November: On Repeat (Special Edition)

Since November was NanoWrimo month I didn’t really allow my ears to hear much outside of the playlist for my NanoNovel, Crack the Sky. Because of this I’ve decided to simply post said playlist (or at least the 10 songs with the highest play counts at the end of my NanoWrimo mania).
Also, if you’re interested in seeing some snippets from Crack the Sky click HERE!

Emarosa – “Breather”

He Is Legend – “Mean Shadows”

Artifex Pereo – “The Lantern & the Firefly”

Three Days Grace – “Overrated”

Thrice – “Moving Mountains”

Red – “Watch You Crawl”

Tides of Man – “Chemical Fires”

Prom Kings – “Angels”

Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”

Florence + the Machine – “Seven Devils”

Since I will most likely listen to nothing but Christmas music in December and plan to do the 25 Days of Christmas Music posts like I did last year, this will be the last On Repeat post of the year. At the end of December though, keep an eye out for my 2011 in Review posts, of which there will be more than one music themed one this year!
Peace – Sarah


Sneak Peek: Crack the Sky

When NanoWrimo began I told myself that at the end of it I’d share a snippet or two from whatever I wrote during the month. Being brave enough to do this is very difficult for me, but I rarely go back on my word (even if it’s only to myself). With that being said, I have two snippets for you from my current work-in-progress, Crack the Sky.
So you’re not completely confused you should know that Crack the Sky is about a guardian angel being stolen from heaven by demons so she can’t protect her angel-demon subject. The story is told from a 17 year old boy’s point of view. The first snippet is the beginning of Chapter 1 and the second snippet is all of Chapter 8.
Questions and comments are welcome. I hope you enjoy!

Chapter 1

I shoot upright in the bed, heaving for air. Thunder so violent it rattles through the house, through my bones, has awakened me. I jerk the sheets away from my legs and hurry out of the room. As I exit the front door lightning cracks the sky like heaven is being ripped open (if heaven even exists) and I sprint.
Sweat drips from my brow as I plunge through the woods. Crimson leaves crunch under my footfall, black stalking trees just a blur in the corner of my eye as I blow past them. I don’t know where I’m even going, but I can’t stop my feet from moving, from pushing me forward.
Thunder and lightning crack the sky again, more aggressive than a moment ago and I shudder, but I do not stop running. I feel something pulling me, the center of my being driving me towards an unknown purpose. And then, deep into the forest, I skid to a stop, my feet sliding against the damp, slick leaves.
There, at the base of tree, lies a girl wrapped in dirtied white cloth. Her back is to me, her shoulder blades bare. The ground soaks up blood as it seeps from her back. She’s so pale, stark white against the red leaking from her and the decaying forest around us. Her body looks slack, like a dead girl.
Slowly, I tiptoe towards her, nervous as if she might suddenly rise from her dead state. Thick blonde hair drapes across her face. I crouch down and lightly brush it aside to check for a pulse. Despite her dead-like demeanor, she’s beautiful—pure and innocent, looking misplaced in this dark and scary forest. Barely a thud thumps beneath my fingers at her throat and I feel more relieved that she’s alive than I thought I’d feel. I didn’t want this stranger to be dead?

Chapter 8

At the mall Leilani’s eyes sparkle with wonder even more than they did at my house. Everything is new to her. Everything. It’s an awesome thing to witness. The way she touches textures, the way she examines the dumbest things. It’s all so entertaining to me.
Despite the secret pleasure I find in being present for this, I still poke fun at this supposed naïveté from her. She’s fondling a crucifix necklace, looking completely perplexed when I ask, “What? You don’t recognize your own savior?”
Her eyes shoot daggers at me and I can’t help but laugh at her once again. She answers my arrogance with, “Well Jesus did die on the cross in this way, but he looks nothing like the man on this cross.”
“Oh, is that so?” I chuckle. “Tell that to the overzealous Christians. I’m sure they’d love to argue that one with you.”
She releases the cross and watches it swing to a stop. Her obvious disappointment with my flippant attitude is starting to make me feel guilty and I never feel guilty for anything. I change my tactics. I brought her here for the reward of spoiling her. Spoiling doesn’t involve rude rhetoric. Or at least it shouldn’t (though my father would know nothing of that).
I pull her towards a coat rack full of puffy snow coats that make people look like colored marshmallows. She brushes her hand against one, but doesn’t seem to be satisfied with its sleek exterior. She disregards the rest of the coats on the rack entirely and drifts to one offering a variety of peacoats. I assume she’s appalled by anything in darker shades because her fingers always reach for ones in white or ivory automatically.
Her eyes hold a fondness for the one she’s examining now. It’s a hooded wool peacoat in white, with a fur inlay and silver buckles. She touches it slowly, gently, as if it’s something special and deserves respect. It’s just a darn coat. I wonder if maybe she needs to understand that, that it’s just an object to be worn when it’s cold outside. I start to explain it to her when suddenly she yanks off my borrowed coat, letting it fall to the floor, and frees the white peacoat from its hanger.
She slips into the coat in one swift movement, immediately raising its hood to cover her head. Her eyes close and she holds the coat closed around her with a peaceful expression on her face. The one she’s chosen fits her perfectly, hugging her curves the way it’s designed to do.
 “Is that the one you want?” I ask, completely enthralled by the appreciation she holds for such a simple thing.
Without opening her eyes she reaches for my hand and presses my palm inside the coat to feel the fur. Our faces are close and she whispers now, a smile still scrawled across her lips. “This is what my wings feel like.”
For just a moment I close my eyes too and let myself imagine them, imagine her story about being an angel holding truth. I see wings, so large they could fold around her and hide her entire tiny form. I feel feathers soft as velvet, warm and full of this fresh air scent. It intoxicates me, the beauty of it all.
I’m smiling, lost in this vision, when I’m abruptly pulled free by the sound of Mackenzie’s voice. “Tilian?” she sneers.
My hand falls from Leilani’s coat and the happy clarity I just felt dissipates as my eyes come open. I turn towards a clearly pissed off Mackenzie, sucking on a red lollipop in a wholly seductive and inappropriate manner.
She just stares at me for a minute trying to process what she’s witnessing, what this looks like: Me at the mall, after skipping school, with another girl buying her nice things. Mackenzie’s eyes flare like fire, but before she can completely make a scene I try to soften her blow flirtatiously. “Oh, hey, Kenz.”
It doesn’t work.


NanoWrimo Wrap-Up

So it’s the last day of November, which doubles as the last day of National Novel Writing Month as well. You may recall me mentioning at the beginning of the month that I was going to give this crazy ‘write a 50K word novel in a 30 days’ contest a whirl. Well, I did, but I came nowhere near the word count goal. See:

7030 / 50000

I’m not completely disappointed with my mediocre achievement though. It probably sounds ridiculous to say that, but it’s the truth. I rarely have time to entertain my novel at all Monday through Friday because of work, so for having only Saturday and Sunday to work on my book (all of which weren’t even completely dedicated to writing because of other obligations), I’d say I did okay.

The most I’ve ever written in a month before this was just under 30K words and that was when I was rewriting my first novel (which is a lot easier than writing something from scratch in my opinion since you already have a general sense of what will happen, who the characters are, etc…). No matter how hard I tried, I don’t think that writing a 50K novel in a month will ever be a feasible goal for me and it’s not just because of my day job.

I can’t just write words for the sake of a word count. I have to feel the words, listen to the direction my characters are moving, and apply it to the story – even if that means straying away from the direction I thought the story would go. Also, it should be noted that I self-edit constantly. Almost every time I sit down to write, I re-read what I’ve written and mark it up. Some might think this is foolish and maybe it is, but it’s how I write and so far it’s worked for me. I could never just plow through a book without looking back, without it being perfect before moving on. I could never just kill a character to cause drama unless they’re meant to die. I just can’t write words for the sake of words. (Redundant Sarah is redundant, I know)

Despite its low word count to date, I’m personally in-love with my novel. I can’t imagine even changing what I’ve written so far because I’ve already given it a million onceover’s and touchups (Heck, even my Crit Partner’s already critiqued it). I’m really looking forward to continuing this novel and hopefully completing it in the beginning of the New Year.

So how do I feel about NanoWrimo after finally giving it chance? Well, I am grateful that it gave me a reason to start writing again this year, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll participate in again. I don’t need a competition to help me remember my dreams of becoming published one day. I wake up every day with these thoughts all on my own. I understand the benefits some people find with NanoWrimo, but they just feel unnecessary to me.

Writer friends, how did you do with Nano? Has your perspective of the contest changed since participating in it?

Peace – Sarah



October: On Repeat

So it’s that time of the month again and October brought some new and some old bands (most of which Steve turned me on to). I guess we’ll start with bands you’ve seen me give shine to before first….


As I mentioned last month, their latest album came out this month and so you should have expected to see them pop up again On Repeat. In addition to buying “Room to Run” on its release date, I also bought their EP “Line ‘Em Up” and between the two albums the following tracks got a lot of love: Generation, Falling For, Can’t Explain, and Timebomb.

Another Chapter

He Is Legend

He Is Legend popped back up on my radar this month because while plotting for my NanoWrimo project I realized their sound overall fits the tone of my book so perfectly I could virtually listen to any song whether it directly related to the story or not and write to it. I imagine He Is Legend will get a lot of shine in November as well while I’m in writer-mania mode so I apologize in advance for being repetitive come November: On Repeat. Songs that got the most listens include: Stranger Danger, Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, Martini, and The Fool.

Cult of She

Now for some new additions….

I’m no newbie to Thrice, but for some reason like a lot of great bands I grew up with, I owned very little of their music prior to a few months ago. With their latest album release “Major/Minor” all of their music has been living on repeat this month. Thrice is another of those bands I can see myself listening to a lot next month while I work on my NanoWrimo novel because their overall sound just fits the tone of my story. Some of the most played tracks this month include: The Messenger, The Sky Is Falling, Silhouette, Stare at the Sun, and Promises.


Closure in Moscow
This band is new to me and so very easy to listen to (in my opinion)! Like the few bands I’ve already mentioned being NanoWrimo inspiration, Closure in Moscow also makes the cut. Songs that were played ad nauseam include: A Night at the Spleen, Deluge, and Vanguard.


Artifex Pereo
This band just might be my favorite band at the moment. Whenever I made attempts to listen to something else this month, I just kept drifting back to them. Even though only one song actually fits the story I’m working on for NanoWrimo, their sound as a whole is very easy to write to and therefore they too will likely be abused just as much next month as they were this month. In an attempt to save the “featured” book song for next months On Repeat I won’t point it out and just tell you that the following can all be considered favorites: Mrs. D (Oh, the piano!), The Pendulum (especially how it changes up after 2:15 minutes!), Fool’s Errands, Devil & Water, and Edgar Suit.

Granulated Eyelids

Tides of Man
Sadly, I’m getting into this band after the fact and the singer has since left them, but I’ve got two albums to keep me occupied for now and that makes me happy because they’re rather awesome. It might just be me, but the singer reminds me so much of the singer from the band RUSH that whenever I’m listening to Tides of Man I feel like seeing if my dad would jam to them with me just like we jammed together to RUSH growing up. Anyway, lots of tracks got a lot of play, but the following got the most:  Descent, Only Human, and Knowing.


A Lot Like Birds
As much as I love Jonny Craig’s voice in Dance Gavin Dance, I also really enjoyed the time Kurt Travis spent singing for them so when I found out he released an album of his own with a fancy new band it was sort of a no brainer to give it a shot and I wasn’t let down. My current favorites include:  Truly Random Code and Orange Time Machines Care.

Sesame Street Is No Place for Me

Well that concludes this month’s On Repeat. With NanoWrimo under foot, I’m planning a sort of “Special Edition” post for November’s On Repeat. Keep an eye out for it! 😉
Peace – Sarah




National Writing Month begins tomorrow aka: 30 days of attempting to write a 50K word novel from scratch.

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything of significance. I’m not sure I’m ready.

But I will try. I want to try. I want to see Crack the Sky come alive.

Wish me Luck?

*Fingers Crossed*

Peace – Sarah



I call her “Candi”

Remember last week when I was all “Woe Is Me” blah, blah, blah? Well, I wouldn’t say I’m completely in a better place, but some of my complaints have been resolved which already makes this week better than last.

Since the number one issue was regarding concerts and that complaint will never be resolved we’ll just skip it altogether and start with my number two complaint: The dying machine known as my old truck. “Old” now because….

I Got a New One! *SQUEE*

It’s a 2009 Ford Escape and the color is called Sangria, but it looks more like a shimmery candy apple in person so I’ve named her “Candi.” I have to admit for as troubled as I was over having to get a new vehicle at all and how stressed having an additional car payment will make me, I’m rather in-love with her. I can’t believe she’s actually mine, all shiny and new and perfect!

Speaking of… Candi (though this time a character with this name from Candi Comics by Starlight X Hodge) sort of helped me read again. Maybe not entirely, but I did read the entire webcomic last week from start to current (years’ worth of art and fun) alongside two other real books. I had started reading Bloodborn (Other, Book 2) by Karen Kincy a while ago and was finally able to finish that. Then I started and finished reading After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel. My thoughts on both of these books can be read on my Goodreads page. I’m currently reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. So I guess my “I don’t read anymore” mentality is over. YAY!

And lastly, writing… the thought that never leaves my brain. I’m not saying I’ve suddenly produced something magnificent (because I definitely haven’t), but I have realized something that was brought to my attention last year by a friend and I pretended couldn’t be true. If this year has proven anything, it’s that they were right. I am a seasonal writer. Meaning, I might produce something here and there during summer or spring, but I get the writing bug in fall and winter and this is when I’m most apt to complete something of value. Shoot, just even writing blogs is easier during these months. I have no idea why, so don’t bother asking, but after some evaluation of the facts, I’m pretty positive this is the case. So with that being said, I’m giving a lot of thought to NanoWrimo this year. I’ve never participated before, but maybe it’d be the perfect thing for me to officially launch myself back into writing for the season I write the best in. I have plenty of potential story ideas to use… now just to pick which one feels like I might be able to pump out 50K words for it in 30 days…. Hmmmm.

Until Next Time – Sarah