I’d never commissioned art before, but I won a character commission from the amazing Hazel B. West of Midnight Coffee Art and so I picked Tare because he’s my favorite of my characters. (Don’t tell the others. Just kidding. It’s no secret. XD)
I was nervous about it but Hazel was AMAZING and so patient and helped me figure out what I was looking for in this art piece and she did an INCREDIBLE job taking my vague wishes and coming up with a piece of art that I absolutely adore. She totally blew me away with the result. LOOK AT IT!
I cannot! I love it so much! It’s Tare! :O Leaning on a wall being cool and mysterious and a little dangerous! IN HIS LEATHER JACKET. I JUST. *heart-eyes* I mayyyyy be a little obsessed with this art. 😉
I’ve been sitting on this piece since November and it’s been my computer desktop background (and phone wallpaper…) ever since. XD And I’m so excited to share it at last!
I also completely love this ADORABLE Chibi-style artwork of Tare which Hazel also drew for me. Tare will probably never speak to me again. WORTH IT. He’s so tiny! And grumpy! And way too cute!
Imagining what his friends known as “the Chess Club” would say about tiny cute Tare art has me in stitches. XD
I also made a silly little banner with Canva and the Cute!Tare art, just for fun. (Tare says “Thanks, I hate it.”) XD
If you don’t hear from me again, I’m probably being held hostage by my own character for having the audacity to parade character art of him in front of my readers. He won’t admit it but he does like the first art of him. 😉 (Even if the attention all this art is getting him is, in his opinion, the worst. Tough, Tare — the burden of having fans and an obsessed author. XD)
All of this also inspired me to make some new mock-covers of the books so far in this modern fantasy series I’m writing. It’s been fun and is inspiring me to work on the series again after way too long!
(These are just-for-fun covers, and for the record, the books are still not anywhere near publication-ready, but I’m currently writing the third book and they’ve been my for-fun writing project for over a decade now. One of these days!)
This also may be a good moment to mention that Tare has a Twitter account! There’s…not much there yet but one of these days I’m sure he’ll start posting. 😉 (Er…if I get inspiration for it.)
Anyway, this was a sort of belated celebration of one decade since finishing the first draft of book one in March of 2013, and eleven years since the first day Tare walked onto the page in April of 2012. One day he’ll hopefully make it onto a shelf as well, it just…may take a bit.
But in the meantime I’m just sooo pleased that he has this cool art by Hazel! ^_^ I love it so much!
Artist (and author) Shout-out!
Let me brag on Hazel B. West for a minute!
I highly recommend this artist for character art commissions and hope to have her do some more of mine someday! Do check out the commissions page at her Ko-Fi page! And art account on Instagram @midnight_coffee_art!
In addition to being an awesome artist, Hazel also runs an amazing Etsy shop (I love the journals she makes!), and writes incredible books I adore! If you’re impatient for Tare’s series, or, you know, more of Agent Sean’s stories, and it’s taking me awhile to share either . . . well, you can meantime check out some of Hazel B. West’s spectacular books for some modern fantasy featuring snarky guys in cool coats, action, banter, brothers, and humor — all of which are things I enjoy writing and reading about!
Click the covers below to check out my reviews for these books! Or go straight to the latest release, Sweet Vendetta Blues.
But seriously, Hazel is awesome and has been an amazing inspiration and writing buddy over the years. Do give her a follow if you’re not already! ^_^
Also! I’m hoping to (finally) start sending out newsletters very soon, with writing and life updates!
I thought it would be fun to toss a random list onto the blog, of some things I’ve been loving lately, in an attempt at something upbeat. *nervous laugh* And because blogging! It used to be a thing! So here we are.
In no particular order, and with no attempt at being an exhaustive list, here are . . .
Some things I’ve been loving lately:
The Windward King by K. T. Ivanrest — I recently finished this and it was SUCH a delight! Buddy story, shapeshifting, castles, pirates, fabulous characters, betrayal, royalty, snark . . . it had everything! ❤
The Rose (Cara Dillon) — Replace “love” in this song with writing and it felt . . . something. I could also listen to Cara Dillon’s voice all day long!
I related so hard to this wonderful post by the lovely Emily Grant about being stuck. I feel like she said everything so much better than I can and sort of summed up a lot of how I feel about being stuck on blogging, writing, etc. It made me feel less alone, so maybe it will help others who may be in those trenches. ❤
FicFrenzy (March 15-April 15) — I’m super excited for a writing challenge my dear writing buddy Christine Smith is hosting! Check out the page about it here. ^_^
March Magics — The creator of March Magics (a celebration of the books of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett) is hosting this one last time and I’m sooo looking forward to it. I even tracked down another short story by DWJ that I hadn’t read yet and I’m saving it for that.
The image kind of says it all, but I had the chance to read The Orb and the Airship early and it was definitely one of my favorite reads last year! I am SO excited about this gaslamp fantasy series and I totally recommend checking out the Kickstarter page and following it to be notified on launch (which is February 20). Any interest or sharing is sooo appreciated! I love this world and these characters SO MUCH just from the first book and I can’t wait to see where they go in the rest of the series. It’s seriously so good. 😀
A snippet from one of my WIPs
“What are we doing, again?” I whispered, quieter this time, as we turned a corner and made our way up a steep, narrow white marble staircase up toward a gallery of white stone columns.
“Being very, very quiet,” he breathed in my ear, giving me the urge to smack his face even if it might result in both of us toppling off the steep stairs. “And,” he went on, “avoiding the honestly alarming librarian. But mostly,” he finished, as we came out on the gallery and hid in the shadow of column, “looking for a book.”
“A book,” I repeated, and looked at him. He raised one eyebrow very slightly, as if in a shrug.
As one, we craned around the pillar, poking our heads out to lean enough to see over the long gallery railing of white marble—and gazed down from our new vantage point at a literal maze, so large that it looked a little shadowy and hazy at the far end. A literal maze built of bookshelves overflowing with books.
“Well,” I said, a little scathingly, “I think you’ve found one.”
unedited snippet I wrote last month for my WIP The Other Half of Everything
Thanks for Reading!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little look at some things I’ve enjoyed lately.
Normally I’d try to make it perfect, extensive, with more pictures and other proper-marketing-things but . . . I just want to blog. A bit. And not worry about perfectionism or likes or any of that sort of thing. (We will not discuss the writing update post I haven’t posted due to its now-out-of-date nature… Ahem.)
Nine years ago, on September 9th, 2013, I created my first blog — namely this one!
It’s true I have another one and also that my posting has been nearly nonexistent on both of them this last year, but I still have a huge soft spot for this li’l original blog of mine! So I love to celebrate when it has another “birthday” and today is no exception.
To celebrate, I’m giving away a hardcover copy of In the Region of the Summer Stars by Stephen R. Lawhead, book one in the Eirlandia trilogy! (US only; sorry INT peeps! Scroll down for the info.)
There are a couple of reasons why I chose this book.
One is that, over on my book blog today, I posted a review for the second and third books in the Eirlandia series. So you can CHECK THAT OUT if you like! (And if you haven’t read my review for the first book, which I’m giving away today, you can do so HERE.)
The other reason is . . . Well . . . This little Road of a Writer blog was my first official “internet home” where I put down roots in the blogging community and started sharing my writing journey. It’s . . . been a long and winding road, and sometimes I need to remind myself that the journey is more than the destination (that elusive destination). But more than that, sometimes, like Bilbo Baggins, I have a hankering for a cozy, homey place when the adventure is a little much. That homey place for Bilbo is his Hobbit hole at Bag End in the Shire with the kettle singing. That homey place of the internet for me is this little blog. And one of the homey places I’ve discovered more recently in literature is Eirlandia. It sings to my heart and makes me long to live there, among the rolling green hills and the noble people and the land of wonder. So . . . it felt fitting to share a little bit of that ancient-Ireland home-on-the-page with some other reader, here on the ninth anniversary of my internet home’s foundations being laid.
(And, of course, giving away presents on one’s birthday — or in this case, one’s blog’s birthday — is a time-honored Hobbit tradition, speaking of Bilbo and giveaways.)
To all my readers . . . Thank you for dropping by my internet home! It’s always an honor. ❤
And happy blogiversary to my li’l ol’ blog!
EDIT: Giveaway closed. Congrats to Sarah P.! Thanks, everyone, for entering!
To enter to win, drop by the Rafflecopter at this link!
(Giveaway is open 9/9/22-9/14/22. US only. Must be 18 or have parental permission. One winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be contacted by email and will have one week to respond before another winner is chosen. This giveaway is for one (1) hardcover copy of the book IN THE REGION OF THE SUMMER STARS by Stephen R. Lawhead, is hosted by Deborah O’Carroll, and is not affiliated with the author, WordPress, or any other entity. Not responsible for packages lost in the mail.)
Thanks so much for reading and for celebrating with me!
good words for watsup — Um. Maybe how’s it going? Or, I don’t know, maybe … what’s up?
many happy returns tolkien — Yes indeed. But only on January 3rd.
dastan and tamina fanfiction — I don’t have any but I ADORE Prince of Persia, so.
Various searches for Marvel characters (mostly Loki or Hawkeye) and/or fanfiction, doubtless leading to random Marvel dreams I wrote down and posted here in the past, before it was cool probably. *awkward laughter*
Some questions about different Melanie Dickerson books and characters. O_O
Various searches for Ren: The Girl with the Mark and whether there will be sequels. (*SOBS* Sadly, no. T_T The original show is so good, though! Despite the cliffhanger.)
diana wynne jones where to start — Start with Howl’s Moving Castle! I have spoken.
pictures of perfectionism — Oh dear. I … I … feel called out. *nervous laugh*
types of mentor in fantasy movies — Well, not just in movies but definitely some mentors in this post …
power of three word count diana wynne jones — Now I want to know the answer to this too. Well, a random page in my copy of Power of Three has 241 words on it, and at 328 pages, that averages to 79,048 words. Give or take. Probably take, since chapter beginnings/endings have fewer words …
the owl of kedrans wood — Who was searching my book’s title? O_O Sorry to disappoint but it’s not published at this point. *more awkward laughter* At least I’m over half done writing the third book in the series??
diana wynne jones quotes — Ooh, try this post! Great DWJ quotes there.
amazon — … Well then. That’s awkward.
sherlock holmes consulting detective checklist form — I find myself fascinated by this search and how in the world it could have led here. XD
So there is your dose of humor/randomness for the day.
Happy 8th birthday, Road of a Writer. *blows out virtual candles*
And thanks, dear readers, for coming along with me so far!
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)
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. 🙂
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.
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. ^_^
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!
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
(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
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.)
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. 😀
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.
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 . . .
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!)
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?)
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!