxy. She is shy, timid and a lil diva. But we love her to bits. Now we are on the road to getting her to adjust. With lots of love she will start to relax and come around. We see improvement in her every day. This is a huge change for her. Lucky for her she’s got a mom and dad who understand that.

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This was taken the first day or two here. She loves her stuffed bear.

I could ramble on about her but I will save that for another day.

So, while my usual goals went bust (for the most part), I had 2 big things happen that I am over the moon about. My positivity journal has been getting extra notes in it each day.

How was your month?

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Bookish Thoughts: My Childhood Reads

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My dad used to tell me a story from when I was less then a year old. He would tell me that if I was passed a book that was upside down, I would flip it. If it was upside down and backwards, I flipped it and turned it around.

I guess I was a bookworm from day 1.

Books were the number one gift given to me, and if I got money for an occasion, I added to my bookshelf. Since I have been feeling nostalgic of late, I thought I would share a few of my fave books from my childhood!

#1) I’m gonna jump right out of the gate with this classic series:

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The Goosebumps series by R.L Stine were the most read books of my younger days. When the movie came out a few years ago, I was like a giddy ten year old. While it’s hard to pick just one of these as a favorite, One Day at Horrorland, Night of the Living Dummy and Monster Blood top my list.

#2) I am a big fan of many books by Robert Munsch. But The Paper Bag Princess was my favorite.

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Why did I love this? Because she was awesome! Not only did she save the Prince, but when he was ungrateful and didn’t like her as she was, she left him behind to do her own thing. Plus, there was a dragon. What’s not to love?

#3) I had a different reason for loving this one.

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I did love this book, and I even watched the tv show faithfully. And, since my last name was Fudge, I thought it was cool there was a character called Fudge.

#4) I think I may have a very worn out copy of this book somewhere.

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My mom would read this to me almost every night. I would have her either start with this one or end with it, depending on my mood. My best memories growing up is my parents reading to me when I was little.

#5) Oh my heart! I almost forgot about this book (and series) until I hit Google.

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I can’t even right now. I loved this little character and All by Myself  is, I am pretty sure, buried in a plastic container I have kept odds and ends in. This makes me have all the feels ❤

These are just some of the books I read and loved. What about you? What book or books did you love to get in to?

April Wrap-Up

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Back in January, I set some hopes and goals for the new year. While it’s only the end of April, I am really happy with how things are going. This is the first time I have kept up with my goals so far into a new year. Each month I am making progress and/or crossing off items off my to-do list.

Writing: I joined Camp Nano this month. My goals were wide and flexible. As far as the writing part of my goals went, I edited a short story, wrote notes on existing ones and started a new piece. My Camp Nano goal was to log in 35 hours of  time, and I have managed to get in 36! So I am really happy with how things went.

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Reading: Another part of my Camp Nano goal was to catch up on some articles and blogs about writing. I also read a collection of short stories by Sherry D. Ramsey as well as the newest novel in Candace Osmond’s Darktide series. If you want to check out either amazing author, you can buy their stories wherever books are sold. Some of Sherry’s books such as One’s Aspect to the Sun and Candace Osmond’s Darktide Series can be found on Amazon. (Links attached to book titles).

Blogging: I have been posting, sometimes more then I thought lol. This blog has been a great place for me, especially recently. Sometimes you just need a place to get out what you’ve been feeling. I have also been slowly learning new blogging tips. Either way, I am happy and thank YOU for being here.

The Book Pile: I have now read 7 out 15 books for the year. So I am almost half done according to Goodreads, and also ahead of schedule. Considering I barley read the last few years, I am really happy with how I have been doing.

Positive Vibes: Learning how to manage my negative feelings and focus on the good stuff has really come in handy. Even on a blue day or a day I feel like a writing impostor, I don’t dwell on what’s making me feel like crap. I allow myself to feel it, because that’s important. Then I am able to move forward. I still make a note in my journal every day, about something good that happened.

So, how was your month? I hope that May treats you all well!

 

March Wrap Up

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This was a pretty great month! I managed to check off something I wanted to do this year, as well as check off something from the bucket list! And my goals for the year are still coming along nicely! 🙂

Writing: Writing has been slow, but that’s okay. I do have a finished short story that needs some lines edits. This month I came up with a few new ideas, so I have some plot bunnies growing. I also have been gathering ideas/images and putting them on a secret Pinterest board. So while my hands have been idle at the computer, my brain has been going non-stop.

Blogging: Look at me, being all consistent for three months. 😉 I am having so much fun being here, and I love being interactive with YOU in the comments. Also, the author of The Devil’s Heart, Candace Osmond, loved the review I wrote and shared it to her author Facebook page! Sweet! 😀

The Book Pile: I am still on track with my goal. I just started the third compendium in The Walking Dead series. Hubby got it for me at Christmas and I am finally sitting down with it. I will finish it soon and book six of the year will be under my belt.

Positive Vibes: I have added a lot of good things to my positivity journal. I didn’t take it when I went to Toronto, but I made notes and added them when I came home. My way of thinking has changed so much. I still have my bad days, but they don’t last as long as they did before. This journal has helped me with winter blues and my depression. This is one of the best things I have ever done.

Toronto Comic Con: This was on my personal list of big things to do this year. It was my first time there and I had so much fun! I now have ten comic cons under my belt. I hope I can get there next year as well.

Bucket List- The ROM: I have been wanting to go to the Royal Ontario Museum for the last five or six years. I was beyond thrilled when Mr. C was able to score us tickets for my last day in Toronto. Bonus: The Viking exhibit is happening right now, so we went to that first. I will be blogging about my time there soon. 🙂

So, how was your March? Tell me about it in the comments!

Book Review: Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts

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Oh my. *le sigh*

Last night I finished book three in the Nora Roberts ‘The Circle” Trilogy. And I was totally in love with it. As my mother said, it was delicious. (I love my momma, and every time she talks about these books, that is how she describes them).

Book Blurb:

The battleground has been chosen for the final showdown between those selected by the gods and the minions of the vampire Lilith. But there is one vampire who dares stand against her. And his love for the scholarly queen of Geall will complete the circle of six – and change the face of eternity.

Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.

Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.

So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?

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I have been anticipating this book since I started book two.

For starters, the epic battle between Lilith the vampire Queen and her army with the circle of six comes to ahead. I was afraid for our band of ragtag misfits. Even though they prepped, trained and prepared as much as possible, I wondered if they would make it. If they would all come home safe.

My favorite couple, Cian and Moira, FINALLY get together!!! I loved seeing them get their happily ever after. Cian was my favorite character from the beginning and he just got better and better. While all the characters grew and improved throughout the series, Cian was well developed right from the start.

I loved that we seen how Lilith was turned, and what happened to her in the past. The vicious and slightly mad vampire queen was well written. The battle ground itself felt like a character. I didn’t see it coming when Cian had to fight his vampire urges on site, but it added another level of danger.

It took me a couple days longer to read this book, simply because I wanted to savor it. All the lose ends were tied and good won over evil. And a goddess gifted a vampire with the gift of a life of a man with the woman he loved.

I am such a sucker for romance and a good HEA.

So now my problem now is this: what do I read next? 😉

How to Critique a Story When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

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It isn’t always easy to give feedback when an author, friend or otherwise, asks you to be be a beta reader. At least, it isn’t always easy for me.

I’m not used to critiquing. In the beginning, I was crap, no doubt about it. But over the years I have slowly gotten better at it. Between people reading for me and being a beta for others, I have grown better at giving helpful feedback.

Tip 1) It isn’t easy if you feel like you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Just approach it with tact and know that the author needs your help. Writers can’t approve and grow if everyone keeps telling them “oh I loved your story” with no other input.

Tip 2) Read the story first as a reader. Don’t worry about picking out issues unless something catches your eye. Then read the story again, slower this time, and keeping an eye out for issues with characters, plot and even grammar. Not every beta reader will find every problem. Just do what you can.

Tip 3) Don’t focus on the negative. I try to point out one positive thing for every few points of constructive criticism. Writers need to know what they are doing right, along with the hiccups of their story.

Tip 4) Take notes. As you are reading, jot down what you like, the plot issues, etc…Then later on use these notes to organize your thoughts when giving feedback.

Tip 5) Make sure to let the author know if this is a genre you typically read or not. I know when someone is reading one of my vampire stories, if the supernatural isn’t their thing, then my sights are set low for how much they enjoy it. And that is totally ok. I am looking for issues with pacing, if I have a cardboard character, etc…

I hope this helps. I still don’t feel totally comfortable giving someone feedback, but I do my best. And after all, practice makes perfect. 😉

 

February Wrap Up

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Check it out, two months into the year and I am actually keeping up with my goals. Woot woot! 😉 Today is also my momma’s birthday. She is an amazing woman and I love her to bits.

This month was good in a lot of ways. Winter hasn’t been nearly as harsh as usual, thinking more positive is making a big difference in me, and I am checking off goals and adding new ones.

Writing: I finished a short story which is now in the hands of my first round of beta readers. I am getting great feedback. The biggest thing for me is that my editing skills have improved a lot. Aside from some line edits, I don’t need to make any major changes. Now I am figuring out what to work on next: a fantasy novel I started a few years back, or finish a story I started last NaNoWriMo.

Blogging:  I have been keeping up with this little corner of my world. I love popping in here. It helps to organize my thoughts, and I love chatting to those who comment. 🙂

Positive vibes: This month has had some bumps. For instance, I have hit that wall where I just want my husband to be home. It isn’t easy that he has to work away. BUT, the way I view things now has most certainly gotten me through things. I still write at least one good thing a day in a journal, and when I feel my thoughts going down a bad path, I stop myself and can usually get myself back on track. I feel really frickin’ good, peeps! 😀

The Book Pile: I am now on book four of the year! My goal is to read fifteen, which is very attainable. If and when I go beyond that, bonus! Although I did break my reading rule. Instead of reading books only out on my table, I have been switching things up. But hey, i am in the reading groove again, that’s all that matters.

Other projects: I have been doing pretty good with keeping up on my pen pal letters. I have a couple to write, but they are newer. It feels good being more regular in my snail mail. I am hoping to make my own envelopes soon, or at least creating some mail art.

I hope you have had a great month. How are your goals coming along?