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Hey all,

It’s been an eventful summer in the Krogmeier house. It all started when we bought a house. That’s right, folks. As of mid-May, we own a house. No more apartments, at least for the foreseeable future. Woohoo! Now it’s the end of August, and we’re still unpacking, but you know, we’re off to a good start.

In June, our little family got a little bit bigger, as our son Wodan was born. Thankfully, there were no major complications, and he’s fitting in very well. Life as a parent (and not just a step-parent) is a new adventure for me, and I love it. Yes, there are challenges, but I have the best spouse in the world, and a strong support network in my friends and family. I’m not the only new dad in my friends group, and that is also kind of awesome. Side note: paid paternity leave is amazing, and should absolutely be included as a benefit at any job, along with paid maternity leave.

Then the last weekend of July was the end of the 41st annual Colorado Renaissance Festival. I worked for the faire for as many weekends as I could (that whole thing about having a baby arrive in June did mean taking some days off). It was my fourth year working for the same shop, and I couldn’t have been happier. I got to see so many of my friends and faire family this season, and got to introduce most of them to Wodan.

August also means that the library’s summer reading program has wrapped up for the year. Between my leave time and a co-worker moving away,  it was a bit rough. Thankfully, the rest of the staff stepped up, and it made my return to work in July so much easier.

I’m getting back into my reading pile at long last. The DC Rebirth titles have been stacking up, and I’m gearing up for another round of YA booktalks in local schools for this fall, plus I’m hoping to re-read a few favorites before the end of the year. I’ve got A Game of Thrones on audio, and it’s filling in some of the hours and getting me back up to speed. I may take that approach with a few others I’ve already read.

There’s some sad news, though. Because of various scheduling things and expenses, I’m going to have to cancel on the one convention I’ve gone to every year since I first started cosplaying. Dear friends who will be at NDK this weekend, I’m sorry I am not able to make it this time around. I hope to be back in full form next year. It’s going to be weird missing out on it, since I’ve been going since 2009. All the same, it’s better for me to take a bit of time to gather myself before diving into cosplay/costuming stuff again. That said, all of my cosplay goals from last February still hold true.

Finally, I’m sorry I’ve not been writing much this year. I’d intended to utilize my new work schedule to try to get more stories cranked out, and I’ve barely managed to get blog posts written. It’s good that I’ve been busy with my day job, but I’ve got to be better about my creative outlets too. Thankfully, work is giving me all kinds of opportunities for new outreach stuff, letting me meet new people in the community and encouraging me to move outside of my comfort zone. Growth is good, y’all.

I missed my blog anniversary last month, and while this is a milestone I usually like to celebrate, this year on January 20th, I was a bit preoccupied.

I’m a month in to my new position with the library, and I could not be happier. I feel like I’m making a really positive impact on my teen patrons here, though I really miss my old group. I’m gearing up for my first book club meeting, and we’re reading Neil Shusterman’s Unwind (meanwhile, I’m tackling his new title, Scythe, for my own sheer joy). I’m helping plan programs and events for Teen Tech Week in March, putting together bulletin boards and book displays for the teen area, etc. It’s been great!

Plus, you know, there was this whole wedding thing that happened last week. So, V and I finally got married. It’s been officially in the works since August, when I finally proposed to the girl who’s been my closest friend for over a decade.

I’m working on more book reviews, I promise. There are so many coming out soon! I just finished reading M-E Girard’s Girl Mans Up, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Plus a follow-up to my review of The City Stained Red when I review the sequel, The Mortal Tally (because the final book, God’s Last Breath, is out in July). And A Conjuring of Light is out in two weeks! So many good books lately, I’ve barely been able to keep up.

Anyway, thanks for sticking around for so much of the last six years. I’ll try to get the anniversary post in on time next year.

I just looked back through my book reviews on here and realized that three of them are of Stephen King works (and a fourth, my most recent, is for a book by his son).

I know that I read way more than that. My reading list encompasses a much larger set of interests than my posted reviews would reflect. I’m trying to correct that.

That much being said, does anyone have suggestions for books for me to read/review? I’m always on the lookout for new books, and I’d be happy to have new recommendations.

Some quick updates.

We got a cat. Her name is Hermione, and she’s incredibly smart and sweet. However, it’s very true when they say that having a cat is one of the worst things a writer can ever do, re: distractions. I’m learning this all over again.

I got through season two of Daredevil and loved it. Was it perfect? No. Case in point: Asian and Asian American representation. Jon Bernthal kills it as the Punisher/Frank Castle (and I don’t watch The Walking Dead, so I really had no prior experience with his work as an actor). Foggy remains my absolute favorite character on the show. I also finally got to see the first season of Agent Carter, which is a delight. Peggy kicks ass across the 1940s, breaking limbs and stereotypes all the way.

I’ve been working on a D&D campaign for next month’s local game convention. It’s eating a lot of my creative energies, making it tricky for me to focus too much on anything else. I’ve also been reading a LOOOOOT. I knocked out V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows a few weeks ago, and I’m in the middle of Sam Sykes’ The City Stained Red, which may be one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. I swear it’s like he sat in on some of my college D&D sessions and captured characterization from them. I love it. On a more realistic side, I also just finished reading Tess Sharpe’s Far From You. Holy god damn, this one was intense. Illicit love, murder, drugs, and a quest for the truth keep you turning pages non-stop. It’s not something I expected to pick up, but there was a great discussion of it during a Twitter chat about queer YA titles, and it hooked me.

It’s tempting to use some of what I’ve been reading for the D&D campaign. The magic system from Schwab’s work, for example, is one of the most clever presentations of elemental manipulation I’ve seen since Avatar: The Last Airbender. It would be fun to introduce some plot elements from books and then encourage the kids to go check those books out from my library, and would definitely boost the outreach factor. “Hey kids, if you liked my campaign, try these books!” We’ve already seen a boost in checkouts of our 5th edition manuals. Imagine what that could do for our fantasy literature circulation…

The 3D printer at work is awesome. I’m looking into utilizing it for some cosplay props, and I’m really exicted about the prospect of hosting a cosplay-themed program in our Makerspace soon.

Fireside opens for submissions this Friday. I’m going to be writing. More soon!

 

Five years ago, I was a vastly different person.

Library Pirate

Okay, maybe not that different.

Five years ago, I hadn’t started in my current job. I was almost a year out of college, working part-time at Borders, and hoping desperately for a second job, because it was almost time to start repaying my student loans. Plus, rent, food, and other things that are sort of critical to life.

Borders was fun, but ended up being a dead end. The company went under less than a year after I started there. Even now, attempting to access their website redirects you to Barnes & Noble, once their chief competitor. I don’t regret it. I had some incredible experiences, and I learned why I hate working in a corporate retail environment (support your local indie bookshops, folks).

Since I was only working part-time, I needed some way to fill the void in my days. I’d always said that I wanted to write, and I’d been toying around with an idea for a novel. Someone I knew had recently started a blog of her own, and I decided it sounded like a fun experiment. I thought it would give me a place to brainstorm while leaving myself a little more open to the views of others.

Five years ago today, I published my first post on this site. I know this because wordpress showed me a little trophy icon and wished me a happy anniversary when I signed in today. Looking back now, I find it really hard to believe how quickly those five years flew by. It really was all me talking to myself in the first few months. Eventually, I started to find like-minded people. People like Sonia introduced me to monthly and weekly writing challenges, and I started to craft new microfiction pieces. My earliest posted one is here. Later, I’d add challenges by the folks at the sadly defunct Trifecta and the fiercely entertaining Chuck Wendig. I started to grow.

I got my first job at my library, a foot in the door. I met incredible people, and traveled to amazing places. I inspired others to start writing as well. I’ve developed a much better grasp of my own style. I’ve attemtped NaNoWriMo.

 

Now, five years later on, I’m still very much me, but I’m a better version of me. To those of you who are still here, thanks for sticking around. For those of you who are new, welcome. Let’s see what the next five years will hold for us all.

Last year, my posts on here dropped off dramatically. Between the ending of the Trifecta Writing Challenges in March of 2014 and taking on a larger number of substitute shifts at work, I lost a lot of my motivation and time to write. And it showed. Compare my 51 total posts in 2014 to my 12 total posts in 2015.

So far in 2016, I’ve written more than 2/3 of the number of posts I wrote last year, and I don’t intend to slow down again. Am I any less busy? No. Not by a long shot. But I’m getting better at balancing, and protecting my writing time. I’m seeking out new writing challenges and getting back into some like Chuck’s Terrible Minds Challenges.

It’s going to be a fun year. Thanks for sticking around.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to this year.

I’m going to get caught up on Welcome to Night Vale. I’m only about a dozen episodes behind right now. That’s not too shabby for only having started listening to the show back in February. I’m also reading the novel, which I received for Christmas. It’s proving to be just as much fun as the show itself.

My high school class will be holding our ten year reunion this summer. Despite most of us still living within a few hours of our hometown, we haven’t spent a lot of time together since graduation. It’ll be good to see old friends again.

When you’re a part of it, Ren Faire is always just around the corner. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Colorado Renaissance Festival, and to celebrate, we’ll be open for nine weekends instead of the usual eight.

I found an amazing book challenge via one of my facebook friends. Take a look. I’ll be working through this checklist as I work toward my goodreads goal of 100 books.

2016 Reading Challenge

I’m looking through potential titles to read for all of these, and I’m not going to allow a single title to fulfill multiple requirements, even though some certainly could.

I’m going to learn Numenera. I bought the boxed set last summer, and I’ve been wanting to really get into it. It seems like an absolutely incredible RPG, and I love learning new systems. I’m also hoping for some more stuff from Wizards for 5th Edition D&D.

And there’s my goals for this year.

I’m pretty damn excited for 2016. I look forward to having you along for the ride.

Well, it’s not quite what I would’ve liked it to be, but here’s a summary of my slowest year since starting this blog.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2015 has been an incredibly big year for me, but not so much on the writing front. It’s become painfully clear to me over the last few weeks that this needs to change. I’m not typically one for New Year’s Resolutions, though. Sure, they’re a good way to plan out some of the changes that you’d like to make over the coming year, but how many of them are abandoned? According to research, about 92%. So it’s not good enough to make this just a 2016 resolution. It’s got to be more than that. So, here we go.

1.) Write more. I know, this one’s fairly obvious. I didn’t get a whole lot written during the course of the past year, and I need to focus on that. I’ve neglected my blog, and therefore neglected you, dear readers. That’s not fair to any of us. If I’m going to be a writer, I have to write. “Art harder, motherfucker.” Part of this includes starting up a journal again. It’s been nearly two years since the last time I kept a regular journal, something that I used to work on every day. At the very least, it’s a way of ensuring that I write something (anything) more frequently. It’s all about developing a rhythm. Writing needs to be my strongest habit.

2.) Submit more work. I’m totally okay with getting rejection letters, but I have to, you know, actually send stuff in to publications in order to get said aforementioned rejection letters. And who knows. Maybe somebody will like what I send them (I’m open to recommendations, by the way).

3.) Draw more. It gets my creativity going, and I know that’s been a major issue as far as #1 has been concerned. I’ve been trying to get back into it, since I’ve always love to draw. I found my art supply tote from college, and so I’m going to be breaking out the charcoals again for the first time in a loooooong time. I also want to get back into pencil drawings (way less messy and so much easier to take on the go—and an example of some of my work from high school can be found here).

4.) Communicate more. I’ve been kind of in hermit mode for a lot of the past year. While I did see my family a lot (having two sisters get married in the same year will do that), I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of my friends as I would have liked, especially considering that some of them have moved closer. Some will also be moving away soon, and I want to see them before they go.

5.) Vote. What? It’ll be a presidential election year. If you’re eligible to vote in the US, get out and fucking do it. This applies every year, but since more focus is given to presidential elections, I’m making a special note of it. I’m not going to go into any sort of depth on my political viewpoints here. This isn’t the place for such things. Those of you who know me well should have a pretty good idea of who I’m rooting for anyway.

6.) Get full-time employment. You’d think that with almost five years at my current employer this one would be a gimme. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Fortunately, I’m getting a lot of substitute shifts. Substitute shifts are good, and definitely help to pay the bills. However, locking in full-time would give me a great deal of job security. Is it the ultimate solution to financial woes? No, but it’s better than hoping that another one of my co-workers gets sick or goes on vacation or has a baby or what have you.

7.) Read more. I’ve knocked out 187 books so far, according to Goodreads, and I’m pretty pleased. My goal for the year was fifty. And yes, many of them were graphic novels, but I still got through all of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, along with several other longer novels. I’d still like to read more. I’d always like to read more. One of the best parts of my job is knowing that everything that I read is helping me provide better guidance to library patrons looking for their next book.

I’d say that’s a pretty good start to planning my year. Stick around, dear readers. There’ll be new stories coming your way soon.

And hey. Thanks.

I’m really not, honest. I’ve just been swamped for the last couple of months. I’ll have new stuff and a summer recap or two up soon.