1/15/17

January Update!

Wow, the first half of the month has flown by! Partly because it's winter and I want to hide in my bed...

But I have still be doing a fairly good job of writing (nerdy biker, mmm) and I finished my first pair of full mittens!

I also did a final read (after some beta comments) of BAW and submitted it *frets*

I'm taking part in a 1920s NYC Vampire: the Masquerade tabletop game.

I'm doing a beta read for someone.

The last week my brain was very buzzy and unable to focus so I ended up watching all of Season 1 of M*A*S*H.

So I've been pretty busy (or at least unable to focus) but nothing particularly interesting. Unless you want to hear about my vampire shooting ghouls in the head (and chest, and biting them...). That was fun :)


1/1/17

Happy New Year!

Normally I do a review of the past year and if I hit my resolutions and all that, but I really don't care this year. Instead, I'm just going to look at the highlights:

I published two novellas: Second Skin and A Christmas for Oscar.

I participated in Nano and hit the 50K goal!

I wrote a 46K novel before Nano started (er, I sort of finished it on the first two days when I should have been Nanoing).

I knitted a twin-size Spider-Man blanket.

I made various doctor appointments, donated to a bunch of charities, got new glasses, and spent lots of time with friends (and family).

I watched Yuri!! on Ice explode across my Twitter and Tumblr.

I came out a little bit more to my family.

I had my first In-N-Out.

I rode, I laughed, I wrote, I lived.

And for the new year?
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.

And I think that's it for this year.

Let's make 2017 as awesome as it can be.



12/21/16

Solstice 2016

For the solstice, which is the longest night of the year, I like to mention those people that bring light into my life.

My brother (who I feel I mention every year, and it's not just because he reads my blog!). He really is a great support, someone I can talk to, someone I can talk to about writing. We might not always see eye to eye about things, but we're always able to talk about it. Also, he provided me with three amazing niblings (that's niece/nephew+siblings if you're not aware), who are delights. I never want kids, and he's doing an amazing job raising these kids (and taking all the pressure off me :).

All my tabletop RPG groups. That's mainly six people, and even though I should be writing original fiction and not stories for my characters, I really love that we can all get together and be with each other. And be huge nerds with each other.

The horse I rode all summer, Dish, who obviously doesn't read this, and her owner (who also doesn't read this). I'm just grateful for the opportunity to have a horse to ride all summer, while also helping out a friend. Dish is a fantastic beast, and it was nice to be able to ride and not fret too much, but also have a bit of a challenge so I was forced to be engaged in riding rather than my perfect pony who is amazing but not really a challenge (and I might be a bit of a lazy rider on him).

May, who has become my author buddy and is a huge help in giving me feedback (and just being someone who I can talk to about writing and Yuri on Ice...the two most important things in my life right now ;)

My parents are always a light in my life, providing support and love, and when I hear stories from other people and their shitty experiences with parents/family, it makes me eternally grateful that while my parents are human and not perfect, they are good people who have done their best (with my best interests in mind, I think).


And I'm thankful for my two publishers this year, Riptide and Nine Star, who released my two novellas:


That's it for this year (though I undoubtedly forgot someone!). I hope everyone can remember on this short day and dark, long night that there are people in our lives that are there to help guide us from dark times. They may not always shine brightly, but hopefully you will notice them when the dark is deepest and you need them the most.

12/19/16

Release day: A Christmas for Oscar

I'm excited to announce that A Christmas for Oscar is now available for download!

You can find it here:
Nine Star Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
All Romance eBooks
Smashwords

Oscar has never liked the holidays and all the surrounding rigmarole, but that doesn’t stop his best friend from dragging him along for her Black Friday shopping spree. The only perk of the day is that he meets Nathan while he’s there.

With sparkling blue eyes, curly blond hair, and a smile that won’t stop, Nathan is a Christmas elf in the flesh. He even spends his days in a workshop! But Nathan is more than his bright smile, and he may be just the right person for Oscar. Assuming, of course, Oscar doesn’t drive him and his holiday spirit away first.

This story started as a fun little prompt and grew into an exploration of what the holidays mean and how family can affect you even into adulthood. I've been lucky and I've had great family to celebrate the holidays with, but some of my friends haven't been so blessed. Although their experiences weren't Oscar's, this story is dedicated to them, and everyone else who can't enjoy the holidays with family as they're shown on TV and in movies.

Thankfully Oscar finds Nathan, who is everything Oscar isn't. The spark between them is instant and burns hot, but when Christmas comes around, Oscar's attitude threatens to douse the flame between them. Can Nathan save the holidays and rekindle the heat between them? Guess you'll have to read to find out ;)

12/15/16

When Winter Comes a Knockin'

I get a hidin'.

Or so it may seem. It's actually just general malaise from the short, dark days (I think 75% of December has been overcast or raining), cold making it hard to move, and trying to be part of three tabletop RPGs, ride horses, and get ready for the holidays. But I think I've done it.

Point one: I'm ready for the holidays. All my presents are purchased, I'm just waiting for one to come in and only two need to be wrapped yet. Now, I'm only buying for eleven people, so it's not that many.

I also knitted this scarf, since every Christmas my 4-H club goes around Christmas caroling on horseback. There's a chance it's going to be cancelled due to weather this year, but I'm ready! And festive. We always don our gay apparel, and generally go overboard, decking the horses in garland, antlers, and red and green until your eyes bleed.

My plan this year was to be more classy (black wool hunt coat, my scarf, and maybe a festive saddle pad with some red ribbons for the horse). The horse I plan on taking has been through this a lot, so I'm not too concerned, although with all the jingle jangle of bells, it gets loud!

But she knows what she's doing. Of course, I rode her two weeks ago, but haven't ridden her since. Last week the weather was terrible, and the ring a swamp, so I didn't bother bringing her from the fields (it's a ten-minute walk).

This week she had a cough, so wasn't really fit to be ridden hard, but should be okay for an easy ride out caroling.

Here's hoping!

A fair chunk of my time has been lighting a fire under my butt to finishing a big knitting project (it's a baby blanket, but on small needles with a not-thick yarn). It was knit in the round (and around and around), and I want to give it to my friends for their newborn's first Christmas. It's taken a little longer than I expected it to (and I expected it to take a while!) but I'm NEARLY there. Just adding the outward black lines, then filling in the center, and then I'll be done!

And then back to writing ;)




12/4/16

Having Survived NaNoWriMo

We survived NaNoWriMo.

I mean, I hope we did. Hopefully we also hit our word count (or got to where we wanted to be).

I wrote 50,075 words, and aside from a few days where I fell behind, I kept up the pace of 1,667 words a day.

It taught me a few things, or maybe it reminded me of them.

1. I can write that much in a month. It's not easy and I couldn't do 50K every month (without dropping other things in my life) but it's not impossible. So maybe I need to aim a little higher with my word counts (especially during the winter).

2. There's more to writing than making words. Yes, I hit the word counts and finished the story, but is the story good? I'm not a strong judge of my own stories, so I can't say, especially right now, so soon after finishing it. But it does make me want to write a bunch of short pieces (5K-ish) and use them to hone my writing skills (through feedback from my writing group). Then maybe compile them into a book and self-pub them? I dunno, just a thought.

3. I really don't mind writing vampires. I wouldn't do it all the time, but it wasn't a bad experience. I liked being able to fiddle with the myth and add my own twist to things.

4. There is freedom in just writing and not judging. I tried really hard (and think I succeeded) in writing without thinking "Is this any good?" It let me tell the story. Now that it's done, I guess I can go back and fix things. HOWEVER, as noted above, I do want to improve my craft so that the first draft is stronger and requires less line-level edits (phrasing, structure, language use).

5. I still like writing :)

That's all. Hopefully this exercise will mean good things for my future writing!


11/25/16

A Surprise Day Off

After a delightful day spent with my family yesterday, my plans to join my mother on a trip to visit my grandmother were thwarted by a very grumpy stomach. (And since it woke me in the middle of the night for over an hour, that led to a very grumpy Alex as well.) I would have been okay if I was just slee-deprived this morning, but the grumbles continue, and so I have an unexpected free day (with only a small helping of guilt!).

So I'll be spending it writing for Nano (hoping to make a big dent in it), sipping tea, and knitting. ....Like pretty much every other day, I guess :)

I'll also be using it to catch up on some of my anime viewing, so I figured I'd share the shows that I'm watching this season! (I watch all shows on CrunchyRoll.com, which is free (with advertisements and a week delay, or only $6 a month for simulcast.)

Yuri!!! on Ice - You MIGHT have heard of this one. It's taking the internet by storm as a canon gay pairing. It could be easily said to be "cute guys ice skating" but it's about so much more. It's about love, self-confidence, familial and friend support, and overcoming obstacles, whether they are your competitors or yourself. The ice skating sequences are carefully and well-done, it mixes just enough humor with seriousness, and it has the internet on the edge of their seats to see where this is going!

Nanbaka - This is a ridiculous comedy show about a special prison where the most troublesome inmates (like those that constantly escape from other prisons) are sent. It's bright, colorful, and goofy (though it does seem to have a vague plot it's heading for). The character designs are delightfully ridiculous in appearance, behavior, and weird 'powers'. This is a popcorn show, through and through, but never really presents itself as anything different. Familiarity with Japanese humor/anime probably helps, not because there are cultural references, but just to help understand what the joke is that they're making as they reference back to other shows, etc.

Trickster - Mysterious boy who can't be harmed (for mysterious reasons) and just wants to die, and his new friend who won't leave him alone and promises to find a way to kill him. Oh, and they're part of a detective agency. I can't really recommend this one, but I also can't seem to stop watching it....

All Out! - If you like closeups of bulging muscles, firm butts, and (did I mention) bulging muscles, you'll enjoy the visuals here. This show is about a HS Japanes rugby team in a small school and it follows the first years who join this year. The tone of the show is "guys being dudes" (they are rugby players, after all) and it sometimes leaves me wondering why I'm still watching, but I am still watching. The characters can be grating, but they also exhibit character growth that keeps me wondering what's going to happen next week.

Kiss Him, Not Me - All about a chubby fujoshi (term for a woman who loves yaoi/slash/m-m pairings) who suddenly becomes slim (and thus attractive to all the boys), the premise is weak, but the show is spectacular. Having a basic understanding of fujoshi culture helps a lot, but if you've got that, this show is hilarious and sweet at the same time. Now that she's pretty, the boys want her, but she just wants to see them all hook up with each other. Bonus: She also has a female love interest/option who is a fellow fujoshi.

Touken Ranbu - The basis of this show is that famous historical (Japanese) swords have been turned into humans in order to fight this group of monsters that keeps appearing throughout history to try to disrupt historical events (for reasons unknown). But the amount of time spent with the human!swords fighting the monsters is limited. Most of the time it's just a slice of life anime about a variety of cute boys all living. In this compound together and the mischief they get up to (sometimes because they don't understand human things, sometimes just because). The visuals are great here, but if you don't like pointless slice of life, you probably won't enjoy it.

That's it. Hope you maybe found something that caught your eye! I realize anime isn't for everyone, but as this list shows, the variety of options is really extensive. There's something for everyone (and it's definitely not kids' cartoons!).