Welcome to Chi-Town!

Despite the threat of a horrid downpour, my mother and I defied the weather and went to Chicago.  The train ride there was relaxing and nap-inducing.  The countryside changed into urban, and fellow passengers filled the nearly empty train as we approached our destination.  Once we got off at Millennium Station, we got a little lost in the station.  Finally, we emerged from the darkened train station and into the sunlight, the loud, bustling city greeted me.  Cars, buses, and taxis stopped and started, horns blaring.  People from all over scampered to and fro and the scent of food, gasoline, and asphalt filled my nose.  I hadn’t properly been in the city in a decade and there was so much to take in.  So much potential.  So many people.  So much life.

Our first stop was the American Writers Museum.  It was only a few minutes away from the station, so it wasn’t long until we went up a snazzy elevator and went about exploring it.  The first exhibit was a kids’ room, it had a few neat exhibits of children’s authors.  After that, it opened up to a huge room filled with dozens of pictures of American authors.  There was a timeline from the time of Christopher Columbus to the 1980s, and, throughout the timeline, there were the authors under it.  With each author there was several paragraphs about their lives and their works.  On the second wall, there were panels with information of influential works in American history and who they were by.  There was a green room and a ‘reader’s room’ which talked about early magazines, comics, and bookstores.  Off of the reader’s room was a section where you could write the start of a story on a typewriter and someone else would continue it.  Further in that room was several activities where you could come up with a story with randomized words, learn about important pieces of literature and why they matter, and an area that introduced several native Chicago writers.  My mom and I raided their free bookmark area in the gift shop and got a couple postcards and magnets.

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On the way to our second stop, we passed a Nutella-themed restaurant, crossed a street in a pack (that’s a big thing for someone raised in a small town), and ended up eating lunch at Giordano’s.  We both got the Individual 6″ Pepperoni Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza (from the Lunch Pronto section) with a salad and a drink.  It.  Was.  Extraordinary.  Even though what we ordered was premade, the dough light, sauce and pepperoni balanced, and the cheese oh so gooey.  I fully recommend going to Giordano’s if you haven’t gone before.  I can’t look at pizza the same again.  It spoiled me.

At the second stop, After-Words New and Used Books, we browsed through the two air conditioned, well-kept floors.  The staff was accommodating and the books were in good shape, but I wasn’t able to decide what to get and I needed to use the bathroom, so we ended up getting a lone postcard.

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All in all, I had an amazing day.  I’m still in shock that I haven’t gone sooner and that we actually went.  If you’re in the area or are on vacation, plan a visit to Chicago, Illinois.  The sights, the foods.  The atmosphere was busy and rejuvenating.  I doubt that it’s for everyone but I adored it.  Not only did I get a ton of story ideas but I saw several lookalikes for my book characters and a couple celebrities.  The Windy City has certainly earned a place in my heart, and I’m hoping to be able to go back and make a weekend of it in the foreseeable future.

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Quarterly Writing Goals: July, August, and September 2017

Three months ago, I came up with a list of goals for the second quarter of the year.  They were to update this blog regularly, finish planning the second book in my 5-book series, finish typing the first book, to finish a short story I’ve been working on for ages, and to keep reading.  I finished planning the book and kept reading, but I didn’t finish typing the first book or the short story.  But I did complete a different short story and have gotten a bit through two others.

My goals for July through September are to:

  • update this blog regularly
  • continue writing the second book in the series and possibly finish it
  • finish typing the first book
  • finish the short story once and for all
  • keep reading (I have 58 out of 100 books read)

I’m hoping to continue to write book reviews and get back into poetry.  I might share a few short stories I’ve written, so keep an eye out.  I hope you all have a safe and relaxing weekend.  See you next week!

Book Haul: Spring 2017

 

Here are the books I got from the local library’s book sale that they have twice a year…

… and the DVDs.

Quarterly Writing Goals: April, May, and June 2017

At the end of last year, I drew up a list of goals for this blog and other writing projects for the first three months.  What I wanted to do was update this blog regularly, write a short story, and continue planning my 5-book series.  While I didn’t write a short story, I did finish planning the series and am now making progress on the second book.  Although I still have to finish plotting it.  Oops.  I also got around to personalizing this blog a lot more, so, all in all, it has been a successful three months.

My goals for April through June are to:

  • continue updating this blog regularly
  • finish plotting the second book and keep writing away
  • finish typing the first book (I write the first drafts on paper)
  • finish a short story I’ve been working on for ages
  • keep reading (I have 77 books to go!)

You can expect to see more book reviews, poetry, and, perhaps, a collaboration post in the next several months (If anyone would be interested in doing a collaboration with me, shoot a comment my way, and I’ll send my email to you.).  I might be a bit boring this month, though.  I’m currently typing up the first book in the series I’m working on, Maddening, as my Camp NaNoWriMo project.

I hope you all have a safe and relaxing weekend and that the upcoming week is as productive as the last one and holds at least one pleasant surprise for you.  See you all next week!

2016-2017 Tag

 

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When I woke up this morning and got around to checking my email, I discovered that flawedsilence had nominated me to do the 2016-2017 tag.  (Thank you so much for thinking of me.)  If you haven’t checked out her blog, I highly recommend you do so.  Whether you’re into poetry, blog posts, or photography, you’ll find something you’ll enjoy.

And without further adieu, here are the rules and my response to David’s 2016-2017 tag!

Rules:

Mention the creator of this tag.

Use the image that you find in this tag.

Mention the blogger that chose you.

Answer the questions.

Mention 9 other bloggers/friends and let them know through a comment on their blog.

Questions:

Describe your 2016 in three words.

Stressful.  Shocking.  Short.

Write the names of two people that have characterized your 2016.

My parents for being patient with me and my younger brother for causing much needed insanity (It’s okay, I still love you.  Things would be far too easy without you.).

Write the most beautiful place you’ve visited in 2016 and why you liked it so much.

I enjoyed the drive to Virginia with my relatives last summer.  The winding roads, the cliffs, the feel of absolute freedom and insignificance in the vastness of our breathtaking earth.  I adore it all.

Write the most delicious food you’ve tasted in 2016.

My cousin’s homemade Indian rice pudding.  At least, I think she made it in 2016.  The beginning of last year and 2015 blurs together.

Write the event which has marked you more of this in 2016 (even a global event).

Finishing my first full-length novel.  It took me about 578 days spent hunched over my desk, seven initial drafts before I began the official rough draft, and hundreds of mugs of coffee to do it, but I did it.  I’m really looking forward to the rewrites.

Write the finest purchase you’ve made in 2016, and, if you want, link a photo.

I ordered Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys curated by April Genevieve Tucholke, and RoseBlood by A.G. Howard from Amazon.  I also bought over fifty books from the local library book sale, but it would be far too inconvenient to take all of the books off my shelves for a photograph.  (Apologizes for the picture being upside down.  I’m a menace with my cell phone camera.)

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Write three good intentions for this 2017.

I want to be healthier, more supportive, and focus on what’s important in life.

Write a place you want to visit in 2017.

There are no specific places, but it would be fun to creep around crumbling cemeteries and explore old houses.  There are also a handful of places in biking distance to visit and a few that would require me to call a friend who has a car.  A famous serial killer lived about half an hour away, so I might check that out…

Write one plate/food you want to eat in 2017.

Tiramisu.  I’ve never had it but it has intrigued me for the past year or so.

For the bloggers, I nominate ladameauxfleursDiversion3000I rent you some sinThe Illustrated PageInked Words EscapeScribbled DreamsjenacidebybibliophileJazzy Blogs, and The Book Raven.

On another note, I’ve been thinking of interviewing bloggers.  I’ll be asking things ranging from favorite foods to what blogging/writing means to you.  Nothing too serious unless you’re comfortable with it.  If you’re interested in being interviewed, let me know and I’ll get back to you.

I hope you all have a soothing weekend and a productive week.  It really is nice to wind down and relax with your loved ones.  I myself am planning to read, continue working on my current work in progress, and, perhaps, take a bubble bath.  (*Sighs.*)  It’ll be lovely.

New Year, New Goals

As the holiday season whips past in a whirlwind of trips to relatives, last minute shopping, and more chaos than would seem possible, some of us (or, at least, just me) will be more than a little shocked that it’s almost a new year.  Crap.  Where did all the time go?  I haven’t completed all of my goals for 2016.  I still have so much to do to get ready for 2017-

This is where I force myself to stop, step away, and take a breather.  Yes, I didn’t do every single thing I set out to do.  Yes, I’m woefully behind on more than I’d care to admit.  But I also did more than I would’ve thought possible.  I know, that’s a big statement and it’s 100% true.  I surpassed both physical and educational goals, and overcame a deeply personal barrier.  All in all, it has been a pretty darn successful year.

Of course, now that 2017 is in less than two days, I have a whole new set of writing goals.

January-March:

  • update this blog on a regular basis
  • continue/finish planning 5-book series
  • write a short story or novella

Depending on whether or not I finish planning the series and if I’m able to write the second in that time, April through June could either be spent A) writing the second book, or B) planning for the third.  Either way, my hope is to keep updating this blog as regularly as possible.

As of today, I don’t have any plans set in stone for the remaining six months of 2017.  But that’s liable to change as the year progresses.

Other goals I have are not limited to but include:

  • taking up piano
  • reading 100 books
  • biking on the weekends
  • managing money better
  • personalizing this blog more

Where this blog is concerned, I have a ton of ideas.  Collaborations, book reviews, and flash fiction  are just a few of the many things to come this way.

2015 was a year of set-up.

2016 has been a time of experimentation and finding out what works for me and this blog.

2017 will be the year of expansion.

I would also like to give a round of thanks to all my followers and fellow bloggers for making the past two year a wonderful experience.  Especially flawedsilence and femmedesfleurs.  I couldn’t have done it without your support and feedback.  It has been monstrously fun.

The Winter Wonderland Tag

flawedsilence tagged me for the Winter Wonderland Tag, so here I am…  doing it…   I better get started before this gets awkward.

Questions

Do you like the cold?  

Very much so!  Nothing makes me happier than curling up with a blanket, staring at the snow covered ground, and dreaming up grand adventures.  (I’m an absurd romantic and fanatic when it snows.)  Nothing is impossible as the chill nips at my skin and whips miniature flurries in the air.

Favorite part about the winter?

Believe it or not, I’m actually a sucker for the Christmas holiday time.  Yes, it’s chaotic.  Yes, there tends to be family drama.  But in the midst it all, there’s a warm peace.  It doesn’t always last for the whole holiday time but, when it’s there, it’s a tiny piece of Heaven.

Does it snow where you live?

Oh, yeah!  We get crazy, slushy, lake-effect snow.

What is your favorite clothing item in the winter?

Either my gray patterned leggings or ragged boot-slippers.  Although I recently got a black, velvet, T-shirt that’s slowly working up through the ranks.

What is your favorite winter memory?

It was cold.  The type of cold that your mother would tell you, for once, to stay inside.  But out I went anyways.  Braving the harsh outdoors, I waddled my way through snow drifts up to my shoulders.  After what seemed like hours of walking, I found that I could go on no more.  Collapsed in a snow drift, I stared up.  I don’t know why I was so determined to be out or how old I was, but I will never forget how I felt.  I was enchanted.  

What is your favorite hot drink?

Coffee and tea, but mostly coffee.

Best winter book to read curled up in a blanket?

Ugh, that’s an awful question to ask.  I don’t have any specific books that I read during wintertime, last year I read Winterspell by Claire Legrand, a Nutcracker retelling, and I plan to reread it during the holidays.  Despite it’s mixed reviews, I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading to again and again in the years to come.

What’s the best winter movie to watch?

The Nightmare Before Christmas but I tend to watch that around Halloween, so I would say It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol.  Please don’t ask me to chose between them.

Do you have any winter sports?

Indoor basketball and soccer (or football to non-Americans), hockey, and skiing.  People ice skate and snowboard, but, as far as I know, there are no competitions or teams around where I live.

Favorite Christmas/Holiday/New Year’s tradition?

Every Christmas my immediate family lounges around, eats Chinese food, and watches A Christmas Story.  It’s an absolute blast.

I challenge everyone who reads this post to do this tag.  Leave a link on my profile and I’ll be certain to see your answers and, in Christmas spirit, will read and comment on several other of your posts.  All you have to do is do this post.

And with that, merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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