Creative noise, priorities, and unexpected God things.

 

Sigh. So God has been doing a lot of interesting things in my life lately. Did I tell you I went on vacation for two weeks? It was an international trip, and I was loathe to lose my laptop in airport security somehow, so I left it behind. Being so detached from the internet and media and all my creative outlets really made me aware of how peaceful it was to be without those things.

Coming back made me realize how noisy, how hectic, how nearly frantic my mind had become.

A long time ago God really began to speak to me about creativity, how He gives us natural talents, and that honing them honors Him; that He is very much a creator and that our creativity reflects and glorifies Him. I loved that as a writer, I could do what I did, and worship God with my talents in that way. But I always longed to honor Him in a more direct way with my creativity. I never felt like I knew what that outlet was. I just knew I was looking for it.

But back to creativity honoring God. Since I always felt that, I always believed, too, that creativity came from God. Certainly, you could say con men are creative, and so are spouses who cheat on one another, and so are manipulators and liars who never get caught. The Bible talks about how humanity has an enemy who will do anything to take the things God created for good and pervert them to the bad. But that God is constantly reclaiming what the devil has stolen and redeeming what the devil has destroyed.

So I knew that, too.

Fast forward. For a while now, I’ve sensed God trying to teach me a tricky concept. It goes something like this: the gift of creativity is from God, but creativity can become a distraction, a noisiness, if you let it.

My life has been noisy. Too noisy. I was staying up late, writing. My mind was churning out video ideas endlessly, and it was distressing, to wade through every one. Every problem or thought or interesting thing I saw instantly became, in my  head, an idea, that I had to either create or feel regretful about losing.

Coming home after vacation, for a few brief days, I hated the thought of getting on my laptop. I knew if I got on that the fuzziness would fill my mind again. It was never satisfying, to pore through Youtube videos and Pinterest boards, not the kind of deep satisfaction that lasts through a night and a day. I was sick of it.

So, you guys, I’ve been taking a step back. God is clearly doing something here. My priorities have been shifting. On one hand, I know God is prodding me to cut out the creative noise that has been distracting me from Him, and on the other hand, I see him maturing my creative skills, so that when it comes time to get a job in my field of education — and that time is coming very soon — I’ll be ready to handle it.

Even my writing, which for years has been a mainstay, I sense God shifting about, pushing out here, pulling back there, changing priorities for whatever move He has in mind next. For now, I am taking a break from the world of YA. Not from SHUTTERBUG — I haven’t sensed God asking me to do that. But the networking, the discussions on whitewashing and grittiness and which debut author is getting all the publicity at the moment? That, I’m taking a break from. And if I’m being honest, it’s a big relief. It feels like I know the industry inside and out, and I don’t always agree with its values.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Let me share this quote by the amazing C.S. Lewis. (Chronicles of Narnia, remember?)

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?

The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Oh, you guys. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I knew the shape of the house God was building, only to find myself scraped down to the foundation and rebuilt from scratch. It is a bewildering process at times. And then I remind myself that God did create us and sacrifice so much to be in relationship with us just so that we could have a quiet, happy little life. He calls us to a radical life full of battles and victories and purpose.

* * *

So all this is happening — and then I look back on my previous announcement, made only a month ago, about challenging myself to creating more multimedia and to focusing on creativity on Saturdays. Guys? That might have to change. I don’t know if it will get scrapped. I don’t know if it will simply shift gears to fit whatever God is doing in my life right now. But I took a step of faith, making that post, and now God is taking that step and using it to take me in a new direction.

(Let me just say how much I HATE it when I announce something on the blog, and then turn right around and change it. Blogging makes you feel like the biggest flake sometimes, because everything you say takes on a whole new weight. Everything is heavy with accountability. But God is doing an unexpected God thing, and that post simply doesn’t line up with it. So. Change the plans shall.)

That’s really all I have to say. Perhaps that is a lot more of hearing me talk about God than you guys are used to. And perhaps you’re rolling your eyes at the irony of my announcement/taking-back-my-announcement announcement. Or maybe you’re used to it.
God does unexpected things. Scary as they are…they’re also exciting.

And that, finally, is where I want to leave things. What will happen next around here? I don’t know. I’m hopeful…I’m excited to find out.

Yours truly,
-Creative A

Winter is Coming

Going for a walk in the cool, the wild
River a crisp, laughing child
Trees weeping golden tears
They see this coming every year

Winter is coming, but
Fall is here

Cold as the bone of a castle’s keep
Down in the dark, where the flowers sleep
And further still, the earth twists round
Fall bites her lip. Her limbs are bound.

Don’t weep. Don’t weep. Time will keep
You nestled in her heart.

The moon exhales, softly, ah
As snow drifts down from the prickling stars
Even now, it’s drawing near.
Winter is coming–
It’s almost here–

How easily deer startle at the sound
Of winter, choking the river down
And Fall, dear Fall, how silently
She acquiesced the battleground

I feel this keenly; the setting sun
The wood is hollow
Winter has come.

 

© Amanda Smith, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Please do not copy or reproduce without permission.

Creative Saturdays: Announcing the Multimedia Challenge

Hello world!

I’ve got two announcements today, and they’re both in the title of this post, but neither is terribly self-explanatory, sooo…

Announcement number one! I’m starting a new blog series. A possibly/hopefully more REALISTIC blog series. Saturdays are typically the first opportunity I’ll have had this week to be creative. That includes blogging, along with a bunch of other stuff I do–from web design to writing to cooking to crafting. So I wanted to try and use Saturdays to sort of talk about whatever I’ve been working on that particular Saturday, or in the past week. I might share results: I might say, man, I’m being so lazy right now, but I really want to work on X. But at the very least I’ll be discussing something.

I’m excited about this! Because I’ve had a really hard time blogging lately. I have thought of blog-worthy topics. I have done blog-worthy stuff. I have even started writing the posts. I have even FINISHED writing the posts BUT NOT POSTED THEM because I finished the post at midnight, and does that paragraph need editing? Yes? No? I’m too bleary-brained to tell, and then the post gets lost in the rest of my busy week.

I’m thinking this new blog series will help with some of that, making the posts more immediate and the content more relevant 🙂

Announcement number two! And this one is a tad more self-explanatory. I’m starting a challenge–the Multimedia Challenge–which I am super darn flippity excited about, BECAUSE, it means doing more of the projects I always want to do but feel too nervous/out of the game/uncertain to do.

My self-imposed rules of the multimedia challenge are these: Once a month I’m going to pick a concept, like a video or a photoshoot or an Illustrator design, and I’m going to create it. Fiction is not the focus here. The focus is taking some of the stories in my head, the ones that don’t work so well in fiction, and getting them out–into a video, a themed photoshoot, a crazy illustration. Getting. Them. OUT.

Because stories will drive you crazy, have you ever noticed that? Have you ever lain awake at night staring at the ceiling, utterly unable to sleep because you have not created the thing that is plaguing your waking moments? They’re fantastic and awful and rather excruciating if you don’t get them down somehow.

Last spring (!!!) I created a short film for my video class, my first true narrative short film ever. And it was incredible. It was super tricky and stressful in a lot of ways, and I also over-reached myself a bit: I still can’t post the thing, because of all the special effects it requires, and how slow my computer is. Le sigh/rawr. But I loooooooved shooting the film. I realized how many other films I could shoot. I was ready. I wanted to go. Nothing could stop me.

I haven’t shot a single film since.

And guys…this makes me really sad. I loved it. I forced myself to continue working on the special effects to that film before giving myself any new projects (which was wise.) But, eventually, that became less effective. I realized I needed to give myself room to make these projects AND share them. I also realized that portfolios don’t create themselves. I need practice. Photography? Illustration? Not my strongest suits. If I want to start making stuff, it has to happen now.

The challenge started today. I wasn’t prepared to shoot the video I (wanted) to film, so I did a photoshoot idea that’s been niggling at me instead.

The challenge: dramatic themed photoshoot, all self-portraits.
The theme: a welder’s mask I picked up in Delaware. (For five bucks. The propmaster within me says win.)
The location: a stand of sumacs.
The results…

IMG_8959

IMG_9221

IMG_9083

IMG_9132

IMG_8952

hashtag dramatic face. Cough cough.

IMG_9066

I’m like 75% really proud of this and 25% percent objectively critical, but then if I think about it suddenly I’m 100% percent dreeping embarrassed. Eeeep. Be gentle!

Truly and always and multimedia crazy,
-Mandy

I’m on my way, I’m on…

Hey. I am in the middle of WRITING, so this will be brief. I just wanted to pop in and share the song that’s been playing in the back of my head all day. It’s a beautiful, brief song, just aching at the seams with yearning and regret and trying. Right now I’m writing the chapters where my MCs Mirelle and Toby are finally together and gah, it’s so painful and happy and sweet.

*Note that I wrote those chapters already. I didn’t like them. Instead of being painful and happy-crush and sweet, they were all, awkward and angry and tense. So I scrapped them (mostly) and am starting over (mostly) and am writing in these delicious little blobs that mean I daydream about Shutterbug all day at work, and come home to write at night. Which is slow. But working.

//End novel update. Back to the song. If you need something to just shut your eyes and listen to, and possibly even shake new emotion loose, this is the one.

 

My tears are becoming the sea, lyrics

I’m slowly drifting to
You

The stars and the planets
Are calling me

A billion years away
From you

I’m on my way
I’m on…
I’m on…

Recent Reads, (belated) August Edition

Hello world! And welcome to another round of, “let’s play catchup, shall we?”

I’m FINALLY getting around to all those posts I had planned / half-written. One of them had to do with two of my favorite subjects. Books! And reading! So many yays.

 

So here’s what I’ve read since the last recent reads:

 

Blog---August

And here’s the breakdown.

 

Series I’m in the Midst Of:

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, Gallagher Girls #5

The Titans Curse by Rick Roirdan, Percy Jackson And the Olympians #3

These were both fun reads, but at the same time, I realized I’m starting to plow through these series less for the book I’m reading at the moment, and more for the drama of the series that I’m hoping to absorb simply by reading it. If that makes sense. There are a crazy set of fans for the Percy Jackson series, and I know a big part of my motivation is to try and get a little bit of what they have when reading it.

So basically I realized that I need to slow down and start absorbing these series more, devouring less. I think I might set them both aside for a while and pick up later when I’m able to enjoy them more 🙂

 

Books With Buzz & First Books in a Series:

 

The Archived by Victoria Schwab, The Archived #1

Pivot Point by Kasie West, Pivot Point #1

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, Psi Chronicles #1

I can’t believe I finally read these! I feel very, very belated about it, but am so excited to have finally checked out for myself what everyone else was raving about.

And I can say it was well-deserved. The Archived was certainly unique and interesting. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t devour it so quickly (yes, this is an issue with me.) I’m not a big fan of any kind of ghost story, and I don’t like creepy, but I did enjoy this. Am waffling just a teensy bit about whether to follow this series or not (like a lot of other people, I have series burnout right now.) But at this point I definitely plan on giving book #2, The Unbound, a try.

As for Pivot Point–holy bleeping goodness! I was so glad I gave this one a shot. Sometimes a book is good, and sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s rave-worthy. I’m not sure what it was about Pivot Point, but I just LOVED it. The main character was likeable (even if her falling for mr. superpower guy was annoying) (but that gets explained in a REALLY satisfying way later.) I loved mr. normal guy and her relationship with him. I loved the concept, and especially how that concept was explored and how you see it breaking down to everyday life, and holy smokes, the way the two storylines began entangling together and finally resolving just kept the tension amping up and up until that twist at the end–which I was not expecting at all. Except I had the deliciously horrible uneasy sensation that something was wrong. I was missing something. And I was right.

Great book, and am definitely on board for the sequel. I want to see how Cassie can manage to recapture the life she had explored with her abilities and see how all the new elements play out.

As for Freakling, I loved the premise for this MG, and loved the book even more. The concept was really well explored and I found myself seeing little hints of Enders Game mixed with The Unwanteds, but somehow better than that combination might sound. It was fun and very mature without being too dark or intense, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a series though? I’m not sure. It read very much like a stand-alone, and I’m curious but a bit hesitant as to how the author could continue the premise through the series, given how it ended. Definitely plan on checking book #2 out, uncertain how I will feel about it.

 

Last But Not Least:

 

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lottery by Patricia Wood

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

 

 

So, I was excited to read Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal because she is one of the amazing Writing Excuses podcasters. I’ll be honest. I love those guys. I’ve been waiting for them all to get published books in genres I enjoyed, and it’s finally happening — Dan Wells has Partials and the sequel Fragments, Brandon Sanderson now has a YA sf/fantasy coming out that sound AWESOME (it’s called Steelheart and it involves normal humans banding together to fight superpower villains. What!!!) So. Yes. Anyway. Shades of Milk and Honey. I quite enjoyed it although, as a rabid Pride & Prejudice fan, I have to admit I was comparing nearly every plot movement to the original story. Am planning to read the continuing books in the series and am hoping for more shenanigans 🙂

 

Lottery by Patricia Wood — What a cute story! I picked this up because the author got published around the time I was very active on Absolute Write, and she was an active member as well. Plus I’m a sucker for any kind of developmental disabilities or learning impairment stories. And Lottery did not disappoint. I admit, I really hoped his relatives would get their just end, and not a single cent of his money. But despite all the ups and downs, it had an excellent ending and I was so proud of him by the end. Definitely worth the read (despite some sexual language and scenes and a bit of swearing, which I could have done without.) If you haven’t given it a try and you don’t mind skimming the rated parts, it’s a fantastic story 🙂

 

As for Ice by Sarah Beth Durst — I’d heard this is one of the best East of Sun, West of Moon and Tam Lin retelling out there. But Sarah Beth Durst is such a hit or miss for me. I LOVED her Drink, Slay, Love and I enjoyed Vessel, but found myself pretty disappointed in Enchanted Ivy and now in Ice. Her voice is so different from book to book, and Ice didn’t have the maturity of writing style I had honestly expected. Durst has another YA coming out soon, Conjured, so hopefully this will be another one to love.

 

In conclusion! I had a pretty decent reading month. Not as exciting as I’d hoped, since I really only felt Pivot Point and Freakling were rave worthy, and I had been hoping for multiple raves this month. But I definitely enjoyed the books I read, and it was GREAT to have something to read when I got home after those long days at work.

Well. Phew. That was my belated reading in August. A lot of new books come out this month, so hopefully/maybe I’ll have a really exciting Recent Reads for you in a few weeks.

What have you guys read recently?

Truly and always!

-Mandy

 

Why no one comments anymore

The other day, when a friend tweeted a link to her newest blog post, my urge was to respond right there on twitter, knowing I never feel like commenting on blogs anymore. And that stopped me. Because a comment is a comment, right? And yet it was so much easier to comment via twitter than her blog.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, because bloggers have been complaining for a while now about the dearth of comments. Certain blogs seem to do okay, like Nathan Bransford’s blog, and the Pub Crawl ladies, but most suffer the same thing. Even on my own blog I’ve noticed people will often click “like” over posting a comment.

So of course everyone is wondering why. Yeah, it’s a pain, but didn’t it always used to be a pain? Even more so at one point, when you had to fill out all the captcha boxes that would fail to load properly and complicate it further.

But I think back then, when I examine my own behavior, I was more hungry to be heard. I had Important Thoughts and I wanted to share them. Also, I admired other authors more, craved their interaction more. Building my readership and networking with other bloggers was a lot more vital to me than it is now. At least, it felt more vital.

Now I’ve chilled out a bit. Readers come with time, I realize, and since I’m blogging more about the things I enjoy, the emphasis is off getting other people’s responses–I already know I liked what I blogged about. The right folks will, too.

And I think we were all more hungry back then. Blogging peaked, what, five years ago? Three? The whole thing had exploded. We were all eager to jump on the exciting new thing that was happening. Publishers were encouraging authors to blog and start blogs, and starting to dump more of the promotion responsibilities on authors.

Now…I think we’ve all chilled out a bit, not just me. People realized they didn’t like blogging. Or that too much blogging made them burn out. Tons of people burned out. People realized it was easier to tweet 160 characters or less than blog 800 words or less.

Those are my thoughts, but what about you guys? Feel free to comment. Or not 🙂 But for those of you brave adventure types who dare to comment anyway…what motivated you to do it?

Mandy out!

How to Use Absolute Write

 

 

Back when I was a fresh little nooblet of a novelist, and the publishing world was an enormous mystery I couldn’t figure out how to unlock, I stumbled upon Absolute Write. It was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me at that time. It educated me, honed me, tapped me into a community of many other intelligent writers, gave me a kick in the butt and a fond farewell, and sent me on my way.In fact, you will hear a lot of writers mention Absolute Write, but for those not in the know, it can feel mysterious and confusing.

So here’s the dish.

The Absolute Write Water cooler, often shortened to Absolute Write (or just AW,) is a group of web forums dedicated to everything writing and publishing. The layout can be a bit intimidating at first, but there are a couple of important boards that will really help you navigate your way around:

The Basic Writing and Novel boards, where you can discuss almost anything about how to write, such as plot and character, while the novel board focuses a little more on novel-related writing topics, such as the three-act structure, climaxes, etc.

Then under the AW Writing Lab is one of my favorite sections — the Share Your Work (or SYW) boards. These require a password (vist) which is always kept in the description. These boards are wonderful–broken up by genre, you can post sections of any work, whether it be in progress or ready for betas, and get critical feedback. Best of all? They have a Query Letter Hell board–which is where you can get crits on your query letters! Utterly invaluable.

An unspoken rule of etiquette is to crit at least a handful of other people’s works. People respect this a lot, so if they see you asked for crits but not giving any, they might skip critting yours in favor of someone more friendly. So keep that in mind.

Then there’s the Blogging & Social Networking board, where you can network with other bloggers, announce when you’ve started a new blog, and in the Did You Update Your Blog Today? thread, you can post links to your current blog posts and find links to other writer’s blogs. (This one is a huge resource!)

Finally, there’s the Beta Readers forum, where you can find people looking for betas or crit partners, post your own beta reader request, or discuss the beta experience. (Another huge resource!)

And to use the old adage, that’s just scratching the surface.

 

* * *

 

However. People tend to have polarized feelings about Absolute Write. Some will rave and rave about it’s helpfulness and how awesome the community is, which is true. But others will say they don’t use Absolute Write anymore, and will admit, in a way that makes you wonder if there’s more to the story, that Absolute Write has it’s issues.

And this is true as well. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, so in my next post, I want to talk about the pros and cons of Absolute Write, and explain a little better how to use this resource the way that’s best for you.

 

Until then!

 

truly and always,

-Mandy

 

 

 

Recent Reads, July Edition

 

 

Hello lovelies.

So I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to read in massive spurts. I will order 4-6 books from the library, devour them in about a week and a half, immediately order more, and devour those as soon as they arrive. I’ll repeat that, oh…say four times, over the course of two or three months. Which means about twenty books or more in that three month time period.

And then I will stop for a while *

But the stopping is IRRELEVANT because right now I am in the middle of a surge and, oh look, books!

Series I’m in the midst of:

Endlessly, Paranormalcy #3

Don’t Judge a Girl by her Cover, Gallagher Girl’s #3

Only the Good Spy Young, Gallagher Girls #4

So a while back I got into the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter when I saw the title of the then-newest book in the series, Out of Sight, Out of Time, and read that it involved amnesia. Amnesia! I thought. My favorite. Also, friends of mine, namely Chandler Craig, had been raving about the Gallagher Girls for a while. So anyway I gave it a try. I got hooked on the series, but I’ve always been reading with that goal in mind of getting to the elusive fifth book with amnesia…and now I’m finally there! The next one I read will be it! I’m excited, because the series has been sweet but a bit light up until now, and only in the last two books has it really started darkening up a bit. I’m liking the heightened tension and stakes, and I can’t wait to read the fifth in the series. *Cue dramatic music*

Then there’s Endlessly.

So I’m ashamed to admit that when the Paranormalcy series first came out, I sort of shuffled my feet and decided I didn’t feel like it. I was tired of paranormal. And paranormal was right in the title. But the covers were pretty…So I watched how the series developed, and decided I might give it a try. Eventually. Maybe. Perhaps.

Sometime last winter I finally gave Paranormalcy a try–and I loved it. Early this spring I read Supernaturally, the sequel, and was a little less enthusiastic. So I was nervous, about the final installment of the trilogy. Would it be meh, would it be angry-making, would it be anything as good as the first? Then I read Endlessly and realized all my fears were unfounded. It recaptured the magic of the series and kicked it up a major notch. I was very excited.

Books That Were/Are Big (and I read them, yay!)
(if belatedly, boo–)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Different Girl by Gorden Dahlquist

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

And I have to say guys, these books were well worth the read. Eleanor & Park reminded me quite a lot of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, in that it was honest and real and sweet–but also challenging, and sometimes gritty; sometimes gritty to the point that it lessened my enjoyment of it. However, it was every bit as awesome as everyone said it would be. Definitely lived up to the hype.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir felt like a tad bit of a let down; the cover was just so beautiful, that I found myself hoping for a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. While Timeless was fun and easy to read–it reminded me quite a lot of Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz, and Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard–it didn’t have the intensely complex feel I like in time travels. So I think expectations spoiled this one for me.

The Different Girl, however, was a real fun surprise. I wasn’t going to read it. Like at all. I thought it looked like a creepy dystopian, but then I read a few reviews by people who had also thought it would be a creepy dystopian, and said they were disappointed, and I thought, hmm…so I read the sample pages available online. And sat up. And paid attention. Because I was hooked. I reviewed this book, somewhat, on my Goodreads, but basically it was a lot quieter and more intriguing than I had thought–it reminded me a lot of Melody Burning by Whitely Strieber in the sense that it was different, and a bit quiet, but very intense in it’s way.

As for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making? Out of the fourty two books I’ve read so far this year, it was one of only eight that I rated a full five stars.

I LOVED it.

It was everything everyone said it would be. More. It was the Alice in Wonderland I had always wanted to read, without being as weird or creepy, and the ending was fantastic, and everything about it was fantastic. I’m desperate for the sequel. Enough said.

Then we have A Long, Long Sleep which, like The Different Girl, I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to read. Initially it looked intriguing. A while ago I ordered it from the library in one of my sprees…read the first two chapters…and thought to myself, shoot. I know exactly how this is going to go. And put it down in frustration. But then, because I am stubborn sometimes, especially with books with pretty covers, I ordered it again, and this time I skipped ahead. And got hooked. And went back and read up to where I was. And phew, boy guys, I am sooooo glad I gave this the second chance. I’m not sure what it was about chapter two that had turned me off initially, but once I got past it, I loved everything I read.

A Long Long Sleep is actually a sci-fi adaption of the fairytale Sleeping Beauty, and I loved how this translated to a girl who gets lost in cryo for sixty years. One of my current WIPs is a cry story–TES, if you were keeping track–so it was a lot of fun to compare notes, and also, the book was an excellent read. I really wish it had gotten more attention than it did when it came out, because it’s so well written.

Bottom line: I was so excited to finally read so many of the books that had been lingering on my TBR list, and that I enjoyed them so much!

 

Last but not least:

Each library book run, I tend to include at least one book by Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, Sarah Beth Durst, or one of the books from each of the series I’m currently catching up on (Gallagher Girls, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, and Jackson Pearce’s Fairytale Retellings series.) That way I know I’ll have at least one or two really awesome books per reading splurge.

My obsession with McKinley is the sole responsibility of her novel, Pegasus. I’m sure my obsession with Pegasus will end at some point. Maybe when she finishes the series. Who knows. Whatever. Until then, I have been slaking my McKinley-obsession by reading her backlog of previous works, and yay for me, she has a lot of good stuff to read. So far I’ve dug into some of her most popular stuff–I read Sunshine (thumbs up, it a bit creepy) and Chalice (had no idea what was going on in that story!) and The Blue Sword (hmm) and I’m also reading her online serial novel, Kes. So I thought it was about time I got into her fairytale retellings.

Spindle’s End was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (which I guess means I read two such retellings–this, and A Long, Long Sleep in one month. By accident! Hah!) (But both were very different, so.) It was a lot of fun. It read like the non-Disney version that feels much closer to how the original story might have been. I liked it a lot, and it’s been a while since I last read any McKinley, so I’m back to having my obsession slaked for a little while.
(I’m not really obsessed.)

(Sort of maybe kinda.)

(COUGH)

So! I’m already halfway through my goal of 80+ books to read, this year.

This is great considering I haven’t been including re-reads, which would have added about 15 books or so. And I’m very excited to be close to a Barnes & Noble again which (hopefully) means I can keep up with reading the new YA releases instead of twiddling my thumbs and waiting for a library to get them in, or preordering them on my starving-student income.

Yays all around.

What have you guys been reading?

Also, afterthought: I’ve been extremely busy with the new job, and because it’s physical labor, I’ve been pretty beat afterwards. So I haven’t had much energy for blogging despite having things worth blogging about. But I’ve got a couple posts lined up, including another weekly Pinspiration, an author interview (!) and another Making Up Meals style foodie post (but with desserts, not meals. NOM.) (And PICTURES. Nom nom nom.)

So as soon as I get a weekend to myself, there should be more blog things occurring. Hopefully.

So double yay!

 

truly and always,

-Mandy

*Were you guys waiting for me to explain why I stop reading? I thought I’d save that for another time. Because, I know, the intricaciesof my reading habits are sooooooo fascinating. Ahem ahem.