March’s 2021 prompt

In an effort to actually motivate myself to get things done, I’ve been making myself a list (in my head) each morning of the three things I have to do BEFORE I am allowing myself to play video games or watch tv. Believe it or not, this has been working for me. I’m pretty good at holding myself accountable (sometimes).

Additionally, I’ve been working on some self improvement things in my diet by trying to drink less caffeine. I have given up soda (though about once a week, I have one), and I’ve given up drinking sweet tea too. At first I was having horrible headaches, but I’m doing much better now. I didn’t give them both up at once. I cut out soda in January and once I felt like I had a handle on not wanting it ALL THE TIME, I gave up tea. Now the only caffeine I have each day is in my cappuccino in the morning and one in the afternoon. In addition to drinking less caffeine, I’ve altered my sleep schedule. I’m not going to lie, I usually have a horrible sleeping schedule. I stay up WAY TOO LATE and sleep in way too late. I’ve been working on it for a month or so now and I’ve been doing much better. I try to be asleep by midnight and up around 9. I’ve never been a morning person, and believe it or not, this is a big change for me.

Anyway, that’s enough about me… let’s get down to the real reason you’re here… the short story of the month prompt for March:

I said it and I meant it, and I was right. Still, I wish I could take it back, because there’s no way I can make it up to her, no way I can ever make her feel…

Complete the Story

Now, get writing!!

And as always, happy reading and writing today and everyday!

The Life and Times of Napoleon

Less than a month ago, my family said goodbye to one of our dogs. He was 16 years old and had been losing the battle with a brain tumor since November last year. We knew it was finally time to say goodbye because he would get up and eat breakfast each day and after that just sit down and stare at a wall. He had zero enthusiasm for anything. He was also struggling to walk and use the bathroom. His quality of life was gone.

Napoleon, before things went sideways, 2020

Despite that, it was still hard to say goodbye. My husband and I only have one child, and our pets are like our babies. And I know 16 years is a nice life for a dog, but I must be selfish because I don’t care. I wanted him to live longer. It’s been a few weeks and I still have to stop myself from getting him a plate at meals times like I do for the other pets.

In addition to missing him like crazy, I’ve been thinking back on his life with us. He had a good life. I’m not saying that to sound superior. We take good care of our pets. They are important to us.

The absence of Napoleon has left a dachshund sized hole in my heart. I wish we could have had more time together, and I hope he knows how much he was loved.

Napoleon was the first dog we adopted. We actually adopted him after we went on a 9 day camping trip to Yellowstone. At the time in 2004, my husband and I were young and newly married. We went to Yellowstone and camped, really camped, in a tent, without showers, on the ground. While we were there we ran trails, (this was a long time ago when I still ran), and we swam in the lakes. We saw so many people camping with their dogs, and on that trip we decided we were going to get a dog so that next year when we went camping, we would have one too.

Shortly after that trip, we adopted Napoleon. I don’t know how we decided on a mini dachshund, but when I saw him, I knew he was ours. We brought him home and introduced him to our cat, Electra.

Napoleon on his first day with us and me circa 2004

The next spring, we decided to go camping again. We were excited because we would finally get to take Napoleon with us. We had been taking him running on trails throughout the fall and spring and he enjoyed that, so we figured he would enjoy camping.

The first night of our camping trip, he couldn’t sleep. He paced and paced the tent looking for a real bed. (At home he slept in bed between my husband and I). Not only would he not sleep because sleeping on the ground was not his style, he acted like being outside was too hot. He clearly wanted to know where the AC was. My husband and I thought he was hilarious. We figured he would adjust; we were planning on staying 5 days.

The second day of our trip, we went swimming in the lake, and of course we took Napoleon with us. It turns out he was an excellent swimmer. He looked like a river otter and he was pretty fast.

Napoleon, the indoor dog

My husband and I would take turns carrying him out into the lake, and the other would wait closer to the shore. Then, we would release Napoleon and he swam to other person. After about the sixth time of this, Napoleon figured out our game and instead of swimming to the waiting arms of my husband, he veered right and went for the shore. Once on shore, he took off running.

My husband jumped out of the lake and followed. I got out of the lake and waited for them to return, but after twenty minutes, they didn’t show up. I gathered our clothes, picnic things, and floats and waddled my way down the path back to the campground. On the way back, I passed a family heading to the lake. I asked them if they’d seen a tall man and a short dog running on the path. They laughed and pointed back towards camp informing me that they were all the way back at our campsite.

I found them both there. My husband was laughing. Napoleon was supposed to be our camping companion. He HATED camping. He wanted his bed and indoor air, but most of all, he didn’t want to swim.

We didn’t stay a full five days and cut that trip short to three days. After that, we didn’t take Napoleon camping anymore. He didn’t turn out to be outdoorsy, and that’s okay.

He was still the best dog ever.

Big Yawn for Napoleon, and yes, that’s his bed

Hindsight…

This month has been pretty great so far. I’m taking the time and settling into my new routine for the year. (Just in time for it to change again as my daughter might finally get to attend in person school again, which we are both super excited about). However, as I’ve been working on my new goals for this year, I’ve also been reflecting on what I actually accomplished last year. Despite the superbly weird year that it was, it wasn’t all bad.

Here’s what I actually managed to accomplish…

  • Read 40 books (I’ve underlined the ones that were high points in the year for me).
    • The Library of the Unwritten
    • The Starless Sea
    • The Destined Queen
    • Bright Lights, Big City
    • Night and Day
    • The Shadow of the Wind
      • I adored this book. I don’t want to give away the plot but it’s about love and revenge. It’s soooooo good. READ IT.
    • Fledgling
    • Beautiful Darkness
    • Grand Union
    • Locke and Key Vol.1
    • Batman Arkham: Black Mask
    • Mastiff
    • Predator’s Gold
    • This Mortal Coil
    • Scythe
      • I sat down to read this and didn’t get up till I was done. Imagine being and working for grim reapers in a society where people don’t die anymore…..
    • The Stone Sky
      • This is the third book in a series. If you haven’t, read them all. The series is amazing and this was the perfect end to it.
    • The Girl in the Spider’s Web
    • The Left Hand of Darkness
    • When You Reach Me
    • Cursed
    • The Lovely Bones
    • Follow Me to the Ground
      • This book definitely falls into the “weird tale” category of fiction. It’s bizarre and amazing. I can’t explain it; it’s too weird. Read it.
    • The City We Became
    • This Savage Song
    • Magpie Murders
    • Lost Boy
    • Practical Magic
    • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
    • The Dreaming Vol.2
    • Walk Two Moons
    • Our Dark Duet
    • The Constant Rabbit
    • The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 1
    • Black Market Unicorns
    • Word by Word
      • This is a non-fiction book about how dictionary entries are completed. I found this whole book fascinating, and the author is funny. Great read!
    • The Lost Plot
    • Wayward Son
    • The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 2
    • Born a Crime
    • Shatter Me
  • Wrote and published my second novel
    • If you haven’t heard, the second book in my series is out now on Amaon! Buy your own copy here:
    • Black Market Unicorns
  • Wrote 12 short stories (click the links to see last year’s short stories)
  • Finished a cross stitch gift for my sister
    • I stitched her some flowers with a snarky saying. It’s one of my favorite projects I’ve completed. (You can see it below this list).
  • Moved
    • We moved from Kansas to Washington, and even though it was rough, we did it! We are settled in now and everything is going pretty good here. I just can’t wait for the schools to open because my daughter is getting cabin fever!

All in all, it wasn’t a bad year. It was challenging, I’ll give you that. Anyway… let’s move on…

Happy reading and writing this month!

Interview and Nano #3

This has been an exciting NANOWRIMO for me. This is my third year participating. I’m loving it again, and I’m glad I decided to join. I am at about 38,000 words so far for the month.

In addition to writing like a crazy mad fool, I’ve been busy with some smaller projects.

If you missed it, I was featured in an interview by Literary Express. You can read it here: Amanda’s ‘Block’ | LITERARY EXPRESS.

I also finished my list of editing, and book two in the Magical Realms Adventures went to my editor!

And I’ve almost finished my holiday shopping.

November has been very productive for me so far!

I hope everyone is meeting their writing goals!

Happy reading and writing this month!

Undecided

It’s only 10 days till November. I am still undecided if I’m going to participate in NANOWRIMO this year. I love NANOWRIMO! and not doing it leaves me feeling sad. But, this year just doesn’t seem to be the year for it. What do you think? Are you participating?

I have so many things I would like to get done in November, and if I do NANOWRIMO those things will get put on the back burner. I just don’t know! (Picture me with hands thrown up in the air simmering with frustration).

Honestly, I’ve always thought NANOWRIMO should be in January or something…

Hope everyone is having a good month! Happy reading and writing!

This Year So Far…

Usually about midway through the year, I sit down and assess where I’m at with my personal goals for the year. I never really got around to it this year because we moved from Kansas to Washington in June, and everything has been utter chaos until recently.

So, anyhow, let’s see how I’m doing. These are my goals for the year:

  1. Read 40 books
    • I’m doing well on my yearly reading goal. I’ve read 28 books so far, and according to the tracker on goodreads, that puts me two books ahead of my goal right now. Yipee!
  2. Write the 2nd novel in my series
    • Working on this one, slowly but surely. I didn’t work on it from May till July because the move was nuts, but I’m at it again, making slow progress.
  3. Sell the house we own
    • Not yet. Our renters keep postponing their move out. The world is nuts right now, what can you do?
  4. Stop drinking soda
    • I stopped for a while and then started again, and now I’m back to not drinking it again. It’s my weakness!!
  5. Write 12 short stories
    • I am running a bit behind on this one. I haven’t finished my story for August yet, so I’m running one month behind at this point.
  6. Finish the Grimm Fairy Tales SAL
    • This is a cross stitch project I’m working on. It’s getting there, but I’m not caught up. There is a new section released each month, and I’m a few months behind at this point. UGH!
  7. Finish my gift for Mindy
    • DONE! One small victory! (You can see it below).
  8. Finish my flower needlework
    • Still working on this one. I’ve made really good progress on this since I moved it into the living room. I’ve been working on it when I watch tv at night.
  9. Move
    • DONE. This was a big victory and the single most awful move my family has endured.

So, honestly, things are going okay. I wish I were done with a few more of these, but I’m working on them. I hope everyone else is reaching their goals despite the obstacles of life right now.

Happy reading and writing!

This is the gift I made for my sister.

Getting back on track…

I am running terribly behind with just about everything.

We are mostly unpacked with just a few lingering boxes of things I’m not sure if I’m going to unpack floating about. Things are starting to settle for my family. We enrolled our daughter in school, and we’re starting to learn the lay of the land. That being said, it’s time for me to start getting back on track with things. I need to write three short stories at this point (June, July, and August’s).

With that in mind, I’m going to try and get caught up in the next few weeks so that by Septemeber, I can get back to my normal posting schedule.

I’ve already posted June’s prompt, but it was so long ago, I will re-post it now:

After the funeral, I spent the next few days in the attic, reading the letters my mother had written him in the years before they were married. He had never been the sentimental type, so I was surprised to find a whole box of them, carefully bundled. Even more surprising was…

Complete the Story

For July, here is the prompt I never got around to posting because of the move:

It felt uncanny, but oddly good, to hear kids running through the house again. I wondered if I could handle being a father, or at least a father figure, after all these years. I thought about the times when…

Complete the Story

And finally, the story prompt that I should be writing for August:

Always the same old lines whenever she came home for the holidays, like her parents were rehearsing a play over and over and never could get it right. Yet they didn’t seem to notice how much they repeated themselves. Her father would sit down to dinner and say…

Complete the Story

It’s a lot to write in the next few weeks, but here we go…

Happy reading and writing everyone!

Still Struggling

Since my last post, things have not gotten any better. This has been the worst move that my family has ever been through.

Today, as we were unpacking one of the last boxes we found my coin collection archival box, but it was empty.

The movers/packers opened my archival box, which just looks like a black cardboard binder, and took my coins.

My coins don’t have that much value — maybe between 20-40 dollars. The coins have sentimental value though. I have been collecting them since I was a child. Most of them are not even US currency. I had coins from all over the world in there.

But the ones that hurt the most are the one dollar bicentennial coin that belonged to my great-grandfather, and the coins we gave to our daughter when she thought we were the toothfairies. They’re gone. The dollar value isn’t what was important. They were important to us because they were tied to memories. And someone stole them.

So, to the mover who took my almost worthless coin collection — SHAME ON YOU.

Moving

It’s been a while since I’ve posted because my family is moving. I’ve had little time for writing and reading.

The move isn’t going to plan. In fact, nothing is going according to plan lately. Instead of being able to make thought out choices, we’ve had to just go with options that we really don’t care for. Our plans for where we were going to live didn’t work out, and now we’ll be living (for a year at least) in a townhouse that is half the size of what we had before.

Not only that, but moving is a lot of work and we will be doing it again in just one year because our plans fell through. I don’t enjoy moving.

And, other things have gone wrong and ended up costing us a lot of money that we were saving for other things. We suddenly had to ship a car, and it cost over a thousand dollars. The car was damaged and it’s going to cost over a thousand to fix it.

It just feels like nothing is going right for us. In addition to all of the stress of moving, my anxiety is getting the best of me. I am losing my mind. I don’t like the way things are working out, and I’ve never been good at making the best of things. I like things to go to plan because that means I had time to prepare.

So, I’m cranky. Extra cranky. And when I feel that way, I want to go home, to my safe space. Instead we will be living somewhere that we’ll have to put a lot of our belongings in storage. It won’t be home. It will be temporary and it will feel that way for an entire year.

I know there are bigger problems in the world right now, but I’m just tired and would like one thing to go right.

Hope everyone else is having a better summer than me.

Happy reading and writing.