Saturday, January 30, 2016

Monthly Summary: January 2016

Wow January was a busy month! It felt like two months! So much happened and the blog has grown so much in just a few weeks. Record-breaking stats, people! Thank you ever so much! Lots of exciting stuff has been happening and will be happening. It's also been a bit overwhelming. XD

What I did:

1.) I'm over halfway through my microedits for Red Hood. I wanted to be farther along, but at least I have some significant progress. If I pick up the pace, I'll make it by my deadline.

2.) Two big social things happened this month: My bestie stayed over for eight days and I went skiing for the first time! She and I hung out, went to restaurants, took another photoshoot, and watched Ghibli movies. Then a week later I went skiing and snowtubing with my church in North Carolina. I've determined skiing is both fun and scary. XD
Me, my bestie and my little sister with a kitty named Chewie after our photoshoot.


Drink cactus juice! It'll quench ya! It's the quenchiest!

Totoro at Hmart!

My Red Hood cosplay
My Red Hood cosplay

Cassidy's Isamaour cosplay.

Skiing at Sugar Mountain!

Skiing at Sugar Mountain!

Skiing at Sugar Mountain!

Snowtubing at Hawk's Nest!
Snowtubing at Hawk's Nest!

3.) I've read three books! Curio by Evangeline Denmark (Review here!), The Heir War by Jill Williamson (Review up next week!), and A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes. I enjoyed all of these a lot. A Time to Die is just wow, well written. I haven't read one so well written in a while.

4.) I finished Ashlyn's expressions! She's a side character from my Subsapien series. Isn't she such a cutie?

5.) I didn't think that I'd get in a guest post this month, but it turns out I had one go up yesterday on the Power!
The Geeky Department:

1.) I'm still watching Lost, though I'm only about a season away from finishing then I can return to my life and binge watch all of my favorite fall shows. The show takes an interesting direction.

I really like Hurley. XD

2.) I'm also still watching a lot of Good Mythical Morning. I'm on season four! Halfway there to catching up. I love these guys. ^ ^ The below vid is my favorite Wheel of Mythicality.

3.) I watched Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, and Howl's Moving Castle with my best friend over the time she was here. I realized how much I really love Howl's Moving Castle. It's such a good movie!

I love Calsipher. XD
4.) I'm rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love this show so much!

If you don't like this show ... /\
5.) I did some planning with a friend for a new cosplay. One of my regrets of 2015 is that I didn't attend a convention last year. I intend to change that and stay with some friends in Florida for MegaCon in May. I'm really excited for this new costume! I've been wanting to do it for years.
Here's a hint.

What I Learned:

1.) Bold - I've seen the concept of choosing a word for the year floating around the blogosphere and I decided to give it a shot. I've picked the word "Bold" for this year. I want to be braver in everything that I do. I tend to be timid, because I'm afraid of being embarrassed or making mistakes, but this year I want to be bolder in my faith, my writing, and just as a person. 

Going skiing was a test of my boldness. I really went out of my comfort zone. I took a ski class then practiced on a small bluff for a while. Then the guys I was skiing with decided to do a slope, and I hadn't used my lift ticket yet (and they ain't cheap let me tell you), so I went with them to do the green slope. Gosh, I didn't expect the green slope to be so high and you go so fast. I had to have fallen (sometimes on purpose because I couldn't slow down) a dozen times, but I braved that slope all the way to the bottom. I'm glad I did it. ^ ^

2.) Skiing - Well, I brushed a bit on skiing above, but I want to talk about it a bit more. Skiing is not as easy as it looks. Those boots that keep you in the skis are so heavy and you have to walk horizontally up hills to keep from sliding backwards. You also go really fast really easily which can be tough to control. Snowplowing was my best friend. 

Here is a vid of me skiing. It probably is pathetic. XD No judging!

3.) The Importance of Asking - I've been working hard one getting together the So Your Character is From Another Country posts. This is a really exciting project and I'm hoping it'll make an impact. To make it work, I've had to gather entries from people literally all over the world. At this point I've contacted people from six out of the seven continents. 

How did I do this? By asking.

I was inspired by a post of Emily Tjaden's from Incandescent Life about just asking people about guest posts. I originally thought I'd just wait for people to volunteer, but instead I've been asking dozens of people and most of them have said yes!

If you want to get a project like this started, don't be afraid to ask. I went out of my comfort zone to do it, but I've got some great results for show for it.

4.) Surveys - After watching a Michael Hyatt webinar about blogging, I was given the incentive to try a survey, so (as many of you have probably seen) I did one in December. I've got some really great feedback, hence why I'm doing some changes to the blog. It's great to see what your readers are thinking about your blog, so you can find out how to make it better. 

It's also kind of annoying when people take advantage of the anonymity and do a bit of bashing of your blog. You have to harden your skin for that. Also don't let survey results suck away the love of your blog. Change your blog to make it better, yes, but also make sure you keep posts you love going too. Character interviews are apparently my least read posts, but those are my personal favorite, because they help me so much with writing. So though I'm changing other things to suit needs (more of that below), I'm keeping those.

5.) Finally Seeing Results - Last year I made a resolution to never miss a post on my blog and I've kept to that. A year later I'm finally seeing results for my hardwork. I'm finally seeing that pay off. I'm finally seeing a consistent following and finally seeing my stats go up. It's really nice. 

I'm going to get real here ...

Because blogging has been going so well and writing hasn't I've been focusing more on blogging. I know I need to focus on writing, but it's really been a struggle for me this month. It's why I haven't already finished editing the extended scenes of Red Hood. A month later and I'm still struggling with that rejection. I feel weak for that. But what I'm saying is that it's nice to see results in at least one thing that I've worked hard on.

What I'm Going to Do:

1.) I'm going finish editing the extended scenes of Red Hood and send them off to betas by February 10th! I also need to go over some critique for other parts of the book from some people. Honestly, my self-esteem has been pea-sized, hence why I haven't done it sooner. Ugh.

2.) Why do those scenes need to be ready by February 10th? Because on February 11th I'M GOING TO CANADA FOR TWO WEEKS TO VISIT CASSIA (See blog here)! I'm so excited! I haven't been out of the country in years and I've never been to Canada. I'm going to be doing many epically awesome wintery things with my writing buddy. Though I will be gone, I have plenty of blog posts prepared for you, never fear, I'll just be slow in replying to your lovely comments.

3.) I'm going to finish reading Orphan's Song by Gillian Bronte Adams and the 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (kinda have to before I go out of country. That'd be a nasty late fee ...) then I want to at least start Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I need something read during layovers on my long journey from Atlanta, Georgia to Edmonton, Alberta.

4.) I'm hoping to work more on Cynara's fullbody drawing and work on Pro's expressions. Since I'm going to be out of town for the majority of next month, I don't know how much progress I'll make, but I will make my goal of at least one drawing per month happen.

5.) Though I had a sore lack of guest posts and movie reviews this month, I have three guest posts coming up next month that I've been working on for Sara Letourneau, Sara Clay, and Faith and Fantasy Alliance. I'm also submitting a flashfic to Splickety Magazine for their fairytale category. *crosses fingers*

Last Month on Stori Tori's Blog ...

This month's words: 
Wonderful Word Wednesday: Crepuscular
Wonderful Word Wednesdays: Diaphanous
Wonderful Word Wednesdays: Saporific

This month's teas:
Tea Tuesday: Cinna
Tea Tuesday: Party King
Tea Tuesday: Chrysanthemum Tea Drink

This month's tunes:
Soundtrack Sundays: We Are Stars (Rhian Sheehan)
Soundtrack Sundays: Soshite ai De (Nagi No Asukara)
Soundtrack Sundays: Legend of Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke)

Writing Stuff:
Questions for Siocban (Silver Hood)!
Beautiful People #14: Writerly Resolutions and Goals
Writing vs. Editing: The Different Mindsets
Interview with Siocban (Silver Hood)
Writing Lessons from TV Shows: Firefly

Book Stuff:
A Book Review of Viral Execution by Amanda L. Davis
A Book Review of Curio by Evangeline Denmark

Other Stuff:
The Emoji Book Tag, Revisiting Children's Books Tag & The Bed Time Book Tag!

Coming Soon to Stori Tori's Blog ...

Next month is going to be the beginning of a new era for this blog since I'm going to be changing up the schedule. I've gathered results from the survey and I thought it's a good time to tweak the schedule to make the blog more enjoyable for you guys. I had half and half opinions about whether I post too much or too little (partially due to imbecilic me forgetting to add a "Just right" option), so I'm doing a happy medium by lessening the post frequency slightly and combining some posts.

The new schedule is:

Tuesday: Book Reviews - I've noticed you guys have anticipated a lot of reviews of the books on my TBR for this year so I'm hoping more frequent book reviews can help me get those reviews to you faster. This also carves out more space for ARCs.

Friday: Tags, Link-Ups, or Character Interviews - This stays pretty much the same, though I'm hoping to include more life updates stuff within the tags, especially for facts tags like I've seen some people do.

Saturday: Writing Tips or Monthly Summary - It's a unanimous vote that I should do more writing tips. With the upcoming So Your Character is From Another Country posts, the popularity of my various show/movie analyses, and my general writing tips I should have enough material to give you all three writing tips on average a month and carve more room for guest posts. *waggles eyebrows* On the first Saturday of the month will be a general writing post, the second one will be a SYCIFAC post, the third an analysis, and the last the monthly summary. If I have some big life event come up, I'll commit a post to it and take out the general writing post unless I have a fifth Saturday then I'll have both.

Sunday: Writerly Bundle - I've decided to combine Soundtrack Sundays, Tea Tuesdays, and Wonderful Word Wednesdays into one post. According to my survey results, I have a lot of conflicted opinions about these posts. Some love them and some don't care for them. I'm hoping this will make a good compromise.

With the new schedule in mind here are next month's posts!
February 2 - A Book Review of the Heir War by Jill Williamson - Jill's newest installment of the Kinsman Chronicles comes out and I'm actually getting this post up in time! Yayyyyyyyy!

February 5 - Questions for Sonne - I know next to nothing about this character and I need to know more than nothing considering she's going to be in Silver Hood which I start writing in March. XD Her interview will be up February 26!

This is Sonne
February 6 - Why Reading Regularly is Essential to Being a Good Writer - I've heard of a lot of people who write, but don't read and I think this issue needs to be addressed.

February 12 - Beautiful People - My post to Cait's awesome link-up goes up today! I don't know which character I'm doing next ...

February 13 - So Your Character is From Australia ... - I am so totally psyched for this post and all of the ones after it. Cait from Paper Fury, Imogen from Gossiping Dragons, and Ely from Tea & Titles are opening this series where I interview people from around the world to make a crash course for writers writing characters from different countries, breaking stererotypes, and encouraging international diversity. After them I have posts about Canada, Thailand, England, the Philippines, and more coming to the blog! Can't wait! These posts are a wealth of information. You don't want to miss them.

February 16 - A Book Review of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - A lot of you asked about my opinion of this book, so I'm bumping my review up to this month. I hope you guys like it!

February 19 - Tags - In this tag, I'll be giving lots of facts and telling you guys a bit about my trip to Canada (which I'll still be on at the time). ^ ^ I'll be doing two tags in one post. I WILL CATCH UP ON THE TAGS! Only six more after this.

February 20 - Writing Lessons from Movies: Ever After - This has to be favorite fairy tale retelling, therefore I'm dedicating an entire post to why it's awesome and what it can teach us about writing.

February 27 - Monthly Summary - I basically do this again but for February. *wiggles fingers dramatically*

Elsewhere ...

1.) New Adventures by Tracey Dyck - This is a great post about the new year!

2.) What is Fiction For? by Olivia Hofer - My friend Olivia just launched a new blog and her first post starts it off with a bang and she delves into the meaning of fiction. 

3.) The Era of Nostalgia: Are We in It? by Sunny Smith - A really need discussion about how we tend to hold onto the hold.

4.) How To Find The Heart Of Your Character by Stephanie Morrill - Really great for developing characters!

5.) HOW TO (NICELY) ATTACK PEOPLE WITH FRIENDSHIP ON THE INTERNET by Cait - A really handy post on social networking by the esteemed Paper Fury Cait.

January was a very fun but hectic month. I've had to work through a lot of things and I've had a lot of new experiences, but I'm a little happy it's over. XD

How was your month? What did you do? Have you seen Good Mythical Morning? Have you been skiing? Have you seen any Studio Ghibli films? What have you learned this month? Are you looking forward to any of the upcoming posts?
If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

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