A Tag From the Past: Every Good Word

There was a tag/quiz/link-up thingy going around that everyone seemed to be doing for awhile there, from Meghan over on Every Good Word.

Though I’m quite a bit late for this, I’m jumping on board anyway. Because these questions are far too fun not to answer. (I just hope I won’t ramble too much or be too spectacularly boring…)

  1. What was your first-ever piece of writing?

A story I started about a boy who went on an adventure and met some talking bears. It was written in pencil with horrible handwriting and atrocious spelling, in a pink composition notebook. I still look back at it fondly though (from a distance . . .) since it sparked The Chronicles of Starrellia, the 8-book fantasy series I’m working on. The story is still present in one of the books, though it has changed and expanded a good deal.

2. How old were you when you first began writing?

I was 8, and wandered randomly along with my scribbling for a few years. Then the week before I turned 12, while sitting in a bookstore and marking up my story with a pencil, I decided that I was going to restart and finish my story, and be a writer. And I did, and now I am.

   3. Name two writing goals. One short term & one long term.

Short term? At the moment, figure out the plot for my Nanowrimo novel this year. Long term? As so many others have said, get published. Someday . . . Somehow.

   4. Do you write fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction. There’s nothing like a new story to sweep us off our feet and carry us, pen in hand, into a world of adventure. If blogging and emails count as non-fiction, I suppose I enjoy those as well . . . But I’ve found that if there is a non-fiction subject I’m interested in exploring, it is better to I weave it into my fiction than to struggle with dry, personality-less words, that no one will ever read or be changed by. Many truths need to be told through fiction.

Fantasy   5. Bouncing off of question 4, what’s your favorite genre to write in?

Fantasy, without a doubt! Medieval, to be specific. There’s just something about slightly fantastic lands (slightly; I don’t really do magic) filled with forests and castles and swords and cloaks and heroes and princesses that has always delighted me more than any other genre. Plus, I am far too lazy daunted by research to write much else–I like to be able to “make up” (though I call it “discover”) new lands and peoples. I do dabble in other genres as well (contemporary, historical, sci-fi, etc.) but fantasy will always be the genre I enjoy the most.

   6. One writing lesson you’ve learned since 2013 began.

It may sound cliche, but keep going no matter what. Sometimes a story I’m writing (or a recent case for me, editing) just seems like it will never be done and will go on forever. But if you keep steadily going, it WILL get finished. Also, goals, deadlines, and rewards help. I told myself I could reorganize all the books on my bookshelves in my room when I finished, so I was very motivated. (I LOVE playing with my books. :)) Telling myself I could join Goodreads, take a couple weeks off writing, and reread Howl’s Moving Castle were also tricks I used this year to get me reaching some goals.

TolkienBooks  7. Favorite author, off the top of your head!

Tolkien! (That one wasn’t actually hard.)

   8. Three current favorite books.

I . . . [*whispered aside to the audience* Can they do that?] Um . . . I’m going to have to think about that for a moment. It’s rather impossible. At this moment in time I guess I’d have to say The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (since it’s always my favorite), The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall (because it is just so fantastically wonderful and everyone should read it), and The Court of the Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron (since it’s my favorite book I read this year). (But I so want to add the Chronicles of Narnia and like a dozen books by Lloyd Alexander to this list . . . There, I did. Shhh.)

  9. Biggest influence on your writing {person}:

I’m going to have to put two people here . . . My younger sister. I bounce my ideas off her, and every time I write something it always has to have her approval before anyone else sees it. She’s amazing and brilliant and supportive and practically always loves what I write. She’s the one who often makes something click so I can write the story–for instance, she gave me the title I used for my latest book, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, which made the story come together and swept me away on a writing adventure like I’d never encountered before. I don’t know what I’d do without my fantastic sister. And then there’s my lovely friend Lauriloth who has to share this place. Her weekly encouragements always brighten my day, she motivates me to write more than I normally would–not to mention we sometimes seem to share a brain–and she’s the sweetest person ever. ❤

  10. What’s your go-to writing music?

Instrumental Celtic music. Something about it just inspires me to no end and is perfectly suited to my fantasy stories. Soundtracks often work also.

11. List three to five writing quirks of yours! Little habits, must-haves as you write, etc.

Quirks? I have those? Heehee, joking. Let’s see . . . I often act out scenes beforehand and make the facial expressions of my characters while I’m writing. Which leads us to quirk number two: that my door has to be closed when I write so nobody can see me pacing around making a fool of myself . . . I keep my phone by my bed for obsessively making notes when inspiration strikes in the middle of the night–as it always will. I also keep a dream journal, which is enormously useful (but I have to make sure no one else gets a-hold of it, in case they decide I’m insane . . . My mind is a weird place.)

12. What, in three sentences or less, does your writing mean to you?

Writing is my road to the stars (and I say that in a mystical faerie type way, as opposed to a sci-fi analogy). There’s nothing else like writing to enable us to discover worlds new and old and meet such an incredible variety of people and creatures and engage in such adventures. It is rewarding and challenging and there are stories that need telling that only I can tell–in short, I write because I can’t not.


Fall: A Long Expected Party

Today is a special day, for two reasons.

For one thing, Fall is officially here. But before I get carried away rambling about the weather (that’s boring, right?), I must mention the other reason for September 22nd being a stupendous date. That being the birthday of Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. No post on this day is complete without a mention of them.

Happy birthday, favorite Bagginses! I’ll be celebrating your birthdays today. *tips hat to the Hobbits*

In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday is marked by a long expected party, and each year the 22nd of September is something of a long expected party to me, ushering in the start of another season.

As the autumnal weather begins to sweep through the area, I feel a call to adventure, an urge to at least venture out of my writer cave to relish the change of weather (saying farewell to the–somewhat–vanished stifling heat of summer), watch colorful leaves drift lazily to earth, and smell the scent of Fall.

It’s the sort of weather where you want to stay curled up in your cozy blankets all morning, thinking lazily about a story, and eventually get up, pad in stocking feet into the kitchen for some steaming tea or hot chocolate, and curl up in a chair to read. Or scribble a story snippet of those characters who have been inhabiting your brain all morning, insisting you write something about them even if you’re “officially” writing something else. (Which is something I may or may not have been doing myself this morning . . .)


And later, maybe wrap up in a jacket and go tramping outside through the cooling air, among the spiraling leaves, maybe just into the yard or maybe down the road to the park, sniffing the smell of autumn and feeling as though adventure is just around the corner.

It’s difficult to believe that only earlier this week I was practically dying of the heat, with my ceiling fan on full blast and my window open at night trying to catch the slightest hint of a breeze. And then last night was the first truly cold night in six months–cold, as in, break out the fluffy blankets and warm pajamas. Of course, with our weather, we’ll probably be back to 100 degrees in a week or so and not get really into Fall weather until next month, but so far it’s been a lovely change.

With the change of seasons, I find that the seasons in my writing change too.

InvisibleMaskTreeIn January this year, a story came out of the blue and I started writing it. A tale of mysterious characters going about in long black coats, riding winding roads through bleak misty hills in carriages, and living in large shadowy refined mansions on dark windswept moors, with stark empty trees twisting blackly against grey winter skies. I wrote in it on and off for a few months, but then spring came and suddenly I was no longer as interested in that story.

PeacockFeatherWith the arrival of spring, the weather turned warm and the bare trees that had offered so much inspiration for The Invisible Mask were filled suddenly with leafy greenness. All at once I ended up writing a story of pirates sailing through aquamarine water under a tropical sun, or ashore among green rain-forests with colorful birds calling amid the foliage. And when summer came along and all was stiflingly hot around here, somehow the characters in Song of a Pirate began traveling through a desert, with a baking sun shining down on bright yellow sand.

I’ve seen this before in my writing. My contemporary-fantasy summer adventure story, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, was rather more difficult to finish writing earlier this year due to the winter weather. No matter what the story, the weather of the season I’m writing it during seems to creep into the tale. If I’m writing a story set in summer and it’s winter at the moment, cold scenes invade my mind. Or if I’m trying to write a winter scene during summer, I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept of it being cold.

And as I’m talking about the subject, I’m beginning to reflect that perhaps setting my upcoming Nanowrimo novel in spring may not be the best of ideas, and I might be advised to change it to autumn while I can . . .

What about you? Is your writing seasonal?




In my own little world
All my thoughts are still furled
Like a flag that has never been flown

I will place those thoughts here
In the hope that they’re clear
And if not at least they’ll be my own

Like a bird they fly free
To you all straight from me
You and I will watch life—on it goes

I will follow my road
With the words that I’ve sowed
As the wind in the trees softly blows

(“Thoughts” by Deborah O’Carroll)

It Begins…


Hello there, vast and sparkly world . . . Oh, and all the people in it, too! *waves*

Welcome! Pull up a chair or take up some couch-space, or even sit on the tiger rug by the fireplace (I’m sure he won’t mind—he’s very obliging). There are refreshments on the table over there and the drawbridge is drawn to keep out pesky distractions. Make yourself comfortable and stick around—it will get boring around here without you!

This is where I will talk about writing, books, music, and . . . whatever else comes to mind. Hopefully in an interesting fashion—however remote of a chance there may be of that—and I hope you enjoy it!

But before we reach that point, I fear we must ask the baffling question: Who am I? A very baffling question indeed. The normal answer would be “My name is Deborah. With an ‘h’.” But that does not come much closer to showing who I am other than the fact that I pay close attention to spelling—perhaps enough to annoy people . . .

I suppose the easy answer is “a writer”, but that is a bit vague. (Anyone who ever used a pencil could be called that, I suppose.) I love writing, mostly fantasy and mostly novels. I’ve finished 3 novels and a handful of short stories, and am in the midst of numerous other works. I love my characters, of which I have far too many, who live in my head and manage to make my life . . . interesting. I have far too many stories in the works—over a dozen novels, a smattering of novellas, and far too many short stories to think about. Which brings us to the next obvious step: that I’m a little crazy. (Okay, maybe more than a little . . .)

I also have an obsession with lovely gliding pens. And blank journals. Lots and lots of gorgeous, inspirational journals. Don’t judge; you know you love them too.


I enjoy: composing occasional songs and poetry (the rhyming kind); playing music (on penny whistle, piano, and accordion); drawing (mostly people and animals); and photography. I suppose you could say I lean toward artistic things. Though I should be careful how far I lean, lest I fall on top of it all and break everything . . .

I use ellipses and parenthesis far too often (as you’ve no doubt noticed . . .). I’m a fastidious punctuator and perfectionist, and am very particular about slaying every typo I come across. (Watch, now that I’ve said that, there will be one I’ve missed in this post.)

I believe that is enough to start out with. Now that you know more about me than you could possibly wish to know, I believe this brings the introduction to a close. You may all (or, both of you) return to whatever useful, amusing, or even boring things you were doing before my blog so rudely distracted you. Though before you go I would be immensely delighted if you would leave a comment. 🙂

I shall merely shout my writer-war-cry and be off. “Onward to new horizons! Horizons never seen, horizons merely dreamed of, horizons that have but been glimpsed . . . Onward!”

Thank you so much for stopping by! I plan to post here once a week, and I hope you’ll join me as I travel The Road of a Writer . . .