Blogtober Babbling: Halloween month is ending :(

What I meant to do today:

  • Finish at least the roughest of outlines for my novel (plopping key scenes on a timeline, basically)
  • Finish this Goosebumps book I’m reading for my 7th book in the Halloween Read-a-thon
  • Take the kid trunk or treating

What I actually did today:

  • Watched Hocus Pocus with the kid (because tradition)
  • Carved a jack-o-lantern with a super cheap steak knife. (I do not recommend.)
  • Watched Doctor Who (because I went as Amy Pond from Day of the Moon…I think is the episode)
  • Bailed on trunk or treating after standing in line for 20 minutes and moving 5 feet (we never even saw where they were doing the candy and other stuff the line was so long) and freezing, in favor of trick or treating at stores
  • Glared at my NaNo outline for an hour, hoping it would be intimidated into writing itself
  • Found three more kittens on our back porch that I think one of our cats lured over somehow. They look like they’re about to starve to death or freeze to death and I’m hoping they come back tomorrow so I can try to help them (they vanished shortly after I took out some food for them)
  • Cursed (a lot) at my outline and Pokemon Go
  • and these, which turned out better than I expected, but not as good as I would have liked :/

I can’t believe Halloween is over 😦 

So, not the most productive final-day-of-Halloween, but it could have been worse.

We think the kittens might be from the same litter Timon & Pumbaa came from because their the right size and their faces look similar (except color for 2 of them). I’m really worried about them because they looked so fragile and cold and hungry. I could actually see one of them shivering, but it ran when I tried to get close to it with the food.

We really, really can’t afford to take on 3 more cats (we already have 4, plus 1 that has been coming around and gradually warming up to us). But, the shelters around here A) are always full, and B) have some of the highest kill-rates on the east cost. And I already checked with the rescues that do fostering and all that, and they’re not accepting cats right now. The one person I know who lives nearby who would probably like having a cat (or more than one) can’t have pets at their place 😦 

Happy Halloween/Samhain/Whatever you’re celebrating (or, if you’re not celebrating anything, Happy Tuesday!)

To my fellow NaNoWriMo participants:


(Final?) NaNoWriMo Prep Update

Well, it’s almost upon us. At of the time of this writing, there are just under 30 hours until NaNoWriMo 2017 begins, and I am not ready. As usual. Ugh.

Everything was fine. I had a mostly clear idea of where my story would start, large chunks of the middle, and a hazy idea of the ending (I was juggling 2-3 different potential endings). But then I started planning and everything went to hell.

Now, my story has changed and I’m not sure if I should try to force it back into the original shape, or just go with this new weirdness. I already know that this novel project will probably never be suitable for consumption by anyone other than myself. When I finish this, it will be the first writing project of this length that I’ve actually made it through, so it’s going to be a “drawer novel.”

I kept saying that I just needed to get those 50k words, any way possible, but now that NaNo is so close, I keep forgetting that. (Stop it, brain!)

So, what am I going to do? Make a genuine effort to write a “good” story by shoving this one back onto the original tracks? Or allow the strange, campy, ridiculous thing it’s becoming room to grow?

I think the latter. I love campy horror movies. I love B horror movies. I love seeing elements from those movies in books. So…I’m writing this hot mess, I guess. *long, dramatic sigh*

This is going to be the hardest NaNoWriMo ever for me, because I’m my worst critic. I’m never satisfied, I have to knock my inner editor unconscious and stuff it in a box to get any NaNo writing done, and I struggle to remind myself that even great writers might start with a really not-great first draft. I know that the best books might not be born great. They go through drafts and edits and minor to major changes, before finally emerging into the world as the wonderful books we love. But it’s hard to associate my favorite authors with writing that isn’t fantastic, you know? (Is any of this making sense? I need more coffee.)

I need those 50k words. I need that Scrivener discount. I need to do this, for me, to prove that I am capable of sticking to the writing of a book and seeing it through, even when it’s hard. Because writing is hard. Sure, some things are easier to write, but it’s not always like that. I have to remember that, and keep going because I’ve exhausted all my excuses. It’s now or never, seize the day (or carpe librum, maybe?), blah blah blah. Ugh.

Ok, I’ve babbled on way too much while I should be either prepping for Halloween or NaNoWriMo, so I’m off to do that.

For those of you are at all interested in following my NaNo progress (or just being friends!), I’ll be tweeting way too much about it, and you can add me on NaNo as a writing buddy if you’re doing it, too 🙂 

Spooky Book Recs & Discussion: A Mixed Bag

So far, I’ve recommended Snack Sized Stories (novellas, short stories, etc.) and some for kids-teens (or anyone else who likes YA, MG, picture books, etc.), and between those two lists, I don’t have a lot of horror/thriller/otherwise spooky books left to recommend.

I have read a couple of things since writing those, though, and there were a few things that either didn’t fit with those lists or I looked over, so this is just a mixed bag of spooky book treats.

These will probably run the gamut from slightly creepy/darker setting (think gothic lit, or things that have a Halloween/autumn “vibe” to them, or are actually set in the autumn) to actual horror/thriller stories.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie– Gotta have some Christie in these recs lists ❤
Bird Box by Josh Malerman– I really liked this one. It actually creeped me out several times.
Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl– I don’t think I finished this YA series, but I liked the first 3(?) books.
Dracula by Bram Stoker– Classic vamp book is classic 😛
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley– Again, classic. Not my fave, but I liked it.
Generation Dead series by Daniel Waters– I really liked most of this YA zombie series.
Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott– This one is hard to describe, but I enjoyed the mild-eeriness it had going on.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill– I wanted to love it more than I did, but it was still good and a bit creepy at times.
Horns by Joe Hill– I really liked this one. (The movie was pretty good, too.) Book + Movie review here
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson– I saw the movie first, but I think I liked the book more.
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio– Kinda thriller? I will recommend this book every chance I get ❤ ❤ (Review of the audiobook here)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë– Gothic lit, so not terrifying, but definitely has a darker mood/vibe thing going on. Fave ❤
Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist– I really liked this, and highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. (The Swedish version of the movie is also good.)
Living With the Dead series by Jesse Petersen– If you like comedy/horror, like the movies Zombieland, Dead Snow, etc., read this series!
Outcast vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman– I think I expected more from this comic series, so I’m on the fence about continuing it. This one was ok, though.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman– Ok, I didn’t love the book :/ It was good, but I like the movie more.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin– The book and movie are both great.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn– I have conflicting feelings about this, but I cautiously recommend it (just look up trigger warnings first if you need them).
Sweep series by Cate Tiernan– One of my favorite YA series with witches. Not super spooky, but I like re-reading it around autumn/winter.
The Funhouse by Dean Koontz (writing as Owen West)– I think this was adapted from a screen play (I can’t remember the movie well enough to be sure, though) and I loved it. Very campy, B Horror-ish.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson– Classic horror is classic. It’s good. Give it a read if you like haunted house stories.
The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine– These YA vamp books aren’t really terrifying, but there are some bits that are tense and they give me “autumn” vibes.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde– Just read it. It’s fantastic and gothic and creepy and funny and brilliant. (I’m in love with Oscar Wilde, ok?)
The Rose Master by Valentina Cano– YA gothic story that I really enjoyed (reviewed here) and can’t wait for the sequel (Of Bells & Thorns) coming out next month. (It’s also kind of a Beauty & the Beast retelling, and I really liked that aspect, too.)
The Shining by Stephen King– I’m not a Stephen King devotee, but I did like this one. I’m still not sure how I feel about his writing, overall :/
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon– I reviewed this one. I really liked it. Nice, spooky vibe throughout the whole thing.
The Witching Pen series by Dianna Hardy– One of my absolute fave indie/self-published authors and series. It’s not terror-inducing, but might be a good pick for people who like reading paranormal/PNR this time of year.
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory– I also reviewed this one and it’s stuck with me. I don’t remember a lot about it, now, but I do remember enjoying it a lot.

See any favorites on this list?

Let me know if you check any of these out!

Book Blogger Hop: October 27th-November 2nd

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

The question this week is: Candy Corn, a chocolate bar, or Popcorn. Which of these snacks are your favorite to eat while reading?

I don’t really snack much while reading, but if I had to pick between those three, probably popcorn
. I do reach for sweet stuff sometimes, and I love candy corn, but popcorn is basically a food group for me 😛 I generally prefer savory snacks over sweet.

Do you snack while reading?

Which one of these would you be most likely to grab?

First Lines Fridays: October 27th

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!


If you’re afraid of bees, I have to warn you–there are a lot of bees in this story. In fact, there are hundreds. 


Interested? Keep scrolling to find out which book this is from.

new arrows


Why I’m Afraid of Bees by R.L. Stine

What it’s about:


Gary Lutz needs a vacation…from himself. Bullies are constantly beating him up. His only friend is his computer. Even his little sister doesn’t like him.
But now Gary’s dream is about to come true. He’s going to exchange bodies with another kid for a whole week.
Gary can’t wait to get a new body. Until something horrible happens. And Gary finds out his new body isn’t exactly human….


Cover links to goodreads

I know I read this when I was a kid, but this one didn’t stick with me like a lot of the others did. I recently got a tin with 5 of the original Goosebumps books (I’ve already re-read A Night in Terror Tower) and I can’t wait to finish re-reading all of them ❤ I’m thinking I might pick this one up this weekend, since I remember it the least.

Also, I post links for some places to buy books, with these FLF posts, but…Goosebumps are tricky sometimes, so I just linked to goodreads. I’ve had ok luck finding them at a used bookstore a couple hours away, so if you’re looking to buy, I’d suggest that because finding some of them in stores, new, is difficult :/

Did you read Goosebumps books when you were a kid?

If you did, do you remember any of your favorites?

Blogtober Babbling: Blah :/

I meant to finish working on a couple of blog posts today, but I haven’t felt up to it. I think I had some bad cashew yogurt (or maybe it really just tastes that weird, which I find hard to believe because I like all the other cashew-milk things I’ve tried), and now I have a migraine, so I haven’t accomplished much today.

Before I started feeling like crap, I did manage to get a few of my scene notes transferred from my notebook to Scrivener, so that’s something, I guess.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel better and will actually finish scheduling posts for the weekend. 

I’m between books and feeling so weird about it because there are so many things I want to read, but I can’t decide what I actually feel up for reading, if that makes sense. I don’t want to get into a series, because I don’t want to get pulled into that kind of commitment around NaNoWriMo. The same thing goes for books over about 500 pages. *sigh* That doesn’t narrow my list down much, though, so I have no clue what I’m going to read next. I haven’t read in 2 or 3 days and it feels wrong :/

NaNoWriMo Prep Update

I was going to do T5W, but…I kinda forgot :/ And I could only think of 4 books (I’m sure by tomorrow I’ll have thought of, like, 10), so… NaNo update it is, because it’s still Blogtober and I’m determined to see this through! (And I actually have updates, wow.)

Yesterday, I finally opened Scrivener. I had downloaded the NaNoWriMo trial version several days ago, but I was still too intimidated to open it because I knew the walk-through/tutorial thing was going to take forever. I was right. It took me about 7 hours to get through it. I wasn’t working my way through it for every minute of that time, but a lot of it. I’d say it would have taken me about 2.5-3 hours if I’d just powered straight through it without short breaks.

So, that’s finally done and now I’m actually using Scrivener, huzzah!

My first impressions are ❤ ❤ ❤ basically. I used to be such a pantser, but over the last couple of years I’ve definitely become more of a planner/plotter, and I can totally see how Scrivener might be the answer to the prayers I didn’t know I was saying while I cursed my notecards, notebooks, legal pads, scribbled notes, pinterest boards, etc. every year in the past.

My enjoyment of Scrivener is my motivation for winning NaNo this year, because I need to win. Not just to prove to myself that I can, but because I really want that 50% off coupon for NaNo winners. (It’s $40 software for PC, $45 for Mac.) I’m working on my mini-goal “rewards” still, but Scrivener is my winning reward.

I’ve started putting together character sheets and location sheets, and I have a few things for reference already imported to Scrivener. I still have a bit more of that to do, though, so I don’t have to keep hunting down pages of things online. My main characters are named, I’m working on side characters, and I need to get a few more descriptions and reference pics for the setting.

Next, I’m going to figure out if I want to plan scene-by-scene or chapter by chapter. I might do both, starting with chapter planning (a general idea of what’s going to happen), then breaking it down and getting a more in-depth outline for scenes. I usually plan just by chapter, but I’m thinking this year I’ll do that and then drop in the scenes I’ve already planned, once I figure out exactly where they belong.

Finally, I’ve figured out that if I do get totally stuck, as I often do during NaNo, I’m not going to worry about it and just write whatever, even if it doesn’t really go with the story. I can leave a note to come back and remove/edit those bits later. I just need to get the bones down, and reach those 50k words. My inner editor is my biggest hindrance for NaNo, so it’s time to squash that like a bug and move on.

I’m aiming for 2k words every day, so I have a little breathing room if something comes up.

One final note: Because I’ll be writing so much next month, my blog will probably be mostly weekly memes, like T5W. I should have a review or two up next month, but most of my focus will be on writing. I’m not going on hiatus or anything from my blog, but I’ll almost certainly be posting less than I’d like.

If you’re doing NaNo and want to be buddies, add me!

I’ll also be tweeting about it.