Tuesday, May 12, 2020

This is not the end. It is a new beginning.

This is not the end. It is a new beginning. 
Though I've spent years, since 2008, writing about the craft and the industry from an author's viewpoint, I feel its time for some fun changes.

My new blog, Electric Dreams Blog, will be more personal where I will be sharing not only my professional life, but also what goes on behind the scenes in the writing life.

From family recipes, research trips, and other fun aspects to putting a book together, I hope you'll find it just as fun and educational as the NiteWriter blog has been for me. I will continue this blog as an archive so that all the writing and publishing posts are still available.

I hope to see all of you over at the new digs! I have so much to share with you guys!

Blessings, Raquel Byrnes

Monday, January 13, 2020

Reading Challege Week 3 -- OOPS!

This year I'm taking part in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge by Mommy Mannegren's blog. She also has a really cool group for the challenge over at Goodreads. The challenge comes with book prompts to help you choose what to read every week. This is super helpful since my only parameter for reading this year was "something I haven't read before" which you would think is a given but I tend to reread old favorites.

The first prompt was, A Book on the Mensa Reading List 9-12 Grade. So, I read Emily Bronte's, Wuthering Heights which for some reason, despite my love of Gothic romance, eluded me thus far. I didn't hate it. It was a less sexy version of a Danielle Steel novel to be honest. Family drama that spans multiple generations with a lot of terrible behavior by practically everyone. The 'dark hero' Heathcliff was absolutely despicable. The heroine(s) were at turns frustratingly passive and incredibly diabolical.

I was quick read which is good because I didn't read the directions for the challenge right and thought that I only had the three days of the first week to read it. You don't. The first week was 1-11.  *screams internally*

The second book prompt was, Literary Fiction. So I read Dante's, The Inferno because I am apparently a glutton for punishment.  I had to read the Cliffs Notes before each canto (chapter) but I got through it.  It was disturbing and eeked me out. Also it was really a vehicle for political commentary and calling out people Dante didn't like so I got a lesson in Italian politics for my troubles.

This brings us to week 3 or actually week 2 for people who can follow instructions. OOPS!

I wanted to go much, much lighter in my choice this week because the first two books were slow going and dense and I really didn't want to get burned out. The whole point of the challenge is to enjoy reading.

So, for my third book the prompt was, Read a Bestseller. 

I was given the book, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, a while ago by a friend and just hadn't been able to get to it. It is the first book in a YA Historical Fantasy and looks like a fun read. I started it last night and was immediately engrossed. The first person, present tense is a bit hard to get used to, but over all it lends a frenetic energy to the narrative thats fitting.

I'm excited to sort of hit cruise and read something only for pleasure. Not that I knock the previous two books. I definitely am better for reading them. But, like I said, I wanted to do this challenge to give myself permission to disappear with a book like I did when I was a kid.

If you'd like to take part in a challenge this year, there's still time! Take a peek at GirlXOXO's blogpost The Master List of Reading Challenges where she's posted links to quite a few.

Until next time... 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Failing Forward -- A Resolution

This past year was not a good one for writing. In fact 2019 was a year of struggle for me as an author.

Specifically, my decision to write a sci-fi thriller really pushed me into a steep learning curve. Don't get me wrong...I am loving the science and the futurism. It has to do with pace. Noir stories tend to slow burn and that can be difficult for someone who loves to write action.

I found that I kept hitting walls with point of view, plot, even character decisions. And then I realized that in my attempt to push through these blocks I was giving up on fun. And if writing isn't fun...it's tedious.

So I decided to be ok with failing at writing this book. It's only the first draft. I have room to grow. I can fall short as long as I don't stop trying. And that is a big step for a chronic perfectionist.

This year I pledge to step outside my comfort zone often. I'm starting with a book challenge. Reading is the lifeblood of authors and I want to read books I would not naturally gravitate towards.

GirlXOXO has a helpful post with a list of great book challenges to try. There's one to fit any taste or schedule. I'm doing the mash-up of the 52 books in 52 weeks but using the book suggestions from Rory Gilmore's Master reading list.

If you do decide to take a reading challenge keep me posted on what you're reading! Until next time, happy New Year and go write!