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 โค
  • 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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)

***

โ€œIโ€™m just doing what youโ€™d do.โ€

Tareโ€™s voice was flinty. โ€œYou donโ€™t know anything about me.โ€

โ€œMaybe not now, but I did once.โ€

Tare narrowed his eyes. โ€œWhatโ€™s that supposed to mean?โ€

(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. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Do check it out! โค (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. ๐Ÿ˜€ (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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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!

March Ishness 2020!

It’s somehow April so it’s time for a recap of March! (Don’t worry, it’s fun stuff. XD) The latest in my writing, reading, watching, listening, and blogging life!

WRITING

After being stuck and not writing anything for longer than I’d care to think about, I finally wrote a couple thousand words of Operation Foxtail in March — which felt really good, since I hadn’t touched it since NaNo! So that makes me happy, even if it wasn’t a lot. Hoping to continue that momentum with Camp NaNo this month!

READING

I read so much in March! :O I haven’t been reading this much in awhile so I’m kind of surprised. XD

Check out yesterday’s Book Ishness post on my book blog for quick thoughts on the books I read last month!

WATCHING

  • I finished my re-watch of the first season of Castle, and finished the episodes of Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye that I have, though unfortunately it’s not a full season. Those were fun!
  • I re-watched Howl’s Moving Castle for March Magics and had a blast!
  • And I got Mortal Engines for my birthday, so I watched that last month . . . twice . . . XD I saw it in theaters last year and loved it and I’m really happy that I own it now! It’s just . . . really fun and I’m not sure why I love it but for some reason I do! It’s just fun. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Not pictured, I also watched a smidge of NCIS.

LISTENING

  • I AT LAST finished listening to If Wishes Were Curses by Janeen Ippolito and had a really enjoyable time with that. ^_^ NA Urban Fantasy isn’t something I’ve really read but it’s interesting! And quite fun. ๐Ÿ˜€ I just started listening to the sequel so I’m looking forward to that.
  • I listened to Skillet’s latest album, Victorious, quite a lot this last month. I love their music and hadn’t really listened to this one yet so it’s been great.
  • I also re-listened to Brittany Jean’s fun album Wander with Me (I wrote a review for it once!), and her new single, On the Edge of Wave and World — which is actually a poem in Jenelle Leanne Schmidt’s amazing book Minstrel’s Song! So that makes me happy. ๐Ÿ˜€ Brittany Jean has a new album releasing this week! Check her out. ^_^

  • And I listened to the very tip of the iceberg that is Andrew Peterson’s music. I just never really listened to his stuff, but after reading Adorning the Dark I wanted to try, so I listened to a small handful and need to do more of that because so far I think I really like his music. (I don’t have internet in my room currently, so it’s just . . . more difficult for me to get around to remembering to listen to music when I’m online. So I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to listen to more. XD)
  • Random story: I sometimes hear “Is He Worthy?” on the radio (I think Chris Tomlin sings it?) and didn’t really think much about it, but my mind was blown when I realized that Andrew Peterson wrote it?? Like. How cool is that! I always liked it and didn’t realize it was written by the author of the Wingfeather books, and I love Andrew Peterson’s version of it. โค

LIFE

Not much went on in March other than the obvious — and I’m kind of tired of hearing about . . . you know . . . so I’m not really talking about it. XD

Life hasn’t been too different for me, since I’m usually mostly home anyway, but I did miss getting to see some friends, and I don’t really have extra time like many people seem to right now, so that’s . . . interesting.

In fun news, I had a birthday (yay cake and books!), celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day at home by wearing lots of Celtic jewelry, and started a new Instagram theme that I’m excited about! (Blue flowerssss!)

Here, have some pics.

I’m rather fond of this photo I snagged on a backroad after some rain which made Texas look like Ireland around Saint Patrick’s Day. ^_^

Let them eat cake! Birthday cake!

Posting about this delightful book and celebrating with a cupcake at my favorite cupcake shop which happened to have lifesaving Wi-Fi when mine was out and I needed to post a review. XD

Saint Patrick’s Day!

New theme (love my new blue “flers”!) and finishing Diana Wynne Jones month!

BLOGGING

Here are my March posts on my two blogs!

General posts:

March Magics posts:

Reviews posted in March:

ย 

APRIL PLANS

Other than miscellaneous work-from-home projects (which, let’s be honest, I already do, so it’s not like much has changed for me) like editing, the main thing that’s up right now is CAMP NANO!

We’re already nearly half done this Camp month, and I’ve had some ups and downs on it, but I’m happy that I’m writing at all, because I’ve had a bit of a writer’s block problem and it’s also hard for me to write when I’m distracted, busy, or stressed. So any writing is progress!

My goal is 10K words and I’m working on Operation Foxtail! ^_^

So that was my March. Thanks for reading! I hope you’re all hanging in there and reading good books. โค And good luck to anyone who’s doing Camp (buddy me!) — you can do it!

8 Year Tare-iversary!

Happy Tare-iversary to me!

Eight years ago today, I wrote the first chapter of The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, my first foray into contemporary fantasy . . . and what I thought would be a brief standalone novel, something just for fun that I’d write and set aside.

Eight years later, my Kedran’s Wood stories have completed (if rough) drafts of two novels, a novella, and two short stories (plus dabbles of non-canon “fanfiction”).

I have plans for another novel or two, another novella, two more short stories, and a spinoff novel.

I’ve written over 300,000 words of Kedran’s Wood stuff and it’s one of my happy places.

These stories have been a big part of my life, a constant writing companion, and Tare is my favorite character I’ve written (shh, don’t tell the others).ย 

(Some images are mine; others found on Pinterest here.)

I’m so happy that I took that random idea, that odd and not-me-like modern story (I mostly wrote medieval-type fantasy at the time, because I didn’t like modern fiction — so I ended up writing the type I would like to read) and ran with it.

I’m terribly glad I sat down on that day eight years ago to write and met Tare, Lavender, Baz, Ivy, Mr. Larch, and the Wildlings, for the very first time.

The moral? Take those shots in the dark, those leaps of faith, those random steps that seem like they might not come to anything. Try new things. Try.

No matter how strange, no matter how small, you never know what that moment could look like, looking back eight years later.

(Who knows? Maybe some future April 5th I’ll look back and some of these stories will be published.)

So hi from me and Tare and the Chess Club. We’re celebrating. We wish you all a wonderful week. (Even if Tare won’t admit it. ;))

(He’s also judging me for not writing these last two days, since it IS Camp NaNo, even if I’m not writing about him. XD)