A Day Late…

But not without good news!

I know my plan was to post on every Sunday, but yesterday, I got a little bit distracted.

I played my first ever videogame all the way through! (It was only four hours long and my brother was helping me with the puzzles, but still… it was kind of a nerd-complishment for me.)

In case anyone is wondering, the game was called To the Moon, and it was actually more of a visual novel. I loved every second of it. The game told a really compelling story in way that only a videogame can. The added element of interaction really brought what was a sweet, but also heart-wrenching story, to new levels.

But, on to the point of this blog: Writing progress.

Last week, I… WROTE THREE CHAPTERS! That’s huge for me! So often, I don’t have time to write, or I just feel creatively drained. But that was not true last week. Three chapters, done. And I’m actually excited to write more. It doesn’t feel like something to check off my to-do list; it feels like something I WANT to do.

It’s been a long while since I’ve felt that way about writing. As much as I adore it, more often than not, the last several years, it’s felt like something that just needed to get done. It was such a relief to really have fun with it again.

And, not going to lie, I felt a little maniacal at one point. You know all those memes about authors putting their characters through ridiculous trials…. Mwahahaha… that was me.

Authors be like Favorite character? You mean next victim. - Evil Plotting  Raccoon | Make a Meme
I was only slightly less maniacal than this raccoon.

So yes, this past week was a good one: I tried a new hobby and made progress (and rekindled some love) in an old one.

Lots of love, all!

Best Books of 2021!

I did this on my personal Facebook page, and… well, I thought it would be fun here, too! But there will be one change: When I did this at the end of last year (you know, two weeks ago), I just listed the books, no order. This time, I’m totally going to rank them!

I love lists, and I love books, and if you’re on my blog, I’m guessing you do, too!

These are my top 20 books of last year. Did you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What were your favorite books of last year! I’d love to hear!

20. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

19. The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home by Joseph Fink

18. Green Arrow (Rebirth) graphic novel series by Percy Benjamin, Julie Benson

17. The Flash by Mark Waid: Book Six

16. Green Lantern Corps (New 52) graphic novel series by Peter J. Tomasi

15. Library Wars: Love & War manga series by Kiiro Yumi

14. Blue Beetle (New 52) graphic novel series by Tony Bedard

13. Green Arrow/Black Canary: ‘Til Death Do They Part by Judd Winick

12. Fantastic Four graphic novel series by Dan Slott

11. Green Arrow: Archer’s Quest by Brad Meltzer

10. The Flash: United They Fall by Gail Simone

9. Spy Family manga series by Tatsuya Endo

8. Action Park: Fast Times, Wild Rides, and the Untold Story of America’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park by Andy Mulvihill, Jake Rossen

7.  Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Vol. 1: Hero of Metropolis by Robert Venditti

6. Resident Alien graphic novel series by Peter Hogan

5. Batman: The Dark Prince Charming by Enrico Marini

4. Lore Olympus, Vol. 1 by Rachel Smythe

3. Common Grounds by Troy Hickman

2. The Woods graphic novel series by James Tynion IV

1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Loooooong Time, No See

Happy 2022, everyone! Like the title says… looong time, no see. It’s been… about a month? Give or take?

I’ve missed connecting with everyone here on the blog, but I needed to take some time for myself and my family around the holidays. (And then some time after the holidays to put myself back on a regular schedule.)

The beginning of the year has meant re-instating my exercise and healthy eating routine. (Which is surprisingly difficult after a month of Christmas goodies. No matter how hard I try, broccoli just doesn’t taste as delicious as fudge….) Any fellow librarians out there also know that January is a busy time. We need to wrap up all the boring, statistical stuff from last year, and start planning ahead for this year’s programming.

Basically, the past couple of weeks have involved a lot of to-do lists and not a lot of creativity.

But life is starting to stabilizing. My to-do’s are starting to be manageable at work, and my exercise routine is… well, a routine again. (And yes… I’ve even replaced the fudge with broccoli.)

I should be able to focus more on writing from now on, but I do also want to be 100-percent honest: I may not have as much time to blog. Before my hiatus, I wrote about how there is only so much time (and also only a certain amount of creative juice) in me each day. So, going forward, I probably won’t post as many stories or poems. (Unless I have a burst of inspiration that just MUST GET OUT.)

I have a wide variety of poems, observations, stories, etc., posted here that, hopefully, prospective agents could peruse after I send off queries. (I don’t even know if that’s something they would do, but I’d like to think of this blog as an extended resume/portfolio.)

In the meantime, I really think the point of this blog is more about my publishing journey. I’ve shared my writings, and if you’ve been with me for a while (THANK YOU!!!), you’ve gotten an idea of my writing style and my publishing goals.

So now, let’s get down to business. (I dare you not to sing that a’la-Mulan.)

Each Sunday, I will post an update on my publishing journey. In between, I may post some reviews (because, as focused as I am on writing, I’m definitely not going to stop reading.) (It’s almost like I’m a librarian or something…..) I may also post some fun lists, because… yeah, I just really enjoy making lists.

But if I’m going to get serious, I need to streamline my focus. I need it to be laser-accurate. As much as I’ve loved sharing my stories, poems, photos, and thoughts on this blog… I need to take a hard look at myself, my schedule, and my priorities.

In my personal life, my priorities can’t change: I want to be healthy and keep aiming for the weight that will help me be that. I want to be there, in the moment, with friends and family. I want to read the books that I love.

In my professional life: I want to keep being the best librarian possible. I want to do everything I can to make my library a community center for all ages.

So in my writing life? What is it I really want to do? I want to be published. What does that mean? (1) Finish the book I started with NaNoWriMo. (2) Edit the YA book I’ve been working on for several years. (3) As much as I hate it, I think I need to rewrite another manuscript I finished ages ago. I think it’ll be “punchier” if I have a different starting point and if I switch perspectives between the male lead (who is the only narrator currently) and the female lead. (4) The most difficult goal… query letters.

And I need to actually do this. How? Cut away what doesn’t need to happen. I’ve shared many finished works. Now it’s time focus on finishing more. And I need to keep myself motivated. Weekly updates on this blog will certainly help with that.

Wow… this was a very long, and also very late, beginning-of-the-year post. Thank you, everyone, who has stayed with my since I started in 2020. It’s been two years, and I really hope that 2022 will be when I write an update that says: “I’ve gotten a reply to a query! And they want more! So excited for this next step in my journey!”

I hope I can share that with all of you. Wish me luck. Happy new year–and lots of love!

Review: “The Woods” Series

From Goodreads.com

The Way Home by James Tynion IV

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been a loooong time since I’ve had a book series that I could not put down. It was so different from so many other books I’ve read. Sure, I’ve read books that take place on alien planets, where people are transported somewhere strange, where times/people collide, where human nature proves to be the most dangerous adversary, where teenagers have to grow up very fast to save the day…. But all of that in one story? All with perfect pacing; engaging characters; twists, turns, and surprises; and emotional punches to the gut? Honestly… there’s not a single complaint in this series. Each book was devoured. I read the first four in one day. And the rest were read just as quickly. In fact, I have no doubt that I would have read all nine books in one weekend if I hadn’t needed to wait for the next books to arrive at the library. I’m quickly learning that James Tynion IV is just a dang amazing writer. Between the times I’ve come across his works in DC (especially in “Red Hood and the Outlaws”) and “Something is Killing the Children” (which may be darker and more gruesome than my usual taste, but I can’t deny how well-written it is)…. basically, he may be one of my favorite graphic novelists. I’m eager to find more to read by him. In short, this series is a perfect example of a talented writer letting his creativity… just flow. It’s an intense read, for sure, but it’s one that you won’t be able to put down.

View all my reviews

Review: Green Arrow, Vol. 4: The Rise of Star City

34690751. sy475
From Goodreads.com

Green Arrow, Volume 4: The Rise of Star City by Benjamin Percy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another really engaging installment in this series…. especially since it includes the return of one of my favorite characters, Roy Harper! Toeing the line between thought-provoking and preachy, this story gives the reader a lot to consider beyond the action and twists as the story unfolds. Between all of that and on-point character interactions and a plot that continues to build and develop new and more complex layers…. honestly, I wish I would have picked this series up sooner.

View all my reviews

Review: Green Lantern: Sector 2184, Vol. 3

17857667. sy475
From Goodreads.com

Green Lantern: Sector 2814, Vol. 3 by Steve Englehart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A really fascinating book, especially from a Green Lantern history standpoint. As a GL fan–but one who has mostly only read modern books–it was really cool to see the role Green Lanterns played in “Crisis on Infinite Earths” as well as how certain ring-wielders have changed over the year…. particularly my favorite, Guy Gardner. In modern comics, he is rough (very rough) around the edges, but still basically a good guy. A jerk, but still a hero. And for all his bravado, he at least can back up his boasts. In this book, though, he was only a couple steps away from being a villain. (And the argument could even be made that those were very small steps.) Reading this, I can see how many long-term GL fans hate Guy. But I think this is more of a case of the writers have a learning curve when it came to really “getting” this character. Over the years, they perfected this unlikable jerk who still has a heroic heart. I’m very interested to continue to see how this Guy will turn into the Guy that I know and love.

View all my reviews

A Late Update

So, it’s been a little while since I updated. Ah, yes…. Past Sarah had high hopes of being able to reach that vaunted 50k word count.

Past Sarah was unrealistic.

Between work, Thanksgiving, and Christmas activities already starting…. Yeah, Past Sarah was unrealistic.

But I did manage to hit 42k words. And I’ve enlisted the help of the best plot hole-finder/fiction-cynic I know to ensure my manuscript “works” once I’m done writing and editing it.

That person is my brother. (Thank you!!!) He is the most fun person to watch a bad movie with, and I have no doubt that he is the critical eye my admittedly bizarre manuscript will need to be the best that it can be.

That is still months away, of course. I need to finish writing it, and then comes all of my own personal edits.

But I have a plan, and that is certainly something.

I probably won’t update as much this month, since you know…. Holidays = Family.

But if something cool happens or if I get the urge to write a random poem…. I’ll check in.

Thank you, everyone for your support and interest in this writer. It means more than I can possibly say. I wish everyone a happy December, a fulfilling end to the year, and joyful tidings for the holidays you celebrate!

Lots of love, all!!!

Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to read this book since it was the inspiration for one of my favorite sci-fi movies, “Blade Runner.” And while this was an interesting and well-written book…. this is one of the rare instances where I liked the movie better. This book had depth and asked complex questions, yes. But the movie… actually felt like it went deeper and dove into more complexities. The basic theme of the book was: What is life? (Particularly in terms of artificial life and especially in relation to empathy.) The movie, however, took that idea even farther, diving into these creator-vs.-creation themes and leaving us with that mystifying ambiguity at the end. While this is a classic sci-fi book and delivers everything a well-written sci-fi should (thought-provoking commentary in a what-if setting that exercises both the analytical and imaginative sides of your brain), if I’m being honest… the movie did all that even more for me. This book was also a slow read; I never had a moment where I couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued, but not necessarily riveted. But with the movie, I was both. Again, still a solid book and one I would recommend reading, especially if you’re a sci-fi nerd like me. It’s definitely worth having in your repertoire.

View all my reviews