November Wrap Up/Winter Plans

I’ve been procrastinating this post all month because I kept wanting to wait until I could get a picture of the whopping three books I read last month, but it hasn’t worked out, so we’re just doing this.

Last month was NaNoWriMo, and the most recent round of Tome Topple happened. I did post about my Tome Toppple plans, but I didn’t expect to actually finish a book (I don’t think I ever have before during Tome Topple). How did I do? Well, I read all three of the books o_O That’s right, I made it through Night Film, The Witches: Salem, 1692, AND The Diviners last month while also participating in NaNoWriMo. What?! I can’t believe it.

In my last update about all of this in November, I hadn’t finished my last book or NaNoWriMo. There was still time to fail. But…I didn’t. I don’t know what happened last month, but I was on fire.

I completed an actual entire first draft of a novel for the first time ever. It’s horrible, it needs so much editing and rewriting, but I actually did it! My final word count was 54,724 words! (The “goal” word count is 50k.)

Not only did I finish an actual first draft of a novel, but I also plan to go back and make it better probably during the spring. I can’t believe I really did it omg. I’m not going to lie, there’s a tiny bit of pride happening because of this.

I was also going to post my Bookish Bingo wrap up, but I totally lost track of what I read for the prompts and I didn’t do great with it anyway because I didn’t get much reading done this autumn.


That brings me to my winter reading plans and such!

First of all, Winter Bookish Bingo, yesss! I’m totally participating. Head over to Pretty Deadly Reviews to see the prompts for this round.

King of Scars comes out in January(!!!) so I’m considering pre-ordering that because I NEED IT! Aaah! Now I can finally read Wonder Woman: Warbringer because I’ll have another Leigh Bardugo book to read soon! You guys, I can not even begin to put into words how freaking excited I am for this book! It’s probably my most-anticipated 2019 release, honestly.

I’ll probably talk more about a few other 2019 releases I’m excited about in a later post (there’s a T5W with that prompt this month, but I’ll probably narrow it down to books released in the first half of the year).

Otherwise, I think I’m just going to try to read as much as I can before the end of the year. I’m definitely not hitting 30k pages read, but right now it doesn’t seem like I’m going to hit 25k, which was my goal once I started climbing out of The Great Reading Slump of 2018 :/ *sigh* 

And, hopefully, I’ll actually follow through with making some changes to this blog soon. I need to write a couple of reviews, and I have some ARCs I need to read and review soon. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I actually get all of that done this month.


I really meant for this to be kind of short, but I rambled a lot more than I expected, oops. I just sat down and really felt like writing a blog post, so…here we are 😛

I hope your winter is off to a lovely start, and (if you celebrate any holidays this time of year) I hope your holidays are filled with joy ❤

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Tome Topple & NaNoWriMo

I probably shouldn’t have decided to participate in Tome Topple during November, but I had to try it. I posted my tentative TBR, expected to read a total of about 12 pages, and feel like a big failure again. That’s how things usually go, but I keep participating because it’s fun and does motivate me to start some of my longer, more intimidating books.

Then something strange happened, a day or two after the readathon started.

I finished my first tome (Night Film). And then I finished my second tome (The Witches: Salem 1692) a couple days later.

This is, I believe, the first time I have participated in Tome Topple and managed to actually finish even one tome.

Now, I’ve started The Diviners, which was supposed to be my back-up book (in case I couldn’t get into either of the tomes I most wanted to read this round). I’m not far into it yet, and I might not finish it by the time this round ends, but at least I’ve started it, I suppose.


NaNoWriMo has also been strange this time. Last year was the first time I “won” (reached 50k words by November 30th), but I didn’t actually finish my story. I still haven’t :/ I’m not entirely sure I want to finish that one, but I digress.

Writing has been a struggle on several days, which I’m used to. I almost gave up, which is also typical of me. But I just broke my previous “wordiest day” record (5,156 words written in one day, which happened last year) by writing 5,515 words yesterday, I’ve written over 42k total words, and I think I’ll actually finish this story and hit 50k words this month.

Maybe that’s not impressive at all (it’s probably not), but I’m pleased because this story was unplanned. For 2016 & 2017, I wrote from an outline. This year, I jumped in with the barest shred of an idea, and the story has changed a lot from my initial vision. It’s going to need a lot of editing, but that’s another strange thing about this round: I actually want to edit this one and make it better.

Last year, I said I would finish my story and edit it, but my heart wasn’t in it because I wasn’t satisfied with it. (I’ll probably end up entirely re-writing that one eventually, if I ever touch it again.) But I’m actually looking forward to making this story better, after I take a month or two to recover from cranking out a rough draft in a month 😛

Quick Check-In

I haven’t been doing Fairy Tales Fridays this month, which kind of bugs me, buuuut… It’s NaNoWriMo. I think I mentioned in one of my last posts that pretty much all of my free time is devoted to writing during November, and I wanted to make a quick update.

FTF will probably resume either November 30th (if I manage to hit 50k words before then, which relieves a little writing pressure), or December 7th.

Yesterday was the halfway point for NaNo, with a word count goal (if you’re doing things traditionally with 50k words as the final goal) of 25k. I managed to get about a day ahead, so I’m currently a little over 27k and hoping to hit 28k before midnight.

I hate writing the middle of longer things. I manage alright with short stories, I think, but novels… Ugh. This is why I’ve given up so many times in the past. I can kind of picture the end, I can even see the climax of the story, and obviously the beginning is finished. But this middle bit, between the point where things start to happen and the climax? It’s not a fun time for me.

Anyway… So, posts aren’t happening much this month, but I’m trying to at least keep up with Top 5 Wednesday. Next month, hopefully, things will be back to normal. I have a few things I meant to have finished before November, but (because October was strangely busy), I didn’t. Those will hopefully go up early next month, including a couple of reviews.

If you’re also participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you luck and motivation 🙂

Autumn Wrap Up

I’ll try to keep this as short as possible, but it might get a little long (and repetitive, sorry :/ ), so I’ll bold anything important, like challenge names and the like.

So, I decided not to do a November wrap up because…well, not much happened in November, except NaNoWriMo. Let’s start there.


For NaNoWriMo… *imagine there’s a drum roll here*

I WON!!!

I still can’t believe it, but I wrote 50,611 words in the month of November, and won NaNoWriMo for the first time!

Screenshot (92)

I got all the badges I could for NaNo this time, and I’m still in shock. Every. Single. Day, I wrote. A few days, it was literally only a sentence or two, but I did it. I wrote every day, I wrote just a bit over 50k words, and I have a huge chunk of a very rough first draft of a novel completed. I’m exhausted still, and feel like I might never write again (I will, and I am), but I’m also just a tiny bit proud, even though I know thousands of people win this every year, and this is probably nothing to actual authors, so what I accomplished isn’t really that big of a deal. But still, it was new for me, and I’m very slightly proud, and pleased with what I accomplished.


Reading? What’s that? Seriously, I only read a little over half of a graphic novel in November :/ (Spoiler: I still haven’t finished it. *sighs forever*) I don’t think I did an October wrap up, either, now that I think of it. October was a better month for reading, for me. Here’s how I did:

october books read

  • Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (4.5/5 stars)
  • Persepolis 2: The Return by Marjane Satrapi (5/5 stars)
  • The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (5/5 stars…I love Oscar ❤ )
  • Peper Girls, vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5 stars)
  • Hellboy, vol. 1: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola and John Byrne (4.5/5 stars)
  • My Invented Country by Isabel Allende (5/5 stars)
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman (4/5 stars)
  • Aberrations by Jeremy C. Shipp, et al (2/5 stars)
  • A Night in Terror Tower by R.L. Stine (4/5 stars)
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (3/5 stars)
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (3/5 stars)
  • Outcast, vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him by Robert Kirkman (3/5 stars)
  • The Duality Paradigm (Blood & Bone trilogy #1) by Lia Cooper (3/5 stars…maybe 3.5/5)
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (4/5 stars)
  • Why I’m Afraid of Bees by R.L. Stine (3/5 stars)
  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (5/5 stars)

Time to wrap-up the challenges I participated in during the autumn months! Here’s my original sign up post for the challenges below.


Fall Bookish Bingo

fall bookish bingo MARKED

What I read for each space

  • Person on cover: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  • Poetry or Verse: Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
  • Co-Authored: Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena & Jess Zimmerman (reviewed here)
  • Horror: Halloween Carnival, Vol. 1 Edited by Brian James Freeman (reviewed here)
  • First in a Series: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Set at a School: Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis (reviewed here)
  • Illustrations: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Magic in the Real World: The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor (reviewed here)
  • Different Culture: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Ensemble Cast: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (reviewed here)
  • Mental Health: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Set in Another Country: A Night in Terror Tower by R.L. Stine
  • Paranormal: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • Black Cover: Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • Translated: My Invented Country by Isabel Allende
  • LGBT: The Duality Paradigm by Lia Cooper
  • Required Reading: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (Is this cheating because it was “required reading” back when I was in school?)

I got 2 bingos, which isn’t amazing, or as good as I’d hoped, but I’m satisfied. I can’t wait for the winter one!


Then there was the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge

This was hosted by My Capricious Life and Estella’s Revenge.

I chose “Peril the First,” which was to read at least 4 books for the challenge. I succeeded! I read:

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill 
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman

I probably could count a couple others, but I’ll leave it at those.


#FrightFall Readathon

The only requirement for this readathon was to read at least one scary book during the month of October. I read more than one, but since I’ve already listed everything I read for October and other challenges, I won’t repeat them here.


Lastly, I did the Halloween Read-A-Thon 

I did all the prompts, whoo! I never posted a wrap up of this one, but meant to. I just got absorbed in other things :/ I read:

  • Costume Party: Aberrations by Jeremy C. Shipp
  • Haunted House: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • Urban Legends: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Witching Hour: I think both Goosebumps books counted for this. I read a lot at night, but I think I decided to read a whole book in a night for this one.
  • Scary Movie: I didn’t get the bonus challenge (reading a book then watching the movie), but I do a month-long horror movie marathon every October (watching at least 1 horror movie every day), so this one was super easy.
  • Trick or Treat: I read A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay for this one. I’d had it on my TBR for ages and finally read it.
  • All Hallow’s Eve: I did read 7 books for this, but I’ve already listed all of them. Basically, everything in the image of my books from Aberrations on, minus (I think) The Duality Paradigm, which is 8 things (one short story).

Normally, I would conclude this with a book haul pic, but…I can’t remember what I bought and my books are all messy right now, and this post has gone on for about three centuries already. Plus, I’m too lazy to check my last haul and then look for everything I’ve bought since then. But I’ll probably make a different post for that once I’ve finished sorting my books out.

If you’ve stuck around since the beginning of this post, please drink some water and stretch. You’ve probably been sitting, looking at this, for way too long :p


Tell me know about your autumn reading in the comments 😀

Did you join any challenges? Was it a good season for books, for you? What was your favorite autumn read?

NaNoWriMo has begun :/

I’m not sure anyone would miss me if I didn’t post at all for the whole month, but I’m going to try to avoid that anyway.

Apologies in advance for whatever randomness is born on this blog this month. Basically, my entire plan and schedule for blogging goes out the window for November, because writing a novel has taken over most of my life :/ 

The first few days of NaNo are always really intense for me. I either can’t seem to get started, or I get a bit ahead of the set word goal. This year, it’s the latter.

Today is day 3, and the goal is to reach 5,000. For day 4, it’s 6,667. Here are my stats on Scrivener (I’ve only written a sentence or two so far today because I write late, usually):

Screenshot (77)

So, I’m kind of ahead, but I won’t be for long unless I can get in quite a bit more writing. So far I’ve been averaging about 2k words each day, which was my original plan, yay. According to the NaNoWriMo prediction thing on my stats page, I might actually reach 50k words a couple days before the end of the month. That would be nice, but I’m not counting on it. One reason I try to get ahead and stay ahead is so, if something comes up, I might still have a chance of finishing. And something almost always comes up that prevents me from writing for at least a day.

But, my biggest hurdle in winning NaNo has always been my inner editor. I can’t shut it off, or at least not entirely. But this year, I’m shoving it in a tiny room with a lock and just going with my rambling writing. My inner editor keeps banging on that locked door, demanding to be let out, but I want those words, and I keep reminding myself that this is the first draft. It’s supposed to be ugly and rough because it’s me telling myself the story first. Every time I think of trying to go back and fix something, I tell myself to remember this draft is not for an audience, it’s for me. I can go back and try to make it presentable later.

Another reason I’m hoping to get–and stay–ahead with my word count is so I can actually have a life outside of writing and the most basic of daily chores and stuff. I want to give myself some breathing room so I can read a bit, or watch some TV, and take a break from the story when I need to.

I’m hoping to get in a ton of writing sometime in the next few days, and then maybe make a NaNo survival/tips post.


In the meantime, on top of NaNo, I’m also trying to keep a kitten alive. Again. 

This is one of the kittens I mentioned a few days ago. His eyes were totally matted shut, he weighs half as much as he should, and the vet doesn’t think he’s going to make it. I think he’s a fighter, though, and he might. I got him to eat a tiny bit of the special canned food the vet gave us, and we’re doing our best to keep him warm, clean, and comfortable. I would really appreciate any healing thoughts, vibes, prayers, whatever you believe in, sent his way, please and thank you. His chances aren’t good, but he does have a chance.


Fellow NaNo participants, you’ve got this! I’m here cheering for you and I believe in you 🙂 Keep going, don’t lose hope, just keep writing. Even if you’re not happy with what you’ve written. Make some notes for things to fix or whatever in months to come, and move on to the next part.

(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 🙂 

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.