So… Anemia Isnt Fun (Oversharing 2: Electric Boogaloo)

Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson after my first post where I talked way too much and probably said way too much about my medical situation.

So now it’s time for part 2.

Previously on Cait’s Life: Depression, anxiety, family stuff, school, & insomnia

This Week: All of the above, + me annoying my doctors with my bad blood.

Okay, let’s take it from the beginning.

First, if you haven’t read my original update post (Updates, Explanations, and Oversharing — Why I Disappeared) I’d highly recommend you check that out first because I’ll be talking about some of the stuff I went over there. If you don’t feel like reading that, I don’t blame you.

Okay, assuming now you’ve read that or don’t care enough (honestly, same), let’s get to the oversharing.

I mentioned before that my mental health was not in a great place, but I was hoping it would be getting better. I actually wrote that post a day before I had a doctors appointment. I had gotten some blood work done to check on my thyroid levels (I have hypothyroidism which can play a part in my depression). Surprisingly, my thyroid levels were pretty good! It was everything else that wasn’t…

Read more for all the not-so-fun details & find out why I’m even talking about this.

[ Related: This is a book blog none of my posts are really related to this. But maybe check out my Top 4 December 2019 Book Releases – Perfect Gifts for Bookworms! ]

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updates, explanations, and oversharing - caitsbooks.com

Updates, Explanations, and Oversharing – Why I Disappeared

Hi.

You might have noticed I’ve been a little absent these past few weeks. And by a little, I mean I practically dropped off the face of the Earth. I didn’t want to just go back to my normal posting schedule without an explanation, but I also didn’t want to spend to much time talking about it, so hopefully this post will do.

Basically, I just had the perfect storm awfulness. So much for enjoying spooky season.

My mom got really sick last month. She’s okay- she had an exasperation of a chronic illness she’s had for years, but because of it she has been in a lot of pain. Between school, work, theater, and trying to help her however I can, plus some family stuff that I won’t go into details on, I was very, very busy. However, what really kept me from posting as much as I wanted to, was my mental health.

I try to be as open as possible about my struggles with mental illness. It’s my small way of trying to fight the stigma against it. That said, it’s much easier to be open about it when I’m stable and my mental health is under control. That really hasn’t been the case for the past month or so.

A combination of anxiety, depression, and insomnia really hit me hard, and I lacked pretty much all motivation to do anything. I was getting no sleep (I broke my record for the least amount of sleep I had in a week at 12 hours, which isn’t exactly a positive, but it made sleep-deprived me laugh so I wanted to mention it), having frequent panic attacks, and I felt pretty hopeless. I didn’t even have the motivation or energy to read (I know, sacrilege), let alone write reviews or discussions. I really missed doing it, because this blog brings me so much happiness, but I was just in such a bad place that I couldn’t feel happy about anything.

But look: I’m posting! I’m definitely not completely better. I’m barely even a fraction of a percent better, but I’m not getting worse. I count that as a win!

I can’t promise I’ll be back to my reliable posting schedule immediately- things are still shaky and might be that way for at least a few weeks- but I just want you to know that I haven’t given up on you guys, and I’m still here.

I have some fun things in the works. There were a lot of things I wanted to post in October that I didn’t get the chance to. I still have a half-written draft of my New York Comic Con wrap up that I need to finish up! I also have some fun things up my sleeve for November that I can’t wait to share with you! (Anyone interested in a giveaway? Stay tuned to my blog this week for more details!)

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting my top 8 November 2019 book releases, and I have a couple of reviews that will be up in this next week. I also plan on having my October favorites and November TBR posted this week as well. Expect a post-heavy and fun-filled bookish week from me!

So… yeah. I’m not dead. I’m not yet okay, and I won’t pretend to be, but I’m working on it and I’m getting there. I’m just so grateful for everyone who’s been there for me, and for all of you guys who brighten my day by talking about books and fandoms and all of those things. You are part of the reason I’m fighting so hard to get better.

Thank you.

This is usually where I ask you guys a question, then plug my twitter/insta/etc. I feel like that would be weird here, but I want some semblance of normalcy sooooo…

What are some great things that have happened to you lately? I want to hear how you’ve been doing and what awesome things have brightened your month!






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My NaNoWriMo Plotting Process (2018)

(image credit)

Having done NaNoWriMo five different times over the course of seven years, I have tried a lot of different ways to reach that 50k and finish my novels.

When I first started, back in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing. All I had was a vague idea and theme that I wanted to work with, a simple sketch in my head of my main two characters. For some people, that works.

I’m not one of those people.

I gave up halfway through the month at around 25k. The next year, I went in wanting to rewrite what I had written in 2011 and actually finish it. However, I didn’t think it through beyond that.

I ended that year with about 33k.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I actually won. Using a basic plot chart-– the type I was given in my English class for analyzing novels– I created a simple story structure for a dystopian YA novel. Most of the book was planned out, except the ending. Luckily, I managed to write 52k…. and then never write the ending. In 2015, I tried to rewrite the dystopian and hopefully finish it. But because I was lazy I never actually thought out the ending and stopped once I reached 55k. That same issue happened when I started a new YA contemporary book in 2017. I got through two acts, and while I had a vague outline for the third act, I still wasn’t able to finish it.

So that brings me to this year and my current method.

I got the idea for my current WIP in July, and began outlining and planning over the summer. I used the 3 Act/9 Block/27 Chapter Structure. If you haven’t heard of it (like I hadn’t), I highly recommend watching Katytastic’s video on it!

This time, I left nothing up to change. Every chapter had a distinct goal, and for all of Act I, I split each chapter into 3 scenes that each had a goal. I later changed up the scenes and how they fell, but it definitely helped to keep my momentum.

By October, I started writing (I know it was early, please don’t kill me). I began on October 9th, and tracked my progress using the Goal Trackers on the NaNo site.

My original goal was to write 20k in October, then 50k in November, and finish the rough draft with 70k. It was a little short for a YA fantasy, but I would be able to fix that in editing.

By November 1st, I had 35k.

My first act alone was 30k, meaning if the other acts are that long, I’ll have around a 90k draft.

I was hoping to use NaNoWriMo to keep me motivated to continue writing through until I finish this book, but now it’s looking like I won’t be done by the end of NaNo.

My current plan is:

  • Write 35k in October (Check!)
  • Write an additional 50k in November
  • Write 1-5k in December to finish the draft!

I’m almost at the end of Act II, with 53k words and only about 2.5 chapters left. I’ll probably either just hit 30k for this act, or fall short by a couple thousand words. If all goes well, I’ll be finishing this book by December 1st or 2nd.

And then it’s time for revisions.

 

How do you plan for NaNoWriMo? Do you religiously outline, or pants it?
Also, add me as a writing buddy!

 

New York Comic Con Wrap Up

New York Comic Con is perhaps my favorite time of year (maybe second only to Bookcon… it’s hard to decide).

From amazing cosplays to hilarious panels, you will always have something to see when visiting the Javits Center Columbus Day weekend. This year, I was able to go on Saturday and Sunday, with some fun Disney cosplays.

The real reason I love NYCC? That would have to be the free books. From ARCs to finished copies, there are dozens of free books handed out by the publishing booths. And when it comes to getting free things, I plan things out to the minute to make sure I can get as much as possible (a trait that really comes in handy at conventions). I typically try to stick with that plan, but this year a lot of the books I got were completely by coincidence.

Saturday was definitely my craziest day. I had to wake up at 5 in the morning to start my Belle transformation before leaving at 7 to begin the trek into the city. I live out on the North Fork of Long Island, so the drive can be a little long, but not long enough to make a hotel worthwhile. We had some issues getting parking, something that had never happened in the previous 3 years I’ve gone to NYCC, but of course one of the subway lines had to be down this weekend so everyone was driving in. Luckily, we got to the convention at around 10:30, just on time for me to sprint over to the Fierce Reads (Macmillan) booth to line up for an ARC of Tricia Levenseller’s Warrior of the Wild (Release Date: 2/26/19). If  I left with only one ARC, I would have wanted it to be this one. I absolutely adored her Daughter of the Pirate King series and I’m dying to see what she writes next.

After that, I was also lucky enough to get my hands on We Set the Dark on Fire (RD: 2/26/19) by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins (RD: 2/05/19) and I got to go to a signing of A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (RD: 3/26/29). Later, I was also grabbed a copy of The Afterward by E.K. Johnston (RD: 2/19/19).

I ended up not buying too many books, only three that I’m really excited to start reading. The first is The Wolf Queen by Cerece Rennie Murphy. I’ve been visiting her booth at NYCC since my first convention four years ago. Her books always amaze me and I always look forward to getting to see what she’s written. Plus, she is one of the nicest human beings! Her books are also available online, so go and pick up a copy! I also met an author I haven’t read before, Nicoline Evans. She had a variety of books but her Haemans series is the one that stuck out to me (she described it as a dark Anastasia-inspired book with zombies, so I was sold).

On Sunday, I only really wanted one book, and that was Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (RD: 3/19/19). I’m so glad I was able to get that, plus a few others! The most surprising book I got was Slayer by Kiersten White (RD: 1/8/19). I had no idea they were even dropping the ARC, and I’m so grateful that someone I was on line with (for another book) told me about it! Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my life in high school, and I am so glad I was able to get my hands on an ARC of Kiersten White’s book that takes place in that universe! I also got to go to a signing of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, and was able to pick up an ARC of The Women’s War by Jenna Glass (RD: 3/5/19).

Of course, I can’t finish my NYCC wrap up without showing a few of the amazing cosplays I saw during the weekend:

End of Summer Update!

I just wanted to share a brief update on my plans for this blog for the next few months!

I have been blown away by the response to my reviews and posts during these last few months, and I can’t express how grateful I am. 

I’ve been able to post so much lately because I wasn’t taking any classes, and only working part-time. Plus, I had to transfer quite a few old reviews here that I had already written, so it wasn’t hard to post almost daily. But now September is creeping closer and I’ll be back to school in addition to work. Ew. Plus, I ran out of old posts to bring over here.

What does that mean? I’ll be posting on a regular schedule (I already have my next few reviews planned!) but it may be a little less than what I’ve been doing this summer.

Here’s the approximate schedule:

1st of the Month – Previous Month’s Wrap Up *My August Wrap Up may be delayed, I’ll be in Hawaii visiting my brother, and with the Hurricane coming I’m not entirely sure I’ll have power
2nd to Last Day of the Month – Next Month’s Most Anticipated Releases
Last Day of the Month – Next Month’s TBR

(Every other) SundayLaia Recommends!
TuesdayReview! (I plan on reviewing all of the Throne of Glass books before the last one comes out, which means rereading them all. Let’s see how this goes!)
(1st & 3rd OR 2nd & 4th) Thursday – A Recommendation (usually based on a theme or genre or whatever I feel like)
(2nd OR 3rd) Thursday – A Cover Change Corner
Saturday – Another Review!

This is the schedule I’ve been using the past few months, just without the extra reviews I’ve thrown in. Of course, things may change, but this is what I expect to be doing for at least another couple of months. 

Also, I plan on doing a few more spontaneous posts whenever I feel like it, to make up for the lack of content with me not posting reviews daily anymore. We’ll see how well that works out.

Thank you for sticking with me for this boring update! And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…