Tag Archives: Ernest Cline

Snapshot: July 26, 2015

Time: 8:20 pm

Feeling: Productive, even though I really haven’t done much today. But I FINALLY got around to getting some pictures taken so I can have a decent social media picture, instead of either the one that’s years old, or the one where I’m hiding behind my 12-year-old Dylan or the one where I’m on the edge of the picture with all three of my kids.

It turns out I was using a different picture on different social media sites. Once I uploaded to Facebook, it took me another ten minutes to log in and change my pictures on all my other social media accounts and all my email accounts, too. Phew! But I’m glad I finally got it done.

It was quite the family affair. I got Dylan to take several shots of me, and then today when I met my daughter Hayley for an early dinner, I got her to select the shot she liked best.

This was actually the picture I personally liked, but I guess it doesn’t work well as a social media profile pic, does it?

Me trying to grab the phone

Eating: I went with Hayley to Queen Mother Café here on Queen Street West. They had a smaller menu than normal when we went, but Hayley was very pleased with her Ping Gai (boneless chicken marinated with garlic, coriander and black peppercorns, grilled crispy and served with a spicy lime and coriander dipping sauce, salad and  jasmine steamed rice) and I was quite happy with my arugula and smoked cheddar cheese salad (baby arugula, toasted pumpkin seeds, pickled red onion and  grape tomatoes, in a lime spinach and Dijon dressing, topped with grated smoked cheddar cheese). I also added grilled chicken to it so it would be more substantial.

Reading: Maybe it’s a summer thing, but I seem to be drawn to chunksters right now. There’s Atlas Shrugged, which I want to read for the #AtlasRAL. And there’s my book club read, The Name of the Wind (I know! It’s so exciting—I’m in a science fiction and fantasy book club!).

What’s really gotten my attention lately, though, is Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. What a great book! I’m about a third of the way through, and I’m really liking it.

Listening: I haven’t had a chance to get back to Ernest Cline’s Armada, which makes me quite sad because I’ve really enjoyed the few chapters I’ve listened to. I find I haven’t had as much time for audiobooks because when I’m not doing something I’m trying to keep noodling over bits and pieces of the story I’m working on. I used to do this all the time—I’d go off on a daydream about whatever book I happened to be writing, any time, any place—but it’s something I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing over the past four or five years. Which has been detrimental to my writing but very good for my audiobook stats.

Writing: Yes! I am still writing! Although I’ve now written all the scenes I’ve thought up, so the past few days I’ve been brainstorming instead of actually writing any new scenes. But I’m brainstorming in a “writing journal” file specifically for this book, so I’m counting it even if the word count can’t be added to my actual writing word count. Because really, while actually writing the words of your novel every day is a good goal, there’s some prep work that needs to be done and if I didn’t count it as “writing” I’d feel pretty down on the days when I didn’t “write” even though I was still working on my story. Right?

Working: This is a bit of a heavier week coming up for me. I’ve got three deadlines to finish up, plus it’s my older son’s birthday this Thursday. The tabletop board games I ordered for his birthday did arrive in time, which is good. He wants to have biscuits and sausage gravy for his birthday dinner, so we’re trying to find a restaurant around here that has that on its menu.

Creating: Nothing yet, but I’ve got a nice big stash now of adult colouring books, and I’m just waiting for a bit of time so I can pull out my Prismacolor pencils and start colouring!

Snapshot: July 8, 2015

Feeling: Really really nervous and stressed about next week’s writing class/workshop with Kelley Armstrong. I didn’t realize just how nervous until the university sent me a link to register with the student portal so I can access the class materials—which, I think, consists of all the students’ writing submissions. Including mine. And I realized, OMG, I’m going to get critiqued. By a bunch of people. None of whom I know. Including Kelley Armstrong.

Gulp.

I’m not very good with this stress thing …

Eating: Guess what? I’m back to low-carb! I know I got that brain fog the last time, but it appears I had misread my research and the brain can indeed use ketones as fuel, rather than glucose. So I’m giving low-carb another try. It helps that Ward, the former book-reading demon, has stayed low-carb during my own low-carb ups and downs.

This time around, I’ve been  looking for some good recipes. And I found some! On the weekend, Ward made me these low-carb cream cheese pancakes. So, okay, my food photography isn’t going to stun anyone, but trust me, they tasted much better than they look in the photo. (I have NO clue why the picture looks so blue!) You can click on the link above to see a much much better picture of the pancakes.

These pancakes had a nice sorta pancakey texture and taste. Next time, I’ll leave the cinnamon out (or rather, get Ward to leave it out), as I normally eat pancakes with butter rather than syrup so I prefer just the pancake-like taste. Can you believe it, though? These have NO flour in them!

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Drinking: I haven’t been drinking this, but Ward has. He bought a package of Counting Sheep Coffee a while back and was really wowed by it. He’s been driving all over the place looking for a store that carries it, but has turned up empty-handed. So he emailed the company, and it sounds like they’ve been having trouble getting their product placed in the big stores.

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Right now their site shows only the decaf pods with valerian, but he’d bought a package of their ground decaf and he swore by it. He could have his coffee at night (he says it was a nice and strong decaf) and then fall right asleep.

Reading: So I mentioned in my last post that I’ve finally broken out of my reading slump. It only takes that one book (in my case, Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris) and BOOM! you’re back to reading. At least, I am.

When I finished Elantris I went on to Kelley Armstrong’s Visions. I’d read the first book in the Cainsville series, Omens, and thought I should probably get to Visions. Especially since I’m in her Dark Fantasy class next week. She’ll be doing a reading near the end of the week, and I’m hoping it will be from Deceptions, the third book in the series, which won’t be released until mid-August.

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I also decided to start Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. It’s over 1,000 pages long, so it means this month I’ll be reading two 1,000+ page books, since I’ll also be starting Atlas Shrugged for #AtlasRAL. Atlas Shrugged weighs in at 1,200 pages. Luckily I’m reading both of these in ebook format; my wrists are thanking me already!

Listening: I just started John Scalzi’s Redshirts, partly because I want to start reading Scalzi (I have several of his books on hold right now at the library) and partly because it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton and I figured this might be a good listen while I’m waiting for my pre-ordered audio of Ernest Cline’s Armada, which should be arriving soon. Just not soon enough.

Writing: Nothing. I’ve been too nervous and stressed, thinking about next week’s class.

Working: I finished up that big index I talked about last week. I have three small ones for the end of this week, but they’re fun ones so I’m not too worried about them. I had four articles due this week, and got three of them off my desk yesterday, so that leaves just one more. I need to clear the decks so I can attend next week’s class without worrying too much about work, although I do have another large index coming in over the next few days.

Photo of the week:

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I’m rather proud of this. It’s grass, in case you were wondering.

One of my cats, Hobbes, has been having trouble with hairballs. He’s Siamese, so the hairballs aren’t originating with him. But our other cat, Creeper, is a Snowshoe (the same breed as Grumpy Cat), so he’s on the fluffy side, and Hobbes is the one who’s always cleaning him. Hence the hairballs.

And the strange thing about Hobbes getting hairballs: he can’t be like a normal cat and just hock up the darn thing and be done with it. No, not Hobbes. Instead, he has to spend a few days throwing up and THEN he has to develop an allergic reaction which means he starts scratching his ears and then if I don’t stop him (which is nearly impossible despite anti-histamines and the liberal use of hydrogen peroxide) he develops an infection and has to go on antibiotics.

So I decided to grow some grass for him. Isn’t it just splendid? He’s already been grazing on it.

So that’s been my week! What has yours been like?

Snapshot: June 16, 2015

Time: 6:26 pm

Feeling: Ready for a nap. Mainly because I’ve been up since 6:30 am—although sadly I didn’t end up gong for a walk because (a) it was raining, (b) I decided to get some social media work done first and (c) by the time I finished up the rain had stopped and things were looking too hot outside for a walk.

Eating: We’ve been eating out too much. Or so says the latest credit card bill. Sigh. I want to spend some time looking for crunchy summery salads with a dash of protein. Maybe I’ll have a cool new recipe to link to in next week’s Snapshot …

Drinking: I’ve started making kefir smoothies! I add spinach and whatever fruit I have on hand and feel rather nutritionally virtuous as a result. On the days when I remember to make them, that is.

Reading: The reading’s taken a bit of back seat because I just haven’t had much time for it lately. *sob*

BUT I’m really excited about this:

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Ernest Cline’s Armada is being released on July 15 and what’s even more exciting? Wil Wheaton is narrating the audio version! I already have an Audible credit earmarked for it.

I’m also eyeing the Atlas Shrugged (#AtlasRAL) Readalong that Ti’s hosting over July and August. I’ve not been doing so well with my readalongs, though. I didn’t finish a single readalong book from last month, and this month I’m definitely behind with the #MiseryRAL readalong.

Listening:

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I’m having much better luck with my audiobooks. I’m listening to Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May—The Burning Man right now. It’s always nice to slip back into the world of Bryant and May (I want to say they’re octogenarian detectives, but I’m actually not sure exactly how old they are. But May is four years younger than Bryant. I think.)

Writing: The deadline for submitting my dark fantasy for the workshop class I’m taking from Kelley Armstrong next month is June 29, so I still have some time left to make my revisions. Whew.

Working: I finished up an index on Sunday night, and this week I have five articles to write. Work on the book marketing for Booktrope is going well.

I also got started with my big readers’ site project—well, sort of. I’m still developing the site, but I finally got the Twitter account up and running: @bookstormcafe! While of course it would be lovely if you’d give it a follow, I should warn you that it is simply chockful of tweets about book news, book giveaways, new book releases, book reviews and author interviews. I’m not kidding—the tweet stream is loaded. It’s been fun diving into all this bookish stuff on the one hand, but on the other hand, let me just say there’s an awful lot of book news, book giveaways and new books out there!

Playing:

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We’ve had the Lord of the Rings board game for a while, and finally opened it up last night. It was a lot of fun (once we figured out the rules) but there was a certain cat who kept wanting to join us.

Looking forward to: The weekend! For once I’m actually getting out and about. We have tickets to see Titanic the Musical this Friday night, and then on Saturday a friend of mine is holding a girls-only birthday bash, which should be fun.

What about you? How has your week been so far? And what are your plans for the rest of the week?

Snapshot: May 21, 2015

The Victoria Day long weekend really threw me off—I normally write my Snapshot posts on Tuesdays, but when Tuesday came around I thought it was Monday, and on Wednesday I wanted to write about something else so I’m doing my Snapshot post today. Whew. That was a long, and probably unnecessary explanation!

Time: 2:09 pm

Feeling: I wish I could say refreshed, because I’ve been feeling quite refreshed the past few days, but wouldn’t you just know it, since I’m writing a Snapshot post of course today I’m feeling tired.

Eating: I’m about to make my anything-goes veggie soup. So delicious, and with heaps of veggies in it. And parmesan cheese.

Drinking: Water. Lots and lots of water. It’s my latest thing, drinking water, and I’m really liking how it makes me feel. Plus I’m starting to recognize again when I’m thirsty (which is fairly often).

Reading: Still working my way through Good Omens; it’s been mostly in my bag, so I’m not getting through it as fast as I would if it was an “at home” read. It’s good and funny and just a great read for when I’m out and about.

I also started A Game of ThronesI just couldn’t resist the temptation. But I only read the first couple of pages, because I’m just not ready yet to be caught up in a whirl of down-the-rabbit-hole book addiction the series promises to be. I’m witnessing that firsthand anyway: my older son is still working through the series; he started book 4 yesterday.

Listening: I’m almost finished Ready Player One and am wondering WHY it took me so long to get to this book. It’s so good, and Wil Wheaton is perfect narrating as Wade Watts.

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And some slightly related fun: Dylan downloaded the Akinator app on the weekend, and yesterday we had a such a fun time with it. Akinator is a genie who’s able to guess the character you’re thinking of, simply by asking you a bunch of questions. I was slightly awed by how he managed to guess Wade Watts. I did manage to stump him several times, though, with characters from and authors of some of my favourite, but older, reads. If you want to give it a whirl, here’s the web version. Warning, though: it can be slightly addictive!

Writing: Yes, I’ve been writing! Yay! So okay, it’s only been a few paragraphs to start off a couple of short stories, but I also pulled out my half-completed manuscript for the dark fantasy I’ll be workshopping this summer in Kelley Armstrong’s writing class. I have the next scene in mind, and in the meantime I’m rereading it to get reacquainted with all my characters. It’s progress!

Working: The indexing load has been nice and even, which helps a lot when it comes to my stress levels. I just finished an indexing deadline, and have another one next week, plus an article. In other news, I’ve signed on as the marketing manager for my first author at Booktrope, and it’s been such fun working with her.

Creating: Nothing yet. *sob* So much for being creative every day, right?

Exercising: I’ve been trying my best to keep moving throughout my day, and I’ve also been using my standing desk, too. Tomorrow is my first walking date with my friend; we’re meeting at 8:00 a.m., a time at which I’m usually still sleeping, so wish me luck!

So that’s the Snapshot of this past week. All my focusing on stress reduction seems to be working so far – yay! How has your week been?

I’m Reading: Zombies, Gaming and Legal Shenanigans

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Last year was so busy and so chaotic, I really fell behind on my fiction reading, and when I don’t read, I find I’m not as creative as I can be. The ideas don’t come as quickly, and I don’t write as much. I play a lot less and when it comes to doing artful little things, I never seem to have the time.

This year, I’m changing things around in my life. I’ve come to realize that I need to make the things I want to do a priority. Reading is high on my list, and so it’s one of my four daily intentions (the other three are writing, meditating and creating).

How did I do last week? Not very well, I’m afraid. Not just with the reading, but with each of my other three intentions. But that’s okay. I had the last of the deadlines from my busy work season last week, so it was understandable.

On Monday, I logged onto my library’s ebook lending site, and had a field day. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Z, by Michael Thomas Ford

Z, by Michael Thomas Ford, is a YA zombie book. I haven’t read very many zombie books, despite the recent zombie-book-craze; as far as I’m concerned, Justin Cronin’s The Passage set the zombie-book bar quite high. But I decided to give Z a try, as it looked like an interesting, quick read, especially since I like books about gamers and gaming:

The First Rule of Torching: Cleanse with fire.

Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around—at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.

The Second Rule of Torching: Save all humans.

But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family—and millions of others—is the stuff of history lessons.

The Third Rule of Torching: You can’t bring them back.

Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl—and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there’s the matter of a mysterious drug called Z. . . .

I finished Z last night. An interesting book with an interesting premise. I found the action towards the end a little bit too fast-paced, but for a young reader who’s interested in zombies and gaming, there’s enough thrills and chills to keep those pages turning.

The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly. Confession: this is my first Michael Connelly book. It’s been on my to-read list since forever, or so it seems, so when it showed up as available at my library’s ebook site, I grabbed it.

How am I liking it so far? Very enjoyable. I’m only at the beginning, but I’m already very intrigued by lawyer Mickey Haller.

For defense attorney Mickey Haller, the clock is always running. With two ex-wives, four Lincoln Town Cars that he uses as offices, and dozens of guilty clients, he can’t afford to miss a trick. When he gets picked by a Beverly Hills rich boy arrested for assault, Mickey sees a franchise case: a nice, long, expensive trial with maximum billable hours–until it hurtles him into the last place he wants to be. Suddenly hustling, cynical Mickey Haller is confronted with pure evil and someone who may be truly innocent. Now, for a lawyer who has always gone for the easy score, getting justice means taking the deadliest risk of all.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton. Yes, just call me a crowd follower – everyone was raving about this book last year, so I decided to spend an Audible credit on it. After all, Wil Wheaton’s the narrator! Plus, it’s a book about gaming. How could I resist? Have I mentioned, I love books about gamers and gaming?

I started chapter one last night, and despite feeling quite sleepy, I was enthralled from the very beginning. I listened for as long as I could before the call of sleep proved to be too much for me. I will definitely have to find some wakeful time for listening to the rest of Ready Player One!

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them. 

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.

A quest for the ultimate prize.

Are you ready?

So this is what I’ve been doing reading-wise so far this year. What about you? What books have you picked up to start the new year off?