Life, prompt, Writing

June’s Prompt (plus my excuses)

Okay, let’s be honest. If you follow my blog, you may have realized that I haven’t posted a story in a while. And, I am behind on my normal posting schedule (which is just a personal goal I set for myself, not something that is life or death).

To be honest, up until Memorial Day, I was working a lot more than I usually do, but it’s been over for a couple of weeks and I haven’t made progress on any writing lately.

I was reading an article lately that talked about how starting projects (writing, crafting, diy) is really fun but finishing them can be intimidating. I think part of my personal fear right now is that when I finish editing my current novel project, I want to try and get it traditionally published. This fear is leading to an almost insurmountable amount of procrastination on my part.

The idea of tackling the publishing world terrifies me, so if you can, send some happy vibes my way.

I’m going to try and buckle down and set myself the goal of being back on track by the end of July! (You all saw it, that makes it official!)

And if you’re here for a writing idea, I am getting to that as well. Here is June’s short story prompt:

She told him to try again, and he did, and she couldn’t help but laugh. “I told you I wasn’t a dancer,” he said, protesting. “But you’re an athlete,” she said, “you…”

Complete the Story

Now let’s get to writing!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

My new DND figure I painted last month!
Life, Writing

Updates on my Blog

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve finally gotten around to making some much needed updates to my blog. My temporary job is finally over (for now) and I have free time again! This means the blog and other endeavors, like writing, will be getting my full attention again.

If you get a chance, check out my new color scheme and layout… Plus I organized all the short stories of the month in easier to navigate tabs. I’m excited about it even if no one else is!

Short Stories!!!! (Click to read all the stories!!)

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

prompt, Writing

April 2022 Prompt

I swear I don’t get this behind on things all the time, though it seems that way sometimes. I still haven’t finished the short story for March… and April is almost over! Ugh!

Despite my tardiness for this post, I am working on a short story for April as well. Here is the prompt for this month:

Don’t let this one get away, she thought to herself. Tom had the look of a man quietly planning his escape. Christine watched him closely as he…

Complete the Story

I hope everyone is meeting their writing and reading goals this month! And if you’re not, know you are not alone. I’m personally blaming it on the weather. Mother nature in Washington can’t decide if it’s winter or spring, and it’s making me crazy.

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, Writing

State of the Novel Address 2022

My eyes have finally healed enough for me to work on writing again. The last two weeks I’ve been outlining a new novel.

This is a new step for me. I don’t normally outline before I start writing. What I like to do is write and then make mini outlines of what I want the next three or four events to be. Generally when I start writing a novel, I have an end point in mind. Then, I work to get my characters there by preventing them from getting it too soon. (At least that’s how I think of it in my mind).

So at this point, the next step should be drafting, but…

There are two other stories that I want to write. Both are in different stages.

My three projects are:

1. Mages of the Lake (already wrote about 50,000 words during Nanowrimo last year) This one could be worked on. At first when I wrote it, I didn’t really want to do more with it, but now that some time has passed, I can see what needs worked on and what I’d like to change.

2. A New Novel Set in the Magical Realms Universe. This one would focus on Zak before he met Jamie. This is the one I’ve been outlining.

3. A BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW novel about magic that’s been hidden and then found in our time.

So… my brain can’t seem to focus because I keep thinking about all three. I’m honestly not sure which one to work on now. I would like to pick one and get it to a final draft.

I’m going to work on the outline for the second one until I decide. By April, I am going to decide and focus and buckle down!

Anyway, happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life

Eyes in Recovery Mode

Well, I had PRK eye surgery during the first week of this month. The recovery is still on going, so my posts will probably be short and even more sporadic than normal.

Things are recovering well, but there is still a lack of sharpness to my sight that makes anything text related (writing, reading, blogging), especially challenging. This is normal for that type of surgery. It can take anywhere between 1 to 3 months for most people’s vision to “settle in.”

That being said, my experience with PRK has been great. I had a great doctor with an amazing support staff. I listened to everything they said and followed it to the letter. (Owner compliance is important!)

Anyway, I can’t do some of the things I love right now (read, write, or cross stitch) but I’m finding ways to not lose my mind.

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, Writing

New year… New excuses…

Well, this year is not off to a super productive start for me. (Which is not surprising for me).

I usually take some time “off” from my to-do lists to decompress after the holidays.

But in exciting news, I am working on outlining a new novel. As I’ve been working on my outline, I got an idea for another story. So, I’ve been writing down my ideas, but still focusing on the one I’m currently working on. I’m trying not to let myself get distracted by the new story idea.

I won’t say what my new stories will be about, it’s too soon for that. I’m super excited though. I’m itching to get started on another project!

In other exciting news, I’m going to have eye surgery in a couple of weeks and hopefully not need glasses after! I’m very excited. I’ve worn glasses since I was 15, and I am over them. I would love to be able to see the items in the shower without having to hold them right next to my face. (I am severely nearsighted).

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, Writing

2021 in Review

Last day of 2021! At the beginning of every year, I set personal goals for myself. Let’s see how I did.

These were my 2021 goals:

  • 1. Read 45 books
  • 2. Complete my third novel (it’s about 2/3 of the way drafted already).
  • 3. Write 12 short stories (return to my blog every month for the short story of the month)
  • 4. Finish my flower needlework project
  • 5. Finish my Grimm Fairy Tale Cross Stitch

And how did I do?

  1. I read 42 out of 45 books. (Top three books of the year are in bold.)
    • Nevernight
    • Unicorn War
    • An Orc on the Wild Side
    • Serafina and the Black Cloak
    • Lore Olympus Volume 1
    • Witches Steeped in Gold
    • The Bone Witch
    • The Red Pyramid
    • The Doll in the Garden
    • Twist of Faith
    • The Good Samaritan
    • Lucky
    • The Homeward Bounders
    • Understanding Show, Don’t Tell
    • A God in the Shed
    • Questland
    • Tokyo Ever After
    • Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 3
    • Behind Blue Eyes
    • Harrow the Ninth
    • A Deadly Education
    • Ruin and Rising
    • Among the Beasts and Briars
    • The Lost Apothecary
    • The Ghost Tree
    • There Are No Countries
    • Siege and Storm
    • As Far As You’ll Take Me
    • Firefly: Legacy Book 1
    • Gideon the Ninth
    • One of the Good Ones
    • The Many Lives of Pusheen the Cat
    • Shadow and Bone
    • A Peculiar Peril
    • Queer, There, and Everywhere
    • Stuffed
    • The Next One Hundred Years
    • I Can’t Make This Up
    • Looking Glass
    • Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
    • Swing Time
    • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
  2. I wrote, finished, and published my third novel!
  3. I wrote and shared 12 short stories of the month!
    • You can find them all throughout my blog posts for the year. Just look for the short stories of the month!
  4. I finished my flower needlework.
    • I have been working on it for years!!!!
  5. I only have one section left on my fairy tale cross stitch!
    • My plan is to finish it in the next couple of days. (Almost did it!)
My finished needlework!

Hope everyone had an okay 2021!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Writing

Prepping for NANOWRIMO 2021

It’s that time of year again.

The time when I decide whether or not to join NANOWRIMO.

And like the last three years, I’m in.

This year though I’m starting something completely new! Which is exciting and terrifying.

If you follow me, you know that the last three years I’ve worked on my series: The Magical Realms Series. (Third book will be out soon!)

But my next project is not a part of that world.

I’m excited to be working on something completely new, but it’s also a lot of work to world build.

This time I’m using a different process than last time. I’m actually planning a little bit before I just jump in. In the past, for NANOWRIMO at least, I’ve been what is called a panster. Meaning, that I don’t really plan and I write the story by the seat of my pants.

This year I’m trying for a combo of pantser / planner. I’m planning characters, some of the bigger plot points, and I even made a map of the world.

I’m looking forward to Monday and this year’s NANOWRIMO!

Happy reading and writing today and everyday!

I’m using part of this book to plan.
Life

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
Life, Writing

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!