Monday, August 24, 2009

In Which Joanna is Supercilious in Matters of Vocabulary

Supercilious, adj., the word that was going around in my head on Saturday night. Yes I realize that's a little weird. Normal people get music stuck in their heads—I do too. It's just sometimes a word will rattle round in my brain and drive me crazy because I can't quite remember what it means and don't have a dictionary handy to look it up. If anyone was wondering, supercilious actually means: behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others. It's also really fun to say. Supercilious. Supercilious. Supercilious. Okay I'll stop now.

In any case, I'm happy to report that I actually got a lot accomplished with Rose Queen edits this past week! I did decide to make the first chapter into two chapters, which worked great and didn't turn out as lopsided as I'd feared. New chapter is titled Daphne Dreams, which is not the most brilliant thing in the world, but whatever. It works pretty well with the rest of the titles. I now have the entire rest of the manuscript to slog through, in which I have to make some character—and possibly plot—decisions. Scary. I'm also considering changing a few of the minor character's names because initially I made them up and some of them just sound… stupid, if I'm going to be honest. But you'll have that.

Unlike my sidebar would have you believe, I'm not currently reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I've started it, mind, and like it (quite a lot, in fact, though it is kinda disturbing so far), and will definitely get back to it before the week is out. You see, I got distracted by Sorcery and Cecelia, a novel written in letters that detail all the Events (magical and otherwise) that are happening in London this Season. Enchanted chocolate pots? Check. Mysterious Marquis? Check. Ballgowns and parties and one's brother being turned into a tree? Most definitely check. At any rate, it's vastly amusing, and I must say a wee bit more comforting to read before bed. :-) Picked up Skin Hunger at the library yesterday, so my to-be-read pile is stacking up. I guess it's a good thing I'm number 30 out of 40 on the holds list for The Hunger Games.

And the Great Agent Hunt? Still no word. I think I might be eighty-four by the time I hear back.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Days

Just finished reading this hilariously delightful novel a few minutes ago, so thought I'd post a quick review.

Sparked by a wager with the gentlemen of the Reform Club, the passive, mathematical, ridiculously OCD Phileas Fogg sets out for a tour around the world. He's accompanied by a recently-hired domestic, Frenchman Passporteau, and followed by the hapless detective Mr. Fix, who is convinced that Phileas Fogg robbed the Bank of England and means to arrest him (well, if that warrant ever arrives!). Along the way they pick up Aouda, a charming (if completely one-dimensional :-)) young Indian woman. Methods of transportation include: steamers, railways, carriages, yachts, trading-vessels, sledges, and elephants (well, one elephant). No balloons. For some reason I thought there would be a balloon.

This is a great book. I love the language, and there are some priceless one-liners. Really gives you a feel for the time period, in regards to both history and the way people viewed the world and different cultures back then. Nowadays this book would be woefully (often hilariously) politically incorrect, though I think that's a part of its overall charm. The whole novel comes off as firmly tongue-in-cheek, and at the same time conveys a lot of interesting information (bits of it almost read like a travel narrative), and some really beautiful prose.

Oh and the ending. The ending is nothing short of utterly fabulous.

Makes me want to pack a carpet bag full of banknotes and jaunt off on a world tour of my own. :-)

Five stars!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In Which Joanna Explains What She's Been Reading Lately (amongst other things)

Isn't my new blog template shiny? *pets it* I spent waaaay too long fiddling with it the other day and absolutely adore it. :-)

As you can see from my sidebar, I'm reading Around the World in Eighty Days, and am enjoying it thoroughly. It's about this obsessive-compulsive British chap named Phileas Fogg who sets out to traverse the globe in—you guessed it—eighty days, because he bet a roomful of other British chaps that he could. :-) So far he's still acting very mathematical and precise, but I'm fairly certain he has hidden depths. I'm expecting a hot air balloon to show up at some point; other than that I really don't know what awaits me at the end. I'm certain it will be fabulous. Three cheers for classic books (and for Esther, who told me to read it! :-))!

When I'm finished jaunting round the world, I really want to read The Hunger Games, as pretty much every blog or comment regarding it gushes about its amazing-ness. I'm currently 37 out of 40 on the holds list at my library, though, so it looks like I might need to buy it if I expect to get my hands on a copy sometime this century. I also want to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth (even though I thoroughly expect it to freak me out), Skin Hunger (the dual storylines sound highy intriguing), and Enna Burning (because I adore Shannon Hale and haven't actually read it yet). I'm finding that one of the side affects of following YA book blogs and message boards is discovering lots and lots of reading recommendations. Which is fine by me. :-)

In other news, I saw the marvelous film Ponyo with Jenny on Saturday. It's the latest from Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (who gave us Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and others which I've yet to see), and is basically a Japanese Little Mermaid, with lots and lots of heart. Gorgeous and completely adorable, I highly recommend it!

Also, I'm not sure I've yet gushed about Vienna Teng here, so let me do so at once. She is utterly amazing, and writes some of the most beautiful, melodic, piano-driven music I've ever heard.

On the writing front, still not a lot to report. I am making a little progress on revisions for Rose Queen, though I have yet to make it out of the first chapter. I'm adding a few new scenes, which is making me ponder whether or not to split the first chapter into two chapters, as it's getting rather unweildly, though any split point that I've found so far would make the chapters really unbalanced in terms of length. If I do decide to go for two chapters, that leaves me with the task of coming up with a brand new chapter title, which won't exactly be easy. Hmm. At any rate, I'm really proud of my revisions so far; I feel like my writing has matured a lot since Rose Queen was first penned, so I'm glad this puppy is getting an update.

Other than that, I've joined an online writer's critique group! I've never been a part of one before, so I'm pretty excited about it. :-)

And the full and partial requests? At five weeks and four weeks, respectively, still no news. But I'm not going to start stressing about jotting off status queries (brief, polite notes that basically say: "Ummmmm haveyoureadmybookyet'causeI'mgettingimpatient'kthxbye.") for at least a few more weeks. Hopefully I'll hear something by then.

Despairing ever hearing back from the remaining five outstanding queries. One of them is nearly eleven weeks old! Yikes.

UPDATE: As of this morning, I've received another rejection, leaving the outstanding query total at four. No word on anything else.

And that, folks, is that.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not Much to Report...

Well ladies and gents, summer is pretty much over. In terms of the calendar, anyway. Temperature-wise, Arizona has a loooooong way to go, but at least there's the glimmering of hope that jeans and Converse weather is just around the corner.

The Kansas trip was A-mazing. Sleepy little village. Awesome kids. Gorgeous trees. Rain. Hugging kitties. It was pretty much perfect. :-) This past weekend I went camping with a friend in a ridiculously beautiful place called Lockett Meadow, which is near Flagstaff, AZ. Trees galore!! We went hiking, drank tea, ate hotdogs roasted over the fire wrapped in slightly-nibbled-on-by-a-chipmunk hotdog buns, and generally had a fantastic time. We topped it off with a trip up the ski lift at the Snowbowl. Great fun and a great view, though not nearly as scary as one might hope. :-)

Not much to report on the Great Search for an Agent. Got one form e-ject whilst I was in Kansas, other than that haven't heard a thing. Still waiting to hear back from the full and the partial, which are at four and three weeks respectively. Five queries still at large, though it's looking like a couple of them are lost causes at this point. What an excruciating process!!

Writing/editing has been really touch and go recently. I'm caught in-between projects and have fallen out of the groove and it's quite frustrating! I have been slowly pecking away at outlining my nano novel, which I am quite excited about. It's pretty much going to contain everything awesome that ever was, well, awesome. :-) I don't know why, but it always seems like once August rolls around it's practically November already. Dang I love November.

At any rate, all that to say...

I haven't gotten any writing done lately.

Better luck next week.