April 2021 Life and Writing Update

Hi, everyone. This is another one of my informal update posts. I’m breaking it up into three parts. The first is a life update about non-reader/writer things. The second part is my reading and writing update. The third part is my answers to five questions about my novels.

For your reference, this post was written on April 7th, so some things will likely change between then and when you read this.

Part One: Life Update

A lot of non-writing-related things have happened in the past month. In early March, I went on a Netflix binge. I finished watching Season 3 of Outlander, and I binge-watched the entirety of Season 4. Season 4 is full of non-stop bad things happening, and I found that really overwhelming, so I’m taking a break from that show now. It maybe wasn’t the best one to binge. I was home alone one weekend and had some weird dizzy spells going on—we think it was from food poisoning because my fridge broke—and the only thing I could really do is watch TV, so I binge-watched Bridgerton. I saw people posting about Bridgerton on social media, and I was curious as to what the big deal was, so I watched the first episode. I didn’t think I would like it, and yet it took me less than twenty-four hours to watch the whole season. I did the same thing with The Queen’s Gambit. I was not expecting to like it, and yet I binged it in two or three days. I’m 99% sure my next binge will be Shadow and Bone when it comes out later this month. I am so excited for that show.

In mid-March, I presented my honors thesis at the virtual Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists meeting. I haven’t done anything with archaeology since I graduated, and I was so happy to be talking about lithics (stone tools) again. I needed more archaeology in my life, so I watched every single Egyptian archaeology documentary on Netflix and Disney+ in the four days following that virtual meeting.

In late March, my dad and I went to Chaco Canyon and took senior pictures and cap and gown pictures for my graduation announcements. I haven’t been to Chaco in years despite writing numerous papers about it and doing my thesis work on it. It was nice to see Chaco again now that I’m well-versed in the literature on it. The pictures turned out really great too.

In early April, I went on my first overnight trip since my study-abroad two years ago. I went to New Mexico to tour my grad school, meet my professors, and look at apartments.

The drive was very different from what I’m used to. I’m used to two-lane highways in the mountains with various weather conditions, including snow and ice, and lots of wildlife. I have to drive over multiple mountain passes to get from my hometown to my college town. The drive to my grad school is mostly four-lane highways with speed limits of 70-75 mph. There are no mountain passes, and I didn’t see any wildlife. I’m thinking I’m going to have to invest in some audiobooks to help me stay alert during the drive. The Count of Monte Cristo audiobook is over forty-three hours long. That would be a good one to get.

Seeing the city was really interesting. I’m moving from the cold, forested mountains to the hot desert, and I’m moving from a small town to a city. I experienced a little bit of culture shock when I got there. While I’ve been to cities before, I’ve never lived in one, and the prospect of moving there was a little overwhelming. I definitely won’t mind having a Barnes&Noble nearby. I’ve never lived in a town with a big bookstore, so I’m super happy about that. My bank account might suffer a little, though. I was also not expecting to see palm trees there, but there were quite a few throughout the city. I really love all the birds, especially the doves. It’ll take some time for me to adjust to the new environment, but I’m excited to move.

The apartments ranged from cheap, poorly maintained buildings in sketchy neighborhoods to slightly more expensive (but still cheaper than my current place), well-manicured luxury apartments in gated communities. Most of them have pools, and a lot of them have private laundry and huge walk-in closets. Sadly, all the apartments within walking distance of campus are the not-so-nice ones. A lot of them have razor wire fences behind them, and that freaks me out. The luxury apartments are all too far away to walk, but the neighborhoods over there are quiet. I don’t have to listen to my neighbors’ parties, karaoke nights, and middle-of-the-night screaming matches anymore! One apartment manager said they’d buy guinea pig treats to keep in the office, so they could give them to my guinea pigs whenever they stop in to say hi. The guinea pigs want to move there. I don’t have my financial aid yet, so I don’t know my budget, but I’m really hoping I can afford that place.

I met several of my professors and toured the anthropology museum on campus. My professors all seem like amazing people, and I can’t wait to start working with them in the fall. One of the professors is the reason I’m going to this school. Every time I research anything for my own projects, his publications come up, so we have a lot of similar research interests. It sounds like I might be his teaching assistant, which will be awesome. I’m really looking forward to studying under him.

I think that’s everything of note that’s happened in the past month. In the upcoming month, I should find out about that internship I applied for, and I’ll be moving (I still have no idea where to) and participating in a commencement ceremony at my alma mater.

Part Two: Writing Update

I didn’t read any books in March. I spent all my reading time watching Netflix, which is fine. I don’t regret that choice. Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson is still at the top of my TBR, followed by Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I just bought Sapiens while in New Mexico. I know it’s weird that I haven’t read it yet given that I have a degree in anthropology.

For my blog, I worked on “Behind the Storyteller,” “Welcome to Kareena,” and Camp Write Owl. I wrote twenty “Behind the Storyteller” posts, and I edited all of them. I wrote four “Welcome to Kareena” stories, and I edited all of them and six other stories. I wrote twenty-seven Camp Write Owl lessons, and I edited all of them plus one other one. I wrote and edited one other post as well, which was my Camp NaNoWriMo project announcement.

In preparation for Camp NaNo, I finished writing AWS. I handwrote forty pages, which is about 7,200 words. I took two days off before I started Camp NaNo on April 1st. My Camp NaNo project is to write the entire rough draft of AWD, the third novel in my series. I’m posting updates on that project each Saturday in April, so you can read those if you want to see my progress.

I did some worldbuilding for Linea. I have all the non-cultural information done, and I have one of the primary cultures done. I just need to finish up the other primary culture.

I was home alone quite a bit in March, so it was a huge filming month for me. I’m trying to get everything filmed before I move, so I don’t have to worry about finding a quiet, nice-looking place to film over the summer when I’m living who-knows-where. I got a great head-start by filming fifty-five videos and voice recording ten short stories. Sixteen of those have been edited and uploaded and have closed captions. I have a few more posts I need to write and film in the coming weeks, but I’ve gotten most of them done.

I still haven’t done any editing on ADR. That might change eventually, but I’m focused on getting AWD and all my filming done in April, so editing may or may not happen. I’m a little behind on my “Welcome to Kareena” posts, too, so that takes priority over the editing.

I accomplished a lot in the past month, and I’m hoping to keep that momentum going in April.

Part Three: WIP Questions

Here are five more questions and answers about my book. Last month’s theme was characters, and I’m going to continue with that theme this month. These answers pertain to the first book, ADR.

1) Which character do you most identify with?

I’m going to have to go with Mori. Mori really wanted to get away from the town he grew up in and see the world. He’s very open-minded and progressive compared to his neighbors. I didn’t know what anthropology was when I first came up with his character, but he’s an anthropologist and is interested in other cultures. These same things apply to me, so I identify with him a lot.

2) Which character is your favorite?

My favorite character isn’t introduced until AWS. Since I’m just talking about ADR, I have to go with Mori again. We have those similarities, and then he’s also really wise. He’s kind of sneaky too, and I just really like his character.

3) Which character is your least favorite?

Do I have to pick a least favorite? I guess I’ll go with Rina. She doesn’t play a terribly large role in the story, and I just don’t connect with her that much. I think that’s an indication I need to do more character work with her. If she had more character development, I might like her more.

4) Which character is the most attractive?

I really want to pick my favorite character from AWS, but I can’t do that. While many of my readers will likely disagree with me on this, I have to go with Darius. I think a lot of my readers will prefer Jack, but I personally find Darius more attractive both physically and personality-wise. I’m not into blonds like Jack. I really prefer darker hair colors like Darius’s black. Darius has a lot of the same traits as his father (Mori), and he’s more my age. I can’t go into details regarding personality differences because a lot of them are spoilers. I choose Darius, but I completely understand why people would choose Jack instead.

5) Are there any LGBTQ+ characters?

I know this is important to a lot of readers, so I wanted to address it. ADR has a small cast, and the majority of the characters’ sexualities aren’t relevant to the story, so there isn’t really any LGBTQ+ representation in ADR. The only relationship that appears on the page is heterosexual. One of the main characters is gay, but that never shows up because it’s not relevant. Another character is asexual, but again, that doesn’t really show up on the page in ADR, though it might in later books. I do include representation on the page in later books as there is a larger cast of characters then, and some of them are in LGBTQ+ relationships. I want my LGBTQ+ representation to be meaningful and positive, so I don’t make these decisions lightly.

That’s all I have for you this month. Check back next month for another update and more Q&A’s about my books!

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