Just Finished Reading – Seven Realms series

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima consists of three books (so far): The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, and The Gray Wolf Throne. Instead of the usual urban or dystopic fantasy that is prevalent in the teen market right now, these books are a sword and sorcery epic fantasy that could be enjoyed by a girl or a boy. The books are split between two strong characters: Han Alister, a former thief and Princess Raisa ‘anaMarianna, who longs for an escape from the strictures of her royal station. The story draws the two of them together with the problem of preserving the Gray Wolf throne and the bloodline to which Raisa is heir.

I recommend these highly. Enjoy!

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I’m Still Here

I know it’s been a little while since I blogged. Chalk it up to recovering from the holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚

There are a few small things that have made me happy over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d share.

One.

This recipe from Crepes of Wrath. These S’more Cookie Bars are sooooo (I can’t put enough o’s here!) good. They are super easy and really rich and I see myself making them often. Or at least as often as my blood sugar can take it.

My picture isn't nearly as pretty as the one on the other blog, but I'm going to work on that!

Two.

I read a lot of blogs and I’m discovering new ones everyday that I love. On the suggestion from a post on one of those blogs (This one!) I checked out the site. Bloglovin.com. I’ve only been using it a couple of days and already I love it. All the blogs I follow are in one place. It updates new posts without having to go to every single site. I’ve been wanting to manage my time better, especially online, so this is perfect.

Three.

On a personal note, I have about 15 scenes fleshed out on my novel. My goal is to have the novel ready by DragonCon, since a couple of agents I would love to sign with are going to be there and if they tell me they’re interested I want to be able to send them something complete right away. I am super happy with the direction this rewrite is going. I feel like I finally have gotten a handle on my novel again. I finally have returned it to something that is mine.

My Manifesto

I was inspired by this post on Craft. I’m going to print out a copy and hang it near my desk so I see it everyday.

NaNoWriMo 2011: Epic Fail

So, with a little over 7600 words, I can officially say that NaNoWriMo this year was an epic fail. I think I can also say that it was meant to be an epic fail. I wanted to throw away what I’d done before, for reasons that may be valid, but nonetheless were also foolish. I wanted to go in a direction that I wasn’t meant to go instead of doing the work that I knew I should be doing, which is why less than a week into the month I totally blew off NaNo.

What I have been doing is reworking my epic fantasy and I have an overview outline of Novel #1. I have a sketch outline of Novel #2 and #3. Currently, Novel #1 is being fleshed out as a detailed outline after which I intend to start writing. A catalyst for this no doubt is finding out that an agent I’m interested in will be at DragonCon in 2012. I have character sketches and setting sketches, lots more plot threads than I ever thought possible (I don’t know why I’m surprised, it’s an epic fantasy after all!). Right now, I’m in the middle of doing a summary outline, which is basically a scene by scene (if I have them) essay style outline. Once I have the detailed outline finished I’m going to do the same process with Books 2 and 3 before I even begin writing. I have some goals for this year and I hope I can get them accomplished, but that’s another post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just Finished Reading – Series Reread

I have this habit, before a new book in a series comes out, I reread the entire series first. I find it helpful because it reminds me of what happened and I’m more prepared for some minor plot point that might play out in a larger way in the new book. I also like that it gives me a reason (as if I really need one) to reread a favorite series. These books have been out awhile so I’m not watching for spoilers, so if you haven’t read them yet, be warned.

On Nov. 1st, Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire was released. It is the fourth book in the Wicked series, so I am rereading the first three before I buy the new one.

First in the series is Wicked: The Like and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. This book is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This book begins with the Witch’s parents awaiting her birth. She is born green and with a set of nasty little teeth. Her parents name her Elphaba (which is a play off the name of the author of the original Oz books). The story has the barest resemblance to the original with handfuls of familiar names and ideas. It can be hard to read, with prose so florid that it seems almost another character in the story.

Second in the series is Son of a Witch. This book follows Liir and tells the story of when he left Kiamo Ko with Dorothy after the Witch is killed. He becomes a soldier, is horribly injured, meets a girl, and uncovers a plot hatched by the new Apostle Emperor, Shell Thropp (who just happens to be the younger brother of Elphaba). This book can be a little convoluted and moves kind of sideways. It’s much easier to understand on a second read, but Liir is an interesting character and only at the end is there any real evidence either way that he is Elphaba’s son.

Third is A Lion Among Menย  and, you guessed it, it is the tale of the Cowardly Lion, who only makes a fleeting but significant appearance in the first book. The story is in the present, but has a lot of backstory. I think it’s fair to say that the majority of the book is the backstory of the Lion, whose name is Brrr. Now knowing that there is a fourth book, upon rereading I think this book was just set up for Out of Oz. It is interesting and there are a couple of interesting twists that make it worth the read.

So, now I have to go buy the fourth book. Maybe I’ll go get it, stay home and read it this weekend while all the insane are out battling crowds of crazy people. ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

Crafting – For the Holidays (Partial Stash Bust)

I got a new magazine and it had a lot of good craft ideas. One of those is a wreath. I decided to make one for fall and then one for Christmas. I made the fall one first. It was good for getting rid of some of my craft stash, since the wrapping on the wreath got rid of an entire skein of yarn. With the exception of the orange and yellow, the other felt all came from stuff I already had. The wreath is 14″ and the flowers used less than a yard of felt total.

Close Up

Crafting – Yarn Stash Bust

So, like a lot of crafters I have way way way too many crafting supplies. One of my biggest problems seems to be yarn. I just can’t resist it. The colors. The funky textures. The way it feels. I have a lot of yarn that when I bought it I’m sure I had a plan for it, but none of those plans ever seem to pan out. In an effort to get it under control – and so I don’t feel too guilty when I buy more for projects that I want to do – I’m going to do some Stash Busting projects.

The first is a rug for the kitchen. I’ve been wanting one for in front of the sink and I’m probably also going to crochet one for in front of the stove too. The yarn is 100% cotton, so it’s washable, which is important for a kitchen. The pattern came out ofย  the July/August 2011 issue of Crochet Today. If you do any crocheting, I recommend getting this magazine. It has great, modern patterns.

Yarns Used

  • Lily Sugar and Cream
  • Lion Brand 100% Cotton

    In Front of the Sink

Close Up

 

It took me about two weeks off and on to finish this. Hope you like it.