I couldn’t decide which picture would best sum up Appa.
I think this one of him sleeping is it:
Ladies and gentlemen, I have a puppy. And after four weeks he is STILL ALIVE.
Does this mean I might be able do to the same with a baby one day? Nope, not likely. But at least there’s some hope now.
I meant to write this post about the world’s most adorable (and amazing) puppy like, three weeks ago, but the problem with having the world’s most adorable (and amazing) puppy is finding time to blog about said dog. Thank God I took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Pretty sure I scored an eye roll from Batman every time I whipped out the phone but come on, man, dog’s only going to stay a pup for so long. Besides, it’s my responsibility as a new puppy-mommy to share adorable pics with people who like looking at cute photos of dogs they don’t have to take care of.
So, without further ado, say hello to Appa:
“I want to cuddle up next to you. Is that alright?”
“I wasn’t the one who chewed on the blanket. I promise.”
“Lady, get the f****** phone out of my face.”
“I know you’re trying to write but…”
“What do you mean ‘bad dog?'”
“Ssshh, mom. I see something.”
“I’m sexy and I know it.”
“Hmm, wonder where we’re going next.”
“I f****** love car rides.”
“…and sleeping on daddy.”
“Get away from my paws, mom. That’s weird.”
“Remember my name.”
Totes adorbs. Totes in love.
He may not be a flying pet bison (The Last Airbender anyone?) but he’s the best German Short Haired Pointer EVER. And I love him. And you should too. And I will try not to let him keep me from writing but a new puppy-mom’s got to do what a new puppy-mom’s got to do.
And that’s loving the shit out of this little fucker.
Believe me, it was not my first choice. After reading Joleene Naylor’s fabulous seven-book (still unfinished) series, I wanted a nice long break from the fanged and want-to-be-fangers. And here I am, book three of a series I’m kind of seriously hooked on (thanks Jamie).
I really wanted to read a stand-alone. Something short, quick. Hell, I’d even take a bridge book just to freshen things up a bit. But a certain someone (*cough* Jamie *cough*) offered up a favorite series she thought I might like. Not one to turn down a word of mouth suggestion—also it’d be super awkward if I’d declined as we sit across from each other—I figured sure, why not? A new series by an author I hadn’t heard of? Score. Someone to discuss them with when I’m done? Double score. And the best part–the books are free AND paperback. Hell to the motherfucking yeah. Two things I enjoy most about books other than rad writing and killer stories. Obviously.
Anyway, Chicgoland Vampires. I like.
I like a lot.
A. Merit, our MC, is actually pretty funny. And smart. And stubborn. Yes, most MCs usually claim to have these traits but so few really impress. I’ve read *tons* of heroines who’re whiny and stupid and I kind of don’t care what happens to them. But I like Merit. I feel I can get behind her, support her. And I feel for her during her main struggle of being turned into a vampire against her will (she does get turned to save her life. There’s an attack and it was either become a vampire or die). She can get super-stubborny at times (and maybe that does it for you—I don’t know) but it got on my nerves a bit. Other than that, she’s smart and a fighter and can hold her own in a rough and rowdy group of guys. I like that.
B. The writing is awesome. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of Chloe Neill before because she’s a surprisingly gifted storyteller. Everything is smooth but quick-paced and without going on for ten pages (as some of our more poetic authors do) she keeps her descriptions concise but visual. I knew what everyone was wearing, what everything looked like and how everything went down, clear as a movie. She’s also got a wicked vocabulary and I found myself rereading sentences because I liked how pretty they sounded. That, to me, is how you write a book. And me, as a reader, is how I like to read a book.
C. The story is pretty unique. Yes, I’ve read Twilight. I haven’t read any Ann Rice or Charlaine Harris, but I’ve read a few other vampire books. And I feel they pitch a lot of the same ideas: dark and deadly and mysterious, but sexy. Vulnerable. Victimized. There’s a bit of that too, but overall, I found it refreshing since Merit, who was turned against her will, is forced to drop her prized dissertation and join one of the three established vampire Houses of Chicago, standing in as Sentinel. Of course there’s a bit of heat between her and Ethan (the Master vampire and the one who changed her) so for all you looking for something spicy, there it is. The story is old customs and traditions meets frat-house living in modern times. Oh, and there’re shapeshifters. And water nymphs. And sorcerers and sorceresses. And plenty of good-looking guys with snarky, sarcastic comments. So, if you’re into any of this, you’ll probably dig the series.
Awesome MC, great writing, fun story. I like those ingredients. I also like them when they’re sprinkled with hot guys, so, super-win on that account. I’ll be starting the fourth tomorrow (I believe there are twelve books total) which means I have a lot of reading in front of me.
It also means I might actually reach my goal now.
So you can suck it, Goodreads. Go book-shame someone else.
The problem with reading a great book (when you’re a writer) is looking at your own work and thinking fuck… I don’t sound like that. I don’t sound anything like that. Have I been writing garbage this whole time?
It’s not that I’m comparing. I’m not. I’m appreciating, and at the same time, noticing the vast degree of how well some people can tell a story and how I’m basically drawing stick figures on the page. It’s true. I’m not fishing for compliments or sympathy or whatever, but maybe a *little* empathy. Honest question: You ever think you’re hot shit when you nail a scene or literary device (or whatever blows the wind up your skirt) and then you read something spectacular and think my god what the hell have I been doing this whole time? I had that happen a few times recently thanks to Chloe Neill (this is your fault, Jamie) and her vampire series (yes, I know. Another vampire series. Let’s not go there now). Neill throws around words I studied for (and failed miserably at) for the GRE, but she does it in a great story-telling way. I kept thinking shit… she’s the real deal. So what does that make me?
Again, not being emo. Just honest. Sometimes it’s fantastic when you read a great book because your love for reading amplifies. You remember why flipping through pages (or scrolling – whatever your preference) beats out channel-surfing or playing on your phone. But sometimes it’s sucks. Sometimes reading a great book (when you’re a writer) is like sitting at the kids table on Thanksgiving. It’s humbling, reminds you of your place and makes you wonder if you’ll ever make the great leap over.
That’s my insecurity – sitting at the kids table forever. We all write differently—and that’s a good thing—but damn it, feeling like an amateur sucks.
Do you ever feel like this? Or do you have different insecurities? Come on and share as this is the day to do it. IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) posts the first Wednesday of every month (It’s December already, guys. DECEMBER) to admit to one another our fears and doubts and to battle these negatives with encouragement and support and all around groovy vibes. This awesome blog hop was started by Alex Cavanaugh and if you’re interested (you know you are) you can check out—or stock—all the spiffy writers participating here.
Happy December. You rock. And keep writing, kiddos.