The State of the Writer: 2/11/18

<–The State of the Writer: 1/28/18          The State of the Writer: 2/25/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2

  1. Valiant Hearts: The Great War – 1/30/18
  2. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss – 2/3/18

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,484
Prior Word Count: 261,308
Word Difference: +176
Status: Revising
Progress: Reviewing Chapter 2

Fanart of Sephiroth holding a swooning AerisI finally finished my revisions of Chapter 2 and now I’m in the reviewing process.  This was a tough week including the weekend in terms of the time and tiredness factor, so I was only able to review Chapter 1.  Here’s hoping next week is more productive.


In Progress

  • Audio Recording – I recorded the second part of the essay in question on Friday as planned, though my voice still failed me after about a half an hour.  Either way it’s done so I need to edit it.  I’m hoping my slower reading sounds better than the prior one.  I’m probably going to try to finish recording the rest of it before doing the full edit.  I have the parts with the video comparisons to record.
  • Favorite Game Every Year I’ve Been Alive – I’m in the 2010’s now.  Hoping to finish figuring out the games this week so I can start the post.

I think this may be my shortest update post of them all.  I really want to get the Game of the Years thing posted.  Why do I do these italicized afterwards?  Is it supposed to be a wrap up/summary?  I have no clue, but I’m going to keep doing them 😉  What have you worked on lately?  How is February treating you?  I’m ordering cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, because I use it as an excuse to eat cake and drink wine…not that I need one.  What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?  What type of wine do you prefer?  I think I might go for some champagne cupcakes and make this champagne mimosa drink I saw on Facebook.  I’m also seeing a rheumatologist that day, which is a good thing.  Okay, I’ve rambled long enough.  Let’s chat in the comments!

<–The State of the Writer: 1/28/18          The State of the Writer: 2/25/18–>

Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: Red as Blood and White as Bone
Author: Theodora Goss
Date Started: August 16, 2017
Date Finished: August 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Story

The cover of Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora GossPages: 30
Publication Date: May 4, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Media: eBook/Kindle


Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss is a dark fantasy about a kitchen girl obsessed with fairy tales, who upon discovering a ragged woman outside the castle during a storm, takes her in–certain she’s a princess in disguise.


The day you find out the fairy tales aren’t true is the most painful revelation of childhood.  It flows along the same continuum of the Santa Claus and Easter Bunny myths, though those can be more readily accepted as children’s stories with their more mythical elements (among other things).  Like my previous reviewRed as Blood and White as Bone is a fairy tale retelling, but unlike Shadows on Snow, Ms. Goss’ retelling seethes with the darkness of reality and broken dreams.  While fairy tales obviously have magic, there are still things that could ostensibly take place in the real world such as dispossessed princes and orphans of unknown royalty.  Who among us can claim to have never wished for such a special status?  To be more than what we’d been told we were?  More than we could ever dream?  This is the paradigm the author shatters vicariously through Klara, the kitchen girl who believes she’s found a lost princess.

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Top 20 Books of 2017

I set my Goodreads challenge to complete 15 books, and I read 73.  There’s something to be said for underestimation.  I low-balled it because last year, I put 20 on my challenge, but only finished 19; however, I discovered that by putting books on my schedule/to-do list, I could complete them like a fiend.  At some points I was reading eight at a time, but I mostly stuck with my favorite number: seven.  That…was too much though, and while I love to read, I also want to have enough time to do other things.  So I cut down to four, which might still sound like a lot, but one is a Kindle that I read on my lunch break; one is a fiction/fantasy; one varies between a classic or a non-fiction/reference (before I was reading one of each); and the last is a graphic novel/manga, which are easy to breeze through.  Compare this to two Kindles, one fiction/fantasy, one classic, one non-fiction/reference, one graphic novel/manga, and one library book. I’m currently borrowing Death Note from the library for my manga, and I’ll borrow fictions/fantasies from there, too.


Total Books Read: 73

  1. Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
  2. In the House of the Wyrm by George R. R. Martin
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Rest in Piece by B. W. Ginsburg
  6. The Missing Orchid by Fia Black
  7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh
  9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  11. Descendants by Rae Else
  12. The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton
  13. Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob
  14. The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh
  15. Radiance by Grace Draven
  16. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K, Vaughn
  17. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Eidolon by Grace Draven
  19. A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins
  20. Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  21. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (edited) by Patrick Thorpe
  22. Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn
  23. Silent Child by Sarah K. Denzil
  24.  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  25. Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K, Vaughn
  26. Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn
  27. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  28. Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn
  29. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  30. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  31. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn
  32. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  33. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  34. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  35. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  36. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1 by Katie Cook
  37. Poetic Edda: The Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous
  38. Never Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover
  39. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  40. Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
  41. Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
  42. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  43. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson
  44. Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
  45. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss
  46. Monstress #1: Awakening
  47. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  50. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  51. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  52. Abstract Clarity by B. W. Ginsburg
  53. Chobits, Vol. 1 by CLAMP
  54. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  55. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  56. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba
  57. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
  58. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
  59. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson
  60. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  61. Blink Once by Cylin Busby
  62. Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba
  63. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
  64. The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
  65. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
  66. Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba
  67. Death Note, Vol 4: Love by Tsugumi Ohba
  68. Gyo by Junji Ito
  69. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  70. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  71. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout
  72. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  73. Death Note, Vol 7: Give-and-Take by Tsugumi Ohba
Total Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 46 (63%)
Total Classic: 3 (4%)
Total Non-Fiction/Reference: 4 (5%)
Total Graphic Novels/Manga: 20 (27%)

I was going to do this whole shebang with “Most Read Author,” “Favorite New Author,” “Favorite Series,” and all this other stuff, but I decided on just doing a Top 20 with that number as an increase from the original 10.  I marked around 14 books as potential Tops and figured I could find six more.

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The cover of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David EaglemanOne of the best parts of reading this book was the perfect timing when I read it: in the midst of watching a Let’s Play of SOMA, which I’ve spoken of at great length (even though the review/essay is still to come).  Incognito explores the intricacies of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious processes and how the latter two form the foundation of the first.  It’s written in such a way that psychological novices can still follow with relatable analogies and examples, but the volume is not without some major issues, which I started noticing around Chapter 4 with Eagleman’s views on beauty/attractiveness that spiraled unfortunately towards racism (yes…really).  He also didn’t fully explore the reasons behind why we have unconscious biases, which never just come out of a vacuum.  While the author has a flair for piquing interest in subjects that could easily come off as tedious, his essentialism and (seemingly) unwillingness to take environmental influences into account raises my brows (and hackles) a bit (e.g. his insistence that having a Y chromosome essentially makes one more violent without considering this propensity could be due to how those perceived as having a Y chromosome are treated from [often before] birth is only one of many).  While I enjoyed the book for what information it imparted, especially for those unfamiliar with psychology, the fore mentioned (and other) issues prompt me to insist it be read with a discerning eye and copious grains of salt.

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

The cover of Dweller by Jeff StrandThis novel was like a more fucked up version of Harry and the Hendersons, if the Hendersons were a once brutally bullied loner and Harry was a man eating abomination.  I really wanted to know where the monster came from.  Was he some government experiment gone wrong?  A throwback from an early time?  A creature from an alien dimension?  Everything about him just breeds more questions, but his relationship with Toby is both poignant and disturbing.  A lot of fucked up things happen in this book.  I was initially unsure about Strand’s writing style, but it grew on me as did Toby’s character.  It made sense why the author wrote it in this way: it perfectly reflected the MC’s mental state.  This is one of those books that has the perfect ending, as in there’s no other way it could’ve ended for these characters that would’ve been as satisfactory.

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The State of the Reader: 8/23/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/16/17          The State of the Reader: 8/30/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Traitor’s Blades by Sebastian de Castell: Kept – This wasn’t a hard sell for me at all given the series is called Greatcoats, and I love greatcoats in general (nothing beats a Badass Longcoat).  It was also an easy sell since it was also really cheap.
  2. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry: Kept – I had no idea The Giver was the first book of a quartet.  This is a definite must-read.
  3. Hunted by Meagan Spooner: Kept – More revamped fairy tales. This time it’s Beauty and the Beast.
  4. Santa Took Them by William Malmborg: Passed – I’m pissed about this pass.  Maybe this was the author’s intention, but I hated all of the characters introduced in the first chapter.  The dad was a douche.  The mom was annoying.  The kids were irritating, but them I gave a pass, because they were just normal kids.  I guess it’s more I hated how they were written, and there was a really bad pussy joke (not as bad as the Game of Thrones one, but still pretty awful).  Anyway, this is about murders that took place on Christmas Eve 2005, and the sole survivor is released from a mental institution ten years later when they start again.
  5. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund: Kept – This is one of those books I added because I loved the title, and it doesn’t seem as if the text is going to disappoint.  Starting off as a series of letters exchanged between a boy and a girl, its foundation seems to be young love, heartbreaking rejecting and re-reconnection through adventure.
  6. In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker: Kept (RWTR) – I would’ve bought this if it wasn’t over my $2.99 insta-limit.  Intertwining the concepts of time travel and immortality with a sense of greed and a lack of bio (or really any) ethics is one clear way to get me interesting in a novel.
  7. A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer: Kept – In my grand tradition of reading subverted stories (like the Flipped Fairy Tales), this novel takes place in a world where male children are rare and therefore coveted.  The main character, the oldest male with around 28 sisters, only has one use: to be sold off to marriage for to the highest bidder.  It’s a painfully common trope for girls, and it doesn’t make it any better when the tables are turned, because Jerin’s world has always been this way.  I wasn’t quite certain about it initially, but it was interesting enough to go on my library shelf.
  8. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: Kept (RWTR) – Holy fantastic opening line.  It’s brutal, raw, and reminds me of ASOIAF.
  9. Bull by David Elliott: Passed – Disappointing to say the least.  I love retold stories, especially fairy tales and myths, but I didn’t like the style of this.

Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: Traitor’s Blade
Series Title: Greatcoats
Author: Sebastian de Castell
Date Added: March 5, 2017
Date Purchased: August 17, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Writer: 8/20/17

<–The State of the Writer: 8/13/17          The State of the Writer: 8/27/17–.

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,548
Prior Word Count: 266,752
Word Difference: -204
Status: Editing
Progress: Reviewing Chapter 11

This is the second “letter” chapter (with Chapter 5 being the first), but as I was doing my preliminaries last night, I ran into an integral question.  Is this chapter necessary?  With writing or more specifically editing, that’s something you always want to ask.  Is this chapter/part necessary to the story?  Is it needed to further your and therefore the characters’ goal(s)?

My idea with the letter chapters was to show the past, present, and future through Aeris’s eyes.  The first letter is all about her horrible past and her struggles to reconcile it with the wonderful present.  There are ideas of worthiness and blame she has to wrestle with along with a sort of survivor’s guilt.  She was saved from that horrendous existence, but she can’t stop thinking about those who are still suffering, and that’s tearing her up inside.  She wonders why she was worthy to be rescued when she could physically “take” the worst kinds of abuse, because she’d just come back, but others would actually die.

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The State of the Reader: 8/16/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/9/17          The State of the Reader: 8/23/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Pendragon Protocol by Philip Purser-Hallard: Kept – Arthurian Knights in the modern day with modern technology doing what they do best.  Certain types of urban fantasy are growing on me.  I like the speculation of how classic fantasy characters and tropes would look with modern technology.  It was also inexpensive, so I now have it on Kindle.
  2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: Kept – I hoping this psychological thriller is more satisfying than the last one I read.
  3. Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold: Passed – It just didn’t grab me.
  4. One by Sarah Crossan: Kept (RWTR) – I had no idea this was written in free verse lending it a lovely poetic air.  I was already interesting in it for it’s subject matter (conjoined twin sisters), though I have a feeling I’m going to be a bawling mess by the end.
  5. Dweller by Jeff Strand: Kept (RWTR) – Gripping from the very first sentence, and the monster (or monsters) from the blurb are clearly sentient.  At only $2.99 I had to buy it.
  6. Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory: Kept – This has been a week of cheap samples.  I keep reading samples for books that are really inexpensive on Amazon.  This is a zombie story with a twist (of course, since zombie stories are old news now).  The Mayhall family finds the body of a pregnant teenager with a seemingly dead baby, but though the child has no pulse, he appears to be “alive.”  They hide the child from the authorities who will kill him (sounds similar to The Last of Us), keeping his existence a secret until circumstances force the boy, whom they name Stony, to run.  This is the second Daryl Gregory book I’ll have read, the first being The Devil’s Alphabet, which had a great deal of potential, but was ultimately disappointing.  I hope Raising Stony Mayhall doesn’t fall into the same trap.
  7. The Children of Húrin by Christopher Tolkien: Kept – This was one of those books that had too much introduction, so I didn’t actually get to read any of it, but it’s the work of J. R. R. Tolkien edited by his son, so I have high hopes.  I was also able to borrow it on Amazon Prime.  Apparently, you can do that with some books with the limit being ten at a time.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: The Pendragon Protocol
Series Title: The Devices Trilogy
Author: Philip Purser-Hallard
Date Added: January 15, 2017
Date Purchased: August 10, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.95
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 9/14/16

<–The State of the Reader: 9/7/16          The State of the Reader: 9/21/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune
Date Added: August 13, 2012
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: September 12, 2016

Mystical Qabalah, TheAfter more than a decade, I finally finished this book (pay no attention to the date added.  I attempted to read this long before Goodreads existed).  I’ll say what I said in my (currently drafted) review.  The reason I read this is due to Final Fantasy VII.  This is probably the first thing I ever read because of that game (I really should make a list of all the volumes I can say this about; both read and TBR).  Since the Qabalah concerns the Tree of Life, which is made up of the Holy Sephiroth, you can probably divine why I made such a choice.  So yes, a video game caused me to take up (more) theology studies.  What’s this about them being worthless wastes of time again?

While I can’t even say that I’m remotely adept in Western Occultism, I do have a wonderful, metaphysical diagram for how I think (at the very least).  I believe with every problem you can’t just look at one issue but how it connects with everything else, which is integral to understanding the Tree of Life.

I should have my review of it up by this evening.  I’m desperately trying not to just talk about how it equates to FFVII, because ASOIAF deserves so blog time, too :p

Suffice it to say that (with only a few caveats) I highly recommend this volume, if you’re looking for a comprehensive study of the Qabalah/Jewish Mysticism.  While it’s not something you can just skim through, Fortune does break it down as simply as something so esoteric, philosophical, and metaphysical can be rendered palatable to those willing to consume.

Now I have to pick another reference book, but I think I already decided on The Poetic Edda (which is another volume I’m reading due in part to FFVII).


Books Currently Reading: 3
Change from Last Week:
-1

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 14%

I finished the first book or “branch” yesterday and started reading the next part “The Children of Llyr.”  I only got through two paragraphs because I had other things to do, but Walton’s writing is so engrossing plus I’ve head the name Llyr before in The Prydain Chronicles.  One of the books is called The Castle of Llyr.  I think Pwyll is mentioned in the Chronicles, as well, but I can’t quite recall where.  Either way, I’m going through this much faster than I thought.  It’s not nearly as stodgy and stuffy as you might expect such a compendium to be.  If the book keeps up the momentum, it’s on its way to a five star rating, and I need to look at some of Walton’s fiction/fantasy works.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Date Added: May 11, 2016
Date Started: August 24, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 54%

This book is so damn good, and it gets more interesting with every reading session.  I’m now at a point where I have an idea what might go down, and I can’t wait to see how the author handles it.  It’s probably going to be heartbreaking and brutal.  I won’t give anything away.  I’m so happy I started reading it before I knew anything about a movie.

Title: Sigil
Author: Aidan J. Reid
Date Added: June 9, 2016
Date Started: August 23, 2016

Medium: Kindle
Progress: 81%

I feel like I’ve slowed down in reading this because I’m not at work (ironically).  There seems to be a ceasura in the action, the deep breath before the storm.  I hope I’m right.  Reid delivered very well before with Spectrum, so history is on his side.

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