Writing Wrapup (2020)

Well, I haven’t blogged regularly at ALL in quite awhile, but I wanted to post a wrapup of my writerly accomplishments this last year, if only so I’ll be able to look back on it one day.

It was definitely a slow year of writing, for me. I have difficulty writing when I’m stressed, so between that and spending a good deal of extra time on my copyediting business, the words were rather fewer than usual. But at least some writing happened!

2020 WRITING (ISH) ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Writing

  • Total words written: 76,160 (not my usual 100K+ but ah well)
  • 53K of Tare/Kedran’s Wood books (starting book 3 for NaNo plus some edits on book 2)
  • 12K of Operation Foxtail
  • 11K on short stories — The Secret Piano (hopefully coming soon to a newsletter?), and three serial episodes of Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole. (I had written the first episode in 2019. The second was posted last January. So I have two more written, and one more planned, which would total 5 episodes. I hope to share them on here when I get the chance!)
  • I also did some plotting and editing on various works, including making some exciting breakthroughs in various books!

Blogging

I didn’t have home internet for the last 8 months of the year so any blogging that actually got done . . . I’ll take it. 😛

Faves:

Instagram

(My top 9 most popular Instagram pics of 2020. Lots of googly-eyed books, some Tolkien, Cress, and of course that time I cosplayed as Selene Ravenwood back in February.)

I also focused more on my Instagram in this last year, largely due to said issue of a lack of internet aside from my phone. I can’t really blog on my phone but I can Instagram on it, sooo…

  • 285 Bookstagram posts (daily posts aside from a couple of hiatus months and breaks when I got busy)
  • Hit 800 followers
  • I finally did more with themes, even seasonal ones (which was fun) — and aaall the flowers!
  • Finally made a Linktree and some highlights. XD *is almost getting the hang of this Instagramming thing*

Copyediting Business

(Some of the books I had the honor of copyediting last year.)
  • Words copyedited or beta-read in 2020: 2.9 million words
  • Novels/novellas copyedited: 15
  • Short stories copyedited: 11
  • Beta projects (for friends etc.): 8
  • (Curious to know more about my freelance copyediting? Info is here! :))

Miscellaneous

  • Writing journal pages: 136
  • Won my 11th NaNoWriMo and 20th Camp NaNo (actually did two camp sessions this year)
  • Attended Hutchmoot: Homebound online (delightful), as well as a one-day writing conference in January, and read 6 books on writing
  • Sketched my character Teague
  • Was “in print” for the second time (I mean, just like the first time, it was a private bindup collection for authors of the Modern Bard blog stories, so it’s not like it’s… available? But it was still neat to see A Night in the Life of Glassman printed in a real book, personal collection though it may be!)
  • Set new word-sprinting records during November
  • Got a new laptop (after 9 years of writing adventures with my first laptop)
(2020 November writing stats)

So there is a brief (?) look at my 2020 in writing! Although the wordcount was less than I’d hoped, and I didn’t finish any novels (two-thirds into both Operation Foxtail and Kedran’s Wood 3), it still wasn’t a bad writing year, apparently. I’m quite happy with a lot of these things. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed that! Thanks for reading — and let me know if there’s a writing-ish accomplishment you’re proud of from last year!

Know the Novel: Tare 3 (NaNo 2020)

Um . . . hi, guys! Long time no chat! A lack of internet and a general insanely-busy time has distracted me from blogging for the last few months.

But today I want to join in on the fabulous Christine Smith’s Know the Novel writer linkup to talk about my writing plans for November/NaNo! (How is that so soon?? SEND HELP.)

So. I’m writing the third book in my modern fantasy Kedran’s Wood series, so that I can hang out with Tare (my fave) and the Chess Club and have a hopefully chill/fun November for once!

THE QUESTIONS

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Wow, it’s been so long . . . Well, I guess since it’s book 3, it would be because of starting a random modern fantasy back in April 2012 . . . which then had more spinoff ideas. I don’t remember the original spark for this one off hand, but origianaly it was going to be the sequel to book one, to be the adventures the Chess Club and Tare had the next summer, after The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. But then a snowy Christmas short story crept between them, eventually becoming a massive novel (145K words; please send help), so book three this one became! But the idea of the Chess Club and Tare on vacation has long been a fun one for me, and various things from the first two books and other Tare backstory stuff are leading up to this book. I’m excited. ^_^

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!

(I’ve had this cover foreverrr. Maybe someday I’ll update it or come up with a new title, but it works for now. XD)

The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, #3)

Road trip from Kedran’s Wood!

All the Chess Club wants is a fun vacation at the cabin Robin found them for the summer. All Tare wants is — well, probably for the Chess Club to stay out of trouble. (Saving teens, as well as the world all the time, gets exhausting.)

They find more than they bargained for with agents, a sinister secret lurking in the pine woods, a new side to Tare’s past, and of course McAllistair Mansion — which, let’s face it, is cooler than a cabin.

A storm is coming for the Chess Club and Tare.

So much for a quiet vacation . . .

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

Still set in a vague/undisclosed part of modern-day America, but this time since the Chess Club road tripped away from their hometown, I have some new settings to play with. Pine woods and a cabin and a cool mansion and . . . other . . . things. I’m excited because, while I adore Kedran’s Wood itself, this gives me some new settings/dynamics I can play with — and Tare has an unexpected connection to this place too, so I’m going to have loads of fun with that! *cackles*

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Meet the cast!

  • Tare20 years old – black hair – Enigmatic monster-fighting, black-leather-wearing guy and also my favorite character I’ve ever written

Chess Club

  • Lavender17 – blonde – Shy, softhearted, heart of the Chess Club
  • Baz17 – brown hair – Happy-go-lucky, fun-loving prankster and pun king
  • Ivy18 – red hair – Feisty, no-nonsense, go-get-’em Chess Club member
  • Adrian19 – blond hair – Easy-going, laid back guy, very protective of the Chess Club
  • Mr. Larch32 – brown hair – head of the Chess Club, dry and reserved, voice of reason
  • Robin Larch26 – light hair – Mr. Larch’s sister, enthusiastic, planning The Perfect Vacation

New Players

  • Arielle Everglade20 – long black hair – Appeared briefly in book 2, now shows up mysteriously (spoilers, sweetie)
  • Roderick Hendricks29 – dark brown hair – British, lawyer, basically an awkward penguin, lives at McAllistair Mansion, permanently anxious about Tare (not that we can blame anyone for being anxious about Tare)

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Um. Spoilers? But there mayyy be a group and it mayyy be connected with villains of earlier book(s) and there is also a return of a side antagonist-ish or two . . . it’s complicated.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

That it’s a new book with Tare and the Chess Club! I finished a novella with them last December, and while I’ve fiddled with things since, I haven’t actively been writing a KW book in ages (a.k.a. all this year!) and I’m excited to start this one. Also, I mean, it’s going to be a blast with Chess Club vacation and new characters and Tare being done with everything and yeah. 😀

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Well, it’s in a series . . . book 3 of 3! :O Sort of . . . I currently have an “official” trilogy of novels in the series, but also (either written or planned) 4 short stories, 2 novellas, a sort-of-for-fun alternate-ish novel that doesn’t really count, and a spinoff novel that also spins off of some other books I have. Not to mention sometimes my short story ideas turn into novels, and I have ideas for new adventures occasionally . . . (So there’s 10 . . . or, well, 11 . . . currently. But kind of just 3. XD I’ve drafted 2 novels, 2 short stories, and a novella so far.) BUT I still think of these three being the main books, so in that sense I’m starting on the last “official” (currently) Tare and Chess Club book. But I’m so excited because I felt like I’d never get this far! XD

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Hooopefully plotting? I haven’t done a lot yet but I do like to have an idea of how things will go. I have tons of it in my head already, and some basic notes/lists/snippets. I always mean to plot more for NaNo than I usually get around to, resulting in some flailing around, and with Tare and co. you never know when something might dash out of outline plans, so . . . call it a mix?

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Um. Mansion + secret agents (ish) + modern fantasy + British penguin lawyer (he’s not actually a penguin but he’s basically an awkward penguin, more or less) + Tare Doing Things + Chess Club shenanigans + road trip + camping + Tare backstory info (bwahaha) + I’m also planning a cameo of a character from one of my non-KW books. 😀 I don’t know how unique any of that is, but I’m looking forward to it!

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

I’m drawing a blank on this since I don’t have a playlist yet (oh, help) and haven’t really made any fun things . . . Sooo, here, have my ancient KW series Pinterest board which I haven’t messed with in ages but should have some inspiration stuff for all the books, including this one!

Talk to me! ^_^

And there we are! Do join in on the linkup if you’re writing anything for NaNo, or just, you know, writing! (Find me on NaNo here!) And let me know what you think of this? I know I’ve been very absent from blogging, sorry! *hides face* I’m looking forward to hopefully starting writing this in November, and I wish you luck if you’re writing as well! Thanks for reading! ^_^

Ishness-ish + Snippets + Dragons

Li’l dragon sketch. Accurate representation of me waiting for bookmail.

Oh, hi, everyone! I’m back but also not back. XD

So, technically I ought to have been back from my blogging hiatus two weeks ago . . . but I’m not sure how often I’ll manage to blog since I suddenly find myself without home internet. And until that changes, it’s just a lot harder to keep up with blogging and all the social media on my very limited phone. *winces*

MAY-ISH STUFF

I feel a bit too scattered to do a proper Ishness post, so this is a less structured/complete-feeling post . . .

But I did have a lovely hiatus in May! Some things I did:

Having fun with a book about drawing dragons. Hadn’t sketched in years and really enjoyed this.

  • read a fair bit
  • drew some dragons
  • played Settlers of Catan

  • started a weekly-ish Star Wars re-watch
  • had a refreshing break from some online stuff (not realizing until later in May that this would go on rather longer than I’d planned)
  • had the chance to copyedit for some amazing authors ❤
  • generally kept busy

Book Shoutouts

Speaking of books I copyedited . . . shoutout to two books releasing later this month: Jenelle Leanne Schmidt’s upcoming novel An Echo of the Fae (June 21), and Midnight for a Curse by E.J. Kitchens (June 25)! I adored both books and y’all should totally check them out! 🙂

WRITING

I did keep up with a bit of writing early in May, following my successful April Camp NaNo. Though not in the way I’d hoped . . .

See, I had plans of continuing to write Operation Foxtail, but got derailed by Tare’s series wanting some attention/snippets/editing, and also by brainstorming possible new Glassman ideas.

And, mostly, working on a fantasy short story, The Secret Piano. I’m greatly enjoying that and should probably share it someday . . . if I ever finish it. *collapses*

Cover (for fun) of my fantasy short story WIP, The Secret Piano. ^_^

Current plan is to finish that as well as some some tweakings for KW2 (because Tare is still interested in me working on that).

And then to see what I can do about wrangling all the plot threads and notes and things that need to happen for the last third (hopefully??) of Operation Foxtail.

If I can get that together somehow, I’m hoping I can make some progress on that again for July Camp. (Never mind how busy I’m going to be. Leave me to my delusions. *cough*)

Snippets (because I haven’t shared any in ages)

I stared, transfixed by the music which twined around me and planted me where I stood. The boy played on for a few more moments until his gaze drifted up and snagged on me standing there to the side. The notes jarred and jangled to a startled halt, and silence crashed around us like a brick falling on the keys or on my heart.

***

I imagined Thomas reading the letter. I imagined it sitting on his nightstand, him looking over at it sometimes. I imagined him burning it.

Perhaps it had never reached him at all. Did Thomas even get letters? I imagined a servant throwing it away. I imagined it lost, languishing indefinitely in a stack of letters to his father.

(The Secret Piano, WIP)

***

“I’m just doing what you’d do.”

Tare’s voice was flinty. “You don’t know anything about me.”

“Maybe not now, but I did once.”

Tare narrowed his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

(The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood, KW3, future WIP)


Anyway . . .

The Bookstagram addiction is real

Anyway, despite my planned good intentions of returning to regular blogging in June, I will probably be as sporadic on blogging as I have been (sorry!), but maybe I’ll get a few posts in here and there . . . And if I am behind on social media or emails or something, I sincerely apologize! Blame it on my vanishing internet. *shifty eyes*

Although, I am back to daily Instagram posts and having a blast with it!

Hope someone enjoys this mini post of semi-back-ness! Thanks for reading. ^_^

April Ishness + Hiatus Notice

Hey guys! It’s May and I’m here with an Ishness post to recap Camp NaNo and my reading/watching/listening of April . . . and also to announce a blogging/social media hiatus for the rest of May.

Firstly . . . Camp NaNo!

WRITING: Camp NaNo

I successfully completed my Camp NaNoWriMo goal with 10,336 words! *throws confetti*

This was a really interesting Camp NaNo. It wasn’t technically a very large goal, but I’d been really stuck all year before Camp, so I’m just really happy I was able to make it — and, more importantly, to write regularly a couple times per week.

I usually try to stay ahead, but I also tend to binge-write a bit and then miss a few days. It was very noticeable this time and I joked all month about the staircase I was building. XD

But the fact that I was able to regularly sit down just twice weekly and get 2K in every week, despite how busy I was . . . this was a huge boost to my writing confidence and just happiness in general. It’s given me hope that I might be able to keep that up sometimes in the future!

It also really helped that I had a list of the upcoming scenes, and between that and wordwars with amazing friends, I made serious progress on Operation Foxtail, which has now passed 60K words! I’m. so. excited.

I also had a short story attack my brain near the end of the month. This story made me frantically type up notes and snippets on my phone at 2 a.m. XD Here’s hoping I can get back to that and see what comes of it! And I’m hoping to continue on Operation Foxtail as well, but we shall see.

Shout-out to my amazing cabin-mates! I had so much fun hanging out with so many awesome writers on the NaNo site. And thanks, too, to all the people who cheered me on over on my social media. So encouraging!

Overall, Camp NaNo was wildly successful and I’m happy I got about three chapters written and started a short story.

READING

Not a lot of reading happened, but what there was, I found to be absolutely lovely! You can read my brief thoughts on these on my book blog’s post.

WATCHING

I re-watched a handful of fun things:

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Always re-watch Bucky. 😀
  • The Dark Knight Rises — I’m fascinated to realize that I like this one better than The Dark Knight (even if Batman Begins is still my favorite). I always thought of this one as the dark one and kind of put off re-watching it, but the ending is actually fabulous and makes me happy. So it was just the memory of not knowing what was going to happen while watching it the first time, and how intense it was, that pegged this one as darker (to me). So I like it better than the Joker one, apparently. XD And Blake is awesome.
  • Despicable Me — This was fun to see again. XD (Not pictured.)
  • So . . . apparently superheroes, ish?

I also saw a DVD concert of Celtic Women, which was lovely! I’d picked it up at a library sale years ago and never watched it until now. It made me happy. 🙂

And a smidge of NCIS, also not pictured.

LISTENING

  • I did actually follow through with my plan to listen to Andrew Peterson music. Help, I’ve fallen into this amazingness and can’t get up. Actually, don’t help, because I’m happy here. I listened to a lot of his music across several albums, particularly for Easter, and I love it so much!
  • Brittany Jean’s new album All the Love was another delightful thing I listened to last month! More happiness. 🙂 Do check it out! ❤ (CD here. Links for online listening.) You can listen to the title song, All the Love, which is probably my favorite, on YouTube here! The songs are lovely and catchy and I often find them dancing through my head. 😀 (There’s even a gorgeous version of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman!) Brittany has a lovely voice and I’ve been enjoying her new songs muchly. ^_^
  • Also, Tide Lines had a new song, Innocent and Beautiful, and I listened to that several times. 🙂 Go give it a watch. I believe they have a new album releasing this month. :O
  • I meant to listen to audiobooks again but . . . entirely failed at that. Whoops. XD

APRIL BLOGGING

Book reviews:

LIFE

For me, April was one of the busiest months ever, actually. I was quite occupied with work and copyediting (yes, both from home), and throwing Camp NaNo on there meant that I felt terribly busy basically every day of April. I’m kind of exhausted. 😛

Since there’s not much to share in the life category, here, have a couple of photography attempts and some Easter cake!

A genuine yellow rose of Texas. 😉

Pretty!

Delicious.

MAY PLANS: HIATUS

I will leave you with today’s Instagram photo! I’m so glad I was able to get these lovely flowers the day before Hobby Lobby closed. o.o

Anyway, I’m really tired and just need to take a step back after running non-stop since basically September? I often end up taking hiatuses in May. XD

So I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the rest of May, and also getting off of social media — Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads . . .

But! You can absolutely still get in touch by email, and I’ll still be checking Messenger/Instagram DMs, etc.

(And there are a few book releases I’m super excited about . . . so I mayyyy pop back on for a couple of those; we’ll see how I’m feeling. XD)

Thanks for reading, and let me know in the comments how your April went! I love you all and I hope you have an amazing May, and I will see you on the other side!

3 Tales of Jack and the Beanstalk

It’s Jack and the Beanstalk month over at Fairy Tale Central and I’m excited!

I realized I haven’t seen many retellings of this one? But I do love a certain movie of it, and I read a fascinating retelling, and I have a steampunk reimagining of this fairy tale on my to-write list . . .

So I thought I’d celebrate Jack and the Beanstalk month by briefly highlighting those three here today!

FILM

Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

I absolutely loved this movie! Aside from the giants (who are kind of gross and creepy), I just loved everything about it! 😀 Jack is a great hero, the princess is great, it’s exciting, deliciously fantastic, gorgeous, funny, and it has a great ending. *grins* And best of all, Ewan McGregor is fabulous as a guard in it. What is not to love? I’ve only seen it once or twice, from the library, and it’s been awhile so I don’t remember it as well as I should, but I’m reminded of just how FUN it was and now I want to see it again. 😀 I’d call it one of those underrated fantasy movies that you don’t hear about much but is actually really good!


BOOK

Trial by Song (by Alicia Gaile)

Aahh, this book! I read it quite awhile ago now, but it was just SO striking and atmospheric and gripping! I was utterly enchanted — which is appropriate, what with it being about magical music and scary fae and all of that. It’s a modern fantasy and it’s SO INTENSE! A little on the grittier side, so if creepy fae and a bit of language/gore/etc. bugs you, beware, but it was just so absolutely fascinating and I could NOT put it down! I loved the Jack and the Beanstalk elements and bits of another fairy tale that I didn’t expect, and the modern elements mixed with faeries. Jack himself was a really engaging hero, and I absolutely loved his family of so many brothers and how they were so different but so real and protective. It was such a vivid book and if you like faeries and urban fantasy, you absolutely have to try it out! It also ends on a cliff hanger so I really need to get around to reading the sequel! *collapses*

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Goodreads


WIP

(Click to visit my series Pinterest board)

I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s the second book in a YA steampunk-fantasy series I’m writing. Book one (The Siren and the Skyship) is in rough draft form, and I would like to start book 2 soon . . . but it’s in plotting mode and there’s something that’s keeping it from clicking finally, enough for me to write it. Hopefully I figure it out soon.

The Skythief and the Secret Tower

  • (Sky Voyages, book 2)
  • Steampunk re-imagined fairy tale
  • Jack and the Beanstalk meets Rapunzel/Snow White
  • [Pinterest board for series]

If young sky-pirate Keller can’t pull off a heist the shadowy pirate king sends him on, he could lose everything — but if he succeeds, he could unleash the worst threat the sky world has ever known.

Stealing from dragons has never been easy, and neither is evading Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Royal Skynavy captain, who is hot on Keller’s trail, in search of the stolen crown jewels which are the only way to prevent a war.

Despite his charm and plant-powers, and the magic mirror belonging to Ebony — the mysterious girl in the stone pillar — Keller’s luck may have finally run out.

This skythief’s heart isn’t the only thing that might be stolen from him.


Do any of these sound interesting to you, or have you seen/watched any of them? (If you’ve read my WIP, please let me know, time-traveler, so that I can take notes . . .)

Have you read or watched any great Jack and the Beanstalk retellings that you would like to recommend to me? I would love to hear about them!