Why Hello There

Yeah, I kind of snuck back on here after a long hiatus, posted a few book reviews, and didn’t say hi or anything. How rude of me! In the spirit of moving forward, just a quick recap, and then we will move forward! Hooray!

Me, Lately:

  • I got a new job. I’m now a technical editor at a consulting firm. And I work from home. I have the best new coworker:

Business Cat

  •    I went to the SCBWI–Oregon Silver Falls Retreat. Met with an agent and talked about my manuscript, and am now knee deep in revisions. Apparently I didn’t take any pictures. I plan on blogging about the whole experience, but it’s already been a month, so in summary: it was totally exhausting and totally worth it. Four days, in the woods, talking about writing.
    Writing can be such a solitary experience, that getting so many writers together and sticking us in some cabins without internet for a few days so that we could talk about the craft was fantastic. My brain felt like mush afterwords, and I was a bit terrified to get back into my manuscript, but I learned a lot, made some great connections, and love love love my fellow YA/Children’s writers. We’re great people.
  •    Totally failed the Bar Method Fall Fitness Challenge and wanted to cry. The challenge just came at a terrible time for me, transitioning to a new job and going through some personal things (what? there are things too personal for blogging?! ha!), Bar helped me a LOT getting through the tough times, but I just didn’t have the time to go 50 times in 84 days. I did get to 40, I think? And as punishment/preparation for the New Year I went to FOUR level 2 classes in a row. I’m in pain. And let me admit something to you: I probably don’t belong in level 2. My form sucks. My endurance sucks. But you know what? We have the BEST instructors, and I really really REALLY am trying.
       I want to be a pretty ballerina SO badly. And I’m not going to get any better if I don’t try. So I’m trying. I’m trying to be patient, but also push myself at the same time. I’m trying to keep my shoulders down. I’m trying to lift my heels. Sometimes I try push-ups on my toes. I have not lost a single pound since I started Bar Method over 6 months ago, and sometimes I do cry over the number on the scale. Technically I’m obese for my height. Which, while bullshit, is absolutely devastating.  But then I feel my buff arms and clench my muscley ass and smile. Except right now I can’t clench anything. So much pain. I’m starting the New Year with a very sore seat.
       Last year I started the new year running my first 5k. That’s not happening this year, but I have started running again since stress-fracturing my foot over the summer, and holy shit. Bar really is doing SOMETHING my first run back in the game was so much easier. My muscles felt like they were working with me, not against me. I couldn’t run very fast or very far because I’ve been out of the race (ha.) for months now, but it made all of my hard work feel much more worth it. I want to try to get back into running, but I’m afraid of injuries, so we will see. If anyone wants to sign-up for some fun runs let me know, I could use the motivation!

In summary: New Job, Writing Writing Writing, Sore Butt.

As I look to the New Year, I would like you all (all three of you) to know that my new job gives me a lot more freedom/time to blog, and I fully intend to keep up my lovely space on the internet. So look for more book reviews, Bar Method sore-butt whining (I mean, health and fitness posts!), and too much information about a Portland Writer Girl who doesn’t understand blogs but likes to overshare!

Book Review: Night Film

Night FilmThis book:
a) gave me nightmares
b) is really creepy
c) is a page turner/thriller/mystery
d) all of the above

Clearly, the answer is D. I was drawn to this book because of the premise: the daughter of a renowned film director mysteriously commits suicide, and journalist Scott McGrath is investigating her death, and thus her life. The premise is actually strangely similar to Cuckoo’s Calling, but where Rowling’s mystery is fun and endearing, Pessl’s novel is dark, twisted, and complicated.

Set in New York City, the novel mirrors the grit and dirt of the city as McGrath searches for answers about Ashley Cordova’s death. McGrath quickly meets two younger characters who join him on his hunt, thus creating an amusing Three Musketeer scenario–a journalist, a drug dealer, and a struggling actress make for a very odd couple situation. I was worried when the threesome originally came together, but the characters worked surprisingly well despite being rather unbelievable.

What kept me turning the pages was the story of Stanislas Cordova, Ashley’s father. A recluse director who once created terrifying films that question humanity, Cordova lives in an estate in upstate New York called The Peak. There are very little pictures of Cordova, not much is known about his history, and yet his movies have created a huge cult following. As McGrath searches for information about Ashley, he must figure out who Cordova is–the man behind the night films.

One interesting aspect of the book is that it includes the newspaper articles, websites, and other print evidence that McGrath uncovers, so that the reader can investigate as well. While it was maybe unnecessary, this device did draw me in more, and make me feel more attached to the characters and the mystery. It gave everything a more realistic feeling, which makes the story that much more horrifying.

Night Film is a well-written, creative, dark and twisted novel. My only complaint is that Pessl loves her italics. There were so many unneeded  instances of italics, it drove me nuts. See what I did there? But if you can get over the italics, and the unlikely trio of detectives, this book will draw you in until the last page turn.