Today I'm spotlighting the new book from Heather Reid, Pretty Dark Nothing. Check it out! I mean, look at that cover. How could you not?
Seventeen-year-old Quinn hadn’t slept a full night in twenty-three days. She’s terrified of the demons that stalk her dreams, pull her into a deep dark nothingness and whisper hauntingly of her death. Exhausted, Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, and Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. If Quinn can learn to trust her heart, and Aaron can discover the secret locked away in his fragile memory, their combined power could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first. Where to get it: Heather L. Reid is both American and British and has called six different cities in three different countries, home. Her strong sense of wanderlust and craving for a new adventure mean you might find her wandering the moors of her beloved Scotland, exploring haunted castles, or hiking through a magical forest in search of fairies and sprites. When she’s not venturing into the unknown in her real life, she loves getting lost in the worlds of video games or curling up by the fire with good story. For now, this native Texan is back in the Lone Star State, settling down with her Scottish husband and dreaming up new novels to write.Where to find Heather online:
I may be biased, but the book sounds awesome. Definitely one to check out!
I've decided as part of my getting healthy and losing weight (and since I'm now moving closer to places to do this) I will go hiking more often. It also helps that the BF is a hiker, and I know I can con him into going. :)
Last weekend was the first one. We went to First Landing State Park, and did pieces of several trails - there's far more park and more trails than I realized! Its $5 to get a parking pass for the day, and I have no problem paying the park system to keep up places like this. It was a humid day, but nice, and the bugs weren't out of control. That's great, considering most of this is swampy, so bugs were definitely a concern.
The main path is REALLY busy, but the smaller hiking areas were great. Minus one situation involving a bug trying to land IN my mouth, things went well.
We did meet this guy on the path, but he wasn't posionous, and we gave him a minute to slither across and moved on. Glad I was paying attention though! I thought it was a stick until it started moving!
A couple of the things I took photos of really have some great atmosphere. I found myself thinking, "Where could this get used in a story...." on several occaisons. Who knows? They may yet.
There was also a section of trail with huge dog prints from someone who brought along a pet. I made up a ridiculous tale about the swamp monster that lures unsuspecting hikers off the path....
If you're in the Hampton Roads area, definitely check out First Landing. I'd love to go back and do some of the other trails, though I must admit, it may have to wait until fall when the temperatures and humidity go back down and there's less bugs. I'm one of those people who the bugs LOVE to eat, so despite a thorough dousing of bug spray, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
Where have you been lately?
Yup. The second vlog is up. Check it out! And try to ignore the huge expanse of white wall on the left.
Also, that silly pin in the wall..... ARGH! Bear with me - I promise I'll get better! Any comments? Tips? Leave a comment! :)
I’ve made progress, in many things! This is huge right now. Last night I dismantled my bed frame (Now I’m sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Which is very…interesting.) and discovered that my parents’ upcoming housewarming gift of a new mattress/box spring is very timely. Apparently that spot that always poked in the bed is because the mattress has a rip. Makes sense now.
I’m slowly getting things out of the house and into storage, but I also found out I can move in earlier than I thought!
And another good thing? I’m writing again! WHEEE! That’s taken far too long, but I’m finally making some progress on the scifi. I’m also trying something new with this one and using Scrivener to write it. I have to admit, I was dubious when I started. I bought OneNote a couple years ago, but never used it as much as I thought I might. Really, the only reason I purchased Scrivener after trying the trial version, was that I had put some things in and changed important info from what was already in OneNote (not much, admittedly) and I didn’t want to have to transfer it all back again.
And yet, I actually really like Scrivener. I thought I would hate the way you write it in chunks, but I actually find it helps with outlining, and hopefully with a synopsis at the end. (I’m still hoping there’s a way of putting those notes on my little card thingies into a synopsis with a button in the program. Anyone know if that’s true?)
So things are getting better all around. Now, if someone would just control the weather so it would stop raining long enough for me to take a couple trips to the storage unit, I’d be really appreciative…. Lol.
One more thing, I just finished Dead River by Cyn Balog. Good book. Didn’t go anywhere close to where I thought it was headed, but it was pretty good. Check it out if you get a chance!
My friends and I are spending prom weekend at a remote wooded cabin on the Dead. The Dead River.
I thought it was going to be just us.
I was wrong.
Nothing is what it seems in this creepy paranormal thriller by Cyn Balog.
I’ve posted before that I’m in the process of moving. I’m usually a pretty easy going, laid-back person. But right now, I’m a mess. My house is a disaster, I’m covered in bruises from moving boxes (and running into them at night), the cat is terrified I’m going to pack her, and to make things worse, my classroom (I’m a teacher) is also a disaster because we’ve started projects in EVERY. CLASS.
To say I’m stressed would be a colossal understatement. Luckily, I have an awesome boyfriend who helps when I call, listens to me rant about the same things for the umpteenth time, and gives hugs freely. I have managed not to bawl all over his shirt, which I consider an achievement.
If you’re stressed, I have a few tips for you that I am obviously not taking:
- Get enough sleep. Unless, like me, you can’t sleep because your brain knows there’s too much to do, so it keeps you up and wakes you EARLY. But if you can, do it.
- Eat real meals. Not whatever needs used up, or whatever drive through is open. We won’t even discuss some of the strange meals we’ve had in the last few weeks (if you can even call them that), and I’ve eaten out more over that time than I have ALL YEAR.
- Don’t take on more projects. Its okay to say no sometimes. This is advice I NEED to take, and I know it, but I still volunteer for things. All the time. Cause I’m stupid. Don’t be like me. Say no.
- If you have to take a writing break, its ok. Now, some people disagree and say you should make time for it always. But if its going to add to your stress level, its okay. Skip it. Keep your writing notebook handy for inspiration, and get to it when you feel like you want to write.
- Find at least one night a week and spend a little quiet time. For me, this is something I have a hard time with. It can help, but if its as busy as it is now, its not good. I see it as time wasted, and it just stresses me more. So take that one for what its worth.
In the end, I hope that whatever stresses you have in your lives are easily dealt with and overcome. Meanwhile, I’m going to go pack something. Again.
Look! My To Do List of DOOM has a couple things crossed off today!
She's also a fantastic author - here's a brief interview, done just about entirely in GIFS. Too much fun!
Tell us a little about yourself.
A little bit of
Finished with a dash of
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
First I'm all
about it, and then I'm just like
Tell us a little about Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous.
It's about a quirky girl
Who's in love with a totally hot bass player
And their band goes to NYC
Where she meets her estranged family
And a super hot model
Who all happen to be super famous
and suddenly she becomes America's Sweetheart
Only the media is ruining her life
And she's in the middle of a love-triangle
and she'll have to decide if this
is worth going through this
Where did the idea for Lifestyles come from?
How does a girl go from...
Do you listen to music when you write?
especially when the Tron: Legacy soundtrack is on repeat
(Also, I like to listen to the genre of music that matches the scene I'm writing. So EDM when I'm writing a club scene or emo breakup songs when characters are breaking up. Pandora is great for this, but I also am obsessed with Songza.)
What strange rituals do you have, if any, when you sit down to write?
(JK, I don't do anything special.)
Do you set aside time each day to write, or do it when you have a free moment?
I write like once a month. Seriously. It's like everything builds up until I have to
I can do like 40k words in a weekend, but then I'm done until next month.
What is the single best piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard that you’ve never used?
To have free flowing first drafts.
I don't like rough drafts. I edit heavily as I write.
“Quick fire” questions:
1. Chocolate or vanilla?
2. Favorite drink?
3. Favorite animal?
4. Unicorn or dragon?
5. Horror or romance?
6. Favorite book/most influential book or author?
Seriously though-- Sweet Valley High pretty much defined my childhood reading, and the old X-Men comics taught me a ton about creating memorable characters we cared deeply about.Where are some other places we can find you?
Thank you, Tierney, for stopping by. This is an EPIC interview! I hope you will all leave her some love and then go check out her website!
So I decided to take my first (baby) steps into vlogging. For those of you who don't know - its blogging via video. I've got a youtube channel set up, and unless you all tell me I have failed miserably, I'm planning to continue to do these. If there's something you'd like me to talk about, let me know!
Check it out!
Today the amazing Tina Moss has honored me with the Liebster Award! Thanks Tina! (Be sure to stop by her blog and check her out. She’s pretty fabulous!)In the spirit of connecting with others, the Liebster Award allows us to give glimpses into our lives and then pass on the honor to others. Today, I'm sharing with you 11 fun facts about me, answering my nominator's questions, and tagging 11 new bloggers for the award. 11 Fun Facts about me:
1. I love to hike. No one ever believes me, but its true. I do not, however, like ticks, which is why I always dress ridiculously for hiking and wear more bug spray than you’d think humanly possible. 2.
I have a weird soft spot for strangely twisted trees and waterfalls. Of every and any kind. 3.
I love potatoes. In any form. EXCEPT tater tots. They’re a waste of potatoes. I don’t know why they taste different, but they do. And its not a good taste. 4.
Speaking of food, I don’t eat the ends of pickles or French fries. And it’s not the same end. Its different for each one. Luckily, I don’t like French fries that much. And the ones I do love are waffle fries. No ends. Coincidence? I leave it for you to decide. 5.
I think thunderstorms are inspirational, beautiful, and I’m kind of terrified of them. I don’t’ know why, but they make me nervous. 6.
I can wiggle my ears. For real. 7.
I used to hang upside down on the couch when feeling goofy. Since college, this doesn't have the same relaxing effect. Apparently, I’m getting old. 8.
I can sing the entirety of “ I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.” My friends sometimes call out of the blue to see if I can still do it. I can. 9.
I’m 30 years old and I STILL can’t sleep with the closet door cracked, even a little. When I was younger, Dracula lived in my (very pink) shower. Apparently he travels by closet with his friends. 10.
I think that mashed potatoes and gravy, pickles, grilled cheese and ice tea is a complete breakfast (or lunch, or dinner). As a kid, I always got this when we went to Bob Evans on car trips. I’m not a breakfast fan, except for bacon. Mmmmmm, Bacon. 11.
I am a four leaf clover aficionado My record is 144 found in less than 2 hours. In middle school. During a field trip when the bus was late. Friends witnessed this, so I’m totally not making it up.Eleven questions: 1. Who is the author you admire most?
This is hard. I’m a die-hard Shakespeare fan though, so we’ll go with him. He made up words, changed the English language, and influenced people for hundreds of years (and continues to do so). How much cooler can you get? 2. Why do you write (in five words or less)?
Because I love it.
3. What is your favorite genre to read?
YA, with a few Christian romances and fantasy novels or travel essays thrown in. 4. Who is your biggest inspiration?
I don’t know that I can narrow it down to one. Austen, Shakespeare, Jane Eyre, friends, other writers, family…. 5. What advice would you give to new writers?
Get a crit partner you trust, who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth. And keep writing. Finish something. Anything. But keep writing. 6. What is your favorite hobby?
Movies and hiking. Also love doing crafty things. 7. Are you a cat or dog person?
Both. I’ve had dogs, but I currently have a cat. Or she owns me. Some days, I’m not sure which it is really. 8. Where is your ideal vacation spot?
Oooo, hard one! I would love to visit Scotland/England and I loved London, but I also loved cruising the Caribbean. Depends on what kind
of vacation. So either? 9. What is a place you want to visit, but haven't yet?
SCOTLAND 10.What is the meaning of life in one word (or number) *wink*?
11. If you're on a desert island, what are three things you must have?
Computer w/Internet. Food. The BF. (I suppose that’s really four, but the computer always has internet, right?)
I hope you enjoyed this, and I’d be happy to elaborate if you’re dying of curiosity about something. In the meantime, here are my nominations: Rebekah Purdy Traci Kenworth Kit Forbes Brenda Corey Dunne F.J. R. Titchnell Kimberly Sabatini Jennifer Million The New Questions:
1. What is your favorite vacation you've ever taken?
2. What is your biggest pet peeve?
3. What is the scariest movie you've ever seen?
4. Name one food you cannot live without.
5. Pirates or Ninjas?
6. What is your favorite childhood movie?
7. Do you have any pets?
8. What is the best piece of advice you've never taken?
9. Road trips: good or bad?
10. If you had to spend the night in the woods and could only have one thing to entertain you, what would it be?
11. Do you have any writing rituals? The Liebster Rules:
1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself / herself.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
5. Create 11 new questions for your nominees.
6. Go back to their pages and tell them they've been nominated.
7. No tag backs. If you'd like to participate, feel free to snag the questions and begin your own round of the Liebster Awards!
Everyone, say hello to Jen McConnel who has graciously dropped by the blog and allowed me to harrass...ahem...interview her today.
Tell us a little about yourself. Hmm, where to start? Well, when I was a kid, I collected books. Seriously; my goal was to find all of the hardcover Nancy Drews in the oldest editions possible. I also love to travel, and I’m lucky to be married to a man who enjoys new places as much as I do! I’m a lifelong readaholic, and if you ask me my favorite book, I’ll be stumped. Even though I grew up in Michigan, I love living in North Carolina, and I’ve started to develop a southern accent (y’all is my favorite new word)!When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? I remember writing a “poetry book” when I was in first grade, so at least since then. I got distracted for awhile in high school, but in college I found my way back to storytelling. It keeps me sane!Are you a plotter or a pantser? Total pantser. I’m trying to train myself to plot, but I only tend to plot and plan AFTER the first draft. Then I have outlines and charts like crazy, but for the first draft, I like to just play and see where the story wants to go.Tell us a little about DAUGHTER OF CHAOS. Darlena Agara has grown up with magic all her life, but when the goddess Hecate shows up in her living room, Darlena makes a choice that will change her life; she decides to follow Red Magic. At the time, Darlena didn’t really know what she was saying, but it soon becomes clear that Red Magic is dangerous...and now Darlena is, too. Daughter of Chaos will be out in 2014 from Month9Books.Where did the idea for this one come from? I actually started this book while I was still teaching middle school. I used to have creative writing days in class where I would find story starters online and my students could pick whichever ones they wanted to play with, and I began this book with the story starter “She was a funny looking woman, but...” The book really wanted to be told, and the story just started to come. I took a lot of my inspiration from my love of myth and magic, and it was fun incorporating mythical figures into the book as characters.Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind? Any specific songs for DAUGHTER OF CHAOS? I don’t generally listen to music when I write, but I kept wanting to play “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” while I was writing this one. I would actually use that song to get fired up if I felt like my writing was dragging.Do you edit as you go, or wait until the first draft is done? I wait until the first draft is done. I’m a firm believer in Anne Lamott’s “Sh*tty First Drafts” and the NaNoWriMo writing style. It works for me, but it does mean I spend a lot of time revising.What strange rituals do you have, if any, when you sit down to write? Lately, I’ve had to start making sure the kitchen is clean, which is strange, since I don’t really cook. But I tend to run the dishwasher and tidy up before I sit down to write. Maybe the clean space helps me clear my mind!Do you set aside time each day to write, or do it when you have a free moment? Because my schedule isn’t consistent (I teach part-time at the community college, so I’m on some days and home others), I tend to write when I can. I write best in the late morning/early afternoon.Do you “cast” your characters at all? Does it affect how you write them? You know, I never really do. I picture the characters, but I don’t usually picture actual people or performers.What is the single best piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard that you’ve never used? Let people (betas and CPs) read the book chapter by chapter as you write it. I know people who have been able to incorporate feedback and produce really wonderful tales by doing this, but I learned early on that I have to feel like a story is “finished” before I let ANYONE read it.“Quick fire” questions:1. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate...always! 2. Favorite drink? Soy chai latte 3. Favorite animal? Cat 4. Unicorn or dragon? I can’t have both? Fine. Unicorn. 5. Horror or romance? Romance (but only sometimes) 6. Favorite book/most influential book or author? Hard question! Most influential author would probably be Anne Lamott...she changed the way I approached my writing. Where are some other places we can find you?
Be sure to check out Jen online and leave her some love! Thanks for stopping by!!!!
I know that sometimes spring is late. I know that snow comes at times when you don't expect it. But this is ridiculous. Saturday I spent a lovely day visiting the Rosewell ruins in Gloucester, VA, and then went on a three (ish) mile hike at Beaverdam Park with the SO.
I didn't wear a coat. I actually almost broke a sweat. It was great! Look at the pictures - don't they look warm?
Rosewell was pretty awesome. Doubly so because when we drove up neither of us remembered to check to see when they offically opened. So we got there on a "clean-up day" and they were lovely enough to let us look around the museum and then drive out to the ruins even though they aren't officially open for another month or so.
The ruins are quite atmospheric, though not a long trip, and we saw some nuthatches, woodpeckers, lovely spring flowers like vinca and violets. If it hadn't been so soggy, I'd have brought the picnic basket. (Someday, I'm going to use it. And you can bet there will be pictures. Its an intense picnic basket)
Then we went to Beaverdam Park. I hadn't been there before, and it was much better than I expected. I didn't take many pictures (camera battery was dead, so I had to use the phone.) And there wasn't much foliage out yet, but there were hundreds of ducks on the lake. They were quite entertaining. I thought they were logs at first. Then I realized that they were squeaking. Apparently they're called Coots. So I told my mother we went hiking while a bunch of coots were making strange noises and fishing.
Its a bad picture, but those are all ducks! This was a small bunch of them.
Then, yesterday evening what was rain became this:
In another hour, we had 3 inches of snow!
While I am the first one to say I like colder weather better, I must admit, I'm done now. We didn't even get out of school the next day. So please, can it be spring now?