december 2017 wrap-up

december 2017 wrap-up

d e c e m b e r


What’s that? One book this month!? Shock! Horror! Scandal!

Yeah, I’m sorry. (Not really.) I had a very busy Christmas season, and I just didn’t have the time to read like I wanted. I really only read this book because I was obligated. I requested it from NetGalley a few months ago and have been, like the lout I am, sitting on it for an ungodly amount of time because I just! Haven’t! Had! The! Time! I’d love to review more frequently in 2018 (doesn’t that just sound horrible typed out?) but we’ll see how it goes.

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this user is a nanowrimo winner

this user is a nanowrimo winner

yes… i made it pink

So, like, I wanna say first of all, thank you to all my fans, my mom, my cats, my fans, my dad, my fans, Jesus, my fans, don’t forget I have fans, Taylor Swift, my fans–without you this never would have been possible! Thank you! Thank you guys!

[Curtains fall]

[Ellie: Exit stage right]

I mean, that’s kind of how the scenario went through my head when I won NaNoWriMo November 27th at 3:30 AM. And then I entered my word count and found out my Scrivener counter had a discrepancy of about 400 words to NaNo’s word counter–so I had to go quickly write up another 400 words before I could win, and that was kind of a buzzkill.

Regardless! Pics or it didn’t happen:

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 12.44.46 AM
as you can see, day 12 offered a serious spike in productivity

50,043 words baby! Look at that lovely eye-killing violet, screaming at me THAT I’M A WINNER! I’VE WON! To be perfectly honest, I never thought I’d make it through NaNo because I’ve never won in all the four years I’ve participated! But this year was the year for me, I guess. (Also, this screenshot was taken after midnight, and I haven’t written anything yet for the 28th.)

Now, the only thing is, the novel isn’t actually done. I don’t mean it’s not finished-finished, because no NaNo novel should ever be considered absolutely completed and polished (Oh, God, no)–I mean that the 50k mark is just past the middle of the story. So . . . I haven’t technically written the end yet.

I am the type of person who writes full-length first drafts. I can’t progress in a story if I don’t plot it like I would want the finished version to be! As such, I still have 30,000 words to write this coming December. I’m not stopping with these crazy-high NaNoWriMo goals (I actually wrote 5.1k yesterday–the highest daily WC I’ve gotten in YEARS!) but it’s not yet time for celebration! The Novel Is Not Yet Complete!

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 1.08.24 AM
chapter two: a summary in pictures

The next 30k will see my newest book to its completion, but it’s also the least-plotted section of the book. I have a lot of ideas but it could arguably be the messiest, jumbliest 30k ever. Just sayin’. And a lot of drama. A LOT of drama. To be fair, it’s an 80’s teen shitshow, so the drama levels were just inevitable.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 1.20.00 AM
remember when this album saved 2017 and matched my book so perfectly i cried, but my broke ass could only listen to it on iheartradio? me too

After that, I also have goals of writing the first draft of my BATB retelling sequel (which we shall call on this blog, HF), getting the first book (pseudonymously entitled AV) up to snuff in a big draft edit, and drafting/plotting two other novels that have either been written and need rewriting, or have been ideas bouncing around in my head too long for me to ignore. My (self-imposed) deadline for the complete, edited, polished, ready-for-querying Melancholia is April 1st, 2018. Just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo–and a new story. See what I did there?


(slightly late) nanowrimo midpoint check-in

(slightly late) nanowrimo midpoint check-in



I know, I know I deserve to be drawn and quartered. But I had no idea that when I got into NaNo, I GOT INTO NANO.

Honesty hour: I’ve never won. This is my fourth year participating, and it’s the best I’ve ever done. It’s just turned midnight, technically making this Day 22 at the time of writing this, and I’m currently at 38,450 words–over three thousand words ahead of schedule! (Except it’s past midnight now, so I’m technically less than that. But I havent written today, so fear not!) I plan on getting to 40k today, which will bring me back up ahead.

This story has been beastly fun to write, but there have been some bumps in the road. I’ve had a lot of days where I was out all day long, or where I had other writing obligations (editing my previous WIP!). I was literally up till 6 AM yesterday working on stuff that WASN’T NANO. But it was good stuff, so it’s not like I’m complaining, just that I’ve been thrown off schedule A LOT but I’m still managing to be ahead of the game??

It’s so unlike me, I KNOW if you told me what my output for November would be, I would have never believed you. Which brings me back to daily posts–see, I thought blogging was going to be my way of procrastinating. But here’s the kicker: I haven’t been procrastinating at all. To be honest, it’s way better this way. No posts for an empty blog, but a nearly-completed manuscript that will be ready for edits, polishing, and querying by my deadline of April 1st? GURL. This is way better. Who knew that could I work so well when I have a deadline! (In case you couldn’t tell, I’m still real shook about this.)

Plus–Melancholia is just a breeze of a book to write. Holly is such an easy MC, especially considering the antisocial jerks I usually write. This book was only plotted through the first 20%, with some plot beats for the middle and end in the abstract. I write really well with an overly-detailed outline, I’ve realized, so that’s definitely going to become a big part of my pre-writing process.

Usually I just sketch out plot points–a clear beginning with inciting incident, a fuzzy middle with a pretty basic shifting point, and a big finale, precluded by an “all hope is lost” moment. But it’s those little in-between moments, where you go from writing a big plot beat to writing the set-up for them, that I get really frustrated and lost. Having those figured out, too, saves MY ASS from a lot of tearful agony. Trust me, I have cried too many times trying to figure out how I will get my characters into position for the midpoint turn.

I’m learning from this NaNo that preparation, for me, is absolutely key. Preparation, holding myself to a deadline, and straight-up being fed-up serves me really well.

That, and this book has a pretty fabulous playlist. 

nanowrimo 2017

nanowrimo 2017

Nano-PixTeller-158618 (1)


melancholia in 1987 (that’s one work work workin title)
nanowrimo / spotify / tumblr

Who’s doing NaNoWriMo this year? It’s me sweety! I’m thinking I’ll try to do daily updates here (crossposting to tumblr, ofc) and reveal a bit on the story/set-up as time progresses. Be prepared for aesthetics, art, excerpts, background, and more from these posts!!

Post-nuclear fallout Jersey City. Dead starlets, neon lights, turf wars, radiation experiments, well-buried secrets, and a woman on a mission. There’s a lot more to the story than a dropped a-bomb, and Holly is about to find out.

This is the first year I’ll be working on an entirely new project since 2013. That… is WILD to me, but there we go. This book is inspired by a lot of things. My love for Nancy Drew, Marilyn Monroe, Fallout 4, and an upbringing surrounded by old movies and 50s music are just a few, but the biggest one was this old house I visited as a child. Now, it’s the basis for Mrs. Kim’s house.

When I was around four or five, my parents went house hunting. My mom grew up in Riverside, just outside downtown Jacksonville, and she wanted to move back there. Sadly for us, the houses had inflated exponentially since she’d moved to the beach. Basically, we were window shopping.

All the houses down there are beaaaautiful. My mom grew up in this gorgeous two-story brick house with a lovely yard and hydrangea bushes, dappled with magnolia trees and a huge live oak. We drive by it every time we’re down there, but as beautiful as her house is, the rest of the neighborhood is even nicer. We’re talkin houses in the millions, because they’re basically mansions sitting on the river.

One of the houses we were being shown was sold by owner–this odd little lady, really, but I don’t remember much else about her. But her house was gorgeous. It was plantation-style, on the corner, with tall columns on the porch, all painted white. The yard was empty, the grass dead from the summer heat, and the paint peeling. Basically, it was your typical fare for old houses in Florida.

The lady took us inside. If you’ve ever pictured a luxurious saloon modernized with some 1930’s features, imagine that. The walls were emerald and the curtains were burgundy and plum. The carpet was red. I don’t think this lady had ever seen a light fixture from later than the Great Depression, and it was dusty enough in there to think I’d been transported back to the dust bowl, Roosevelt era.

We went up the stairs, and honestly they’re what imprinted this place on my memory. On the steps were just junk, like the rest of the house. Papers and potted plants. At the landing there was a window, and it was one of the only windows not covered, so the sun shone down into the living room. I don’t know what it was about that house–it’s not so different from any other, looking back. But there was something about it I remember so vividly.  I’m sure some of the finer details engraved in my mind are fabricated. I was so young, and my idea of decorating and architecture was… not the best. But I knew weird when I saw it, and the feeling it evoked has left me picturing it in my mind’s eye for over fifteen years. I’ve always wanted something about that house, and now I’ve decided I’ll make it up myself.

Mrs. Kim, elderly ex-showgirl Korean immigrant, is MC Holly’s neighborhood friend who she visits every week. She lives in, you guessed it, a plantation-style two-story, cluttered with junk and plants and deep colors. Every wall is papered and every carpet is lined. The rooms have that inherent old smell, when the heat gets bad and the window unit is busted. But it’s cozy–Mrs. Kim makes it that way.

Most of the time, she and Holly sit around eating bibimbap, reading dime romance novels out loud, and listening to hits from the 40s. Mrs. Kim, despite her suffix, has never married, and her only daughter is long gone. She raised her daughter’s child, her only grandson, but he’s just like his mother. He never stays still.

It’s only natural Mrs. Kim would be lonesome after he hopped the fence three years ago and never came back. But Mrs. Kim and Holly’s friendly afternoons are soon going to be disrupted when he returns, and everything in the city has gone to pot.

october 2017 wrap-up

october 2017 wrap-up


o c t o b e r



the hero of ages by brandon sanderson (mistborn trilogy #3)


The third and final Mistborn book most definitely lived up to its predecessors. Other reviewers have said it, and I must echo them: I’ve never been so happy to be so fucking sad. I sobbed through the last 50~ pages of this book. One line, one action, had me go from “I know the spoilers, I’ll be fine” to a sobbing, blubbering mess. This was one moment where I legitimately broke down in tears. But somehow, Brandon Sanderson, you wily dog!! You made this ending fucking AMAZING. I was blown away at the intricacies of the plot, the careful planning that hearkened all the way back into the threads of book one. For my first foray into adult fantasy, this was a resounding SUCCESS and I can’t wait to make everybody read this (and watch them suffer).

howl’s moving castle by diana wynne jones


Which do I love more… book or movie? That is one tough question. It’s been a long time since I decided I needed to read the original text to one of my favorite Ghibli movies, and I can’t say I was disappointed! Howl’s Moving Castle was easy to read and super fun. It was wildly different from the movie, but this version made a hell of a lot more sense to me. I love both versions, and both are special.


the empire must die by mikhail zygar


full review

This is (another) Russian nonfic I’ve read recently, and I have to say, it was one of the best. What pushed this one that much above was the interview-esque approach to the presentation and the tie-in to modern politics. I wrote a whole review on it, but I loved it. Especially the epilogue. Seriously, I got chills when I read it.