Category Archives: Jack Attack

April Wrap-Up

So… April is over. How did that happen? It seems like I was just setting my goals for this month, and WHOOSH. Gone. Time to set some for May.

Crazy.

I know things have been quiet here while I’ve been focusing on my actual writing work, but here’s a quick recap.

LIFE

Drank a lot of coffee. Drank even more tea. Had a CT scan on my head. Bought myself flowers (not related to any of the previous, but it happened).

My province’s budget came out, and includes massive library closures, larger class sizes in schools, and an additional 10% tax on books (when we’re already the Canadian province with the lowest literacy rate, SWEET DEAL). I get that we need money, but the short-sightedness of all of this blew my mind, and there may have been some ranting on Twitter. *cough*

April is still winter here, even though everyone always forgets that and expects it to be spring. Nine degrees one day, snow the next. At least it’s pretty.

I started Couch to 5K training this month, and just finished week three this morning. What I’m doing now wouldn’t seem like a challenge to most runners, but it is for me. I like the feeling of pushing myself through the hard parts and getting the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that. Of course, I’ve thought of a bunch of ways this is like becoming a writer, but that’s a whole other post.

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Me and my running buddy after week 3, day 1. The snow caught up with us. 🙂

 

READING

According to Goodreads, I read/finished four books in April. The first was You Are A Badass, which was a quick, easy introduction to a lot of self-improvement stuff like overcoming hang-ups (big thing for me, still working on that whole fear of success deal), setting goals, affirmations, visualizations, etc. The casual tone was nice, save for the use of “rill” instead of “really,” which made me want to set the book down and back away slowly. I also read Nail Your Story by Monica Leonelle (interesting take on story structure with ideas and worksheets I’ll be using in the future), The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle (fun story a friend sent me ages ago and I finally had time to read), and The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (lovely adventure/fantasy-with-no-magic romance. Slow to start, amazing twists and excitement by the end. Recommended to anyone who likes my stuff). Oh. I also read Hard as Ice by Victoria Barbour (another Newfoundland author). I liked Against Her Rules a little better, but it was a fun romance read with the same NL vibe as that one. I need to add that to GR…

Next up: Beloved by Toni Morrison. I’m not sure I’m ready for this one, but I’m trying to alternate in-my-genres books and not-my-genres books, and this is next up for lit fic. Wish me and my tear ducts luck.

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Isn’t this cover adorable?

WRITING

April was an interesting month for my work. Into Elurien, my 50K* contribution to a series of stand-alone novellas by bestselling indie Fantasy Romance authors, is going fabulously. It came back from edits needing a little work, but that went quickly, and it’s now out with beta readers. It’s getting amazing feedback from readers so far. One who loved the Bound Trilogy said she thinks she might like this story even better. I’m completely in love with the characters in this one, and will be sad to let them go. I didn’t even know them back in January, and now we’re almost finished… crazy. But it’s very ready to go, and I can’t wait to see it out in the world.

My other project, The Phoenix Game (working title), is proving a bit more challenging. I didn’t do enough ground-work before I started drafting, because I was trying to take advantage of the weeks I had while IE was out with alpha readers and with my editor. I didn’t get to know the characters well enough, didn’t explore the themes and ideas I’m working with in enough depth, and while my vision for the story is massive and beautiful, the mechanics weren’t quite in place yet. Add to that the challenge of writing in third person when I prefer first (for reading and writing), and what I’ve got so far is 30K words of a book with potential, but that doesn’t have the momentum and keen edge that I want.

So I’m taking a break and reading a bit more on story structure before I continue. Yes, it’s just a first draft, but when I know I’ve made a wrong turn I like to study the map and fix it instead of driving off cliffs, you know?

By the time IE is finished and up for pre-order (May 15), I should be ready to focus entirely on this one. It’s the most challenging book I’ve ever written. A YA story with a potentially complicated structure involving the past and the future (as well as gods and mortals), a deep backstory, themes that I’m still conflicted about myself, and a big cast of characters who are all likely to demand more page time than I can realistically give them when my goal is to keep it around 100K words after edits.

And that’s exciting. It’s wonderful. And it’s a little intimidating when the kids’ summer vacation is just around the corner and I have edits booked for January.

But I think writing is like a game. You level up with each finished project, and while I couldn’t have done this one justice a few years ago, I’m ready  for this challenge now.

Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.05.19

So that’s my April. I’m going to go plan for May now. That will include lots of fun stuff for my readers. Not just pre-orders, but teasers, chapter reveals, a character reveal or two, and (if I can find time), maybe some videos for me to post here and on YouTube as I continue to step outside of my comfort zone and do new things.

Anything is possible.

What were your highlights this month?

*I know, 50K is technically a novel, but series guidelines permit it. Consider it extra value, as it’ll be the same price it would have been at 30K words. 😉

 

 


Anyone Else Feeling Really Monday Today?




J is for Jack

I can’t claim to have the best dog in the world, but that’s only because that would be a bit like saying you have the best kids– sure, everyone thinks it, but you don’t go around saying it.

But seriously. My dog? He’s awesome.

Outstanding in his field. Or my in-laws' lawn, whatever.

Outstanding in his field. Or my in-laws’ lawn, whatever.

I can’t take credit for it. My husband did most of Jack’s training, but I don’t think he can even take credit for most of it. Sure, me walking him for an hour almost every day probably helps with his good behaviour, especially since Jack is a high-energy breed. We play with him, we shower him with affection, we let him join in on conversations (dude sounds like a wookiee, how could we not?)

But really, I think we just got lucky.

I mean, he basically trained himself not to poop while we’re out on walks (I can’t deal with dog poop, so this is a very good thing for me. And for our neighbours’ lawns). He’s always been gentle with the kids, changing the way he plays with people depending on how big or young they are. He loves our cats. He doesn’t wander off. He behaves himself at other people’s houses. He sings along with outdoor church services when he hears them, which is hilarious.

He chills with me when I’m working.

Jack is by no means a perfect dog…

IMG_2515

…but he’s a pretty darned good one. 🙂

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More good stuff this way in the A-Z blogging challenge!


Happy Boxer… I mean, Boxing Day

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Jack Attack: SPEAK!

I scheduled this post in advance… hopefully I’m writing right now or doing something else productive instead of farting around with computer games or facebook. Honestly, it could go either way.

I couldn’t leave you without something today, though. This was a while back, at our old house, when Ike and Jack were both a little younger.  Yes, my dog sounds like a Wookiee, and he has very chewy lips.

Happy Monday. 🙂


Smile, It’s Monday!

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Happy Birthday, Jack!

Three years ago, we didn’t know that our life as a family was going to change. We had no idea that four months later my husband would find and fall in love with a big, white puppy with sad eyes and that weird knob on his skull that goes away when dogs grow up. Seriously, so sad.

(I think he's much better looking now!)

(I think he’s much better looking now!)

Was I keen on getting a puppy? Honestly, only because it made my husband so happy. I wasn’t looking forward to the poop in the yard (or in the house), the dog smell on the furniture, or any of the other less-pleasant aspects of having a dog.  Not that we didn’t bond quickly…

puppy jack and me

It’s just that I’m more of a cat person.

Three years later, I can’t imagine a more perfect dog for our family. He’s a Boxer, so he still acts like a big, goofy puppy a lot of the time. But he’s sweet and affectionate (to the point where I just roll my eyes when he cuddles his “dad” and pets his face with those huge paws), he’s gentle with the kids

Jack and Ike 2

loves the cats (especially Lucy, who adores him)

Jack and Lu 2Jack and Lu

and behaves himself beautifully on our walks. He runs like a cross between a greyhound and Phoebe Buffay (usually on the more graceful end of that spectrum)

Jack running

chases sticks like a boss, stalks like a lion

Jack Stalking

and lets food bounce off of his head when you throw him a treat. No simile for that one, he’s just a bit of a doofus.

And then there’s this face…

Poster child for Depression

Poster child for Depression

That’s about it, unless you want to hear the horror story of his neutering. No? Excellent choice.

Here’s hoping for many more years of joyful life and good health.

Happy Birthday, Jack!


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