30 Nov 2012


NaNoWriMo winner? Oh, yes. Hi. Yes, that's me.

Yep. I just completed my first NaNoWriMo and I feel pretty awesome.
And not just because I was down over 7k words and caught up to them today.

No, I'm super stoked because right where I finished writing connects directly with the ending I wrote before NaNoWriMo started. So my novel is COMPLETED.

71 055 words total :D

*parties in desk chair*

Anyone else finish NaNoWriMo? Congrats! If not, hey, getting started is the important thing. Keep going! Don't let the fact that it's no longer NaNoWriMo let you slack off. If you're on a roll, keep going.
I have lots of editing and rewriting to do, so that will be most of my 2013, I think.


Well, happy writing and editing and rewriting, everyone!

27 Nov 2012

Crunch Time

There are three more days of NaNoWriMo left.
I am down 10k words and I work tomorrow and Thursday.

I know, Harry. I know. *cries*

Anyone else panicking about completing NaNoWriMo on time?
If no, then I envy you.
If yes, what are you doing on my blog? Get that novel written!!
Says the girl writing a blog post instead of writing her novel...

25 Nov 2012

Cover Judging aka Book Cover OCD

When it comes to book covers, I am a very picky person.

For example, if I am going to buy a book series, I like their covers to match. Shatter Me is coming out with new covers, so even though I had the original cover, I got the new one so that my collection would match.
You know how Shatter Me used to be this:

And now it's this:
I also like my book series covers to be the same in terms of hardcover, trade, and pocket paperbacks. I have two series currently that greatly bothers my book cover OCD. My Matched trilogy, for example, is a mix of cover types. I have the first in paperback because it was only available in paperback when I bought it, but then Crossed and Reached are hardcover because the series became popular and the bookstores in my city got those. So that series of mine is mixed up, which bothers me a lot, but I try my best not to think about it.

My The Mortal Instruments series collection by Cassandra Clare also suffers from this. I was introduced to the series earlier this year and the first three were out in paperback, so I got those. Then I bought the next two in their hardcovers, so that series is all mixed up. I am justifying this one, however, by saying the first three were meant to be only a trilogy, but then more were made (if this is wrong, don't correct me. It will only drive me insane! haha).

Then I have my Tamora Pierce's Protecter of the Small series which is all mucked up because I have First Test and Page and Lady Knight as trade paperbacks, but when I bought the series, they only had the pocket paperback for Squire and I did not want to wait to order in the trade. So that series is all weird and I'm SUPER tempted to but the trade paperback of Squire because we have it at my work, haha.

But then sometimes I get even pickier, and this is what I really wanted to write about for this blog post.

I bought John Green's Looking For Alaska in the new cover. You know, the one with the girl's face? This one:
WELL. A little over two weeks after I bought it (you know, just over the 14 day return policy at my work - not that I kept the receipt anyway), my work got in the original covers in paperback. The awesome-looking one that I had wanted to get but we didn't have them... To clarify, this one:
And now I have what I refer to as the 'ugly' cover (it's not ugly; I just prefer the original) and I pass the 'nice' cover multiple times per day at work (I work at a bookstore, in case that wasn't already clear :P) and it's TORTUROUS. Because all I want is the pretty candle cover.

So I'm pretty sure I'm going to give in and buy the candle cover. Then I'll have two copes of LFA, which is just silly.
So look out in the future for TWO giveaways from me. One featuring the 'ugly' LFA cover (sorry. The content is still the same and it's perfect condition - just not the nicer candle cover :P) and one featuring the old Shatter Me paperback.
Yay free books!

Again, the giveaways won't be until 2013, because the end of the year is just too busy for me to focus on anything like that. Plus shipping costs money and Christmas is coming up and yadda yadda. You get it.

Anyway, I just had to share that.
Anyone else extremely picky with covers?
I had to borrow copies of the Harry Potter series as they came out because I had the first three in paperback. Now THAT was torture. I don't know how, but I managed to avoid spoilers for each book, and sometimes I had to wait months before I could get my hands on a borrowed copy because I was not about to go out and buy the hardcover when I began the series with paperbacks. (Speaking of HP, my covers are getting worn. I really like the adult covers, so I'm probably going to buy them when I can justify the purchase. But hmm. Hardcover of paperback? The paperback covers are pocket, which I love. But hardcover will be more durable... Yeah... HC it will be.)

As I was asking, is anyone else extremely cover-OCD like me? I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. I've had discussions about this with customers at work, but I'd like the reassurance on here, too. Plus talking covers is fun! Haha.

22 Nov 2012

I Am Not Dead

I'm not dead, I promise!

Things have become really busy for me, and while I've been reading and have some books I could write reviews on, there have been others things I've needed to work on.
NaNoWriMi, for example. I've been getting more hours at my new job, and with the holiday season upon us, work's been getting busier and busier. As I write this, I should be working on today's NaNo count, because I'm barely scraping by right now, but I've also got the beginnings of a headache.
I'm not even sure this blog post is making any sense! Haha.

Basically, I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I have the start of a review for The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa saved as a draft, but I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to write the rest of it up (seriously, all I have right now is the formatting, the star rating, and 'Ethan is all grown up!', which might not even make it into the actual review, haha). I did not even post a Wednesday meme like I have been for the past while.

I'm honestly not sure when I'll get a decent post up here, but bare with me. I have no plans on giving up this blog; it's just a busy time of year and a busy month.

But let's do something fun before I go. Some very mini reviews for you all...

What I'm currently reading: Reached by Ally Condie.
What is it? The final book in the Matched trilogy.
How is it so far? Fantastic! I love the new point of views we're seeing and I'm enjoying Xander's the best. For anyone who was worried the series was going downhill after Crossed (I know a lot of people did not enjoy it as much as they did Matched), you need to read this one. It's paced great and is already more interesting than Crossed. Don't let your thoughts on the second book bring you down! (I for one enjoyed Crossed, though not as much as I did Matched and not as much as I am Reached, but like I said, I know a lot of people did not like Crossed very much).

What did I read before Reached? The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse.
Thoughts: It was a quick read and I'm looking forward to the sequel. I'm interested to see where it will go. I had a few qualms with the portrayal of Canadians (which I might make a video about because there's a bit I feel the need to talk about), but the rest was great. Not my favourite dystopian, but certainly quite interesting and definitely worth the read.

What are you guys reading right now? Let me know in the comments :)

15 Nov 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #3

Wishlist Wednesday is a blogger meme hosted at Pen to Paper where bloggers feature the books on their wishlists. You can join in on the hop over at Pen to Paper's blog by clicking here.
I first want to apologise for the lack of posts as of recently. I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo and I've fallen behind, so I've been writing my novel more than I have been writing blog posts (as I'm sure you have all been able to see). I do have two reviews coming up, one being The Lost Prince and the other being The Forsaken. I just need to find time to finish both reviews. I'll try to get one up before the weekend, but I don't want to make any promises. To all those doing NaNo, keep up the great work!
Now onto the regularly scheduled meme Wednesday.

Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

How crazy is it that I have not yet read this book? It has been on my list for a while, but I just have not gotten around to picking it up. With the second one due out at the beginning of January, I guess I need to hurry it up, huh?

Have you read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi yet? What did you think? How crazy is it that I don't have this one on my shelf yet?
Let me know in the comments (but no spoilers, please!) :)

9 Nov 2012

Keep Writing

Happy day nine, NaNoWriMo participants!

The goal word count for the end of today is 15 000 words!

If you are there, congratulations and keep it up! You are 30% of the way there!
If you are over 15k, then wow! Keep it up! At this rate you'll finish before November 30th, which is a great accomplishment.
If you aren't quite at 15k yet, don't worry! Don't focus on the numbers. Just keep writing. I feel that is the most important thing to remember here. Yes, the end goal is to reach 50 000 words by November 30th, but we are still near the beginning. The time is not yet to panic. The important thing to keep in mind at this point in the game is just to keep writing. If the writing is crap, who cares! First drafts are supposed to suck. That's where editing and re-writes come in. But you have to push through that first draft first, and that's where just keep writing comes into it. Forget about what your writing. Does the dialogue sound fake? Ignore it! Are you pretty sure your character started out as a blonde and now they are magically a brunette? Forget it! Edits are for later. Writing is for now.

Remember, it's not NaNoEdiMo. The time now is to write. Editing comes later. Make December your NaNoEdiMo.

Three years ago on VlogBrothers, John Green made some of the above points plus a few more genius ones.
You can watch his video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCTO91aBFXk or by watching below:

Keep up the discipline. Close Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/Pinterest. Let the amazing John Green motivate you! Why are you still here and reading this? Write, write, write! You have 35000 (or more or less) words to go!

My current progress: 15 201 words.

7 Nov 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #10

This week I am waiting on a sequel to a book I wrote a review on here. Now while it was not one of my favourites, I am still very curious to see where the sequel will take us. The premise is interesting and the sequel has promise. I had no idea the cover and title had even been revealed on this one, but here it is:

Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She's trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed's girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She's been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war.

Natural Born Angel is due out in April 2013.

3 Nov 2012

Encouragement Plus a Thank You

Whether or not you are a writer participating in NaNoWriMo this month, you can do something very significant to help those who are. And this goes for people who are also participating in NaNo.


Yep, it's as simple as that. A few of my amazing writing friends and Twitter followers are commenting on my progress and letting me know they are supporting me with NaNo this month and are commending me on the word counts I am reaching daily. And I just want to thank those of you who are doing so. It really means a lot and it's helping me keep up the writing. Just so you know, I'm hugging my computer right now because I can't actually hug you all. But if I could, I would.

(I tried taking a picture of myself hugging my laptop as proof, but it just looked ridiculous, so here's a very procrastinate-y drawing. As you can tell, I'm quite the artist, and since my skills are so grand, I have labelled things that your mortal eyes would not be able to identify... Yeah, that's the story we're going with here.)
Because believe it or not, a simple 'Good luck on your sprint!' or a 'Congrats on your sprint' or a 'You're doing great!' goes so far. It brings on a smile and helps up the motivation, which as many of you know, is so easy to lose.

So keep on encouraging each other and keep on meeting those daily goals! Remember 2k a day brings a total of 60k. If you do some very successful sprints, that's just an hour or two of writing each day!

Keep up the great work, everyone!

Add me on NaNoWriMo: Courtney Shawnmarr. Or post your username below and I can add you.
You can also follow my progress on Twitter @Courtvents or on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyShawnmarr

Happy writing, everyone!

1 Nov 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 1 Log

Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone!

Today started off like any usual day off. I slept in. I'm a night person, but the past two days I've been waiting up at 6 and 7 am for work, and two early mornings is not enough for my body to adjust. I don't nap, so I've been going to bed late because once it hits 8pm, I'm over-tired. Plus, I write better at night. So last night I was up a little past midnight and this morning my body basically was not getting up until 10am. Which wasn't bad, until I stayed in bed until 11 and then mucked around on the computer (curse you, tumblr) until 1:30pm. But now commences my day of writing.

I have a minimum goal of five thousand words for today. I want to get ahead now because I'll be working more and longer shifts towards the end of the month (curse you, holiday season), and I don't want to freak out on November 20th and realise I'm 20k behind or something like that. I know if I average 2k words a day I will easily pass the 50k, but if I can do more, that would be ideal. And so commences my day of writing, as I said above.

Wish me luck!

I did two back-to-back #1k1hr sprints which brought me to a total of 2 649 words in two hours. Two more hours of writing and I should reach my goal. Big tip: Close out of the internet. Heck, disconnect your wifi on your laptop if it helps. It is so easy to 'just check Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/Website for a minute' and then turn that minute into several. The internet is distracting! If you need to research something, try to just leave a blank space or write what you need to look up in parentheses so you do not find yourself back on the internet. Then when the sprint or scene is over and written, you are free to do that research and fill in the blanks without having interrupted your flow.

Now I'm going to take a lunch break and continue writing later. My stomach is starting to really distract me, and I've just ended a chapter and a scene, which is the perfect place to take a break, don't you think?

Took a long break, perhaps longer than was necessary, but I did some other writing in the mean time. A future blog post, and much of this one.

End of day
I ended up breaking my no research rule and spending some time doing enough that I know the basics of what I'll need for when I write tomorrow. Sometimes research just has to happen. I decided to stop at the end of a scene because stopping mid-scene doesn't agree with me. There's no flow when I go back to write. This brought me to a total of 4, 444 for the day, which is a very fun number to end at, haha.

Here's hoping for another 2, 000 for tomorrow!

To all those participating, best of luck! And happy writing, whether or not you are doing NaNo this year! :)