May 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 May 10th, so for once it should be up-to-date and accurate. I had to plan my filming in advance before, but I don’t have to now. I’ll get into why later in this post.

Part One: Life Update

The past month has been mass chaos for me. The first two weeks of April were a lot of same-old, same-old with the exception of Camp NaNo. Mid-way through the month, I finally got some answers regarding some weird health issues I’ve had for the past year. It sounds like there’s mold or something in my apartment that was making me sick. All of my tests came back normal or nearly normal, so at this point, that’s our best guess.

On April 23rd, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone came out at 1:00 am in my time zone. I watched it at 1:00 am, and I finished it before 8:00 am. It was definitely worth staying up all night. It was so good, I had to binge it again last week. I’ll be talking about it on my blog later this year.

As soon as I was done with my Shadow and Bone distraction, I had to get packing. On April 30th, I completed the first stage of my move. My guinea pigs, plants, fragile things, and valuables all got stuffed into my car and my roommate’s car. (I’m very good at vehicle Tetris.) We drove it all to my temporary home.

Star Wars Day came and went, and my Star Wars shirt was missing. I searched all my boxes and couldn’t find it, so that was sad. I had to go through all my stuff anyway because I have to sort it into what’s being used for the summer, what’s going into short-term storage (now until August), what’s going into long-term storage (now until I finish my MA), and what can find a new home.

This past weekend, I went back to get my furniture and clean my apartment. But first, I participated in Western Colorado University’s commencement ceremony. Now that I’m no longer living there, I feel comfortable sharing what school I went to and where I’ve been living for the past four years.

I was one of a handful of summa cum laude students. Because I graduated high school early, I forfeited everything that could get me any sort of distinguishment. I walked with no decorations and no acknowledgement of my achievements, despite having a 4.0 GPA. For that reason, I was super excited to have not one, not two, but three decorations this time. I had my Lambda Alpha stole (the National Anthropology Honors Society), my Latin Honors cords, and my engraved Honors Program medallion. It’s a lot harder to get straight A’s in college, so this was a much bigger achievement to show off anyway.

The celebration was short lived, however, as I had to get all my furniture loaded into the trailer and deep-clean my apartment. In the process, I found my Star Wars shirt. It was hiding under the sheets at the bottom of my bed, and I have no idea how it got there. I said good riddance to my apartment and all my disrespectful neighbors. I won’t miss the loud parties, the screaming and yelling, the smoke from various drugs (I have a respiratory condition that makes it very difficult for me to breathe around that stuff, so it’s a major health hazard), the dog that never shuts up, and the mold or whatever it is that’s been making me so sick. I’ve been feeling better already, and my guinea pig Salem has too. She’s been sick for almost as long as I have, and she’s improved some since moving out. She’s still very old (almost 7), but she seems happier.

Despite hating my apartment, I will miss Gunnison and the mountains of Colorado. I have one final adventure here. On the 22nd, I will be moving to a different part of the state for…my internship! There were over 120 applicants, and 4 of us were chosen. I’m so happy and honored to be one of the interns. I was supposed to be an intern last year, but it was cancelled. I just hope getting my second COVID vaccine on the 22nd isn’t going to make me miserable the first day or two of the internship. I’ve heard the second one is worse for people who haven’t had the virus, which is the category I thankfully fall into.

I’ll be living in an ancient RV for the duration of the internship, which is ten weeks, so you may see a few videos filmed in there in the near future. Since I’ve been living with other people, it’s been hard for me to film because I have to do it when they’re not home to avoid background noise and interruptions. Once I move into the RV, I will be living by myself, so I can film whenever I want. That will be the case when I move to New Mexico as well. And there should be no more traffic noise in my videos! Yay!

Anyway, that’s the insanity that’s been my life. I have a lot of moving going on this summer as well as archaeology.

Part Two: Writing Update

I didn’t read any books in April. I know, I know. I’m slacking, but it’s been way too crazy for much reading. I read part of Sapiens, but that’s it. I have a small TBR for the summer, which is mostly composed of rereads. I modified it because some of my books are going to New Mexico with me, and some aren’t. This summer I’m rereading the books I don’t have room for, and I’ll get back to Rae Carson’s books (which are going to New Mexico because I love them so much) later.

You may have noticed some of my posts have been going up a little late recently. That’s because of the craziness. I haven’t been able to get ahead because I’ve been prioritizing Camp NaNo and the move. I’m hoping to change that in the next two weeks since both of those are over. (The move on the 22nd is relatively small as 90% of my stuff is in storage for the summer.)

For “Welcome to Kareena” I wrote, edited, and voice recorded nine stories. For “Behind the Storyteller,” I wrote eight posts and edited three of them. I also wrote and edited five other posts. I filmed fourteen videos, edited and uploaded twenty-two videos, and close captioned twenty-three videos.

I did all of my worldbuilding for the planet Linea, which was pretty easy given that I’ve done extensive worldbuilding on it in the past. I just had to tweak some things to accommodate some ideas I had recently.

I finally finished typing AWS, so it’s all backed-up, and I don’t have to worry about having only one copy. This is what I did while watching Shadow and Bone for the second time. I like having background noise while typing, although the show was a little distracting and slowed my typing speed significantly.

I talk about my Camp NaNo updates more thoroughly in other posts, but I’ll summarize here. I haven’t finished typing it yet, so I don’t yet know if I’ve officially won or not, but based on my word count estimates, I believe I did. I handwrote 280 pages in the month of April, which I’m estimating is 50,400 words. My goal was to write the rough draft of AWD (which I did) and hit 50,000 words (which remains to be seen). I’ll post a final update when I get it all typed up. That’s also when I’ll tell you what my next writing project is.

Writing all of AWD was a huge accomplishment for me. I’m super happy with that. My blog took a hit as a result, so I’m making that my priority for the next few weeks if not longer. I am super excited because I’m getting into “Welcome to Kareena” stories that tie directly into my novel.

Part Three: WIP Questions

Here are five more questions and answers about my book. Last month’s theme was characters, and this month I’m talking about settings. These answers pertain to the first book in my series, ADR.

1) Where does your book take place?

My book takes place in several different locations. It starts out on Earth, but then it moves to made-up planets. It’s very much a fantasy novel (versus a sci-fi), so don’t expect to see space travel. There are portals connecting the planets instead. If you’ve been following my “Welcome to Kareena” series on my blog, you’ll be familiar with some of the planets in my Kareena Universe. The ones that show up in ADR are Raeya, Linea, Hassandri, Andia, Sorpens, and Bursna. Raeya is the primary setting. Linea is the secondary setting, and it becomes the primary one in the rest of the series.

2) Which setting is your favorite?

My favorite setting is Linea. It’s the first planet I created, so it’s been with me the longest and has a special place in my heart. The northern territory and southern territory are very different from each other. I like the northern territory better, which is interesting given the earliest drafts of my books take place in the southern territory.

3) Which setting is your least favorite?

Out of the settings that show up in ADR, I would say Bursna is my least favorite. I just don’t love it like I do the other settings. It was also the last ADR setting I worldbuilt, so I’m not as familiar with it.

4) Which setting would you live in?

This one’s tough. Since Bursna’s my least favorite, you know I won’t pick that one. Hassandri is uninhabited, and while that sounds nice temporarily, I wouldn’t want that permanently. Andia is mostly jungle. I’ve lived in the jungle for a month, and I hate the humidity and all the creepy-crawlies. While I love deserts, they also have too many creepy-crawlies, and I don’t do well with heat. Choosing between Linea and Raeya is hard. Raeya and northern Linea are cold climates, which is what I’m used to, but the societies in both of those locations are misogynistic, so I would be miserable. I guess I’ll go with southern Linea then, but I’d live close to the border that way the climate’s a little cooler.

5) Which setting is the hardest to write about?

I have to go with Bursna again because it’s the one I’m least familiar with, and I just don’t love writing about it. I have less excitement and therefore less motivation to write the scenes that take place there. Andia used to be hard because I didn’t know anything about jungles, but that’s obviously not the case anymore.

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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