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!
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*
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
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! 🙂
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*
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.
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.
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.
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
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. 😉
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!