Friday, September 4, 2020

August 2020 Doings!

 Hello, everyone! First things first: today is the last day of nominations for the Silmaril Awards! If you haven't yet nominated and seconded all your favorite characters, make sure you go do that ASAP! And now, since that's been said: let's get on with the Doings!


  • As you probably noticed if you were anywhere near my blog or my social media last week: I published a book! Which is very exciting! The Midnight Show, a Jazz-Age-inspired retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, is now available in Kindle format on Amazon. It's also in Kindle Unlimited, so yeah. You should check it out. We're still working on the paperback, but as I said on Wednesday, I'm doing my best to get it out as soon as possible.
  • Unsurprisingly, I spent a very solid chunk of the month doing final proofs and edits on The Midnight Show, formatting files, and prepping blog posts for the tour. In related news: I now know how to format ebooks in InDesign. Whoooo! (This doesn't sound like a big deal, probably. Trust me when I say that it feels like a big deal to me.)
  • I've also been working on my D&D campaign, though that's slowed down a bit because I can only do limited planning until I know what my players decide at an upcoming juncture. In the meantime, I've started writing a second campaign. This one is loosely inspired by one of my favorite video games and is a lot more dungeon-crawl-y than Defenders of Serys, but I think it'll be fun. And I mentioned it to some of my players before our last D&D session, and they seemed enthusiastic about the idea.


  • This was another pretty solid reading month. About half of what I read this month, was, unsurprisingly, a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling or other fairy tale retelling. I read all the Tattered Slippers books, of course, and enjoyed all of them. (If you want my thoughts on them, just scroll back to last week.) And because I was on a fairy tale kick, I reread the Princess of the Midnight Ball trilogy, which was actually just as good as I remembered it being.
  • Also in the realm of retellings, though not fairy-tale ones, were Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (a reread) and, to a certain degree, Bloodlust and Bonnets, a graphic novel by Emily McGovern that kind of sends-up both Austen and Romantic literature. Wyrd Sisters was excellent, and better on the reread than it was the first time around. Bloodlust and Bonnets was . . . not my favorite thing. In hindsight, I don't know why I thought I would enjoy it that much, since the author's webcomics tend to be hit-or-miss for me. But it did sound like it could have been funny. Oh well. Lessons learned.
  • (I later soothed my desire for an actually-good graphic novel by rereading Nimona, which was excellent.)
  • The last few books of the month were all somewhat mixed bags. Whisper of the Tide was the sequel to Song of the Current, and it alternated between being enjoyably nautical/piratical and frustratingly fraught with communication issues. The ending was good. The middle . . . well, there was a point where I was halfway tempted to just not finish. Caraval was an interesting concept with a lot of potential, but it had too much romantic and relational angst and too little of the actual Caraval. And Crimson Bound is what I'm currently reading; I think it has potential, but I'm not crazy about it thus far.


  • I'm still primarily watching Critical Role, though I've slowed down a little. This is partially because I'm busy and having a harder time fitting it in and partially because Travis and Laura are gone on baby leave and I knew from spoilers that another one of my favorite characters was . . . also about to not be around anymore. And so I kind of procrastinated a bunch on a particular episode. But I got through it! And now I'm continuing to move along through the show! And soon Travis and Laura will be back, so that'll be great!
  • I also started watching both Cowboy Bebop and My Hero Academia, sort of. By that, I mean that I watched the first three episodes of Cowboy Bebop and the first five or six episodes of My Hero Academia while my family was taking my sister back to college and then after that they had to compete with (1) Critical Role and (2) actual responsibilities for my attention and it hasn't exactly been winning. Hopefully, I will change that soon! Hopefully!
  • It is really weird watching anime after having not watched it in so long. I forgot how little tends to happen in an episode. And also how characters have a tendency to be so dramatic about so much stuff. I'm not saying that in a bad way, just in a "this is a thing that happens" way.
  • I'm also having a really hard time figuring out what people's names are in My Hero Academia (with a few exceptions), but that's mostly because I keep trying to match up names I've seen associated with fanart with names used in the show, and I think a bunch of people use last names with fanart? Though I could be wrong?
  • They're both good shows, though. I enjoyed them. And I look forward to watching more when I have time.
  • Other than that, I watched a few movies with the family. On the recommendation of Jenelle Schmidt, I went ahead and gave the newer Casino Royale a chance, and I have to say, I liked it much, much better than Goldfinger. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it was my favorite of the actual movies I saw this month. My second favorite was WarGames, an older sci-fi movie. I don't know that I'd watch it again unless someone I was with really wanted to, but it involved hacking and artificial intelligence in a fairly interesting way. Also, it was reasonably accurate hacking in terms of how it was done? So that was kind of fun, even if the premise was rather out there. At the bottom of my list in terms of how much I liked them were Spellbound (cool premise, but the female lead frustrated me) and Hello, Dolly! (which was just generally not my thing, and I didn't buy any but one of the four different romantic couples). I can see why other people would like both of them. They just aren't my thing.


  • So, my sister went back to college. I didn't, for obvious reasons. This is the first semester-start in four years that I haven't made the trek up to Cedarville. It felt . . . kind of weird? But at the same time, I'm so glad that I don't have to deal with things like having chapel outside or the massive crowds in the dining hall or any of that.
  • I also had the house to myself for a weekend, which was pretty nice. I didn't have internet for the weekend because the hotspot went with the rest of my family, but I did a bunch of gaming (I played through the entirety of The Silent Age and Portal and started Portal 2) and watched stuff on the actual TV rather than my tablet or laptop and listened to music with no headphones. It was nice. (Also: can you tell I'm an introvert?)
  • I would like to add that The Silent Age hits different when you play it during a pandemic. To reveal minimal spoilers, it involves traveling back and forth from the future to prevent a plague from causing the end of the world. Technically, the future year you're traveling to is 2012. Had the developers made it 2021, well, I probably would've been like "Yeah, that seems reasonable."
  • And because I'm on a gaming kick at the moment, I also restarted Undertale, which I technically started playing back in March or April and have been continuing on and off since. But I got stuck on the spider fight, so I decided to restart so I could get an item from the beginning of the game that will hopefully either shorten the fight or let me bypass it entirely. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. (I'm playing the True Pacifist mode, for anyone curious. So that makes it more difficult.)
  • On a more serious note, I'm still working on finding a job beyond self-published author. The internship fell through, sadly — not that I really expected it to work out. I did manage to get a contract/freelance position doing copywriting for, which is nice — the writing isn't hard, and the pay isn't bad, and obviously, it's pretty flexible. But I am still looking for something else. To that end, I had a job interview with one company yesterday — my first actual in-person interview, believe it or not. As of the writing of this post, I'm waiting to find out what will and won't come of that.
  • In the meantime, I've gone back to trying to teach myself to draw. It's going fairly well, even though I'm basically having to relearn everything I figured out when I first attempted this two summers ago. I've gotten back to the point where I can draw a face without thinking it looks bad, and occasionally it actually looks reasonably good.

September Plans

  • With The Midnight Show (mostly) published, I have three major things on my plate:
    1. Continue job-hunting, assuming that I don't get offered the position I interviewed for. (I'm operating under this assumption until corrected; it's less likely to end in disappointment. For all that I try to be an optimist, I can't deny the advantages of pessimism, and I'm unfortunately good at it.)
    2. Keep working on and hopefully finish the first draft of Blood in the Soil/Earth. I know I've hit either endgame or something close to it, and I hope that I'll get back to the scenes where it's easier to write 500 words than 100 soon — you know what I mean, when the words are flowing freely enough that you don't want to stop for fear of losing your train of thought. The trouble is that I don't know how many of those scenes I have left; I know for sure that I have at least three days and three nights of narrative left. (Also, before anyone gets excited . . . this first draft is very rough and is going to require at least one full rewrite. It may require two.)
    3. Figure out for sure if I'm writing a Frosted Roses story (I think I am, and I posted about my main idea in the group) and, if I am, hopefully get started on it. If I end up on a roll with Blood in the Soil/Earth, though, this will get pushed back.
  • Outside of those three things, I'm going to continue writing my D&D campaigns. I think I'll be able to go back to working on Defenders of Serys as my main fairly soon, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'll continue having fun with writing the new campaign. It really is a nice change of pace.
  • On the reading front, I think a lot of my reading plans are going to be defined by who ends up moving on to the voting round of the Silmaril Awards. After all, I want to make sure I'm well-prepared to write the finalists well in the awards ceremony post! At the moment, it looks like I'm going to get to reread some of my favorite books and some books I've been meaning to reread or read for a while, so that's very exciting. I'll also be rereading the third and fourth Wingfeather books, because those release in October! Huzzah!
  • But, yeah. Unless I get a job, it'll probably just be more of the same old same old, with a little bonus urgency to hurry up and finish the hood of the cloak I'm making.

How was your August? Any exciting plans for September? How do you feel about graphic novels? And have you watched either My Hero Academia or Cowboy Bebop? If so, what did you think of them? And if you've watched MHA, can you maybe help me out with my confusion about names? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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