Seventh Notebook

A dark green notebook with the Google logo.

This small notebook was a present from a friend who lives in Ireland.

As mentioned in my previous notebook post, it contains some drafts for my blog in Spanish. Since I had already posted those, transcribing the notebook didn’t take as long as it could have. I was aiming to finish by the end of June, but you can see I’ve finished much earlier.

In this notebook there were some unexpected snippets. For instance, I had no memory of writing an outline for a gay retelling of Pride & Prejudice. And I’m always doubting and second-guessing myself, but for the first time I’ve felt 100% sure about something: I don’t think it’s worth writing. The main conflict was Darcy not accepting his sexuality, and… nope, I don’t want to do that. But because one may be able to use parts and pieces of unusable writing for something else in the future, I’ve transcribed all of it.

I had also written down a couple of dreams I’d forgotten all about. It was interesting, because they came back to my mind as I was transcribing what I’d written down so long ago. Reminded me of a dream diary I used to keep when I was a teenage.

I also had some notes about my trip to England… which was ages ago, now I realize.

In any case, I had lots of scenes for stories I’ve already mentioned, and these three new stories that I’m not going to start with. I’m looking forward to the next notebook, which I used during 2017, because it must have some new ideas.

Book recs – Year 2 (I guess)

It looks like many of you liked my post about the books that made me become an avid Romance reader, so I wanted to give you some more books you may want to read in this very special Pride Month. I guess that make this post Year 2, since the other mentioned 12 of the books I read during my first year as a Romance reader.

As you know, I prefer my books in English and with LGBTQ+ characters, but I’m open to anything as long as it’s good and I’m in the mood.
I’m afraid I’ve only discovered these wonderful books rather recently myself, so I’m still learning. Don’t hesitate to leave more recommendations if you think I’ll like them. I’m especially interested in ace, trans and f/f representation, since I haven’t read as many.

Here are the books and book series I discovered during my second year as a Romance reader (a few years ago):

Twelve books/series I discovered during my second year as a Romance reader.
  • The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal: A compilation of short stories about a ghost hunter. Imagine John Watson writing about the nsfw paranormal cases he shared with Sherlock Holmes. That will give you an idea of what it’s about. By the way, there is a short story not included in this compilation that belongs to both Simon Feximal and the Whyborne & Griffin series. Do not miss it if you like any of these stories!
  • Hexworld: The idea of having witch policemen bonding with familiars who are actually shifters, and set it all in 1920s New York is something that could only have occurred to Jordan L. Hawk, because they’re a genius. Believe me, these two first series I’ve mentioned are two of the best Paranormal Romance series out there, so go ahead and read them if you haven’t yet.
  • The Turner Series: A delightful historical series about a group of siblings and their found family that includes my favourite retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The series has a diverse cast of characters with different disabilities who find love and happiness where (and when) they least expect it. With this series, Cat Sebastian became one of my favourite writers, and you’ll know why when you read it.
  • Scoring Chances: A sports series about ice hockey, because ice hockey has quite a few LGBTQ+ friendly series, and this is one of the best. The books follow teams playing in the ECHL: mainly the Sea Storms and the Spitfires, but there are characters who belong to other teams as well. I think that the fact that it’s minor-league professional hockey makes it more interesting and fun. Every book has different main characters, so you can learn what happens to the enforcers, the goalie, the coach… If you made me choose, I’d say my favourite one is Power Play.
  • Vivaldi in the Dark: This is one dark series, because I used to read many of those before my burnout turned into depression. This series is wonderful, and the representation of depression is superb. It shows that things are not easy, but there’s hope, and… most importantly, it shows that a romantic relationship doesn’t cure depression. In any case, read the content warnings before you read the book. Or ask me in the comments if you’re interested (in any of these books).
  • Wytch Kings: Another Fantasy series with magic and dragon shifters. In this one, the dragons come as a surprise when the characters realize that they belong to a line of dragon shifters. It all starts with the firstborn of the Wytch King: in order to inherit the throne, he needs wytch powers… but he has none whatsoever. His younger brother doesn’t want to rule, so he undertakes to make an experiment that may awaken the powers within himself. The problem is… no one really knows how to control a dragon.
  • Howl at the Moon: This one is a typical small town Contemporary Romance… with a twist: in this small town, many of the inhabitants are actually dog shifters. Territorial, loyal, and adorable, these shifters may be the perfect neighbours for some, and the worst for others. Fortunately, the town is a haven for dog lovers. There are military dogs, comfort dogs, people who want to be human and refuse to shift… and people that stop trusting humans and want to live like dogs.
  • Dark Space: The name might have given it away, but this is a dark science-fiction series. And it really is dark, so do check for content warnings if needed. I don’t read sci-fi that often, but I really enjoyed this series and I’m looking forward to the third book of the trilogy. If you want something lighter by this author, you can always check Adulting 101, which appears at the end of this list.
  • Think of England: Another KJ Charles Romance, like The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, but this one is historical. The protagonist is a war veteran in the early 20th century, investigating if he’s been the victim of an accident or sabotage. Soon, he finds out that he’s not the only one interested in uncovering the secrets of his hosts, nor the only one who wants revenge.
  • Spirits: Another Paranormal Romance series by Jordan L Hawk. This one explores the unlikely relationship between a traditional spirit medium and an inventor who uses science to find and exorcise spirits. They meet each other when they join a contest to exorcise the house of a rich family, but will science or tradition win? In the end, the contest stops being important when the spirits try to kill everyone in the house. They’ll have to work together if they want to survive.
  • Mermen of Ea: A Fantasy Romance about… well, mermen. But it all starts with pirates. Or rather, a boy kidnapped by pirates who decides to join them because he enjoys life at sea. One day, during a storm, the boy dives overboard to save someone, but he’s lost and rescued by a rival captain. However, he was not as unlucky as it may seem, for the man tells him that they’re both mermen and he might know something about his true origins.
  • Adulting 101: Tons of fun in this Contemporary Romance novel with two very good best friends, a horny 18 year-old with a crush on a coworker, and lots of pizza, cuddling, and Netflix and chill. One of the main characters doesn’t know where his place in the world is, the other one knows his place is everywhere and nowhere. So it’s not a bad idea to spend a summer together and then continue with their lives, right? Unless feelings are more complicated than they thought.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and whether you liked this list. I hope so, because I have already started working on Year III of these book recommendation posts. There are so many good books out there! And I can’t wait to reach the years in which the books I read became even more diverse.

May 2019 Update

May has been a productive month for me. Work was less busy, so I had more free time, and I managed to transcribe the second half of my fifth notebok… and even transcribed all of the sixth notebook before my holidays started!

I also updated my blog in Spanish (and realized it’d been a year since my last update!). I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but… well, I’m trying to fight guilt and keep moving forward.

I feel rather productive and accomplished right now, and I have to thank Lee Welch for that. She’s been a huge help with her conversations and posts about anxiety, burnout and writer’s block. She always has encouraging words for any moment, and she had one of the most motivational ideas ever: making a writing pact! (There’s a pun about it being the right impact hidden somewhere in there.)

Anyway, we have no deadline and we haven’t chosen the story yet, but I’m feeling super motivated and that’s why I’m trying to finish transcribing my notebooks as fast as I can.

And about this blog… I’ve started working on the book rec post I promised, but my priority has been the notebooks. After all, I only feel like transcribing old stuff once in a blue moon, so I have to make the most of it.

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Sixth Notebook

Small notebook with an embellished cover that depicts the illustrated letter "The Song of Songs which is Solomon's" by Rudyard Kipling.

One of my small paperblanks from the embellished manuscripts collection. Among its pages I found maps, dead flowers, and lots of ideas for my long fantasy story (including some notes about linguistics).

A friend of mine helped me choose this notebook so I would want to focus more on my Thesis (Rudyard Kipling was mentioned in it). Judging by the amount of academic work I’ve found in this notebook… it only worked towards the end (but it did work!). Of course, given that I’m now writing for myself only, I can say that it’s a good thing I spent so much time plotting stories instead.

This is the third of my four 2016 notebooks, and I only discovered it came before the last one because here I chose the name of my blog in Spanish, while the next one had some blog posts already.

2016 must have been a fruitful year creativity-wise. This notebook is full of short snippets for a variety of projects I don’t even remember now. I’ve been trying to make sense of everything, but it’s impossible to know at this point whether I’m doing it the way I intended. Maybe it’s for the best, because now I can see errors and tropes I couldn’t have noticed at the time.

Fifth Notebook

 

I’m back with a new (old) transcribed notebook.

This was another of the bigger ones, so it took me much longer. Fortunately, there was stuff about a fanfic, book reviews and my thesis that I had already transcribed a year ago, so those saved me some time.

There was a lot of information about the new main characters of the fantasy story, and even an old first chapter written from a secondary character’s point of view. I was surprised to find that one at the beginning of the notebook, but apparently this is a very old notebook I bought in 2012 and recovered in 2016, so that must have been something I wrote back in 2012. It was only a few pages long, probably because I lost my confidence.

There were also notes for a trip I was planning with a friend. I wrote down the places in Japan I’d like to visit. I realized I still haven’t been to Tottori, Ise, Mount Fuji or Shirakawa. Maybe one day…

I also found more information about the stories located in Madrid, and this was when I started writing about the other fantasy story, the one with an MC trapped in someone else’s body. So that’s yet another one of the stories I mentioned in this post.

You know, I started writing that one because of a song I like. The lyrics made me think it must be based on some fantasy book, and when I couldn’t find the source, my partner told me I could write one myself. What started to be a sort of fanfic based on a song (weren’t those popular 15 years ago?) turned into something bigger that now has nothing to do with said song.

That’s how inspiration works, right?

 

April 2019 Update

April has been a very busy month at work, which is why I was inspired to post Writing with Anxiety. I knew my anxiety would only get worse if I spent my few free hours writing, so I’ve tried to do the opposite of what I do at work: I’ve spent time with friends and nature.

Spring means some days are sunny and warm enough to spend by the river or walking through the woods, so I’ve enjoyed spending more time outdoors and taking lots of photos I may use in the future.

I’ve also been taking care of my Twitter account in Spanish, which is a thing that exists.

The threads I shared may look familiar to you:


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I’m glad I could help these books reach a small Spanish audience. Nothing makes me happier than helping others and sharing the things I love, so I’m thinking of writing another book recommendation post. If you’re interested.

What have you been up to this month?

Writing with Anxiety

As I was working on my post about writer’s block, I realized that sometimes the reason we struggle can be temporary, like lack of inspiration or a particular stressful situation. In those cases, the possible solution may involve doing something else until the inspiration returns or the particular situation has been fixed. But if you have to live with it forever, like some people do with anxiety and/or depression, this might not be a good solution.

I’ve lived together with anxiety as long as I can remember, but depression is new for me, so I’m not as experienced as I am fighting anxiety. I can tell you that, in my case, writing while I was depressed only made it worse, so I had to stop and take a break for a year (while I was looking for a good psychologist), then take another year to come back slowly. So, you know, sometimes it’s good to stop and take care of yourself for a while.

But I have the need to feel useful, so this situation —as you can imagine— didn’t make my anxiety happy. We both had to learn to cope. My problem is I feel guilty if I’m not being helpful all the time, and I can’t be helpful if I’m not doing something “useful”. Writing counts as useful, but since I’m a translator, it’s not very different from my usual job (typing on a computer) or studying (which I was doing at the same time), and it piled up. The solution? I had to learn to relax and compromise.

I try to think of my anxiety as a sort of gremlin (AKA mogwai). It can be a nice pet if I take care of it, but… I can’t feed it after midnight. Or, in my case, after work. I need to spend hours doing something different so I can recharge my battery. It wasn’t that way before, but I overdid it and didn’t notice until it was too late. As a result, I only write a bit during the weekends when I have busy weeks at work. (Or nothing at all, if I’ve been too busy.) I’m slow, but there’s a nice community of #turtlewriters over twitter who are amazingly encouraging. It’s good enough to know I’m not alone, but they also tweet regularly to show their support and understanding. And by regularly, I mean every day!

I also struggle whenever I share anything written by me (yes, even blog posts or tweets) because I don’t want to be offensive, boring or annoying. Which is why I created this blog, so I could start writing and sharing little by little, and hopefully learn that the world doesn’t end and I shouldn’t be controlled by fear. As a result, now I have twitter and this blog to test my anxiety and get used to having other people see what I write.

So those are my plans for the foreseeable future: take my time, keep going to therapy, update this blog and turtle-write.

Tell me, do you have any experience with anxiety? How do you cope?

Turtle swimming.
Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

March 2019 Update

This has been a great month for the most part! Lots of flowers and cute animals around here. Seeing daylight when I leave work is more encouraging than you may think.

I’ve been on holidays, visited some museums and written a bit. I still have bad weeks, but now they’re turning into bad days, which means it usually doesn’t take me a whole week to get better.

I’m having a bad week right now, though, so it doesn’t feel like an improvement, but I know it is.

Reading has helped a lot, and I’m going to start writing as soon as I finish this post! I found some inspiration in a song and wanted to write everything down before I forget.

This month I opened up a bit and told you about my fight against writer’s block. It surprised me to see my post was so well-received. Thank you, everyone, for your messages, visits, likes and support. It means the world to me!

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