Wednesday, January 30

Fourth Week!

Hello everyone!

I have to admit something... I completely forgot about today's post. Normally I write it the night before and schedule it to post, but it slipped my mind entirely. I've been a bit busy recently, so I'm going to use that as my excuse ;)


--I did write over the past week but I didn't meet my goal. I'm bummed about it, but there's not much I can do now. Some words are better than no words (or so I keep telling myself). It's a new week, so hopefully I'll make it this time =)

--I actually looked at my query letter for AHR yesterday. I've technically already written it, but I decided to tweak it a bit. Now I'm really happy with it. When I wrote my first novel, Warrior Branded, the query letter was the most difficult part for me. It took three weeks of solid work before I was happy with it. Needless to say I wanted to avoid that aggravation this time around, so I worked on it before I even started the story. It might need to change... but I'm already 30K in and the story is going in the same direction, so maybe not!

--I attempted to read two books this week. Unfortunately, they both ended up being busts. I'd heard such good things about them, but sometimes you can't trust Amazon reviews!


--Again, we're still doing obedience training with Powell. Last night's session was a bit difficult (Powell was sleepy and didn't want to pay attention), but other than that he's been an excellent student.

--This isn't really a goal per se, but my parents booked their tickets to come down for a week in February! I'm so excited! We'd been scouring the internet for a good deal, which took up a lot of time, but my mum finally came across some at a relatively good price. Now I'll need to get the spare room ready for them (we need a box spring for the bed)!

This weekend my husband and I went to see Silver Linings Playbook starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It was really good. I highly recommend it for everyone, but especially artistic people. It looks at mental illness and "weird" people in a very humorous, realistic light.

So how was your week? Any exciting news?

Monday, January 28

You're Next...

The other day my husband and I went to the grocery store to do our usual weekly shopping. Well, it's that time of the year again: Girl Scout (or Girl Guide in Canada) cookies. Lo and behold, the Girl Scouts were stationed outside Kroger, waiting for us.... We were strong and didn't buy any (we spend enough supporting Boy Scouts), but it made me think of this:

Heheheh. Have you bought any cookies recently? If no, are you thinking about buying some now??
I hope you have a happy Monday!

Friday, January 25

Movie of the Week: A Little Princess

Rated: G
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Time: 97 Minutes
Release Date: May 10, 1995


Alfonso Cuarón directs A Little Princess, the magical story of a girl who uses her powers of imagination and zest for life to overcome hardships at a stern boarding school.

For a slightly longer blurb from Wikipedia...

Set during World War I, A Little Princess focuses on a young girl who is relegated to a life of servitude in a New York City boarding school by the headmistress after receiving news that her father was killed in combat. Loosely based upon the novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this adaptation was heavily influenced by the 1939 cinematic version and takes creative liberties with the original story.

The film was critically acclaimed and given various awards, such as an Academy Award nomination for its significant achievements in art direction and cinematography, among other aspects of its production.

My Opinion:

For this addition of Movie of the Week, I decided to include a movie outside of my usual time period. Why? Because this movie is one of my favourite movies of all time. As my parents can attest, I used to watch this movie nonstop, regardless of the fact that I balled like a baby every time.* Every. Single. Time. I'm sure if I put it in now, I'd be sobbing within minutes, Kleenex littering the couch around me.

Now, I hope that doesn't deter you from watching this movie. The ending is beautiful, but it will make you cry. The little girls will steal your heart, and the magic they weave to escape their loneliness is extraordinary. I highly recommend for any writer.

*As a little girl, I used to wear the gold locket Sara Crewe wears in the movie. I got it in the VHS packet when we first bought the movie in '95 (I was four). I have since received the movie on DVD as a Christmas present =)


Wednesday, January 23

Third Week: Bust

Well, I'm afraid I don't have good news this week. As some of you may know, I was very sick last week. I was dizzy, throwing up, and even fainted twice. Boy, oh boy, it was a lovely time. I'm slowly feeling better, but I didn't get much done over the past seven days. I managed to clean a bit over the weekend, and I watched a lot of TV/movies, but... that's about it. I didn't even read!

The only thing I did do consistently was train Powell. He's doing really well. We had another class last night, and it was lots fun. We're now working on stand, come, stay, and loose-leash walking. Both of the teachers thought he did exceptionally well, so I'm happy =)

I'm upset I didn't get stuff done this week, but I was simply too sick.

How was your week? Do you ever have "bust" weeks, where nothing gets done?

Friday, January 18

Movie of the Week: The Eagle

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
Time: 114 Minutes
Release Date: February 11, 2011


In 2nd-Century Britain, celebrated Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) embarks on a dangerous quest to restore the tarnished reputation of his father and find the golden emblem that disappeared with him and thousands of troops twenty years earlier. But the highlands of Caledonia are a savage wilderness, and Marcus must rely on his embittered slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), to navigate the perilous region. Their journey pushes them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism. Donald Sutherland co-starts in this gripping, gritty, action-packed adventure from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald.

My Opinion:

I have to start by saying I was a little worried about this movie. Although I think the trailer (shown below) looks awesome, I was confused by the African looking tribesmen. I know they were going for the Seal People--a group of legendary warriors known in Scottish mythology (Selkies)--but I didn't understand why they would be African. For that reason alone, I put off watching this movie for several months. After a while, my mum found it in the discount bin at Wal-Mart, so I thought I'd give it a try. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. This movie is epic. It starts out a bit slow, but any history lover will overlook that. The costumes were fantastic, the music inspiring, and the scenery... My God, the scenery was stunning. I loved how the movie focused on the relationship between the Romans and the Celts by looking at the master-slave construct.

In any case, my main concern about the Seal People turned out to be unfounded, since they don't look that way in the actual movie. I strongly suggest you give it a try. It also ties in nicely with CENTURION, which focuses on the Ninth Legion, whereas THE EAGLE takes place twenty years later. So if you're looking for movies to watch this weekend, I highly suggest both! =)


Wednesday, January 16

Second Week Down!

Hello everyone!

So, I've decided to make Wednesday my "update" day. I kind of like keeping track of my progress, so I hope you guys enjoy it as well!


--I met my weekly word goal!!!!!!!!!! *runs around screaming* I DID IT! I know it's just one week out of fifty-two, but I KNEW I could do it! Now that I've done it once, I know I can do it again. It's all about repetition, patience, and consistency. Since January 1st, I've written over five thousand words (not including today).

--I've continued to look at the Atlanta conference this summer. I haven't done much planning, but I'm looking at ways to cut costs. If any of you are thinking of attending and want to share a room, email me! I promise I don't snore ;)

--I have now read five books so far this year and I'm currently reading my sixth =) I'm ahead of the game, since I only need to read 4.6 books a month to meet my goal.


--Over the weekend we went and donated an entire Jeep load of clothes to Goodwill. We have a few more things to donate, but I think we'll do that next weekend.

--We attended our first obedience training class last night with Powell. He is only four months old, but he already knows sit, down, shake a paw, and kisses. He is still learning up and off. However, we aren't able to train him with distractions (such as other dogs or people), so we thought bringing him to a class would be good. So far we really like how it's going. He's the youngest in the class by several months, but he adores learning. We hope it continues to go well!

So there you have it! I wasn't as productive this week, but I'm very pleased with my progress. I really want to focus on writing this year and so far that's exactly what I've been doing!

How are your goals coming along? If you aren't doing yearly goals, how was your week??

Monday, January 14

RWA Nationals: Are You Going?

Hello everyone!

Today I thought I would talk about RWA Nationals. For those of you not in the RWA, the conference registration opened today. It's in Atlanta from July 17-20. I'm still not sure whether or not I'll be able to go. With rough numbers, I priced it out to just under $1900 for four days (including food and travel etc...). A lot, right?

That being said, I loved my experience at RWA Nationals in 2009. It was one of the most inspirational times of my life. I truly felt like I could write a novel and be published after attending. It was amazing. Over 2000 writers (mostly romance, but a lot of fantasy and sci-fi too!) together for four days to share their experiences and their friendships. I made some of the best writer friends there-- Monica McCarty, Delilah Marvelle, Bella Andre, Jami Alden etc... It was phenomenal! Aside from all of that, you get to attend as many workshops as you want, and they have the best free swag of any conference I've ever been to.


Can you tell I really want to go again? LOL. Alas, I'll have to wait and see what happens with our finances.

Have you ever been to an RWA National Conference? Are you thinking of going this year?

Friday, January 11

Movie of the Week: Becoming Jane

Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Julian Jarrold
Time: 120 Minutes
Release Date: August 10, 2007


Anne Hathaway gives a radiant performance as a young, love-struck Jane Austen in the witty and engaging romantic comedy Becoming Jane from Miramax Films. It's the untold romance that inspired the novels of one of the world's most celebrated authors. When the dashing Tom Lefroy, a reckless and penniless lawyer-to-be, enters Jane's life, he offends the emerging writer's sense and sensibility. Soon their clashing egos set off sparks that ignite a passionate romance and fuel Jane's dream of doing the unthinkable--marrying for love. Becoming Jane, also starring the acclaimed Maggie Smith, James Cromwell, and Julie Walters, is an enchanting and imaginative film you'll fall head over heels for.

My Opinion:

As a writer, this movie resonated with me a lot. Although we aren't hindered by the social rules of the early 1800s, we still face difficulties as writers. For this alone, Becoming Jane is one of my favorite movies. I adore everything Regency, and the story of Jane Austen is a perfect Regency love story. Of course, if you know your Jane Austen history, you know how this movie is going to end. I won't give anything away, but the film is beautiful and poetic. The costumes are gorgeous, the music is inspiring, and the story is heart-wrenching.  I also adored James McAvoy in this movie--he is the perfect bad boy for Jane Austen. He has the hot Irish accent, the messy hair, and he dresses like a Regency God.

Filled with an all-star cast, Becoming Jane is a wonderful introduction to Jane Austen's life. If you don't know much about her, or her books, you should definitely check out this movie.


Wednesday, January 9

First Week Done!

Hello everyone!

As most of you probably know, I tend to do updates on Wednesday's. Well, today I thought I would do an update on how my 2013 goals are going so far!


--My goal was to write 3500 words a week. Although I didn't manage that last week, I'm proud of what I accomplished! I was about 1000 words shy, but it doesn't bother me. My husband's grandparents came into town over the weekend, which took up a lot of our time, so I'm fine with the progress I made. Plus, part of my goals this year is to be patient with myself.  Everything can't happen at once ;)

--I looked at purchasing my domain name this week. Although the address I want is currently taken, no website is actually being used there. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to contact the person and see about buying it from them, or if I'm going to wait until the address is up for renewal in October. I'm still tossing ideas around, but I really want to publish under my maiden name. I've dreamed of signing Natalie Murphy on books since I was in the first grade, so I don't really want to change that.

--I did some preliminary calculations for RWA Nationals in Atlanta this summer. I overestimated to about $1900 for four days. Quite pricey, eh? I know there are ways to cut that number down (probably in half if I really tried), but I need to wait and see what my fellow RWA members are going to do. If a friend is going, I might ask if we could split the cost of a room. Or if one of them is driving down from the Virginia area, I might ask if we could carpool and I help with gas money. You see where this is going. There are options, I just need to wait and see what everyone else is thinking.

--I have read four books so far this year! My goal is fifty, so I'm well on my way. If you want to stay in the loop, you can always check out my Books of 2013 link at the top of the page. You can also find me on Goodreads. I won't put bad reviews up, but I do mark the books I've read.

--One of my goals was to join Hearts Through History RWA, but after looking at it, I've decided against it. I'm very happy with my Celtic Hearts group, so I'm going to focus my time on them instead.


--One of my big goals this year was to go through the townhouse and purge. Although we just moved here four months ago, my husband is a bit of a pack rat about some things. He has a lot of stuff and his parents have never been the type to get rid of anything. As for me, I am extremely OCD and purge things about once every four to five months. Needless to say, it's been a learning curve for both of us. In any case, he has a TON of clothes to donate, so I went through all of those and made a huge list of every item. I think we have about twenty white garbage bags full (I will count this weekend and let you know if I'm right). We are going to Goodwill on Saturday to donate them.

--We signed up for a doggy obedience training class over the weekend. Although we aren't having problems training Powell (in fact, he already knows sit, down, and shake a paw--all by voice and/or visual commands) we want to see techniques for the more complicated things like come and stay. We also want to see what they recommend for leash training.

As for my weekend, I accomplished a lot that wasn't on my list... The grandparents came to visit for a few days, we had one last Christmas celebration with some family, we are looking at renting a big beach house this summer with nine other people (which requires a lot of planning), and we also got Powell neutered yesterday. He seems to have done well, but he was very stoned last night and this morning he seems to be in pain (whining and restless movements). The vet says that's normal, so I'll just keep a close eye on him and give him lots of cuddles =)

*I forgot to add this earlier, but I also wrote a guest blog post for B.E. Sanderson this week =)

So there you have it! I think I've done a lot in one week so far =) How are you doing with your goals or resolutions so far this year?

Monday, January 7

Guest Blogging at The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival

Hello everyone!

Today I am guest blogging at B.E. Sanderson's blog, The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival, where I talk about how I managed to write a novel and query it while attending university! So please stop by and check it out. You should also follow B.E.'s  many awesome blogs =)

I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

Tuesday, January 1

January Releases

Fall Into You by Roni Loren--December 31st
Contemporary Erotic Romance

The Essence by Kimberly Derting--January 1st
Young Adult Dystopian/Paranormal

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean--January 29th
Regency Romance
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