#FirstFriday Photo

Jumping into this blog hop. I kept seeing it around and kept saying, “Self, I should join this” and here I am.

Basically, you share a photo on the first Friday of every month.

And since I am making a better effort toward taking more pictures (and regularly), this will work nicely.

So onto the picture!

This is our dog, Butch. He is a mini-schnauzer and he’s an older dog. He sleeps a lot. And I love this position he sleeps in. It is too cute.

 

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To see more photos in this blog hop, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: The Shape of Water

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

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…..

SERIOUSLY.

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TSOW2

Okay. If you’re still here, I’m assuming you are okay with being spoiled or you’ve already seen this amazing movie.

Hubby and I saw it this past weekend. The synopsis really doesn’t do it justice. It sounded interesting to me, an experiment in the Cold War era, but it didn’t even touch the romance or what the creature was. Maybe intentionally, I don’t know.

So…Elisa, the main character, who is mute (but can hear fine), works as a custodian for some kind of research facility. And she finds this amphibian-like creature and befriends it. She teaches it sign language.

Her kindness and wonder was really cool. She did not want him to die, so she — and her neighbor — break him out of the facility and take him home with them.

Here’s where things start getting seriously cool. Now, I had a feeling there’d be a romance. But I did not realize how deep it would go. The creature more or less lives in Elisa’s tub, and she spends a lot of time in there, and you can pretty much guess where that leads. And…it’s not gross. The way it’s portrayed, it’s actually beautiful and ethereal and really cool. (Please note that there weren’t any actual sex scenes, just the suggestion of them, which I think was the right way to go so it didn’t turn into a sexfest. The focus was on the characters and their feelings.)

But there’s a problem: the creature is getting sick and the a-holes at the facility are after Elisa and the creature. She has to let him go back to the ocean.

I expected a sad farewell, and for awhile it was looking that way. But then something else happens and Elisa needs medical care.

Well, the creature can heal. And so he does, and takes Elisa with him into the ocean. He revives her (and I read that he gave her gills, but I didn’t see that at all) and they live happily ever after.

Honestly? I cried like a baby. I think what got to me was Elisa and the creature being different somehow, and mute, and they found each other and connected. It seemed like fate, the universe giving her something, because she had nobody. She was a bit quirky, but in a good way.

Also? She had scars on her throat which were supposedly undeveloped gills? And then I wonder, well, maybe she was some sort of creature that just got the gills. She didn’t know where she came from, so it could be.

The colors in this movie were astounding. Deep blues, turquoise, greens. Made me think of the sea. A lot of the movie felt ethereal and not-quite-real. But those colors…it’s making my photography muse stir awake and start thinking.

It was sort of like Beauty and the Beast. But the creature wasn’t ugly per se; he was just different. And I believe that’s the strength of this movie — it portrayed his  difference really well.

It also reminded me of Splash, except without the comedy. There are some parallels we can draw: man finds mermaid (genderflipped), he keeps her a secret, once scientists discover her, they go after both and study them, and eventually, he ends up living with her in the sea. I don’t think he was given gills, though. That part was always ambiguous, except for the part where he couldn’t ever return to land.

So…I fell in love with this movie. Like I said, my expectations were so different, and it delivered in a major way. Also? I am a sucker for a good romance, human or not.

Check this movie out. Be amazed.

#ROW80 Check-in 1/28/18

I am still having TN pain, so that slowed me down a bit. Although I have been able to do a lot of writing.

Hubby and I saw The Shape of Water yesterday. It was an amazing movie and I cried like a baby at the end. I may post a review sometime soon.

~2nd round edits on secret project (I am contemplating releasing it around my birthday in March. We will see how things go). ~I’ve received another beta, and (due to the fact that I can’t count), I  haven’t received the last TWO betas yet.
~Revisions on Fireborn ~Haven’t received my edits back, either.
~Covenant words ~Don’t have wordcounts handy at the moment. Maybe 1,000 new words? I’ve stopped working on this book due to being stuck. I am working on an older novel, Oubliette, and it’s up to 25k now.
NEW GOAL ADDED: Get to halfway point on Oubliette ~I’m at 31.9k right now; 37k would be halfway.
NEW GOAL ADDED: Get to 50k by the end of the round
~Survivor Sundays (Survivor my book, not the TV show) Have not started yet. 
~Poke at Fireborn cover?~Yes, although it’s not working as well as I’d hoped.

Non-writing stuffs:

~Read 1 book a week ~Still working on Nashville boxed set by Inglath Cooper.

~Water 5x a week
~Print out test roll pics in darkroom Nope. 
~Poetry, maybe? Nope. 
~Housewalking 3x a week Nope. 
~And everyone’s favorite, chocolate consumption reports ~Kitkat minis and Lindt choclate truffles. That’s it.

#ROW80 Check-in 1/21/18

Here we are for #ROW80 once again! I’ve been doing all right, except for severe fatigue. Even so, I got a fair amount of stuff done.

I’ve decided to officially declare a new goal for Oubliette since it’s going so well.

~2nd round edits on secret project (I am contemplating releasing it around my birthday in March. We will see how things go). ~I  haven’t received the last two betas yet.
~Revisions on Fireborn ~Haven’t received my edits back, either.
~Covenant words ~Don’t have wordcounts handy at the moment. Maybe 1,000 new words? I’ve stopped working on this book due to being stuck. I am working on an older novel, Oubliette, and it’s up to 25k now.
NEW GOAL ADDED: Get to halfway point on Oubliette ~I’m at 31.9k right now; 37k would be halfway.
~Survivor Sundays (Survivor my book, not the TV show) Have not started yet. 
~Poke at Fireborn cover?~Yes, although it’s not working as well as I’d hoped.

Non-writing stuffs:

~Read 1 book a week ~Started Nashville boxed set by Inglath Cooper.
~Water 5x a week
~Print out test roll pics in darkroom Nope. 
~Poetry, maybe? Nope. 
~Housewalking 3x a week Nope. 
~And everyone’s favorite, chocolate consumption reports ~ Hot chocolate and Lindt Dark Chocolate Truffles from hubby.

#ROW80 Check-in Jan. 14th

Here we are again with a ROW80 Check-in. I’ve been pretty exhausted this week, and along with TN pain, it’s been really hard to get much done. 😦

Here’s the rundown:

~2nd round edits on secret project (I am contemplating releasing it around my birthday in March. We will see how things go). ~I  haven’t received the last two betas yet.
~Revisions on Fireborn ~Haven’t received my edits back, either.
~Covenant words ~Don’t have wordcounts handy at the moment. Maybe 1,000 new words? I’ve stopped working on this book due to being stuck. I am working on an older novel, Oubliette, and it’s up to 25k now.
~Survivor Sundays (Survivor my book, not the TV show) Have not started yet. 
~Poke at Fireborn cover?~Yes, although it’s not working as well as I’d hoped.

Non-writing stuffs:

~Read 1 book a week Finished Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix and have started
Blood Fury by J.R. Ward. 

~Water 5x a week
~Print out test roll pics in darkroom Nope. 
~Poetry, maybe? Nope. 
~Housewalking 3x a week Nope. 
~And everyone’s favorite, chocolate consumption reports ~Not a lot this week. Just hot chocolate. I must step it up!

#ROW80 Check-in Jan. 10th

I can finally do my first post of Round 1! Been busy, and struggling with TN pain. I recently had to have dental work done (prep for a crown) and that was miserable. I am glad the hard part is done, though.

Here’s the rundown:

~2nd round edits on secret project (I am contemplating releasing it around my birthday in March. We will see how things go). ~I  haven’t received the last two betas yet.
~Revisions on Fireborn ~Haven’t received my edits back, either.
~Covenant words ~Don’t have wordcounts handy at the moment. Maybe 1,000 new words?
~Survivor Sundays (Survivor my book, not the TV show) Have not started yet.
~Poke at Fireborn cover? ~Waiting to finish Cover Workshop I am taking

Non-writing stuffs:

~Read 1 book a week Finished both Midnight Rain by Kate Aeon and Die for Me by Dan Rix (ARC).
~Water 5x a week
~Print out test roll pics in darkroom Nope.
~Poetry, maybe? Nope.
~Housewalking 3x a week Nope.
~And everyone’s favorite, chocolate consumption reports 1 whole bag of Hersey’s Kisses (not in one sitting, though!) and lots of hot chocolate. Chocolate minis, too!

Fiction Friday – the “it’s colder than cold” edition

It’s pretty cold in my part of the world. Thank God for hot chocolate, heat, and covers to keep warm.

Alrighty, let’s get this party started. Once again, a reminder about my rating system:

Double yay – Astounding read! Perfect in every way! Get thee to a bookstore NOW.
Yay – I recommend with no reservations. Guaranteed good read.
Maybe – Read at your own risk. A mixed bag
Nay – DNF (Did Not Finish) or sucky or both. I do not recommend.

Also, fyi, these are affiliate links.

NEED by Joelle Charbonneau – A yay. This was a good book, and a fast read. It’s about this school, and a new social network called NEED. The students post anonymous requests for things they “need” (and stuff they really don’t, frivolous things) and they are asked to do one little thing, and are given the thing they requested. Seems relatively harmless, until someone ups the stakes. Soon, people are being asked to do more dangerous things. People are dying. And you’ll never guess who the mastermind is. 😉 I think it’s really cool and very relevant with all the focus on social networking these days. Made me think for sure.

Queen Takes King by Joely Sue Burkhart – A yay. Book 2 in her amazing Their Vampire Queen series. Blood, politics, and lots of hot sex! More Blood came to Shara’s call, as well as a mysterious king that’s been held captive in a cave for thousands of years. Shara is growing in power, and she’s starting to find out who her enemies are. Great book, great series. Link to my review 

Midnight Rain by Kate Aeon – Double yay. This is actually a reread. I had read this book years ago in paperback. When I saw the Kindle edition was free, I snapped it up. The story STILL hunts me to this day. It’s about this woman psychic who left her abusive husband, but not before he injured her and killed two kids. She’s been hiding and running ever since. She reads tarot cards for a psychic hotline and one day her husband calls her. Except…he’s in a coma. WTF, right? READ THIS BOOK. You won’t regret it. (Just FYI, this book was previously published under the name Holly Lisle. This is apparently a pen name she’s using to separate the different genres she writes. She’s an amazing author, no matter what name she’s using).

And that’s it for today’s edition. Check these out.

 

 

2017 Year-End Review and 2018 Goals

Time has been flying! Holy cow! It’s almost 2018 already, and and and —

Okay, I’m a bit early. I don’t expect much to change drastically in 3 days, so here we are.

So how did I do?

~Release 1 book (besides Ever Touched) ~NOT DONE, although I got a new cover for In Flames and put Reaper Girl into KDP Select. 
~Publish Ever Touched (set for May release)~DONE! 
~Start revision of Pirouette/Death Dancer ~NOT DONE, but had an interesting idea the other day about Alisia’s lineage. 
~Finish Covenant ~NOT DONE, but it’s at 24k now. Wanted to hit 30k before the new year, but I’m not sure that’s possible now. 😦 
~Start Elysium ~NOT DONE. At all.
~Finish and release Fireborn ~DONE. Rewrote it and submitted it to TDP for publication next year.
~Outline book #1 in Fey Touched spin-off series ~NOT DONE. May toy with this next year.
~Get on a consistent, simple exercise plan and STICK WITH IT ~NOPE. 
~Eat healthier/Gluten-free ~NOT DONE.  😦 Well, made the attempt, anyway…
~Get back into darkroom when hands are better ~NOT DONE.
~Add in a second writing session twice a week (8 minutes)~NOT DONE. Have been fighting pain and exhaustion.
~Try to write more short fiction ~DONE! Fireborn (55k) and When She Sleeps (projected 60k) 
~Continue with FYFB class (so behind right now!)~NOPE. Downloaded everything that’s available that I haven’t gotten to.
~Start working on Survivor Rewrite outline again ~DONE! Not finished due to wrist issues.

This year has been roughly for me physically. I have been exhausted more, and the trigeminal neuralgia flared up again so we’ve been trying to find the right combination of meds to control the pain. So far, we haven’t been very successful.

I was also laid off from my job in August, so there’s been some upheaval there. I have been working on my freelancing/virtual assistant business to try to bring in more money. Things are kind of up in the air, and it has been wreaking havoc on my productivity.

I have decided to buckle down and make things happen in 2018!

Goals:

~2nd round of edits/release secret project (early 2018)
~Revise and release Fireborn
~Get serious about exercise and DO SOMETHING
~Take pictures regularly (once a month, 1 a day for x amount of days, etc)
~Get moving with dictation again
~Progress on Covenant
~Progress on When She Sleeps
~Start Survivor Rewrite for reals this time
~Do something with Death Dancer/Pirouette
~Get better with planning
~Start writing every day again, even if it’s 100 words
~Figure out Reaper Girl #3, Faeborn

I’ve written roughly 80k this year, which is down from last year. Would like to hit 100k and more in 2018.

#ROW80 Round 1 2018 Goals

Here are are with a goals post. Dang, this year went by so fast. And we’re almost to 2018 already. Wut. is. this. insanity.

Ahem. Alrighty, goals for Round 1:

~2nd round edits on secret project (I am contemplating releasing it around my birthday in March. We will see how things go).
~Revisions on Fireborn
~Covenant words
~Survivor Sundays (Survivor my book, not the TV show)
~Poke at Fireborn cover?

Non-writing stuffs:

~Read 1 book a week
~Water 5x a week
~Print out test roll pics in darkroom
~Poetry, maybe?
~Housewalking 3x a week
~And everyone’s favorite, chocolate consumption reports

A bit ambitious, but we’ll see how it goes.

I really would like to get back to photography and poetry. I miss them both. I am also toying with doing a 365 day photography thing, but I am not going to declare that as a goal just yet. We’ll see how January goes.

Annnd that’s it for now!

 

#ROW80 Final Check-in 12/17/17

Technically, the round ends on the 20th, but I will be busy with Christmas prep so I am, as usual, ending a bit early.

So, how did I do?

~Finish rewrite of Fireborn, revise it, edit it, and submit it for Dec. 1st deadline. ~ DONE. That was the priority. I get edits back on January 1st.
~Transfer Survivor outline to notecards, for reals this time ~NOT DONE. Started, but my hand started complaining so I had to stop. I will try to do this between now and the beginning of Round 1 2018 so I can maybe start writing on Sundays again.
~Participate in NanoWriMo with an amended goal of 30k (Survivor) ~ NOT DONE. Between Fireborn, freelance jobs, and helping my mom, I’ve had no extra time at all. I am still considering a “Nano” of my own at some point.
~Begin edit of Secret Project ~DONE. Editing done and it’s now with betas. Two got back with me. So far, the response has been very positive, which is encouraging.
~Decide on next project and start working on that (Covenant and When She Sleeps are the top contenders) ~DONE. I chose Covenant, and I have 1,578 words already written.
~Finish In Flames cover or hire someone to do it  ~DONE. A writer friend generously offered to make me a cover. Cover reveal soon!

Non-writing stuffs:

~Water 5x a week~DONE, with a few exceptions.
~Read 1 book a week ~DONE, for the most part.
~Chocolate consumption reports, of course! ~DONE! Lots and lots of hot chocolate, dark chocolate M&Ms, and dark chocolate minis! 

I will be participating in ROW80 next year (so weird to be saying that!) so see you all next round!

And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!