Time Flies!: January 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Ah, January. In some ways, I can’t stand this month. It means winter – which also means cold, snow, ice, and other seasonal yuck. Can you blame me for counting down the days to spring? (49!!) But in other ways, January was a sigh of relief. After one of the most hectic Decembers I can remember, relaxing and returning to a slower, somewhat normal routine has never been more welcome.

Olaf impaled

I couldn’t resist an Olaf gif here. XD

Before I go much further – a quick word to anyone waiting for the next edition of the Character Evolution Files. It’s coming, I promise. Between three big blogging commitments last month (Chronicling The Craft, a guest post for WriteOnSisters, and my next DIY MFA article), I didn’t have time to start drafting File No. 6 until this past week. And when writing lengthy articles (which often have minds of their own) and juggling deadlines, sometimes you have to reshuffle your priorities.

So, yes. Character Evolution File No. 6 should post in mid-to-late February. Stay tuned for that as well as a call for character interview questions (Tuesday, February 2nd) and the blog’s first guest post (Tuesday, February 9th)! Oh, and the guest post I’m working on for WriteOnSisters? Ohhhhhh I can’t tell you how THRILLED I am about it. 😀

For now, let’s recap January’s happenings.

This Month’s Posts

Interviews, Guest Blogs, and Columns

Site Updates & News

I’ve added a Reads of the Month Index, which lists all of the books I’ve highlighted as a Read of the Month in past editions of Recent Reads. You’ll find this index under “Book Reviews” on the main menu.

January’s Gems from the Blogosphere

  1. “7 Basic Tips for Writing Better Dialogue” by Rebekah Hendrian (Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding)
  2. “7 Reasons to Write Short Stories” by Joanna Maciejewska
  3. “7 Ways to Re-Kindle Your Passion for Writing” by Leanne Sowul (DIY MFA)
  4. “Advice from a Slush Pile Reader” by Alex Hurst (Guest Post at WriteOnSisters)
  5. “The Haves and the Have-Nots: Surviving Writer Envy” by Heather Webb (Writer Unboxed)
  6. “How (and Why) to Write a Logline for Your Story” by Becca Puglisi (Writers Helping Writers)
  7. “How I Embraced Uncertainty to Pursue My Biggest Dreams” by Kaia Roman (MindBodyGreen)
  8. “Six Unrealistic Tropes and How to Avoid Them” by Oren Ashkenazi (Mythcreants)
  9. “Writing vs Editing: The Different Mindsets” by Victoria Grace Howell (Stori Tori’s Blog)
  10. “The Year of Resolve & The Hunt for the Holy Grail” by Sara Litchfield (Right Ink on the Wall)

Offline Happenings

DSCN0073_resized

Two friends brought me this bouquet of hydrangea, lilacs, white roses, and a lily for a dinner party. Beautiful!

January turned out to be a month of positive endings and beginnings. My parents’ move went fairly smoothly (thank you all for your well wishes, by the way!). They’re living in temporary housing while their new home on Cape Cod is being renovated. So, yes, they’ll have to move again in a few months… But they’re not living in a state of discombobulation like they were in December, so that’s good!

What else ended and began? Archery lessons are over, and that was great learning experience. I’ll share more in next month’s 5 on the 5th. 😉 I’ve also finally gone back to yoga! One of my best friends (I’ll call her Yoga Friend from now on) earned her yoga teaching certification last year, and I’ve been meaning to go to her classes for months. Now that I have… gosh, I never realized how much my body missed this kind of exercise.

The most exciting news, though? My best friend from high school (Doctor Friend) is getting married!! (Yay!!) And, she invited me to be one of her bridesmaids! (Double yay!) No date is set yet; the couple is still looking at venues. The ceremony will be a unique one, too; they’re both Vietnamese and planning to blend their culture with American wedding customs. So… Yeah. 😀 I’m honored to be a part of Doctor Friend’s special day, and I can’t wait to help in any way I can.

Jack Loves Weddings animated

Oh yes, Jack! Well, maybe not the drinks part so much…

Not much has changed with Draft #2 of The Keeper’s Curse since posting the new Chronicling The Craft on Tuesday. Unless you count the fact that I’m a few pages closer to the end – or the fact that TKC’s word count is now UNDER 115K!!! 😀

Last but not least: I officially registered for Writer’s Digest Conference 2016! So I’ll be back in NYC this August, and I already can’t wait. However, after talking to a couple writers who have pitching experience, I have decided to put off pitching TKC until 2017. Come WDC time, the manuscript won’t be close enough to “DONE” – and by “DONE,” I mean revised, edited, beta-read, etc etc. But on the plus side, I can focus on learning, networking, and enjoying myself without stressing about the Pitch Slam – and maybe work on my practice pitch some more.

Of Elderly Detectives and Talking Apes (Movie-Related Thoughts)

I saw two month this past month, and the first one was “Mr. Holmes.” This was a charming, refreshing take on (who else?) Sherlock Holmes. Here, Holmes is long-retired at age 93 and struggling to recall the details of his final case – a task made more challenging by the onset of dementia. Sir Ian McKellan was a delight as Holmes, portraying him with his legendary sharp eye and an endearing curmudgeonliness. Milo Parker was adorable as Roger Munro, the sweet, curious son of Holmes’ housekeeper who tries to help Holmes remember why he gave up detective work for good. This isn’t the super-sleuthing dazzle you’ll find in Robert Downey Jr.’s films or the TV shows featuring Benedict Cumberbath or Jonny Lee Miller. Instead, it’s a thoughtful character study on one of fiction’s greatest detectives as he grapples with mortality.

Also, you might remember that a few months ago I was going ape over “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the second film in the Planet of the Apes reboot series. Well, I finally saw the first film, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and I enjoyed that, too! It focuses on Caesar’s (Andy Serkis) youth, from his early signs of increased intelligence, to his separate from his owner / father figure Will (James Franco), and then his escape from captivity and leading an ape revolution. It’s more playful than “Dawn” while humanizing the simian characters, and Andy Serkis is nothing short of amazing. (He IS the King of Motion Capture, after all.) I think “Dawn” is still my favorite of the two, because of Caesar’s character arc and the themes explored. But “Rise” merely confirms that I absolutely HAVE to see the final film “War of the Planet of the Apes” on its opening weekend next year.

Song of the Month: “Deceiver” by Stream of Passion 

I’ve been revisiting albums by a number of bands lately, and one such band is Stream of Passion. If you’re familiar with Within Temptation and Evanescence, Stream of Passion is the “happy medium.” They use a string quartet or violin and cello soloists, not a full-blown orchestra with choirs; and they focus more on the “metal” aspects of their music, creating a sound that’s lush, dynamic, and undeniably unique. I’m considering doing an Ode To… post of their music in the future – once I take care of another Ode I’ve had in mind for a while. 😉 For now, here’s “Deceiver” from Stream of Passion’s first album Embrace the Storm.

How Quickly Does Time Fly?

Did you know that 2016 is a Leap Year? This means that the next Time Flies is scheduled to post on Monday, February 29th! 😉 Have a great month, everyone!

26 thoughts on “Time Flies!: January 2016

  1. Well January may be your least favourite month, Sara – but my word, didn’t you manage to pack a lot into it?? I’m listening to Stream of Passion as I’m typing – a lovely moody feel and I can also hear the similarity to Evanescence – she has a deeper, earthier voice which gives a difference vibe to the songs. Lovely though – many thanks for the recommendation:).

    Liked by 1 person

    • It honestly doesn’t seem like a lot to me… at least, not in comparison to November or December. Maybe it’s because I feel much more relaxed today than I did at the end of December, when I was utterly exhausted.

      Isn’t Marcela’s voice stunning? There’s something hypnotic about it that creates a unique atmosphere. It’s one of my favorite things about SoP’s music. 🙂 Also, I don’t think I mentioned this in the post, but Marcela is Mexican, and she often incorporates Spanish lyrics into SoP’s songs.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sara, Thanks for the shout out, and for linking to Alex’s awesome post. : ) We can’t wait to have you on the blog in February. I just love your topic.
    You sure had a huge month, with fantastic progress on the novel. Keep at it, you’re almost there.
    I’ve been meaning to watch Mr. Holmes. I’m happy to see you liked it, makes me all the more excited to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know it was Leap year. 🙂
    Wow congrats on getting TKC into such great shape, reducing word count and revising! If you need some pitch practice, I’d like to help out. 🙂
    I’m glad your parents are doing well with their move and that most of that stress is over for them (and you).
    I am SO looking forward to Spring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was rather spring-like yesterday! At least it was in MA. I think it was almost 60 degrees where I live. How about you?

      Thanks very much, Elizabeth. I should say I’m excited about closing in on the end… But I’m also so excited about the chapter I’ll start revising this weekend, it’s giving me goosebumps! 😀

      I might have to take you up on that “pitching practice” via email. Not yet, because I haven’t looked at the pitch in a while. But once I’m ready, I’ll let you know. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Right now it’s Chapter 30, out of a total of 34 chapters. I finished revising it yesterday, so I’m kind of freaking out that I only have four chapters left in this round! *tries to stay calm*

        40 or 50 degrees would be lovely right about now. Then we’d be getting rain instead of snow. :S

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eeeeeee, are you finished?! You must be finished now, or even closer, right? That’s so exciting!!! You need to celebrate once you do!
        Can you believe all that snow we just got? Ugh. Here I was thinking blissfully that spring was near.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh gosh, I’m not that fast a writer / editor! *lol* I’ll start Chapter 31 on Saturday. My weekday schedule doesn’t allow for much novel time (if any), so that’s one of the reasons why my process goes on so long.

        But yes, I’ll celebrate once I finish this draft. 😉 Not sure how yet, but I’ve got time to figure that out!

        “Ugh” is right. How much snow did you get from the past couple storms? I think we have close to 1 ft here.

        Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* It’s weird, though, because it doesn’t feel like a lot is going on. At least, not in comparison to November and December, when I was preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas, crazy-busy at work, and helping out with my parents’ move.

      You’re welcome! It was a great article that was worth sharing. 🙂

      Yes, archery was a lot of fun. I’ve actually got a post about it coming up on Friday, if you’re interested. 😉

      Like

  4. It sounds like you had a good month! I’m glad the move went well. I really need to see Mr. Holmes, but I did see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis is amazing as always. And it’s the one movie I actually like James Franco in. XD Exciting about a writers conference! I’m planning on going to a writers conference in Philadelphia in the summer. ^ ^ Have a great February!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww, thanks for the mention 🙂
    I want to see Mr. Holmes, but I haven’t yet (though I did go see the BBC Sherlock special, which was entirely different!)
    I’m glad you had a more relaxing month. December is always so hectic for a lot of people (myself included). And hey, that’s one upside to bad weather: as long as you don’t have to drive in it, it forces you to take a break!

    I like Stream of Passion a lot, but I haven’t listened to them in a bit . . . hmm. Other than the continuing Kpop binge, I’ve been remembering how much I love the depressing masterpiece of a musical – Miss Saigon. It is incredibly sad, but man is it gorgeous. Actually, I’ve been on a musical kick in general (Hong Kwang Ho is totally to blame) It’s funny how music taste is cyclical. I never stop liking a certain type of music, I just don’t always listen to as much of one or the other 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I enjoyed the article, so I wanted to include in this month’s batch of Gems. 🙂

      Yes, well, it’s good when bad weather forces you to take a break – until the power goes out. That happened here today. :S I’m actually at my parents’ rental condo tonight so I have someplace warm to sleep tonight. So it turned out to be a somewhat disrupted day… But I’m thankful to be where I am right now.

      I’ve actually never seen Miss Saigon… *runs away* It’s kind of embarrassing, the amount of well-known movies I’ve yet to watch.

      Like

  6. Pingback: Time Flies!: March 2016 | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  7. Pingback: What’s Making Me Happy: July 2017 | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

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