Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blog 167 - May 2016 TBR

As much as writing is important to me so is reading.

I try to read as much as possible. Every chance I get I am reading (or writing). I can always be found with a book nearby. Whether it is in my purse, my work bag, in my hand, or even sitting next to me.

So this month I have been reading quite a bit.

This month I already read 4 books:
1. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
2. Breathe: Yoga for Teens by Mary Kaye Chryssicas
3. Username: Evie by Joe Sugg
4. Shadowhunter's Guide: City of Bones - Mimi O'Connor

The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6) Breathe: Yoga for Teens Username: Evie Shadowhunter's Guide: City of Bones

Currently Reading:
1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
2. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
3. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
4. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

 The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) to Read
1. The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May
2. With Malice by Eileen Cook

 The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer, #2) With Malice

Between the currently reading and the ARCs I'm not reading them in any particular order. I have started numerous books before but one always captures my attention and I finish it to the end. But when I'm done reading each book, I review it and start the next book.

That is all for now. Happy Reading!!

Blog 166 - Writing Deadlines

Writing Deadlines are dates in time that set to have a certain project completed to push it forward to the next level in its process.

For example, a writing deadline could be set up so that someone writing a draft of a novel before a certain date in order to finish it and move it to the next level - editing.

Writing deadlines depending on who sets them can be changed and in some cases they may not. I read a lot of author's social media pages that talk about deadlines and how they have to get it done. I have seen people set up calendars with stickers (and I love this idea), I have seen people just simply write their word count for the day on the calendar.

So I wanted to share my deadlines for this year, and what I have planned in hopes that I can create a wonderful lovely support system who will reach out and make sure I'm still on track once in a while. Now I know that this deadline system I'm creating falls mostly on me to complete but little pushes of encouragement are awesome too. Truth be told, it keeps me going when I share a tiny piece of a story and people are asking me why it isn't published yet. I keep going because of that. Because I know that my story is touching people before it is even finished.

So for the year 2016. Here is the deadline dates.

June 30th = deadline for finishing my racing story....I finished the billionth draft for it at the end of April now just editing before passing it to the critique partners. I hope to send this out for submission by end of summer.

July 1st - September 30th = I will be writing the rough draft of another piece I started a tiny bit but didn't develop when I was in my creative writing classes - Reaper High as I call it. This one I know has the potential to become a series but I'm not sure if I could do that. We shall see. For this one because there is magic and death and the ability to walk between two worlds I draw a lot of inspiration from different series with magic in them and been reading stories with Grim Reapers too.

October = While that piece is with my critique partners, I will start taking notes and writing down plot points and characters in order to prepare for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I participate in this every year and this is usually where the majority if not all of my story get started.

November = It's NaNoWriMo time. This is where I take on the challenge to write a novel of 50K words in 30 days. I promise it is doable. You only have to write 1,667 words a day to complete it. I aim to write about 2-3K words a day as to stay ahead just in case I have some issues or I don't write for a day or two because of Thanksgiving. For this month of writing will be my third concept but one that I haven't really put much thought into yet. I have a witch concept that I thought of and would love to write it.

December = December will be my month of editing, possibly writing query letters and sending out submissions and preparing myself for those rejection letters. I know there will be tons of those, but I know that it will be worth it if the story gets accepted at some point. I will also probably preparing for the new year and setting up new deadlines for my writing.

Now all of these deadlines are set up by me, so these are like personal deadlines. These aren't deadlines set up by publishing houses or anything like that. These are my personal deadlines. The deadlines are periods of time that I feel are feasible to make this stuff happen.

That is all for now. Happy Writing!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Blog 165 - Writing Journeys

Writing is a fickle thing.

Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it doesn't.

Over the past year my writing hasn't come so easily as it used to. But I understand that going through a lot in the past year like I have will probably play a part in my writing or lack there of. When I write, how much I write, or even if I'm writing at all. It is all part of the journey, isn't it?  The lack of inspiration, motivation or even a lack of a muse all plays important parts in the process.

For me getting back into my writing is a journey in itself. I feel that I must be in the right frame of mind in order to be there for my characters and their worlds. I have to be there for them as they are there for me. I haven't been able to write much as of late due to that lack of mindset. Try as I might, I just can't get into it.

Does that mean that I quit writing? Does that mean that I quit the characters I have created thus far?


It means that I journey further into their stories. I find their stories, read them and journey into their world just enough to capture the mindset to begin again. From there I create their villains, their surroundings, their victories. I help them along their journeys to complete their missions, to save their families, to take hold of their inheritance of power, to start a new life, and complete my journey at the same time.

So the more author blogs I see and read, the more I aspire to be among them, the more I aspire to be just like them. The more they inspire me to continue down the path of my journey. To continue doing what I love, what I'm passionate about, to create the "what-ifs" and "what about this" scenarios for my characters and their stories.

Journeys are never easy. They always have obstacles and these obstacles won't stop me from picking up my pen or pulling out my keyboard and writing on my stories.

I have a long journey ahead of me but in the end I hope it will be worth it.

But the time is now, I must continue down my path if I am to reach the end of my journey. I must press forward in order to beat the odds, and share in the treasures I found along the way.

For now I share this little treasure that I found recently along my journey:
From my Work in Progress - Reaper High

The pencil rolled away onto the desk. It was last night's algebra homework. I turn to head to my closet in search of my backpack when I froze in mid-step, and just stared at the room in front of me. Everything I look at was either black or white. What happened to my belongings? Where did all the color go? I sit back on my bed and try to think about what is going on right now. All of a sudden, someone places a hand on my shoulder. I jump when I look up to see a dark cloaked figure standing next to me. I never heard him coming. How did he get into my room? I move away from him before he bends over with laughter. He drops the plastic skeleton hand onto the bed, taking the hood from his cloak off his head.

So that is just a piece of a work in progress that I have been working. I hope to have it finished soon so I can do editing and then hopefully send it out for submission later this year.

That is all for me for now. Happy Writing!


Friday, May 13, 2016

Blog 164 - Book Buying Ban Troubles

Books, Books, and more books.

The constant need to buy books to keep up with what is being read. The constant need to read what everyone else is reading. The constant need to look at the gorgeous covers as they sit on the shelves at the store.

Hello, my name is Alisha and I have a book buying ban problem. I have a book buying problem...period.

Yes you heard that right. I have a problem. This is where my problem meets reality. The reality of my problem is this. I buy more books than I can keep up with. It wasn't always this way. It wasn't always my strategy to buy all of the books.

In the beginning it was set up as a plan to buy 4 books a month to read and review, not including any ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) in the mail. I would read those books and review them for this blog and maybe even use those books to make videos for my YouTube channel. But when it comes to not buying more books before I can read what I have - I'm overwhelmed.

I have tried just about all of them book buying bans that I have seen on YouTube.
1. Read x amount of books before buying x amount of books
2. Read x amount of books before even stepping foot in a bookstore
3. Creating a TBR jar of titles to read before buying x amount of books.
4. Creating a author TBR jar (this is where you put author names in a jar and which ever one you pick you read every book you have by that author)
5. Creating a book buying ban contract to follow in order to read the books.

As you can see I have tried everything, and I just get overwhelmed in looking at the books that go unread. I feel so bad because I will read just about anything and then I find and buy the book with the intention of reading it and some times I read the book and other times I say "Oh let me finish this one before I read that one" and sometimes I never get to it.

I know that these buying bans work for some people, but they just don't work for me. I'm in the process of coming up with something creative to get though the TBR piles. I am determined to read the books to make the pile smaller, but it will take time. This I know.

Down below in the comments, let me know how you deal with book buying bans. Do they work for you? Do they not work for you? And if they don't what do you do to read through your TBR pile books?

That is all for this post, Happy reading. I'll see you in my next post.

Blog 163 - Puzzles Galore!!!

 So among all the activities that I do during my days, puzzles is one of them. Now I enjoy the regular jigsaw puzzles and some of them are glued together and used for my house decor. But the puzzles I am talking about in this post are the 3-D puzzles.

Now if you guys know me personally you know that I have been collecting these puzzles for quite some time now. I currently own about 60 puzzles that of this variety.

In the picture to the left is how the puzzles come in the box. Not all of the puzzles come this way, some come in one bag with all pieces. But this is how it starts though. The pieces come in and I must set them free in order to start putting the puzzle together.! Shall we begin?...
 In the picture to the right, I have laid out the pieces in order to get a sense of what the pieces look like and see where the starting piece is.

With these puzzles I try to set aside the most important parts until they are needed. With this particular puzzle the most important pieces are the flower, the wings, the hair bun, the arms, and the rods that hold everything together.

Let's continue....
As you put the puzzles together, you may notice that the pieces are not flat pieces. These pieces are actually like two pieces in one layered on top of each other. This gives it a level of challenging my mind aspect. Because if you place one piece but there is another that goes before it, there will be a gap and the puzzle won't be complete.

Here in the picture to the left, you can see that this particular puzzle the finished product is Disney's Tinkerbell.

These puzzles range in size, and number of pieces. Because I have done so many of these puzzles I can put these together very quickly. The smaller puzzles usually take me 10-20 minutes depending on the difficulty. I have had some that take longer. Then the bigger ones usually take me about 30-45 minutes and those are usually close to 100 pieces.

In terms of the puzzles and which one you can get for your collection, it depends on where you go to find them. I generally find these at Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Walmart, and even Amazon. But I buy a specific brand. I get the Clearly Puzzled brand. It is a black box and they are made by a company called Bepuzzled. Here are just some of the other puzzles that I have in my collection.

(Above) 4 -Leaf Clover, (Right) Blue Sapphire 

 (Left) Blue Swan
 (Right) Red Antique Car
 (Left) Diamond - just like the sapphire above there is always a ruby and an emerald.
 (Right) Silver and Gold Teddy Bears
 (Left) Pyramid - Very first 3-D Puzzle I completed.
 (Right) Winnie-the-Pooh from the Disney side of the collection.
 (Left) Bambi from Disney side of the collection
 (Right) Elephant and a T-Rex.
 (Left) A Pirate Ship
 (Right) A red Apple - there is also a green one.
 (Left) A pink Heart and there is also a red one.

Remember these are just a few of what I have put together. Some of the other puzzles not pictured in this blog post are as follows: Cat & Kitten, Dog, Dachshund, Butterfly, Bird, Panda, Shark, 3 different colored skulls (Red, Black, and silver), locomotive, London Bus, Grapes, Star, Sun, Saturn, Moon, Earth, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Dumbo, Cinderella, Ariel, Buzz Lightyear, Hello Kitty, Snoopy, Carousel, Eiffel Tower, Dolphin, Castle, Lion, and even a piggy bank.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the puzzles. That is all for this post and I'll see you in my next one.

Blog 162 - Overwhelming TBR Pile

So in the picture to the left that me being excited about moving into the new house and having the ability to use what is technically a bedroom as a library.

I absolutely love it. I will probably post pictures of what it looks like now later in a different blog post. But for the purpose of this post I'm talking about overwhelming TBR piles.

Now in this picture, you can see all of the books that I own and was trying to organize before putting them on the book shelves. Needless to say I later separated the books into categories - Books I've read, and books I've not read. About half of that pile there on the floor was books that I haven't read yet.

Since this picture books have been read, but more books that been added and not read. It is so weird. I swear I have a problem. I starting doing the reading challenges and joined the YouTube BookTube community with a simple yet manageable strategy. Buy a couple books a month - read said books throughout the month before buying more. I would use those books to create videos and to create blog posts here about reviewing them.

Before long it turned into I would have more books to read than I could keep up with. My TBR pile just kept growing and growing, but my reading ratio was declining more and more.

Now I feel overwhelmed with all of the awesome books that I was set out to read and I look at the books not knowing where to begin. Then comes a reading slump because I don't know which book to start with. I have experimented with ways to try and focus on my reading and it just isn't working out.

I have tried book buying bans to no end, I have created TBR jars, author TBR jars, and many other experiments, even trying to read books by using audio books to listen and read along with the books. That works to a certain degree. I have even trying banning myself from book stores and online shopping, while my credit card is happy to be getting paid off - there is still that urge to buy a book now and then...LOL.

I know that I just need to buckle down and read these books. I wonder what would be easier read the book series books first since I have most of the series if not all of them or read the other ones that are either stand alone books or the first book in a series.

Either way I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it...LOL. If you guys have any tips or tricks to reading your TBR piles, please comment below. I would love to hear  about how you get through them.

That is all for me today. Happy reading and see you in my next blog post.

Blog 161 - Reading Slump

What is a reading slump?

I have always wonder what it is exactly. What defines a reading slump? What causes a reading slump? How do you get out of a reading slump?

Those are the questions that I usually see or hear when it comes to people talking about or even making a YouTube video discussing reading slumps to their viewers. Those are the questions I want to try and answer in terms of my experience with reading slumps. Let me tell you they are no fun...LOL.

What is a reading slump/ what defines a reading slump?
For me, a reading slump is a period of time that goes unfulfilled by reading. What I mean by "goes unfulfilled" is that there is a time period where no books are being read. This time period is usually the reader starting book after book but never finishing them. It's like they become uninterested in the books - all of the books. They need that one book that will break the cycle and hold their attention to continue past the first 20 pages. I have been in reading slumps before and they are not fun. I hate getting in those reading slumps where it seems nothing will satisfy your fierce appetite for reading. No matter what you read you feel as though you can't finish that something is blocking you from enjoying the read. May that something be your environment, your work schedule, or even your school work if you are in school.

Definition of a reading slump (in my opinion): The inability to read books in their entirety due to outside stimulus may it be important or non important.

What causes a reading slump?
The answer to this question really depends on the person and their situation. For me, lately my reading slump is due to several factors: my environment, my work schedule, and my overwhelming TBR pile (more on this later). To many factors for this question to be answered by just me.

Some things I have heard from other readers about their reading slumps. They are caused by:
- Looming final exams
- Family matters emergency
- Work schedules changing
- Just don't want to read anything
- Overwhelming TBR piles (100+ books)
- Stories seem the same and looking for something new and different

and the last question...

How do you get out of a reading group?
I have heard several ways to end a reading slump as well. I have heard and talked with other readers that say they switch things up from their normal routines.

Here are some of those ideas to end a reading slump:
1. Take a break from trying to read and just relax.
2. Do a different activity that takes your mind off of the reading slump.
3. Sit in a quiet location and clear your mind.
4. Try different experiments to getting back into reading.
5. Start a new hobby.

These are just some of the ideas that either readers or myself have come up with to combat a reading slump. So many of us devour books for our social media outlets that sometimes we even forget to savor or enjoy the books. For me when it comes to reading slumps, I have tried a lot of the above ideas to help me get back into reading and most of the time they work. I have started new hobbies and expanding my knowledge base. I have experimented with audio books and reading. That is another post in itself.

The point is this - life happens and everyone is going through things at different times. These reading slumps are bound to happen in some form or another. Do what works for you to get out of it. Try new things, experiment, or simply walk away and come back to it. However you choose to do it, you are a reader, books are your life, they will always be there waiting for you to explore them.

That is all for now. Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the comments (& my next post).