What I Did Over Summer Vacation

No, it’s not my first day of school. But, it is my baby girl’s first day of tenth grade. That makes me feel all kinds of old. I keep reminding myself that I’ve been through this three times already. I can survive one more.

In my last blog post, I talked about what I have been doing all summer – reading. Lots and lots of reading. Believe it or not, I have actually done a few other things this summer.

I re-watched Battlestar Galactica (2004). I love it just as much, if not more than the first time I watched it. It has a little bit of everything. There are strong female characters with Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace and Laura Roslin. These women are strong, but allowed to have flaws and weaknesses. They aren’t just hard-nosed b*tches. They love. They mourn. They make mistakes, but they aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe.

The ethical, political and religious questions/dilemmas in BSG ring true and feel oh so familiar. Monotheism v. polytheism. Abortion v. right to life. Political rule v. military rule. Treatment of prisoners/traitors. Human rights v. Cylon rights. And on and on and on.

The casting in BSG is another high point. Whether it’s the stars or recurring or guest actors, the casting is spot on in almost every case. BSG is where I discovered Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber and Tahmoh Penikett. I still get excited when they appear in other shows. The recurring/guest actors that parade through BSG are a who’s who of some of my favorite TV actors. It’s a long list, but here are a few – Mark Sheppard (Superrnatural), Rick Worthy (Star Trek: Enterprise, The Vampire Diaries, Heroes), Ty Olsson (Eureka, The Vampire Diaries), James Callis (Eureka), Richard Hatch (the original Battlestar Galactica) and Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap). Seriously, that’s the short list. I could go on and on.

I also started my Prison Break re-watch. I’m almost at the end of season one. There are so many twists and turns that I had forgotten about this show, it’s almost like watching it for the first time. About halfway through season one, my husband asked if I was falling in love with Michael Scofield like I did the first time around. Short answer – yes! I’m not rushing through this re-watch, but plan on finishing before the Prison Break even on FOX next year. I’m still curious how they will handle the parts of Michael and Lincoln, since Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell will be on CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, which begins at midseason.

Hubby and I are still working our way through Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. We have three episodes left and I wish I were more excited to watch them. As much as I want to love the show, I don’t. I think it’s the pace of the episodes. Many of them seem to drag. I think Daredevil falls into the same trap that many origin stories do. There is so much foundation to be laid, it bogs down the action. I’m hoping that season two moves past that.

I’ve also done some writing, although not nearly as much as I’d like. I did finish secret project #1, a short story. I need to start editing it, but wanted to take a break from it first. I’m also debating posting in on Fiction Press or Wattpad. Hopefully, but the time I finish the editing process, I’ll have an idea of what I want to do with it. In the meantime, I’ve continued to work on secret project #2 and started project #3. This summer I have realized one thing about writing. If I don’t make it a priority, it’s not going to happen. So, I think it’s time for me to set a daily word count and a time to write. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Back to what I have been doing this summer – reading, which I talk about here. As of this morning, this is what my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge looks like.

reading challenge

I’ve already bumped up my goal a few times and will probably do it again.

That’s been my summer. Not very exciting, huh? Let’s face it, that’s my life year round. That’s perfectly fine with me. I’d rather have a predictable, peaceful life than one filled with daily drama.

What have you done this summer? Anything fun and exciting? Please share in the comments.

My New (Old) Obsession

I know. You don’t have to tell me. I’ve been very quiet over the last few months. Deathly quiet. What kind of fangirl is that quiet? What has she been doing? I’d like to say that I’ve been so busy doing all kinds of exciting things that I just haven’t had time to blog. That, however, would be a big, fat lie. What I have been doing is rediscovering an old love – books.

I learned to read right along with everyone else in kindergarten and first grade. I was an only child who dealt with the loneliness by imagining scenes and acting them out behind my closed bedroom door. (My fourteen year old daughter still does this. I’m pretty sure she has an acting career in her future.) When I learned to read, books became my playmates. The characters were my friends. Their worlds became mine.

I was the girl who was always reading, who had a few books at school, a few at home and could seamlessly move between them, reading whatever matched my mood. I read everything from Nancy Drew to The Bobsey Twins to Judy Blume and anything else I could get my hands on. In junior high, I read Gone With the Wind and hundreds of other books that I can’t remember. In high school, it was The Winds of War, The Caine Mutiny and The Thorn Birds and more. Reading was my passion.

That passion stayed with me into adulthood. I would go to the library and schlep home a stack of ten or fifteen books, hoping they would last a week. Many times they didn’t. As a stay-at-home mom, I would read when the kids napped or played on the living room floor. I hoped that by reading to them and around them, they would all find a love of reading, too. (Three of the four found that love.)

About two years ago, that passion for reading shifted from books to fan fiction. It started with an innocent tweet. I clicked a link and fell into a never-ending rabbit hole. I don’t remember the first fic I read, but I do remember the third, the one that really sucked me in. It was The When and The How: A Bone to Pick by MoxieGirl. It’s a Bones fic and, unfortunately, unfinished. I didn’t care that it was unfinished. I spent my time in between updates reading other fics. There are some amazing writers in fan fiction. Anyone who ridicules it, probably hasn’t read it. Over the last two years, I have read hundreds of fics, millions of words.

I’ve read fics from many fandoms, but have barely touched the massive amount of material out there. Having said that, I’d love to share some of my favorites. In the Bones fandom, I tried to narrow it down to three favs. I just can’t do that. So, I’m keeping it to five, but even at that, I’m leaving out some really excellent writing.

Need by dgschneider

Fated by sleeplessinatlanta

String Theory by Covalent Bond

The Hand You’re Dealt by casketformytears

Running on Empty by GCatsPjs

Okay, that felt like picking which child is my favorite. Seriously, if you are a Bones fan, or just like to read good stories, check these out. You can also check my list of favorites (craftyjhawk) to see what I left off of this list.

On to some other favorites, if you are a Supernatural fan, here are a few.

In Reverse by sodakey

Between the Shadows by Dawn N

If you are a TVD (The Vampire Diaries) fan, these are for you.

Bloom by vanagonne

Consumed by CreepingMuse

River Deep, Ocean Wide by Nightlightbright

The Story of Us by Beautiful1Disaster

Claiming Hearts and Spaces by morvamp

That’s just a small sampling of what I have been reading over the last two years. That changed this past May when there seemed to be a lull in new material. Desperate for something to read and having reread many of my go-to fics, I opened the Kindle app on my iPad to see what I had downloaded but never read. Just my luck, nothing really caught my attention.

What did catch my attention was another innocent tweet raving about Colleen Hoover. I had no idea who she was, but decided to give one of her books a try. I bought and read Ugly Love in less than a day. From there I moved on to Confess and the Hopeless. At that point, I decided I was hopeless in love with Colleen Hoover and quickly read through all of her books. Very quickly, like in less than a week. Seriously, if I weren’t straight and happily married, I would marry Colleen Hoover in a heartbeat. That’s what her words do to me.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. When I reached the end of the last of her books, I was at a loss. I had rediscovered my love of books, but had no idea what to read next. Thank goodness for Amazon! Their helpful “If you like Colleen Hoover, try (fill in the blank)” was my lifesaver.

Almost three months and 144 books later, I have found many authors that I love. Even though I’m a forty-something mother of four, I am addicted to the Young Adult and New Adult genres. I can’t explain the attraction, but I don’t feel the need to, either. I am all about doing what makes you happy and these books make me happy. These authors – Hoover, Corine Michaels, L.B. Simmons, Claire Contreras, A.L. Jackson, S.C. Stephens and others – make me happy, even when they are dragging me through the depths of their characters angst. Do yourself a favor. Check these authors out. You won’t be disappointed. You can also check my Goodreads list (craftyjhawk) to see whom else I’ve been reading.

The moral of this story – READ. Whether it’s highly acclaimed fiction, graphic novels or even the much-maligned fan fiction, just read. Read to your kids. Keep books around for them to read alone. Reading is a release, an escape, a stress reliever. Reading helps to keep your mind sharp as you age. Reading opens the creative centers of your brain. And when it comes right down to it, reading is just fun.