What’s Up Wednesday #7

Castle Button (Final)What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime’s post. We really hope you will take part!

What I’ve Been Reading:

I finished Siege and Storm more than a fortnight ago, and daren’t pick up the sequel. I enjoyed Siege far more than Shadow and Bone, and am scared that I’m going to be disappointed. Has anyone read the last one?

Current reads: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. There’s a lot of hype around this book, and while I’m only a third of the way in, I can see why. Love Mare’s voice, and a hierarchy dictated by blood. So cool! Fated by Sarah Alderson was pushed onto me by a keen student, who has devoured all but the whole school library—plus most of my personal YA collection. I’m only on chapter five, but definitely enjoying the sassy dialogue.

What I’m Writing:

Still in the revision cave. On with Susan Dennard’s lesson three—Dreaming Up the Perfect Book—and actually wrote a synopsis for Soulbound which came in just under 500 words. I’d imagined myself wading through the quagmire that is the unfamiliar territory of revisions, but I’m actually doing quite well. Yeah, I would be totally lost without Susan’s articles.

What Works For Me:

Keeping the house clean and tidy. I am into moderate minimalism in a big way, and am constantly purging our stuff. To some people our house is kind of bare, but that’s how we like it. However, with the day job, writing, and trying to plan the wedding, I was constantly playing catch up on housework.

A fortnight ago I resolved to make more of an effort to keep on top of things—and even spending just a few extra minutes a day picking up the house and spot cleaning has really helped to maintain the house.

The state of my surroundings is intrinsically connected to my ability to create, and as soon as I got back on top of the house, I was ready to refocus and tackle Soulbound revisions again after stalling for a little while.

What Else Is New:

On Saturday, I tried on my wedding dress for the first time. If possible, this dress was even more beautiful than the sample. My dress isn’t at all what I’d envisioned myself in, but it’s infinitely more stunning. Super cliche, but I feel like a princess in it. Two more fittings to go before the big day!

We scored some free IKEA Expedit shelving that some neighbours from upstairs were tossing. We’d been looking at buying some for our study anyway, so great timing! Grey gloss isn’t what we’d have chosen, but it works for now—and they fit our awkward space beautifully. I’ll share pictures when I do my writing space tour next month.

What’s Up Wednesday #6

What I’ve Been Reading:

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper, a wholly original YA historical about sea witches and the magic they use to protect the whaling community of Prince Island. Gorgeous, lyrical writing, fantastic world-building, heart-stopping romance, this book had it all. I’ve pre-ordered the prequel, Drift & Dagger.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon was choked down in one sitting. Oh my goodness, it was astonishing! The hangover is still holding strong. It will be a long wait until the next one. Oh, Warden. I miss you already.

Right now I’m almost halfway into Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo. And I have to say it, Sturmhond is a total legend.

What I’m Writing:

I’m revising Soulbound. Susan Dennard’s Revising Your Novel series is my bible as I trudge through this new territory. I am finishing up with lesson one—finding out the heck I wrote—and actually feel like I can do this. Journaling my way through this is taking a lot of pressure off. Another tip I got from Susan Dennard. She is a genius—and that’s why she won three awards in the “Best Writing Blogs” for 2014.

What Works For Me:

Dragging myself out of bed early to work on my book, before I head off to the day job. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination—in college, I stayed up until at least 2 a.m. every morning—but changing my sleep schedule to allow me to get out of bed at 5 a.m. and still be able to function at the day job has actually changed my life. I used to think writers who woke up so early were crazy. But I am all but brain dead when I get home from the day job, so writing before work was the only option. I made it work. I relish those early mornings now—it’s when I do my best writing.

What Else Is New:

Neil turned thirty a couple of weeks ago—and bought himself a PS4. I’ve barely seen him since. He’s addicted, and now has no ground to stand on when it comes to mocking my obsession with The Sims 4.

My brother leaves for RAF training next week. I’m so proud of him. I really think this will be the making of him.