The Ghost of NaNos Past

The Ghost of NaNos Past

As we approach the NaNoWriMo season (*sound of panicking in the background*), I thought it would be fun to look back at the last six years of NaNos, ever since I started.

It’s amazing how different they’ve all been! Ups and downs… And each year I step deeper down the rabbit trail as it were.😉

(I did also do 4 Camp NaNo sessions — a 20K goal and three 10K goals, all of which I reached — but for the sake of continuity I’ll be ignoring those this post.😄 They are, however, little footnotes in my NaNo history, so maybe someday I’ll do a post about them! But 6 + 4 = 10 times I’ve participated in (and won) a NaNo-ish event! *celebration*)

Here are my NaNo experiences . . .

NaNo #1: 2010 — The Chaos Year


(Since I didn’t join the NaNo site my first year, I don’t have a handy graph from the site of my wordcount, so this one will have to do. Blue bars = where my wordcounts should have been to be on par. White bars = where my wordcounts actually were.)

Twelve Fugitives in the Wild — set in another world, without fantasy elements but with an 18th-century time period. Muskets, carriages, a dark tower, missing persons, and lots and lots of unexpected plot-twists…

Brave new step: Undertaking my first NaNo.

My first year was utterly insane. It was an unofficial NaNo (i.e. I didn’t sign up with the site) and I had no idea what I was getting into. I decided to do it the night before, and pantsed the whole thing, which I had very little experience with… I managed to reach my goal but not without falling dreadfully behind most of the month, and having to do an enormous catch-up day, writing 8,000 words on the last day. It took the entire day and much chocolate and family members pushing me back to the computer every time I wandered away in despair… *cough* But I made the 50,000! I was so happy.

NaNo #2: 2011 — The Perfect Year


Far-mark’s Dream — to this day, the only novel I actually finished during NaNo. A fantasy adventure story featuring prophecies and salt fairies and bats and a serpent, and three friends (one reluctant; okay, he hates them and opposes everything they stand for, but to be fair he’d been enchanted. *cough*) who set out to defeat the Empire, with much epicness along the way.

Brave new step: Joined the NaNo site and forums.

My second NaNo was a complete dream come true. Learning from my mistakes of the first year, I planned ahead and had the whole novel plotted before day 1, made sure to stay on top of my wordcount, and just had a blast. I hit a few snags through the month, but always came through, and finished two days early… actually finishing the novel itself as well. I still look back at this year as my ultimate NaNo experience.❤ I loved the book too. I still do… though I’d like to rewrite it a bit and expand some of the things. *nod*

NaNo #3: 2012 — The Overconfident Year


Grey Betrayal — Book #1 in my several-book Epic Fantasy series, this one features plots and war and mountains, a talking bear, and the adventures of two friends, one of whom has many secrets…

Brave new step: I stepped out of my introvert writer shell and went to write-ins and a victory party at the end!

Oh, this year. I had grown arrogant, I fear… After my insane impromptu first year, followed by one where I took precautions and nearly everything went smoothly, I thought that NaNos were a breeze, apparently, as long as you planned for them. Alas, I was wrong! I didn’t realize that my second year had been the best and easiest NaNo I’d ever have the pleasure of being a part of. I started out pretty well on this third year, especially thanks to the numerous rambling thoughts of my main character, which gave me lots of words (thanks, Faron). But then I hit a snag a third of the way through called running-out-of-plot. I had neglected to plot further, and the rest of the month was a serious struggle. I pushed through at the end, but emerged a humbled NaNoer, realizing my good fortune of the previous year for what it was.

NaNo #4: 2013 — The Leading Year


Underground Rainbow — contemporary fantasy featuring a young photographer and his adventures with various fantastical creatures: gnomes, griffins, leprechauns, and the like.

Brave new step: I stepped into a co-leadership role as a NaNoWriMo ML for my region. (Municipal Liaison: volunteer event organizer/local leader.)

This year started out all right, and then life crashed around me. It was my first year as an ML and that took up a lot of my time and creative juices, plus I was kind of in a writing slump, so that took its toll. This year is actually kind of hazy in my memory… But the story was a lot of fun, despite that, and I did make it in the end. Not to mention the wonderful camaraderie of my region this year, which was fantastic. ^_^

NaNo #5: 2014 — The Roadtrip Year


Heartseeker — original fairytale YA fantasy romance type thing, featuring the princess who goes on a quest to find the heart of her betrothed.

Brave new step: Well, it wasn’t very brave, exactly, since I had no choice, but it was definitely crazy. I managed to do NaNo while being on a roadtrip most of the month AND ML-ing at the same time. It. was. insane. But I’m also very proud of me for surviving and doing okay.😄

Although it was arguably my most difficult year, due to a roadtrip in the middle on top of life and ML-ing, this is also one of my favorite NaNos, looking back at it. I’d say this and the Far-mark year were the best. Writing in the car was a new challenge, and one I only survived due to helpfully-pestering family members, and the kindness of my co-ML lending me a power adapter so I could use my laptop in the car and some rewarding letters from her characters which I could only open at certain points. I also was thankful for being snowed in at my uncle’s house for a couple of days, which allowed me to catch up in the middle of the trip. I finished off this NaNo with a spectacular write-in at a library late at night, which is my favorite NaNo memory.❤ I can’t believe I survived it, and I definitely wouldn’t have without the support of wonderful friends and family, but it was a challenge and, despite the stress, was a blast as well.

NaNo #6: 2015 — The Rebel Year


  • The Silver Forest — retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Rose and the Raven — novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — book #2 in my modern-fantasy series starring Tare and the Chess Club

Brave new step: Turning rebel (not so much brave as insane) and actually working on THREE different stories during NaNo in order to hit my 50K goal, instead of just one like the “rules” (made to be broken. ;)) state and like I’d done every year.

I did all right with my 12 Dancing Princesses story until exactly halfway through the month when it decided to inform me that I’d gotten the whole beginning wrong and would have to scrap everything I’d written and completely restart the novel. Um. It was going to be so much awesomer with the new twists that had emerged, but SERIOUSLY?? IN THE MIDDLE OF NANO?? What kind of bad timing was this? (Answer: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . . You can read the story of my Mid-NaNo-Crisis here.) I ended up abandoning it for the time being and instead taking the opportunity to work on my novella for the Rooglewood contest, with bits of KW2 to help whenever the painstaking shortness of the novella got too much. I survived this one too (despite a nasty cold near the end and running out of plot a couple times) but wow, it was definitely a new challenge! Writing more than one story in a month is super hard, because you have to get into the right mindframe for each of them, and switching between them is difficult. But it turned out okay, so huzzah!

NaNo #7: 2016 — ???

Story to write this year: To Be Announced…


Brave new step: I’m going to be ML-ing this  year totally on my own. In my previous three years as an ML, I’ve had wonderful co-MLs and helpers with whom I’ve shared the burden. I’m all alone this year and just hoping I’ll be able to do it without those wonderful people having my back. Wish me luck, because this is scary.😄

Obviously, this year’s NaNo adventure is a mystery yet to be discovered (unless you happen to be a time-traveler, which I, unfortunately, am not…). What will happen this year? I’m as curious as you are!

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will (hopefully) be all about what I hope to work on this NaNo! (No promises, of course; NaNo projects are notoriously slippery beasts.)


So there you have my past NaNo exploits! What about yourselves, my roadlings? Have you done NaNo? How many? What were your best (and worst) NaNos? Tell me aaall in the comments!

Crazy Septemberishness


September 2016

Hiiii, roadlings! How are you all?🙂 *collapses* Well, now that we’re a third of the way into October (WHAT??), let’s see if I can get some sort of ishness post together…


I officially had an INSANELY busy September. In the words of Olaf from Frozen: “All good things, all good things…” Just… busy.

Most notably a roadtrip, which was why I was gone for a week there at the end of my blog party. ‘Twas great fun! I met some wonderful people and had a fabulous time kayaking etc. And so many hours sitting in a car.😄

But between my trip and a bunch of other things going on, it was very heavy on the “life” part of things and less going on in the categories of writing/reading/etc.

Still, let’s see what I did on those fronts anyway, shall we?


There was a lot of prepping for NaNo going on, mostly ML stuff and a possible decision on what I may write for this NaNo? Subject to change… I’ll get back to you on that.😄 But regardless, at least a story exploded into nearly-full-plot, so that’s always exciting.

KW2coverPI even managed to get a little writing in around the craziness. Because naturally, if there’s ONE time I need to NOT be writing (a.k.a. when I have a week to get ready for a week-long roadtrip and am 100% NOT ready and need to be packing and shopping), naturally that’s the moment Tare chooses to get all communicative. *facepalm* Excellent timing, Tare… NOT.

Well. Not that I’m complaining. Always happy to have him communicative, especially when he hasn’t hardly been at ALL since last NaNo. *cough* So I got over 3K words written on dibs and dabs of KW2, which I’m quite pleased about!🙂 (We will not dwell on the fact this is almost the most writing I’ve done in a month all year, with the exception of the other time I did 3K, in July… Ahem.)

So, considering how busy I was, I’m quite happy about the writing things I did manage to accomplish!🙂

While we’re on the subject of writing, everyone needs to go read this post that Claire Banschbach posted on her blog: Writing — As Explained By Firefly. It’s my fave.❤ (Because Firefly + Writing = Best. Ever.)



I finished my Reading Challenge on Goodreads for the year, of reading 60 books! *celebrates* I’d still like to read more, obviously, but that was the minimum I was going for.

Unfortunately, I hardly got any reading done in September, though… *shifty eyes*


Erm. Yeah. That’s the least I’ve read all year. O_O Especially since one was a novella and one was a very tiny nonfiction book, namely Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman, which, by the way, I’ve read FOUR times now and highly recommend (read my review here). The only real NOVEL I managed to read was a Georgette Heyer which I greatly enjoyed, managing to squeeze in reading it around shopping and packing when I really should have been paying attention to such things and not reading. *cough*

I did also finish beta-reading Sarah Holman’s to-be-released excellent retelling of Emma, which is not shown since it’s not on Goodreads yet. But hopefully it’ll be coming out next year, at which time I’m sure you’ll all hear a LOT more about it, given how much I loved it. ^_^



Obviously, I had my 3rd blogoversary and a very fun blog party celebration! I’m still on an excitement high after that. ^_^

If you missed ’em, you can read the original post, as well as my wrap-up post where I list all the tags I did during the month, including on my book blog to catch up on tags. All caught up! *twirls*

Other than tags, giveaways, and last month’s Ishness, I guess the only other post during September was my review of Make Good Art. All of which adds up (if you include both of my blogs) to . . . 20 posts last month! O_O Um. Yeah. So if it felt like I was always blogging . . . I was.😄


Another thing I did, apparently, was to watch a bunch of movies. …Rather a strange bunch, too.


(All posters/cover images found on Pinterest)

  • Divergent & Insurgent — Interesting . . .
  • Tron: Legacy — Weird/cool/not really sure what I think of it?
  • To Catch a Thief (with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, neither of whom I’d seen before) — Neat/great fun!🙂
  • Treasure Planet — Definitely my favorite of the month! I kind of loved it a lot. ^_^
  • The Aristocats — Cute.🙂
  • The Sword in the Stone — Um. It was kind of awful? *cough*
  • The Emperor’s New Groove — So. much. fun.😄


Well we’re already a third of the way through October (HOW DID THIS HAPPEN, EXACTLY???) but my plans mostly consist of preparing for NaNo…

Next week I’ll have a post about past NaNos; the week after, I’m planning to do a Beautiful Books post introducing my NaNo project for this year (assuming I haven’t, y’know, changed my mind and settled on something totally different… *cough).

Meanwhile, I’m off to work on NaNo things — see ya!

How about you, my roadlings? How was your September? Are you doing NaNo and ARE YOU READY FOR IT?? Have you read/watched any of these? How’s your writing been going? AND HOW IS IT OCTOBER??? Tell me all!🙂

Poetry Scribbles


Today (October 6, 2016) is National Poetry Day! …In the UK. But hey, I figured why let them have all the fun?😉

I very rarely write poetry, and it’s always of the rhyming variety since I don’t understand anything else, and I haven’t written any in a long time. But I thought I’d just dump a few of my scribblings here for the day. Because.

Some of my longer pieces I sometimes think about maybe posting on their own or doing . . . something with. I don’t know. Whatever it is people do with poetry. >.>

So these are short ones which I’m kind of fond of. Just snatches, really, since they’re hardly long enough to call poems… *squirms because I’m not used to doing poetry*

Anyhow. Here you are. Poem bits. Scribbles, as Gummy would call them.🙂


O you are like an adjective
I like you quite a lot
But others with advice to give
Condemn you on the spot


Sing the dawn
Soar and fly
Song of wings
Sung in sky



Hidden treasures of the sea
Hidden treasures, come to me
Far away on distant shore
Who can hear the ocean roar?

~ from The Rose and the Raven by Deborah O’Carroll (Sleeping Beauty retelling novella)


The wind it sweeps along in spring
An almost silent whispering
Like quiet words in secret dream
A far off leaf falls in a stream


Dark fate or bright fortune,
Wither do you go?
Down to the desert
Or up to the snow?


If you come home real late and you drive up and park
It will wait for you there, in the house in the dark


I’ve posted a few bits of poetry on my blog before. You can find them here:

Thoughts (a poem about this blog for when I started it)

Lost in a NaNoWriMo Mist (short piece on NaNo)

A Writer’s Allegiance (humorous poem about pencil, pen, & computer)

Presenting the Strangest Character Silmaril Award (LOTR fanfiction-ish Tom Bombadil poem)


Thanks for reading! ^_^ (Also, this is my 200th post on this blog! *pulls out some leftover confetti from the blogoversary celebration last month and throws it*)

Blog Party Wrapup + Winners


Well, roadlings, here we are, aren’t we?

I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, my blog readers, here at the end of all things.

…Er, that is, the end of the blog party for my third blogoversary! *cough* (Couldn’t resist a touch of LOTR-related drama. ;))

Thanks so much for joining me, everyone!! It’s been a fun month here on the blog!🙂 (For me at least; dunno about you folks. ;)) I hope you enjoyed getting so many posts! (And if not, well, it’s over now and I’ll be going back to a more moderate schedule again, so either way you should be happy! XD)

I believe that I’m all caught up on my tags now… (Except for a couple of writerly ones I’m saving for November…) WHEW. That was a LOT but also fun.😄 I even caught up on my bookish tags over on my book blog, The Page Dreamer!

Thanks to all the lovely people who tagged me! Y’all are so sweet! ^_^

Here’s a list of the tags this month, if you missed ’em:

  1. Rising Authors Tag
  2. Writer’s Life Tag
  3. Million Dollar Writer Tag
  4. Sisterhood Blogger Award
  5. More Infinity Dreams
  6. Sweater Weather Fall Tag
  7. LOTR Tag
  8. Favorite Things + Happiness Tag
  9. Lovely Sunshine Dreams
  10. Blogs + Infinity Dreams Award (Again)

Page Dreamer book tags:

  1. 30 Bookish Questions Tag
  2. How I Read Tag
  3. The Birthstone Book Tag
  4. “Totally Should’ve…” Book Tag
  5. #FantasyFunMonth Book Tag

Buuut you’re not here to read me ramble about blogging, you’re here to see the WINNERS!

Which my sister and I pulled at random out of my viking helmet. Because it’s almost NaNo and I am, after all, a Small Home Repair Viking…


Without further ado, the winners are:


Giveaway #1: Writing themed


  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves (hardcover) by Lynne Truss: Emily Drown
  • Handlettered C.S. Lewis writing quote art print: Christine
  • Blank forest road (for a writer! ;)) journal: Victoria Nightsky


Giveaway #2: Past-Present-Future


  • The Princess Spy (ARC paperback) by Melanie Dickerson: NolieAlcarturiel (Sophia)
  • The Penderwicks (paperback) by Jeanne Birdsall: Mary Horton
  • Captives (paperback) by Jill Williamson: Texas Rebel Girl


Giveaway #3: Lord of the Rings themed


  • Lord of the Rings boxed set (paperback): Savannah
  • Handlettered Tolkien quote art print: Sarah Taleweaver
  • Smaug/Dragon temporary tattoos: Alyssa

I wish I could give something to EVERYONE who entered… but I tried to have a lot of prizes so there would at least be more than one winner.😉

Thanks so much for entering and commenting, everyone!!! You are all absolutely awesome and make my day.❤ Thank you for celebrating with me!

This event was to celebrate the blogging anniversary of this writing blog The Road of a Writer, its past, present, hopeful future, and of course The Lord of the Rings — but ALSO to celebrate how awesome all my readers are (that’s you!) so THANKS SO MUCH! YOU ARE THE BEST! ^_^

Official announcer voice:

“This concludes the celebration of the 3rd Blogoversary of The Road of a Writer. Thank you for participating. Please file out of the auditorium in an orderly line and do not trample small aardvarks in the aisles. Thank you.” *sound of official announcer person bowing*

(Don’t even ask how you can hear a bow. It totally works. Hush.)

If anyone needs me, I’ll just be over here in the corner in denial that tomorrow is October. WHAT. EVEN. Ahem. (Also, sorry I’m so behind on comments! I was gone for a week… So I will work on replying to those soon!!) Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and I will see you whenever I get together an ishness post about my crazy September! Love you all, and thanks again!❤

*throws celebratory confetti and hands out cupcakes to everyone*

Blogs + Infinity Dreams Award (Again)


Good morning, roadlings!

Aaaand here we are, at the very last tag post of the month! On Friday I’ll be wrapping up this blog party with all the giveaway winners and links and such. I can’t believe it’s almost over!

(You can still enter all three giveaways for the nine separate prizes until midnight Central time Sept. 29, so if you missed out, hop on over there! ~ Writing Giveaway | Past/Present/Future Book Giveaway | Lord of the Rings Giveaway ~)

Anyhow, I have two tags actually today, so I shall proceed to go through those to finish the tag part of this month’s celebration!

Lovely authoress/blogger Shantelle Hannu @ A Writer’s Heart tagged me a few centuries ago (a.k.a. January) for the Infinity Dreams Award! Thanks, Shantelle! ^_^ (Everyone go check out her blog because it’s awesome and she is a thoroughly lovely person.❤ She also currently has a blog series going every Monday called Hidden Gems: Authors You Need To Discover, and it has interviews and giveaways and is a lot of fun, so check it out! :))

I’ve done this tag before but am doing it again because fun questions, yay! (I’m really bad at coming up with 11 facts about myself, soo… as per usual, I’m just doing the questions… And, again, not tagging anyone specific, but feel free to consider yourself tagged if it looks fun!)

How many books do you hope to read this year?

Well… my “official” goal is 60 on Goodreads… which I managed to accomplish this month! *partying* But I’d like to read at least 75 if I can.

What’s your favorite song?

Never-Ending Road by Loreena McKennitt and Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey.

What’s your least favorite holiday?

I don’t think I have a least-favorite… I know a lot of people who get depressed over Valentine’s Day so maybe that one; but then again there are the chocolate sales after…

Why do you blog?

I started because I wanted to start a sort of online presence for my writerly self, but I blog now because I can’t help it and I just love sharing things and talking with all you lovely commenters and… I don’t know! It’s just fun and I love it.🙂

It’s silly, but I still get really excited seeing a blog post take shape… I think it out and write it and put it together with some pictures and links and things, and then I post it and… it’s so shiny and finished and it makes me happy. (Please tell me I’m not insane. >.> Oh, wait, too late. :P)

Favorite dessert?

Chocolate cake! Preferably a moist heavy one with frabjous frosting. Yum. I pretty much like most things that are a) chocolate, or b) mint-ish, or c) lemon if it’s the right kind and nice and sweet.

One movie coming out in 2016 2017 you want to watch?

Um. Since this year is almost over, I’m going to change it to 2017 and say BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!😀

Some books set for 2016 releases you want to read?

Ones that haven’t come out yet that I’m excited about are Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (sequel to Six of Crows), An Earthly King by Hazel B. West (sequel to Blood Ties), and The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson (final Hagenheim book).

What historical era intrigues you most?

I like medieval times but usually in a fantasy-world setting… the 1700s is usually my favorite actual-history time-period (muskets and tricorn hats and coats!), though I’d be really interested to see the Celtic cultures back wayyy long ago since so much of the Celts’ history has been lost/destroyed and I’d like to know how it really was, not how people now hypothesize that it was.

Where would you love to visit?

The British Isles! Ireland and Scotland and all of it.❤

What things inspire you to write/blog?

I don’t know! o.o Things just… come to me. And then I write them. Or blog about them. I guess my ever-active brain is always finding things to mull over… It can be exhausting at times! (Especially at 2 a.m. when I’m STILL trying to fall asleep and my brain is like “nope, too many interesting things to think about”. XD)

Some of your favorite blogs?

Since this is the last question of the Infinity Dreams part of this post, I’m going to take the opportunity to switch over to another tag here to answer this question. A tag… within a tag? Gotcha!

Mary @ Sunshine & Scribblings, and Jenelle Schmidt, both tagged me for the Blogging About Blogs Tag (here & here are their posts, if you’d like to see their own picks!), so I’m lumping that one in this post too, since we’re on the subject of blogs! Thanks very much to both of you!!❤

Blogging About Blogs Tag

I always hate doing things like this, since I just KNOW I’ll accidentally leave some awesome people out of the list… But I thought I would do it anyway, to share the love for a few at least. So this is by no means a comprehensive list, and I love many more blogs that I don’t have time to list (please don’t feel bad if you’re not on here! If I comment at all on your blog, it means I love it too!) — these are just a few that fit the specific categories.🙂

The Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions
  • Tag some blogging friends


Blog that makes me laugh

Cait’s Paper Fury, and Of Words and Books by Ness Kingsley.

Blog that makes me think

Mirriam’s Wishful Thinking (I mean, it has thinking in the title…)

Blog that teaches me things

I can think of way too many, which does not help… so I’ll say Adventure Awaits by Tracey.

Blog with beautiful headers

I know there are so many! I’m drawing a blank because my brain is tired, but off the top of my head, Savannah’s Scattered Scribblings (which recently became a public blog! So go follow it!) and E. Rawls’ blog.

Blogger who takes great pictures

I instantly thought of Christine @ Musings of an Elf and Cait @ Paper Fury. I could stare at their photos all day.❤

Blogger whose recommendations I trust

Definitely Jenelle Schmidt, Christine @ Musings of an Elf, and Sarah @ Light & Shadows. They have excellent taste.😉

New blog I’m enjoying

I can’t think of a new one so I’ll just mention a couple I enjoy that I haven’t mentioned yet: A Writer’s Heart by Shantelle and Ink Castles by Skye.

Blog I’ve followed the longest

Of the ones that are still going, probably Mirriam’s Wishful Thinking.

Blog I’ve started following the most recently

InkSplatteredPages — Skye’s new book blog! It just started and I’m excited to read it.🙂

Blog that is always a refreshing happiness

Short and Snappy by Madeline, and Sunshine and Scribbling by Mary.

Blog where I revel in the words

Adventure Awaits by Tracey and Musings of an Elf by Christine come to mind…🙂


I know I’m missing some great blogs… but those are a few that I enjoy!🙂

Consider yourself tagged for either the Blogging About Blogs or Infinity Dream Award (or both!) if you want to do it, or just answer some of the questions in the comments if you like! Do you have a favorite blog to recommend to me? And I hope you’ve enjoyed all these tag posts!🙂