Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Highlights!

It's almost time to say goodbye to 2011! But before we welcome 2012, let's talk about some of my favorite things of 2011 before we do have to say goodbye.

I was thinking of a quick run through of all the new movies and books I watched and read this year, before and after starting this blog. But there were quite a few low points and I really didn’t want to get into that. I thought it’d be more fun to stick with the books and movies that really stood out for me this year. Now, these are movies and books that were new to me, meaning the first time I watched and read anything mentioned below. Beware, there will be SPOILERS! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS AND MORE MAJOR SPOILERS! (Just wanted to make that clear.)

To begin, my favorite movies I watched this year:

Red – One of my favorite movies now. An action movie with retired CIA agents starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban (Eomer!) and Mary-Louis Parker. It’s funny with some really good action scenes. The best part? Bruce Willis and Karl Urban kicking the crap out of each to Aerosmith’s, Back in the Saddle. THE BEST!

Boondock Saints – I remember my husband renting this a few years ago. I vaguely remember walking in on the basement scene and asking what the hell is going on in this movie?! After that I didn’t give this movie much thought. But when you troll the internet enough you learn that this movie has a pretty loyal cult following so I finally went to check it out on Netflix. Not bad. It’s not the greatest but its good cheesy, bloody (as in, lots of people get shot up, bloody) fun.

Thor – Ha, do you even have to ask why I like this movie so much?! Just Kidding! There’s more to it than just a shirtless Thor. My favorite part is the whole family dynamics between Odin, Thor and Loki. Good stuff there: sibling rivalry, seeking the approval from a powerful father, passing on the rule of Asgard to a son who may not be ready. The Earth stuff dragged and I wasn’t feeling anything between Thor and Jane. But the Asgard scenes make it worth it.

X-Men First Class – Well, I’ll just let my post from a few months ago explain my love for this movie.

Fright Night – Another movie I wrote about on this blog and enjoyed a lot.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Again, no need to repeat myself here why I liked this move, though I do have my issues with the director. Maybe one day I’ll go through each of the HP movies he’s directed and show you what my issues are. I'm going to miss having Harry Potter movies to look forward to. Excuse me, I think there's something in my eye...

Captain America – Another good one from Marvel this year. I’m disappointed I didn’t see this in the theaters. My husband found it streaming online and we watched a scene and thought, “WE NEED THIS MOVIE!”, so we bought it on DVD (see, if a movie is good, we will buy it!). It’s just good, wholesome, American fun! I really like Steve Rogers and his friend, Bucky. And Steve Roger’s attraction to Peggy Carter was really believable; probably because it wasn’t this instant love at first sight business that they tried to pull in Thor. It was a gradual attraction that was funny, full of tension and sweet. There’s also great action and Tommy Lee Jones being Tommy Lee Jones and he’s just awesome therefore this movie is awesome. The End.

Return of the Living Dead – This movie cracked me up! Oh my god, it’s so funny. I died with the juicy zombie bobbing and weaving, looking for brains. And that chick just dancing around naked and her friends just laughing and pointing, Hey, she's naked again! Hilarious!

Let Me In – This movie gave me chills. It has such a quiet, terror running through it. It’s frightening, yet sad.

And I’d like to give some honorable mentions to some TV shows, and while I haven’t talked about any yet on this blog, it’s still a form of storytelling and there have been some good ones I’ve watched this year:

Game of Thrones – Very faithful to the first book of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I’m looking forward to Season 2 but let me tell you, Season 3 is where it’s at! If the faithfulness to Book 1 is any indication of how this show plays out, Season 2 will be awesome but Season 3 will BLOW YOUR MIND. Red Wedding, NOOOOOOO!!!! (Look it up at your own risk)

Misfits – Honestly, I haven’t watched every episode but the ones I’ve seen have been funny, sad, thoughtful and just plain good. My husband told our neighbors about this show and they’re hooked too. And the latest episode on Hulu had us dying! So, so funny.

American Horror Story – My husband and I watched the first episode and were lukewarm about it. Then I found out he’d been watching the rest without me! And it got better! I haven’t seen all the episodes but between what I have seen and what I’ve been told about the parts I’ve missed, it’s weird and creepy and awesome.

And even though I said I’d stick to the highlights, these next 2 shows do have their high points but because I’m devoted to these 2 I have to talk about the low points too:

Dexter Season 6 – We’ve got some good stuff happening here:
  • Deb promoted to Lieutenant over Batista
  • Brian making an appearance!
  • Mos Def as Brother Sam
And we've got some not so good stuff:
  • Quinn turning into an unreliable douche because Deb wouldn’t marry him (wah wah wah, GROW UP)
  • Dexter making all kinds of bad decisions
  • The therapist putting it into Deb’s head that she may have more than just brotherly love for Dexter (GROSS!)
  • Bringing the Trinity Killer’s kid back for a pointless road trip for Dexter (and yes, it brought Brian back but bringing him into the picture could have been done differently and for more than one episode)
  • The Dooms Day Killer was kinda dull
  • The DDK's painting of Dexter as some demon... dumb.
Walking Dead Season 2.1 – The good:
  • Daryl
  • Merle returning (Even if it was a hallucination. But damn, the goose bumps I got when he told Daryl to shoot Rick in the face! If a hallucination can do that, just imagine what it'll be like when he really returns!)
  • Shane stepping up to make things interesting (shooting Otis, letting the zombies out of the barn for a good old fashioned game of Shoot the Zombies!)
  • Zombie Sophia in the barn!
The worst:
  • Lori Lori Lori (My husband: “Does she do anything?” You mean, other than her sitting around half ass-edly chopping carrots/hanging laundry and being a major Drama Queen? No.)
  • Andrea for shooting Daryl (My husband, again with his wonderful insight: “See, that’s what happens when women don’t follow directions.” Jerk. But in this case, he’s right (Don’t you dare tell him I said that!))
And now moving on to my favorite books that I read this year:

A Game of Thrones/A Clash of Kings/A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin My Nerd Out I wrote about partially explains why this was a highlight for me this year.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins My favorite of the entire trilogy. It was the only one that really triggered an emotional response from me.

Lost Horizon by James Hilton A soothing read yet sad.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson Made me realize I shouldn’t base my opinion of Stephenson solely on my two failed attempts at Quicksilver.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman Lots of good gems throughout this collection of short stories.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski A frustrating read but makes you proud to stand up and announce you finished it!

Snuff by Terry Pratchett I really liked this book so here’s to more Discworld and Sam Vimes!

Drama An Actor’s Education by John Lithgow – A fun read and I’ll have a review up for it sometime in January. Full of insight not just for actors, but for any artist.

Some other highlights of the year:
  • I started watching Doctor Who a couple days ago and I'm liking it
  • Sons of Anarchy jealousy because they get to play in my old backyard of Northern CA but it's a good jealousy because this show is awesome and I really need to catch up!
  • The RIP Challenge
  • Hello!, Nanowrimo Winner here!
  • Storytime With Venessa!
  • And of course, starting this blog!
Even if nobody is reading or cares what I think, I love that I can express my joy and frustration here. It’s so much fun to write here and I’m looking forward to 2012 to see what else there is to love (and hate! Oh Yeah!).

Monday, December 26, 2011

New on the Shelf: The Christmas Wrap Up Edition

There’s been a lot of activity in the Acquiring Books Department. I tried to take it easy before Christmas, but there are just so many great books out there and I want them all! And while my daughter made out like a bandit in the toy department Christmas morning, I made out like a bandit in the book department.

Black is the New White by Paul Mooney: An ebook I received from a friend. She had IMed be about buying the John Lithgow book and said she was finishing up Black is the New White and it caught my eye, so I said, “Ooh! Me want too!” After reading the John Lithgow book I’m really in the mood to read more memoirs now. This will be the next.

The Lone Wolf by Louis Joseph Vance: An ebook from Project Gutenberg. I read a review on Vintage Pop Fictions and it sounded like a really good read.

Scaramouche and The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini: Ebooks from Project Gutenberg. I recently finished Captain Blood (again) and decided that I should try out other stories by the same author.

The Time Machine and War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells: More ebooks from Project Gutenberg. These will be on hand for the Science Fiction Experience I will be participating in. More details on that later!

Naval Miscellany by Angus Konstam: A bargain book from B&N that I couldn’t resist. It has some quick naval facts of various topics. I thought it would make a good companion to my Captain Blood, Horatio Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin reading.

The Door to Far-Myst by Mike Dicerto: Won through Good Reads! I was super excited when I found out I won this. I’ve only been on Good Reads for a few months and felt quite spoiled to find I was selected to receive a copy. It’s signed and I got a bookmark with it! This will be a good one to read with Venessa.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead: Borrowed from the library. I mentioned a while ago I had it on hold but I just didn’t get it when I thought I would. That must mean it’s good if I had to wait through that many people who borrowed it too!

The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet by Arturo Perez-Reverte: Christmas present! (Thank you, Laura and Carol!) It’s the 5th book of the Captain Alatriste series. On a side note, I really need to learn Spanish; shameful, really that I don’t know much considering I’m half-Mexican. But the author tweets quite often but it’s all in Spanish and there is definitely something lost in the Google Chrome translation.

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson: Another Christmas present! (Thank you, Laura and Carol!) I missed out on the group read of this book on Stainless Steel Droppings. When I read the author had sent an email to add to the discussion I thought that was really awesome and knew I was missing out on something so this went on my Christmas Wish List.

Van Gogh The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith: Another Christmas present (Thank you, Steve My Love!) and the book I was really really looking forward to receiving. I’m not an art connoisseur and my art history knowledge is non-existant but I do really love Van Gogh’s work. The colors and textures speak to me and I just really like looking at the pretty pictures. This is a lovely book with a great cover too.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: Purchased from B&N. I’ve been going through a zombie phase. It’s all The Walking Dead’s fault. And since Season 2 is on hiatus until February (those jerks!), I’ll have this book as well as Zone One for my zombie fix.

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein: Purchased from B&N and to be read for the Science Fiction Experience (as mentioned above). When I first saw the movie Starship Troopers, my first thought was, “What a rip off of The Forever War!” (a great book by Joe Haldeman by the way) not knowing it was even adapted from a book. Then I’ve learned from the internet that not all fans of the book were very happy with the movie. Shocker! But I’ve see Heinlein’s name here and there with lots of good things said about him so this will be my first Heinlein book.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov: I haven’t received this one yet. I ordered it through Loud Voice Books for the Stainless Steel Droppings Hosted Group Read in January. More on this later as well! And a special shout out to Loud Voice Books for answering my email and making sure they ordered the correct book.

London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd: Ordered through Amazon but I haven’t received it yet. Hey, what else are you to do with an Amazon Gift Card for Christmas?! Thanks, Dad! I thumbed through this at B&N one day and found it fascinating. Can’t wait to flip through its pages again!

See there’s nothing wrong with spreading the cheer amongst local shops and Amazon. And yes, I’m one of those who sees a book at a bookstore (usually B&N though) and will find out where it’s cheaper. What can I say, I’m a Scrooge. But I’m happy and so is my bank account so that’s what’s important and I do what I can to spread my VERY hard earned money around.

I am very happy with my new treasures. Who knows, maybe a woobie book is lurking amongst this list. I’m looking forward to the New Year to find out which one it is.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas Fanboys and girls!

We got some early Christmas presents this week in the form of full length trailers for the two most anticipated movies of 2012: The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit!

Yes, this was a good week for fanboys and girls. Let's discuss!:


Honestly, I haven’t been that huge a fan of the movies. I’ve seen Batman Begins a few times, actually owned in on DVD a few years ago but just couldn’t quite get into it. I’ve only see The Dark Knight once and that was in the theater. I don’t know why I’m not a hardcore fan of Nolan’s versions. It might be because I grew up watching Tim Burton's Batman that I’ve been hesitant to fully commit to Christopher Nolan’s version. BUT that doesn’t mean I’m still not excited about this movie and I’ll be there standing in line at midnight! And it has some excellent casting from Inception alumni that make me more interested in this one then the others: Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy.

And this trailer, even with its faults, still has nuggets of goodness: We have Catwoman giving Batman a piece of her mind (though my friend Caz pointed out that it’s reminiscent of the scene in Batman Returns with Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Keaton), the sacking of the mansion gave me chills and the football player turning around to find the other players and the field gone! I would have liked more Gary Oldman so the teaser trailer from months ago is still my favorite since it showcased him.


Seriously. This brought tears to my eyes. It’s gorgeous.

It’s been years since I’ve read the book so I don’t remember everything about it. I just know the basic plot and I’ve been thinking about a re-read before the movie. But I don’t know if I will now. I’m starting to think maybe I should come into this with a, almost, fresh set of eyes. There is just so much about this trailer that’s amazing and should be taken in without the baggage of trying to compare it to the book; the music, the cinematography, Bilbo and lots of Dwarves! I wasn’t one who really cared much for the songs in the books or the previous movies but when the Dwarves started singing it took my breath away. And then Gollum appeared! Don’t EVEN get me started! This is epic.

Every couple of months I’ll watch The Lord of the Rings Extended Cut Trilogy. It’ll never grow old and it always amazes me what Peter Jackson and Company did. We have nearly the same crew for The Hobbit with the added bonus of Guillermo del Toro having worked on the screenplay and had been set to direct. Like I said, EPIC.

So, after that wonderful geek out, I’ll leave you with some holiday cheer since the season is all about family and togetherness and well, I think John Malkovich has the right perspective …

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Snuff by Terry Pratchett Review

A few years ago I read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I absolutely love that book. Since then I’ve read other books by Neil Gaiman but not Terry Pratchett and I’d always meant to. Finally, this year I did so with Snuff, the newest book of the Discworld series.

Discworld is a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants that stand upon the back of a giant turtle. The world is peppered with wizards, trolls, dwarves, vampires, werewolves, goblins and there’s a small man named Wee Mad Arthur who captures and rides birds wherever he wants to go!

And there is of course the City Watch in the city of Ankh-Morpork, where Sam Vimes is the Commander. In Snuff we follow Sam on vacation with his wife and son. Sam is a lawman, through and through, and he will uphold the law, no matter what it takes. And even though he leaves the crime and corruption of Ankh-Morpork, it follows him even when he’s on vacation.

I jumped into Discworld blindly with Snuff. I knew absolutely nothing about it at the time, but I felt it was incredibly believable. It may help that there’s now 39 books in the series and Terry knows this world inside out.

I really like Sam Vimes. I don’t know everything he’s seen or done throughout the Discworld series, but I find him a believable, interesting character. I can see why he’s treated with respect and loyalty. And then there's Willikins, Sam's butler/body guard. This guy is great and I really liked his and Sam’s friendship as well as Sam and his wife, Lady Sybil’s, relationship. This is the type of relationships I like to read about: the love, respect, and understanding between friends and within a marriage.

One of my favorite themes in books is friendship and loyalty, how a character grows into this leader that people love, respect and would lay down their life for. In return they know, and we as well, that the person they would give their life to protect would in turn do the very same for them. Sam is one of those characters. This was a clever, fun and exciting read and I’m fully prepared to emerge myself into Discworld.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Storytime With Venessa: The Emerald Atlas

Normally I’d have a video of Venessa giving her thoughts on the books I’ve read to her. But it’s been a while since we finished The Emerald Atlas, and Venessa fell asleep a few times throughout our journey. Not that the book was boring! No, far from it. It’s just that this was the longest book we attempted to read together and our reading time is close to her bedtime and she’d just fall asleep. Kids these days, falling asleep at bedtime like they’re supposed to! Honestly, what will they do next? Volunteer to clear the table after dinner?

Anyways, you’ll only get my perspective of The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. It’s the story of Kate, Michael and Emma, three siblings, shuffled around to different orphanages, still holding onto the belief that their parents are still alive and will come from them one day. Their last stop is a mysterious house in a mysterious valley that is devoid of children. It’s here that they discover a magic book that takes them back in time where a terrible Countess has the valley under her control.

This felt a little like familiar territory. We’ve got a trio of children discovering magic for the first time, which made me think of Harry, Hermione and Ron. There’s also a strange man with a sword who came to their rescue and protected them from evil creatures wrapped in bandages (called Screechers). This reminded me of Aragorn protecting the Hobbits from the Black Riders in The Fellowship of the Ring, and these Screechers were also very reminiscent of the Dementors from Harry Potter. There’s also a magic book that reminded me of Riddle’s Diary from Harry Potter, the book Bastian reads in The Neverending Story and the Book of Gramarye from The Dark Is Rising. And of course when magic is involved there has to be an old wizard who knows more than he lets on and slowly reveals more when he sees fit (visions of Gandalf, Dumbledore and Merriman). Oh and there’s Dwarves too.

BUT I think it’s because of these very familiar elements I liked this story. I love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Neverending Story and The Dark Is Rising. I love the different elements of these stories wrapped up in this new, thrilling adventure. This book does have a voice of its own with a different story to tell and I really enjoyed it.

There were times though when the author would begin describing a situation, only to rewind to explain how they got there. This happened a few times and confused me and Venessa. Also there were some really long sentences. However, it didn’t keep this book from being one that was still very easy to read aloud. And I do love Kate, Michael and Emma. They felt like real kids, the way they would pick on each other and squabble the way siblings do, yet they care very deeply for each other as a family should. I want to give them all hugs. I’m definitely looking forward to Book 2 to see what happens next as they learn more and more about their magical abilities. And the cover art is just beautiful!

Next up for us, Redwall by Brian Jacques! I did a happy dance when Venessa picked this book for me to read aloud to her.

Monday, December 12, 2011

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

- from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There

Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman is the story of Tjaden and his quest to find the Jabberwocky, the infamous creature from the Lewis Carol poem, who has been terrorizing the world of Wonderland.

There was action, adventure and betrayal, all things I enjoy heartily. Throw in an interesting twist that the Jabberwocky may be more than a mindless beast and we’ve got ourselves a fun story.

Confession: I’ve never read Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass. All I know is the Disney version of Wonderland and at one time I memorized the Jabberwocky poem (still remember quite a bit too). But after reading Jabberwocky I’m more inspired than ever to read the source material that influenced Daniel Coleman’s version. And fortunately my husband found our copy recently during a de-cluttering of our spare room.

I definitely want to read more about Wonderland and not just the original version by Lewis Carroll. I’m all about Expanded Universes and fantastical worlds that are created with dozens of stories to be told and explored. I’ve had issues with stories in the past that felt like a word quota had to be reached, but that wasn’t the case here. In fact, I wanted more! But, that’s what Hatter is for:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Looking A Lot Like Christmas!

Which means fun with Christmas movies! At our house we have our favorites and I wanted to share some them with you and talk about movies I actually LIKE! (Sorry for being such a bitter crank about Transformers 3. Actually, no, I’m not sorry, carry on…):

The Santa Claus This is not really one of my favorites but my daughter loves it, especially the extra features on the DVD. She really likes the game that unlocks a cartoon and the Wolfgang Puck segment where he makes pizza, cookies and hot chocolate. Venessa wants to leave a pizza for Santa now.

Elf We LOVE this movie. I really love Will Farrell’s, Buddy. He’s so obnoxious but it’s a fun, na├»ve obnoxiousness that you can’t help but like him. And it’s not just Buddy, there’s so many things going on in this movie, these little Easter Eggs of goodness, such as Amy Sedaris as the secretary on the phone about taking care of a litter of kittens, or the toy department manager giving Buddy and Jovie grief and insisting on six inch ribbon curls. This movie really puts you in the holiday spirit near the end when everyone starts singing "Santa Claus is Coming To Town".

A Christmas Story Another family favorite with some of the BEST lines:

“I can’t put my arms down!”

“Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian.” “Uh, I think that says fragile, dear.”

“A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch.”

And the most famous, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” followed up with “Oh my god! I shot my eye out!”

And who doesn’t want a leg lamp shining brightly from their living room window? Ralphie is hilarious and this is one of the rare movies where the child actors ACT like real kids. You can just feel the wonder and excitement of Christmas morning when you watch this movie.

Christmas Vacation This movie has one of my all time favorite quotes:

“Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!”

I mean, is it really that bad to walk out of your house to find Eddie, in his underwear and robe dumping the shitter from the RV into the sewer?

Yes, it is. Stay classy, Eddie.

And how about Clark’s epic melt down:

“Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?”

Already these movies have been on heavy rotation at our house and will continue to do so for the rest of the month. We have others, such as Home Alone, Jingle All the Way, A Christmas Carol, etc. but the four above are the classics in our house.

Now it’s your turn to share. Which holiday movies are your favorites and which ones will you be watching 10+ times throughout December?

For some holiday spirit (and to erase the image of Eddie in his robe), go to Youtube here to watch Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from one of my favorite movies, Meet Me in St. Louis (I would have embedded the video but all the good ones wouldn't let me. The nerve!).

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Movie Madness: Transformers, Dark of the Moon and Don't Even Bother

We rented Transformers: Dark of the Moon the other day from Red Box. What a waste of $1.29. But I would have been even more upset if I had seen this in the theater last summer because this movie made no sense!

The second one didn't either and you would think they’d correct that but no, they didn’t. They just made it worse. Ugh, seriously, after watching Inception the first time I knew what had happened and why. Too bad I can't say the same for Transformers 3. Some of my biggest pet peeves with this movie follows (Spoilers below):

  1. The top half of that skyscraper leaning over and held in place by another building: It made no sense to me. That is not structurally possible, is it?! I mean, God, I hated that. Then that tentacle Decepticon thingy running through the building. If it wanted to kill them so bad, why didn’t it just blow the damn thing up!
  2. Rosie Huntington-Whatever: I didn’t mind her as a replacement for Megan Fox. But that damn white jacket that never got dirty really got on my nerves. And all she got to do was look hot, scream “Sam!” a million times (yes, I know what his name is!) and she told Megatron he was somebodies bitch? I guess that was supposed to be cool?
  3. How many times did they fall through glass windows and not get cut up by that? I don’t get it! Since when does glass not cut the hell out of you when you fall through it that many times?! Even Die Hard pointed this out when John McClane went running through it bare foot then had to pull a huge piece out of his foot. And look, even Terry thinks it's ridiculous too!:
  4. The people jumping out of windows: Why? What were they supposed to do? I thought the military couldn’t get into Chicago? They made a point of trying to get the bridges down. So where did they come from? Why were they there? Again, what were they supposed to do? I’m pretty sure they were jumping out of windows. They didn’t jump from any planes because they were shot down by the Decepticons, right? I guess I could have gone back to find out but I wasn’t about to waste my time.
  5. And seriously, Michael Bay, you know men were dragging their wives/girlfriends to this movie, the least you could have done was give the ladies some eye candy. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson were not enough. Were they shirtless? No. The movie gets an F- just for that. Even some English dude, whose all Shakespearean and serious about movie stuff, knew what the ladies wanted when they went to see Thor (which is the ONLY reason I wanted to see Thor on Mother’s Day (and I was really looking for another excuse to use this pic)).

So in conclusion, Transformers: Dark of the Moon was a big waste of time and it made me want to throw squirrels at Michael Bay, Dixon-style:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NANOWRIMO: It's a Wrap!

NANOWRIMO is officially over and I won!

Last Tuesday, I had 2,895 words to go so I settled down for a write-a-thon and did it! The official word count is: 50, 118!

I’m so proud of myself. I was not about to give up no matter how frustrating it got at times. There were times writer’s block seemed to keep me from reaching my daily word count goal but I would be out walking the dog, running an errand or twiddling my thumbs and Ta-Da! I’d have an idea and I’d just run with it once I sat down to write.

It feels so good to have accomplished this! The pressure is off but now it’s time to EDIT! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN… Now I get to figure out what I want to keep, what I don’t want to keep, make some final decisions, correct as many grammar and continuity mistakes as I can, then see where to take it from there.

And after all this, I thought I’d take a break from waking up at 6am so I could rejoin the living for a bit and get some extra sleep but noooooooo… I set my alarm for 6:30am the next day but I was wide awake at 6am with itchy writing fingers. I tried to ignore it but there I was writing away in my notebook. Oh well, I tried.

I wasn't the only one to win the 2011 Nanowrimo challenge. My friend Lindsay, blogger extraordinaire (and coworker) worked her magic too this month! And today is her birthday, so Congrats and Happy Birthday, Lindsay!

Thank you to all my friends and family for putting up with my daily word count updates on Facebook and for their words of encouragement. And I especially want to thank my husband and daughter for being supportive and putting up with me when I would shush them as I finished writing out a scene (sorry, guys!). Thanks you so much, you rock and I love you! To celebrate I baked some Nanowrimo Winners Brownies for us:

And now I leave you with an excerpt because I know everyone was probably thinking all I wrote all month, over and over and over, was “All work and no play makes Sarah a dull girl”:

He didn’t know how he felt about being back in the city. It had been thirty years. It had changed some but it was still dirty, grimy and full of lowlifes, cheats... and vampires.

He felt them everywhere he went. He tried to avoid them. But wherever he went they were there too and old habits and instinct were hard to ignore.

He found two vampires taking a nice leisurely walk. One vampire was older and the other, younger, maybe having been turned no more than a couple years ago. Any human who paid any attention to them would just assume they were two friends out to have a drink or two

But he knew. He had an advantage that carried over into this life, if it could be called that. And he knew what they were up to and followed them.

He watched them enter a hotel lobby and head over to the bar. They ordered wine but left it untouched, chatting with the other bar patrons. They were there for several hours. He could wait. He wasn’t going anywhere until they were.

Finally they left. With a lovely lady on the arm of the young vampire. The older one bid them good night and went on his way. The young one and the lady walked along, her stumbling, the vampire holding her steady. She laughed aloud whenever he whispered something in her ear. They stepped into an alleyway. He picked up his pace.

He found them leaning against a wall making out. He didn’t feel like a pervert because he knew the charade. It was the same for all vampires. He saw the flash of fang, the slight lift of the head before the bite, then heard the whoosh of a crossbow. He smiled as he saw the bolt slide easily through the vampire’s ear and the point coming out of the other. An excellent shot.

He kept himself hidden in the shadows to watch the rest of the operation, a sense of pride and nostalgia washing over him. Some things never change.

He heard the quiet footsteps of two people running. The drunk girl was shaking as she looked down at the vampire with the arrow sticking through its head. She was in shock, her eyes wide with fear.

“Oh my god, are you alright?” A woman’s voice asked her. It seemed to bring the drunk girl back to her senses some. She nodded.

“What happened?” She stammered.

“Gosh, I don’t know,” the other woman told her then slid a needle in the drunk woman’s arm and she fell to the ground.

He smiled. She would wake up tomorrow and vow never to drink like that again.

Then it came to his favorite part. The beheading of the vampire. Done so easily and skillfully. He wished he was there with them partaking in the fun. But that was no longer his duty anymore, not since… he wanted to turn away, it was no use torturing himself with memories of days long gone, when something made him stop. Something about the hunters.

He watched. The more he watched, the more it felt like he was turning all over again. He didn't know if he should smile with pride or run in panic. Afraid he’d do something incredibly stupid he left the hunters to their work.