Quarterly Ishness + Snowpocalypse 2021

Hi guys!

I haven’t done an Ishness in ages so I thought it would be cool to do a very brief recap of 2021 so far! (Well, the first three months. I actually meant to post this two weeks ago, but anyway. XD)

There’ve been some serious ups and downs, but some good stuff in there, and I’ve missed blogging, so let’s go for it. ^_^

January, February, March (2021)

WRITING

  • January — I finished writing Girls, Spies, and Other Things the Faeries Stole and edited/prepped it for posting.
  • February — I started writing Operation Foxtail again and shared my Girls, Spies, Faeries serial on Wattpad.
  • March — I did some short story editing, wrote random snippets, and did some brainstorming, but mostly was too busy to focus on writing.

If you missed it, you can catch my urban fantasy serial on Wattpad HERE!

There are five episodes, completing one arc/mission, and they’re inspired by The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Snow Queen, following snarky agent Sean and through various shenanigans including selkie shifters, motorcycle chases, portals, and chocolate.

(I’d like to write further missions with Sean, Riel, and company — I’m currently scheming. :D)

Also, I had way too much fun designing that cover. *grin, grin*

(If you don’t have a Wattpad account and it won’t let you read it, check out this sneaky link. ;))

Mostly, I have hit a serious writing slump and haven’t written much at all since November. I feel like I’m in a creative drought, not sure what to focus on, and haven’t been prioritizing writing since I’ve just been busy. Meh. Here’s hoping I can get back to writing more soon, but in the meantime I’m happy to have finished that arc of Sean’s adventures and that I managed a little bit of Operation Foxtail, which I missed. 🙂

READING

(The 20 books I read in the first quarter of 2021)

It’s been a pretty good reading year so far. I’ve read a lot of marvelous books. ^_^

Here’s a list of them all by category!

  • READ ALOUD: Between Frames, Between Homes, Cloudy with a Chance of Dropbears, All the Different Shades of Blue, and Between Walls are part of an urban fantasy series I’ve been reading aloud with the siblings. It’s such fun.
  • REVIEW BOOKS: I reviewed Into the Heartless Wood, Dana Illwind and Growing Shadows, Blood of the Seer, The Icarus Aftermath, Pangur Ban, the White Cat, and Of Myth and Monster.
  • REREADS: Oath of the Outcast and Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter were rereads. ❤
  • AUDIOBOOK: Wish You Weren’t Here was my audiobook read of the last few months.
  • COPYEDITED: I was honored to be a copyeditor for Cold Snap (mermaid Snow White), Troll Queen (elven marriage alliance), and Between Two Worlds (Roman/Celtic historical fantasy). They’re all lovely! Between Two Worlds is releasing April 27! (Preorder link and preorder goodies link.)
  • MARCH MAGICS: Witch’s Business, Men at Arms, and The Time of the Ghost were all for March Magics. You can read my wrapup talking about them here.

I’d say that Dana Illwind and Growing Shadows, Blood of the Seer, and Troll Queen are my top three favorite reads so far this year! But everything I’ve read has been enjoyable so far. ^_^

WATCHING

Movies

Ghibli:

I got a collection of Studio Ghibli films for Christmas, so I’ve slowly been catching up on those! I watched a few in December as well, but since 2021 hit, I’ve seen:

  • Spirited Away — Weird but I enjoyed it by the end, especially some of the characters.
  • Princess Mononoke — UM. Too creepy for me buuuut the hero and the music are my fave!!! Like. One of my favorite heroes ever and one of my favorite music themes ever.
  • Ponyo on the Cliff — So. adorable. Aahh! I really loved this one. 😀
  • Castle of Cagliostro — Totally crazy heisty movie, really weird too, but lots of fun. XD
  • I also re-watched Howl’s Moving Castle, because of course!

Other movies:

  • Newsies — I’m not much of a musicals person but Jenelle Schmidt recommended this and I was curious what singing Christian Bale was like, so I watched this on my birthday. XD I enjoyed it. 🙂
  • Reign of Fire — Intense but fascinating! Another recommendation from Jenelle (she gives good movie recs, okay), this was from 2002 so was “futuristic” England set in 2020 after the apocalypse caused by dragons, and it was so. so. unique. O_O A little sadder than I’d like but it was fascinating and I enjoyed watching it overall.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 3: Hidden World — This was a re-watch, but I hadn’t seen it since theaters, so of course I had to revisit Toothless and all the feels. 😉

Basically, lots of dragons and Christian Bale and Studio Ghibli have been the trends of this year so far. XD

Shows

(disclaimer: TV shows notoriously have Content sooo I’m not saying I 100% recommend all these buuut anyhoo…)

  • NCIS — Still watching this sometimes and I adore the characters. Gibbs and Tony are my faves.
  • Stargate — I’m not very far in yet but it’s definitely been interesting. I love the idea so I’m curious to see where it goes.
  • Hustle — Basically the BBC version of Leverage. XD Seeing some of that.
  • The Mandalorian — I finally got to start watching The Mandalorian! Mando is the best and Baby Yoda is so cuuuute and yes, it’s (mostly…) fun so far, though I’ve been too busy to watch anything for awhile so I still haven’t finished it.

And this list reminds me that I need to get back to Avatar: The Last Airbender and Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter, which are super fun shows I was watching late last year and apparently got distracted from. XD

LISTENING

  • Let’s be real, mostly I’ve just been listening to the theme-song from Princess Mononoke on repeat 98792837 times. XD
  • Also some Christian rock music (which helps me survive my daily stretches I’ve somehow been keeping up with *collapses*)
  • As I mentioned, finally finished Wish You Weren’t Here, which was an interesting NA urban fantasy.

I’ve been thinking I need to get into podcasts but I haven’t yet, and my plan to listen to one audiobook per month this year has clearly gone out the window, but maybe I’ll get back to that soon! (I did start listening to a C.S. Lewis essay collection on audio but I haven’t finished yet.)

LIFE

  • January — My grandfather passed away and I dealt with a lot of grief and stress. It was rough. But there were some good moments in the month too, and some gorgeous snow!
  • February — The Snowpocalypse of Texas happened. Ice and snow (twice in two months? Texas was very confused) and drama. I was okay and didn’t lose power, so I was much better off than so many, but it was COLD and a very dramatic week or so. The snow was pretty, though. 🙂
  • March — Had a lovely, lovely birthday (with cupcakes!) and was pretty busy, but enjoyed some March Magics reading. And at the very end of the month, I got internet at home again (after nearly a year without) so this is why I can blog again if I can find the time. 😀

The Snowpocalypse

I wrote up a brief something about the Snowpocalypse for a writing workshop assignment, so I thought I would share it here. 🙂

If you don’t have time for a mini 400-word essay about it, feel free to skip to the end of the post. XD

Snow Visitors by Deborah O’Carroll

The 2021 Texas Snowpocalypse was the first time I made the acquaintance of subzero temperatures—an acquaintance I’d gladly have skipped. I live in Texas for a reason. But since Mr. Negative Temperatures (the name says it all!) was visiting, at least he brought a more welcome guest: snow. The ice was less welcome, although the icicle formations certainly fascinated!

When it wasn’t too cold, I went on some snow adventures. New experiences were had walking down the street to a park, the road completely covered in snow, snow flurries blowing along it, and the blinding sun reflecting off the pristine white—so bright I wore a pair of sunglasses. My sister dropped hers on our walk; we returned later, looking high and low for the persnickety things. Apparently they were as excited to play in the snow as we were. A truck pulled up while we searched. “Did you drop these?” The driver handed over the lost-and-found missing sunglasses.

We made a snow dragon in the snow and he stayed for days even when the rest of the snow had melted; I think he liked Texas.

(Snow on juniper; bunny hiding in snow; flowers; cat pawprints; ice on desert holly, cardinal in flight)

I took my favorite winter-themed books outside to use the rare snowy background for my bookish photography for Instagram. Books make good snow walk companions too, though I imagine the one I dropped when I slipped on ice disagrees; it was baptized in snow and no harm was done.

Mostly, I holed up in my room, trying to escape the unwelcome wintry company. Even then, they gusted inside: another visitor was Jack Frost who left a pattern swirled gorgeously across my entire window in feathery elegance. It was stunning—although I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been on the inside of my bedroom window . . .

(Icicles connecting a vehicle to the ground; ice fallen from powerline forming a sword shape; moooore icicles; snow on ground; frost on window, though the photo doesn’t do it justice)

I was on deadline for a copyediting project involving an iceberg*, which brought the cold inside in a new way. Editing a cold story, bundled in hat and fuzzy socks, waiting for power to go out, while occasionally running water to keep the pipes from freezing, felt appropriate.

The wintry visitors didn’t feel gone until iced roads melted, allowing shopping, and mail finally arrived in my mailbox—there was no mail delivery possible for a whole week!

So long, snow visitors. I liked the snow, but for the rest of you, maybe next time you could find a better vacation spot than Texas!

*(Cold Snap by Selina J. Eckert; it’s a Snow White mermaid novella and is delightful!)

(snow dragon; cozy socks/journal/fingerless gloves/mug; snow boots)

Upcoming Plans

Whew! A lot has happened this quarter, while at the same time I feel like it was Christmas a minute ago and all I did was blink . . . But anyway.

My plans involve . . . more of the same, I guess?

  • I have many books I’d like to read (I wish I could read faster!).
  • I’d like to blog a smidge more, if I have inspiration, but we’ll see. (I do keep up with Instagram a fair bit these days.)
  • I’m trying to catch up on all my review books and ARCS; I thiiink I’m almost there?
  • I have a fair bit of work these days keeping me busy.
  • I really miss writing and, while I’m not doing Camp NaNo (can’t handle the pressure right now, and quite busy so I don’t think I’d survive), I am hoping to slowly ease back into writing a bit more often. Which, since it’s been basically non-existent, shouldn’t be too hard. XD I don’t know what to focus on, though! *flails*
  • And I usually take a break in May to recharge so I’m contemplating that, but we’ll see.
  • Of course, since I finally got internet again, I’m slowly trying to catch up on things like the 98374983798 emails languishing in my inbox, so there’s that. *cough*
  • And I’d really, really like to get my author newsletter up and running, and a short story edited and prepped for that (The Secret Piano), but for some reason this is daunting me a lot. Heh. (I have a newsletter set up on Mailchimp but haven’t really sent it out ever and I want to switch to MailerLite or something, I think?)

Conclusion

And yep, that’s about it! That’s what’s been up in my world these last few months. 🙂

I’ve barely blogged here since LAST April, so I suppose it’s probably a bit of a shock that Deborah exists over here, but anyway. XD Hopefully this was mildly interesting. Let me know if you recognize any of the things I read/watched? Thanks for reading!

13 thoughts on “Quarterly Ishness + Snowpocalypse 2021

  1. Has it been a year since you posted here?? (great how observant I am!) I did think of you during the terrible weather in Texas, and am really glad to know you made it through!

    Spirited Away is one of my favorite Studio Ghibli films! I was surprised at how dark Princess Monokoe turned out to be – but, yes, the music is awesome! I’d also highly recommend The Secret World of Arriety and Kiki’s Delivery Service!

    Remember, since you don’t write or read for a living, *take your time*, wait for when you’re feeling inspired, *and don’t expect it to come right away*. This has been an insane year for everybody, and putting pressure on ourselves where there isn’t a need for it isn’t something anyone needs! (really, that makes sense…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well…a year since I posted regularly. I’ve done a couple since, mostly just linking to new story episodes. XD (I HAVE done occasional posting on my review blog, which may help with the illusion of my posting…)

      Thank you! It was a dramatic week but I was pretty fortunate compared to so many others.

      I loved the hero in Spirited Away and now I need a dragonnnn. I was warned Mononoke was dark but I didn’t realize how much. XD But yes, isn’t the music amazing?? OH, YES! I actually saw Arietty yeeears ago and adored it! I’m so excited to hopefully watch it again soon. (I grew up on the Borrowers book series on which it was based.) Ack, I just saw Kiki too! IT WAS SO PRESH. I loved it. 😀

      I…really needed to hear that, so THANK YOU. You have an excellent, excellent point!

      Your whole comment just made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YAY!!!! I MISSED YOU!!!!! (though, yes, you’ve managed to keep to an illusion of still posting well, you sneaky blogger you).

    You’ve read so many books! I’m excited that you’ve found a few new favorites. I am excited to read Troll Queen! I meant to get started on it right away but some other stories have made themselves top priority for the moment. 🙂

    I enjoyed your essay about your snow day! I’m glad that you were safe and didn’t lose power like so many did.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Newsies and Reign of Fire (yeah, RoF definitely has a sad bit that I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT or I would have given you a head’s up). I LOVE NCIS so much! We’ve gotten behind and haven’t watched the most recent seasons… but I intend to at some point.

    EEEEEEEEEEEE you’re watching Stargate?!?!?!?!?!?!?! (That’s me actually trying to restrain myself so I don’t overhype it… but ACK it’s my favorite!)

    Having recently been in a creative drought that lasted almost a year… I can empathize. My advice would be: pick the project that sounds like the most fun. The one that you are enjoying the most. The one with the characters you WANT to hang out with. —even if it’s something totally new— and prioritize that. Slogging through a project that is an “I SHOULD write this” is not a good way to get out of a writing slump and it won’t replenish a well that’s run dry. And if you don’t have a project like that… then take some time off. Like… REALLY take time off. Not just the kind of time off that happens because, “Ugh, I didn’t write today… guess I’ll try again tomorrow.” because that doesn’t actually count as a break if you’re guilt-tripping yourself about it constantly. I mean the kind that goes, “Nope. I WILL NOT write today, or tomorrow either. In fact… I’m not even going to allow myself to THINK about writing until (insert date here).” Either you’ll get a good mental break and force yourself to recharge… or, like Howl, you’ll suddenly be inundated with inspiration and motivation because you told yourself not to. 🙂 (at least, that’s the theory… let me know how it goes) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • AWW, you’re sweet! Thank you!! (And haha, yesss. Although there’s somehow SUCH a difference between I GOTTA WRITE THIS REVIEW POST IN THE NEXT TWENTY MINUTES BECAUSE I’M ABOUT TO LEAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE WITH INTERNET AND WON’T BE ABLE TO GET IT UP ON TIME IF I DON’T DO IT NOWWWW and just being able to slowly work on a just-for-fun post in my actual room throughout the week which is why this actually happened. XD I posted and hit a few deadlines but it was always EXHAUSTING. XD)

      Thanks! Yesss, Troll Queen is amazing! I hope you’re enjoying those other priority stories. ^_^

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the little essay! Thanks. 🙂

      YES, they were fun! (Haha, no worries — it was super fun all the same. XD) I am still in the middle seasons of NCIS (maybe season 9? I think?) but yesss, such fun!

      I’m totally watching Stargate! Not as often as I’d like since it’s one I’m watching with my brother but when we’ve found the time it’s been interesting! It was on your recommendation too, mostly. 😉

      Thank you ever so much for the advice and empathy! I appreciate it sooo much! I think you’re right and I absolutely need to just have fun with it or take a break. I will take that under consideration! So, so appreciate your sharing all of these thoughts. (I’ve absolutely done that Howling myself thing where I suddenly get new ideas. ACCURATE!)

      Like

  3. EEEEEE!!! IT’S A CELTI POST. What a treat! I LOVE your Ishness posts and have so missed the Celti posts goodness! ^_^

    Reading through all of GSF was like one of my February highlights! I JUST LOVE SEAN AND RIEL AND THE WHOLE WORLD SO SO MUCH!!! I’m sooo happy you decided to share it all on Wattpad! 😀

    And EEP. I’m so glad you’ve read such fun books this year! *HEART-EYES* I still hope to start W.R. Gingell’s Between books this year. And Dana and Ilwind. And Troll Queen. And Oath of the Outcast. And ALL THE THINGS BASICALLY. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS TO DEVOUR.

    I also love that we’ve both been on a Ghibli kick at the same time! They’ve been so much fun! And The Mandalorian is SO GOOD. It’s honestly my favorite Stars Wars thing out there. I’ve also been meaning to watch Stargate for…literal years. Like an embarrassing amount of years. It’s my brother’s favorite show, so it’s shameful I’ve yet to watch it! I thiiink the first season or two are kind of rough, but if you can push through them it ends up being amazing. But that’s why I keep not watching it, because of the first meh season. *hides face*

    Oh my goodness, I LOVED your little essay about the Snowpocalypse!!! That was so much fun! Such a whimsical little story. <333 Thank you for sharing!

    Thank you for sharing ALL of this! Loved this little update. I do hope the rest of April goes wonderfully for you. You're doing great, girl! *ALL THE HUGS*

    Liked by 1 person

    • AWK, thank you!! You’re the nicest!

      That makes my DAY! I’m so glad you enjoy Sean and Riel etc.! Thank youuu!

      Yesss, you will love Dana and Oath and Troll Queen and the Between books! All so good! So many books to read, yes. XD

      Aaah, the Ghibli obsession has been so fun! I love that we’re both doing that! I have gotten out of the habit and need to get back to them. XD Mando is so much fun! Ah, I’ve heard that Stargate improves, yes! Iiiinteresting. I didn’t know your brother loved it so much! Cool! I like that it’s basically ALL the genres rolled in one. 😀

      Aww, thanks! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      Yay! Thank youuu! I hope your April is amazing toooo! *HUGS BACK*

      Like

  4. I adore that snow dragon. So cool!
    Your stack of books, makes me want to get back to reading mine. I really want to read Into the Heartless Woods, the cover is gorgeous. I’ve been meaning to watch some Ghibli movies. I always just end up rewatching Howl’s Moving Castle.
    I love Reign of Fire, was one of the first action-type movies I watched. So good!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First of all, your Wattpad story sounds AMAZING and I’m going to have to try to slide over there and read it because *HEART EYES*

    I need to get back to watching ATLA, too! I’m still a shamefully few amount of episodes in, but it’s been a challenge finding full episodes online, so that’s where I’m at. xD

    YOUR SNOW DRAGON IS FANTASTIC. And he looks quite comfy. xD

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aaahh, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it if you do manage to slide over. 😀 (And if Wattpad gives you trouble, it’s at the other link above too. ;))

      Ohhh, I hear that struggle! It’s such an enjoyable show, though! I need to finish it!

      Thank you!! So glad you like the snow dragon! Haha, he was definitely comfy. XD

      Thanks for your lovely comment, m’dear!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so glad to hear you’ve got internet back in your house!! And WOW, that snow!!! Never would have expected that in Texas! Where I live there is too much snow and cold, but at least it’s an area that’s prepared for it. I’m so glad you didn’t lose power or freeze! Also loved the snow dragon you made. 🙂 I have to try making one now! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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